Debbie Diegoli

Sep 272018

As spiritual teachers and leaders, it’s our responsibility and privilege to preach, inspire, teach, help, challenge and heal. We can do this especially effectively through stories. In this workshop we’ll explore the differences between oral and written culture, the human propensity for stories (including some current research findings from psychology and neuroscience), the role of stories in religious traditions, and some fundamentals of engaging storytelling. The workshop will include worship, didactic presentations, examples of effective storytelling, and practical work in carefully structured small groups conducive for learning. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy, practice and be with colleagues. The workshop is designed for both those who are experienced and those who are newcomers to the practice of sacred storytelling.

Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy is passionate about helping speakers find their authentic voice. She has practiced the art of speaking without a manuscript and storytelling for many years. She is cofounder of Preaching from the Heart Mellen is enthusiastic about and an expert in creating small group settings that are safe, fun and transformative. She is cofounder of the Small Group Ministry Network. Rev. Mellen is an ordained Sufi Cheraga and also a Unitarian Universalist minister. She has the honor of serving the Springfield Unitarian Universalist church in Vermont. Mellen serves as a member of the Board of the Inayati Order, a Sufi Path of Spiritual Liberty.

Lunch: Please bring your own sack lunch
Directions:  visit  for directions to 252 Main Street, Charlestown, NH 03603
Fee: The fee is $50 for those who are not members of the Springfield or Charlestown UU Congregations. Scholarships are available.
Registration: By November 12, 2018, please print and fill out the form below and mail to Rev. Mellen Kennedy, PO Box 944, Springfield, VT 05156, with an enclosed check made to Rev. Mellen Kennedy.  Looking forward to seeing You there.

Questions?  Contact Rev. Mellen at

Registration for Sacred Art of Storytelling, November 17, 2018 in Charlestown, NH

Email:   ________________________________   Phone:___________________________
Affiliation (congregation or organization):_____________________________________________________________
Lay leader? Seminarian? Professional religious leaders?_______________________________________________________________________
Past experience with sacred art of storytelling?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pressing question, idea or need?   ______________________________________________________________________

Sep 262018

Saturday, October 20, Coffeehouse Music Series: Gus Bloch, 7 pm

The music Gus performs includes  Folk, Folk Revival, Old Time, Cowboy, Country, Children’s and Old Time Jazz.  He plays guitar and banjo along with a variety other instruments.  We are excited to host Gus again and hear his music. This is a family-friendly  evening of music and fun at the Meetinghouse, Doors open at 6:30; music begins at 7 pm.  Free admission. You may purchase coffee and refreshments. All welcome!

Sunday, October 21, Bread and Roses, Too Discussion – The Impact of the Textile Industry, 12 Noon

Join us for the final in our series of Vermont Reads Bread and Roses, too events, following the service “Weaving the Fabric of Our Lives and Our Souls” (and the coffee hour). The modern industrial world was ushered in by a dramatic shift from homespun to factory produced fabrics.  What does this mean to who we are as humans and how we work, create and live? Why is this a spiritual issue? We’ll use the book, “Bread and Roses, Too” as a source of inspiration.  This small group discussion will be facilitated by Rev. Mellen Kennedy.

Friday, October 5: First Friday Film “BEYOND OUR DIFFERENCES”, 7 pm

With all of the problems facing the world today — war, poverty, weapons, environmental degradation, starvation, overpopulation and severe desperation among millions — people are longing for meaning. Many find answers in religion or spirituality, but as a result faith and religion are often hijacked by those seeking to enhance their own power at the expense of others, often all in the name of God.
With this dichotomy in mind, we call upon key religious leaders, politicians, and luminaries in their fields to tackle the toughest and most complex issues in the modern age, and we ask what inspires them to affect positive change. We hope that by sharing their personal experiences, each person will provide a unique perspective on how to support and strengthen compassionate and non-violent activism when resolving difficult disputes.
Beyond Our Differences provides a tapestry of distinct voices and viewpoints regarding spirituality, woven with one universal expression of hope. By providing such a variety of experiences in such an accessible format, we hope that individual viewers will understand this unified message of hope and will become empowered through their own expressions of faith to impact positive change in their lives and the lives of others.
Free admission and popcorn. Doors open at 6:45; movie starts at 7 pm. All welcome!

Saturday, October 6, Cannabis 101 with Stephanie Boucher, 10 am-12 noon

Want to learn more about cannabis now that its been legalized in Vermont for adult use? Are you confused about the differences between THC and CBD, hemp and marijuana, and what the new laws mean? Wondering whether it might be a good herb for you or your loved ones? Join us for an exploration of the many herbal actions and applications of the cannabis plant, including pharmacology, herbal energetics, historical uses, dosing, and safety, as well as an explanation of what is now legal (and what is still prohibited). Finally, we will make a hemp-infused salve for everyone to take home, along with a recipe.

Stephanie Boucher is a certified Clinical Herbalist, having graduated from the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism’s 3-year Clinical Herbalist Training Program. In addition to her traditional herbal training, she also holds a Professional Certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, and has over 5 years of experience in the cannabis industry.

Held here at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, 21 Fairground Road, Springfield, VT.

Sunday, October 7, Free Introduction to Tai Chi Class with Anne Bower, 1-2 pm

This free class will let you experience selected movements from different tai chi styles and discover for yourself why so many people are now taking tai chi classes. As we play with different ways of moving you’ll see how tai chi can improve your balance, help you with better body alignment, and bring a new sense of coordination. We’ll try out both standing and seated forms. In all cases you'll find tai chi’s movements gentle and slow, allowing time for you to
open your senses in new ways.
No experience is necessary. Instructor Anne Bower has been teaching for 13 years
and loves bringing tai chi to people of varying abilities and interests.
Please wear comfortable clothing and flat shoes.All welcome!

Wednesday October 10, “Just Our Voices” Monthly Song Circle, 7-9 pm

Join us for a friendly, casual song circle. No instruments, just our voices enjoying the pleasures and stories of songs. Join in sharing a song or listen to others sharing a song; sing along or listen. A performance-free, non-judgmental space to join together for the pleasure of singing. (Please remember: voices only, no instruments.) Free, all welcome.  Held here at the Meetinghouse.

 Saturday, October 13, Games & Stone Soup, 6:30-8:30 pm

Bring your favorite game and a soup ingredient. We’ll put the soup together and let it cook while we play. We’ll also have games on hand to choose from.  Hope to see you there.

Sunday, October 14, Dances of Universal Peace, 12 noon-2 pm

The DANCES OF UNIVERSAL PEACE are simple, joyous, meditative, multicultural, circle
dances that use sacred phrases, chants, music and movements to touch the spiritual
essence within ourselves and recognize it in others. No musical or dance experience of any
kind is required, and everyone is welcomed to join in.The DANCES focus on PEACE, creating
a sense of solidarity and community, while celebrating the underlying unity of all the spiritual
traditions of the earth
No charge, however, donations are gratefully accepted
Additional treat! – Dances will follow Souper Sunday 11:00-Noon
For $4 enjoy a choice of three delicious soups and bread as well as a time for
conversation and meal sharing with each other.
More information on the Dances of Universal Peace can be found at:

Garden Circle Meeting on Monday October 15, 10:30 AM till noon in the Activities Room at the Meetinghouse.

We’ll discuss ideas for expanding our pollinator garden projects, looking at soil sponge regeneration ideas, exploring some grant writing, continuing to collaborate with our neighbors, the Middle School and the Episcopal church, and planning for fall clean up. New members always welcome. Questions or suggestions? Contact Rev. Mellen

Sep 012018

 Coffeehouse: Sam Creigh, Saturday, Sep. 22, 7 pm

Sam Creigh will open the 2018-2019 season at the UU Coffeehouse Music Series on Saturday, Sept. 22, 7 pm.

Sam Creigh began his musical career as a bass player/vocalist/songwriter in the Tucson, AZ area in the early 1970’s. In 1976, he moved to Los Angeles, here he continued playing music while working as an audio and then a video engineer. He began his solo acoustic guitar singer/songwriter career in the 1990’s after relocating to Vermont with his family. He has played throughout Southern and Central Vermont and New Hampshire on the stages of festivals, ski lodges, taverns, open mics, and farmers markets. In the warm weather months, Sam tours the lake country of West-Central Minnesota. His highly-regarded album, “Green Mountain Flyer”, was released in 2002.
Doors open at 6:30 pm;  music starts at 7:00.  All welcome.  You’ll be able to purchase snacks and beverages.



“Celebration of Imagination”

Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox and your own creativity at VINE Sanctuary’s quarterly vegan potluck!
In these challenging times, we all could use a little more imagination. So, we’ll be nurturing and celebrating creativity of all kinds at this fun and forward-thinking event.

Tap into your own creativity in order to bring a dish to share. Create a new spin on an old classic, or create something altogether new by combining unusual ingredients. Or, take a non-vegan recipe and use your creativity to veganize it!

If you can’t or prefer not to bring a dish to share, that’s OK! Come anyway — we always have plenty!

Because we want to honor imagination beyond the kitchen, we’re also inviting attendees to bring a favorite poem or piece of art — by themselves or someone else — to share. We’ll also have fun creativity-boosting games to play while dining and a handout of tips for boosting your creativity to take home with you.

Anybody who brings anything to share, whether it be food or artwork or poetry, will receive a FREE t-shirt. We’ll also be giving out special prizes for especially creative dishes.

The Springfield Unitarian Universalist church is at 21 Fairground Road, and we will be using the Activities Room and adjoining kitchen. This is an accessible venue. All welcome!

“Seeing Through the Wall,” First Friday Film. Sep. 7 at 7 pm

For Israelis and for Jews around the world, the 1948 War of Independence was a miracle—and a new beginning for a suffering people. For Palestinians, it turned out to be a catastrophe. Both narratives exist and paying attention to them is an ethical act.
This film follows a group of 19 American Jews who traveled to Israel and Palestine in 2016. All of them were well aware of the miracle, but most were not familiar with the catastrophe.
For 12 days they toured Israel and Palestine with the intention of listening and learning. They met with Israelis and Palestinians. They witnessed what life is like for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, they learned about the status of Palestinians who live in Israel and are citizens of Israel. They met with Israeli and Palestinian activists who are working for peace.
The journey became an intense encounter not only with the people they met, but also with their own preconceptions, an experience that for many of the travelers was transformative.SEEING THROUGH THE WALL is not a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1948, with all its moral complexities and tragic suffering on both sides. Rather, the film is a look at the present everyday life of Palestinians, and it invites and challenges viewers to question their own assumptions and prejudices.
Directed by Anne Macksoud (from Woodstock, VT)
Trailer can be seen here:
Held at the Springfield UU Meetinghouse, 21 Fairground Rd, Springfield, VT.
Free admission, popcorn and beverages.  All welcome.  Doors open at 6:45; film begins at 7 pm

Special Film Showing: “The Prison in 12 Landscapes”

Friday, September 14, 6:30 pm

The award-winning 2016 documentary “The Prison in 12 Landscapes” — about prisons and how they take shape in the U.S. — will be shown on Friday, Sept. 14, at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse in Springfield, 21 Fairground Rd. The film runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, with a discussion afterward to learn more about the The National Prison Strike taking place between August 21st and September 9th.
The film examines how more people are imprisoned in the United States at this moment than in any other time or place in history, yet the prison itself has never felt further away or more out of sight. “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes” is a film about the prison in which we never see a penitentiary. Instead, the film unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives, from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires, to a Bronx warehouse full of goods destined for the state correctional system, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs.
The National Prison strike has been called for by the Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a group of incarcerated individuals working for human rights. Inmates will carry out work strike, sit-ins and boycotts to bring attention and call for change. Read more about the strike and the full list of demands at

Free admission and light refreshments.  All welcome.
Sep 012018
September 30, “From Shock to Ease: Keep Calm and Love On” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy One of the features of our modern public sphere is that we are being bombarded continuously and intentionally with upsetting, unprecedented, alarming news that destabilizes and disarms us emotionally, physically and spiritually.  When we’re in this state of confusion and perhaps despair, we’re unable to actively create the wonderful world we need now.  Let’s not fall for this barrage of shock.  Come find out why this is so important and how we can resist it individually and collectively.  A small group discussion on the subject facilitated by Rev. Mellen will follow the coffee hour.

September 9: Annual Water Communion In-Gathering with Rev. Mellen Kennedy
We commence our church year as we reconvene our community after the summer months when we’ve had less gatherings.  This will be an intergenerational service in which each of us is welcome to bring water collected from our summer excursions and combine the waters together as a symbol of our community reassembling.  We’ll begin to explore the them for the year, “Leaping into the World We Need”.  Share the Plate recipient this week will be BRAT, the Black River Action Team.  Ice Cream Social after the coffee hour.
September 16:”We the People”an Intergenerational Celebration of Constitution Day with Diane Kemble  We’ll explore the promises in the Preamble to the Constitution and how closely our Unitarian Universalist Principles align with those promises.
We’ll also consider President Coolidge’s reminders such as, “The Constitution of the United States is the final refuge of every right that is enjoyed by any American.”
September 23: “Gather in Love” with Hilary Mullins 
The Reverend Hosea Ballou, who led the Universalist denomination well into the 19th century, was an able and moving speaker in the pulpit.  Preaching for a total of six decades, he challenged  the fire and brimstone talk of his Calvinist brethren with a powerful theology of love. Come learn more about this charismatic, brilliant forefather while we explore the relevance of his old-time Universalism in our world today.
Hilary Mullins has studied at Starr King, the UU seminary in Berkeley, and is a graduate of the Vermont Academy of Spiritual Training, a lay-training program of the Congregationalist Church. She is also an alum of The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction. A writer, teacher, and part-time preacher, she lives in Bethel, Vermont.
Aug 122018
Workshop rescheduled – date to be announced
Springfield UU Church, 21 Fairground Road, Springfield, VT
 “I pin my hopes to small circles and quiet processes
where vital and transforming events take place.”
~ Rufus Jones, Quaker theologian and activist

In these challenging times, we can feel overwhelmed, discouraged and even depressed.  Yet we have spiritual resources that we can draw on to ground and empower us as we navigate through troubled waters.  Small group ministry or covenant groups provide a setting for sharing, reflection, and hope.  In this workshop we’ll explore how these groups provide a foundation for friendship and spiritual growth and a supportive space for cultivating our resilience.  The workshop will include actual small group experiences where we can find solace, inspiration and strength. Bring your ideas form your own life experiences.

Workshop Leader: Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy is enthusiastic about and an expert in creating small group settings that are safe, fun and transformative. She is co-founder of the Small Group Ministry Network.  Rev. Mellen is an ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister and a Sufi cheraga.  She has the honor of serving the Springfield Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Vermont.
Registration:  Please bring your own sack lunch.  The workshop is free for members of the Springfield UU Church.  Registration form can be dowloaded here:

Aug 042018

The DANCES OF UNIVERSAL PEACE (DUP) are simple, joyous, meditative, multicultural, circle dances that use sacred phrases, chants, music and movements to touch the spiritual essence within ourselves, and recognize it in others. These Dances are based on teachings embraced by Universal Sufism. No musical or dance experience of any kind is required, and everyone is welcomed to join in.

The DANCES focus on PEACE, creating a sense of solidarity and community, while celebrating the underlying unity of all the spiritual traditions of the earth. The Dances are led by Walia Sandra & Shems William Guillow of DUP.


Accessible to all.

CT DUP Contact : (860) 303-3717

Jul 172018

Join us at Tree Farm Campground, 53 Skitchewaug trail, Springfield for an evening of food, music and fun!  We’ll have a potluck meal, campfire singalong led by Laurel Green, a skit based on the book Bread and Roses, Too by Vermont author Katherine Paterson, marshmallow toasting and other snacks. Steve Crofter of the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP) will speak. Free copies of the book are available at the church (on the harvest table in the foyer)  and at the event thanks to a grant from the Vermont Humanities Council.  All welcome, especially kids! EVENT HELD RAIN OR SHINE UNDER THE PAVILION.

Optional tent camping is available that night at the special rate of $5 per tent.  To get the special rate, you must contact Deb Diegoli in the church office,

Admission to the event is free.  Voluntary donations to CASP will be accepted.

Bread and Roses, Too is the 2018 Vermont Reads selection.

This event is co-sponsored by the Springfield Town Library, Springfield Food Co-op, Tree Farm Campground, the Vermont Humanities Council and CASP.




Jul 072018

Dear Friends and Members of the Springfield UU Church,

We’ll gather for a very special worship service tomorrow, July 8th at 10. Please come join us where You’ll be invited to:

* hear about the book “Bread & Roses, Too”, the Vt Reads book this year about the garment workers strike in Lowell Mass, in 1911, as seen from the perspective of 2 kids caught in that exciting time in history
* receive a free copy of the book for your reading pleasure this summer courtesy of the Vt Humanities Council
* learn and sing some uplifting labor songs performed by Laurel Green and Steve Crofter and learn a dance to one of these songs
* learn about Vermont and US history, and make connections between the US in 1911 and now
* participate in intergenerational conversation and connection ~ kids stay in the service. The book is by renown Vt children’s author, Katherine Paterson, and is suitable for both youth and adult audiences
* be curious about a technological innovation being introduced tomorrow (just come and see)
* let your soul be soothed by the simple sounds of the mountain dulcimer.
* drink in the aroma of real roses
* Roses, Too? Come explore what workers then and now really long for
* learn about what is being done now by creative individuals to help the heal injustices and income inequality
* support the non-profit TogetherRising, assisting refugees at the southern border
* search your own soul for what You’re called to do
* enjoy delicious snacks prepared by the Allman’s for coffee hour
* stay for a small group discussion on all of this after coffee hour facilitated by Rev. Mellen
This promises to be a beautiful, uplifting service, and I hope You’ll join us for the morning.

We also have a very special event tomorrow afternoon for Reading Frederick Douglass, his famous speech from 1852. The details are below. I hope You’ll stay for that as well if You feel moved.

It will be great to gather in community and strengthen ourselves as agents of healing this beautiful and broken world. See You at church!

with Love,
Rev. Mellen