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Works in Progress

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

Flaming chalice The story, now more than a century old, is still told of the Rev. Lewis B. Fisher, who was the dean of the Universalist seminary at St. Lawrence University. Rev. Fisher, when once asked to explain where his religion stood on various issues, replied: “The only true answer… is that we do not stand at all, we move.” There is, of course, some truth to his statement. And some myth-making, too.

We speak of Unitarian Universalism as a constantly-evolving faith. It’s no accident that our gray hymnal is titled Singing the Living Tradition. We take pride in our sense of progress. The truth is, though, that for better or worse, in ways welcome or not, every expression of religion on the planet is always changing. What is arguably different for Unitarian Universalists is that we’ve typically had fewer qualms about conserving our tradition in a way that would bind it too tightly to a specific moment in the distant past. That is not, however, the same thing as embracing change. Sometimes we struggle to accept the new.

On Sunday, I’ll be speaking about the ways our tradition is changing and calling us to spiritual growth, especially in the areas of racial justice and radical inclusion. We’ll also have a visit from our friends at New Visions to celebrate the recent efforts of many within our congregation who have helped the residents who live there remain connected with the wider world during the pandemic. Karen Partenan will offer a testimony about what First means to her and her family. And Dallas Bergen and Adam Sakiyama will bring us a powerful rendition of a new poem and an old but beloved song.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has already sent in your pledges of financial support to the congregation for the coming year. Your generosity is inspiring, and your dedication to the future of our congregation, as always, deeply appreciated.

In faith and love,
Shawn

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