Message from the Minister

— by Rev. William Levwood, UUCT Minister

Joining Together In Community

This Sunday we will celebrate the beginning of our church year with our Ingathering & Water Communion Service.
A reminder to bring water with you. It could be from a special place you visited this summer, from a nearby pond, or from the tap. And if you forget, we’ve got you covered. We’ll have water, from the tap, on hand for everyone.

This is a ritual of coming together. A ceremony in which the mingling of waters embodies for us the ways that our lives and journeys, in this congregation and in this world, are joined together.

Joining together in community is at the heart of Unitarian Universalism.

We are not a creedal tradition. Bring your beliefs, your disbeliefs, and your doubts. In our pews, some folks believe in God, others in many gods, others are confident there is no God. In our pews, those of us who believe in God define that God in diverse ways. And those of us who don’t believe in God have diverse definitions of the God we don’t believe in. Some of us aren’t sure what we think about the question of divinity. And some of us just aren’t convinced that question matters all that much.

Ours is a covenantal tradition. This means that what matters is our values and how we live those values. What matters is how we come together as a community. What matters is what we bring to the table for the larger community, the larger community of human beings, animals, insects, bacteria, viruses, trees, bushes, herbs, cephalopods, fish. What matters is how we care for this earth and all the elements that make life flourish on this earth – air, water, fire, soil.

In this moment, as we begin this church year, I am proud to be the minister of this congregation. There is still a lot of work to do. There are things we can do better as a community. There is much that needs our attention in our society. And, at the same time, in so many ways, we are living our faith!

We’ve chosen to focus our social justice efforts on Food Justice. This doesn’t mean that other social justice initiatives disappear. What it means is that we see a need in our community. What it means is that we as a community are going to see what happens when we join our efforts together. What it means is that we are ready to acknowledge how environmental issues intersect with justice issues related to racism and economic inequality. What it means is that we take seriously that Leon County is the third most food insecure county in the state of Florida.

We are still at the beginning stages of this exploration. You will be hearing a lot more about these Food Justice efforts in the coming year. You will be hearing a lot more about how you can get involved, in big ways and small ways. We will learn together who has access to healthy food, and clean water, and who doesn’t. We will learn together how to partner with frontline communities in Tallahassee that are most impacted by food injustice.

And to do this, we need to continue to grow as a community. We need to continue to learn how to live in covenant. We need to continue to learn what it really means to make this congregation a Beloved Community. We need to continue to learn how to make the whole world a Beloved Community. This means we need to pay attention to how we journey together. It means we need to make our covenant more than some words written on a piece of paper. Covenant is real when it lives in our bodies and comes to life in our lives.

In America, that means coming to terms with our horrific history of racism. I am so heartened by how many of you have already signed up to participate in Building the World We Dream About. This is a Unitarian Universalist Association curriculum exploring how we can live into our covenant to be a truly anti-racist and multicultural faith tradition. And, as Anna Bethea shared from the pulpit recently, as we grapple with racism, we are also learning how to unravel the knots of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, and any other oppressions plaguing our society.

This Sunday in our Water Communion, we will join our waters together. And throughout the year we will be learning what this joining really means.

This message published in the September 8, 2019 issue of The Meridian.