This week, UUCC’s staff (Hannah, Kelli, Michael, Sara, and Valerie) offers a collective In Between Sundays reflection. Each of us were invited to share a photo / poem / song / book / quote / article / piece of art / etc. that captures one of our own personal core values as we lead up to this Sunday’s Annual Meeting, when our congregation will vote on UUCC’s collectively generated and newly proposed values and mission statement.
This Sunday, June 4, during UUCC’s Annual Meeting, our congregation will vote on the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, elected leadership positions, a congregational bylaws amendment, a covenant of right relations, and, as mentioned above, UUCC’s newly proposed values and mission statement. If you’re joining us in-person, we hope to see you starting at 5:30PM in Sanctuary C for the Annual Meeting Potluck (sign-up here to bring a dish!). The Annual Meeting will begin at 6:30PM, and you may attend either in-person or via Zoom. Babysitting will be available. In preparation, we ask that you visit the Annual Meeting webpage to explore all meeting materials, view voting instructions, and access a Zoom link if you’re joining us virtually.
And now, for the staff’s sharing of a personal core value (or two)… if you have a personal core value you’d like to share, please do leave a comment!
Hannah — Open Mind & Heart
A main core value for me is to keep an open mind and heart. When we think of open mindedness, of course we think about considering others’ thoughts, feelings, customs, and differences. Which is absolutely goal number one for me. But something we don’t always associate with the term is having your mind open and ready for every new experience, not just people, but also an open mind and heart to the sun, the rain, the grass, the sky. I often struggle with remembering to stay present with nature, life, people, experiences, all things. And this song, shared via YouTube above, serves as a mantra to remind me to keep my heart and mind empty, ready to accept all things, but still fully present.
Kelli — Love & Exploration
Many years ago, I began exploring the book, A Course in Miracles and many years later, I’m still trying to fully take it in. If you are unfamiliar with the course, it is, in short, a restatement of the core wisdom found in every major world religion. However, the course is a spiritual teaching rather than a religion. Central to the teachings of the course is the tenant, “Only Love is Real.” Wow! Since the first day that I read those words over 25 years ago, I have questioned them, prayed about them, and alternately fought against them and embraced them; but always, always, I seem to return to them. Those words have stayed with me, challenged me and on more than a few occasions, helped me to move forward when I couldn’t imagine moving at all. Maybe I will never fully understand, maybe I don’t have to. Maybe the gift is in the exploration.
Michael — Beloved Musical Community
On Sunday, May 28, the Community Concert Choir of Baltimore (UUCC’s Spirituals Reparations Project designee) presented its first live concert since the pandemic. A number of our Spirituals Reparations Committee members (plus additional congregational members) attended this packed concert at Grace United Methodist Church in Baltimore, as invited guests. They were treated to an exciting, energy-filled concert of hymns, spirituals, and other traditional works for chorus — including some anthems that our own Chalice Choir has sung in the past. The director of the choir, Dr. Marco Merrick, publicly acknowledged our congregation and those in attendance, thanking us for our special collaboration and generous contributions to the mission of their wonderful organization. We were also listed in their program as platinum level sponsors. I am delighted to see this partnership flourish in such a publicly-recognized way, and am so appreciative of all the donations our members have given to the project. It is truly a concrete and visible manifestation of UUCC’s newly proposed values, mission, and ends.
**Although we primarily accept offering donations for the Spirituals Reparations Project when we sing and perform spirituals in worship, you are welcome to make a donation anytime online. Select “Music-Reparations” from the drop-down menu of the Realm giving webpage. You can also check out the Music Ministry’s wonderful database of historical information about the spirituals that we sing at UUCC, lovingly created by UUCC Member Laurie Coltri. You can find this on UUCC’s website here.
Sara — Transformation
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious.
― Carl Jung
Picking just one core value to lift up feels a lot like trying to pick a favorite flower, or favorite fruit, or color. How can it be done!? Especially this time of year when flowers, fruit, and colors are plentiful. Despite mulling over runner-up core values like responsibility, creativity, and commitment, I’ve settled on transformation for this moment in time.
I’m captivated and naturally drawn to any art, words, music, etc. that reflects the healing power of transformation and the journey toward wholeness that comes in being open to shedding old ways. Anything that reflects the alchemy that comes with exploring both our shadow self and our higher self, and learning to work with and love them both. Carl Jung and Meagan Boyd (whose artwork is plentiful and can be viewed here) both consistently and lovingly help me connect with my own sense of transformation, and I deeply admire and love them both.
Valerie — Interconnection & Interdependency
The Social Life of Forests
by Ferris Jabr
Photographs by Brendan George
I believe that magic, divinity, and power exist in the connections between living things. I believe we are interconnected in ways big and small and terrifying and humbling. Our interconnection and resulting interdependency drive my [conscious] decisions and actions; my actions and choices matter only because they affect and are affected by other people and all living things.
This article (and its gorgeous accompanying photographs) from December 2020 explores the groundbreaking research of Dr. Suzanne Simard on mycorrhizal networks. You could read it as a science-for-the-masses explanation about trees. Or you could read it as a spiritual and political meditation on what it means to exist as interdependent beings.
From Richard Powers’ The Overstory: “There are no individuals. There aren’t even separate species. Everything in the forest is the forest.”