I sat in a community organizing meeting this week, facilitated by our local PICO affiliate, Congregations Building Community (CBC). It was me the UU minister, three Catholic priests, and a Evangelical Baptist minister. We were all their because we want to do something about the root causes of poverty and suffering we see all around us here in Stanislaus County. And despite some obvious theological/philosophical differences, there is much we agree upon: we agree on the destructive power of racism, corporate greed, and pollution in our valley. But it was still awkward! And I realized that what this group needs to do first have some meals and just relate, get to know each other. Yes, we want to “do” something– but action is most effective when it born from real relationship.
Some Planned Parenthood staff were pretty skeptical when they heard a minister wanted to organize a vigil in the wake of the recent arson. But a staff member who I had worked with before, advocated for it. One person said “but many of our folks aren’t religious, don’t even believe in G-d.” The staff member said “I’ve been in UU churches, at least half of them don’t believe in G-d either!” They made the case that their staff had spiritual and emotional needs, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation and that this vigil could really help folks cope with the trauma.
The reason the staff member advocated for the vigil was because she knew us UUs–she had relationships with us. And out of that relationship, the vigil this Sunday is born.
How might slowing down and spending time in relationship provide you with unexpected answers and insights?
I look forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday, where we welcome New Horizons Jazz Band for a special Jazz Sunday service! And afterwards, I hope many of you will join me at the prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood, which got some coverage in the Modesto Bee!