Last month I shared from the pulpit my conviction that the values that we share and express as Unitarian Universalists call us to do the work of love, justice, and inclusion. For me, this is not just the work of one sermon or worship service but our daily lives.

Last year, your ministers and many congregants participated in the Beloved Conversations Within program offered through Meadville Lombard Theological School. This program focused on opening our hearts and minds, examining our individual stumbling blocks and hopes. The leaders of the program share that “it is a program for Unitarian Universalists seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. In Beloved Conversations, we are here to heal the impact of racism on our lives, in order to get free together.“

Those of us involved found the program to be transformative and powerful and challenging.

This year, a group who were involved last year will be working with the next stage, broadening the internal work to focus on our religious communities. Beloved Conversations Among begins this fall. We will be working with a coach who will lead us to look at the breadth and depth of our congregational life: How are we together? How do we do the work of the congregation in ways that are inspiring of inclusion, belonging, and diversity.

On November 14, I will be leading a worship service focused on this year’s work in this area. You will certainly hear more from the group as the year goes along and I hope you will get engaged in this transformative work as it comes up. It is our own hearts and minds we are growing along with our congregation’s thriving.

in peace and love

Rev. Ian

Minister’s Message Recent Posts

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.

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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.

Bread not Stone: Living in Love

February is a time when we often focus on love in all of the ways it plays out in our hearts and lives.
I am so often inspired by the words and thinking of others, and so this month I wanted to share with you some things that inspire me when I think about love and how we craft it together.

Bread not Stone: Resolving to Love

It’s a new year by our calendar. It’s a new year by the sun and the stars and the moon. It’s a time when so many of us make plans to change who we are, how we are in the world, how we are living in our bodies. We make resolutions to change our wretched, lazy lack of discipline in some area of our life and to start anew with new discipline and commitment and focus.

Bread not Stone: Gathering

When I was at university in Toronto, I was usually unable to travel back to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving weekend and so I would usually have Thanksgiving dinner with my aunt’s family there in the city. (I was in Canada, so Thanksgiving was in October!) It was always a wonderful time. The opportunity to gather together around food was wonderful, of course, but it was also deeply meaningful to gather together around ideas and values: family, gratitude, generosity.
I know that our congregation and our UU tradition and values have become that gathering place for so many of us. A place we can gather together to explore our values, to hear and share stories of our lives, to be grateful for what we have, and to be mindful of how we live together in the world.