The Advance — February 2010

From Frieda

I write this just two days after the earthquake in Haiti. It is hard to imagine the devastation and hardship there, which will only mount over the coming weeks as more dead are found, as disease starts to spread, and as hunger causes chaos. I’m familiar with earthquakes, having been through two major ones in Los Angeles years ago. Those seem minor in retrospect. Earthquakes are not a single event: the biggest shock is the first one, but there are many aftershocks that diminish in magnitude over the following weeks. The terror is relived with each one, and there is real danger, in a place like Haiti, of additional deaths near the epicenter.

The response to the current crisis has been immediate; emergency and trauma teams from the U.S. and all over the world have been mobilized. I pray that they will be able to assist the living as quickly as possible.

This impoverished nation has lost its only major city, and rebuilding it will take a very long-term effort. I hope that all of us will play a role in whatever way we can. I imagine that down the road it may be possible for people like me and my family — perhaps you, too — who are not trained for emergency work, to go to Haiti and help with the reconstruction, whether by actually building, or cleaning up, or caring for children or the injured. Let’s stay alert for possibilities and share them with one another. If there are ways we can offer support to the thousands of Haitians in the Greater Boston area who are worried about loved ones, let’s lend a hand.

Meanwhile, we can donate to the UUSC, Red Cross, Partners in Health, Doctors Without Borders, and many other organizations that already have contacts or programs in Haiti. They can distribute the aid so that it will be used in the best possible way. The Red Cross is not calling for extra blood donations yet, but it never hurts to give blood if you can. Someone will need it!

When an event like this happens, our minds and hearts recognize how fortunate we are and how much we take for granted. It’s time to express our gratitude! I for one am grateful to have meaningful work, to have wonderful people in my life, and to have so many of my needs so easily taken care of. I’m grateful for the inspiration I get from those who face their challenges well. I’m grateful for the diversity of this nation, where people from all over the world have been welcomed. I’m grateful for the continually growing openness in our country, for the great liberal spirit upon which it was founded that allows so much initiative and energy to blossom. And I’m grateful for all that gives us life, and more — for the great mystery of forces and causes that make up this universe.


February 2010 services

February 7, 10:30 a.m. “Beyond Endurance to Patience.” Rev. Frieda Gillespie, Minister. What does it take to really implement a New Year’s resolution? What creates the courage and endurance to change something significant in our lives? Perhaps our resolutions need to start with an entirely new approach.

February 14, 10:30 a.m. “Why Aren’t You Who I Thought You Were?” Rev. Frieda Gillespie, Minister. The dynamics of intimate relationship are complex and rich with expectations, hopes, and dreams. None of us enters into relationship with open minds. What is significant is what happens when we start to become disillusioned and disappointed. That’s when love can fail or really flourish.

February 21, 10:30 a.m. “The Trials of Susan B. Anthony.” Beth Blanchard and Peter VanDeBogert. Today certain political groups constantly attempt to devalue opposing viewpoints. This presentation demonstrates that such struggles are not new. Years ago, one Unitarian woman worked tirelessly to win voting rights for women. Anthony made her case with Frederick Douglass, a black abolitionist, and Judge Ward Hunt, who later became a Supreme Court justice. Fourth-graders and up are encouraged to attend the adult service.

February 28, 10:30 a.m. “A View of Age.” Rev. Frieda Gillespie, Minister. The youth of our Religious Education Program will be sharing what it’s like to be young today, and inviting older members of the congregation to talk about the youth of yesterday.

From Fred

On January 11, Miep Gies died at the age of 100. Miep often claimed to be just an average person who should not have received recognition for having lived a simple life. Yet she had been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She also received the Yad Vashem Medal from Israel for her work as a Holocaust hero. Miep was the last survivor of a group of four friends who helped to hide the Frank family during World War II. After the Franks were arrested, it was Miep who returned to the hiding place in order to retrieve Anne’s now-famous diary. Miep believed it important that people not consider her unusual, saying, “People should know that you don’t have to be a special person to help those who need you.” Over the next few weeks, members of our Religious Education Program will explore ways to help those who need us.

Starting very soon, there will be a link to the Northshore UU website titled “Voice from the Little Chair.” In this weekly spot I will reprise the Sunday Story for All Ages and add some further thoughts.

Did you happen to watch the Rose Bowl parade? If you were looking very carefully, you might have seen some familiar faces. Several of our young people marched with the Danvers High School band. Your homework is to come to church and ask around, to find out who participated.

Our Wonderful Welcome class is moving forward, as is our Mirrors and Windows class. Ideas keep coming from parents and friends. Our next RE Committee meeting will be on January 31 after church. Please feel free to attend and offer your suggestions.

From the Board

I’d like to take a moment to recall an important moment during the Sunday service on January 10. The theme that day was the Salem Mission, recently renamed Lifebridge. Its managing director, Mark Cote, spoke with passion about the plight of the homeless. Not surprisingly, theirs is a dreadful life, cold and lonely. Lifebridge has succeeded in giving hundreds of street people in Salem the soulful support they need to acquire a sense of dignity and purpose.

As you may know, the Social Action Committee (see below) has taken permanent responsibility for the evening meal that NSUU has been providing on the fourth Sunday of every month, in Salem, for the past few years. At those meals, volunteers feed more than a hundred people a nutritious and balanced meatloaf dinner. You who have been part of the program have experienced the warmth and gratitude of those very hungry people. It is reassuring that the congregation plans to close ranks around this wonderful and much-needed event for the years to come.

The crowning moment of the January 10 service, for me, was listening to Michele Chausse talk about the program in her inimitable, no-nonsense way, and describe how she had single-handedly coordinated this event, without complaint or hesitation, for the past five years and more. What started out as a practical application of her principles, and a way to engage her two children in a meaningful religious education experience, became an obligation she ultimately couldn’t walk away from. During the past few years, the NSUU volunteer teams organized by Michele have served more than eight thousand meals to the homeless. What a woman!

John Forbes


During this last quarter of the church year, we are in the process of reviewing the church budget and expenses.

In order to meet the church budget, it is essential that we rely upon the members’ 2009-’10 pledge commitments. At this time, we are asking you to please make every effort to complete your pledge prior to March 31, 2010.

Social Action Committee

For the past five years, our church has been providing dinner at the Salem Mission on the fourth Sunday of each month. Our volunteers have bought food, cooked, and served one hundred meals per month. The Social Action Committee has been exploring ways to involve the whole congregation in this work at the Salem Mission, which recently changed its name to Lifebridge.

A portion of our January 10 service was devoted to giving the congregation more information about the project. Mark Cote, executive director of Lifebridge, spoke about the organization’s goals, explaining that in recent years the emphasis has been on assisting residents of the shelter to find permanent housing and on continuing to support their independent living after they leave the shelter.

Michele Chausse, who started this project at NSUU as part of the Coming of Age program, told of the church’s involvement over the past five years. Brian Orr, representing the Social Action Committee, explained the committee’s plan to make this an all-congregation project. There are two ways to participate:

  • Six or seven volunteers are needed each month to shop for food, cook, and serve the meal. If you volunteer, a coordinator will contact you early in the week to let you know which ingredients to bring. Experienced volunteers are always on hand to guide newcomers through the process. The cooking and serving are done between 5:00 and 7:00 pm. We do not have to wash dishes afterward. Children aged seven and older, supervised by a parent, are welcome to participate, although we advise parental discretion. On a white board hung in the Fellowship Hall you can volunteer for specific dates (February 28 is filled). Please consider signing up for the fourth Sundays of March through August.
  • The second way to participate is by donating money to purchase the food. In the past, those preparing the meal have also paid for the food. The cost is about $150 per month, and we would like to spread that sum among as many people as possible. You can sign up for a monthly or a one-time donation (in any amount). Donations may be made in cash or by checks made out to NSUU (with Lifebridge Fund in the memo line).

The Social Action Committee hopes that every member of the congregation will participate in this worthwhile project. The committee’s next meeting will be on Monday, February 22, from 7 to 8:30 pm. Contact Lois Markham (lamarkham {at} comcast {dot} net) for the location.

Future circle dinners — join the fun!

Saturday, February 20. Over the past several weeks, sign-up sheets for Circle Dinners on this date have been posted in the Fellowship Hall. All the slots are filled! But if you couldn’t make it to church to sign up, we may still be able to find room for you at one of the dinners. Call Leonard Swanson (978-356-8880) or Joanne Ciaravella (978-921-0519).

Saturday, March 27 – mark your calendar! Watch for the host and guest sign-up sheets, which will be available in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday, February 21, and thereafter.

Share the Plate

At the February 21 service, Northshore UU Church will “share the plate” with Friends of the Orphans, an organization that provides funds to orphanages in ten Latin American countries. The orphanages adopt and raise hundreds of children, most of whom have lost at least one parent and come from dire conditions. At the orphanages the children are fed, clothed, and raised in a safe environment. They get an education and receive health care. Many have fruitful lives after they graduate from their home. Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos — Our Little Brothers and Sisters — is one of the affiliates. Brian Orr, who proposed sharing the plate with Friends of the Orphans, says, “Having witnessed the care at the orphanage in Honduras, I am confident that money sent to this organization impacts the lives of these children.”

Sunday service ushers

The church is looking for additional ushers. The responsibilities are to hand out the orders of service and hymnals at the beginning of the service, collect the offering, and count the money afterward. You will usually be needed one Sunday a month, which can take the place of coffee-host duty. If you’re new to the church, it’s a great way to become more involved. Interested? See, call (978-922-2276), or e-mail (vanimages {at} comcast {dot} net) Peter VanDeBogert.

Making the most of our church website

How do you use On the snowy morning of Sunday, January 3, our statistics show that 188 people viewed the site to see whether that day’s service would be canceled. (It was.) Typically, though, our traffic is just a fraction of that number — mainly potential visitors who want to see what the church has to offer and members checking out the Calendar of Events.

Yet there’s much more to our website, including slideshows of occasions like Octoberfair and Christmas Dinner with Friends, the full text of our monthly newsletter, audio of the sermons, an occasional video, and links to articles about our church that have appeared in the local press. If you haven’t visited the website recently, we hope you will give it another look. It is improving and growing all the time.

A couple of tips: If you don’t like the way our Calendar of Events looks when you enter “Google Calendar,” just click on “Agenda,” near the upper-right corner of the screen. You’ll see the upcoming happenings in list form, which some people find easier to read. As with any web page, you can enlarge the type by holding down the “control” key (the “command” key on a Macintosh) and pressing the “plus” key. Press “minus” to make it smaller again.

Also, we have started a Twitter feed that will notify you every time we update the site. If you are a Twitter user, click on “Follow Us on Twitter,” in the right-hand column (or visit, and become one of our followers.

Dan Kennedy

Investment Committee

I am honored to have been appointed to chair the church’s Investment Committee. Along with Bo Batty, Pat Danielson, John Forbes, Tina Gibson, and Monique Greilich, I hope to continue to grow the church’s endowment fund and investments.
Malcolm Bruce

“My Fair Lady” — a wonderful message

While there are several memorable tunes in this wonderful musical, the one that applies most directly to us is “Get Me to the Church on Time”! Please make every effort to be seated in the sanctuary before the 10:30 a.m. starting time.

February 2010 calendar

The Rev. Frieda Gillespie’s office hours are Mondays 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