Pastoral Letter: We Are Being Asked to Make a Commitment

Dear Strafford Neighbors,

Our whole community celebrated a service at the Town House on Sunday morning, September 1st, where both the Universalist Society and Congregational Church of Strafford first held their services.
The people who built the Town House had been asked by their moment in history, the 1770s, to sacrifice their regular quiet lives to wage a revolution. The Town House was another sacrifice of time, energy and money twenty years later.  It was built to unify the town, overcoming divisions among them that the war had caused.
Setting up for the Strafford Town House service
The 20th Century struggles for freedom in India and South Africa and the American Civil Rights movement are other examples of times when the masses of ordinary people were asked to sacrifice and make a commitment to an ordeal for change.  That change would never have come if the majority of every village and town had not said yes.
“The great generation” made a huge commitment to fight fascist and totalitarian forces and keep the world free for democracy, equality and human rights for all.  Almost every household in America changed their daily lives and sacrificed for the cause in major ways.
Now our generation faces a challenge arguably greater than any in human history.  We face the threat of mass extinction of species including possibly our own.  We have very little time to address the problems we have created.  Conservative science tells us that by acting right now we may avoid the worst suffering, but already far greater strains on society are coming in the next thirty years because of environmental damage—far more migrants and refugees, droughts and famines, wildfires and killer storms, racism and authoritarianism, violence and injustice of many kinds.  No part of the earth will escape unaffected, including ours.
The corporations that we allowed to cause these problems are not going to solve them, and governments will not force them to do so, unless ordinary people like us rise up and demand it.  We need to make sacrifices and commit ourselves to a cause as other generations have, putting life on hold as it has been and dedicating our time, energy, resources and talents to mobilizing a movement to save our children’s future.
This month we have two ways to do this in Strafford.  We will take part in the Global Climate Strike on September 20th and related activities in the following week.  And we have the opportunity to participate in three communication workshops on September 14th, 21st and 28th that are designed to help our families and town to be united and resilient in the face of the hard times and tough decisions that are coming.
You will be seeing details about these activities posted in the days ahead, but right now I hope you will search your heart and decide whether you will make the extraordinary sacrifice and commitment required to save our future.  Will you say yes to what this historic moment is asking?  Will you rise as the Town House generation did, and as the greatest of generations did before us?  You will not be alone.
Thank you for doing all you can.
Pastor Tom Kinder

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