Message From The Minister

Friends,

January brings a new year and many challenges. We have a dialectic—hope and fear. We are hopeful, yet we know situations are coming that challenge us to advocate for those without a voice—ending genocides around the world, bringing reconciliation to rivalries, extending rights to more and more people, and comforting those experiencing a loss. Let us ring in the New Year, by sharing our church and community as a safe place; for those who are weary we are sanctuary, for those without a voice we are sanctuary, for those in need we are sanctuary.

All Souls is needing to build a team to celebrate our bicentennial in 2022, as well as members to serve on our justice teams.

There are a great number of initiatives seeking ‘feet on the ground.’ The UUJO is advocating local Ohio issues. The UUA is putting out the “UU the Vote” for advocating democratic response to the issues of the next election.

The #LoveResists campaign continues to work against hatred-fueled policy.

https://www.uujo.org
https://www.uua.org/justice/vote2020
https://www.uua.org/loveresists

Let 2020 see justice clearly and beloved community abound.

Peace,
— Rev. Will

Chalica 2019 — Day 1

Today starts the first day of Chalica, a week of celebrating our 7 principles. On each day, a chalice is ignited, the day’s principle is read, and ways of honoring the principle are enacted, such as volunteering or donating to a social justice cause.

1ST PRINCIPLE: THE INHERENT WORTH AND DIGNITY OF EVERY PERSON

Reflection on the First Principle

“Reverence and respect for human nature is at the core of Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith. We believe that all the dimensions of our being carry the potential to do good. We celebrate the gifts of being human: our intelligence and capacity for observation and reason, our senses and ability to appreciate beauty, our creativity, our feelings and emotions. We cherish our bodies as well as our souls. We can use our gifts to offer love, to work for justice, to heal injury, to create pleasure for ourselves and others.

“‘Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy,’ the great twentieth-century Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote. Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each person as a given of faith—an unshakeable conviction calling us to self-respect and respect for others.,”

—Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker

http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles/1st

Thanksgiving 2019 Message — Rev. Will

A time of thanksgiving, a time of reflection and a time to express the values one holds. Gratitude is a happiness experienced at least twice: once as the event and again in the reflection. Everyday I am moved by the kindness I see from children, adults, teens and seniors.

Everyday, I get discouraged by the separation in our communities and country, by the ways those in power treat the least of these–those without voices, our planet, our siblings.

Everyday, there are those in our community who express their passion by being present with one another, asking questions that inspire, and laughing with our neighbors at our quirkiness, naivete, humor and wisdom.

I believe that relationships must be built on a foundation of mutual respect. We all foster this: growing it and nurturing it.

During this time of Thanksgiving, I want to share my gratitude. Although there are many things that happen that are inexcusable. We pray for the reconciliation between the life we experience and the struggles (personal and institutional) experienced by too many of our siblings. We pray this prayer as actions for change and we pray this prayer for hope, as we build Beloved Community, and we pray this prayer as respot for those working sustainable change for our planet.

There are moments of grace everyday, of people helping one another, and today we celebrate that grace. For that, I am thankful.

Peace, Shalom, Salaam,
Rev. Will

2018-07-01: “You Can Make a Difference”

Have you ever wondered if you can make a difference?  The problems of the world are so vast, how can you possibly hope to solve them?  Hunder is all around us – with needs that are so great and tasks that seem overwhelming, where do you begin? As the founder of the Matthew 25 Outreach Center, Jeff Wright has extensive experience in business as well as years of experience working in hunger-related endeavors across the state.  He has the sincere heart an mind of Christ and keeps his focus clearly on seeking God’s call and direction in his life.  Beyond being the visionary leader, he and his wife, Stacy, enjoy  being in the trenches serving as the hands and feet of Jesus. Matthew 25 Outreach Center feeds the hungry in North Central Ohio, with the help of 350 volunteers from more than 35 area churches, schools, and civic organizations; each month we distribute 30,000 pounds of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to 1,500 hungry people.  Monthly food distributions give area churches, schools, and places of work a safe place to volunteer, make new friends, and make a difference in the community.  Nutritious food is the gateway to building relationships with our guests, as we open hearts, learn about heartaches, and deliver the love of God.

One Day in a Life of a Service: Sunday October 8, 2017

Today started out ordinary and very busy. Kristin Ellis and I had signed up to do snacks and clean the kitchen for coffee hour, so our day started very early preparing food to bring. When I got to church, the Adult RE class led by Art O’Leary, was still taking place and Joan and Reed were setting up a festive tent to showcase and donate their produce to passersby and church friends and members. This was also the day for Brian and Jackie’s recycle truck and the highway cleanup. After setting up my part of the snack table and waiting for Kristin to do the rest, I went upstairs to find that everything was in full swing, that miraculous coming together of church folk to make everything go smoothly or at least to make it seem that way. Flowers on the altar, candles waiting to be lit, musicians ready, having already tuned up. Will was setting up the pulpit to be the leader and I’m sure Haley was squirming in her seat, as a first-time speaker. Her talk was marvelous, by the way. I’m assuming that she wrote her talk, as it was very personal and funny and her delivery was flawless. Before the service, I had made an announcement that Karen was needing some help downstairs with dual projects with the kids (candle making for the older ones, and cupcake decorating for the youngers). Patrick, a first-time visitor, stood up and said he’d go down and help. I was overwhelmed at his generosity. I think that Chuck and Sandy also volunteered to help, as well. Downstairs, someone had already made coffee (Bruce??) and Kristin had arrived and saved the snack table. We also served ice cream , left over from a poorly attended ice cream social we had during the summer. I started dishes and Bambi, another newbie, came into the kitchen to dry the stacks of clean dishes. (I’m a really fast but thorough washerwoman.) Kristin also started helping, once she had tried everything on the table once or twice, including a big bowl of moose tracks ice cream. Ha ha. ( Not sure if that was just to stall off the mound of dishes in the kitchen or if she was just really hungry.)

After rushing through clean up and leaving the bulk of the tail end of the work for Denis and others in the kitchen, I joined my comrades for a section of highway trash pickup between the white barns on Rt. 13 south of town. Todd, Bambi, Carla, Brian and I had a blast picking up a million cigarette butts and pop bottles filled with tobacco spit and various other collectibles . Meanwhile, Karen and the new guy, Patrick were entertaining the kids and going to get pizza for the hungry trashpickers. While waiting on the pizza to arrive, Carla decided to vacuum the whole floor, a job Chuck usually does on Mondays. This was after I talked her out of raking leaves, figuring that more would come down and that would be a good job for Saturday’s work day, organized by Chuck. After all this, Brian and Jackie had to unload all the recyclables so they could use their truck the next day for paid work.
All of this got me to thinking about how many hours we all put into service for this church, not to mention all the good we do in our everyday lives. So, since this is only what I personally saw on one day, I’d like to open this up to everyone else to add their observations on how well we do as a congregation and hopefully this will spill over into our lives at home and in the world. Melanie