Archives: Services

Final Service – Earth/Air/Fire/Water

This service, our last of the year, will be an opportunity to reflect on this year’s theme of earth/air/fire/water with readings, music, and moments for members and friends to share thoughts from the year behind us and hopes for the summer ahead.

Peacemaking as a Subversive Activity

Lewis will share his 50 year journey of peacemaking that is the result of the trauma of Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King‘s assassination which is the bereavement lifeblood of the Life Experience School for special-needs folks and the Peace Abbey, an interfaith center for the study and practice of Nonviolence.  The journey began with a hunger strike protest as a conscientious objector in the military which led to his discharge and a way of life.

Lewis Randa is a Quaker, pacifist, vegan and social change activist. He founded The Life Experience School for children and young adults with life challenges in 1972, and The Peace Abbey, an interfaith Center for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence and Pacifism in 1988. His peace work has brought him to the far corners of the world — from El Salvador to Belfast, Liverpool to Calcutta, Assisi to Guernica. He has three grown children, Christopher, Michael and Abigail, and lives with his wife Meg in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Reciprocity as a form of gratitude and natural burial as a way to be in reciprocity with Mother Earth

Michelle and Evergreen join to jointly celebrate the explosion of life in spring (Beltane), and the concept of green burials. We weave ways to show how that connection shows our love for Earth, our only home, and how that weaving leads to a beautiful reciprocity between humans and Gaia.
Michelle Acciavatti (she/her/they), MS, has trained as a mortician, advance care planner, end of life doula, home funeral guide, natural burial advocate, writer, neuroscientist, and ethicist. She works as a licensed mortician, end of life specialist, natural burial educator, and cemeterian at her companies: Ending Well Funeral Home and Vermont Forest Cemetery. Her work helps people preparing for the end of life, designing funeral services, caring for their own dead, and exploring natural burial options.


A Sense of Wonder

We humans share the earth with billions of other species yet we often think and act as if we are apart and above them. This sense of superiority and domination over other species is an ethical failure and an unfolding ecological calamity. This talk will explore the commonality and interdependence among all life including humans.  It will ask how we might rekindle and create a sense of wonder in the world around us in order to collectively flourish.  

Paul Dragon is the Executive Director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity. Over the past 15 years, Paul has worked at the Vermont Agency of Human Services in several roles, including the Deputy Secretary for the Agency and Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. As the Director of the Healthcare for the Homeless Program in Burlington, he led the development of the Safe Harbor Clinic and the Pearl Street Clinic. Paul is a former Peace Corps volunteer working in Mali, West Africa. Paul received his Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of Vermont where he received the Herman B. Meyers Excellence in Doctoral Policy Research Award. Paul and Julie have three grown children and live with their three dogs in Underhill, Vermont.


Imagine There’s No Countries: Contemplating Nations and Nationalism

Our theme this year has been “The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water”. We have explored land ownership, community, and how to be in this world with climate change. This Sunday, we will talk about nations as communities that humans create, feel part of, or seek to belong to. Nationalism, like religion, can be used exclude and harm, and this becomes a great challenge as we face climate-induced mass migration and wars. Thus, some of us have come to understand nationalism primarily negatively – employed by those in power to rile up, appeal to tribal instincts, close borders, even wage war. But national identity has also been the motivating force for colonized peoples to achieve independence, and it has been instrumental in giving countries attacked by others a reason to fight for self-determination. How do we as a small community of somewhat like-minded people think about nation and nationalism, and how will this shape our views and actions in the world?

Friederike Keating has been with MMUUF since 2004. She is an immigrant from Germany who has by now spent half her life in the US, most of that right here in Jericho. Her views on nationalism were shaped by lessons learned growing up in post-post-war Germany, and challenged by recent events. She has raised two children in Jericho and works as a cardiologist at UVM Medical Center.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

John Lennon


The Power of Presence: Being at the Bedside of the Dying

Pam will share her poetry as she reflects on her experiences at the bedside of the dying. Many lessons have been learned in those sacred moments of mystery, not the least of which is how powerful it is to be fully present to another. Pam’s book Vigil: The Poetry of Presence, her book of poetry, is available from Pam or from Phoenix Books.

Pamela Heinrich MacPherson has been an advocate for quality care at the end of life for over thirty-five years. A member of the VNA’s Hospice Team for 16 years, Pam retired in 2004. In returning to the role of Hospice Volunteer, she continues to find deep meaning when sitting vigil in the last hours of life.


A Wrinkle in Our Time

No one likes wrinkles. Whether in our clothing or elsewhere. Is it possible to accept them and just move on, or does our culture of perfection hinder us from doing so? We are experiencing a wrinkle in our time right now.  Let’s explore acknowledging it and embracing the possibilities of what’s to come.

Verdis LeVar Robinson (he/him or they) is the Lenora Montgomery Scholar of Excellence at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, where he is a candidate for a Master of Divinity and is a Candidate for the Unitarian Universalist ministry.  He is currently finishing up an ministerial internship at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier.  Verdis holds degrees in History, African-American Studies, and Music Performance from SUNY College at Brockport, SUNY University at Buffalo, and Boston University.


Lessons from the Avatar: What a 12 year old cartoon character taught me about spirituality, resilience, parenting and leadership

When a Twelve year old Air Bender named Aang learns he is the Avatar, the one responsible for maintaining balance in the Universe, he disappears in an iceberg for 100 years. During that time the Fire Kingdom wages war against the Air Temples, Water Tribes, and Earth Kingdom. Two teenagers from the Water Tribe find the Aang and help him to emerge and live out his destiny of mastering all four elements (Fire, Air, Water, Earth) in order to restore balance to the Universe and save the world.
Watching this story became a family ritual which we returned to year after year. When the theme for the service year, “The Earth, The Air, The Fire, The Water,” was announced it seemed only fitting that I would revisit this story again. I will share my reflections on the lessons I gained from watching the Avatar and the connections to spirituality, resilience, parenting and leadership which emerged.
Jenn is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. She has been with MMUUF since 2006 and is currently serving as the Treasurer of the Steering Committee. Jenn has also served as the President, Vice President, and member of the RE committee. She has dedicated her career to working with community based organizations focused on building resilience and hope in the face of adversity. Jenn is a parent, partner, and procrastinator.


Shemita: The Sabbath of the Earth

According to the Jewish calendar, this year is a shemitah year, one of every seven in which the earth and soil must be allowed to rest and lie fallow. Commanded in the Book of Exodus, this is still practiced to a degree in Israel today. However, this Sabbath of the Earth also reflects the interwoven relationship of humanity and land in the Jewish spiritual landscape. Rabbi David Edleson will explore some ways this connection is seen in the Hebrew language, in the concept of the Sabbath, and in centrality of the Land of Israel in Jewish prayer and poetry.

David Edleson grew up going to synagogue, church, and to Unitarian Fellowships in the deep south.  His experiences of anti-Semitism were also formative. Born into an assimilated Jewish family, David was removed as drum major of the band in high school because parents didn’t “want a Jew leading the band down Main Street.   David became very active in the Jewish community, was president of his college Hillel and William and Mary, and after living and working as a Jewish educator in Jerusalem,  was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 1990.  While in seminary, he successfully lead the student fight for the ordination of LGBT rabbis in the Reform movement. David served as the rabbi for the Hebrew Association of the Deaf for 25 years, leading services in ASL and adapting services to be participatory and inclusive for hearing and deaf.  While serving as a rabbi, David also worked as a leader at several social service agencies, including Vermont CARES, the AIDS service and advocacy agency in Vermont.  He was awarded his Doctor of Divinity in 2015.  David now serves as the rabbi at Temple Sinai in South Burlington, Vermont. In addition to his work as a rabbi, David has taught in a variety of spiritual traditions, and taught courses in literature, religion and ethics at the Community College of Vermont, and Middlebury College, where he served as a dean for eight years.  David grew up in rural Georgia where he met his husband Tim in ninth grade; they now live with their standard poodle Ginsberg  in a  house they built by hand in Lincoln.



Change is in the atmosphere

2022 will bring about big changes for the Ward family and Sarah has been contemplating how moments of reflection, quiet conversation and inspiration have led to these changes.  She will share how we might use the smallest moment to make small changes that add up to big changes.

Sarah Ward has been a member of MMUUF for over 20 years. She is a practicing Unitarian-Buddhist, author of young adult novels and poet.