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 - May 2008

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730

"We can never have enough of nature. We are refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor… We need the tonic of wildness."     - Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Walking in nature, photo by revdav As summer approaches I can already feel the subtle pull and allure of fresh-cut lawns, BBQs in the back yard, gardens, hiking in the woods, days at the lake, Red Sox baseball on the radio and a couple of trips to Houlton Farms Dairy. As we all know, the summers are short here in New England so there is not a day to waste!

Thoreau says we can never have enough of nature. This doesn't mean we have to hike 2 miles every day, but it does raise the question of how we relate to nature. We don't have to be on summer vacation to enjoy the natural world around us. We have a relating-nature to it at all times. We are never distant from nature. Even as we're walking on the sidewalk downtown we are breathing in the universe, feeling the sunshine on our skin and sharing space with the bug flying in the air.

If someone could only find a way to bottle the wildness of nature and market it's invigorating qualities, the tonic would certainly give the colas and energy drinks a run for their money! Instead, what I recommend for this summer is a local glass of spring water with perhaps a twist of lemon. Feel the wildness, and who knows, maybe I'll catch you at the Dairy Bar for a milkshake before the summer is out.

Drink deep.     Dave

FROM THE MODERATOR   - Church Vacation -
By the first of June the beginning of summer is on our Church doorstep and a rest from Church activities is here. The high point of the vacation and tourist season will soon start and a return to church activities seems as far away as Labor Day. The word Vacation comes from the Latin vacare and the meaning is "to be empty." Yes, during the summer our UU Church will be empty but it also means our Church community will still be in contact with each other for planned events and whatever impromptu activities may arise. It is good to take a vacation and to do so means you have an ordered life. The unemployed do not take vacations nor do those who for some reason or other are worried that their way of life is threatened. It takes a degree of health and wealth to go on vacation and it also takes a degree of light-heartedness and carefreeness.

In the early days of Aroostook County it is doubtful if potato farmers and lumbermen were able to take a so-called vacation and in some cases this may still be true today. The change of the seasons in Aroostook however wove recurring periods of rest into the fabric of the farmer's life and winter gave the farmer time to "rest." Today with all the stress of work and cultural demands--most of us need a vacation of some sort beyond the religious and secular holidays that dot our calendar.

Vacations can be found in the most unexpected ways. Of course, there are the two extreme types: those who are "large-city goers" and the "wilderness goers." The former looks for a maximum of options and the latter a minimum of options. Most of us want something in between and this year with the increasing price of gas we may want to find other alternatives closer to home. To follow our theme of "The Great Turning" I believe that one way to find rest this summer is to give up options or in other words abstain from doing things rather than doing them. In the presence of wilderness or even your local area you can relax, let go, and get in touch with your inner being. That may be the ultimate process of resting: not to travel, not to go out and do things, not to spend our time in what we deem to be "useful" ways, but rather to let go, to open ourselves up to the spirit, to get in touch with our soul.

I cannot help but think of an example of this type of "restful" experience that Ralph Waldo Emerson recorded in his journal on April 10, 1834 when he spent the afternoon at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He leaned against the side of a tree and recorded his experience.
"At least I opened my eyes and let what would pass through them into the soul. I saw no more my relation, how near and petty, to Cambridge or Boston; I heeded no more what minute or hour our Massachusetts clocks might indicate-I only saw the noble earth on which I was born, with the great Star which warms and enlightens it. I saw the clouds that hang their significant drapery over us. It was Day-was all Heaven said. The pines glittered with their innumerable green needles in the light, and seemed to challenge me to read their riddle. The drab oak-leaves of the last year turned their little somersets and lay still again. And the wind bustled high overhead in the forest top. This gay and grand architecture, from the vault to the moss and lichen on which I lay- who shall explain to me the laws of its proportions and adornments?"

As you plan your vacation or period of rest--enjoy yourself and remember this old Chinese Saying, "If you want to be happy for an hour, have a party. If you want to be happy for a week, kill your pig and eat it. But if you want to be happy all your life, become a gardener."     Bill White

FROM THE KEEPER (of the checkbook)
As I reported to the church trustees on Sunday the 18th, the church’s operating expenses are pretty much in line with the budget we planned last January despite the many price changes that have come to us in the course of the last 5 months. This is in large part due to the frugality of our leaders and our minister and also due to changes we have made to affirm our commitment to the Great Turning in our individual and collective lives. We’re doing just fine. Amen & Blessed Be.

As the one who writes the checks to pay the church’s bills all year long, I thank you for your financial support so far this year. It takes many kinds of support to create and sustain a community. In fact, a community exists BECAUSE people support it in many ways, not just financially. Nevertheless, I ask you to remember the church this summer when you look at your checkbook, and send me your financial contribution toward support of this community we cherish. I hope to see you at many church activities this summer. And if you need to mail payment on your pledge, here’s the address: S. Glick, 652 Back Ridge Rd., Littleton, ME 04730 May your summer be filled with flowers, lemonade, and warm blue-sky days. With love, Sue


Spring Decay

See the dying into spring:
Banks of white solid
Losing all soft form
To jagged graying grooves with
Fanciful canyon-topping
Outcrops of gravel and ice peaks.

Snow seeping into flashing water,
Raging rivulets, subtle streamlets
Seeking some lower location,
Some pool known internally through
Cold collecting memory
Of crystal gem existence.

We rejoice in this decay,
This leaving and joining and streaming,
Ascribing to it spring flowers,
Mosquitoes, black flies, and lawn mowing.
Most of all we see
Through its lenses to green.

Then all understanding
Evaporates in every shade
From chartreuse to Kelly and back again.
We become the green we see
Rising up or bending to tend it,
Taking in the newest fiddlehead.

We long to stay in green beyond its time
Until the promise of warm hues speaks again of decay
Still lulling all into sweet fall days
Harvesting grapes, apples and maple leaves:
To laud giving Earth one last day
Until the next turning.

Written after a long winter of deep snows
and much longing, 2008.     Susan Marie Sylvester Glick          

having lived in northern New England for several years
an unobserved question registered in my mind one day;
how many months out of the year
do we have leaves on trees?
depending on your calculations
the answer is basically a 50/50 split
an extra variation of seasonal affective disorder
roughly coinciding with the arrival and departure
of black flies, mosquitoes and T-shirts
the percentage of green to brown is directly
related to the amount of emerging ideas in your head

the greening of the mind

the new territory of aliveness
expanding to the extent of your thought
beyond all ordinary calculations
a basic consciousness
reading the editorial column in the newspaper
hoeing the weeds in the garden
leaping into the void
fresh green appearing in the near vicinity
of where you are right now

written by DH  


As the first five months of our church year draw to a close for summer, we remember those members who have passed away since January, Philip Crowley, Yvonne Bigelow, Aaron Putnam, and Noreen Pasanen. They are surely missed.

This picture of Phil Crowley and Yvonne Bigelow at a church potluck came to us by way of LT Rheinlander. Thank you, LT. They look so happy here--a good way to remember them.

Here is Noreen at a March 2007 social action event in subfreezing temperatures, lending her voice and her moral support to community.

Our traditional flower communion service is this 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. Car-pooling, of course, is encouraged. 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. After we celebrate our Flower Communion Service and honor and gift our minister, we will have tables set up outside of the church so you can gather to talk about plants or your love of gardening, and share the "plant thing." An umbrella may be necessary to make sure the sun will shine. There will also be a donation table for food plants for Audrey and Lewis' garden, to help them have a vegetable garden for Lewis' recuperation time this summer. If you are breaking down perennial plants, break off a chunk for the plant exchange. If you are pruning a plant, stick a shoot in some soil and bring it for the freebie table. You may bring plants potted in anything--old milk cartons, disposable coffee cups, cardboard boxes--in the spirit of the Great Turning. Let us celebrate the greening of Earth together in joy!
Our snazzy wi-fi cafe brochure will be available at the Flower Communion Service on June 1st. The brochure contains information about the cafe and a photo shop image of the proposed layout/design. This will also kick-off our capital fund-raising campaign, so stay tuned. Please note the wi-fi fund-raiser scheduled for July 5th on the church front lawn during the arts and craft sale in Monument Park. There will be food and drink, live music and a craft tent set up.
Inspired by the dancing at recent coffeehouses (Mardi Gras and Music Men) we decided that a dance in the basement would be a good alternative to the Coffeehouse on the teenth Saturday in June. Starting at 6:00 PM Debra Helle will give instruction on waltz, foxtrot rumba and swing dancing. There'll be plenty of music and the dance itself will begin at 7:00. Coffee and snacks will be provided.
There are other ideas for summer get-togethers which never got assigned firm dates. As the summer progresses plans may solidify for these events. Please keep your eye on our changing calendar page, make sure that you are on Rev. Dave's email list, join our UU Houlton Community Yahoo group (see below) or otherwise keep in touch for news of last minute planned events.
Click here for the current calendar.
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 12 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.
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