“It takes a village,” shorthand for it takes a village to raise a child…but let’s take the abridgement on its own merit. A decade ago, I wrote a piece for the church newsletter about the way our church’s partner village of Homoródkeményfalva in Transylvania welcomed me and Dean McKennon with full-time English-speaking companionship. It was doable only because the entire village stepped up to provide child care for my interpreter Ági so that she and I could sit and talk and wander through the village snapping pictures. There were families that housed and fed and entertained us and helped us navigate on unfamiliar turf. Their care inspired me to set up a picnic table in my back yard and invite the neighbors in. I’ve been having Friday night picnics all summer for ten years now and my neighborhood is a more welcoming place because of it. It takes a village.

Our church is a village. When you first walked into our building, you were offered childcare, fed and entertained and helped to navigate on unfamiliar turf. And something else – you received companionship for your spiritual journey, in the worship service, and outside the sanctuary, as well. You received an opportunity to address your social justice concerns among other forward-thinking folks. You found friends. You found a way to be of use in your community. So that’s our village. The thing about a village, though, is that you have to pass it along to the new arrivals. You understand about passing the torch, making safe spaces, providing guidance for justice work. Our church has more than its share of teachers, medical professionals, civil rights lawyers, social workers. You know how to pay it forward. It’s time to invite the neighbors in.

We as a congregation are on the cusp of something quite remarkable, something that was passed down to us – UU values and a monetary endowment that has kept the lights on even as our numbers have failed to increase – by benefactors long gone. We are now in a new process of expanding our village, drawing the circle wider, spreading our benefaction outward with the offer of spirit and care and justice, just as our original benefactors did for us. Yes, it takes a village, but not unless we own up to being that village. So enlarge the circle with your heart, your invitation to care, to spirit, to justice, to friendship. Be that village.

Lyssa Andersson
UUCGL PresidentBoard of Trustees
February, 2018