This Sunday’s service: How to confront our fears

devil2Fear is a strong force in shaping political and social attitudes. The recent Ebola scare is a good example. Please join us this Sunday, April 19, when our minister emeritus, the Reverend Ed Lynn, will talk about the ways general fears relate to our more personal fears and how to confront them. The title of his sermon will be “When the Devil Grabbed My Ankles.”

Judy Putnam will perform several piano solo favorites, including “Memories” and “Clair de Lune.” The service leader is Peter VanDeBogart.

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.

After the service, join the Social Action Committee for lunch and a viewing of the film The New Economics 101: True Wealth in the New Economy. Economist and bestselling author Juliet Schor offers a refreshingly clear analysis of the ecological and social costs of mass consumerism and a passionate call to arms for radically rethinking our relationship to consumer goods.

This week’s service: “Selma Sunday: A Call to Action”

The Selma to Montgomery marchers arrive in Montgomery. At center are Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, with Ralph Abernathy's three children.

The Selma-to-Montgomery marchers arrive in Montgomery. At center are Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King.

Nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sent a telegram to faith leaders around the country, calling on them to join the protest for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. Unitarian Universalists heeded the call. Around 200 UU ministers and hundreds of laypeople joined the protest. Two of them lost their lives.

Now, UUs are once more being called to continue witnessing against the disease of racism, voter disenfranchisement and the eroding of civil rights, the lack of justice (especially for the deaths of young men and transgender women of color), and escalating inequality in our country.

Join Social Action Committee chair Lois Markham and our congregation this Sunday, March 8, as we celebrate Selma Sunday with a look back at Unitarian Universalists’ participation in the Selma protest and a look forward to a new call to witness for social justice.

The service leader will be Tracee Swanson.

In keeping with the theme of the service, the offering will be donated to the James Reeb Fund for Multicultural Ministries and Leadership. Reeb was a UU minister from Boston who was attacked in Selma and died of wounds he suffered prior to the march. The James Reeb Fund supports multicultural growth throughout the UUA and in Unitarian Universalist congregations. This includes supporting congregations doing voting rights work and programs such as Finding Our Way Home, a retreat for religious professionals of color.

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 via Wikipedia.

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: “American Dream or Nightmare?”

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Economic injustice is the theme of the service this Sunday, January 12, proposed by the Social Action Committee, which won the sermon auction last year. The Reverend Frieda Gillespie will speak on the topic “The American Dream or Nightmare?” The service will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The theme will continue after the service with a discussion hosted by the Social Action Committee of issues raised in the sermon. It will begin at 11:45 and end by 12:45. A light lunch will be provided. Please join us for an exchange of ideas about this important topic.

The collection will be donated to the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund, an effort by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Millions of people in the Philippines are still suffering from the effects of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck in mid-November. Yet news of the survivors has all but disappeared from the spotlight. The UUA and UUSC are strongly committed to long-term relief efforts.

The service will be followed by coffee and fellowship at about 11:30. Religious education classes for children and youth are offered, and visitors are always welcome.

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

This Sunday’s service: “The New Jim Crow”

The UUA-recommended The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, is a powerful book revealing the ways in which we are still keeping people of color in a separate caste. At our service this Sunday, September 22, the Reverend Frieda Gillespie will lead a discussion on how this is so and how we participate.

Subtitled Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Alexander’s book has been called “a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status — denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.”

The Social Action Committee invites you to participate in a discussion of the sermon topic after the service. Light refreshments will be provided.

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

This Sunday’s service: Celebrating our youth

Religious Education Sunday 2012

Please join us for Religious Education Sunday on April 14, as the Reverend Frieda Gillespie and Director of Religious Education Ashley Murphy lead a service that will feature the children and young adults in our Religious Education Program.

Also this Sunday, our Share-the-Plate offering will be donated to River House, a homeless shelter in Beverly. River House provides a safe place to sleep, a filling supper, and a fortifying breakfast for up to 34 men each day. The staff also helps the men find jobs, permanent housing, and medical care.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by coffee and fellowship at about 11:30. Visitors are always welcome.

Following the service, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., members of the Social Action Committee invite everyone to join them for lunch and a movie: The 800 Mile Wall, a 90-minute documentary on the construction of the new border walls along the U.S.-Mexico border as well as the effect on migrants trying to cross into the United States.

The Unitarian Universalist Association has a long history of support for migrant workers, refugees, and other displaced people. “Immigration as a Moral Issue” is currently one of our congregational study/action issues. The film presents an unflinching look at a failed U.S. border strategy that many believe violates fundamental human rights.

This Sunday’s service: “Evil”

What is evil and how does it sway the human mind? Can it be transformed into good?

The Reverend Frieda Gillespie will attempt to answer those difficult questions at our service this Sunday, March 10.

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

Following the service, the Social Action Committee will serve lunch and show a film about immigration called Papers. It is the story of undocumented youth and the challenges they face as they turn 18 without legal status. You can learn more about Papers by clicking here. The movie will start at 11:45 and be finished by about 1:15.

This Sunday’s service: “Life after Loss”

We all suffer losses: loss of friends and family, jobs, pets, and more. Living with loss is part of being a whole person. How do we do this without succumbing to sorrow? How do we engage fully with the present? The Reverend Frieda Gillespie will address these questions in a service titled “Life after Loss” this Sunday, February 3.

This Sunday is also Food Sunday. Please bring a nonperishable food item for the Danvers Food Pantry. Donations can be left in the basket in Fellowship Hall. You are, of course, also welcome and encouraged to bring food donations at any other time it is convenient for you.

Finally, the Social Action Committee will begin a new series of monthly discussion groups after the service. The series, on immigration justice, will focus on information presented by Centro Presente at the January 20 service, though you do not have to have attended that service to participate.

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

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

NSUU’s Brian Orr to discuss children’s health in Haiti

Brian Orr with Haitian boys

Brian Orr with Haitian boys

Church member Brian Orr will speak this Saturday, January 26, about his experiences in Haiti since the earthquake of three years ago. The title of his talk is “Haiti: A Children’s Hospital Story.” The event, which will begin at 4 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Dr. Orr first traveled to Haiti a few months after the 2010 earthquake to work in a clinic for a week. Though his work was much needed, what struck Brian most was witnessing the devastation of the country and the resilience of the Haitian people. Naturally, the news of Haiti’s devastation led to a phenomenal amount of support from many countries.

When Brian went back to Haiti in 2012, he saw many examples of how Haiti was working to dig out. The encampments had decreased dramatically, and reconstruction was under way. However, the poverty was still striking. Haiti is not out of the woods from the earthquake. But the support from the international community is slowing down.

Brian’s visit to St. Damien Children’s Hospital demonstrated one of the significant problems that Haiti still faces. The hospital had to dramatically expand its services after the earthquake. This expansion covers problems like cholera, which still strikes each rainy season. The hospital cannot cut back on needed services to thwart a new epidemic, which they developed after the quake. Yet funding sources for that expansion are drying up since the world has turned its eye towards other newer disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy.

“I cannot do what people are doing in Haiti all the time,” Brian says. “I served only as a visiting witness of their work. But I can raise awareness of their continued struggle. Now is not the time to forget Haiti just because new disasters have hit elsewhere.”

Brian has practiced in pediatrics for more than 30 years since graduating from Georgetown Medical in 1982. He has practiced in six countries, including Mexico, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. He has been involved with an orphanage in Honduras for the past 10 years and is chair of the board for Friends of the Orphans in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region.

The author of more than 100 articles on parenting, Brian has written three books: A Pediatrician’s Journal, The Everything Guide to Raising a One-Year-Old, and The Everything Guide to Raising a Two-Year-Old.

His talk is sponsored by the Northshore UU Church’s Social Action Committee.