Nov. 21, 2018

Dear Members and Friends of Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists:

Diana Eck explains in her book Encountering God: Tolerance does not take us far with ideas that challenge our own. For a majority of people, tolerance is simply another expression of privilege. As the philosopher Elizabeth Spelman puts it, “If one is in a position to allow someone else to do something, one is also in a position to keep that person from doing it. To tolerate your speaking is to refrain from exercising the power I have to keep you from speaking. . . . And of course I don’t have to listen to what you have to say. . . . Tolerance is easy if those who are asked to express it needn’t change a whit.”  

One of the things I love most about our Unitarian Universalist community is that we are learning together how to cherish one another in all our diversity, not merely to tolerate one another.  As I look out from my place on the chancel on Sunday mornings or when I enter our social hall after worship. I love seeing all of you delighting in one another – young and old, gay and straight, people of color and white folks – all of you together, talking, laughing … connecting.  We can always do this more fully, of course; we are all products of a culture and a history that have conspired to keep us apart.  Our love for one another – like the love that Jesus and the Buddha and Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa, and likely countless other unnamed prophets taught – is a subversive act.  Let us continue, especially in this season of the harvest, to express our gratitude for this beautiful world and all of creation, by truly loving and caring for one another and our earthly home.

I am so grateful for this time with you.  I am away over this Thanksgiving holiday, spending time with my beloved Dale in our home in Massachusetts and with our family.  Callie and I spent a long day in the car, but we made it here ahead of the snow, which is now gently falling as I write this.

This Sunday, 11/25, longtime member Howard Adams will lead worship.  Howard is an amazing storyteller, and on Sunday he will talk about gratitude.  I’m sure you will all be spiritually nourished by this worship service. Next Sunday (12/2), we will welcome several babies and children into our community of faith in a child dedication ceremony during worship.  Parents, if you have a child who hasn’t yet been dedicated, there is still time for you to join in this celebration, the first child dedication in our new building! Please contact DRE Sally Daniel [email protected] or me by Tuesday, 11/29 if you would like to include your child.

Peace and love to you all,


The Reverend Justine Sullivan
Interim Minister, Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists
[email protected]