There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.~ Ronald Reagan
Last month our congregational focus was on listening. Listening is that most important part of communication that goes beyond the head nod, or the composing of our own thoughts as we prepare to respond. Listening starts with a mindset of openness. Such a mindset relishes the differences among us and is accompanied by curiosity and acceptance of the other person’s right to be heard. It sometimes requires patience and self-control to stay in the moment and fully attend. As an officer of the board, and the chair of the EOV Aesthetics Committee, I can tell you that all you see in this great new space around us at UUFA is and continues to be a result of careful and patient listening. It was because we didn’t see things the same way that we needed to have extended conversations. And it was because we listened that we ultimately found creative and effective solutions. We should all be proud of both the process and the product that went into our new spaces.
Having listened and shared our thoughts this winter season, it is time to expand from what we think and what we know to what we can imagine. We all have aspirations for ourselves and for our Fellowship. Turning those into reality requires inspired imagination to think big enough, and to find new ways to create the world we want to be in. One long standing wish in this Fellowship is the desire for a more diverse congregation. I long to find ways to gain the new insights and wisdom that come from those whose world is grounded in different experiences, whether those be differences of ethnicity, culture, race, gender identity, bodily abilities or some other way that I am not even aware of.
I know from conversations with some that it requires imagination to consider how to keep the sense of safety and community we hold at UUFA if we truly open ourselves to this much real diversity. I am an optimist. I believe that the more people who we can find to join our search for truth and meaning, and who can embrace our core principles, the richer and even safer we will find our community to be. I say, let’s take our skills of listening, our processes of examining different perspectives and add a healthy dose of imagination. In this way we can indeed invent the world we wish to be in. May it be so.
Barbara A. Boyt Schell, UUFA Vice President