World AIDS Day – December 1, 2013:

Rev. Joshua Love will be preaching at a special evening worship service at Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas

https://www2.cathedralofhope.com/

All are welcome!

World AIDS Day
December 1, 2013
Rev. Joshua Love
In July 2001, I entered the lobby of Denver Health for a routine study of HIV negative men which was intended to assess the efficacy of different counseling strategies in preventing new infections. I had been working with the same prevention counselor for some time and expected to meet with him that day. As I checked in, I was told that he was out sick for the day and one of his colleagues would meet with me. A brief series of clues fit together before the appointment leading me to deduce that in the last six or seven months, I had sero-converted, become HIV positive.
There is no easy way to give that information to someone, especially a stranger but the man who met with me conducted himself professionally and with compassion. “Is there anything you need?” I told him no, just a few moments to myself to think about who I needed to contact. My partner at the time and I had been spending the hot summer day refinishing a friend’s deck. I knew telling him and my mother would be the hardest moments. He would obviously be worried about his own status and my mother had lost her older brother. She didn’t want the same fate for me. But we had grown through coming out and establishing new family experiences over the years since my Uncle Patrick had died. I believed, in spite of whatever grief and concern she had, that she would stand by me.
The years have ticked by quickly and I have learned how to take care of myself in many new ways. For years I had a solid CD4 count that hovered in the 600′s, only once dropping dramatically lower, a time when I needed to choose to go on medications. This year for the first time I broke a CD4 count of 1000. It was a celebratory moment, if one that I understand can be transient.
I decided from the early days that revealing my status to potential partners would create a sense of integrity in my life I could live with as time passed. I am not a saint. I made mistakes. But for the most part I have been true to that commitment. I rebuilt a life for myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. A couple of years after my diagnosis I began to volunteer and work again in HIV/AIDS work. I had previously served as a prevention specialist at the Boulder County AIDS Project. In 2005, my volunteer work at Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies led me to an opportunity to tell my story with Rev. Jim Mitulski in Calgary, Alberta, Canada before a crowd of folks from around the world. Early the next year, I became the Director of the MCC Global HIV/AIDS Ministry and the Drug and Addictions Program.
I partnered with churches, seminaries, and local AIDS service organizations around the world from the US to Canada to Zimbabwe to Australia and Mexico to raise awareness, tear down walls of stigma, and encourage those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to step forward in courage. I couldn’t have done it without the memory of my Uncle Pat’s struggle, mentors like Rev. Jim Mitulski, fierce friends like Stephanie Lynne Smith, the love of my mothers Rev. Cindi Love and Sue Jennings, my astute and loving sister Hannah Love and the multitude of people who came forward with their own stories and coming out moments.
I was encouraged to write down the work we did in local communities in a book that would allow the work to continue beyond one person’s capacity to be in so many places. It is entitled Uncommon Hope and with the assistance of my colleagues Christy Ebner and Leah Sloan it came into being.
I met Rev. Dr. Donald Messer in 2003 and we became fast friends and work partners. He has supported my work and I have supported his for a decade. We shared a presentation at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico and now that I am back in Denver have had several opportunities to work together to build community and bring change.
This is just a small part of the journey. I have walked the journey of HIV and AIDS with grief, pride, humility, love, compassion and wonder. It changes me and I believe each of us who speak our truths change it, too.
The journey of HIV and AIDS transforms the world as completely as it transforms the individual. Each passing year marks us with an additional layer of new infections and lost lives, and like the rings of a tree, the layers bear witness to a story bigger than any single life. The sheer magnitude of the pandemic can easily overwhelm our abilities to cope and as human capacity is exhausted, responding to HIV and AIDS becomes a walk of the spirit – a call to prayer, healing, and justice.
In the face of impossible odds, many have dared to act in order to bring into the world the hope for an end to AIDS. Even as we held our brothers and sisters in the last days of their lives and felt the potent loss of generations, our vision remained firmly set on a better day…a day when no more lives would be permanently changed by or lost to HIV and AIDS.
Your story matters this World AIDS Day…and every day. This year you can make a difference by telling at least one person your truth.
I will be preaching and joining Cathedral of Hope UCC and Rev. Jim Mitulski this December 1, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. My 96 year old grandma Sissy says, “He better make sure I get to hear him preach.” I hope you will take time from your busy lives to honor this 15th anniversary of World AIDS Day in your own way. And should you be in the Dallas Fort Worth area, please feel our open and inclusive invitation to have you join us. https://www2.cathedralofhope.com/

Honoring World AIDS Day

and the Season of Advent

If you would like a great resource for this season of Advent the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund produced this packet and asked me to contribute. Feel free to share it with friends and invite any Dallas area folks to come to Cathedral of Hope for the December 1 evening service. More information to come.
Peace,
Joshua
Rev. Joshua Love

The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Releases An Inspirational Advent Study for the 15 Anniversary of World AIDS Day
http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Programs/Global-Health/HIV/AIDS/AIDS
Contributing authors Rev. Dr. Donald Messer, Joshua Levi Love, Rev. Dr. Youngsook Kang, Dr. Anne Gotobu
A pdf of the study can be found at the following link. http://www.umcor.org/ArticleDocuments/352/adventstudyhivaids.pdf.aspx?Embed=Y

Please share this with folks in your life who wish to be a part of this season of hope, peace, joy and love. You have the power to improve the life of at least one person everyday with simple acts of care and compassion.

Included below is an excerpt of the study written by Rev. Joshua Levi Love and an opening meditation/prayer by Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Joshua’s beloved mother. Each of the other 3 weeks’ pieces are exceptional and I highly recommend you take the time to read this group of outstanding advocates, activists and leaders in the effort to bring and end to new HIV transmissions, deaths and the crushing stigma which all too often damages individual lives in unseen ways.

Advent Week 2: No Hands But Our Hands, No Hearts But Our Hearts
By Rev. Joshua Levi Love

Opening Prayer by Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director, Soulforce:
Praying Psalm 91:1-13
Dear Creator Who Animates Each of Us,
We gather here in the time of expectation, to consider the presence of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who animates our spirits and our physical lives o the planet. While those who promote and live in fear woo us and demand our attention to our differences, to war, to ethnic and gang violence, crime, scarcity, the rising economic crisis, and the destruction of nature, you are here, gently calling us, “Peace, peace be still.” You invite us to spend our days and nights in your Shelter, not in the twisted gut of anxiety.
You are our refuge and our healing. We trust in you and we are safe. You rescue us from every hidden trap and every deadly hazard. Your arms reach our and gather us to you, protecting us, and we are not afraid. We are never alone.
We rest and wait while you fend off all harm. We fear nothing, not the wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, not any disease that prowls through the darkness nor any disaster that erupts at noon.
Even when people succumb all around, even when they try and take our very lives or deny us the help that we need, we live untouched by harm. You are our refuge, our very own home with a strong door that resists harm. Your angels guard us and keep us from falling.
Now, Creator Who Loves Us With Abandon, let us feel your peace within us, awaken to your protection, to your reassurance, to preparing ourselves for your Way. We thank you for lifting the oppression of fear and anxiety from our lives and fulling us with hope and happiness.
Shalom.
Amen.

No Hands But Our Hands, No Hearts But Our Hearts
Rev. Joshua Love
Biblical Reference: Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 3:1-12 and Mark 5:26

Advent and World AIDS Day intersect powerfully in my life as a person of faith and a person living with HIV/AIDS for the past twelve years.

I join others in turning my spirit to thoughts of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love through the expectation that a living God is appearing in our lives. Not long after I received my HIV-positive diagnosis, I felt a very strong need to re-experience God in my life. I feared that HIV was changing me, perhaps even making me less touchable, less a part of the world around me. I had decisions to make about how to live my life. Would I take medications? Would I make the same choices? Would God still want me? Would any church have me?

One Sunday, I was listening to a preacher and looking around at the other people wondering whether I belonged and would be accepted, when I heard her say, “Ours are the hands through which God touches the world. Our hearts are the hearts through which God shows love to the world.” When I left the service to go home, I could not think of anything but those words: your hands, your hearts.

In the Isaiah passage we are promised that the loving and wise presence of God will be with us. “He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth…They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:1-10)

In the scriptural story of John the Baptist, he faces those who held power and privilege in their spiritual community but were not grace-filled in their hearts. He warns them, “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals.’” (Matthew 3:1-12)

John’s admonition reminds me that each of us has a part to play in the healing of our world. It tells me that when I approach God asking, “Please use me to your service and the good of this world,” I am opening my heart and life to work of God’s choosing, not mine.

It wasn’t long after the “hands-and-hearts” sermon that I was asked to share my perspective on the mission and ministry of my church. I could not do that without sharing my fears that my HIV status and life challenges might separate me. Many beautiful people came to me after my testimony and told me that they had felt the same way about their own struggles. Their embraces lifted me as if on angels’ wings.

Soon, I answered the call to ministry and began looking for ways to share that hope, peace, joy, and love that meant so much to me. My body and spirit continued to shift. In a few years I needed to begin taking medications that would help prevent HIV from taking an even greater stronghold. My doctor explained to me that by taking my “meds” every day, there was a significant chance not only that I would live but that I would reduce the chances of ever passing on HIV to another person. It was such a simple way to be of service to people I loved; to live, grow stronger, and be responsible for ending the transmission of HIV from myself to anyone else.

The people I encountered at church and in seminary did not cast me out or judge me; they accepted and supported me as I took each step. Farid Esack, a Muslim AIDS activist and theologian says, “The only way [to transform religious perspectives on HIV and AIDS] is to engage with persons who live with HIV. To enter into the life of an HIV-positive person is to walk into a sacred space. It is about sitting and listening, and in so doing, allowing ourselves to be transformed. It is not easy, since one does not know what may happen, and it requires us to come out of our theological boxes. Also, it implies looking more closely at things that usually frighten us, such as sexuality.”

Those people in my church family and in seminary brought me into sacred spaces with their love and taught me how to do that for others; to touch the untouchable as Jesus had modeled. Soon, God would ask me to do just that.

I was serving as a chaplain in an inner-city hospital. At 3:18 a.m., I received a call from the Critical Care Unit. “Chaplain, we have a patient we expect to CODE soon. Maybe you could come to give her a blessing?” The nurse’s tone told me time was sparse. “Yes. Where is she? Is she awake and responsive?” With an economy of words she said, “CCU. Yes. She knows what is happening to her.”

I arrived. A very slim, pale Chinese woman struggled in her bed while a stalwart nurse attempted to stem the chaos pouring from her body. A river of blood pooled into a lake beneath her. Another nurse leaned in close to her while I tugged on gloves and a gown, “We are trying to make your body safe. He is here to tend to your spirit. He will help you.” She said these things in the woman’s native language then repeated them to me in English. “She doesn’t speak any English but she knows. I’m glad you’re here.”

With pleading eyes, the dying, solitary woman looked directly into my own and grabbed my hand with all her remaining strength. In the absence of a common language, the tools of comfort were limited – my hand; my eyes; the tone and resonance of my voice; the slow and even flow of my breath; and the pastoral love and compassion rising up in me for this stranger, overwhelming in its intensity.

I remembered the story of the woman in Mark 5:26, “She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse.”

She was one of the three-dimensional characters that I believed in unconditionally. I knew her pain as if I had been there in the crowd a thousand times when she reached out for her miracle. Now we had met near the clearing at the end of her path.

I had felt her fear in my own struggle to overcome HIV in my body. My status had not made me untouchable but had given me the ability to be present for someone else in a moment of greatest need. We were so different: different genders, races, cultures, languages, and physical ailments—yet, through the touch of the Spirit, we were the same.

My heart felt heavy as I took a few minutes to rest before the patient resumed her journey to the end. In the dawning light I prayed. I prayed intensely because there was nothing else to left to do for her. The CODE came over the loudspeakers soon thereafter. The team of expert medical staff members surrounded the patient, looking into every possibility for her to live, until there was simply nothing left. The nurse said, “Let the chaplain get in to her. Please, just let him be with her now.”

I took the woman’s hand, now losing the last of its grip, into my own and matched the pace of my breathing to her own as she slowed, slowed…stopped. She went on alone.

There were no words of blessing that felt appropriate. I squeezed the hand of the nurse who had called me, letting her know that what she had done–calling spiritual support for a dying woman–mattered, that her work mattered.

Advent reminds me to expectantly wait for uncommon hope, comforting peace, abundant joy, and unconditional love. First and foremost, I must expect these things of myself toward others. Each day is a choice for every one of us. Will we be the hands and heart of God the world has been waiting for, or will we be the trees that bear no fruit (Isaiah)?

Study Questions:
1. When do you first remember knowing about or meeting a person living with HIV/AIDS?
2. What thoughts, beliefs, and ideas did you notice arising for you when that happened? Did you have an open heart toward those people or did you feel challenged to accept and show them compassion and love?
3. What does it mean to you to be the “hands and heart” of God to the world affected by HIV/AIDS?

Closing Prayer:
God of our many understandings –
We wait expectantly this Advent for you to awaken us to uncommon hope, comforting peace, abundant joy, and unconditional love. Help us to be your hands and heart, healing a world deeply affected by HIV/AIDS. Amen

***Special thanks to Rev. Dr. Donald Messer and Rebecca Yount for their friendship, encouragement and invitation to submit a piece for this year’s study. More gratitude than I can easily put into words to Van English for his friendship and compassionate precise editing.

In the range of life’s complexities our ability to remain open to forgiveness and reconciliation is a gift and opportunity we are blessed to receive and return. Every relationship we invest our hearts leaves us with a special mark upon our hearts. They offer us a chance to grow stronger, more loving and take steps toward being more wholly ourselves. ~ Rev. Joshua Love

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Upcoming Events in October:

LIFE RECLAIMED – A SYMPOSIUM ON GAY MEN’S HEALTH

Hosted by The Denver ELEMENT and sponsored by Gilead.
https://www.facebook.com/events/213051775527119/

The Denver ELEMENT is proudly hosting a FREE symposium on gay men’s wellness with assistance of Gilead and Dazzle Lounge. This will be a combination of lectures and discussions around ways to keep us physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. Topics will include issues relating to physical health, substance abuse, stress & trauma, spirituality & the gay man, aging, and healthy sexuality.

Our Keynote speaker will be Tony Mills (IML 1998) who is one of the leading HIV physicians out of Los Angeles.

We are also honored to have national speaker Rev. Joshua Love, Founding Pastor and Executive Director of the Church of Uncommon Hope.

Additionally we are excited to have Marc Coulter (LPC, CACIII), as well as many other presenters and organizations represented at this event.

This event in Denver, Colorado is limited to 80 participants. RSVP by Thursday, October 3rd to info@thedenverelement.com or 303.825.8113 x31. Complimentary breakfast and lunch will also be served.

life-reclaimed-oct-5-2013

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The Center for Church and Global AIDS
www.churchandglobalaids.org/

A Hike to HEAL (Help Eliminate AIDS in our Lifetime)
Saturday, September 21, 2013
9:00 AM
Free T-shirt included in entry fee
Alderfer-Three sisters Park, Evergreen, Colorado
Spend a beautiful morning hiking & support persons infected and affected by HIV & AIDS

Read about the event on The Center for the Church and Global AIDS website above or check out the following news article and radio story by Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service – CO.

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2013-09-12/health-issues/three-sisters-and-one-brother-co-peaks-source-of-support-for-hiv-aids/a34419-1

hike-to-heal-photo

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Daily Reflections:

Years ago my father introduced me to the idea of a ‘mulligan.’ For those who may not know the term it basically means a ‘do over’ after a missed shot…or in life a missed opportunity. It meant a lot to me because I have always believed that with time, patience and willingness any relationship can heal. This doesn’t mean we reset to zero but acknowledge that sometimes we miss the mark and need a chance to try again. ~Rev. Joshua Love

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Daily Reflections:

For some of us our eyes are open from a very early age. We notice the small changes in mood and emotional temperature that come over the people around us. In some cases it’s a gift, a survival technique to protect ourselves from danger. For others it is a gift that allows us to make adjustments, perhaps manipulations. I am learning to see the healing power. When we see clearly, it is possible to offer compassion.
~Rev. Joshua Love

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Daily Reflections:

Life holds many uncertainties. Work may come and go. Relationships alter and shift over time. Health is changeable. War, poverty and strife impact people all around the world. These are truths we must face each day. But there is power in each being to respond in our own way. Quality relationships can be built and maintained. Uncertainty doesn’t have to define us. Our power to choose a better path remains constant.
~Rev. Joshua Love

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Daily Reflections:

Life holds many uncertainties. Work may come and go. Relationships alter and shift over time. Health is changeable. War, poverty and strife impact people all around the world. These are truths we must face each day. But there is power in each being to respond in our own way. Quality relationships can be built and maintained. Uncertainty doesn’t have to define us. Our power to choose a better path remains constant.
~Rev. Joshua Love

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Daily Reflections:

I love the myriad ways life can bring a smile to my face. Good chats with my favorite people, little mysteries unraveling, reconciliations, old hurts transformed into memories then into hope for the future. The days of happiness almost always find a way to outweigh the days of tears and fear.
~Rev. Joshua Love

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Daily Reflections:

I was 13 years old when uncle Patrick died of AIDS. I’m almost 39. Two thirds of my life have been impacted and shaped by his tragic, stigmatized, and painful death. He is the reason that I said, “Enough! I won’t go quietly into injustice. I’ll tell the truth and take action.” I’m still dedicated to “being the change.” What motivates you to take action? Who inspires you?~Rev. Joshua Love

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Daily Reflections:

Today, I feel deeply blessed by my wonderful friends and family. When I wrestle with doubts and fear one of you amazing people, gifts of the spirit and love, show up in your own special way to reassure me that life is always beginning again, fresh and full of possibility. As I lay my head down to rest I am filled with gratitude for the unique presence and support you each bring into my life. ~Rev. Joshua Love

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Daily Reflections:

Years ago my father introduced me to the idea of a ‘mulligan.’ For those who may not know the term it basically means a ‘do over’ after a missed shot…or in life a missed opportunity. It meant a lot to me because I have always believed that with time, patience and willingness any relationship can heal. This doesn’t mean we reset to zero but acknowledge that sometimes we miss the mark and need a chance to try again. ~Rev. Joshua Love

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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.

Listen to the Full Interview Online >>

Website & Faith Community Launch

12 November 2011

HopeHopeIn 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