Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

The day comes when remaining the same becomes more painful than the risk to grow. And when that happens there are many goodbyes. We leave old patterns, old friends, old lovers, old ideas, and some cherished beliefs. Loss and growth are so often one and the same.
— Phoebe Eng

Message From Our Minister

From the Heart

Eighty years ago President Franklin Roosevelt famously said: “let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” We live in a different world now; we deal with new and different fears, with new and different dangers to ourselves and coming generations.

I think Roosevelt’s point is still a good one. We still risk allowing our fears to solidify into the “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror” he spoke of. Among all the risks facing us, I believe collapsing into this paralyzing terror is perhaps the greatest risk of all.

To deal with this, I recall the words of my friend and colleague Reverend Wayne Arnason. He writes: “Take courage friends. The way is often hard, the path is never clear, and the stakes are very high. Take courage. For deep down, there is another truth: you are not alone.”

That’s right, we are not alone. Each of us comes to our congregational life with the courage we already have, no more and no less. We are welcome as we are, and who we are. And then we consciously work to encourage one another. We help one another to name the dangers we sense. And then we help one another find more of the fundamental sources of strength and courage we need to deal productively with our fears.

Our hearts can be made stronger in our shared life together.

May this ever be so.
Reverend George Buchanan