From Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Senior Co-Minister
There is a slight possibility that Rev. Scott and I will move into our new home in Montclair the day before Christmas Eve. There is a greater possibility that we will move into our new home on December 27th. There is a slight possibility that we have underestimated the work we will need to do on our 100 year old home. There is a greater possibility that by doing this work on our home, we will feel more and more grounded in this blessing of a community.
I’ve learned something powerful, living for a year and a half in a rented space. I’ve learned how different it feels to be in a place that I am not empowered to shape with my hands and my ideals. The greatest and perhaps least touted gift of being a member of a faith community is the opportunity to mold it according both to your ethical imagination and your congregations shared commitments. A congregation is a body of human beings, it is also an institution, often a building, and always a historical entity. What we build today will shape the future of generations to come.
This possibility came home to me in a note from a child of the congregation. Deb Ellis’ daughter Mia, who grew up in our congregation just received the funds, we, through our Sharing the Riches outreach collection provided, so she, a volunteer for the Trinidad School of Nursing, wrote:
“I want to say a big thank you to you and the rest of the UU congregation for your very generous donation to Action for Education and the Trinidad School of Nursing. It really means a lot to have such amazing support from my own community! I hope you have a very happy holiday season!”
When our youth leave to do good work throughout the world, they take the possibility of their religious education with them. They are taught here, that possibility unfolds before them. This is not an empty promise – not when it is backed up by lessons in our liberal theology, and not when we continue to nurture them, through connection and through the gifts that our institution is able to provide.
Let this truth remind us that no contribution – time, energy, commitment, or treasure fails to build and sustain tremendous possibility. Being a part of this congregation means much more than a place to come on Sunday morning.