In the Interim by Rev. Eric Meter

First off, I want to thank those who have already written to me with their responses to my question for you all in advance of our Water Ceremony worship service on September 13. The question is What nourishes you now? Short or long(ish), please send me your response (to by noon on Wednesday, September 9. You are also invited to send along a photo of you alone or with your family. The more staged pictures in the church photo directory are great, but candid shots are particularly welcome for this.

Now, on to my column for the month….

The shooting of Jacob Blake has made the end of the summer a particularly anxious time. The house my wife and I are renting for the year is five miles as the crow flies from downtown Kenosha. We heard sirens during the night often last week as well as national guard helicopters flying over our back yard at all times of day.

Even this far out, many of the shops nearby are still boarded up. This is an unnerving experience.

The photograph that made the rounds of the Bradford Community Church UU sign proclaiming Black Lives Matter while cars from the lot behind the church burn is seared into my consciousness. The church building was saved by the heroic efforts of well-meaning strangers.

As one of you said last week during our coffee hour following the Sunday worship service, there but by (insert your theologically appropriate reference here) go we.

On the phone with an old friend during the week brought me up short. He couldn’t understand why those who managed the shops near us, so far from downtown, had boarded up their storefronts. Don’t they know you’re not the problem?

He did not clarify who they were.

This troubled me on more than one front. Who’s to say who is part of the problem and who is part of the solution. (For starters the point of course not and the question what solution? come to mind.) It is also so easy to forget that people in groups behave differently than individuals normally would.

All of this is to say that our nation has some deep soul searching to do.

And, because we are part of the much larger whole, we do as well. I remember during a UU history class in seminary looking through some archives of the Christian Register, an early predecessor to our current UU World. Of note were the letters to the editor expressing eloquent views on the subject of abolition. The letters came from early Unitarians speaking passionately both for and against ending the practice of slavery.

We were of mixed mind then. And even if we are more of one mind now (something I do not presume), the issues we currently face are equally complex and messy.

If you are interested in exploring even some of this messy and complex terrain in the context of Unitarian Universalism, I hope you will consider joining me in reading Widening the Circle of Concern, the report the UUA Commission on Institutional Change published this summer.

I’m still reading through it myself and expect to have information out to all of you shortly on a discussion group I’d like to form of those reading it. If you are interested in joining me, please let me know.

The path forward may not be easy or straightforward, but the more we are willing to listen and learn, the better off we will all be.

Toward a more respectful and just future,

Rev. Eric