“If you can adapt to and balance in a world that is always moving and unstable, you learn how to become tolerant to the permanence of change and difference.” -B.K.S. Iyengar
“Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.” -Jerry Levine; founder of Laughing Dragon School of Tai Chi Chuan (Jerry probably borrowed this quote from someone)
A year ago we were living in a very different world; no one had heard of Covid-19, students were heading back to school and universities, we didn’t think twice about dining out and social-distancing would have been a strange phrase indeed. Looking back, no one had any idea what was about to occur in the next twelve months. The same could probably be said right now, we have no idea what is about to occur in the next twelve months. With that in mind it is prudent to use caution in ever making bold predictions of the future. I don’t even know what I’m going to have for lunch later today? Change is always a constant even if we don’t always know what the change is going to be. This is certainly true for where we are right now. Who knows what is coming next?! Hence our theme for the new church year is “Adapting to a Changing World.” Innovation and creative thinking on your feet is required when circumstances are in such quick flux and shift. All you can really do is adjust as you go?
We’re approaching the time of year when our UU group regathers for another church cycle. While the Sunday Zoom Meetings and UU Support Page have helped provide continuity for our congregation during covid, our regular gatherings have been sorely missed. With the likely prospects of in-person services continuing to be suspended into the Winter-Spring of 2021, the board has discussed possible options for this Fall. We would like to make a shift to recorded (or streamed) services from our church parlor starting on September 13, which would be our traditional Ingathering Service date. This special occasion would also be an in-person service held in the sanctuary with CDC self-distancing practices in place followed by an outdoor coffee hour outside on the church front lawn. (We should be well below the 50 person state guideline limit for indoor gatherings.) For those not able to attend or who do not feel comfortable with the social-safety level, the recorded-streamed service will be available to view online. Beginning on September 20th all services will be conducted online. Change is always a reliable companion (it can’t be avoided) so this is just one of the new adjustments we’ll be experimenting with in coming weeks.
We’re also working on a new church website that will help facilitate the changing needs of our congregation in the current covid-environment where technology and online communication is increasingly important. Our launch date is targeted for early December. Our UU Facebook page is also active and becoming a vital resource for information and correspondence. And I have a new minister’s blog (backwoodsblog.com) that features social commentary, poetry and previous minister’s columns. These are just some of the ways that we at UU Houlton are making adjustments and adapting to the new and evolving challenges of building and nurturing religious community. Let us do the work and do it together.
Moving forward, Dave
MODERATOR'S MESSAGE September 2020
I was just looking back on my opening words from last December and it seems as appropriate now as it was then! To refresh your memory… “It has been a year of significant change for many. A time of hunkering down, resting and recuperating from whatever has taken its toll, and planning for the next year really is the best way to move forward.” I almost titled this, “What a long, strange trip it’s been”! As a church, we have been smart, careful, and caring. We have kept each other safer by not gathering closely. It has been hard not having our Sunday mornings together, but we have had bits of contact here and there. I am looking forward to a careful, physically distanced Ingathering among the pews of paintings and seeing folks outdoors after the service. There are some exciting plans in the works for making Sundays more “user friendly” for everyone, as well. It is a challenge, but I think we as a group are up to that challenge. If you have ideas for how we can keep connected, but stay distanced, we invite you to speak up and share those ideas that will help our church community feel less isolated. I will end as I began this missive, with the ending of the message from December: “It feels good to be part of the planning, and everyone CAN be part of that!” BIG virtual hugs! Leigh
walking the field on a late summer day
the green of summer is
the pearls of wisdom in this world
each soul is sacred
it is the mind that determines
each small action is significant in
time is the most precious commodity
anxiety and insecurity is prevalent to us all
creativity is the art of living our life
the darkness of hate and confusion is in constant flux
patience is the stability of allowing
there is no end in sight except the beginning of where
INGATHERING SERVICE and WATER CEREMONY
We are shifting into a new phase of our UU Houlton church experience. Traditionally we hold our Ingathering Service and Water Ceremony on the Sunday following Labor Day. We plan to uphold the tradition this year, and what makes it especially noteworthy is that this is the first in-person Sunday Service that we have held since the Covid-19 pandemic began back in mid-March. The service will be held in the sanctuary allowing for improved social-distancing practices and increased air-quality circulation. Masks will be required for all those attending the service and we will practice six-foot personal spacing in the pews. Family groupings or those who travelled together may sit close as is general practice. Hand sanitizing stations will be set up at the entrance door. There will be no choral or congregational singing during the service but we are pleased to have Rev. Dale Holden as our musician for Ingathering. We will also have our annual water ceremony during the service. As is our custom 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. The four elements will be represented on the altar as we explore our relatedness to each other and the world around us. Speakers during the service and the water ceremony can remove or drop their mask and then replace it when they are finished. And though this may be difficult, please refrain from hugging or physically embracing during our shared time together. This is our attempt to make an in-person service as CDC compliant and safe as possible for those who attend. For those not able to attend or who do not feel comfortable with the social-safety level, the service will be recorded and available to view on our UUHoulton Facebook Page by 6PM Sunday evening. We will also supply a link to those who want to view it directly on YouTube.
Following the service there will be an outdoor (socially distanced) coffee hour on the church front lawn. It will be a "modified pot-luck" meaning you can bring food for yourself and your grouping or individual safe-food packaging to share with others. Fen will have his flat-top grill for those who would like to bring something to cook. We will have tables and a canopy set up on the church lawn for dining. Please bring your own comfy lawn chair, if you like, for (even better) social distancing. It will be nice to see each other again after such a long separation. Our hearts yearn for contact and spiritual connection. This special one time in-person service is our attempt to partially meet that need. Starting on September 20th recorded Sunday Services from our cozy parlor will be available online each Sunday at 10AM. Following the service we will have a zoom coffee hour at 11AM where we can check in, chat and drink coffee from the comfort of our home location.
VIRTUAL OFFERING PLATE
If you would like to send in your pledge or donation (we still have to pay the bills) simply drop an envelope in the mail. The address is listed below. Thank you from the treasurers!
Mary Blocher 1124 Calais Road Houlton, ME 04730
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 Universalist Church 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