It has been two years since we welcomed young people into our church for any kind of religious education program. Religious education at First Church has not been “at First Church” since March of 2019.
A church without people in it, a church without children in it, makes a church empty of what gives it life. I imagine those old stones, wood beams and carved faces yearning for the chatter, buzz and energy that only people who love can bring, and waiting patiently to be reunited with us. There will be a return, a renewal of our faith alive again in that space, it has already begun.
On a cold bright Saturday afternoon in February a small group of our youth returned to First Church to explore and wonder at its history. Each of them seemed a bit astonished to enter the space, returning to their memories of being there and seeing one another once again. I witnessed their sweet reminiscing about donuts and Legos, coupled with a new discovery of their faith ancestors’ stories build into the mortar and marked throughout the building, if you look carefully.
“We are links between ages, contain past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise. Only when we recognize that we are heirs can we truly be pioneers.” -Edward Sellner
Learning about the church’s history and the struggles and efforts of people who first called themselves Unitarians in Milwaukee has reconnected us with the taproot of our core beliefs. These beliefs are grounded in the regenerative power of truth seeking and justice making. The active force, within us for generations, that moves us to be willing to move to the beat of a different drummer, to work for marriage equality, sex education, economic justice, environmental protections, and civil rights. May our faith be renewed by those core beliefs and sacred memories, as well as the future promise.
Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Minister of Religious Education