June 2019 – From Your President
Modified on: July 8, 2019
UUCS is a very special place. For me, it represents a community of open-minded people with whom I can share ideas without worrying about a hostile response. Many people have found it to be the first place where they could openly display who they are, and be appreciated for it. And through Scott Neely’s Sunday meditations, we are shown that we each have strengths and capabilities that we might never have imagined. No wonder we choose to congregate here and share our time, talent, and treasures.
The affirmation we receive at UUCS creates a pitfall. It is similar to that faced by a couple in the wonderful throes of early love, wherein you feel one with your partner, and as if everything will naturally be wonderful into the future. Anyone who has had a long-term relationship knows that “what comes naturally” is woefully insufficient to make the relationship successful.
So it is with our beloved community. We have just had an incredibly successful year: inspiring Sunday services, increased membership, a vibrant RE program, the most successful pledge drive in UUCS history, numerous high-visibility social justice activities, and so forth. Yet painful and even damaging conflicts and misunderstandings still occur. I attribute this in part to the fact that because so many of us feel at home here, feel supported, empowered, “in love” with this place, we slip into doing “what comes naturally,” forgetting the hard work it takes to be in harmony with our family of a couple hundred people.
I attended the UUA leadership school two years ago. My strongest take-away was the fundamental role of Covenant in our faith, and its power as a blueprint for right relations. Here at UUCS, we recite our Covenant every Sunday, and it is the task of each of us to use it to instruct the way we live. Nothing in our Covenant is easy. It challenges us to: “Strive to become our better selves” by aspiring to things which we will never fully achieve; “Honor both the critical mind and the generous heart,” which means practicing conscious appreciation and patience as we work side by side with others possessing a diversity of personality types and natural skills; “Show that diversity need not mean divisiveness”, the first step in which is to realize that those around us may have very different life histories, life situations, levels of affluence, needs, strengths, sensitivities, and communication styles than oneself.
There is a phrase in relationship counseling: “Conflict is growth trying to happen.” Something we can each do when we sense a conflict is to question our part in it, and consider how we might be better in covenant.
In love and peace, Fred Stoll
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