What Does “Community” Mean in 2023?

Last Sunday, I told the story about the “Dedham Decision” – a pivotal story in Unitarianism. In a very concrete way, the Dedham decision was about defining what it means to be a community. This is a question that we think about at Live Oak – how do we reach out into our wider parish, and what is our role as THE liberal church in this area?

But our community is also the people who are explicitly part of this congregation. What does it mean to be a community of people who have committed to being members of Live Oak UU Church? Growing up, some of the people I considered to be honorary aunts and uncles were the people my parents had become friends with at church, decades previous. They made lifelong friendships and were in each other’s lives in a deep and lasting way.

The work that we do out in our wider community is important. This coming Sunday, I will gather with other Live Oakers on the Williamson County Courthouse Lawn to call for the confederate statue to be moved away from the courthouse. (More information below.) Part of building the Beloved Community means removing from places of honor the artifacts that represent the effort to uphold white supremacy and the enslavement of other humans. Especially in a place of justice!

And, the work that we do in building a close-knit church is equally important. We are building friendships. We are learning to care for each other, and to allow ourselves to be cared for. Things like Bonfire, Sing-along, & S’mores are more precious than they might appear because they become moments that make up the tapestry of memories we are weaving in this church.

It is a counter-cultural thing that we do. I continue to marvel at it. A group of people, similar in values, deciding to live interconnected lives with one another. To be there for each other for the joys and sorrows of living. And as you’ll hear this coming Sunday, it is a decision that can make a profound difference in your life.