We opened the annual board retreat on Saturday with the poem Gates of Hope by UU minister Rev. Victoria Safford. And at the end of the retreat, I re-read the poem and asked the Board members to pick a word a phrase that stuck out to them. And the most popular phrase was “joy of struggle.” The Board didn’t waste anytime getting right to the real issues, many of which centered around how to professionalize some of our
business, financial, and professional practices to better protect and nurture our community; how to build up a culture of confidence and trust when it comes to money.
What was great to see, and what I was so proud of, was how kind, respectful, and even funny the Board could be while addressing issues that were stressful or serious. There can be joy in the struggle– when you have the right group of people surrounding you.
And that is what church SHOULD be — the right people surrounding you as you struggle. Because maybe, just maybe, you can find some joy in the roughest of places. May UUFSC be such a place!
Gates of Hope by Rev. Victoria Safford
Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope—
Not the prudent gates of Optimism,
Which are somewhat narrower.
Not the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense;
Nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness,
Which creak on shrill and angry hinges
(People cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through)
Nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of
“Everything is gonna’ be all right.”
But a different, sometimes lonely place,
The place of truth-telling,
About your own soul first of all and its condition.
The place of resistance and defiance,
The piece of ground from which you see the world
Both as it is and as it could be
As it will be;
The place from which you glimpse not only struggle,
But the joy of the struggle.
And we stand there, beckoning and calling,
Telling people what we are seeing
Asking people what they see.
This Sunday, The Force is With Us– Matthew Mason will lead worship with guest speaker Lauren Way, a seminarian from Starr King. She is passionately dedicated to helping those who are frequently ‘othered’ to be heard, valued, appreciated, and empowered. This Sunday she will be speaking to community, trust, and imperfection. Worship Associate Matthew Mason.