Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse

Springfield, Vermont

Theme for the Year

"Creating Earth Community"

"Creating Earth Community".

The Worship Committee chose this theme which will offer inspiration, practical steps, and some local initiatives and ideas.


Our Services are each Sunday starting the second Sunday in September until mid-June, with two services in July and two in August

In person or on Zoom

10 am to 11 am

21 Fairground Rd Springfield, VT

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 613 077 9853

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Upcoming Services:

March 31, 2024: Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine

April 7, 2024: Will Hunter

April 14, 2024: Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine

April 21, 2024: Worship Committee

April 28, 2024: June and Bill Brink


More videos soon!


Previous Services

March 2024

March 3, 2024: Annual Word Service with the Worship Committee
Please join us for music, poetry and insight into WORDS with special significance. We’ll be hearing from Sharon Mueller, Bill Brink, Dick Andrews and Diane Kemble.

March 10, 2024: "Does Art Make Any Difference Any More? From Uncle Tom's Cabin to Demon Copperhead" with Will Hunter

There's a story that when Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Abraham Lincoln at the White House in 1862, he took her hand and said, “So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” A half century after Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom's Cabin,” Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle,” which led to a wave of progressive legislation. Another half century later, Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring” launched the environmental movement.  Another half century or so after that, “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver was on the best seller list and won the Pulitzer prize for fiction. Lots of people, including well-connected people, read it. And . . . nothing happened. The foster care system is still a mess, the overdose crisis is worse than ever, the rich get richer and people move on to the next book to read for entertainment. Maybe we just read about other people's suffering as entertainment, and we listen to Bob Dylan's tunes to make the elevator ride go faster. Does art move people to action any more?

March 17,2024: The Worship and Arts committee will share stories, songs and readings, from women earth holders we admire.

March 24, 2024 “Connecting with the Wood Element.” With JoAnn Bregnard. Spring is springing, so let’s notice what’s growing with the Wood element from Chinese Energetic Medicine, and discover the life that’s emerging

February 2024

Feb 4, 2024: "Oh These Imperceptibly Lengthening Days" with Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine Every gust of snow, fox’s pounce, child’s face invites us beyond itself to what we cannot know. What we do know — the news of the day for example — calls us to action. Into the life-giving darkness, slant of mid-winter light, comes the miracle of lengthening days, the mystery and the power of persistence.
Feb 11, 2024: "Grief and Praise are renters whose landlord is love" with Toni Streeter. Today, in this ritual offering, my hope is for us to enter deep within our hearts to hear the songs of grief, pain, and strife and turn them into songs of praise that actually heal those that have ears to listen.
Feb 18 2024: To serve the needs of All Beings. Part II. Honoring our Animal Elders With the Worship Committee. Please join us as we share stories about our animal companions, guides, and experiences. We are asking ourselves; How do we serve and honor the animal beings in our lives? Please bring pictures symbols and or Mementos for our altar.
Feb 25, 2024: "Learning that Black Lives Matter in an All White Life" with Will Hunter
Milford, New Hampshire was about as white a community as there was anywhere in a very white state sixty years ago. Will Hunter grew up in a family, however, where “how are you on civil rights” was a litmus test applied to all political candidates and much of mainstream society. This Sunday he reflects on what that experience was like and how his understanding of black history was shaped by witnessing it from the whitest of environments.

January 2024

Jan. 7 2024 : The Fire Ceremony- the Grace of Beginning. Let’s join in music, meditation and ceremony; and in the Spirit of trust and adventure, as we find a new rhythm for 2024.  We’ll light the Candles of Letting Go and Renewal. From a reading by Kathleen McTigue, ‘… The new year can be new ground for the seeds of our dreams. Let us take the step forward together, onto new ground, Planting our dreams well, faithfully, and in joy.’

Jan. 14, 2024: Labyrinth Service: We will be learning about labyrinths and walking a simple one in the sanctuary. It is our twelfth time having the labyrinth to walk and it is different for the individual each time. Please come and enjoy a few moments of peace.

Jan. 21, 2024: To Serve the Needs of All Beings, Part 1, Recognizing our Plant Elders with the Worship Committee. Join us as we share magical stories of our plant companions. We invite your stories of communication among plants, and with us two-leggeds. Please bring something from the plant world, like dried flowers, seeds, etc. to put on our altar.

Jan. 28, 2024:  "Thinking About Saints"  With Will Hunter. Some churches and denominations are more into the idea of saints than others, and some have elaborate procedures for declaring sainthood. But all of us, even those raised in the best UU traditions, have a place in our hearts and minds for those who we venerate because they have shown heroism and led lives embracing charity, faith, hope and other virtues – and have performed miracles. A popular hymn written almost a century ago makes the point: “They lived not only in ages past; there are hundreds of thousands still.” It concludes with these words: “You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea; for the saints are folk just like you and like me, and I mean to be one too.”


December 2023

Dec. 3rd: "Honoring the Heart of the Holidays" with Worship Committee This is a very busy time of year, we might easily be caught up in unfulfilling activities. Let’s create a space where we hold our ‘Attention to our Intention’. What do you celebrate? How do you celebrate? What is your favorite holiday ritual? There will be time for us to share ideas and stories on how we hold the heart of our holidays.

Dec 10th: "Connecting with the Water Element"  with JoAnn Bregnard It’s now winter, so let’s wade into the Water element from Chinese Energetic Medicine, and discover how going deep into what might be hidden to us helps us find our courage

Dec. 17th: 5pm Evening Service for Solstice with Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine Finding Light… that glint of light on winter afternoons, before we are called to let darkness in …Come let us welcome the solstice, let us light the oil lamp and dance brokenhearted toward the new birth, the sun’s return …  finding, as we go,  unexpected miracles in the strangest places.

Dec. 24th: A Carol Sing- Stories and Songs for the Season with the Worship Committee. Let’s gather to celebrate the holidays with a simple service of stories and songs. We’ll share Maya Angelou’s wonderful storybook, 'Amazing Peace’, and sing lots of carols! There will be pies for refreshments!

November 2023

11/5/23: Service is our Prayer with the Worship Committee Transforming environmental anxiety into positive action takes patience, persistence and care. How do we maintain a healthy balance in our service to the larger world? The importance of sharing ideas and working together in this effort will be part of the presentation and discussion.

11/12/23: "What the World Needs Now...." with Robbin Ruffner  Revolutionary Love is the call of our time. It urges us to see no stranger, but instead, look at others and say ‘you are just a part of me I do not yet know.’ Valarie Kauer - from "See No Stranger"

11/19/23: “Thank you we are saying and waving / dark though it is” W.S. Merwin With The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine. How do we retain the spiritual practice of gratitude after reading the morning news? How can we move through gratitude to reverence and awe in such dark times. We cannot look away from the news, the continuing analysis of our role in it, both individual and societal. But also we cannot neglect our spiritual health, the energy which allows us the power to work for peace and for the planet

11/26/23: "If We Make It Through December" with Will Hunter. Merle Haggard's sad song about hard times in what's "meant to be the happy time of year" rings true for many of us. But our faith and our experience tells us that the light will return. The dark season will
pass, and the light and warmth will return to our earth in time. It doesn't work quite that easily with our lives, though. But we know that light can overcome darkness, and sometimes we have to be the light when we don't find it around us. To quote another song: "we can make it if we try."

October 2023

10/1/23: Connecting with the Metal element with Jo Bregnard
Autumn is here, so let’s explore the Metal element from Chinese Energetic Medicine, and how releasing what we no longer need prepares and protects us for what’s to come

10/8/23: "Healing America's Polarizations: A Report from the Braver Angels Convention in Gettysburg." with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy
Braver Angels is a national movement to bridge the partisan divide and strengthen our democratic republic. Launched in 2016, Braver Angels is a national citizens' movement to bring liberals and conservatives together at the grassroots level — not to find centrist compromise, but to find one another as citizens.
10/15/23: Honoring Nature as a Sacred Living Being with the Worship Committee
Please join us as we take a look at the growing work of Bioneers, The Rights of Nature, Earth Jurisprudence, Montana teens, and Indigenous successes. These groups and actions are changing the collective consciousness in how we regard Nature as a Scared Being. Please join us in-person at 21 Fairground Rd Springfield, VT
10/22/23 with Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine: Joy and Terror Sit Side by Side. Not a choice. They sit side by side, to paraphrase poet Ross Gay, like kids on a railroad bridge, very high up, swinging their legs. Walking in October leaves, reading the horrifying unfolding of hate and fear, helplessly praying for peace, these days are difficult. Our tradition helps us understand what to do.
10/29/23 with Will Hunter Human Beings Are Not Water Molecules
As the Nobel Prizes are awarded each year, we are reminded of the incredible advances they celebrate in medicine, physics and chemistry. The “scientific method” is used to figure out ways of doing things with matter and ways of curing ills that seemed impossible only s few years earlier. Why can’t we do the same with human problems? Advocates of various programs like to say they are “evidence based”, but the annals of government are full of such projects that have been miserable failures. Perhaps it’s because human beings aren’t water molecules — and what worked in one place and time may not work everywhere in the same way. What then can we do to achieve the same kind of progress in human services that we have achieved in science?

September 2023

9/10/23: Please join the Worship and Arts team for our annual Water Ceremony service. The Essence of Life Calls. The waters of our world are in great need of our attention and appreciation. You are invited to bring water, to share water stories, prayers and/or blessings

9/17/23: "The life in us is so has been spinning and spinning since the Universe began.” (Quote from Joanna Macy) Please join us as we continue our theme of Creating Earth Community, discovering new voices and perspectives. Let’s ask ourselves, what do we know, what do we need, and what do we intuit?

9/24/23  “The Importance of Music or You’ve Gotta Have Art” with Will Hunter. There is a lot of talk these days about the rise of despair and loneliness in the world and the inability of the mental health “system” to address record levels of depression and anxiety in Vermont and beyond. Long before there were words for psychiatric disorders, humans found things to enhance their mental health, foremost among them the arts. Singing together, being in a large group with music filling the air, looking at depictions of beauty and other experiences of art does something for us that psychiatrists and therapists (if they were even available) and medications often are unable to do. Why is this? And what can we do to make these experiences more available in our hurting world?

August 2023

8/13/23: "Gardening is a Spiritual Practice" with the Worship Committee Life supports life. Gardening helps us remember to respect and honor our connection with Spirit. While gardening we take care of our lives and each other. It inspires Awe for plants, insects, all creatures and all elements. While gardening, we are communing with Gaia. Please join us this Sunday as we discuss Spiritual Gardening

July 2023

7/9/23: "Healing Hands" Bet Bailey will speak to us about the uplifting things God says to her as she does hands-on healing

7/23/23: "Why We Sing" with the Choir and Worship Committee. Music has a way of connecting us with each other. Song and singing have been part of our birthright as human beings throughout time. Singing lifts us up to higher ground. The Choir and Worship Committee will share why we sing. 

June 2023

6/4/23: Annual Flower Communion Service with the Worship Committee

Please join us this Sunday for our annual Flower Communion Service. As is the custom in many UU churches, you are invited to bring a flower, and during the service, add it to others as part of a ceremony to create beautiful bouquets. There will be extras, and everyone may take a different one home with them. Zoom folks are welcome to have flowers in a vase close at hand to share.

6/11/23: "Always There is Light, Somewhere" With The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine
As we celebrated the diversity of flowers last week in so many Unitarian Universalist congregations across the globe, we held up the creator of that ritual, the Rev. Dr. Norbert Capek, Unitarian minister, who died resisting the Nazis in his beloved Czechoslovakia. But so much remains to be said about this man, his accomplished wife, Maja, and the plight of their beloved and abandoned country. We will examine details of his life and thought, with particular reference to his resistance to fascism and the striking contrasts between the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The service will also include Nancy’s favorite June poems!

6/18/23: "Nurturing the Seeds of Earth Community" with The Worship Committee

Please join us as we reflect back on our year of focusing on Creating Earth Community. Let’s look at the Effects of Empire, the Effects of Earth Community, and what we can do together to take action towards the world we want. There will be a nod to Fathers, inspiring  words from Joanna Macy and David Korten, music from Matt Meserve, an update on local efforts to create pollinator parks around town, and flowers to plant to naturalize under our apple trees. When we do this work together, magic happens!

May 2023

5/7/23: "Inspired By Flowers- Sinking Into Our True Selves- Being Earth" with the Worship Committee.

Flowers bring so much joy. How do they do it? They are both fragile and rooted, as are we! Let us explore our unfolding complexity, inspired by flowers

5/14/23: "New People, New Places: The Spiritual Importance of Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone."with Tuckerman Wunderle

Spring is long heralded as a time of rebirth, renewal, and resurgence. In this yearly moment of newness, let us join together in an exploration of why new influences are important to our spiritual selves. How does stepping out of our comfort zones make us more spiritually diverse? And how can we identify and utilize those moments to the best of our abilities?

5/21/23- "Calling the Circle: Honoring All Beings" with Worship and Arts Committee and Robbin Ruffner

Inspired by the work of Joanna Macy, John Seed, Starhawk and others, we will form a circle, pass a talking stick, and speak for Earth Beings. Robbin Ruffner will join us, from the Atlanta area, in Prayer and Blessing.

5/28/23 - "Good trouble, anti-nuclear style" with Ann Darling

Ann Darling will talk about her journey of 12+ years in anti-nuclear activism, and we'll all share some insights and practical ideas about activism.

April 2023

4/2/23: "The Fragility and Resilience of It All" with Will Hunter

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day the Christian story says that Jesus was greeted by the throngs in Jerusalem waving palms.  Five days later, those throngs chose to free a murderous thief and let Jesus be crucified.  How fragile that moment of praise and triumph was! And yet, in the Christian story, a few days after that, there was resilience and resurrection.  There are a lot of life lessons in this upcoming span of seven days: to keep everything on track requires a lot of effort and luck, and yet things bounce back in ways we can hardly imagine.  What a miracle it all is!

4/9/23: "Seven Miles from Jerusalem" with The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine
Both the Passover and Easter stories inform, enlighten, and inspire us in ways not at all in contradiction, despite history suggesting otherwise. This morning’s reflection will consider these narratives and the gratitude and joy that permeate them both.

4/16/23: "Hidden Figures Who Are Creating Earth Community" with the Worship Committee

This past year has given the Worship and Arts Committee the opportunity to dive into our theme for the year, The Great Turning, From Empire to Earth Community, with emphasis on Creating Earth Community. We’ve been inspired by well known people, like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Joanna Macy, etc. Along the way, we’ve come across folks doing great work, but who are lesser known. You might call them, Hidden Figures. Let’s honor them today.

4/23/23: "Maybe We Just Need to Listen"  with The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine 

“Suppose, as some have claimed, our beloved English language alienates us from the source of our being, or worse, lures us into the very objectification that is destroying the planet?  With the help of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Learning the Grammar of Animacy, I am hoping to venture into the country beyond familiar nouns, the country where listening teaches us what we need to know.”

4/30/23: Spring Into our Annual Word Service with the Worship Committee

Come celebrate WORDS with us. We’ll hear from the Choir, Chrissy Howe and Ann Marie Knoepful. Is there a word that has been meaningful to you in your life?

March 2023

3/5/23: "Connecting with the Earth Element" with JoAnn Bregnard

Feel balanced, grounded and whole by learning about the Earth element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Through it, you'll discover a variety of ways to help you care for yourself and, ultimately, improve your bonds with others and the natural world.

3/12/23: Observing Daylight Savings: "Springing Forward" and "Falling Back" with Tuck Wunderle

As we reset our clocks to begin moving towards the warmer months of the year, let us explore the connection between time and observation. How do these two elements come together to enhance our spiritual, emotional, and physical lives? And how can we ensure that we make enough time to recognize the moments of meaning that swirl around us

Tuckerman Wunderle is a poet, essayist, and lifelong Unitarian Universalist born and raised in Chester, Vermont. UU values are central to his beliefs, and frequently find their way into much of his work, whether artistic or philosophical. He has been preaching at the First Universalist Parish in Chester for a little over a year, and is excited to explore some ideas together with the Springfield congregation


3/19/23: "Honoring Women Earth Holders Through Time and Culture" with the Worship Committee

Women’s efforts toward a thriving, sustainable planet are remarkable.We’ll learn from a few of these visionary leaders like Hildegard von Bingen, Vandana Shiva, Wangari Maathai, and Joanna Macy, whose lives and works offer great hope for the future. What is the element of Earth Holding that awakens in us when we regard Mother Earth, not as a resource to use up, but as family to love?

3/26/23: "Three Women Writing" with The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine

I see them alone at night, pen to paper, researching, writing: one by candlelight, one in hiding, one deathly ill, each risking her life to speak truth to power. Ida B. Wells, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Rachel Carson all wrote with thorough research, with stunning tenacity and confidence that their words would matter. From whence such courage? And what is our role in sustaining it?


February 2023


2/5/23: "We Live in a Chemical World" with Will Hunter

Inside our brains there are thousands/millions/billions of chemical signals being fired off that control how we feel: pleasure, pain, happiness, anxiety, fear and everything in between. For millennia, humans and other living beings have discovered that there are things that they can put in their bodies that set off chemical events to make them feel differently. Some of these substances accomplish this end by influencing parts of the brain that also have profound – even deadly – physical consequences. Outside of the body that experiences the feelings, there are social consequences as well. Some are good: the feeling of happiness when we complete a task or meet someone else's needs. Some are bad: the victimization that goes along with having to support an unaffordable drug habit or with the loss of self-control that results from some chemical reactions. What are the things we can make part of our lives that set off the good chemical reactions inside our heads and lead to good results for ourself and our world as well?


2/12/23: "Regenerating the Inner and Outer Landscape"

Guest Speakers: Karen Ganey of Regeneration Corps and Permaculture Solutions and Earl Hatley of Lead Agency and the Ottauquechee Waters Protectors Association.
Karen and Earl will each talk about their work in environmental protection, Earl as a Water Keeper and President of Local Environmental Action Demanded and Karen as a permaculture designer and educator on climate justice. They are working on Food Forest Projects and Abenaki Gardens to grow traditional foods in traditional ways that are ecologically and nutritionally diverse and resilient. They will speak to the need to work towards food and land sovereignty as well as ways that contaminated soils can be regenerated using biochar.

Karen and Earl will also share how working with and for the Earth is both challenging and restorative and how to hold the sacredness in the process of confronting climate justice

2/19/23: On Care for Our Common Home – A Joyful Endeavor with the Worship Committee

We’ll be exploring the care of our planet as promoted by impactful world religious leaders.
Join us in celebration and discussion of our place in nature and our care for planet Earth.
“Stewardship of our planet is a moral obligation.” Pope Francis, from Laudato Si
“Real change will happen only when we fall in love with our planet. Only love can show us how to live in harmony with nature and with each other…..” Thich Nhat Hanh, from Love Letter to the Earth
“Compassion, loving kindness, and altruism are the keys not only to human development, but also to planetary survival.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from Heart to Heart


Suggested Reading:

Love Letters to the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh

Heart to Heart: A Conversation on Love and Hope for Our Precious Planet by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Websites to Visit:

Practice Being an Earth Holder, Nomi Green, April 9, 2018

Developing a Mindful Approach to Earth Justice Work:  Are You an Earth Holder?

John Bell, Summer 2019

Earth Holder Guided Meditation

Earth Holder Community

Laudato Si: Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity

Laudato Si:  On Care for Our Common Home - A mini course via EdX  (free)

Film:  The Letter

2/26/23: " History Matters " With The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine

How we tell our story defines who we are: our personal, familial, ethnic, class, race, national identity. And our identity effects everything we do and say, everything we censor and do not say, every action we take or fail to take, every spiritual moment of our days.
Paying attention to history these days, personal and national, requires equal attention to those who seek to suppress or destroy it. The current political intrusion into the work of American historians and novelists, the banning of books on race and sexuality, the overt capitulation to political pressure on the part of hitherto well-respected institutions not only threatens our nation’s identity but our own.


January 2023


Jan. 1, 2023: Annual Fire Ceremony- "The Magic of Intention" with Sharon Mueller

What is intention? It’s a declaration of intent, a prayer, a purpose. And the magic? That comes from the emotion attached to the intention. As we have for years, we’ll look back at 2022, and let go of what did not serve us. And we’ll call on the four directions, and our ancestors, to help guide us as we set intentions for what we call into our lives in 2023. With music, meditation, a story, and the fire ceremony itself, let’s call good things into our lives! For those joining on zoom, please have paper and pencil ready. Let’s make magic together!


January 8, 2023: Labyrinth service with Ellen Allman

Walking the labyrinth is an opportunity to slow down and focus. In the service Ellen will talk about the history of labyrinths and her experiences with them.
Labyrinth Courtesy:
There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth.
Some like to walk quickly, others slowly, others like to skip.
It is fine to go around someone if they are going at a different pace. Shoes are optional. Quiet is appreciated while on the labyrinth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Thomas helping to pick up the rocks after the service

Jan. 15, 2023: "The Call to Change Our Stories" with the Worship committee

Join us as we revisit Empire as it exists today; and, at this pivotal time on the planet, examine the Spirit of Shanghai document (the SCO Charter), and the Earth Charter as examples of ways we can move forward toward Earth Community.



Jan. 22, 2023: "Books By My Bedside" with the Worship Committee

“A good book is a good friend,” (Edgar Albert Guest). What books do you keep by your bedside, and why? Are they prayerful? Silly? Poetry? A journal? Something else? We’ll share some of ours, and invite you to bring one or two of yours to share.


Jan 29, 2023: "Finding Courage" with The Rev. Dr. Nancy Crumbine
I have been reading lately about acts of courage beyond my imagination, about individuals doing “the right thing” despite impossible dangers.Their accounts, and research about them, suggest that such virtue is a part of having a strong sense of identity: They knew who they were and they could not have acted otherwise. How is this identity cultivated, how is it related to our spiritual lives and how can I find mine? Or, to put it bluntly, if I am the coward I think I am, what am I going to do about it?

December 2022


Dec. 4, 2022: "Hope Is an Action" With Charis Boke
Our guest speaker will be Dr. Charis Boke, who is a scholar, a community organizer, and part of the Black River watershed. Committed to working collectively for a better world, she is a long-time Program Leader with the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice among other organizations, and also leads custom social justice workshops for individuals and organizations. She's been a lay leader in UU world, especially around southern Vermont, for more than a decade. Her doctorate is in anthropology, and her heart is in the woods and the streets. She lives here in Springfield 12 miles from where she grew up at the foot of Mt Ascutney, Cas-cad-nac.

Dec 11, 2022: "Good News of Great Joy" With The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine

The celebration of Christmas was considered by the English Puritans to be so heretical that they sought to curtail all festivities by an act of Parliament in 1644. Christmas was outlawed in Massachusetts for many years.  Interesting: How theologically dangerous might it be to celebrate God’s coming to earth as an infant? And why does this metaphor, this story of birth, still resonate with us today? An advent/Christmas celebration.  Beautiful music. Bring friends and relations!

Nancy Jay Crumbine is a Unitarian Universalist minister, a professor emeritus at Dartmouth College, a writer, actor, and public speaker. She has lectured widely under the auspices of the Vermont and New Hampshire Humanities Councils, the National Council for the Aging, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and various educational conferences, both in the US and the UK. She is the author of Humility, Anger, and Grace: Meditations Towards a Life that Matters and The Unitarian Paradox. Her articles and poems appear in a number of anthologies and magazines, most recently in The Inquirer, the UK’s equivalent of the UU World. She speaks regularly at First Universalist Parish of Chester, VT, and has spoken many times here at our Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse and on zoom to our congregation. She is delighted to return this Sunday in person

 Dec. 18, 2022 Solstice Service "Jesus- Resisting Empire by Creating Earth Community " with the Worship Committee 
Some scholars describe Jesus as someone who used parables to communicate subversive wisdom, and who dedicated his life to changing the prevailing stories.

Dec. 24, 2022 Christmas Eve Service




November 2022
Nov 6, 2022  "Blessings" with the Worship Committee Life is a Blessing “We have received an inestimable gift. To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe- to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it- it is a wonder beyond words. And It is, more over, an extraordinary privilege to be accorded a human life, with self-reflexive consciousness that brings awareness of our own actions and the ability to make choices. It lets us choose to join the praising and healing of our world.” Joanna Macy


Nov. 13, 2022 "Keeping the Faith" with The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine
As we breathe a sigh of relief that our democracy may survive to fight another day, the spiritual question remains:  How to keep faith, how to foster the gratitude that changes water to wine, fear to love, paralysis and exhaustion to continuing joyful social action


Nov. 20, 2022 "Salvation Farms" with Sue Buckholz


Nov. 27, 2022 "Building a Land Ethic" with Diane Kemble and Allaire Diamond

Exploring Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic With Allaire Diamond from the Vermont Land TrustAldo Leopold wrote, “We can only be ethical in relation to something we can see, understand, feel, love, or otherwise have faith in.” Conservationist and writer Leopold did not define the land ethic with a litany of rights and wrongs in A Sand County Almanac. Instead, he was interested in how people view the land and their relationship to it. He created the term “land ethic” to describe his thinking. At its core, the idea is simple: care about people, land, and strengthening the relationships between them. For a short intro to Allaire and the Land Ethic see Also, the film Green Fire about Aldo Leopold can be watched online for free.
If there is a young person in your life, bring them along for this intergenerational service. We will begin with a story and music for all ages and art supplies will be available for children to show their favorite outdoor places. (Diane Kemble, Service Leader


October 2022

October 2, 2022  "Embracing Paradoxes" with Will Hunter In his 1936 essay “The Crack Up,” F. Scott Fitzgerald described one aspect of what he called “a first-rate intelligence” as the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. Fitzgerald elaborated: “One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.” We can accept, in the words of Ecclesiates, that there is nothing new under the sun, while at the same time believing in a force that “can make all things new.” In this digital age, we seem to have been infected by the idea that, just as in binary computer language, everything is either a 1 or a 0. People are either good or bad. Ideas are either right or wrong. But deep down we know better, we need to embrace the contradictions and the paradoxes in what we encounter and not only survive but prevail

A celebration of the life of Glendon Williams, who died on May 14th, 2022, will be held Saturday October 8, 2022, at 1pm at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse at 21 Fairground Rd Springfield, VT. A formal service of remembrance will be followed by an informal gathering and refreshments with time throughout for sharing. Glen was a very creative intellect whose work experiences spanned a wide range from international travel to a professional career in art education, alongside cultivating interests in classical music, writing, animals, and gardening with a special focus on hostas. Please join us and bring your stories to share

*Video available on our YouTube

October 9, 2022 “The Most Important Book I Read in Seminary”  with Mellen Kennedy And it wasn’t the Bible, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur’an, the Dhammapada or even the Zend Avesta. Join us for an exploration of one of the most pressing ethical issues of our time. Please come with an open mind, a loving heart and a sacred body. If You’ll be on Zoom, please bring crayons and paper or something to draw with. Rev. Mellen will be preaching in-person in the sanctuary.

October 16, 2022 "Stacking Wood, One Log at a Time"  with The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine A reflection on the practice of forgiving oneself one mistake at a time, woven with thoughts on trees, on Frost’s The Wood Pile, Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son and the grace of October light.

Nancy Jay Crumbine is a Unitarian Universalist minister, a professor emeritus at Dartmouth College, a writer, actor, and public speaker. She has lectured widely under the auspices of the Vermont and New Hampshire Humanities Councils, the National Council for the Aging, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and various educational conferences, both in the US and the UK. She is the author of Humility, Anger, and Grace: Meditations Towards a Life that Matters and The Unitarian Paradox. Her articles and poems appear in a number of anthologies and magazines, most recently in The Inquirer, the UK’s equivalent of the UU World. She speaks regularly at First Universalist Parish of Chester, VT, and has spoken many times here at our Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse and on zoom to our congregation.

October 23, 2022 "A Musical Celebration of the Season’s Turning" with The Choir and Worship Team

Come celebrate autumn in word and song, with heart and mind. The choir has recorded some beautiful anthems and hymns of the season for your enjoyment. You are invited to bring fall leaves to share, in the Sanctuary and on zoom. We’ll have a time for percussion instruments too Let’s shake it up!

October 30, 2022 "The Day of the Dead" with The Worship Committee

At this time of year, when the veil is thin between this world and the next, let’s look at how other cultures celebrate this time, and hold up our loved ones who have passed. You are welcome to bring pictures to share of your loved ones who have passed


September 2022

September 11 Water Communion Service with the Worship and Arts Committee Water is the life blood of our Planet Earth. It sustains not only our bodies, but our spirits as well. The cycle of water on the Earth is now drastically out of balance. How can we help? Since water has been shown to react to human emotion, let’s practice Water Gratitude! With what emotion would you choose to imbue your water? We will honor the life of local water activist, Jan Lambert, who shared a service with us four years ago on the Sacredness of Water.Please bring water of significance to you, from nearby, to share in our water communion ritual, in person or on zoom. Water is all One!

September 18 Creating Earth Community- Theme for the Year with the Worship Team We all want to change the world, but how? How do we support awakening consciousness and our spiritual connection?To find answers to these questions, the Worship Committee chose the theme for this year, Creating Earth Community. It will be featured on the third Sunday of the month, and will offer inspiration, practical steps, and some local initiatives and ideas. On Sunday, September 18th, we’ll set the stage. Inspired by Joanna Macy and David Korten (The Great Turning, From Empire to Earth Community), we’ll explore the question, ‘How did we get here?’, and ask, ‘What can we do about it?’.  The following third Sundays will delve into various efforts to create Earth Community, offering examples of what we can do, and time for discussion. Stories of how we are Creating Earth Community in our lives are welcome and invited.“Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning.”~Joanna Macy“We are getting a wake-up call we cannot ignore … Rather than give in to despair in this often frightening time, let us rejoice in the privilege of being alive at a moment of creative opportunity unprecedented in the human experience. Peace and justice for all and a sustainable … planet are within our reach. … Our time has come to trade the sorrows of Empire for the joys of Earth Community. … We are the Ones we have been waiting for.”~David Korten

Sept 25, 2022 "Does Church Really Matter?  You Bet!"  with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy Most churches were closed during the virus situation, and some have closed permanently. What a great loss for our spiritual and mental health! And at the same time, new and vibrant ones have popped up!  Let's explore the the research around this and how it is that houses of worship enhance our lives collectively and individually. As the Springfield Meetinghouse faces a future full of opportunities, this service will help us ground and reconnect to the power of spiritual community. In the worlds of Corrie ten Boom, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."

Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy is a Universalist Minister and a Sufi Cheraga. She is passionate about helping people find their way home to their connection with the Source within.  She served the Springfield Meetinghouse until retiring recently from UU parish ministry. She teaches the Sacred Art of Storytelling. Mellen is the founder of Interfaith Bridge and lives in Lincoln, Vermont

August 2022

Aug 14 "HEALING"  With Bet Bailey Bet will speak to us about the uplifting things God says to her as she does hands-on healing *Sorry, no video

Aug 28 "PEACE"  With Sharon Mueller



July 2022

July 10 "Earth Gratitude as a Meditative Practice" with Julane Deener and the Worship and Arts team The beauty and bounty that surrounds us is often overlooked.  Children are taught to be thankful for many things, but frequently Mother Earth is not on that list.  Yet the earth that sustains us is constant and caring, even in times of climate stress and human chaos.  How can we slow down, pay attention, and make earth gratitude a daily practice?  Please bring a little piece of nature that you would like to share – a leaf, feather, rock, photo….
“For we are held by more than the force of gravity to the earth.  It is the entity from which we are sprung, and that into which we are dissolved in time. The blood of the whole human race is invested in it. We are moored there, rooted as surely, as deeply as are the ancient redwoods and bristlecones.” (Navarre Scott Momaday)

July 24, 2022 Letting Go...A Practice for Inner Peace and Spiritual Growth Worship & Arts Members How can we simplify our inner and outer lives. Join our small community as we embrace the challenge to let go of that which no longer serves and make room for what truly matters.

June 2022

June 5  "Celebrating Bread & Puppet Theatre!" Toni Streeter, Ann Marie Knoepfel Marc Estrin, and Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy A Spiritual Makerspace Bread & Puppet Theatre was started by Peter Schumann in the early 1960's, migrated to Vermont in the 70's and has been a source of inspiration, hope and fun for many of us for decades.  Marc Estrin was a puppeteer and is a close companion of Peter Schumann.  Marc also co-authored the book, "Rehearsing with Gods: Photos and Essays on the Bread & Puppet Theatre." Toni, Ann Marie and Rev. Mellen Love Bread  & Puppet.  We look forward to sharing with You our enthusiasm & reflections on the spiritually uplifting message and magic of B & P.  You're invited to bring your own favorite Bread & Puppet art to share  for others to enjoy.  Followed by an in-person and "virtual" coffee hour.

June 12 "Stolen Focus: Let's Take Back Our Lives!" final service with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy Inspired in part by the new book, "Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again." in which the author, Johann Hari, artfully explores in a comprehensive and captivating manner one of the most pressing contemporary problems today.  Let’s face it – most of us have a hard time focusing. Attention is everything. What we pay attention to is what comprises our life and creates our reality. This overwhelming and timely topic is a profound spiritual issue. We are each a child of the Source, our life matters, we’re here for a sacred purpose. And if we can’t focus long enough to pause and listen to Spirit, we end up squandering our "one wild and precious life," missing out on life’s beauty and not offering our unique gifts.  Followed by an in-person and "virtual" coffee hour.

May 2022 Services

May 1: "The Great Turning" with Sharon Mueller and Friends Please join us as we look at this transition as conceived by David Korten and Joanna Macy.  You're invited to stay for a virtual coffee hour discussion after the service.

May 8: Imagining Peace on Mother’s Day with Julane Deener and the Meetinghouse Virtual Choir. Please join us on Mother’s Day for a choir led service filled with hymns, anthems, poetry, and hope for peace on earth.  We’ll meet mother goddesses from around the world and celebrate the mother figures in our lives.  Feel free to bring along a photo of a beloved, mothering family member (male or female) to share. You're welcome to stay for a virtual coffee hour discussion time after the service. 

Sunday, May 15: Spiritual Makerspace Service "Race Amity and the Legacy of Howard Thurman" with Dr. William Smitty Smith, Rev, Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Kristal Owens, Minister Usher Moses, and Robbin Ruffner, RScP. In addition to the existence of racial enmity and injustice in America, there has always existed the "other tradition" of Race Amity or friendship across the races.  Our featured speaker, Dr. William Smitty Smith is the founder and director of the National Center for Race Amity.  The parallels between Race Amity and the profound teachings of Howard Thurman are strong.  This service is our finale of the 8 part series on, "Medicine for Our Times: Living the Legacy of Howard Thurman".  Smitty will lay the foundation with his presentation and our team of Thurman enthusiasts will respond and discuss the exciting work, and we'll reflect collectively on the series and how we can continue to live this legacy in our own lives.  Special music from the Virtual Choir.  We hope You'll join us.  Followed by a virtual coffee hour discussion.

Sunday, May 22: "Annual Flower Communion" with Rev. Mellen Kennedy, IN PERSON & ZOOM  The vision of Norbert Capek in the first half of the last century, this ritual of sharing, and beauty is celebrated by Unitarian Universalist Churches all over. This hybrid service will be a very special Flower Communion this year because it will be our first service back in sanctuary (and still on-line as well).  We will also recognize transitions of births and deaths  in the community in the past 2 years as well as of the departure of our staff, Rev. Mellen and Deb.  Bring a flower to the service (whether You're in person or on-line).  It will be a very beautiful celebration of our community local and virtual. 

Sunday, May 29: "Celebrating" with Sharon Mueller and Friends, IN PERSON & ZOOM We are celebrating Celebrations! From the dawn of human life, people have honored important events, both large and small, personal and communal. What makes a celebration; what inspires you? Come share your stories with us. Please bring percussion instruments!

April 2022 Services

April 3 “Finding Light-Minded Friends: Happy ThanksLiving!” With Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Delia Chaney.  One of the things that leaves our hearts brimming in gratitude, is when we have Soul connections with others.  There is so much to be thankful for, even and especially and in time of trouble. And friends on the path who help us remember this, is one of life’s blessings that fills us with joy.  In a light-hearted spirit of April Fool’s Day, let’s share how gratitude has shaped us, especially for those who have taken the ThanksLiving Challenge  in recent months. You’re invited to stay for the virtual coffee hour afterwards.

April 10 “Living Buddha, Living Christ” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy As we approach Easter Sunday, next week, this is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on who Jesus was and what are the parallels between these two great teachers, Buddha and Christ.  “Living Buddha, Living Christ” is the title of a book by that great Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh who transitioned recently.  This is the third and final part of our series on Thich Nhat Hanh. Please stay for the virtual coffee hour discussion afterward.

April 17 "Easter Renewal" with Robbin Ruffner, and Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Kristal Owens, Minister Usher Moses and Rev. Will Hunter Easter bursts on the scene with a shout of Hope!  Even in times of despair and chaos, Love triumphs!  How can this be?  What better place to turn for answers, than Howard Thurman.  Thurman turns our attention to the growing edge, to possibility, to Hope! He invites us to both have courage to face life’s pain and injustice, AND the wisdom to connect to the Source beyond all daily drudgery and suffering.  Thurman was a compelling voice in a recent time of turmoil and his message rings beautifully true in the Spring of 2022!  Please stay for our virtual coffee hour discussion.

April 24: "Awakening Through Movement, Practices for Enjoyment," a Spiritual Makerspace Service with Neva Cockrell and Raphael Sacks from the Art Monastery  Come join Neva and Raphael as we explore embodiment practices to help us feel fresh, feel energy and joy! Let’s shake off winter and welcome Spring with our dear friends at the Art Monastery. Please stay for coffee hour after the service.

March 2022 Services

March 6: "Sidney Poitier, the Man, the Myth, the Legend" with Sharon Mueller and Tina Feindel.  Come join us as we take a deeper look at the spiritual life of Sidney Poitier, including a deeper understanding of who he was at his core, and the gifts he gave us.  Please join us also for a virtual coffee hour discussion after the service.

March 13: SPIRITUAL MAKERSPACE SERVICE ~ “Trauma-Informed, Harmony Bound:  A Continuing Tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy and Angie Follensbee-Hall  Let's celebrate the resiliency and power of the human body, mind and spirit here at the two year mark of the virus situation. We'll explore embodied practices including meditation, for being present and integrating trauma. Yes, it's been a challenging time and yes, we can breathe, be present, integrate and move beyond. Join us for practical skill building and spiritual celebrating. One of the sources we'll draw from for inspiration is the profound work of Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, with Vietnam and other war veterans.  Rev. Mellen Kennedy is the settled half-time minister of the Meetinghouse.  Angie Follensbee-Hall is an artist, teacher, yoga instructor, podcast host, exhibiting artist, and a lifelong self-employed maker.  She and her husband, Josh Hall are both members of the Meetinghouse and work form their home, Jai Studios in Brownsville, Vt.  You're welcome to stay for virtual coffee hour.

March 20: “Howard Thurman’s Connection with Nature: An Equinox Celebration” with Minister Usher Moses along with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Kristal Owens and Robbin Ruffner, Divine Science Practitioner. As we turn toward Spring, what better place to look for uplift and inspiration than the life of Howard Thurman, that great nature lover, mystic, African American scholar and preacher.  Yeah Spring! 

March 27: "Spiritual Democracy" with Sharon Mueller and Friends  Democracy is a spiritual practice. Please join us as we look at what Walt Whitman and others have to say about Spiritual Democracy, and discuss ways we can nurture it in our own lives.

February 2022 Services

February 6, Annual Word Service: "Tower of Babel 2.0" with Sharon Mueller, Tina Feindel and recorded offerings by Suiko McCall and Qayyum Johnson of the Art Monastery. The Tower of Babel is a story of the ultimate communication breakdown; that is, what happens when we no longer understand each others’ words. Words are key to understanding each other, to peace. Join us as we share out thoughts on Words that have meaning to us. Stay for virtual coffee hour after the service.

February 13: "Love and Compassion, Can we offer this to Ourselves?"  A Spiritual Makerspace with Lindsey, Ti, Rosaleen, and Ann Marie Knoepfel How can we offer Love and Compassion to Ourselves? In the last several months our community has been nurturing our inner light and discovering our growing edge. In this service we will explore how and why offering ourselves Peace, Love, and Understanding benefits us and our communities beyond measure. Please stay for our virtual coffee hour discussion.  

February 20: “The Spiritual *Is* Political:  Tracing Divine Love onto a Broken World” with Omid Safi  and Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Kristal Owens, Minister Usher Moses and Robbin Ruffner, Divine Science Practitioner.  PART OF OUR HOWARD THURMAN SERIES Almost all mystical traditions call our attention to Here and Now.  The Kingdom of God is to be established Here, and the redemption is Here.  Our great spiritual traditions are concerned not only about the spirit, but about the bodies also made in the image of God.  The cosmic in us has to be about both changing the human and changing the world of which we are a part. The healing inside and the healing of the world are wrapped up in one another.
Omid Safi is a scholar in the Sufi tradition of Radical Love & Founder of Illuminated Courses & Tours.   Omid is a professor at Duke University specializing in Islamic spirituality and contemporary thought. Omid is among the most frequently sought out Muslim public intellectuals in popular media, appearing in The New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media.  He has delivered the annual Martin Luther King keynote from the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, and preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church. His most recent book is Radical Love, which has been published by Yale University Press.  He teaches courses on Islamic Spirituality, focused on the mystical poetry of Rumi  and the Heart of the Qur’an.
Join us after the service for virtual coffee hour discussion.

February 27: "Peace Is Every Step: A Tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh" with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy The Great Vietnamese Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, passed away recently.  We will celebrate his exemplary life and look toward how we can integrate his teachings into our own lives.  If your life was impacted by him, You are invited to reach out to Rev. Mellen to consider sharing something in the service.  You're also invited to stay for the virtual coffee hour afterwards.

January 2022 Services

January 2: "Finding The Light - Connecting With Each Other" with Ann Marie Knoepfel, Tina Feindel, Deb Diegoli. As a follow up to our Annual Fire Ceremony, you are invited to an informal sharing of ideas on ‘Finding the Light’ in the coming year. We’ll have music and readings to inspire and time for informal discussion.  

January 9, “Happy ThanksLiving: Let’s Bless Our Way Through 2022” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy. 10 am  The mental health indicators for us humans have taken a nose dive in the past few years, social science data indicates.  What can we do?  Time for an epiphany! The universal teachings of the world’s wisdom traditions point to a tried-and-true method for improving our mental, spiritual and physical health.  And it lies within your very own heart.  As Rumi said, Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. Special music by Bill Brink, The Virtual Choir and Julane Deener. If You’d like to participate in a ritual during the service, bring a small stone with You when You sign on.  You're invited to stay for small groups in our virtual coffee hour.

January 16, “The Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and His ‘Hidden Figures’: Dr. Howard Thurman and Other Influencers.” Minister Usher Moses with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Kristal Owens and Robbin Ruffner, Religious Science Practitioner Emerita. In this is the fourth part of our eight-part Howard Thurman Series, guest minister, Usher Moses will dive deep into the crystal waters of universal love with the people who made a major impact and influence on MLK's life and civil rights ministry, practices and procedures!! This series, "Medicine for Our Times: Living the Legacy of Howard Thurman", is co-sponsored by the Empowerment Center of Cheverly, MD and the Springfield Meetinghouse. A perfect way to celebrate M L King Weekend! Usher Moses is the senior minister of the Empowerment Center and works at Howard University. Special music by The Virtual Choir and Julane Deener. You’re welcome to stay, make some new friends and connect with old friends in our virtual coffee hour. 

January 23: "Our Science, Ethics, Discovery of Three Mass Poisonings, and the Long March Toward Truth" with Dr. Seth Frisbie. A drinking water survey in Bangladesh ultimately lead Dr. Seth Frisbie, his wife, Dr. Erika Mitchell, and a small handful of colleagues to discover three mass poisonings: (1) arsenic, manganese, and other toxic elements in Bangladesh’s drinking well water, (2) the possibility of corruption at the World Health Organization, and (3) the significant risk of neurodevelopmental harm from excess manganese in infant formulas sold in the United States. The science behind these discoveries and the ethical challenges they presented will be discuss. And the final victory of truth will be celebrated. Virtual coffee hour after the service.
Dr. Seth H. Frisbie has over 25 years of experience in public health. He earned his B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, his M.S. from Cornell University, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Dr. Frisbie is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Norwich University. He has worked on public health in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and many other countries since 1997. Dr. Frisbie has won numerous awards for outstanding research and teaching. You're invited to stay for our virtual coffee hour.

January 30: Spiritual Makerspace Service ~ "Holy Imbolc: A Midwinter Reflection” with Rev. Dr. Mellen Kennedy.  My one and only trip, so far, to Ireland, took place during Imbolc three years ago.  And my understanding of this ancient Celtic Holiday has been deepened by my sojourn on the green isle.  I invite You to join us in this midwinter celebration of Imbolc, February 1st, the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. You're invited to stay for the small groups, an opportunity to visit in our virtual coffee hour after the service