by Sandy Burkes-Campbell, Planning Committee Chair
and Jim Sanderson, UUFP President
Thanks also to Rev. Andrew for his inspirational messages leading up to this important decision.
The congregation has voted and directed the board to look for a new location for UUFP where we will put our vision into action more effectively.
The Board, Planning committee and Real Estate Task Force will pursue this action and report developments to the membership. We will inform members of our progress both on UUFP.org and using a bulletin boards.
The Next Step Weekend with Mark Ewert (consultant from Stewardship for Us) has been postponed and will be re-scheduled when it is safe for us to gather together. This will be just the first visit with Mark when he will gather information and get to know us as a congregation. He will meet with the leadership and members of the congregation. Following his visit Mark will share lessons learned, best practices from other congregations and examine our strengths, challenges, risks and opportunities. Other congregations have reported that after the Next Step Weekend they saw an immediate impact on giving, as well as long lasting strengthening of stewardship and generosity.
There is no doubt that we can, and will, bring the good news of Unitarian Universalism to more families on the Peninsula as we work together and bring our vision to life. Again thanks to all of you for your participation these past three months.
Looking forward to our future,
Sandy Burkes-Campbell UUFP Planning Chair
Jim Sanderson UUFP President.
by Rachel Bevins
when I can, chairing some fund raisers, speaking in a Sunday service or adult forum, helping a yard cleanup or yard sale, and bringing bellydancers and homeschoolers through our doors.
My husband, Brian, and I have a daughter, Gabrielle, who is now 12 and in 7th grade, and a son, Jason, who is 6 and in 1st grade. They both have a string of diagnoses which basically mean that they have strong personalities and special needs, which can be very challenging to manage sometimes. Other places have turned us away, telling me they couldn't handle us. This place, however, has opened its arms and asked, "What can we do to help?"... and then, actually done just that!
It is impossible to please everyone all of the time; we are all only human and often burdened with our own challenges. But the underlying feeling I have always gotten from the people here is that we are truly welcome. That makes me WANT to help when I can, and when I help this community, I nourish my own spirit.
As a neurodiverse family we often feel awkward out in the world. Here, however, we may be quirky, but we feel normal and accepted, too. Being around like minded people is confidence building for my kids. When our oldest received her first sensory spectrum diagnosis our pediatrician was concerned about how she would develop socially, lacking confidence and having issues that come along with feeling like an outsider and not belonging. I love how happy our pediatrician is now, to see what a strong, confident young lady Gabbie is. We believe that has a LOT to do with this community, one of our tribes.
When I say that you all are like minded, I certainly don't mean that we all think alike on every point. That would be boring! However, holding an open mind and an inherent respect for all people tends to be the natural state of being here. I have faith that when we have different opinions, we will do the hard work necessary to listen to one another, find compassion and ultimately compromise. This is what communities, what families, do. This is what we all role model for our kids. This is how we make kindness and respect NORMAL for future generations.
We are absolutely grateful to have this second home. It is NOT the building, it is the people who make us comfortable to be where we can not be perfect, where we can be outside the box, and where the shape of the box, with its extra corners and textures, is a pleasant place to be. We know that you all help teach our children when to stand our ground and work for change, and when to roll with the punches. Thank you for being here for our community, and for us. Whatever happens as the future unfolds, we are glad to be doing it with you.
by Rebecca Wheeler
This is the second of our series of member testimonials as a part of our 2020 UUFP Canvass.
When I returned to UUFP June 2018, after many years’ absence, I wondered whether people would hold it against me that I had evaporated and yet then returned. No. Judy Remsberg greeted me at the door, with a smile, welcome and fine conversation. Indeed, I hear that from numerous folks, that we, here at UUFP welcome.We see and are seen. In our good times and bad.
I look forward to Sunday mornings, with perhaps Robin and familiar tunes made different with his inimitable flare. I look for Sam’s blue eyed, inquiring smile. One morning this past year, as I was going through some deep life changes, Sam asked during the greeting part of the service - “How are you?” I mumbled something -- not my usual mode. He stopped short, moved into my line of vision, “No, REALLY, how are you,” he asked. And truly seen, I shared what was happening. That moment was deeply important to me...
Or again, upon first coming now nearly 2 years ago, Gary asked me some probing question during coffee hour, letting me know I was on thoughtful, authentic ground. Here, I thrive.
I look forward to Sandra’s cooking, to Henry’s hugs, to Judy’s gorgeous jackets. To Joanne’s stories, always relevant to all of us, to witnessing Joyce’s journey, to this, her new home. With each person I relish their spark.
And our minister? Wow, just wow. Yes, our Reverend Andrew, an understated British dude, brings a font of insight and vision! No, that’s not an overstatement. Personally, I’m jazzed that he holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics (from Princeton no less). This guy groks the cosmos and from that foundation, he brings a literary, cultural, spiritual depth. He is whimsical, diverse, personal and articulate. Love our minister.
In closing, this piece has been hard to write because UUFP means so very much to me. It is a place where I find my people, where I experience trust —where I can sing the songs and not be ambushed, where I can relax in the service and know that I won’t have some dogma pushed on us, where I feel like I can be the real atheist UUthat I am. UU is my place. You are my people. You guys are life savers for me and life celebrants with me. Thank you. Thank you, Namaste.
By Judy Remsberg
Another thing that caught our attention and touched our social justice sensibilities was the work that the Fellowship was involved in. There were many activities centered on issues of the ‘70s in the wake of the Vietnam War: the rise of women’s rights, and LGBT+ and African-American injustices. It was very much like the weekly adult forum we have now. I guess we are still – 50 years later – working on these same issues.
So we stayed, this was the place we needed to be.
In those early days, we were led by strong women and men who kept the Fellowship going with hours of work, leadership, and of course, financial support. (I’m going to drop a few names here – some you will recognize, and others you should hear named out loud in this sanctuary because we stand on the shoulders of people like David Cooper, who was there when the bills came in, and there was nothing in the bank; Lou Ayers and Berni Haggard, who took over the children’s Religious Education program when needed; Hale Thompson, a noted local AA lawyer who advised us and was a giant in the community in working to desegregate the Hampton libraries; the band of men, Harry Gates, Ray Baker and Robin’s father, Van van Tine,who entertained us regularly (ask us about that!); Margaret Caum (David Walsh’s mother and my mentor when I was a teenager), who saw a need to enlarge this building, pave the parking lot and add AC, and who spearheaded a drive to do it and got it done quickly, within a few months.
Dr. Will Frank, history professor at ODU, spoke here often on UU history and encouraged our political activism. His obituary is amazing, and I encourage you to google it if you are interested. Jerry Tenney stands on a corner every week in Hilton Village to protest. And, of course, our dear Richard Hudgins, who was among those very first charter members who had the foresight to start this fellowship and has stayed with us for over 60 years.
There are some broad shoulders among those people.
I have seen a lot of changes in the last 40 years — the entry of EarthRising, and all the talent and energy that came with that. Thank you, Robin and the rest of your merry band.
Since I have been here, we have grown from a small “family” model church of fewer than 50 members to what we have today. So, yes, we came for the kids, and stayed for ourselves. The UUFP is a place to find yourself, grow, and participate, and create lasting deep friendships with like-minded, accepting people.
We have had our difficulties –conflict over what to protest, FBI investigations, deliberations on hiring a full-time minister, natural disasters like the devastating fire and the destructive flood – all of biblical proportions. But we have persevered and become stronger for them.
So, Yes, we came for the kids, but I’m glad we stayed for the love of this fellowship and its people. We are on the verge of another major change with the “stay or go” vote next week. I’m confident that we will make the right decision because we are stronger than we have ever been, and I’m proud of who we are now.
This was presented by Judy Remsberg as a part of the ongoing series of member testimonials during the 2020/21 UUFP Canvass.
“Soul Matters” theme: Wisdom
Unless otherwise noted, services include sermons preached by the Rev. Andrew Clive Millard and take place at 9:30am and 11:15am on Sundays.
March 1st: “Love It or List It”
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula will be making a big decision this month, a decision that will determine our future for years and decades to come. As we prepare for that, let’s keep in mind that the UUFP is not the physical structure in which we meet for services and programs; rather, the Fellowship consists of the people who form this religious community.
March 8th: “We’ll Build a Church!”
Let’s celebrate who we are as a congregation and the promise of who we are becoming. We have an exciting vision before us of who we want to be, we have members and friends committed to sharing their time, talent and treasure, and we have the love and support of the wider Unitarian Universalist community. Whichever way the vote goes, the UUFP is building a new way!
Special music will be provided by the UUFP ChorUUs!
March 15th: “A Time for Unconventional Wisdom”
We are living in times where trust in social institutions, government and religion has eroded. Division and polarization have torn apart the fabric of our country. We need reconciliation, healing and love. Conventional wisdom alone won’t cure our social ills; times like these call for “out of the box” thinking: these times call for Unconventional Wisdom.
Rev. Sherman Z. Logan, Jr. is Executive Minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond VA and is currently serving as a member of the UUA Board of Trustees. He was ordained to the Baptist Ministry in 2006 and was granted Ministerial Fellowship by the UUA in 2014. Rev. Sherman is married to Franka and they are proud parents to four daughters, a son and two Jack Russell Terriers; they are also doting grandparents to three girls and two boys.
March 22nd: “Wisdom Is More Beautiful than the Sun”
Where do we turn when life hurts and the world seems to be against us? We’ll explore the surprisingly timely advice found in an ancient text, The Consolation of Philosophy, written by a Roman politician who fell out of favor and lost everything but the resources of his own mind and spirit.
Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig has served as minister of the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists since 2017. Previously, she served with congregations in Wisconsin, Illinois, California and Northern Virginia. A graduate of our Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, Rev. Laura is also a trained spiritual director. We welcome her to the Fellowship in her third pulpit swap with Rev. Andrew!
March 29th: “Long Haul People”
This month, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula has made a big decision. What wisdom may we find, in poetry, myth and history, to carry us through the work we have ahead of us and the commitment we have made to a brave future? What spiritual resources will we need to help us in our on-going efforts to offer the wider world our very special blessing?