Phone: (225) 926.2291 8470 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
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Clarity on our church projects: The key elements listed in Mike Hebert's column on this page have been discussed for more than a decade. Church leaders reconvened after the May congregational meeting and agreed that those priorities as listed would not preclude our adding a facility to our campus at some later date. Many of us will recall at a congregational meeting several years ago when the late Evelyn Tracy called our 49-year-old dilapidated parking lot "that abominable parking lot" and urged us then to do something about it. For reasons of serentity, security, and safety, we must tackle that slab of concrete and restore an adequate surface after we install proper drainage and lighting. Also, part of the project is an enhanced Peace Meadow where our Peace Stones are now located and where we conduct an occasional scattering of cremains. Updating the sanctuary, installing new carpeting, lighting, and raising the chancel are all included in our plans. Lifting the load of overly-extended volunteer staff by adding a funding feature to hire support staff (assistant minister, for example) is likewise necessary and overdue.
Everything on the list has suffered one postponement after another. Everything on the list is achievable. Urgency is our mood. Commitment is our mode. Our church has a great future with achievable project goals. And why are we doing these things? To enhance our ministry of care, to build a stonger sense of community, and to extend our social justice work in the region. Much is expected of us. Unitarian Universalists in the region frequently look to our church for leadership and support. Great Expectations is our theme for our fall campaign because much is expected of us and we expect much from ourselves.
There was a time in our church history when we had to invite ourselves to the table when matters of public policy were being discussed. No longer. Now, we are frequently invited and expected to show up. This is a sign of maturity as a religious community and it should also be a sign of self-respect. Others in the region know us by our deeds as well as our words. Let us intentionally maintain radical hospitality in our church and continue to extend our care to others for building a better world.
Some summer thoughts:
- Experience the sight and the crossing of The Audubon Bridge, connecting Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes, on your next leisurely trip west of the mighty Mississippi. The bridge reminds me of a flock of Audubon birds, sketched in 21st century style.
- Why subject yourself and your children to needless radiation? Politely tell the TSA agents at the airport that you "wish to opt out." You don't need to explain your reasons for the request but you will only need a few minutes of extra time for the pat-down. When is flying going to be fun again? For one trip this summer, I'm taking AMTRAK.
- When you speak of your church to a non-UU, refer them to our church website and mention Many Beliefs, One Community [for] A Better World in your conversation. Can you remember the banners: Freedom, Reason, Tolerance?
- And speak of love. "Our religion must go beyond what we believe or think but about what we love" (The Reverend Peter Morales, President of the UUA, speaking to his colleagues last month in Phoenix, AZ)