Relational Meetings: Weaving Us Tightly Together

OK, I’m a Boomer.

As a member of that cohort, I’ve been engaged in various forms of “on the street” actions since the days of the Civil Rights, Women’s Rights and Stop the Viet Nam War movements.

After some retreat from social action while trying to find a viable career path, I was motivated to get back “out there” when our country initiated the senseless war of attrition in Iraq.

Since that time, I’ve participated in direct actions on behalf of multiple concerns: peace, environmental justice, anti-racism, worker’s rights, voting rights, economic equity, and all of the HKonJ’s and Moral Mondays.

Yet, as I reflect on the many hours standing and marching for issues I still consider relevant, it seems that all of that gathering and demonstrating has not, in and of itself, moved our society much further along the arc that bends toward justice.

I’ve come to understand that systemic change requires a multi-pronged and multi-tiered approach, and that’s where the ONE Wake model can complement other paths on the road toward justice.

It provides a vehicle for drawing individuals from across diverse political, social and economic spectrums into affirmative connection with one another – building a broad community that amplifies each member’s voice.

As with most things that truly matter, it’s all built upon a fabric of relationships that’s strong enough to withstand the inevitable pushback from the forces of entrenched wealth and power.

This fabric-building process is predicated upon each of us weaving threads of connection within and beyond our home communities – that’s where relational meetings help us.

They provide an accessible, hospitable way to forge stronger bonds both within UUFR and outward across Wake County as part of the broader ONE Wake organization.

I’ve engaged in multiple relational meetings since the initial UUFR ONE Wake training – some in person and some, due to COVID-19 restrictions, via phone.

While the time and content for each of these meetings has varied, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every one of them. I found them to be affirming for both me and, I hope, my relational meeting partner.

Previously I might have known my partner by name and/or face from casual contact at The Fellowship or elsewhere – but I came away from the relational meetings with a better understanding of each partner as a whole person with experiences, interests and passions that sometimes reflect, and sometimes extend beyond, my own.

To me, this is where a committed sense of community begins: finding the resonance between and among our fellow travelers along the road towards Justice.

For the closer we are bound together as individuals/congregations who understand one another’s shared interests, the stronger our collective voice in the public sphere.

Strong threads woven tightly together create a fabric that doesn’t easily tear or shred.

Christina Stableford
For UUFR’s ONE Wake Organizing Team