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Rev. Michelle's Message July 7, 2022

Earlier this week, Paco, Alexander, and I traveled to Davis to spend the Fourth of July with some of Paco’s family. I had never been to Davis before and I have to say I was quite taken with this sweet little college town full of trees, huge grassy squares, hammocks, everyone riding bicycles, and more young people than I had seen in years. I had forgotten what it’s like to be in the presence of so many college-aged kids and how much I enjoy them. Every restaurant and little shop we entered was staffed with college kids (of course, it’s summer) and they were all so friendly, helpful, upbeat, and just so full of life. The diversity and social awareness I noted in Davis was also inspiring! There was evidence of racial/cultural diversity everywhere I looked—from the people I saw walking around to the vast array of ethnic cuisine available. There was evidence of LGBTQ awareness and sensitivity in the pride flags posted in most store/restaurant windows and the gender-neutral bathrooms I saw everywhere. In a little bookstore called The Avid Reader I picked up a beaded bracelet and a lapel pin that read “she/her.” The experience reminded me of the time I attended a Unity YOU Rally as part of my requirements for graduation from seminary, and I came back to UMB just so excited about what the young people are doing, how open they are, how they see the world, and what we can learn from them. This past week at UMB, Rev. Vicky talked in her Sunday lesson about the leadership council’s intention to hold a vision of expansion for our church going forward—not focusing on increasing numbers per se, but rather focusing on how we can touch more lives with our mission of being expressions of God’s love in the world. This is a vision and intention you are all invited to step into and to hold with us, as we look toward the future. One of the groups we would love to do a better job of reaching is young people. To this end, Jan Lindenthal-Cox’s daughter Maggie has offered to help us step up our social media presence. But more than just seeking new ways to reach young people, we have to take time to learn more about them. They are a different creature, for sure, but I find them wonderful, inspiring, and life-affirming. My trip to Davis was a great reminder to me that I really want to find ways to engage young people more—both in my regular life and in my ministry. I gently challenge each of you to try to find ways you can learn about and engage young people just a bit more in your life. They have so much to teach us and open us up to, and as cliché as it sounds, they are the future—both of our church and of our world! Many Blessings, Rev. Michelle


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