From the Minister, Fri Feb 12

Covid Watch

U.S. and World: The 7-day average of new cases per day has been steadily declining for a month now -- ever since Jan 11. In the U.S. the new cases per day have fallen from 255,000 to 106,000. New cases per week are back down to a level not seen since the first week of November.

Worldwide, new cases per day have fallen from 746,000 per day (7-day average for Jan 5-11) to 424,000 per day (7-day average for Feb 4-10).

Deaths appear to inching downward, albeit more slowly. Deaths in the US have fallen below 3,000 a day (7-day average) for the first time since Jan 7. But we're still losing more than 2,800 people a day.

The new variants are scary -- and they might cause these trends to turn back upward -- but for now, the trends are in a good direction.

Yours in the faith we share,

Practice of the Week

Our spiritual practice this week is: Congregational Polity. Polity means a particular form or system of government.

Episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans and Lutherans are governed by Episcopal polity.

Methodists are governed by what they call connectional polity. The primary decision-making bodies are conferences of representatives of various levels of church hierarchy.

In Presbyterian polity authority rests with assemblies of presbyters, or elders. It is strongly associated with French, Dutch, Swiss and Scottish Reformation movements, and the Reformed and Presbyterian churches.

But Unitarian Universalists follow a system of governance called Congregational Polity. The Quakers, the Baptists, and the United Church of Christ also have Congregational Polity – as do most Jewish synagogues, many Sikh Gurdwaras, and most Islamic mosques in the US. Each congregation is autonomous – independent, self-supporting, and governed by its members. Our congregations are joined together in an Association of Congregations – the UUA -- and our UUA does have significant influence, but its formal power is quite small.

Each congregation raises its own funds, makes its own budget, adopts its own bylaws, purchases, owns and maintains its own land and building, hires its own staff and calls its own minister. The power to ordain a minister also rests with each congregation and only with a congregation.

On Sun Feb 14, the members of Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation have the chance to exercise Congregational Polity at a congregational meeting after the service.

Why is this a spiritual practice? Because ours is a faith that isn’t about believing – it’s about doing. eeds, not creeds. And what our faith calls us to do is build beloved community – which starts by modeling and practicing democracy and the arts of self-governance among ourselves – where all members get a vote, and every voice has a chance to be respectfully and even lovingly heard. We practice and strengthen our commitment to being a community of diversity through the way we govern ourselves – where the expression of a viewpoint with which you disagree is nevertheless received with respect, with appreciation, with, indeed, a swelling gladness of heart.

See this post for more on Congregational Polity.

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