Pastoral Letter, October 31, 2018

Dear Ones,

On Sunday (10/28), we came together in worship, carrying various kinds of grief from personal, national, and international news. When the worship service ended, we still had those griefs, but we also had the strength of being part of something larger than ourselves. Realizing that the news keeps on coming, while the memory of our beloved community needs refreshing every few days, I wanted to write to you and tell you that you are in my thoughts.

As the funerals for those killed at the synagogue in Pittsburgh last week continue, I am holding in prayer all of those who have a connection with Judaism. UUCSS is a spiritual home to a number of UU’s who are also Jewish, or who are connected with the Jewish community through partnership or parenting or through some other affectionate affiliation. As you may know, I am part of an interfaith family, and I send my children to classes at the local synagogue every week. The security guards and alert ushers who greet us every time we arrive at the synagogue remind us that joining with others to draw near to the forces that create and uphold life carries a risk. Even though violent anti-Semitism is not new, the magnitude of last week’s tragedy has brought intense sadness and anger. For many who are connected with the Jewish community, this horrific act re-ignites memories of trans-generational trauma from the Holocaust and from centuries of discrimination and pogroms before that. If this incident is weighing on you especially heavily, there are good reasons why that might be.

Of course, there were other stories in the news last week and this week that wore down our ability to cope. We heard about deadly white supremacy at a Kroger in Kentucky, bombs sent to people speaking out against totalitarianism, and an attempt by the government at erasure of Transgender people, just to name a few. All of these things are connected. These acts are all aimed at violently re-making the world according to the values of destruction and empire.

In responding to and resisting hatred, we, too, must be united. That doesn’t mean we have to all agree with each other all the time, or capitulate to the loudest voice in the room. It means we find common cause, we prioritize the voices and leadership of those most impacted, and we reach out to join coalitions for change. The liberation of all of us is bound up with the liberation of all of us.

Some of us might need a few days to lament before returning to the struggle. That’s OK. Feel your feelings. If you are afraid, name your fears. Talk to a friend, make some art, or write in a journal. (Also, if you are eligible, vote.) Then come back to the place of prophecy and power where we can encourage and equip one another to keep going, by which I mean UUCSS.

Today is Samhain, All Souls Night. For some of us, this is a time when our beloved dead ask us to remember them. We carry forward legacies of care, of justice, of beauty, of life. Let us carry these things into the future together, strengthened by our practice and spirit of interdependence.

If you need to talk, please reach out. You can make an appointment with me, or with one of the volunteer Lay Ministers. The best way to reach me is by email, We’ll be hosting a Healing Circle after worship on November 11 at 1pm. Together is the best way forward.

I’ll close with an Adrienne Rich poem, the one that inspired the title of the November 11 Healing Circle:

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
So much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age,
perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.

Take care,

-Rev. Lyn Cox, Interim Minister