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Monthly Archives: September 2015

On This Day

When I was a child I remember my mother telling me her memories of where she was when she heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7. She remembered exactly where she was in her family’s yard, she remembered the message coming over the radio. When she talked about it there was a hushed reverence in her voice for all that was lost that day – the people, the resources, the hope. There was a hush in her voice as she remembered how her life and the life of all Americans changed that day.

I bet if you are old enough you remember where you were the morning of September 11, 2001. I was a stay at home mom at that point with a one year old. My husband and I had an appointment that morning to meet with a lawyer to talk about a will. It was bizarre watching the TV coverage of the planes hitting the towers with a baby in my lap. It was surreal to then go to the lawyers office and talk about a will as the news played in the background. I remember thinking would we really need a will?

Our lives changed that day on September 11, 2001. There is no denying that. Many lives were lost that day. Many families were forever torn apart. The ripples from that day have affected many from people who lost their jobs, people who lost their homes. The first responders, heroes, have suffered many many health related issues.

I have taken many moments today to remember as best I can those who lost so much that day. It is a fitting thing to do.

And it is also a fitting thing to remember when New Yorkers came together to help each other, to remember Americans who came together to help each other. One of the things that makes this a grand country is our ability as a people to work together even in the midst of diversity and crisis.

For me September 11th taught me that violence is not the way. It only begets more violence. What is important for me to remember is that it is time to worker harder to find peaceful resolutions. Fourteen years later there is still way, way too much violence in this world. For my part I recommit myself to work toward peace.



I am lucky to serve a wonderful congregation, First Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse.  We are a smallish, vibrant (no ish), friendly supportive community.  We are open and welcoming to folks who are searching.  We may not give you answers but we will help you find the answers.  We cannot solve the problems of the world but we will be part of the solution.  First UU is a great community.

We want to invite folks to come join us because we are excited and happy and that just kind of bubbles up and out and demands to be shared.

Inviting people is an interesting thing.  It used to be (or so the lore goes) that if you were a church all you had to do was open your doors and people would show up.  I am not so sure that is totally true.  Still nowadays we have to do more than open our doors to invite people in. We need to be actively inviting people into our community.  And what does that mean?

We need to be visible.  No longer does having a steeple make you visible.  We need to show up in the community outside of our church walls and show up in a way that lets people know who we are. And so our church shows up at parades, and at festivals, at soup kitchens, at fundraisers, at hospitals at graduations.  We show up.

We need to be welcoming.  We need to look at our building with fresh eyes like we were looking at it the first time.  Is the parking lot manageable or is it iced over?  Can we understand where the bathrooms are?  And are those bathrooms well lit and clean?  Or are they dark with chipped paint and rust?  Is it clear where people can put their coats.  When they walk through the door is there someone there with a smile who says welcome!  Is the Sanctuary set up so that you can get to a seat easily.  If a family with children is visiting is it clear what is available to their children?  Do we announce hymns so that newcomers who do not know the hymnal can find the hymns?  At coffee hour do we put our congregational work aside and instead say hello to folks who face we do not recognize?  It is a simple as a smile.  Pretty much everyone likes being smiled at.  All of these things are part of being hospitable.

We have been blessed with a lot of love in our community.  And so we are in the process of building a longer table with a place for you.  Come on over and give us a try.  There is a space for you at our table.