My dear friend, Jennifer, who I have known since our girls were little, once told me why she was volunteering at her synagogue's Midrasha program. Midrasha, if you're not familiar, is similar to our own senior high youth group meetings. If you've ever worked in youth planning and facilitating, you know it's a lot of work! Jennifer said the reason she engaged in this work is because when your culture is a minority culture in the area in which you live, it's really important to create an oasis of that culture in your place of worship. I was a Methodist living in deep East Texas at the time so I didn't really understand what she meant.
The importance of this idea became very apparent to me when I became a Unitarian Universalist and it's an ideal I now work for every day as I serve this congregation.
Most of us, if not all of us, including our children and youth, are being hit with a barrage of negative messages about race, immigration, our GLBT friends and family, the poor, the marginalized (the list goes on) from our media, coworkers and bosses, classmates and teachers on a daily basis. Add to that the fact that many of us face these same messages when spending time with our extended families and this can have us feeling very alone, upset and frustrated.
As we move into October with these beautiful autumn days and fall breaks that span almost the entire month when you look at all the local school districts' calendars, I hope you will be able to join us on Sundays as often as possible. Being in this liberal religious oasis with like-hearted friends is more important than ever.
Come early and meditate with Gloria Moya and her Beginner's Meditation Group, walk the labyrinth that was newly restored by Ian McIntosh. Spend a few quiet moments in the beautiful Memorial Garden that Donna Foster so lovingly cares for. Come to the service and sing our songs, hear words that will inspire you, know that your children are learning lessons that will change their lives and help them change the world. Make friends who will support you through life's joys and sorrows. It's a gift you can give yourself, your children and your fellow congregants as you are there for them as well.
We have a great day planned for all ages this Sunday. Hope you can join us!