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 - September 2008

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730

“Always remember, today doesn't count. Trying to make something out of today only robs you of precious time that could be spent daydreaming or resting up.”   -   George Carlin, 15 Ways to Screw Up Your Life

"We must support what supports local life, which means community, family, household life-the moral capital of our society. Essential wisdom accumulates in the community much as fertility builds in the soil."   -   Wendell Berry; poet and small farmer, From an Interview in New Perspectives Quarterly

One of the popular fads of the early seventies was the smiley face craze. The bright yellow dot face appeared on everything from lunch boxes to umbrellas with the accompanying phrase “Have a nice day.” As the fuel shortage, Watergate and a recession hit the American public, the little smiley seemed to help people get through the challenging times with a more optimistic attitude. The way things have been going in the country lately, perhaps it's time for the smiley face to make a comeback. Aside from its merchandising clout, the smiley face also became a symbol for the values of friendship, happiness and peace. (Plus it was fun!)

Our theme for the upcoming year is “Finding the Essential.” During times of transition, crisis or change people often begin to reevaluate their priorities and schedules along with their household budgets. What is essential?! Where do we place our limited time and energy in a world that has so many worthwhile possibilities? Always remember, every day counts. We must carefully identify what really matters to us and then make it happen. Don't just talk about it or attend a workshop, make it a part of your life. In community our best ideas can accumulate and eventually find expression in our lives together. And when times are hard or unpredictable that's when we need each other the most. In case you're interested in having your own smiley face button, I will have a box of them on our first Sunday together. I hope they will remind us to enjoy this life we live, regardless of the circumstance or content.

Have a nice day!   Dave

Our theme for Church Services this year is "Finding the Essential." We are "seekers" in our Houlton religious community and perhaps the theme also can be rephrased as, "Seeking the Essential." Does this mean we should stress the spiritual side of our lives and oppose our material (secular) lives? Perhaps it is worthwhile to explore this idea a bit more.

What do we assume the relationship between the spiritual and material aspects of our lives may be? To me it seems that the spiritual qualities and material qualities are not separate and opposed; they are inevitably involved with each other. We can understand ourselves and our world only by living in it and by finding and using such values as all our technology makes possible.
Just as there are day and night and the ebb and flow of the tides, there are polar relationships in every major thought or enterprise and this play of opposites helps to preserve the balance of things. The spiritual and material, moments and eternity, idealism and realism, peace and war-are not alternatives for which we must declare our devotion for one or the other. These are the balanced polar relationships in our lives and without this balance our lives would be meaningless and uneventful. We can never say at any particular point or moment that there is a dividing line between the alternatives.
In conducting meaningful human activities, it seems that traditional religion, more than any other experience, often concerns itself with these so-called opposites which are not really opposites at all. We are much nearer the truth if we think of them as supplementary and each is a different aspect of the same reality. It is the tragedy of religious orthodoxies that in general they have sought to separate these different aspects of life and to keep them apart: the sacred from the secular, the material as over against the spiritual, and the mind as differentiated from the heart. Sacred and secular, material and spiritual, mind and heart-indeed not things apart! To be complete individuals each of these opposites must be forever involved in the other as part of our daily activities.
During the coming year do not be surprised if we reinforce some of the familiar basic thoughts about spirituality as essential: The Covenant, Seven Principles, and The Four Agreements.
As we do our seeking for essentials during our church year, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves we attend church services to share with each other. Albert Einstein seemed to express the idea of sharing rather well: "Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that a (human) is here for the sake of other (humans)-above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends."
Bill White

BACKGROUND OF THE SMILEY FACE - Joseph Campbell and Smiley
In the early 60s State Mutual Life Assurance of Worcester, MA initiated a merger that had bad effects on company morale. In 1964, State Mutual developed a "friendship campaign" to get employees to smile whenever they answered the phone, paid a claim, or typed a report. The company turned to Harvey Ball for graphic support. Ball reported that he spent about 10 minutes designing the smiley face, and he was paid $45 for it. This was the only profit that Ball ever made from his most famous creation. Neither Ball or the insurance company trademarked or copyrighted the smiley face. In the early 1970s, the smiley face image became a symbol for an entire generation of Americans, emerging as one of the most well-known images in the country. The smiley face craze, was the work of two brothers in Philadelphia, Bernard and Murray Spain, who were in the business of making would-be fad items. In September of 1970 they drew up a smiley face added the words "Have a nice day," and copyrighted the image and words. Soon they and their many imitators were cranking out buttons, posters, greeting cards, shirts, bumper stickers, cookie jars, earrings, bracelets, key chains, and many other items. The fad lasted about a year and half; the number of smiley buttons produced by 1972 was estimated at 50 million.1

When it comes to religious symbol and metaphor, Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) is a recognized authority. According to Campbell, symbol gets to the unseen reality below the surface. "The absolute (reality) transcends all thought. Myth puts you right there all the time, gives you a line to connect with the mystery which you are."2 Campbell identifies the sun as a symbol of human consciousness. The lion is also used in the same manner. Have you ever noticed when the sun is depicted with a face that it resembles a lion's face? Well, for our purposes, try taking a smiley face and draw lines radiating outward from its perimeter. Do you see what I mean?! This is one way I'd like to use the smiley face buttons during our church year; a symbol of human consciousness. One of my talks will explore the seven states of human consciousness. Each of us has the potential to experience these states in the here and now. As we identify and sample these states of consciousness I think it helps if we can remember to smile along the way.

2 Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor Joseph Campbell 2001


Concert For All

If music is the soul of our being
Then I say let us breathe, eat, work, sweat and make love
With sweet melody on our lips.
Let our movement be the spirit of love
Our bodies the constant motion of blessedness
Our minds electric with insight
Our spirit the consciousness of the world
This music of the soul is our being
Where we are today
One and many
Make music and listen
Listen and make music.

For Lewis

Written by revdav

Robert Shetterly is a Maine artist and writer who has created a series of portraits of great American thinkers including one of their quotations in the painting itself. There are currently over 100 portraits in the collection and still growing. You may remember Shetterly as the editorial artist in the now defunct newspaper, The Maine Times, that was popular in the state during the 1990s. "Americans Who Tell The Truth" is part of a traveling exhibit now touring the country. Here is what Shetterly has to say about the origins of the project:

"I began painting this series of portraits --- finding great Americans who spoke the truth as a way to channel my anger and grief after the events of 9/11. In the process my respect and love for these people and their courage helped to transform that anger into hope and pride and allowed me to draw strength from this community of truth tellers, finding in them the courage, honesty, tolerance, generosity, wisdom and compassion that have made our country strong. The courage of these individuals are part of a great tradition, a united effort in respect for the truth. These people form the well from which we must draw our future."

I will be selecting various American thinkers from Shetterly's project as we explore our theme, "Finding the Essential." One of the individuals in the collection is Henry David Thoreau. (See Shetterly's artwork) The Houlton Unitarian Society recently received Don Raymond's Thoreau Collection as a generous donation to the research section of our library. This includes the complete journals of Henry David Thoreau (Fourteen volumes). I plan to pull material from these journals to use in my talks during the year. We hope to dedicate the Don Raymond Thoreau Collection along with some of Don's personal writings and poetry in the spring. For more information about Americans Who Tell The Truth please visit

Click here for the current calendar.
Our first service of the new church year is on September 7th. Please bring a small bottle of water you have collected from special places nearby or far away during your summer adventures. We individually pour waters into our collective basin and reflect upon our life as a spiritual community. 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.
Please come and join us on Friday evenings at 5:30pm in the parlor zendo as we continue our "1st Friday of the month" time-slot. Our group (Sangha) practice consists of 2 twenty minute sittings, a walking meditation (kinhin), and a short reading followed by tea and conversation. No meditation experience is needed. We will start from scratch with some basic instruction and go from there. All traditions are welcome. We have a few extra cushions (zafus) available and meditation benches. Of course the couch works equally as well.
Well, we finally have taken the step, friends. After years of avoiding contracted oil purchases and paying just above the rack price (whatever that happens to be), we have committed to monthly payments on the budget plan with Dead River Oil. The variability of oil prices makes it necessary to take this risk and confirms that our spiritual home is subject to the same material demands as the rest of the world. If the language of oil contracts is not familiar to you, the bottom line is that the church will be paying $775 per month for 9 months to purchase oil (up to 1600 gals.). All of us who heat with oil are doing this math in the north country. With two cords of wood and oil in the tank, the church should be a warm place this year. Please come and enjoy the warmth of fellowship at 61 Military, a warmth that goes beyond the ambient air and is more than skin deep. With love and respect,   Sue
Brochures about the café project are now available at the church, on the information table in the coffee room. If you haven't seen one yet, see what the buzz is about. (And I don't mean the caffeine…) Our capital campaign has begun and we are looking for volunteers to help out with the project in any way you can. Fair Trade is a concept that takes many forms in an effort such as this. See the brochure for details.
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 take a look at the webpage.   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.
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