September 16, 2020
As I begin my third week of ministry as an intern with the three congregations of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership, I can hardly believe so little time has passed. So much has happened, in our work together, and in the wider Southern Oregon community. I began my first day with the Starr King School for the Ministry chalice lighting words:
With the kindling of this flame,
We reaffirm our commitment
To accept life’s gifts with grace and gratitude
And to use them to bless the world
In the spirit of Love.
Friends, we are already working together to bless the world. As the fires were still burning in Medford, Talent, Phoenix and Ashland, our UU siblings in Grants Pass offered space in their back parking lot to SO Equity, a community organization that has been instrumental in coordinating relief efforts, to collect donations for our Rogue Valley neighbors impacted by the fires. With all that is already underway in our Souther Oregon UU Partnership congregations, lifting up the things that matter on Sunday mornings and doing the work of our faith the other six days of the week, I can only imagine how much we will be able to accomplish together and with our Southern Oregon UU Partnership siblings over the next ten months.
Already, we have an event planned for all members and friends of the SOUUP community to engage in the work together. Thanks to your worship team, who called my attention to her work, on November 7th, Monica YellowOwl of the Klamath Tribal Nation, will offer a free training for our three congregations from 11am to 1:30pm on Zoom to help us learn more about the experience of some of the indigenous peoples who are our neighbors. This training offers a concrete way for our community to answer the call of the 2020 General Assembly’s Action of Immediate Witness statement, which asks us to “Research, identify, and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples historically and/or currently connected with the land occupied by congregations, and find ways to act in solidarity with or even partner with those Indigenous peoples.” I hope you’ll join me at this training to bring this call to action from our faith into being in our community.
In closing, I want to thank you for welcoming me warmly into your community. It was a joy to share Water Ceremony together, especially as fires raged around us. I have placed the water we poured onto the home altar I tend as part of my Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice. There are so many ways to practice our faith, and I’m looking forward to learning how you practice and where you find inspiration as a Unitarian Universalist.
I’m looking to get to know as many of you as possible, so I hope you’ll consider signing up via Calendly for a one on one meeting. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and call or text me at 541.291.2718. My days off are Mondays, so unless there is a real emergency, I won’t likely get to messages between Sunday and Tuesday.
This is the first post in an occasional blog I’m calling “Aspirations” because my official title is “Aspirant” to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry. I love being an Aspirant. Our aspirations — vision of what we hope will come to pass — move us to take action for the world we want to bring into being. What are YOUR wildest aspirations for how we might bless the world in the spirit of love? Let’s see how close we can get to making them come true.
Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again!
–Alison Cole Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister