Whether you come for the fun, the fellowship, the community or to dance “Rock Lobster” and the “Time Warp” next summer is quickly approaching! UUMAC 2014 will be held on July 13-19, 2014, at DeSales University, Center Valley PA. The Theme Speaker will be Rev. Bruce Southworth from Community Church of New York and Rev. Sandra Fees from the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County will be Minister of the Week. See you there!
Betty Sue Flowers, “The American Dream and the Economic Myth,” as included in The Huffington Post. (Includes her description of three different stories, the hero story, the victim story, and the life has a purpose story.)
“Brother Thay: A Radio Pilgrimage with Thich Nhat Hanh.” Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith. NPR. [transcript] http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/thichnhathanh/transcript.shtml. January 12, 2008.
Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (New York: Doubleday, 1992), pp. 85-86. (Nouwen was a Dutch priest who wrote extensively on spirituality. Here he speaks of developing a spiritual discipline of practicing an attitude of gratitude as conscious choice throughout our lives, pp. 85-86.)
Kate Braestrup, Beginner’s Grace (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010) (Offers a prayer outline of “Look,” “Wow,” “Thank you.”)
M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987). (This is one source for the story “The Rabbi’s Gift.”)
Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, How Can I Help. (Full of wonderful stories from the helping professions, including the story of the woman who spoke after not hearing a bird sing in many years.)
Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging (New York: Riverhead Books, 2000). (Includes the story of Josh, the cancer surgeon, that includes the three questions, What surprised me today? What moved me or touched me today? What inspired me today? Pp. 116-119.
Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom (New York: Riverhead Books, 1996) (includes the story of blessings circling above our head like airplanes, awaiting clearance to land, p. 77, and observations on listening nurturing growth like the rain, p. 220.
Renita J. Weems, Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999). (Includes her ad for an angel wearing high top sneakers, pp. 51-52).
Robert Fulghum, Uh-Oh: Some Observations From Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door (New York: Villard Books, 1991). (Includes Fulghum’s story about the difference between an inconvenience and a problem, pp. 143-46.
Thich Nhat Hanh in The Miracle of Mindfulness, quoted in the online course on Thich Nhat Hanh, Spirituality and Practice, www.spiritualityandpractice.com.
Many of us come through UUCL’s doors for the first time because we are looking for a church for our children – one where they will be taught to value all people, where people will welcome their questions, and where the spiritual and the scientific are not enemies.
John and I have just come back from a week at UUMAC – Unitarian Universalist Mid-Atlantic Community – a very family oriented week with other Unitarian Universalists in this region who gather to worship, play, grow, and be with friends old and new. UUMAC reminded me that I believe that some of the best resources we offer our children as they begin their spiritual journeys are short, intense experiences at our twenty or so camps and conferences, the youth activities at Joseph Priestley District and the General Assembly and the weekend regional youth cons held several times throughout the year.
At UUMAC, children of various ages, gather for classes that engage UU values and spirituality, activities (rafting, Crayola factory, swimming, etc.), and lots of multigenerational fun. Older children also offer vespers services during the week, stay up late, laugh, dance. They start coming as young as three weeks old and return year after year. Carol, Carl and Mel Harkrider Pine have been going there for many years.
There are many camps and conference centers to choose from. At UUMAC, everyone soon knows your name. It’s a smaller camp on a hilly campus setting in Central Valley, Pennsylvania – very personal, very supportive. At SUUSI, hundreds of people come and I’ve heard many people say they love SUUSI at Radford University in the mountains of Virginia. They have a wider range of activities to choose from and a different setting. Star Island has theme weeks that range from art to science and international affairs week. Star is on an Island off the coast of New Hampshire with a uniquely beautiful setting. These are just a few of the camps and conferences The shorter overnight youth cons often held in a church and youth sections of our denominational gatherings include much the same kind of experiences.
Not all our youth will end up attending UU churches as adults, even if they think of themselves as UU’s. We want them to find their own way. But we want to provide them with a loving, inclusive faith foundation that will shape their religious journeys wherever their hearts and their minds take them. May we make their journeys a little easier, their paths a little wider. It’s not too early to start thinking about next summer.
Yours in the spirit of love,