The Work Continues Even When the Building is Closed

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Dec 272020

“Move around the center as pilgrims.

Being still is how one clay clod sticks to another in sleep

while movement wakes us up and unlocks new blessings.”  Rumi

Doctors in the UK will soon be able to prescribe dance classes!  Write your own Rx.



From: Me!! My Higher Self!  _____________________________

Date: The Time is Now!  ________________________________

   Re: “Move more, sit less.”  “Sitting is the new smoking.”

How and when exactly am I going to move more and sit less?

Why should I bother? (Use the back for more writing if You’d like).

Movement Idea:  The best thing you can do for your health

By David E. Conroy Professor of Kinesiology and Human Development (Adjunct Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Univ.), Pennsylvania State Univ. and Sherry Pagoto, Professor of Allied Health Sciences, Univ. of Connecticut

Think of exercise as a 401K for your body. The benefits grow over time.

The experts call physical activity the “best buy” in public health. And the guidelines are based on evidence from thousands of studies. Based on this evidence, an expert panel concluded that exercise increases our lifespans, prevents that sneaky annual weight gain and reduces the risk of almost every chronic disease: cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers. No other single behavior can do as much good for your health. By investing some time into movement now, you get to cash in later. Think of it as the 401K for a long, healthy and happy life.

Fortunately, exercise has many immediate benefits. One of the biggest is the “feel good” effect afterwards. People consistently feel more focused, less stressed and more energized after physical activity. In fact, studies now show that regular physical activity can actually reduce anxiety and depression – with effects equal to antidepressant medication or psychotherapy. We are all just one activity away from feeling better than we do right now.

Text Box: “Cultures from around the world use rhythmic bodily movement as an integral part of spiritual practice.  People dance to demonstrate their devotion and commitment; to invoke the presence of goddesses and gods; to communicate their grievances and receive divine counsel; to attain mystical experience; or to share wisdom within the community.”   K. LaMothe, Dance Magazine,  Dec. 2001 .Studies show that good physical health is tied to good mental health. 


Cultures from around the world use rhythmic bodily movement as an integral part of spiritual practice.  People dance to demonstrate their devotion and commitment; to invoke the presence of goddesses and gods; to communicate their grievances and receive divine counsel; to attain mystical experience; or to share wisdom within the community.”   K. LaMothe, Dance Magazine,  Dec. 2001 .______________________________________________________________________________

Climate Justice Idea:  The more You walk, the less You drive. 

“Hard times require furious dancing.” Alice Walker



“All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our

history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the

great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill in dancing.” ~ Moliere, 1622


Written by Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Springfield UU Meetinghouse, Vermont, Revised June, 2020

May 152020

Mother’s Day Worship Service, Unitarian Universalist Church in Springfield from Loom Ensemble on Vimeo.

Join us on Sunday for a celebration of the Divine Feminine in all her many forms — mothers, grandmothers, the earth mother, the creative mother in each of us. Together we will call for the rebalancing of our society by bringing forth the wisdom of the mother. We will lift up this essential role and explore how each of us can call in the Divine Mother in our own lives. What gifts do we each have to bring forth in this time? What is yearning to be born from within you? What is calling to be nurtured in your life? What great creativity lives in your celestial womb? As Gaia is bursting with new springtime life, let us gather as people and give thanks for the gifts of fertility and all it takes to nourish ongoing life. This service will be full of LIFE — of song, movement, & storytelling, the most basic elements of our human communities. Together we can see what is being born in this time, and how to nurture our new world. All welcome!

Neva Cockrell is a professional dancer and interdisciplinary artist who uses dance-theater as a tool for social change. She has toured internationally with Pilobolus since 2016 in addition to running her own dance-theater company Loom Ensemble. In 2012, she joined the Art Monastery Project, and currently serves as a co-director of Art Monastery Vermont. Her mother is a Unitarian Universalist minister and her father a Zen practitioner. She has been practicing meditation for the past 12 years, and has found beautiful overlap in her artistic creations and her meditation practice. Her life path is deeply grounded in communal living, body-based activities, art-making, being outside, and contemplative practice.
Mellen Kennedy is a Universalist minister serving the Springfield Meetinghouse.

Followed by on-line “coffee hour.”
Zoom info for all services:
Download Zoom first.
Or by phone, dial +1 646 558 8656 US
Meeting ID: 613 077 9853
Password: 082077

Mar 302020

April 26 :The Mountains Are Calling and We Must Go” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Ephraim 

Join Zoom Meeting – for all services:

Meeting ID: 613 077 9853
Password: 082077

One tap mobile:
+16465588656,,6130779853# US (New York)

By Telephone (Dial by your location):
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 613 077 9853

Password: 082077

April 5: Sunday Service with Rev. Mellen Kennedy and Qayyum Johnson, “The Silly Side of Resilience: An April Fool’s Celebration”

The words “silly” and “resilience” come from the same root meaning health or well-being.  In recognition of April Fool’s Day, we’ll explore the connection between humor and our well-being particularly in these challenging times.
Bio: Qayyum Johnson is a bricolage poet/writer, sculptor, sound & video artist & ordinary person. He was an organic vegetable farmer and resident Zen student at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center / Green Dragon Zen Temple for more than ten years. Qayyum has studied & practiced myriad spiritual paths, served on an interfaith street chaplaincy board.

April 12:   “Love in the Time of Pandemic: An Easter-Spring Celebration” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy Rev. Robyn Carpenter, music by Lynne Wolf, Bill Brink, and Matt Meserve.  

Need hope?  Join us for an uplifting time of interfaith music, meditation, prayer,
stories, reflection and community connection.  All welcome!

As the natural world is burgeoning all around us, the human world is in an interesting state.  This annual celebration of death and rebirth takes on poignant meaning as we brave the challenges and enjoy the silver linings of the pandemic we’re experiencing together.  Join us for a real and uplifting look at this defining moment, Spring 2020

April 19  “Coping and Thriving in the Pandemic: Tools for Resilience” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Sharon Mueller

Aug 222019
Bread & Puppet at Big Town Theater Amphitheater
99 N Main St (Route 100), Rochester, Vermont 05767
Friday, August 30

Join Bread & Puppet for their 14th Year in BigTown Gallery’s Intimate Outdoor Amphitheater for The Diagonal Life Circus (!  We’l be car-pooling from the Meetinghouse. leaving about 3:45 pm, Doors open at 5 pm; show begins at 6 pm. bring a blanket or folding chair and, if you like, a picnic supper.

Reality is either horizontal or vertical or both. The horizontal produces us + eventually takes us back into its giant arms’ embrace. The vertical is the exceptional human predicament, the up + forward striding ambition that makes history + warfare.
The diagonal results from the hurts that the vertical suffers in the process. It is our common human fate, the hard-to-sustain-in-between life, neither up nor down that needs to muster all its strength to lift itself up + the courage to invent tricks that keep it from falling. And this trickery deserves a circus, however small or short, to celebrate the inventiveness of the struggling body + mind in the fight against falling, as well as a victory feast for the successful lifting itself up.
TICKETS $10 (6 year olds & under FREE)
PICNIC STYLE SEATING / Bring a blanket
First Come/Best Seat
Doors open at 5. Performance at 6.
Wood-fire Oven Pizza following performance.
RSVP Ticket purchase & reservations
Please let Deb Diegoli in the Meetinghouse office know if you’d like to join us – or 802-885-3327.

Apr 082019

After our June 9 service, we’ll take a break for a few weeks in June.  Over the summer we’ll have four Sunday morning services at 10 am: July 14, July 28, August 11 and August 25.

Again this year we’re collaborating with the Springfield Town Library to hold Vermont Reads events.  The book we’ll explore is March (Book One), a graphic novel written by John Lewis  and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell.  We’ll hold several Vermont Reads events during the summer and fall, including our annual Campfire & Potluck at the Tree Farm Campground  on Sunday August 4, 5-9 pm.

We’ll hold a Book Group on July 14 and on August 11 from 11:30 am – 1 pm. Our first book for discussion will be “How to Change Your Mind” by Michael Pollan.  On July 14th, we’ll be discussing the prologue and chapters 1-3; on August 11th chapter 4-6 and the epilogue.

Second Wednesday Gentle Yoga classes will continue through the summer.  However, First Friday Films and the Coffee House Music Series will not resume until September.

Other summer events to be announced.



Mar 172019

Join us at the Springfield Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse on Saturday, March 23rd, for a Latin American dinner to benefit the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP). CASP is a local nonprofit that provides basic needs and a welcoming community for those in the process of seeking asylum.  CASP currently hosts 9 asylum seekers in our local area.

CASP guests will prepare some of their native dishes: Cuban pollo (chicken) fricassee, Mexican tamales, and a Honduran sweet bread.  Rice and beans, tortillas, salsa  and flan will round out the meal.  There will be vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options

Reservations are required.  Please email or call 802-885-3327 before March 21st to reserve a spot. (Space is limited.) The cost is $15 for adults, $8 for children 12 and under, no charge for preschoolers. Payment is at the door – cash and checks will be accepted. The dinner will be held from 5:30-6:30 on March 23 at the Meetinghouse at 21 Fairground Road, Springfield, VT.

Dec 152018



This course will be held on five consecutive Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm at the UU Meetinghouse.  Total fee for the 5 sessions is $75 per person. Open to the public.  See below* for registration information.

Based on the Book Taking the War Out of Our Words by Sharon Ellison
Workshop Presentations by Hilary Mullins

In this five-session class, I teach the concepts and techniques of nondefensive communication using a mix of lecture, discussion, and take-home exercises. Rather than projecting slides, I use an easel or white board, mixing words and simple drawings in the manner of a graphic facilitator. I also use short 4-page comics in class that students then take home for review and practice.

SESSION ONE: Looking at the War Within

In this introductory session, we look at how our inherent fight, flight or freeze system leads us to react to conflict with the four basic techniques used in battle. We will also learn to spot six common characteristic defensive strategies that are so typically engrained we mistake them for our personalities.

SESSION TWO: Taking the War Out of Our Questions

In this session, we first identify commonly used defensive questions, which, by their very structure, make others defensive in turn. Then we learn nondefensive questions that allow us to simply ask for information instead, transforming potentially defensive interactions into constructive exchanges.

SESSION THREE: Taking the War Out of Our Statements

In this session, we’ll first learn how to identify when we are making defensive assertions, imposing our opinions as facts. Then we will learn how to make nondefensive statements, using a structure that allows us to express our thoughts and feelings clearly, giving them authentic power.

SESSION FOUR: Taking the War Out of Our Predictions

Setting limits is an important part of getting along. However, when we try to do it, we often collapse into making defensive, threatening predictions instead, e.g.: ‘If you don’t do x, I’ll do y!’ This class presents a process that allows us to avoid this kind of manipulation, instead thinking through and setting our limits clearly and firmly, giving those we deal with a clear picture of what they can expect from us.

SESSION FIVE:  Putting it All Together: Nondefensive Communication for the Road

In the final session, we practice applying non-defensive questions, statements and predictions to real life situations. Also, because changing our deeply-rooted defensive habits takes repetition over time, we will learn ways to keep practicing nondefensive communication so we can shift the insights of the class into lasting skills.

*The trustees have designated some funds toward this class so that the total cost per person for the five sessions will be reduced to $75.  Add your name to the sign up sheet on the harvest table or in the Activities Room and give your payment to Deb Diegoli in the office.  Checks made out to Springfield UU Meetinghouse” with “Non-Defensive Comm. Class” in memo.  

OR mail your check for $75 to UU Church, PO Box 944, Springfield, VT 05156.  Deadline: March 5th.

Contact for more info.

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