March 16 Minister Moment

This past Wednesday students from many schools walked out of their schools for 17 minutes, one for every student killed in Parkland, FL. The videos and photos were heartbreaking and hopeful. As with so many other examples of activism in the USA, the many protests and rallies shows an awakening of awareness and the demand for a safer nation. I assume most schools have had drills that took longer than 17 minutes, drills that were all about fleeing and hiding. It is good to have a moment of power and collective action. Perhaps our nation can learn from them.

I was struck by the diversity and passion. I was struck by the clarity and resolution. Cynics may say that this is the same old same old, but I am not convinced. I am hopeful too. For those who want to learn more, on March 24 at noon there will be “March for our Lives” at Waterside Park.

Our ministers’ gathering Tuesday morning was on the topic of school shootings. Ministers from across the religious spectrum of Hampton Roads talked about gun rights and fear and mourning within their congregations and especially the differences in perception from Protestant White, Black and Jewish congregants. We will continue the conversation next month. The HUBB ministers group is also co-sponsoring a panel discussion at VWU on Monday night 7 PM Pearce Hospitality Suite in the student center. “Slavery, the Holoacaust, and Stories that Shape Us.”  I hope to make it.

The New York Times had an eye opening article “A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches” by Campbell Robertson. It is worth reading more than twice. There are many reactions to this, one I have listened to is by a Black Christian Collective called “The Witness”:

https://youtu.be/pymTLlQN_EQ    Searching Youtube for “A Quiet Exodus” will show others, which I haven’t listened to yet.   This sort of awareness beyond Unitarian Universalism provides a wider view.

While I am at it, thanks to all those running our Living the Pledge workshops. The next pair will be offered in the autumn. I am hearing wonderful feedback.

FRIDAY NIGHT:  The goal of religion is personal transformation.  Self understanding as the beginning of beloved community. Awakening to the world around us is one goal of our teens service learning trip being planned to West Virginia.  This Friday night come have a decorated potato for dinner… spend $10 or $20 for a spud with everything and help make their trip a reality. While the potato will not transform you, the community will. Stay for the movie.

This Sunday’s service will be a multi-sensory experience of music and laughter. The choir has some special pieces you won’t hear anywhere else!! Please don’t over-do it on St. Patrick’s Day, and come to church Sunday!

Then spring arrives with the Equinox on March 20th… less than a week after PI Day!  

And please come to a special all ages Environmental Forum on Friday April 7 (after Fabulous spaghetti)  Inviting Mark Swingle in from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a special treat to begin the “Outdoors” time of year.  Paul Greggs is putting together a spring canoe trip in our invitingly-named “Dismal Swamp”.. with spaces in the large canoe for those who don’t like tippy.

Happy Spring.

Rev. Charlie