Poetry: The language of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

Poetry has long been at the heart of building community and of building and sustaining movements of peace, liberty, and justice. As poet Major Jackson says, “Once a reader has fully internalized the poem’s machinations, she collects a chorus within her and is transformed. This ritual generates empathy and widens our humanity.” And as poet Janice Lobo Sapigao states, “Poetry is activism because, line by line, it contains the potential to ask difficult questions, to participate in literary spaces, to push past discomfort, and to build worlds where possibilities drive us. People say they are often moved, held, or taken by poems–and aren’t those actions the basis of activism? Poetry, this way, is a movement.” 

In this interactive service, we’ll reflect on and celebrate the power of poetry to drive us toward the 6th principle goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. 
We ask our fellowship members and guests to share poems that have challenged, moved, and sustained them in working toward this goal themselves.

Danielle Thierry is a member of MMUUF, where she’s active in the Last Minute Choir and the Religious Education and Cares and Concerns committees. Danielle previously served as the organizer/executive director of the Burlington Writers Workshop, where she focused on broadening access to free and supportive writing workshops, retreats, and publishing opportunities and co-founded the community-led literary journal Mud Season Review. Danielle has a master’s degree in creative writing and journalism from Rowan University and has taught writing in community college, workshops, and other settings. She currently works on initiatives to make federal government benefit programs more accessible and equitable through clear language and people-centered design.

Ann Bonanno is a member of MMUUF, and has chaired the Sunday Service Committee for the past decade.  After all this time, she is beginning to define her spirituality, which is clearly based in the natural world and the connections between all living things.  Ann believes strongly in living in gratitude, and spends some time each day grateful for the beautiful state of Vermont and the MMUUF community.

Celebrating the Return of Spring!

For thousands of years, country folk around the British Isles celebrated Earth and sky cycles that occur every year.  In spring, in May, the holiday of Beltane was celebrated.  We can imagine how people felt when the winter was over, and the green plants and luscious flowers again emerged, a miracle once more!   We will participate in our usual service, with a short Beltane ritual during the usual sermon part.  At the end of the service, weather permitting, we will dance around the Maypole with fiddle music from Sarah Hotchkiss. 

Evergreen Erb is a member of the MMUUF fellowship, and loves to be in community with such wonderful folks.  She is deeply in love with the Earth, and has been especially enjoying deep dives into learning more about birds, ferns, and mosses.  She has learned that the more you learn about the natural world, the more there is to learn.  Who needs to travel the world, when the world right here has so much to teach us? After many years living in Jericho, Evergreen now lives up a mountain in Huntington, where she is grateful to be in a large forest with great views of Huntington. 

The Power of One

This talk will help us understand the transformational impact one person can have on the lives of those around us. It will strive to enhance awareness of the needs of our struggling community members with minimal social capitol and supports, and inspire us to show up more directly with our own time and resources to ensure all in our community have the opportunity to live happy and healthy lives and meet their human potential.

We will hear of Will Eberle’s lived experience with trauma, poverty, homelessness, addiction, and mental health challenges, the transformative impact individual people have had on his life, inspiring stories he’s encountered in his human services career in Vermont, and ideas about how we can all do more to help struggling Vermonters.

Will trains, consults, speaks, and informs policy on human services, homelessness, and mental health and addiction recovery nationally. Will is the Executive Director of Recovery Vermont/The Vermont Association of Mental Health and Addiction Recovery – Vermont’s largest non-profit state-wide mental health and addiction recovery organization and the founder and principal of Mission Driver Consulting. Will oversaw daily operations across two counties of Vermont for the Vermont Agency of Human Services for six years as a Field Director. He was the Executive Director of the mental health drop-in center Another Way for five years where he implemented Vermont’s Federal Mental Health Transformation grant. He started his human services career as a mental health peer support counselor, street outreach worker, and vocational trainer and mentor for at-risk youth.

Will is a Curtis Scholar with a Masters of Public Administration degree from Norwich University and a Bachelors of Psychology degree from Johnson State College. He is a graduate of the Vermont Agency of Human Services Leadership Academy and a member of the Snelling School of Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute class of 2023. Will Eberle is a person in recovery who experienced homelessness, ACEs, and crushing poverty as a child in the Mountain West. As an adult, Will has overcome trauma, mental health challenges, addiction, homelessness, and abuse – he models resilience and neuroplasticity in his life and work.

Will lives in Northfield, Vermont with his wife and three kids. He serves on his local school board and coaches youth baseball and soccer. He loves cooking, reading, writing, cooking, building projects, trail running, playing and listening to music, yard sales, canoe camping, knitting, and fishing.

Resurrecting Animism, Decolonizing Easter

Easter is a complicated holiday for those of us who identify as spiritual but not religious. And yet Easter remains a significant day in our culture when many Americans return to church and participate in other traditions like egg hunts and hot cross buns. Maeve, raised an atheist and now a self-described queerstian contemplative, will share her thoughts on this holiday and its pagan roots, its womanist elements, and its messages for our current hot mess times. How might we turn to our ancestry, our traditions, and our ancient stories for support and guidance to navigate the crises before us? 

Maeve is an organizer and activist, mother, writer, contemplative, and all around earth lover. Maeve has led lay worship in Unitarian Universalist congregations and spoken often on the topics of climate change, grief, and racism. Currently, Maeve is busy starting a cooperative farm in Jericho, fundraising for worthy causes, and pursuing movement chaplaincy. Maeve is a white cis queer woman of European descent.

Another Possibility, Waiting

We tend to agree readily with Rev. Rebecca Parker’s well-known advice to “Choose to Bless the World,” but should we be focusing on doing more of it collectively as visible communities of UU’s? Rev. Barnaby Feder, a lifelong UU now in his 11th year leading our Middlebury congregation, reflects his experiences with the challenges, pitfalls, and most promising ways toward making Love effective together.

Rev. Barnaby Feder has been the Champlain Valley UU Society’s Lead Minister since Aug., 2012, and will be retiring on June 30. Rev. Feder is a San Francisco Bay Area native. He was raised in a UU congregation in San Mateo, Calif., that his late mother helped organize. After graduating from Williams College, he became a reporter.. After a break from 1974-77 to obtain a J.D. Degree at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, he resumed worked as a journalist. He spent 27 years with The New York Times and was one of the writers on the award-winning Portraits of Grief project memorializing the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Barnaby entered seminary at Drew Theological School in 2008. Prior to being called to Middlebury, he served as a ministerial intern in Morristown, NJ., and half-time interim minister in Stroudsburg, Pa.