May 14, 2017 service about Mother's Day
Today Madeline spoke to us about the origins of Mother's day and the Mothers for Peace movement. We have heard about the movement that Anna Jarvis started in West Virginia to bring Mother's Day to the attention of the Nation. But, Madeline also explained how that effort was preceded by Julia Ward Howe's pacifism movement and her Association for the Advancement of Women. Her Appeal to Womenhood throughout the World was written in 1870 in exasperation over the carnage of the recently completed American Civil War and the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. In 1872 Howe asked for the celebration of a "Mother's Day for Peace" on 2 June of every year, but she was unsuccessful.
The appeal is included in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal Singing the Living Tradition. because, that's just how we roll in the Unitarian Universalist world.
Today is also the day we observe Mother's Standing for Peace.
Come joins us. Every Sunday is something different, but we are here building a supportive community that eases isolation and opens our hearts to others. Come be the next person we open our hearts to.
(Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. Winston Churchill of all people defended the practice. He mocked the people who frown on the practice in his famous quote on the subject)
May 7, 2017 Service about BDS
Today Steve Farber came to talk to us about the BDS movement (Boycott, Divest & Sanction) to begin to apply pressure on Israel to treat its Palestinian population (according to international law) with more humanity.
He points out that the BDS movement is largely Jewish people who believe that what the Israeli government has been doing to the Palestinian population is not right, and is not consistent with Judaism. The response of the government has been to treat the BDS movement as an attack on the government itself. So the ageless problem of mis-characterizing the arguments of your opponent on the other side continues today.
There was much discussion about this. One very important point that is often not understood in the U.S. is that, despite news of elections being held periodically, Israel avoids becoming a democracy. Only its Jewish citizens can vote. They are unapologetic about the fact that the state has many citizens who are not allowed to vote because of their religion. The 2016 election cycle in the U.S. brings more attention to that issue because, it has become increasingly obvious, there are many Americans who believe religious discrimination in the U.S. should be allowed.
We Unitarian Universalists honor our Jewish and Christian roots, but we believe in honoring truths found in other religious expressions. Moreover, we are a part of a long, liberal tradition of reason, tolerance, hope, and liberty. We welcome diverse people and views.
If you would like to join us, we are here each Sunday morning at 11. Please drop by.
Here is more about the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement:
Apr 30, 2017 Service about Beauty
Today we set aside a Sunday to clean up and beautify our building and grounds. Don't be fooled, however, this Sunday is not without its spiritual content. Our Seventh principle was at work: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. (There were, however, several colonies of dust mites that were seriously inconvenienced in the exercise of our worship.)
For the beauty of the skies,
Over and around us lies,
2. For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
3. For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
(Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917)
Apr 23, 2017 Service about our mission
Its tough being a liberal religion because we aren't given a mission statement from a holy father or sacred text. We must discover our own understanding of our vision are reason for being. And we must figure out our own covenant with each other.
We choose to allow (actually we insist) individual determination of belief. We cannot fall back on historical statements as the reason we exist. Rather we must determine for ourselves why we exist as a covenant community, a congregation, a church together. Here is what I learned today about us.
We care about thought provoking ideas. We care for one another. We have a sense of belonging, and we cherish that. There is, somehow, a sense of devotion that we have to our group, our little building, and our great big woods, our neighbors, and yes, to the world, maybe even to the universe. (we are the inheritors of the universalist tradition after all). It was suggested today that Unitarian Universalists are probably the people who do the best job of treating the people you meet as if they might be God in disguise.
Beyond that, we really do celebrate diversity. Spiritual growth comes from care and from listening to other people's ideas of the spiritual world. True meaning comes from a diversity of ideas. We respect ideas so long as they are contemplative, and respectful (and it helps if it is rational... we are pretty insistent on a rational basis of ideas most of the time.) Be that as it may, we also understand that humans are not always rational... but rather rationalizing. It is important to us to know the difference and see it when it happens. We have poetry days, we have flower ceremonies, and water ceremonies, and we hold great reverence for the environmental world. We seek rationality, but we also seek enlightenment. That is our covenant with one another.
If this sounds like you, please come join us. There is room for some more ideas. We have really good discussions and you are welcome to join in.