Oct 282018
 
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November 18:  “The Art of Radical Receiving: A Guide to Gratitude” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy  Being strong and tough is great.  However, when it cuts us off from the blessings of Source, then our strength impairs us.  In honor of Thanks giving, let’s delve into the art of gratitude.

November 25 “Virtues for Changing the World” with Rev. Buffy Boke As we work toward a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world, what ideals of behavior are we called to reach for in ourselves?
The Rev. Beverly Morrison Boke — called “Buffy” by just about everyone — was called and settled as minister to the Canton, Massachusetts congregation in August 2011, from which she retired in July of 2017. Immediately prior to that, she served on the Administration Team as a guidance counselor for three years at the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon. Buffy was ordained at the Unitarian Church of Barnstable in 1985. She has served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Newport News, Virginia; Hartland Four Corners, Weathersfield, and Chester, Vermont; and Andover, New Hampshire, and she has supplied pulpits in many other Vermont and New Hampshire towns. Buffy now lives with Nick, her husband of 38 years, in Providence, Rhode Island.

November 4: ” Walking It, Talking It: Universalism & the Practice of Nondefensive Communication”  We are, as the UU hymn goes, a gentle and angry people, but sometimes it’s the angry that gets the upper hand–as well as a little reactive defensiveness and urge to control too! Join Hilary Mullins as she talks about “Taking the War Out of Our Words,” describing a method of  nondefensive communication that is not only practically useful but dovetails with our great Universalist heritage as well.
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.
November 11: “#MeTooHealing: Tiamat Rising!” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy  Women around the globe are saying Enough! to disrespectful treatment and violence.  Religious and spiritual communities have been both culpable for misogyny and fighters against it.  Let’s unpack this complicated history and explore what spiritual resources help us gain our voices and heal.    That we can and do heal from abuse is in itself worth celebrating! You’re invited to stay for a gathering after the coffee hour on the topics of the service which will be open to the public.
Oct 042018
 
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October 28: “Dorothy Day: The World Will be Saved by Beauty: An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother.” Weathersfield native Kate Hennessy will share stories of her grandmother, a journalist, social activist, and co-founder of the Catholic Workers movement, who is now being considered for canonization. Come hear the inside story of this fascinating woman!


October 7: “Our Pets, Our Friends” with Glen Williams and Hallie Whitcomb  We’ll explore how we learn from them.-  “We are theirs, they are not ours.”
“The gift of connectedness to other creatures extends kinship and affection which mitigates our human loneliness…and liberates imagination to the fact that nature itself is indivisible, interdependent and interactive.” (from “We Animals” by Nadya Aisenberg). This service is intergenerational and will be interactive with time to share short stories about our animal friends.
Share the Plate collection to benefit the Springfield Humane Society.

October 14 “Soul, Soil and Our Social Networks: Or How I Became Fungist”
with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Laurel Green

As we leap into the world we need, let’s ground ourselves, literally, in the earth we stand on.  Is soil a spiritual issue?  I’ve come to think that it is.  Join us for an exploration of our connection with the invisible world beneath our feet and what this means for our souls’ survival. Please bring with You some organic matter such as leaves, to contribute to our soil restoration work at the meetinghouse.  We’ll end the service with a foray out to our pollinator gardens where we’ll spread the organic matter and pollinator seeds as we bless this beautiful piece of land that we’ve been entrusted to care for.   This service is intergenerational. You’re invited to stay for Souper Sunday after the service.

October 21, “Weaving the Fabric of Our Lives and Our Souls” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Toni Streeter. Special music by Mimi Yahn.
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? In the service, we’ll use the book, “Bread and Roses, Too” as a source of inspiration.  A small group discussion on the subject facilitated by Rev. Mellen will follow the coffee hour.

Sep 012018
 
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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.
Jun 172018
 
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August 26: “Seeing the Forest and the Trees” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

In Vermont we’re blessed to be surrounded by northern forest beauty.  Let’s wake ourselves up to the livingness of the forests and what this means for our spirits, our survival and our humanness.  To be followed by a walk in the woods afterwards.
This will be our final summer service.  We resume weekly services on Sunday, September 9, at 10 am.

 August 5: Potluck and Vespers, 4:30 pm The Caring Committee will be hosting the annual potluck and vesper service. We will gather at 4:30 for conversation and appetizers, eat at 5:00, and the vesper service will follow our potluck.
 August 12: “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
We are a nation of immigrants and that has influenced every aspect of our lives. Let’s explore this history, the contemporary situation with immigrants and asylum seekers and why these are profound spiritual issues.  The service is intergenerational so children will stay in the service.
You’re invited to a discussion on this topic after the coffee hour, from noon to 1. We’ll be using the book, “Bread and Roses, Too” by Vermont author, Katherine Paterson, as a touchstone for the discussion which will be facilitated by Rev. Mellen.

July 8:  “Work Is Love Made Visible” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy  It is one of the great joys in life to do work that brings meaning and satisfaction.  Yet, this experience eludes many Americans, for whom meaningful work and gainful employment are very hard to come by. “The working poor” has become a mundane phrase. Wages for men without high school diplomas have fallen steadily for the past 50 years.  We’ll draw on the book “Bread and Roses, Too”, by Katherine Paterson for insight about the current situation and its disturbing roots in the history of this country.  Come explore why this is a spiritual issue and where we might look for hope. The service is intergenerational so children will stay in the service.
You’re invited to a discussion on this topic after the coffee hour, from noon to 1.  We’ll be using the book, “Bread and Roses, too” by Vermont author, Katherine Paterson, as a touchstone for the discussion which will be facilitated by Rev. Mellen.
July 22:  “The Sacredness of Water” with Jan Lambert
Everyone is invited to join Jan who will  present the Sunday service,  with assistance from Sharon Mueller. We will explore the sacred role of water as the sustainer of life and climate on our planet. Learn how the water cycle is absolutely central, and by simply allowing the divine gift of rain and snow to soak into the ground and into plants and the atmosphere to replenish the water cycle, we are helping a lot of good things to happen! Come hear some positive, uplifting stories of restoration from around the globe, and how YOU can be part of this worldwide movement to restore water cycles. You may be astounded!
May 282018
 
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June 10: Annual Parker Hill Service with Sharon and the Gang, who will lead us in Imagining the World that we want to live in! Think big! Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a potluck picnic. Please bring a folding chair, a hat, and if you can, silverware, plate, cup. Let’s help the Earth by not using paper and plastic. (We’ll bring some for those who forget, no worries). This cemetery is on the sight of our first Universalist building, back in the 1790s. There’s lots to explore! Please be respectful of the gravestones, as they are quite old, and might tip over if pushed. Enjoy reading the inscriptions. Let’s celebrate spring in this beautiful setting! (Address is 797 Parker Hill Road; the number is on the gate.)


June 3:  “Flower Communion” with Rev. Mellen Kennedy
At the end of each church year, we celebrate the power of community with our Intergenerational Flower Communion. You’re invited to bring a flower with which we’ll create a beautiful bouquet together symbolizing our spiritual community.

Apr 302018
 
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May 6 “Creating a Listening Community” with Sarah-Elizabeth Anderson and Rev. Mellen Kennedy  In any group or organization, the differences between the participants can be cause for conflict or a fertile opportunity for growth, insight and synergy.  Our ability to listen across our difference is the key.  We’ll learn about the powerful approach of creating Restorative Circles in communities to help navigate these kinds of challenges so that conflicts can be transformed and harmony can be restored.
Join us after the worship service for a workshop on “Creating a Listening Community: An Introduction to Restorative Circles,” which will be offered from 11:30 AM to 1 PM.  Sarah-Elizabeth Anderson is a Facilitator of Restorative Circles and former Chair of the Restorative Circles Facilitator Team at the UU Church of Concord, NH. She leads Restorative Circles Facilitator Trainings for communities across New England.

May 13: “Nurture” with Rev. Carol Allman-Morton. On Mother’s Day we honor those who mothered us throughout our lives. To nurture someone, is not only to love them, but to help them grow.  If we are lucky, many people will nurture us throughout our lives and care about us enough to help us figure out what is next. Rev. Carol Allman-Morton has been the minister at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire, in Housatonic, Mass., since 2009. She is also the Director of Alumni Engagement at Amherst College (and the daughter of Ellen and Robert!).

May 20 “Initiate the Kids or They Burn Down the Village”  with Rev. Mellen Kennedy
Throughout human history, rites of passage for teens and young adults were understood to be necessary to help young people thrive. Unfortunately, this wisdom has been all but lost in our modern world.  Let’s learn what religious educators, psychologists and now neuroscientists can teach us about the spiritual, emotional, and mental unfolding of young people.  More importantly, let’s celebrate the opportunity that we as a community have to embrace and encourage youth and young adults.   The church is launching our own Coming of Age opportunity for early teens, where one of our youth is matched with an adult member of the congregation.  We’ll hear from our first mentor-mentee pair and we’ll learn how we can challenge ourselves to meet and support the kid today with where they are and what they’re facing. A Friends on the Path small group discussion on this topic will follow the coffee hour, facilitated by Rev. Mellen

May 27: “Yoga At Every Stage of Life” with Aimee Parnell
Come check out how yoga and meditation can improve your health and well-being. We’ll demonstrate sequences that soothe ailments like low back pain, headaches, indigestion, menstrual cramps, hot flashes, and arthritis. Yoga can also enhance your health during and after pregnancy, help you to avoid osteoporosis, and reduce your stress levels. Little ones also benefit from yoga through exercising their emotional intelligence, keeping their bodies mobile and limber, and having special bonding time with you! Come discover how yoga can enhance your life, at any stage!

Mar 242018
 
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April 1st “Vermont Easter: A Celebration of a State of Optimism” with Rev. Mellen Kennedy,

A recent survey revealed that Vermonters are twice as optimistic as folks in other states in the union. Let’s celebrate what brings us hope and joy as we move into Spring.  Special music by the choir.  The children will be performing the Vermont State Song, These Green Hills.
There will be an Easter Egg Hunt for Parents and Children following the service with a chance for parents to chat with Rev. Mellen about upcoming Religious Education Possibilities for our children!
All welcome.  Held at 21 Fairground Rd, Springfield, VT.

April 8, “Random Acts of Kindness” with Sharon Mueller and Tina Feindel

Are you a practitioner of Random Acts of Kindness? Have you ever spontaneously helped out, picked up, paid it forward? Cultivating such an attitude can leverage our positive thoughts into a kinder, gentler world. We will share some of our experiences and ideas, and would love to hear yours.

April 15: (Postponed due to weather.) “The Hidden Life of Trees” with JoAnn Gaffron-Hargrove.  Trees, trees, trees!  They are everywhere!  We admire their beauty and majesty.  They give us shelter, shade from the hot sun and help clean the air we breathe. But there is something mysterious about trees: Do they have feelings? Do they communicate? Do they have a life we know nothing about?  Let us explore the hidden life of trees.

April 22: “Earth Day Celebration”  with Rev. Mellen Kennedy.  Got hope? Come get some!
Since the United Nations created Earth Day nearly 50 years ago, the environmental crises have escalated to a level that can appear catastrophic. Yet we need not despair! All around the globe, people are engaging in so many powerful ideas and programs that are setting our planet on a hopeful course. In this lively celebration, we’ll lift up signs of progress, resistance, and success. Collectively we humans are reversing the damage in myriad ways from planting pollinator gardens, composting, constructing net zero buildings, installing alternative energy, educating girls, planting trees, and so much more.

We’ll playfully cultivate our awareness of how to live sustainably, justly and peacefully on the Earth.  Special music will include piano pieces by Tina Wood and a choral performance of “Turn the World Around,” composed by Harry Belafonte.   Drummer Jim Yeager and musician Matt Meserve will perform. We’ll also be launching our new pollinator garden. Open to the public.  Bring friends!

Souper Sunday from 11-12 (bring a guest – no charge for newcomers), and Interactive Earth Day Displays from 12-1.

April 29:  “Finding Common Ground” led by Rev. Telos Whitfield. We look to leaders in our history, poets and activists for inspiration and guidance, and explore the guiding principles they lived by that gave them courage and inspiration. Looking to the common ground we share, what do we want to know about each other that will move us to care, and act as agents of change in the world?

Jul 242017
 
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March 25, “Trans People” with Grace Alden. Grace Alden is a writer, public speaker, licensed massage therapist, college tutor, mother, wife, and feminist. She is also transgender. She retired in 2016 from a 21-year career in law enforcement. To the best of her knowledge, she was the first trans woman in police work to serve as a tactical operator both before and after transition, and the first officer in New Hampshire to transition and continue to serve.
She will speak on the implications of some of the Seven Principles, with regard to trans people and other minorities, drawing on her own life experience. She will lead a discussion group after the service.

March 4 (Rescheduled from last week)
“How Much Is a Girl’s Life Worth?:  A Spiritual Response to #metoo”  with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy.   We’re in the midst of a significant cultural upheaval as women and girls are saying ENOUGH! to harassment, abuse and injustice.  Where have the church and other religious organizations stood on this issue?  What are the spiritual ramifications?  Let’s explore this challenging topic together as we head toward Women’s History Month in March. We’re delighted that during the service, we’ll also have a welcoming of new members.  If You’d like to join and haven’t spoken with Rev. Mellen or Julie Lannen yet, let us know. Reception for New Members after the service. Friends on the Path small group discussion led by Rev. Mellen on the topic of the service after the coffee hour.

Our Share the Plate collection for March 4th will be for the School Garden project started by Becca Polk.

March 11,”Everyday Peace” with Rev. Telos Whitfield. In these complicated times, we remember and honor peacemakers, writers, artists and spiritual leaders who have been committed to countering violence and fear with peaceful words, actions, and creativity. We look for ways to find and create peaceful moments in our own lives, and spread peace through small and larger acts.
Rev. Telos Whitfield serves the Universalist Society of Strafford and works as thrift store manager for the Southeastern Vermont Community Action. Working for peace has been a path she has followed for decades, including a 300 mile peace walk for nuclear disarmament in 1987, managing the Earth Charter Celebration in 2001, attending multiple retreats with Buddhist peace leader Thich Nhat Hanh, and completing his 14 mindfulness trainings program. She has also folded thousands of peace cranes over the years!
Remember to set your clocks ahead to Daylight Savings Time so you’ll be on time for the March 11th service!

March 18, “The Tai Chi Way” with Anne Bower
Tai Chi instructor and trainer Anne Bower will explore how Tai Chi, like Taoism, stresses our relationship with the world around us–animate and inanimate, past and present, exterior and interior. She’ll be including some of her poetry and some “facts” about Tai Chi. She (and perhaps some colleagues) will give a brief Tai Chi demonstration and encourage your participation in some Tai Chi movements as well.

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February 2018 Services at 10 am

February 4 “More Real than Reality” with Rev. Peter Miller

Beginning with observations of our human infirmities and possibilities depicted in the arts, Peter will share with us thoughts on Eastern and Western perceptions of consciousness, the paradoxes to which each give birth, and how we can transcend our perceptions to find compassion, joy and forgiveness.

February 11  Shivaratri Celebration Is on for 10 AM

Good Morning! Yes, we are having the worship service this morning at 10. . Obviously if it seems icy where You are and You’re uncomfortable going out, please don’t risk it. Use your own judgement. So, see You this morning or perhaps next week.
Rev. Mellen

“Celebrating Shivaratri: Lord of the Dance” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy

Shiva, Lord of the Dance, is one of the major faces of God in the Hindu view.  His holiday, Shivaratri, will be celebrated next week by many Hindus in song, ritual, offering and dance.  In Shiva, we discover the flowing of abundance, of moving in sync with the continual dance of Birth, Preservation, Destruction and Rebirth.  We’ll have speical Hindu kirtan music in the service offered by Jennifer Canfield and others from the Call and Response Foundation.  This will be an intergenerational service, kids are welcome to stay in the service.  Souper Sunday and Thank You Reception for Lynne Wolf after the service.

February 18, “Celebrating Our Music”  with JoAnn Gaffron-Hargrove

Music is such a big part of our community life. Our service leaders take care to choose hymns that correspond with their themes and singing together joins us in active participation. Our collection of music contains songs with beautiful melodies and meaningful lyrics.  We will enjoy singing you favorite hymns, which you may request during this service.

CANCELLED: February 25, “How Much Is a Girl’s Life Worth?:  A Spiritual Response to #metoo”  with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy.   We’re in the midst of a significant cultural upheaval as women and girls are saying ENOUGH! to harassment, abuse and injustice.  Where have the church and other religious organizations stood on this issue?  What are the spiritual ramifications?  Let’s explore this challenging topic together as we head toward Women’s History Month in March. We’re delighted that during the service, we’ll also have a welcoming of new members.  If You’d like to join and haven’t spoken with Rev. Mellen or Julie Lannen yet, let us know. Reception for New Members after the service. Friends on the Path small group discussion led by Rev. Mellen on the topic of the service after the coffee hour.

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January 2018 Services:

January 7  “Blessing of the Devices: Technology and Turmoil” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Deb Diegoli.   The burgeoning of technology had fundamentally changed our lives  — in some ways a blessing and in other ways a curse.  Let’s explore why this is a pressing spiritual issue and what we can do about it.  Please bring your device if You choose for a “Blessing of the Devices”, to help us be more careful and responsible with the immense power of these gadgets in our hands.  This is an intergenerational service.  School age kids are welcome to stay in the service and participate.  This is a critical issue for the well-being and health of all of us, particularly our kids!  (The film “Terms and Conditions May Apply” which will be shown at a future date to be announced, is very relevant to this worship service. Stay tuned).  You’re invited to stay after the coffee hour for a Friends on the Path small group discussion on the theme of the service facilitated by Rev. Mellen

January 14, “Labyrinth Service” with Ellen Allman. Our annual labyrinth service. The sanctuary will be set-up with a simple labyrinth.  Ellen will talk about the history of labyrinths.  There will be songs, reading and an opportunity to walk the labyrinth, as well as a lap labyrinth to  be used by anyone not wishing to walk the larger one. Souper Sunday after the service; guests eat at no charge.

January 21  “Cultivate Courage! A Celebration of ML King” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
Courage is heart strength.  Martin Luther King embodied this way of being.  In these tumultuous times, let’s look to the brazen faith of King for inspiration and challenge.

January 28, Annual Word Service with Tina Feindel and Sharon Mueller
This ever popular service has several people sharing their thoughts on a word of particular significance to them. Come hear what folks from our own congregation have to say. Its always fascinating!

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December 2017 Services:

December 3: “Be The Gift”with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
As the holiday season swarms around us, the tradition of gift giving is bent out of shape in this commercial haze.  Let’s pause, come to center and remember that our presence is the most important present we ever bring to anyone or to any situation.
Souper Sunday, Dec 3, after the service
At our Souper Sunday fund raiser  we will have three hearty soups and several choices of bread available, as well as the usual Sunday refreshments.  The cost is $4 and if necessary, soup can be taken home.  This is a good way to get to know our congregation members in a relaxed atmosphere.  We’re all encouraged to bring a friend – new people will receive a free meal.

*Due to poor road conditions today’s service has been cancelled. 12.10.17

December 10*: “Trans People” with Grace Alden (POSTPONED-DATE TBA)
In honor of the recent Transgender Day of Remembrance, commemorated each year on November 20, the Springfield UU Church is sponsoring this worship service.
Grace Alden is a writer, public speaker, licensed massage therapist, college tutor, mother, wife, and feminist.  She is also transgender.  She retired in 2016 from a 21-year career in law enforcement.  To the best of her knowledge, she was the first trans woman in policework to serve as a tactical operator both before and after transition, and the first officer in New Hampshire to transition and continue to serve.
She will speak on the implications of some of the Seven Principles, with regard to trans people and other minorities, drawing on her own life experience.  She will lead a discussion group after the service.

December 17. “Solstice Candlelight Service: Need hope?” 5 pm with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy. Come join us for warmth, song, story, laughter, candlelight, friendship and silence. Winter is upon us and at the very same time, the light is returning! We gather for our annual celebration and hope You’ll share this magical tradition with us. The choir has been preparing some gorgeous pieces for us. The service is followed by High Tea. Please bring your favorite finger food, savory or sweet, to share. All welcome.

December 24: NO SERVICE.

December 31: Fire Ceremony with JoAnn Gaffron-Hargrove

It is not often that our Fire Ceremony actually coincides with New Year’s Eve. This is a wonderful opportunity to prepare ourselves for the coming year.
During the Fire Ceremony, each of us will reflect on the past year and let go of regrets and pain by writing these on bit of paper and burning them away in the burning bowl.
We will then write down our hopes, expectations and intentions for the New Year. These will be sealed in self addressed envelops and mailed back to you near the end of the next year.

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November 5: “Other Ways of Seeing: Insights from Asia”
We often become accustomed to viewing the world from the perspectives that we’ve been taught in our families, cultures and religions; however, the people of different nations have different values, beliefs and traditions, which has created views that may be entirely different from our Western ways of seeing things. In an increasingly global world, can we value and learn from other cultures? Might there be a better balance in our lives, and the lives of people in other nations, if we can be curious and interested in each other’s ways of thinking and feeling?

On Sunday, Nov. 5, at 10 am, Greg Supernovich will lead our service, “Other Ways of Seeing: Insights from Asia.” The service is open to the public. The service will explore the following areas: The deep spirituality that is woven into the lives of many people in Asia; the oneness and interconnectedness of all living beings and the cosmos; the dual nature of everything; the way to live without expectations; and the presence of some animals who exist in parallel and equal societies with humans in Asia. Included in the service will be prayers and thoughts from some of Asia’s major religions.

Supernovich is a Springfield resident and member of this church. He has had the opportunity to visit eight Asian nations in the last ten years, including Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Guam and Singapore, and he has had the good fortune to live for a year in Thailand, where he taught English at Burapha University. He is a part-time faculty member in the English Department at Castleton University. Also, he is a writer and novelist, and a former journalist and carpenter. If there is one thing he says he has learned in his many years of living, it is that the older you get, the less you know, but, he says that he has also learned one should not give up trying to share with others something that we think might be worthwhile.
November 12:“The Spirituality of Imperfection: The Addiction Crisis”  with Rev. Mellen Kennedy This year, we’re exploring pathways to peace, wisdom from the world’s religions, which agree that addiction is fundamentally a spiritual issue.  How do we find our way living in a society where addiction is just about “normal”?  Join us for an exploration of the spirituality of recovery.  Special music and sharing with Matt Meserve.

Souper Sunday
Nov 12, after the service

At our Souper Sunday fund raiser on Sunday November 12,  we will have three hearty soups and several choices of bread available, as well as the usual Sunday refreshments.  The cost is $4 and if necessary, soup can be taken home.  This is a good way to get to know our congregation members in a relaxed atmosphere.  We’re all encouraged to bring a friend – new people will receive a free meal.

November 19: “The Art of Hospitality:  A Thanksgiving Reflection” with Rev. Mellen Kennedy  As we roll into the holiday season, let’s pause to reflect on what hospitality means from a spiritual perspective.  The world’s religious traditions have held up hospitality as a sacred act.  Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible says “Who practices hospitality entertains God himself”. We humans long and need to be included in a circle of sharing of home, hearth, food, friendship and story.   How do we learn to be even more gracious in this ancient unifying spiritual practice?  To get in the spirit, wear your favorite apron!

The choir will be performing.  Friends on the Path Small Group after the coffee hour.

November 26: A Basic Call to Consciousness with Sharon Mueller 

bald-eagle-1018717_640In 1977, the Haudenosaunee- the Six Nations, or Iroquois- presented position papers to the Non-Governmental Organizations of the United Nations in Geneva. They conveyed the point of view that the destruction by Western Civilization of the Natural World and its peoples is the clearest indicator of humankind’s spiritual poverty, and called for consciousness of the Sacred Web of Life. I read this book when it came out, and was profoundly affected. Forty years later, where do we stand? Have we listened to these wise words? Is there still hope?

For the Haudenosaunee people, the eagle is the protector of peace.

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October 1: “Restoring Our Resilience: Addressing the Pain Crisis” with Rev. Mellen Kennedy
Life deals us traumas and challenges.  That’s a given.  It’s how we respond that defines us.  Let’s explore how we can become even more resilient in the face of life’s adversities.  You’re invited to continue the conversation in a Friends on the Path Group discussion facilitated by Rev. M’ellen after the coffee hour.
October 8: Food Justice & Kids’ Garden with Becca Polk
Becca Polk, a middle school teacher and adult leader of the Lettuce Grow Food summer camp will come speak to us about the summer camp and why she decided as a social studies teacher to begin focusing on food and gardening.
October 15: “Finding the Way Home: Through a Scripture We Do Not Read and Through Words We Too Often Say” with the Rev. Kitsy Winthrop. Kitsy was our full-time minister from 1984-1996 and loves this congregation still.
October 22: “The Freedom of Forgiveness”  with Rev. Mellen Kennedy
Autumn is a perfect time to mimic the natural world and just let go! The wisdom of the world’s religions teach us the folly of demanding permanence in this ephemeral world. The lesson of impermanence is all around as our gardens die back and the leaves fall.   Let’s welcome in the Autumn and practice letting go and forgiving.The choir will be singing “And When I Rise” with words by Buddhist teacher, Thick Nhat Hanh.
October 29: “The Last Harvest” with Kali Fyre
Come explore together the agrarian and folk tradition origins of the festival of Samhain (pronounced SOW-in). Samhain marks the end of the harvest season, introducing the beauty of darkness, the winter, and a spiritually reflective time of the year. This is a time when we honor completion in the cycle of life and death, honoring the lives lost over the year. But it is also a beginning, as the wheel of Life, the wheel of the year continues to turn. We have, hopefully, filled our stores for the coming months. We take this time to rest and refuel, to reflect on the blessings and lessons of the cycle past.
Kali Fyre is a candidate for Unitarian Universalist ministry living in Weare NH (outside of Concord & Manchester). Kali and her partner cultivate a vintage farm using natural and permaculture techniques, raising poultry and vegetables. She is currently a consulting R.E. Coordinator at Peterborough (NH) UU Church.
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September 10: Annual Water Communion In-Gathering with Rev. M’ellen Kennedy

We commence our church year as we reconvene our community after the summer months when we’ve had less gatherings.  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 explore water as a symbol of spirituality.  Join us as we embark on a year- long exploration of the world’s religions and take a dive into the depth of our souls
September 17: Dances of Universal Peace with Sandra Walia Guilow
We’ll continue exploring the world’s religions, this week through dance.  The Dances of Universal Peace are simple, meditative, joyous, multi-cultural circle dances that use sacred phrases, chants, music and movements to touch the spiritual essence in ourselves and recognize it in others.  No musical or dance experience of any kind is required.  And everyone is welcome (but not pressured) to join in.  The Dances focus on PEACE — creating a sense of solidarity and community, while celebrating and understanding the unity of all spiritual traditions on the Earth.  Come and be a part of the circle that connects all of humanity. Sandra Walia Guillow is a seasoned and enthusiastic dance leader from Connecticut who will help us find ease and grace and will be accompanied by her musician husband Shems WIlliam Guillow.  For more info www.dancesofuniversalpeace.org
September 24: Peace Pole Re-Dedication with Rev. M’ellen Kennedy
Twenty years ago, on Sept 28, 1997, the Springfield UU Congregation dedicated the Peace Pole on the patio outside peace-pole-sep-2017-copy-363x500the sanctuary.  We’ll commemorate this event and rededicate the Peace Pole in our intergenerational worship service on September 24.  If the weather permits, part of the service will be outside on the patio.  Learning how to live peacefully in the world, with each other, with the Earth, with folks of all religions and races, is the aim of religions.  We’ll tie this event in with our theme for the year, “Exploring the World’s Religions – Paths to Peace.”  The choir is preparing some special music.  In the service on September 24, we’ll re-dedicate not just the pole, but more importantly ourselves, to this crucial work of being instruments of peace in our beautiful and broken world.  In this fractious time, peace-keepers and peace cultivators are critically needed.

August 2017 Services

August 6, Picnic and Vesper Service

It has become a tradition that we gather once during the summer for a picnic and then a vesper(evening) service.

The date for this year is August 6th.  We will begin gathering at the church at 4:30 P.M. with time to catch up on how our summers are going.    Please bring your summer picnic favorite to share.  The Vesper Service will be after we have finished eating around 6:00.  All welcome!

The picnic and Vesper Service is organized by the Caring Committee.

Prior to the Vesper Service and Picnic, at 3:30 pm, there’ll be a walking tour of the Food Justice Summer Camp gardens and trails from Riverside School to St. Mark’s next door to us.

August 13:  “To Live Deliberately: Celebrating Thoreau” with Rev. M’ellen Kennedy

July 12th marked the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, author of that great work, “Walden or

Life in the Woods.”  “I went to the woods to live deliberately”  is a quote

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from “Walden,”  Thoreau is imploring us to wake up!  Let’s draw inspiration from Thoreau and look together at how we can have the courage to live with purpose and power.

August 27:  “Our Local Food Coop” with Lucy Georgeoff and Julie Jones.  Let’s explore how we can take back our lives by shopping locally, consuming local foods and eating foods that support our physical, emotional, social and spiritual well being.

Weekly Services resume on September 10th!

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July 23: “Looking at the World Through a Gender Lens” with Joya Taft-Dick

joya-taft-dick-profile-photoThe daughter of a UN humanitarian agency employee, Joya Taft-Dick grew up primarily in the developing world. Six formative years spent in Pakistan, between the ages of 12 and 18, solidified her interest at a young age in the particular challenges faced by women and girls around the world. She has spent the last 11 years working in the space where gender meets development, advocacy and human security. While her focus has largely been international — her work has taken her to Sri Lanka, Ghana, Cameroon and Senegal — last year’s election here brought that focus home, where women and minorities are nothing short of under attack by the policies of the current administration. She will be sharing highlights from this professional journey during her remarks, as well as the ways she maintains community, and self care, in the face of what can often feel like a relentless struggle for justice.


July 9: “Civil Disobedience: Thoreau for Today” with Rev. M’ellen Kennedy
Henry David Thoreau is the author of an essay entitled, “Civil Disobedience”, which has much to say to our current social and political environment. The 200th anniversary of Thoreau’s birth is July 12. We’ll continue a celebration of Thoreau by looking at the relevance of civil disobedience in our contemporary world. We hope You’ll join us as we explore taking back our lives from tyranny and injustice. Friends on the Path/Social Action Circle discussion facilitated by Rev. M’ellen will follow the coffee hour. All welcome..

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June 11, Parker Hill Service, 11 am
Our annual Parker Hill Service, at 11 a.m., will have a short service based on chants and readings of our love for Mother Earth. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a potluck picnic. Please bring a folding chair, a hat, and if you can, silverware, plate, cup. Let’s help the Earth by not using paper and plastic. (We’ll bring some for those who forget, no worries). This cemetery is on the sight of our first Universalist building, back in the 1790s. There’s lots to explore! Please be respectful of the gravestones, as they are quite old, and might tip over if pushed. Enjoy reading the inscriptions. Let’s celebrate spring in this beautiful setting! If you don’t know where it is, we’ll have a caravan leader at the church, leaving at 10:40 a.m.


June 4, Annual Flower Communion and New Member Sunday with Rev. M’ellen Kennedy, 10 am
At the end of each church year, we celebrate the power of community with our Flower Communion. You’re invited to bring a flower with which we’ll create a beautiful bouquet together symbolizing our spiritual community. We’ll also welcome new members, new blossom in our bouquet. The choir will perform a short piece for us. After the service we’ll have a reception to welcome our new members and to celebrate the completion of our kitchen renovations!