WES Blog — What are we to do?

There are few things better than standing up at the front of the Main Hall and looking out at all of you…especially on Welcome Home Sunday. Seeing faces I’ve missed over the summer, celebrating that there are new faces I haven’t yet met, noticing that the toddlers turned into big kids and the big kids into teenagers in just a few months.

And as I said on Sunday, it feels especially good to be together right now. The list of tragedies in our world–the disasters of hurricanes and wildfires and earthquakes and flooding–seems to expand each day. Along with the sadness comes the knowledge that we, humanity, are making these disasters worse, that climate change intensifies them and economic inequality and systemic oppression deepens the impact on the most vulnerable among us.

What are we to do?

A quote from the poet Adrienne Rich has been keeping me company the last few days: “My heart is moved by all I cannot save; so much has been destroyed. I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.”

This seems to me to be the heart of our work, our faith–that despite all evidence to the contrary, we believe this reconstitution might be possible. Or perhaps we don’t even need to believe it, perhaps it is enough to work toward it together. To know that the little part we can play is one of goodness, one trying to create more love.

And of course we fail, each of us, both personally and within the systems of the world. It’s in that failure, as we admit it, that we most need to move toward that reconstitution. Our work for goodness is even more beautiful because it is born of our fragile, imperfect human selves.

This week will bring new tragedies and injustices, and perhaps new loss or sadness in our own lives. I will hold Adrienne Rich’s words close, in hopes that I can live them.


Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader