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.

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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.

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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. 

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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