In this time of cold days and nights, ongoing war and suffering for so many people, and uncertainty about futures, I found hope today thanks to the Reflections offered by Clare, a young and new participant at the Paris fellowship. Although she arrived and met us for the first time in October, she immediately agreed to plan and lead our December Caroling service (!). I am inspired, encouraged and grateful for Clare’s presence in Paris.
Today, Clare spoke about the powerful courage in the story of how Mary agreed to be mother of the son of God… holy because of her courageous decision to say “yes” to an unimaginable task. When I told Clare how impactful her words were for me, and how new and welcome the ideas, she said this was an annual message at her home church in the US, for many years – basically, nothing new for her. How wonderful for us, that she brought us her own “usual” but transplanted thoughts – something refreshing and new, and hopeful.
Similarly, our recent EUU discussion about the future of EUU retreats (at our November 5th AGM) left me feeling energized and hopeful – There were so very many ideas shared that are foreign to my own experiences of EUU retreats, but the expression of the familiar “what we did” from others’ past experiences was rich. Likewise, the October 30 discussion (at our CC meeting) about how and when the CC meets has built on the changes introduced since the pandemic and pushed our “usual” into creative questions and suggestions. And still again, a recent conversation with Alicia Forde (Director of the UUA International Office) enlivened a spark of hope about the next steps of the Leadership and Design team – the international team that is working toward a new international U/U organization under development to follow upon the closure of ICUU. Alicia and the design team wish to know more about who all Us and Us and UUs are, in Europe, so we’re making plans to facilitate improved understanding of who we are.
Please take time to read the various articles in this issue, about our organization, including two invitations to take action, and about our recent retreat, with a loose and welcoming mind, ready to spin off and imagine something new, or to integrate the old in new ways. And join me, join Us, as we move into a new year with some courage and always hope.
In Warm and Grateful Fellowship,