December 11th Service: “A Piece of Quiet”

In the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, God afflicts the city with the curse of many languages so that they cannot understand each other. We live in times where it often seems we are afflicted in a similar way; we can easily feel like we are under assault from so many different directions with numerous incomprehensible demands and inexplicable requirements.  The world is a cacophony of bad news, tragedies and endless undone tasks.  At this time of year it seems worse, the many tasks of the holidays make us feel like we might be going over the edge. On this Sunday let us come together and explore how we might silence some of the external and internal noise of our lives and find a place of inner quiet to carry us through the holiday season.
Worship Leader: Rev. Suzanne Marsh
Worship Associate: Kyi Kyi Whiting

December 4th Service: “Dealing With Stress!”

Donna Graybill-Roberts will lead the congregation with the topic “Dealing with Stress.”

Donna will discuss: stress, the effect of stress, how to manage stress and stress in the context of privilege and oppression.

Please join us this Sunday, December 4th, to hear Donna Graybill-Roberts timely message.

Worship Leader: Donna Graybill-Roberts
Worship Associate: Ken Whiting

Poverty and Thanksgiving: A Call to Righteous Love

A Thanksgiving Message from UUA President Peter Morales
Posted November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It calls forth the essential spiritual value of gratitude. I have precious memories of feasts shared with family and with good friends at congregational dinners. I eagerly anticipate this year’s gathering.

Imagine inviting family and friends over for Thanksgiving dinner and feeding some of them a lavish feast and some of them scraps and leftovers. While some are served an overabundance of delicious food, others receive tiny portions of unappetizing leavings. Horrible thought!

Two apparently unrelated headlines caught my eye a few weeks ago as I surfed my usual news sites. I can’t get them out of my mind. The first is a truly major development: The percentage of people living in poverty in the United States is the highest in half a century. One out of seven Americans lives in poverty.

The second headline was a mere tidbit in the business news. It said something to the effect that companies that make things no one really needs have done very well in this recession. Though apparently unrelated, the two items are, of course, intimately connected. The poor are getting poorer and their numbers are increasing while the rich are doing very well. They continue to buy high tech gadgets and luxury items.

These news items should have been a major religious story. At one level, the growing gap between rich and poor is an economic and political issue. But it is also a moral and, ultimately, a religious issue. There is a temptation to see economic relationships as the result of uncontrollable forces. As a matter of fact, allowing this widening gap between rich and poor is a choice — a moral choice. And it is a moral choice with enormous spiritual consequences.

All of the great religious traditions teach us that we are connected to one another. Every human being is my brother or sister. Every faith teaches compassion, that those who love God express that by loving others. Every faith also teaches us that we become fully human in community.

Economic inequality pollutes human relationships the way smog pollutes our lungs. Just look at life where the gaps between rich and poor are greatest — Latin America and Africa. And look back to when the gap was greatest in American history. These were times of slavery and robber barons.

I know from my years in parish ministry the financial strains that beset families. I have seen a member lose her home because of predatory lending practices and witnessed the devastation of a sudden illness. The Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2009 59.1 million Americans had no health insurance, and we know that catastrophic health expenses can plunge families into poverty. Why is it that the United States is the only country in the developed world without universal health insurance for its citizens? And why here, in the richest country in the world, did more than 1 million children go hungry in 2008, according to the Dept.of Agriculture? These are more than political issues; these are spiritual issues as well.

Inequality breeds fear, bitterness, suspicion, crime and violence. It eats away at the dignity and self esteem of the poor while it hardens the hearts of the rich.

Inequality numbs our spirits. Ultimately it dehumanizes us. Ironically, social psychology shows us that our grandmothers were right: The rich are not happier.

The answer is not some romantic neo-Marxist notion of a perfect equality. But neither is it the uncontrolled and rapacious avarice that sacrifices people to profit margins and outrageous consumption.

The growing gap between rich and poor harms us all. We can choose a better way. Let us share the bounty of the earth.

There is enough for everyone at the Thanksgiving table.

November 27th Service: “What Are You Grateful For?”

Speaker: Ryan Terry

What are you grateful for? Why is it so important to express our gratitude, and to whom or where should we focus our gratitude when it seems like there is no individual person or group to thank?

Ryan Terry will read an article titled “The Deep Thanksgiving of our Souls” by Daniel S. Schatz, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Warrington, Pennsylvania.
After reading this article we invite everyone to participate in a short discussion on the importance of gratitude.


November 20th Service: “Why Occupy Anything?”

As I write this, the Occupy Wall Street Movement and its supporting protests all over the world are still going strong, despite the encroaching cold weather and growing police actions against protestors in many cities. Why is this movement of importance to us as Unitarian Universalists anyway? In this service, we’ll look at the roots of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and why the protests speak directly to the heart of our principles. What are these protests asking for?  If we can’t take to the streets, then what can each of us do to show our support and put our principles into action??

A discussion of the service topic will follow the service for those who are interested.

Worship Leader: Rev. Suzanne Marsh
Worship Associate: Karen Fothergill

November 13th Service: “A Queer Perspective on Love”

Be drunk on love, because love is all that exists. It is Love and the Lover that lives eternally, don’t lend your heart to anything else; all else is borrowed. –Rumi

There is within the Sufi tradition the idea that everything is but a reflection of the divine. The tradition teaches that the more one polishes his or her heart the more one can see just how vast and interconnected the ocean of love we call reality really is. From Jesus to Rumi.

James Tidmarsh will share portions of his journey and will also explain why he believes that radical lovemaking is essential not only for one’s spiritual health but for the well being of the world as well.

Speaker: James Tidmarsh

Worship Associate: Dale Bostock