Rev. Barnaby Feder, Minister
Rev. Barnaby Feder, Minister

As we gather for my 8th year as your minister, I remain convinced that Addison County and the world beyond need a thriving Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society. But I am also wondering more than ever just how we will make that happen. We live in a society constantly pushing and pulling us away from congregational life.

The pressure could make me anxious. Every now and then they do, to be honest. But wondering about them excites me because, as Rev. Lynn Ungar recently wrote in Quest, the monthly newsletter of the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship, “I wonder” is “a magic phrase.”   

How will CVUUS serve an aging population while attracting many more families that see a community like ours as a source of inspiration and comfort in their hectic lives? I wonder! How will we respond to the injustices, ugliness, and environmental threats around us without drowning in bitterness or despair? I wonder! 

The good news is, as Rev. Ungar so truthfully puts it, “When we start with wondering, we are never wrong,” 

Our willingness to wonder protects us from the arrogance of dogmatic claims. It turns us away from blind hatred. It undermines rigid behavior. Wondering steers us toward science but it works just as well with spiritual questions like “what might God be like” or “how will I come to the end of my life feeling I have fully lived.” 

But what happens after we start with wonder. I would add, “When we stop there, we never love.” Our faith calls us to wonder and then respond lovingly. Just the way my new English shepherd dog, Pan, always wants to know where I am, I always want to know where Love lives in the answers we are proposing for our congregation’s pressing questions.

I’ve learned that you are amazing guides in that search. May you recognize that gift in each other. And may all the newcomers we will welcome into our faith community in the months and years to come see it too….

Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby