Summer 2018

At John Morgan’s memorial service on June 29, words were shared from Rev. Shawn Newton (Toronto First) telling of how John had taught him, in deeds, of the fond bonds formed between a minister and the congregation.
As I head away from you for summer holidays and study leave, I feel rather emotional. This has been a full year. You have supported me through a difficult time, and you have celebrated my ministry, and you have ‘shown up’ for this community in innumerable ways.
My wish for you is that you have a safe and happy summer, enjoying as fully as possible this beautiful world. May you feel the embrace of loved ones, the thrill of new experiences, and by rocked by the gently spinning of the planet. All shall be well, my friends, for you are here, and being here now is what we have, and we are here together.

Rev. Julie

A Community of Blessing – June 2018

Do you remember the scene in Sleeping Beauty when the fairies come to bless the long-awaited baby princess? In Disney’s version, Mistress Flora, Mistress Fauna, and Mistress Merryweather float in, looking rather like colorful plump nuns, and begin to take turns bestowing blessings on the sweet child. First she is given the blessing of beauty, second the blessing of song…but alas, we never know what the third blessing is, because Mistress Merryweather is pre-empted by the arrival of a wicked fairy. Flashes of lightening…ominous music…doom and gloom…and then all hear the curse that the princess will one day prick her finger on a spindle and go to sleep for one hundred years.

At a young age, many of us figure out the difference between a blessing and a curse. Through Disney and storybooks, we learn that we should cheer for the good fairies and ‘boo’ for the wicked ones. We also, I suppose, learn that only certain people can grant blessings or bestow curses…fairies, witches, sorceresses, warlocks…priests, ministers…just the ones with special powers. And yet each week we light our chalice asking that we be inspired to bless and not to curse.

Blessing. Just saying the word feels good. A blessing also has nothing to do with specific words, and has everything to do with the energy we create and send out around us. It is an extension outward of attention and intention for the wellbeing of another. It is kindness offered and positive thoughts sent. To bless another is to show love and concern.

Blessings are relational; human to human, nature to human, person to animal, bird to flower…blessings involve an interaction infused with goodwill. In a beloved community, such as the one we strive to create at UFP, blessing rises between us… between our caring hearts and out of the trust we place in one another.

To bless the world, we have to feel that we have the ability to do so, but are often conflicted about this power. Who are we to offer a blessing? How could we be so presumptuous or even egotistical? But blessing isn’t about power at all. The Hebrew word for blessing, brakha, is rooted in the word for knee, suggesting that we receive blessing by kneeling down, by making ourselves small and receptive …receptive to all the gifts that surround us. And perhaps this is also the best position from which to give blessings…from a place of gratitude and humility, not a place of power or privilege.

And to bless is also a choice…to bless the world is an intentional choice. After each disappointment or failure, maybe we should say, “I choose to bless the world.” After each broken heart, we might say, “I choose to bless.” After each hurt, to bless. We have to choose it again, and again, and again.

May we be a community that chooses to bless.

Rev. Julie

A Community of Creativity, May 2018

“I’m not at all creative…I don’t paint, I don’t write songs, I’m not a poet…” Have you ever heard anyone say something like this? Have you said it? Creativity is usually associated with the arts, and perhaps because the arts are so harshly curated and judged, most of...

A Community of Power, April 2018

Hello Friends, (I am posting this on Good Friday, the day we held a Celebration of Life for Barb Beck. Here is a link to the words I shared at that service.) And for April’s theme of Power…(with thanks to Rev. Kirk Loadman-Copeland and Touchstones...

A Community of Balance – March 2018

When I was a little girl, my family went out to the league baseball games whenever our church team played. The ball game was not really the draw for me; I simply loved the energy of a rural community gathered on a summer night under the lights. I loved the dusty air...

A Community of Interdependence – February 2018

Interdependence has come to be a central part of modern-day Unitarianism, and we are just beginning to unpack and understand what it means. Our 7th principle calls us to a ‘respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.’ But even as we say...

Wonderings on the Theme of Intention

A Community of Intention January 2018  One of my first acts of 2018 will be to officiate at a wedding…a sacred moment when two people publicly state their intentions, the vows they make to one another and to their relationship. I consider one of the most powerful...

A Community of Hope – December 2017

I find it rather curious that as I am preparing our community for a journey through HOPE for the month of December, I am also preparing myself for a medical leave. (If this is the first time you’ve heard of this, check the special announcement that went out to...