Happy Spring Everyone! I hope that you are experiencing at least a bit of sunshine for at least a few minutes (maybe hours?) a day recently. I hope that ripe tree buds and bright green baby leaves are cheering you along.
As I review conversations and experiences from our recent retreat and ongoing conversations with various people in our EUU community, I keep coming back to “international” and “change” as important themes. International: our members live in numerous countries and our multinational constellation of European UU fellowships and individuals are of varying sizes and dynamics, stages of development, and differing focuses and directions.
Right now, some of our fellowships are invigorated with new energy, while others are struggling or in hibernation. My particular thoughts are with the members of the Geneva fellowship, who have suffered losses of key members, to the point that at this time, they are not actively meeting. I am sure that we can all feel compassion and empathy, for we too have “been there” in difficult moments, when the challenges to continuity are too great to overcome, and the future is very unclear.
For me, it requires an intentional effort to focus beyond my own local fellowship in Paris, to imagine a very different place, group of people and set of circumstances, and to find energy to reach out beyond my little bit of reality here at home. Yet being a member of EUU (and of humanity, for that matter), I feel called to make that effort. It’s a kind of spiritual practice that our community invites me to engage in — to connect and look beyond my own situation.
My head is still spinning, as I try to hang on to all the threads that connect us. Exchanges with EUU members from Prague. A walk with a young minister from Transylvania. Smiling online with a member recently moved to South Africa. Planning to see Diane Rollert (UUA Ambassador) from Canada in June. This afternoon’s coffee with a visiting minister from Tennessee and a visiting EUU friend from Germany. Remembering a few people in Portugal who would really like to create a UU Fellowship and hope for help from EUU. Pondering with Liz Slade from the UK about how we might work together more to create dynamic opportunities for a new generation of Unitarians/UUs on both sides of the Channel. And of course those two huge international topics from our retreat: the process and content of possible changes to the UUA’s Article 2 (where we find “the seven principles”), and the process and content of a new international U/U (“U slash U”) organization to raise up from the ashes of the ICUU recently dissolved. Phew!
The world and our U/U communities are undergoing change. At the moment, there is much for us to inform ourselves about, and opportunities to involve ourselves in our beloved communities. Moments of anxiety, uncertainty and fear mingle with excitement and hope. Encouragement to us all, as we do our best to engage in all new challenges thoughtfully, and with generous care for one another as we move forward in this world of change.
In caring fellowship,