You know how it is when you sit in church on a Sunday morning and you hear the news that someone in
the church community has died? Maybe it’s someone who moved away to Florida before your time and
the impact is small, but maybe it’s someone you once taught Sunday School with or chatted with over
banana bread and coffee and Celeste’s shrimp cocktail. If you’re lucky, Joe was a regular church
attendee – as much as he was able – during his illness or old age, and you were able to walk his journey
with him. You helped to support him, Sunday by Sunday, as his needs increased, and there was that time
you brought soup when his daughter came home to care for him; and he helped you to see the grace
with which one can move from this realm to the next. Not so lucky with Jane, who, fearing pity or her
own weakness, couldn’t face the community of which she was so dearly a part, and went it alone with
only her small circle to share that guidance.

Then there are the not-quite-deaths that can tear us apart inside. Believe me, I know about this part.
Why aren’t you sitting in the pews on Sunday morning, soaking up the kindness of your community?
Those pews are filled with people who chose Unitarian Universalism because it is not judgmental,
because it supports their wish to promote justice in the world, because it encourages small group
ministry both formal and informal, because love is its doctrine and service its prayer. Your past
experiences have guided you to our pews. You don’t know your future, but you do know that you can
help or be helped by your church community only if you put your butt in the pew and pay attention.
Pastoral care is not about calling the minister in a crisis…well, it is, but not only about that. It’s about
reaching in to help and reaching out for help – sometimes in that order and sometimes the reverse – but
never ever just a one-way street. You want to ease the pain of a thorny world, but it’s too much to even
contemplate sometimes. Okay, take small bites. Make Sundays in church a priority. Join a committee or
ministry team or small group of your choice – it’s not a church requirement; it’s a personal requirement.
Talk to someone you don’t know. Thank the person(s) who served the great snacks at fellowship hour.
Wear your name tag.

We are all in pain and we are all able to seek help and offer help, so do it. Sit your butt in the pew and
do it.Yes, reach out when others need, but don’t forget to reach in when the need is yours.

Lyssa Andersson
UUCGL PresidentBoard of Trustees
April, 2018