Cultivating Community Resilience

Published by AV Coordinator on

Rev. Michelle Scott-Huffman delivers a message about Community Resilience for one of the Welcoming Renewal services.

Moment of Perspective – This is Not the End of My Story – AJ Fox

The opening words are Community Means Strength, by Starhawk.

We are all longing to go home to some place
we have never been—a place half-remembered and half-envisioned
we can only catch glimpses of it from time to time.
Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion
without having the words catch in our throats.
Somewhere a circle of hands
will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter,
voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.
Community means strength
that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done.
Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing.
A circle of friends.
Someplace where we can be free.

Soon the Day Will Arrive
Words: Ehud Manor, 20th Century
Music: Nurit Hirsch, 20th Century
Used with Permission
Performed by Eva Riebold

This hymn opens with the line, “Soon the day will arrive when we will be together, and no longer will we live in fear.” My beloved community, how I long for that day in regards to our current COVID-19 crisis! I do believe, in my heart of hearts, that each day that passes brings us one day closer to the end of this time of separation. Pandemics DO end, one way or another. Our hope as a caring community is that this one will end with as little additional suffering for all as possible. We have been so resilient in our commitment to our values during this crisis. We remain steadfast in trying to meet the spiritual needs of our church community and the larger community while not unnecessarily endangering anyone. I believe there is hope and we have great reasons to persist in resilience and careful care of one another. The lyricist of this song writes that it was written as a song with hope for a brighter tomorrow. I share that hope for a better tomorrow. You can read more about this hymn here:

Our thanks to Eva for her lovely recording.

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

All of Us Are Loved
by Amanda Udis-Kessler
used with permission
Performed by Emily McKinney and Eva Riebold

This is a simple and beautiful gem from Queer UU composer, Amanda Udis-Kessler. My hope is that these lyrics reflect what our church aspires to be. We don’t always meet the ideals of these lyrics, but we keep reaching for higher expressions of our ideals of inclusion and welcome, and our persistent reaching for these things is part of what makes us resilient. This resilience in the work of justice is what keeps me coming back to this community. Our thanks to Eva for supplying the beautiful accompaniment. You can read more about the composer here:

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

How Could Anyone
Words and Music by Libby Roderick
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir, accompanied by Eva Riebold

I believe this song speaks beautifully to our hopes in being a welcoming congregation, and a people of resilience, both. We strive to create a space where people who have been told hateful, hurtful things about themselves feel welcome and embraced. In recognizing our own inherent worth and dignity, and the inherent worth and dignity of others, we become more resilient in the face of the pains and troubles of daily life. I always welcome any reason to listen to this one again, and I think the choir did a beautiful job.

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

One More Step
Words and Music: Joyce Poley
Performed by Eva Riebold and Emily McKinney

Being “a people of wide welcome,” as was said in the GA Sunday morning service this year, will require us to continue to take one more step, always. I think this also ties in with our being resilient – the work of welcome, the work of justice, the work of caring for our planet – all of these require us to be in it for the long haul, to be resilient, to keep showing up.

To paraphrase a quote from author Brandon Sanderson, “The most important step a (person) can take. It’s not the first one, is it?
It’s the next one. Always the next step.”

Our gratitude for Eva for making this recording with me.

  • Emily McKinney, Music Director

The closing words are As We Go Forward by Cheryl Block

As we go forward
into this frightening, exhilarating,
confusing, miraculous world,
may we offer
our comfort to the afflicted
our love to those who are lonely
and our wish for all to be safe.