Over the last couple of weeks, I have attended three of the Accessibility Building Project capital campaign receptions. I am full of gratitude for the generosity of this congregation and your willingness to support what is an important expression of our commitment to our Unitarian Universalist values for the long run although an expensive and disruptive enterprise, in the short term. I have shared the following words by Kenneth Patton (#444 in Singing the Living Tradition) as a chalice lighting at a couple of these receptions. Patton, a Universalist minister, was a naturalistic humanist and a gifted worship leader who believed in bringing beauty through art, music, and poetry from all the world’s religions and the natural world into the sanctuary.
"This House”
This house is for the ingathering of nature and human nature.
It is a house of friendships, a haven in trouble, an open room for the encouragement of our struggle.
It is a house of freedom, guarding the dignity and worth of every person.
It offers a platform for the free voice, for declaring, both in times of security and danger, the full and undivided conflict of opinion.
It is a house of truth-seeking, where scientists can encourage devotion to their quest, where mystics can abide in a community of searchers.
It is a house of art, adorning its celebrations with melodies and handiworks.
It is a house of prophecy, outrunning times past and times present in visions of growth and progress. This house is a cradle for our dreams, the workshop of our common endeavor.
I have seen many of these things play out over the last month. I know this to be a house where a family was welcomed and supported in mourning the death of their father, brother, uncle, and friend. I know this to be a house where our youth felt empowered to share their beliefs and experiences, not just with one another but with adults who listen and take them seriously. I know this to be a house where people, moved by the call for justice, equity and compassion for human relations and care for the earth, empowered and accompanied one another to bear witness for justice and peace in the streets. I know this to be a house where when people are ill or injured in body or spirit, they held in an embrace embodied by meals, calls, cards, and prayer shawls. I know this to be a house where music and melodies lift our spirits. I know this to be a house to be the workshop where we practice our best intentions to live into beloved community, knowing that because we are human, we will fail and yet, that this common endeavor is worth our commitment to keep at it.
It is a difficult time in our country. Many people feel that their freedoms and even their lives are at risk. Our house has become even more important to me for all the reasons Patton lists. It is our sanctuary, the place where we can gather to be renewed in mind, body and spirit and recalled to our deepest purpose, our sacred why.

Rev. Ellen