Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Rev. Donald Hinkley, Minister Emeritus
Rev. Martha Newman, Minister Emerita
Bill White, Moderator, 521-0015
Susan & Bruce Glick, Co-Treasurers, 538-9264
Fred Griffith, Clerk, 532-2455
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Committee on Ministry,
Debra Frazier, Bruce Glick, Philip Crowley

Newsletter - April 2007

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730

"Even when you plant the seed you can see the potato in the barrel."

photo credit/ George Hutchinson As you can see, I'm still going through my Father's box of 35mm slides. This shot came from the crop of 1949 spring planting. (It's come as no surprise that over 50 percent of my Dad's slides have something to do with potatoes, fishing or the woods camp!!) Farmers always take a certain measure of pride in their crop, acreage and the yield. A couple of years ago I joked with my Dad about getting my crop in, which amounted to two 10 foot rows of Cobblers!! Not much to brag about by most farmer's standards, but my Dad saw the humor...I've heard it said that a good farmer can already see the full grown potato even when he's cutting the seed. The planting, cultivating and harvesting are, in actuality, one process. Multiple factors come into play during the course of any particular growing season, but the beginning and the end are merged into one process. It is an amazing process that defies even the closest of scrutiny. (Just ask any farmer!)

What is this life I am living?
Who am I really?!

These questions are not that different from looking at a small chunk of potato and seeing how it's more than just that. This year at the Unitarian Society we've been discussing the practice of oneness. How are the one and the many related? I am Dave sitting here at my desk in 2007, but at a subtle level, which is just as relevant, I am also more than that. Each of us are inter-related to our environment and to each other, even though it is not easily recognized at first. How do I simultaneously do both at the same time?! This is the practice of oneness. Our Welcoming Congregation workshops have also provided practical and specific case studies in which to try out our practice of oneness. The one and the many only appear to be separate. When you look closer, you begin to see the inevitable. We are in this process together.

Live well. Don't miss a moment.       Dave

Permit me to make an acknowledgment of appreciation to Ann and LT Rheinlander for their faithful service to our church community. It is a matter of no small regret to us that they have chosen North Carolina as their new home and we do wish them love: pure, warm, and changeless. I have agreed to serve the remainder of the year as church moderator after Ann’s departure. It is reassuring to know how supportive and helpful David and the board members are as I take on this task--I do offer my best effort.

Our church calendar has been filled with many opportunities to share fellowship and good times including church services, film nights, coffeehouse, Monday evening conversations, and progress on our Welcoming Congregation Workshops. We can be especially proud of our decision to implement the Welcoming Congregation Program. It feels right as we work toward ending oppression and discrimination against sexual orientation. This activity helps fulfill the commitment to our Principles and Covenant.

On March 25th our congregation had a chance to sit down and enjoy a "Pot-Luck" with desserts and afterward share ideas. The food was great and it felt a little like a family sitting down to share ideas on how to best meet the needs of all age groups in our church. The suggestions were thought-provoking and it did keep Rev. Dave and Sue Glick busy recording the information (Thank You!) It was very helpful to hear new ideas and the enthusiastic response does show the "seat" part of our stool model worked well. We continue to ask our small and mindful congregation for more great ideas and we will have our blue Maxwell House coffee cans (we may even decorate these later) available for suggestions. Just write your idea on a slip of paper and place it inside the can. The Church Board will keep you posted on disposition of these great ideas in future newsletters. In the remainder of the year there are more great church services to come with the theme of "Oneness," Monday Evening Conversations of an environmental nature, film nights, Coffee House evenings, and of course our Flower Communion Service on June 3rd with the added feature of a plant and seed exchange after the service.

Spring is here and it is time to take walks in the warm sun. The thought of a possible walk through the woods reminds me of a Tao story.

A carpenter and his apprentice were walking together through a large forest. When they came across a tall, huge, gnarled, old, beautiful oak tree, the carpenter asked his apprentice: "Do you know why this tree is so tall, so huge, so gnarled, so old and beautiful?" The apprentice looked at his master and said: "No......why?" "Well," the carpenter said, "because it is useless. If it had been useful it would have been cut long ago and made into tables and chairs, but because it is useless it could grow so tall and so beautiful that you can sit in its shade and relax." May we all relax in the shade of a tree this spring and share the sense of community.       Bill White

Here's a new feature of the newsletter - a budget update. Oil prices are always a topic of conversation around town, so here is a report on the church's heating expenses. In truth, we have done well enough this winter so far (notice all those "qualifiers!"), thanks to the hours of time given by our faithful wood fire crew-a gift often contributed by David Hutchinson, Bill White, Larry Tonzi. In 2007, we have spent the following on fossil fuels through March 15:
  • Fuel Oil $1,688.72 ($2.03/gallon average billing)
  • Propane 95.47 ($2.22/gallon)
    It would take three annual pledges of $600 ($50) to pay for the fossil fuels we have consumed. Our total budget for heat in 2007 was set at $3,800 in the January annual congregational meeting.

    We appreciate the kindling wood donated by our AA partners (who also pay monthly rent). And we appreciate donations of firewood for half of our wood purchases. This year, yes, the cost of wood is going up, but in Northern Maine this is a renewable resource. We use it well and frugally. Finally, the heat we reclaim from our firewood has been increased thanks to Bill White's understanding of the chimney damper system. What a team!

    If you have ANY questions about the church budget, spending, pledging, please feel free to ask me or one of the Board members: Fred, Leigh, Karen, Bill, Addie, or David. We monitor the budget monthly in our regular Board meetings. Members are welcome to attend.
    Peace,   Sue Glick, Treasurer

    photo credit/ Bruce Glick Several church members participated in the Every Village Green peace rally on St. Patrick's Day. Rev. Hutchinson was one of the speakers, Linda Rowe Hutchinson was the MC, Bruce Glick documented the event in digital photography, Noreen Pasanen added her warmth to the gathering, and the Unitunes added their voices. Some of Bruce's pictures are displayed on the website - - and there are accounts of the day's activities in Houlton.
    The program was a moving experience, including readings, singing, and silence for people lost in the Iraq War. Following the rally in Monument Park, participants walked to our church for coffee, a slide show, and the warm woodstove. Who would have thought that 24 people would gather for an hour in driving sleet to speak out for peace?

    Click here for the current calendar.
    How often have you wondered about the joy of growing things and working those ideas about plants into your landscape? Set aside the evening of April 30th to come to the Monday Evening Conversation and share, learn, and enjoy a discussion on plants and landscaping chaired by Bill White. This may actually become a planning workshop for landscaping around the church. Be on the lookout for sizeable stones to be used in the eventual creation.

    Gardeners of all kinds can identify with this quote from Gertrude Jekyll [1843-1932, the seminal figure in the 20th Century revitalization of classic garden design and sensible gardening.]
    "– the lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. I rejoice when I see anyone, and especially children, inquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them. For love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but always grows and grows to an enduring and ever–increasing source of happiness."

    Friday evening and Saturday, April 27 and 28 at the Allen Avenue UU Church in Portland.
    The speaker will be the District Executive, Rev. Mary Higgins. Her talk will be "Dancers on the Edge of Things"
    On Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. (or maybe later)
  • Enjoy dinner with UUs from all over Maine – and elsewhere
  • Participate in the Banner Parade (bring your banner!)
  • Savor the wisdom and humor of the Rev. Mary Higgins as she shares her vison for a consolidated district.
  • Coffee House
  • On Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m.
  • Continental breakfast
  • Worship
  • Annual Meeting - including the vote on consolidation
  • Lunch
  • After lunch Workshops on Saturday
  • Sharing the Light
  • For the Small Congregations
  • Time with Our Executive Director
  • Youth Traveling to Put Their Faith in Action
  • Beyond the District and Ways to Connect
  • Moving Spirit Dancers
  • Adult Religious Education
  • There will also be a number of interesting displays and
    See registration materials for more details and updates.
  • The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association
  • The website of the Northeast District of the UUA
  • The UUWorld magazine   (You can also sign up for a weekly email update.)