Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

A blessing is not something that one person gives another. A blessing is a moment of meeting, a certain kind of relationship in which both people involved remember and acknowledge their true nature and worth and strengthen what is whole in one another. By making a place for wholeness within our relationships, we offer others the opportunity to be whole without shame and become a place of refuge from everything in them and around them that is not genuine. We enable people to remember who they are.
— Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings



Message From Our Minister

From the Heart

In some traditional Christian congregations, wise leaders there speak of the “Economy of Salvation.” By this they mean that congregants make a bargain – they commit to their faith and their congregation, and in return they are assured they will go to heaven and be saved after they die.

For us, with the Universalist part of our heritage, we are much less likely to be worried about this kind of salvation after death. However, we Unitarian Universalists do have our own equivalent trade-off.

Let’s call it our “Economy of Encouragement.” We come to our congregations seeking encouragement, and we are asked to encourage others around us. If we in fact do find encouragement, and find satisfaction in encouraging others, then I submit we are much more likely to become and remain committed to our chosen congregation.

And this encouragement can take the form of warm and understanding hearts when a congregant is grieving. This is a kind of encouragement as well – being willing to be present without judgment as a friend encounters their loss, listening when needed and encouraging them to take the time they need.

And once in a long while we experience a deep transforming moment, a transformation of the heart. And our congregations can provide a supportive place to understand these deep transformations.

So that’s it – our Unitarian Universalist economy of encouragement.

May it be so.
Rev. George Buchanan