Monday, September 11, 2006

Homecoming and 9/11

Yesterday was the homecoming service at my church, the Unitarian Church in Westport. I am the endorsed community minister there -- that means that although I am not on the staff of the church, I am affiliated with them and they are the body that holds me accountable to the Unitarian Universalist Association. I try to tithe my time to the church, offering the community worship assistance and pastoral care as requested by the parish ministers and periodic adult and youth education, sermons, and leadership of the Safe Congregations committee.

I love the Homecoming Service. Hundreds of people fill the lawn and we rededicate each of the important symbols of our church. We read a necrology of people who have been members and died since the church was founded.

There were many 9/11 reminders. Two sons of our church were killed in the towers; the flowers were dedicated to them yesterday. The day, crisp and sunny with a blue sky that went on forever, was just like that September day.

It was good to be back home in community. September 11, 2001, my sister in ministry Barbara Fast and I kept the church open past midnight and held a prayer service while Frank Hall, our senior minister, met with the families most immediately affected. It was good to be in community that night too.

I know that too many people have been alienated from their faith communities because of their sexuality. I meet people all the time who have given up on religion because of the way it addressed sexuality. One of the key messages of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing is that there are faith leaders (over 2600 of them!) and faith communities that welcome all people and that are committed to being sexual healthy faith communities. We are in every state and we represent more than 40 faith traditions. If you have given up, I hope you will try again.

Today, let us pause to honor the memories of those who died...let us remind ourselves that all we ever really know we have is the present day, the present moment. Let us recommit to justice for all.

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