Dear Friends and Members,
We will see each other at our annual May Congregational Meeting on the 19th when we will once again express ourselves democratically to set the course of our fellowship. These are turbulent times in the larger world beyond our walls, and they spur reflection and anxiety in us all. It was impossible to watch the fire of Notre Dame in Paris and not recall our own building’s destruction thirteen years ago, which plunged us into the debt we are still working to pay off.
Just as people and institutions around the world have contributed to the French, we have been fortunate in receiving the help of others. Many churches, individuals and organizations responded to our call for help – including UU’s across this country, and even overseas.
We received donations from other denominations, too, and must not forget the great generosity of St. Anne’s Episcopal in Washingtonville who lent us their building, gratis, for nearly four years while we rebuilt. We have been fortunate to find members at every pledge level, some willing to lend large sums to finance our new building – plus the astonishing bequest from the late, great Anne Beck.
Nor must we forget the importance of the Birch School to our current budget; they not only make it possible to hire Rev. Chris, but they also fill our space with good use, educating the children of our community five days a week.
The spirit of Life has showered us with blessings! Unfortunately, these blessings seem to be local. On the global scale things are looking dire. We have a president who is unwilling to recognize the true hazards of climate change and the need for action soon. The lives of future generations are at great risk.
The shameful treatment of migrants at our borders today augers poorly for the floods of displaced persons which will surely come if and when the oceans rise. Our country can become the standard for civilized behavior among the nations of the world and we UU’s are well positioned to offer hope and guidance. This is the time to be proud of our humanitarian principles, unique among the world’s religions.
Our Unitarian Universalism as first conceived by William Ellery Channing two hundred years ago and refined by the generations of ministers and humanists since then could only have arisen in the United States of America. These seven vital principles are echoed in our constitution. They have shaped our national character and won the admiration of the modern world.
The current threats by a few politicians may cause some to doubt our national resolve, but we UUs know that our institutions and traditions are made of stronger stuff. We must not lose heart and strike our colors, but bravely persevere in the face of these stormy times.
We may be only a tiny community of caring Americans, but our chalice holds a flame of hope for our planet and the human race. Can we inspire others to remember the covenant we all hold dear? Let’s try!