Dear Members and Friends of UUCWC,
As many of you know, last Sunday morning during service a handmade banner was placed next to our own. The “rebuttal” banner offered line by line alternatives to each of our UUCWC statements. It was not aggressive; it was thought out.
Below you can find a letter to the editor that I will offer in the coming days to address this anonymous act. The local police have also been contacted, as was their suggestion many months ago when exploring public witness such as this. Members of our Safety Team met recently and will continue to in order to ensure the safety of the congregation.
Like everything else in our community, it takes all of us to be mindful of our surroundings for the manmade and natural acts that might require our attention and care.
With care and appreciation,
To the Editor:
In recent weeks you may have noticed a new sign adorning the bucolic property of that funny looking building on Washington Crossing Pennington Road. Some have remarked that the building looks like a space ship; others simply note how many times they’ve driven by without ever noticing it much. But now, a large colorful rainbow of words is propped outside and close to the road. People have started to notice.
At the Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing, we explore many themes as part of our spiritual lives – including, what it means to be “spiritual”. We’re a community made up of mystics and atheists, singing rewritten Protestant hymns, with a similar theology to Judaism.
Without a creed to declare what we as a community believe, we instead gather together to grow stronger in our relationship with and understanding of ourselves, others, and whatever we might call “the sacred” or the universe. It’s not about being right but being in right relationship. It’s not only believing in Love, but believing we can harness Love’s power to usher goodness into a hurting world.
That right relationship is without conditions or boundaries, and as such, we have been called to the front lines of the civil rights movement, climate justice, marriage equality and elsewhere. Much of our roots lie with the early Abolitionists. It’s why we’re Universalists. We believe in the salvation of all. In this life. And where it is threatened, we believe it is our job to make it so. Faith without works is dead, James said. And this is our work.
You can hear (and now see) the expression of some of that which we are called to today through the banner on our front lawn. It reads: Love is love. Black Lives Matter. Climate Change is Real. No Human Being is Illegal. All Genders and Abilities are Whole, Holy, and Good. Women Have Agency Over Their Bodies.
Because we cannot respond to anonymous actions, I offer this brief note to those who are discomforted by these words. For centuries and throughout every major world religion, religious leaders have responded to the spiritual depletion caused by the larger culture.
Led by listening hearts, we hear the systemic silencing of those listed on the banner. As we are able, we will speak and sing and work for those who cannot. We will remind ourselves and the larger community of the interdependence of which we are a part; that inescapable network of mutuality, as King said.
We do this not to push buttons or to be political as some have suggested. Of course, the political is the personal and the personal is the spiritual – so it is hard to disentangle the motives, I suppose. But no. In a world that seeks to simplify and divide, we hope that in displaying our banner, it is more than an act of public witness or resistance; but part of a deeper process of study, conversation, commitment, action and reflection about complex issues being held within our congregation and within each of our daily lives. We seek to nourish our hurting hearts and fearful spirits with a renewed commitment and a visual reminder of who and why we are as Unitarian Universalists.
Perhaps, despite what Jefferson believed, not everyone will find a home within this faith. But, in faithful living, we will work to make the beauty and promise of this world available to all; salvation for all. The recent rebuttal to our banner has reminded us of the work before us and for that we are grateful. A donation has been made to our Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a national body that works toward similar efforts, in the name of the recent event.