Margaret Wheatley says: “Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing
exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending that we are individuals who can go it alone.”
At First Unitarian Church, the strength and health of our relationships with one another are essential to the strength and health of our church community.
Therefore, one important way that you can care for our church is to take time to become better acquainted with other people in our church.
It would be truly remarkable if every person in our church were personally acquainted with every other person in our church. Do you think that would be
a realistic goal? Consider this: With approximately four hundred adult members and friends at our church, we can estimate the number of interpersonal
relationships among us as approximately (400 x 400)/2 = 80,000. Eighty thousand relationships! That is a lot of relationships! And if we include the
one hundred or so children and youth in our church, then an estimate for the number of interpersonal relationships among us would be approximately
(500 x 500)/2 = 125,000.
Whether or not we could all become personally acquainted with one another remains to be seen. But it is a worthwhile aspiration nevertheless. And we can
all participate in that aspiration. If you are personally acquainted with six people at our church, why not expand that circle to ten people? If you
are personally acquainted with twenty people at our church, why not expand that circle to thirty people? If you are personally acquainted with one
hundred people at our church, why not expand that circle to one hundred and twenty-five? We could all do that. The quality and depth and effectiveness
of our church community would definitely grow as a result. Margaret Wheatley offers the following suggestions for fruitful conversations:
- We acknowledge one another as equals.
- We try to stay curious about each other.
- We recognize that we need each other’s help to become better listeners.
- We slow down so we have time to think and reflect.
- We remember that conversation is the natural way humans think together.
- We expect it to be messy at times.
But more important than following suggestions or guidelines or instructions is just taking the first step toward become better acquainted with someone
else in our church community. If you have been part of our church for many years, and all the people you know personally have also been part of our
church for many years, perhaps it is time for you to become better acquainted with someone who is new to our church. And if you are new to our church,
chances are that you will be more likely to feel that this is your religious home if you build relationships with others. In fact, research suggests
that people who build at least six friendships within the first six months of their arrival into a congregation are far more likely to stay connected
with that congregation.
Margaret Wheatley says, “Truly connecting with another human being gives us joy.” So add some joy to your life! Reach out! Build relationships! Connect
See you in church!