Birthdays (June 2015)

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

Flowers from Lake Burnt Mills, photographed by Dean Ceran

Flowers from Lake Burnt Mills, photographed by Dean Ceran

Jeannine Christensen
Alicia Hofler
Helene Drees
Susan Lopater
Carrie Sheeler
Lydia Disney
Jeanne Farthing 
Jan Briede
Amy Hedges
Jennie Pimentel
Susan Stokes
Janice Bayer
Jesse Sheeler
Athena Krafft

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

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright (born Frank Lincoln Wright, June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures, 532 of which were completed. Was born into a Unitarian family and identified as a Universalist throughout his life. Wright’s legacy to our religion can be seen in the two distinguished Unitarian Universalist churches he designed, Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, and the Meeting House in Madison, Wisconsin.

Posted in 2015, Birthdays, EDITION: June 2015 | Leave a comment

Beat Summer Brain Drain! Join us for a three-session disucssion of the book “Elite”

Are UUs elielite covertist? Are we sensitive enough to socio-economic differences inside and outside our congregations? Join us for a three-session discussion on Mark Harris’ book, Elite: Uncovering Classism in Unitarian Universalist History. The book explores historical events and trends that have led Unitarian Universalist congregations to serve primarily upper middle class, educated, professional people. The book traverses the centuries of our history in the United States through the lens of these questions: Who are we? What do we believe? Who is welcome to belong with us?


  • June 14: “Founding Stories”
    Suggested reading: Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 5
  • July 12: “How Do We Thrive? How Are We Saved?”
    Suggested reading: Chapters 2 and 3 and Afterword
  • July 26: “Scientific Salvation”
    Suggested reading: Chapter 4

Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm

Location: UUFP Admin. Building

Facilitated by: The Rev. Andrew Millard and Chris Hockman, Student Minister

Registration: Free. No advance sign-up is required.

How to get the book: Elite may be purchased at the UUA Bookstore ( or on It is available electronically and in paperback, usually for $10 or less. If the cost is prohibitive, just contact Chris at the email address below and alternative arrangements will be made.

Questions? Email Chris at

We hope you will join us for some fascinating learning and discussion!

Posted in 2015, Adult Religious Education, Announcements, book group, Classes | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Green Living Workshop – May 16th

Submitted by Rayven Holmes

Rayven Holmes

Rayven Holmes

“Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

The 7th principle that UU congregations affirm and promote, a blanket statement that we embody with our deeds.  From sharing our basket every Sunday with various organizations on the peninsula, to our involvement with St. Paul’s, PORT, and Clean the Bay; UUFP doesn’t shy away from striving to practice what we preach.  One of the areas that has been a labor of love for all involved is our recognition as a Green Sanctuary.  We are nearing the promise land and after a congregational vote at the annual meeting on May 17th we’ll be ready to send off our accreditation packet.  Before you cast your vote on Green Sanctuary accreditation, come out to the Green Living Workshop on May 16th to see first hand all the hard work your vote is supporting.

So, what’s in store for the May 16th Green Living Workshop?

11am: Mix and Mingle.  Come early and talk to our speakers and attendees one on one.

12pm: Potluck Lunch.  Bring your favorite dish and nourish your body before our speakers nourish your mind.

1pm-3:30pm: 20 minute talks on-

Congregational Sustainability and Technology

  • Solar Energy
  • Climate Change
  • The Farm Table

Each talk will end with a 10 minute question and answer session

2pm: A 30 minute open discussion with UUFP’s Social Justice Chair

3:30pm: EarthRising hosted ritual

2pm-4pm: Coming with children?  Send them off to join Navigators USA Chapters 36 and 58 as they learn about gardening and get their hands dirty planting a vegetable garden

4pm: A raffle of fantastic goodies from Equal Exchange, The Farm Table, and More!

Come on out May 16th from 11am-4pm and take part in living the 7th principle with the Green Sanctuary Committee.  Then, attend the Annual Meeting on May 17th and vote in favor of Green Sanctuary accreditation!

Posted in EDITION: May 2015, Green Sactuary | 1 Comment

Announcements (May 2015)



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

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

Please contact with any questions.

(submitted by Janet Gecowets)



WHEN:   May 19th at 12:30 pm

WHERE:  UUFP Office Building

Questions? Contact Esther Sherman at


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

Posted in 2015, EDITION: May 2015

Doing What We Say We Are Here To Do

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

I’m thrilled that after two months of wandering in the wilderness, so to speak, we’ll be back in our own Sanctuary this coming Sunday morning!  A huge amount of work has gone into repairing the building following February’s burst pipe, and with the new flooring and upgrades to the kitchen, it looks fantastic!  We owe great thanks to the Building Restoration Task Force for all of the time and effort they devoted to making this possible!

Of course, if we had to hold services somewhere other than in our own space, we couldn’t have asked for a place better than Sandy Bottom State Park.  It’s certainly been a beautiful setting for us to meet, with large windows looking out over the lake and through the trees, allowing us watch the Earth come to life as Winter gave way to Spring.  More than a few people have commented to me that they hope we can have a Sanctuary like that some day!

Being at Sandy Bottom has also allowed us to try doing some things a little differently.  Aside from necessity, that’s one of the benefits of a change of scenery.  It’s the reason why Boards go on retreat and ministers go on sabbatical, to see what different surroundings might allow in terms of new ideas and out-of-the-box thinking to address existing challenges.  The intention is that some different perspectives can then be brought back to enhance and improve congregational life.

One thing we’ve been doing differently at Sandy Bottom is taking attendance.  As Henry Chambers explained a couple of Sunday mornings ago, this is our most direct way to know who is not present.  After all, anybody who comes to a service or the Sunday Morning Forum is — we hope! — interacting with the other people who come, checking in with one another, and renewing those human connections that form the basis of our community.  But what about those who don’t come?

Well, part of the promise we make to one another to be a community is to notice when someone has been missing lately, and then to reach out to them.  Simply getting in touch with someone and letting them know we’ve missed them can make a world of difference!  We might find out that their work schedule has changed, which prevents them from attending on a Sunday, but they’d like to participate in other ways.  We might find out that they’ve had health problems, but all it would take is a ride from another member to help them get to the Fellowship again.  We might find out that they weren’t sure where their life’s journey was taking them, but knowing that we thought of them reminded them that they’d already found a friendly place with us.

A couple of years ago, we started a practice of bidding farewell to people who we know are leaving us, usually because they’re moving out of Virginia.  After all, it matters to the rest of us to be able to say goodbye because it mattered to us say hello when we first welcomed them.  But the fact is that we, like any other congregation or community, lose more people because they simply drift away and we don’t even notice.

So as Henry explained, taking attendance isn’t about the people who are here.  We’re great at greeting and making welcome the people who do walk through our door.  Rather, it’s about the people who are not here, and to whom, in promising to be a community, we ought to reach out with the simple offer of human connection.  The methods by which we take attendance will evolve as we become re-accustomed to Sunday mornings in our own facilities, but by whatever means we determine who is here so that we can figure out who is not here, we will do our best to live up to our promises to care about one another.

Posted in For all that is our life! | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m Glad You’re Here

Connie KellerUUFP Board Member At-Large Connie Keller gave this member testimonial at a recent Sunday morning service.

I’m so proud to be a long-term member of this Fellowship!  I’m going to talk a little bit about our hospitality program, but first I’d like to tell you a story.

Recently I was a substitute teacher at a middle school in Newport News, and as part of my duties I was assigned to be cafeteria breakfast monitor.  Throngs of sixth, seventh and eighth graders, of all shapes and sizes, moods and manners of dress, freshly arrived at school with a new day of unknowns ahead of them, flooded into the cafeteria.  Soon, I began to notice individual kids being hailed by name across the lines by a buddy or getting a friendly shove of hello.  In turn, each kid’s face lit up with a sudden smile or a look of delighted surprise at being recognized and acknowledged.  As it happened again and again, I began to reflect that in the social rough and tumble of what can be middle school, those kids knew that, if only for a moment, they mattered to someone and belonged somewhere.  As they left the cafeteria, I threw in my greetings and smile as well, hopeful to add an extra drop of welcome and goodwill into their day.

And so was demonstrated to me one of the important principles of hospitality:

I see you; I acknowledge you; I welcome you; I’m glad you’re here.

I believe that the Fellowship’s Sunday morning hospitality program, which began about a year and a half ago, is one of the more successful and fun efforts to welcome both friends and strangers into our beloved community.  Each Sunday a welcoming team of smiling greeters, door openers, food providers, coffee makers, servers, ushers and clean-up folks are now on hand to effectively say “Welcome! I’m glad that you’re here!”

As an introverted person myself, entering any large assemblage of people is not always an easy task.  I have generally not been the person to first to extend a hand or greet another.  Nothing personal, just my style.  Being a part of a hospitality team, however, gives me an opportunity to offer service and welcoming by selecting roles which are more comfortable for me, such as providing food or making coffee or cleaning up.

As an added bonus, I’ve lately found myself more comfortable with signing up for some of the extravert-friendly roles, such as greeter or usher.  Whatever your comfort level, there is a way we can all be part of this wonderful hospitality team.  As Emily Dickinson said,

They may not need me, but they might.
I’ll let my head be just in sight.
A smile as small as mine may be
Precisely their necessity.

As I behold the rich rituals of hospitality unfold and grow, whether in crowds of children or in our own beloved community of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula, the words to the song “What a Wonderful World” also come to mind.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’, “I love you.”

Let it be so.

Posted in Hospitality Teams, Member Testimonial, Volunteerism | Tagged , , , ,

Sunday Services (May 2015)

Services for May 2015 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula

theme: Universalism

May 3rd: “Finding Abundance Within11am only at Sandy Bottom Nature Park

Hosea Ballou and the other Universalists preached a message of divine love for all without exception.  Their message was a radical one for the time and for our time: that there is nothing we need to do to “earn” God’s love.  We will explore how our worth and abundance are found within ourselves rather than outside of ourselves.  How does our Universalist tradition help us to find abundance within ourselves?

Margaret SequeiraMargaret M. Sequeira serves as the Consulting Minister for the UU Congregation of the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk NC.  She is a candidate for the Unitarian Universalist ministry and has a Masters of Theological Studies in Ethics and Social Theory.  She blogs at

May 10th: “Loving the Hell Out of the World”We’re back home! 9:30am and 11am in the Fellowship’s own Sanctuary at 415 Young’s Mill Lane in Newport News!

The early Universalists rejected the Christian idea of Hell as an ultimate destination for human souls.  Today, we understand the Universalist side of our tradition as proclaiming a shared destiny for all humanity.  Of course, the manifestations of such a message are universal, from (Unitarian) Julia Ward Howe’s “Mother’s Day Proclamation” to the women of Northern Ireland who set aside their differences to work for peace.

Following second service, there will be an all-congregation potluck celebrating our return to our own Sanctuary Building!

May 17th: “Nobody Gets Left Behind”

Springtime is working its magic upon the Earth and it’s time for our annual Flower Communion!  Created by Czech Unitarian ministers Norbert and Maja Čapek, this liturgy honors and celebrates the uniqueness and value of every person as well as the beauty that each of us brings to our shared life together.  The visible example of the flowers strengthens our resolve to be one family, united by the spirit of love.

Note: For the Flower Communion, please bring one flower (preferably with a long stem) for each person attending the service.

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

May 24th: “Mindful Memorial Day”

The act of mindfulness can play a helpful role in remembering those who died in service to our nation. Mindfulness is also a tool that is being used to help our surviving veterans still suffering the effects of war. Find out what we, as Unitarian Universalists, can do to help heal the souls of our warriors.

Christina Hockman

Christina Hockman is the UUFP’s intern.  She is a resident of Virginia and a member of First Unitarian in Richmond.  Currently a student at Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chris is in training to become a Unitarian Universalist minister.

May 31st: “Universalist Roots”

Universalism traces back to Christian heresy as early as the third century. Universalist thinking gained prominence with the coming of the Protestant Reformation and was embraced by men like George de Benneville and John Murray in the eighteenth century.  Universalism grew in America, nurtured by such people who settled here, and played a large role in the social and moral growth of the republic.  Universalists opposed slavery and fostered the equality of women among other causes.  This is the story of half of our heritage as Unitarian Universalists.

Jim SandersonJim Sanderson is a professional librarian and a frustrated history teacher.  He served as a locally ordained minister in Petersburg and has been an active Unitarian Universalist for more than twenty-five years.  At the UUFP, Jim currently services on the Policy Board as Vice President.

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