For Your Consideration
The Touchstones Project
An Intriguing Way
of Doing Church
A Unitarian Universalist congregation can transform the people it serves, inspiring them to help transform the world. This requires an intentional, sustained, integrated, holistic process of deepening that informs, nurtures, and challenges.
Please note that the materials can easily be adapted for use by all liberal, progressive congregations.
Developed over eight years, the Touchstones Project has been dramatically expanded to make a meaningful difference in people's lives: those within your congregation and those who live in the community that your congregation serves.
We invite you:
1. To browse our website to learn how
what we offer can transform
2. To request our materials for the
theme of beauty to facilitate a
comprehensive review by your staff and key volunteers.
3. To schedule a conference call with
us so that we can answer any
questions that you and others
4. To order a trial subscription for
three months to implement and
evaluate our program.
5. To become a member of the
Touchstones community by
extending your subscription for the
balance of the program year, which
ends in August of each year.
Click here for information about subscriptions.
The prophet Micah counseled us, “To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.” These qualities are universal and transformative. Justice and humility are important, but it is the love of mercy that is crucial. To love mercy is to understand how very important it is in human relations. Mercy is a grace because it is not deserved. It allows a person to return to life with dignity.
trailer by Robyn Paterson (2:54)
This is a trailer to the 2012 documentary about a girl named Mercy who was left behind in Zimbabwe under the rule of Mugabe. Mercy’s childhood friend, a white girl, now grown with her own daughter is obsessed with learning what happened to Mercy. Mugabe was a dictator who ruled Zimbabwe for 40 years until 2017. He brutalized his subjects. So, Finding Mercy has two meanings, finding Mercy and trying to determine where you can find mercy, if anywhere, in a brutal society.
Video Link: https://vimeo.com/40136444
What is Mercy?
Maybe it would be helpful to ask what we mean when we speak or dream of mercy.
…Mercy is radical kindness. Mercy means offering or being offered aid in desperate straits. Mercy is not deserved. It involves absolving the unabsolvable, forgiving the unforgivable. Mercy brings us to the miracle of apology, given and accepted, to unashamed humility when we have erred or forgotten. Charge it to our heads and not our hearts, as the elders in black churches have long said. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion are synonyms, and the approaches we might consider taking when facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves—our arrogance, greed, poverty, disease, prejudice. It includes everything out there that just makes us sick and makes us want to turn away, the idea of accepting life as it presents itself and doing goodness anyway, the belief that love and caring are marbled even into the worst life has to offer.
… Mercy means that we soften ever so slightly, so that we don’t have to condemn others for being total shits, although they may be that. (Okay: are.) If I do so, it makes me one. As Father Ed Dowling said, sometimes heaven is just a new pair of glasses. When we put them on, we see the awful person, sometimes even ourselves, a bit more gently, and we are blessed in return. It seems, on the face of things, like a decent deal.
Source: Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott (2017)
Like our Facebook Page where we post something inspirational each day related to the theme.
Our theme-year began in
September 2020. Please click on
the pdf icon to access a flyer for
the themes for the year.
Annual theme for 2020-2021