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Minister’s Message for June 2023

Dear Ones, Our liturgical theme for June is Delight. When I asked the participants of the Wednesday night minister’s class to help me understand the difference between delight and joy, some said that delight has an unexpected quality to it. I rather like that response. And, I find that it rings true to my experience. I find that I use the word delight when I am immensely pleased about something happening in the moment, and quite often something unexpected, as well. What does delight mean for you? The…

Letter to the Congregation: New Ministry Contract

Dear Ones,  This is a season of mixed emotions for me as I balance anticipatory grief in leaving you with the delight of having signed a one year renewable contract to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills in the Pittsburgh, PA metropolitan area. It isn’t quite as close to home as I had hoped, but close enough to get home in a long afternoon. They have 183 members and 63 children. Their church is a converted dairy…

Minister’s Letter for April 2023

Dear Ones,  The liturgical theme for April is resistance. One way we resist injustice and lack of compassion is what we refer to as “speaking truth to power.”  On Monday evening, I participated in a powerful act of resistance when I joined those of our members who attended the I.C.A.R.E. Nehemiah Assembly. At that assembly, clergy and lay people of many different faith traditions presented a series of social and legal problems, well-researched suggestions for tackling those problems, and a…

Minister’s Message for March 2023

Dear Ones,  Sometimes the Universe aligns matters in a way that unavoidably resonates with what is happening in our lives. That’s how I experience the fact that our Soul Matters liturgical theme for March is Vulnerability. I recently found myself standing before the assembled mourners at my mother’s memorial service remarking on her loyalty, steadfastness, and readiness to provide a safety net whenever one was needed. I concluded by saying  that with her death I felt a little less secure…

Minister’s Message for February 2023

Dear Ones, Our liturgical theme this month is “Love.”  On Sunday, we explored eight types of love and the Greek names for them – agape, eros, ludas, philia, philautia, pragma, mania, and storge. As I said on Sunday, this message focuses on philautia or self-love. A healthy self-love is an empathetic way of loving yourself which, in turn, will enhance your ability to love others. Parker Palmer, a  member of the Religious Society of Friends and an inspirational writer, speaker,…

Minister’s Message for January 2023

Dear Ones, Our liturgical theme this month is “The Path of Finding Our Center.”  What does that even mean? What comes immediately to mind is the way moments of appreciating my natural surroundings can often quiet the prioritizing, strategizing, and negotiations continuously taking place in the recesses of my mind. Last Friday evening, as I was packing my car for the long ride from White Stone to Jacksonville, I stopped to take a call from Tina as we were also…

Minister’s Message for December 2022

Happy Holidays, Everyone! Our liturgical theme for December is “The Path to Wonder.” That path invariably leads me to contemplate sources of light – the stars, the moon, the sun, the torch, and the candle in the window. Research estimates that eighty to eighty-five percent of our perception, learning, cognition, and activities are mediated through vision. No wonder we associate darkness with death and destruction. When it is dark, we either can’t see at all, or we are seriously limited…

Letter from the Minister for November 2022

Dear Ones,  Our liturgical theme for November is Path to Change. When I realized this, I laughed out loud. Sometimes I think the Universe is playing jokes on me and other times, like now, I think the Universe is giving me just what I need – whether I like it or not! You and I are being given an opportunity to explore the role of change in our lives – both its pain and its possibilities.   A Unitarian Universalist congregation…

President’s Letter

The success and survival of UUCJ relies on the contributions of many members.  The Worship Committee, Music Committee, and Minister coordinate a great variety of wonderful programs.  But we do not see the work done by many others. When things need to be repaired, the grounds need to be cleaned, rooms need to be organized, or any of a variety of other jobs that need to be done, members of our community step up.  They quietly do the work and…

Minister’s Letter September 2022

Dear Ones, Our Seventh Principle reminds us that we are part of an interdependent and interconnected web of existence – that we belong to each other. We feel each other’s pain and share in each other’s joy.  So, as we begin meteorological autumn and a new liturgical cycle, it is appropriate that our first monthly theme is “belonging.” John O’Donohue asserts that “the word ‘belonging’ holds together the two fundamental aspects of life: Being and Longing, the longing of our…