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What Does it Mean to be a Family Holding History?
My family of origin, like so many others, includes people with heritage from several parts of the world: Northern European, West African, Southeastern Native American, and Southeast Asian. This diversity of descent, and of present lived experiences, has been both an incredible gift, and a trying challenge as we have grappled together with living in a society that was built on the oppression of some of our ancestors to the benefit of others. Sometimes we’ve gotten it right, and sometimes we’ve gotten it wrong. Literally, we come back to the same tables year after year to try again together.
This is our collective story, really; how do we hold this history together, as a people? How does our faith steady, strengthen, and inspire us as we celebrate and account for our shared past? This is what we explore together this month in our families. So, before we go any further, know that this month’s theme can be fraught and complex for some of us. Proceed through this packet gently, at the pace of self-discovery that is opening to your heart rather than tightening.
One piece of holding our history that we hope each person will engage is featured in our At the Bedside section, where we retell the story of our faith’s symbol, the flaming chalice. UU leader Natalie Briscoe says that one important way that our faith identities are formed is by knowing that “We are from the people who tell this story.” This story of the flaming chalice is unique to Unitarian Universalism, it contains many of our still-cherished values, and its setting is a profoundly painful time in global history. This is an important story, and now is an important time to remember it.