A Fierce Unrest

We humans are never satisfied. No matter what we achieve, we always want more, or want things to be different. But at the same time, what we fear and avoid most is almost any sort of change. What are the consequences of this contradiction on our world and ourselves, and what should we do about it?

Nancy Weis has been a committed UU since her college days and is a member of the Rutland UU Church, where she speaks a couple of times a year. She is a visual artist, and has spent her professional life teaching, and working as a librarian and administrator at various colleges. She spends her spare time reading, horseback riding, and thinking about all sorts of things.

Christmas Eve Service

We will host a Christmas Eve service at 4pm on Zoom on Thursday, December 24th. The theme is “Sharing Our Light”: a celebration of community, traditions, and shared light in dark times. Songs and readings will be shared. We will close the service with our tradition of lighting candles and singing Silent Night so please have a candle ready at home. All are welcome. Please email us at info@mmuuf.org to receive Zoom connection information.

Radical Leadership

Radical leadership: To truly embrace resistance (to fascism and far right ideology), we must be willing to welcome radical leadership. Not “radical”, the noun. I mean “radical”, the adjective. Radical, meaning essential, fundamental and profound: a model that fully embraces the ideology of being broad-minded, open to new opinions and ideas, willing to discard outdated modes of thinking and acting. Radical leadership elevates the voices of others; making space as we learn and practice how to stand together—when it’s uncomfortable, even when we’re unsure of the outcome. Becca Balint is the Majority Leader in the Vermont State Senate and represents Windham County. She was just re-elected to her fourth term and is poised to become the first woman to become Senate President Pro Tempore and the first openly gay person to lead either legislative chamber.

UU Strategies for Foxholes

This week a friend reminded me of the saying, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” 2020 has felt like a year of being in a foxhole, with nightmare scenarios pressing in from a range of existential disasters: a global health pandemic, pervasive structural racism, climate change exacerbated wildfire and hurricane seasons and political brinksmanship that feels just a step away from civil war.

In this service I will build on thoughts that emerged from the early October RExploration, where we talked about whether Hope is a necessary ingredient to managing through a crisis. What touchstones or tools can keep us going if Hope seems elusive or truly is no longer present? Where do we draw the presence of mind and heart to place one foot in front of the other in those situations.

Needless to say, you should not come to this service expecting clear answers to these questions. But, with readings and poetry and a few reflections, I imagine we can connect, exchange stories and thoughts, and provide support for each other from our socially distant Zoom box foxholes.

Gaye Symington lives in Jericho and has been a member of MMUUF since 1993. She is the lead staff of the Burlington-based High Meadows Fund which provides grants, mission-focused investments, and collaborative thinking to promote a healthy natural environment and long-term economic vitality in Vermont. And she hoping to shake off a masochistic habit of signing up to lead the first service after a presidential election two cycles in a row.

Engage or Shelter?

In this service, Dana Baron will explore the role of our spiritual community in addressing the social and political chaos that is unfolding around us. Many of our members and friends are taking action individually, but is there or should there be a role for our Fellowship as a whole? Should we engage in the struggle collectively? Or should our Fellowship provide shelter – spiritual, emotional, and even physical – from the storm? Dana Baron is a long-time member of MMUUF and has served in many roles. Now retired, he has recently moved from Essex to Shelburne with his wife Karen. For the time being, services will be exclusively held virtually via Zoom. Please email info@mmuuf.org for how to join!

Reflections on Love and Courage in the Fall of 2020

With a daily shift in the ground beneath us during this tumultuous year, MMUUF member and Vice President Kelly McCutcheon Adams will offer reflections on love and courage in trying times and will also offer opportunities for self-reflection for attendees. For the time being, services will be exclusively held virtually via Zoom. Please email info@mmuuf.org for how to join!

Hope in Action

This service presents a hopeful outlook on mitigating climate change. Betsy was a founding member of Vermont Interfaith Power and Light (VTIPL) and currently serves as the organization’s coordinator. Lance is a member of MMUUF and a founding member of Elder for Climate Change, a group that recognizes the special responsibility of elders to serve as earth stewards to leave a sustainable and healthy planet for those who follow. Both Lance and Betsy have found ways to walk the talk on climate change. They’ll share some of the steps you can take as well.

Engaging in a Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning

Earlier this fall Erica Baron spoke about the connection between truth and meaning, the key elements of the fourth Unitarian Universalist principle. On November 10th Gaye will explore some of the untruths imbedded in the stories she’s relied on to make sense of the world, and how she is rethinking those stories in her search for truth and meaning.

Also during this service, MMUUF will host a Service of Dedication and Welcome, celebrating the Fink and Greenblott families’ presence in our fellowship. During or after the service I hope you’ll take a moment to sign the certificates of dedication for each of the four children, Isla and Tahlia Greenblott and Sutton and Greyson Fink.

If other families would like to participate in the service, please contact Gaye at gsym@together.net.

During the dedication portion of the service Gaye will ask the fellowship, “Do you agree to dedicate MMUUF to support Kevin and Tresa and Dusty and Jenn, to honor and recognize their children, entrusted to the care of both family and community, and covenant to provide their children with a community of warmth and affection, equity and compassion and dedication to the creation of a world worthy of coming generations?”

It’s probably pretty obvious, but the answer she’s looking for is, “Yes” or “We do”.

Gaye lives in Jericho with her husband, Chuck Lacy, with visits from their three children who attended MMUUF in the 1990’s. She works in Burlington at the High Meadows Fund which provides grants and mission investments to promote sustainable farm, food and forest enterprises, reduce the use of fossil fuels in buildings, and improve Vermont’s resilience to climate change.

Finding Your Way Home

Are you directionally challenged? (In the interest of full disclosure, I am.) Do you find it hard to ask for directions? Unitarian Universalists are all about questions. What does home mean to you? Where and when do you feel most at home?

Roddy O’Neil Cleary is a retired Emerita UU minister who is a religious hybrid, a catholic unitarian. She was a member of a religious community of sisters for almost 15 years, a campus minister at UVM for 15 years, and served at 1st UU in Burlington for 11 years. She is working at present in Hospice and prison ministry.

The Web of Life: The Interconnected Happiness of Humans & Other Animals

You don’t have to be an animal lover to appreciate that the happiness and well-being of humans and animals is deeply interconnected. Without a shift to a Gross National Happiness paradigm or something like it, many creatures – including giraffes and elephants – may be doomed to extinction. Without tending to the animal kingdom, we humans may also be doomed. Fortunately, there are some fine examples of how a GNH approach can help save the day.

Ginny Sassaman is a co-founder and past president of Gross National Happiness USA, & now serves on the GNHUSA advisory board. With a Certificate in Positive Psychology, Ginny’s specialty is the intersection between personal happiness and systems change to support wellbeing for all. Ginny is a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, where she delivered her first sermon in 2013. Since then, Ginny has led services in local UU churches as well as churches in South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Over the last three summers, Ginny led 16 services at the summers-only Barnard, VT UU Church. Those sermons are being compiled into a book, Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just, Joyful World due out in spring 2020. Ginny is always grateful to share the wisdom of happiness with UU congregations.