Big Weekend!


The First Sunday is awash with opportunities to support St. Paul’s Good Fridays, our Share the Basket partner. Volunteers help prepare and serve meals every 3rd Friday of the month year-round for the homeless and those living on the edge.

It’s also when many of us pay our pledges!

And you can take care of all of it right now using your favorite communication device: tablet, smart phone or computer. Just click and support the Fellowship and help buy groceries for the folks who need them.

See you at church tomorrow!

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Sabbatical Leave

Our Fellowship’s agreement with Rev. Andrew calls for him to be able to take a sabbatical after four years in our pulpit.  (He is now in his sixth year with us.)  This is standard practice for Unitarian Universalist congregations, although it will be a new experience for our congregation.

The sabbatical is a time for a minister to pursue activities outside of normal ministerial duties.  As described in our agreement, it is intended for “study, education, writing, meditation, and other forms of professional and religious growth.”  Ministry calls on the minister’s intellectual, spiritual, emotional and even physical talents on a 24/7 basis, and sabbatical leave recognizes the demanding nature of ministry by offering a time for refreshment and personal development.

Sabbaticals are designed to strengthen the minister’s ability to carry forth the calling by providing time for activities that can often be pushed aside in the day-to-day demands of the work.  It also creates a time for the congregation to discover talents and strengths in itself.  Sabbatical leave accrues at a rate of one month per year of service, though a first-time sabbatical is generally just two or three months.

The Policy Board, working with Rev. Andrew, has initiated a process of preparing for the sabbatical which will likely occur sometime in 2017.  A committee will be created, and chaired by UUFP Vice-President Jim Sanderson, to facilitate this process.  Sabbatical leave creates challenges and opportunities for any congregation, so the committee will work with Rev. Andrew to develop a plan for his use of the sabbatical time and to make recommendations and information available to the congregation.

Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns or comments.

Jim Sanderson, Vice-President
Rev. Andrew Millard, Minister

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Your Amazon Update

Since July 1, we’ve earned $589 with five months to go with a real possibility of ending this year with $1,000!

Amazon has become one of the most dependable means of support for the Fellowship other than pledges.

And, now they’ve added a buffet! All the Kindle books you can read and all the audio books you can listen to. And you don’t have to even own a Kindle! You can read or listen on your computer, tablet or phone! And they’ll let you try them for free for 30 days!

Thanks so much for supporting the Fellowship when you go to Amazon. You’re making a difference.


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Open Doors to Many Rooms

For all that is our life! by Rev. Andrew Clive MillardLighting the Flaming Chalice

One of the activities that’s part of our quarterly Orientation to Membership workshop is the “values continuum”.  Laying out a piece of string on the floor, we describe a number of scenarios where one end of the string represents somebody holding one set of values and the other end represents somebody holding contrasting values.  For each scenario, we ask the workshop participants to place themselves on the string based on how their own values align, and then we invite them to share their reasons for where they’ve placed themselves.

For example, one scenario might have “Interior Isabel” at one end of the string and “Ollie Outreach” at the other.  Isabel believes that Sunday services should be primarily occasions for spiritual growth; she likes quiet sermons on pastoral topics and plenty of time for silent reflection.  Ollie, by contrast, believes that church exists primarily to do social justice work and he likes worship to reflect this philosophy; he likes rousing, prophetic sermons on social issues and current events.  In this and other such scenarios, most people usually place themselves somewhere around the middle of the string, showing that their own values are some mix of Isabel’s and Ollie’s.

Another scenario involves “Sally Small” and “Larry Large”. Sally prefers an informal congregation where she knows everyone by name and everyone knows her; she wants church to be an extended family. Larry, by contrast, prefers a bigger congregation where he can be anonymous if he wants to be; and he wants a church with the resources to offer a variety of programs. While this scenario also has people generally place themselves somewhere near the middle of the string, albeit slightly closer to one end or the other depending on their personal preference, there’s also a tradition that’s emerged, as follows.

When we do the “Sally Small” and “Larry Large” scenario, it’s now tradition that someone from the Membership Committee (or sometimes myself) will stand at the extreme end identified with “Larry Large”.  And I don’t just mean on the far end of the string, but farther even than that, as far as it’s possible to get without climbing outside through a window.  And when asked to share the reason for being so far on that end of the continuum, the answer is simple:

I don’t want to be the one to tell newcomers that they can’t come in because we already have enough people.

The fact is that we know that Unitarian Universalism has a saving message to offer the world.  It’s our good news: that we are worthy of life and love; that we are all in this together, and that together we shall be well; that, in spite of our differences, we can be united in community; that hope abides and love wins.  Why wouldn’t we want to share that with as many people as possible?  As UU minister Nancy Bowen put it recently,

The purpose of the church is to heal the consequences of lovelessness and injustice in the hearts and souls of our members so they might heal the community and together heal the world.

Why wouldn’t we open our doors as wide as they can go — and then find ways to open them even wider — to offer that healing and encouragement to as many people as possible?

Now this is by no means to dismiss or discount the “Sally Small” end of the continuum.  It’s a basic spiritual need to know others and to be known by them, to be fed by the company of others, to make friends of them, to care for them and to be cared for by them as family.  That’s why small groups are essential, to allow for that important need to be met.  After all, our services, workshops, classes and committee meetings, while certainly meeting other needs, offer neither the means nor the time for people to really get to know one another.  Even our most visibly social activity of Sunday morning coffee and snacks allows for little more than checking in, and for some is simply too crowded and chaotic to handle.

Thankfully we offer plenty of small group programs.  Some of them are more formally organized, requiring an on-going commitment, such as Fellowship Circles and the ChorUUs.  Others are set up for more varied participation, such as Women’s Drumming, the Goddess Circle, the Book Club, and third Friday dinners at St. Paul’s.  And these are by no means the only options, so if you have an idea for a program promoting UU values and furthering the UUFP’s mission, just let us know!

Let’s make a place for every person’s inner Sally and Larry.  Let’s keep open doors to many rooms.  Whatever your preferences along the continuum of church life, we can both nourish the soul of the world and enrich our own spirits at the same time!

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Upcoming Programs for Personal Enrichment

This month offers a number of new opportunities to learn and grow at the Fellowship!

First, our Student Minister, Christina Hockman, and I will offer a series of three classes on Unitarian Universalist history, on the Tuesday evenings of February 9th, 16th and 23rd, all from 7pm to 8:30pm in the Office Building.  Come learn about the evolution of both Universalism and Unitarianism from the earliest centuries of the Common Era to the twentieth century, as well as the development of Unitarian Universalism from 1961 until today.

Second, our Membership Committee Chair, Rosalee Pfister, and I will host a reception for young adults (nominally 18- to 35-years old) the evening of Friday, February 19th, 7pm to 8:30pm in the Sanctuary Building.  And don’t forget about the annual conference of the Virginia UU Young Adults, taking place at the Fellowship March 4th through 6th!

Third, our Director of Religious Education, Joanne Dingus, and I will facilitate a workshop “From Lay Leader to Worship Associate” following services on Sunday, February 28th.  Complementing the course by Chris and Joanne on “The Shared Pulpit”, this interactive workshop will focus on what makes for a coherent, meaningful Sunday service.

Stay tuned for more details about all of these programs!

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Sunday Services (February 2016)

Services for February 2016 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula

theme: Love in Action

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

February 7th: “The Power of Love in Action”Listen to it here.

The word ‘love’ is often over-used.  Do we even know what the term means, or how to share love?  Love is an action, not just an emotion.  Sometimes we see conservative religious organizations showing what they claim to be love through what most would call discrimination or hate.  We need to learn the correct meaning of love and find ways to show it effectively in our communities.

Rev. Christopher Bush-WinstonRev. Christopher Bush-Winston has been active for many years in children’s ministry, community education and outreach, particularly to inner city, at-risk and LGBT youth.  Ordained in 2014, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history and is a founder of Open Arms Outreach Ministries in Norfolk/Virginia Beach.

February 14th: “What Do You Believe Love?”

“We tend to think of religion as a set of beliefs,” writes UUA President Peter Morales.  “That is a huge mistake.  Religion is much more about what we love than about what we think.”  So imagine if, instead of asking one another what we believe, we were to ask one another what we love?  Amazing things might happen when we discover what we truly value and care about!

February 21st: “The Courage of Our Convictions”

Unitarian Universalism has always lifted up “deeds, not creeds”.  But what does that require of us?  Our culture tells us to vote with our feet, to take the path of least resistance in all things, and to treat religion as a hobby.  So where does courageous love come into it?  Put it this way: if being a Unitarian Universalist were against the law and you were arrested and charged with being a UU, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Services will feature special music by the ChorUUs!

February 28th: “Building Bridges with Love”

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.”  It’s a great ideal, but hardly easy to live up to in the everyday life that most of us experience!  And yet, when it comes to finding ways not only to co-exist with people who are different from ourselves but to thrive in a community that truly celebrates diversity, love offers us what is, perhaps, the only way forward.

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Even grownups have make-up snow days

Snow Days

Guest minister: Rev. David Johnson

Stay for Soup!

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