Services This Month:
Dec. 3 “In Need of Awe” Rev. Jill McAllister
Dec. 10 “A Season of Generosity” Rev. Jill McAllister
Dec. 17 Wheel of the Year All Ages Service — Yule
Dec. 21 Thursday 7 PM Winter Solstice Vesper Service
Dec. 24 All-ages 10 am Service, with participatory Nativity Play
~Christmas Eve 5:30 PM Candlelight Service
Dec. 31 10 AM Sunday Service, Dec. 31. Any ideas for a New Year’s Eve gathering?
Every 4th Sunday of the month, the young(er) adults of the UUFC are invited to gather after the service to enjoy pizza and conversation together, to deepen social connections between the two newest adult generations of our culture. The term “young adult” is a wiggly one, especially in today’s social climate, where some Millennials identify more with the elder Gen X, while others find they have more in common with the younger Gen Z. As such, our Young Adult Pizza Hour attracts quite the spectrum, a delightful mix of 18 year-old college freshmen all the way to elder Millenials who are starting to inch into their fourth decade. All of these age brackets are welcome!
Every month, regular attendees receive a reminder email in the week leading up to the fourth Sunday with an evocative quote and a few discussion questions to ponder for that month’s meet-up, and then when we get together for pizza (including GF and vegan options) to chat, learn from one another, and commiserate about the struggles of adulting in the world in which we live.
Every six weeks or so, we gather at each of the eight points on the Wheel of the Year as an intergenerational community to celebrate holidays from nature-based neo-pagan tradition with story, song, and ritual. Some of these holidays are widely known, like Yule, the Winter Solstice. Some, like Lughnasadh, are not as well recognized. The eight sacred days on the Wheel start with Yule in December, then proceed to Imbolc in February, Ostara in March, Beltane in May, Litha in June, Lughnasadh in August, Mabon in September, Samhain in October, and then right back around the Wheel to Yule. This cycle of celebration echoes the cycles of the changing year, and it honors the interdependent web of which we are all a part,
The stories we tell as part of these services are told together, with an ever-changing cast of voices. Congregants of all ages can volunteer to take roles in these services, bringing the tales alive with costumes, props, and lots of fun congregational interaction. In addition to the services themselves, each point on the Wheel has been recognized as a holiday throughout human history, and so we honor some of these occasions in extra ways, too! A May Pole for Beltane, Hallow’s Eve costumes for Samhain, sing-a-longs for Yule… Honoring the Wheel of the Year calls for celebrations of all kinds! In addition, each point on the Wheel is accompanied by a Celebration Week — a handful of self-guided activities that are appropriate for all ages that deepen understanding and interaction with the truths of each seasonal celebration.
We hope you’ll join us!
If you’re a UU who gets an itchy feeling when you hear the word God, you’re not alone. There are plenty of reasons we might avoid the subject, but our kids will hear the word without our help. It doesn’t matter if you abandoned the notion of God long ago, you’ve got a solid relationship with your Goddess, or you’ve gotten comfortable with just not knowing. I’m all but 100% certain that your kids are going to have questions about God anyway. UU minister, Reverend Robin Bartlett says, “I have a responsibility to say something about god because someone else on the playground, or at a friend’s house, or at a summer camp will fill the vacuum I’ve left if I say nothing at all… I need to counter the message that God picks and chooses, that some souls are saved, but not all souls.”
Let’s explore some ways we might authentically fill that vacuum.
Half an Answer is Better Than an Answer and a Half
When we’re caught off guard, uncomfortable, or overly passionate about a topic — all feelings we might have when our kids ask about the G-word — it’s easy to give too much of an answer, and even start to answer questions that weren’t actually asked.
With younger, elementary-aged children, asking more questions before offering answers can help you discern what’s really being asked. Our own baggage can cause us to read too much into the question & give an answer that is too big for our child. Take a breath so you can listen & discern first.
If we give too big an answer, our children are likely to tune out before they get the answer they were looking for. If we’re regulars at giving too much of an answer, they might even develop a habit of not asking.
Remember this: Half an answer is better than an answer and a half!
While this is true for all aged audiences, it’s especially true when talking with our children. By keeping our answers short, we give our children time to digest what they’ve heard & ourselves time to consider what more we wish to say. When we leave our kids with a valid answer, but still wanting more, we make space for the conversation to circle back around a few more times, and these big conversations with no easy answers are at their best when we plant the seed, give it time to grow, and return to tend it regularly.
We’ve got a lifetime for this talk. No need to overdo it on our first go.
Other Ways of Saying God
Very often, “god” is just a quick way to say “something bigger than ourselves that inspires awe.”
If your younger kiddo asked about God, it’s probably best to stick with that word for now and just try not to make it weird.
If you have older kids, though, who are capable of more flexible and nuanced thinking, it can be useful to come up with a list of longhand terms for God that feel less loaded. Then, when you encounter religious wisdom with god talk together, you can evaluate it with more clarity by substituting your longhand terminology to see if it’s wisdom that resonates with you.
Here’s a short list to get you started.
the Big Mystery Love with a capitol L
the Unknowable Power the Really Real
the Inner Calling the Governing Laws of the Universe
Anne Lamott & Howard
Next month, we’ll be adding prayer to our toolkit. As a bridge from here to there, I offer the words of the brilliant and ever-salty Anne Lamott:
You may in fact be wondering what I even mean when I use the word “prayer.” It is communication from the heart to that which surpasses understanding. Let’s say it is communication from one’s heart to God. Or if that is too triggering or ludicrous a concept for you, to the Good, the force that is beyond our comprehension but that in our pain or supplication or relief we don’t need to define or have proof of or any established contact with. Let’s say it is what the Greeks called the Really Real, what lies within us, beyond the scrim of our values, positions, convictions, and wounds. Or let’s say it is a cry from deep within to Life or Love, with capital L’s. Nothing could matter less than what we call this force. I know some ironic believers who call God Howard, as in “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Howard be thy name.”… Let’s not get bogged down on whom or what we pray to. Let’s just say prayer is communication from our hearts to the great mystery, or Goodness, or Howard; to the animating energy of love we are sometimes bold enough to believe in; to something unimaginably big, and not us. We could call this force Not Me, and Not Preachers Onstage with a Choir of 800. Or for convenience we could just say ‘God.’
Homework for Caregivers
If you can, practice speaking out loud what you would say if your child asked, “What is God?” or “Do you believe in God?” Notice how it goes, and whether it reflects your truest answer. If they’ve already asked and you feel like it could have gone WAY better, don’t fret. It’ll circle back around. And when it does, you’ll have a little practice, and hopefully a little community of support.
Speaking of support…
Ask a friend if they’ve had the god talk with their kids and would be willing to share how it went. If they’re still a part of your life, ask your parents or caregivers about how old you were when you first got curious about God and how they felt. Have their feelings about god shifted over time? If they could go back, would they teach you the same? The more we talk about these topics with our people, the less weighty they start to feel, and then we can approach these conversations with our usual calm.
And, as always, if you want to pop in and discuss the big G or anything else, my door is always open!
Sunday, October 15, 4-6 pm
Join LGBTQ+ folx and allies for social gatherings centered on queer issues and themes. We understand the importance of queer community, and our goal is to provide a safe space where people can find that sense of belonging right here in Corvallis. We meet monthly on the 3rd Sunday in the afternoon. All are welcome! Questions: email@example.com
This month, Ginny and Jema will lead an open-ended discussion on the topic of “Coming Out”. In the safe space of our Queerly Beloved group let’s explore and share our experiences of the “stages” we may have gone through or are still going through. Vivienne Cass proposed that there are 6 Stages of Coming Out. Do we agree or would we add other stages?
Stages of coming out identified by Vivienne Cass:
- Identity confusion. In the first stage, identity confusion, the person is amazed to think of themselves as a queer person. …
- Denial. This is a sub-stage where one will deny homosexuality. …
- Identity comparison. …
- Identity tolerance. …
- Identity acceptance. …
- Identity pride. …
- Identity synthesis.
Our September Justice Outreach offerings will support our Partner Congregation in Bozod Korispatak, Transylvania, which is in Romania. Our partnership is 28 years old! In that time we have supported tuition for many students, plus stipends for ministry and elders. Our partners have hosted Fellowship members many times, and we have hosted them as well. The Korispatak congregation is part of the Hungarian Unitarian Church, the ancestral home of Unitarianism.
Information about the Monthly Outreach Offering, as well as about UUFC Justice Teams, is posted on the bulletin board at the northeast corner of the Social Hall. Learn more about our Partner Church there.
Each year we begin again to renew our leadership skills and commitments. This year, we will pay lots of attention to where new ways are needed. Therefore, all leaders of teams, groups, projects, events and councils are invited and needed on September 30. Please rsvp to let us know you’ll attend this all-day Leadership retreat, at this link: https://uufc.breezechms.com/form/d5a3de
Anyone who is not currently leading, as described above, but who is interested in becoming part of this wide leadership team, is welcome. Please reach out to Rev. Jill McA if you have questions. We’ll begin at 9 AM and continue to 5PM. Lunch and snacks will be provided. If childcare is needed for you to participate, please indicate that on the RSVP Form.
Together we will map out the new Fellowship year, learn skills together, and live into our new covenant of Right Relations. We’ll cover some nuts and bolts of facilitation and collaboration, of Fellowship structure, current needs, and new ideas. There is much to both rebuild and build anew. You are needed – please join us! Questions: Contact Rev. Jill McAllister. NOTE: We’ll celebrate a good day with an evening concert by Roy Zimmerman!
Join Heather E and UU friends for winery visits this summer! Leave UUFC Parking lot at 11:30. Visits are ~ 12 to about 2 p.m.
*Winery Visits. Note – Many of us purchased the Heart of Willamette Valley Wine Passport. For $40 you get free wine flights. Most wineries charge $10 per flight, so 4 winery visits pays for the passport.
Not all Sips & Snacks are passport eligible. Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sept 3 SUN Fullerton Wines small bites available for sale
Sept 8 FRI Salt Creek Cider, bring food to share.
Sept 17 SUN Benedetto Vineyard, bring food to share.
Sept 22 FRI Pheasant Court in Philomath, bring food to share.
Oct 1 SUN Harris Bridge in Wren, bring food to share.
Oct 6 FRI Valcan Cellars meet at 5:00 pm. Bring food to share.