Creating Hope Together: Building Beloved Community

Building Beloved Community
by Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister

UUCA is the best place to be on a Sunday morning! It’s true. It is also true that what we create in this community cannot be contained by a single day in the week. In fact, I do not believe it can be contained to a single place. I am reminded of this when I’ve visited the Memorial Garden. It reminded me of how we are loved during our life and remembered and honored in death. Our beloved community is here for all of us, wherever we may be, because we built it together.

I am so thankful for this community we are building together: beloved, sacred, and precious. The fabric of this community gets woven in so many ways. Just walk along the wall of the Treehouse. See each person’s name on a leaf, attached to the mural. Peek into the Social Hall or the Religious Education classrooms. From Sunday coffee hour; to the gatherings of 8-10 people in small groups and covenant groups, we are building friendships of mind and heart and spirit.
 

In a society that is becoming increasingly lonelier, we are creating a space for deep connection and revolutionary love. It goes against everything we stand for, for people to feel like they must park a part of their identity at the door in order to participate in the community’s life. We are finding ways for people whose identities are marginalized and erased in the larger world to be honored and represented here at UUCA. People can show up as their full authentic selves and be welcomed, heard, and loved. 

We build community when we engage with our fellow congregants in our social groups, like Forever Young and TBD. We build it by supporting each other in identity groups like our LGBTQ community and the Whitney Young Society. In all these ways and more, we’re transforming loneliness into a sense of belonging. 

 
And let’s not forget about one of the most powerful ways we are becoming Beloved: how we are here for each other when the chips are down. Our Lay Ministers are specially trained to listen and comfort, expanding our pastoral care network and growing the reach of our UUCA ministry. We have a growing group of congregants whose focus is to visit the homebound. And our Covenant of Healthy Relationships is a powerful symbol of how we “need not think alike to love alike”—how we can be in respectful relationship with each other despite our differences. 

Our work of building Beloved Community is work we do together—and the result is …. hope!