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Topic “Minister's Message”

FROM THE MINISTER

Rev David Schwartz is a very interesting guy, to say the least! This month we celebrate our first year with David, who continues to awe us with the thoughtfulness of his heart and mind. He's made a brilliant connection in his article in the June Contact, our newsletter.

"I only ever have basically one response to the hand-wringing about the future of the liberal faith and church and religion. I usually say something like:
Look, it's fun and interesting to talk about all that, but my sphere of influence is this church right here. I don't know where the whole thing is going, I can't control it, I can't cure it. I care about: where are these people going? What can I do to lead here: what's the vision, the mission, how do we stay on it right here?
Listening back to a Mos Def track off "Black on Both Sides," he says of hip hop exactly what I mean:
Listen.. people be askin me all the time
"Yo Mos, what's gettin ready to happen with Hip-Hop?"
(Where do you think Hip-Hop is goin?)
I tell em, "You know what's gonna happen with Hip-Hop?
Whatever's happening with us"
If we smoked out, Hip-Hop is gonna be smoked out
If we doin alright, Hip-Hop is gonna be doin alright
People talk about Hip-Hop like it's some giant livin in the hillside
Comin down to visit the townspeople
We are Hip-Hop
Me, you, everybody, we are Hip-Hop
So Hip-Hop is going where we going
So the next time you ask yourself where Hip-Hop is going
Ask yourself: where am I going? How am I doing?
'til you get a clear idea

As we face squarely the reality of caring for the historic building our church inhabits, it’s easy to get stuck in that question: where do you think this church is going? Can we do it? Can we live here? Next year? In thirty years? Where are we going?

But the harder question, the realer question, the more important question is: Where are you going? How are you doing? If we’re doing alright, this church is going to be doing alright—wherever it meets. We’re the caretakers of this space, and it serves us. But the real and enduring substance of the church is only ever the people. It’s us, united by the commitments we make to travel this road together: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, to help one another—a promise to nurture our spirit and help heal the world.

At the end of my first year with you, I am filled with gratitude. Most important for me this year was to get to know you: to build relationships, lead worship, sing together,
laugh together, talk together. I’m proud to serve this church and all the committed, complex, curious, fierce, funny, wondering, beautiful people who weekly create and re-create it.

Thank you to you who brew the coffee and serve on committees. Thank you who sing and lead worship, who organize protests, who tend to bylaws and business, who put on parties and potlucks. Thank you to you who say hello to newcomers and take them out for lunch. Thank you to everyone who gives of time, and talent, and treasure.

And thank you to each person who comes on a Sunday morning needing relief from the whirlwind of life and shelter from the storm: this is your church.

In hope and gratitude,
Rev David"

The Little Moments Matter

The following is an excerpt from "From the Minister, Contact May 2018 Issue
"I heard a story that physicist Richard Feynman described the experience of a new fundamental insight into the way the universe works as a euphoria lasting for days. How many times did that happen to you, a friend asked him. Only three or four times in an entire life, was the answer.
The big, profound, intense, dramatic insights and realizations in life—the ones that turn your world upside down, the ones that change the shape of your life—happen rarely. Mostly, it’s little moments of hope or grace or beauty that sustain us and feed our heart and spirit.
We gather in community partly to train ourselves to pay attention, to notice, to give our lives to these: the silence when singing ends; the color of light on the stones of the castle; a smile and a hug; the person who says “here let me pour that cup of coffee for you.” Nothing dramatic, all easily missed, ten thousand tiny things.
Last month we hosted a Passover Seder for 29 kids and adults, I was so glad to share this part of my religious heritage with our community. The ritual itself is a remembering and a recommitment – that in every generation new oppressions awaken, and our job is to persistently, steadily face them. The meal, the words, the telling, all give a sense of hope and connection and dedication to those who gather.
For me, another moment that gave joy and hope was after it was all done. Without fuss, without drama, everyone pitched in to help clean up. We took plates upstairs, folded up tables, washed dishes, organized leftovers. Of course that’s what we did after the meal, that’s just how we do things, that’s who we are! It’s such a common thing we take it for granted.
But it’s a reminder that community is a sort of a magic trick: we made something from nothing – a beautiful meal in a beautiful space made only from people working together, each doing a little bit, helping each other, making community, investing our lives in each other.
Washing dishes together in the kitchen upstairs may not produce a euphoria lasting for days, but it can be one of those little moments of hope that sustains a life.
...
We are stronger together!
In hope,
Rev. David"

The End is NOT Near!

This is our Minister's message in our April newsletter, CONTACT.

"In New Yorker cartoons (and possibly in real life) you see people walking around with sandwich boards pro-claiming “the end is near!”
I am here to tell you that the end is not near. Nothing is coming to destroy us, and nothing is coming to save us. I’m not optimistic—believing that good things will happen no matter what we do; and I’m not pessimistic, believing that no matter what happens, we’re doomed. I’m hopeful.

Hope, says Rebecca Solnit, “is the belief that what we do matters, even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know of them afterward either, but they matter all the same.”

- Voting is an expression of hope: we may not know the impact or effect of our one ballot, or our conversations about the election, but we believe that it matters all the same.

- A Sunday morning service is an expression of hope: that gathering together we ourselves may be transformed in ways we may not know or anticipate or perceive at the time – and that our presence, compassion, connections with others may be transformative to them as well.

- Service work is an expression of hope: when we serve at an overnight emergency shelter, we don’t know who will be there, or their circumstances: where they’ve come from or where they’re going. Nonetheless, we believe that little bit of service matters in ways we may never know.

When we are a people of hope, we are keeping faith with the ancestors who brought us to this moment: the ancestors in our own lives, and the generations before us who have created and kept vital this church community. Keeping faith with our ancestors doesn’t mean to do what they did. It doesn’t mean to live their lives over again, to make the same choices, to stumble in the same places. It means to do what they made possible for us.
To be true to the generations that brought us here to this moment in this house is not to do the same things they did, expecting different results, but instead, to look back and lift up those enduring values and hopes we still hold that we can go forward here and now in ways that make sense for this era and its future.

“The end is not near.” It means the end of the world isn’t coming. It means there’s time. It also means we’ve got our work to do always to live our mission and to keep faith the generations past and those yet to come.

Let’s go to work.
In hope,
Rev. David

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Buddhist Meditation

Reverend Marcia Curtis invites you to participate in a Buddhism-based meditation in a group setting. Join us Sundays at 7:30pm in the church sanctuary. Newcomers welcome.

Religious Education

       

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