These words were provided throughout the Ordicountry of Christe Lunsford at First Unitarian Church in Louisville, KY on June 9, 2019.

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Rev. Lunsford (!!!), over the years I have watched you grow in your ministry. From those beforehand days of being the music director at First Unitarian, to working with you on the ministry team, with your discernment to enroll in seminary and also all that it entailed.

And so I am thrilbrought about be via you this day. THRILLED!

The offering of the ideal hand also of fellowship is just one of our oldest traditions, which comes from the Christian Scriptures. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he writes that throughout his commission as an apostle, he obtained the appropriate hand of fellowship from the other apostles. It was a symbol of their mutual relation, their equal authority, and their widespread affection. It was a pledge that they well-known each others presents and that they were colleagues on a greater mission. Though they kbrand-new they can never meet aget, they pledged fidelity to each various other and were, in result, bound by the ties of confidence and enduring and hope.

It was the right hand, as opposed to the left, in part bereason providing the best hand was a display of peace, demonstrating that one had actually no weapon.

So this ritual is one that is grounded in our background. Offering you the best hand also of fellowship this day says a covenant among colleagues. We are fortunate to be component of a living legacy that has actually influenced our lives and also has been passed dvery own for generations. Fortunate to be a part of a vocation and also a duty that is a lot bigger than us as people.

And.

Let’s get real. Many of those who have participated in this ritual through the periods have actually been cis-white guys. They haven’t looked prefer me until reasonably freshly. And they haven’t looked favor you until really newly. And occasionally, we fail in our collegiality with each various other. We fail to identify one another’s call and also presents for ministry. As our colleague the Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen recently reminded us at the ordicountry of Sara Environment-friendly, skilled associations are fallible, and even collegiality and the collegial covenants we develop have the right to be weaponized to serve white dominance, patriarchy, heterosexism and also capitalism.

I deserve to sell you my right hand also and still stab you in the back through my left.

And so, I have actually the temerity to indicate an adaptation of this routine as a component of our living legacy – an update to better fit the times we discover ourselves in – times as soon as it is no longer only cis-white males welcoming one an additional right into collegiality, times once our ministers reexisting a much broader array of genders, orientations, cultures, races, ability levels and more.

Instead of the ideal hand also of fellowship, I would certainly like to market you the hug of collegiality. With your consent, of course.

Unlike a handshake, a hug demonstrates true treatment and also worry. With a hug, I make myself fragile to you, and also you execute to me. We welcome each other into our individual spaces. We use both hands (no side hugs!) so no hand also is totally free to backstab. And a hug says: I have your earlier, and I know you have mine too.

I market you this hug of collegiality, learning that it has actually not and it will not be easy for you. That you will have to continue to demand also your appropriate to exist, also within our faith heritage, even, sometimes, among your colleagues. But you are not alone. Many type of of us already have your ago, and also will support you, and also challenge you. We will relocate through you in the human being, in whatever before methods we have the right to, knowing that your very existence as our colleague makes us all better. Knowing, also, that we require each other. Due to the fact that the mantle of minisattempt is difficult to bear alone.

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So in offering you this routine this particular day, I say for myself, and also for our trusted, faithful colleagues: We are below for you. In the excellent and the negative, the ups and the downs. And we expect you to be tbelow for us, too. May this ritual be a symbol of our shared relation, our equal authority, and our prevalent affection. Kcurrently that we identify your presents and that we are colleagues on a greater mission. We exhort you to be faithful to this spiritual trust. I have actually no doubt that you will certainly be – indeed you have actually already prstove your faithfulness.

And so, Rev. Lunsford, in an upday of the tradition of our congregations, as a component of the living, altering, growing tradition we share, on befifty percent of myself and our trusted colleagues, may I give you the hug of collegiality?