by Adrienne Brayman
Although the Brussels fellowship is small, we’ve always managed to keep things afloat, even when Vicki and Scott, who led the fellowship for twenty years, retired to the States and many thought the group would fade. I’ve always thought this has largely been due to the interactive format of our services—we’re lay-led, and the sermon portion of the service most often involves a discussion. This, combined with the potluck dinners that follow, encourages everyone to participate and to be actively involved.
And although I do enjoy this format, I sometimes miss having a more traditional service, which I only get twice a year at retreats. When Diane Rollert, the UAA ambassador to EUU, visited the Brussels fellowship on 24 June, it was therefore a treat to have an actual minister-led service. We were lucky to have quite a large group: not only had the CC meeting taken place in Brussels the previous day, but Michael and Kim Mitchell joined us from Maastricht for the service, bringing two new UUers with them.
We started out with Diane leading us in a song, “Circle of Song” by Tony Turner, which emphasizes unity and seems quite appropriate given everything that’s going on in the world right now. Diane’s sermon was called “The Humble Leader” and, as you might imagine from the title, focused on what it means to lead humbly in a time of machismo. Diane spoke about her visit to the Canada Bereft statue at the Vimy Ridge memorial in France, which personifies Canada mourning its dead after World War I, and tied this in to the idea of humility and, more specifically, to what a humble leader really is. In honor of our discussion-based services, we then took some time to talk to a neighbor about leaders who we think are humble. In the second part of her sermon, Diane spoke about compassionate listening as a tool for peace. Overall, it was a great service, and we really enjoyed having Diane with us!