You are cordially invited to participate in a communal celebration of Thanksgiving with a dish-to-pass dinner at 12:00 PM in the Parlor. Please send your RSVP to Mark at email@example.com or 273-7521, ext 21 and let him know who will be coming and what you will be contributing to the meal.
This past August, while in Provincetown, I attended the local UU church for a memorable sermon. As each person walked into the sanctuary we were offered a button, which read, “Is it true? Is it kind? Will it help?” My first thoughts were quite skeptical and downright cynical about these treacle-like tenets. Yet, when the speaker finished their sermon I think each of us gathered there was left with some simple, yet critical, means to assess our own thoughts and speech. What was shared was not earth shaking or novel in its content but it reminded us of the potential we each have to make our communities better places. The ”communities” may be our families, places of employment, places of worship or the towns in which we live.
Too often I find that I speak without thinking; filling the air space with my thoughts, observations, perceived motivations of others, etc. But how often do I consciously stop to determine, “Is it true? Is it kind? Will it help?” Far, far, too infrequently, I’m afraid. Like many trinities, it has a certain perceived wholeness but I don’t wish to be arrogant about that. It does seem that you really need all three questions to assess what one says in order to be a caring, thoughtful individual. Is it true? Well, that may be the case but will pointing it out really help or just prove that “you were right” and someone else was wrong? We shouldn’t be afraid to speak our truths but… we should be clear with ourselves about why we need to say this. Will saying it help bring about a better outcome in the future or for another to understand your perspective? Then, by all means tell the truth in a way that is kind. The truth need not be at the expense of another’s humanity or their feeling of self worth. And this final note about whether it will help or not? How much time do I spend prattling on about how this person may irk me or how wounded I might feel about something someone did? First of all, talking to someone else about this may help to “validate” your ideas of why the other person did this but until you speak directly with the “offender”, you really don’t know why they did it, or even if they were aware that they were doing it!
This is not meant to halt all communication or to cause us to fall over ourselves to be cloyingly sweet but perhaps to pause and consider our motivations for our own speech and to consider how what we say will be received. Now that I have found my button I plan to wear it in hopes that it will remind me to practice what I preach.
Mark Pedersen, Congregational Administrator
Best-Looking House of Worship: First Unitarian Church
Designed by architect William Henry Miller, who also designed over 70 other buildings in Ithaca, the home of the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca dates back to 1893. Originally, the church was supposed to have a pyramidal roof, but a tall steeple was erected instead, ostensibly so that students could not miss seeing it. Over the years, the Unitarian empire has spread to adjoining buildings on North Aurora and East Buffalo streets, but the main church building, renovated in the 1990s is an imposing architectural gem and a downtown landmark.
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 9, from 7-9 PM in the Parlor. All are welcome to attend.
Agenda - TBA