Archive for August, 2010

Aug 31 2010

The Seasons of Renewal for Our Journey of Faith:Happy Homecoming FUCSJ!

Published by under Minister's Musings

Sunday, September 12, at our Special Combined-Service Time of 10:30 a.m.: Homecoming Sunday! The words are sweet on my tongue and dancing through my fingertips. Homecoming is here—this joyful time of renewal, regathering, and recommitment!Like the water we each bring to share in our Water Ceremony, at Homecoming we unite the individual streams of our life into one river which is greater even than the sum of its parts. At Homecoming, we reconnect with who we are: one community of many diverse and beautiful souls, bound together by choice to discover greater depth, joy, service, and meaning, committed to making the transforming power of Love visible in our lives, in our community, in our world.This year we embark with renewed intention on a remarkable journey of faith. We of all ages will find mysteries to explore, questions to be asked, fun to be had, good works to be done, relationships to deepen. We will shape our journey around five “liturgical seasons”—does that phrase echo with any faith traditions you have known? If so, be prepared to delight in the mingling of the familiar and the brand-new, for here are the Unitarian Universalist seasons we claim this year: the seasons of Transformation, Incarnation, Love, Grace, and Freedom. During the Season of Transformation—Homecoming Sunday through the Day of the Dead—we will share our stories of change and new beginnings. We will ponder the ways in which forgiveness, as a spiritual practice, helps to make room for the new; we will practice seeing things with the fresh eyes of compassion. We will deepen our understanding of how, in our lives as in nature all around us, we must sometimes die to the old in order to be reborn to the new.Our board (a body of strong and visionary members) will guide us in naming and claiming our mission and vision. Did you know that in 2015, FUCSJ will be 150 years old? What will we do between now and then to make this birthday a citywide celebration of all that First Unitarian has offered and now offers to our community? With our consultation weekend, October 2-3, and in conversations before and after, we will ask the radical questions: Who are we? What is our purpose? Why do we need to be a multicultural, multiracial, multidimensional congregation, for example? Do we, in fact, “need” to be? And if we are indeed called to create this Beloved Community, this community that models one sacred human family, then how best do we go about making this vision a reality?What transformations will we experience in ourselves, as well as in our community, when we ask these questions and follow them faithfully where they lead us?My own sabbatical time—from December 25 through June 26—will offer both you, beloved FUCSJ, and me rich seasons of renewal. As we prepare for the sabbatical this fall, we are united on this journey of faith, for the streams of all our lives have flowed together to make a river greater than any one of us could have dreamed.Come, join us on this journey! Welcome Home! 

With joy and anticipation for the year ahead,Nancy  

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Aug 05 2010

Toward a True Kinship: A Summery Reflection

Published by under Minister's Musings

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is coming to the San José Convention Center on Tuesday, October 12 (! The teaching is titled “Eight Verses of Training the Mind”—from an 11th-century Buddhist text—with the subtitle “Awakening the Heart of Compassion.” After His Holiness speaks, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council, or SiVIC—the interfaith group I have been helping to launch this summer—will lead a small gathering to further the interreligious dialogue.

We diverse faith leaders are taking our cue from the Dalai Lama’s latest book, Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together. The book helps us to see where and how the different world’s religions converge, without ever losing their distinctiveness. The choice of the word kinship is perfect, for to be “kin”—to be truly, deeply related, one to another—means that each of us living beings is both our own unique individual self and is fundamentally part of the same family. We share “convergences” (in our genetic material, our longings, our capacities for life, our need for life’s basic elements), but like all families, we also struggle to understand and embrace each other across our differences. The Dalai Lama invites us to move toward an understanding that honors this kinship—an understanding that will transform the way we live.

In late June I offered a worship service suggesting “guides for the summer,” each of which just might transform our understanding of kinship. I invited us to find ways to:

·         quiet ourselves and experience our kinship with creatures and things beyond our usual spheres

·         step outside our comfort zone and learn something new

·         get into our bodies and revel in our senses

·         pay attention to the beauty around us.


So tell me: How is your summer going? Have you followed any of these guides, and if so, where have they led you? It’s not too late to give one or more of them a try! What will you bring “home” with you to First Unitarian from these summer journeys—what will the water you bring to Homecoming on September 12 represent?

Following these guides this summer has brought me to a sense of kinship across border, which keeps surprising me. (Ah! So this is what it means to “practice what we preach”! J) Lately, when I stand under a tree, for instance, I feel it growing and changing ever so slowly beside me; its life is so palpable that it almost seems to be breathing. I marvel at the deep crevices in its bark, at the angles of the branches, at its reach upward to sky and downward to earth; these are so different from my human skin, angles, and reach … yet we are kin, converging in our dependence on this earth, this air, this light and dark. “Thank you, my brother,” I say, hoping that it knows how to translate the language of Human into the idiom of Tree.

As I write, I am poised for takeoff on my next journey to Arizona, standing on the side of love July 28-29 with all peoples who are suffering from the anti-immigrant law SB 1070. Truly, the law affects a wide swath: immigrants without documents, immigrants with documents, United States citizens of many generations, First Nations peoples who are not “immigrants” at all, other peoples of color who came to this country not of their own choosing, and all human beings, who are diminished wherever fear reigns. I won’t be comfortable in Arizona, but I will be on the ground with people I do not know, converging in our commitment to creating a world that recognizes human dignity, love of family, and the longing to survive and thrive in all their unique forms. My sense of kinship grows wider and deeper.

Together we here at FUCSJ will look at kinship when we take up the topics of identities, immigration, and pride (or rather, “PRIDE!”) on August 8, 15, and 22 in worship. Please join us! To learn more about what our PACT team is discovering on our chosen area of immigration and antiracism, come to our next LOC (local organizing committee) meeting, Thursday, August 12, at 7 p.m. in the Ramsden Fireside Room.

So, my friends: What summer guides have you followed? What new kinship have you discovered? What inner and outer journeys will the water you bring to Homecoming represent? We all are eager to hear! I’ll see you in church!


With joy and anticipation for the year ahead, Nancy

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