Sunday Services (August 2014)

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

theme: “Lost” Arts

August 3rd: “The Art of Being Present”

The covenant enacted by members of the Fellowship includes caring for one another in times of need and letting others care for us, too.  We know that we can do this by sending a thoughtful card or by bringing someone a meal or by helping them get somewhere.  But how can “pastoral presence” as a form of lay ministry help our Fellowship to grow as a caring community?

Special music will be offered by Tret Fure!

August 10th: “The Art of Saying ‘No’”

The great Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who are alive.”  But when many of us find it all too tempting to raise our hands when asked to help, to give, or to take on responsibility in the face of obvious needs and important causes, how do we respond?

August 17th: “The Art of Doing Nothing”

Our nation is renowned for its strong economy, and American people take pride in their strong work ethic.  But why do Americans work so hard?  We usually think of our economic behaviors as rational and secular; religion and the sacred seem to rise above it all.  But how might our perceptions of earning and spending change if we thought of these behaviors as sacred, too?  In fact, Protestant Christianity has had a profound impact on shaping the American economy, whether or not we realize it.  By drawing on Zen and Taoist verses on non-action, and with a nod to the American counter-culture, we’ll offer an irreverent ode to laziness in the closing days of the Summer that will challenge Protestant values often left unconsidered.

Matt ThompsonMatthew Thompson earned his doctorate in anthropology at the University of North Carolina.  He is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University and a student in the School of Information Science at the University of Tennessee.  Born and raised in Austin, Texas, his family has resided in Newport News since 2007.  Matt’s interests include smoking barbeque, drinking cold beverages, and listening to music — preferably all three at the same time.  This is his second time preaching at the Fellowship.

August 24th: “The Art of Letting Go”

It can be tempting to hang on even when we know that hanging on isn’t doing us any good.  Whether it’s people who are not positive influences in our lives, or possessions that are little more than clutter, or emotions such as resentment or remorse, it can be hard to let go, even though we know it would be better for us.  But there’s more to it than a certain popular song!

August 31st: “The Art of Failing”

We are taught from an early age that it’s important to succeed.  But when success is the only thing that matters, we find crazy-making problems such as high-stakes testing based on dumbed down curricula.  And if we only experience success (or what we are told is success), how do we learn about our limitations, recognize our shortcomings, and otherwise grow as whole persons?

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

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Birthdays (August 2014)

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

Magnolia

Gayle Phillips

Jeanie Goldberg

Asher Meyer

Nancy Emery

Tom Hagner

Kim Hummel

Selena Carlson-Hagstrom

Dan Luke

Neil Bates

Judy Remsberg

Sandy Burkes-Campbell

Shea McIntyre

Allison Black

Sophia Hagstrom

Bob Mosolf

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

Herman Melville

Herman Melville

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, poet, and writer of short stories. His contributions to the Western canon are the whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851),  In Herman Melville’s Religious Journey, Walter Donald Kring detailed his discovery of letters indicating that Melville had been a member of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City.

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What was it like to be a Youth Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator at GA?

Joanne Dingus  (Director of Religious Education)

Joanne Dingus
(Director of Religious Education)

By Joanne Dingus

 

This year I got to take my love for working with youth to the national level. From June 24th-30th , I participated at General Assembly as a Youth Advisor/Sponsor Coordinator. My job was to support the youth caucus staff and to be of service to all the parents and guardians sponsoring youth. We had 316 youth registered for the youth program. After settling in and meeting with Youth Caucus staff to go over last minute details, my first responsibility was to help present an orientation session for the sponsors. With my co-workers James, Jessica, I spent an hour and a half going over safety information, ways to keep in touch, expectations on participation, emergency procedures and how to bring the experience of GA home. I think the orientation went very well because we had very few issues during the week.

As a Youth Advisor, I spent much of my time going to youth sponsored workshops and events. Some of the youth workshops included: Exploring Spiritual Practices, Your Inner Super Hero, Be The Change (this was from the same program that we are using this summer for the middle and high school group here at UUFP), Creating Connections: Youth, UU Identity and Interfaith Partnership. At this last workshop we had a visit from Ware lecturer Sister Simone Campbell.

During the evenings, I went to the worship services and then to the youth game night, the dance and WaterFire a local festival in Providence.

I especially enjoyed the youth led Synergy Service and The Service of the Living Tradition where I got to watch Rev. Andrew be recognized for receiving Final Fellowship.

Jaimie was an active participant in several programs put on by The Sanctuary Boston. She also got to do a GA talk on her experience at Summer Seminary. It was an added perk to get to watch her sing and speak at GA.

It was a wonderful week for me. I was so proud of the youth on staff. They were so responsible and thoughtful and brought their whole selves to the work of the week. It was also great to re-connect with ministers and DRE’s whom I’ve met over the years. I would definitely do this again if I have the opportunity and would certainly recommend going to GA and getting involved as a volunteer.

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RE NEWS

Joanne Dingus  (Director of Religious Education)

Joanne Dingus
(Director of Religious Education)

By Joanne Dingus

We’ve been truly enjoying our summer adventures with Raiders of the Lost Arts, Young Raiders and Be the Change. Thanks so much to Jeannine Christensen for developing the Raiders class. I’d also like to thank all the new people who stepped up to teach this summer: Angela Lucy, Milyn King, Chris and Katie Hardwick, Karla Beckman, Mike Meyers, Jaimie Dingus and returning teachers, Allison Black, Aaron Hansley, Jeannine Christensen and Selena Hagstrom.

I thought I would give you a sneak peek of things to come this fall.

At the 9:30 class, we will be using a program called Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope with stories and activities that promote peace, justice and care for the environment.

At 11:00 our youngest group will learn along with Chalice Children. They will spend the year getting to know their church and congregation.

The elementary school children will learn about UU identity with Spirit of Adventure. Through medicine, food, holidays, science, building and exploring the web of life, students will gain a better understanding of their faith. The upper middle school youth will learn along with Traditions with a Wink. They will explore the long traditions of questioning and searching in our faith and hear stories of kindness, good works and visions of hope. Our high school students will Dare to Know as they learn about the links between Humanism and Unitarian Universalism.

As in past years, the RE Committee will sponsor special events such as the Winter Festival and Fellowship Friends. We plan to host Trunk or Treat near Halloween and will send care packages to college students in February. The Youth Group for middle and high school students will continue to meet once a month. And the Got Kids? Group for younger children and their families will continue to meet each month.

If you would like to be more involved with the RE program please let me know and I can find the right place for you to volunteer. There will be a teacher training for all those interested in teaching this year on September 6th from 9-12. Fall classes will begin on September 14.

See you in the RE!

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Broadening Minds, Deepening Spirits, Opening Hearts

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

In early 2002 I spent a couple of weeks in India. With most of my visit in Mumbai, I stayed in a house that at one time may have been considered opulent. When I was there, though, the paint was peeling from the walls, the plaster was falling from the ceiling, and the toilet had to be flushed with a bucket. All of the water needed for cooking and cleaning — and flushing the toilet! — was stored in large plastic bins that were filled via a garden hose from an outdoor faucet only at a certain time each day. Outside the house, traffic crowded the streets. Loud and smelly three-wheeled taxis wove around equally loud and smelly trucks and buses, not to mention cows and the occasional elephant, as well as people. And there were lots of people, everywhere. Every job that could possibly be subdivided was subdivided, employing at least three men instead of just one. Women in brightly colored and somehow spotless saris worked as manual laborers, repairing roads, building walls and picking up trash. Children stood at intersections, begging.

I spent a few days of my trip in Bangalore, which involved taking a twenty-three-hour-long train ride from Mumbai. It was an education simply being on the train. In urban areas, there were the shacks that were all the home that some families had, built of whatever materials they could find, crammed in wherever there was space along the side of the railway. Further out, every available acre of land was cultivated, with plantation after plantation of palm trees growing dates or coconuts. Every so often, the train would need to stop because there were animals on the tracks. I saw countless monkeys along the way; more than a few were missing limbs, perhaps from too close an encounter with a train, but that didn’t stop them from seeing if there was any food to be had.

During my time in Bangalore, and much to the embarrassment of most of the members of the family with whom I was staying, the Miss India pageant was in full swing. As with such events in this country, the contestants were hardly representative of the general population of the sub-continent, being taller than average and with strikingly pale skin and light eyes. I remember one of the commercial breaks because there was an advert for a particular brand of soap. In that advert, a young woman was interviewed for a job she wanted, but was turned down; back at home, her parents gave her the soap being advertised, which she used on the basis that, so her parents informed her, it would whiten her skin; reapplying for the job and being interviewed again, the woman, now with supposedly more pale skin, was successful.

One of the relatives of the family hosting me was home on a break from university in Baltimore. Much to the disbelief of family members who had never traveled outside India, she described the discrimination she had experienced in the United States. Perhaps, in a country where restricted amenities and crushing poverty are so many people’s lived realities even in the midst of such natural abundance, where classism relating to skin color is so accepted that it even informs the story lines of television adverts, perhaps then it’s hard to imagine how there could be anything similar within the mythically ideal society of the United States.

It’s said that travel broadens the mind, and I’ve always found that to be true. And it’s not necessary, of course, to go half way around the world to have one’s mind broadened. It was a result of my own privilege that, at the time I wanted to go to India, I had the wherewithal to do so: working for a university where my modest “post-doc” pay was slightly more than adequate for my frugal life-style, I had the flexibility in my schedule to take such a trip as well as the money in savings to pay for it. But I have also had my mind broadened without having to travel so far away, without even having to leave the town where I was living. It’s when, in particular, we are willing “to cross the borders of race, culture and social class,” as UUA President Peter Morales puts it, whether volunteering at a food pantry run by Muslim women or participating in an interfaith Habitat for Humanity project, that we learn things about other people, about ourselves, and about the world we share with one another that not only broaden our minds, but also deepen our spirits and open our hearts as well.

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Sunday Services (July 2014)

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

theme: Crossing Borders

“Our challenge is to learn to reach beyond the confines of our personal social and cultural experience.  This is what I mean by learning to ‘cross borders’.  We particularly need to learn to cross the borders of race, culture and social class.”
— Rev. Peter Morales, UUA President (UU World, Winter 2011)

July 6th: “Is ‘Classism’ in Our Dictionary?”

Unitarian Universalism strives to be an anti-oppressive and multicultural religion, with on-going conversations about issues of race and gender.  Class, however, is rarely mentioned, and of all the “—isms” we typically consider, classism isn’t even a word in most dictionaries.  Yet the interlocking nature of oppressions requires that class be addressed if our journey toward wholeness is to be successful.

Note:  Be sure to look up “classism” in your preferred dictionary.  Is it there?

July 13th: “Religion, Reason, and the Future of Pluralism”

Is religion a singular structure, or is it a plurality?  Are religious moderates enabling extremism, or are they challenging it?  What about religious progressives?  Is difference to be suppressed as a threat to safety and security, or is it to be lifted up as a source of sympathy and beauty?  Can we reach across our differences without erasing them?  Is a human commonwealth of justice, equity and compassion in our future?

Rev. Andrew is pleased to share the pulpit with Hussam TimaniHussam S. Timani.  Dr. Timani is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Christopher Newport University.  His research interests include theologies of religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue.  Dr. Timani is co-editor of two book projects on immigration theology and interfaith liberation theology, and is a frequent speaker on Islam and inter-religious dialogue.

July 20th: “One Man’s Opinion that Transformed a Community”

Social Action is a Unitarian Universalist core principle.  Andrew W. Cooper lived that value whether he was fighting Jim Crow in the 1950s, demanding voting rights in the 1960s, or from the 1970s through 1990s requiring dignity and respect for North America’s largest black community in Brooklyn, NY.  Wayne Dawkins, who grew up there, wrote a biography of his mentor.  Brooklyn, the former place to avoid, is now a destination, and Wayne will explain why Cooper (1927-2002) made a difference.

A lifelong Unitarian Universalist, Wayne DawkinsWayne Dawkins has been a member of the UUFP since 1998.  He was a long-time member of the Community Church of New York – Unitarian Universalist.  Wayne is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Communication at Hampton University and is writing a new biography of civil rights godfather and immigration reformer, Emanuel Celler.

July 27th: “#YesAllWomen”

The predictably standard debate about gun violence and mental illness following one man’s murderous rampage near Santa Barbara in May was disrupted by a public outpouring of personal experiences thanks to Twitter.  The hashtag #YesAllWomen was tweeted over a million times within a few days, drawing attention to our culture of sexism, misogyny and violence against women, and changing how we as a society understand ourselves.

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Birthdays (July 2014)

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

Roses

Photographed by Andrew Millard

Katie Engel
Henry Chambers
Carey Hall
Robert Higinbotham
Jesse Robertson
Ada Van Tine
Betsy Hughes
Brittany Welch
Rich Glenn-Albiez
Mayah Moore
Aurora Hagstrom
John Templeton
Isabella Strom
Olivia Millard
Dawn Hutchinson
Sally Thomas
Gabrielle Bevins
Anna Carlson
Kim van der Veen
Brad Harper
Connie Ralston
Lucy Van Tine
Leonard Schneider

If you have an birthday that we’ve overlooked, please get in touch with UUFP Membership Chair Bobbie Schilling at:  membership@uufp.org

PT BarnumPhineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810-April 7, 1891), known as P. T. Barnum, a prominent Universalist, the most influential American showman of the nineteenth century, was the founder of the first financially successful museum in America to gain wide public support and creator of the modern three-ring circus.

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