Minister's Corner Archive

February 2013

The Rev. Wendy Pantoja

When I was little, I remember many a school celebrations of Brotherhood Week in February. And while I recall a vague message about getting along with others, it is the big international potluck luncheon at the end of the week that I remember best. It was the only time that Puerto Rican and other ethnic foods were served in school.  

I also remember some of the other girls and I asking about when we would be celebrating Sisterhood Week. Some teachers answered patiently that sisterhood was included in Brotherhood Week while others just rolled their eyes and went on to another subject.

Those girls and I knew that sisterhood was included but I guess it was our way of protesting a gender exclusive term for an otherwise lovely concept. If I were to name it today, I would call it Hospitality Week—better still Hospitality Month. One internet dictionary tells us that hospitality has to do with “promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome.” Imagine if each time we came face to face we greeted each other as if we were meeting special guests for the first time. 

In recent years, congregations have been talking about hospitality, a word more inclusive than brotherhood or sisterhood. In a brochure, the Reverend Peter Morales wrote:

    “Hospitality, true hospitality, is emotionally powerful. It touches something very deep in us—our profound human      
    longing to feel accepted, to belong, to be loved, to feel safe, to be valued and respected. Hospitality is not something
    to be proclaimed; it must be lived. Hospitality is both a spiritual discipline and an expression of spiritual health.”

I must say that here at UUCM we do a pretty good job of it. On Sunday mornings I often hear the greeters outside my study door interacting with visitors. It is a joy to hear the exchanges. We also like to serve a vegetarian-friendly lunch on Sunday instead of just coffee and cookies. This allows us to sit together longer and get to know each other better.

During this month of love, let us lift hospitality to a new level. Let us make sure to express our gratitude to those who share their gifts so generously. Let us welcome the stranger and each other as the most important people we are happy to have in our company. Let us be the religious community that cares for and honors the sacred in everyone.

En paz y fe,
Rev. Wendypaz

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