The Work Continues Even When the Building is Closed

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Debbie Diegoli

Apr 042021

The Springfield UU Meetinghouse will celebrate the thirtieth
anniversary of its sanctuary on Fairground Road with special worship events on April 25th and May 2nd. Looking back with pride at those years, the Meetinghouse is also looking forward, by launching the Spiritual Makerspace. This new initiative convenes local community members
whose passions or vocations align with the Meetinghouse’s mission to nurture the spirit and heal the world. Its goal is to build a network of community leaders who share practical and creative skills that strengthen community resilience.
The project launched last August, when the weekly Sunday 10am worship started offering a Spiritual Makerspace service once a month. These included, “Painting Our Way to Peace,” “Tending the Beloved: An Altar Making Space” and “The Body Is Our Teacher.” Members of the
Art Monastery, as well as local artist Toni Streeter and educator and herbalist Charis Boke, served as leaders for these gatherings.
Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Minister of the UU Meetinghouse, envisions that the Spiritual Makerspace will both build community and serve community. She noted, “Many contemporary people are ‘spiritual but not religious.’ Although attendance at churches is declining, particularly among younger folks, the spirit of Love, the hunger for authentic connection and passion for expression and service is rising. The Spiritual Makerspace provides an avenue for refining, expressing and channeling that passion.”
This April, the Meetinghouse will host two Spiritual Makerspace services. On April 11 at 10am, Raphael Sacks and Neva Cockrell from the Art Monastery in Springfield will present “Engaging Mind, Body and Heart,” a program of heart-centered music. On April 25 at 10am, artist and teacher Angie Follensbee-Hall, based in Brownsville, will offer “Restore the Muse—Finding Your Way Back to Innate Creativity.” These services are for anyone and everyone who seeks to gather for inspiration and community. The online service on April 25th will also honor the Meetinghouse’s 30th anniversary celebration of its sanctuary.
The next step of the project is to convene members of the community for conversations, skill shares and community service that imagine the Spiritual Makerspace into being. Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy will offer a storytelling skill share on April 24th, an essential skill for anyone who runs a business, works for a cause or communicates online.
All are welcome to attend the next Spiritual Makerspace Sunday services on April 11 and April 25 at 10am, and continue to celebrate the 30th anniversary on May 2nd with a May Day service, “The Regenerative Church.” Zoom link: Rev. Dr. Mellen
Kennedy will offer a Spiritual Makerspace Skill Share on “The Sacred Art of Storytelling” on Saturday, April 24 from 10am-noon. To learn more and sign up, visit:
The Springfield Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse is a warm, welcoming and supportive community for people of all ages. It is a community that values the open mind and encourages each person to question and develop their own faith, seeking to create a more loving and just world, and to live sustainably on the Earth.

Mar 292021

“Resurrection Is the Way of the World: An Easter Celebration” with Revs. Mellen Kennedy and Will Hunter

April 4, 10 am

Got hope?  Life can astound us with beauty, or pain or awe, stopping us in our tracks.  Our hearts break open with inexpressible experiences.  Join us for a celebration of life in spite of and even because of the challenges.  As the earth awakens around us, let’s gather to renew ourselves as well.  You’re invited to stay for a virtual coffee hour after the service.  

Spiritual Makerspace Service: Engaging Mind, Body and Heart with Neva Cockrell and Raphael Sacks

April 11, 10 am

Creativity flows through each of us, with the possibility to guide us back to ourselves, through the practice of free expression. Join in a spring-time Spiritual Makerspace full of guided free movement exploration and heart-centered group singing. As the winter fades away, it’s time to awaken our bodies and voices, bring our brave hearts forward, and meet each other in embodied community. Come as you are, leave with new songs and movement to energize your life! 

Neva Cockrell is a professional dancer and interdisciplinary artist who uses art as a tool for social change. Raphael Sacks is a performing artist and a founding member of Loom Ensemble. They co-direct the Art Monastery in Springfield, VT, a community that hosts artist retreats and offers public classes in meditation, visual arts and movement.

“Race Amity”  with Dr. William H. Smitty Smith and Rev. Mellen Kennedy

April 18, 10 am

Race relations in America will not substantially improve unless the public discourse on race moves beyond the blame-grievance-rejection framework to one that recognizes and celebrates our ability to overcome racial prejudice through association, amity, and collaboration. While the tradition of racial oppression was unfolding, a parallel tradition, largely hidden and poorly understood, was demonstrating some of the most positive qualities to be found in American history. This “other tradition”, of close collaboration, amity, and love has served as the moral and spiritual counterweight to the dominant tradition of racism that occupies so much of our national history. The other tradition offers a new entry point for the public discourse on race.  Please join us for watch party of the film, An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition, which will be shown by the Springfield Library on April 14 at 6 pm.  The film is free, but you must pre-register at

William H. “Smitty” Smith, EdD, Founding Executive Director, National Center for Race Amity. With a background in public education administration and communication, he promotes cross racial/cross cultural amity as a means of moving America towards E Pluribus Unum. He was the Executive Director of the Center for Diversity in Communication Industries at Emerson College.  He is the concept creator/Co-Executive Producer for the 2018 documentary, An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition. He was the principal organizer of the State Bill establishing Race Amity Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He co-authored, with Dr. Richard Thomas, Race Amity: America’s Other Tradition (2019)

Restore the Muse: Finding Your Way Back to Innate Creativity” with Angie Follensbee-Hall

April 25, 10 am

Do you find yourself falling into worn-out routines and thought patterns that interrupt your creative flow? Do you know you could be living with more inspiration and expression, but feel uncertain about where to begin? In this Spiritual Makerspace service, we will explore our thoughts about what inspires us, what role the muse has had in our past and in the natural world, and how to identify the key moment when we stopped believing we were creative. Activities will include reflective writing, discussion, and simple hands-on exercises. All are welcome to attend, whether you consider yourself an artist or not. Please bring paper or a notebook and something to write with. 
Angie Follensbee-Hall is an artist and a teacher, based in Brownsville, VT. She creates mixed media and handmade paper tapestries inspired by nature, stories, and the deep mystery of the world. For over 20 years she has taught classes, workshops, teacher training, private mentoring, and coaching in art techniques, creativity and yoga.

Mar 242021

Entheogens Discussion Group
 on Psychedelic Chaplaincy YouTube,
Friday, April 2nd from 6 to 7:15 pm

Watch the video ahead of time here: , then
let’s get together and discuss this YouTube on Psychedelic Chaplaincy on Friday, April 2nd from 6 to 7:15 pm.  That will be the 59th year anniversary of The Good Friday Experiment!  (  Seems like a perfect time to gather for a conversation and celebrate the progress that is unfolding!
Here’s the Zoom link for our discussion:
One tap mobile:  +16465588656,,6130779853#
Or dial in:    +1 646 558 8656   Meeting ID: 613 077 9853

“Race Amity” Watch Party
Wednesday, April 14, 6-7 pm
With Springfield Town Library on Eventbrite (free)

This documentary discusses the “better in us” perspective needed in the current climate of disunity across racial, religious, and political lines.  Event is sponsored by Springfield UU Church and Springfield Town Library. Everyone is welcome. Please register ahead here:    Free.
Dr. William “Smitty” Smith, Founding Executive Director of the National Center for Racial Amity and person behind the film, will be a special guest speaker at the Meetinghouse on Sunday, April 14 at 10 am.

“The Sacred Art of Storytelling” Spiritual Makerspace Skillshare with Rev. Mellen Kennedy

Saturday, April 24, 10 am-12 noon

As part of the Makerspace project we plan to convene members of the community for conversations, skill shares and community service that imagine the Spiritual Makerspace into being. Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy will offer a storytelling skill share on April 24th, an essential skill for anyone who runs a business, works for a cause or communicates online. 
Rev. Mellen will offer the skillshare “The Sacred Art of Storytelling” on Saturday, April 24 from 10am-noon. To learn more and sign up, visit .

Pop-up Outdoor Concert at the Meetinghouse Sunday, April 25, 3-5 pm – Weather permitting

Our first pop-up event of the season is planned for Sunday the 25th, weather permitting.  Bill Brink and Matt Meserve will perform.  This will be a socially distanced event and masks are required.
More details will be posted soon.  (If the weather is iffy, check our website or facebook page about possible cancellation.) 

Mar 032021

“Nature’s Best Hope”
Book Discussion Group
with Mountain Valley Climate Action

Wednesdays, March 24, March 31 & April 7 at 6 pm

This month, the Meetinghouse Book Group will meet in conjunction with folks in Chester.  Cheryl Joy Lipton and Melody Reed are holding a book of the month discussion group for MVCA (Mountain Valley Climate Action, a 350VT “node”) and anyone who wants to join. They are starting with Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy, who recently spoke at the Grafton Nature Museum. The discussion will be led by Ecologist and Landscape Architect, Cheryl Joy Lipton.

We will break up the reading into 3 sections and discuss each section once a week over a 3-week period. We will begin discussing Chapters 1-6 Wednesday, March 24 at 6 pm.  Zoom link for this group will be:

 A limited number of the hardcover books are available at the Meetinghouse at the discounted price of $25 each.  Please contact Deb Diegoli at if interested.  (We will also have one loaner copy if price is an object.) All welcome!


Sponsored by SunCommon, 350Vermont and Others, March 2- 12, 2021

We encourage folks to watch this online film festival which includes multiple short fims and discussions : You need to pre-register and there’s a suggested $10/person donation to cover the cost of the entire festival.

Feb 242021

“The Hidden Heart of Freedom” an  On-Line Spiritual Makerspace Service  with Suiko McCall

Sunday, March 7

Art can transform our perceptions of reality and inspire experiences of liberation.
Is that sense of uninhibited expression available to everyone?How can artmaking, crafting, or any physical realm activity be a spiritual practice?
Join Founder and Abbess of the Art Monastery in Springfield ( Suiko McCall for a one-hour immersion into an Artmonk practice session, which includes meditation of drawing (or painting), writing, and movement. In this hands-on experience, Suiko will share her insights from more than a decade of experimenting at the overlap of spiritual practice and creative practice.  In this guided practice you will have the opportunity to draw, write and/or move as you feel called. It’s particularly delicious if you set yourself up for the possibility to do all three activities and then follow your joy in the moment.
You will need:

  • a sketchbook and drawing supplies (pens, paper, markers, crayons, pencils — whatever sounds most fun to you) and/or
  • a journal or paper and a writing pen and/or
  • comfy clothing you can move in

Virtual coffee hour after the service.

“Class of 2020: What Have We Learned” Part 1 with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

Sunday, March 14

The School of Hard Knocks can bring some pretty profound lessons. In the wild ride of the past year, what wisdom have we distilled? This week I’ll share what stands out for me as I look back on the most interesting year yet. Next week, You’ll get to share your lessons learned. Let these insights strengthen and ground us as we move into 2021.

“Welcome Spring! Carrying the Lessons of 2020 into the New Season”  with Sharon Mueller and Friends

Sunday, March 21

Let’s share what we’ve learned in the past twelve months to renew and strengthen ourselves as we welcome Spring. This service will build on last week’s reflection by Rev. Mellen. We’ll hear from friends and members about the inspiration, insights and pearls of wisdom that we’ve gleaned so far on this journey.

This service will also pick up on Suiko McCall’s last service in our Sanctuary a year ago, “The Council Fires Are Lit!”, where we passed a Talking Stick, and spoke from our hearts. Please have ready your own ‘stick’- a twig, a branch, or even a pencil; and a candle to light, symbolic of our Council Fires. Let’s share from our hearts the truth of what we have learned from this pandemic, and what world we envision as we step through this portal, on zoom, together.

“The Gospel According to the Simpsons”* with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

Sunday, March 28

In celebration of April Fool’s Day, what better place to turn than Matt Groening’s Simpsons and the friends and neighbors of Springfield.  As You may recall, in 2009, our very own town of Springfield, Vermont won the national contest to become the location for showing the premiere of the Simpson’s Movie!  Let’s celebrate the healing power of humor and Springfields all over the US.  Join  us for some love, laughs and life-affirming spirit. *Note: The title for this sermon is borrowed form the book by Mark Pinksy. 

Feb 042021

“Halfway to Spring” Hot Chocolate Gathering
With Sharon Mueller, via Zoom
Saturday, February 6, 2-3 pm

In honor of Vermont Hot Chocolate Week (Feb 1-7th) and Imbolc (also Candlemas and Ground Hog Day, February 2nd), we invite you to bring a cup of cocoa or other hot beverage and join Sharon to share plans and dreams for spring.  Topics can range from seed catalogs and gardens to spring outings and anything else you’d like. 
You can find out more about Hot Chocolate Week here: Vermont Hot Chocolate Week

February Film: ” A View from a Different Lens: Race Amity” Watch Party ~ Preregister for Free Film Showing and Discussion, Online with the Springfield Library
Wednesday, February 17,  6-7:30 pm

The Springfield Town Library is having a free online showing and discussion of ” An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition.” The film itself is 52 min.long.

The primary purpose of the documentary project, An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition, is to impact the public discourse on race. To move the discourse from the “blame/grievance/rejection” cycle to a view from a different lens, the lens of “amity/collaboration/access and equity.”

In contrast to the lens that focuses exclusively on the racist traditions that are rooted in America’s social history, the moral counterweight of close, loving, friendship and collaboration, which have always been present in our history, represents “the other tradition.” More about the film here: You need to pre-register to attend, no charge:

Tai Chi for Fall Prevention, Zoom Classes
with Sue Rubel, Tai Chi Vermont Certificated Instructor
Mondays, 10:30 am & Tuesdays, 5 pm
Please contact Sue at if you’d like to  join.

Sue would also like to offer a beginners group on either Monday ,Tuesday or Wednesday.,If you are, please email her directly.

Finding Peace in Troubled Times – Meditation Series  ~ Tuesday Evenings at 6:30 pm

Singing Meditation is an interfaith spiritual practice of singing devotional chants from a variety of faiths interspersed with periods of silence in which participants meditate, contemplate, or pray.  Chant can carry us into silence in a special way. Silence centers our souls.  One need not be a ‘singer’ to participate – just open to embracing tranquility.  No experience necessary – all are welcome.  Drop in one week or every week.  This is a Zoom virtual experience – if you’d like to participate, contact Julane ( or 802-463-9719) for lyrics.

Jan 302021

You’re Invited  ~ six-month journey of learning, listening, healing and harmonizing.

“Stop the shouting and cool the temperature.  Unity is the path forward.  ~President Joe Biden in his inauguration speech

What’s Your Part in Creating a Path of Unity Forward?

  • How Did We Get Here?
  • What’s Behind Our National Problems?
  • What Creative Opportunities Are There?
  • What We Need Is a Shift of Consciousness!

Let’s read, watch, discuss, practice & explore:

1. Social Media’s Link to Polarization:

The Social Dilemma. Documentary released January, 2020.

TED Talk by Tristan Harris, one of the folks in The Social Dilemma:

2. Income Disparity, Hopelessness, Climate Justice

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis  by J.D. Vance



Interview with JD Vance & Megan Kelly:

3. Race, Trauma, Civil War Legacy

Seeing White, Podcast Series with John Biewen & Chenjerai Kumanyika

My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Healing Our Hearts and Bodies, book by Resmaa Menakem

Interview with Tami Simon & Resmaa Menakem: Somatic Abolitionism

Vermont Humanities Speaker, Jane Williamson, Abolition Historian  

4. Authoritarianism, Fascism

The Road To Unfreedom. Timothy Snyder’s book

40-minute interview:

5. Being Cool: Engaging In Spiritual Practices

Let’s Shift Our Consciousness! “Cool Down!” Cultivating within Ourselves the Sacred Place of Listening, So We Can Create a Third Space Beyond Duality 

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.  ~Rumi

Practices to Bring Us to Awareness of the Sacred Within Include: Meditating, Praying, Doing Tai Chi, Singing Mediation, Doing Yoga, Chanting, Being Silent, Reading Poetry and Sacred Scriptures, Worshiping, Creating an Altar, Moving, Dancing, Forgiving, Being Present, Paying Attention, Breathing, Being in Nature, Walking, Being Grateful, Creating Art, Looking at Art, Other Practices?

Engage In Activities and Conversations with Folks Who Are Different Than You  ~  Steve Crofter’s Project

“In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships  that saves everything.”  Thomas Merton


6 Months from Now We’ll Gather Virtually and In-Person At the Civil War Memorial at the Weathersfield Meetinghouse, VT As Changed People, Ready To Engage in a Ritual for Healing

Jan 262021

Zoom Info:

Or dial in: +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 613 077 9853

  “My Healing Hands” with Bet Bailey

February 28, 10 am

Bet will talk about how she got her gift of healing, what its like to be a practitioner, and what its like to receive this healing.

A Springfield, VT, Charlestown, NH resident for over 40 years, Elizabeth (Bet) Bailey loves her 3 grown children and several grandkids. Active in 4-H, Cub Scouts and a deaconess in Acworth, NH Church, Bet has also worked at Women’s Supportive Services, area newspapers as a journalist, Exec. Asst. at Fort at No. 4 Museum, and Asst. Mgr. at Brooks Pharmacy. She has been doing hands on healing for over 35 years. She is a gardener and naturalist. She has been studying PTSD for a number of years.


“Tending the Beloved: An AltarMaking Space” with Charis Boke, PhD

February 7, 2021, 10 am

In this spiritual makerspace we gather songs, stories, and objects of a beloved. This can be a person, a place, an activity, a spirit or deity. Dr Charis Boke guides us through what it means to build an altar, how to choose what goes on one, and the beginnings of the materials for our own altars. Please set up a paper and pen, and have a small area on a table or bookshelf cleared for your altar. If you have access to a small bowl and a small candle (votive or tea lights fine, as are electric candles), please have those readily available. You may also choose to have some plants or other natural objects available for the altarmaking.

“The Curiosity of Cupid: A Valentine’s Day Celebration” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

February 14, 10 am

In the words of St. Augustine, “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance.” Huh? Let’s explore the reality and power of these words as we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

“Race Amity: A Friendly Way Forward!” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Ahmad Abdel-Mawgood

February 21, 10 am

An encounter with Ahmad Abdel-Mawgood 8 years ago set me on trajectory of working on Countering Islamophobia, which I’ve been doing ever since. Ahmad will join me in this service as we explore Race Amity. This approach is the brain-child of William “Smitty” Smith, the inspiring founder of the National Center for Race Amity. Smitty sees a way out of our current morass by focusing on the stories of cross-racial collaboration which have existed since the founding of this country. Join Ahmad and me in this service as we share stories about our friendship, and explore and celebrate Race Amity.
You’re invited to stay for a short coffee half-hour and then
a discussion of Race Amity from 11:30 to 12:30.

Jan 102021

Drop in Friends on the Path Group after the 10 am service with JoAnn Gaffron-Hargrove and Poet Rajnii Eddins.

Group Purpose: making friends, growing spiritually, and co-
creating a beautiful, just, compassionate, sustainable future together.

“Our concepts of whiteness, blackness and race were invented in the seventeenth century. The terms
white person, white woman, or white man, did not appear until the 1600’s … Race is s myth – something made up in the seventeenth century that has been carried forward, day by day and century after century, into the present. As Quinn Norton observes, ‘Whiteness is one of the biggest and most long-running scams ever perpetuated.’” My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem, pp, 64-47

All welcome. Join us by Zoom (or stay on the call after the service and coffee time).

Jan 012021

Zoom info:

Or dial in: +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 613 077 9853

January 31: Annual “Word Service”with Tina Feindel, Sharon Mueller, and Rhianon Glidden

Join Tina Feindel, Sharon Mueller and Rhianon Glidden for our annual Word Service as we celebrate in words and music, poetry and song. We’ll interweave words of praise, thanks and hope!


January 3: “Aha! The Power of Epiphany” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

What’s the significance of those moments when our awareness shifts and we see with fresh eyes?  And new vision is what we do need right now in these interesting times.  “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.” said Einstein.  2021 is replete with challenges to solve and thus ripe with opportunities for fresh perspectives. You’re invited to a system upgrade! And we’ll get to vote on a new name for The Grinch! You’re welcome to stay for social hour after the service.

January 10: “As a City Upon a Hill: Regrouping after the Capitol Insurrection” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

We are living in historic times.  Join us on Zoom to be together after the challenges we have witnessed on our screens unfolding in Washington, DC this week.  Let’s gather to support each other, remind each other of a larger vision of one humanity, and reach for deeper understanding and a broader view on what transpired. 
Enjoy these words from President Calvin Coolidge, “To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”  Stay for coffee hour and time to talk after the service. 

January 17: “We Are a Gentle Angry People.” with JoAnn Gaffron-Hargrove and Rajnii Eddins

Hymn 170:”We Are a Gentle, Angry People”. Yes, indeed, we are! This hymn so describes us. We are gentle, peace loving, kind, compassionate people who respect the worth and dignity of every person. But we are also angry about the social injustices, the hate, inequality, wars and suffering in the world and we want to do something about it.
We follow the example of Martin Luther King Jr.. We support Black Lives Matter We march and attend peaceful rallies. We read and discuss books like My Grandmother’s Hand and The Hate You Give.
Can we do more? Can a white person understand the black experience?
Our guest speaker will be Rajnii Eddins., spoken word poet, emcee and teaching artist. Originally from Seattle Washington, he has been engaging diverse community audiences for over 27 years. He was the youngest member of the Afrikan American Writers Alliance at age 11 and has been actively sharing with youth and community in Vermont since 2010. His latest work Their Names Are Mine aims to confront white supremacy while emphasizing the need to affirm our mutual humanity.

January 24: “Real Relationships Save Everything” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

In the wake of the Inauguration, what is your part in helping heal America?  As Michelle Obama said, “It’s up to each of us to do our part. To reach out. To listen.”  Come and discern what your part is.  Join us in this six-month challenge to learn, listen, reflect, read, watch, pray, share, reach out, laugh, cry and transform.  As Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” As You change Yourself, You heal the world.  Stay for a small group discussion, “Real Relationships: Harmony Bound” facilitated by Rev. Mellen after virtual coffee hour.