Rev. David Hutchinson, Minister, 446-6858
Fred Griffith, Moderator, 538-6175
Co-Treasurers:
  Elizabeth Peltier, 538-1663
  Betty White, 521-0015
Debra Frazier, Clerk, 521-0387
Karen Klahr, Newsletter, 532-4051
Church Phone, 532-9269
Committee on Ministry,
Debra Frazier, Larry Tonzi

Newsletter - September 2012

First Church of Houlton
Unitarian Universalist

61 Military St.
Houlton, ME 04730


MINISTER'S COLUMN

“The soul is not preached...In how many places, by how many prophets, tell me, is a person made sensible that they are an infinite Soul; that the earth and heavens are passing into their mind; that they are drinking forever the soul of God?”

  - Ralph Waldo Emerson     Divinity School Address

                                               

               

                                               

               

"zucchini bliss" photo by revdav
In the early part of the 21st century as the pace of life accelerates and the demands upon our time increase, where do we find meaning in our everyday existence? At this point, it’s hard for me to remember what my life was like before WI-FI and portable data devices. And while some of these modern innovations are helpful, what does it really add to my life?

When I’m working in the garden I find an unhurried pace of plants as they fill the rows; settled in soil, absorbing sun from the sky. My soul expands to the extent that my awareness includes their simple being and mine. It’s never a good idea to rush when you’re working with plants. I sense that they prefer we take our time and leave our tension elsewhere. The garden is one place I can allow my neurotic tendencies to drop and discover a new way of being myself.

Our theme for the new church year is “Finding a meaningful life; The Infinitude of the Soul.” Each of us find different ways to delve into the wonder and complexities of living this remarkable life. Emerson calls it “the infinitude of the soul.” Whenever I’m asked for advice about living a meaningful life I quickly add the disclaimer, “I don’t give advice, but here it is...”

Life is short
is of utmost value
and should not be casually dissipated

Our life-span on this planet is indeed brief. Do not waste a minute.

Dave


MODERATOR'S MESSAGE
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons; the beautiful leaves (for a bit), the cooler drier weather, the lack of bugs, it is almost all anyone could ask for! Because of my time focusing on the Divinity of Nature, I also associate Autumn with evening, latter years in life, the west and the powers of water. What a perfect time for our water ceremony at ingathering!

Nature is cyclical. The time of day, the seasons, our lives, and the prime directions all rotate around us as we pass through them. We can move with the cycles, or we can fight against them. Moving with the cycles of nature is not only much easier but I find it to be much more pleasant as well.

When life is in turmoil, when our thoughts and feelings are scattered and/or bombarded from all sides; to where do we turn to find peace and healing? For many of us, that sense of peace and harmony is most easily found in nature. Not only is one able to remove oneself from the turmoil and the attacks, but one can meditate, recharge and retune one's body to the rhythms of the universe; rhythms that flow through us and around us at all times.

The rhythm of the day cycle is the quickest and easiest to experience. Be aware of the growing light, the sounds of nature, the increasing warmth and power as the sun climbs higher in the sky. As the sun passes it's zenith, feel the shadows grow longer until the world is in shadow and it turns dark. If the weather is clear, you can then enjoy the brightness of the stars and moon. Embrace the mystery of the dark and let it dwell within. For a person who is usually up during the day, this can bring balance into your life. The dark and the mystery it hides is a place of power.

The rhythms of the seasons and our lives, take longer but can be so meaningful! The warming days of spring are the beginnings of life, our learning and growing. The hot days of summer burst forth with abundance, and represents the most productive times of our lifes, where we raise our young and build for the future. The cooling days of autumn signal the end of the productive times and the beginnings of the reflective times. This can be one of the most enjoyable and enlightening times of all. The dark days of winter reflect the death of the physical world; yet it is also a time where the future is guarded and nourished to await the coming spring.

While the rhythms of nature and the cycles of life are wonderful to experience, they are even more meaningful when experienced together with others of like mind. Within the family of our church community we share deeply and experience life at a level rarely felt by others. Together we face and conquer the challenges life holds. Together we celebrate the accomplishments we achieve.

We embrace life and we embrace each other. Welcome back for our new church year.

Love, Fred


NEW HANDICAPPED RESTROOM UPSTAIRS
By the time you read this, construction will have started on a new handicapped accessible restroom upstairs in what was (years ago) the minister's office. This will allow access to a restroom without having to go down stairs. It will be equipped to accommodate persons who are in wheel chairs or have other problems getting about. The new restroom will make our building a more convenient and attractive place. Also it will allow us to serve people that we could not before. The restroom will have a toilet and wash basin with all the railing and access required by code. The old door to the outside on the East side will remain in place and look the same from the outside but be closed off by a new wall on the inside. All of the other doors will remain in place and will have locks installed.

We wish to thank the members of the Congregational Church, who are sharing the building with us now, for fronting the money for this. They have generously offered to pay for half of the expense themselves and give us ample time to pay the other half back.

Terry Lincoln is doing the plumbing and Chris Bond is doing the carpentry. We are hoping to get volunteers to help with painting, decoration and other needed work. See John Lloyd, Bill White or Dave Hutchinson if you can help. We expect to be ready to put the finishing touches on the project in mid-September.


FUNDRAISING THROUGH CRAFT SALES
The craft sales booth at the Houlton Community Market raised over six hundred dollars this summer. Our thanks go out to those who made and donated items to be sold, including Addie, Debra, Sylvia, Betty, Laney, Sue, Leigh and Fred. Especially deserving thanks are Sylvia, Betty, and Mark, who were the reliable stand ins on weekends when Deb was working and couldn't be there. They did the lion's share of the work involved in the Saturday markets, setting up and taking down the booth as well as sales duties. This summer was intended to test the craft sales model for fundraising, and it is proving a success. In fact, this past Saturday, September 1st, was our best sales day yet, with us clearing two hundred dollars!

In order for us to continue this effort next summer, we do need more folks to volunteer time. All the crafty people have provided awesome merchandise; but we are woefully short on staffing at our booth. There were times when there was no one to assist Sylvia or Betty and the booth could not be set up. We really need two people there. And, with more of us involved, the craft sales can branch out, and we can consider other venues or opportunities. If you are interested in getting involved, just contact Deb.


INGATHERING SERVICE AND WATER CEREMONY
Our first service of the new church year is on September 9th. Please bring a small bottle of water you have collected from special places nearby or far away during your summer adventures. We individually pour waters into our collective basin and reflect upon our life as a spiritual community. Water seeks the form of the container into which it is placed and no matter how many different waters are added it all becomes one thing. The four elements will be represented on the altar as we explore our relatedness to each other and the world around us.
FILM SCREENING - LOVE FREE OR DIE
Sunday, September 23rd at 6pm in The Cup Café

As a joint venture with the Houlton Congregational Church we are hosting a screening of the film "Love Free or Die," the story of Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson. Refreshments, coffee and beverages will be available for purchase in The Cup Cafe.

LOVE FREE OR DIE is about a man whose two defining passions are in direct conflict: his love for God and for his partner Mark. Gene Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the historic traditions of Christendom. His consecration in 2003, to which he wore a bullet-proof vest, caused an international stir, and he has lived with death threats every day since.

LOVE FREE OR DIE follows Robinson from small-town churches in the New Hampshire North Country to Washington’s Lincoln Memorial to London’s Lambeth Palace, as he calls for all to stand for equality – inspiring bishops, priests and ordinary folk to come out from the shadows and change history.

                                                                                   

CALENDAR
Please click here for the currently scheduled events.


E-MAIL/INTERNET DISCUSSION LIST: UU HOULTON COMMUNITY
An email discussion mailing list is a tool for a group of people to exchange messages via email. Any subscriber to the list can send messages that are received by all the subscribers, creating an email-based group conversation. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Houlton. We currently have 24 members. Please take a look at the webpage. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uuhoultoncommunity/   If you'd find it useful and wish to join just click the "Join This Group" button. After entering your info, remember to click on "save changes" before leaving the page. You can contact Rev. Dave or Karen if you have questions or need further instructions.
OTHER UU ONLINE RESOURCES
  • The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association   http://www.uua.org
  • The website of the Northern New England District (NNED)   http://nned.uua.org
  • The UUWorld magazine   www.uuworld.org.   (You can also sign up for a weekly email update.)
    www.uuhoulton.org