Reverend Kathy Rickey
Reverend Kathy is available by appointment on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Thursdays, she will be available 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., except the third Thursday of the month. Friday will be Reverend Kathy’s sermon-writing day, and Tuesday will be her day off. Reverend Kathy's email: email@example.com
A NOTE FROM OUR MINISTER: Growing Edges
The Growing Edge
by Howard Thurman
All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born;
All around us life is dying and life is being born.
The fruit ripens on the tree;
The roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth
Against a time when there shall be new leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit.
Such is the growing edge!
It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung,
The one more thing to try when all else has failed,
The upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor.
This is the basis of hope in moments of despair,
The incentive to carry on when times are out of joint
And people have lost their reason; the source of confidence
When worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash.
The birth of the child—life’s most dramatic answer to death—
This is the Growing Edge incarnate.
Look well to the growing edge.
Emergence is the worship theme for April, which may recall images of budding branches and crocuses pushing their tender heads up through the snow. Emergence may remind us of the greening of trees, the sound of birdsong and all the attributes of spring. Indeed, emergence can mean the resurrection of life after a cold, dormant winter. In a spiritual sense, emergence can mean growth, transformation, and change.
As human beings, we all experience change. We grow physically— we mature emotionally— we develop spiritually. In many cases, growth can be painful and trying. How many of us would like to relive our teen years? Yet, I think we would all agree that traversing the teen years is necessary for our journey to adulthood. If we didn’t go through that pain of stretching physically and emotionally, we would have serious problems navigating adulthood. What is more, we must live each stage of our lives fully and then leave it behind, as with the seasons which we can never relive. The same could be said for most of the ages and stages of our lives; therefore, we would do well to pay attention to our growing edges.
I believe institutions experience ages and stages, as well, especially congregations. After all, congregations are people and therefore living systems. As a living system, if we don’t grow, change, stretch, and develop then we cease, literally, to live. We all know of congregations which have “died out” because of the inability to grow and change.
I think we at UUCOB are paying attention to the growing edges of our congregation. Institutionally we are not only growing in membership but also stretching and growing in who we are as a congregation. For example, we’ve been examining how well we welcome the stranger to our congregation and how we can become even more inclusive to marginalized people such as the LGBTQ community. We have also been grappling with major institutional changes at the UUA level which has compelled us to look at our own relationship to racism and oppression. In that vein, the Life Long Learning program bravely took on the subject of White Supremacy Culture and how it does or doesn’t play out in our own.
And finally, we are in the midst of Building Beloved Community in our own congregation through developing a Covenant of Right Relations to guide us in honoring each other’s beliefs and ways of being in the world.
I am proud and excited about the ways in which we are looking well to the growing edge as Howard Thurman puts it. How we are reaching upward when the world wearies us, how we maintain our hope in the face of uncertain times, and how we initiate change in order to be alive and relevant into the future. I hope you are proud and excited, too.
Yours in faith,
Following the 1968 UUA General Assembly most African-Americans left our congregations over what became known as the Empowerment Controversy. For a summary of these events, I encourage you to read “Not Our Finest Hour.” Rev. Kathy Rickey