On Friday, January 25, President Trump ended the government shutdown which, to that point, had been the longest government shutdown in the history of our country. Many of us have heard poignant and heartbreaking stories about the impact of the shutdown on government employees and their families as well as on contractors and others who rely on government funding. Hundreds of thousands of workers in the government sector went without pay for over a month, and of those, many struggled to buy food and to pay their household expenses.
Fortunately, the shutdown has ended. Unfortunately, the President has said he considers the end of the shutdown temporary and may consider shutting down the government again in three weeks’ time.
Some have begun to express concern about how we might best respond, as a congregation, to the need within our church and within the larger community. I have found myself wondering the same thing. I am also aware that I don’t have a sense of how many people within the church or the community may have been impacted by the shutdown, nor am I aware of the responses put in place elsewhere in Sharon and surrounding towns to help those with need.
My mother always taught me to “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” and so, while I am grateful for this respite, it seems like it would be wise to take this opportunity to learn more and to prepare ourselves for potential future impacts.
If you or someone you know has been directly impacted by the recent shutdown, I invite you to let me know. If you know of resources or responses that have become available in Sharon or in surrounding towns, please let me know that as well. And if you have ideas about how we, as a church community might respond, let me know that, too. I’m especially interested in ways that we can either contribute to other on-going efforts or things that we could do ourselves that would be within our capacity to do without duplicating other efforts. I look forward to hearing from you!
Blessings, Rev. Wendy
Our Interim Minister Rev. Wendy L Bell’s bio:
The Rev. Wendy L. Bell received her Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1997 and was ordained jointly by the First Church in Jamaica Plain and the First Parish in Chelmsford in 2000. She served as the Interim Minister of the First UU Society of Rockport, MA, before being called to the Harvard UU Church, Harvard, MA, in 2001. After completing 14 years of successful ministry in Harvard, Wendy returned to interim ministry, most recently serving the First Parish in Malden for two years before being hired as the Interim Minister of the Unitarian Church of Sharon.
Wendy grew up as a United Methodist in the Washington, D.C. area, and went to college at Grinnell in Iowa, where she studied Russian language, literature and history before graduating as a Religious Studies major. While at Grinnell, Wendy learned more about the Hebrew Prophets, World Religions – especially Eastern religious traditions – Feminist Theology, and Liberation Theology, all of which helped prepare her for a vocation as a Unitarian Universalist minister.
Wendy is passionate about climate justice. She is a graduate of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, which was created to educate, equip and empower religious leaders of all religious traditions to become better environmental leaders. She was involved in efforts to try to stop the construction of the high pressure gas pipeline in West Roxbury. And she recently presented a paper on the prophetic role of pastors in helping to facilitate climate grief in local congregations.
Wendy currently lives in Arlington, MA, with her wife, Cathy, and their daughter, Katelynn. In her free time, Wendy loves to read, hike, camp, kayak, and spend time with her family, including her Cockapoo puppy, Winnie, and her cat, Wendell Berry. She also volunteers at a therapeutic riding program in Lincoln, and is learning to play the bagpipes.