This Sunday I will be finishing my two-year internship at Neighborhood Church and moving on to the next stage of my journey for UU fellowship and ordination. I am so thankful for all my experiences at Neighborhood and for all your support. I am not going far, but will continue to work at Cedars-Sinai as a chaplain, and will be reading and writing in preparation to see the Ministerial Fellowship Committee in December.
The summer issue of UU World includes an article by Rev. Victoria Safford called, “Bound in Covenant: Congregational covenants are declarations of interdependence.” She writes that the central question for us as Unitarian Universalists is not “What do we believe?” but, “To whom, to what, are we accountable?” The language of covenant reaches back to the pledges the Puritans made to one another—to work and suffer together as one community, promising unity of spirit.
Stafford states that to be part of a covenantal religion is to give our word to one another. She writes, “Our word is still ours, but it calls back to us from the heart of another person, or a circle of people, within which it now dwells. Such a commitment does not predict the future or set it in stone. It makes a certain kind of future possible.”
I love this idea, that by our covenant as Unitarian Universalists, we are called back to the heart of a community. Last year one of my favorite worships was leading the Memorial Day service and watching members of the church come up to the altar to place a flower in memory of a loved one. I felt that I was standing in the heart of a beloved community, a community that each of us can return again and again to be welcomed, held, and seen for our true selves.
From being a teacher in RE, to preaching on Sundays or worshipping on Wednesday nights, to greeting one another on the patio and learning about one another’s live—I love this community and this great faith of ours that binds us together in a network of relationship. This internship has affirmed my call to ministry, that is, my sense of commitment and pledge to serve our community.
It has been my privilege to join in the work of Neighborhood Church for the past two years, and to share its vision for the future. Because of my belief in interdependence, I know that my future and the future of the church are connected, and that the relationships we have created will continue to shape us. I am leaving at a time in which Neighborhood is looking towards a lot of change, and a new vision of the church with excitement and promise. I will miss being your intern, and look forward to when we will meet again.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
-Christina Shu, Ministerial Intern