January 2023

Welcome to the Year 2023! Let us greet this year with open Arms and Hearts!
We celebrated the Winter Season of 2022 by recognizing the Holidays of Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa. We celebrated Hanukkah on December 19th through December 26th. We Celebrated Christmas on December 25th, then we recognized and honored Kwanzaa from December 26th through January 1st. We Unitarian Universalists recognize and honor these Holidays and Holy Days in a Living Tradition. A Living Tradition that calls us to be aware of changes that occur in all belief systems, changes that occur in our understanding of ourselves and of our Universe. Many people ask, “What do Unitarian Universalists believe? Author David O. Rankin offers the following:

“We believe in the freedom of religious expression. All individuals should be encouraged to develop their own personal theologies, and to present openly their religious opinions without fear of censure or reprisal.
We believe in the toleration of religious ideas. All religions, in every age and culture, possess not only intrinsic merit, but also potential value for those who have learned the art of listening.
We believe in the authority of reason and conscience. The ultimate arbiter in religion is not a church, nor a document, nor an official, but the personal choice and decision of the individual.
We believe in the never-ending search for Truth. If the mind and heart are truly free and open, the revelations that appear to the human spirit are infinitely numerous, eternally fruitful, and wondrously exciting.
We believe in the unity of experience. There is no fundamental conflict between faith and knowledge, religion, and the world, the sacred and the secular since they all have their source in the same reality.
We believe in the worth and dignity of each human being. All people on earth have an equal claim to life, liberty, and justice—and no idea, ideal, or philosophy is superior to a single human life.
We believe in the ethical application of religion. Good works are the natural product of a good faith, the evidence of an inner grace that finds completion in social and community involvement.
We believe in the motive force of love. The governing principle in human relationships is the principle of love, which always seeks the welfare of others and never seeks to hurt or destroy.
We believe in the necessity of the democratic process. Records are open to scrutiny, elections are open to members, and ideas are open to criticism—so that people might govern themselves.
We believe in the importance of a religious community. The validation of experience requires the confirmation of peers, who provide a critical platform along with a network of mutual support.”

May these beliefs inspire us all to L.O.V.E., an acronym that I am offering to guide us throughout this “New Year,”

L.O.V.E, “Living Our Vision Everyday

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” Cornel West

Rev. Anthony Mtuaswa Johnson