In a faith tied together by principles and choice not by doctrine and creed there are times to wonder what is it we share at our deepest level? In the Christian churches, often regardless of denomination, there is a shared liturgical calendar marking the rhythms of the year, the scriptures read and stories told.

A Baptist in Ellsworth can attend a church in Belfast and know exactly what will be discussed and what readings they will hear. Perhaps that is a good thing or not, but it does bind together all of those who share that religious tradition. A bond of deepening and familiarity is possible among them.

There is a saying often shared among UU’s that when you’ve been to one UU church…You’ve been to one UU church. We are all different. And in so many ways that is a gift and strength in our movement. I think it is also true that when you’ve met one UU member…You’ve met one UU member. Again, there is beauty and resilience in our individuality, in our differing beliefs and traditions, in our unique histories and priorities. But sometimes…wouldn’t it be nice to know that we are all exploring the same topic? Sometimes, wouldn’t it be exciting to have a focus that we share and grow into and learn about? Could it be comforting to know that sister churches all over the country are having the same conversations as well?

This is the opportunity that Soul Matters provides. The team at Soul Matters UU puts together monthly themes and resource packets for congregations to explore and work with throughout the church year. There are close to 200 UU churches across the country who subscribe to this program. It grows every year and now the UU Church of Belfast is one of them. Each month the Soul Matters packet will come to you through email. In it you will find an essay on the theme. For the month of December is was Hope. For January, it is Intention. There are quotes and poems, chalice lightings, stories, questions to reflect on, exercises to do and music to enjoy. Soul Matters materials offer a chance for individuals to be spiritually nourished in their own homes, it offers substance for family conversations around the dinner table about elements of our lives and our growing. In the church proper these themes and their supporting materials can be used as jumping off points for service creations and sermons, for RE study and for small group discussions. How wonderful would it be to know that in every committee meeting from Finance to the Council, Lifespan and Worship Arts to Building Maintenance and the Space Team were all lighting a chalice with the same theme. Perhaps even doing a check in using the theme as a focus?

There are inspiring opportunities here to connect ourselves more deeply to each other and to the greater UU world. I HOPE you will give it a try, ask questions, take risks and experiment with what this program has to offer. I know for me, I have the INTENTION…to use this resource as a connecting tool in my own work here at your beloved church. I look forward to being with you as you explore the gifts of this new endeavor.

All of my very best. –Amy Fiorilli, Your Ministerial Intern