Dear Friends at UUCM,
Many of you know me and I’m quite happy to say that I know you. Many of you have joined the congregation since my departure and I am reaching out to you as something of a stranger. It’s not often that a minister emeritus is called out of the mothballs to deliver a message, but these aren’t normal times, are they? I’m
grateful to Revs. Anya and Scott for inviting me to be in touch with you in this way.
Much of what you are going through as a congregation is unprecedented. These are scary times. The coronavirus is a threat to everything and everyone that lies in its path. While this menace hangs over us and these threats are largely unprecedented, there are past experiences of difficult times which can speak to
us. Perhaps precedents that are harbingers of hope.
I’m thinking of two experiences we shared during my ministry at UUCM. First was 9/11. In an instant our lives and our world were forever changed. I remember gathering together for worship on that first night. None of us knew how the new world was about to unfold; we only knew that we needed our spiritual community for support. We needed to pray together and to sing. We needed each other to find creative and loving ways to respond.
The second experience occurred seven years later when the markets crashed in 2008. Members of
the congregation lost income, lost jobs, lost fortunes, lost security. Again, we didn’t know how things
might evolve and again we joined together for worship, prayer, song, for creative and loving support.
Both of these experiences speak of hard times, but we made it through them. Made it through them
rather well, I think.
None of us know now how this COVID-19 experience is going to play out. There are surely many
challenges ahead, but I see plenty of reason for hope at UUCM. Yes, the way you gather just now is
new and it may be a little awkward, but how very creative! Technology allows you to virtually gather
in prayer, song and support until you can get together once again in that beautiful space at 67 Church
St. to continue these same practices in person.
You are not alone. With your historical foundations and ongoing connections, however challenging
these times might prove to be, you have one another. Therein, you have hope. As I have for so long, I
believe in you!
Keep the faith,
Rev. Charlie Ortman