Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Fred Griffith, Moderator, 532-2455
  Elizabeth Peltier, 538-1663
  Betty White, 521-0015
Debra Frazier, Clerk, 521-0387
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Committee on Ministry,
Debra Frazier, Larry Tonzi

Newsletter - December 2011

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom. Five minutes of today are worth as much to me, as five minutes in the next millennium...Without any shadow of doubt, amidst this vertigo of shows and politics, I settle myself ever the firmer in the creed, that we should not postpone and refer and wish, but do broad justice where we are, by whomsoever we deal with, accepting our actual companions and circumstances, however humble or odious, as the mystic officials to whom the universe has delegated its whole pleasure to us.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson   from his essay “Experience”   Houlton Footbridge  "overhead design" photo by revdav
You hear a lot of talk these days about “living in the moment.” Best-selling books like “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass and “The Eternal Now” by Ekhart Tolle have helped make the concept a part of our everyday culture. One of the first things you notice about the “eternal now” is its elusive quality. By the time the current moment has ended being the current moment, it’s already the next moment! Emerson suggests taking a five minute chunk of time if the eternal now is just too small to wrap our mind around. When you think about it, five minutes right now is an incredible value. If a person took just five minutes a day to be present and aware of what is going on around them it could change their life. While Emerson encourages his readers “to finish the moment” and use all their minutes and hours in like manner, five minutes is a good start.

When I walk across the footbridge downtown I often look overhead at the cables and supports. Although I am not an engineer, I appreciate the experience of traversing such a well designed structure. Every rod and beam plays a crucial role in the overall design of the bridge even if I don’t understand it. As we look ahead to the new year we may get distracted by the news headlines and challenges that our world faces, but don’t allow it to deplete your energies. Do what you can do. Say what needs to be said. Play out your role in the world even if you don’t quite understand it all. There are over 525,600 minutes in the upcoming year (it’s leap year). Approach the new year in basic five minute increments, put forth your best effort and the details will take care of them self.

This moment will never be repeated. Live well.     Dave

Dear Friends: After a period of training and preparation, two new Treasurers will be taking over from Bruce and me on January 1, 2012. Betty White and Liz Peltier bring new ideas and a strong sense of responsibility to the Treasurer tasks of the coming years. They are fast learners! I will make my final Treasurer's report at the January annual meeting and I will help in budget preparation as needed. I am grateful that Liz and Betty are stepping up to keep our precious resources safe. Future pledge payments or contributions can be mailed to Betty White's address, 1849 Ludlow Road, Ludlow, ME 04730. Please be patient with the new Treasurers and give them all the support you have given me and the Trustees over the years. Thank you for your trust in Bruce and me. We have done our best to deserve that trust. With love, respect and gratitude, Sue
Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life (2010) by Karen Armstrong
reviewed by revdav

British author Karen Armstrong is perhaps the most recognized name today in the study of world religions. In 2008 Armstrong won the TED Prize (the acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design) and with their assistance she founded The Charter For Compassion project, whose aim was to create a document written by leading thinkers from a variety of major faiths to restore compassion as the center of religious and moral life. The charter was signed in November 2009 by a thousand religious and secular leaders. If you visit the website you can view a copy of the document and add your own name to the charter which currently stands at 81,899. Her latest book, Twelve Steps To A Compassionate LIfe, is a product of her work with The Charter For Compassion project. Armstrong identifies the key aspects of developing a more compassionate orientation in our life and daily practice. This book works well as a study-guide for a group or as a systematic way to organize one’s own thinking. Here is a short excerpt from the fly-leaf cover:

Karen Armstrong believes that while compassion is intrinsic in all human beings, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. Throughout, Armstrong makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two.

Since Armstrong’s book ties into our theme for this year so nicely, (Our Spiritual Journeys; Paths and Practices), I plan to use her book to structure my talks on Sunday mornings. I encourage you to pick up your own copy and you can stay a step a head of me as we progress through the book. Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life is a fine addition to any library. Also available as a digital download.

Farm Painting by Leigh C. Griffith                         Winter has arrived and snow is falling. Soon our countryside will look as beautiful as shown in this painting by Leigh Griffith. It is her first painting done in the class she is taking with Esther Faulkner.

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), chanting, 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 to join us for the mindful eating and drinking coffee practice that follows the meditation session. All are welcome.
Session #1   January 23   6PM
Karen Armstrong
“The Challenge of Compassion”
The 2011 Ware Lecture delivered at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (DVD)

In this year’s Ware Lecture Karen Armstrong discusses The Charter of Compassion and her latest book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Armstrong argues that compassion and the Golden Rule have been central to all the major faiths, explores the reasons for this, and argues that an ideology that does not restore compassion to the center of the spiritual, religious and ethical life fails the test of our time. One hour DVD and discussion.

Session #2   February 6   6PM
Rumi; Poet of the Heart
DVD showing

The film presents Coleman Barks, the preeminent comtemporary translator of Rumi's poetry (The Essential Rumi) , in live performance and intimate conversation. For eight hundred years, Rumi’s writings have enchanted, inspired, and enlightened Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists, celebrating the sacred in everyday existence, and transcending boundaries of time, place, and religion. Originally broadcasted on PBS, the film explores Rumi's poetic vision in words and music. Featuring Rumi translator Coleman Barks, Robert Bly, Deepak Chopra, storyteller Michael Meade, and mythologist Huston Smith. Musical performances by Grammy nominated artists oud master Hamza El Din and world music artist Jai Uttal. Narrated by Academy award nominee Debra Winger. (90 minutes)

Session #3   February 27   6PM
An Evening With Author Thomas Anderson
All- Amareakin; A Book for Sincere Seekers of Truth and Understanding (2011)
Local author Tom Anderson will share from his autobiographical book about his spiritual journey and meditation practices. His book is available at York’s Bookstore and Amazon.
Session #4   March 12   6PM
(To Be Announced)
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 Society of Houlton. We currently have 21 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, or contact Rev. Dave if you have questions or need further instructions.
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