Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Rev. Donald Hinkley, Minister Emeritus
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, Larry Tonzi

Newsletter - April 2008

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


“Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?” “Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature…”   

- Henry David Thoreau, Walden
photo - Yoga International In our coffee room at the Unitarian Society we still have the same rotary dial telephone that's been there for the last 40 years or so. It works perfectly fine, but by today's standards our phone is considered a relic from an era that hadn't even heard of speed-dial! The way life is accelerating these days maybe we don't have the extra time it takes to use such an inefficient device. It only takes about 5 seconds to punch in a ten digit number on touch tone, but it can take up to 15 seconds (depending what the numbers are) for a rotary dial to complete the same call. That's ten extra seconds of your life where you are just standing around waiting for a dial to spin back and forth.

If you haven't placed a call from a rotary dial phone in a while, try this experiment the next time you do. Stand or sit in a relaxed position, dial the number slowing and just notice what happens while you dial. Besides the mechanical feel and sound of the phone you may also notice a subtle layer of frustration or impatience. If you find yourself rushing the process don't be alarmed. We have become so accustomed to the convenience and speed of our cell phones and re-dial features that we quickly assume life is supposed to be that way.

Thoreau cautions his readers to beware of assumptions and notice how one's own mind works. Do not rush through your day. Be careful not to waste your life. Thoreau uses the example of nature as a model to live your life deliberately. When we are comfortably grounded in our sense of self and as natural in this world as a flower blooming on a spring day, then we are truly alive to the wonder that our life is.

Think spring.   Live deliberately.    Dave

It seems such a long time in the past but at Christmas we celebrated the mystery of light that is born out of darkness. Recently, during the service "No Dead Ends" presented by David, our minister, we celebrated the mystery of life born out of death. The mysterious and continuous lengthening of light each day really started back on the 21st of December and this has brought us the wonderful longer days of light we now have.

The days between the 21st of December and the 20th of March in northern Maine (and North Carolina) seem to have a mysterious quality of suspense and timelessness. During this lapse of time we were more-or-less trapped inside our homes and of course we did not know what to do with ourselves. Within the past week we once again began to remember the joy and warmth the returning sun brings us and somewhere in the back of our minds we recall this is a time to plant. It seems the "good life" is led by those who are sensitive and responsive to this rhythm of loss of light and its return. Indeed, our lives seem to be responsive to the opportunities offered by the increase in day length.

Our Unitarian Church family has provided a safe space and friends to share our rituals, teachings, stories, poetry, and music during these short winter days and long nights, so we now stand on the edge of spring and summer. We thank every member of our congregation helping with many tasks you perform to make each Sunday service, Coffee House, film showings, Monday conversations, and our book discussion group such a joy. Our plans for spring and summer church activities will also be a time of spiritual development for our congregation. We only need to remember Nature moves at her own seasonal pace and the wait for longer days is an exercise in patience.

Into every empty corner, into all forgotten things and nooks,
Nature struggles to pour life, pouring life into the dead,
Life into life itself.
    - Henry Beston

Happy Spring!     Bill White

BOOK REVIEW - Revolutionary Spirits; The Enlightened Faith of America's Founding Fathers
Written by Gary Kowalski
Reviewed by revdav
the author sitting with flowers "This spacious and energetic presentation of the religious positions and postures of our principle Founding Fathers reads more like an engrossing novel than like the piece of finely researched history it is. It should be read for the sheer joy of the read, certainly; but more to the point, it should be required reading for every voting American."
- Phyllis Tickle, author of The Shaping of a Life
My room mate at a recent minister's conference in the White Mountains was none other than Gary Kowalski, the good-looking and well published minister from First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, Vermont. (author of Goodbye, Friend; Science and the Search for God; and The Souls of Animals) He gave me a good deal on his most recent book, Revolutionary Spirits, I coerced a creative autograph and then promised to give him a positive review in our next newsletter. So here it is.

With the election of 2008 looming close, there are several new books on the market revisiting the early years of the American Experiment. Over breakfast one morning Gary and I referred to a little paperback edition of America's Real Religion written by A. Powell Davies, minister of All Souls in Washington DC back in 1949. It was a historical look at several key Founding Fathers noting their progressive philosophical and political leanings. I view Gary's book in this same tradition. Nothing is quite so interesting and helpful as seeing the actual words of what someone said. Like any good interviewer, Gary knows what questions to ask and finds plenty of solid material in his research to share with the reader. As you read Gary's book these revolutionary spirits seem just as relevant to our times as they were to theirs. Go out and buy the book.

Lately our Sunday services include LT and Ann Rheinlander, who call us at the start of the service and listen and participate via cellphone. March 24th was LT's birthday and we are not the only ones who miss him. Kay Bell invited his many friends from the community to meet in Market Square to send him birthday wishes via the Houlton Maine Webcam ( This is a sample of what LT saw as he sat at his computer. Another appeared on the back page of the Pioneer Times.

extended snow blow blues

it's april 4th and the snow is still falling
it's as if the club manager forgot to mention
we weren't taking any late season bookings
now that it was spring
one last horn player on the stage
blowing his notes like a storm you didn't expect
a thelonious angle on keyboard
a blue monk contemplating manual labor
and a holy calling
exhausted individual dreams and stale cigarettes
crumpled in a glass tumbler
left on the white tablecloth after the show
white tablecloth of snow
blow it hard
blow it hard        D.H.

The service Fred and I are doing on May 4 will be celebrating Beltane, the old Celtic celebration of May. We would like to do a Maypole, but we need someone to donate the pole (tree). We are putting out the request for anyone who has thinning to do or blowdowns to utilize. If someone has such a tree to donate, have them contact us at or Also, folks will need to provide their own ribbons, about 9 yards long, preferably cotton, any color. (I usually sew together scraps from quilts I have made, about 2" wide.) Anyone of any age can do this!   Thanks!   Leigh
Our traditional flower communion service is Sunday, June 1st. 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. Our cookout is at Dave & Linda's house in Monticello this year next to the beautiful Meduxnekeag River. (Directions will be provided later) Please bring something fun to eat to contribute to the festivities!! There will be swimming, extreme croquet and horseshoes for those up to the excitement. This is a chemical-free event from 12-4 PM. Policy shifts after 4PM.
Last year everyone enjoyed the fun of either exchanging plants or buying some if they did not bring any to exchange-so this year we will try it again. When you start your plants (soon) start a few extras to bring to the plant sale/exchange. After we celebrate our Flower Communion Service (and you have your coffee) we will have tables set up at the side of the church so you can gather to talk about plants, your love of gardening, and do our plant thing. An umbrella may be necessary to make sure the sun will shine. We will have more information on this as the date approaches.
Click here for the current calendar.
Believe it or not summer's coming and it's our custom to get together several times each summer. Our activities have included hiking, biking, canoe/kayaking and we usually met for breakfast beforehand. Perhaps there's an activity you have in mind. If so, here's your chance to make a request. We'll be starting soon to make a plan, so please let us know any Sunday or contact Dave or Karen.
An email discussion mailing list is a tool for a group of people to exchange messages via email. Any subscriber to the list can send messages that are received by all the subscribers, creating an email-based group conversation. Any member can upload photos. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Houlton. So far we only have 11 people subscribed. We do have a number of photos posted. Please visit the webpage if you wish to join or contact Rev. Dave if you have questions or need further instructions.
  • 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.)