December 2016

November has been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for most of us at UUCG. In the aftermath of the presidential election, many of you have expressed a wide range of emotions, most very difficult to hold. Some have told me you feel called to action in ways you never have before. The racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia we all knew was present in our country has been exposed, affirmed, and even empowered in ways that leave many of us very fearful. A local high school in Suwanee was vandalized with racial slurs and homophobic threats, with the name of our President-elect boldly painted in the middle of the epithets. We are hearing about such incidents, and worse, all around the country.

I anticipate that those of us who are skilled in creating community, connecting with new people, and building bridges will be called upon in the coming months, if not years. And, those of us who are not comfortable with these skills might learn! As some feel empowered to hate more openly, we must rise up and love more boldly. Our faith calls us stand, roll, and rise up on the side of love.

As I write this, there is an imminent threat to the people of the Oceti Sakowin camp at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Unless powerful people find a way to prevent it, there is a strong probability that hundreds of people will be seriously harmed, or killed, in the efforts to remove people from the camp, and we may see yet another gross injustice towards the indigenous people of this land. I am grateful for this congregation’s support in sending me to Standing Rock, and I pray a peaceful and fair resolution will emerge.

With all this, and so much more, going on in our country, I am finding it difficult to wrap my mind around being away on vacation, study leave, and sabbatical January through July. I have realized how much strength and hope I draw from your presence in my life. I am grateful for this time for renewal and reflection, and I will continue to be working for a more just and loving world while I am away. I am so fortunate to serve such a generous, courageous, and compassionate congregation.

Please come to the Sabbatical Send-Off Party on Sunday, December 11, following the Congregational Meeting. There will be music, dancing, some games to play, and some gifts to be given. It’s a hiking theme, so feel free to wear your hiking clothes to church that day!

On December 18, Paige Varner will lead the service, and I will be there to receive a Journey Blessing during the service (a modified Ritual of Leaving).

I will lead two more services after that: The Christmas Eve service will include lots of wonderful music, and a story for the times. The Christmas Morning service will include “fun” holiday songs and a beloved Christmas story. We’ll have muffins, scones, hot cocoa and coffee waiting for you! Christmas is a time to remember that every child is a blessing, and every being has worth, and is worthy of dignity.

I’ll be sending updates while I’m away, and I’ll be lurking on Facebook now and then, but not engaging. I love you all; I will miss you while I am gone, and I will be SO glad to be back!

With much love…
Reverend Jan

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