Our holiday schedule of services and events

Winter Solstice. Photo (cc) by Stephen Little. Some rights reserved.

Winter Solstice. Photo (cc) by Stephen Little. Some rights reserved.

The Northshore UU Church has several special services and events scheduled for the holiday season. It begins this Sunday, December 21, at 10:30 a.m. with our annual winter solstice celebration, which will be based on the service “A Winter Solstice Singing Ritual,” written by Julie Forest Middleton and Stasa Morgan-Appel. This celebration will have lots of music, rituals, stories, and candle-lighting. Church volunteer members and friends will be the readers. The Singing Group will perform many musical selections and will lead the whole congregation in song. The service leader is Jennifer Revill.

Our annual Christmas Eve service will be held on Wednesday, December 24, at 6 p.m. Our customary readings will include the Christmas story and other perspectives on this time of year. The festive music will include traditional carols. As always, the popular tradition of candle-lighting accompanied by “Silent Night” from the Bell Choir will conclude this special service. Music Director Judy Putnam is the service coordinator.

The Northshore Church will host the 34th Christmas Dinner with Friends on Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. We provide a decorated dining space to enjoy on Christmas Day while sharing a delicious dinner with friends and others who attend. The dinner is free, without any request for a financial contribution. The dinner includes roast turkey with all the trimmings, an assortment of wonderful desserts, as well as carol singing and live musical entertainment.

The Danvers Clergy Association and Temple Beth Shalom are co-sponsors of the dinner. Anyone living in Danvers or the neighboring towns who needs a ride to and from the dinner should call the church and leave a message with the NSUU church administrator at (978) 774-7582. Individuals requesting transportation will be contacted to finalize transportation arrangements.

Our holiday services will conclude on Sunday, December 28, at 10:30 a.m. with the theme “A Look Back and Forward.” People can share their thoughts, emotions, and traditions related to this unique time after Christmas but before the New Year. Those who attended last year will receive the sealed envelopes containing the personal comments and perspectives they wrote a year ago. In the past people have been quite surprised to see what they wrote in their mini-time-capsules. This time we will write statements to be opened next year. The service leader is Peter VanDeBogert.

Visitors are always welcome.

This Sunday’s service: “Babies, Bikes and Barcelona”

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Our minister emeritus, the Reverend Edwin Lynn, will speak this Sunday, December 14, on the topic of “Babies, Bikes, Barcelona, and Other Great Gifts” — a long title for a short talk related to Christmas.

In addition to Ed’s homily there will be readings and a special emphasis on Christmas music from the Singing Group. The service leader will be Peter VanDeBogert.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by coffee and fellowship at about 11:30. Religious education classes are offered, and visitors are always welcome.

Photo (cc) by Kevin Dooley and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

This Sunday’s service: Annual Holiday Workshop

Evergreen Christmas Wreaths

Celebrate the joy of the season at our Annual Holiday Workshop at our service on Sunday, December 7. We will gather together for a short service then create gifts, treats, and decorative items for the holidays.

This workshop is a wonderful opportunity to get to know one another as we collaborate in a setting of sharing during this hectic time of year. The crafting will be followed by a potluck lunch.

The service leader will be Tracee Kneeland.

The festivities will begin at 10:30 a.m. Visitors are always welcome.

Photo (cc) by Bo Insogna and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

This Sunday’s service: “God? No and Yes”

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 7.18.30 PMCarl Stecher, Professor Emeritus of Literature at Salem State University, will speak this Sunday, November 30, on the topic of “God? No and Yes.” Professor Stecher is a prominent atheist thinker and the co-author of God Questions, a dialogue with the English philosopher Peter S. Williams. Here Professor Stecher describes his philosophy:

Many years ago, although I had completed the mild indoctrination of a Congregational church and had been confirmed a 15-year-old Christian, I unexpectedly discovered myself to be an unbeliever. Despite years of searching since then, studying and teaching the Bible and other sacred texts and exploring devotional, philosophical, theological, and historical approaches to the God question, I have concluded that God does not exist as an independent, objective fact. However, God, actually many different Gods, do exist as ideas, ideas which are real and very powerful and shape the world we live in. The crucial challenge is to sort out bad ideas of God from good ideas, and live only by those ideas which are life-affirming and genuinely humane.

The service leader will be Peter VanDeBogert.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by Homecoming events starting at about 11:30. Religious education classes are offered, and visitors are always welcome.

This Sunday’s service: Thanksgiving and Homecoming

Karen Nastuk

Copyright © 2008 by Karen R.H. Nastuk

The Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church will hold a multi-generational Thanksgiving service this Sunday, November 23.

Traditionally we set aside one Sunday in the yearly cycle to acknowledge and give thanks for blessings received from a bountiful universe. At this time we remember the experiences and the people who have helped and sustained us, both as individuals and as a congregation. We reflect with gratitude on what has kept us going through the rough patches of our lives and helped us to celebrate the bright ones.

In this multi-generational service we will rejoice in being together and give thanks through inspired music, readings, poetry, shared stories, and a feast of cider and cornbread.

The service will be followed by a Homecoming, with a lunch of hearty soups and breads followed by a property walk. We are preparing an upcoming Jubilee that will include a historical archival project, a retrospective of Unitarian Universalism in the Danvers area, and culminating with the 50th anniversary of services at Locust Street in 2017.

The service coordinators this week will be Director of Religious Exploration Meryl Baier and church member Lisa Judd.

Please join us this Thanksgiving. Reacquaint with old friends, and find those you haven’t yet met. We welcome your fellowship and warmth.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by Homecoming events starting at about 11:30. Religious education classes are offered, and visitors are always welcome.

This Sunday’s Service: “With Liberty and Justice for All”

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The Rally and Concert to End the War on Drugs, held in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, on November 3, 2011.

This Sunday, November 16, we will consider the issue of mass incarceration of people of color in our criminal-justice system. Many in our denomination advocate for a justice system that includes fair trial proceedings, fair sentencing, the merciful restoration of those who have broken the law, and humane treatment of those in our prisons.

Our guest will be the Reverend Dr. William Gardiner, who will speak on the topic of “Liberty and Justice for All.” Bill Gardiner is an anti-racism organizer and trainer with many years working as a consultant for the Unitarian Universalist Association. He develops resources for white UUs to address issues of racism and white power and privilege. He also works with anti-racism transformation teams in UU congregations and districts.

The collection will be donated to Ex-Prisoners Organized for Community Advancement (EPOCA). The organization’s mission statement reads: “We are ex-prisoners and current prisoners, along with allies, friends and family, working together to create resources and opportunities for those who have paid their debt to society.” EPOCA was suggested for Share-the-Plate by Reverend Gardiner

Prior to the 10:30 a.m. service, there will be a 9:30 showing of a TED talk by Michelle Alexander titled “The Future of Race in America.” In this presentation Dr. Alexander will describe our current system of mass incarceration, which is rife with inequitable sentencing, racial and ethnic disparities, and deplorable prison conditions. She is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

Following the service, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Reverend Gardiner and Susan Tordella will lead a discussion group on how to be more engaged on issues of incarceration. A light lunch will be served.

The service leader is Helen Brandt.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by coffee and fellowship at about 11:30. Religious education classes are offered, and visitors are always welcome.

Photo (cc) by Neon Tommy and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

This Sunday’s service: “Is Forgiveness Possible, Always?”

Please join us this Sunday, November 9, for a service titled “Is Forgiveness Possible, Always?”, to be presented by the Reverend Anna Smulowitz. Reverend Smulowitz is one of the founders of a German-Jewish reconciliation group, descendants of Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators. She will share her 21 years with the group, which meets annually in Germany or Boston.

The service leader is Jennifer Revill.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by coffee and fellowship at about 11:30. Religious education classes are offered, and visitors are always welcome.