Endowment Trustee Meeting of 7/17/2014

EndowmentsSubmitted by Parker Stokes
At home of Parker Stokes,  attending: Roy Schilling    and Judy Remsberg
 
The request of the Board to consider more socially responsible investing by moving the Fellowship’s Endowment funds from the Fidelity Balanced Fund into the UUA Common Endowment Fund was discussed in detail. The investment objectives of the two funds were compared. They are both 60% stock /40% Bond funds.  Both invest in oil, gas and energy as well as a diversity of large US and International corporations. The Fidelity fund has 1.7% invested in tobacco related companies.  This was felt to be a negative but did not outweigh the advantages of Fidelity’s better return and lower expenses which will allow the Fellowship to have more money available to promote socially responsible UU values in our own community.  We also looked at Green Century Balanced Fund but found the definition of green and socially responsible investing to be trendy and arbitrary and the extra expenses and less robust return to not meet our investment expectations.  The Trustees do support Socially Responsible actions and investing and encourage every one to follow their heart in this matter. The Trustees voted unanimously to keep the Fellowship’s Endowment money invested in the Fidelity Balanced Fund and will continue to annually evaluate and balance our options regarding social and fiduciary responsibility.
 
The Trustees have previously met and agreed to release up to $500 in the Fellowship’s current fiscal year  to help promote Unitarian values.  We have received four proposals and judged them as follows:
 
Upgrading dangerous or broken playground equipment  will be the primary focus for up to $350 of this year’s funds.  Trustee, Judy Remsberg will coordinate with The RE    Committee and Rayven Holmes to define the scope of the  work needed and    those who will be able to plan and participate in it.
 
Welcoming and supporting our first seminary intern with $150 towards travel funds will be our secondary focus.   This will be coordinated  by Trustee, Roy Schilling.  We are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship over the next two years.
 
Worthy proposals for repair of the organ and a singing work shop were also considered but could not be supported with funds.
 
Respectfully submitted, Parker Stokes , Secretary
Posted in Endowment, GROUPS | Leave a comment

Thai Buddhist Sart Thai Festival (Special Invitation)

Watby Brad Garbus

I wanted to extend a very special invitation from Wat Pasantidhamma, the Buddhist Temple in Carrollton, to attend their Festival (Sart Thai Ceremony) and Thai market.

I apologize for the extremely short notice, but I wanted to pass along the invitation to anyone who would be interested in attending.   If you plan to attend please let me know so I can look for you!   If you are unable to attend this event, the monks have invited us to visit and learn more about Buddhism, Thai culture and beauty of the Forest Temple.

The Sunday Morning Forum has been discussing Buddhism this month and after being invited I wanted to extend this very special invitation.

WHEN:  10:30am Sunday, September 21, 2014

WHERE:  14289 Chapmans Ln Carrollton, VA 23314

ABOUT:  http://www.gowatpa.org/about-us

CONTACT:  bradgarbus@gmail.com

Wat Pasantidhamma translated:  Forest Temple Peace Dhamma

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Sart Thai day falls in the middle of the traditional Thai year. It occurs on the fifteenth day of the waning moon of the tenth lunar month (sometime during September).

The word Sart, derived from the Pali language, means season and in particular autumn or fall. Sart Thai day is also referred to as Memorial Day. This is not Memorial Day as Americans might assume. In Thailand, Sart Thai is a time to remember dead relatives with prayers, Buddhist rituals, and merit making on their behalf. 

In addition, September crops (including rice) in Thailand are beginning to ripen. As such it marks the start of the harvest (not the end). From a traditional point of view people believed that the first harvest of crops should be offered to the spirits. This was thought to ensure that the harvest would be bountiful and they would avoid starvation.

One of they traditions is the preparation of a sweet dessert called “Krayasart” or “food for the Sart rite”.  This dessert consists of rice, beans, peanuts, coconut, sesame, and sugar. Lay people would bring “Krayasart” to the Temple to offer to the monks. After the offering, water was poured in dedication to dead ancestors in order to earn merit for them. People believed that the offering of “Krayasart” would mean that their ancestors would have food to eat and that the person would be blessed.

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Excerpt from website:

THE WAY TO PEACE

The Wat Pasantidhamma was founded in April 1998. This took the persistence of many hardworking and dedicated people from all walks of life. This undertaking was a true challenge and a well worth while endeavor. Many benefits and fund raisers where established to accomplish this difficult task. One of the most challenging, to locate a piece of land and a suitable dwelling to be able to accompany the monks and their mission. To serve and communicate the teachings of Buddha. With many prayers a peaceful and beautiful setting of 6.75 acres was purchased in Carrollton,Va. With the hard work of many friends and followers the land was transformed into a place of scenic and serene beauty. The forest located behind the temple is ideal for meditation and prayer.

There are special occasions and events scheduled every month. This includes the offering of food to the forest monks every two weeks followed by prayer ,fellowship and Meditation. The WAT has 2014 calendars available which denotes this and other special events/occasions.

Traditional Thai holidays and special occasions that are celebrated in the country of Thailand are also observed here at the temple ie. H.R.M. the King’s birthday and many other religious ceremonies. Those celebrations are conducted in according to the Thai traditions and are very educational and beautiful for all to observe.

Everyone is welcome to join us in the very beautiful, peaceful surroundings at the WAT. The fellowship of the Thai community, and the culture can only be appreciated by experience. Meditation is conducted every evening at 6:30, but the door is always open.

We all hope you will take the opportunity to come and join us.

Posted in Adult Religious Education, EDITION: October 2014, EDITION: September 2014, Special Event | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What’s Happening at This Year’s Retreat?

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This year’s Retreat — the Fellowship’s thirteenth! — at Pocahontas State Park is getting set to be a great few days of food, fellowship and fun!

We’ll arrive any time after 3pm on Friday, September 26, making our way to the Algonquian Ecology Camp area where we’ll choose our cabins.  There’ll be dinner in the Powhatan Dining Hall lodge, followed by a Nature-themed worship and then time around the campfire.

We’ll get off to a great start on Saturday with a delicious breakfast.  In the morning there’ll be a visioning workshop, a Nature walk, and kayaking, while after lunch there’ll be a number of workshops including cupcake decorating, prayer beads, a book discussion, an outdoor labyrinth, yoga, T-shirt printing, and an introduction to geocaching!  There’s always the park itself to be explored at any time, too!  Before dinner we’ll enjoy Dances of Universal Peace, and the evening will continue with another great worship, time for making music and telling stories, and more s’mores around the fire!

After another nourishing breakfast Sunday morning, we’ll tidy up the lodge, pack up our cabins, and head back home after a wonderful weekend!

Haven’t signed up yet?  Well, don’t wait another minute!  You can register right now by going to: http://bit.ly/UUFP13R

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Posted in Adult Religious Education, Announcements, Children's Religious Education, Retreat | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UUFP Harvest Celebration

Rayven Holmes

Rayven Holmes

submitted by Rayven Holmes

Yellows and reds speckle the trees, the air is crisp, and the smell of fresh baked goods warms your heart.  Autumn is on its way with its sea of colors and abundance of delicacies, too.  In addition to pumpkin flavored goodies, autumn also means collecting the bounty we have so diligently toiled over during the summer months.  It has been customary throughout human history to celebrate and give thanks for the harvest, regardless of size.  On Saturday September 20th, from 10am-2pm, we’ll be giving thanks, sharing knowledge, and having some fun at UUFP.  Using Interfaith Power and Light’s Sow a Cool Harvest as our guide the Green Sanctuary Committee has planned a fantastic afternoon and we hope you’ll attend.  So what is in store for the September 20th Harvest Celebration?

  • Seed Saving: Information, a seed saving demonstration, and the opportunity to collect your own seeds from the plants that were organically grown right on the UUFP grounds.
  • Winterized Garden Cover: An example of an easy DIY garden cover that will project your crops and allow you to keep growing your own food through the winter.
  • Food Preservation: After laboring all summer you don’t want any bit of your harvest to go to waste. We’ll have information on canning, an example of the finished product, and tools of the trade.
  • Nature Conservancy: Nancy Beach from the Nature Conservancy, one of the recipients of our share the basket program, will be at the celebration to talk about the role agriculture plays in conservation. As well as, answer any questions you may have about the Nature Conservancy and their mission.  This is a great opportunity to come out and learn about what our gifts are supporting the Nature Conservancy.
  • Children’s Craft: Our very own Navigators USA Chapter 58 will be working with the children to build reusable grocery bags out of old t-shirts.
    • If you have any old t-shirts currently cluttering your dresser drawers, please let them go, and bring them this Sunday to the RE room so the children can transform them into useful grocery bags.
  • Mabon Ritual: Gratitude for the bounty the earth provides is often a spiritual practice. Members of UUFP’s EarthRising will lead a gratitude ritual for those interested in attending.
  • Nourish: Showing of the 30 minute DVD that “reveals the many ways that food connects to our environment, our health, and our communities”.
  • Potluck and Organic Homebrew Beer Raffle: After Nourish we will nourish ourselves with a potluck and raffle off two, possibly three, 6 packs of organic home brewed beer!

Please join us September 20th, from 10am to 2pm, for Food, Fun, Knowledge, and Fellowship!  

Harvest

Posted in EarthRising, EDITION: September 2014, Green Sactuary, Harvest Celebration, Navigators | Leave a comment

Pride FEST 2014

click image for biography

Brad Garbus
(FLAME Keeper)

by Brad Garbus

On August 23, 2014 Town Point Park in Norfolk Virginia was transformed into our regions annual Pride Festival.   The festival organizers anticipated nearly 15,000 people to attend this year to celebrate the progress this year in regards to same sex marriage in Virginia.  Local news revised the estimates closer to 20,000 or more in attendance this year.   The turn out was phenomenal and we were there. 

prideweekThe Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula, Unitarian Church of Norfolk and the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist congregations banned together to man a booth at this years event.   We had meet and greets with many like minded people that were in attendance and handed out many brochures and informative pamphlets.   We actually shared the tent with several other denominations from Southeastern Virginia.   

There was extensive news coverage of the event this year.  Below is just some of the coverage of the event this year.

http://www.wvec.com/news/Pridefest-draws-record-272453571.html

http://wtkr.com/2014/08/23/norfolks-gay-pride-festival/

It’s never too early to start planning an even bigger event next year!   We are asking for your support to make Pride Fest 2015 even better.  We want the Unitarian Universalists to stand out and offer our beloved community as a safe spiritual home to anyone who would walk through our doors.   Planning meeting dates are still being discussed and we hope to see you there!

The Unitarian Universalist booth at Pride Fest 2014

The Unitarian Universalist booth at Pride Fest 2014

Hampton Roads Pride Fest 2014 Facebook Page

Courtesy of Hampton Roads Pride Facebook Page

Courtesy of Hampton Roads Pride Facebook Page

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

SUNDAY MORNING FORUM (September 2014)

An opportunity for learning and discussion on a variety of thought provoking topics.

Every Sunday morning at 9:30

Schedule for September 2014

Sept.  7—-THE ORIGINS of JAPANESE BUDDHISM—Ray McAdaragh

Buddhism was brought to Japan from Korea in 522 CE. Buddhism as practiced in Japan has been shaped by Japanese cultural practices and values… it developed differently from Buddhism elsewhere in Asia.

Sept. 14—-HONEN, SHINRAN AND NICHIRAN——–Ray McAdaragh

Three great monks developed schools for Buddhist teachings in the 7th through the 9th century. These teachings have been passed down and are the bases for Buddhist teaching today. They are rooted in the idea of devotion and homage to celestial Buddha’s.

Sept. 21—-ZEN BUDDHISM———————————Ray McAdaragh

Zen is probably the most widely known form of Buddhism today. Zen practices meditation as a means of enlightenment. It is rooted in Chinese Ch’an, which is a rejection of paying homage or devotion to celestial beings by returning to strict meditation for enlightenment. Our facilitator will teach us some of the secrets of this practice.

Facilitator: Ray McAdaragh was a certified meditation instructor for three years while writing and publishing a book on meditation. Ray has studied Zen for many years and practices Zen meditation. He also practices Japanese Budo Martial Arts having studied with an instructor who is a direct descendent of the Samurai.

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Sept. 28—THE ANCIENT WISDOM of KABBALAH——Susan Schneider

Kabbalah reveals how the universe and life work. Kabbalah is an ancient Jewish paradigm for learning life-principles that applies to all peoples. Kabbalah can help one connect with the universal energy and maintain that connection for life-long fulfillment. Come learn about this mystical wisdom.

 FacilitatorSusan Schneider has studied the art of Kabbalah for over 20 years. She currently studies and teaches at the Washington D.C. Kabbalah Center.

Posted in Adult Religious Education, EDITION: September 2014

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 GrowingUUism.com 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  ( http://www.hrbor.org/ )

Growing UUism in Hampton Roads – ( www.GrowingUUism.org )

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

Inside Business Article “Safe HRBOR” URL:
http://insidebiz.com/news/safe-hrbor-virginias-first-chamber-commerce-lgbt-community-thriving

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Contact me at:  bradgarbus@gmail.com or 757-218-7970 or www.BradGarbus.com

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