From your Ministerial Intern

From Your Ministerial Intern
My internship began in the wake of Michael Brown’s death and the protests in Ferguson.  During the internship I have been able to engage with you in the anti-racist efforts of this congregation.  I have preached about it.  We have sung hymns about it together.  We have learned together, through all-church book reads and book discussion, through hosting speaker Debby Irving, through the UUA’s Be the Change Curriculum.  We have marched together at the Louis D. Brown Institute’s Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.
I have learned so much during this internship.  We’ve shared fellowship.  We’ve deepened our spirituality together.  We’ve worshiped together.  We’ve danced together.  We’ve served on committees together.  I’ve had the privilege of being with some of you as you’ve struggled through difficult moments in your lives.  These are the backbone and the foundation of congregational life.  These are the things that form us as a loving community.
It takes a strong, loving community to fight oppression.  We often lift up the heroes of movements, the Martin Luther Kings and Cesar Chavezes.  These courageous and exemplary people stand at the mountaintop but the mountain is formed by the community, by a movement that gave birth to these leaders and supported their growth.  And the mountain, the movement, continues, from generation to generation. We will not reach the promised land as individuals.  Our lasting legacy is as members of communities that stand on the side of love, again and again and again, through the ages.
Now my internship is ending in the wake of the mass shooting at a Gay nightclub in Orlando.  The work continues.  We are called. The hymns say it best: “We Are a Gentle Angry People” and we are “Standing on the Side of Love.”
I know this congregation will continue to do the work to counter the oppressions that still plague us.  And I will also continue to do that work.  I’m leaving this congregation bolstered by the learning I have received here at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading.  Again a hymn says it best:
Walking with you
Walking with you is my prayer.”
Walking with you has been my prayer.  With my departure from the congregation we won’t be together in the same place in the future, but we will continue to walk together as members of the same movement.
                –William Levwood