“In the end we all have to choose to trust someone with our spirits and inner thoughts. Caution is wise in making this decision. A bad haircut will grow out but a broken spirit is slow to mend.” Rev. Joshua Love
Church of Uncommon Hope
An All-Beliefs Community With An International Spiritual Outreach
We welcome a variety of wisdom perspectives to gather in dialogue, contemplation, and action. The Church of Uncommon Hope is an all-beliefs community exploring the many rich and diverse cultural, spiritual and life experiences that come from being a part of a community which holds a core value of acceptance and celebration of differences.
In our first year we met weekly for beautiful Taizé services that honored our journeys and provided healing and worship.
Taizé is an ecumenical movement that embraces singing, chanting, candlelight meditation and prayer to create a devotional space for experiencing the Divine. Originally rooted in the Christian tradition, Taizé has expanded to welcome a variety of wisdom perspectives.
Our work as a community, services and events are interfaith and open to people of all beliefs, whether Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Pagan, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, those who choose no label at all, and those who are seeking a place to explore new spiritual experiences.
In our growth together we came to develop a service celebrating the spirituality of the recovery community, which brought amazing gifts to so many for whom traditional church services were not a primary community. We partnered with The Equality Ride and Soulforce as they concluded their two month trek across the United States engaging courageous dialogue with fundamentalist colleges and universities. Their powerful work opened opportunities for closeted students, staff and faculty to be receive support, come out and in some cases form groups for the first time in their history where nonviolent change could begin. Anti-LGBTIQ policies were changed and continue to impact the lives of members of those communities and straight allies. We were honored to hold a celebratory service in their honor as they concluded The Equality Ride and participate in events they hosted in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This coincided with the launching of the new national tour of the documentary Corpus Christi: Playing With Redemption and Corpus Christi the Play by Terrence McNally. These were magical evenings with laughter, tears and profound spiritual moments. Each time I watched the play or saw the movie, I found myself moved to a deeper and deeper set of questions.
In an era when many churches are struggling with diminished attendance or lack of interest, we experienced a closeness and commitment that resonated deeply in the lives of our core community, as well as touching the lives of individuals who joined us once or twice. We were an intergenerational group of individuals with rich and unique spiritual paths.
The coming year will be an exciting opportunity to explore next steps in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. We are moving from a more traditional weekly meeting schedule to an outreach model, which takes our beliefs and Uncommon Hope to communities beyond. Some other communities have already asked us to share our way of gathering with them through training and information sharing in the hopes that they might bring something like our gatherings to their churches in a manner appropriate to their needs.
A new book project and outreach entitled Stigma: Let the Walls Fall Down is in process and is anticipated for publication in the new year.
We are also bringing our expertise in addiction and drug use education, leadership development and work with fundamentalist communities to workshops that can be booked in your community beginning in the new year.
We are inviting spiritual meditations, poetry, writing and reflections for our website. If you are interested in submitting a piece for possible publication, please contact Rev. Joshua Love.
In short, we are growing and changing in our life as a spiritual community that stretches from the San Francisco Bay Area to virtual and live communities in places far and wide.
More information will be coming soon on our website http://churchofuncommonhope.org/ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChurchofUncommonHope.
You are invited join us in building beloved community together.
In hope and love,
Rev. Joshua Love, Founding Pastor
The Fire of Friendship by Paulo Coehlo – from Aleph
The Fire of Friendship by Paulo Coehlo – from Aleph
A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. The story continues:
When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager.
After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered:
‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on top of the mountain, look straight ahead.
‘I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning all night for you.
‘Look at the fire and think of our friendship; and that will keep you warm.
‘You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards, I’ll ask you for something in return.’
Ali won the wager, got the money, and went to his friend’s house.
‘You said you wanted some sort of payment in return.’
Aydi said, ‘Yes, but it isn’t money. Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.’
Church of Uncommon Hope: Next Steps, Stories & Growth
29 December 2011
Hello beloved community, friends, and family – The last month has been an exciting time for the Church of Uncommon Hope as we worked to build our web presence, prepare for our next services, and do outreach to the community. If you have not had a chance to check out our website please take some time to explore the site and see some of our new additions. We now have an Audio Archive which includes sermons you can listen to online, a radio interview from Worlds AIDS Day with Rev. Joshua Love and Stephanie Lynne Smith. Starting in January we are also accepting submissions of audio and written sermons, as well as spiritual journey stories that share about what spiritual life and practice means to your life. Keeping our commitment to the exploration of interfaith and ecumenical dialogue, you can expect stories from Buddhists, Christians, Agnostics, Jews, to name just a few of the diverse perspectives we are presenting. To learn more about how to submit your story about spiritual life in written and/or audio formats, please send inquiries to Rev. Joshua. Our next worship service is in the planning stages and will be celebrated later in January. This promises to be an exciting year of new beginnings and we hope you will explore these pioneering moments with us. Peace, Joshua
It is important to tell at least from time to time
the secret of who we truly and fully are—
even if we tell it only to ourselves—
because otherwise we run the risk of losing track
of who we truly and fully are
and little by little come to accept instead
the highly edited version which we put forth
in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.
It is important to tell our secrets too
because it makes it easier that way to see where we are going.
It also makes it easier for other people
to tell us a secret or two of their own,
and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about.
Finally, I suspect that by entering that deep place inside us
where our secrets are kept that we come perhaps closer
than we do anywhere else to the One who,
whether we realize it or not,
is aware of all our secrets
the most telling and precious we have to tell.
~ Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets
World AIDS Day 2011
1 December 2011
KPFA Radio (94.1) in Berkeley, California, hosts Church of Uncommon Hope’s founder, Rev. Joshua L. Love, in a discussion about the current context for HIV and AIDS. A 20-minute interview, also featuring Stephanie Smith of the Oakland-East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, provides dialogue about progress made thus far and the need of our world’s community today.
Website & Faith Community Launch
12 November 2011
HopeIn conjunction with the celebration of the ordination of Rev. Joshua Levi Love on November 12, 2011, the Church of Uncommon Hope is being established in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are launching our online ministries in the first quarter of 2012 and invite you to visit us on Facebook and our website often. You are also invited to contact Joshua by clicking here.
The launch of the church and the celebration of Rev. Joshua Levi Love’s ordination is an Ecumenical and Multifaith gathering, mirroring Rev. Love’s journey. This diversity is foundational to the Church of Uncommon Hope and is a core value of our relationship within community. Please hold this budding spiritual community in your thoughts, meditations and prayers and consider joining us for a worship service or adult spiritual education event in the near future.
“Happiness is the ability to say: I lived for certain values and acted on them. I was part of a family, embracing it and being embraced by it. I was part of a community, honouring its traditions, sharing its griefs and joys, ready to help others, knowing that they were ready to help me. I did not only ask what I could take; I asked what I could contribute. To know that you made a difference, that in this all-too-brief span of years you lifted someone’s spirits, relieved someone’s poverty or loneliness, or brought a moment of grace or justice to the world that would not have happened had it not been for you: these are as close as we get to the meaningfulness of a life, and they are matters of everyday rather than heroic virtue.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, To Heal A Fractured World: The Ethics Of Responsibility