BEYOND FOUR WALLS AND SUNDAY
by Rev. Robert Francis Murphy
Our church goes beyond Sunday. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs is more than a building. We provide sanctuary and support when it’s needed. Our programs are built on the foundation of unconditional love and religious liberalism.
That’s the major message for September. An explanation may be helpful.
The day that we officially open our church doors will be a great day for Pasco and Pinellas counties. Architects and artists and local historians will appreciate our good work, because our main building has been a local landmark for more than a hundred years. It’s a very attractive building that will continue to attract visitors for as far into the future as any of our friends can imagine.
Construction work on our sanctuary is now in progress. We hope and expect that our congregation will return to its home early next year. There will be a celebration, and then there will be another celebration when the Inness paintings go on display at our church. We’ll invite people from different groups and faith traditions to join us for these events.
Church buildings are important. However, some things are more important than bricks and mortar. We’re building something new for our region, because we’re needed in the twenty-first century. During recent months, our church has provided shelter for a Buddhist meditation group and for the Jewish congregation in Tarpon Springs. We’ve supported a quilting group, a community garden group, community meals programs, and some other projects. We work for a just and loving world, for all people.
We’re active in our region. We’re energetic, upbeat, and inclusive.
September 11th is the National Day of Service and Remembrance. On Monday night, September 11th, our congregation will join with other groups to honor first responders and to encourage community preparedness. We’ll remember the 9/11 tragedies. We’ll also reflect on the situation in today’s world. We want neighbors to help each other in response to climate change and other challenges.
Look for the rainbow flags that will be on display at our church offices in early October. Solidarity Sunday will be one of many days when we speak for human rights and human dignity. We’ll stand in solidarity with gay men, lesbians, bisexual people, and transgender people. In the past, religious groups have often been silent when compassion and courage were needed. Community life is changing.
As church construction proceeds, keep today’s message in mind. We’re creating something new for Florida. Our congregation will be a welcoming congregation. We’ll take the good news beyond Sunday and beyond September. There’s a need for liberal religion. We ask for your support.