Steps planned to reduce noise as worship begins

A note from the Worship Associates Team

Our members and friends may recall that we had a couple of “Congregational Conversations” in February and March as part of our search for a new Director of Music Ministry. The Worship Associates co-sponsored the first conversation because it specifically explored the relationship between music and the worship experience. Those conversations raised some concerns about our worship together that we want to address.

One of the things mentioned repeatedly was the level of noise in the sanctuary during the prelude. The prelude should be a time for congregants to center themselves and prepare for worship. In our congregation, it has become common for people to continue their conversations while entering the sanctuary, or after they’ve taken a seat, and sometimes even raise their voices over the music. Many found this disruptive to their own worship experience and/or disrespectful to musicians who’ve come to share their gifts of music with the congregation.

We know this isn’t intentional – we are just a gregarious lot! And, as a congregation, we have not been all that clear about what we expect at the beginning of service. The Worship Associates have now identified several steps intended to rectify this situation. We will be experimenting with these ideas over the summer to see which have the most merit, and we wanted to let you know what to expect.

First, please be aware that the prelude starts a few minutes before the scheduled service time. We will let you know that the prelude is about to begin by ringing the bell, just as we do now. There will also be an announcement from the pulpit, for those already seated. Ushers will then close all but one of the sanctuary doors. Signs on the doors will remind folks to enter quietly at that point – and also serve as a reminder for those remaining in the greeting area during the service that they should be mindful of how easily sound carries into the sanctuary.

The Worship Associates hope congregants will find that these changes help improve their worship experience. We will be revisiting what we think works (and doesn’t) at future Worship Associate meetings. We would welcome comments and suggestions as we test the process this summer. Feel free to contact us by email.

June 24 worship at 9 a.m. to view UUA General Assembly worship

Rev. Susan
Frederick-Gray

On June 24 our worship service will start at 9 a.m. instead of the usual summer time of 10:30 a.m. because we will be live-streaming the Sunday Morning Worship at the UUA General Assembly in Kansas City. The service will end at 10:30 a.m.

Plan to virtually join the more than 3,000 UUs who will worship at G.A. under the leadership of the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, the first elected woman president of the UUA. She was lead minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix from 2008 to 2017 and previously served as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, Ohio.

The worship service will feature the General Assembly Choir led by Anne Watson Born, who is the Director of Music Ministry at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Newton.

If you are unable to attend in person on June 24, you can view the live stream by going to https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/watching/sunday. If you cannot watch the service at 9 a.m., it will be available shortly after 10:30 a.m. on YouTube.

President’s Perspective

Thank you for the privilege of serving

By Todd Iveson, 2017-18 President

This will be my last newsletter column as president. It has been my pleasure and privilege to serve our congregation in this capacity and to share some of my thoughts about us in these articles. I will miss this but am excited to pass the baton to President-Elect Barbara Rupp, who I am confident will be a wonderful president.

In this final message, I want to encourage all of us to seek out ways we can each fulfill our ministries through service in this church. Many say that you get out of any endeavor what you put into it. I believe from my own experience that this is particularly true for participation in this congregation.

It is okay to be a religious consumer, dropping in on Sunday mornings for worship and youth religious education but with little other involvement in church life. We are here for you and welcome you when you grace our door. But I believe you are missing out on so much more that we have to offer you.

Through the many opportunities I have had to serve over the years, I have developed an understanding of the multitude of ways in which we serve our congregation and our community. I also have a much greater appreciation of the contributions each of you makes that help make this all possible. As a result, I can also appreciate how my small contributions combine with all of yours. I am very proud of what we do together.

I want to put in a specific plug for service on our Board of Trustees. I believe firmly that our board and congregation are best served by having as diverse a board as possible, including age, race, gender, physical ability, theology and skills. There is no single “ideal” board member. If you are willing to listen, ask questions and speak out, you are a good candidate for the board. It is a job, but being on the board is the best way to learn about the many facets that make up UUCC. You won’t regret it if you choose to serve.

Thank you all for the privilege of serving as your president. In particular, I want to thank my fellow board members who have been so forgiving of my many shortcomings – Jenny, Sam, Patty, Peter, Mark, Gretchen, Mindy and Barbara – and also our wonderful staff members, who keep it all going for the rest of us – Rev. Molly, Kathie (we’ll miss you!), Jamila, Marques, Arun and April.

P.S. This isn’t goodbye. I still have another year on the board and plan to remain active in our congregation for many years to come. See you all around!

2018 Festival of Sharing planning begins

Our Festival of Sharing Team is beginning to plan for our church’s 2018 Festival of Sharing activities. This year 30 different denominations in Missouri are participating.

The team’s goal is to promote projects and programs that can make a difference in the lives of people in need.

The Festival of Sharing booklet available in the Greeting Area provides information about 25 different projects you may enjoy participating in. You can also download a PDF copy of the booklet.

The team began meeting to plan activities on May 27. Future meetings generally will be held after the worship service and will be announced in advance.

For more information, or if you need a ride, call coordinator Marian Hjelmfelt at 573-449-5118 or 573-999-2265 or send her an email.

Faith-to-Action nominations requested

The UUCC Social Action Team is requesting nominations for Faith-to-Action Collection recipients for the 2018-2019 church year.  The team is accepting nominations immediately and will review applications over the summer.

Nominations can be made by completing an online form available here – or on a paper form available here or from the Church Administrator. If the paper form is used, put the completed form in the Social Action Team mailbox at the church or mail it to Social Action Team, Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd., Columbia, MO 65201.

Selection Criteria: Nominees may be local, regional, national, or international organizations, programs, or agencies that align with our church mission and vision.  Preference will be given to local or regional efforts with which the congregation has an ongoing working relationship.  For non-local efforts, preference will be given to those with an established connection to the UUA, UUSC or a regional UU ministry.

Memorial for Naoma Powell

From Kathie Bergman, Church Administrator:

Naoma Powell was a member of UUCC and one of its most dedicated supporters. For 30 years, she designed and created our banners and provided flowers and other adornments for our sanctuary. Each year, she wrote a poem on the theme of water, and for many years that poem was part of a choral reading for our fall water ceremony.

A few years ago, Naoma died in poverty – not destitution, but a chosen path in life. She was trained as a potter and dedicated her life to bringing potting and other art forms to people whose opportunities were limited. She used her own resources to create Access Arts for young people with serious handicaps. She became a skilled grant writer to develop a fine facility that is still in our community. She used none of those grants to support herself, but lived simply and frugally.

If there was ever a person in our midst who would qualify as a saint in other religious traditions, it was Naoma Powell. Some of us who treasure her generosity would like to dedicate a bench in our memorial garden to her memory. We can do it for about $800. If you knew Naoma, or if you value what she stood for, please consider a contribution to the Naoma Powell Memorial Fund. Checks should be made out to UUCC with Powell Fund in the memo line.

Sanctuary Team reports shower installation progress

With the shower drain stopped up, Larry Lile tests the flooring underlay material that will be topped with tile for water-tightness. Click photo for larger version.

Our Sanctuary Congregation Team continues to prepare for the day when we are asked to provide sanctuary to someone with precarious immigration status. When you are at church, take a look at the progress being made in remodeling an upstairs bathroom to include a shower.

Larry Lile is doing the remodeling with the help of volunteers. Allie Gassmann assures that Larry gives patient, encouraging instruction to those who offer their help.

Please volunteer for this effort by emailing Dave Gibbons.

UUCC-sponsored refugee family

Several years ago the UUCC Social Action Team sponsored a Sudanese refugee family (the Tota family). Over the years, church members and friends have provided assistance to the family in a number of capacities.

This year the last of the family’s five children needs to acquire citizenship, which costs $1,370. This issue was discussed at the last monthly meeting of the SAT, and the team voted approval to reimburse the Tota family from the Social Action Operating Fund. We would like to offer our congregation the opportunity to replace the money in any amount so the SAT can continue to have funds available for extraordinary needs.

Please make checks payable to UUCC with “Refugee” or “Tota Family” in the memo line and mail or bring to the church.

Soon there will be a display of more information about the Tota family in the Greeting Area.

Please thank ushers and tellers for their service

This church year we instituted a new system for scheduling ushers and collection tellers. Volunteers were recruited to serve in these positions on a once-a-month basis, and other volunteers were recruited to substitute when the regularly scheduled volunteers could not serve.

Please make a point of thanking these wonderful volunteers for helping make our Sunday worship services run smoothly.

Regularly scheduled 9 a.m. ushers through May are:

  • Mark Johnson
  • Patty Daus
  • Bonnie Johnson
  • Dave Gibbons
  • Ellen Thomas

Substitutes for the 9 a.m. service are:

  • Scott Denson
  • Dave Gibbons
  • Todd Iveson
  • Elaine Martin
  • Ellen Thomas

Regularly scheduled 11 a.m. ushers through May are:

  • Linda Lou Brown
  • Dan Harder
  • Rosetta and Wiley Miller
  • Heather Carver and Bill Horner
  • Melinda and Mehdi Farhangi

11 a.m. substitutes are:

  • Jenny Bossaller
  • Scott Denson
  • Dave Gibbons
  • Corinne and Bryan Mann
  • Elaine Martin
  • Chuck Swaney

Collection tellers count and secure the offerings after the 11 a.m. service. Regularly scheduled tellers through May are:

  • Ene-Kaja Chippendale
  • Lisa Fritsche
  • Ruth Milledge
  • Jeanne Murphy

Substitute tellers are:

  • Allie Gassmann
  • Irene Karns
  • Elaine Martin
  • Maria Oropallo
  • Steve Scott
  • Diane Suhler

While we anticipate many of these volunteers will continue to help after May, we will need to recruit more volunteers for the summer months. If you’re willing to help once a month or fill in as needed, please email Usher/Teller Coordinator Steve Scott.

Music Director search extended

From the Music Director Search Team:

Late last spring Rev. Molly formed a search team tasked with finding a replacement for our beloved Desi Long upon her retirement. Our immediate need – music for the summer services – was fairly easily met by our “deep bench” of volunteer musicians, for whom we are ALL most grateful!

The longer-term question of how best to minister through music, to both the congregation and the larger community, was far more complex. Rev. Molly has already described much of that initial process of creating an interim period in earlier communications, so we won’t repeat them here. Suffice it to say we were most fortunate to secure Marques J. Ruff as our Interim Director of Music Ministry. It was our hope that Marques could manage the immediate tasks as well as help us articulate a clear vision for UUCC’s music program and better define the skills needed by candidates for a permanent position.

Our committee met recently to discuss what we’ve learned in this first half of the church year and to review the search timeline we’d originally established.

We have already seen a number of changes. Choir rehearsals are longer and performances more frequent. We have benefited from the addition of Arun Garg as our new professional accompanist for the choir and our services. Both the choir and the congregation have had a chance to experience a diverse musical repertoire. The feedback we hear is largely positive, but we still feel there is much more to learn about music and culture in our congregation – what we love, what is uncomfortable, what is possible, and more. We want to fully engage the congregation in this conversation so that we have a more complete understanding of what we are looking for in a permanent director.

It is the consensus of the committee that our original timeline of one program year (about nine months) did not allow sufficient time for securing and reflecting on your input. We feel it is critically important to take the time we need to listen first, then recruit, select, and hire a permanent director that is the right long-term fit for our congregation.

To that end, we must adjust our search timeline. This is also, in part, because our process is being happily interrupted by our minister’s parental leave, from the end of March to mid-June 2018.

Our revised timeline extends the search process through May of 2019. That also means lengthening the interim period, allowing Marques more time to work with the congregation and with the search committee. We are very pleased to share that Marques has agreed to extend his engagement with us through May 2019. As previously stated, the interim director is not eligible to apply for the permanent position. And we are sure that Marques will be off to impressive new adventures when his degree program ends in May of 2019.

Key points in the revised timeline appear below.

  • Winter/Spring 2018 – Congregational Conversations
  • Spring/Summer 2018 – Finalize job description
  • Early Fall 2018 – Post and Advertise Job
  • Late Fall/Early Winter 2018 – Conduct Interviews
  • By January 2019 – Make and finalize offer
  • June 1, 2019 – Permanent Director of Music Ministry begins work

We have tentatively scheduled two congregational conversations to inform our search. One will occur in February and another in March. Our topics will include your present experiences and future dreams for music at UUCC. You’ll receive more detailed information shortly!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of us.

With all our best,

Kara Braudis
Cande Iveson
Pack Matthews
Neil Minturn

Dec. 10, 2017 – The Wildness of the Season

On Dec. 10, 2017, Worship Associate Rebecca Graves explored “The Wildness of The Season.” Focusing on the northern European figure of Krampus, she examined what it means to tap into the wild within.

Dec. 3, 2017 – Show Up Anyway

On Dec. 3, 2017, we heard a story about a woman who showed up anyway. Amid the inevitable struggles of life and relationships, one of the most profound things we do in religious community is to explore how to remain faithful to one another, to our highest values, and to love. When the going gets tough, it takes spiritual maturity to stay at the table and find our way through. “If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.” Are you intrigued? Listen to Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s inspiring story about Ruth Coker Burks from Little Rock, Ark.

Your Amazon shopping can benefit UUCC

Do you do online shopping at Amazon? If so, your purchases can now benefit our church with a contribution from Amazon of 0.5% of the purchase price.

Here’s how to get started:

1. In your browser, go to https://smile.amazon.com.

2. Sign in using your normal Amazon username and password.

3. Next you will see a screen with a box on the right asking you to “Select a charity.”

4. In the bottom of that box, where it says “Or pick your own charitable organization,” type “Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia” in the box and click the “Search” button.

5. Next you will see a screen showing our church with the location listed as “Columbia MO,” and there may be other churches listed. Click the “Select” button next to our church’s name.

6. Finally, you will see another screen with a checkbox to indicate that you understand that you must always start at https://smile.amazon.com to support our church. After clicking the checkbox, you can click the “Start Shopping” button which will take you to the main Amazon screen.

A tutorial covering the above steps and including screenshots is available in a printable PDF.

In the future, always start your Amazon shopping at https://smile.amazon.com so that your purchases will benefit UUCC. You will find all the same Amazon products and prices there as regular Amazon.

Tip: If you have set up a bookmark or favorite for Amazon, be sure to change it to the new address.

Finally, don’t forget that you can also donate to UUCC when you do grocery shopping at Schnucks – read more.

Nov. 19, 2017 podcast: “Staying at the Table”

In her sermon on Nov. 19, 2017, “Staying at the Table,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon spoke of how Thanksgiving time with family is sometimes fun, sometimes hard, and always meaningful, and she explored how we can stay at the table through it all. Listen as she starts with a closer look at a hymn popular in the Civil Rights movement – “We’re Going to Sit at the Welcome Table.”

Nov. 12, 2017 podcast: “Struggling Together”

Our members Kevin EarthSoul, Connie Ordway and Melissa McConnell spoke at our “Struggling Together” worship services on Nov. 12, 2017 about how they grappled with struggles of different kinds in their lives and the meaning they found in their struggles. Listen as they tell their stories. You can also read the text of Connie Ordway’s remarks, “When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be an Old Woman” (PDF).

UUCC receives Peaceworks award

Allie accepting award. Click to enlarge.

UUCC was given an award recognizing our social action work and Rev. Molly’s exemplary leadership in social action – particularly our sanctuary work – at the annual dinner of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks on Saturday evening, Nov. 11, at the Missouri United Methodist Church.

Allie Gassman of our Social Action Team accepted the award on behalf of our church.

Allie said, “It was a great honor to be able to accept the award on behalf of our church – especially in the presence of all the seasoned activists in the room.”

The framed award certificate, shown in the photo below, is on display on the credenza in our Greeting Area.

Nov. 5, 2017 podcast: “Wrestling to the Blessing”

One way we build resilient community is by engaging struggle together. In doing so we learn that we can do hard things, engage in emotional complexities, and struggle together for justice. When we wrestle with the difficulties of life together, sometimes we just may find our way to a blessing. Listen as Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explores these ideas in her Nov. 5, 2017 sermon, “Wrestling to the Blessing.”

Please welcome April Rodeghero as Sunday Morning Assistant

April

Please welcome our new Sunday Morning Assistant, April Rodeghero, who began her work with us in October.

April is mother to a seven-year-old and to one-year-old twins. She has worked with MU Adventure Club, Missouri Afterschool Network and the Columbia Housing Authority. Now she works as a postpartum doula, supporting parents in their new roles. She has attended UUCC occasionally in the past year or so.

April will welcome your friendship and your help in the church kitchen – especially on potluck days for setup and cleanup! Please let’s show April our radical welcoming spirit!

Oct. 22, 2017: “I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes”

Difference enriches our communities, but could it also enrich the identity of our very own souls? Listen as we consider the complexities of the self, how we contain contradiction, and how we grow over time, awaking a different self each day. In her sermon on Oct. 22, 2017, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored how this complexity colors the portrayal of victims and perpetrators in the media – mainstream media flattens some into a two dimensional characture, while allowing us to examine the three dimensional depths of others. Is this difference driven by fear of the other?

Oct. 15, 2017 – “Space to Listen”

On Oct. 15, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon was “Listening So Others May Speak, Speaking So Others May Listen. ” Jeff Ordway presented related readings. Rev. Molly explored how we can have useful conversations across difference in a polarized and polarizing time, how we might listen in a way that others will speak, and how we might speak so that we might truly be heard.

Oct. 8, 2017 – Honduras Team Worship Service

The UUCC Honduras Team presented the worship services on Oct. 8, 2017. The Team has been supporting villages in the Cangrejal River Valley, about an hour drive south from La Ceiba, Honduras, since 2009.

A group of 16 went on the fourth UUCC service trip this past June to build latrines, offer Pap smears in a clinic, and paint the clinic and the elementary school in a Honduran village. Allie Gassman, Jackie Baugher, Leila Gassmann, Jonas Gassmann and Chris Hayday shared their stories.

Oct. 1, 2017 – “Holy Difference”

In her sermon on Oct. 1, 2017 titled “Holy Difference,” the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon said that when she describes Unitarian Universalism to folks for the first time, one of the characteristics she names is, “We believe difference is holy, rather than threatening.” She explored how this belief can be hard to live out in these times and this world and considered how we can live a life in which difference is holy.

Sept. 24, 2017 – “Being Sanctuary”

In her moving sermon on Sept. 24, 2017 titled “Being Sanctuary, our Affiliated Community Minister, the Rev. Dottie Mathews, shared what she has learned while accompanying immigrant neighbors to ICE check-ins and doing other sanctuary work. She pondered how we can truly treat everyone as members of the human family amid inhumane systems. The sermon text is also available (PDF).

Marques Ruff Named Interim Music Director

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon made the following announcement on Aug. 20, 2017:

Marques Ruff

I am very pleased to introduce to you our new Interim Director of Music Ministry, Marques Jerrell Ruff, who will be working with us for this transitional year beginning Sunday, August 20,2017.

Marques comes to us fresh off of several years touring as a member of the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in music, he is excited to begin his Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Mizzou this fall!

A lover of classical, jazz, gospel and show tunes, Marques is also a writer and rather good amateur chef. When not listening to and/or creating music, he can be found enjoying nature, new restaurants, and falling down the hole that is video suggestions on YouTube.

Our search team was especially impressed by Marques’ excellence across an extremely wide variety of musical styles, and we are excited to see how he helps our congregation grow musically, as we dream together about our long-term musical hopes and goals.

In faith and song!
Rev. Molly

June 11, 2017 – “High Fidelity”

At our worship service on June 11, 2016, Worship Associate Cande Iveson explored our worship theme for the month – fidelity to covenant. Listen as she unpacks this phrase with concrete examples to help understand it, adding a bit of humor.

UUA has first elected woman President

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray was selected by delegates as the first elected woman President of the Unitarian Universalist Association at the June 21-25 General Assembly in New Orleans. She had been the lead minister of the UU Congregation of Phoenix, Ariz., where she became well known for her work on behalf of immigrants, since 2008. Read more.

More than 4,000 UUs attended G.A., including some 1,800 delegates from more than 500 UU congregations. UUCC’s delegates were Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Patty Daus, Tracey Milarsky, Jeanne and Dennis Murphy, and Gena and Steve Scott.

Also attending from UUCC were DRE Jamila Batchelder along with four YRUU members and one 9-year-old. The young people carried our UUCC banner in the banner parade at the opening celebration on June 21.

Five of our young people lined up to carry our UUCC banner in the banner parade at the UUA General Assembly. See them in action in the video below.

Our UUCC banner was carried by five of our young people in the banner parade at the Opening Celebration of the UUA General Assembly (G.A.) in New Orleans on June 21, 2017. In this short clip they are seen entering the Great Hall of the New Orleans Convention Center and later proceeding out of the hall.

Read more about the many important actions taken by delegates and the UUA Board of Trustees at G.A.

Grieving Circle restructured

After two years, our beloved Grieving Circle will cease to automatically meet every month. We are restructuring the circle to instead offer support and fellowship “upon request.”

If you or someone you know would like to meet in a facilitated grieving circle, or you wish to be in a place where you can freely and safely express your grief, please contact Rev Molly, Maria Oropallo, Barbara Carter, or Greg Bergman. All of our contact information is in the church directory on our website. Or you can send us an email.

Grieving a loss is personal and can sometimes be overwhelming. A community can provide great support in your time of need. With deep connection, love and patience, we hold your grief in our gentle embrace.

New Monthly RE Event – Hikes

Does Your Family Like to Hike?

We are starting a new monthly event at UUCC, a hike for all ages. The purpose of the hikes is to strengthen our connection to nature while also strengthening our connection to each other and building our community.

We will have two different hikes scheduled each month, to accommodate our different schedules and needs.

  • One hike will take place on the third Sunday of the month. We will meet at the church at 1:45 p.m. and then head over to Grindstone Nature Area (on Old Hwy. 63) at 2 p.m. We will hike the same trail each month, learning to become attuned to the changes and cycles that are occurring. The hike is approximately two miles in length, with a creek at which we will stop for a while to rest and play at the halfway point. Most of the hike is fairly moderate, but there is one 50-meter stretch that is fairly steep.
  • The second hike will take place on the Tuesday following the third Sunday each month, meeting at the church at 9:45 a.m. and leaving for Grindstone Nature Area at 10 a.m. The hike is approximately 0.5 miles, with two stops for creek play. The hike is fairly moderate, with a few small hills. There is a very shallow creek that we will cross, so wearing shoes that can get wet is advisable.

– Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education

April 16, 2017: “Of Salvation and Scars”

In her sermon on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 titled “Of Salvation and Scars,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored a Unitarian Universalist interpretation of traditional Easter themes, examining what it means to be wounded and whether a wound paradoxically makes us more human.

March 26, 2017: Reflections on Aging

Our lay-led worship on March 26, 2017 was titled “Four Score: Reflections on Aging from Four Generations” and was presented by UUs across several decades. Listen to what Cande Iveson, Rachel Byerly Duke, Tracey Milarsky, Todd Iveson and David Leuthold had to say at the 11 a.m. service about what aging means to them.

Joys and Sorrows now on website

Joys and Sorrows shared during our worship services and noted for the e-newsletter can now be found on our website on a password-protected page. You will find the page on the Members/Friends tab of the main menu – or you can click here.

You must be registered to access the password-protected pages on the website. Information about how to register can also be found on the Members/Friends tab of the main menu – or click here. Register here if you’re not already registered.

March 12, 2017 – “The Circle of Life”

Life is a series of inevitable changes – yet we cling and grasp at each fleeting piece, always being forced to let go, as we are carried along in the currents of life. Moments of change in our lives can be lessons, as well as deeply emotional experiences. Join us as Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explore how religious traditions help us understand these changes as the impermanence of all things.

March 5, 2017 – “Memento Mori”

Our audio podcast this week considers impermanence – a part of the natural ebb and flow of life. Why do we resist impermanence, meeting our own end with fear and panic? Can we, instead of avoiding this part of living, turn toward it, through our spirituality? Can it be a friend, whispering that we should enjoy this beautiful fleeting moment of gold and ash? Listen as Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explore these deep questions.

Feb. 19, 2017 – “The Fire of Commitment”

What does it mean to show up with courage in a time of division and even violence? Unitarian Universalists have a storied history of courageously resisting laws that violated their conscience. Listen to a podcast of Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon on Feb. 19, 2017 as she tells us of a chance and an obligation to take a leap of courage for our community.

Feb. 12, 2017 – “Sustaining Love”

Our work in this time of division and fear is the same as the work always is – it is the simple calling of loving our world. How do we remain rooted in love in these times when there is so much to be done and so much coming at us all the time? Join us as Rev. Molly Housh Gordon describes creative ways to sustain our love of the world and make it concrete.

Feb. 5, 2017 – “Moving for Justice” – Breathe, then Push

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. admonished us to be “creatively maladjusted.” What does that mean as we face today’s challenges? Is it possible to be hopeful? As we confront today’s anti-progressive forces, what would it look like for a creatively maladjusted justice movement to forge a “Third Reconstruction”? Listen to the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s Feb. 5, 2017 sermon, “Moving for Justice,” in which she admonishes us to breathe, and then to push.

Something new – 9 a.m. R.E.!

This semester in religious education, we are trying something new! Well, actually, two things new:

  • First, we are going to be offering R.E. during the 9 a.m. service starting Feb. 5. This will be in addition to our usual 11 a.m. R.E. program.
  • Second, at this 9 a.m. time, we will be experimenting with a new way of doing religious education.

The curriculum is called “Spirit Play,” and it is based on a Montessori approach to learning that encourages self-directed exploration and allows children to engage deeply with their own religious education in a way that meets their own individual needs and interests.

This semester, we will have one mixed-aged class, most appropriate for children ages 3-9. The class is structured to begin with a time of storytelling that is accompanied by a series of props and materials that are used to help narrate the story. After the story is complete, the children will have the chance to play with the materials from the week’s story as well as the materials from other stories.

All our stories this semester will focus on the theme of heroes and heroines. Imagine your young one playing out the story of Bree Newsome’s heroic climb up the Charleston flag pole to remove the Confederate flag, Julia Butterfly living in an old growth redwood tree for two years to save it from loggers, or Martin Luther King’s courageous stand for voting rights at Selma. I am so excited to get to see our children’s imaginations at work, making these stories their own!

Additionally, there will be other materials in the room to let children engage however their interests lie – from building models of sacred places out of blocks to “playing church” with their own pulpit and chalice, to painting pictures that arise from the creativity of their souls, to taking part in scientific exploration of our beautiful and fascinating world. I can’t wait to see them explore!

– Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education

Dec. 4, 2016 – “God Is Not God’s Name”

On Dec. 4, 2016, in a sermon titled “God Is Not God’s Name,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored deep questions of theism, atheism and metaphor, helping us understand the danger of simple, certain and hollow stories – how such simplistic views of the world can leave us with the choices only to agree or oppose. Yet a richer, deeper, more complex story can help develop deep resistance to tyranny and deep sustenance… feeding the soul.

Welcome to the UUCC Woodland!

bench_in_woods
From left, Erin Osbourne, Jeanne Murphy and Corinne Mann enjoying the new benches.

Members and friends, young and old, have long enjoyed the outdoor spaces behind our building – for peaceful walks, interspecies connections, spiritual regeneration, ceremonies honoring life transitions, and good old fashioned fun. Much has been done by our members to preserve this natural space, to shepherd its good health, and to make it respectfully accessible.

Please feel welcome to explore and enjoy the area behind the church building:

  • A wide walking trail opens near the west end of the property, just yards away from the asphalt drive and continues to the Memorial Garden on the east side.
  • Partway down that woodland trail, two new sitting benches are situated on a flat spot among sheltering cedars.
  • A fire circle with benches can be found between the meadow and the memorial garden.

We are all lucky to have members who are keepers of the woods, and we keepers of the woods are grateful to have woods to keep! While many have helped, special thanks go to Peter Holmes and
Vic Meyer who have worked so consistently in the woods, laying out the trail and fire circle, making benches, and spearheading the ongoing honeysuckle removal.

May we continue to engage with and honor this interspecies home that supports our faith community!

– Carol Arnold