Service topic: Media

Once Upon a Time in Chavez Ravine

Reflections on growing up brown in California..

Rick has been actively exploring some big questions about his life’s journey. With today’s discussion some of the big questions he will be exploring are these: What does it mean to be labeled as Hispanic, Latino, Latina, or even Latinex? What binds us together? What has been the experience of our ancestors that survived the upheavals set in motion by American imperialism? “How has racism significantly impacted our lives?”

Rick Castillo is a second generation Mexican-American who grew up in California. He is employed as a housing advocate at C.V.O.E.O. Rick’s passion is paddling the beautiful lakes and rivers of Vermont and his hobbies are photography, digital art, and doing jigsaw puzzles.


Caring hearts and the challenges of Hospice volunteering during the Pandemic

Charley MacMartin will speak on our caring hearts and the challenges of hospice volunteering during the pandemic. The past twenty months have created obstacles to traditional hospice care. Hospice volunteers have had to discover new ways of supporting individuals at the end of life as well as discovering deeper levels of compassion, equanimity and joy.

Charley leads the Hospice Volunteer Program at UVM Home Health & Hospice and celebrates his hospice coworkers and the hundreds of volunteers supporting individuals and families at the McClure Miller Respite House and throughout Chittenden & Grand Isle Counties.


Sacred Activism: Climate Justice as Spiritual Practice

While we do not know what will fix the climate crisis or heal our relationships to water, land, and air, in this talk we will explore how fighting for a livable future is a practice of faithfulness and spiritual calling.

Emma Schoenberg is a Vermont-born trainer and  community organizer. As part of the Climate Disobedience Center she works within communities from across different movements to build transformational campaigns, relationships, and collective power. She is the co-founder of NoCoalNoGas, the direct action campaign to close the last coal plant in New England and co-creator of the yet-to-be-named network – an experiment in sacred activism. When not organizing, Emma lives in an intentional community in Burlington, VT on unceded Abenaki territory and likes to spend time outdoors and with friends and family.


This I Wonder/This I Believe

At This I Believe/This I Wonder services, fellowship members offer thoughts about what they believe and what they wonder about over the course of their spiritual journey.

Ann Bonanno:  Ann will talk about her evolving theology around interconnectedness and the natural world. Ann is a member of MMUUF and the chair of the Sunday Service Committee.  She is a Compliance Officer at VSAC, and enjoys baking bread, discovering new corners of Vermont, and wandering in the woods.

Evergreen Erb: Evergreen will reflect on her Super Power, which has always been with her, unrecognized for the magical thing it is.  Evergreen belongs to the MMUUF fellowship. She recently moved from Jericho, where she lived for 43 years, to the mountains of Huntington, where she is happily surrounded by forest and mountains. She thinks she’s meant to be right there.


Sages, Saints, and Scoundrels

It’s easy to put our Unitarian and Universalist forebears on pedestals, but how noble were they really? How do we simultaneously celebrate their wisdom, good works, and faults… and our own?  

Rev. Kimberley Debus is a community minister newly based in Takoma Park, Maryland, inspiring an artful and art-filled faith. She consults with congregations and religious professionals throughout the denomination. She has previously served at the Church of the Larger Fellowship as well as congregations on Long Island and Key West.


Singing for Our Lives

Borrowing the title of a Holly Near song in our UU hymnal, this talk will examine the power of songs and singing. Through the ages and across cultures, people have sung together for social inspiration, a sense of unity of purpose, motivation to persevere, spiritual uplift, mental and physical health, entertainment, and the simple exhilaration and joy that it brings. Historical and personal examples will be woven together with the results of a 2000’s survey that assessed the significance of songs and singing in the lives of the members of the Rutland UU congregation. How have COVID times affected our need for and experience of singing – and especially singing together?

Becky moved from Philadelphia to Rutland in 1993, and joined the Rutland UU Church in 2000, where she served on the Sunday Service Committee for twelve years (always promoting more music!). She’s given numerous talks – both in Rutland and elsewhere through the Lay Speaker Exchange, including today’s “Singing for Our Lives”. The most challenging and rewarding role she’s taken on at Rutland UU has involved resurrecting and directing its tiny, but spirited choir.


Elu v’Elu: The Sacred Power and Limits of Conscience

For three years Rabbi Shammai and Rabbi Hillel disagreed. One said: The law is in accordance with our opinion, and the others also said: The halakha is in accordance with our opinion. Finally, a Divine Voice emerged and proclaimed: Both these and those [Elu v’Elu] are the words of the living God. Conscience is a powerful thing, one that Emerson so famously explored in Self-Reliance. At the same time, a passionate conviction that one is right and doing good and holy work is shared by both the BLM protesters and those who stormed the capital. So Conscience is important, but democracy can quickly be turned by fear, trend or anger. How then do we balance the principle of Conscience when it buts up against other core principles?

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.


It’s a Process

They (whoever ‘they’ are) say that the only constant is change. In this service, we’ll explore what that means from a theological and spiritual perspective, and how this way of understanding calls us to our work in the world.

Rev. Kimberley Debus is a community minister based in upstate New York, inspiring an artful and art-filled faith. She consults with congregations and religious professionals throughout the denomination. She has previously served at the Church of the Larger Fellowship as well as congregations on Long Island and Key West.


How the Cosmic Stories of Cassandra and Pandora Offer us Perspective on Living Through This Challenging Time of a Pandemic

The biblical story about Solomon’s dream offers us an interesting question. In the dream God tells Solomon to ask of Her whatever gift he most wants. What would be your answer? In our sharing we will consider the possible responses of Fannie Lou Hamer, Abraham Heschel, etc.
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.