Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Rev. Donald Hinkley, Minister Emeritus
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 2005

First Church of Houlton,

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730

It is important to have a secret, a premonition of things unknown. We must sense that we live in a world which in some respects is mysterious. That things happen and can be experienced which remain inexplicable; that not everything which happens can be anticipated. The unexpected and incredible belong in this world. Only then is life complete.   - Carl Jung

As the new year approaches we may think we have a sense of what lies ahead, but none of us really do. We live in unpredictable times and our best estimates of what might happen next are only best estimates of what might happen next. I am content to let the year play out in its own way, but that doesn't mean I won't supply my own running commentary along with it!! There are too many important things going on in the world that demand our input and attention. I'll be writing my share of sermons and posting personal comments here and there. Of course, just when you think you've got it all figured out, that's when the unexpected steps in. That is the Mystery that keeps us off balance just enough to keep us honest. We don't really know!! When it comes right down to it we have to trust the unknown. It is the unknown that holds it all together. Now, if you're waiting for me to say something more about the unknown, what can I say?! That's just it!! Enough said.

Every time I walk across our rope bridge I get a sense of this walking into the unknown. The repeating sequence of spliced rope, handrail and planking duplicates itself to the point where you loose track of the individual parts and it just extends into infinitude (actually it only runs 70 feetů). With each step I am suspended in mid-air with a slight bounce and sway, yet I am also grounded to the sturdy spruce trees on either end of the bridge. We can trust the unknown in the same way. It will hold us up, provide us with a great view and give us a little bounce as we stride into the new year. I plan to explore similar themes this winter in my sermon series titled "Woods and Stream: Reflections on Place and Spirit." It has been 20 years since I built the cabin on the Meduxnekeag River and I think it's time to rummage through my old journals and see what I can find of interest. I will be writing some new material as well and attempt to gain some perspective on this 20 year experiment. We are all related to place and spirit. Our winter dialogue will explore where that has led each of us.

Step into the new year with vigor

The end of the year is traditionally a busy time for the board of trustees and it does seem like we've been busy as bees this fall and winter.
Or church hosted a workshop by spiritual life coach, Holli Nicknair entitled Set Your Spirit Free: Build a Healthy Relationship with Your Inner Critic. It was well attended by both members and the general public.
We've been striving to become more involved in social action issues and this fall's Question #1 referendum certainly inspired us to action. After calling a congregational meeting for discussion, and reaching consensus, we had no trouble pulling together the materials and manpower to make the signs stating our principles and to put them on our lawn. Certainly we are happy with the outcome of the vote.
And more recently we got together, and invited others to view the movie "Walmart: the high cost of low price" with considerable discussion afterward.
Our fall concert filled our sanctuary with people and wonderful celtic music, and helped fill some holes in our budget.
Now as we anticipate the process of budgeting for 2006 we look back with satisfaction on a completed pledge drive and with joy that having fun was part of the process. Fun-draising!
"Building maintenance issues" is a constant agenda item for our board meetings and LT usually keeps us posted on those issues. He usually also performs or coordinates the tasks to be done. Since September he's arranged for the repair of the kitchen plumbing with the addition of a new faucet. In the bathroom we now have hot running water as well as a new toilet.
At our Annual Meeting on January 15th we will once again be electing the officers of the board. The nominations for 2006 are:
  • for Clerk - Fred Griffith
  • for treasurer - Susan Glick
  • for auditor - Philip Crowley
    There are 2 trustee positions opening for 3 year terms (2006 thru 2008.) Bill White and Addie Boyett are chosen as the nominees.
    This will be my last edition of "moderator's notes" as my tenure as moderator will be ending just after the Annual Meeting in January. During these last 2 years I have strived to guide the board toward a more precise observance of our bylaws and more transparency in our dealings with each other and the congregation. We anticipate electing Ann Rheinlander as moderator for 2006, and I'm sure she will be an efficient and compassionate leader.
    I wish you all a happy, healthy and wonderful holiday season.     ...Karen
    How many Unitarians does it take to run a successful pledge campaign? You're right, every single one. As of 12/17/05 our total 2006 pledge stands at $16,201.00. Special thanks to my committee members, Adeline Boyette for planning and staging our very successful 'Silent Auction' at our pledge drive kick off luncheon. We earned $84.00 amid much laughter and joy of fellowship. Thanks also to Carol Cromwell for handling the details of our potluck luncheon including her own very generous and delicious 'beef slow cook'. Thanks to Phillip Crowley for his steady encouragement and enthusiastic willingness to help wherever needed. Special thanks as well to Rev. Dave who quietly struck the right note of calm and reason which kept us focused but not obsessed. We did it. We all did it. Now it's on to the budget planning for 2006.   ...Ann Rheinlander
  • to all who donated items for our "Silent Auction"
  • to the organizers and staff for our fall concert.
  • to our wood handling crews and window weatherizing teams.
  • to Dave, Linda and others who staff the Coffeehouse.
  • to Bruce Glick for the new microwave.
  • to our Question #1 signmaking and planting crew.
  • 120 minute cassette tapes to record Sunday services (we use one every Sunday)
  • Hewlett Packard printer cartridges #15 B&W, #78 Color
  • copier paper (for Sunday service bulletins and newsletters)
    This is a group that meets several times during the year and explores what it means to be in covenant and how we relate to each other in community. We take a closer look at our own Seven Principles and The Four Agreements as found in Don Miguel Ruiz's best-selling book of the same name. All of those interested in exploring the day-in and day-out practice of being in spiritual community are encouraged to join the circle.
    Once again we have planned several sessions of discussion during the long winter months. Please see the calendar for specific dates and times. We are still taking suggestions for interesting topics of your choice. In our first session, which is on January 30th, Dave will be showing a one hour DVD of Thomas Merton: A Film Biography. He will share a short presentation of Merton's work and field questions about the film and his writings. Here is information about the film as found on the jacket cover:
    In his lifetime, Thomas Merton was hailed as a prophet and censured for his outspoken social criticism. For nearly 27 years he was a monk of the austere Trappist order, where he became an eloquent spiritual writer and mystic as well as an anti-war advocate and witness to peace. Merton: A Film Biography provides the first comprehensive look at this remarkable 20th century philosopher who wrote, in addition to his immensely popular autobiography "The Seven Story Mountain," over 60 books on some of the most pressing social issues of our time. This acclaimed film examines Merton's life and work through thoughtful interviews with those who knew him, including the Dalai Lama, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, publisher Robert Giroux, musician Joan Baez, monks he lived with and friends with whom he shared his deepest emotions. Interwoven with the interviews are passages from Merton's writings and scenes from significant places of his life, including his birthplace in Prades, France; the Gethsemanai monestery in Kentucky; his final journey to the East, and Bangkok, Thailand, where he died. Merton offers an engaging profile of a man who's presence in the world touched millions of people and whose words and thoughts continue to have profound impact and relevance today.

    Dec 24
    Candlelight Christmas Eve Service in the Parlor at 7pm
    Dec 25
    No Sunday service
    Jan 1
    New Years Meditation at 8am
    Service at 10am - Rev. David Hutchinson
    Pancake Brunch following the service
    Jan 7
    Film Night in the Parlor at 6pm - "The Snow Walker"
    Jan 8
    Open Pulpit Sunday service - suggested theme "Embracing Winter"
    Jan 14
    Coffeehouse at 7pm in the basement
    Jan 15
    Brief Sunday service followed by the Annual Meeting
    Jan 22
    Sunday service - Bruce Glick
    Jan 29
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    Jan 30
    Monday Evening Conversation at 6pm in the Parlor - Thomas Merton: A Film Biography
    Feb 4
    Saturday Meditation Group at 8am
    Feb 5
    Sunday service - Bill White
    Feb 11
    Film Night in the Parlor at 6pm - "Genghis Blues"
    Feb 12
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    Feb 13
    Monday Evening Conversation at 6pm in the Parlor
    Feb 18
    Coffeehouse at 7pm in the basement
    Feb 19
    Sunday service - Ann Rheinlander
    Feb 26
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    March 4
    Saturday Meditation Group at 8am
    March 5
    Sunday service - TBA
    March 6
    Monday Evening Conversation at 6pm in the Parlor
    March 11
    Film Night in the Parlor at 6pm
    March 12
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    March 18
    Coffeehouse at 7pm in the basement
    March 19
    Sunday service - Leigh and Fred Griffith
    March 26
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    March 27
    Monday Evening Conversation at 6pm in the Parlor
    April 1
    Saturday Meditation Group at 8am
    April 2
    Sunday service - TBA
    April 8
    Film Night in the Parlor at 6pm
    April 9
    Sunday service - TBA
    April 15
    Coffeehouse at 7pm in the basement
    April 16
    Easter Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    April 23
    Sunday service - TBA
    April 30
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    May 6
    Saturday Meditation Group at 8am
    May 7
    Sunday service - TBA
    May 13
    Coffeehouse at 7pm in the basement
    May 14
    Sunday service - Rev. David Hutchinson
    May 21
    Open Pulpit Sunday service - "Year in Review"
    May 28
    Sunday service - TBA
    June 4
    Flower Communion service - Rev. David Hutchinson