Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst
It has been an exciting and troublesome year since last we entered into our annual UUCMC pledge drive. Our lifespan religious education and youth programs have grown, we have come together for inspiring worship and created amazing music together every Sunday, and we transformed our world as it has transformed us. We have actively created love and justice in our relationships with Tent City in Lakewood, with Family Promise, Lunch Break and more. We have worked for marriage equality, gun control, immigration justice and climate change action. And we’ve held each other up through a terrible storm and begun to help our neighbors rebuild.
Judy Stevens, our Council Moderator, said the other day, “UUCMC’s members have not been universally called to be ‘our brother’s keeper’ in this way since the fire in 1992.” She is so right! Because of Superstorm Sandy, I now feel differently about this congregation, and I think many of you do as well. In better days, we built community, transformed ourselves and our world. So when disaster struck, we were better equipped to handle the crisis and its aftermath. In recent months, we have been our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, in ways that we had not been called to before. I observe in our midst a new appreciation for the quality and depth of our community. We now know we are here for each other, for support, comfort and to face the many challenges of recovery, in solidarity with each other and all who need us.
UUCMC is an institution that is capable of being a transforming presence in Monmouth County. It is a home, a safe haven, and an incubator for creating more justice and love in all the frightened and hurting places in our world. We have a vision of growth and expansion and of being that home and incubator for the many more people who are looking for liberal religion and transforming community.
We are right on the edge, and we are ready to grow. Your pledge of financial support for 2013-14, along with your best work and ideas, will be needed to cross us over into that new vision. An increase in your commitment will make it possible for us to grow in effectiveness, in ministry and in outreach. We owe this to the future and to a present that needs us to be strong right here in Monmouth County. We will cross the threshold if we stand together and put our whole selves into this first important step. Join me on March 17 as we make our commitment to each other real.
So stand tall, link arms, be brave, bold and generous. Let’s cross this threshold together!