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neil.jpgYou could have knocked me off my treadmill Saturday morning (Nov. 29) when I saw a Headline News segment featuring the Unity Church Unitarian of St. Paul, Minnesota. The report showed that they had held services on Black Friday. Their goal was to initiate a movement for what this holiday season should truly be about. For lack of a better phrase, we could call that Ethical Christmas (or Ethical Chanukah or Ethical Kwanzaa). Instead of Religious Christmas or Commercial Christmas, they proposed a balance between the religious aspects and the commercial aspects held together by the ethical idea of helping people in need.

Maybe this idea is in league with an emerging way for individuals and families to think about how they allocate their incomes. Instead of spending all and saving none (part of our current economic problem) or saving almost all and spending on just the bare essentials (which would create its own national economic problem), many families now see the need to balance their approach…and, along the way, take to heart the President Elect’s rejoinder to Rev. Rick Warren at Saddleback that we are our brother’s keepers.

How does this relate to our congregations during this Holiday period…during this season of economic stress? My sense of our situation is that these events allow us to step back, assess our congregational finances, and find our congregational sense of financial balance. That balance could reasonably include (a) ensuring we keep our doors open, the heat and electricity going and our ministers and staffs compensated fairly, (b) keeping our RE flourishing, (c) continuing our commitment to social action/social justice as each congregation sees fit, and (d)…you knew I was getting to this…supporting each other through our commitments to our UUA by way of our Annual Program Fund and our CMwD through our yearly donations closer to home.

Your APF wishes every UU congregation and its members (and everyone else for that matter) a fulfilling Holiday Season.

Neil Lichtman
Your CMwD APF Chair