Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Rev. Martha Newman, Minister Emerita
Karen Klahr, Moderator, 532-4051
Susan & Bruce Glick, Co-Treasurers, 538-9264
Leigh Griffith, Clerk, 532-2455
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Ministerial Relations Committee,
Walter Goodrich, Debra Frazier, John Pasquarelli

Newsletter - December 2004

First Church of Houlton,

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


Excite the soul, and the weather and the town and your condition in the world all disappear, the world itself loses it's solidity, nothing remains but the soul and the Divine Presence in which it lives.
                                Ralph Waldo Emerson - Journal Entry, 1834

They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse.
                                Emily Dickinson

This is the time of year when the cold begins to dominate. Everything from the family pet to your car battery starts to feel the effects. Even nature appears to lie dormant, biding its time in the cold north environment. As we settle into our reutilized schedules we can also get lulled into the mundane and gray predictability of how we have done things before. The human spirit thrives on discovering and doing things in new ways. Life is not static. It may appear to be frozen for periods of time, but life is always moving around even on the coldest of days. The human spirit is no different. Each of us are sitting on the edge of potential, just an inch away from dropping off into it!! Yet this latent capacity of the soul remains unrealized until it is activated by ____________.

The undisclosed blank is the key to your enlightenment. Fill in the blank and you will begin to see your life take on meaning, or at least take on a little excitement as Emerson puts it. What is it that sparks a certain aliveness, that wakes you up to the world around you?! This is a good question for the new year. God is much larger than we usually think. God is not far away. The divine will show up in as many places as we allow. Fill in the blank and reality expands and disappears into itself all at the same time. Try that out the next time you're waiting in line at the drive-through window! Or take a close look at the natural world and see how it comes and goes without end.

Live well, embrace the new year !!

                In Ministry,   Dave

From my early experiences on the board I remember humorous references to the "C word." The C stands for committee. We always hated the idea of having yet another committee. We have recently felt validated when reading the "Small Talk" newsletters sent to us by Jane Dwinnell, our NED Small Church Specialist. In the January 2004 issue it clearly suggests eliminating many standing committees in favor of short term ad hoc task forces or teams. Yes!

So, in the absence of numerous committees, our board serves as our "everything committee" at least in terms of conceptualizing and planning. During our board meetings we deal with the A to Z of church function; finances, church building repair and maintenance, Sunday services, religious education, activities, interaction with NED and UUA etc. Fortunately, we do get (and always welcome) help with the "nuts and bolts" from the congregation.

Since our last newsletter we have taken over the task of conducting the pledge drive. When that is complete, we (or most of us) will meet to plan the budget for 2005. Then, we will help plan the annual meeting where it is presented to the congregation for approval.

Sometime soon we plan to erect a marker stone at the site of the first church building in Aroostook county.

We are always considering the needs of our church building. Prior clearing out being necessary, the rummage sale we had in early June was the beginning of the process of basement fix-up. Several years ago we refinished (hired out some of it) the wainscoting on the greater part of the basement. The start of the project will happen as inclination and time permit, but we are feeling the need to extend that into the remainder of the basement, the part behind the folding screens.

Closing this peek into the workings of the board I want to remind everyone that board meetings, far from being secret, are open to members of the congregation.

Happy Holidays to all!     Karen

  • to the Rheinlanders for donating the beautiful manger scene.
  • to the Board Members (Fred, Leigh, LT, Tanya, Addie, Sue and Karen) who have helped guide the church for another year.
  • to Bruce, Ann, Dave and all others who donated books to our library during the past year.

    Once again we will start off the new year with a morning meditation followed by our famous brunch. The meditation begins at 8 a.m. and lasts for about one hour. It is conducted in the Zen Buddhist tradition and consists of two periods of sitting meditation (zazen), walking meditation (kinhin), a short dharma talk by our minister and the ceremonial sounding of the Hahn to ring in the new year. Bring along a cushion and mat or you can sit on one of the couches or a chair. No previous experience in meditation is necessary. (brief instruction will be included!!) It is a great way to quietly honor entering a new year. For those of you more interested in the brunch, there is talk of assorted home made pancakes, local maple syrup and plenty of strong coffee. Please join us.
    We are hoping to use this group to explore what it means to be in covenant and how we relate to each other in community. We will also be taking a more in-depth look at "The Four Agreements" which were presented in a service this Fall and how they supplement our UU Seven Principles. We held our first meeting in November and started to work out the structure and functional details of the group. We plan to meet on a regular basis throughout the year. All of those interested in exploring the day-in and day-out practice of being in community are encouraged to join the circle.
    This Winter we have planned several sessions of interesting topics. The specific dates will be announced at the first of the year. All times for the sessions begin at 6PM and run for (approximately) two hours.


    "Dreams are self-luminous: they shine of themselves, as gods do. Myths are public dreams. Dreams are private myths. By finding your own dream and following it through, it will lead you to the myth world in which you live."
                    - Joseph Campbell - from "Sukhavati, Place of Bliss"

    "The renowned mythologist and deep spiritual thinker, Joseph Campbell, takes us on a journey through the ages. He traces the mythological symbols left to us by the ancients and reveals a drama played out across the screen of the universe. Primal mythological images, filmed around the world, evoke a sense of the experience as well as the spirit of the great story that so excited Joe. He reminds us that the human soul has always walked the same path in search of the place of bliss. This is a journey of transcendence and illumination."
                    - from the jacket of the DVD

    We plan to view parts of an 80 minute DVD by the Joseph Campbell Foundation titled Sukhavati, Place of Bliss. It is a poetic production that reminds you of a guided meditation, interspersed with short excerpts of a Joseph Campbell lecture. It explores the common base of world religions and their mythic symbols. We will allow ample time to dialogue and grapple with the material. A teacher of mine once said, "That which is most universal, is the most personal." I am always reminded of this statement any time Joseph Campbell's work is discussed. Please come and join us as you continue your own personal journey through the common mythos.


    Mel Gibson's box-office success, "The Passion of the Christ," is just one version of what early Christianity looked like. In this session we are going to take a look at alternative traditions that were competing with each other in the early years of the Christian movement. We have several video resources we are considering for the evening and we will go from there. More details later.

    Dec 24
    Christmas Eve service in the Parlor at 7pm - Rev. David Hutchinson
    Dec 26
    Sunday service - Open Pulpit service - You are invited to bring a reading, poem, or your personal reflections about this time of year; winter, holidays, new beginnings...
    Jan 1
    New Year's Morning Meditation - 8am, followed by Brunch
    Jan 2
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    Jan 8
    Film Night in the parlor - 6pm
    Jan 9
    Sunday service - TBA
    Jan 15
    Coffeehouse in the Basement - 7pm
    Jan 16
    Sunday service - followed by our Annual Meeting
    Jan 23
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    Jan 30
    Sunday service - TBA
    Feb 5
    Meditation group in the parlor - 8am
    Feb 6
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    Feb 12
    Film Night in the parlor - 6pm
    Feb 13
    Sunday service - TBA
    Feb 19
    Coffeehouse in the Basement - 7pm
    Feb 20
    Sunday service - TBA
    Feb 27
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    March 5
    Meditation group in the parlor - 8am
    March 6
    Sunday service - TBA
    March 12
    Film Night in the parlor - 6pm
    March 13
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    March 19
    Coffeehouse in the Basement - 7pm
    March 20
    Sunday service - Vernal Equinox - Leigh and Fred Griffith
    March 27
    Sunday service - (Easter) Rev. David Hutchinson
    April 2
    Meditation group in the parlor - 8am
    April 3
    Sunday service - TBA
    April 9
    Film Night in the parlor - 6pm
    April 10
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    April 16
    Coffeehouse in the Basement - 7pm
    April 17
    Sunday service - TBA
    April 24
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    May 1
    Sunday service - TBA
    May 7
    Meditation group in the parlor - 8am
    May 7
    Film Night in the parlor - 6pm
    May 8
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    May 14
    Coffeehouse in the Basement - 7pm
    May 15
    Sunday service - TBA
    May 22
    Sunday service - TBA
    May 29
    Sunday service - TBA
    June 5
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson - Flower Communion Service
    The Sunday services listed are the ones that David will be conducting between January and June. As usual the remainder will be done by lay leaders or guest speakers. The sign-up sheet will soon be available for prospective service leaders to claim their Sunday.
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