1212 W. Highway 96, Arden Hills, MN 55112About Us ( Mission, History, Directions, Contact info )Information For VisitorsWe ask all alike to think — not all to think alike.What is gender? Gender is the way we experience our bodies, how we identify ourselves, and how we express ourselves. Traditionally, gender has been on a binary- male and female. My body is male, I identify as male, I express myself as male.
Or female. This is a binary that many assume to be based in genetics. But it is not. There are people all over the gender spectrum. If we think in terms of male and female, people may identify as both male and female, neither male nor female, sometimes male sometimes female. But people may also not even include male or female – no gender. Let us be in conversation about dismantling the binary.Jane Smith is a ministerial intern at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis and a student at Meadville Lombard Theological School.
February 18 – Microaggressions Sometimes, casual comments we don’t think about can be just as damaging as obvious racial slurs. These kinds of comments are called Microaggressions. When talking about racism, we usually think of open racial insults and prejudices as examples, but unintentional things like making assumptions about a person of color’s background based on stereotypes can have a “constant, continual and cumulative” effect.
Jean Strait and a panel of Hamline students will come and share with us what microaggressions are, how we identify them, and how we can change our language to eliminate them. February 11 – Running towards the Fast Bear The speaker is Lois Mineau (Meno). Dennis Jones is her mentor/teacher and friend on the healing spiritual path. Lois is a Sweat Lodge Keeper in Annandale, MN. She is Ojibway. (Dennis Jones had to cancel, but Lois agreed to speak).
This talk will be about Lois’s experience with a Native American Fast on an island in Ontario without food or water for several days. As “Me too” survivor I never could trust the spirit that guides completely. Is the creator really available? Is the creator dependable? Can the creator be trusted? The fast was my attempt to face my fear of darkness and lack of faith in the creator. February 4 – A Conversation about Racism Over the last several years the Unitarian Universalist Association has been on a rigorous mission to confront and transform its own institutional structures and congregational cultures and practices that have marginalized and excluded people of color.
The UUA has made a serious reckoning to the mistakes made during the Black Empowerment Controversy in the late 1960’s. My talk will include perspectives from the UUA book read, Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry,” edited by Mitra Rahnema and “Race in Minnesota: A Good Time for the Truth,” edited by Sun Yung Shin. Stephanie McCullough-Cain is a 2016 graduate of United Theological Seminary and is working toward fellowship in the UUA as a Chaplain.
January 28 – Dick Shelton – The Edict of Torda The 500th anniversary of Luther’s Theses at Wittenberg fell in 2017, and the 450th anniversary of the Edict of Torda falls in 2018. The 50 years intervening between Wittenberg and Torda witnessed a revolution in the cultural and spiritual life of Europe and Western Civilization. The Edict of Torda, promulgated in the unlikely province of Transylvania, has become one of the defining moments of Unitarianism, and while modern UUs have attached a rather overly-heroic mythology to that event, it remains a remarkable moment in the history of religious freedom -- one whose lessons we are still fighting to realize even today.
This program examines the background that led to that moment, and what it really meant in the context of the religious upheaval in Europe of the 16th century and beyond. January 21 – Richard Terrell and Larry McDonough Return with The Music of Resistance The sixth UU principal sets “the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.” In this “mostly music” service, Pianist/Composer Larry McDonough and Saxophonist/Poet Richard Terrill will offer contemporary poems and songs from the folk and jazz traditions that instruct and inspire in the pursuit of resistance to power.
January 14 – Leaping Tall Buildings in a Single Bound: Finding Your Superpower in Tumultuous Times Presented by Tom Esch. You are Wonder Woman! You are Superman! You just don’t always feel very courageous. Many of us feel small, helpless and ineffective against the powerful-worldly forces. There seem to be a lot of “tall buildings” in our way these days. We are smack dab in the middle of some very tumultuous times--on multiple levels.
It is time to be courageous and access our super powers. And there is always that kryptonite, those things that make us weak. What if our strength was not where we thought it was? What if our power was somehow hiding in our weakness? And what can we do, practically, about our current dilemmas? Come prepared to explore the questions. January 7 – Minnesota from the Road Travel with photographer/storyteller Doug Ohman as he photographs many of Minnesota’s most interesting landmarks and Icons.
Doug will share the stories of how landmarks became so famous. His pictures and stories will be sure to entertain and bring new interest in more road trips around our great state. Doug has shared many of his books with Pilgrim House. He has done the series of books of Minnesota churches, cabins, librarians, courthouses, schools, etc. December 31 – Your Favorite Picture This is your opportunity to tell us about your favorite photograph.
Show the group what you have seen through the lens, or bring someone else’s picture that you find worth sharing. We will project your photos on the screen and you will have several minutes to tell about the images. It might be a photo from your travels this year, a family photograph, or it might be someone else’s art work that speaks to you. Each person can share up to three photos – your time slot will depend on how many people participate.
If you would like to be part of the program, email photos (.jpg file) to Les Rogers by December 23. Contact Les if you have questions or need technical help. December 24 – No program (Christmas Eve) December 17 – Pilgrim House Holiday Celebration! Please join us for our always-special intergenerational PH holiday program, complete with group caroling, favorite holiday readings, seasonal music, a performance by the PH Chorale, a special guest (possibly from the far north), favorite foods, and more.
Contact Bill Rohde or Mel Aanerud by December 10th if you or the youth in your household have special music, a reading, or something else to share. A potluck brunch of finger foods will follow the program. All are welcome! December 10 – Empathy Through Storytelling Stephanie Glaros is a teaching artist, author, and speaker based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephanie Glaros has spent the past seven years interviewing and photographing strangers for her storytelling project, “Humans of Minneapolis”.
Through her work, she has learned the importance of listening to others. She believes that the things we share in common are more powerful than the things that divide us. In her presentation, Glaros talks about her practice and offers tips for how to better connect with others in your daily life. December 3 – Minnesota goes to World War I and the Aftermath The First Minnesotan troops left Fort Snelling on December 1, 1917, just one hundred year ago.
Learn how the war to end all wars got started, how we got in, how Minnesotans saw it and what were the results. The Pilgrim House players will allow us to hear from Alice O'Brien, Woodrow Wilson, the Zimmerman Telegram, and F. Scott Fitzgerald with lots of period music. November 26 – Your Favorite Read Share those books that you really enjoy and hope others would enjoy too. November 19 – Traditional Pilgrim House Thanksgiving Celebration Our PH Thanksgiving program is a not-to-be-missed time of celebration and community, bringing together Pilgrim House members and friends with special music, a performance by the Pilgrim House Chorale, seasonal readings and poetry.
.. and more. If you or younger members of your family have a musical selection you’d like to share, please contact Bill Rohde by Sunday 11/12. Similarly, if you have a reading you’d like to share, please contact Mel Aanerud. And don’t forget to bring a dish to pass for our traditional pot luck feast immediately after the program. See you there! November 12 – The Song Poet Kao Kalia Yang is a writer, who was last at Pilgrim House in 2008.
She is the author of the award-winning book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, and her new book, The Song Poet. She is a graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Kao Kalia Yang is a member of the Hmong ethnic minority. Born in Thailand’s Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, she is now an American citizen. The Song Poet has won the Minnesota book award and was the October Pilgrim House Book Club read.
November 5 – Health Care in Minnesota Anne Jones is an RN and speaks for Health Care for All Minnesota, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting affordable high quality healthcare for every Minnesotan through advocacy, education and community organizing. She covers the history of health care (how did we get here) and exposes some misconceptions and tries to say something about what we ought to do now.
October 29 – A Fish in the Tree Pilgrim House member, John Landretti, will share with us his essay entitled, "A Fish in the Tree". This piece was published in the March, 2017, Orion magazine. In this essay, John explores the relationships one can make with spiritual symbols that show up in the world around us. October 22 – Minnesota Politics in the Age of Trump - Lori Sturdevant Lori Sturdevant is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
She will leave considerable time for questions. October 15 – Unitarian Universalism and White Supremacy Last spring, the UUA urged all congregations to hold teach-ins on white supremacy. The immediate reason was a controversial hiring decision at the national organization. However, many felt that this event was just the latest in a series of actions in which the UUA, like other mainly white-led institutions, took actions that, however justifiable at the micro scale, add up to the preservation of structures that have discriminatory impacts.
This PH program will discuss how this can happen: how with the best of intentions, our actions can have effects that are contrary to our deeply held values, and which contribute to continuing larger-scale patterns that preserve racial disparities. October 8 – Early Christianity up to 326 AD A "Meeting of the Minds" interview with James the Just, brother of Jesus; Paul of Tarsus, the letter writer; Origen, an early Christian theologian; Arius, the Unitarian scholar; and Pope Alexander, who negotiated Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire.
October 1 – Pastoral/Spiritual Care from a UU Perspective Unitarians and Universalists are known for their commitment and participation in historic movements calling for justice, equality, dignity and compassion for persons who are oppressed and marginalized in our society. At the same time we, as UU’s, have not always been as committed to giving that same care and compassion to ourselves or others struggling within our faith communities.
How did this paradox become part of our culture? How can we practice being pastoral with each other? We’ll look at pastoral themes universal to the human condition, using language and practices that are caring and welcoming, thus, breaking out the cultural paradox so as to be the fully inclusive, beloved communities we strive and claim to be. Stephanie McCullough-Cain is currently a candidate for UU Ministry.
She is a recent graduate of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (2016) graduating with a Master’s of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Stephanie recently began a year-long Chaplain Residency at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, MN. She lives with her husband of 22 years, Joe Cain, and they have a daughter, (Ashlyn) attending the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
September 24 – Minnesota Without Poverty Pilgrim House member Marcie Jeffreys is a researcher, and analyst on a new study of how the state budget process sets up barriers to reducing poverty in Minnesota. September 17 – Spiritual Aspects of Creating Art Teresa Audet works in wood, creating furniture, utilitarian and decorative items. She recently completed an internship in Japan that has inspired new work.
September 10 - Water Communion This annual welcome back celebration launches our new program year. Join us in song, readings and sharing to revitalize our connections and community. Bring a small amount of water from a place that is special to you. One by one we will each pour our water into a large bowl, explaining why it’s significant to us. Our combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming together from many different sources.
August 6 – Raptor Center Established in 1974 as part of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, The Raptor Center rehabilitates around 800 sick and injured raptors each year, while helping to identify emerging environmental issues related to raptor health and populations. The Raptor Center trains veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world to become future leaders in raptor medicine and conservation and it provides unique public education programs and events.
Our presenter will introduce us to a number of raptors. A Potluck Picnic at Pilgrim House follows the program. July 16 – House of Dance – Hip Hop House of Dance Twin Cities, an active space dedicated to providing affordable opportunities for positive, creative self-expression, self-empowerment, and community development for people of all ages and experience levels through Hip Hop dance and culture.
Jake Riley and two hip hop dancers will present the program. June 25 – Urban Roots Urban Roots is a Saint Paul organization with a mission to build vibrant and healthy communities through food, conservation and youth development. Their programs are grounded in improving urban food systems, supporting and fostering connection to Saint Paul’s parks and green spaces, and promoting active living.
June 4 – Flower Communion and the Pilgrim House Annual Meeting Flower Communion an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. Bring a flower from your garden to be joined with the flowers from others showing the beauty of our diversity. Hear about its origin from 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Flower Ceremony was introduced to the United States by Rev.
Maya Capek, Norbert’s widow. Also, there will be a presentation by the youth on their year long sojourn into the study of neighboring faiths. Stay for lunch provided by the board. After lunch is the Annual Meeting. Celebrate this year’s volunteers, elect officers and approve a new budget. This is a lay led congregation and this is the time to become informed and participate in decision making.
May 21 – The Orthodox Faith Continuing our exploration of neighboring faiths for both adults and youth we present Matt Miller Professor of World Languages and History at University of Northwestern in Saint Paul. The Orthodox Faith is the second largest Christian church in the world mostly in Eastern Europe, Slavic, and some African cultures. May 14 – Governor Arne Carlson Our faith asked to hear from a moderate Republican on today’s issues.
There is no other who would fit that characterization better in Minnesota than Arne Helge Carlson, Sr. who served as the 37th Governor of the state of Minnesota. May 7 – The Women’s March One day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, millions of protesters across the United States and the world marched and rallied. St. Paul Police estimate between 90,000-100,000 protesters attended the march from St.
Paul College to the rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Saturday. Pilgrim House member Sue Grosse-Macemon went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. with her daughter after the election threatened the rights of women, immigrants, GLBTQ individuals, minorities and basically anyone that disagreed with the newly elected administration. The March was inspiring and upon her return she joined an Indivisible Group and is heading up the Climate Change committee.
Dawn VanRyn-Olson also participated in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. with her daughter. She is particularly concerned about the attacks on women’s reproductive rights and the increasing outward hostility towards immigrant and GLBTQ individuals and communities. She has started an Indivisible group. April 30 – DeMasi Brothers – Living in a World of Kindness Joseph DeMasi and twin brother John are singer/songwriter/humorists and fellow UU’s.
Focusing on the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism using, music, song and humor takes on such topics as equal rights for all and finding spiritual fulfillment are touching and humorous but always thought provoking and unique! presented to over 100 UU fellowships throughout the country from CA to OK, from MN to NY to positive review and great acclaim. April 23 – Pollinator Friendly Gardening Gardening for bees, butterflies and other pollinators with Ronda Fleming Hayes.
Rhonda is a native Californian with Southern roots living in Minnesota. She is a writer and Master Gardener who’s learned to bloom where she’s planted. Author of Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening for Bees, Butterflies and Other Pollinators. April 16 – Spring Celebration - Resurrection Hope Unitarian Universalism grows out of Judaism and Christianity. It is not all of who we are but it has shaped who we are and how we move in the world.
Easter is the most important holiday of our Christian roots. What might Easter mean for us if we are willing to enter the story and engage with its symbols? Hidden inside the Easter story is a universal story of love and hope renewed and unbreakable. Andrea Johnson is pursuing her masters in divinity and is a member at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis. Music will include a song from the Pilgrim House Chorale There will be a special activity for the youth during the program.
All are invited to a potluck brunch of appetizers, fruit, veggies, bread and other finger food following the program. April 9 – The Seven UU Principles A response in jazz and poetry with Richard Terrill and Larry McDonough. Pianist Larry McDonough and saxophonist and poet Richard Terrill will draw from familiar texts and original works to shed new light on the basis for UU spirituality. April 2 – American Indian Religious Traditions Professor Dennis Jones is a band member of Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation.
He taught the Ojibwe language and Ojibwe History and Culture at the University of Minnesota for twenty years until he retired in 2015. Among his many publications are “DagaAnishinaabemodaa-Let’s Speak Ojibwe” - An OjibweWord and Phrase Book. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies from Trent University and A Master of Arts in Education from UMD, and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Philosophy as well as a Doctorate Degree of Indigenous Education from the Seven Generation Education Institute.
Pebaamibinesis also a fourth degree member in the Midewiwin Lodge which is the highest level of Ojibwe Priesthood. March 26 – Hinduism: A Brief Historical Introduction with an Eye to the Contemporary Scene As part of our cooperative program on neighboring religions with the Youth Religious Education program – with Professor Ned Mohan of the University of Minnesota. March 19 – Islam: A Brief Historical Introduction with an Eye to the Contemporary Scene As part of our cooperative program on neighboring religions with the Youth Religious Education program – Islam: a brief historical introduction with an eye to the contemporary scene with Abdisalam Adam: EL Teacher Central High School St.
Paul Public Schools. March 12 – Tunisia Like You’ve Never Seen It Before! Experience the beauty of a Mediterranean country and discover its rich culture and history. Ameni Hajji is a 17 years old exchange student from Tunisia. She is a senior at mounds view high school. She’s a grant student with the YES program. The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, funded by the U.S.
Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students (age 15-17) from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the United States. She’s here to share about her culture. A new member welcome will be incorporated in the program. March 5 – “Gwich’in Women Speak” an exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the voices of the people who live there Learn more about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, through the film, “Gwich’in Women Speak.
” The film is an exploration of this special place through the voices of the women of the Gwich’in Nation in Alaska and western Canada. They educate us about their sacred land, the caribou and their way of life and advocate for permanent protection of the Refuge’s coastal plain. Followed by a short discussion with Lois Norrgard, Alaska Wilderness League. Lois Norrgard, covers the Upper Midwest for Alaska Wilderness League.
The League leads the effort nationwide to preserve Alaska’s federally managed wild lands and waters. The program will be followed by Soup Sunday and the Annual Pilgrim House Auction. February 26 – Atheism: A View of the World from the Ground Up August Berkshire will present and discuss the differences between the world views of atheism and religion. Berkshire has been active in the freethought movement since 1984.
He is currently a director-at-large on the Minnesota Atheists board of directors and serves on the national board of directors of American Atheists. He is the author of numerous pamphlets, is the owner of the ATHEIST car license plate for Minnesota, and is proud to be listed in the reference book "Who’s Who in Hell". February 19 – Minority Relations, Social and Economic Gary Cunningham has a master’s degree from Harvard University – joined his uncle and others in founding the South Minneapolis grocery store Bryant-Central Co-op.
Chief program officer of the Northwest Area Foundation, an eight-state grant-making organization concentrating on communities of color. MEDA’s seventh chief executive officer. MEDA (Metropolitan Economic Development Association) is the largest and oldest of the organizations in Minnesota dedicated to assisting Minority own businesses start and thrive. February 12 – The Awesome Universe: Humanistic Religious Naturalism – Andrea Johnson Over 100 years ago, Friedrich Nietzsche’s madman jumped into a crowd of people in the market place and cried: “Whither is God? I will tell you.
We have killed him – you and I.” Where do we turn when our religious ideas have lost their validity and our concept of God has failed us? For many humanists their faith turns to humanity, a celebration and a promise of the integrity of human reason, responsibility and compassion; the recognition that human beings are the source of meaning and values. Could our response also be expanded to see nature as the source of life and everything that is and the proper object of reverence and awe? February 5 – Buddhism Professor Paul Rouzer – a historical scholar, will talk about how attitudes toward Buddhist practice have changed over the centuries, especially in terms of the Zen movement.
This is part of our series on neighboring religions for the youth and adults. January 29 – Self-healing and Holistic Health: How to Create a Healthy, Vibrant Life from Within “The awareness of a few simple steps of self-healing can make the world of difference. I’m passionate about giving people a natural, holistic alternative on how to create health from within.” Our presenter is Dr. Ryan Nolte, an Applied Kinesiologist, Chiropractor and Holistic Healer located here in the Twin Cities.
January 22 – Faithful Living Faith cannot be constrained by a prescribed doctrine of belief and dividing lines. Explore faith as a verb and how the fullness of our faith reflects the fullness of our lives. The speaker will be Terri Burnor, a candidate for ministry and a 2015 graduate of United Theological Seminary in New Brighton. From September 2015-June 2016, she served full-time as the Intern Minister for First Unitarian Portland.
Terri enjoyed living in Oregon, but is happy to be back in her beloved home state of Minnesota. She lives in St. Paul with her spouse and their dog. January 15 – Protestant Reformation: 500th anniversary of the Luther’s 95 Theses – Protestantism Presented by Erik Heinrichs, Ph.D., Assistant Professor History Department, Winona State University. This is part of our series on neighboring religions for the youth and adults.
January 8 – Northwest Minnesota tales with music by Noel LeBine Like the model of Bill Holm in telling tales of Southwestern Minnesota, Noel Labine has mined his personal life in rural northwestern Minnesota to produce vignettes that contain both humor and principles to live by – accompanied by music. Noel is author of three books, the latest Lessons Learned Through Chaos and Mayhem from Northwest Minnesota.
See http://noellabine.blogspot.com/. It’s also Soup Sunday – stay after the program for lunch. January 1 (New Years) – Pilgrim House Social New Year’s Day we will not have a speaker for the program. Les Rogers will do a short service with our usual Greetings/Opening Words/Announcements/Joys and Concerns/Music. The rest of the morning will be a social hour. We encourage you to bring a food item to share.
Soup Sunday will be the following Sunday. December 18 – The Annual Holiday Program Group Caroling, Favorite Holiday readings, seasonal music, performance by the PH Chorale, a special guest (possibly from the far north), favorite foods, and more. Contact Bill Rohde or Mel Aanerud if you or the youth in your household have special music, poetry, prose to read, or dance to perform. A potluck feast of finger foods will follow the program.
Bring a favorite holiday food to share. December 11 – The War on Science Shawn Otto was the screenwriter and co-producer of the film “House of Sand and Fog” which garnered three Academy Award Nominations. He is author of “Sins of Our Fathers”, “Fool Me Twice: Fighting The Assault On Science In America” and “The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters and What We Can Do about It” (Milkweed Editions, 2016).
He gives an astonishingly broad range of facts, trends and history to make the case that scientific advances in public health, biology and the environment are being resisted or rolled back. He is also husband to Rebecca Otto, Minnesota’s State Auditor. December 4 – Income Inequality with Mel Aanerud November 27 – My Jesus In Pieces: Believing Again After Things Fall Apart Sometimes we expect that things will work out for us.
We expect our partnership or marriage will last, we expect our health to be good (after all, we eat well and try to exercise, don’t we?) and to do work that we love. Then at some point, for many of us, our primary relationship suffers or ends, or our health fails and/or work that offers meaning for our souls is hard or impossible to find. To add to our struggle, the religion we were given—or at least some of the beliefs we held—gradually or maybe suddenly falls apart.
Things just do not make sense to us now the way they used to. As Yeats said, "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” We are left with the pieces. How do we find gratitude, how do we express thanksgiving amongst the broken pieces of our lives? What do we do with the pieces? How can we believe again after things fall apart? Come and explore the answers with us. Our speaker, Tom Esch, is a member of Unity Church Unitarian in St.
Paul. November 20 – Our Traditional Pilgrim House Thanksgiving Celebration Our PH Thanksgiving program is a not-to-be-missed time of celebration and community, bringing together Pilgrim House members and friends with special music, a performance by the Pilgrim House Chorale, seasonal readings and poetry ... and more. If you or younger members of your family have a musical selection you’d like to share, please contact Bill Rohde by Sunday 11/13.
Similarly, if you have a reading you’d like to share, please contact Mel Aanerud. And don’t forget to bring a dish to pass for our traditional pot luck feast immediately after the program. See you there! November 13 – The Election – Lori Sturdevant Lori Sturdevant writes editorials and a weekly column about topics she has covered for more than 35 years: state government and politics. When she was invited back to talk with us, she specifically wanted to talk about the election which will just be over when she comes to talk.
What happened, why and what are the ramifications to the county and our state. She has been the editor or co-author of eight books, including A Man’s Reach: The Autobiography of Elmer L. Andersen. Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement. She is also the author of The Pillsburys of Minnesota. November 6 – The Jewish faith: its History, its Positions of Faith, and How it Still Relates to Today’s Society This program will be presented by Rabbi Shosh Susan Dworsky.
This program is as part of our shared program with the youth group’s religious education series on neighboring faiths. October 30 – Where are They Now This program will be presented by Emma Stout, who was an active member of the Pilgrim House youth group during her high school years and is a graduate of Macalester College. She will share her employment experiences at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis as a Youth Program Assistant and Coming of Age Program Assistant.
Emma will also share her experiences as one of our delegates to the General Assembly in Columbus Ohio this summer and experiences growing up Unitarian Universalist. October 23 – United Nations Day A representative of the Minnesota Chapter of the United Nations Association will provide a brief history of the United Nations and discuss its relevance today. This program affirms the Unitarian Universalist’s commitment to our sixth principle, we covenant to affirm and promote the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.
October 16 – A Brief Historical Introduction to the Catholic Church with an Eye to the Contemporary Scene with Professor Billy Junker of the University of Saint Thomas This program is as part of our shared program with the youth group’s religious education series on neighboring faiths. October 9 – Common Cents: A Retiring Six Term Congressman Reveals How Congress Really Works and What We Need to do to Fix It with author and Former Congressman Tim Penny Drawing on twelve years of experience in Congress, Former Congressman Penny tries to explain what is wrong and how to fix it.
This former congressman from Minnesota reveals, “the hypocrisy, double-dealing, and power plays that have rendered Congress impotent”. October 2 - Touchstones of Unitarian Universalism - Andrea Johnson Buddhism has its three Gems: The Buddha, the Dharma (teaching) and the Sangha (the community). Islam has its five pillars (Shahada - profession of faith), Salat (daily prayers), Zakat (charity), Sawm (fasting) and Hajj - pilgrimage).
But what is the essence of Unitarian Universalism? What lies at the heart of our faith - a tradition that so often focuses on individualism and diversity. This sermon will explore the touchstones of Unitarian Universalism a covenantal faith based more on how we promise to be together rather than assent to doctrines and creeds. Andrea Johnson is pursuing her Master of Divinity degree at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, MN.
She is a member of First Universalist Church in Minneapolis where she is active on the Pastoral Care Team, facilitating small groups and becoming a Racial Justice trainer. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. September 25 - An overview of world religions - Professor Jeanne Kilde This will begin a year long exploration of faiths of the world. Our day to day lives increasingly bring people of diverse religious traditions in close contact with one another.
Jeanne H. Kilde, Ph.D., Director, Religious Studies Program, University of Minnesota will talk about religious diversity in the U.S. "an overview of world religions" in relation to the contemporary American religious landscape, the many religions practiced in the Twin Cities region. These programs will be interspersed with other Sunday programs topics and will coordinate with Youth’s Religious Education program on “Neighboring Faiths”.
September 18 - Water Communion This annual welcome back celebration is held near the beginning of our new program year. Join us in song, readings and sharing to revitalize our connections and community. Bring a small amount of water from a place that is special to you. One by one we will pour our water together into a large bowl and tell why this water is special to you. The combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming from many different sources.
September 11 - Anniversary of 9/11 - Professor David A. Schultz On this the fifteenth anniversary of this attack on the United States, we pause for remembrance and understanding with Professor David Schultz, professor at Hamline and University of Minnesota Schools of Law. He is the author of 30 books and 100+ articles on various aspects of American politics, election law, and the media and politics, and is regularly interviewed and quoted in the local, national, and international media on these subjects.
He is a recurring speaker at Pilgrim House and will speak about where we are politically, what does the presidential race mean, and how it all relates to that critical event in American history. The youth will serve root beer floats following the program. For older programs see Older Programs.See Also: Appliance Repair Lansing Mi
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Landing in Israel for the first time was a confusing experience. As I navigated this new place, I found myself in need of grounding: something familiar and the feeling of community. In the internet age, it took only a couple of searches to find the name and approximate location. That pin on my screen took some work to get to though. The way in involved going around the back of dance club, up a creaky set of stairs, and knocking on a door with a small sign in the window.
I remember thinking to myself, is there going to be a password of some sort? It turned out there wasn’t. But it did feel as though it had taken most of my life to get to that place of stepping over the threshold. Finally, I opened screen door and was there. I had arrived at the only gay bar in Jerusalem and it felt like home. Inside, was a small room with a bar, a patio, and a tiny dance floor. Throughout the evening I met several locals, a few other travelers from multiple countries, and the owner.
The conversations were some of the best I had throughout my travels in Israel. It was also one of the few spaces where I saw people from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish backgrounds interacting all at once in a social space. People spoke openly about who they were and their religious identities. There were common touchstones for each of us that night made up of Disney karaoke songs sung in Hebrew, rainbow flags, and an ability to cross boundaries of gender and sexuality that were far more rigid beyond the walls of that bar.
After a few conversations, I sat back to people watch. I saw dancing, a birthday celebration, and conversations happening in several languages all night long. It wasn’t until towards the end of my trip that I began to think back on this early experience and appreciate just how different a space this was. It was a space that allowed for people to be their whole selves and by claiming a shared community move past some of the constructed barriers just outside that screen door.
Many of us require a journey to Unitarian Universalism in our lives. A rare few are born into this faith. And all of us are transformed through our participation over time. When we cross the threshold into Unitarian Universalist congregations we are taking a risk. One that has different weight depending on who we are and our experiences with religion until that point. It is the range of experiences that make up / who shows up on Sunday in the pews, or chairs, or in the worship chatbox on YouTube.
Even when we become a member, showing up time and time again takes a certain amount of vulnerability. For me, it was a visit to church, in this case First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, that rekindled a connection to religious community. I found a group of people who reflected the thoughts and aspirations that had been growing within me throughout my childhood and early adulthood. I found a sense of Home that I had not been able to articulate that I was missing.
Those first few months were filled with amazing moments of connection and healing. The rose-colored glasses were firmly in place. And then I joined a committee. And later I got more involved and had hard conversations. I was also on staff at the congregation down the road. I discovered that Unitarian Universalists are people too. Not perfect people, but real people. People who make mistakes and sometimes choose fear or comfort over justice.
Those congregants did not always live up to the Principles. Just like the Church I grew up in. What made me realize I was becoming a Unitarian Universalist was not the joy of that first visit, but the pain of those first let downs. And the choice to stay anyway. The times in my life I have found community have been incredibly healing. I have made friends and volunteered my time to help others. In community spaces we can breathe a little more deeply and that is what I found in a Jerusalem gay bar.
A place to take a breath. I also found room to breathe more deeply at First Unitarian Society. That is what kept my attention for the first few months. However, what moved me from feeling a sense of common community towards a feeling of congregational commitments and religious identity were the depth of experiences coupled with the expectations of personal transformation. Choosing to be in community with people was admitting that we need one another.
That I need you and you need me, that together is how we accomplish anything of worth in this world. And that’s a vulnerable place to be; that’s a vulnerable belief to hold. However, then beginning to change how you see the world and how you relate to it. That takes the vulnerability to a whole new level. And that’s the lesson I find in embracing the role of vulnerability in our congregations.
When we admit to needing one another and letting down our walls, we open ourselves up to transformation. In that transformation we, and the people we are in relationship with, become more than community. We become a congregation. We enter into a covenantal relationship that is more than welcoming. One that calls us to be more than we were before we met. Our congregations would look very different if vulnerability were a virtue at the center of how we interact.
Our world would be a very different place if we admitted to needing one another a little more often. Starhawks’ words ring true for me: “We are all longing to go home to someplace we have never been—a place, half-remembered, and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time.” In this longing for home, this hope for glimpses, I hear a description of what I was searching for when I stepped into a UU congregation.
Yes, I wanted to be welcomed fully. But the piece I couldn’t describe then was wanting to be held to something More in life. A relationship that asked ME to change as well. Congregations are places that hold us to promises and commitments to one another, and to the entirety of existence, especially when challenges arise. They are space we practice living our values that are not easy for when the hard choices come along.
When you can choose to let the world be as it is or remain as you are. OR you can choose to do something to make a difference. It is in these covenantal relationships that I encounter the closest thing to the Holy in life. They are an everyday sort of magic, kindled through chance moments, and hard conversations, which grow into bonds that stretch through time and create sacred spaces. Spaces we name worship, and annual meeting, and small group, and coffee hour.
While one can rarely know when those encounters will begin something deep and life-changing, there are ways we can increase the odds that that magic will happen. It is within spaces we name congregations that I see us practicing the tools to form relationships beyond the individualistic ideals society would have us hold onto. They are spaces set aside in people’s lives where we can learn context from the past, develop practices to be more grounded in the present, and pass something on through this participation to those who will come in the future.
It is my hope that we create in all the ways we gather as UU’s that feeling I had opening a screen door and entering into a tiny bar in the heart of Jerusalem. That feeling of homecoming in a world that doesn’t always allow us to be fully who we are. We need safer spaces in this world, spaces to take deep breaths, and our communities should strive to be those for as many people as possible. It is also my hope that we go further than creating spaces of radical welcome.
My deepest hope is that in our congregations we create relationships that can bear the weight of conflict and sustain our growth. In a world of created difference, ours is a faith that calls us to embrace people across many forms of being Other. This is the core of our counter-cultural message, that we can create congregations ACROSS difference. Not only are we perhaps the most protesting of protestants but we have the potential to be the most relational of rationalists as well.
May we continue to find and create those places in our lives that help us kindle the flame of Unitarian Universalism within ourselves and the world. May we all arrive home again and again. Advertisements