Non Anxious Presence – from Rev. Welch


Dear Friends and Members of the United Church of Norman-UCC

When I was in seminary and took classes on pastoral care, I came across a term; non anxious presence. The idea was that we have the possibilities of providing a safe space for others to express their anxieties if we ourselves don’t unload our anxieties on to others.

That is not so that we bottle up our feelings. It is so that others can freely express theirs. Well, my confession is that since this November 8th I have not been that non anxious presence. I think I’ve had my anxieties on display especially since the inauguration.

It seems like everything we value is under attack. From the principle that health care access should be a right to LGBT equality to religious freedom for all, including our Muslim brothers and sisters. Every time I check the news, online or otherwise, it can be immobilizing.

And yet, I think of our worship time as an energizing response. Sharing with others our hopes and fears makes a big difference for me. I look forward to it every week. And the activist responses of this congregation has been amazing. From the Women’s March to the recent interfaith health care clinic, which was captured by the photo above.

We’re building real relationships, even friendships. With the Muslim community in Norman. With other peace and justice minded folks in Oklahoma, and we’re living out a faith story for the community to see, that allows us to respond and not be passive to what is going on.

And yet as William James writes, we do need self care. The ability to catch up on the news and yet also take a break. Enjoy what we are fighting for. Our friends and relationships, the beauty of the state, music, poetry, literature, time with our animals. Whatever it is that charges us.

I’m hoping this spring will not only connect us with ways to respond in an activist vein. But also to be able to respond in a way that takes care of ourselves and connects us with a holy energy that not only seeks change but also seeks wholeness for ourselves and the world.

So we’ll explore during Lent spiritual practices we might pick up that allows us that kind of space. One that can provide resources for living, in the world but also for ourselves, being responsive to our own needs as well as the needs of the community.


Rev. Dwight Welch



Adult Education and Future Events

Mark Davies , the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics at Oklahoma City University Petree College of Arts and Science, Founding Director at World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility, and United Methodist minister will lead our Conversation Sunday February 5th from 9:45 a.m to 11: 45 a.m as we enjoy a potluck meal and discuss Moral Mondays and community organizing here in Oklahoma.

February 12, 19, and 26th Chris Carter is leading adult ed at 9:30 as we watch and discuss the PBS series from Jesus to Christ. A history of early Christian origins.



Book Club Febuary 13th

We’re discussing chapters 4 and 5 of Listen Liberal at Nancy Logan’s home 3200 Summit Bend at 7p



Food and Shelter Needs

Resident and Shelter Needs include soap, cleaning supplies, furniture, diapers. Kitchen Needs are dry sealed foods. Care Packets for the homeless include deodorant, self care products, snack foods



A New Recycling Box

Given the number of paper products we use for our morning gatherings and conversation box the Social Justice committee has set up a recycling box to discard those items. Look for it on Sundays!