Love Beyond Words. That was the title of the sermon I preached last month on September 22. In it, I told the story from the first chapter of the book, Testimony: The Transformative Power of Unitarian Universalism, in which a woman, new to a congregation, is saved by other congregants after experiencing a stillbirth. Folks who barely knew her showed up for her at her neediest time.
I have a story like that. When my then foster kids, whom I had hoped to adopt, were sent back by the courts to their birth mother, I spent every Sunday weeping in a back pew of my home church, bereft. I needed my community then. And I needed them even more when those same two kiddos came back to me fo-eva and fo-eva (as four-year-old Mariah would say), raising them on my own but surrounded by a village of loving adults made up in large part of UUs.
Perhaps you have a saving story about how Unitarian Universalism came at just the right time into your life? Or showed up even stronger just when you needed not to be alone? Marlene Mulroney, a familiar presence at TUS (and currently serving as the president of the Montessori board), came up to me in the receiving line after the Love Beyond Words sermon. She told me a story that some of you long-timers might know, but I did not. (She gave me permission to include it here.) She told me how just a few months after she and her family arrived at TUS, she received a cancer diagnosis. And even though she knew few people and few people knew her, the congregation responded with love and care in ways that fed her body and soul – and still influences her to this day, and how she pays it forward as much as she can.
If you missed this sermon, I encourage you to watch it on our Facebook page or on our YouTube page. As part of the service, we asked for folks to add their names to our new One & Done Support Team, which connects people willing to complete tasks with tasks that need completing. If you would like to be a part of this pool of people, please contact Kathy Reilly, chair of the Leadership Development Team (email@example.com).
We also asked folks to become part of the newly-renamed Sharing Caring Team, to help when there is a need for meals, or rides to medical appointments, or to put on a reception after a memorial service, or even to write cards to the people who speak at our near-weekly Candles of Joys & Sorrows. If you would like to add your name to this list, please reach out to Phyllis Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org), chair of Pastoral Care.
It is up to use to weave the fabric of connection more tightly, to find ways to be of service and support to others, as well as to accept help when offered. This is the essence of what it means to be fellow congregants with one another. Showing love beyond words.
I am blessed to be on this journey with you. ~ Rev. Karen