Grow in Wonder - Connect in Love -
Engage in Service - Inspire Generosity
These are the words we are considering recognizing as our Mission. As such they should embody not only who we are but who we intend to continue to be, and become. I am reminded of the name spoken from the burning bush: “I am who I am becoming.” The Mission embodies those values we have trusted as our beacons and will continue to trust. They assert an ongoing overarching mission. Mission statements tell us how we currently embody, or seek to embody, the Mission.
We will always seek to grow in wonder and as we gain in awareness, our wonder may center on ever newer revelations. We will always be connecting in love, the emphasis on who and how may vary as needs and conditions change. We will always engage in service, but the objects of our service will change as we find new ways to serve and new needs that require service. We will always need to inspire generosity, both in spirit and with resources. Our expression of that generosity will always be finding new outlets.
The beauty of these terms is in their ongoing value, and in the way that they support one another. The more we grow our wonder, the more we will find to value in our universe: The act of valuing will inspire us to connect in love (think of the way that we have discovered the wonders of our planet, leading many of us to hold Earth in our love). As we give our love, so we will be inspired to offer service to that which we love. As we serve, we both express our generosity and are inspired to even more generosity.
As we connect in love, our sense of wonder is excited by that to which we connect. That growth opens further opportunities to engage in service. Engaging in service we find that we connect with those we serve and to others who also serve. Our sense of generosity will be expanded by our new connections. We may even learn to be generous in spirit to those we have not welcomed in the past.
“Engaging in service” similarly connects with the other parts of the mission. Serving opens us up to new objects of wonder. Service points to those we can connect to through love and opens new avenues for generosity. Generosity is a value that supports all the rest of the mission. Generosity points us outside of ourselves. The generous soul appreciates all that is and can be and is full of wonder at all that exists. The generous soul shares love everywhere it can. Service comes naturally to the generous soul.
UUFP has long served the Mission that these words embody. We will continue to serve this Mission far into the future as it embodies what we see as our duty to ourselves, our congregation, our community, our planet and its inhabitants. We may, and indeed probably will, develop mission statements for different times and circumstances as they emerge, but The Mission We Live will continue to embody those beacons that illuminate how we are (and are to be) in the world.
By Lou Seyler
Jim Crow was a deliberate attempt to discriminate against people of color that began as soon as reconstruction ended and Southern White people could create the means to deprive them of voting, education, movement, assistance, and other "Southern Whites' opportunities."
After the Civil Rights Act, once again, Southern Whites began many forms of "color-blind" means to circumvent the effect of that Act. This book documents that Jim Crow was basically re-invented, re-tooled and able to do its work of keeping people of color from opportunities to which they should be entitled. These include the bogus claims of "voter fraud"; the difficulties of registering to vote; the War on Drugs, which locked up generations of young black men for severe penalties for ounces of marijuana; "stop and frisk" laws without probable cause to search a person; and the tragic outcomes of police abuse, which resulted in riots in Ferguson and elsewhere.
This book concludes with a Call for Action to reform the Criminal Justice system. This is very much in keeping with the Unitarian Universalist goals of bringing about reform through Social Justice initiatives.
Held at Old Dominion University, a "Hearsay with Cathy Lewis" WHRO interview of author Michelle Alexander is available.
Sponsored by Social Justice and Adult Religious Education Committees
Facilitator Lou Seyler will lead a Book Club discussion of:
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander.
Class meets June 5, 12, 26 in the UUFP Sanctuary/Caum Room, and June 19 in the UUFP Office Building.
Both locations, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Register via the sign-up form available in the UUFP Sanctuary Hospitality Area, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sarah Pierce Davis
As we spring into Spring, we ready for the UUFP SPRING COMMUNITY YARD & ESTATE SALE scheduled for SATURDAY, June 2, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.!
It’s that time of year to clear out those closets, attics, basements, garages and sheds to donate items to benefit UUFP. We welcome donations from your friends and family too.
It’s a fun way to help the Fellowship earn money and socialize with each other and the community. Last year we collected over $2000 at the spring and fall yard sales to benefit the budget and further the mission of UUFP!
DONATIONS: please consider condition; it should be appealing for people to buy.
All sorts of items in good condition will be accepted, such as: working electronics, tools, pet stuff, kitchen and other household items, appliances, craft kits and supplies, luggage, books, CD’s and DVDs, lights/lamps, adult shoes/boots, computers and accessories, linens, curtains, rugs, lawn and garden items, plants from your garden, purses, backpacks, beach and camping items, and bicycles.
No adult clothing, please (it doesn’t sell), but YES to baby and children’s clothing. Baby items and children’s games and toys in good condition do sell!
Items may be dropped off at the UUFP administration building beginning Tuesday, May 29, through Friday, June 1. Hours are 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Other times for drop-off can be arranged by contacting Sarah Davis or Michelle Sheeler at email@example.com., or calling the church office, 757-369-1098 (leaving a message for Sarah).
Many hands make light work so if you would like to volunteer, please let us know!
Let's repurpose our goods for Good!
My overall sense from the group was that things are going pretty well but that we could do more. Some of the comments were: We would like more events like tonight, more youth group (maybe twice a month), more plays, more parties, more multi-generational activities (perhaps bringing back the annual picnics from past years), more small groups (writers group, typing group) more Soup Socials (year-round), more non-food focused events (this would especially help kids with dietary or allergy concerns), more service projects (visit to an animal shelter), "A Blessing of the Animals" service, and last but not least, more rainbows!
I reviewed the events we currently have scheduled. Game Night (a combined Membership and RE effort) will now be offered year-round on the first Saturday of the month. With the success of the first Pancakes and Pajamas event, we have decided to try it again on the last Sunday of each month. It was suggested that we add a pajama fashion show and waffles (not just pancakes) to the event. Our current Youth Group meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month. We discussed adding additional age group events on a rotating basis. So, we might do a middle school event one month, an elementary school event the next month and then a multigenerational activity the following month. I am in contact with RE leaders in Norfolk and Williamsburg about doing combined activities for high school youth, including a CON (a weekend long event designed by and for youth) in the fall. We are also looking into new ways to support parents. Look for information on a "Parents Afternoon Out" program and "Being a UU Parent" classes in upcoming newsletters.
I encouraged families to start scheduling play dates with each other. This was something that really helped connect my own family to the Fellowship when my kids were little. Practically every week after church, my kids either went home with other kids or invited other kids home to our house. It gave the parents a chance to connect at pick up time, too.
I asked people to think about possible, what I’d like to call, “Living Our Faith Field Trips.” Whether we travel near or far, field trips could be a great way to build community in a meaningful way. What if we organized groups to go to museums or memorials based on Social Justice, Peace, or the environment? Think of the discussions we would have on the ride home. Or what if we planned visits to nursing homes to play games with residents? Or what if we planned multigenerational nature hikes or clean-up days? If you would like to help organize something like this, please contact the RE Committee.
I brought up the fact that there are UU religion badges for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts so if any of our scouts are interested in working through the process to obtain the badges please let me know and we can make this happen.
I’m working on a summer program based on "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy." If you would like to help this summer as a volunteer guide, please let me know. That said, we will be looking for teachers to help in the fall as well. We work in teaching teams so there is flexibility for you to teach as much as you want. We are also looking for more members for the RE Committee as well. Being on the committee is a great way to get involved with shaping our program.
See you in the RE!
“For all that is our life” by Rev. Andrew
What do you remember of life and events at our Fellowship over the last sixty years?
As we prepare to celebrate the UUFP’s Diamond Anniversary next month, you are invited to help us build up a timeline of significant points in the congregation’s history. On the back wall of the Sanctuary, there are large sheets of paper labeled by decade. On Sunday mornings or any other time you’re in the building, you are welcome to add a note of what you remember, whether it’s from the last ten years or going all the way back to our chartering in 1958. (Though the paper is supposed to resist ink bleeding through, we have markers with washable ink, just in case!)
As for the celebrations themselves, don’t forget to mark your calendars for May 12th and 13th! We’re inviting all members and friends both past and present to join us for food, fun and fellowship!
When: Saturday May 12th, 6pm-10pm; Sunday May 13th, at 9:30am and 11:15am services
Where: UUFP Sanctuary Building (415 Young’s Mill Lane, Newport News)
What to bring: yourself — you are our special guest for the celebration!
What to wear: what about an outfit that represents the decade you began coming to the Fellowship?
What activities are planned? On Saturday, there’ll be a potluck featuring food and music of the last sixty years. (Potluck sign-up sheets are posted in the Sanctuary Building.) On Sunday, past Presidents will be recognized at the celebration. And for children and youth especially, bring something to put in the time capsule that represents the current time period.
By Kathryn Ozyurt & Maria Cory
“Diversity is generally divisive, and it has to be managed. There is some interesting research showing that when you celebrate diversity and point it out, you split people, but if you drown it in a sea of commonality, then it’s not a problem. So anything you can do to emphasize how similar we all are, how much we have in common, is good. Anything you can do that celebrates — 'Look at how different we are. Look at how diverse we are' — that tends to make it harder to have any group cohesion and trust.”
Lin Chambers had a “driving moment” as she was listening to NPR’s On Being radio show featuring social psychologist Jonathan Haidt - The Psychology of Self-Righteousness. Intrigued by Haidt’s interview, Lin subsequently purchased his book: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.
Haidt’s works were an inspiration and springboard for discussion at the March 4, 2018 Adult Forum. Facilitated by Lin, the class focus included how essentially good people can end up on opposite sides of the political and religious perspective, and how people at both ends of the continuum are at risk of blind self-righteousness.
Haidt defines “conservative” and” liberal”—"not necessarily as political affiliations, but as personality types or ways of moving through the world.” With the psychology of morality and the moral emotions as Haidt’s specialization, this New York University professor’s research indicates that people often believe they have discovered sole truths and are stating facts, while they are actually repeating what they have heard and read, and what they have seen and interpreted.
People’s ideas, beliefs and what they declare as facts often become a closed “moral world” in which they are unwilling and unable to think beyond their own perspectives. Haidt cites that it is impossible to see the flaws in one’s own “moral matrix”—a major impediment to conflict resolution and bridging political and religious gaps between conservatives and liberals.
Lin continued by explaining Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory and its importance in civility, problem-solving and speaking across difference. Liberals are viewed as morality-focused, with emphasis on compassion, fairness and social justice. Conservatives value loyalty and authority, preferring order and structure. People on the left tend to be universalist. People on the right tend to be parochial. Rigid application of each group’s values limits their understanding of the other’s motivations in political and spiritual decision making.
This is where building relationship is crucial to finding the balance between the two extremes, says Haidt. In accomplishing goals, using conservative and liberal virtues in complement to each other render the most effective results. “When you get people to actually understand each other, and they let down their guard, and they learn something new, and they see humanity in someone that they disliked or hated or demonized before, that’s really thrilling. And that, I think, is one of the most important emotional tools we have to foster civility.”
Our thanks to Lin Chambers for leading us in a measure of self-examination and for generously donating Jonathan Haidt’s book to the UUFP. Interested in learning more about Haidt’s studies on moving from a state of polarization and paralysis to being a catalyst for political, religious and social change? Check out Haidt’s book available in the UUFP office.
Happy Birthday to all our members born in April!
If you are a member and have a birthday in April that we overlooked, please contact Bobbie Schilling; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Services include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard unless otherwise noted.
April 1st: “Why so serious?”
Given its coinciding with Easter Sunday this year, April Fool’s Day has been cancelled for 2018 and will instead be celebrated twice in 2019. The change has been ordered by the Pope, according to Vatican spokesman Father Pesce d’Aprile, who has had this authority since his predecessor Gregory XIII created the modern-day calendar in 1582.
Special music for Easter will be provided by the UUFP Winds!
April 8th: “Come On In”
Welcoming the bad stuff along with the good? Seriously?! Today we explore the practice of welcoming everything into our lives — yes, everything.
Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig is the minister of the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists. She is new to the congregation and the Hampton Roads area, having moved here last summer after serving congregations in Northern Virginia, California and Illinois. She is also a trained spiritual director. We welcome Laura to the Fellowship in her first pulpit swap with Andrew!
April 15th: “WE > i”
A congregation is a group of like-hearted people who gather in community to share the gifts of their lives with one another. One of the most important things we can do as a community is to be present, to listen to one another with deep compassion, to hear another’s pain without making it a competition, and to remind one another that no matter who we are, this is a special place where we will always be loved.
April 22nd: “Returning Home”
As seen from space, the Earth is a mosaic of continents and oceans. By day there are mountains and deserts, forests and lakes; by night there are bright beaded networks of light from towns and cities. Except for clouds, though, the thin cradle of the atmosphere is all but invisible. Yet with every breath, we’re reconnected with every living being on the planet, yet most of us breathe so effortlessly that it takes no thought or feeling, and so we give it none.
Special music for Earth Day will be provided by the ChorUUs!
April 29th: “The Antidote to Greed and Avarice: Generosity!”
What is the relationship between greed and generosity? If we are wrapped around ourselves, how will that hinder or enhance the fullness of humanity that binds us together or separates us from a world of peace and joy? When we face violence and pain in the world, what resources are available to counter the potentially destructive impulses that too easily run amok in government and private levels of human interaction?
Rev. Charles Swadley is organizer of the James River Chapter of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. He twice served as Executive Director of the statewide organization and received its Citizen of the Year Award in 2016. He has served church and community in numerous ways with a focus on meeting the needs of children and received the 2015 Faith in Action Award from the Virginia Council of Churches. A retired United Methodist minister, Charles is an inspiration of generosity.