Community

I discovered Unitarian Universalism because I was searching for community.  I wanted a group of like-minded people to support and challenge me. I wanted folks, from infants to centenarians, with whom to laugh and to cry.  A large part of my call is to help create that community, with and for others.

We need community, to be fully human.  Our brains are wired to assume (and take part in) a social context.  Even introverts—those who draw energy from solitude—need other people to get all of their needs met.  Of course, mere social context is not community.  Real community requires relationship; it offers life-sustaining care and life-changing growth opportunities.

Community is not an end in itself; it is not, and cannot be, static.  We are always challenged to make our community more deep and nourishing for those within, and more broad and inclusive for those outside our circle.

“I’ll miss you.  You always made the room feel warm when you walked into it.”
–Anne, UUSG

Experience:

Community is more a feeling than a list of activities.  Nevertheless, there are things—such as worship, education, shared meals, small group interactions, celebrations, memorials and even committee work—that can foster the experience of community.

Communal worship is the cornerstone experience of a congregational community.  Worshipping together, participating in the service, and connecting with our fellow worshippers are key components.  I have led or co-led approximately 400 worship services.

I have helped create a “Parents with Young Children” group at two different congregations, and a Young Adults Group, at one.  I am a trained Covenant Group facilitator, and have led or participated in a group virtually every year since becoming a UU.   I have led Passover Seders, Socinian Eucharists (humanist communions), Flower Services and Fast Day celebrations (a traditional companion to Thanksgiving).  I have attended congregational events like Wednesday Night Suppers, First Fridays, Chautauquas, Community Forums, Service Auuctions and Circle Suppers.  I have encouraged and helped members and friends to create the events they desire.

Religious Education often includes the experience of community, for adults and for youth.  I have led adult RE courses and chaperoned youth on overnight or week-long trips.  I have taught and co-taught Sunday School classes.

My wife and I read holiday-themed short stories aloud, at the UUCGT Wednesday Night Supper crowd, every December, 2006-2009; and during the Christmas Eve Vespers at First Unitarian of Hobart in 2011.

Most importantly, I attempt to treat every person as a being with inherent worth and dignity, so that they feel welcome and appreciated in our congregational community.