What does it mean to be a people of… RENEWAL?
This month join us to explore the theme of renewal. To renew: to begin again, to restore, replenish, or recommit. At the opening of each church year, we renew our commitments to each other and our church community. We renew our energy for another year of journeying together. This month we will also work with the questions: What renews our spirits? How can we practice renewal? What is the relationship between forgiveness and renewal? Join us to explore our faith together.
Reflections on Renewal
It was my conviction and determination that the church would be a resource for activists — a mission fundamentally perceived. To me it was important that individuals who were in the thick of the struggle for social change would be able to find renewal and fresh courage in the spiritual resources of the church.
Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman (quoted in Mark Morrison Reed’s Black Pioneers)
Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.
It is always quietly thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well but have never seen from such an angle before.
Anyone can slay a dragon, she told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
- In her riveting poem, My Commitments to Myself, Laura Mancuso lists all the things she does for self-care and self-renewal. To read it is to be reminded of the many avenues available to us for personal rejuvenation. It’s also a reminder that refreshing our spirits is not a one-time or singular thing. To feel grounded and full takes constant care through the use of numerous carefully chosen commitments. So in honor of Mancuso’ reminder, make some time this month to meditate on her poem and then pick two from her list that call to you, that capture two commitments to yourself that you want to renew.
- Renew Your Understanding of History The Movement for Black lives and the spring/summer protests against police violence have left us with a renewed sense of urgency about moving into a new and more just future. At the same time, leaders from these efforts remind us that a new future isn’t possible without a truthful telling of the past. So this month, alongside your other efforts to support the Black and BIPoc communities, make some time for the spiritual practice of revisiting, correcting, enriching and renewing your understanding of our country’s history.
The Movement for Black lives and the spring/summer protests against police violence have left us with a renewed sense of urgency about moving into a new and more just future. At the same time, leaders from these efforts remind us that a new future isn’t possible without a truthful telling of the past. So this month, alongside your other efforts to support the Black and BIPoc communities, make some time for the spiritual practice of revisiting, correcting, enriching and renewing your understanding of our country’s history.
Below are a number of resources to help you along your way:
Article – Five Truths About Black History
Documentary – Reconstruction: America After the Civil War https://video.kpbs.org/show/reconstruction-america-after-civil-war/?_ga=2.205144848.1807498231.1594489242-1530964149.1594489240
Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise
Podcast – American Police, Throughline
Use them as is helpful and/or seek out your own.
Taking It Home: Ideas for All Ages
A Treasure Hunt for Renewal
With this activity, we renew interest in our own neighborhoods, which we may have gotten pretty tired of in the past six months! And, we may even be helping to renew our neighbor’s faith in community.
Get a few pieces of sidewalk chalk, and choose one or more of the following types of messages to write:
- Using a plant identification app or local wildflower field guide, label the street or sidewalk in front of as many “weeds” as you can find, helping passers-by realize that they aren’t really “just weeds.” If you like, you join the ranks of rebel botanists worldwide who have shared their washable graffiti on social media.
- Chalk encouraging messages at crossings and corners where you think people will be likely to find them. UU minister Ashley Horan did this right after the presidential election of 2016, when she wanted her Muslim and immigrant neighbors to know she loved and appreciated them.
- Write some questions for your neighbors to consider as they walk and ride around your ‘hood. A couple likely choices might be, “What’s new?” or “What’s lifting your spirits today?”
- Create the outlines of a picture on the sidewalk in front of or near your house. Then fill in a small part of it with color chalk. Leave the chalk there in a rain proof container with a note nearby that says: “Help finish our picture and add to it!”
YouTube playlist on Renewal
We organize these lists as a journey of sorts. So consider listening from beginning to end and using the lists as musical meditations.