A Welcoming Week-end

Dear Friends,

So this Sunday was a New Member Welcoming ceremony and reception at 1U Orlando.  Being that I’ve ended up on a couple of the committees and love to cook, I was drafted to help with the Social Hour/Coffee House that goes on before, between, and after the services.  It was an interesting day, and I also ended up welcoming some folks who were visiting our Unitarian Universalist congregation for the first time ever.  In the course of introducing them to folks and trying to be welcoming there were some interesting conversations along the lines of how you can be Spiritual on your own, but you really need to be in a community to be engaging in Religion.

That really resonated with me.  All to often I think people in general, and Pagans in particular, can get so wrapped up in their own heads and lives that they can lose sight of the important and meaningful things.  This is where good friends and family and a beloved community can help us to become the people we are capable of being at our best.

I also received a reminder that I am capable of being an idealistic and sentimental mush-ball when it came time to recite our Congregation’s Bond of Union, which along with making an annual financial pledge is all that is required to be a full voting member of 1U Orlando…

“We associate ourselves together for the study and practice of morality and religion as interpreted by the noblest lives of humanity, hoping thereby to prove helpful to one another and to promote truth, righteousness, and love in the world.”

The ceremony itself involves presenting a rose to the new members, thorns intact, to not only symbolize our respect and encouragement for the beauty of their individual spiritual unfolding, but as a reminder that sometimes relationships amongst people can get thorny… we don’t promise there won’t be difficulties or bad times, but we do promise to be there for one another and to help each other through life’s prickly times.

At one time, I had given up on 1U because of some very thorny experiences with one group of folks there.  The experience had me not only determined to leave 1U and Unitarian Universalism but also had me questioning a lot of things, including my journey as a Pagan; yet a couple of small acts… one conversation with a few words of kindness, and a simple act of trust, led me to stay and have led to a great deal of joy in my life and some wonderful friendships and chances to learn and grow.

It’s funny how we don’t always know what it is we really need to nourish and nurture our souls, until we encounter it.

May you and your spirit never thirst, nor hunger,

Pax / Geoffrey

PS- Different U.U. Congregations will have different ways of doing things, each Congregation is an independent entity in an interdependent association.


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