First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County

seek ... nurture ... serve

Sanctuary

From Sandra's Study
October's theme: Sanctuary
Our churches are clearings in the wilderness of this time:
places of refuge and sanctuary for the bruised and tired,
and also places of healing and renewal.
They are "workshops for common endeavor,"
and schools for learning and enlightenment,
transmitters and celebrators of a heritage,
tools for breaking down barriers.
tools for building new bridges.--Rev. Charles Grady

 

A sanctuary is a sacred place--a place where religious people gather. It can also be a nature preserve for birds and animals, a space within a person's own mind or heart, or any other space that provides healing and renewal. Prior to Medieval times, religious buildings commonly offered space for those seeking protection from unjust prosecution. Today, this practice of providing sanctuary has been revived, not only by religious communities but also by cities for asylum-seekers in danger of deportation.

In the past few years, our Unitarian Universalist congregations have been awakened to the need to serve as sanctuary congregations. Awareness of our own internal, institutional shortcomings in providing healing space has also been awakened. Too often, the very spaces cherished and considered most sacred by Unitarian Universalists have turned out to be unwelcoming and alienating to some among us--too often to people of color, people with disabilities, individuals who don't have advanced educations, young adults, and others.

As our consciousness is raised in this regard, the ability and passion to do better at building a true Beloved Community grows. We are learning to celebrate the heritage of our unique religion while also challenging ourselves to live more fully into our highest ideals. A sanctuary for the bruised and the tired must be a place that is capable of including those most injured and most weary. That truly is the common endeavor--the sanctuary--that we are called to engage in ever more deeply. 

Yours in love and faith,

Rev. Sandra 

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