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Maureen's Musings
Rev. Maureen's Musings -- December 2017

It’s definitely looking a lot like Christmas (or the holidays, if you prefer), at UUFG these days. Mega thanks to Kirsten Flamand and her glamour* of elves, and of course to former UUFG member Beverly Haynes who was kind enough to donate her wonderful nutcracker collection to UUFG.

Today, December 17, we’re learning about a real-life story of a friendship between a young Jewish boy and an African American woodcarver. If you have time, check out Elijah Pierce (1892-1984) on line, and see some of his remarkable – and now extremely valuable – art works. It’s an all ages service, with something for everyone.

Next Sunday, December 24, is, of course, Christmas Eve. We’ll take a lighthearted look at the season during our 11 am service, including learning some of the ways 19th century Unitarians contributed to shaping what are now taken-for-granted aspects of the holidays. We’ll also have the joy of celebrating the dedication of a young child, the daughter of Mike and Josh Wagner. Children and youth begin the morning in the Sanctuary, then move on to a season-based Children’s Chapel with Heather Arata.

PRO TIP – you might want to brush up your memory of the words of Clement Clark Moore’s poem, “The Night Before Christmas” before next Sunday. Why? Ah, that would be telling!

Also next Sunday, you are invited to bring your family and friends at 6 pm for our annual candlelight service. With readings from the Talmud, the Qu’ran and the Christian scriptures, our approach to the season might be called “traditional with a twist.” It’s a very special evening, that many people say helps them center down and really enjoy the deeper meanings of the season. Bring a plate of finger food or cookies to share after the service, as we wish each other all good things for the season and the coming year.

With much love,
Rev. Maureen Killoran

*According to Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, the collective noun for elves is “glamour.” Unless, of course, you’re talking about Mirkwood elves, in which case the collective noun is a “suspicion.”

 
Thanksgiving Day Thoughts

As Thanksgiving draws near, the media lift up increasingly high expectations for the “perfect feast.” The New York Times offers detailed explanations for a menu demanding a minimum of eight hours’ hands-on work — though we’re assured this includes a lunch break. Oprah provides 20 “easy and beautiful” ideas for table décor, any one of which would take a week to create. Martha Stewart touts her “meal delivery kit” as a bargain at $160 — and you’ll have to cook after it arrives.

All this and we’re just half way through November! I’m just about ready to let loose a hearty “Bah Humbug!” when I remember that neither perfection nor other people’s expectations are what Thanksgiving is about.

Whether you will share the day at home with family and friends, join the UUFG potluck feast, or treat yourself to a quiet solo meal, I urge you to take a moment to recall the real “reason for the season.” If we let it, Thanksgiving can be a desperately needed call to gratitude, a reminder of blessing and hope.

My gift is a blessing to accompany your meal on Thanksgiving Day. May these simple words remind us to be grateful for what we have, and to cherish the gifts our lives have seen.

Spirit of Life, be present at this table.
May we appreciate our good fortune in this gathering
and the food we are about to share.
Help us remember that our time in this world
is both precious and brief.
Give us gratitude. Give us courage. Give us peace.
Amen and Blessed Be.

 
White Supremacist Richard Spencer to speak at UF 10-19 -- a Letter to Our Congregation

The University has published a detailed Q&A of information about how and why Spencer will be speaking, the current plans for security at UF, and other information. I encourage anyone who is curious or has questions to click HERE. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

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A Letter to the Congregation Following the Las Vegas Shooting

Dear Ones,

By now, many if not most of you will have learned about the shooting in Las Vegas, where an apparently lone shooter focused his hatred on hundreds of people who were enjoying a music festival. Nearly 60 people are reported dead as I write, over 500 wounded. Think of this like a rock thrown in a pond. In the next circle of are all those nearby, concert goers and others caught up in the immediate terror of the moment. Then come thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, whose lives have been personally torn apart by the actions of one man who we are told had at least 19 guns and a large amount of ammunition in his hotel room. And then there’s us, reading, reacting, weeping, perhaps raging, as we try to incorporate this new violence into our world. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

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Notes from a Peripatetic Hurricane Watcher #2

OK, I’ve done as much of the hurricane prep list as I can manage. We’re here, ready to hunker down for the duration. Next, of course, comes the question of what-are-I-going-to-do, if the lights go out and electronic connection is, for a period, denied. How to keep from going stir crazy, if, like me, your usual path to wellbeing involves a lot of connection? [Click "Read more..." to continue]

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