(n) white su·prem·a·cy

It’s all about the words, isn’t it.

I guess it’s part of our heritage to delve into the meanings of words. To parse the definitions and make absolutely sure everyone understands the author’s exact intention. Words are how we communicate ideas to each other, so to make sure our ideas are not misinterpreted, we carefully pick the right words. We do this when by-laws are written and amended. We witness this every year at general assembly when AIW’s are created. We participate in this every time we create a covenant in a small group. Like Stephen Sondheim, we are really Into the Words.

Lately, there are two words going around the UUA that are causing a lot of trouble:

White Supremacy

These two words are being used by BLUU regarding a teach in. After the recent issues regarding the hiring new leadership in the Southern Region, BLUU is calling for all UU congregations to discuss systems of White Supremacy on either April 30 or May 7. The goal is to bring awareness of how whiteness is valued over black or brown (or any other color) in our everyday lives. How we perpetuate that system without realizing or meaning to. This is a conversation that is extremely hard to have. It is hard for people of color because the oppression that is obvious to them is invisible to whites. It is a hard conversation for whites because the feelings of guilt that can arise may turn into defensiveness or depression. However, despite the discomfort this conversation brings, it needs to happen.

download.pngBut so many of us just can’t get past those first two words: White Supremacy.

It’s a term that coujures up images of the Klu Klux Klan, lynchings, Jim Crow and Nazi Germany. It is used to describe people who are everything Unitarian Universalists are against. It is for many white people, the worst thing they can be called.

So we don’t want to use it. Especially when describing part of our own lives.

I had the honor of attending the Southern District Spring gathering in Charleston, SC. It was great to be among so many leaders of our faith, see the three candidates running for UUA president, attend a great workshop on social justice and enjoy the hospitality of the Charleston congregation. However, the moment that stood out for me was learning about a monument, prominently displayed on the church grounds. It was made from a slab of wall from the original church. Their senior minister Rev. Danny Reed told me that it is quite likely the bricks were made and laid by slaves, that slaves literally built the church. Inside of the current building, the names and pictures of many of the congregation’s historical figures are proudly displayed.

But the names of the people who sweat and toiled to create the buildings are forgotten.

2017-04-08 16.20.19.jpgThe small and powerful memorial that sits outside of the Charleston church reminds us the church was created through an inhumane practice that is a very real part of our history. We love to talk about all of the good things in the past that made our denomination what it is today, but there are parts of our past that are not good. Just as we honor the parts of our past that moved us toward a better world for all, we must witness that part of that advancement was at the expense of lives of color. Until we come to terms with that, we will never be able to move forward on a multi-cultural path.

White Supremacy is part of our past. Our history is filled with land-owning white men who had the luxury of freedom that enabled them to work toward a free and responsible search for truth. White Supremacy is also part of our present. We see it in the disproportionate sentencing the black men receive over their white counterparts. We see it in the school districts, in voting regulations, and in hiring practices. There are plenty of highly visible examples.

But there are times where as white people, we don’t see it at all.

A friend of mine, who is a both a person of color and a UU told me of a time when she was visiting a UU church after moving to a new area. When she arrived she was greeted with, “What brings someone like you to visit our church today?” The tone was very friendly and genuine, but the underlying message was, “black people have their own church and aren’t UU’s.” I am willing to bet that the person who greeted my friend had no idea how his comment hurt her. That is the supreme part of White Supremacy. It is assumed as the default, the norm. It’s not intentional, it’s just the way it is.

And that is why we need to talk about it.

The inherent worth and dignity of all calls us to examine what is hurting others. If we don’t realize that the system we are a part of is hurting others, it is our duty to learn about the ugly underneath of our system and work to change it. Words are important, it’s how we communicate ideas to each other. So when a person of color is using their words to tell of us their pain, we need to honor their words and listen.

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Why Are You Here?

Why are you here?

I got that a lot when I first got here. Most of you knew that I had previously been an intern minister in the Richmond congregation, so why was I doing a second internship? There are a lot of different reasons why I wanted to do two internships, but all of them had to do with learning about congregational life. For those of you who are unaware, the Richmond congregation had over 600 members and the majority of UU congregations are around 100 to 200 members. While my time in the Richmond church was valuable, it was not going to prepare me for most UU congregations, so I needed to find another internship.

2016-07-12 15.44.03Enter the Fellowship of the Peninsula.

So here I am 9 months and 25,000 miles later and what did I learn? I made a list of things that I learned while I was here. I was able to come up with 10 things in about 3 minutes, which is good sign, but I want to concentrate on just three of those things. The first is that Relationships Matter. One of the biggest reasons that people look for a church is to find community, to find people who have beliefs similar to their own. Now, I am well aware of all of the UU jokes about how no two UU think alike, if you have 10 UU’s in a room, you’ll have 20 different opinions. It doesn’t seem that we have a common belief among us, does it? But how many of you, after visiting for the first, second or tenth time said to yourself, “These are my people!”? How does that happen if we don’t all believe in the same exact thing?

2016-07-24 09.56.54You talk to each other. You have these wonderful fellowship circles that allow you to respectfully listen to each other and explore spirituality in a brave way. (Notice I didn’t say a safe way, engaging big questions in never safe. But risks need to be taken if growth is to be had). The connections that I saw in groups like the Adult Forum and Earth Rising are strong. You take care of each other very well. These bonds are a large part of why this congregation is holding steady. You all love each other.

The second thing I learned from you is to never waste a good crisis. When I got here I heard about a flood that happened a few years ago and how so many people pitched in to get the sanctuary up and running again. I heard a similar story about a roof that needed to be replaced. A congregant told me early on, “we are really good at coming together in a crisis” and I got to see this first hand in November. After the election, there were a few people who worried about what was going to happen to the country. We opened our doors on Wednesday night and had a fair amount of people come to be in community with each other. Some came looking for comfort, but most came to be in community, to just sit with others and listen. Some brought food, because nothing says comfort like food. Some just stayed to help clean up and keep things in order. You all knew it was going to be a bad night and you showed up for each other.

2017-02-26 14.57.55.jpgIt is my belief that the election played no small part in the Black Lives Matter banner being raised. There was a sense of urgency after the election. That we needed to do more and the banner was a result of that. It is my belief that is the purpose of a crisis. It is a call for us to do more than what we were doing before. The hope is that what we do after the crisis will prevent another from happening.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned during my time as an intern is that vision counts. We had a vision statement at my last congregation that drove me absolutely crazy. It said “We grow in search of wisdom, care in support of community and act in service of justice.” And was abbreviated into “Grow, care, act” It was everywhere. On the order of service, on the stationary, on the website. It was mentioned in board meetings and small groups. After about two months I was sick to death of seeing, hearing and reading: Grow, care, act. When it was brought up in a staff meeting at some point, I made a comment about how sick I was of seeing it and one of the staffers said, “The point where you are sick of hearing it is the point where the congregation is just starting to hear it. It made sense. I was at the church 5 days a week and most congregants were only there for a few hours a week. It needed to be everywhere in order for people to see it.

Why did people need to know what the vision of the congregation was? Because everything a congregation does should point back to the vision, it should inform every decision a congregation makes. Over time I began to see congregants take in the vision and start to apply it to their board meeting, there social justice work, in worship and even in how office staff worked together. How does what we are doing now, fit with the vision of the church?

2016-09-17 14.36.03The vision of this congregation is as follows: “We believe in an individual and collective search for truth and meaning. A community where we commit ourselves daily to honoring the inherent worth and dignity of each person. In a constantly evolving world, we strive for social justice for all.” It took me a little time to find it on the website. It’s not on the order of service and I don’t think it’s written anywhere on the bulliten boards. That’s okay. To be honest, I think you all can create a better vision statement and I know for a fact that over the next year or so you are going to be creating a new one. While you are doing so, I want you to remember this, a good vision statement is the backbone of a congregation’s personality. It is their voice, their motto and their drive. It is a statement that points to who you want to be, to yourself, to the community, to the world. Be bold with this statement! Think big!

Now it’s my turn to ask you: Why are you here?

Why are you a part of this congregation? Why are you a Unitarian Universalist? What brings you in for the first time? What brings you back for the next time? I talked a bit about community earlier. How the need for community often brings people into a church. This specific community, UUFP, welcomes them into a spiritually diverse and creates tight bonds of friendship that can keep people coming back. So is that why you are here? It is the community what sustains you?

2017-04-08 11.01.34A few weeks ago, I went to the UUA Southern Regions Spring meeting, which is a meeting of lay leaders and religious professionals where they can discuss new ideas and workshop together. One of the events at this meeting was a debate between the three women who are running for president of the UUA. During the debate, one of the candidates spoke about how her congregation asked itself, “If our church were to disappear tomorrow, who would notice aside from us?”

Think about that for a second.

When I first heard that, my instinct was to go down the list of groups that this congregation works with and wonder if they would really miss us. If they could survive without us. What groups come to us, knowing that we support them? Who do we consistently champion?

Being in community is important, but Unitarian Universalism is more than just a community, it is a faith community. How many of you are familiar with James Luther Adams and the Five Smooth Stones of Liberal religion? In his essay, “Guiding Principles for a Free Faith” Unitarian minister James Luther Adams lays out five things that are vital for liberal religion to not just survive but to thrive. (Just to clarify, “liberal” does not mean politically liberal, liberal refers to being open to new ideas and willing to reinvent itself.) The five points that Adams lays out are: 1) Revelation is not sealed. The very basis for liberalism itself. 2) Consent in relationships. We are not coerced into being here or in being in relationships with others. You can leave anytime you like. 3) We have the moral obligation of justice. It doesn’t matter where that obligation comes from, what matters is that we have it. 4) Good things don’t just happen. If the arc of the universe bends towards justice, it is because we are the ones who are bending it. And 5) remembering that the resources needed to make that justice happen are within our reach. These are the five stone that give liberal religion its heft.

The first two stones are key to liberal religious community. By agreeing that there is more than one way to approach the divine, we are able to respect different spiritual paths. By entering into relationships with each other willingly, covenanting with each other, we are able to find ways of being with each other. When it comes to creating a respectful and spiritually diverse community, this congregation is an expert at this vital and necessary work, but if that were enough we would not feel an ache when we ask “if we were to disappear, would anyone else notice?” and we answer, probably not.

We are a community of faith, and part of our faith is to make to world a better place.

2017-01-21 17.18.41.jpgThe third stone that Adams speaks of is the desire for justice. I know for a fact that this community has a strong desire for justice. I was on that bus to Washington for the women’s march. I was here when you open the sanctuary up to people of color in the community as a safe space. I see Carey at that table of he on Sunday selling the t-shirt and getting you to sign up for bus trips and walks and blood drives. I know that the desire for justice is strong in this congregation. The question is how do we do it.

How many of you are familiar with the game Dungeons & Dragons? It’s a role playing game that became popular in the early 1980’s. People create characters based on a set of attributes and those characters then go on medieval adventures. Characters had six attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution and Chrasima. In creating your character, you were given a certain number of points to divide up among those six. If you wanted to play a mage, you put your points into intelligence. If you wanted to be a fighter, you put your points into strength. Each attribute suited a different class better than the others. In order to be good, you focused on one area. If you split your points evenly along all six attributes, you would probably get killed pretty quick because you weren’t very good at anything.

You have a strong desire for justice, but your points are spread to thin amongst all of your attributes. Black Lives Matter, women’s justice, class issues, the environment, the list goes on. If you were to pick one cause that this congregation were to always show up for, one cause that you focus on and research and organize around. You will be able to effect some real change. Personally I see three issues that this congregation could very easily champion. Climate change is a huge problem and I know for a fact that many in this congregation are already personally invested in it. Black Lives Matter and racial justice are issues that concern this area of the state and there is a lot of work to be done there. Being so close to a large public housing project, work in income inequality would be able to take of very quickly. Any of these three are great causes to support, as are immigration rights, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights. By making one of these your focus, you will be able to be a force in the tidewater area that is desperately needed.

I do want to make it clear, making one area your focus doesn’t mean completely ignoring the other issues. Going back to my Dungeons and Dragons metaphor, a good fighter concentrated on strength, but also had some points in constitution as well. If you decide to focus on climate change and a march comes up because a black man was killed by police under suspicious circumstances, you can still go to the march. Showing up when events arise is important and necessary, but by focusing on one area an being proactive about it instead of reactive will help make the world a better place, and our faith calls us to make the world a better place.

You see how that desire for justice that the third stone mentions leads so easily into the fourth stone, the need to create justice. Desire leads to action. That is why that new vision statement is so important, it calls you to action. If the first two stones are about faith community, the second to are about faith in action. That just leaves the fifth stone. The idea that everything you need to make the world a better place is present. As Adams says, “At the depths of human nature and at the boundaries of what we are, there are potential resources that can prevent a retreat to nihilism.” All of this is just a fancy way of saying one simple word. Hope.

Photo Sep 25, 11 10 31 AM.jpgI have spent 9 wonderful months with you. I have witnessed it firsthand. I know for an absolute fact that all of the people in this congregation have exactly what it takes to make the world a better place. You have the intelligence, the have the compassion, the heart, the resources, everything. Everything you need to make change in this world is already under this roof. I believe that you can do it. You give me hope. The obstacles that you have to overcome to achieve this are so manageable, you just need to believe you can do them. You just have to have faith in yourselves.

The biggest obstacle you have right now is space. You either need to relocate to a sanctuary that can comfortable fit 200 people (not members, people) or rebuild this one. You will not grow in this space as it is. You need more classrooms, offices, handicap accessible bathrooms, a gender neutral and family bathroom, a larger kitchen and a parking lot. Once you have more room, you will be able to have visitors come into this space without feeling claustrophobic and you will be able to host more events with more classrooms.

Once you get more members, you need to start warming them into leadership roles. It is said that in every congregation 10% of the people do 80% of the work. That when it comes time to electing board members and committee chairs, it’s the same pool of people everytime. It is my opinion that if a congregant is in a position of leadership for more than 5 years, they become burned out. Let them rest. Look for people who have yet to be more involved with the congregation beyond being a member and ask them what they like doing. Ask them to come to a meeting or even just to Skype in and listen to one. Attending committee meetings in your pajamas is a huge selling point, especially if you want people with young children to have a voice in leadership.

Lastly, this work of justice is not cheap. I know that the canvas just finished up and most of you have already made you commitments for the next year. Thank you. Having a reliable and steady source of income helps this church accomplish its mission. It is my belief that every single member of this congregation should pledge. 100% participation. This is coming from a guy who is actually earning a negative income and still pledges $500 a year to my home congregation. If you are on a fixed income, or no income or a negative income, I would ask that you make a pledge of one dollar a year. A gesture to mirror your commitment to this congregation. For those of you who are able to live more comfortably, I would challenge you to increase your pledge even more or consider making a considerable donation when the capital campaign to rebuild or relocate starts.

2017-04-23 08.25.59Why are you here? I think many of you started here in search of community, but you stay because you can sense that something greater that is ever present when we gather. You sense that there is something more than a collective of individuals. Something more than intellectual stimulation and warm coffee. Something the coalesces when we sing Spirit of Life, when we light the chalice, when we all hold hands at the end of service and stand as one spiritually, if not literally. You sense the potential to create something more than yourselves. Do you feel it now in this moment? That feeling is you. The feeling that together we are more. The together we have a faith that can make the world a better place. Do you feel it? I do.

I believe in you. You are blessing waiting to blossom.

– Joy

Walter Clark

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RE NEWS

If you heard Walter’s sermon on Sunday, you heard him say how important it is to have a vision statement to guide us through the work we do. When you have a clear vision of what your faith is calling you to do, it is much easier to make the choices, do the work and achieve the goals.

We will be working through the process of creating vision and mission statements over the next year or so as a congregation. That got me thinking about our RE Program and its vision.

According to our Religious Education Charter, the purpose of the committee is: To promote and nurture the spiritual growth and education of the Fellowship’s children and youth.

Our current mission statement for RE is:

The UUFP Children’s Religious Education Program is committed to fostering a safe and loving community where all are accepted and empowered to search and question our individual paths by celebrating our shared history and experiences.

To support this mission:

– We will provide opportunities for lifelong exploration and learning.

– We will ensure that acceptance and tolerance are taught and modeled.

– We will show appreciation for our UU history and the world at large.

– We will foster a sense of community through multigenerational activities.

Looking at these purpose and mission statements, I think we do these things more or less. But like our Fellowship’s current statements, these statements fall short. They don’t call us to live our faith out into the world. They are still very inward thinking.

Yes, it is important for our children and youth to learn about our Unitarian Universalist history and our principles. They need to feel safe and loved in our community. They need to feel accepted for who they are and empowered to search for their own truths. But in addition, they need to go out and do the work of making heaven here on earth.

So, over the next few months, I’d like to begin the process of creating a new vison for our religious education program. I will invite families to come together to talk about their desires for their children’s faith development. We will examine what is working well and what things we would like to change or add to the program. I look forward to working together to re-envision our vision!

See you in the RE!

 

 

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Root and Wings

Julian-Padowicz

Our idea for this series of articles was to base them on information we gathered from young “graduates” of our fellowship regarding how their UUFP experience has affected their adult life. Sometimes this is easier to do than at other times.
Julian Padowicz

 

CHLOE

Chloe-Briede

Back here on The Peninsula, she’s remembered as someone who liked to help other young people. “I think about her kindness and ability to help people feel valued and important,” says RE Director Joanne Dingus. Oh, and they also remember her bright red hair.

Chloe was twelve years old when she and her parents, Jan and Donna Briedé, moved to Virginia from Ohio and joined the Fellowship. What she soon discovered, she says, was that talking and learning about religion was something she very much enjoyed doing, and that, “UUFP was always a safe community to learn and to explore.”

Today, after a stint of working with the Red Cross in West Virginia, Chloe has turned her joy of learning and exploring the subject of religion into a vocation, as she studies for her Doctorate of Divinity at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recognized as the oldest non-sectarian divinity school in the country and just an MTA ride away from UUA headquarters on Beacon Hill, the School seems like the ideal place to prepare for a career as a Unitarian Universalist minister. Chloe is looking forward to, some day, serving a community much like the UUFP and to raising a family.

On the other hand, Chloe says she misses “living in a more rural area. I mostly enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping. I got into Swing and Blues dancing a couple of years ago.” She does, though, have the companionship of her UUFP friend and now schoolmate, Jaimie Dingus. Together they’ve found a spiritual home in Boston at historic Arlington Street UU Church, once the pulpit of William Ellery Channing, one of the shapers of the American Unitarian movement.

ANNIE

Annie2

When we asked Annie Campbell, daughter of Sandy and Barry Campbell, our series of standard questions, what we got back was a letter that presented her feelings on the subject so completely and poignantly that we decided to let Annie’s letter speak for itself:

I am a ceramic sculptor and ceramics professor at Auburn University in Alabama. Being brought up Unitarian Universalist has influenced my path in many subtle and major ways. As a child and teen at UUFP I always felt safe, supported and celebrated. In a general sense, growing up in an environment that encourages one to find their own individual way really helped me along the path of becoming an artist.  The long journey to becoming a professional artist is fraught with rejection and financial instability and lacks a defined set of steps that lead to success. Unitarian Universalism (along with the unending support of my parents) taught me to believe in myself and forge my own way through uncertainty.

Another aspect that has had a huge impact on my life is spending many summers at The Mountain, a Unitarian Universalist camp in the mountains of North Carolina. At camp we learned to celebrate what makes us truly unique. We learned how to find our true selves, and embrace the differences in the people around us. We learned how to be vulnerable and strong, open and accepting. As a staff member I learned valuable leadership skills that serve me to this day. It was also at The Mountain that I discovered my love and aptitude for teaching art. During three summers as the arts and crafts coordinator I decided that this would be my career path. The UUFP and The Mountain have shaped me in many significant ways, and I look forward to my children having the same enriching experiences within a UU congregation and Mountain Camp. 

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April Flame

Goddess Circle   Remembrance of Holocaust   On the Road Again                                          Physical, Mental, Spiritual   Leadership Development #3

birthday

Happy Birthday to our members who were born in April!

If you have a birthday in April that we have overlooked, please contact Bobbie Schilling.

Patricia Moseley

Lee Dralling

Josie Dougher

Barbara Morgan

Tonya Sprock

Sarah Davis

Bobbie Schilling

Jaimie Dingus

Joanne Dingus

Katie Vozzelli

Scott Kasmire

Donna Briede

Konrad Krafft

Connie Keller

Chris Meyer

Lissa Henry

Michael Kleiner

Delany Ward

April 2nd, 2017

Our group members will present

Goddesses and Birds

This is an open discussion circle for everyone.

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

When: 1st Sunday after 2nd service (about 12:30 pm)  

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

Childcare can be provided with advance notification.

Please contact goddesscircle@uufp.org  with any questions.

 

 

The Social Justice Committee is ordering more Standing on the Side of Love T-shirts.  We will be buying regular tees and women’s cut tees.  Carey Hall-Warner and Pam Luke will be taking orders through April 2nd.

The Social Justice Committee has chartered a bus to go to the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29th.  Bus tickets are $50 with driver tip included.  See Carey or Pam to reserve your seat.

Now that we use IconCMO to organize our church data, it is possible to print a directory with photographs of all of our members and supporters.  To do this, the Membership Committee needs your photo!  See Rosalee Pfister to have your picture taken or send your own digital file to membership@uufp.org.

 

 

Yoga is a universal practice to increase awareness physically, mentally and spiritually.  We meet in the Sanctuary at 9:30am every Tuesday morning.  The first class is free, so come check it out!  There’s more information on the general bulletin board or you can contact Nancy Sessoms.

 

 

Remem Holocaust

Julian Padowicz, who was seven years old and living in Warsaw, Poland, when WW II broke out, will talk about his experiences as a “confused” Jew during the Holocaust and after, at Adult Forum over the next two Sundays in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Month. The two-part talk is entitled, “A Streetcar Named Eternity,” and is based on his award-winning memoir, “Mother and Me: Escape from Warsaw 1939” and its sequels, “A Ship in the Harbor,” “Loves of Yulian,” and, “When the Diamonds were Gone.”

In Part 1, he will tell about German bombs, Soviet occupation, and an against-all-advice escape over the Carpathian Mountains. Part 2 deals mostly with his struggle to fit his war-traumatized psyche into “The American Dream.”

Julian has told these stories in libraries, colleges, churches, and synagogues throughout his former home state of Connecticut, as well as other parts of the country.

 

The Leadership Development Committee (LDC) is offering the final LEADING YOUR CONGREGATION INTO THE FUTURE workshop Saturday, April 8th.

This event is being offered to everyone who wishes to “… learn 21st Century skills of conducting and participating in religious or business committee meetings.”  These skills are valuable to everyone in the Fellowship, and these skills are needed in the greater community.

Bob Smith and Donna Carter are the facilitators, and they are planning a concise, educational, and entertaining morning.  The LDC will be offering a light Continental Breakfast and snacks for the breaks.

Child care will be available if LDC is notified by Monday April 3rd.

Please come prepared to take notes.  A $10 donation is suggested to cover expenses.

Breakfast starts @ 8:30am

Workshop will end @ 1:00pm

Please register on-line at ldc@uufp.org .

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Sunday Services (April 2017)

Services for April 2017 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula

theme: Kindness Can Heal UsRev. Andrew Clive Millard

Services include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard unless otherwise noted.

April 2nd: “For We Were Strangers Once”

Spring is here, and in Jewish traditions that means it’s time to celebrate Passover!  Centered on the Biblical story of the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, the Passover seder features a variety of special and everyday foods, songs in both English and Hebrew, and lessons for all ages about the community, gratitude, freedom and hospitality.

Music will be provided by the UUFP Winds!

April 9th: “A Joyful Heart is Good Medicine”

The UUFP’s Community Minister, Rev. Jennifer Ryu, shares her reflections on faith and healing from her experiences as a hospital chaplain.  She explores the faith practices of Unitarian Universalists in times of illness and injury.Rev. Jennifer Ryu

Rev. Jennifer Ryu attended seminary in Berkeley, California at the Starr King School for the Ministry, graduating in 2005.  She served as minister to the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists 2006 to 2015.  Jennifer is now completing a one-year chaplain residency at a local hospital.

Special Service!Passover Seder at UUFP, April 15th, http://bit.ly/UUFPS17
5pm on April 15th: a Passover Seder

This multi-sensory liturgy dates back thousands of years and is celebrated annually by millions of Jews and people of other faiths.  The modern seder allows us to bring its meaning alive in terms of contemporary themes, while continuing to revisit the ancient story of liberation and hope.

Since the seder combines worship with a potluck meal, please sign up at: http://bit.ly/UUFPS17

April 16th: “Potential Grizzlies”

One of the more common pieces of advice given in the Christian gospel is “Do not be afraid.”  Said many times, according to the gospel-writers, by Jesus, it is also spoken as part of both Nativity (Christmas) and Easter stories.  In our own time, we have moved on from many ancient fears, but have we simply found new ones to replace them?

April 23rd: “Why Are You Here?”

In his final sermon as the UUFP’s Student Minister, Walter Clark reflects on his experience at the Fellowship and what it means to be a spiritual community.  Is a congregation a collection of individuals or is the sum of us greater than our individual parts?Walter Clark, the UUFP's student minister

Walter Clark commutes down from Richmond for his internship at least three times a week.  He is scheduled to meet with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee in September, and hopes to eventually settle down in the area of northwestern Pennsylvania with his wife, Wendy, and their two children, Willow and William.  Walter graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School in May 2016 and has preached in Norfolk, Richmond, Glen Allen and Fredericksburg.

Special music will be provided by the Fellowship’s ChorUUs!

April 30th: “Resilience and Resistance”

The word “resistance” has become prominent in our vocabulary in recent months, with calls to resist every effort to dismantle any and all progress on civil rights, gender equality and environmental protection.  Given the real risk of “resistance fatigue”, though, it’s even more important now to cultivate resilience in ourselves and one another.

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Resist at every turn

Resist

It’s time for the next bus trip to Washington on April 29.  Organized by the Peoples Climate Movement, this march is your chance to stand up for our community and to make your voice heard.

When leaders say that they don’t believe in climate change, it’s time to set them straight.

When leaders voice their opinions that the right to clean water, air and land needs to be reversed, it’s time to voice your opinion. Who would have thought these hard fought rights would be in jeopardy?

Join the UUFP Social Justice committee on this amazing new adventure!

Bus tickets are $50 and still available now at UUFP-Climate-Movement. Please do it now! Can’t go but want to help pay for a ticket for someone who does and can’t afford it? UUFP-Climate-Movement-support.

Posted in Climate Change, Social Justice, Standing on the Side of Love

Canvass Update

The 2017 pledge drive to support the UU Fellowship may turn out to be the most successful in our history!

And it makes sense if you think about what we have to offer. If you have kids, the religious education is top notch. In addition, there is the Navigators program, an active group offering an alternative to scouting. And, if you like discussion on a variety of topics, the Sunday Morning Forum is the ideal place to be at 11:15AM.

At the helm is Rev. Andrew Millard with topical and inspiring sermons every week.

Social Justice is front and center at the UU Fellowship! Taking an active role in supporting women’s health and rights, fighting institutional racism through education and contributing as well as preparing food for those most at-risk in our own community.

Making a pledge to the Fellowship is how we know that we’ll be able to make all of the new plans for next year a reality. So, if you’re a new member and want to be a part of the vibrancy here or you’ve simply lost the pledge card you received in the mail, contact Judy Remsberg today at canvass@uufp.org .

thank-you-for-pledging

Posted in Canvass

Trust

This seems like a good time to talk about trust.

As a financial supporter of the UU Fellowship (or any group you support) you have placed your trust in the leadership to carefully and mindfully use your money in a way that reflects your values. You expect that every dollar will be allocated properly.

As the Finance Committee prepares the new budget, we’ll be looking at budget requests and doing all we can to fund everyone’s values. The committee is aware that you could spend the money you’ve pledged on something else, but your pledge—regardless of size—is a testament to this strong, dynamic church and what it stands for.

Story (told in a Maine accent)

Matilda and Bert went to the county fair. They come to a poster saying “Ride for two: $10”

Matilda: “I’d like to try it.”

Bert: “I don’t think so. Ten dollars is ten dollars.

Matilda: “But, I may never have another chance.”

Bert: “I don’t think so. Ten dollars is ten dollars.

So, the pilot offers a free ride-if they agree to say nothing during the flight.

So up they go. Stunts! Turns! A wild flight! But the pilot hears nothing from them.

After they land, the pilot says, “Well, I tried, but I guess you got a free ride.”

Bert says: “Well… I was going to say something when Matilda fell out of the plane-but ten dollars is ten dollars.”

 

Posted in Finances

Thinking about community

A woman where I live passed away recently and no one knew it. She had no family members checking on her and she didn’t go to church, so she wasn’t missed or even thought about until her scent filled the hallway. She had been dead for three days. That is my definition of “no community.”

My mother was an active member here in the 90’s, long before me. She died during a meeting in the sanctuary, surrounded by more than forty friends holding hands in a circle around her, waiting for the ambulance. That is my definition of “community.” (In all fairness, my mother always wanted to have the last word, which she achieved that night.)

When I had my stroke, I had so many UUFP visitors, my nurse complained that there wasn’t space in the waiting room for anyone else’s visitors. Without names, the same nurse came in a bit flustered to say there was a gynecologist there to see me. Just another visitor. A few came by and commented that my speech sounded like I was drunk. (Real funny, but I still remember who those clowns were.) I never felt sorry for myself or lost my sense of humor, thanks to you.

There’s more. I couldn’t go home because I lived upstairs, with stairs being the key word. More than a dozen members of this church packed my house up and with cars and trucks, moved me to my new apartment.

After I moved in, I was told by some of residents that all the visits and a ride to church would stop after awhile. I just smiled. Neither was true, of course.

That is my definition of “community.”

So if you ever wonder why I work so hard to raise money for the Fellowship and never have a problem asking you for a pledge, this is why.

Community.

We have something really good here.

David

Posted in Canvass, Member Testimonial | Tagged | 3 Comments