Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Leigh Griffith, Moderator, 694-5732
Treasurer, Mary Blocher, 521-5253
Fred Griffith, Clerk, 538-6175
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Committee on Ministry,
Sylvia Williams, Fen Carmichael

Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2019

Unitarian Universalist
Church of Houlton

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730

 'balance'  photo by revdav For every event in life there are many different angles. When you look at the same event from a wider perspective, your sense of worry and anxiety reduces, and you have increased joy. So therefore, if you look from one angle, you feel, Oh, how bad, how sad. But if you look from another angle at that same tragedy, that same event, you see that it gives you new opportunities.
- The Dalai Lama, “The Book of Joy”

The dramatic uncertainty that lies ahead may be the most frightening development of all...and the most likely scenarios are more than disturbing enough…Where I live, it’s the seasons; winter doesn’t reliably mean winter anymore, and so the way we’ve always viscerally told time has begun to break down...There is a tendency at every important but difficult crossroad to pretend that it's not really there.
- Bill McKibbenauthor of “The End of Nature”Rolling Stone interview, April 2019

Living in a 24 hour cable news culture with access to unlimited information on a portable device in your pocket presents a new challenge to those of us who are trying to avoid cognitive overload. There is only so much time in the day and only so much space in our head for us to accomplish everything we want to accomplish and maintain our sanity. Too much CNN doesn’t help. Some people I know are starting to ration themselves with fifteen minutes of news in the morning and then fifteen minutes as an end of the day recap…And we are living in a changing world. If you want to keep up you have to pay attention, but at what price? Issues such as income inequality, affordable health care, gun violence, racism, immigration and climate change all require our careful attention, but striking some sort of balance is also necessary if we want to sustain our mental and spiritual viability.

Our theme for the upcoming church year is “Keeping Your Balance in a Changing World.” How do we maintain a calm center in the swirl of a chaotic and often contentious landscape? It’s not that we have to fix everything that appears to have gone awry, but we do need to do our part in contributing to a better world without the anxiety, negativity and stress wearing us down. Can we draw from our own interior resources and the resources that others have to offer? This is where a spiritual community and its practices can assist in providing a stabilizing effect in our life. Change and transition can be disorienting and bewildering, but having someone to compare notes with (especially if they are insightful) can make all the difference. Lately I find myself saying, “I feel like I’m living in a sci-fi movie…” We are indeed living in changing times with unprecedented challenges, but I would select no other time in history to be alive. Life is admittedly difficult but it is also amazingly sublime, full of news ideas and innovations we haven’t even thought of yet. Hold the balance.

Live in the moment,   Dave

“The Book of Joy; Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” (2016) The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams

To go along with our theme for the year I would like to recommend the New York Times Bestseller “The Book of Joy; Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.” The book project centers around Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s trip to Dharamsala, India in July 2015 to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s eightieth birthday together. The two world leaders share their wisdom and humor regarding how to live a joyful life even in the midst of pain and suffering. The book is divided into two parts; the eight obstacles to joy and the eight pillars of joy. In addition, the book has a section on joy practices and discussion questions for each chapter. I’ll be using the book in services during the year so pick up a copy and read along as we go.

Here is a short excerpt from an interview with the convener of the book, Douglas Abrams:
This visit took place in April 2015, before many significant world events, such as the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential election. At one point in the book, Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama comment that the world is getting better. Do you think they would still say that? What part of the book's message do you think is most pertinent for us living in these uncertain times?
Douglas Abrams:
I visited with Archbishop Tutu right after the Paris bombings, and he spoke specifically of what to say to people who were so discouraged by the terror and intolerance. He remained adamant that we need to have a wider perspective, to realize humanity progresses two steps forward and one step back; however, if you look at the long sweep of human history, we are going in the right direction. We forget that we evolved and grew as a species in a context very different from the world now, and we're not going to further evolve overnight. The book talks about how we deal with despair and those feelings when it seems we're taking a step backward, and even in our own lives when we feel overwhelmed by bad news and feel like we are personally going in the wrong direction. It's not a superficial understanding of joy while denying the real suffering that exists in the
world. Rather, it's about how to cultivate joy in the face of adversity in our own lives. These are two men who speak with the mantle of moral courage because of the suffering they faced. Through them, we understand how we transcend and grow through adversity rather than ignoring or denying it. There's a zig and zag to all our lives and we don’t evolve without that.

Our first service of the new church year is on September 8th. 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. After the service we are once again having a lawn party coffee hour on our front lawn. It’s been so much fun the last two years that we’ve decided to do it again. (weather permitting) I have a new grilling basket for "Deacon Al's Grilled Shrimp” and Fen has something special in mind for his flat-top grill. Board members will provide the rest of the goodies. Please bring your favorite lawn chair and a hat for the occasion.
October 5, Saturday 10AM-3PM

Aroostook Apple Day is back once again! Apple tasting, cider pressing, workshops and harvest vendors will all be present. Samples of many apple and pear varieties grown in Maine will be on display and cider pressing with Dee Cote starts at 10 AM and runs until 1PM on the front lawn. Local harvest items such as apples, pears, garlic, fruit trees, and more will be for sale from a variety of local farmers. Coffee, harvest pastries and lunch items will be available from the Unitarian’s Cup Cafe. Fun for the whole family!

Workshops are listed below:

History of Apples in Aroostook with Chris Drew - 10AM
Cider Making for Sweet & Hard Cider with Justin Glover and Laura Seiger - 11AM
Holistic Orchard Management with CJ Walke - 12:45
Fruit Orchard Panel Discussion with Local Grower Panel - 1:45PM

Please click here for the currently scheduled events.

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 Universalist Church of Houlton. We currently have 26 members. Please take a look at the webpage.   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.
  • The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association
  • The website of the Northern New England District (NNED)   http://
  • The UUWorld magazine   (You can also sign up for a weekly email update.)