As I was reflecting on what the theme and goals could be for this year, I kept coming back to the concept of working for the common good. I kept thinking about how our country has moved away from this value, particularly over the past decade or two. Surely, there are people who continue to believe and actively work to make it a reality. Wouldn’t it be nice to hold them up and celebrate their good work? I slowly moved from this phrase to express it a bit differently with Beloved Community, as expressed in our new strategic plan.
You might ask as I did, what does beloved community mean and where did this phrase first originate?
“Philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, who founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation, coined the term Beloved Community in the early 20th century. It was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who popularized the term and invested it with a deeper meaning. King's Beloved Community is justice, not for any one oppressed group, but for all people. As Dr. King often said, `Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ He felt that justice could not be parceled out to individuals or groups, but was the birthright of every human being in the Beloved Community.”
I can see the connection between working for the common good and beloved community. Therefore, the Leadership Council has adopted the following theme for 2022 - “Extending and Embracing Beloved Community.” What an amazing difference this can make in how we interact with all people and creation. Some will say this is only a dream. They are correct unless we commit to finding the various ways, both individually and corporately, we can breathe life into reality.
Leadership Council cannot do this alone. We need all of our church family to be engaged. Let us find ways to celebrate those among us who are putting this dream into action. Please reach out to me or to other Council members with names of groups or individuals we need to recognize and thank for their efforts.
Peace and blessings,
Claudia has been a member of Plymouth since 2006. Her volunteer jobs have included Deacon, Congregational Life Board, lead organizer of the All Church Retreat and the Women's Friendship annual retreat, and an active member of the Celtic Spirituality group. and Fellowship of the Grape (FOG) group.