Dear Friends and Members of the United Church of Norman-UCC
This Sunday our church will be celebrating Mother’s Day, Sunday May 14th.
But it can be an awkward holiday to celebrate for some. To give my own back story, I was in foster care from five to eleven. I’ve never met my birth mother since. Then I was adopted by a single father, so my memories of motherhood are somewhat limited.
I also know that not everyone has had a relation with their birth mother that they treasure and so some churches will avoid this day. They believe that to raise this issue is to raise up all we wish would have been different in our own families.
But I think that would be a mistake. If the GLBT movement has taught us anything it has been to re-imagine families. One can start by asking the question: what do families do? And to move away from the question of who constitutes a family.
You can identify families with those individuals that do family. That is they provide nurture, support, freedom to grow, security, relations that can last a lifetime. They provide your first moral lessons, indicate what kind of world you live in, pass on memories and traditions.
Reinhold Niebuhr calls this “original security.” They provide the support needed for you to become the person you are. A space where you are loved, encouraged, directed, and supported.
Biological families should provide this. That is not always the case. But for any of us to be who we are in life, we did have that support. And from some important people in our lives. They might have been teachers, mentors, neighbor parents, youth groups, social workers, friends.
In talking with the Department of Human Services, I was surprised, that most of the folks taking on foster and adoptive children are relatives, others who had to step in, in the raising of the children. They included grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. They become family.
I found that support in the church. I found a safe welcoming environment growing up. I found it in friendships. For some, activism has provided that, developing connections with those we work with for a more humane world. From activist groups to churches, we can discover family.
In all this, responsive love happens but it’s not always tied to biology. It’s more fundamental than that. Family, can include our biological family, but it can also include what the LGBT community has often called, one’s “chosen family.” Those who do family for us and with us.
So, this Sunday we will be celebrating mothers. But we will not only be celebrating biological mothers. We will be celebrating all those who have been family to someone in their life, a sibling, friend, niece, nephew, students in a class room or in a scout troop. Grandmothers, teachers, mentors.
And while Mother’s Day is not on the church calendar, I do think days like this, open our understanding of God. God as that reality at work which sustains, nurtures, and grows us. Such a God we encounter in one another, in families, in that power which as Rita Nakashima Brock writes “empowers human beings as social creatures to seek others and deliver salvation.”
Rev. Dwight Welch
May 14th Sunday
Adult ed at 9:45 a.m What do religious communities do which can help the wider society? We’ll explore this with a Ted Talk by Alain de Botton
After church at 12:00 p.m. A meeting to discuss setting up a regular Bible study will be held after church. All who are interested are invited.
May 21st Sunday
Adult ed at 9:45 a.m The contours of progressive Islam is explored and how it can inform progressive Christianity.
After church at 12:00 p.m Adult Education committee will meet to discuss our programming into the summer as well as Vacation Bible School.
May 28th Sunday
Adult ed at 9: 45 a.m Criminal Justice Reform, the urgency of now.
After church at 12:00 p.m Social Justice committee will meet to discuss the Peace and Justice activities this summer and OKC Pride.
We’re discussing the new novel by Anthony Doerr at Nancy Logan’s home 3200 Summit Bend at 7pm.
Resident and Shelter Needs include soap, cleaning supplies, furniture, diapers. Kitchen Needs are dry sealed foods. Care Packets for the homeless include deodorant, self care products, snack foods
Given the number of paper products we use for our morning gatherings and conversation box the Social Justice committee has set up a recycling box to discard those items. Look for it on Sundays!