Roger Kuhnle will share a touch of Unitarian Universalist history in an exploration of the life of Joseph Priestley and his effects on science and religion. Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was an important figure in science, religion, and politics in England and in the early days of our country, after he emigrated to the United States. A contemporary and associate of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, he is credited with discovering Oxygen and with shaking up religion and politics with his ideas. Be inspired by the example of this courageous historical figure.
Late last year, Ruby Reithel shared her unique experience as a child growing up in a UU congregation. Ruby is a university student, equine trainer and riding instructor, and member of UUCO.
Growing Up UU
Growing up UU meant there was never only one right way of doing things -- whether that meant building dreamcatchers, designing thank-you cards, or drawing pictures of what God might look like.
Growing up UU meant that as a child, even with my own extended family living halfway across the country, I never once in my life have felt unloved. When UU's run into each other around town (especially when you are a "UU Child"), they often engage in a sort of odd, exceedingly joyous, exceedingly celebratory display of affection that to-the-unfamiliar may seem somewhat over-zealous. You'll get used to it.
Growing up UU meant I had a circle of friends that were steady playmates, peers, and almost like siblings. I grew up with these people. We embarrassed ourselves at talent shows (repeatedly, over time), cooked together, ate together, got stung by bees together, dealt with the shortcomings of public education together, camped together, rock-climbed together, volunteered at the Humane Society, local Pantry, and elderly homes together.
Growing up UU meant I, even as a child, felt important and felt my voice mattered.
Growing up UU meant I believed there was an abundance of Good in the world -- and knew that there were others who felt the same.
Growing up UU meant I was not afraid to rant and rave about my interests and passions -- because I understood these were truly things which made me unique and worthwhile.
Growing up UU meant not everyone in the world would understand me, or comprehend what it means to be Unitarian Universalist, but un familiarity is just a part of life, and a chance for teaching and sharing, and that's okay.
Growing up UU meant there was always more to learn -- about life, about love, and about other ways of thinking. A closed door is simply that -- a closed opportunity. We don't always have grand choices in our lives, but when we realize our power is in finding the open doors -- we become free and powerful navigators of our own lives.
On June 21, 2015, at 11:39 am, the sun is going to be at its most northerly place in the sky. It will also be the longest day of the year.
Ancient peoples all over the world celebrated this important day with rituals to the return of the sun after a long period of darkness. The five animal play is a Taoist Qigong that imitates five animal movements, with four animals representing a cardinal direction and one marking the center.
During this movement ritual we can observe the interaction of the five animals and seasons by imitating their spirits, which can bring us closer to understanding the seasonal cycles of the earth.
Vicki Reithel and Chris Aloia will lead us in this service.
Members of our Unitarian Universalist community have been meeting monthly since last fall, to study and discuss major world religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Primal Religions and Taoism. Huston Smith's book, The World Religions, has been the guide for this journey.
The study has helped participants deconstruct stereotypes by looking at each religion's origins, cultural context and foundational beliefs. Despite the many differences, they saw commonalities. For example, each faith enjoins its followers to love one another and show compassion. In spite of cultural and religious differences, if we listen closely in love, we discover the same universal search for connection to something larger than ourselves.
At this service, study participants will share readings and excerpts to give 'voice' for each religion, focusing on ways other faiths intersect with Unitarian Universalist principles. Join us in experiencing a compassionate respect for the tapestry of beliefs in our world.
In March 2015, UUCO member Susan Zachos attended the "Marching in the Arc of Justice" Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, which celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Selma Voting Rights Campaign. In this post, Susan reflects on her experiences in this landmark event.
Reflections on my "Marching in the Arc of Justice" Experience
Last March, I went to a Conference honoring "the 50th Anniversary of the Selma Voting Rights Campaign." Expertly planned and hosted by UU's Living Legacy Project (with support from the UUA General Assembly), those 3 days were Powerful & Unforgettable. If you don't know the Living Legacy Project, come to the dinner we host RIGHT HERE each fall. Or visit their web site, to get inspired and get involved.
From the opening remarks of the Rev. Hope Johnson, to the Day Three March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the buoyant energy was like no gathering I have attended.
In her opening remarks, Rev. Johnson set the tone by reminding us that, to have "hope for better days and a more just tomorrow," we must live in right relationship with each other. Wisely, she also reminded us that, although many of us are "fueled by the raw yearning for meaning in our lives – to MAKE meaning OF our lives," we cannot do that unless we also take time to create space for that "right relationship" to blossom. The Conference created that space for many. And we came away inspired, with new clarity about the past, and for the future.
Rev. Johnson also reminded us that "living fully and deeply means taking risks."
What we did in Selma this year was not "taking risks," but taking time, and making space, to honor and celebrate those who did – those both living and gone. They took risks, so that each of us might come closer to finding that "right-relationship" with each other and the world.
The Conference was also creative, in its kaleidoscope of activities and speakers. It included huge gatherings, rousing speakers, singing & dancing, mounds of delicious food, tweets, workshops, and visits to historic places. Here are some of my recollections:
Remembering the love and joy in the air, as I was pressed in among the thousands marching across the Bridge that sunny Sunday afternoon in Selma, I am reminded of something I had only felt once before – in 2009 as I walked the streets of our Nation's Capital, and then stood among thousands in the freezing cold, at the base of the Washington Monument on the Capital Mall, during President Obama's first inauguration.
But, as we know – one election, one event, even a hero's death, cannot change the world forever. What does change the world is: all of us, willing to take even small risks, one day at a time, to Stand on the Side of Love.
Learn more about this event