David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Bruce Glick, Moderator, 538-9264
Ann Rheinlander, Treasurer, 532-3383
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051

Newsletter - Spring 2002

First Church of Houlton,

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730

It is the middle of March and the woods are starting to warm their way into Spring. The remaining snow is nothing but a thin covering that will soon retract and be put away for another season. The stream is already open at the bend and the ice is jammed along the stretch in front of the cabin waiting for the waterway to open-up downstream. Ice-out is a noteworthy and anticipated event when you live alongside a lake or a river. It is one of the signs that Spring is returning and cannot be denied. On the north branch Meduxnekeag, ice-out varies widely and is an indicator of the kind of winter it has been. Typically it occurs from mid-March to mid-April, but Iíve seen it go out as early as February 25th. In fact, back in Ď96 the ice went out twice!! We had a January thaw, it re-froze, then went out again making a double entry in my journal that year.

For me itís part of the seasonal rhythm that keeps me in touch with the natural world. It reminds me of the irrepressible nature of Spring. It will come. In the same way, Easter is allowing for movement in our life. It may come in the form of national events or personal involvements, or it may simply be a new felt-sense of our being and our emotion. All of these are indicators of new arising out of the old. These are the holy reminders that keep returning each year as I watch the snow melt and the stream warm. I may get a little impatient or frustrated by the pace of Spring , but what good does it do? It will come, regardless of me, and Iíll sit at the table with my journal and jot down the pertinent data from yet another year. Then someday years from now, Iíll look back and say to an old friend sitting across the table, "Remember that winter of Ď02...?"

            the roof is empty of snow
            no fuel to feed the icicles
            the sun beats down on dry cedar shakes
            nothing to melt
            a new kind of fuel shortage

In ministry,


Although it has been cold this past week, the signs of spring are everywhere. Nearly half of the wood we purchased last summer still is stacked outside the south wall of our basement, a testament to our mild winter. The support we have given one another has helped maintain our emotional and spiritual reserves as well. Over the last three months, we have undergone a process of evolution as we try out new processes and organizational structures that should ensure the creative evolution of our church. Sarah Lovejoy and I have been having extremely valuable and productive meetings with David on a weekly basis. The Coffeehouse Committee, which is open to everyone, has decided to meet on a regular basis to deal with the myriad of issues and dreams that have arisen from our expansion to the basement. Robin has been organizing our library and planning for future acquisitions. Karen is doing a tremendous job in developing our church website. Ann Rheinlander has taken over the daunting job of Treasurer from David Sylvain (who has been busy protecting our nationís borders); with the help of Sarah, she has begun the process of fully computerizing our financial records and clarifying (for once and for all) small, but thorny tax-related questions. Davidís Ministerial Relations Committee (Jane Root, Debra Frazier, Mike Fasulo, and Walter Goodrich) has already made several suggestions that soon will be implemented by the Board. L.T. has taken over the maintenance of our Church Directory. I want to thank all of you who have given so generously of your time and talents. I especially want to recognize Floyd Boyett for laying the carpet on our new coffeehouse stage and also Ann, L.T., Willie and Walter for helping Jay repair and refurbish our sanctuary organ. As the earth warms, let me know if there is anything that I or the Board can do to help this church support your spiritual path.                   ...Bruce Glick


You are invited to take a look at our lending library. We have numerous books available which have been donated by members and friends.
The first new book I have acquired is "Anger" by Thich Nhat Hanh. Of course, I had to read it. So here are my impressions. This book is understandable without a deep or even fair understanding of Buddism. It has many suggestions that help the reader understand anger. Better than that, it has ideas on how to make friends with your anger and transform it into something more palatable. In case you werenít aware of it, under the heading of anger are other more subtle forms, like irritation, and impatience. Also, these same techniques can work for other uncomfortable emotions, like pain, sorrow, and despair. Buddists are very practical; they are more interested in the here and now, not the possible hereafter. So, I gave it a try. I happen to struggle with impatience when walking my 3 dogs. They are poky, and its getting worse as they age. So, yesterday, I recognized my feeling, and mentally embraced it, breathed mindfully and just stayed with it. In a few moments the feeling changed and I an insight. There is something in me that craves patience. Now, I have something interesting to do on the daily dog walks, contemplating certain emotions. Finally, let me say that this is a book I surely will borrow and reread later. Either that or I will be purchasing my own copy!             Your UU librarian,   ...Robin Mosenfelder

*Contributions toward future book purchases are always welcome ...as are your suggestions.

We are exploring the possibility of forming a women's group. If you are interested and have ideas or suggestions, please contact Robin Mosenfelder.
A standard committee in most Unitarian Churches is the Committee on Ministry or a Ministerial Relations committee. We pride ourselves here at the Houlton Unitarian Society, (and joke about), our limited number of working committees, but this is one committee that warrants a key role in the life of our spiritual community. It serves two primary roles; one, as an advisory board to the minister to provide constructive feedback and a setting to process ideas, and secondly, as a mechanism for the congregation to direct comments and concerns, bringing it to the attention of the committee and minister. There will be a short congregational discussion after the Sunday service on April 21 to present the role of this committee and answer any questions that the congregation may have. Members of the ministerial relations committee are:
Jane Root Sylvain 532-6075,     Deborah Frazier 521-0387,     Michael Fasulo 532-2631,     Walter Goodrich 532-6073    


The Houlton Coffee House was featured on Portland public-access TV recently. Chris Newcomb performed at our September Ď01 Coffee House and included extended footage of it on his cable show, "Off-Center". Even if you were at that coffee house, come and see it again through the edited camera-eye. It is a one hour show, followed by a discussion and some refreshments.

If you have ever wondered what Unitarian Universalism is all about, then this is an evening to come and find out. Fireside chats are also an opportunity to discuss what we value in our tradition and to explore its meaning in our life. Bring along your copy of "A Chosen Faith" (or check out one from our libraryÖ) and share a reflective evening by the old woodstove.

We will be listening to an audio-tape by the abbotess of Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia - Pema Chodron. You may have read some of her best-selling books "The Wisdom of No Escape" or "When Things Fall Apart", but to hear her voice and gentle approach is to experience her teachings in a different manner. The tape includes lecture, as well as meditation exercises. Discussion will follow. Jeff Lovejoy will be the facilitator for the evening.

JUNE 20-24
This year's national conference takes place in Quebec City. (It doesn't get much closer than this!!) This is an apportunity to hear some of our movement's best thinkers and meet Unitarians from across the continent. There is a charter bus booked out of Bangor available for $75.00, round trip fare. Reservations for the bus must be made by April 15th. For detailed information regarding the conference and registration forms, check out the UUA website at www.uua.org/ga . Information on Quebec City and the Quebec Region can be found at www.quebecregion.com/ . Please talk to Dave if you have any questions.

Mar 31 - Sunday Service, Dave Hutchinson

Apr 4 - Video and Discussion -footage from Chris Newcomb's cable show "Off-Center"
Apr 6 - Film Night in the Parlor, 6 p.m.
Apr 7 - Sunday Service, Bruce Glick
Apr 13 - Coffeehouse, 7-9 p.m.
Apr 14 - Sunday Service, David Hutchinson
Apr 18 - UU Fireside Chat
Apr 21 - Sunday Service, Sarah Lovejoy - followed by short discussion on the Ministerial Relations Committee
Apr 28 - Sunday Service, David Hutchinson

May 5 - Sunday Service, Linda Rowe
May 11 - Film Night in the Parlor, 6 p.m.
May 12 - Sunday Service, David Hutchinson
May 18 - Coffeehouse, 7-9 p.m.
May 19 - Sunday Service, Jeff Lovejoy
May 26 - Sunday Service, Jere Armen

June 3 - Closing Service, David Hutchinson - Barbeque at the Rheinlanderís after the service
June 16 - Coffeehouse, 7-9 p.m.
June 20-24 - UUA General Assembly in Quebec City
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