We are often taught or shaped by living examples we encounter in our lives. Yes, words matter, but often the greatest impact is in lived experience. Embodied values. This is true at any age. Yes, children are our teachers too. But it is especially true with our elders. The gifts of lived experience, the embodied wisdom of life’s journey can serve as a bridge that connects our past, present, and future.
Michele Obama writes:
The older I get, the more I value the wisdom of those who have gone before me.
They have seen more, they have done more, and they have learned more.
I am grateful for their guidance and their insights.
They have inspired me to be the best version of myself, and
I am forever grateful for their wisdom.
This is one of the ways I have been shaped in this community. By learning from the wisdom of the elders, noticing how they have resolved problems, built relationships, and worked for justice. And how they passionately care about something greater than themselves. For many years I have watched you here in this Fellowship—build beloved community, face many challenges, embody incredible generosity. But one of the things that has been forever impressed upon my heart, is how much you all care about this place, the community, the shared ministry and mission of this Fellowship.
The truth is, none of us would be here without the commitment, sacrifice, and vision of the elders. This living legacy reminds us that, in order for this community to continue to thrive, all of us are needed—to show up, online or in person, to bring our full selves, our questions, our gifts, and our love. This is what creates beloved community, and what has sustained ERUUF for nearly 50 years.
And what of the next 50 years? There are so many ways to give and support this community—time, talent, and treasure. We are growing in membership, in programming, in capacity for justice and compassion in the world. We are expanding the ways we connect and communicate. We have a new strategic plan and vision for the future. In our words, actions, and choices, together we are building the living legacy that enlivens this spiritual community. We are co-creating a future full of incredible potential and possibility.
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