Services include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard unless otherwise noted.
July 2nd: “Doing Our Own Naming”
Many of our Middle School youth have been part of our Coming of Age program this year, exploring Unitarian Universalist identity and articulating for themselves what they believe. With these youth presenting their “faith statements” to the congregation, let’s reflect on what it means to be a religion that, rather than telling people what to believe, helps us to figure out what we believe for ourselves.
We’ll also recognize our 2016–17 and 2017–18 UUFP Policy Boards.
July 9th: “Winds Be Still”
There’s a saying that we should spend twice as much time listening as we do talking, given that we have two ears but only one mouth. In the UUFP’s Fellowship Circles, we try to put this into practice as a spiritual discipline, offering deep, compassionate listening to one another. Let’s hear from some of our Fellowship Circle participants about why this is such a meaningful and important practice.
July 16th: “The Accident and the Transcendent in Unitarian Universalism”
We have recently begun a process to try out a new statement of our Fellowship’s mission, allowing us to articulate a vision that helps us to get from where we are to where we want to be as a religious community. Before we could draft that mission statement, however, we needed to identify the “transcendent” values that define us, that shape both our view of the world and our understanding of ourselves.
Special music will be provided by the UUFP Winds!
July 23rd: “Building a Legacy of Values”
A legacy is usually thought of as a gift or inheritance from a deceased person. Legacy is also about life and living. It’s about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. It’s more important to share what we have learned than what we have earned. Thoughts, ideas, beliefs and even principles require choice and consistent action to become values. Building a legacy of values lets us live forever!
For many years, octogenarian Alice Smith thought her life’s purpose was to learn. More recently at a Fellowship Circle she had an “Aha!” moment, saying, “What good is learning if I don’t share it?” She is long-term student of values, and with this service will share some of what she has learned.
July 30th: “Dorothea Dix: Unitarian Saint?”
Health care and public policy looms large on the American scene today. Unitarians and Universalists have long been advocates of justice in health care. Let’s take a look back at the career of Dorothea Dix, one of the remarkable Unitarian women of the nineteenth century, and her lifelong devotion to the cause of mental health care.
UUFP President Jim Sanderson is a long-time Unitarian Universalist. He has served as chair of the Sunday Services Committee, as UUFP Vice President, and as a Fellowship Circle facilitator. Before joining the Fellowship, Jim served as the locally ordained minister of the Jenkins UU Fellowship in Petersburg and for a decade as chair of the Religious Education Committee at First Unitarian in Richmond. A retired librarian, Jim has a strong passion for UU history, finding much in our past that can inform our present and future.
By Joanne Dingus
"The religious way is the deep way, the way that sees what physical eyes alone fail to see, the intangibles of the heart of every phenomenon. The religious way is the way that touches universal relationships; that goes high, wide and deep, that expands the feelings of kinship."
~Sophia Lyon Fahs
Sophia Lyon Fahs is revered among UU religious educators. She was an editor, author, teacher and religious activist who led a revolution in Unitarian Universalist religious education. Fahs’ teaching and writing focused on a method of experiential learning that she hoped would enable children to develop their own ideas about religion and spirituality.
You may remember her name from her entries in the hymnal. We often share her words at Christmas time, “Every night a child is born is a holy night.” Sometimes at teacher dedications we may read #657, “It matters what we believe. Some beliefs are like shadows, clouding children’s days fears of unknown calamities. Other beliefs are like sunshine blessing children with the warmth of happiness.”
We are just finishing up our program year of Religious Education for children and youth at UUFP. This doesn’t mean we take a vacation but we will have different classes for the summer. We will return to more traditional classes in September.
So I would like to take a moment to thank all the teachers who have served our children and youth this year.
We couldn’t run our programs without our dedicated members who are so committed to this work.
Our nursery continues to be staffed by Mary-Elizabeth and Bill Cotton. This is where our very youngest children find loving care each week.
Out 3-7s were taught by Megan Jensen, Harriet Xinos, Allison Black and Connie Keller. Our 8-11s were taught by Nan Procyson, Tara Joseph, Brittany Welch and Alicia Hoffler. Our OWL students were taught by Jeff Hinkley, Lee Dralling, Allison Black and Pat Sloan. Our Coming of Age youth were taught by Lehni Lebert, Allison Black and Rosalee Pfister. Our high school students were taught by Scott Kasmire, Jeannine Christensen and Mike Meyer.
As you may know, Coming of Age requires mentors for each student. Our mentors this year have been Meg Glenn-Albiez, Lucy van Tine, Robin van Tine, Larry Gaston, Greg Gecowets, Allison Black, Jeff Hinkley and Jim Sanderson.
I would like to give a special thank you to Allison Black for helping in so many areas of the RE program over several years. Along with teaching, she was the chair of the RE Committee, and often helped with youth group. I know the children, youth, other teachers and parents would all join me in saying Thank You, Allison! You are terrific and we wish you well with your new life in Boston. You will be missed.
I would also like to give a special thank you to Walter Clark, our intern this year. I personally really enjoyed working with him and I appreciated the enthusiasm, humor, knowledge and ministry he brought to our children during Children’s Focus and our youth during Youth Group.
These people have blessed our children and youth with their open minds, loving hearts and helping hands. And like sunshine they have blessed this program with happiness.
See You In The RE!
“For all that is our life” by Rev. Andrew
As we come to the end of my seventh church year with you here at the Fellowship, I’m struck by a paradox. On the one hand, it seems like the time has passed in little more than the blink of an eye! On the other hand, I can look back and see all that we have accomplished, all of the challenges we have overcome, all of the dreams that we have realized! It has truly been a privilege to work with you all in serving the mission of this congregation during these seven years.
Having reached this milestone, I’ll be going on sabbatical this Fall. Traditionally, a sabbatical is a whole year every seven years, something that is obviously not practical in this day and age! So, as previously described, the Board created a task force to help plan how this would work for us, something that is new both for the Fellowship and for me!
You’ll hear in due course about plans for guest preachers at Sunday morning services and the availability of professional pastoral care during my sabbatical, so in this article I’ll describe my own plans. Actually, it’s the first in a series in which I’ll do that. The short version, though, is that I’ll be away from the congregation during September and October, engaged in various activities for personal and professional rest and renewal. I’ll be back in November, but not preaching; rather, I’ll attend services and also take advantage of opportunities to participate in children’s RE, youth RE and the Forum. I’ll resume my full schedule of preaching in December.
One more point I’ll mention here is that the Sunday before I go on sabbatical, namely August 27th, I’ll devote my sermon to answering your questions, beginning with “What will you do on your sabbatical?” So look for information this time next month about how you can submit your questions for me to answer in that sermon!
Yours, in faith and service,
Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
For UUFP, these should be familiar questions. Whether discussed in small group, posed within a sermon, or sung in hymn, those questions continue to challenge us as we look outward from the Fellowship.
On Saturday June 10th, we need your help to apply them inward as well.
But first, a bit of background.
Our web site lists formal statements of purpose, mission, and vision. But we’ve been through a lot, as both a congregation and a nation, since those words were drafted and approved.
Our three questions equate to three key concepts for UUFP. In reverse order:
Where are we going? (Vision and Goals)
What are we? (Mission)
Where do we come from? (Core Values)
We have many resources to draw on…physical, intellectual, financial…and how we apply those resources needs to be anchored at the heart of UUFP, our core values. While we all associate many values with Unitarian Universalism, and the Fellowship specifically, we’re talking about the small number of values that really capture where we come from…we, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula, Newport News, Virginia, United States of America…
Starting at 9:00am, we’ll conduct an open workshop for the entire congregation to identify and refine the Fellowship’s unique core values. After lunch, Kathy will facilitate a second workshop for leadership, using those values as the basis for a revised mission statement. This is our enduring “call to action,” a way to focus on what we are about and who we want to be. We plan for the second workshop to wrap up around 4:00pm.
…but the process doesn’t end there. Over the next few months, we’ll describe how our mission lives within our community…our vision statements…putting our values into practice here and now.
So please join us on June 10, 2017 at 9 am at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula Sanctuary Building as we pause briefly and begin to answer the questions “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”
For more information contact Sandy Burkes-Campbell at email@example.com
"I think I may have sat begrudgingly and broodingly through much of the time," is how Michael Roy, son of Jeffrey Hinkley and Barbara Linde, looks back on his RE experience, here at UUFP. RE Director Joanne Dingus puts it more succinctly. "If he didn't want to do something," she recalls, "he let you know."
Lightning, however, did not strike Michael dead for these transgressions, because he went on to study Economics, Humanities, and Italian Language and Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. He also spent a summer and a semester studying in Italy, then moved to Korea in 2006 to teach English at a small private academy.
After two years of teaching, Michel says, he went backpacking around Southeast Asia, by himself, for four months. Spending time with villagers and with his own thoughts on the road, he felt himself called "to live a less destructive life. I went vegetarian and decided not to buy anything in a plastic bottle."
Four more months in India, at Sadhana Forest, a reforestation/water conservation/conscious-living project "changed me a lot," he adds. "It gave me a lot of power and motivation to 'green' my life even further."
In 2010, Michael returned to Korea, where he, intensified his 'green' way of life and "pursued various avenues of activism," including posting a talk entitled "My Path to Green Living" on the Internet. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gosQDsnwlTM)
Signing up to host travelers in his apartment, Michael says he met a lot of very interesting people, passing through, and experienced some thought-provoking cultural exchanges. And when a friend sold him a used bicycle, something he would not have been able to afford to buy new, Michael decided to try bicycle touring, himself.
Bicycling around Korea, he was introduced to a young man named Mingyu, who had been planning and saving for a bicycle trip from Korea to Europe. The two young adventurers pooled their travel plans and their funds, then set out on a two-and-a-half-year, twenty-thousand-miles trip from South Korea back to Sadhana Forest.
Michael is still at Sadhana Forest, (www.sadhanaforest.org) in India, though now in the role of Project Director, managing the agency's day to day operations. He supervises five permanent residents and, sometimes as many as a hundred volunteers from all parts of India and other countries, who come to learn about subjects such as planting trees, water conservation, human waste composting, vegan cooking, low-impact architecture, and conscious living.
Every two years or so he comes back to visit his parents "and eat peaches and blueberries."
To follow him on his journey, visit his blog ThreeRuleRide.com.
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Older Blog Posts (2013-2017)