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Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

Beloved Community has never been a more important concept. We are entering the height of the coronavirus pandemic, even as vaccines are being distributed. We are wrestling with the evils of white supremacy, even as we have just rid ourselves of its demagogue. We are in the midst of the coldest days of winter, even as we anticipate spring just around the corner. This is a time of paradoxes and tensions, of danger and hope. It is a time to reflect on who we are, and dive deeply into who we wish to become.

Following the work of theologian and civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, our work to build the Beloved Community must undo the evils of racism. In Dr. King’s philosophy, racism was fundamentally connected to the evils of poverty and militarism as well. At his time, observing the pain of deep poverty, the Vietnam war, and segregation, Dr. King said the Beloved Community would be a place without these three evils. How might we make connections between racism, poverty, and the threat or use of force today?

Our congregation often talks about itself as a beloved community, meaning a community that is beloved to me. What relationship does this understanding of beloved community have with Dr. King’s theological concept of the Beloved Community? How can we use the theological concept to reflect and deepen our own understanding of who we are, and who we might become?

February in Wisconsin is often a cold, dark time when the winter blues threaten mightily, and gathering with community is more important than ever. This February, when the coronavirus pandemic prevents us from gathering in person with one another, may we find each other virtually, online and in the written word, on the telephone, and in one another’s hearts.

Sending love to you,

Jennifer

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