I just returned from a week of work in Boston. I’m exhilarated by my trip for several reasons. First, Boston in late September is glorious. The weather was mild — warm without being hot and although it did rain a bit, there was plenty to do that didn’t require getting wet. Bostonians, of course, know that this is the respite before the long winter, so they take great joy in the lovely interval. Some of us out here knowing that our worst weather is not really so bad, take the wonderful times for granted. It’s good to be in a place where people remind me to appreciate all my blessings!
Second, in Boston being a UU is a proud identity. To begin with, it’s the only geographical location I’ve ever been in where there’s no real need to say "Unitarian Universalist" because everyone knows what "UU" stands for. That’s a treat that’s even better than the weather! The historic places — and there are many in Boston — often are tied to our own history which is uplifting. And no matter where I go in the area I’m reminded of our proud heritage. Whether it’s to Gloucester to see the first Universalist Church that John Murray founded when he came to America [the "mother house"] or King’s Chapel, which is a landmark congregation from pre-Revolutionary times, or the Concord bridge in the outlying area where "the shot heard round the world" was fired, we Unitarians and Universalists are there. I even love the downtown Protestant church that advertizes itself as a "Trinitarian" Church because it speaks to the influence the Unitarians had and continue to have.
And then there’s "25 Beacon St.", my favorite reason for loving Boston. That’s where it’s all still happening [the UUA Headquarters] in a stately building nestled in the same block that holds the Massachusetts State Capitol building on Beacon Hill. It is where I feel I make my religious pilgrimage. The work I did this past week was conducted in that building filled with stately portraits of the leaders of past centuries and decades and exciting action photos of Peter Morales doing the work of today. I spent some time in a room where the formal portrait of Bill Sinkford (immediate past President of the UUA) smiled benignly down on me, and that was comforting. I was doing the work of credentialing new UU ministers — the next generation that will lead us. We are truly a "living tradition!"
One of the questions that we asked several candidates was what tenet or practice of different world religions most speaks to you. As we asked them about Islam, I thought about the Haj (one of the 5 pillars of the faith which requires the devout to make a Pilgrimage to Mecca.) I knew, sitting in my spiritual Holy City, that is what I most love to do.
If you haven’t ever been to Boston and visited our "home," I urge you to consider doing so. It is a spiritual journey for us as Unitarian Universalists and one I am certain will leave you feeling proud to be part of our faith.