HRBOR (Hampton Roads Business Out Reach)

click image for biography

Brad Garbus
(FLAME Keeper)

by Brad Garbus

Over the last couple months I have been working toward growing Unitarian Universalism in Hampton Roads, specifically in the LGBTQi community.   A while ago I started attending a monthly meeting for HRBOR (Hampton Roads Business Out Reach) which is a non-profit organization that is essentially a Chamber of Commerce for the LGBTQi community business owners and our allies.   

I started attending back in June when my husband was hired by Tysinger Motor Company.  Tysinger is a Platinum sponsor for HRBOR.  Ray was appointed their new Mercedes-Benz HRBOR representative.   When we started attending together, my mind started thinking of ways this would be an amazing opportunity to introduce Unitarian Universalism to like-minded business leaders that are constantly looking to make connections and support many of our same social initiatives.   

1162HRBOR has over 180 members representing many different areas from non-profits to large corporations.   The membership is constantly growing and we are well supported by our local and state governments.   It really is an amazing experience to attend these meetings.   I would like to encourage everyone that reads this article to visit their website and learn more about the companies that are part of HRBOR.   

The experience sparked the idea for me to build a very simple yet informative website all about Unitarian Universalism with a content page focused on the LGBTQi social justice activities.   I was surprised how many people at these meetings said, “Unitarian Universalist, what?  What is that?”  So many like minded people do not know our faith exists.   The only other church affiliation I am aware of with HRBOR is the Metropolitan Community Church in Norfolk.   Over the years I have discovered many LGBTQi people are either spiritual or non-spiritual and that few are comfortable in a more traditionally lead Christian service.   So many in our community, but not all, label themselves as “nones”, meaning they have no specific religion they prescribe to.  In many cases because they feel burned or betrayed by the one they may have been raised in.   Regardless of the situation there is large number of people in the LGBTQi community that are looking for a faith where they can believe what they want to and be supported on their path.   

I have had many take a deep breath of relief when they hear the “good news” of Unitarian Universalism that they have never heard before.   Then when they visit the site, they are very impressed by our history and our faith’s focus on deeds not creeds.   

At the UUFP Policy Board Meeting in August I presented information about HRBOR and my intentions to share information about our local congregations and our faith with HRBOR members and was given a unanimous vote of support by the board for which I am extremely grateful.

I wanted to share the information regarding HRBOR and the website I created.   If you are interested in attending one of the HRBOR monthly meetings please contact me.  I will be happy to bring you as a guest.   

I feel this is a great opportunity not only to spread the good news about our faith among people of like mind, but also to help those searching, find a spiritual home with us who have been unable to find one in other faith traditions.

A very informative article was published just this week about HRBOR and the Pride Fest in the Virginia Pilot.   I will include the URL below so you have the opportunity to learn more about this organization.   We are also listed in the HRBOR directory.

HRBOR – Hampton Roads Business Out Reach  ( )

Growing UUism in Hampton Roads – ( )

Please, Support HRBOR Businesses & Non-Profits:  HRBOR Directory

Inside Business Article “Safe HRBOR” URL:


Contact me at: or 757-218-7970 or

Posted in EDITION: September 2014, Social Justice, Welcoming Congregation | Tagged | 1 Comment

Growing the Beloved Community, Twelve Months a Year

For all that is our life! by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard

Not long after I’d moved to Connecticut in early 2001, I learned that there was a Unitarian Universalist congregation just up the road from me.  The first service I attended there was on Easter Sunday, and not long after that I went to an orientation and became a member.  Then something very strange happened.

Services came to an end for the Summer.

It turned out that, for the months of July and August, my congregation and the UU church in the next town had an arrangement where they would share services.  Anybody coming to one congregation, assuming there’d be a service, would be greeted by a hand-scribbled note taped to the door saying that services were being held at the other congregation.  Oh, and since the two congregations held their services at different times, well, there was no way to actually make the other service anyway.

I asked someone about this curious arrangement and was told that it was because “everyone goes to Cape Cod for the Summer.”  And “everyone” was said as if it literally meant everyone, except that the person saying it didn’t go to Cape Cod — not even for a week, let alone for two whole months — and I never met more than a handful of people who did much more than take trips to see family while their children were out of school for the Summer.  Certainly anybody who had a job was expected to continue working at that job regardless of the time of year.

Since then I’ve learned more about this imaginary tradition.  For many decades it was customary for Unitarian Universalist ministers to take all of their vacation and study-leave time during July and August.  I think that’s a ridiculous custom.  Aside from the fact that I’d like to be able to use some of my vacation time to visit my parents and relatives in England and the Summer is the most expensive time to do that, it makes not a single jot of sense for ministers to be entirely absent from their congregations precisely when we get so many visitors, particularly families who are taking advantage of their children being out of school to do some “church shopping”.

So strike one: not everyone goes away to a vacation home during the Summer.  And strike two: it’s a bad idea for ministers to be gone for the Summer, too.  Here’s strike three.

Back before the advent of modern sanitation — including the single most important idea in the history of medicine that washing one’s hands after going to the toilet is a wise thing to do — outbreaks of diseases like cholera were common in big cities.  And in old New England, it was simply a matter of survival that if you could get out of Boston during the Summer when the incidence of such diseases spiked, then you did.  Now the Unitarians tended to be well to do, and families like the Channings and the Longfellows, well, they had the wherewithal to escape East to the Cape or West to the Berkshires.  The Universalists, by contrast, tended to be spread out in the countryside anyway and their ministers were also practiced circuit-riders.

(While I may be exaggerating a few points here for effect, the fact remains that the UU “tradition” of taking the Summer off has more to do with classist privilege than anything else.)

So how does that affect us today?  Well, it doesn’t.  Or, at least, it shouldn’t.  Strike three is that we know about washing our hands and about not dumping raw sewage into our supply of drinking water.

When I first experienced the uniquely Unitarian Universalist ritual known as the Water Communion, for example, it was part of an end-of-Summer service at the UU church in the next town.  My congregation never did Water Communion because they didn’t have services in August.  What we did do was an “Ingathering” service, so named because there was this idea that the church had somehow disintegrated over the Summer and needed to be put back together.  Thankfully, many Unitarian Universalist congregations no longer have an “Ingathering” service — or if they do, it’s about the start of the school year, which in states that are not beholden to the needs of amusement parks might be in mid-August or even earlier.  It’s not because the congregation ceased to be for a few weeks.

As was the case last year, the Fellowship held children’s Religious Education classes and Adult RE classes and Sunday morning services during the Summer just if July and August were like any other month. Sure, some people were out of town here and there, often because children or grandchildren were available to visit or be visited by relatives. But we also had lots of first-time visitors, including many families. Many of them have now attended on more than one Sunday, too. I hate to think that, not so long ago, they would have been turned away because we didn’t have Summer services.

Our mission to create a dynamic community that celebrates life and searches for truths does not get put on hold just because it’s the Summer.  Life continues to challenge us regardless of the time of year, and we need the comfort of being part of a community of the like-hearted just as much — and sometimes even more — during July and August.  We continue to have questions that need good answers — as well as answers that lead us to better questions — and we continue to seek ways to grow the Beloved Community and bring into being a more just and equitable and compassionate world.  This is our mission, seven days a week and all twelve months each year.

May we remember that, regardless of the Season, we continually strive for the best of creation, of humanity, of ourselves.  For it is in us and through us that our tradition comes to life, liberating minds and souls from lifeless creeds and moving forward together in the spirit of love that gladdens the hearts of all people.

~ ~ ~

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula will be celebrating the Water Communion in October.

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New Environments

From the Intern Minister, by Christina Hockman

Last week I got a foster dog.  My terrier-mix Enzo (a.k.a. Evil Puppy) has been in need of canine company since my other, elderly dog passed away in May.  I’ve never been a foster parent before, but decided to embrace the experience.  A local rescue organization brought me Cruz, a young hound who came from a rural shelter.  He had been living in a kennel since February, and little else is known about his history.  After a few minutes in the back yard together, Enzo and Cruz were chasing and playing like old buddies.

Things changed a bit after going inside.  It became apparent that Cruz had never been in a home before.  He froze in front of the hardwood floor, refusing to leave the safety of the area rug.  Going from room to room appeared to be frightening for him.  I was thrilled to see him go up the stairs, but my excitement quickly dissolved when he hunkered down in the tiny office room and refused to leave.  He was afraid to go down the stairs.  I soon found out that Cruz has never been obedience trained.  “Sit” is not in his vocabulary.

Cruz is living in a whole new world.  He has no idea about the rules and customs of living in a home.  For instance, the 5am “howl fest” is not a custom in my home.  Nor is chewing the circuitry out of the TV remote control.  A ceramic lamp was another early casualty of his household inexperience.  Cruz even created his own doggie door by running through a screen.

New doggie door: Enzo and Cruz

New doggie door: Enzo and Cruz
(photograph by Chris Hockman)

Life with Cruz is a little different than the life I had before.  I have to be a little more vigilant and a lot more patient.  I’ve had to buy a few extra chew toys and make an unplanned stop at the Verizon store.  But these are minor inconveniences in comparison to what Cruz has to offer.  He is a sweet companion for me and a good playmate for Enzo.  He will make a great family dog when he has mastered the art of living indoors and following “people” rules.

Cruz and I are not that different.  While he is learning to be a dog in a home, I am learning to be a minister in a new congregation.  My time at the UU Fellowship of the Peninsula will be full of new people, unfamiliar processes and traditions, and a bunch of other things that I have never done before and may not be used to.  I will probably make some mistakes.  But then again, I may open a new door or window.  As we enter into this new adventure together, I welcome any patience and assistance you can offer while I adapt to my new environment — the same grace I have offered to Cruz.  And treats are always welcome!

Who knows?  Two short years from now, you may just be sending a “well trained” new minister out into the world..

I look forward to serving you and beginning our journey together!

In faith,


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Birthdays (September 2014)

Many Happy Returns to our UUFP members and friends who will be celebrating their birthdays in September!  They are:

Larry Baer

Photo submitted by Andrew Millard

Photo submitted by Andrew Millard

John Kelly
Sara Drees
Bob Smith
Lin Chambers
Rachel Bevins
Victoria Schmidt
Vittoria Rhone-Christensen
Mary Faia
Wayne Dawkins
Ken Goodrich
Aiden Cotter
Steve Warner
Marcy Stutzman
Gus Grissom

If you have an birthday that we’ve overlooked, please get in touch with Bobbie Schilling (UUFP Membership Committee) at:

Rev. Dr. Forrest Church

Rev. Dr. Forrest Church

Frank Forrester Church IV (September 23, 1948 – September 24, 2009) was a leading Unitarian Universalist minister, author, and theologian. He was Senior Minister of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, until late 2006 when he was appointed as Minister of Public Theology.  Church is best known as a leader of liberal religion. Between 1985 and his death, he wrote or edited more than 20 books.

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Sunday Services (September 2014)

Services for September 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula

theme: Belonging

“All those of good will are welcome to join with us in our individual and collective search for truth and meaning, in a community where we commit ourselves daily to honoring the inherent worth and dignity of each person.”

September 7th: “The Meaning of Membership”

Our worship services, our programs of religious exploration, our social justice efforts and our many other activities are open to everyone.  All told, they involve a few hundred people who come through our doors each year, not to mention that we touch the lives of a few thousand people in the wider community.  So what does it mean, then, to be a member?

September 14th: “Belonging to the Present”

Bob Tschannen-Moran speaks from his experience with an illness that has led to permanent brain damage.  Memory is one capacity that has been most impaired.  Belonging to the present is, fortunately, an ability that he continues to exercise and to exercise well.  He has found it to be both a gift and a challenge to live in this condition and he speaks out of those two perspectives.

Bob Tschannen-MoranBob graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1979 after which he and his wife, Megan, worked in the inner-city of Chicago for fifteen years with a variety of church-based community-renewal efforts.  They are trained in Non-Violent Communication and facilitate a practice group.  Bob became a life and leadership coach in 1999, with a special focus on education.

September 21st: “We Belong to the Earth”

The People’s Climate March is being planned as the largest such public demonstration in history.  With world leaders coming to New York City for a United Nations summit on the climate crisis, more than 750 organizations — from to the Sierra Club — are mobilizing their supporters to take to the streets and demand a healthy and sustainable world.  If you can’t go to New York, be a part of it here at the Fellowship!

The first (9:30am) service will follow our traditional format with a sermon; the second (11am) service will include a multigenerational drama along with most other service elements.

September 28th: “Our Secret”

Is every religion built around some deep and powerful insight?  Is it only shared with true believers upon their initiation into the mystery?  If so, what is that for Unitarian Universalism?  And when do we get told about it?  At great personal risk of getting into trouble for letting the cat out of the bag, Rev. Andrew will enlighten you with our great Unitarian Universalist secret!

Special music will be offered by the UUFP’s ChorUUs!

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Announcements (September 2014)

2nd Sunday Lunch

September 14 at Beach Delly in Yorktown 12:30 after the second service

This time we will meet at the Beach Delly at 524 Water St. in Yorktown.
Join us for lunch and friendly conversation. Weather permitting, we will take a leisurely stroll along the York River waterfront after lunch. All are welcome!

Contact: Bobbie Schilling (249-2586).



After a two-month hiatus we will resume getting together on the third Tuesdays of each month.  If you are over fifty we invite you to join us for an opportunity to become better acquainted with your peers at UUFP.

On September 16th  our potluck lunch will be in the Office Building at 12:30.  Please call Esther at 369-1858 to sign up for friendship, food and fun !



Sunday Morning Forum is the new name for our adult religious education discussion that meets every Sunday morning in the office building at 9:30. The topics vary from current events to the philosophy of life and more!. All are welcomed to attend and participate in the discussion. In August our topic was American Religious Fundamentalism. On September 7, 14 and 21 attendees will be invited to learn aspects of  Zen Buddhism with our in-house Zen practitioner, Ray McAdaragh. On September 31, Susan Schneider will treat us to an introduction to Jewish Kabbalah.



September 7, 2014

Jeannine will examine the ancient Roman novel The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius.

This is an open discussion circle for both men & women.

Goddesses are chosen from various world religions as a starting place for group discussion.

When: 1st Sun.of each month after the 2nd service (about noon)

Where: In the Annex Building Why: potluck, fellowship and fun.

Childcare can be provided with advance notification.

Please contact with any questions.

Hope to see you there!


Any announcements not submitted may be added to this post at a later date and/or posted via other communication venues.  

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Submitted by Mary-Elizabeth

Peggy Joseph is a member of the Unitarian Church of Norfolk.  Snip20140821_2

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