Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
John Lloyd, Moderator, 532-2525
Treasurer, Bill White, 521-0015
Fred Griffith, Clerk, 521-5260
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Committee on Ministry,
Roger Morin, Larry Tonzi, Sylvia Williams

Newsletter - December 2014

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


MINISTER'S COLUMN

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”     - Albert Einstein

“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliche that must have been left behind in the 60s, that's a problem. Peace and love are eternal. If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.”     - John Lennon

 'peace pole' - photo by revdav
"peace pole" - photo by revdav
From my office window on a wintery day in December I can look out on Monument Park across the way and sight the white Peace Pole standing in the snow. It looks like such a natural part of the frozen northern landscape; its black lettering, its snow-capped top, a white pole stuck in the deepening snows. During this time of year when the world’s realities hit hard, it helps to have a few solid markers pointing toward hope.

A Peace Pole is an internationally recognized symbol that displays the message and prayer, "May Peace Prevail on Earth," usually in several different languages. The Peace Pole Project, started in Japan, is dedicated to uplift humankind toward harmony rather than conflict. "War begins with thoughts of war... peace begins with thoughts of peace. The Peace Pole reminds us to keep peace ever present in our thoughts." At present count, there are more than 250,000 Peace Poles installed in nearly every country of the world.

Houlton is fortunate to have one of these “peace markers” located in such a visible spot in our community. The peace pole is a reminder that points us toward the best of human potential. We do not have to acquiesce to common despair or mediocrity. Our best thoughts are the thoughts that can characterize our day to day living. In this new year let the strongest parts of your humanity show through like the top of a white pole buried in ever-deepening snow.

Live well in the new year!     Dave


MODERATOR'S MESSAGE
Finding Refuge
Recently I discovered a wonderful book, Buddha's Brain¯ by Rick Hanson, PH.D, and Richard Mendius, MD. What I love about this book is that it brings spirituality right down to earth, literally to the cellular level, and gives practical ways to strengthen your brain for more fulfilling relationships, deeper spiritual understanding and peace of mind. One of the things discussed in this book is finding refuge. I feel that this is a very important topic for us of the UU Society and would like to share some of what was said in the book as well as my own thoughts on this topic.

From the Buddha's Brain: "In this life where have you found refuge? Refuge includes people, places, memories, ideas and ideals – anyone or anything that provides reliable sanctuary and protection, so you can let down your guard and gather strength and wisdom. As a child, refuge might have been your mother's lap, reading in bed, or hanging out with friends. Personally, I spent a lot of time in the hills around my home, clearing my head and getting refueled by nature.

Today as an adult, your refuge might be a particular location or activity (e.g., a church or temple, a quiet walk with your dog, a long bath) or the company of your mate, good friends, or perhaps a teacher. Some refuges are ineffable, though potentially more profound: confidence in the power of reason, feeling connected with nature, or a basic intuition of the fundamental alrightness of all things. …

Taking refuge pulls you away from reactivating situations and concerns, and fills you with positive influences. As you rest increasingly in a background sense of refuge, neurons are quietly stitching a safety net for you. On the path of awakening, it is natural to experience some upheaval, dark nights of the soul, or unnerving groundlessness when the foundation of old beliefs falls away. At these times, your refuges will catch you and help you ride out the storm.

Try to take refuge in one or more things every day. This can be formal or informal, verbal of nonverbal – whatever works best for you. Experiment with different ways to experience refuge, such as the sense that the refuge is where you come from or that it flows through you."

Our UU Society can offer refuge by providing: a sacred space of sanctuary; experienced teachers of spiritual, moral and life affirming values and practices; and good company and friendship on your path through life. It is my deepest wish that each and every one of us find refuge in our lives. As has often been said, "Seek and you will find."

Your Moderator,   John Lloyd



MONDAY EVENING CONVERSATIONS - Session #1
January 26   6-8PM   “Transformation & Science”   Particle Fever (2013 DVD)

Our theme for the year is on transformation and the process of change. Science is one means of implementing change via mathematics, experimentation and data. The discovery of the Higgs Boson (sometimes known as the God Particle) made world headlines in 2012 and is still driving research within the scientific community. As Victor Hugo once said, ”All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come."

Particle Fever is a 2013 documentary film tracking the first round of experiments at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland. The film follows the experimental physicists at CERN who run the experiments, as well as the theoretical physicists who attempt to provide a conceptual framework for the LHC's results. The film begins in 2008 with the first firing of the LHC and concludes in 2012 with the successful identification of the Higgs boson. The film does an exceptional job explaining complex science and its implications for changing our world view. Directed by Mark Levinson, narrated by David Kaplan.


MONDAY EVENING CONVERSATIONS - Session #2
February 23   6-8PM   “Transformation & Philosophy”   Decoding Deepak (2014 DVD)

One of our featured books this year is Deepak Chopra’s latest release, “The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times.” According to Deepak, even God needs a periodic up-grade to keep up with the times. Indeed, it’s not so much God that changes, but our own understanding of the divine that goes through transformation. A new documentary film chronicles the life and teachings of one of our most insightful religious thinkers. Guided conversation follows a viewing of the film.

Film-maker and journalist Gotham Chopra embarks on a year long roadtrip with his father Deepak Chopra in an attempt to resolve the spiritual icon he is to the world vs. the real man known to his family. From devoted disciples that range from Lady Gaga to lost souls searching for themselves in the red rock deserts of Sedona, Gotham begins to paint a raw portrait of his dad that only a son can. The film travels across the planet chronicling colorful Deepak activities - from a traditional monk ordination in Thailand to a literal decoding of ancient family registers in rural India. On the homefront, Gotham also takes a closer look at the expansive spiritual empire his father has built over his 25 year career that initially was conceived out of Deepak's own deep personal and spiritual dissatisfaction.

CALENDAR
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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 Society 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
  • The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association   http://www.uua.org
  • The website of the Northern New England District (NNED)   http://nned.uua.org
  • The UUWorld magazine   www.uuworld.org.   (You can also sign up for a weekly email update.)
    www.uuhoulton.org