Grow in Wonder, Connect in Love, Engage in Service, Inspire Generosity
By Alicia Hofler
This reflection was read aloud by its author from UUFP’s pulpit on Sunday, February 3, 2019.
The mission of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula is:
"Grow in Wonder. Connect in Love. Engage in Service. Inspire Generosity."
While our mission is an expression of how we at the UUFP see ourselves and want to be in the world, to me, it is also shorthand for being a good human being. It reminds us that we as people, co-inhabitants of the planet, are good and wonderful. It also implies that we have the capacity to stretch and expand, that we have the potential to be more, that we are not fixed in time. In a good way, though. Not in the admonishing way that a disappointed adult may say to a child that he/she/they “can do better than that” after having fallen short on some expectation or having met the letter of a request but not the intent. It does not imply somehow that we are holding back. It says instead that because we have inside us these gifts of curiosity, compassion, motivation, and caring that we have resources we can draw on to be more present and active in making positive change in ourselves and our communities.
Our mission reminds us that we are curious and want to learn. When we feed our curiosities and learn, we grow in wonder at the world around us, humanity’s capacity for good, the beauty of nature and the stars above. Growing in wonder opens us up to possibilities that we may have not considered previously.
Compassion gives us the ability to pause and consider the other in an interaction. Pausing lets us put “us” aside and leads to empathy, so in challenging situations, we can connect in love instead of confusion or frustration, emotions which would make it difficult or impossible for us to listen fully. Connecting in love allows us to bridge gaps in understanding and perspective while maintaining respect for different viewpoints and assumptions. This is when real connection with another individual happens.
Being motivated means we are eager, excited, and driven to act. Gathering together allows us to channel that motivation to address injustice and engage in service. Engaging in service is how we work for change in the world.
Caring directs our activities and keeps us engaged. It drives us to share our gifts and talents with the wider world. Inspiring generosity is how through our actions and deep sense of commitment that we awaken the potential in others to act.
I value and support the UUFP because it is a place that believes in itself and its congregants’ potential. Our mission embodies those beliefs, and by capturing our innate gifts and how we use them, it empowers us to continue to reach out for new experiences and become ever better human beings.
Thank you for listening.