I’ve been thinking a lot this summer about just how blessed we are to have this remarkable congregation called Heritage Church. And about how lucky I am to be part of this beloved community. You probably know this, but it bears lifting up, periodically: Most people simply don’t have such a community in their lives. Most people don’t have others, beyond their family, to whom they can turn when times are hard; for whom they can offer support; from whom they can receive unconditional acceptance; with whom they can truly be themselves.
The kind of community we have at Heritage doesn’t happen by magic. We are mindful about living out the Love that is the Spirit of our church, with the intention of creating a community that is both safe and supportive. In these times of division, scapegoating, bullying and marginalization, safety and support are more important than ever. Like me, many of you participate in similarly wonderful intentional UU communities that gather for just one week, each summer – a kind of Brigadoon experience. And – if you are anything like me – the idyllic nature of those communities only serves to underscore what a good thing we have going here in Cincinnati, on Newtown Road – 365 days a year.
In just the past couple of months, I know that the broader Heritage family has rallied around families and individuals who have lost jobs, have moved, have experienced medical crises, have experienced the death of a loved one, or simply are going through a difficult time. Our Caring Circle is incredibly amazing in the reach and scope of its loving lay ministry. Small groups, where seeds of love have been nurtured and grown deep roots, offer support. Random individuals offer random acts of kindness nearly every day. Hugs abound – everywhere from the aisles at Kroger (where I almost never fail to meet at least one HUUC member) to the waiting rooms in hospitals.
Think about it: How many other groups or communities have you been a part of where others will drop what they are doing, interrupt their schedule, and be there for you, when you need a helping hand, or simply a shoulder to cry on? How many places can you go, in this modern world, where you are greeted with a genuine smile and a warm hug and a deep concern for how are you today? I’m betting few, if any. That’s how special Heritage is. How rare.
As we begin a new “church year” – with my colleague Rev. Leslie Woodward on sabbatical through early January – let us be grateful for the blessings of this wonderful, beloved community.
See you at church!