Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Fred Griffith, Moderator, 532-2455
Co-Treasurers:
  Elizabeth Peltier, 538-1663
  Betty White, 521-0015
Debra Frazier, Clerk, 521-0387
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Committee on Ministry,
Debra Frazier, Larry Tonzi

Newsletter - April 2012

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


MINISTER'S COLUMN

If for a moment we make way with our petty selves, wish no ill to anything, apprehend no ill, cease to be but as the crystal which reflects a ray - what shall we not reflect! What a universe will appear crystallized and radiant around us!

- Henry David Thoreau, Letters 1850

            “Maine Bug” photo by Garrett Crawford “Maine Bug” photo by Garrett Crawford
As with the rest of New England, northern Maine experienced an unusually early spring thaw. In what I’m referring to as “The Great Meltdown of 2012,” we recorded seven straight days of temperatures in the 50s, 60s and 70s, peaking at 78 degrees on two consecutive days. Linda and I live on the north branch of the Meduxnekeag River and “ice out” is a major event at our place. This year the ice started breaking up and jammed on March 18th and went out early Tuesday morning on the 20th. (It was still officially winter.) While this is certainly earlier than the norm and has the locals still talking, at least the canoeing is excellent.

Part of the “ice out” experience is what I call back woods beachcombing; checking out the chunks of ice left behind on the river banks and flats after the water has receded. Some of these frozen slabs are like small icebergs parked beside the flowing stream just waiting for somewhere to go. If you look closely you can see layers to the ice. Some of the layers are opaque, frosted or holding debris, but some are perfectly clear like an ice cube you could float in a drink. When the sunlight hits the clear ice the ice comes to life.

The transcendentalists spoke about the individual becoming clear of self-limiting tendencies. When these blockages are removed the creative energies of insight, compassion and equanimity flow effortlessly wherever they are directed. The universe is charged with life and we are a part of it. Go outside and feel the sun warming your body, your shirt and your spirit.

Soak it in.
Radiate.

DAVE


MODERATOR'S MESSAGE
In uncertain times we are often presented with both challenges and unanticipated opportunities. This is no less true for our church than for anyone else. As we are struggling to make ends meet, we were suddenly offered the opportunity to increase our income some by renting space to the First Congregational Church of Houlton. They now hold their services in the Parlor at 12 Noon, one hour after our service is over.

I view this as much more than a rental agreement, however. We share a common history with the First Congregational Church of Houlton and, except for the fact that they focus their worship on one religious path instead of many, we share most of the same values. Many of us have been friends with many of them for years as well. In my opinion, this is a win-win situation for us all.

As a church family, we have looked at other solutions with which to tackle our financial challenges as well. At our congregational meeting in March, we discussed several of these ideas including; holding one or more additional concerts per year, setting up craft sales/quilt sales, increased rentals, and selling donated items on Ebay. We collected other ideas from the congregation as well. Some of these ideas are already in the works and others will be implemented as folks volunteer to coordinate the fundraisers.

We are in the process of collecting ideas for Summertime activities. So far we are looking at a few barbecues/cook-outs, fun activities and fundraising at the church 4th of July weekend, and expanded hours for the Cup Cafe. If there is anything you would like to see us do this summer (especially if you are willing to coordinate it) please be sure to put your ideas into the "Summer Activity" can in the Coffee Room!

You may recall that the last major item at our Congregational Meeting was a Congregational Evaluation Worksheet. This worksheet, passed out near the end of the meeting and available in the Coffee Room next to the Parlor, is a way for each of you to offer feedback and ideas. This is YOUR church and as such, YOUR input and assistance is vital to keep everything running in a smooth manner. If you have not yet completed one of these forms and dropped it into the "Evaluation" can in the Coffee Room, please do so at your earliest opportunity!

Together, we can tackle our challenges successfully, and support each other fully in our individual quests for Spiritual enlightenment and fulfillment. I cannot think of ANY organization in the area with which I would rather be associated. It is my honor and pleasure to serve as your Moderator again this year.

See you at the church!   Love, Fred


UNITARIAN CONCERT SERIES
Make plans now to attend the Ameranouche; Gypsy Jazz Trio concert on May 12th at 7pm in our church sanctuary. Tickets are currently on sale at York's Bookstore and Visions in Houlton. Tickets prices are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. (Canadian money is at par.) Student price is $6 and children under 12 are admitted free with an adult. Refreshments will be available for purchase during intermission.

Ameranouche (pronounced uh-MARE-uh-noosh) features two French acoustic Gypsy jazz guitars and upright bass, and is a winner of Best of New Hampshire awards as well as being veterans of the famed Newport Jazz Festival. The group tours nationally, year-round, and has released two albums. National Lampoon director, Kevin Wheatley, calls Ameranouche "the new sound of America". After hearing these folks sail through a melodious tune with such love, musicality, and signature, jaw-dropping velocity, you'll be hard pressed not to agree. www.ameranouche.com has plenty of tunes to check out -- if you've never experienced hot acoustic swing music, now's your chance to fall in love with the joyful, uplifting, and dance-inducing sounds of Gypsy jazz.

 

ANNUAL PLANT EXCHANGE & SALE
Our Plant and Seed Exchange is definitely a tradition. Once again, it will be held after our last service of the church year (our Flower Communion service on June 3rd.) Consider this to be advance notice to you avid gardeners. You will undoubtedly be starting some plants indoors. We hope you'll start some extras for exchanging or offering for a small contribution to the church. Or perhaps you'll have some plant cuttings, or thinnings of perennial or house plants. We'll have tables set up outside (or in the basement if it rains) to display any and all that you have to share.

CALENDAR
Please click here for the currently scheduled events.


E-MAIL/INTERNET DISCUSSION LIST: UU HOULTON COMMUNITY
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. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Houlton. We currently have 24 members. Please take a look at the webpage. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uuhoultoncommunity/   If you'd find it useful and wish to join just click the "Join This Group" button, or contact Rev. Dave if you have questions or need further instructions.
OTHER UU ONLINE RESOURCES
  • The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association   http://www.uua.org
  • The website of the Northern New England District (NNED)   http://nned.uua.org
  • The UUWorld magazine   www.uuworld.org.   (You can also sign up for a weekly email update.)
    www.uuhoulton.org