Community and Generosity – A Blog Post By Beth Elliot

Life is throwing a lot at us right now.

I am very aware of the way that the universe is giving me the chance to have more empathy. My respect for Ingrid and her ability to cheerfully thrive while not being able to step outside the door for more than 2 years has been in the forefront in my mind. She is such an inspiration, in so many ways, but now more than ever I wish to follow her example of continued hard work and good spirits. 

I also can’t help but notice that the things that help me cope in these scary times are also the areas for which I am responsible in church: Community and Generosity. 

Thoughts and words are powerful, so when I read an article that encouraged us to replace the term “shelter in place” with “stay at home,” and “social distancing” with “physical distancing” I was immediately trying to adapt. Using the more positive phrase can have an important impact on how we think and feel about things. This is a time we need community more than ever. While most of us are staying at home and physically distancing ourselves, we are also reaching out in the ways we can. 

The other evening, at our online Community Night, Tom Zanoni mentioned that he has spoken more with his family in the last month than he usually does. This resonates with me, as well. I have had lots of people from different aspects of my life all reach out and see how I am doing and have found myself also reaching out to people with whom I have not connected in a long while. Strengthening our social bonds, even as we must be physically apart, is important to our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Could you use this unprecedented moment as a good excuse to reach out to someone in the  UUCB community that you have not seen in awhile? 

UUCB is working hard to ensure that we continue to have our services and programs. If you need help learning the technology, please reach out to us. If you are new to the community and have not yet had time to build strong social bonds, we are creating a chance for our community to continue to make new friends. We will be introducing a program of Relational Conversations. These one-on-one phone or Zoom conversations will enable us to get to know each other, or get to know each other better. Look for the notice in an upcoming church newsletter and be sure to email me if you want to try it out. DirectorUUCB@gmail.com

I also feel better when I have the chance to be generous. Helping others is one of my spiritual practices. Moments like this can remind us of all for which we can be grateful and all the ways we can honor other’s challenges. Do you know someone who is experiencing homelessness? Food insecurity? Lost their job/business? Is trapped at home with an abuser? Experiencing racist attacks? Struggling with addiction? Lost someone to Covid-19?

As an individual, we can feel helpless in the face of such overwhelming issues. This is, for me, one of the reasons I find such meaning in being part of a church community. Together we have the resources to tackle such daunting tasks. There is power when like-minded people come together for right actions.

Our church, and the larger community of Unitarian Universalism, are the muscle we need to do the work ahead. UUCB provides comfort, community, and positive action. Everything we need to face the chaos of the world. People want to make a difference. People want to be part of something larger than themselves. One simple way to do all this is to pledge to this community. Let’s all renew our commitment, whether you are able to pledge financially, or pledge to share your time, energy, and talents. Thank you for being part of this extraordinary community. 

 

I am holding you all in my heart. 

 

Beth Elliot

Director of Congregational Life