Living Our Values

Today’s reflection is from Communications and Building Manager Mariah Pepper:

Something you may not know about me is that I grew up in the UCC. It’s part of why I thought this job would be such a good fit for me. I speak the language you hear around this church. For example, I remember early on in my job here Lisa being pleasantly surprised that I’d spelled Pentecost correctly in a bulletin. I also once figured out what hymn someone meant by asking them to hum the tune, singing it until I got the first line, and looking it up in the index of the hymnal. I’m still pretty proud of that one. My family was highly involved in our church when I was kid. So much so that while other kids had their stuffed animals do tea parties or played school, mine gathered in a special area in the house for “animal committee meetings.” That’s right, folks, bring your kids to committee meetings often enough and they’ll start to organize their teddy bears according to Robert’s Rules of Order.

Why am I telling you this? It’s been on my mind as I listen to Diana come up with creative ways to engage the kids of the congregation from home and outdoors where it’s safer to gather, and as my friends and family with kids continue to grieve the loss of church community throughout the pandemic. I’m Auntie to a 15-month-old kiddo who would have been baptized into a UCC church, but she was born in July of 2020, and most her church family have never met her. But a good half of the lullabies I sing to her are hymns, and her mom still attends church committee meetings on Zoom. So she has a chance of playing animal committee meeting when she gets older.

I know that the isolation and technology-mediated communication of the past year and a half has been hard and sad for this community, as it has been for others. And my ray of hope in all of this is that we have not forgotten who we are, and whose we are. We are a community of faith, who values collaboration, encountering the spirit through music, uniting for causes of justice, and celebrating and mourning with each other. All those things go with us even when we are not able to gather together in body, and they sustain us even when they’re not visible in our everyday lives. And I trust that we pass these values on to our children, our nieces and nephews, our neighbors and friends, by living the way we have been taught; to love our neighbors as ourselves. So even when we can’t be at church, the church is in us. And that’s a reason to give thanks.

In peace,


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