Giving Service

I read an interesting article awhile back that got me to thinking about giving to others or to an organization.  Not monetarily, but when we choose to help by chairing a committee, giving someone a ride, setting the coffee out on Sunday mornings, setting up the Sanctuary.

This article was written by a woman who doesn’t like the word volunteer and I read it and thought, a like-minded person like me!  I’ve never liked the word “volunteer”.  And especially in these last years of my life when I’ve been ministering and chaplaining, I have found it increasingly inadequate.  Now this author calls herself a Progressive Christian so there is where our paths diverge, but it was so encouraging to read another minister’s article that held my same beliefs.  This past Sunday in my sermon I took note of my annoyance with this word.  And this Christian minister spoke of how when her husband looks after the children when she’s away, others refer to him as babysitting and her retort is you can’t babysit your own kids.  And that’s the same way I feel about congregations.  We aren’t volunteering to keep our Sanctuary clean, we’re cleaning our own spiritual home.  Volunteering seems more business related – we volunteer sometimes at our jobs or for non-profits, but that doesn’t seem very spiritual.  This is our spiritual home.  When we give service here at Mission Peak UU it means something more.  We are more like a family so it feels more like we are engaged with our family.

In my sermon on Sunday I said, Stop using the word volunteer.  We are giving service to this community and when we do, it comes from our heart and not as an obligation.  Giving service brings compassion for others, giving service can bring out the passion you have for a project or a cause, giving service offers you an opportunity to give back to others, to forward a cause, and will give you the satisfaction and happiness that maybe you’ve long been craving.

Volunteers many times only do it once, they are more like spontaneous, obligatory offerings of service for a certain cause or organization.  Giving service however offers a deeper connection to community, it comes from the heart.  We feel good about what we’ve done, it’s not an obligation but an opportunity to give back to something we’ve gotten so much richness from.


That’s how I would like us to view giving service here at Mission Peak.  It’s not an obligation, but such an amazing opportunity to connect spiritually, to offer our gifts and talents not just once, but many times and to see how it connects us to this larger family – this congregation. Think of this place as home, your spiritual home.

I hope you all can begin to view giving service in this way.  It will be remarkable what rewards you yourself will receive and it will be remarkable for the rest of the congregation to receive these gifts from you.  Let’s banish the word volunteer from our vocabulary as it just doesn’t fit the spiritual wellness we are striving for here.  See how you can give service and see what your heart feels like after.

Blessings to you all,

Rev Jo

It is Our Job

Greetings Beloved Community!

As of this writing, the power has not been shut off yet, so cross your fingers we all weather this windy time in our area.  If you do have you power shut off, know that this is a community that might be able to help.  We can use this time to lean on each other and help each other in times of need.

This week is an important week.  Matthew Shepard died 21 years ago on October 6th.  Yom Kippur is today, the Jewish Day of Atonement.  Friday the 11th is National Coming Out Day and this Sunday we will be hosting J Mase III as he speaks about being Transqueer and reads excerpts of his book and his poetry.  And to add to all of this next Monday is Indigenous People’s day for those of us who reject the previous honoree.

For LBGTQ+ folks, there’s a lot happening that personally affects them.  I want to honor that.  It is amazing in some ways how much our nation has grown.  When I speak with younger generations they don’t see what the big deal is regarding gender, accept all categories of gender and are not fazed by people’s identities.  And then there are some of my relatives in the Midwest, older than me, who won’t even watch the Ellen DeGeneres  Show because they don’t approve of her lifestyle.  When I look at the difference in generations, it gives me hope.  There is more acceptance, more compassion, more acknowledgement of people’s true identities.  Yes there are those still who ridicule, torment and hate.  There are those who refuse to change their beliefs no matter what the proof.  It is our job however to always be tolerant without derision, strong in our belief of our Seven Principles, courageous to speak truth to power, and engaged in the task to create a world more fair, more loving, more unified.  Even when it feels impossible.  Even when it feels awkward, even when we feel we just can’t do it.

It is our job to strive to understand.  It is our job, even when it feels too hard or too complicated or just too much.  Even when we feel we just don’t have the energy to do the work.  As Unitarian Universalists, we can stand together to do this work, just like our hymn #1021 Lean on Me.  Together we can accomplish so much more.

I urge you to attend this Sunday evening when J Mase III comes to Cole Hall to speak to us about being Transgender, about being African American.  We can learn how to have the courage, we can learn how to walk alongside the shoes of another.  We can’t walk in them many times, but we can walk alongside.  That is our job.

Blessings to you all,

Rev Jo