Dear Beloveds and Friends,
As the warm summer breeze graces our days and the sun bathes us in its golden rays, we find ourselves in a season of abundant growth and reflection. July has arrived, bringing with it a cherished opportunity to explore the essence of freedom of belief and deepen our connections within our beloved community. The warm sun reminds us of the promise of abundance, and the climate-change induced smoke in the air reminds us of our responsibility to care for the earth.
July is a time we, Americans, celebrate and reflect upon the promise and responsibilities of Freedom. At the very heart of our Unitarian Universalist faith is this Freedom of Belief. It is principled as encouragement for us to seek our own truths, to question, to challenge, and to constantly grow in our understanding of the world and our place within it, to resist tyranny and to find liberation.
There are many attacks on our freedoms. Bills and proposed laws that restrict rights, and some that even deny medical treatment. Please get active in these political actions. Engage the UUJO–our Ohio based UU Justice Organization. They need some volunteers and I think the people of All Souls could really help them. Freedom requires practice and effort.
This freedom invites us to embark on a lifelong journey of exploration, where our spiritual paths intertwine with the wisdom of diverse traditions and the insights gained from our own personal experiences.
As we engage in the delightful adventures and peaceful respites that summer offers, I encourage each of you to take some time for personal reflection. Allow the beauty of nature, the serenity of quiet moments, and the joy of shared experiences to inspire and nourish your spirit. Embrace the freedom to question and explore, to discover new perspectives and deepen your connection to the divine.
This past week, our denomination (86.3% of Delegates) voted to remain considering changes to the Article 2 of the UUA bylaws–Principles and Purposes. It is written into our tradition to keep searching for meaning, and written into our bylaws to keep our Principles and Purposes relevant for our current times. In the fall, I presented these changes during adult RE. Although we have looked through these changes, we will dive deeper at the proposed shift from Principles to Values, with Love at its center.
We also have a new president of the UUA, the Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt. During her acceptance speech, she shared that she is a Universalist in her UU faith. She is a respected theologian, minister and teacher. With her election and the changes in Article 2, it feels like a discerned pivot toward our Universalist side of the UU family–a return that I welcome and affirm.
In the Spirit of Love, let us also celebrate this season of our congregation. Summer is a time for forging new bonds and strengthening existing relationships. It presents countless opportunities to engage in community-building activities, from picnics and hikes to book clubs. I invite you to reach out to one another, to extend a hand of friendship and understanding, and to engage in conversations that foster empathy, compassion, and growth.
Our church community is a sanctuary where we find solace, support, and inspiration. Together, we create a safe space for authentic exploration of our beliefs and a nurturing environment that encourages each individual to grow into their fullest potential. As we celebrate the freedom of belief, let us also extend that freedom to others, embracing the diversity of perspectives and experiences that enrich our collective journey.
It is certain that it will continue to offer a variety of opportunities for spiritual growth and connection. For the 6th year in a row, I am on the ministry team for Summer Institute. Both at All Souls and within the CER–Region, we have planned exciting events, inspiring worship services, and engaging workshops that cater to the diverse interests and needs of our congregation.
May this summer be a time of deepening connection, self-discovery, and joyous exploration. Together, let us celebrate the freedom of belief that is the cornerstone of our faith, as we weave our individual journeys into a beautiful tapestry of shared experiences.
Blessings and peace,
– Rev. Will