Archive for July, 2016

Jul 22 2016

Mission Statement & Vision 2020

Published by under Minister's Musings

Mission Statement

Bound together by our commitment to making Love visible, we gather to deepen our spirits, to work for justice, and to create one sacred family.

Vision 2020

In 2020 at the First Unitarian Church of San José, we see:

 

Within

  • Worship, classes, and activities that deepen personal spiritual development and encourage the expression in the world of one’s faith
  • Congregation-wide participation in activities that promote multicultural, anti-racist, anti-oppressive competencies, including deep listening, compassionate communication, and understanding of systems of oppression
  • Experiences in worship services, in church events, and through visual displays that deepen one’s awareness of multiple faiths and practices

 

Among

  • A robust membership support system that engages everyone from first-time visitors to long-time members and friends through programs that include social events and celebrations, diverse support groups, and service to the congregation and to the community
  • Children, youth, and young adults at the center of congregational life through classes, projects, worship, and intergenerational experiences
  • Our facilities structurally sound and updated to support our ministries

 

Beyond

  • Coalitions and alliances with interfaith, Unitarian Universalist, and secular organizations working for racial justice, environmental justice, and economic justice

 

Comments Off on Mission Statement & Vision 2020

Jul 22 2016

August Journal: Habits of the Heart for Times Such as These

Published by under Minister's Musings

Habits of the Heart for Times Such as These
by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones
 
Every day throughout my teenage years, my father sits at the kitchen table in the early morning hours, a cup of coffee by his side, a yellow legal pad before him, and a pencil in his hand. He is making a list (or five, or ten): lists of to-do’s for that day and that week; lists of his dreams and of steps to accomplish them; lists of instructions to give his colleagues, or his family, or the Sunday school class he’ll teach that weekend; lists of jokes to share with those very same people, bless him.
            For years, I railed against the content of my father’s lists, especially when they offered helpful but unasked-for advice for me. Little did I know how deeply this spiritual practice of my father’s—the chaos-reducing, brain-freeing, creativity-encouraging practice of list making—was seeping into my soul.
Nowadays, especially when our world—locally, nationally, personally, publicly—feels chaotic, traumatic, exhausting, and confused, I find it helpful to ground myself in this spiritual practice. I make, or I find, a list or lists that offer a pathway to clarity, peace, and a renewed sense of gladness about being alive. And lo and behold, I have found just such a list this week!
But first, a little context:
 
Habits of the Heart
What is a spiritual practice, after all, if not a “habit of the heart,” as writer-teacher Parker Palmer calls them? We find an activity that grounds us in our best selves and that opens our minds and hearts to new ways of seeing, thinking, being. Maybe our spiritual practice involves making lists, or praying, meditating, taking photographs, drumming, dancing, singing, beading, journaling, washing the dishes, serving meals to those in need … Actually, anything can be a spiritual practice when we bring a mindful intention to it. We practice and practice these activities until they become a habit of the heart, a steady portal into a new way of being in the world. We practice and practice, and gradually we feel ourselves beginning to change, with the side effect that our capacity to change the world around us grows, too.
 
In Times Such as These
As I write, the temperature of the national presidential election season has skyrocketed, with the major parties’ national conventions bringing heated rhetoric and sometimes-alarming surprises. We Unitarian Universalists feel, too, the pain of this summer’s brutal losses—the deaths of citizens and police officers; violence near and far; needs beyond our capacities to fix in any simple or straightforward way.
            Yet this week, just when I need it most, I come across a wonderful list. Parker Palmer lists five “Habits of the Heart” to help “heal the heart of democracy.” And it strikes me that Palmer’s list applies not just to our political system—though God knows we need these habits there. It can also remind us, dear ones, of the habits of the heart that we need as we strive to create the Beloved Community right here and now.
 
The List—Five Habits of the Heart for Us to Practice:
1. An understanding that we are all in this together.
2. An appreciation of the value of “otherness.”
3. An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways.
4. A sense of personal voice and agency.
5. A capacity to create community.[1]
 
What We Do Now
This list will not surprise us Unitarian Universalists. It echoes our core principles and the very mission of our congregation.
But in times such as these, the ground of our faith must prove its strength. We must “double down” on the spiritual practices that lead us to our best selves and to deeper connections, collaborations, solidarity, and community. What we do now matters!
            So: let’s plunge in. Let’s double down on the spiritual practices that give us the strength, hope, and courage to change and to be agents of change. We need such habits of the heart for these crucial times. I can’t wait to participate in what we will create!
 
With deep love for you and gratitude for this journey we share,
 
Rev. Nancy

Comments Off on August Journal: Habits of the Heart for Times Such as These