One assignment our Summer Seminary (#UUSumSem) program students receive is writing a 3-5 minute homily based on a prompt. On Saturday night they presented their homilies to each other, and then voted to select the five they wanted to represent their class during worship on Sunday Morning at First Unitarian Church of Oakland, CA. Here Summer Seminarian Libby Palmer imagines the future of Unitarian Universalism by examining its past, and describes a vibrant movement, strengthened by faith.
Watch now as Libby Palmer Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Summer Seminary 2016 Grad delivers her homily, “Faith and Trust”, during First Unitarian Church of Oakland, CA. Sunday Worship:
Learn about Summer Seminary, a program of the UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.Read the transcript of Libby’s homily:
LIBBY PALMER: Good morning.
CONGREGATION: Good morning.
LIBBY PALMER: Through the influence of the Divine or just because of random luck, I have been asked to speak about the future of Unitarian Universalism --
-- specifically, what it will look like in 20 years and how we are going to get there. Before I could get very far, I realized I would have to do some research and figure out what UUs are capable of accomplishing in two decades. So I went to the internet, and I learned about the year 1996. It was a year before my parents were married, three years before I was born, and Pokemon Red and Blue was released.
One of the most notable things about the year 1996 was that UUA officially passed a resolution in full support of marriage equality.CONGREGATION: Yay! LIBBY PALMER: [CHUCKLES] . [APPLAUSE]
When I imagine Unitarian Universalism in 20 years, a lot remains the same. Committees and congregants still disagree on what flowers to use or what budget to pass. Our youth still learn about neighboring face and healthy relationships between friends and partners. And our seven principles remain as solid as ever. My hope, however, is that by the year 2036, a cultural shift will have taken place, one that allows us to freely use the Unitarian Universalist f-word-- faith.
I think we are afraid to use this word, because many of us have a damaged experience with it. In addition, we like science and logic. And faith often feels like it is in conflict with these ideas. But the thing is, Darwin had faith in his theory of evolution. And just because you no longer have faith in one idea or entity doesn't mean you can't have faith in yourself or in family or community.
For me, faith is the firm belief that something infinite and indescribable exists in our universe. Faith is a word, like love or hope, that has the power to evoke strong passion and emotion. And by not using it, we are missing out, because unlike hope, which encompasses a great wish or aspiration, faith represents complete trust.
In 20 years, I see myself at age 36, attending an intergenerational service that stars my nieces and nephews. It will be chaotic and fun. But one of the most memorable moments will be when a high school student takes the stage. They have been given the question, what will Unitarian Universalism look like in 20 years? They'll start with the past, describing an era of Black Lives Matter and Pokemon Go and the people who listened to the songs in their hearts and had the courage to find their faith.[APPLAUSE]