A Pastoral Letter from Reverend William G. Sinkford, UUA President
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2
The troubles in our world are many and overwhelming. And yet today there are two crises that are unusually traumatic and vividly present to us since both have touched our global Unitarian/Universalist family.
I am sure that you have been paying attention to the reporting about the post-election violence in Kenya, as well as to the harrowing events occurring in Pakistan – preceding and following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. I am sure that your hearts and souls have been troubled. I am sure, because I have been troubled as well.
Many of you are also aware that Unitarian/Universalists in Kenya and Pakistan are among those who have suffered directly. We have received reports that the home of a Unitarian pastor in Kenya was among those that have been burned to the ground, and that many Unitarian families are among the nearly 500,000 newly displaced people in Kenya.
And on Thursday, January 10th, we received a report that two members of the Unitarian Universalist Christians of Pakistan were among the 23 people killed during a suicide bombing in Lahore.
As a faith community, let us first Gather the Spirit, and then Harvest the Power in response to the violence in these two regions.
Would you join me in a Prayer in a Time of Mourning:
The deaths of our brothers and sisters – by virtue of both faith and humanity – have shaken us.
The chaos of homes burned to ashes, of explosions that have killed innocents – have shaken us.
Stories of these events have reached our ears and our hearts, though we are more than an ocean away.
And we are left staggering.
Yet shaken down with despair, we raise our eyes to the rock that is higher,
And we find inspiration not only in our own communities of faith, but from the very places where these atrocities are occurring.
Because we hear from the very same places that Freedom and Justice are still on the lips of our brothers and sisters there:
That Hope remains alive, That Compassion is still at work, That the Dawn of a New Day is yet within sight.
So, we will join our brothers and sisters in crying unto thee: “LEAD US ALL TO THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER.”
Spirit of Life, be with us and help us be healers in this hurting world. Inspire us to confront injustice with the power of love. And show us how to make the power of love real and tangible; we know this is the work that we are called to do.
Amen. Now, let us Harvest the Power. A joint Unitarian Universalist Service Committee/Unitarian Universalist Association Kenya Crisis Fund has recently been established. Please consider contributing to this effort to provide emergency assistance. The UUSC is working in Kenya with long-time, grassroots partners and relief organizations. In addition, the UUSC is sending a delegation to Kenya to meet with regional partner groups, community members and leaders, and humanitarian specialists. You can read more about the UUSC’s work in Kenya and contribute to the fund here: http://www.uusc.org/info/Kenyaarticle011408.html, or you can mail your contribution to:
UUSC-UUA Kenya Crisis Fund Unitarian Universalist Service Committee PO Box 845259 Boston, MA 02284-5259
Please make checks payable to “Kenya Crisis Fund.”
For information about supporting relief efforts in Pakistan, please contact the International Resources Office at the UUA: email@example.com.
Thank you for supporting these vulnerable communities during a time of urgent need. We may not be able to stop the tide of violence, but we can assist those in harm’s way as we bear witness for a more just world community.
In Faith,Bill Sinkford President, UUA