In this month we’ll arrive at the end of the election season, and begin the days and era which follow it. Both require fortitude, and both call us to pay close attention to how we are living the values we espouse. The election will not be the end of challenges. With all the realities of these times still present, in so many ways this will be the beginning of a new life as part of a body politic greatly damaged by the erupting of some of our most regrettable behaviors and beliefs. Here is where we will start, once again, to live lives that help heal and mend the hurts, and alleviate the fears and enmity. To be able to be part of this work, the work of living well in this world, we are trying, each month, to go deeper. To learn more. To open up. We are working on the third of our UU principles and purposes: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. Spiritual growth means to go beyond platitudes – that we are all nice people, that this is a friendly place, that we are a beloved community – to discover the details of truths within us and around us. We are trying to listen more and learn more about ourselves and each other, so that we are more clear about what we have in common and how we are different. For this month of our brave year, we’ll explore several areas of rich potential for learning and spiritual growth: the presence of shame, the need for humility, the necessity of contemplation, the possibilities for gratitude, and the lives of many brave and courageous persons who have lived in similarly threatened and threatening times. My invitation to all of us is to enter into this work with intention, curiosity and a willingness to see in new ways. So many of you are new to the Fellowship. I see you on Sunday mornings, but cannot quite reach all of you to introduce myself. Please, if you are able, introduce yourself to me, and to others. I want to tell you, even before I meet you, that this place and these people will be a blessing to you, especially if you choose to become a part of this congregation where we are held together by our commitments to each other and to shared values. In a world filled with controversy, with shrill and harmful words and actions, we still have everything we need to make it better. There is love, and kindness, and generosity; openness, sacrifice, and courage among us and between us everyday. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t forget that you are not alone, and that we can help each other along the way.

See you Sunday!

Jill