6/6/21 Building The Beloved Community by Rev. Eric Meter & Paula Cole Jones


We have a special guest with us this morning, Paula Cole Jones. Ms Jones is a life-long Unitarian Universalist and member of the All Souls Church in Washington, D.C. She is a management consultant and an innovator of institutional change. Her work includes being a leader in advancing the 8th Principle as a practice of the Beloved Community. This morning, and in a workshop for us this afternoon on how we can best Build a Culture of Inclusion, she will share with us the promise of what she calls the Community of Communities.

We gather this morning as best we can to restore both our sense of commitment as we face the world as it is and inspiration to act in ways large and small that will foster better days for all. We are more when we are together: wiser, resilient, and more able.


 Prelude     We Would Be One      Anna Kojovic-Frodl, piano



Chalice Lighting     words of welcome adapted only slightly from those by Kathleen McTigue:

We [gather] together this morning to remind one another
To rest for a moment on the forming edge of our lives,
Until we claim for ourselves
Awareness and gratitude,
Taking the time to look into one another’s faces
And see there communion:
the reflection of our own eyes.

This [time] of laughter and silence, memory and hope,
is hallowed by our presence.



Hymn #95    There is More Love Somewhere                          Stuart Bard, Lynn Orlando, piano


Gesture of Friendship


Message for All Ages


Children’s Blessing


Centering Words      Reconciliation, A Prayer by Joy Harjo, of the Muscogee Nation


We gather at the shore of all knowledge as peoples who were put here by a god who wanted relatives.

This god was lonely for touch, and imagined herself as a woman, with children to suckle, to sing with – to continue the web of the terrifyingly beautiful cosmos of her womb.

This god became a father who wished for others to walk beside him in the belly of creation.

This god laughed and cried with us as a sister at the sweet tragedy of our predicament – foolish humans.

Or built a fire, as our brother to keep us warm.

This god grew to love us …, sharing tables of food enough for everyone in this whole world.


Oh sun, moon, stars our other relatives peering at us from the inside of god’s house walk with us as we climb into the next century naked but for the stories we have of each other. Keep us from giving up in this land of nightmares which is also the land of miracles.


Time of Stillness and Reflection


Reading        from Dreaming Accountability  by Mia Mingus

What if accountability wasn’t scary? It will never be easy or comfortable, but what if it wasn’t scary? What if our own accountability wasn’t something we ran from, but something we ran towards and desired, appreciated, held as sacred?

We can start with our self-accountability and the ways that we don’t show up for ourselves. We can acknowledge how most of us are in an abusive relationship with ourselves. We blow past our own boundaries, we punish and beat ourselves up in terrible ways. We can start with the ways we treat and talk to ourselves—ways that we would clearly recognize as abuse if it were being done to another person. After all, our abusive relationship with ourselves lays the groundwork for an abusive world.

What if we embraced accountability as a reflection of our undeniable, incredible, tender humanity? As a magnificent example of what it means to be human and flawed and in relationship with one another? What if we welcomed the quickening of our pulse and the beating of our heart as signals of being alive and caring and what is most important to us: our relationships with each other? What if we listened to that fear—the fear of losing someone important to us or of losing ourselves?

What if accountability wasn’t rooted in punishment, revenge or superficiality, but rooted in our values, growth, transformation, healing, freedom, and liberation? What if the work of accountability was held as so supremely sacred, that people who got to practice it—truly practice it—were considered lucky and those who had the honor of supporting it and witnessing it were also changed for the better from its power? What if we understand that no amount of “tough love” or punishment could ever hold a candle to the long and hard labor, fear, and pain of facing our demons and our traumas? What if we learned to desire the challenging and the transformative?

What if accountability wasn’t scary? It will never be easy or comfortable, but what if it wasn’t scary? What if our own accountability wasn’t something we ran from, but something we ran towards and desired, appreciated, held as sacred?

What if we cherished opportunities to take accountability as precious opportunities to practice liberation? To practice love?


Reflection   The 8th Principle: Building the Beloved Community    Paula Cole Jones and Rev Eric Meter in conversation



The Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church is a community of generosity and abundance.

Especially now, in this challenging time, your generosity is what keeps this community as vital as it is, a beacon of respectful engagement and faith in the power of love.

Each month we share the generosity of our collection with a local partner. This month’s partner is our own high school youth’s Love Pantry.

Last November, our high school youth, created a Free Community Food Pantry, known as the Love Pantry.

The pantry is located on the 7th Street side of the church. For the past 6 months the pantry has been so incredibly successful it is hard to keep fully stocked since there is so much food insecurity in our neighborhood.

Our success depends on those willing to donate items to the pantry. During June, we will be using the money we receive from offertory outreach donations to build a structure around the pantry to make it more rain proof and weather hardy. Any money left over will be used to purchase food for the pantry so we can feed as many of our neighbors as possible. Stay tuned for our plans to fight hunger in Racine. This pantry is just the beginning.



Offertory Music        Op 28 No 6     by Chopin     Anna Kojovic-Frodl, piano


Benediction   prayer for courage by Maureen Killoran

I Pray This Day for the Courage to Be…

The courage to be humble in the face
of inequity and pain,
to know that the power has been given me
to make a difference,
although not to end all suffering
or save all the whales that populate our days.

I pray for the courage of endurance,
to keep acting in the midst of despair,
to keep trying in the aftermath of failure,
to keep hoping in the emptiness
that follows loss or change.

May courage give me patience
and may I ever know Love’s healing presence
at the heart and center of my days.


Postlude      Make Them Hear You    from Ragtime       Anna Kojovic-Frodl, piano