I spent a few days outside of Boston in May with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) leadership and Stewardship Circle members – including my husband Paul, and fellow First U members Beverley Baxter and Doyle Dobbins. It’s always an uplifting experience to hear first hand from UUSC partners of the impact of our work with them, as well as to benefit from great wisdom and music from our UU congregations. On Thursday morning of the conference, Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie, Senior Minister of Arlington Street Church in Boston gave the homily at the morning service. In her homily, she included this story which has been told many times. A teacher in Africa received a beautiful seashell as a gift from a student. When the teacher asked him where he found such a beautiful shell, he told her there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found, a bay several miles away. The teacher realized it would have taken the boy hours to walk to the bay and would have faced many dangers from the jungle and rocky cliffs of the seacoast along the way. “Why, it’s gorgeous and wonderful but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get the gift for me,” the teacher joyfully exclaimed. His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.” I really loved this story and the meaning it has for Unitarian Universalists. One of the expectations of membership in First Unitarian Church is to join together in service to the community – within and beyond First U – and the world. As I read the stories of so many of our members reflecting on the past year in our annual report it resonated with me that the work of church may be a long walk – and it is a gift to all who dare to travel together along this path while also a gift to those we serve. I agree with our outgoing Board President, Suzanne Perry, when she said,
“. . .the way to get growing again is to work towards making a bigger difference in the world. . . Let’s ask ourselves, who needs to know we are here to be their light, their inspiration, their community?” “Long walk part of gift.” Who will you invite to join us on this walk?
Nancy Pinson, Membership Team Lead