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Autumn Unitarian Universalist Thread - All Welcome

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
Welcome to the Autumn support, community, information, conversation, and fun thread for UUs and UU curious.

Here is the link to the previous Summer thread.

Come on in and say "Hi", ask a question, tell a story, or feel free to just lurk for awhile.

Most of us are back into the routines of the "church year" now. They just started a Campfire club that meets weekly at my church and that looks like it is going to be a great experience for my DD. She is also doing drama club and is still in children's choir, so she is more involved at church than ever! I think I might finally be getting the hang of being the Religious Services Committee Chair.

As a child, I had no doubt that Summer was my favorite season. Now I have trouble picking just one. I love the cycle. For me, Fall is relief from summer heat, return to school or perhaps simply a focus on learning new things and intellectual growth, and bright blazing colors even as the days get shorter and there is more darkness. What does Autumn mean to you?

In honor of back-to-school, here is a quote from Maria Montessori:

Quote:
Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.

Wishing you all a season of peace, joy, love, and learning.




Adele
post #2 of 78
Okay, I'm subscribed over here now!

I'm going to try to visit a nearbu UU church with at least my older dd this Sunday (my younger dd will most likely be asleep and stay home with Daddy, but she might wake up and come).

Do UU congregations ever read from Tao Te Ching? I've lately gotten really into this source, so was wondering if it might be one of the texts that is used.
post #3 of 78
September is my absolute favorite month of the year. The air and temperature are just so totally comfortable and nurturing. I guess this is what you call Indian Summer? To me it's a time of rest and just enjoying.
post #4 of 78
subbing
post #5 of 78

10/10/10 Celebration

Hi there,
We moved to this area a year ago and have been wanting to go to the UU church down the street. I just found out they are having a Celebration on 10/10/10 with a special service focused on global warming. Then an afternoon of planting native trees!
My kids and I are really into environmental activism, so this may be a great introduction into something new for our family
post #6 of 78
hi everyone

Thanks for starting the fall thread.
We are just starting to get back in the swing of things.
Our SD is leaving to become a buddhist nun (well initially she's going through the discernment process) and we have a new SD joining us who seems lovely and has 4 kids/stepkids. But we are sad that the SD who has been there since we started and who my oldest is quite connected to and quite fond of will be leaving.

I'm also struggling a bit to figure out what I think about a situation that came up recently. Maybe you can help. My kids were working on a project w their friends called Pulling for Pakistan (you can read more about it on my blog)http://raisingglobalcitizens.blogspo...-children.html. The short version is that we were at our farmer's market and in exchange for a donation to the Red Cross, the kids would pull people's produce from the market to their vehicles. We announced it at joys and concerns and one of the older women in our congregation who we really like offered to buy my kids some of our new congregation shirts to wear when we do volunteering things (because she's proud of "our" kids and what they get involved in.)

I love that she is excited about my kids and her gesture is very generous.
The thing is that we do these sorts of activities with friends from our homeschooling group - and collectively we are all over the map spiritually. There are various shades of Christians, pagans, atheists, Bahai, UUs, etc. One of the things I love about this group is that it doesn't matter. We come together to volunteer and to work together.

So I am not sure about the shirts and I am not quite sure if I can put my finger on why.
I would feel a bit uncomfortable if everyone showed up wearing their "I have XYZ world view" I think because it suggests that individual faith, versus our collective humanity and our little community is what drives our volunteer work. Or maybe because it feels unnecessarily divisive or as though we are advertising that our world views drive our actions - which they do but I'm not sure they need to be advertised iykwim

Anyway - I need to figure out what to do about these shirts. I have 4 kids so the expense isn't insignificant (it will be about $100). We're on hold with ordering them. I feel a bit funny taking the shirts (which are lovely) under somewhat false pretenses (because I woudn't likely wear them for the purposes they were originally designed for and while we would wear them they aren't things I would spend my limited budget on iykwim.

I'm proud of being UU.
And if we were doing this kind of activity as just a family vs as a group of friends I might consider wearing the shirts.
So I guess I am trying to figure out why this idea of wearing them in this situation (or similar ones) bothers me so much. I think if any of our friends showed up with matching shirts touting their world view at one of our volunteer activities I would be annoyed.

Can anyone relate?
post #7 of 78
Subbin'!

Adele_Mommy, thank you again for the Jesus Loves Me alternative lyrics! DD has been going around singing Mama Loves Me... she sang it in front of DH the other day and he said "whoa, stand back. The lightening is going to strike!" Occasionally our differing beliefs can be humorous even to us. I love the new song! And btw, we've altered the church and steeple fingerplay to: Here is the house, and here is the chimney. Open the doors and see all our family!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I would feel a bit uncomfortable if everyone showed up wearing their "I have XYZ world view" I think because it suggests that individual faith, versus our collective humanity and our little community is what drives our volunteer work. Or maybe because it feels unnecessarily divisive or as though we are advertising that our world views drive our actions - which they do but I'm not sure they need to be advertised iykwim
I agree... I think you explained it really well. That would make me uncomfortable too. Can you tell the kind donor that after some thought, you don't think it would be appropriate for your kids to wear the shirts when they do their volunteer work, because the group has so many different faiths? This is a really delicate situation to handle... I know I would struggle over what to say too.
post #8 of 78
Thread Starter 
Welcome, everybody! I'm so glad to see so much activity on this thread so soon and so many people coming over from the previous thread.

karenwith4 - I pretty much agree with you and with treehugz. I was trying to think if I would be annoyed by a group of people wearing church t-shirts to a project like that. I think I would, not so much because of advertising a world view, but because wearing a t-shirt is representing and it would be sort of implying that this volunteer project is a project of that particular church, which it is not.

The church member is understandably proud of your kids and, as you point out, service is a big part of UU and I can understand wanting to acknowledge the connection between your religion and your volunteer work. I think, if it were me, I'd probably say something like, "We can't wear the shirts for this particular activity because when we do that we need to be representing the Pulling for Pakistan project, but the kids would love to wear them when we pack meals for Meals from the Heartland next week" Note: Meals from the Heartland is a program that holds packaging events where teams from area groups and organizations come together and pack hundreds of thousands of meals to send to places like Haiti. I have done this several times as a service project with groups from my church, but individual families can do this too. In my opinion, this is the sort of volunteer activity where it would be perfectly appropriate for your kids to wear church T-shirts. You probably don't do Meals from the Heartland specifically, but I'm sure there is some similar volunteer activity you do where the shirts make more sense, unlike the Pakistan activity, where I agree they don't really.
post #9 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by treehugz View Post

Adele_Mommy, thank you again for the Jesus Loves Me alternative lyrics!
You're very welcome! I'm so glad it is working for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by treehugz View Post
DD has been going around singing Mama Loves Me... she sang it in front of DH the other day and he said "whoa, stand back. The lightening is going to strike!"


Quote:
Originally Posted by treehugz View Post
And btw, we've altered the church and steeple fingerplay to: Here is the house, and here is the chimney. Open the doors and see all our family!"
I love your house-chimney adaptation for the finger-play!
post #10 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Do UU congregations ever read from Tao Te Ching? I've lately gotten really into this source, so was wondering if it might be one of the texts that is used.
I think you would be hard-pressed to find a significant religious or philosophical text that some UU congregation somewhere hasn't read from!

I don't think Taoism is used in US UU churches as frequently as some other world views or perspectives, and it is only rarely used at my church, but it is used. You might enjoy listening to this sermon given by the Ministerial Intern at my church last April: He Who Speaks the Tao
(The link is to an mp3. Please let me know if it does not work for you.)
post #11 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SinginMamaTo2 View Post
Hi there,
We moved to this area a year ago and have been wanting to go to the UU church down the street. I just found out they are having a Celebration on 10/10/10 with a special service focused on global warming. Then an afternoon of planting native trees!
My kids and I are really into environmental activism, so this may be a great introduction into something new for our family
The environmental service and tree-planting sound great! I would love to hear how it goes and your reactions to the church after you visit.
post #12 of 78
Thank you, Adele_Mommy, for the link to that sermon! Yes, I can see why Taoism might not be used so much in American congregations since it is so much the opposite of our culture -- but I just think it will feel good to be part of a congregation where I'm encouraged to pursue anything that helps me to grow spiritually.
post #13 of 78
Thanks ladies
I think I will decline the shirts as politely as I can.
We do a lot of our volunteer work with our homeschool group. I've just started a social justice/environmental/peace/activism group which has spun off our homeschool group and so I can see this being an ongoing situation.
I hope she will understand.

thanks for your words of wisdom
Karen
post #14 of 78
Subbing and still lurking.
post #15 of 78
Thanks Adele for the link to that sermon - really enjoyed it!

I am writing a Samhain service for next month. We are going to take a look at our personal shadows. I hope it turns out great!

I am working on getting our RE program up and running - it's hard though. Most of the members are 65+ with 7 of us between 18-65. Eeek.
post #16 of 78
Awesome thread! I have volunteered at our UU church to help teach RE classes this fall. Should be interesting! I just have to convince DF to come with me, so I can have backup in case DD violently rejects the nursery ...
post #17 of 78
Subbing and beginning to lurk. DH and I are considering UU, just found out about it and we'd like to know more. We have been ready to start down the path of figuring out where our beliefs fit in for a while, and it seems like UU might be the place to start. I think we both have such a negative feeling for traditional organized religion that taking the first step is difficult for us.
post #18 of 78
How does your congregation connect over volunteering/social justice activities?

I was talking with our new SDC today and while we are very busy/active individually in our congregation, we don't often know a lot about what initiatives others are working on. And as a group we don't often undertake projects.

I was wondering what the experience is in other congregations? How do you stay informed to support each other? Do you undertake volunteering as a group?

tia
Karen
post #19 of 78
What is a Course in Miracles about?
post #20 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
How does your congregation connect over volunteering/social justice activities?

I was talking with our new SDC today and while we are very busy/active individually in our congregation, we don't often know a lot about what initiatives others are working on. And as a group we don't often undertake projects.

I was wondering what the experience is in other congregations? How do you stay informed to support each other? Do you undertake volunteering as a group?

tia
Karen
This is a great question as Social Justice is so integral to UU!

At my church, a few years ago we had a workshop/seminar sort of thing where we brought in facilitators to help us re-envision our Social Justice activity. Out of that event we formed several groups to focus on particular social justice areas (e.g. Combating Hunger or Global Warming) and also a Social Justice Council to coordinate activities and facilitate communication. Now, a few years later, some of the groups are more active and visible in the church than others.

In addition to the Social Justice Council, our Small Group Ministry is set up with a service component. Groups are formed and meet twice a month for six months and then a new cycle starts. Each group covenants to perform a service project during the six months. The projects can be for the church or the larger community and are intended to be done as a group to promote group bonding as well as service. I participated in SGM for several years and did many great projects including Habitat for Humanity and packaging meals for Kids Against Hunger and Meals from the Heartland.

In Iowa where I live, there is an organization called AMOS, which stands for A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy. This group has churches and other groups as members rather than individuals, and then individuals in those different groups can be more or less active with AMOS. My church is a member of AMOS and so when they are having actions and meetings these are announced to the congregation and we are encouraged to participate.

Sometimes members of our church will take on a cause on their own and then the congregation will get behind them. We had a Drumbeat for Darfur vigil that I believe was initiated that way. Finally, when there are important actions happening that a lot of church members would probably be interested in, we sometimes give representatives from outside groups the opportunity to talk about the action from the pulpit. For example, we are a Welcoming Congregation so Marriage Equality is a very important issue for us. A few weeks ago a representative from One Iowa spoke briefly during the service and then signed up volunteers in the gathering area after the service.
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