Apr 172017
 

uu-banner-2-230x400In our congregation we have a wonderful way to get to know each other at a deeper level and to have meaningful conversations about spiritual issues: Our Small Group Program. For many member, the small group is a highlight of their month, a time to connect with old and new friends, to explore worthwhile topics in a respectful space that is conducive for deep reflection and sharing. We have three groups: one which meets once a month on Thursday — contact Jeff Taft Dick about this at taftdickjeff@gmail.com. One groups is facilitated by Rev. M’ellen and meets usually once a month on one of the Sundays after church. This is a drop in group open to anyone who would like to participate.

Here is an example of a small group session: fopspiritualpractice4

Feb 272017
 
You’re invited to participate in our Small Group Program.
An opportunity for developing friendship and growing spiritually.
In the groups, we set aside time to go deeper, to listen respectfully to ourselves and each other, and to explore spiritual topics.  The groups have trained facilitators and are fulfilling and fun.  One group meets once a month on Sunday after church and the other on Thursday afternoon.  The Sunday meeting is facilitated by Rev. M’ellen and is a drop-in group, meaning You’re welcome to come when You can.  You don’t have to make a commitment to attend each meeting.  The Thursday group is ongoing and You’re asked to make a commitment to be a regularly attending member.
This year our groups will be a chance to explore in more detail how we can and are
taking back our lives – (the theme of our church year and of some of the worship services).  At each monthly meeting, we’ll explore topics such meditating, creating community, the arts and our spirituality, cultivating self-discipline, and celebrating race amity.  We really hope You’ll join us if You’re looking for more opportunities for community and reflection.  Questions?  Speak with Ellen Allman ellenallman@gmeail.com or Rev. M’ellen mellenken@aol.com 802-377-2999.
Feb 232017
 

Come join us in the church activities room for discussion over a healthy potluck lunch.  What ways are You reclaiming your life?  We’ll find and share inspiration with each other.  Free copies of the book “50 Shortcuts to a Sugar-Free Life” are available on the harvest table if You need an extra boost of ideas on taking back your body and diet.  Our discussion will range over whatever topics are on your heart and need not be limited to food and diet.

Feb 092017
 

Come join us in the church activities room for discussion over a healthy potluck lunch.  What ways are You reclaiming your life?  We’ll find and share inspiration with each other.  Free copies of the book “50 Shortcuts to a Sugar-Free Life” are available on the harvest table if You need an extra boost of ideas on taking back your body and diet.  Our discussion will range over whatever topics are on your heart and need not be limited to food and diet.

Sep 052016
 
You’re invited to participate in our Small Group Program.
An opportunity for developing friendship and growing spiritually.
In the groups, we set aside time to go deeper, to listen respectfully to ourselves and each other, and to explore spiritual topics.  The groups have trained facilitators and are fulfilling and fun.  One group meets once a month on Sunday after church and the other on Thursday afternoon.  The Sunday meeting is facilitated by Rev. M’ellen and is a drop-in group, meaning You’re welcome to come when You can.  You don’t have to make a commitment to attend each meeting.  The Thursday group is ongoing and You’re asked to make a commitment to be a regularly attending member.
This year our groups will be a chance to explore in more detail how we can and are
taking back our lives – (the theme of our church year and of some of the worship services).  At each monthly meeting, we’ll explore topics such meditating, creating community, the arts and our spirituality, cultivating self-discipline, and celebrating race amity.  We really hope You’ll join us if You’re looking for more opportunities for community and reflection.  Questions?  Speak with Ellen Allman ellenallman@gmeail.com or Rev. M’ellen mellenken@aol.com 802-377-2999.
Oct 302015
 

Every board meeting has some standard agenda items, including the treasurer’s report, minister’s report, etc. The good news is- its all good news! Bob says we have enough money in our checking account, and M’ellen reports that, from her perspective, we are doing well. Good news indeed!

One of the things that the Trustees are working on is an analysis of, and improvement of, church communications systems. As we plan for growth, having good communication with all the parts of our congregation is key. M’ellen has a template from another congregation that we’ll use as a guide in creating a communications document for us.

And one of the most important parts of that is our Church Directory. Because of the need to protect people’s privacy, we will be sending out a new form so you may indicate what kinds of information you are comfortable sharing, and what kinds you are not. Of course our Church will never share anyone’s private information beyond our community, but what kind of data are you comfortable sharing within it? Telephone? Email? Address? We need your phone number to have a working telephone tree, most often in case we need to cancel church because of bad weather. So we need to find the balance between public and private, within the context of our Church. Look for more on this topic!

It is both achingly sad and deeply meaningful to be preparing for the Memorial Service, on Sunday, November 8th at 3 pm,  for one of our own, Susan Hunter. This is what we do for each other- honoring the memories, supporting her family, saying goodbye. Susan had just joined the Board when her life took a different turn. Fare thee well, Dear One!

And we carry on… with Coffee Houses, Film Series, Small Group Ministries, SundayServices, great programs for our children, and so much more.  Let It Be a Dance We Do…!

Oct 012015
 

Dear Friends,
In the news today we’re hearing of several stories of contentiousness involving religion.  The flap over a presidential candidate opposing a Muslim sitting in the White House (when our country is founded on religious freedom), the clerk in Kentucky who will not file marriage licenses for gay couples, internationally the Syrian refugees crisis, and the rise of ISIS.
At the same time, a growing body of religious leaders are standing against interreligious fighting and contentiousness, and are standing in solidarity with each other, with justice, with respect for each other and the Earth.   The harmonizing, peace-giving, restorative face of religion is a powerful and hopeful force in the world today. The Pope’s declaration on the environment and on economic justice are examples.  Interfaith groups of Christians, Jews and Muslims have launched a national campaign, “We Refuse to Be Enemies.”  And internationally, the Parliament of World Religions is meeting this month in Salt Lake City “to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.”
I feel very fortunate because I will be attending the Parliament as part of a Sufi delegation.  I first heard about the Parliament in Seminary when taking history classes.  You see, the first Parliament took place in 1893 in Chicago, less than a mile from the UU seminary I attended.  From its inception, the Parliament has been a beacon of hope in our world.  If You want to learn more, please visit http://www.parliamentofreligions.org//mission
After the inaugural event in 1893, the Parliament did not convene for 100 years. It was started again in Chicago in 1993.  Since then it is held every few years at various locations around the globe, recently in Australia and also Spain.  So this year’s gathering in Salt Lake City, though far away in some ways, is relatively close by on a global scale.  Some of this year’s presenters in Salt Lake City will be the Indigenous Grandmothers, the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, Dr. Tariq Ramadan, Arun Ghandi (grandson of the Mahatma), Krista Tippett, Eboo Patel, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Nobel laureate –Mairead Maguire, Dr. John L. Esposito, Marianne Williamson, and Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Arikirangi Rose Pere.  I am grateful that I will have the opportunity to hear their wisdom, and be in their collective presences along with the other 10,000 or so attendees from around the world.
I am especially looking forward to the music which will be performed at the Parliament.  Rev. Patty Willis of the South Valley UU Church in Salt Lake, a friend of mine, and her partner, Mary Lou Price, Music Director there, have been commissioned to write, and with the Parliament choir, perform the opening theme for the Parliament. We in Springfield will actually get a chance to hear some of the music from the Parliament performed by our choir on October 25.
At the worship in Springfield on October 25, I’ll share with You stories and insights from the Parliament.  In this church year, as we explore how to cultivate optimism and be passionate about the impossible, I think that the examples of interfaith cooperation, synergy and harmony are especially inspiring and appropriate.  I believe in the power of prayer because I have experienced it in my life.  My greatest hope for the Parliament is that the collective prayers of all of these sincere hearts attuned to Love will create a ripple of Love which will encircle the planet and continue to help all of us awaken  more to our greatest good.  I look forward to sharing with You what I experience in Salt Lake City.  See You at Church..
With Love,
Rev. M’ellen

Sep 082015
 
Theme for this Church Year:
Cultivating the Art of Optimism:
A Universalist Response to Cultural Shifts and Climate Change
 
Dear Friends and Members of the Springfield Church,
            It was wonderful to see those who were able to attend the summer vespers and  potluck a few weeks ago.  I’ve missed seeing everyone and look forward to our opening Sunday on September 13. 
            We live in interesting times.  We’re experiencing  significant transitions in terms of cultural shifts and climate change.  All around us messages of doom are sounding.  As a Universalist, and as a person of faith, I am choosing a different way.  Yes, I look around  me and  indeed see the evidence of climate change, social unrest, wars, overpopulation, disease, species extinction,  poverty, and so much suffering – human and otherwise.  And yet I am stalwartly optimistic because we humans are waking up. I believe without a doubt in the all-pervading. all healing power of Love.  This is not a namby-pamby, wimpy, fluffy thing.  This Love is the potency for which there is no greater.  As we humans awaken to our deepest nature, to our ability to live with Love and optimism, we can change and even save the world. As Xiuhtezcatl Martinez says:
 
“The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness,
not saving the planet. The planet doesn’t need saving. We do”
And this shift is already happening. Folks all over the globe are saving, loving and healing their patch of the earth.  In his book, “Blessed Unrest,” Paul Hawken, environmentalist and activist, heralds a message of hope for our broken world.  He describes how groups of caring citizens around the globe are indeed saving the planet, one neighborhood, one small effort at a time.  Our small and mighty religious community is one such example in this unofficial and global patchwork of hope and restoration.  So let’s spend this church year together cultivating optimism, learning how to live well, to be embodiments of healing and hope in these transitional times.  We’ll start with our Water Communion.  Please don’t despair, dear friends.  Take heart in the transforming Power of Love.  Commit Yourself to the bright future not just for ourselves, but for our precious children and grandchildren and great, great, great grand children.   May it be so, Blessed be.  Amen!  See You at church.
With Love,
Rev. M’ellen
Sep 082015
 

Notes from the Trustees by Sharon Mueller

 
The Trustees met on a beautiful Sunday in August to plan for the coming year, and to inspire and be inspired! Lynne led us in beautiful song to set the tone for the day. One of the activities we participated in was a small group ministry discussion on Developing as Leaders. M’ellen shared a poem by John O’Donahue called, For a Leader, excerpts of which follow:
 
May you have the grace and wisdom 
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is

Personal and what is not.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze, 
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of the bleak question.
 
May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.
 
May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.
 
May leadership be for you 
A true adventure of growth.
 
I would also like to share with you our Board Covenant, which helps inspire, and keep us on the Path!:

As members of the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Springfield, VT:
 
We will engage with one another, sharing the tasks of the Board and following through on what we have said we’d do, asking for help when needed and knowing this help will be willingly given.
 
We will listen to one another with open minds, speaking honestly and respectfully, staying on topic but embracing differences of opinion and honoring each other’s perspectives. Once a policy decision has been made, we will speak with one voice.
 
We will keep the lines of communication open between ourselves as a Board and the Congregation that has entrusted us with its leadership.
 
We will thank one another and appreciate each other’s gifts and contributions.
Again, we were inspired by our closing reading, inspired by Joanna Macy: 
 
When you act on behalf of something greater than yourself, you begin to feel it acting through you with a power that is greater than your own. This is grace.
If we practice drawing on the wisdom and beauty and strengths of our fellow human beings and our fellow species, we can go into any situation and trust that the courage and intelligence required will be supplied. This is grace.
 
Here’s a reminder that there are church committees that would love new members, so if you are looking for ways to contribute, check it out. The Worship Committee, and the Caring Committee are both looking for people just like You! Ask any board member how to connect.
 
The Board is looking forward to a rich and meaningful year, with good Sunday services, music from the Choir, Small Group Ministry groups, our Coffee House, and so much more. See you soon at Church!