As a community of conscience, I trust that we will care for each other by standing up for our values and our dreams for justice in America. As a spiritual home, it is our responsibility to offer hope and leadership, and I know we can fill that role with wisdom and tenacity.
Some things that give me hope:
1 We're looking inward to our personal role in race, racism and racial justice as part of our first step in the Social Justice Initiative. Some members of our congregation and Board of Trustees have already begun to read the book 'Waking Up White' by Debby Irving. We encourage others to pick it up. It's an accessible and personal account that is a great starting point for this conversation.
2 The new rainbow UUA banner (see below and here) that articulates so many of the reasons I am proud to be a UU. I can't wait until we have one of these to hang in front of UUR.
3 All the ongoing individual stewardship meetings taking place within the church membership. Our connection to each other, knowing each other more deeply, is what makes us a strong and and impactful community. Canvass is an important piece of our work and allows us to be a strong presence in the lives of our members and the community.
4 The Rockland City Council's Resolution to Promote an Open, Respectful, Healthy Community. I'm proud to be a part of a church that will sign on to this statement of community justice.
As we approach canvass and the auction, think about what pieces of this church community give you hope and inspiration, and what challenges you. Talk about those things with your canvasser -- the conversations that we have during stewardship really impact decision-making throughout church leadership. With successful stewardship our church foundation will remain strong, our programs will continue to thrive, and our work for justice at every level will continue to grow and strengthen. Hard work is the best cure I know for an aching heart, and I plan to take that ache and turn it into action, as best as I can.
Thank you, Reba Richardson
The First Universalist Church in Rockland stands with other UU churches Worldwide to take the Declaration of Conscience.
If you would like to join this commitment to speak out and to act in support of basic human rights, please join us at: http://connect.uusc.org/l/103112/2017-01-17/gpgn2
Declaration of Conscience
At this extraordinary time in our nation’s history, we are called to affirm our profound commitment to the fundamental principles of justice, equity and compassion, to truth and core values of American society.
In the face of looming threats to immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and the LGBTQ community and the rise of hate speech, harassment and hate crimes, we affirm our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
In opposition to any steps to undermine the right of every citizen to vote or to turn back advances in access to health care and reproductive rights, we affirm our commitment to justice and compassion in human relations.
And against actions to weaken or eliminate initiatives to address the threat of climate change – actions that would threaten not only our country but the entire planet – we affirm our unyielding commitment to protect the interdependent web of all existence.
We will oppose any and all unjust government actions to deport, register, discriminate, or despoil.
As people of conscience, we declare our commitment to translate our values into action as we stand on the side of love with the most vulnerable among us.
We welcome and invite all to join in this commitment for justice.
The time is now.
A memorial service for our dear church member Milt Parsons, longtime resident of Union, will be held Saturday, Feb. 25, at First Universalist Church, 345 Broadway in Rockland.
Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to noon, the service will be from noon to 1 p.m., followed immediately by a reception in the church at 1 p.m.
Parking is across the street in the empty old MacDougal School lot or on Gay St. The parking lot behind the church is reserved who need easy accessibility.
The “fierce urgency of now” calls us to put our principles into action and be the change we want to see in the world! Those fantastic marches in Washington, Augusta, Portland, Tenants Harbor, Vinalhaven, across Maine, throughout the country and around the globe were only the beginning of standing up for the inherent worth and dignity of every person and for the interdependent web of life. The next steps are to contact our elected officials when nominations, policies and legislation are proposed that are not in accord with our principles. So much is happening very quickly that calls for our attention, however, that it is hard to sort out priorities. Working together, however, we can make this task easy to do. Listed below are links to simple ways to take action and find out more on how you can give voice. Contact Lucie Bauer (975-7043, firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions.
Dailyaction.org – this site works great on your smart phone or your computer. Each day an action will be sent with direct links to whoever needs a phone call.
Weekly Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience – Jenn Hoffman, a blogger, researches the issues for you. Weekly actions to take and links to learn more about issues.
Learn more on how to take action:
IndivisibleGuide.com – Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.
Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network (www.muusan.org) Sign up to receive information on issues at the State level that primarily focus on: democracy in action, health care for all, and climate change. Also, can follow this UU group on Facebook.
Remember to say thank you if a congressperson supports your view.
Caring for Ourselves: A Time for Reflection and Sharing
It helps to know that each of us is not alone in grieving for the destruction now going on in the world. On Sundays at 11:30 a.m., after the morning service and time for coffee, you are invited to join others in the back of the sanctuary to reflect on and share (briefly) our fears and our hopes after the events of the previous week. Let us join our hearts and spirits together as we navigate the hard road ahead. We will end our time together at noon.
ROCKLAND, Maine – In January the First Universalist Church in Rockland contributed to five local organizations with donations from their 2016 weekly plate collections. The Unitarian Universalist congregation's Outreach Giving is a practice that engages the congregation with local community needs, and is a reminder within the congregation that generosity is a spiritual discipline. Each time the First Universalist Church gathers for worship, they donate half of the offering plate towards this principle. The 2016 plate offerings allowed $1,140.00 to be donated to each of the following organizations: OUT Maine, Mid-Coast Health Net, the Maine Diaper Fund, Maine Family Planning Association, and Window Dressers. This annual outreach service is just one of the ways the First Universalist Church is committed to supporting important community work in the Mid-Coast. The congregation also provides weekly donations of food and supplies to the AIO Food Pantry and has expanded assistance to the One Less Worry program and to the Oceanside High School's emergency supply closet.
For information on the First Universalist Church in Rockland, Sunday service, or becoming a community partner, call 594-8750, or email email@example.com. The First Universalist Church is located at 345 Broadway, Rockland.
Sunday afternoon, after a worship service that called members to use their creativity, hands, hearts and voices for the sacred work of bending the moral arc of the universe toward justice; adults and children from The First Universalist Church in Rockland repurposed campaign signs to spread messages of hope and love. These signs reflect their belief in the great liberal religious values of freedom, reason and tolerance, and their commitment to be a voice for the voiceless and to be love in the world. They reflect their best hopes for their church, their community, their country and their world. And they reflect UUR's commitment to provide safe space and sanctuary for all people, especially those on the margins.
A comprehensive sexuality education course is being offered for 8th & 9th graders in the mid-coast starting in November. This program has 25 sessions that will be offered twice a month on Sundays from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m. through April at the OUT Maine office, 63 Park St. in Rockland. Lunch will be provided. Trained volunteer facilitators guide participants through an engaging curriculum that addresses topics most important to young adolescents, including those typically excluded from sexuality education and health classes. The First Universalist Church of Rockland is sponsoring this non-religious program because we recognize a real need in our community for mindful, respectful sexuality education.
There will be an information and orientation session for parents and caregivers on Sunday, October 30 from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at OUT Maine. At the end of the session, parents can register their children in the program, which starts on November 13. There is a $25 fee to help defray the costs. We also try to arrange transportation if needed. Our lead facilitator is Ashby Bartke of St. George. Experts from the community will help to supplement the material.
Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.
Our Whole Lives uses approaches that work, and is used in schools and community organization across the country. The curricula are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (PDF) produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education, and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).
On September 9th, 7pm, the First Universalist Church in Rockland, 345 Broadway, will present J. Patrick Manley from Masons On a Mission, to speak on the topic.
Manley, a stone mason from Washington, Maine, is known throughout the country for his stone work, will be presenting a slide show detailing the experiences of his 17 years of building stoves in Guatemala. Light refreshments will be served.
In the winter of 2000, Patrick started traveling to remote villages in the western highlands of Guatemala to build stoves for the Mayan people who live in the higher elevations of 5000 to 10,000 feet. Millions of Mayan people burn open, unvented wood fires inside their dwellings both for cooking and as a source of heat. Since these fires are unvented, the entire family breathes in the toxic smoke causing a variety of respiratory illnesses and even blindness. Ventilated stoves provide a solution to this problem.
In an effort to increase his outreach to these people, Patrick created Masons on a Mission to both raise awareness and funds for the project. Every year he organizes groups of volunteers to go to Guatemala during the month of March to build stoves. Fundraising efforts continue via the Masons on a Mission website and various presentations conducted throughout the country. The cost of materials for each stove is $150 with all materials purchased locally giving a boost to the local economy. Each volunteer is required to raise a minimum of $300 to pay for the materials for two of the stoves that they help to build.
There is no admissions fee, but donations will be accepted at the door. Masons On a Mission is a tax exempt 501 C (3) charitable foundation. All donations are tax deductible.
World Religions Day Camp promotes understanding among Religions
The First Universalist Church in Rockland is offering a day camp for grades K-5 during the week of August 22-26.
The goal of this camp is to promote understanding and goodwill among religions while having fun. We will investigate the world religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Earth Centered Spirituality with storytelling, arts and crafts, games, and special visitors.
Camp will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with extended childcare if needed.
The day camp costs $125 per child; families can apply for a sliding scale fee. Before and after care is an additional cost of $5.00 per hour.
Registration forms are available by calling 594-8750 or on line at: https://uurockland.breezechms.com/form/8d03cd95.
There are limited positions for counselors-in-training (grades 6-8) and counselors (grades 9-12).
Contact Carney Doucette at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Reposted from OUT As I Want to Be:
Co-hosted with the First Universalist Church in Rockland, our vigil on Tuesday, June 14th at the Rockland Library lawn drew over 150 youth and adults to honor the victims of Orlando -- and all of our LGBTQ family and straight allies.
The following poem read by Rockland Mayor Louise MacLellan-Ruf captured the sentiments of many, some of whom shared their own grief and call for action on gun control and keeping our youth safe.
"These are times that drop us to our knees.
Let us not be part of the vitriol and rancor
Instead let us unite in spirit and support
For all of our brothers and sisters
Mothers, fathers and friends
Lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and straight.
It does not matter.
We are all one.
We grieve and tonight remember Orlando.
We will continue to love out loud
We will continue to laugh out loud
We will continue to live out loud
We will continue to put ourselves out there
Offering kindness and love
Until the ignorant see the truth
We need to believe that
We outnumber the haters
We will outman and outrun the hate
We will outdistance the din
We believe that being out and about matters
With our persistence the hate will burn out
We believe, no, we know that
Our voices of sanity, kindness and fairness will win out."
This summer children of all ages are invited to learn valuable lessons through the stories of Dr. Suess (Theodore Geisel). Dr. Suess – UU Style will take place weekly at the First Universalist Church in Rockland, located on 345 Broadway. The program will begin July 10th and run through September, on Sunday mornings from 10-11 a.m. . Each Sunday, one book will be read followed by activities that support a universal message being illustrated in the book. In Horton Hears a Who, children learn that their voices do count, and in I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today, children learn about how to be humble. You do not have to be a Unitarian Universalist to attend, and there is no cost. All children are welcome to participate. Parents are welcome to join us for worship during this hour as well. For more information, call the church office at 594-8750.