In exploring religious community we look for meaning in a mutual context. It is an individual journey, but we are looking to shape each other, challenge each other and support each other in the process. Our new theme for this year is “Transforming Together.” Change does not come easily, but it’s more likely to happen if more than one person is working on it together. Each person needs a safe setting in which to try out new ideas or toss out the old ones that don’t make as much sense any more. Transformation is the key to living a life that is not overly reliant on the way things have been before. Living in this manner who knows what may be in store for us next?
The photo of our farmhouse and Linda’s flower garden reminded me of the Rilke quote about our living in this life side by side. Like flowers planted in the same garden we are separate and we need the space between us, yet we can flourish together.
Live Every Moment, Dave
There has been a lot going on here at the Houlton UU Society the last few months, some of it very exciting, some great fun and some sad. Here are some of the highlights. For the second year we have had Sunday services during the summer and this has been very well received. The services have been well attended with several new people joining us regularly. We are pleased to welcome three new members who have “signed the book”; Marion and Mary Blocher and Mary Creighton. Welcome to our community! It is also exciting to have such a financially successful “slow season”. The dedicated efforts of our Saturday market fund raisers and generous contributions of those attending Sunday services have left us in good financial shape going into the fall season.
On the fun side there have been several social gatherings that have been well attended. It is great to get to know each other better, play games, eat good food and enjoy the wonders of nature. Many joyful memories were created and all I can say is, “Let’s do it some more!”
On the sad side, two of our members, Carlos Jeffers and Russ Dillon passed away this summer. Even though we feel the void in our hearts that they leave we are thankful for and rejoice in their lives and the time we spent together. Carlos’ brother, Trepaso Jeffers, has generously donated the house that Carlos was living in to us in Carlos’ memory. We had a very successful yard sale of many of the items left in the house and the Board of Trustees has put the house on the market. We hope to turn it into cash soon.
We are also keeping up our stewardship of our historic building with roof repair and we plan on grading and graveling the drive soon. It will be big relief to stop the flooding of Dave’s office.
Personally I have had a wonderful summer with a trip to the West Coast visiting relatives and friends, lots of motorcycle riding, a great tai chi camp and time spent at Bar Harbor. Life is good! I really like the direction I see our Society going and look forward to a year of “transforming together”. See you at in-gathering - don’t forget your water.
Your Moderator, John Lloyd
OUR PRESENCE AT THE HOULTON FARMER'S MARKET
The Houlton Farmer's Market provides commercial opportunities to vendors who grow and sell nutritious and beautiful homemade and home-grown products. Our presence at the Houlton Farmer's Market makes our community healthier by providing both social and commercial vitality to the community. The Houlton Farmer's Market has improved our community in numerous ways. We frequently have customers who come from "away", as far away as New Foundland, Florida, Virginia, California and many of our New Brunswick friends drop by on a regular basis.
At our UU Crafters booth a variety of hand crafted items are offered at a reasonable price. The proceeds from the sales are used to fund the restoration of the Houlton Unitarian Universalist Church which is an historic building. The items offered at the booth include hand-turned pottery and ceramics, turned wooden items such as bowls, candlesticks, vases, mushrooms, crocheted and knitted hats, scarves and baby items, felted handbags, hand woven towels, as well as up-cycled items made from recycled materials including aprons and log carriers from feed bags, handbags and "envelope bags" made from plarn. Many of our customers learn about plarn for the first time. (Plarn is made from plastic grocery bags which have been cut into strips and then used as fiber for crocheting items such as sunhats and handbags.) Shoppers soon realize that our products are a symbol of the hardwork and creativity that may be found in "The County". Also, because the items are offered at the Farmer's Market, they are a great value because customers can avoid having to pay postage on items that might otherwise have to be shipped to them from away..
At our U.U. coffee booth, we have vendors as well as shoppers stop by for a cup of hot coffee or iced coffee, or maybe tea, lemonade or cocoa. We serve Equal Exchange Fair Trade coffee, so the farmers who produce it get a "fair deal". At our booth, people enjoy having an opportunity to sit and relax and watch the world go by while they enjoy their coffee. So many people say that they look forward to having us there each week. The beverages that we sell at our booth go well with the donuts and soft pretzels that are offered by some of the other vendors. We also display and offer lovely handmade Polish stars made from recycled materials and origami cranes, a symbol of peace and hope.
One especially poignant story that comes to mind has to do with the origami cranes that we sell at the coffee booth. My daughter graduated from college a few years ago with a Fine Arts degree. As part of her final project she created a mural and made 1,000 paper cranes. The paper cranes that we sell are from her project. One day a woman came up to our booth and saw the cranes. She told about how her daughter had been diagnosed with cancer and her friends made 1,000 cranes for her as a gesture of hope and caring. (See the story "Sadako and the Thousand Cranes".) She sadly remarked that her daughter had died and her daughter's husband had burned all the cranes. "Why hadn't he given her any of the cranes", she lamented. I suggested that perhaps the cranes reminded him of his loss and that burning the cranes had been his way of dealing with his grief. Later, after the woman had gone on to do some more shopping further on down the way, I looked at the table where the crane had been to find that she had left some coins to pay for the crane... I shared the power of my daughter's creative efforts with her, which in turn, caused her to realize that her creativity had deeply affected a mother's sense of healing. With the telling of this story, the power that the Houlton Farmer's Market holds is not only one of strength, but one of empowerment. ~by Betty J. White
SUMMER LAY-LED CHURCH SERVICES
Analogous to our tryout last year, we held short church services again this summer. They were quite well attended and were held at 10:00 AM our usual time. Our subject matter covered environmental topics, poetry, famous Unitarian/Universalists [foremost wereTheodore Parker, Thomas Starr King, Hawthorne, Melville, Cohen, and Dickinson] plus a bit of church history along the way. In true UU style, we never lacked for nourishment during coffee hour.
INGATHERING SERVICE AND WATER CEREMONY
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 and no matter how many different waters are added it all becomes one thing. The four elements will be represented on the altar as we explore our relatedness to each other and the world around us.
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 26 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. After entering your info, remember to click on "save changes" before leaving the page. You can contact Rev. Dave or Karen if you have questions or need further instructions.
OTHER UU ONLINE RESOURCES