Living in these modern times challenges us at many levels. Just stretching our paycheck to cover the monthly bills from one month to the next can be challenging enough!! Global conflict, societal tensions regarding equality and justice, economic/ecological realities and making sure our personal lives are in order all require our attention. The inter-relatedness of these concerns converge in us. But how do we wrap our head around so many seemingly disparate issues? The answer lies with us. Dylan says that the soul has to expand. You start to see the world as larger than yourself and part of yourself. If the soul expands enough, conflicts resolve and fewer people are left out. Ever the realist, Dylan admits that it's a hard road down. I'll be addressing some of these pesky questions in my sermons this fall, under the borrowed heading from Bob, "Modern Times." Don't be too surprised if a Dylan song finds air-time in a couple of our services!!
As we begin our church year my hope is that we will continue to find ways to enlarge our self and embrace each other. The hard work of spiritual community is well worth the effort. On Monday, September 11th, the church will be open from 8AM to 6PM for anyone who would like to come and sit quietly in the parlor. The remembrance candle will be lit and music softly playing to provide a reflective environment. I remember how important the space was five years ago and I invite people to make use of it again. Live every moment.
In Ministry, Dave
COMMITTEE ON MINISTRY
A standard committee in most Unitarian Universalist Churches is the Committee on Ministry. We pride ourselves here at the Houlton Unitarian Society, (and joke about), our limited number of working committees, but this is one committee that warrants a key role in the life of our spiritual community. It serves several primary roles; one, as an advisory board to the minister to provide constructive feedback and a "think tank" to process ideas, secondly, to monitor and help evaluate the state of our religious community, and thirdly, as a mechanism for the congregation to direct comments and concerns, bringing it to the attention of the committee and/or minister. The Committee on Ministry (or COM) works in tandem with the board of directors, minister and the congregation itself to create a model of "mutual ministry." Each specific part of the model is co-responsible and actively engaged in supporting and maintaining a healthy/functional religious community. Our COM members for this church year are Debra Frazier, Phillip Crowley and Bruce Glick. If you have any questions regarding the specifics of their role, please approach any one of them and they will be glad to fill you in. The COM will be meeting on a regular basis throughout the church year making it one of our "few in number" active committees.
From fresh picked strawberries to fresh hand picked peaches, is how I would describe our summer activities. From our gracious silver tea for all the women and friends of our church, including most of our wise elders, to the beautiful retreat hilltop service at the Lipsky farm, we enjoyed togetherness and oneness. Who could ask for anything more? However, one might ask what about strawberry seeds? and peach pits? and I will answer "I'm glad you asked." Beautiful luscious fruit carries within it the means, the hard means, of rebirth. That spiritual rebirth for our congregation this year will be our workshop exploration of the Welcoming Congregation. Like all living things our group continues to grow and experience rebirth. This year our spiritual growth will be focused on becoming truly welcoming to all people. The UUA has developed a workshop program to enable congregations to explore their deepest personally held feelings about sexual orientation. This opportunity for rebirth will involve all of us. First we will set up a planning committee which will be a task driven only. When the task is done, so is the committee. It will include the minister, moderator and a member of Board of Trustees. A member of the Committee on Ministry will be invited to participate (however we understand their schedule limitations) and most importantly we need a member from our covenanted congregation. Ideally this member would have a personal interest and desire in helping the congregation grow in the area of sexual orientation and transgender issues. The first task of this committee will be to lay out the schedule for presenting the workshop. The workbook calls for 14 2-hour workshops, however this committee has bold creative license to pitch together the program that works for us. The kickoff workshop has already been scheduled for October 22nd and the moderator, minister and board members will be looking for a prospective planning committee member as soon as services begin and our first meeting will take place before the October workshop. Rebirth is as hard as a peach pit and as lucious as a strawberry, so think of yourself as a midwife helping our congregation become new in spiritual rebirth.
Our first service of the new church year is on September 10th. Please join us as many Unitarian Universalist congregations across the country will be observing a water ceremony ritual on this date. Bring a small bottle of water you have collected from places nearby and far away. We individually pour waters into our community vessel and reflect upon the many and the one in our collective vessel. Water seeks the form of the container into which it is placed. The four elements will be represented on the altar as we explore our relatedness to each other and the world around us. The topic of the day is "How to Make Sense of These Modern Times."
CALENDAR - Sunday services begin at 10AM