During the very moving UUFP Sunday morning services, on November 11, 2018, we commemorated the centennial anniversary of the end of the First World War and all those who served in the armed forces. Fellowship member, Air Force veteran and Holocaust survivor Julian Padowicz was one of many among us to whom we paid tribute. His Veterans Day reflection he shares here reminds us of the importance of our Unitarian Universalist principles, particularly how everyone and everything--through the ages—are part of the interdependent web of all existence!
"A Veterans Day Memory"
By Julian Padowicz
I have a rather special Veterans Day memory I would like to share.
As many of you know, my mother and I arrived in America in May of 1941, when I was nine. We settled in Manhattan, on West 74th Street, near the Hudson River. On Nov 11th we were walking along our street when we saw a crowd on West End Avenue. It turned out that this was Armistice Day in America, and they were all watching a parade.
There was a marching band, flags, and a unit of soldiers with helmets and rifles marching in perfect step along the avenue. And right behind them, in Yogi Bear hats and puttees, and marching just as crisply, was a unit that my mother identified for me as WWI veterans.
And, behind these veterans, there were three of the long, open cars that they had in those days, carrying men with long white beards, cowboy style hats, some in uniforms that were blue and some that were gray.
Neither of us knew who they were, though Mother speculated that they might be NYPD and NY State Police vets.
Now consider this: It stands to reason that one of those elderly veterans must have laid eyes on Robert E. Lee, at some time. Lee's father was a close friend of George Washington. That means that those of you who know me, are separated from the Father of Our Country by only four degrees of separation. Small world, ain't it?
Grow in Wonder, Connect in Love, Engage in Service, Inspire Generosity.
This mission of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula is manifested in many ways! We celebrate these positive experiences and thank those of you who are willing to share your story!
For the first eighty-five years of my life, I have believed that the word "love" can be applied properly to my feelings toward my wife; my children, grandchildren, and great-grands; my late parents; and a late aunt and uncle in whose home I spent much of my adolescence. I have accumulated numerous dear friends during my long lifetime for whom I have great affection, but the word "love" did not, properly, apply to those relationships.
I have exchanged guarded I love you's with dear friends on various occasions, usually when under the influence of spirits more earthy than ethereal and well aware that our enthusiastic over commitments to each other would wear off harmlessly with the evaporation of the spirits themselves.
During the past year or so, however, I have found myself in the company of various fellow church members, engaged in discussions of spirituality, emotions, impressions, gossip, or the usual banter that passes among people who are close, and I have been aware of an emotion I have not felt under these circumstances before.
I now recognize that feeling as an actual, unadulterated form of love. I find that I can apply the word "love" to how I feel about a number of the people I have come to know since moving here two years ago.
I consider this ability to be a gift in the same way that the ability to appreciate fine art and classical music are gifts. And I feel blessed.
Unless otherwise noted, services include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard and take place at 9:30am and 11:15am on Sundays.
November 4th: “Thirty One and Going Strong”
Unitarian Universalism is a religion with a very broad theological tent. Sometimes that has been broadened intentionally, sometimes by happy accident, but today it is part of our identity to engage with one another’s differences, understanding them as opportunities to learn and grow. Jeannine Christensen and Rev. Andrew will look at how this works, particularly in the case of EarthRising as a valued part of the UUFP’s broad theological tent.
Jeannine Christensen began attending Women’s Drumming and EarthRising in 2006 and joined the UUFP in 2009. Her family is involved in many aspects of congregational life, and Jeannine has served the Fellowship in many different ways. She received a Courageous Love Award in 2016. In her non-UUFP life, Jeannine has seventeen years of small and multi-unit business leadership experience.
7pm on Wednesday November 7th
Following this year’s mid-term elections, join us for a time of quiet reflection, conversation and candle-lighting. As part of Beloved Community Wednesdays, a potluck dinner shared by the evening’s programs begins at 6:30pm, though you are welcome to come into the Sanctuary at any time during the program and stay for as long as you wish. However you feel about the election results, we are here to support one another in community.
November 11th: “To Care for Those Who Have Borne the Battle”
This Veterans Day marks the centennial of Armistice Day, when hostilities ceased on the Western Front of World War I. As is our tradition at the Fellowship, we’ll express our appreciation to those in our families, congregation and community who have served in the United States Armed Forces, and we’ll reflect on our hopes for achieving the peace for which so many veterans strove.
Special music will be provided by the UUFP Winds! Veterans and active duty personnel are invited to wear uniforms or other insignia of service.
November 18th: “A Service on Service”
Jim Sanderson will look at our Mission and how each pillar of it supports the others. One of those pillars is “Engage in Service”, so Jim, Rosalee Pfister, Pam Luke and Henry Chambers will reflect on their experiences engaging in service for and with the Fellowship.
UUFP President Jim Sanderson is a long-time Unitarian Universalist. He has served as chair of the Sunday Services Committee, as Vice President, and as a Fellowship Circle facilitator. Before joining the Fellowship, Jim was the minister of the Jenkins UU Fellowship in Petersburg and served as chair of the Religious Education Committee at First UU in Richmond.
Special music will be provided by the UUFP ChorUUs!
4:30pm on November 18th: “Name Unknown: A Transgender Day of Remembrance”
We remember and honor transgender people around the world whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence, but nearly twenty percent of those killed are listed as “name unknown”. We will read the names of all who have been killed, pausing for those with names unknown. In recognition that every life has value and that our contributions matter regardless of credit given, all hymns and readings will be by anonymous authors.
This early evening service marks the twentieth annual, internationally observed witness of and resistance to violence based on bias against transgender people. We’ll begin in the Sanctuary for some music, a brief reflection and the reading of names before lighting candles at sunset and processing outside for a time of silent vigil.
10am on Friday November 23rd: “Shining a New Light on Black Friday”
Since 1952, Black Friday has been a day when eager shoppers race to the stores for early-bird specials, fighting traffic and sometimes each other for the current year’s must-have gadget or toy. If participating in this frenzy does nothing to affirm your UU faith, join us for an on-line service where we will shed light on alternative ways to spend the day such as exploring time in Nature, making a holiday craft together, searching your home for donatable items, or writing letters of gratitude to our troops.
The Sunday Services Committee is chaired by Dan Luke. Members include Pam Luke, Jim Sanderson, Alice Smith and Jeffrey Hinkley. Rev. Andrew and DRE Joanne Dingus serve ex officio. The committee is exploring on-line worship as another way to share the good news of Unitarian Universalism with the wider world.
November 25th: “The Reason Why We Tell Our Stories”
Everyone has stories born of passion, pain, hope, fear and countless other realities. Each story has value and meaning and can impact others, but often our stories go untold; words swallowed deep in our souls eat away at us and stifle our lives. We stop talking, because we think no one is listening, but when we share the intricate details of what makes us who we are, we discover that we are more connected than divided.
Rev. Deedra Chambers is a resident of Hampton and an alumna of Hampton University. A mental health professional, she holds an M.Div. from Virginia Union University and is an Associate Minister at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Newport News. Deedra’s most important ministry is to her family: her husband, Luther, and their three children, Micah, Ayanna and Rebekah.
Happy Birthday to all our members born in November!
If you are a member and have a birthday in November that we overlooked, please contact Bobbie Schilling; email@example.com.