UU speak has many special touchstones, none more powerful than spiritual home. For many of us, a spiritual home is a place of repose and safety. For Eli a spiritual home is a place where we are called to fulfill our purpose. She has fulfilled many roles since joining UUCSS in 1999 – Worship Commitee Chair, steward for the Annual Budget Drive, nursery volunteer, worship service presenter, leadership retreat planner, and a member of the UUCSS Board. But for the last five years, her primary purpose has been racial justice. Eli cofounded our Racial Justice Task Force in response to the Michael Brown slaying and her inability to explain to her daughter Olivia what had happened. RJTF has worked externally to advocate for examining Montgomery County’s school catchment boundaries to promote equity and to address police-involved shootings of people of color. RJTF has also worked with us as a congregation to be more welcoming of people of color, to listen instead of talk, to feel instead of react, to grow in compassion. That work continues to this day as we approach an understanding of the proposed 8th Principle.
Recently, Eli joined our Leadership Development Committee (formerly the Nominating Committee) While this was originally in support of racial justice work it has evolved for her into giving voice to all of UUCSS’ diversity. For Eli, we form a rich tapestry of backgrounds and experience and are stronger and better when everyone is involved. As an example she talked about everyone pulling together to make virtual church work, “I am so proud of us to be sticking together. We’re proving that the church is not the building, but the people.”