The monthly theme for January was “Welcome”, which is part of our OUUC vision and mission:
Vision: A loving, just, and healthy world
Mission: Our spiritual principles affirm the worth and dignity of every person, and that we are part of the infinite, interdependent web of life. We: Welcome and Wonder, Embrace and Empower, Bridge and Become
As we’ve explored that theme, Rev. Mary offered us a lovely reflection on how welcome is both about us, and also not about us. You can find that worship service here if you missed it: https://youtu.be/b5niv02Kgt0
Our Covenant Circles have also had a chance to reflect on this theme in their small group discussions, and one of the resources I suggested to them was a link to the UUA’s “Ways to Deepen Your Congregation’s Welcome” page: Ways to Deepen Your Congregation’s Welcome | UUA.org
This page says: “But theoretical welcome is very different from lived welcome. How can we truly embody a spirit of radical hospitality?”
This was a question that was addressed a bit this month in our Greeter’s Training (if you are a greeter or want to be a greeter and missed that training, it was recorded and you can access it through the Hospitality Team group on OUUC Connect.) We talked about the many differences and diversities that could be present in our community now or in the future. How do we practice welcome and inclusion around those differences and diversities? How do we go from a theoretical welcome to a lived welcome? How do we embody a spirit of radical hospitality?
I think it takes practice. It takes a willingness to learn and change and be transformed, ourselves. And a current area of growth and learning for this congregation is still in inclusion of our trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, with pronoun use being the most obvious but not the only thing for us to work on.
It can be hard to learn new things, and it can be hard to adjust the way we talk and the language we use. And I believe we can do it. We can learn and grow and change, and we need to because we are in relationship with others who need that from us. Love and justice call us to learn and grow and change. In that spirit, I offer you these resources for further learning about pronouns:
MyPronouns.org Resources on Personal Pronouns
Why the Singular ‘They’ Has Always Made Sense In Context (yourdictionary.com)
Pronouns: A How-To – The Diversity Center (diversitycenterneo.org)
Terminology Surrounding Gender Identity and Expression | OutRight Action International (outrightinternational.org)