When I think of hospitality, one of the first things that comes to mind is physical space. Is there room for me? We reel with empathy in Forrest Gump’s “seat taken” scene as he tries to find an available seat on the school bus. We notice the long lines of people at the airport, worried that somehow their seat was taken. We become protective over “our seat,” or at least “our corner” at church when we find that a new person had taken it, blissfully unaware.
This search for physical space can influence our relationship with another kind of space: sociological space. Sociological space is about the ways we make room for people in our emotional and psychological worlds. The difference, though, is that while physical space is limited, sociological space is not. What’s more: keeping a practice of offering sociological space can help us to grow.
Mechtilde of Magdeburg, a 13th Century Christian Mystic once asked: “How shall we live?” She gave her own answer: “Live welcoming to all.”
What might “welcoming all” look like, at UUCGT? First, it doesn’t mean welcome the people just like you, or the people who you already know and like. “Welcoming all” asks a lot of us. It asks us to put ourselves out there- to talk with someone new during coffee hour, someone who might be thirty years older or younger than we are. It asks us to explain the inside joke to newcomers, and to say the long version of an acronym. It asks us to linger a little in the awkwardness of getting to know someone new, something not many actually enjoy doing, but something all of us had to go through as we formed the friendships we have today. Welcoming all might mean putting term limits on committee chairs so new leadership is truly encouraged, or it could mean that offering childcare at all UUCGT functions is a priority as a multigenerational community.
The thing is- there is no limit to sociological space. And the more we offer it, and structure our congregation so that we can offer it, the more it helps us to grow, personally, religiously, and numerically.
Blessings to you,
Mindful of our vibrant Congregational history and steadfastly committed to a strong future, we strive to promote good in the world and aid each other in ethical and spiritual development.
To this end, I willfully covenant to:
Welcome with open minds and hearts all who gather here;
Inspire and respect others, from youngest to oldest, on our various spiritual paths;
Assume good intentions, communicate directly, share ideas freely, listen willingly, disagree respectfully, and forgive easily;
Support the ministry of our Congregation through gifts of time, talent and money.
Encourage all voices to speak and be heard, as we participate in a collaborative and democratic process.
We provide a safe, caring community where all can freely explore diverse religious thought.
Our Sunday Service is at 10:30am.
Our services are varied. Some are led by our Interim Minister, the Rev. Cassie Howe; others are presented by visiting ministers, local speakers, and lay members of our congregation. Music is an integral part of each service. We invite you to attend several services to experience this variety and to get a fuller understanding of what we are all about. For weekly service information see our Sunday Service page.
Religious Education and Childcare are offered at 10:30.
We have a lively RE program for children. Our professional Director of Religious Education works with an RE committee to develop programs, which are led by volunteers from our congregation. We strive to partner with parents in raising children who are curious, courageous, and compassionate. The program includes Sunday activities, worship experiences, social gatherings, community service work, and multigenerational events. Child care for the youngest members of our community is also available.
UUCGT is a member of the UUA (The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations). As such, we covenant to affirm and promote:
• The inherent worth and dignity of every person
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth
in our congregations
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within
our congregations and in society at large
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
6726 Center Road
Traverse City, MI 49686-1802