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We vote on Sunday, December 9 at 12:45 pm. We vote on the question to ordain Nathan Ryan, our assistant minister, into the Unitarian Universalist ministry. Assuming a positive vote, an ordination (to be scheduled in 2013) will be historic for this church –the first time in our history we've ordained a minister.  Only a congregation can ordain in our religious tradition.  Please attend the congregational meeting.   


 I first read of this creative way of explaining how attitudes change in Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America by Eboo Patel.  (Patel is next year's UUA Ware Lecturer at the General Assembly in Louisville in June.)  Patel, founder and director of Interfaith Youth Core, explains that we can bombard our opponents with books and pamphlets and facts, but the real change of attitude occurs in face-to-face relationships.  For example, when a co-worker or neighbor of yours learns that you are a Unitarian Universalist, the very context of her/his appreciating your loyalty and character as a co-worker or neighbor brings respect to the other aspects of you, your religious affiliation, for example.  The UU church now becomes more than an abstraction for the person who knows you and calls you by name. 


We can read literature on Islam or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – anyone can do that - but until we meet someone for conversation, calling each other by name, perhaps sharing a meal or ritual, our attitudes are likely to change very little. At church we invited Muslims after 9/11, and, in August, invited Sikhs, Nikki and Gurcharan, after the murderous rampage at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, WI.  Then, we invited two Mormons, David and Deric, who appeared in a pulpit-dialogue here in September.  Facts can be found on a website or a reliable book on world religions. But in community, knowledge is incomplete without the face-to-face encounter. Have you experienced the action of ARK, attitude, knowledge, and relationship, working in positive ways in your life?  Historians, political scientists, and sociologists often describe the inner workings of ARK as they describe the assimilation process of our nation, the blending and mixing of others from other continents into one nation. This nation is not a melting pot.  We are a gumbo, where particular ingredients are identifiable and good. May face-to-face interaction continue to operate in our lives.  This church would be meaningless without it. ARK is key to personal, spiritual, and transformational change.  I call it creative interchange. Some would call it God. See you in church in December.