September 2023

We come to a new Fellowship year, beginning afresh as we flow like smaller streams, bringing our gifts and our uniqueness into the great river of our Beloved Community. From the many, joining as one, we celebrate the strength, love and joy we find together. Each year we come together at summer’s end, together again as one community We will celebrate our coming together– our ingathering – on September 3rd, at our first Worship Service of the Fall of 2023, with the ritual of mingling the waters representing our individual experiences. Our theme is “Welcome Home,” as we also recognize these unprecedented times of tumult in which we find ourselves. Together we shall honor our commitment to building the Beloved Community, our commitment to our Unitarian Universalist principles and our commitment to ourselves.
At our recent SUUF Board of Trustees annual retreat, we noted that our gathering coincided with the 60th Anniversary of The March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. I recall that I was fourteen years old at the time and that I was not a fan of Dr. King’s, though now I don’t have words to quite express my respect for him and his vision. We all paused and reflected upon how long it has been, We asked ourselves how far we have come as a nation regarding race relations, equity and inclusion. On that day Dr. King said; “it is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.“ My reflection later that evening after our meeting and after the news of the day, I call it, “A Long Way.”
     I live a long way from Jacksonville
     But I can feel the pain still.
     The fear and the anger, as real as rain,
     Then love flows, like water, to soothe my pain
     I live a long way from Jacksonville
     But I can feel the pain still.
     Another AR-15-Glock carrying white-man with Swastika and a Manifesto
     Ignorant, hate filled and ready to go.
     My truth, these days, is that I’d rather pick flowers than a fight
     Learned the hard way that might don’t make right.
     I live a long way from Jacksonville, among red rocks of ancient stone.
     Yet I can feel the pain still, in the marrow of my bone.
Whoever we are, wherever we come from, we belong to one another; what affects one of us affects us all. The winds of summer have blown us about, and today we come, seeking the sustenance to live out our faith in the world.

Reverend Anthony