Van Jones Named “Hero of the Environment”

If you didn’t attend General Assembly last June you may not have heard the Ware Lecture given by Van Jones. He is an activist for racial, economic and environmental justice. What is unique and powerful about his prophetic vision and work is the way in which he sees the solutions to these concerns as integrated.

Time Magazine has just named him one of the “Heroes of the Environment.” I really recommend taking the time to listen to his lecture from GA. You can do this by going here and then scrolling down until you see the Ware Lecture #4061.


Shanah Tovah!

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is a time of introspection, repentance and new beginnings. If you have the day off today, I hope you have planned some deep rest and renewal. You can learn more about this holiday and its traditions here.

We all make mistakes and wish we could change the past. Jewish tradition allows for this special day to reflect on what we would like to change in our lives, our relationships, our way of behaving. It is easy to blame others, corporations, the government, the Republicans, the Democrats, Wall Street, for our unhappiness (so much material there!), but we do have a lot of power to create joy in our lives even in the midst of hard times. Let us look to the ways we can create more happiness for ourselves and others this day and in the year ahead.

To all of our members and friends at NSUU from Jewish heritage, I wish you Shanah Tova (Good New Year!) and many blessings in the year to come.


Our UU Principles and Purposes revised?

The UUA’s Commission on Appraisal is charged with reviewing Article II of the UUA Bylaws every 15 years. This probably seems obscure, but the article includes the Principles and Purposes that you have no doubt seen many times.

The Commission asked for and received lots of comments from the UU congregations about the original version and now has a draft of changes it is recommending. The Commission would like your comments before finalizing those changes. The UU World recently published an article on this process.

Copies of the new Article II will be in the office on Sunday and handed out as an insert in the Order of Service. You’ll find information there about how to send your comments in. This is a great way to participate with the greater movement in a process that will affect how people learn about UUism for years to come.

I don’t know if this was true for you, but the most common way people learn about our faith is through the Principles and Purposes, so do take the time to read the revised version.

See you in church!

Reflections on the Knoxville shootings

Sunday fifteen of us gathered after the service to share our feelings and thoughts about the shootings at the Tennessee Valley UU church in Knoxville, TN that took place on July 27th. I know that any of you who have followed the story grieve with the families in Knoxville. A terrible event like this raises so many questions. We seek to understand the motivations of a man like the shooter, Jim Adkisson: what forces in society influenced him to step so outside the bounds of humanity? What are the implications for us? How do we stay open, courageous and welcoming and not become fearful or paranoid? Why was this church, the liberal movement, targeted?

This incident has also created some very interesting connections between compassionate people of all faiths, the Knoxville church and our movement. Never in my lifetime have I seen so many articles about UUism in the media. We have been given a chance to show the strength of our convictions and the breadth of our love and acceptance.

Charles Wilson forwarded a link to an op-ed piece written by a woman who grew up in a UU church, the Northshore UU Church to be exact, in the late ’60’s. Laurie Patton is now a professor of religion at Emory University and the daughter of Chris and Anthony Patton, members of NSUU. She posted her empathetic response to the experiences of the children of the TVUUC. Her article is called “Liberal Hatred” and I think you’ll enjoy reading about how your RE classes shaped this woman’s life.

Greetings from Rev. Frieda

It is August 1st and today I begin my ministry with all of you at NSUU. Excited about this new beginning, I came in to the church today to start to get my office in order and plan the coming week. I was almost there when I realized I forgot my keys! I’ve entered the building through the nursery school and am writing this in the library. I’m glad I decided to come. In this silent church, in the deep peace of the meeting room, in the jumble of notices on the bulletin boards, I can feel your energy and activity. This is indeed a place of sanctuary, good works, and fellowship.

In August, I will be meeting with various groups and planning services and classes for the coming year. I am available for any pastoral care needs, counseling, or just to chat if you like. I welcome the chance to get to know some of you during this time. It will be a little while before I have a definite schedule in place. For now, e-mail is the best way to reach me, I check it frequently. If you’d like to get together or need me to visit, just send me a note and include your phone number.

I will be attending the service on Sunday. I look forward to Jeri Kroll’s topic, humor, it seems very timely to me in the face of so much that would burden our hearts. By now, you’ve no doubt heard about the shootings at the Knoxville, TN UU church. I was very affected by this news and perhaps many of you were as well. There is a previous post that gives you a place to express your condolences. There is also a relief fund set up by the UUA where you can contribute to aid for the families there.

In order to give us all a chance to talk together about our feelings, thoughts, and implications of this horrible event, I will hold a gathering for a facilitated conversation from 12:00 – 1:00 pm on Sunday in the Meeting Room. All are welcome.

See you Sunday!