From the Minister

From the Minister

We are coming up to the anniversary of the most emotionally challenging year in my life. Perhaps it has been so in your life as well. The challenge of the worst pandemic in a century together with a tragically inept federal response, persistent presidential prevarication across the board until January 20, concern for personal safety and that  of family and friends, police violence against minorities, lack of sufficient response to Russian assaults upon us, continued fraying of relationships with our European allies, unrest in our cities, the unimaginable assault on our national capitol,  the possibility of economic collapse, and  anger at those who do not accept the patriotic duty to wear a mask. I ‘m sure there are more things to put on the list, but these are the ones that come immediately to mind as I type this.

In addition there are persistent questions that keep coming to mind. Why is it that that the conservative, evangelical churches in my community  resumed in-person services and meetings last April and May and many mainline churches followed in the ensuing months while most Unitarian Universalist congregations nationwide still do not have firm plans for reopening?  Why is it that my grandparents and great aunts and great uncles mentioned little or nothing about their experience during the pandemic of 1918-1919?  I spent a good deal of time with my great aunt Hannah while growing up.   She was a nurse during this period but she never, to my recollection,  mentioned the Spanish Flu which took an estimated 50 million lives world-wide and 675,000 American lives at a time when our population was one-third of what it is today. According to the CDC one-quarter of all Americans contracted the disease as against a little over eight  percent who have been infected by Covid thus far. Why does the U.S. have four percent of world’s population but twenty percent of the world’s Covid deaths? Various answers to these questions circle in and out of my consciousness.

Prospective questions come to mind as well. How will we commemorate and celebrate the end of this pandemic?  Will communities erect monuments as was the case in so many European cities after the great medieval plagues?  Will organizations (including congregations) hold celebrative events to mark the end of the pandemic?  Will they regain their former enthusiasm and vigor?  Will Zoom continue to be integrated into congregational life in novel ways?  I’m hoping the answer to each of these questions is “yes.”    Our New Normal Team is helping us to envision our future.

One thing I am certain of is that my spirits are rising. I hope yours are as well. The pace of vaccinations  is increasing. The federal government has the crisis much better in hand and it looks that the $1.9 trillion relief bill is well on its way towards passage. President Biden and Vice President Harris are helping us to grieve. Our future is opening up.  I can’t help but utter that ancient religious acclimation, “Hallelujah.”

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