Listening to the Call of Love

Dear UU Church of the Brazos Valley,

This New Year, only two weeks old, has already wrought terrible pain and disruption. I am still reeling from the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol by a white nationalist mob trying to stop the certification of the Electoral College. And we are learning of possible mob violence at state capitols nationwide this weekend and in D.C. leading to Inauguration Day. Last Friday, the UUA issued a call for the removal and impeachment of President Trump and accountability for members of Congress who participated in and incited these attacks on our democracy. This is all unfolding during the worst phase of the pandemic, with several thousand Americans dying every day. These realities are deeply traumatic. Fear and anger are normal responses. It is okay if you are not okay. I don’t feel okay. Now is the time to lean into relationships of friendship, family and faith. Connect and share with others, make art and music, engage in practices that feed your soul, and offer to yourself and others gentleness, compassion and care. As I rang in the New Year, I found my heart set on two things—remaining rooted in the values I hold most dear and praying for our democracy. In addition to praying, I know many of us are asking, “What can I do?”

30 Days of Love is a time to gather, learn from each other and movement leaders, and listen for the ways that love is calling us.

At this moment, our leaders at UU the Vote and movement partners are asking people to stay home, stay safe, and continue to call your elected officials to demand accountability for the attacks on democracy. In addition, we continue to develop the skills and relationships we need to keep organizing for justice, equity, and democracy. This weekend, with the honoring of Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday, the UUA kicks off our annual 30 Days of Love celebration. This is a time to gather and learn from each other and movement leaders, and listen for the ways that love is calling us to show up in the world and for each other. This year, 30 Days of Love will focus on four themes from the Commission on Institutional Change’s report Widening the Circle of Concern, reminding us that liberation in the wider world is indelibly connected to liberation within ourselves. You can find information here about all of the events planned, culminating with a Side With Love Sunday worship service on February 14th that can be streamed in congregations. Despite the devastating events of last week and the possibility of more violence, I remain hopeful and resolved. For in 2020, a year like no other, I witnessed the incredible courage so many people across the country—including members of our own congregations—showed to protect and expand democracy and work for a society where all people can thrive. I am inspired by the ways we are growing our capacity for risk, for solidarity, and for community care. We have made a huge difference this year in the lives of our neighbors, in the care and protection of our communities, and in the strength of our democracy. This remains to me a source of hope and strength and joy. We are resilient. We have everything we need. We are enough. Love will continue to guide us. Blessings to you all, your loved ones, and communities. Yours, Susan P.S. The UUA’s statement in response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol builds on the statement the UUA Board of Trustees made during the June 2020 General Assembly calling for the immediate resignation, or removal, of President Trump. Join Frontline, a coalition of movement organizations, for #ForwardTogether, an unprecedented mass organizing virtual event on January 16th from 3-6pm EST. The event gathers organizers and the everyday people who made recent electoral wins possible to discuss the issues that the new Administration and Senate Leadership need to center in their policy agendas. Register here.

Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray spends her days strengthening the thriving mission of this faith. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family and playing with their dog, Hercules.

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The Rev. Christian Schmidt is our interim minister, and first became a Unitarian Universalist in this congregation where he was an active member from 2006-2009. He has since served congregations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California. His interests include his family (including four little boys he and his wife are raising), sports, and theology.