|Oracle Articles - Nov 2011|
Vol. 65, No. 11; November 2011
The mission of the First Unitarian Church of Orlando (1U) is to exemplify liberal religion in Central Florida with a commitment to lifelong spiritual growth and compassionate service to the community.
9:00 am & 11:30 am Sundays in Our Sanctuary
Sunday, Nov. 6 | Compassion for All Things, Rev. Kathy Schmitz
We continue our exploration of world religions through the lens of compassion with a look at the teachings of several Native American leaders.
Sunday, Nov. 13 | An Association of Congregations, Rev. Kathy Schmitz
First Unitarian Church of Orlando is a member congregation of the UUA or Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. This morning we look at what it means to be in free association with others.
A special offering to support the UUA's Association Sunday Fund (see separate article) will be received.
Sunday, Nov. 20 | Welcome the Guest - Intergenerational Service, Rev. Kathy Schmitz
We kick off our annual Guest At Your Table program (see separate article) with an intergenerational service that considers the way that our Unitarian Universalist values work for human rights around the world.
Sunday, Nov. 27 | Unity in Diversity, Rev. Kathy Schmitz
Those hearing about Unitarian Universalism for the first time are often confused by our lack of creed. How do we help them understand the importance of the unity we find within our diversity? This service is suitable for your visiting family and friends. Bring 'em along!
We're Celebrating the Fifth Annual Association Sunday!
Since 2007, the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association) has asked congregations to participate in annual Association Sundays to recognize and support, both spiritually and materially, the national work of the Association. Association Sunday is a special opportunity for thousands of UUs across the nation to simultaneously celebrate our shared commitment to Unitarian Universalism. Our congregation will celebrate Association Sunday 2011 on November 13. As part of our service, we will take a special collection to affirm our common bonds and purposes as Unitarian Universalists.
The theme of this year's Association Sunday is Celebrating Excellence in Ministries, and funds raised from special collections at participating congregations will support the UUA, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA), Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN), Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA), and other professional organizations. Grants to these organizations will support a range of projects, including scholarships, continuing education, an assessment of our ministries, and other projects that help religious professionals get the ongoing training they need to support thriving congregations.
We ask that each member contribute individually as part of a special collection during services on Association Sunday. We suggest a recommended donation of $20 per member. Some may even wish to inspire generosity by making a large "lead" or matching gift and announcing it prior to the worship services.
If you wish to make a leadership contribution, matching gift, stock gift, or bequest to benefit Association Sunday, please contact Rev. Kathy.
For additional information about Association Sunday in general, please see www.uua.org/giving/sunday/
For additional information about Association Sunday at 1U, please contact Rev. Kathy.
It's Time to Welcome a Guest at Your Table!
On Sunday, Nov. 20, we'll open our Guest at Your Table program with an intergenerational worship. When we bring home our Guest at Your Table boxes and place them prominently where we regularly gather, our families and friends have the chance to learn about real people who are succeeding in their struggles for justice with UUSC (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee).
Stories of Hope will help children, youth, and adults learn more about how UUSC partners with human-rights leaders in the United States and around the world to advance our common goals for justice. The stories introduce youth and young-adult leaders such as Dalia Ziada, who started speaking out by winning an essay contest and now helps others in Egypt find their voice and advocate for their rights. One story highlights Patrick Lafontant, who survived on his own in Haiti but then thrived when he found a purpose helping others through art therapy. His leadership grew with a new purpose after the earthquake and by working with UUSC partner the Association for the Promotion of Integral Family Healthcare.
Consider making it part of a weekly practice, perhaps while gathered at the dinner table, to read through one of the stories and discuss its meaning and how we each can help. When we share our blessings with our "guests," we ensure that UUSC and people like Dalia and Patrick can continue their important work.
And, thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, NY, gifts of $100 or more are eligible to be matched, dollar for dollar, doubling the impact of your support!
If you miss picking up your Guest at Your Table donation box or envelope and Stories of Hope book, you can do so in the Gore Hall foyer.
Sunday Morning Adult Education
All programs run from 10:15 to11:15am
Our three options for adult religious education (Sundays in the Library, Green RE, and The Community Room) on Sunday mornings continue.
Nov. 6 Native American Spirituality and Compassion
Nov. 13 Newcomer Orientation
Are you a newcomer to our church? Come meet our minister, Rev. Kathy Schmitz, learn more about Unitarian Universalism, and get answers to any questions you may have.
Nov. 20 Why Do You Think Like That? Why Conservatives and Liberals Approach Social Justice Issues Differently. Compiled from a GA workshop and including a TED session, with follow-up discussion.
Nov. 27 BBC video: Did God have a wife? Were Israelites polytheistic?
Biblical scholar Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou examines how archaeological discoveries are changing the way people interpret stories from the Bible.
Nov. 6 Fast Food to All Food
Nov. 13 A Cornucopia of Choices
Nov. 20 Unintended Consequences
Nov. 27 The Dollar Menu
Nov. 6 Spirit of Life Program: Workshop 2: Sing In My Heart: Celebrations and Rituals.
Each first Sunday we use materials from this UUA-created program that seeks to bring meaning, beauty, inclusivity, and growth to Unitarian Universalist adults as they deepen their spiritual awareness and connections.
Nov. 13 Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life: The Second Step: Learn about Your World.
Each second Sunday we focus on one of the steps described in Karen Armstrong's book, "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life."
Nov. 20 Community-Building Tools
Each third Sunday, Jim Belcher leads a session on developing community- building tools.
Nov. 27 Spiritual Literacy
Each fourth Sunday, we show a video discussion series that uses short films to prompt discussion on a variety of topics. The topics are announced in advance. Check the eblast.
Other Adult Programming
Francis Dávid* Café: A Drop-In Discussion Group
Friday, December 2, 7:00-9:00pm in the Hiett Library
Join Rev. Kathy as she facilitates conversation on a variety of topics, hoping to find and celebrate both our differences and our common ground. All are welcome!
*Living 500 years ago, in Transylvania, Unitarian preacher Francis Dávid is best known among modern Unitarian Universalists for saying, "You need not think alike to love alike." Come practice what he preached.
1U in the Community
Come Out with Pride: Orlando's Gay Pride Celebration
Sunday, November 13, 2011 - Festival at noon, Parade at 4:00pm, Lake Eola.
Watch the order of service & eblast for more info on First Unitarian's participation in this event.
On the Journey
Thoughts from the Minister
I am so very grateful to the congregation for all of its support and understanding during my recent need to be with our daughter in Atlanta at the end of her high-risk pregnancy and the subsequent early arrival of our grandson. Everyone is doing very well and we continue to be thankful for the access to high-quality medical care that helped this to be the case. This has inspired in me a new commitment to seeing the health care crisis in our country resolved.
I would not have chosen to have a family emergency distract me from the congregation just as we made the move to two worship services and began operating with a new organization structure. But, such is life! These things are not always ours to choose. I thank you for all the ways in which you stepped up to ensure that things went well during this time.
As I write, in mid-October, I am looking back over the last month. I tried to keep up with email but I am sure that some things have slipped through the cracks. (I am also appreciating having reliable and fast Internet connection now that I am home rather than perched in a hotel or hospital.) If I dropped a ball during this time that was of particular importance to you, I hope you will bring this to my attention. In general, anytime you don't hear from me within a week, I urge you to get back in touch.
Meanwhile, after five weeks on the new Sunday schedule, I am pleased with how things are going. The 9:00am service tends to have a smaller attendance (49-100) than the 11:30am service (117-150). I have had some people from both services tell me that the new schedule makes it possible for them to attend. I am delighted with the increased religious education offerings, the welcome that people receive to our sanctuary, and with the "feel" of the Gore Hall throughout the morning. I deeply appreciate all the planning and commitment that has made this all possible and I look forward to seeing how our adventure together continues to evolve!
Rev. Kathy's Schedule:
I am most often in the office during the day on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. I frequently have appointments scheduled either in the office or off-campus, so it is an excellent idea to call or email before making a special trip to see me. With advanced notice, I am happy to schedule appointments that fit your schedule, for example in the early evening.
Wednesday is my writing day. Thursday is my day off. On Thursdays, I only respond to emergencies.
Come Talk with Your Board about Spiritually-Based Programming
In its planning retreat in July, the 1U Board identified "Spiritually-Based Programming" as a priority needing attention at 1U. It has set aside 45 minutes at its November Board meeting to be in conversation with people from the congregation who are interested in this area. If you are involved in the programming of our church or would like to be, please consider coming to be part of this conversation with your Board.
The November Board meeting is Monday, November 14, in the Hiett Library. Board members plan to take up this agenda item from 7:30 to 8:15pm. Members are always welcome at the meeting, which is scheduled from 7:00 to 9:00pm.
November Newcomer Orientation
Are you a newcomer to our church? Would you like to meet our minister, Rev. Kathy Schmitz, learn more about Unitarian Universalism, and get answers to any questions you may have? If so, the Membership Committee invites you to attend the November Newcomer Orientation on Sunday, November 20, at 10:15am in the Hiett Library.
The December Newcomer Orientation will be held at 10:15 on December 11.
Children's Religious Education
Greetings members and friends of 1U! Our 2011-2012 Children's Religious Education year continues to be an exciting and energetic force of nature and nurture. Every Sunday morning between 10:15 and 11:15 children and youth are learning and laughing together with adults who are learning and laughing as well. The first Sunday of each month is a Sunday off for the teachers as everyone comes together in the RE Assembly Room for a One-Room Schoolhouse. October's event was honoring Hinduism. Over 30 participants learned more about this ancient tradition along with how and why it is so relevant today.
November's One-Room Schoolhouse: A field trip to Youth Day at the 25th Annual AIA (American Indian Association) Powwow on Sunday Nov. 6.
Each year the organizers of the Powwow set aside Sunday morning from 10:00am to 1:00pm as Youth day, an amazing educational experience for the young and the young at heart who are part of organized youth programs such as Boy and Girl Scouts and Church and Community Center Groups. The event costs only $5 per participant and includes crafts, stories, and a sampling of fry-bread.
We have pre-registered 20 children and youth and 10 adults to participate. If you want your children or teens to be part of this exciting experience, please contact us as soon as possible before Sunday, Nov. 6, so we can get you registered. All ages are invited to participate; however, a parent or guardian must accompany children under six years old. Youth Day is from 10:00am until 1:00pm at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.
We have several openings for volunteers:
There will be no Children's Religious Education on Sunday, November 27; however, the nursery will remain open as usual. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
1912 - 2012, a 1U Century!
Here we are with 100 years of liberal religion in Central Florida! We deserve to celebrate all the years! The 100 Project was conceived to help us honor these 100 years. And you, the congregation, have responded to the 100 Project in a heart-warming way. Some of our most recent 100 Project celebrations include The Mystic Grove celebrating their ancestors with an Ancestor's Dinner and a canned food drive, which is well on its way to the goal of 100 cans for a local pantry. An anonymous $100 check was given to the children's education department. Our Thursday Night Meditation Group donated close to $100, which they used to purchase 200 pounds of dog and cat food, which has already been delivered to the Orange County Animal Shelter.
The Crafty Crafters continue knitting/crocheting infant caps for a local hospital and will welcome anyone who wants to help meet the goal of making 100 infant caps. The 1U Choir is working toward having 100 guests for their upcoming choir festival (yes, you can help ... see Jamie Sterrett or Diane P. for information.) The Alliance is collecting coats and sweaters (100) to give to the Orlando Homeless Coalition and would welcome your donations in any size. Deadline is Nov. 30. The Alliance continues to seek long-sleeved shirts for the Apopka Farm Workers in order to reach their goal of 100. Only 33 more are needed.
Let us know about your 100 Project plans so that our committee can assist you in any way possible. Contact Dayle Steakley.
The Alliance toured the Coalition for the Homeless last month. When we reached the daycare center, our President Nancy Kellman volunteered the information that she was one of the people to establish and open the daycare. At the time, she worked for the Parent Resource Center. The Coalition leaders were amazed (their word) to learn there were so many years of history between the Unitarian community and the Coalition.
The Alliance meets Tuesdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm in Gore Hall (unless otherwise noted). Among other activities, we prepare donated items for sale in our Continuing Bazaar. Bring along a bag lunch; iced tea is provided. All are welcome!
Nov. 1 Board Meeting and work on the Continuing Bazaar
Nov. 8 Potluck and work on the Continuing Bazaar
Nov. 15 Make sandwiches for the Homeless and work on the Continuing Bazaar
Nov. 22 A speaker from Jewish Family Services will update us on their organization. We'll also work on the Continuing Bazaar.
Nov. 29 Alliance member Lois Wood will present her biography. We'll also work on the Continuing Bazaar.
Vicki Kirkland, Second Vice President, Programs
Immigration Films and Discussion
As part of 1U's continuing immigration series, we will show two one-hour films in the upcoming months, followed by dessert and a 30-minute discussion. Please join us in the Sharon Lee Hiett Library on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 7:00 to 8:30pm and again on Tuesday, Dec. 13, from 7:00 to 8:30pm.
The Nov. 8 film is "Sentenced Home."
As a result of stricter post-Sept. 11 anti terrorism laws, three Cambodian-American immigrants living in Seattle face deportation for felony crimes they committed -- and served time for -- as teens, many years earlier. Following their subjects over the course of three years, filmmakers David Grabias and Nicole Newnham put a human face on immigration in America in this gripping documentary, which screened on PBS's "Independent Lens" series.
The Dec. 13 film is "The Other Side of Immigration."
Contemporary immigration issues between the United States and Mexico receive careful study in this documentary, which uses extensive interviews to outline the experiences and perspectives of ordinary citizens in the Mexican countryside. In examining the economic factors prompting Mexicans to seek work in the United States and the social pressures that result, the film presents an affecting look at a complex political and moral issue.
Living the 7th: Green Team in November
We continue with our exploration of "Ethical Eating." (http://tinyurl.com/ethicaleatinguua) with a movie class! Come watch and discuss Food Inc. Also remember to bring your canned food for the food banks all month as we kick off the 1000-Can Harvest with the Nov. 5 Ancestor Feast!
Nov. 5: Annual Ancestor's Feast and Food Drive, 6:00pm in Gore Hall.
All month we work harder to collect more food to benefit Semoran Food Pantry and Second Harvest Food Bank. We collaborate with Mystic Grove to bring you a taste of earth-centered celebration and feasting with a strong Samhain flavor. Bring your food donations any time in November to the collection bins and join us with your ancestor's photo or memento, their favorite recipe, and your stories in Gore Hall at 6:00pm!
Nov. 7: Vegetarians of Central FL "First Mondays" Vegan Potluck, 7:00 - 9:00pm in Gore Hall. For those curious about the veg lifestyle ... Green Team is pleased to host this VegCF gathering on our campus. Join us with a covered vegan dish and prepare to sample the yummies!
Nov. 11: Community Garden Work/Play Date, 6:00 - 8:00pm in the garden.
Nov. 19: Earth Cinema Nite, 7:00pm in the Hiett Library
Our 3rd Saturday drop-in movie class is open and friendly! This month:
Vanishing of Bees
"Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives from Colony Collapse Disorder. Follow commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.
Join Green Team! This year we experiment with a different model - once a semester meeting for education organizing, with meetings as needed the rest of the time. Communication is mainly over the Green Team mailing list. Join us at:
Group home page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/1ugreenteam
Choral Festival Update
The First Unitarian Church of Orlando is hosting the 6th Annual Florida District UU Choral Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25-26, 2012. The festival will feature a choir of 100 singers (honoring our 100th anniversary) performing four musical pieces at each of our worship services. The first piece has been selected by festival music director Jamie Sterrett, and it is "Prayer of St. Francis," by John Rutter.
Save the Dates!
All current and former members and friends of First Unitarian Church of Orlando are invited to join in a celebration our 100-year anniversary with an exciting Centennial "Homecoming Weekend" of activities:
In Search of Former 1U Members and Friends
If you have any addresses (regular or email) of former members or friends of 1U, please let the Homecoming Weekend committee know. We want to invite as many as possible to join us in celebrating our 100th anniversary! Please give any contact information to Suzanne Paszkowski.
UUA Trustee Tidbits
Joan Lund, November 2011
Much is being written and spoken about multiculturalism in UUism and American society. Multiculturalism in our faith is of the utmost importance to our UUA President, Rev. Peter Morales, who continues to encourage us to become a multicultural, diverse community. Defining multiculturalism depends greatly upon the context in which it is discussed. Also the concept itself is constantly changing as more people make their voices heard to a continually growing audience. Multiculturalism values the diverse perspectives people develop and maintain through varieties of experience and background stemming from racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation and/or class differences in our society.
To Unitarian Universalists multiculturalism means nurturing a religious community where people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures see their cultural identities reflected and affirmed in every aspect of congregational life - worship, fellowship, leadership, governance, religious education, and a social justice. It also means that one cultural identity does not dominate all other identities; that people are able to participate in their faith community without denying or hiding their cultural identities, that the role of cultural identity is part of ministry; and that leaders have the competency to understand how their multiple identities and socialization influence their values, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and interactions with others.
We welcome each other into shared community in the many ways that people define, express, and experience their spiritual path. UUs understand and participate in public witness and social justice work as ministry in partnership with communities to make the world more compassionate, equitable, safe, nurturing, supportive, fair, and just for all people. Individuals and communities are supported in their search for truth and meaning in their desire to make a positive difference in the world. And hopefully we recognize the many cultural languages in the words symbols and acts that manifest in worship, fellowship, and pastoral care.
Multicultural work in congregations is central to who we are as a faith community. It is not just about changing numbers, it is about changing our cultures. We must ground ourselves in a commitment to welcome all persons not as unfamiliar guests, but embraced with openness and sisters and brothers. This is the vision of Beloved Community toward which we are striving.
Many resources are available at www.uua.org as we continue our work preparing for Justice GA 2012, and involve ourselves in multiculturalism. Please know I am available for conversation and general good will; it is always a pleasure to hear from Florida UUs, and all UUs, as a matter of fact. Blessed and happy Thanksgiving to each one of you.