Can you believe that it is already November? The many colors of Fall warmly envelop our senses and Thanksgiving is soon approaching. It has been a wonderful few months in Soulful Exploration at WUUC. We have experienced many great chapels and workshop rotations in our Spirit Jam K-5 group. The Jr. Youth learned about our Jewish neighbors’ faith and are now studying Islam in preparation for their field trip to the mosque. Our Sr. Youth are returning from their first official Youth Conference (CON) where they experienced spiritual renewal, education and community. Jamil1 (Don’t forget to ask our Sr. Youth how their experience was at CON and the Youth Revival when you see them.) We are very thankful to the Pacific Northwest District Youth Panel, including Rev. Lois &  Cora Goss-Grubbs, for making youth CON fun, engaging, and safe.

This month we contemplate our theme, STORY, one of my favorite subjects! As you know, I prefer theories of faith development that define religious education in terms of the development of a radical, justice-oriented consciousness. In this light, much of the work we do here at WUUC is religious education and faith development. As we begin to lean into our calling to serve our community, much more of our work here will be the development of a justice-oriented consciousness. As we contemplate our stance on racial justice together as a congregation, I would like for us all to be in conversation about how our religious education program can support our efforts.

In this spirit, our monthly Soul Matters themes may be helpful in guiding our conversations about justice. Where do we begin this conversation? Sunday Oct. 23, I preached about Vinobha Bhave, that great Indian saint who walked 10,000 miles across India, listening to stories of the Dalit people and of wealthy landowners. In listening, he managed to acquire nearly 2 million acres of land for Dalit people’s subsistence. Let us all begin with our stories.jamil4

What stories do our children and youth need to hear about the struggle of marginalized people in this country? What stories about their own ethnic past might be helpful for our youth to hear so that they can show up fully for justice? What stories do you, teenagers and adults, bring to the table that either hamper or enhance our conversations about privilege and race.

I truly believe the easiest path to empathy, to embodying a being of non-hatred (advesha) is to listen deeply to the stories in our community. These stories must include those of our children, youth, persons of color, and all in order for this chapter of our congregational story to be complete. Let us invite the stories of those external to our community in and listen without prejudice to their wisdom.

Don’t forget to grab a copy of this month’s theme sheet which is full of readings, movies, quotes about our monthly theme.