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Reflections: Minister

Written by Lynn Mumma on .

Ripples

Up until a few weeks ago when I started a new job, I served as the Deputy Director for the Department of Social Services of a large urban jurisdiction. The department is responsible for ensuring the safety and well being of all of the children and vulnerable adults across the city. Every day, horrifying reports of abuse and neglect come in through the hot line, and case workers – hundreds of them – get up from their desks and go into homes to assess needs, support families, and protect children. In doing so, these case workers insert themselves into the lives and homes of families who are struggling to cope with addiction, domestic violence, poverty, mental illness, gang warfare and all of the trauma, grief and rage that is associated with these circumstances. Every day.

There is a high cost to doing this work – both on the system as a whole and on each individual person. As a member of that system, the cumulative trauma impacted me deeply.

Sundays mornings I arrived at UUCC carrying with me children who had suffered that week. They were invisible to all of you, but nonetheless very much present in our congregation, along with my own grief and trauma in varying degrees. The rituals of our service – and the fellowship of the congregation – allowed me to catch my breath and be still for a moment, to connect with something larger than myself. Each week, UUCC healed me just enough to go back and put my shoulder to the wheel for another round.

One of our weekly rituals is to put stones of joy and sorrow into a communal bowl of water, representing the ripples of our lives touching one another and moving out into the larger world beyond. Each of us is one of those ripples, going out and living our lives to the best of our abilities. For me, the best I had to offer the adults, families and children across the city was better because of UUCC. For this, I am grateful. More significantly, however, I am humbled to be part of a community that has such a such an impact on the world around us.

Reflections: Include

Written by Jim Wu on .

Congratulations to Howard County's Best Clergypersons!

Best of Howard County, Howard Magazine,  December 2012

Best Clergyperson - Rev. Dr. Robert Turner, St. John Baptist Church

Honorable Mention
- Monsignor Joseph L. Luca,  St. Louis Church
- Rev. Paige Getty, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
- Rabbi Susan Grossman, Beth Shalom Congregation
_________________

Congratulations to Rev. Turner, Monsignor Luca, Rabbi Grossman, and our very own Rev. Getty.

But . . . what does this mean? The results were based on votes cast both by mail and online and required detective skills in both spelling and penmanship. I guess this means the winner got the most votes and beat the other clergypersons .... "We" got beat? 

No way. We're Winners. We are all Winners. Why does there almost "always" (a dangerous word to use) have to be a Winner and a Loser? I know this is generally true in the National Football League, where we are conditioned to root For a team and Against the other team.

Remember a few Sundays ago when the Ravens played against the Redskins? Who could forget? I'm a Ravens fan because I'm a Balmer Buoy, and I'm a Redskins fan because I worked in Washington for 30 years. Guess which team I was rooting for? The right answer is Both Teams. No way? Way. I was rooting for both of My Teams. I figured if I was lucky, one of my teams would win. No kidding. I know this thinking is a bit unconventional, but so is Eating Dessert First!

Best of Howard County. Yup. That's Us. All of Us. We are All Winners. This is like the bumper sticker I brought home from General Assembly this past Summer in Phoenix: "God Bless the Whole World. No Exceptions."

Jim 8 DessertFirst
(aka Jim Wu)

Reflections: Enrich

Written by Jerry Downs on .

After worship on Sunday, September 23, during which Carla Miller, Director of Lifespan Growth & Learning, led us in a Values Voting exercise, UUCC member Jerry Downs wrote the following piece about the question of financing education with gambling revenues. We share it in this Reflections forum in the hope that it will promote a healthy, respectful discussion.

To participate in the discussion, click here. To submit your own reflection essay on a different topic, be in touch with Maureen Harris, Executive Director, by clicking here. *

I was interested in the "vote" this morning in favor of financing education by gambling. Apparently, it is a variant on the old "the end justifies the means" conundrum. It is easy enough to cite examples where the end has indeed justified the means: the terrorist shot in the act of blowing up a bus full of children; whatever it took to stop Hitler; crashing a plane to keep it from destroying a building.

It seems to me we can state the issue this way: The end can justify the means if (a) the end is of real importance, and (b) no other means are at hand or justifiable. And here is where I take issue with those who support gambling revenue to support education. Clearly, other means are available. What we lack is the collective will to find and implement those means.

For me, the thought that our grandchildren will read the history of a nation that couldn't find a better way—that is enough to convince me that, this time, the proposition fails, for failure to find better means.

* Last fall, we launched this "Reflections" series on UUCC's blog, a forum for all of us to share our own ideas as related to UUCC's mission – a mission that calls us to nurture, include, enrich, share, minister, love, inspire, grow, live, and act.
Reflection pieces are personal essays, relatively short, which focus not on events or activities, but rather on what our UUCC relationships mean to us – how this congregation is impacting our thinking, our behavior, our day-to-day lives.

Reflections: Minister

Written by Rev. Kären Rasmussen on .

"It's Not That Easy Bein' Green"

Do you remember what it feels like to walk into some place new for the first time? It can be scary, overwhelming and for some . . . downright nerve wracking.

It takes courage to come to a worship service for the first time. First you might be figuring out you're missing something in your life and then to pinpoint what it might be! Then to actually reach out to explore what might help that loneliness or need inside. Looking for community? Spirituality? A place for my kids to learn about religion?

It takes a kind of curiosity and persistence to try a Unitarian Universalist worship service on Sunday. First to find a UU church, get directions and then what to wear? And how it will feel to be there? Will anyone talk to me without trying to get me to do something right away? I just want to stick my toe in the water!

All of this can be happening inside a person even before they pull into our parking lot. It reminds me of the song by Joe Raposo called "Bein' Green." You might remember that Kermit the Frog sang it on Sesame Street in the early 1970's. It's not easy being green is like it's not easy being new. I encourage you take a look at the YouTube video of Kermit singing it. I especially like it when he sings it with Lena Horne.

As we gather for our new year together, let's remember to reach out to people we don't know. Say hello, shake a hand and just say welcome. Maybe ask an easy question like "how did you find us?" and chat a bit. Offer to get them a Welcome Flyer (there by the door) or invite them to whatever the next UUCC event is. Nice and friendly--not overwhelming. But if each of us said hello to one, just one, face we don't know on a Sunday, we can show what a warm and welcoming place we are. It's Not Easy Bein' Green, but we can help make it a little better.

In faith,
Kären

Worship With Us

April 30 at 9:00am and 11:00am
Intern Minister Anthony Jenkins will preach
More info

General Information:

  • Academic Year: Two identical services at 9am and 11am.  
  • Summer (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend): One service at 10am.
Location: Owen Brown Interfaith Center (Directions), Sanctuary C, 2nd floor, East end of the building.  Read more about worship.

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