Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed your holidays and found a balance of rest and connection. I missed you on Christmas Eve but am glad to report that my COVID symptoms were easy to manage and I’m doing just fine. We are back in full church swing after the holiday break and there’s a whole lot going on. I’m jazzed about what’s in store for us in the months to come!

This week’s theme has been showing up for justice – a great way to begin what’s going to be an intense year — an election, war overseas, and the continued need to fight for democracy and equality here in the USA.

Early Tuesday morning I gathered at the Commercial Street homeless encampment under the Casco Bay Bridge with my Portland clergy colleagues to offer moral witness to the City of Portland’s “sweep”. It was painful to watch, but important. The housing crisis in Portland is complicated. And it’s easy to intellectualize it. Watching the belongings of our most vulnerable neighbors bulldozed over brought me into the reality of its complexity even more deeply. And made so clear the need for a process more compassionate than bulldozers. If you’d like to learn more about the issue, I recommend this resource from Preble Street.

Wednesday, the opening day of the 2024 legislative session, brought a wildly successful Gun Safety Day of Action at the Maine State House in Augusta. Over ONE THOUSAND Mainers showed up to demand action to make our communities safer and keep people alive. It was a lively day.

This Sunday in worship, we’ll dig into what motivates us, fuels us, and guides us as we work for change in the world and aspire to live faithful, meaningful, justice-seeking lives as people of faith. You’ll be invited to pick a “Star Word” to carry as an intention for the coming year!

I wonder what my word will be… ? And what yours will be… and how we will move into this new year together as a community.

As the winter days and nights get colder, our friends at First Parish UU downtown are opening up their building as a warming shelter for our unhoused neighbors. I’ve been alerted that the overnight guests are in need of BLANKETS (used or new) and PILLOWS (new only please).   So, let’s start collecting!

Please take a look around at home and see if you have extra blankets. They, and any new pillows you’d like to purchase, can be dropped off at A2U2, M-F from 10-3 when the office is open. You can also bring them on Sunday to my office! I will coordinate drop-off downtown with Greater Portland Peer Services.

What a broken, beautiful world we inhabit. I am grateful to be in it. And for this fresh beginning. May it be so for you, too.

In faith,

Rev. Tara