Extremism can flourish only in an environment where basic governmental social responsibility for the welfare of the people is neglected. Political dictatorship and social hopelessness create the desperation that fuels religious extremism. ~ Benazir Bhutto

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good. ~ Maya Angelou

Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and weaker, we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom. ~ Nelson Mandela

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility. ~ Peter Drucker

We always hear about the rights of democracy, but the major responsibility of it is participation. ~ Wynton Marsalis

Choice is more than picking ‘x’ over ‘y.’ It is a responsibility to separate the meaningful and the uplifting from the trivial and the disheartening. It is the only tool we have that enables us to go from who we are today to who we want to be tomorrow. ~ Sheena Iyengar

Thinking of You U ~ Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst

It is hard for a minister to not feel responsible in December. There are so many expectations for just the right Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, New Year notes to be struck. A few of us ignore the whole messy celebration, but it’s hard not to get caught up in it. Who wouldn’t hope for a little joy in the midst of the dark and dangerous world we inhabit? The crisis only worsens as we slog through shorter days and longer nights.

As much as I might wish to make short work of it, the season demands we take our time, be patient with all we cannot know, be still, be silent. We will turn the corner, we will light a candle and see the birth of hope again. It really does happen! We’ll get each other to that moment one day and one night at a time.

​I say this as much for you as for me – do not stop seeking peace. Do not give in to darkness and despair. Look for Love in the blessing of today and there we will find merry, peaceful, happy, whole and holy – waiting all along.

May the blessings of this season keep you warm,
Rev. Virginia