Bound in Covenant by Rev. Victoria Safford

This article appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of UU World (pages 26–29)

Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law;
this is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace,
to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.
James Vila Blake, 1894

In the first weeks of my first ministry in an old New England congregation, a woman came to see me. Nearly 90 years old, she was a lifelong member of that church; her parents had joined in the late nineteenth century. She didn’t like change, she said. She wasn’t sure that she liked me, or what she called my “point of view.”

“Just remember,” she said. “I have outlived all of your predecessors, and I will probably outlive you.”

This woman was a dedicated political conservative in what had become a progressive community; she was a liberal Christian in a congregation that had known gracious eras of theological diversity and also some fits of intolerance; she’d worked for the U.S. State Depart­ment through three wars and for the American Unitarian Association through the merger with the Universalist Church of America. In this church of her childhood, which she’d never left, most votes at most annual meetings had not gone her way for the past forty years. She was no stranger to discord.

In the end she did outlive me there: she died shortly after I accepted a new call in another state, and I was saddened by the news.

Read the complete article at UUWorld