Staff Blogs: Paula’s Perspectives – January 2021

Interdependence and the Ripple Effect

I wish a Happy New Year to everyone…though happy might be a strong word for this one. We have started out this year with many challenging events. It is a time when it may feel like we are not even in a new year, like 2020 is just continuing its freight train through our lives.


Still, there is something more. This month’s ministry theme of interdependence couldn’t have come at a better time! We need to remember that we need each other, and we need to remember that we are all connected.


I got the wonderful opportunity to discuss the ministry theme with both adults and kids this past Sunday, and it was fruitful on both counts. Here are several insights and highlights:

  • Inter dependence vs. In dependence – we’ve been inundated in our country with the notion of independence for a long time. What have we lost because this has been our focus? How would we benefit form a shift from all of the individuality and freedom talk to a notion of mutual relationship and interdependence?
  • Interdependence mean you and me, and everyone. It means trees and the planet. It means all creatures. And embracing interdependence means embracing diversity. We need all of us. One of the theme discussion participants was Cathie Albair, and she said one of the best things I’ve heard (paraphrasing): People travel all over to see a rare bird or other creature. And we prize them for their rich colors, their unique appearance and traits. Why is it that when we look at our own species, we cannot do the same?
  • Our children really understand this notion of interdependence. They already have the idea that we are all connected to one another. They believe that interdependence is not just about actions and statements, but also about relationship. In class, I asked in what ways could they hold up their part of the relationship in their families. Some said, “Help clean up,” or “Listen when my parents ask me to do something.” And then Kayden Walsh said, “Be there for them if they are sad.” What a wonderful consideration of his part in the family interdependence!


In the Sunday worship on January 10, I did a Time for All Ages about the ripple effect. The notion that you can make a change to the whole by one small gentle act. And it keeps sticking with me. How can we hold up our part of the relationship with each other, with the creatures of the world, with the planet? And the answer keeps coming back to me that one large part is just being aware. Aware that our choices, decisions, and actions all have the ripple effect. Being aware of our place in the world IS a piece of our responsibility to the whole.


You may have often heard me say, Faith Development is all we do. And in this case, we live out our 7th Principle, respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, by learning to be in better relationship. And we continue to seek ways to understand how we might do that…and do it…and do it again. Whether it’s attending one of the many Faith Engagement opportunities (check them out here:, getting involved with CREE and our social justice efforts, collecting items for COW, learning more about our UU Identity with Rev. Margret, or simply engaging with others in a discussion of the ministry theme; UUCCH offers so many ways to improve upon our interdependency.


And anytime we learn, value, and serve…anytime we better ourselves in relationship to others and to the world, we create ripples that carry out into the Universe. And that gives me hope…even in this challenging new year. So, I amend my wish for you all, and wish you a Hope-y New Year!


In Faith,

Paula Gribble

Director of Lifespan Faith Engagement