Congregational Life as Spiritual Practice

Rev. Karen Madrone, September 21, 2023

Recently one of my minister colleagues posted a question on Facebook that got me thinking about our congregation and the ministry we create together.

My colleague asked, “what do you enjoy about being part of a congregation?”

The answers varied but the consistent theme was, “Congregations are the last place left in our world where we build multigenerational connections. They are a place where we are together, not for transactional relationships, i.e., you help me, I help you, but for learning and growing together.”

In our UU congregations in particular, we come together across our many religious and political differences and work on building both a safe(r) place to be but also a place that challenges us to live our values in the larger world. What we do in our congregations is an ongoing experiment and, I believe it is a spiritual practice we all share together.

What makes it a spiritual practice? Our willingness to stay in the joy of friendships and the the discomfort of misunderstanding. It is the desire to learn from others and acknowledge that each of us individually do not have all the information. Each of us has pieces of the puzzle that we are continuously creating and we can’t do it alone. This practice of creating community requires patience, a willingness to change our minds when presented with new information, not moving to immediate defensiveness when differences present themselves, and a desire to uphold the whole instead of working on only individual projects.

Our UU congregations are a place where we practice what it means to hold space for others. We create community together and take these values out into the world through our work towards justice and freedom for all. Our congregations are a place where we are able to make mistakes, forgive ourselves and each other, and try again. We are a promise making, promise breaking, and promise recreating community, always working towards being the people we want to be.

Whoever you are, you are welcome to join us on this path of building, loving, and re-creating on our journey of spiritual community.