What is the common theological and moral grounding of our faith? Contemporary Unitarian Universalism might be summed up in this way: We believe that we all come from the same source, and that, ultimately, we are heading towards the same place and our destinies are intertwined. Therefore, we must protect the sources of all life on Earth, and we must work for the betterment of all people. Our very own lives depend upon understanding and living out these faithful beliefs.
Our annual theme invites us to Build the Beloved Community. It is about developing and learning how to use the tools that empower each of us to do our part to create spaces of justice, peace, and wholeness – spaces that feel like touching heaven on Earth. What does “heaven” in this sense look like?
Heaven is a place where the illusion of our separateness from one another and from our Earth is healed. It is a place where love reigns and where our actions are guided by love’s demands. It is a reality that we glimpse throughout our lives and that comes into existence when we are willing to do our part to repair the web of life.
Earth Day provides us with a reminder of the call to heal our relationship with our beloved planet. Too many of us lead lives that are disconnected from the wellbeing of our Earth and from the people and wildlife most disproportionately impacted by choices that don’t take the future into account. And, even those of us who are already on the journey towards conscious choices that promote conservation and renewal can benefit from asking ourselves: What new things can we do this year to lead in the direction of restorative balance?
There are multiple pathways for engagement around environmental justice and climate justice. First, we have the power as consumers to both consume less and to purchase wisely. Earlier this year, our board passed a resolution inviting all of us to think about reducing the resources we use in the day-to-day operations of our congregation. All of us can reach out to our new Energy Team for a consult (contact Linda Delap, firstname.lastname@example.org). Second, we are more than just consumers – we have the power to act as citizens and to vote for politicians and promote policies that contribute to clean water and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Consider joining the UU Legislative Ministry of NJ’s Taskforce on the Environment. Third, we can be involved in collective action as a community and through coalitions to participate in efforts to clean up natural habitats in our area and in opportunities for public witness. Currently, there is a fair amount of activity in our area around the Pilgrim Pipeline and lead levels in drinking water. Fourth, we can continue to educate ourselves about how to do better through our reading choices and by attending programs offered by our Green Earth Ministry. For other ideas, check out and sign up for Climate Justice Month at www.commit2respond.org.