The Advance — June 2010

From Frieda

By now you will have heard through a letter or via the grapevine that Fred Mills, our Director of Religious Education, will not be continuing with us after June 30. I have really enjoyed collaborating with Fred on worship. His creativity, his knowledge of our faith (and many others) and of UU history, and his appreciation and love for children and youth have been a joy for me to experience. I will miss him. While Fred will be off to new experiences, so will we!

In late August or September, we will have the pleasure of a half-day session in which each of you will have an opportunity to share your vision for the faith formation of our NSUU children and youth. This discussion is something in which we all can and should participate, whether or not we have children in the program. As individuals, each of us brings a perspective that is valuable. As a united group, we can make lifelong faith formation an integral part of our mission.

You may have noticed my use of the term “faith formation.” This is the new way Unitarian Universalists are beginning to view what we have previously called religious education. It is more than just a new buzz word (although it is that too). It is a term that recognizes, first of all, that we have a faith — that our faith is formed, not fixed. It is a process of spiritual growth that extends through our whole lives. Not only is the term meant to move us away from the “school” model of learning that the word “education” implies, but also it is meant to imply the faith formation of the entire church, not just that of our children and youth.

I’ve heard many of you say that you love the Story for All Ages. You love watching the children and their responses to the story. Perhaps in time we will have other experiences in which the children can join with us as we explore deeper questions. Perhaps you have creative ideas to share in this arena.

The bigger question here is, What is your understanding of faith, of Unitarian Universalist faith? This is where we adults in this congregation need to start. Let’s find ways to be in conversation on this subject so that we can offer our vision for a program of faith formation that reflects our deepest values and aspirations.

See you in church!

June 2010 services

June 6, 10:30 a.m. “The Faith of Science.” Rev. Frieda Gillespie. Scientists have various views of God, or the greater mystery of reality. Einstein used the word “God” frequently, as did his favorite philosopher, Benedict Spinoza. Which concept of God is compatible with science? Is there one? We will be celebrating this year’s new members during the service.

June 14, 10:30 a.m. “Good Without God.” Rev. Frieda Gillespie. This is the very descriptive name of a book about humanism by Greg Epstein that was recommended to me by Audrey and Harry Bedell, winners of the auction sermon this year. The Bedells chose this topic for the sermon. With the arrival of the Humanist Manifesto, the twentieth century brought many humanists into the Unitarian Universalist church. What does it mean to be a humanist? Can a humanist be spiritual or religious?

June 20, 10:30 a.m. “Summer’s Eve.” Rev. Frieda Gillespie. On this, our last regular service for the year, we will celebrate another year together. Bring a flower for the Flower Communion and dish to share for a potluck afterwards. We’ve planned some surprises both reverent and frivolous. All ages will enjoy this service of reflection and joy.

June 27, 10:30 a.m. “Olympia Brown and the Prophethood of All Believers.” Steve Schmidt. Commemorating the ordination of Olympia Brown, the first woman to be ordained as a Universalist minister, on June 15, 1863, the sermon will examine the continued need to confront sexism in United States culture and explain how Brown’s ministry can serve as a model of social justice for all Unitarian Universalists. Steve Schmidt is a candidate for the UU ministry and a member of the UU church in Medford. This is the first of our summer services. The complete schedule is available from the NSUU office or online at NSUU.org.

Services will continue throughout the summer with the exception of Sunday, July 4.

Social Action Committee

June Share the Plate. At the June 13 service, Northshore UU will “share the plate” with the Five Project. The two main goals of the Five Project are (1) to increase the capability of autism and other disability organizations in China to provide effective intervention services, and (2) to promote and support self-help and self-advocacy skills in Chinese individuals with disabilities and their families. For more information, consult the organization’s website at www.thefiveproject.org. Please make checks payable to the Five Project.

Pride! Saturday, June 12. Join us as we carry our NSUU banner and walk proudly in Boston’s Gay Pride Parade. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Boston Pride and promises to be an especially joyous celebration! At 11:00 am, the Arlington Street UU Church will hold a moving service of music and inspiration; at 11:45, we’ll leave to march in the parade. UU congregations show such a strong presence in the parade that we are given our own special section to walk in together. The parade starts at Tremont Street and ends at City Hall Plaza, where the Pride Festival occurs. All ages participate in this event. Join us for a festive day, while taking a stand for equality and fairness for all people. A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall.

Sunday night suppers at Lifebridge. Our thanks to everyone who has volunteered at the church’s Sunday night suppers at Lifebridge and/or donated money for buying food. We have a full complement of volunteers for the June 27 supper. However, we still need people for July 25 and August 22. Please check your summer schedule and see if you can volunteer for one or both of these times. And then sign up on the white board in the Fellowship Hall.

Danvers Food Pantry. NSUU is still collecting nonperishable food items for the Danvers food pantry. Donations can be left in the box in the Fellowship Hall.

Ethical eating discussions. The Social Action Committee has held several meetings about ethical eating, a topic that has broad implications for the environment and climate change, poverty, hunger, social justice for workers, and neocolonialism. During the first two meetings, participants watched segments from the movie Food, Inc., broke into smaller groups for discussion, then reconvened to share their thoughts. Many ideas for further study and action were put forward. One proposal was to ask Congressman John Tierney to speak after a church service about the role of Congress in regulating the food industry. He has agreed to do so in the fall. At the May 23 meeting (still to come as of this writing), we will form study/action groups based on the proposed ideas. Watch the weekly bulletin for further news. All are welcome to join, even without having attended the earlier gatherings.

Next meeting. The next meeting of the Social Action Committee will be on Monday, June 14, at 7:00 pm. We welcome new members. Contact Lois Markham for the location.

What’s new at NSUU.org

You don’t have to sit in front of your computer in order to listen to sermons by Reverend Frieda and our guest speakers. Instead, you can take those sermons with you.

If you click on the “play” button beneath each sermon, the audio will start immediately. But if you click on the title of the sermon, the audio file will download to your hard drive. From there you can burn a CD or move it to your iPod or other portable device. It should make for a much more enjoyable drive.

Reminder. Please check out our Facebook group, a place where you can share news, conversation, and photos with other church members. Just click “Find us on Facebook” at NSUU.org.

Dan Kennedy
Editor, NSUU.org

Music at Eden’s Edge

The North Shore’s resident chamber music ensemble will open its 2010 Senior/Family Concert Series at the NSUU Church on Tuesday, June 22, at 2:00 pm. Always a favorite, the group will present “Solstice in Chiaroscuro” as its season opener. The program will include a commissioned work by John H. Wallace of Salem — a musical impression of five of the North Shore’s most intriguing early buildings. In it Mr. Wallace weaves his passion for the connective tissues of history and buildings into a fascinating and unique work. The program will also include works by Krommer, Villa-Lobos, and Marinu. Future concerts will take place at the church on July 13, August 17, and September 21.

GLBT Parents on the North Shore

Reverend Frieda has started a “meetup” group for GLBT parents in the region we serve. Its purpose is to support those who have all the usual challenges of parents, but the added issues of being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender people in our society. The group has a website at www.meetup.com/GLBT-Parents-on-the-North-Shore. If you or friends and family members are interested in joining, do so on the website and you will be notified of upcoming events.

New ushers needed

We are looking for new ushers beginning in September. It is an easy way for new people to become part of the church. The job involves handing out programs and collection and counting of the Sunday offering. Those signing on for regular ushering (every 6 weeks or so) are excused from coffee hosting duties. If interested, see or email PeterVanDeBogert at vanimages {at} comcast {dot} net or call 978-922-2276.

June 2010 member profile

Paul Brailsford

Paul was born in North London in November 1915 and grew up in England. He and his brother, Noel, used to watch airships and planes flying near their house with an old telescope their grandfather had left them. Paul’s parents, both musicians, met in an orchestra, but unfortunately didn’t involve their children in music.  Paul’s father was a dental surgeon.  After his parents’ divorce, his mother was a World War II activist in London.

Paul worked at sea for 18 years.  He trained on the T.S. Mercury in Hamble, UK, and in 1932 accepted a four-year apprenticeship with British Tanker Company for $75 a year, delivering gasoline to Europe. In 1936, during the depression,  he was awarded his 2nd Mate deck officer license; but with no jobs available at sea he trained and worked for the London metropolitan police for a year before migrating to New Zealand to accept a deck officer position with the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. There he advanced in rank and in 1943 was awarded his Master, Foreign Going license. He then had a shore job in Sydney, Australia, as loading officer for the US Army.

His career in the US Merchant Marine began on a ship which happened to be  the captured Malayan ferry S.S. Klang, chartered to the US War Shipping Administration to go to Hollandia, New Guinea. There it acted as club ship for a huge fleet of anchored US liberty ships awaiting orders to proceed in convoy to  resupply General MacArthur’s troops. Eventually the convoy arrived in Leyte Gulf in the Philippines, where it underwent kamikaze attack.  After his return to America, Paul was appointed Chief Mate of Ales Hrdlicka to supply troops in Okinawa. On the return voyage he rode out a typhoon off Japan while the first atomic bomb was dropped.

Next, Paul joined United Fruit Company as Chief Mate, running bulk sugar north from Cuba to Boston. Here he met and married Frances Wosmek,  a children’s book designer and creator of greeting cards. They bought a house in Beverly Farms, where they raised their son, Brian, and daughter, Robin. Brian owns Sun Line Cruises, with a 65-passenger boat at first run out of Salem, but he then moved to Florida.  Robin is a successful artist who does major sculptures for public works in California. Paul has another daughter, Melanie King, who is a Delta flight attendant. And he had a second wife for 15 years: June Habor, a teacher in Ipswich.

Change and versatility marked Paul’s career ashore as well as at sea. He quickly sold himself as a car salesman. The owner of the dealership objected that he couldn’t have driven much at sea, so Paul explained the skill it took to park cars in a ship’s ’tween decks — tightly but without damage. Paul sold real estate for a while, then joined E&F King Company in Norwood for 15 years, selling the paint used on many Route 128 bridges. Next, Paul formed his own company, Brailsford Associates, in Ipswich, selling glazing compounds to major window-sash manufacturers. He also introduced fiberglass lobster holding tanks to lobster distributors. He became a manufacturer’s representative to the Scandinavian fishing industry and introduced our area to their methods of boxing fish at sea. Later, a friend on the West Coast invented the Survival Suit, which is insulated and buoyant and became standard equipment at sea. Paul sold it throughout New England. He introduced it publicly by joining the East Boston Brownies for one of their January 1 harbor dips, wearing the Survival Suit over his clothes.

In the 1960s Paul attended the Beverly Farms Unitarian Church. When he moved to Ipswich, he formed the Unitarian Fellowship there and was its president for four or five years. When the group dwindled, he decided to try “Ed Lynn’s church” and has been a loyal member of NSUU ever since.

He says he is “a spiritual secular humanist who is particularly interested in the Tao and Hinduism.” He is also a member of the Alan Watts Society, which meets monthly. He organized and led a particularly dramatic Alan Watts Celebration of Life service at NSUU on May 10, 1992; it featured nine clear helium balloons that reflected an electromagnetic spectrum of light onto the white-clad Janet Craft interpretive dancers as they moved in the rainbow of colors. There was also drumming by Alan Hezekiah, Yang-style tai chi form, and Taoist and Zen scripture.

Paul’s passion for life is apparent in his intense efforts on behalf of peace and justice. In Ipswich in1990 he formed the Samantha Smith chapter of Veterans for Peace and is still active in that organization. He named the chapter to honor the 12-year-old Maine girl who made the first breakout move toward Russia in an attempt at peace. In 1990, a guest of Soviet WWII veterans, he was one of four Veterans for Peace to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the end of World War II outside Lenin’s tomb. The following year the men were guests of Cuban WWII veterans in Havana. Paul held peace vigils during the Gulf War and has been active in Beyond War, North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice, Sane-Freeze, Beverly Peace Committee, Greenpeace, Mass. Bay Social Action Coordination Committee, and Veterans for Peace.  He keeps our congregation abreast of local peace efforts and events. He and Tom Gale formed a Social Concerns Committee at NSUU that functioned for a few years. Paul has continually communicated with politicians, press, peace and justice organizations, and others, using his lifelong ability to write compelling prose and speak persuasively.  For all these reasons, in 1993 NSUU honored Paul with the Frank Farnum Community Service Award.

In 2005, for his 90th birthday, Paul invited 70 friends to a dinner dance at the 1640 House in Ipswich. Congressman John Tierney attended with his wife and addressed the group, commenting:

I can think of no one who has worked longer and harder to promote the ideals of peace, justice, and nonviolence than you have, Paul…. The Samantha Smith chapter of Veterans for Peace has become a strong voice on the North Shore in the search for peaceful solutions to global conflicts.  You have been tireless in your advocacy and relentless in your pursuit of justice and democracy throughout the world.

Paul was pleased to serve as Charlie Chausse’s mentor in the NSUU Coming of Age program last year.  And he enjoyed Jeanne Nieuwejaar’s sermon-writing course. Paul has written much poetry, giving expression to his deep personal reflections.   He says, “My goal is to develop a philosophy of life on which I can metaphorically surf the wave of the now, as the future rolls under and over me to embrace me in the wave’s song.” At age 94, Paul has recently taken up acrylic painting.  Since his mother lived to be 109, he figures he has plenty of time to be active. He certainly looks alert, vibrant, and vital — because he is.

June 2010 calendar

The Rev. Frieda Gillespie’s office hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (other times by appointment). Church office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For up-to-date information, see our online Calendar of Events at NSUU.org.