Thursday
Jun222017

Minister's Musings

I will be at GA (bound to be a historic one) and then on vacation June 19-July 15. We can celebrate a really really good year! In July we begin the new congregational year, and welcome new staff; Kathleen Cuvelier as Music Director, and Hanne Stone as Director of Social Justice and Faith Development. Safe travels, and happy summertime! Meanwhile, check out Jack...

Choose Love by Jack Kornfield

We all want to love and be loved. Love is the natural order, the main attraction, the mover of nations, the bees in spring, the tender touch, the first and the last word. It is like gravity, a mysterious force that ties all things together, the heart’s memory of being in the womb and the oneness before the Big Bang. The vastness of the sky is equaled by the vastness of the heart.”

To read more: https://jackkornfield.com/chooselove/ 

Thursday
May252017

Minister's Musings

Change Is In the Air

The idea of “change” strikes fear into the hearts of the best of us. It is inevitably uncomfortable! What if we don’t like it? What if we get hurt? What if we get it wrong?

But change is also an opportunity for exhilaration, discovery, and opportunity. Our political climate in this country is in upheaval; opportunity. Folks in great numbers are waking up to embedded and insidious injustices in our systems and our culture, and seeking reconciliation and justice; discovery. There is a vibrant and creative energy calling us to join the movement; exhilaration!

This congregation is engaged in all this change, and intent upon keeping faithfulness to our covenant at the center of our movement. We covenant with the congregations of our Association to affirm and promote the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism, and we are guided by many sources of wisdom. The congregations of the UUA are gathering at the end of this month in New Orleans, as we seek to address together the painful reality of the persistence of racism and other oppression in our own ranks, and examine together how structures and processes might be changed to guide us in being more faithful in our ministries.

Faith is at the center. I pray that together we are learning as a beloved community here to deepen our faith and lead faithful lives.

Granite Peak is going through changes: saying goodbye to wonderful staff and welcoming new, changing lay leadership for the coming congregational fiscal year, examining ourselves to create a meaningful strategic plan for our future. Experiencing growing pains and that is okay.

Summertime is often a chance to get some rest, have fun, connect with family and friends, and to renew our souls.

I will be away from you following General Assembly from the end of June and for the first half of July to do just that. I hope you will too! We can’t do the work without strong hearts.

In loving kindness, Karla 

Thursday
Apr272017

Minister's Musings

This month (as always!) we are called to look deeply for what our faith calls us to do. On May 7 with a teach-in designed to reveal some of the lenses of whiteness in order to see beyond our customary way of seeing, to see the hidden structures of oppression operating even here, more clearly. We are not white supremacists by any means, but the de facto result of the hidden structures of racism we are swimming in, is white supremacy. Our faithful UU people of color are asking us to hear them, to pay attention to the painful reality. We need to find our way forward beyond the fragmentation that racism inflicts on all of us, to true wholeness (“... because your liberation is bound up with mine”). We need to be present to one another in that work-ship; I invite you to step into sacred discomfort with me and with Hanne on that day.

We are being called to live into our mission:

We are a compassionate spiritual community that celebrates diversity,

 nurtures the personal and spiritual growth of all ages,

shares our gifts, promotes justice for all,

and serves the world we live in.

That means making those noble passions manifest in our hearts and in our congregation. How do we live into more compassion? How do we develop deeper spiritual connection? How do we get beyond what is usual and comfortable and get uncomfortable enough to actually experience diversity, and celebrate it?

I am also particularly concerned with nurturing the personal and spiritual growth of all ages, and that includes children and youth. Having real relationships with folks of every generation is essential to anyone’s spiritual well-being; without those connections, we are depleted, less than whole. The beloved community of a congregation needs to include all ages, or it is not the beloved community we seek. The world is changing fast, and we have been creative in seeking ways to engage young folks here; we need to become even more creative, and to learn to think “outside the box”. To me, that also means sustaining a staff position for the ministry of Faith Development. We need to staff for the vision. And right now, that means some of us who are able to  stretch a bit further in stewardship, for the sake of the beloved community and the mission.  

We are feeling some growing pains. Let’s remember our legs are growing stronger as we engage in this sacred work.

Love and light, Rev. Karla


Monday
Mar272017

Minister's Musings

I have been thinking about how privileged I am, particularly to be living in a place that is not experiencing war or systematic violence.  Recently I watched a docu-drama about Pope Francis and his early years as a priest in Argentina under a repressive government.  People who were suspected of questioning the government were imprisoned and “disappeared” every day, and the gap between the privileged and the poor was enormous.  No one lived without fear, and when fear is in charge, generosity towards one another takes a back seat except where there is extraordinary courage.  There were those in the church who aligned with the powers that be, and those that were faithful to the Christian doctrine of love thy neighbor, sometimes at great personal cost.

Our friend from Africa is staying with me for a while; he is a refugee, fleeing from violent attacks, seeking asylum.  I have been appalled at learning how unfriendly and inhumane our immigration system is, especially to those in crisis.  He has been “paroled” from “detention”, but is yet without a work permit and has no source of money.  So here he is, new to this country and culture, without a penny, black in a racist society.  My privilege and blessings really stand out!  It has been a gift to get to know him (a really sweet young man, devout in his faith, intelligent, resilient beyond measure, and he lets me tease him!).  It is a small thing to harbor him while resources can be organized for supporting him in court and getting him settled in a promising place.  We have been in conversation with All Souls UU congregation in Washington DC, who may be taking on the task; they are a large congregation with a commitment to immigration issues.  D.C. has many things Prescott doesn’t have; abundant resources for refugees, a significant Nigerian community, and lots of young people!  It will both a joy and a sorrow to send him on his way to start a new life.

We are awakened to the need for standing up in all kinds of ways for the Side of Love in this shifting political climate.  We are actively learning how to nourish acceptance and equanimity in the face of aggression and divisiveness.  I look forward to the congregation expanding our efforts in not only addressing service needs, but in addressing institutional transformation to eliminate oppression of all kinds.  May we become wiser and stronger as we go.

Thine, Karla

 

 

Thursday
Feb232017

Minister's Musings

Sharing Our Gifts

Today I attended the UUJAZ Day at the Legislature. It is powerful to come together! A number of UU leaders from all over the state prepared us for this day, researching legislation, making appointments with legislators from all districts, organizing an educational day for us. For me, a little intimidated by the nitty gritty of the democratic process, it was emboldening.

We met with our District 1 Senator Karen Fann and shared our passion for public education and equal justice for immigrants. She was probably not moved, but we raised our voices. Watching the House session was quite illuminating! We learned quite a bit about how to effectively engage the political process in different ways, from our UU colleagues. Sharing our gifts. UUJAZ brings us together for standing on the side of love.

It takes all of our gifts for this congregation and this faith to flourish. Singers, musicians, writers, teachers, organizers, activists, contemplatives, energizers, cooks, electricians, landscapers, philanthropists... Consider inviting a friend or neighbor to worship, so that we can share our gifts with them, and they might consider sharing their gifts with us.

This has been a life-giving faith for many of us, even life-saving for some. As we grow in numbers, diversity, and talent, the power of our faith to stand on the side of love grows too. The world needs us to share our gifts. The visionary minister Howard Thurman said, “Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Yours in life and love, Rev. Karla