In peace and love from Rev. Ian

In her novel Akata Woman, Nnedi Okorafor writes, “Everyone is connected to something. Connection brings you benefits, but it also makes you responsible.” It is a reminder to one of the characters that she is responsible for the health and safety of her community.

We understand ourselves to be both individuals with inherent worth and dignity, with rights and freedoms, and part of a vast web of existence, woven together, drawing strength from each other and our connections, but also acknowledging that these connections bring responsibilities. It is not just freedom we gain by being part of this religious tradition. Here we also find a call to responsibility: responsibility to each other, responsibility to the values we profess, responsibility to the beckoning of that which we hold most high: love.

When we welcome new members into our community, we ask them to affirm that “In joining the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert we affirm those principles of freedom and responsibility upon which this church is founded. We bring our talents and enthusiasm and ask that you reach out to welcome and invite our participation in this community.”

As we head into the warmer months of the year, months which may invite us into slowing down and taking time to reflect while we avoid the heat … I invite you to ponder the ways in which our community calls you to responsibility as well as freedom and connection.

How are we responsible to each other?

Are we responsible for each other?

And what does our commitment to be responsible to each other and our values call us to bring to the world and this community

How are we to live together, to relate to each other if we understand ourselves as responsible to each other?

I hope that you find ways to stay cool. I hope that you can find ways to remember those who live in our cities without the luxury of air conditioning or, often, even shade from the heat of the sun. Drop a case of water off at one our city’s cooling centers, hand out umbrellas, hand out bottles of water.

Minister’s Message Recent Posts

Bread not Stone: Envisioning the Future

Hello Friends,

And the wheel of the year turns and December becomes January and a new year begins. In some ways it’s an arbitrary shift—a flip of a page in a calendar. But so many of us see this shift as an opportunity to imagine new possibilities in the year ahead.

Dear ones, in many ways, the life of the congregation continues: we worship together, we learn together, we raise the money we need to help our beloved community thrive, we grapple with the painful realities of the world and how we can understand and make change, and we engage in the work of moving ourselves and the world toward justice, kindness, and love.

Bread not Stone: Minister’s Message

This is the time of year when the days get shorter and shorter and the night gets longer and longer. When it feels like we live more in darkness than we do in light. And so the festivals and celebrations of this time are all about light: the light of candles, the...

Bread Not Stone: Pluralism

This month we continue our exploration of the values that unite and inspire us as Unitarian Universalists. A reminder that individuals and congregations across the Unitarian Universalist Association are exploring these values in preparation for deciding on adopting new language in our UUA bylaws that express our shared values and covenants with each other. We’ll be sharing conversation and reflection together, including in our Chalice Circles each month.

For November, we’ll be looking at Pluralism.

Bread Not Stone: Interdependence

Hello friends,

This month we begin our exploration of the values that unite and inspire us as Unitarian Universalists. A reminder that individuals and congregations across the Unitarian Universalist Association are exploring these values in preparation for deciding on adopting new language in our UUA bylaws that express our shared values and covenants with each other. We’ll be sharing conversation and reflection together, including in our Chalice Circles each month.

For October, we’ll be looking at Interdependence.

Bread Not Stone: How Can We Help?

Hello friends,

We see in the news so many stories about hardship and abuse of immigrants and refugees and those seeking asylum in our country. It’s often difficult to know how we can help.

A small group in our congregation has been meeting and having some conversations about ways in which we can help and have an impact on the situations of people in our valley and area.

And we want to explore ways our congregation and its members can help in more ways, especially with people experiencing struggles with our immigration and asylum systems.

Bread not Stone: Pondering the Principles

Hello friends,

It is such a full time for us in our congregation. We’re kicking off our pledge drive to plan for next year’s budget. We’re working to create new possibilities for moving from contract ministry to settled ministry. We are beginning to read and explore Mistakes and Miracles together as a congregational read.

And there’s lost happening in our larger movement as well, including exploring how we describe and envision our faith tradition through Article II of the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association. 

If you don’t know, Article II of the UUA bylaws contain the formal statement of our UU Principles and Purposes: saying what the purpose of our association is, what are the principles around which we live our faith out in the world, and what the sources and inspiration are for that work and that faith….

Bread not Stone: We hear you. We love you. You are not alone.

The past weeks in our country have shaken many of us to the core. The revelations of the congressional hearings, continued gun violence, the attacks on trans youth and their families, and the Supreme Court’s removal of the protection of the rights of women and many trans folks to control their own bodies and choose how and if they want to bring life into the world.

I’ve heard from so many of you about the fear and anger and confusion that you are feeling—and your fierce call to act to bring change, to ensure health and fairness for all, to help the most vulnerable among us to access the health care they need to keep themselves and their families safe.

How do we respond to the pain and anxiety and violence in the world around us?

My friends,
As I sit to write this column for you there are bombs and deadly artillery falling on the people of Ukraine, there are children and families in Texas and Florida whose governments are telling them that their love and very existence is wrong and abusive and abhorrent, and there are still thousands and thousands of people sick and dying in our communities and around the world—dying from disease, but also from a lack of care and love and commitment to health for all.

Bread not Stone: A Bowl of Stones and Shells

Dear Friends,
I have a little bowl of stones and shells on my bedside table. I know that they came to me, one by one, from almost every place I’ve been and moments I’ve shared with loved ones and colleagues. But I couldn’t tell you where each individual stone came from.

Bread not Stone: Minister’s Message

My friends,

As I sit to write this column for you there are bombs and deadly artillery falling on the people of Ukraine, there are children and families in Texas and Florida whose governments are telling them that their love and very existence is wrong and abusive and abhorrent, and there are still thousands and thousands of people sick and dying in our communities and around the world—dying from disease, but also from a lack of care and love and commitment to health for all.