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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Moore asks UU ministers, "Are you prepared?"

On Sunday 6 December, Rev. Diane Rollert, of the Unitarian Church of Montreal delivers the sermon "Dark Nights, Bright Stars" in which she talks about the Unitarian Universalist ministers’ October convention in Ottawa. Thomas Moore was featured speaker at the event and Rollert was one of twenty-five attendees whose name was drawn to attend Moore’s on-going workshop during the gathering. Rollert describes some of Moore's workshop activities and shares,
"On our last day together, Tom tells us about the phone conversation he has just had with his wife. Early in October, in their rural New Hampshire community, two teenage boys were arrested for killing a woman and injuring her daughter with a machete. His community has been in shock. These are boys they know, and no one can comprehend why they committed this murder. Psychologists and social workers were called in to the schools. Ultimately, the clergy were called upon to help the community make sense of the incomprehensible. Who else do you call in a crisis of faith but the clergy?

Now Tom is spending a week with us, a group of ministers who have placed all our concerns about leadership in the 21st Century on the table. He and his wife ask each other, are they prepared?

"What are you doing to prepare yourselves?" he asks us. As one of our colleagues said during the week, we may be living in the time of the great unravelling. How do we prepare ourselves to respond? Tom reminds us that in the great Indian traditions, gurus know from an early time in life that they are called to lead. They begin preparing themselves at an early age. They are "big" in their presence. "Are you prepared?" he asks. In his mind, the work that has to be done is the work of the soul.

We’ve known tragedy here in Montreal. I stand here beside fourteen candles burning in the memory of the fourteen women shot down in cold blood by an enraged young man at L’École Polytechnique, twenty years ago today. I remember the day a young man stormed Dawson College three years ago, harming many and killing one young woman. I remember how we gathered a group of students here so that they could talk in a neutral place outside of the school. At the end of the sharing of memories that so needed to be spoken, we gathered in a circle, we held hands, we lit a candle and I said a prayer. Were we prepared? Not really, but we are learning out of necessity.”
Rollert includes quotations from Moore’s Care of the Soul in her sermon as she describes soul needs.

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