On some days we make easy targets of ourselves. If we do not use care in our choice of comments and opinion, we can unknowingly set ourselves up for trouble. Every word out of our mouth is an indicator of our thought and our actions. Even if we are not self-aware of our output, others are. If we keep feeling as if we're stuck in the middle of a firing range, we may want to check and see if there is a large target stuck to us!! Gandhi pointed out the daily challenge of such a practice. If there is any trace of violence in our speech, there will be reaction. And there are so many subtle variations of violence, we may not even notice that it's a factor. Any level of impatience, frustration, anger or control on our part can set things in motion.
In Don Miguel Ruiz's best-selling book The Four Agreements, he lists "be impeccable with your word" as the first agreement. Quality speech is the quickest way to get good results in your life!! We have opportunity everyday to practice and try this out for ourselves. It may not always be a smooth ride, but each time we try, we learn a little more about ourselves and a little more about everyone else as well. Check your "word bubble" each day and give people less of a target to shoot at.
Live Well. Dave
BROADWAY AND BLUES COME TO HOULTON ON APRIL 15
The Houlton area is fortunate to have a number of accomplished music performers, both home-grown and "from away." Suzanne Costallos, who studied at The Juilliard School, has performed both on and off Broadway and in film and TV. We are fortunate that she now makes her home in Hodgdon, Maine.
She has assembled a cast, "Gypsy Hearts," from among her contacts in the entertainment industry. At 7:00 PM on April 15th they will present "The Music is the Magic" as the spring offering of the Unitarian Church performance series. It will be a thoroughly eclectic evening, with a wide variety of musical styles, including blues, Broadway tunes, folk, pop, jazz and others.
Tickets are available in advance for $8 at York's Bookstore, Visions Gallery and from many church members. You may call Ann Rheinlander at 532-3383. Tickets will be $10 at the door. Students can purchase tickets at the door for $5.
Spring 2006 Your Board of Trustees has begun the 2006 church year with a very ambitious agenda. The agendas for the first two meetings since our annual meeting have covered more than a dozen overall topics from the re-timing and re-alignment of the ministerial evaluation process to the responsibilities and gifts of Pastoral Care. Following the model of the former moderator, I extend an invitation to all members to attend the meetings of your Board of Trustees. We welcome our two new members, Philip Crowley and Bill White. New members always bring fresh ideas and new approaches to old issues. Our Board meetings are always 'lively', although our new clerk Fred Griffith is sometimes so busy recording notes that some opportunities for his famous 'one liner puns' have been missed. (We are very grateful for his close observation to details of discussions and his timely output of the completed minutes.) Among the evolving issues for the Board are:
Happy Spring to All! In Gratitude, Ann Rheinlander
WORDS OF THANKS
What is our pushke for? In recent years our congregation has felt the need to have a regular reminder of the needs of our community and of the wider community. We have donated for specific funds within the American Red Cross and for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. In 2005-06 we collected funds for the Maine Native American Giving Winds campaign, sponsored by the New England District UUA. In the fall of 2005, Leigh Griffith made a beautiful fabric donation holder to begin the Giving Winds campaign. Once we had met our congregational commitment to the Giving Winds program, the Board decided to continue to offer the holder -called a "pushke" - to collect pocket change and other donations for social concerns that arise in the course of a year. This might be used for local charities or for regional or national concerns, but the donations would be used to honor UU principles. The pushke is offered every week in the service to be a continuing reminder of the need to express our compassion and concern through monetary support. May we all continue to give as we are able. Amen
Editors note: Please visit http://www.uua.org/CLF/members/uume/1201/worship.html for a UU take on this time honored Jewish tradition.
THE RHYTHMS OF EARTH AND SKY
Our ancient ancestors took notice of the cycle of the seasons, the time it takes the earth to orbit the sun. The Solstices and Equinoxes (or Quarter Days) divide the year in quarters. Ancient peoples designed seasonal festivals to observe these cycles. They also recognized the Cross Quarter Days, the mid-way points between the solstices and equinoxes and set them as days of celebration as well.
Church member Bill White, living in intimate relationship with the earth, has been urging us to establish rituals for ourselves to observe these cyclical movements of the earth and sun. The following is a list of his thoughts and suggestions:
GREETINGS FROM THE MAINE GREEN SANCTUARY TASK FORCE
This year, April 22 marks the thirty-sixth anniversary of Earth Day. As Unitarian Universalists, Earth Day is a perfect chance to explore and manifest our Seventh Principle: "Respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part." It can be an opportunity to celebrate our relationships with the natural world, as well as motivating us to take action against the threats posed by global climate change, overconsumption, loss of biodiversity, and oil addiction.
A wise person once said, "We won't save what we don't love." Earth Day celebrations can take the form of service (cleaning a stretch of shoreline, for example), but just as important for many people is the chance to affirm their connection to and love of nature. Councils of All Beings, all-species parades, and worship services that take place outside can be ways of rejoicing in our Earth.
As you and your church begin to think about ways in which you might observe Earth Day, we want to offer a few resources we are aware of. Online, The Earth Day Network http://www.earthday.net and the UU Ministry for Earth http://uuministryforearth.org/index.shtml are great sources of ideas.
is also good. Bill McKibben, the author of The End of Nature and many other books, will be speaking at Bowdoin College the week before Earth Day. Many Audubon chapters are sponsoring local events of their own.
NED ANNUAL MEETING AND SPRING GATHERING
The 45th annual meeting and spring gathering of the Northeast District of the UUA will take place Friday evening and Saturday, April 28th and 29th in Bangor. The keynote speaker will be Gini Courter, Moderator of the UUA. Please check our bulletin board for the poster with details.
COVENANT GROUP MEETING
This is a group that meets several times during the year and explores what it means to be in covenant and how we relate to each other in community. We take a closer look at our own Seven Principles and The Four Agreements as found in Don Miguel Ruiz's best-selling book of the same name. All of those interested in exploring the day-in and day-out practice of being in spiritual community are encouraged to attend the meeting. This session will focus on questions that new members may have about covenant and what the practice of covenant entails. (Longer-term members may have just as many questions!!) Come one. Come all.
FLOWER COMMUNION & COOKOUT
Our traditional flower communion service is Sunday, June 4th. Please bring a fresh cut flower to contribute to the communion basket. This Unitarian tradition originated in 1923 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Dr. Norbert Capek asked his parishioners to bring and receive flowers as a symbol of their shared life as a spiritual community. Please come and join us for this special service. Once again we will be blowing bubbles on the front lawn afterward. The Rheinlanders are hosting our end of the year BBQ/pot luck. Please bring something fun to eat to contribute to the festivities!! There will be extreme croquet and horseshoes for those up to the excitement.