I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Unity Sunday

This Sunday our church will be closed and all of us will be making the trip to Natick Center for "Unity Sunday." Called in some quarters, "Christian Unity Sunday," this is the annual joint service of the United Parishes of Natick (UPON). We are not a member congregation of UPON but last year, for the first time, we were invited to participate in the service. The guest last year was the founder of a housing ministry that this church is involved in along with the Upon churches. This was a big step for them and for us, in the past there has been some discomfort among some folks concerning our "UU half" certainly many folks understand their Christianity to be a creedal thing. We do not and it can cause misunderstandings, certainly. Sometimes these misunderstandings can become barriers.

In our case, those barriers are coming down a bit. This year we are attending again. The heading in the draft order of service included a quote from Bill Schultz, past president of the UUA (I didn't even put it there!). Also, the guest preacher is none other than Rabbi Harold Kushner, the famous author and Emeritus Rabbi at Temple Israel here in Natick. Things have changed for UPON and they have changed for us.

Unity Sunday is a great opportunity for the folks at Eliot to both affirm their place in Christianity and to witness to that broader understanding of Jesus' faith and message that has given birth to Christians among us who are also atheists, monists, unitarians, universalists and, of course, agnostics. Really, we spice up any religious gathering. One of the most important aspects of our church community--as with many communities--is that of relationship. Unity Sunday put us in relationship with a special group of people who we see and relate to without thinking too much about what sustains them spiritually as they go about their weeks and days. We are blessed to be a small part of the ecumenical movement.

Actually, you would all be blessed by Unity Sunday. Hey Unity Readers! If you are around this part of the world when the Sabbath comes, why don't you come on over to First Congregational Church in Natick Center (the big one on the common) at 10:30? Rabbi Kushner is bound to stimulate and intrigue us all. There is Childcare and Sunday School for the younger kids and the older ones might learn something.

I am excited and looking forward to this. I hope that others are, too. Participating as part of the larger community always helps me, at least, to sharpen my own perspective and focus. That is just the sort of thing I need at the end of a long, cold January.