Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UU Christian Fellowship News

Bob Fabre is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron and on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship. Used with Permission.

At the recent General Assembly of Unitarian Universalists (UU), the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship (UUCF), and many other religious-oriented groups, was denied independent affiliate status. In a response to an inquiry as to the ramifications of this decision, Pacific Southwest District Board member Tom Laughrey said, among other things: "the UUA is an association of congregations and that affiliations must serve congregational needs" and "Independant Affiliattion status gave [these groups] nothing to begin with [and] there was nothing to take away". UUCF Board member Peg Bartel then wrote the following letter to the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Board. While the sentiments expressed therein are her own, many UUCF members feel the same, yours included.- Bob Fabre

I am writing in regard to the recent decision to deny the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship independent affiliate status with the UUA...While I am not surprised, I am disappointed. From a practical point of view it will have little obvious impact on the UUCF. We will continue our activities. Any financial impact will be offset by members such as myself, who now find themselves a member of two faith families instead of one and will adjust my pledge to my local congregation accordingly. But this is not a practical issue—it is a matter of the heart, of how a faith community defines itself and what it sees as central to its faith. In that regard, I have been a little dismayed to read some of the responses made by some trustees in response to inquiries—pointing out that affiliation with the UUA meant nothing in practical terms except perhaps slots at GA. Of course this perspective misses the issue entirely. It is not about benefits, it is about being part of a larger whole—of belonging.

I understand that the UUA wants to focus on congregations. But what is the religious life of a congregation, if not the religious life of its members and friends? The roots of Unitarian Universalism draw deeply from many religious traditions. To have groups lose their status because they are following a particular path is indeed disheartening. These groups, not just the UCCF, are comprised of people who are deeply involved in their faith tradition as expressed in and through Unitarian Universalism. They are the stimulus in their congregations for small study groups, religious education and other activities that feed the religious life of the congregation.

I will always be a Unitarian Universalist. It is my preferred faith. A faith that dares to be free of doctrine and creed and yet remain faithful to the life of the spirit is powerful indeed. But this recent decision by the UUA reminds me of the luke-warmness of much of the UUA. The fear to be religious. The focus on tolerating each other as a goal rather than the glorious celebration of our differences. The mush of commonality rather than the beauty of the mosaic. No—this decision by the UUA has no practical implication for the UUCF, but it reveals a great deal about how the leadership of the UUA views the religious life of the congregations and their members. That is what is truly disheartening.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Our Midday and 2nd Service

Dear Midday Service Attendees and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron Community:

Midday Service will be taking a longer hiatus than originally planned. With the arrival of Rev. Mary Moore and the limited availability of those coordinating services, the coordinating team has determined that now is a good time to step back, reflect, and allow for a period of discernment.

Originating as the 4:30pm 2nd Service in January 2006, The Midday Service has been an experience important to many of us in this church community and has been possible in large part due to the loving support and creative participation of many of you. We believe the 2nd and Midday Services have made significant contributions to the ongoing creative evolution of what worship looks like at UUCA. We thank you for your role in this, and we invite you to join the upcoming discussions.

With gratitude,
The Midday Service Coordinating Team
Ellen Carvill-Ziemer, Rev. Nancy O. Arnold, Sarah Culver, and Warren Brown

Worship Services in August

Sunday, August 5 at 9:30 a.m.
Remembering Hiroshima

Service Leader: Jamie Goodwin
Assistant: Elaine Young

On August 6, 1945, the nuclear weapon Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima by the crew of the American Enola Gay, directly killing an estimated 70,000 people. To this day many Americans struggle with the guilt and sadness associated with this attack, while others see it as necessary and even life saving event that ended the war. Please join us this Sunday as we commemorate and remember the lives of the people of Hiroshima and explore the destruction we are all capable of leaving behind.

Emanuel Bells, a local bell choir, will perform today. Please join us for this amazing treat and experience sacred music in a whole new way.

Sunday, August 12 at 9:30 a.m.
It’s About the Going

Service Leader: Rev. Mary Moore
Assistant: Elizabeth Reilly

As we proceed along the path of transition, what can and should we expect – both of the interim ministry and of ourselves? How can we rise to the opportunities as we walk together on the path, making ours a holy pilgrimage in which we find our own “heroic way?”

Sunday, August 19 at 9:30 a.m.
The Lord's Prayer in Aramaic

Service Leader: Claire Tessier
Assistants: Warren Brown and Margaret McConnell

Jesus spoke in Aramaic. Connect to the deepest truth of Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer by hearing the Aramaic words and learning the meaning of these words. Most of the English translations of the words from Jesus come from Greek, a language that differs greatly from Aramaic. As stated by scholar Neil Douglas-Klotz in the book Prayers of the Cosmos, “When Jesus refers to the “kingdom of heaven,” this kingdom is always both within and among us. Likewise, “neighbor” is both inside and outside, as is the “self” that we are to love to the same degree as our “neighbor.” Unlike Greek, Aramaic presents a fluid and holistic view of the cosmos. The arbitrary borders found in Greek between “mind,” “body,” and “spirit” fall away.”

Sunday, August 26 at 9:30 a.m.
Gaia People

Service Leader: Kevin Carr
Assistant: Lorie Lerner

Kevin will speak about taking care of earth as being essentially the same as taking care of ourselves and the rest of the planet. He’ll do this in conversation with Dr. James Lovelock's book, The Revenge of Gaia-Why the Earth is Fighting Back and How We Can Still Save Humanity. Women's Equality Day will be a part of the message and part of the service as well.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Emanuel Bells

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron is proud to welcome Emanuel Bells, who will perform at the upcoming morning service, August 5th, at 9:30 am. Emanuel Bells is a local bell choir, performing at many churches and events throughout the area.

Handbell Choir music is beautiful and unique. Please join us for this amazing treat and experience sacred music in a whole new way.

Once again that's August 5th at 9:30 am.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Come Celebrate With Us

FRIDAY, JULY 27 AT 6:00 P.M.

Please join us in a celebration for Nancy Arnold to recognize the past 13 years of her ministry with the UUCA.

Babysitting will be provided, so indicate the number and ages of children.

Our own Blame Mama band will be performing!
Bring a side dish or salad to share for a potluck dinner.
In honor of Nancy’s favorite food, a Sundae Bar will be provided! YUM!

Introducing Our New Interim Minister

Rev. Mary comes to us after a two-year, highly successful interim ministry at Westside UU Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has training for accredited interim ministry and tells us that “I am now convinced that my skills and interests are best suited to interim ministry.” As a former parish minister, hospital chaplain, student, spouse, and current mom, Rev. Mary brings us a wide range of personal and professional gifts and interests.

Former colleagues describe her as outgoing and caring, with a definite sense of humor. She is regarded as a dynamic and focused speaker. She likes to work with “folks of all ages who are excited about their church, enjoy each other’s company, and look forward to working
together toward a common future.” Rev. Mary believes strongly in the importance of lifelong religious education and in creating worship that is varied and inspiring. Rev. Mary is excited about many of the programs we already have in place, including Worship Assistants, Pastoral Care Associates, and our nursing ministry.

Rev. Mary sees herself as a “vision caster,” working with lay leaders and staff to form a leadership team together. As a supporter and professional guide to our lay leaders and congregation, she hopes to foster “good communication, collegial and open exchanges, sharing and collaborating.” She is strongly committed to accomplishing the “Five Tasks of an Interim Year” as envisioned by the UUA. And, her experiences with conflict management, behavioral covenants, and stewardship and budgeting will be assets as we determine exactly where we are and where we want to go.

Theologically, Rev. Mary describes herself as a “UU Theist” who has served a variety of
congregations with members of many different backgrounds. She comes to us with hopes for a
productive, growing, and caring experience. As she says, “I fully want to be able – even encouraged – to bring ALL that I am to this new interim ministry.” (And then reminds us that we should include some FUN along our journey together!)

Sunday Midday Worship Services for July

Sunday Midday Services will be on hiatus for month of July.

Keep an eye out for The Reporter (our monthly newsletter) and online for future Midday Services.

Sunday Morning Worship Services for July

Morning Services during the Summer begin at 9:30 am, all services take place in the Sanctuary.

Sunday, July 8 at 9:30 a.m.

American Spirit
Service Leaders: Margaret McConnell and Sarah Culver

Terry Tempest Williams writes: “In the future, brave men
and women will write a Declaration of Interdependence that
will be read and honored along side the Declaration of
Independence….” In her Open Space of Democracy,
Williams urges us to engage in our democracy, take risks,
share ideas, and deeply listen. Today we will consider the
spirit that lies at the foundation of our country's democracy
and ask: Are we honoring that spirit now, and how do we
honor that spirit in years to come?

Sunday, July 15 at 9:30 a.m.

Connections to the Continent
Service Leader: Ellen Carvill

This morning’s service will be reflections on the business
and event of the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalist
congregations called General Assembly, which happened in
late June. Come hear what happened this year and how these
happenings affect UUCA.

Sunday, July 22 at 9:30 a.m.

Living the UU Life
Service Leader: Warren Brown

What can Unitarian Universalism bring to our lives? We
come to services on Sundays and get involved in church
activities, but how does Unitarian Universalism really
impact us on a daily basis? How does it improve our lives?

Sunday, July 29 at 9:30 a.m.

Miracles Happen
Speakers: Elaine Young & Frances Pake

Every day of our lives miracles happen. Miracles are
natural. Ordinary everyday miracles. If we pay attention
we’ll find them everywhere. It’s our choice to "Believe it or