Leader Letter

Subscribing congregations should share this letter with congregational leaders.  Being oriented to the month’s theme, and equipped to help others in the congregation get aligned with it, builds the whole congregation’s engagement with the theme.  Which, of course, means unity and energy for the community.

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Dear Leaders,

Recently, at a conference, I heard Rev. Laura Everett give a talk about mending. For the last couple of years, she has been studying the simple domestic work of mending--primarily clothing and other fabrics, but also furniture and other household goods. Everett's effort, in part, is to draw attention to the creativity and resilience in ordinary households, most often performed by women whose names never made the history books. But she also invites reflection on the nature of mending itself, and its counter-cultural implications in a throwaway world. She read to conference attendees literature from the World War II era, in which mending is encouraged and praised as a branch of national service--in which households were not drawing away resources from materials needed for warfare.  Then, she read a pamphlet from the 1960s, in which mending is presented as a necessary obligation.  She points out that these sorts of pamphlets go away in the 1980s and 1990s, when people are no longer expected (much less encouraged) to mend what they own.  They're expected to throw away anything that has gotten a hole or a tear.

The analogies to relationships are unavoidable.  If are not learning and practicing the habits of mending, or restoration, in our relationships to things, what does it say about our relationship with one another, and with our communities?  If we are primed to only delight in novelty, or unblemished and store-bought products, will we have the habits of hanging in there in our relationships with one another, and together in community? Sustainability is a quiet and unflashy virtue, but one much needed in the age of environmental catastrophe.

Can we practice sustainability in our relationships?  Can we learn the craft of restoration between ourselves? Rev. Everett points out that, in clothing, it's places of intersection and movement that wear out the first--the knees, the elbows, the shoulders. In our relationships, if we were moved toward acts of restoration, we would notice where things were growing thin and threadbare, and would act to prevent further tearing or erosion, building up patches that could be flexible and durable, enough to sustain further wear.

Think of the restoration projects before you, in your relationships, today.  What are the ways you can bring healing and restoration to them?

Faithfully,

Jake

Rev. Jake Morrill
Lead Minister ORUUC
Executive Director UUCF
Launchpad Partner