The theme of this year’s Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (GA) was Love Reaches Out and it was expressed in many forms. There were workshops about how we can connect with each other through recognizing and respecting our differing identities. Other workshops explored how we live out the transforming power of love within our congregation and outside its walls.
The Waterfire event in Providence, a festival with bonfires on the river that attracts thousands of people, had a strong Unitairan Universalist presence as part of GA last Saturday. UU involvement included the Love Tent and a circle of luminaries offering the opportunity to share how you spread love in the world. Non-UUs saw our values in action and were drawn into the wider circle we created on this particular weekend. (Read more about UU Waterfire here. What does “love reaching out” look like for you?)
Throughout GA there were the amazing worship services with thousands of Unitarian Universalism from all around the country. It was incredible to be in an expansive arena, yet feel intimately connected to all those people around you. GA brought us together in that space, but it was the thread of our common values and the welcoming intention of reaching out that created the real feeling of togetherness.
I just attended the Jewish wedding of a relative upon my return from Providence. The officiating rabbi told the couple that there are three levels of friendship. There are friends with whom you share common interests, those who share your worries, and the friends connected through overlapping values. The rabbi remarked that the couple were fortunate to have all three of those bonds, including the strongest one of common values. He made it clear that did not mean they think alike, but only that they think together - meaning that they share thoughts and figure it out. When they think together they can reach their common goals.
In our new “marriage” at CUC, I look forward to sharing our interests and addressing the matters on our minds within and beyond our walls through our shared values. We treasure our diversity of thought and backgrounds, while we hold common values that bring us together. The joy of the connections we form within that context is a light that shines from our spot on the hill and shows in our actions as we make our way through the world. See that joy come to life in this video of a hymn sung at GA . It will be a pleasure to begin sharing that joy and meaning with you.