March From the Minister

In this church we are all held in community, by a fabric stronger than our own thin cloaks. In this church we are held in a graceful and forgiving theological narrative that insists without exception that all are beloved. In this church we’re held by each other and by a larger Love that will not let us go. That is the radical, heretical, saving message of Universalism. We ourselves, in human form, in mortal, messy, clumsy form, are not just the image of God, but the very shape, the actual ears, eyes, hands, beholding you and holding you when the weight of the world is too much.

In this house we uphold and we are held within a graceful, hopeful, laughing, weeping, forgiving, saving faith. These are lofty things. Esoteric. Spiritual. They need a tangible container, sacred space, a house. The work of the spirit, when done in community, and in the real world in real time, needs a roof and a floor, with governance, bylaws, and a little light but serious bureaucracy; space for children, tables and chairs, a coffee pot and coffee; it needs salaries and benefits that are fair and that you’re proud of for the staff, and lights and computers and a parking lot; sheet music for the Choir, matches for the chalice, and furnaces that work and are as green as they can be to keep the people warm.

A vibrant Unitarian Universalist congregation in this corner of the heartland in this decade of the 21st century, plus or minus 1500 people striving to serve the world and anchor their hearts in love, in principle, in conscience, in reason and faith, and in a long, historic line of radical hope and inclusion—made as we are of flesh and blood, dreams and bones—requires brick and stone to hold it safe and house it. Think of what these walls have seen and heard and held: the aspiration of a people, which like inspiration comes from the same root word as spirit, which means breath, as ephemeral and real as wind, and different from the wind, because it’s gathered here, in one strong body.

This month, when the pledge committee asks us all to make a pledge of financial support, I hope you will join me and my family in saying, Yes. Absolutely. With gratitude and gladness. Yes. We are all in.

-Rev. Victoria Safford