Archives: Services

What Can I See Now That I Couldn’t See Then?

In this service Gaye will look back to February, 2020, to consider how her perspective on history and pretty much everything has shifted given the events and lessons of the past three years. Years where, together, we witnessed George Floyd’s murder for 9 minutes on video, where, together, we experienced a pandemic that claimed lives disproportionately by race and income, and where our legislative leaders acknowledged and apologized for state policies that caused lasting harm to our Indigenous, disabled and low-income neighbors. Gaye’s learning journey is a work in progress and she’ll invite others to share their perspective. She has been a member of MMUUF since 1993 and lives in Jericho.

Home

About “home” the author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou wrote, “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we and not be questioned.” Graham Rowles, a gerontology professor at the University of Kentucky, said “We have a need for a place that is called home. Home provides security, control, belonging, identity, and privacy, among other things. But most of all, it is a place that provides us with a centering– a place from which we leave each morning and to which we return each evening.” What does “home” mean to you? This talk about home explores loss, perspective, gratitude, and hope.

Hilary has devoted her career to ending homelessness. She has worked in shelters, supervised street outreach teams, and administered permanent supportive housing programs in Boston, New York, and Vermont. She helped pioneer the evidence-based Housing First model in the 90s in New York City and brought the Housing First model to Vermont in 2009. As the founding Executive Director of Pathways Vermont, in addition to permanent supported housing programs, Hilary has developed alternative community mental health initiatives to meet the unmet needs of Vermonters experiencing mental health challenges. These include the Pathways Vermont Community Center, Support Line, and Soteria House. Hilary is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, having served four years in Benin, West Africa. She holds an MFA degree in creative writing/poetry and lives with her family in South Burlington.

Growing Our Happiness Muscles to Build a Better World

Many well-meaning people think focusing on personal happiness in such a tumultuous time is self-centered, that our energies should be focused more on helping others. In fact, building our personal happiness muscles is one of the best ways to help advance whatever cause is near and dear to our hearts. Ginny Sassaman, author of “Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World” lays out in a very down to earth way how the science of happiness can help us find more joy AND greater effectiveness in our social justice work. 

Ginny Sassaman is the author of “Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World,” a collection of her sermons published in 2020. She is a writer, mediator, artist and activist. As a co-founder of Gross National Happiness USA and of the Happiness Paradigm, she has spoken on the connection between personal happiness and social justice coast-to-coast, and even in Costa Rica. Ginny is a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, which invited her to deliver her first sermon in 2013. Since then she has delivered dozens of sermons at UU churches in Vermont, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and South Carolina. Ginny has a Masters in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies, and a Certificate in Positive Psychology.

Reflections on Gratitude

Can the practice of gratitude have a positive effect on your daily life? In this service, Ann and Catherine will share their thoughts and reflections and ask others in attendance to share their own experiences.

Ann Bonanno and Catherine Stevens are both members of MMUUF as well as members of the Sunday Service Committee.

Birds of a Feather

The fundamentals of being a good friend are woven into the fabric of Unitarian Universalism, but what does that mean for us? Why is friendship so important? How can we maintain friendships in the modern world? Be a pal and join us as we explore these questions and more.

Caroline Bright is a Master of Divinity student at Meadville Lombard Theological School and a Candidate for Unitarian Universalist ministry. She serves at Main Line Unitarian Church (Devon, PA) as the Brad and Catherine Greely Ministerial Intern. Caroline is a proud Vermonter who brings a wide variety of professional experiences to ministerial formation. Caroline attended St. Lawrence University and Saint Michael’s College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After completing her M.Div she hopes to become a Unitarian Universalist Military Chaplain. Caroline and her husband, Joel, have two children (an infant and a toddler), two cats, and a one eyed dog. They divide their time between Philadelphia and Vermont.

Grief Activism: Making Space for Lament and Communal Care

Grief and loss have been nearly constant companions for many of us over the last few years, as we have navigated a global pandemic on top of the ongoing social, environmental, and political crises. How might we reconsider or re-imagine the practice of grieving when faced with our current reality and the anticipation of even greater suffering in the years to come? If grief is not something to conquer or get past, how could we live well with grief? What traditions or practices might we rekindle or recreate to build a culture of care for each other in these times, a time that Joanna Macy calls the Great Unraveling? Our guest, Maeve McBride, will share her reflections on grief, both personal and collective, and spiritual care in activism and community

Maeve is an organizer and activist, mother, writer, singer, contemplative, and all-around earth lover. A long-time member of the First UU Society of Burlington and a new member of Middle Collegiate Church, Maeve has led lay worship and spoken often on the topics of climate change, grief, and racism. Currently, Maeve is busy starting a cooperative farm, fundraising for worthy causes, and pursuing movement chaplaincy.

Civil Disagreement: Finding comfort and strength in bifurcation

During the pandemic, I’ve been swimming in two different waters: being on the Steering Committee at MMUUF while we attempted to guide our fellowship’s pandemic policy in science, truth, caution, UU values, and social responsibility; and struggling to understand and continue to extend grace and love to a number of individualistic, anti-vax, anti-science, loving, generous, kind people who are near and dear to my heart. This service is a reflection on my experience of oscillation between two groups of people with irreconcilable truths, trying to understand and straddle both sides of a societal divide, and dealing with the discomfort in the middle as they drift apart.
Lincoln stepped in this summer as President of the Steering Committee here at MMUUF, having previously served as Treasurer and Vice President. The last 5 years he has been working as a homemaker: a stay-at-home father of two wonderful children, as well as solo designing and building his family’s locally and sustainably sourced, post-and-beam, straw bale house. Lincoln enjoys building things (hence the house), solving puzzles (also, the house), and staying up far too late having philosophical, moral, political, and/or ethical arguments that one mostly can’t remember the next day.

The Sixth Principle: Are we there yet?

The Unitarian Universalist Association has seven principles that reflect our UU identity. They are not a creed that all must believe in order to claim to be UU. But they are a covenant that claims us as UU. They are not beliefs that define the limits of our thinking. They are behaviors that describe the outline of our actions. What does that mean for the sixth principle?

Woullard Lett joined the New England Region UUA as Acting Regional Lead on May 1, 2018. Woullard is a long-time member and lay leader at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Manchester, NH and board member of Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community.

In the past, Woullard worked professionally as a nonprofit and community development consultant, and was a senior college administrator for Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and adjunct faculty member for SNHU and Springfield College. During his career, Woullard has provided technical assistance for government agencies, national community development intermediaries, and local community organizations.

Woullard’s volunteer leadership in national and local community organizations includes roles in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-Manchester, NH (NAACP), Haymarket Peoples Foundation, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), New Hampshire Health and Equity Partnership and the Ujima Collective.

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Gathering the Waters

It hardly seems possible that it is September already, and time for us to gather together again in friendship and exploration. Our first service will be our traditional Gathering the Waters, in a hybrid format. As is our custom, we will take time to share with each other some of our experiences from the summer. Where have the past three months led you on your spiritual journey? As you ponder that question, please prepare a sentence or two to share with the Fellowship. It has been a summer like no other, and we all have much to share. But please keep your remarks brief and focus more on your spiritual journey than your physical journeys.

We ask those who come to the Barn to bring a small container of water to join with the water of others in a common vessel.  It could be water from a trip, from a special body of water (lake, ocean, river, stream) or it could be water from your own tap.  All water is sacred. This year we will be collecting water at the barn for those who are there physically, and we will also share/collect water for those who are joining us via Zoom.

If you can’t join us on Sunday, please send an email with the words you’d like to share, and we’ll read it to the Fellowship. We hope to see you – in person or virtually – this Sunday!

If you would like to join us on Zoom, please email info@mmuuf.org for the link.

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