The Rev. Wendy Pantoja
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer
As we come to the close of this year’s annual budget drive, I am reminded that these words express why we invest in this religious community. Here we have found connections with people of liberal religious views—people who value the freedom of thought, the ever-liberating experience that search for meaning brings to our lives, and especially the importance of cultivating compassionate and just relationships with friends as well as with people we do not know and may never meet.
Seventy years ago, a group of liberal religious transplants from New England saw the importance of kindling a fire of liberal religious faith. Sparked by a rabbi and other liberal freethinkers they established what is today known as the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Miami.
Twenty-five years later, the state decided it needed the specific plot of land on which they had built their religious home. But rather than extinguish the flame, they took stock of how much their light had grown and decided to relocate. This time they went out to the “boondocks” of South Miami to build their new religious home. Here they became the spark that rekindled the light of many others and so the congregation grew.
Today we may not be as numerous as we were some years back. But our light still shines. Every Sunday I see new faces of people who have been attracted by a liberal religious glimmer that has risen above the fog and smog that everyday life can create. It is a glimmer that transcends many barriers, including language. In recent weeks, a couple of individuals approached me about starting a Spanish-language covenant group. This was one of my hopes of what could be here when I accepted the call to this congregation. And, it was your hope as well when you extended the invitation. Finally a need has been expressed and we have the opportunity to make the light of liberal religion shine even brighter.
I am in deep gratitude of that small group that seventy-five years ago lit the beacon that is this congregation. I am in deep gratitude of the larger group that made the decision to relocate fifty years ago. I am in deep gratitude of all those who have seen the importance of keeping the light of this congregation kindled with their financial pledges and devoted work through the years and especially this year. May we continue to grow in spirit, in generosity, and in love. And may our light shine, shine, shine!
En paz y fe,
Contact the Minister
Minister’s Office Hours
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 1 PM – 5 PM*
Monday: day off
Friday: Sermon writing day
Saturday: reserved for special meetings and other events
Please know that this schedule is subject to change in order to meet other ministerial and denominational responsibilities. It will also be revised over the course of the year in response to congregational needs.
Rev. Wendy is available by telephone 9 AM – 8 PM except on her days off. Emergency calls will be accepted at any time.
*It is always best to call for an appointment. If these hours do not accommodate your schedule, please do not hesitate to call for an appointment at a mutually convenient time.