The Olympics and Unitarian Universalism
The Olympics and Unitarian Universalism

The winter Olympics are in full swing in Sochi. The media report performance times, medal counts, stories of triumph and bitter disappointment. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, which is a good thing for me, because it turns snow and cold into assets rather than something to struggle against. In today’s news I heard of team Figure Skating, an event which proceeds all the individual and pair events that we are so familiar with. One skater dismissed it as something you just have to get through before the “real” work of her individual event, while another spoke of how the team event prepared her in very tangible and practical ways for personal excellence. Which got me to thinking about what Joan Van Becelaere wrote about last week – how sharing is mutual and reciprocal, not a one-way street where I bestow my wisdom upon you.

Every Olympic athlete and team has a coach, a person dedicated to developing excellence – the best that we can be. That coach will fail miserably if they assume what worked for them in another time or place should be repeated today in Sochi. Rather, to succeed, an athlete or a congregation needs to engage their unique talents and gifts with the wisdom and experience of their members, their neighbors (including UU congregations), their staff and that of the wider UU community. Team UU celebrates not only when one of our congregations achieves Gold Medal status, but when each of us shares our distinct way of transforming the world and pays attention to what works for others. We are, after all, our best coaches!

Karen LoBracco, Lifespan Faith Development Consultant
St. Lawrence and Ohio Meadville Districts

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