President’s Perspective – Pause, Savor and Reflect

By Mindy McPherson, 2019-20 President

On Dec. 21 at 10:19 p.m., we in the Northern Hemisphere will mark when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, at 23.5° south of the equator. We will mark the winter solstice.

I read an online post recently that commented on how our modern culture celebrates this season: “alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, overspending, comfort food and consumerism.” The message suggested that this time was once “a period of descent and rest, of going within our homes, within ourselves and taking in all that we have been through, all that has passed in this full year that is coming to a close.

How perfectly this idea of going inward connects to Rev. Dottie’s recent sermon highlighting some of the reasons why we, as individuals, show up at UUCC. As 2019 draws to a close, I encourage you to reflect upon your year with UUCC. How have you connected and explored? How have you grown and transformed? I also think it is timely during this hibernal solstice to reflect inward as a beloved community and to consider all that has passed this year for us as a collective.

Make note that beginning Dec. 1, we will once again physically worship in one combined service on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. I find the timing of this poetic, as we can come together and evaluate together all that we have been through this past year.

Let’s pause and savor the longest period of darkness of the year, and perhaps turn our attention upward to marvel at our existence and the awe that bridges our past and present. I hope that you find peace and a time for reflection this season. I hope you find yourself with renewed energy and spirit for what the new year has to offer.

I hope you will be ready to focus outward and continue the important work of UUCC. Keep an eye out for communications from the Board and the Building Task Force, as we continue to evaluate the future of our physical space and the vision for our community.

 

December news from the Social Action Team

Faith-to-Action Collections for December

Three Faith-to-Action collections are scheduled for the month of December. Please consider supporting these organizations when the collection plate comes your way on these Sundays:

  • Dec. 8 – Room at the Inn
  • Dec. 15 – Loaves & Fishes
  • Dec. 22 – Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

Can’t make the Sunday service or Forum on one of these days? We’ll miss you! But you can still drop off or send in a contribution any time in December, with a check made out to UUCC and something in the memo line to alert the Church Administrator that the check is for one (or more) of the Faith-to-Action recipients. Information on these organizations and all the other Faith-to-Action recipients for the year is on the website.

Collaboration with Adult Religious Education

Part of the “Scope of Activity” of the Social Action Team is “Educating ourselves and the congregation on issues of social justice … and providing opportunities for the congregation to become more educated on those issues.” This sounds to us a lot like Adult Religious Education, and certainly fits the definition of some of the classes that have been offered. After some discussion, we designated a representative to join the Adult Religious Education team.

Innovations in Loaves and Fishes volunteer food signup

We have arranged with Patchwork Family Farms to provide pork for a main dish, with the cost being billed by Patchwork to the church. If you sign up for this main dish option, you will need to obtain the pork from Patchwork and prepare it for delivery to Loaves and Fishes. Policy on food purchases for other signup items remains the same: You are welcome to submit receipts to the church for reimbursement, subject to the availability of funds in the Loaves & Fishes reserved fund. Why did we implement this change? Support for local agriculture is strong within our congregation; for example, the Columbia Center For Urban Agriculture and the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (which is the umbrella organization for Patchwork Family Farms) are both scheduled for Faith-to-Action collections in April. This ensures that, at least 12 times a year, our church is directly supporting local food production.

Standing with Solidarity

The Social Action Team has designated a representative to the Solidarity Network, which is planning for another rally and march this winter. Many UUs have attended past events. Thank you, Vic Myers!

Change in team chair

Caya Tanski has embarked on a course of professional development that is demanding of her time, and she asked to step away from the SAT Chair position, at least for the time being. Accordingly, Fred Young has volunteered to be chairperson. We thank Caya for her time and attention to “All Things SAT,” wish her well in her endeavors, and hope for her re-engagement later in the spring.

Honduras Ministry Team and service trip updates

The Honduras Ministry Team held its eighth annual Trivia Night at the church on Nov. 16, and close to $4,000 was raised. It was a fun night, and the team thanks everyone who came and who donated!

These dollars will be put to good use soon! 10 members of our team will be traveling to Honduras on Dec. 28 to build latrines and paint a school. They will be taking donations of children’s summer clothes and school supplies. There will be a box under the wardrobe where donations can be left until Dec. 22.

In other exciting news, both Cito (the Honduran organizer of the team’s work) and his wife Keyla are doing extremely well in their studies. There are several members of UUCC who are helping pay for their education. Cito is doing so well in his studies that he got a scholarship for a study trip to the United Kingdom!

– Allie Gassmann, Chair, Honduras Ministry Team

 

Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team update

The Sanctuary Team was initially formed after our congregational vote in April of 2017 to officially declare ourselves a Sanctuary Congregation. The team did good work to prepare for an eventual guest in our building. However, as of now, none of our migrant friends have needed to take the drastic step of seeking sanctuary here at UUCC.

Given that reality, our team has officially renamed ourselves the Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team. Of course, we will remain ready to respond quickly should a need arise, but in the meantime, we are working hard on many avenues of pursuing justice for our immigrant friends and neighbors in and near Columbia.

On Nov. 3 we held a Tamale Lunch fundraiser after the second service. The food was once again extraordinarily delicious, and the time of fellowship was truly enjoyable. The proceeds were split between the asylum-seeking family we are helping to support and the Honduras Team. Thanks to all who came out to offer their generous support for these important causes!

If you would like to get involved in the work of this team, please email either co-chair, Allie Gassman or Dave Gibbons.

 

We’re hosting Room at the Inn Dec. 8-22 – volunteers needed

“Room at the Inn,” Columbia’s emergency winter homeless shelter that moves among churches, will open at UUCC on Sunday, Dec. 8 and continue through Sunday, Dec. 22 before moving to the second church.

The success of the shelter depends on the participation of many volunteers. Please be a volunteer! There many ways to volunteer and two ways to sign up.

  • Go to the Room at the Inn website and click on the volunteer button, or
  • Sign up at the table in our Greeting Area after worship

 

The choir wants YOU for Christmas Eve

We are featuring a mass choir on Christmas Eve, and we hope many of you will participate!

We will be performing the final two movements (“That Was a Christmas Long Ago” and “Alleluia!”) from Margaret Bonds’ “Ballad of the Brown King” at the 8 p.m. service. We need as many voices as we can to make it as powerful as it deserves to be. They are very fun songs and accessible. No music reading ability necessary, just a love for singing and fellowship.

Email Music Director Jeremy Wagner for information or to express interest.

 

December adult R.E. – Holiday First Aid

Join us for our Adult Religious Education mini-mester on Tuesdays Dec, 3, 10, and 17 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Centering Room to engage in some Holiday First Aid with Rev. Molly as we encounter this high-pressure time of year.

Bonus: Come at 6 p.m. before the class to enjoy a short, contemplative Advent Vespers Service with silence, poetry, and song.

Class schedule:

  • Dec. 3 – Caring for our Spirits: Let’s find a spiritual center for the holiday season with personal reflections and communal practices.
  • Dec. 10 – Caring for our Bodies: We will discuss practices for nourishing and soothing the body during a time that can be filled with anxiety triggers, harmful diet-talk, and more.
  • Dec. 17 – Caring for our Relationships: Time to learn about Family Systems 101 and strategize how to hold good boundaries as the season sends us into proximity with people we love and struggle with.

 

Founders’ Day Service Auction – Jan. 25, 2020

Now is the time to think about your service donation

Are you excited? We Auction Team members sure are! The Founders’ Day Auction is UUCC’s premiere soirée, and for a mere $10, you will enjoy a fun and festive fête when we get together to raise money for the church, enjoy music, drinks, food, and the opportunity to win the service of your dreams!

So, two things –

One: Save the date -Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Reserve your tickets at $10 each.

Two: We need donations! Since this is a service auction, think of a service (little or big) that you could offer.

  • Can you babysit, pet-sit, or house-sit?
  • Do you cook or repair things?
  • Are you good at music, painting or photography?
  • Do you have sports tickets you could donate or a weekend or overnight hide-away?
  • Can you teach someone a craft or mend some clothes?
  • Surely you can dust, right?

Groups could offer to do yard work, car detailing, window washing or paint a room in someone’s house. Be creative. What makes you special? Share it!

Look for the auction button coming soon on our website home page to:

  • Make a service donation
  • Sign up to bring food or help with the auction
  • Purchase auction tickets

 

Sharing our space with Missouri Faith Voices

From Rev. Molly:

Brittany Hughes

In expression of our partnership with Missouri Faith Voices and our intention to leverage our facility for the work of liberation, the UU Church of Columbia is proudly donating office space for Missouri Faith Voices Columbia Organizer Brittany Hughes.

Brittany is making use of our volunteer work room as well as sharing space downstairs with Music Director Jeremy Wagner. If you’re around on a weekday you just may have the chance to share a warm UUCC welcome!

Brittany is the regional organizer for Columbia’s chapter of the grassroots organizing group Missouri Faith Voices. Originally from Aliceville, Alabama, Brittany spent most of her school age years in St. Louis, Missouri. Her passion for this work is derived from her love of black folks and the desire to see the collective liberation of BIPOCs not only in America but globally. When she isn’t working, Brittany enjoys a good book, cooking, music, and grabbing drinks with friends.

 

Worship schedule change – only one service at 10:30 a.m. starting Dec. 1

After deep consideration by the Worship Associates and with the full support of the Board of Trustees, we have made the decision to consolidate back to one worship service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings starting Sunday, Dec. 1. Forum will meet at 9 a.m. as always, and Mindfulness Meditation will take place from 9:30 to 10:10 a.m.

There several reasons for this decision. We added an early service to relieve crowding in the sanctuary, but after giving it a good and committed try over four years, we found that the 9 a.m. service never really reached the critical mass necessary to be sustainable, averaging only around 20-30 in attendance. It seems that it is not the solution we are looking for at this time.

Additionally, we feel the early service is not currently the best use of the substantial volunteer and staff time it requires. We want refocus our energies, especially as we prepare to consider a major building improvement project.

We look forward to worshiping together again as one big community on Sundays!

Here are some ideas for how you can help ensure there is enough space for everyone and particularly for visitors:

  • Park in the Shepard Elementary School parking lot and leave closer parking spaces for visitors. Even better, consider carpooling or biking to church!
  • Move to the middle of your row in the sanctuary, thereby leaving the outer seats for late-comers and visitors.
  • Use the front rows in the sanctuary.
  • Look out for visitors who seem unsure where to sit on a Sunday and invite them to sit with you or help them find an empty seat.
  • Encourage your children to sit up front on the RE rug before they head to class.

 

Hans Bridger Heruth – our new staff collaborative pianist

Hans Bridger Heruth

Hans Bridger Heruth became our staff collaborative pianist in September 2019. Hans is an award-winning composer as well as a conductor, pianist, singer, and violinist. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia. As our collaborative pianist, Hans will help shape our music program.

Hans was born in Kansas City, Mo. and began studying both voice and piano at age 3, training as a boy soprano. He began studying violin at age 9 and started composing shortly after. His chamber opera, “A Certain Madness,” based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, premiered with critical acclaim and sold-out houses. His current projects include a new work entitled “Wytchkraft” for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gemma New.

An active collaborative pianist, Hans is also a staff accompanist at MU, where he accompanies the flagship choral ensemble, the University Singers. As a budding conductor, he has made a number of appearances with various ensembles. Most notably, he conducted Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” with the Show-Me Opera Program.

 

Why is that rug in the sanctuary?

Click to enlarge

Starting Sunday, Sept. 8, you will notice that the front two rows of chairs on the west side of the Sanctuary have been removed and replaced by a large rug for children to sit on.The rug will have quiet items like crayons, paper and foam blocks. Parents, teachers, and other adults are invited to join the rug community too!

The reasons we are trying this are several. The first and most important is that we have designed the first part of the liturgy to be engaging to children and meaningful to folks of all ages, but it is hard for children to see and participate when they are sitting in the back of the room behind a bunch of adult heads! We believe children will feel more comfortable in our sanctuary, learn our rituals, and begin to engage more fully when they are nearer the “action” on the chancel.

The second is that creating a designated space for children front and center communicates that their presence in our worship life is important to the adults of our community and that learning to be a part of our services  is an important part of their religious education, one we know takes time and patience.

The third is to create a clearer pathway in the back of the sanctuary for people with all kinds of mobility needs to get where they need to go. We know families with children often sit in the back for easy access to the door in case a child needs to take a break in the Greeting Area. By placing the rug at the west side of the sanctuary, we hope families will still have easy access to the exit if they need it. Additionally we hope to continue fostering an atmosphere that truly welcomes the energy of children!

We’ll check in after a while to see how it’s going, and we are always happy to hear your thoughts directly – email either Rev. Molly or Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder, or both.

 

Intern Minister Alexis to explore new path

From Intern Minister Alexis:

Dear UUCC Community,

During a sermon in February, I talked about how being in meaningful relationships with people and engaging with different ideas can call us to adjust the stories we write for ourselves. Little did I know how my intended storyline was about to change!

I write to you, dear community, with a mix of excitement and sadness, to let you know that my story is calling me to explore a new path, one that means ending my internship.

My time as an intern paralleled with seminary courses delving into aspects of Christian theology and biblical studies that captured my interest. As I had time to reflect upon my seminary experiences over the summer, I was surprised to realize these interests were calling me down an ordination track different from what I originally expected. After talking with trusted mentors, I have discerned a desire to explore another faith tradition, namely Disciples of Christ, a progressive Christian denomination.

This exciting new development is accompanied by sadness, because it means I will be leaving my internship to give my whole attention this new path.

Serving UUCC has been a great joy and honor, and I am full of gratitude for each one of you. I will miss you very much. The fact that my inspiration to explore another faith tradition is due to revelation rather than hardship is a great gift.

Thank you for being a space that allowed me to develop as a minister. Thank you for providing support and learning that will always be a part of whatever good I do in ministry.

I will be at both services on Sept. 8 to formally punctuate the transition from being your intern, and I hope to see you there to thank you in person. You are welcome to contact me by email if you’d like between now and Sept. 8.

In Gratitude,
Alexis

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

Dear UU Churchers,

What a gift it has been to have Alexis learning and working with us over the last year. She has brought so many skills and talents to bear upon our ministry, and it has been an honor and a joy to be a part of her formation into ministry. I know that she will be a gifted minister in the tradition that calls to her heart and that we will always share the work of loving this world together.

We are sad to see her go, but it is the work of Unitarian Universalism to support the conscience and resource the spiritual journey, even when that work occasionally leads people away from us. We can be proud to be an important part of Alexis’ journey.

I hope that you will join us in worship on Sept. 8 for a ritual of release to send Alexis off into the rest of her journey with our blessing, love, and very best wishes.

And I hope and believe that with Alexis having paved the way, we will have many future opportunities to serve in a teaching and mentoring role for ministers-to-be. I look forward with you to those opportunities.

In Faith,
Rev. Molly

New Director of Music Ministry – Jeremy Wagner

From Rev. Molly and the Music Director Search Team:

Jeremy Wagner

We are very pleased to introduce to you our new Director of Music Ministry, Jeremy Wagner!

Jeremy stood out to our search team because of his passion for building community through music and his gifts for working with singers of all ages and levels, including a gift for working with children and youth. He was recommended by his mentors and peers as an excellent and accessible conductor and showed himself through conversations with our search team to be dedicated, effective, and creative! We are so excited to begin working with Jeremy.

Jeremy will be getting oriented this week and next, and his first Sunday with us will be July 28. He also looks forward to gathering and meeting the choir in mid-August, and will be available for a meet and greet to the whole congregation after the service on July 28. Please plan to stay for coffee on Sunday the 28th and welcome Jeremy to our beloved congregation!

Jeremy is a promising music educator, performer and conductor who recently earned a Bachelor’s of Science-Education degree (with an emphasis in Vocal Music), as well as a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Growing up in Edmond, Oklahoma, and living in New York, Texas, and Missouri, he found that no matter where he lived he was able to find friends and nurture his love for music through school choirs. During his time in both the School of Education and the College of Arts and Science at Mizzou, he was able to work alongside and learn directly from his mentors, Dr. Wendy Sims, Dr. Brandon Boyd, and Dr. R. Paul Crabb.

Additionally, he was given opportunities to work with local public educators and students from Columbia Independent School, Rock Bridge High School, Locust Street Expressive Arts Elementary School, and Jefferson Middle School. Through his participation in the community, he has also established himself as a performer, singing a number of roles with Show-Me Opera’s productions and Missouri Symphony Society. His musical gifts and focused work ethic led to him being named the Director of Music at First Christian Church in Centralia, Mo., where he served for three years. He also worked as an intern for the Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri.

In Glad Song,
Rev. Molly & Your Music Search Team – Pack Matthews, Jamie Meadows, Neil Minturn, Jeanne Murphy

July 14, 2019 – Making Liberation Irresistible

This summer we are exploring the use of secular works as sacred texts. Listen to the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon on July 14, 2019 as she explicates the thesis of the book Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown. Brown posits that there is more to this world than the pursuit of mere life, liberty and justice; that we deserve pleasure; and, in fact, that embracing what brings us joy is central in organizing against oppression.

June 16, 2019 – Looking Up to Les Misérables

In summer 2019 we are studying secular works as sacred texts. On June 16, 2019, we explored secular texts using the spiritual practices of Lectio Divina and Floralegium – techniques that ancient monks used to study the Bible. Tim Dickerson and Sam Otten applied these techniques to excerpts from two works – Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and “John Wayne Gacy Jr” by Sufjan Stevens. Listen to their exploration of these works for the inspiration and deeper meaning we can find in them.

May 19, 2019 – Celebration Sunday Podcast

At worship on May 19, 2019, we were treated to a music extravaganza as we celebrated the service of our Interim Director of Music Ministry, Marques J. Ruff, and our accompanist, Arun Garg. We also celebrated the accomplishments of our high school graduates. We apologize that this is one of the longest podcasts we have offered – however we make up for it by having rights to publish the wonderful music from Marques, Arun and our choir. Also, you can see photos from the service here.

Rev. Molly’s new office hours

Beginning in June, Rev. Molly’s Community Office Hours will be held at Kaldi’s Coffee downtown on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (instead of Tuesdays).

Rev. Molly is also always happy to meet by appointment with members, visitors, newcomers and community partners. Regular office hours at church are 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays, but appointments can be scheduled on other days and at other times, including evenings and weekends.

Please do reach out if you’d like to chat about life, find your place in the church, process something difficult, find a listening ear, or discuss a project together!

You can schedule an appointment with Rev. Molly here or by sending her an email.

 

Fragrance sensitivity? We’ve got you (or at least your chair) covered!

On Sunday, March 24, the Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Team presented the lay-led service, “Living Up to Radical Welcome,” and made a small change in the sanctuary while we were at it. As we’ve heard a number of questions about this change, we thought it was about time we shed some light on it.

If you’ve been to services during the past couple of months, you have likely noticed a section of chairs in the back of the sanctuary topped with yellow pillowcases. This sunny addition was inspired by feedback we’d received from congregants who have fragrance and chemical sensitivities. These individuals had been unable to enjoy services because of the migraines, allergies, and other reactions caused by these products, which many of us don’t think twice about applying. While we can’t control what products each person uses before joining us for worship, we can create a space in which people who live with sensitivities or allergies to those products can, hopefully, be more comfortable and feel more radically welcome.

The AIM Team requests that the fragrance-free seating area be reserved for individuals who are not wearing perfumes or scented products. We thank you for your help with this step towards being more accessible to and inclusive of all members and guests.

– Gretchen Maune, Chair
Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Team

May 12, 2019 – Flower Communion

On Sunday, May 12, 2019 we celebrated our annual Flower Communion, a tradition started in 1923 by Czech Unitarian Minister Norbert Chapek. In this podcast, we are pleased to present the reflections of our Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and feature the wonderful music from our service, by permission of the performers. Although the visual beauty of the service can’t be appreciated by listeners, we make up for that with the music from our guest musicians. Mathena Claire Page sang “Meinem Kinde,” Aubrey Smith sang “Serenade,” and then together they sang “The Flower Duet.”

March 24, 2019 – Living Up to Radical Welcome

At worship on Sunday, March 24, the UUCC Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Team explored the topic of disability. Some disabilities are easily observed, leading to snap judgements about the person’s inherent worth and dignity, to misconceptions and prejudices, and often to discrimination. On the other hand, many disabilities are invisible, leading to accusations that the person might be “shirking” or “faking it.” But often well-meaning people are too “helpy,” as it is sometimes described, assuming that they can grab a disabled person’s arm and lead them around. All of these attitudes, well meaning or not, miss the mark. Disability is the only minority that any of us can join at any time, and we are likely to join them if we are lucky enough to live that long. Listen as Gretchen Maune, James Cutts, Qhyrrae Michaelieu, Martha Brownlee-Duffek and Ruth Millage describe their experiences.

Feb. 24, 2019 – Reparations and Soul Repair

At worship on Feb. 24, 2019, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s topic was “Reparations & Soul Repair.” She explored these issues: If power is the ability to act, then our power is deeply affected by our resources. What do we do about the truth of history that many have been systemically robbed of resources and thus power? What joyful redistribution of shared power could we find through the exercise of reparations? And what does all this mean for the well-being of our souls?

You can also read this sermon.

 

Social Action Team makes UUCC T-shirts available

After a two-year lapse in the availability of UUCC T-shirts, the UUCC Social Action Team now has three designs of T-shirts available for purchase at $20 apiece. The shirts are perfect for rallies and other activities and events. Look for them in the Greeting Area.

Some of the shirts feature the design that first became available in 2017 before the UUA General Assembly. On the front this design includes the official church logo and the church motto. On the back, it features the logo and the following words from our Mission Statement: “Courageous Love, Radical Welcome, Deep Connection – Healing the World.”

The other two designs are specific to the Social Action Team.

You can see the shirts in the photo slideshow below. Click the arrows to see the next or previous photo.

 

 

Faith Voices unveils “Moral Agenda” endorsed by Social Action Team

The Faith Voices of Columbia Moral Agenda 2019 was unveiled at a press conference on Feb. 4, 2019 and presented to the Columbia City Council the same evening. Read about the press conference and see a photo in The Columbia Missourian. Our minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, was one of the spokespersons for Faith Voices of Columbia.

Our Social Action Team voted at its January 2019 meeting to endorse the Moral Agenda.

Jan. 27, 2019 – Across Generations: Founders’ Day Sunday

At worship on Jan. 27, 2019, the day before the 68th anniversary of our church’s founding on Jan. 28, 1951, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon reflected on the history and future of Unitarian Universalism in Mid-Missouri. Listen to her sermon exploring the vision that connects us across generations, what it means to be a good ancestor, and how this idea can inspire us to leave a legacy that we may not harvest.

Jan. 20, 2019 – MLK Jr. Weekend – The Lonely Justice-Maker

On Jan. 20, 2019, the day before the official observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon revealed a major new effort by Faith Voices of Columbia – an interfaith group that promotes relationships of understanding, cooperation, and respect across religious and political divides. This proposal is scheduled to be presented to our community and our City Council on Feb. 4, 2019. The proposal demands funding for a permanent shelter for the unhoused, real and full community policing, abolishment of cash bail, and a number of other measures designed to create a moral attack on amoral policies. There could be no more fitting tribute to Dr. King’s legacy. We also are privileged to have digital rights and permission to publish Marques Ruff’s inspiring vocal performances.

Jan. 13, 2019 – Thresholds

Church was canceled on Jan. 13, 2019 because of heavy weekend snow, so we offer an archived recording from 2015 on the topic of “thresholds.” Times of change and transition can seem significant. Below the surface of our lives, the seeds of huge changes sleep beneath the snow, but we suspect nothing. When the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a springtime flourish of possibility, a threshold that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres. Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored these ideas on May 3, 2015.

Jan. 6, 2019 – Be It Resolved

A guest preacher, the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson challenged us at worship on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, a time of resolutions and self-reflection, to be courageous – courageous in the face of trouble, courageous to stand up and say “enough,” courageous in the face of criticism and controversy. Rev. Dawson said he would rather die courageous than live as a coward.

Dec. 30, 2018 – Begin Again in Love

At worship on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, we paused at the cusp of a new year to reflect on what had been, and also to look forward and find inspiration and purpose for the new year. Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, DRE Jamila Batchelder, Intern Minister Alexis led us in poetic reflection.

Social Action Team invites you to join

We invite all church members and all friends who have an interest in social justice issues to join our Social Action Team to help us shape and strengthen our work.

There are five important aspects of UUCC Social Justice Work

  1. Direct Service (e.g., Loaves and Fishes, Room at the Inn).
  2. Fundraising (e.g., through Faith-to-Action offerings, fundraisers such as the Honduras Trivia Night, sales of artisan crafts, and more, to support social justice work).
  3. Education (learning about systems of injustice, our role in them, and how to effect systemic change).
  4. Advocacy and witness (e.g., work with Race Matters Friends, showing up at City Council, Solidarity Network events, working with Missouri Faith Voices, the Sanctuary Team, letters to congressional representatives, work with MADP, the Center Project, etc.)
  5. Community building and deep connection (to sustain ourselves in the work, but also to create the world we want to see).

Besides joining the SAT itself, we encourage participation in any of our subcommittees or other teams such as the Sanctuary Team, the Missouri Faith Voices work, or the Green Sanctuary team. Together we create the change we want to see while being who we want to be in the world. We welcome your comments, suggestions – and of course action items.

– Caya Tanski, SAT Chair – email

Dec. 2, 2018 – The F word (Faith)

There is a word not often heard in the Unitarian Universalist Church, and it is the F-word. Dare we utter it? Faith. In our exploration of loaded words this year, faith is the loaded word for December. Sometimes we see faith set up as an idea in opposition to reason and doubt. But can faith be of use in our thought and practice? Can faith actually translate to passion and commitment? What if our “faith” is what we believe fiercely, and even irrationally, as a part of dreaming better for our world? At worship on December 2, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored this topic, with introductory readings by Intern Minister Alexis and Tim Dickerson.

Nov. 25, 2018 – Now the Work, Soon the Victory

Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson

One of our favorite guest preachers, the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, pastor of Dawson Journeys Ministry, was in our pulpit on Nov. 25, 2018. He teaches religion and philosophy at several area colleges, and his eight-week course “History of the Black Church in America,” has been a hit at our and several other area churches. In his sermon, “Now the Work, Soon the Victory,” Rev. Dr. Dawson asked, “How do we correct oppression? How can we be a part of the solution?” and he made clear there is much work to be done. The sermon was introduced by our Interim Music Director Marques J. Ruff singing “The Rain is Over and Gone.”

Nov. 11, 2018 – Service and Sacrifice

On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2018, our worship topic was “Service and Sacrifice” – a time to think carefully about the role of sacrifice in the lives of our service members and in all of our lives. What does it really mean to serve our country? Listen to Joe Collins and Anja Eick about their experiences in the military.

Nov. 4, 2018 – Day of Remembrance

In the United States we have often conceived of Halloween as a frivolous time when children don costumes and eat too much candy. However in many cultures, this is a serious season for contemplating and respecting the memory of ancestors, folks dear to us who have departed – a time for honoring their memory and coping with grief at their passing. In her homily on Nov. 4, 2018, “All We Are and Will Ever Be,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored this more meaningful and somber aspect of the Day of Remembrance, explaining how love is essential even though it entails future loss.

Oct. 21, 2018 – Do the Monster Mash

At our “Do the Monster Mash” worship services on Oct. 21, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder considered the idea of monsters in mythologies and in the minds of young and old alike. Listen to their thoughts as they explored how the visceral imagery of devils or demons can describe the experience of evil and help us grapple with evils in our world.

Oct. 14, 2018 – Damaged by Privilege

In his sermon on Oct. 14, 2018, Jeff Ordway recalled how the privilege of being a white male, which might sound desirable, instead resulted in damage to his own soul and especially to others. The events of recent weeks, when we watched several women come forward at great personal risk to describe abusive behavior by a Supreme Court nominee only to watch as his confirmation sail through a mostly-male Senate, drive home the lasting damage done by white male privilege. Jeff’s personal journey witnessing and experiencing abuses and callous behavior among young white males demonstrates how these attitudes and behaviors are perpetuated. Trigger warning: The subjects addressed in this podcast may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Oct. 7, 2018 – Everyday Evil

Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust in the years after the Second World War, German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt said: “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” At worship on Oct. 7, 2018, Rev. Molly Hough Gordon’s sermon grappled with the small ways people of good will can participate in evil in their everyday lives and how we can work to align ourselves with good.

Sept. 30, 2018 – Peace Must Be Dared

German theologian, pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe.” On Sept. 30, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored the mingling ideas of safety and risk in these times and in our lives against the backdrop of Senate testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her unsettling experiences. After the sermon, we celebrated our long-time and well-loved church administrator, Kathie Bergman, upon her retirement.

Sept. 23, 2018 – A Shelter for Every Storm

At worship on Sept. 23, 2018, our Sanctuary Team (Immigrant Ministry) explored how to create an expansive sense of what it means to offer sanctuary in these challenging times. Together, we considered how claiming our identity as a sanctuary congregation relates to creating deep connections, radical welcome and courageous love – not just for our immigrant friends and guests, but for ourselves as members of this sanctuary community. With the addition of a shower in the church, we now have made our building even more accommodating should a person or family need the shelter of our church as they pursue legal remedies to avoid deportation – the Sanctuary Team thanks everyone who helped make this possible.

 

Sept. 16, 2018 – Making Amends

Our Jewish neighbors, members, and friends observed the high holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Sept. 18-19, 2018. We all make mistakes. There is something reassuring about that – we have all fallen short, every one of us. Listen to the podcast of our Sept. 16, 2018 interactive worship service for all ages, in which we took the opportunity to contemplate what it means to make amends and acknowledge our failings and the importance of creating a community that continually recommits to our promises.