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Seven people, each one in a different coat of one rainbow color, lying with arms outstretched to form a circle, on a snow covered field

February Theme: “Widening the Circle” – Rev. A.J. Galazen, Interim Minister

The first thing I noticed when I arrived home in Wisconsin after Christmas was the silence.

Although I live on a county highway, it is a lightly travelled road. The forest makes its own sound, of course, but it is a gentle breeze compared to the roar of the city. I love the sound of one snowflake falling on a tree.

When I returned to Texas, the thing I noticed most was: the NOISE! I’m not talking about the light roar of the Interstate. That’s easy to block out. What bothered me was the constant blast of street racing hot rods. Corvettes, Mustangs, et al.

Yes, we have fast cars in Wisconsin! And trucks and motorcycles too. But I’ve never heard the supersonic screech of horsepower that I hear every day in Denton. And I wondered if Texas had any law regarding mufflers. Or if they were specially designed to be 10 times louder in the Lone Star State?

So, I googled Texas law. And sure enough, mufflers are required… to help with exhaust. But there is no decibel limit on noise pollution. Everything is bigger in Texas. Even the noise!

Our theme for February is “Widening the Circle.” When the circle is small, everything gets amplified. Even a snowflake might cause an avalanche. As the circle widens, there is less opportunity for any one event or individual to overpower the sense of peace and respect. As the circle widens, louder and more privileged voices are less able to drown out others.

I admit I’m a loudmouth! But I’ve learned the value of stepping back, and listening. I’ve found the wisdom of checking out the environment before jumping in. Sometimes those of us with more volume need to tone it down a bit. Sometimes the best ideas surface when we provide more space for silence.

How wide is the circle at DUUF? Is it big enough for everyone to have a say? Does it welcome those who aren’t represented? I hope you will join in our special services this month.

Sunday, February 13, is Pastoral Care Sunday. At 2 p.m., Rev. Gina Purcell and I will facilitate “Pastoral Care 101”, a one-hour Zoom seminar on how we can listen deeply to each other, and work together to build a more caring community.

Sunday, February 20, is Social Justice Sunday. At 2 p.m. the Social Justice Team will gather for its initial monthly meeting to share information about ongoing justice building opportunities.

And on Sunday, February 27, DUUF will welcome new members into this fellowship. This is a time for all of us to renew our commitments and covenants and begin again in loving service.