Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Rev. Donald Hinkley, Minister Emeritus
Bill White, Moderator, 521-0015
Susan & Bruce Glick, Co-Treasurers, 538-9264
Fred Griffith, Clerk, 532-2455
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Committee on Ministry,
Debra Frazier, Bruce Glick, Larry Tonzi

Newsletter - December 2008

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


"Direct your eye inward, and you'll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered. Travel them and be an expert in home-cosmography." - Henry David Thoreau; Walden

Without going outside you may know the whole world. Without looking out the window you may see the ways of heaven. The farther you go, the less you know. - Tao Te Ching #47

Image from Soyjoy Company
image from Soyjoy Company

In our new economy of "Post-Wall Street Blues" travel may be down this year. People are watching their dollars and discretionary spending a little closer than usual, but this is no reason to back off from pursuing new travelogue experiences. The interior space of the mind offers wide-ranging possibilities and immediate access.

Going inside is a time honored practice that allows us to get to know ourselves and clarify the basics in our life. What are the essentials? Who am I? How do I want to live this life? These are questions that each of us answer in our own unique way as we explore the cosmography of the self. The mind works in predictable, and at the same time, unpredictable ways. Never assume you know what you're doing. Just allow what's coming next to come next and maybe you can sort it out later. The later will always take care of itself if you only allow it. This is known as trusting the experience. In time, you begin to notice that all the personal aspects of the interior trip are more universal than you thought. Surprisingly, the better you understand your self, the better you understand everyone else.

Take flight into the new year.     Dave

For Kermit the Frog - it is not easy being green;
For Unitarians - it is not easy being liberal.

Often on the back of our order of service at the Houlton Unitarian Universalist Church you will see words to this effect: “We are a liberal religious community that values and promotes diversity. We encourage spiritual and intellectual growth in every individual. Together, we are working to build a better world.”

At times the word liberal evokes a negative response in the general public. I think the word liberal is superfragilisticexpialidocious and for that reason I have an inordinate fondness for the word. To me being liberal represents the best there is in human life and character. It means among other ideas:
Love of freedom and devotion to truth;
Human compassion and mutual appreciation and understanding;
Joy in the presence of beauty;
Rejoicing in every enterprise that encourages and promotes good in humankind;
Trust in our human potential always to surpass our present achievements; and
Faith in our power to rise above our immediate frustrations.

To be liberal, according to Greek and Latin origins, means to be free - free to grow and free to live. It means, or did mean, being ones-own-self and not being servile or slavish. It implies freedom from restraint, not bound by external authority or established forms, orthodox traditions or creeds. A liberal is a person who is free in his own inner thought and spirit, free from prejudice, from narrowness, from unnecessary suspicion, hate or fear.

If your dedication to human good is deep and strong, you may be a conservative at one point, on the human battle front and be, at some other point, a radical; but always you will be struggling against fierce pressures either from the right or from the left, or from both.

It is not easy to be a liberal; it can be a very painful experience, with agonizing decisions to be made and unpopular decisions to defend. It does become easier once you realize you are the artist and the sculptor of your own life, and you are painting or carving your own portrait. You are the gardener and the garden. You are responsible for what you make of yourself. Your destiny is in your own hands and you will be tomorrow what you are becoming today.


The Day's Work

the unassuming nature of cold
covers the far extent of my view
as I sit here with hot liquid in my cup
looking out the front window
my relaxed manner is not equated
to the amount of unfinished work ahead of me
but to the stillness of environment
the quietude of the woodpile in snow
my thought in open space

Dave Hutchinson

Click here for the current calendar.
On December 21st we will, once again, celebrate the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. We will begin with drumming at 6 pm in the sanctuary followed by our ceremony at 7 pm in the parlor. As we celebrate the Solstice we will join across time and space all the festivals of light emerging from the dark. As we kindle our candles, we will join all the Yule fires, all the Hanukkah candles, and all the Christmas lights the world over - to brighten the darkness of winter, and the darkness and despair in the world. Refreshments will be served in the basement afterwards. All are welcome.
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 comfortable 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. Some may prefer the mindful eating and drinking coffee practice that follows the meditation session. All are welcome.
Our Monday Evening Conversations this winter will continue to explore the theme of "Finding the Essential." Human consciousness itself is the vehicle of being that experiences and interprets the world of data/information that life is. How do we tap into that which we are? Best-selling author Eckhart Tolle has a 2 DVD set titled The Flowering of Human Consciousness, that we plan to view (selected sections) and discuss in two sessions. His teachings are direct and practical. They are applicable to everyday situations, and yet, are profound in their simplicity.

Here is the description from the DVD case:   "With his first international bestseller The Power of Now and current New York Times bestseller Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle continues to grow in popularity. On this new release in the Power of Now teaching series, Eckhart Tolle invites listeners to unfold the miraculous state of “presence” they always carry within-our original way of being that is free from the relentless thoughts, fears, and ambitions created by the ego. From using the “inner body” to put an end to stress and suffering ... to insights into the nature of the “pain-body” and its role in relationship ... to accessing a creativity and intelligence far greater than the mind ... here is Eckhart Tolle's depiction of “a new world” that awaits us as we take the next step in our collective evolution, The Flowering of Human Consciousness."

We also plan to view Andrew Zuckerman's latest documentary, "Wisdom." Zuckerman interviews 50 of the best artists, actors, politicians, and humanitarians in the world. The only criteria held in common is their age. They are all over the age of 65. Individuals include Desmond Tutu, Andrew Wyeth, Vanessa Redgrave, Vaclav Havel, Jane Goodall, Willie Nelson, Nelson Mandela, Clint Eastwood and more. These are people who have figured out a few of life's essentials based on experience.

Our fourth session features eccentric chef and Zen priest Edward Espy Brown whose latest DVD is "Cooking Your Life." Guaranteed to bring a new twist to how you view both cooking and your life. (For time and dates please see calendar)

Once more Helen Mórag McKinnon and Jane Ogilvie will perform for our concert series, this time as part of Gaelstrumm, an ensemble group formed in 2007, consisting of five talented and experienced musicians. The group performs traditional Celtic, Acadian, and folk tunes; as well as contemporary and original compositions. One unique characteristic of Gaelstrumm is that the group is able to perform in three languages- Gaelic, French and English. Gaelstrumm performed several concerts in 2007, 2008, including the following venues: City of Fredericton, Town of Oromocto, Village of Gagetown St. Martins in New Brunswick. Members of the group continue to perform both individually and with other musicians / groups; however, they look forward to combining their talents, as Gaelstrumm, to expand their boundaries, artistically and geographically.
The members of Gaelstrumm are:
Helen Mórag McKinnon on vocals and tin whistles.
Jane Ogilvie on vocals, harp, accordion and keyboard,
Katherine Moller on vocals and fiddle,
Robert Cassie on vocals, guitar and mandolin,
Robert Guthrie on vocals and percussion- bodhran, djembe, bongos and trap set.

While the final pledges are still to be received at newsletter deadline, we can already say that we have exceeded last year's pledges. Thank you to all who increased their pledges this year, to those who held the line, and to those who still pledged despite the economic downturn--regardless of level. Everyone's contribution counts toward the whole.   Happy Holidays!
In an inspired change from past years' practice, this year the 2009 budget will be available to pick up at the Sunday service on January 4th. This will offer greater transparency in financial planning and will allow for a more limited (brief!) discussion during the annual meeting on January 11th.
Brochures about the café project are now available at the church, on the information table in the coffee room. If you haven't seen one yet, see what the buzz is about. (And I don't mean the caffeine…) Our capital campaign has begun and we are looking for volunteers to help out with the project in any way you can. Fair Trade is a concept that takes many forms in an effort such as this. See the brochure for details.
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. Any member can upload photos. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Houlton. So far we only have 12 people subscribed. We do have a number of photos posted. Please take a look at the webpage.   If you'd find it useful and wish to join just click the "Join This Group" button, or contact Rev. Dave if you have questions or need further instructions.
  • The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association
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