Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Rev. Donald Hinkley, Minister Emeritus
Rev. Martha Newman, Minister Emerita
Ann Rheinlander, Moderator, 532-3383
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 - May 2006

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


If with closed ears and eyes I consult consciousness for a moment, immediately are all walls and barriers dissipated, earth rolls from under me, and I float, by the impetus derived from the earth and the system, a subjective, heavily laden thought, in the midst of an unknown and infinite sea, or else heave and swell like a vast ocean of thought, without rock or headland, where all riddles solved, all straight lines making there their two ends to meet, eternity and space gambolling familiarly through my depths. I am from the beginning, knowing no end, no aim. No sun illumines me, for I dissolve all lesser lights in my own intenser and steadier light. I am a restful kernel in the magazine of the universe.
      - Henry David Thoreau     Journal entry, 1838

The L.L. Bean and REI summer catalogs are already flooding our mailbox with the latest selection of camping equipment for the outdoor enthusiast. (Camping gear has certainly come a long way since the old Navy Surplus Store days!! ) There's even a portable hand-press espresso machine for caffeine addicts and a hand-crank stainless steel blender in case you need to whip up a fruit slushy on the trail. I can only imagine what Thoreau might have said about such things!

One of the great advantages of living in a state like Maine is its natural beauty and spaciousness. I visited Acadia National Park recently and in a place such as that, there is no way to avoid the impact of nature upon your soul. It is a place where ocean slams into rock and sky hangs like artwork in a large gallery. I'm convinced that if a person found a comfortable chaise lounger and sat down with a cold drink in such an environment for long enough, they would walk away a very different person. Thoreau recommends closing your eyes and "consulting consciousness for a moment." We all have the interior capacity to see below the surface and connect with a larger reality. The above quote from Thoreau's journal speaks about this quality of being. Our typical obstacles and barriers collapse and our brain jammed full of thinking starts to flow more freely. It's the kind of summer break we could all use. Nature is not separate from who we are. As we walk down the trail with our high-tech hiking pole or just a good sturdy stick, we can experience the balance of being ourselves and enjoy the intricacies of this world.

Have a great summer.     Dave

If I had to name this past church year, I would call it "The Year of Inclusion". During the fall, we proclaimed unequivocally our 'liberal religious voice' in our Houlton Community. We did this without rancor or discord. We displayed across our church lawn our homemade signs proclaiming our Principles, our Covenant. Those Principles and our Covenant make clear to all that we are a people of "Inclusion". There is no exception to Civil Rights for all. We participated in the democratic process with careful words of reason. We practiced together the sometimes difficult principles of "Right speech" and "Right relationship". The process felt true, felt genuine, felt good as only right speech and right relationship can. We carried the good will of that experience right through the Fall Pledge drive and fundraiser concert.

By the close of 2005, as we prepared for our annual meeting, we realized that our evaluation process for our minister didn't "feel right." So we took the extra time to stay with that feeling of discomfort and explore other models. Trusting our feelings paid off and we now have a new model for evaluations that includes us all. It's the model offered by the UUA, one of shared evaluation of not just the minister but of all the volunteers who serve our congregation, the Board of trustees as well as the members of the Committee on Ministry. The volunteers of our Trust committee have a voice as well. This new model requires annual input by the congregation, as well. Members will receive a congregational survey form with this newsletter or via email. Please take the time to fill out the form. Your input is vital to both the planning for the new church year as well as our assessment of how well we met the congregational goals for the past church year.

Our Covenant group meetings have been and will continue to be our 'training class' for learning together how to practice and model for one another right speech and right relationship. If it sounds intriguing, it really is and can only become better as more voices are included in the conversations of covenant. This is NOT where we all recite our principles like a mantra. This is the place where we 'get down' and 'get earnest' with what exactly does that 'word' that 'phrase' mean and how it makes us feel. The Covenant group meetings are the safe place where we explore how "We do Community".

Spring passed quickly as we scurried on a tight schedule to pull off our second Church Concert for the community by April 15th. Again, it was a struggle to stay conscious of the value of right speech and right relationship to keep us all afloat and focused. We were all gratified by the success and the enthusiastic appreciation of the whole community who came out to enjoy our first concert produced by a Broadway professional which included both professional and local amateur talent.

It is fitting that our concluding services welcome to our congregation seven new members who signed the book during this church year.

We are ready for summer, season of renewal, fun times in the sunshine together.

Blessings of the Universe to you all, In Gratitude Ann

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.
We want to thank everyone for their financial support of the church this year. Now summer recess is here, time to play outside. Our pishka and collection plate will reside in the closet waiting for September. Although we won't be having formal services during the summer, we continue to have many of our usual expenses (minister's salary, utilities, insurance, etc). Our treasurer always appreciates receiving your summer offerings (checks only, please.) Please mail to Sue Glick, 652 Back Ridge Road, Littleton ME 04730.

Our pishka also won't be available to accept your contributions. So, this summer, perhaps you can establish your own pishka at home and put some small gift in it periodically. By summer's end your small collection added to our community pishka can make a significant contribution toward our chosen cause.

May 21
Open Pulpit Sunday service - "Year in Review"
May 28
Sunday service - Bill White
June 4
Flower Communion service - Rev. David Hutchinson
Barbecue at the Rheinlander's following the service.
June 17
Saturday Bike Ride
June 17
'Teenth Saturday Singing Workshop in the Parlor 7pm
June 26
Monday - Afternoon tea 1 pm
July 15
'Teenth Saturday Singing Workshop in the Parlor 7pm
July 29
Saturday Canoe outing at Hodgdon Mill Pond at 9 am.
August 13
Sunday - South Branch Pond in Baxter Pk.
August 26
Saturday - Joint Retreat of the Board of Trustees and Committee on Ministry at the church, 9 am to 2 pm. Bring lunch food/snacks.
August 26-27
Church retreat: Saturday afternoon through following noon, at the Lipskys.
Sept 10
Sunday service - Ingathering - Rev. David Hutchinson

Saturday, June 17 - Meet at Irving truck stop at 8am for Breakfast and Bike Ride. Everyone is invited to come for the breakfast. Riders should bring bike, helmet,sunscreen, repair kit, water, and a snack. Emergency phone numbers (Sue 538-6403; Bruce 538-6402). Bike ride will be mostly flat for the first 4 miles, followed by hilly terrain for 2 miles for those who are up for that. Geared bikes will be required for the last 2 miles. Please no alcohol at this event. Contact person: Sue Glick 538-9264 This will be a 3-4 hour event.

Saturday, June 17 and Saturday July 15 -   The Coffeehouse won't be happening during the summer, but on those 'teenth Saturday evenings, for those who like to sing we'll be offering "Singing in the African American Tradition." Ysaye M. Barnwell is best known as a member of the internationally acclaimed a cappella quintet "Sweet Honey In The Rock". She has put together a course consisting of four instruction CDs and a book. This course is perfect for individuals, choirs, church, camp and community groups, or friends of any background who want to participate in a unique and uplifting musical activity. Anyone who loves to sing, will be thrilled by the depth and range of the material taught. The CDs are structured so that you can learn the melody of a given song, by ear, then hear and learn some different lines to sing along with either the melody or the other harmony parts. You then hear all the parts for the total effect of a group of people singing together. You need not know how to read music. By intention, the songs are taught without printed music and words, and other than some rhythmic percussion, without musical accompaniment. There are more than 20 great songs offered, including African calls and chants, spirituals, gospel songs, songs of the civil rights movement and contemporary South African songs of resistance. Please join us to experience a portion of this program. Contact Karen Klahr, 532-4051.
Monday, June 26 - Women will gather at 1pm in the church parlor for an Afternoon Tea Party to honor the minister's wife and those special ladies who will bring stories of our church's past. Tea, coffee, small sandwiches, and sweets will be provided. Dress: anything wild, costumey, or just plain relaxed-casual. It's not about the clothes!! We have decided to use the church's china for this event. Please no alcohol at this event. Contact person: Ann Rheinlander, 532-3383 This will be a 2-3 hour event.
Saturday, July 29 Canoe outing at Hodgdon Mill Pond . Meet at the dairy bar in downtown Hodgdon at 9 am with all your equipment including watercraft, life preserver, sunscreen, lunch in a waterproof container, oars/paddles, hat/sunglasses, and lots of energy. Event will end at the dairy bar (read between the lines!). Please no alcohol at this event. Contact person: Karen Klahr, 532-4051 Rain Date: July 30 This will be a 5-6 hour event.
Sunday, August 13 - A day at South Branch Pond in the north end of Baxter Park. This is much closer than the south end. We'll meet at Brookside Inn for breakfast at 8 am (all are welcome for breakfast.) We'll leave at 9 am and should be there by 10am. It's a beautiful spot to spend the day, even if you don't boat, hike or play croquet. Bring: lunch, sunscreen, watercraft and accessories, hiking boots, charcoal (if needed), water, and everything you will need. There are no commercial facilities in the park! Please no alcohol at this event. Contact person: Karen Klahr, 532-4051. This will be an all-day event. No Rain Date.
Saturday, August 26 - Joint Retreat, at the church, of the Board of Trustees and the Committee on Ministry 9am to 2 pm. Breakfast provided from 9 to 10. Bring lunch food/snacks.
Saturday-Sunday August 26-27 - Church retreat weekend at the Lipsky's: Saturday afternoon through Sunday noon for those interested in campfire and camping out, and Sunday morning service, discussion, barbecue and potluck lunch for everybody. Please no alcohol at this event. Contact Debra Lipsky for directions. Bring food, water, hat, sunscreen, games, and a lawn chair. If you plan to stay overnight, bring camping gear!
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