Grow in Wonder, Connect in Love, Engage in Service, Inspire Generosity.
By Sandy Burkes-Campbell
Like many others, I found my way to Unitarian Universalism seeking religious education for my children. For over a decade I saw them grow in wonder in a welcoming community of supportive peers and adults, learning about what it means to be in community. For myself, the sermons and discussions here have helped me form my own world view and realize just how important liberal religion is to me, the Hampton roads community, and the world. This congregation is welcoming to those seeking to grow in wonder no matter who they are.
I have seen our members connect in love in many ways both in this building and in our community. I have witnessed love and support for our children as they grow into young adults, and support for members of all ages, as they seek a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. I have seen members visit the sick, bring meals to families with new babies, drive people to doctor’s appointments, clean our building when it flooded, and perhaps most importantly, make the coffee on Sunday mornings (yes that is an act of love in most UU congregations).
Very shortly after formally joining my first congregation in Savannah Georgia over 30 years ago, I realized that as UU’s we are called to engage in service in our home congregations, in our communities… and in the world. UUFP partners with other congregations in the community to help shelter the homeless in the winter and provide meals to those who need them in Newport News.
I have supported environmental justice both by participating in the March on Washington, helping to clean up the bay and working with local, national and worldwide organizations that protect our environment.
Here at home I have served on the board, on committees, helped with religious education, hospitality teams and currently serve as chair of the long range planning committee.
UUFP inspires generosity in many ways. Every year we support the efforts of the Unitarian Universalist Service committee about whose social justice work around the world Rev. Andrew recently spoke in his sermons. I give my money and time to support the mission of this fellowship to insure that we will exist into the future so that other families in Hampton Roads may benefit from liberal religion.
The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all is possible with the generosity of the spirit, work and resources that we can provide. Our mission is based upon our values as a congregation and no doubt will guide our efforts into the future.
The mission enables a strong and vibrant ministry, religious education, thoughtful sermons that inspire us to action, social justice activities, safe spaces, good friends and much more.
May we continue to Grow in Wonder, Connect in Love, Engage in Service and Inspire Generosity.
By Marcy Stutzman
This reflection was read aloud by its author from UUFP’s pulpit on Sunday, January 20, 2019.
I have been attending the UUFP since 2005, when I had a year old toddler. In that time, we’ve added another baby to our family and have seen the children grow up to a tween and a teen. In this time, I have also slowly shifted my views of religion from being a Christian, unable to find a suitably liberal and dynamic church home, to an unapologetic Unitarian Universalist.
I find that the UUFP has allowed me a place to evolve slowly, but steadily, and to clarify my understanding of the world and my place in it. I’ve heard Rev. Millard state something along the lines of “religion seeks answers to the questions of why we are here and what happens when we die." The UUFP has been a supportive, loving community where I’ve been challenged to think about hard things, while on a faith journey, that can be described as Growing in Wonder. This is what makes the UUFP a church home rather than merely a service organization for me.
However, the activities that are at the heart of my participation with the UUFP are the many opportunities for service to the community and volunteering within the fellowship. Helping others has been important to me for a long time. I remember a freezing, muddy day, now about 25 years ago, when I was attempting to dig a ditch in rocky soil for Habitat for Humanity. This was a rather poor fit for my aptitudes. Through the UUFP, I have been able to do things that I enjoy and am relatively good at, including cooking for both the PORT winter shelter program and the Good Fridays at St. Paul’s church. I find a comfortable camaraderie, which could be described as Connecting in Love with the others who come to cook together. I enjoy the opportunity to serve others directly in a concrete way where we can see the benefit of helping hungry people.
I have also helped to organize food and coffee for another group of hungry people—that is, the people who enjoy a bite to eat and a cup of coffee or tea between the services here at the UUFP. Prior to the hospitality team format, I spent several years organizing volunteers for providing snacks, and now I am the leader of one of the four hospitality teams. Engaging in Service within the fellowship is essential for maintaining a strong, vibrant community which can be used as a base for our outreach and activism.
The final part of the UUFP’s mission statement is “Inspire Generosity.” I have been inspired by this fellowship to give of my time, my talents and my financial support to the UUFP. I am the secretary of the UUFP Board, a member of the choir, play flute for the UUFP winds and for service accompaniment as needed, cook for our local outreach programs, and coordinate a hospitality team. These are things that I enjoy, and participating in these ways, for me, is a means of using my capabilities to further the mission of the UUFP. In addition, my commitment to an annual pledge helps support and make possible these things that I appreciate about our fellowship.
Thank you so very much for listening.
In Marcy's avid volunteerism, she announced the need for a new hospitality team coordinator starting this summer. This opportunity is surely a way to live out our UUFP mission. Those interested, please contact Marcy or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kids Day In has been going strong!
The initial funding will be running out in February. I intend to ask the Board to transfer unused Childcare contingency or Nursery care money to cover this program until the end of the year. I would ask the congregation to vote to support funding a budget for this program for next year. It is really serving a need for our families.
Thanks in advance for showing you care!
See you in the RE!
By Joanne Dingus
Shared Pulpit is a complete workshop to help lay people gain experience writing and preaching a full-length sermon for their congregation. Workshop members learn about the theory and theology of preaching, then practice writing and speaking with authenticity, gradually building toward composing quality 20-minute sermons. Workshop leaders learn to foster a supportive environment in which participants offer one another helpful feedback. The Shared Pulpit includes readings for homework, sample sermons and exercises to help first-time preachers polish their preaching craft.
Learn how writing can be a spiritual practice. Enjoy the support and encouragement from peers who love to hear your ideas. Get to know each other on a deeper level.
UUFP's 2019 Shared Pulpit Class starts soon, and we're looking for people who enjoy the process of crafting a message (whether or not they actually want to deliver it as a sermon!).
***Since the article's publishing, the first session of The Shared Pulpit is scheduled for March 10, 2019, after the 11:00 a.m. service, in the UUFP sanctuary building.
By Joanne Dingus
What is Common Read? Each year a committee comprised of people at UUA headquarters and Field Staff chooses a book for congregations to read and discuss in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.
At a time when racial, environmental and economic justice are seen as issues competing for time, attention and resources, Justice on Earth explores the ways in which the three are intertwined. People and communities on the margins are invariably those most affected by climate disaster and environmental toxins.
Justice on Earth asks us to recognize that our faith calls us to long-haul work for justice for our human kin, for the Earth and for all life. It invites us to look at our current challenges through a variety of different perspectives, offers tools to equip us for sustained engagement, and proposes multiple pathways for follow-up action.
This three-week course will use the discussion guide provided by the UUA.
Participants should plan on reading the book before the sessions begin. Copies of the book will be available to buy or borrow. Please see or contact Joanne Dingus.
The sessions are a part of UUFP's Beloved Community Wednesdays and will be held in the sanctuary April 3, 10 and 24, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., with optional potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Pre-session homework: In preparation for this class, I invite you to research local environmental issues that interest you. In addition, please prepare a list of organizations outside of church that you currently support in some way.
“For all that is our life” by Rev. Andrew
As part of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, each Fellow writes an autobiography as a way to explore our relationship with the Earth. As well as helping program participants to get to know one another when we share these with one another, the process of writing also offers a way to help us reflect on how factors such as where we are from, where we have lived, our ethnic background and our family history influence how we think about the environment.
Here I share my eco-spiritual autobiography, as shared recently with other GreenFaith Fellows. What would you write in your autobiography?
I was born in England into a middle-class family. My father and his father both served in the British Army and my mother’s father served in the Royal Air Force. Our family ancestry going back as far as records can be found includes many working-class and skilled trades people.
I grew up in a town on the Thames Estuary, east of London. From there, public transportation provided access to the city, to the coast (on the English Channel or North Sea) and to more rural areas. Some of our family vacations took us to other parts of the country, including forests in the midlands and hill country in the west.
At the age of seven, I discovered in my classroom library books about atoms and planets. I was fascinated to learn that I was a natural part of such an amazing Universe. Twenty years later, and living in San Diego, I watched the Sun set over the Pacific, I watched meteor showers from a ledge in the mountains, and I hiked in the coastal forests. I felt intimately connected to the natural world during these experiences, a feeling that persisted.
Special places I have experienced include Star Island, one of the Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast, and The Mountain, near Highlands NC. I have been to both for conferences, but I also enjoyed many opportunities to be outside, exploring the natural surroundings.
I have had pets since I was a child, most importantly our family dog during my childhood and adolescence. As an adult, I have had cats as pets and, with my wife, rabbits. They have provided comfort and companionship during difficult times, though it has always been very difficult saying goodbye to them when they die.
Some members of my church took part in a “Clean the Bay” day last Summer, and my daughter and I joined them. We worked at a small park overlooking the Hampton Flats, cleaning the park itself and the shoreline of trash. Within an hour, we had filled a number of trash bags with all manner of items ranging from cigarette butts and bottle caps to newspapers and plastic bags. There were a lot of single-use tooth flossers amongst what we found. It was disheartening to find so much trash in such a small area.
From an early age, I have understood myself as part of the natural world, sharing in the cycling of elements that I now name, in the words of the Seventh Principle of Unitarian Universalism, the interdependent web of all existence of which I am a part. My parents encouraged my curiosity about the world and also taught me to be mindful of the consequences of my actions.
After finishing graduate school, I stayed in town for a while and shared a house with some undergraduates. We were all vegetarians for various reasons, mine being concern over “mad cow” disease. I learned a lot from them about environmental issues and subsequently became active with the Sierra Club, which led me to seminary with my first course on environmental ethics.
Sponsored by the UUFP Membership Committee
Rebecca Wheeler will facilitate the first gathering in the “Spirit of Life” workshop series slated for January 16, 2019 in the UUFP Sanctuary.
Beloved Community Wednesdays potluck supper begins at 6:30, and the workshop runs from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
All workshops are “stand alone” so we hope you will join us for one, several or for all nine sessions.
We warmly invite you to share this time with us to grow, connect, engage and to inspire one another.
Grow in Wonder — Connect in Love — Engage in Service — Inspire Generosity
Sponsored by the UUFP Membership Committee
We UU’s love to sing “Spirit of Life,” so let’s talk about just what it all means.
Sponsored by the UUFP Membership Committee and led by lay leaders, nine independent, monthly sessions will provide the opportunity to discuss phrases like “Sing in my heart,” “Move in the hand,” etc.
The Rev. Barbara Hamilton-Holway’s “’Spirit of Life’ workshops offer participants space, time, and community to explore their Unitarian Universalist spirituality. Each focuses on a different aspect of the spiritual life, framed by the lyrics of Carolyn McDade’s song “Spirit of Life.” Like the song, the workshops are designed to be welcoming to Unitarian Universalists of many spiritual and theological persuasions. Participants are invited to claim an inclusive definition of spirituality and recognize the spiritual aspects of their lives. Reflecting, speaking, and listening are core activities in each workshop.”
The “Spirit of Life” discussion group will happen on our Beloved Community Wednesdays at 7:00 PM (just after the community meal that is from 6:30 to 7:00). Join us for any one or all of the following sessions!
Tapestry of Life - Spirit of Life Series
1/16/19 - WORKSHOP 1: SPIRIT OF LIFE -
EXPLORING SPIRITUALITY FOR UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS
2/20/19 - WORKSHOP 2: SINGING MY HEART -
CELEBRATIONS AND RITUALS
3/20/19 - WORKSHOP 3: THE STIRRINGS OF COMPASSION -
CARING FOR ONE ANOTHER
4/17/19 - WORKSHOP 4: BLOW IN THE WIND, RISE IN THE SEA -NATURE AND SPIRIT
5/15/19 - WORKSHOP 5: MOVE IN THE HAND -
LIVING OUR SPIRITUALITY IN OUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES
6/19/19 - WORKSHOP 6: GIVING LIFE THE SHAPE OF JUSTICE -
THE SPIRITUALITY OF WORKING FOR CHANGE
7/17/19 - WORKSHOP 7: ROOTS HOLD ME CLOSE -
TRADITION, TEACHERS, AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION
8/21/19 - WORKSHOP 8: WINGS SET ME FREE -
HOPES, DREAMS, AND EXPANDING VISION
9/18/19 - WORKSHOP 9: COME TO US -
CLOSING AND CONTINUING ON
By Jim Sanderson, UUFP President
The New Year brings some changes to the UUFP Board.
Happy Birthday to all our members born in January!
Robin Van Tine
Calista (Callie) Gulick
Skye Van Tine
If you are a member and have a birthday in January that we overlooked, please contact Bobbie Schilling at email@example.com
Unless otherwise noted, services include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard and take place at 9:30am and 11:15am on Sundays.
January 6th: “This Great Gift”
It’s the first Sunday of the New Year! It’s also Epiphany, the Christian feast day commemorating the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. Matthew’s account is filled with prophecies and dreams, telling a story of plans changed and discoveries made. In our own lives, how do we experience the new, not only when we expected it but also, particularly, when we don’t?
January 13th: “Stories: How We Understand the Experiences of Others and Ourselves”
Tell me your story and listen as I tell you mine. I will never be a man or black or trans. I, hopefully, will never live in a war zone or have my home destroyed by floodwaters. But, when you tell me your story, I can begin to understand.
Cynthia Snavely lives in Hayes with her son-in-law, who is currently stationed at Fort Eustis, her daughter, and her four grandsons. She is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College and Drew Theological School.
January 20th: “Dancing Porcupines”
Human relationships can be fulfilling and rewarding, but — even with the best wills in the world — they are also challenging. We can only experience our surroundings — including other people — through our own senses, and we constantly guess at motives and intentions by viewing others’ actions through the lenses of our own experience. What does this mean for us and for community?
January 27th: “All of Us”
“One sun rose on us today,” wrote poet Richard Blanco, “all of us as vital as the one light we move through.” Blanco’s poem, written for President Obama’s 2013 inauguration, offers a powerful vision of unity as we experience it in so many different ways in our everyday lives. Indeed, this is the good news of Unitarian Universalism: there is no “them”; there is only “us”.
Special music will be provided by the UUFP’s ChorUUs!