The Work Continues Even When the Building is Closed

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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 242019

* Hope and Inspiration for Healing and Well-Being!

 Dr. Jim Cahill and Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy (January 19, 2020)

You can watch a recording of this service, thanks to Bill Brink and June Sumner, on the SAPA TV WEBSITE:

Why Are We Talking About Psychedelics at Church? by Rev. Mellen Kennedy

HANDOUT:   19-01-06entheogensideasinsert-3

Dear Friends and Members,

As You may be aware, psychedelics or entheogens was the subject which I preached about on January 6, the Epiphany.  (Above* is a link to a handout I shared summarizing some points in that sermon).  And on March 10th, I’ll offer part two of the sermon.  Then after the coffee hour on the 10th we’ll have a book group discussion of Michael Pollan’s new book, “How to Change Your Mind.”  Why is this topic worthy of our attention?  As we leap into the world we need, what we need most is a shift in our consciousness.  To quote Einstein, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”  We need a more expansive awareness of ourselves, the world and our interconnectedness.  We need mystical experiences.  There are many practices that can invite these experiences such as meditating, chanting, creating music, singing, dancing, praying, walking in nature and so many more.  We can’t force them but we can invite them.

Are psychedelics a valid avenue of mystical experience?  Intelligent, well-intentioned people disagree on this question.  It turns out that we’re in a psychedelic renaissance.  Since the 1990’s, research is being conducted once again legally at major institutions including Johns Hopkins.       Evidence is growing for the benefits of entheogens for numerous problems including alcoholism, PTSD, anxiety, end-of-life distress, addiction and more.  There is also a growing understanding of the benefits of entheogens for healthy people who are seeking psychological or spiritual unfoldment rather than treatment for a malady.   In his book, Michael Pollan explains and explores this beautifully.  I think it behooves us as religious seekers to learn about, openly explore and respectfully discuss all avenues of mystical experience, including entheogens.  You’re invited to join us for this exploration if You feel so inclined.  May our expanded conversations and consciousness help us find creative ways to help heal our beautiful and broken world.  See You at the Meetinghouse.

With Love,




Jan 012019

If You’re looking for a way to make friends and go deeper in your spiritual exploration, please join us for small group discussions.  We meet monthly and are open to new members.  There’s a Thursday group which meets at Jeff Taft- Dick’s.  Please contact him for more info at
The Sunday meeting is a drop-in group facilitated by Rev. Mellen and meets usually on one of the Sundays when Mellen is preaching.  The next one will be January 6 and will be on the topic of  the service,”How to Change Our Minds and the New Science of Psychedelics.”  All welcome.

Nov 192018

Open to the public, accessible to those with disabilities. Unless otherwise noted, all events are FREE.  Held at the Meetinghouse at 21 Fairground Road, Springfield, VT.  All welcome! Contact for more. 


Gentle Yoga Holiday De-stressor with Aimee Parnell, Wed, Dec 5, 5:30-7 pm

Ahhh . . . . Relief from the December hustle and bustle . . . .
The yogic principal of Seva, or service, and the mindfulness practice of gratitude,  can be antidotes to stress.  Certified yoga instructor Aimee Parnell will offer a gentle yoga class on Wednesday, December 5, at 5:30 pm at the Meetinghouse.
Admission is by donation of a gift item(s) such as children’s books, clothing, or toys (unwrapped) for families in need.   Afterwards we’ll have tea and light refreshments and wrap the gifts. Please sign up in advance so we can contact you if we need to reschedule due to bad weather. Contact Deb Diegoli:; 802-885-3327.

First Friday Film: “Rumi – Poet of the Heart,” Fri, Dec 7 at 7 pm

Get ready for our Rumi Night (Dec. 15) by watching this free film.  Doors open at 6:45 pm; movie starts at 7 pm. Enjoy free popcorn; all welcome!

Rumi Night with Dances of Universal Peace, Sat, Dec 15, 7-9 pm

A CELEBRATION OF Mevlana Jellaludin Rumi. A participatory EVENING OF POETRY, ZIKR & Sufi DANCING. LIVE MUSIC!  Donations accepted.

More info: ; 860-884-3371;

Community Event: Games & Crafts Night, Sat, Dec. 1st, 6:30-8:30 pm

Join us for an evening of games, crafting and card writing on Saturday,  December 1st, 6:30-8:30 pm.  Bring a favorite game, a holiday gift you’re making, your holiday cards or any other craft project.  Games and coloring will also be available. Join the conversation and the fun at the UU Meetinghouse, 21 Fairground Road, Springfield, VT 05156.  All welcome!

“Love the Hell out of this World!” with minister and drummer Matt Meyer, Sun, Dec 2, 10 am

A special service,  “Love the Hell out of this World,”  with minister and drummer Matt Meyer will be held at the Springfield Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse on December 2 at 10 am.  When the culture around us doesn’t encourage us to our best selves, how do we model the kind of world we want to live in? Matt will reflect on the good and bad of middle school, the time he picked the very best costume for a high-stakes 5th grade costume party, & how we find the skills for beloved community.
Matt is a musician and community organizer who has led hundreds of services for UU congregations across the country. He has a degree in hand drumming and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana and Central America. Matt serves as Director of Community Life for Sanctuary Boston and is a founding resident of the Lucy Stone Cooperative in Roxbury.

Drumming & Spirituality Workshop  with Matt Meyer, Sun, Dec 2, 12-1:30 pm

Drummer Matt Meyer will hold a “Drumming & Spirituality” workshop at the Springfield UU Meetinghouse on Sunday, Dec. 2, 12-1:30 pm.  This will be a chance for people of all skill levels to participate in hands on rhythm-making. We’ll tour instruments from around the world and experience the connection of community drumming through activities, stories, and discussions. We’ll also look at how rhythm and music intersect with Unitarian Universalist values.  Bring your own drum if you have one; for those who don’t, enough will provided.

Matt is a musician and community organizer who has led hundreds of services for UU congregations across the country. He has a degree in hand drumming and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana and Central America. Matt serves as Director of Community Life for Sanctuary Boston and is a founding resident of the Lucy Stone Cooperative in Roxbury.

Free, accessible and open to the public.  All welcome! Held at the Meetinghouse at 21 Fairground Rd, Springfield, VT.
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?   ______________________________________________________________________

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:

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.




Jun 132018

“The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro”
Here at the Springfield UU
Join us as we read together the fiery July 5, 1852 speech in which the great abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This is a participatory event. Community members are invited to witness and/or join in the reading. Copies of the speech will be provided.  Discussion led by Rev. Mellen after the speech.

May 262018

Have you been inspired by a really great speaker who was able to convey passion for a topic without reading a script?  Perhaps it was someone you saw give a TED talk, or maybe it was Bishop Michael Curry at the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. If you ever need to speak in public, whether for large groups or small, these skills are important – and learnable.

The best way to learn them is in a non-threatening, small group workshop.  On Saturday, June 9th, Rev. Mellen Kennedy will be holding such a workshop at the Springfield UU, 21 Fairground Road, from 10:00am – 4:30pm.  If you are interested in learning about, or improving your skill and comfort with, speaking without script, this workshop is for you.  You’ll receive resources, support and techniques for public speaking.  We’ll work in safe, respectful small groups where we’ll actually practice.  You’ll come away uplifted and empowered to share your important message in a way that really engages your audience, whether you’re presenting  at work, volunteer settings, social engagements or church.  Register now for this fun endeavor! Cost is just $35, and generous scholarships are available thanks to NYSCU (New York State Convention of Universalists).

To register, down load the registration form here .Contact Rev. Mellen at with questions or scholarship requests.

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 co-founder of the Small Group Ministry Network.  Rev. Mellen is an ordained Sufi Cheraga and 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.

Apr 252018

  Dances of Universal Peace Return to Springfield

Sunday, May 20, 2 pm

Springfield UU Church, 21 Fairground Road

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.