July – From the Minister

An Invitation to Beloved Conversations

In June, I bought these buttons as a gift for our congregation.  In two weeks, we distributed over 500 buttons, and I have just ordered more.   I invite you to take one, and to wear it over the summer, as often as you will, as often as you can.

Pay attention to the conversations that open up around your button. Watch not only other people, but your own interior reactions.

Takes notes and write to me this summer.   [ vsafford@wbuuc.org   651.587.8481 ]

Tell me how it’s going.

If you wear your button, tell me what that feels like.   If you don’t wear it, tell me why.

In the fall I’ll gather your responses and on a Sunday in September (without quoting you by name) we’ll hear how this is going, this small attempt to shift the conversation about racism, violence and fear.

From Ferguson to Baltimore, Staten Island to Selma, Madison to Minneapolis, from Cleveland to Charleston to the very heart of your own town, we have got to shift the conversation.  We have got to start the crucial, painful, holy conversations about white privilege, policy, prisons, the economy,  one by one, with neighbors, workers, strangers, family, friends  – and then walk our talk, in faith, with hope and courage.

As I write, our hearts have been broken and our spirits shaken by the killing of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina – an act of terrorism born of cowardice, ignorance and centuries of systemic, culturally-acceptable racism,  fueled by a national gun culture that is irrational, immoral and recklessly out of control.  Wearing a button is the least of the responses we are called to now, as people of faith, a people of courage and radical hope.

May our broken hearts be strengthened for the work ahead.   As ever, I am grateful to be walking with you on this journey.        – Victoria


A Prayer for the People of Charleston and All People

Spirit of life and love,

A church is a harbor of refuge, a shelter and a sanctuary.
It is a place where people speak to God, silently, aloud.
It is where, trembling, they listen.

A church is a house of hope and history,
consecrated by the people’s faith:
lift up joy and thankfulness
lay down weariness and sorrow

Babies are welcomed.
Couples are blessed.
The beloved dead are sanctified and
in the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we will remember them

We wake to devastation, desecration.

Wild with grief and holy rage,
we pray for courage now, and renewed strength
to preach this morning’s gospel truth:
black lives matter.

In the rising of the sun, and in its going down,
may we remember what we know for sure –
in spite of, and precisely because of,
the awful evidence of other tragic truths.