ASC Minister’s May Message

Each year, Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries, but it has been important and inspiring to me to recall the origins of this holiday. Here in the United States, we go back in history to 1870, when Julia Ward Howe – a Unitarian and abolitionist best remembered as the poet who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – worked to establish a Mother’s Peace Day. Howe dedicated the celebration to the eradication of war, and organized festivities in Boston for years. It has been estimated that 620,000 soldiers died in our Civil War between 1861 -1865 and Howe’s call for women, for mothers to rise up for peace came out of this tragic and challenging time. Arise then…women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts!… We expand her words in the call:  Arise then… people of this day! Arise, all people who have hearts! There are people all around the world with this call today. We need to hear and heed that call, still and again and always, helping to further peace within ourselves, in our communities, and across the world wherever there is war and violence. We have a special performance event coming on Thursday, May 2nd at our church! Activist singer/songwriting and folk music icons, Sally Rogers, Claudia Schmidt and Emma’s Revolution join together for their second “Every Day is Mother’s Day Tour” to celebrates women’s voices (we ALL have mothers!). The performers share the stage to create powerful four-part harmonies to, as Pat says, “Lift up mothers and foremothers, trail blazers and hell raisers of all kinds.” Sally adds, “The actions we can take and the songs we can sing to make this world a better place are the focus of our liveswork and will take center stage in these concerts.” Sandy continues, “War disproportionately affects women and children and so we have chosen to make this concert a fundraiser for the Standing Together Movement, who are a movement of Jewish and Palestinian Israelis for a just & shared future.” In this time of conflict, Standing Together has focused their years of community-building activism for peace, equality, and social and climate justice to fight for life, freedom and safety for Palestinians and Israelis. A portion of funds raised this evening will go to Standing Together’s ongoing grassroots work to end the war to save innocent lives in Gaza and release the hostages, and their long-term work building the movement for peace, justice and equality in Israel-Palestine. Gratitude to George Carvill for coordinating this special event.

Pluralism is this month’s SoulMatters theme and when I explored the difference between diversity and pluralism, I appreciated this definition:  “Diversity is simply the existence of multiple cultures alongside one another; pluralism takes diversity a step further, describing the sense of engagement and community between each of these cultures.” []

To imagine pluralism inviting engagement, a relationship between people and cultures, even among humans and the animal kingdom, and our environment allows for an expansive, broader and deeper view. May we embrace the pluralism that enlivens and creates a community and world, finding the common threads that bind us together.

On Sunday, May 19th in our worship service, and at our Annual Meeting, we will reflect and celebrate on our year together, and the work we have done in order to build, nurture and sustain our All Souls community. We build our church on a foundation of love, and covenant with one another: to freely explore our values and honor our diversity as a source of communal strength, to accept responsibility for our individual acts and promote justice and peace….
May the work that we do, the inspiration we find in each other, the care we offer and receive, the creativity we offer, guide and strengthen our community, allowing us to continue to build a welcoming, diverse and vibrant congregation. I am so proud and inspired to serve as your minister.

Blessings, Rev. Telos