"Feasting in the Famine" by Rev.
Dr. Gary Blaine, serving the independent and progressive University
Congregational Church of Wichita, Kansas. He has previously served UU
churches in Ohio and Oklahoma.
Welcome to the Summer edition of Good News. This
issue is packed with vital information of happenings within UUCF
including the new Leadership and Ministry Teams, Revival, featured
Sermons and much more. We hope that you will read through
the entire newsletter as we strive to keep you all involved in the
dynamic UUCF Community.
New Online Good News and Expanded
Announcing The Online Monthly Good News and the
Twice A Year Expanded Good News Publication
In order to provide more contact with our members, and
spiritual content for them, we are producing the printed Good News as
a larger twice a year publication geared to the seasons of Christmas
and Easter, and we are starting a monthly online Good News.
We will still make available printed versions to our prison ministry
(which your memberships and donations help make possible) and to
those who still need such versions. Please let our office know.
Because the special progressive Christian resources we generate are
so needed at the seasons of Advent and Christmas and Epiphany, Lent
and Easter, we are working toward the longer fuller publication to
meet those needs, one that will arrive in people's and church's homes
in time for their use during those seasons.
As we transition to a more online publication and contact, this will
save us much needed money at this point in the UUCF
history. But it, of course, isn't free. The more content
and contact we have takes up staff time and using our enhanced email
for quality online publications does cost as well. So your support is
crucial too. But in the long run we believe it will make the UUCF an
integral part of people's lives and communities and that will pay off
for us all.
To make this the best online and printed sharing of the Good News
that we can, also takes volunteer contributions. We need your
stories, experiences, sermons, links, reviews, prayers, art, and
more. If interested let us know and we will send you writers
guidelines and more.
New editor for the expanded issues of the Good News to come is
Kimberly Beyer-Nelson who is also a new UUCF Board member. She is a
director of religious education at Cedars UU church in Bainbridge
Island, Washington, a spiritual director, a published poet and author
(see more under new Board leadership). You will be hearing more from
her and about the transformation and expansion of the Good News.
Also we grow best in relationships, just the way the early followers
of Jesus grew, and so please share this online publication and our
website and other online publications and promotions you receive from
us. To sustain what we do and to grow our movement, takes prayer and
UUCF Urgent Financial Appeal
Season we are in is when the church celebrates the coming together,
the called ones together, that make up the church itself in the
diverse and free spirit of Jesus. In this particular month of August
during Pentecost, it is also a traditional time of
"ingathering" again as church activities pick up their
pace. So it is with the UUCF. Between the time of General Assembly at
the end of June and now as we begin anew the planning and actions of
our various ministries, there is something of a lull and it is
reflected in our financial receipts as well. And so we come to you to
tell you of our need and ask you for your help.
But first know that regardless of the season, we continue to hear
from people (maybe you were one of them once upon a time, recent or
long ago) who are desperately seeking support because they have just
begun to experience the presence in their lives of a different kind
of Jesus, a different kind of God, a different kind of church than
they had thought possible. They are looking for people to share it
with, for resources to understand it better, and for a way to serve
others because of it. We are not alone in what we can offer them, and
sometimes what we do offer them is where they can be fed through
others too, but for lots of reasons they find us and carry their hope
This year our membership renewals and our donations have been
slower coming in, and our expenses have continued to increase as
we've carried out our vision to:
our presence at General Assembly and on the website.
the new publication of the UU Christian Journal.
in the UU World magazine.
and promote the upcoming October Revival/Retreat.
toward higher quality monthly membership contacts.
a monthly online Good News to accompany an expanded
and higher quality biannual Good News in print.
- Promote outreach
and the resulting increase in more required staff action
As expected staff pay is one of the major parts
of the budget, but the Executive Director pay has been virtually the
same rate for the past seven years and the Administrator has been
paid $10 an hour for quarter time work also for the past seven years.
We are facing the particular decision of whether we can continue this
expansion of services and presence, and continue our half time
Executive Director position.
To respond, the Board decided to take a few important steps.
One was to raise, for the first time since 2004, the basic
membership dues with the UUCF by $10. These still do not in themselves
cover the operating costs, but we are fortunate that a growing number
of people are supporting us with monthly donations (easy to do
online), and are supporting us at the $100, $250 and more levels.
This indicates they are supporting a movement, supporting a vision
and a cause, and not, as in an institutional subscription membership,
just for what they themselves get out of it through receiving
publications for their money. We are moving more into a role like the
UU Service Committee, or like public broadcasting.
Another step is to form a Financial Vision Team that will help us
transition into our new ministerial context. As we have grown into a
national, as opposed to a primarily regional organization, we have
content, outreach and service to others through the internet,
and support to individuals, small groups, clergy,
seminarians, and prisoners, and
into producing top-flight religious events at Revival and
General Assembly and plan to do more in this vein.
We must broaden our financial horizons and seek to
fund our mission in more ways than through individual memberships, as
important as they are and will continue to be in the years ahead.
This team will also help us make any adjustments and cutbacks that
might be required.
A third step is to generously ask for your support with this appeal
to help us with our existing financial shortfall. Please donate today to make a Back To
Church Contribution that surprises you and will help us surprise the
world with the power of connecting Jesus and Freedom. We are also
asking you not only to make a special contribution for our
transformation and to allow us to keep expanding our presence with
the resources to carry it out, but to consider becoming one of those
visionaries who are building in support for the UUCF with an easy
small monthly donation that adds up over time for our work. You may
do so here.
And, perhaps most importantly of all, we are asking you to become
partners in this drive with us by forwarding this appeal on to others
in your church and communities and social network. Let them know
of your support of our presence in the world. Urge them to support us too so that one of these
days people will not give up on Christianity because they didn't
realize how following Jesus in Freedom is possible and has been a
tradition in the world. That they will not give up on the
liberal church because they didn't realize how much a taproot there
is in it through Jesus and the gospel of everlasting universal
Don't wait for someone else, donate today. That person who is out
there just now finding out about us and about the Jesus we re-present
in the world and who is looking to find out more, to feel not quite
all alone, will thank you.
2010 Online Registration is Now Open and Latest Revival News
Rediscovering Jesus and Communities of Hope
October 14th -
At the Horizon
Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, TX
To Register click here.
To get more program information about Revival click here.
For the Schedule, click here.
Rev. John Buehrens
We are very excited to invite you to our annual
Revival/Retreat with the focus of re-discovering Jesus and
communities of hope. We gather together in the spirit of Jesus for
the renewal of our Spirit and our religious movement. This event
nurtures the inspiration of our faith and we would love to share with
you the community of Revival.
Dr. Brandon Scott
Keynote lectures feature Dr. Brandon
Scott, parables scholar and fellow of the Jesus Seminar and Rev. John
Buehrens, past president of the UUA. Both will also present workshops
Opening Worship with multi church choir and presented
by ministers from the Dallas Fort Worth area: Rev. Dennis Hamilton of
Horizon, Rev. Tony Lorenzen of Pathways, Rev. Patrick Price of
Community, and ministers of First Unitarian Dallas.
Taize Worship with the Rev. Jonalu Johnstone.
Communion and Baptism worship will be led by the Rev. Thomas D.
Wintle. Prayer and Healing Service led by the Rev. David Owen
OQuill. Daily Office morning and evening prayer will be led by
the Rev. Dr. Suzanne Spencer.
Scott's "Re-imagining Resurrection" based on an
upcoming new book by him about the Resurrection
keynote talkback with John Buehrens
special Centering Prayer workshop to begin our time together
Faith and Buddhist Practice with Comparative Religion Professor
Ruben Habito of Perkins School of Theology
Christianity by Rev. Lillie Mae Henley
and Spirituality by Rev. Thom Belote
Pirate Jesus Wheels Into Port by Rev. Naomi King
in India by Rev. Dennis Hamilton, and
Christianity 101 by Rev. Ron Robinson
Small group times, lead by Rev.
Melanie Morel-Ensminger, will be set aside for going more
in-depth with your spiritual life using a Christian oriented UUA
Spirit of Life small group curriculum.
A special missional service project will be held during
our time together and a hospitality suite will be available for
social gathering each night after events. On Saturday night we will
have dinner out together. Three meals and programs will be offered as
part of registration. The UUCF bookstore and free resource materials
will also be available.
The best part of Revival, though, isn't the programs, but the people.
Whether this is your first Revival, or if you have come to them all
since the first one in New Orleans in 1999, you will catch the
spirit of the future of progressive Christianity, meet old
friends and make new ones, and deepen your own spiritual walk.
Come be a part of our spiritually uplifting, community
forming, personally deepening, UUCF Revival/Retreat. It transforms
our lives and our movement.
Please pass this invitation on to others in your
social network, your blogs, your churches, your organizational
websites, and encourage them to come join us in Dallas as we
re-discover Jesus and in that spirit, build our communities of hope.
Writings of Rev. Thomas Wintle
Announcing "Hear Pray Affirm," UU Christian
Journal, vol. 62, selected writings of The Rev. Thomas Wintle, and
plans for an Interactive Online Theological Journal
In the same
vein as changes with the Good News, we are expanding our UU Christian
Journal presence to the online world. This past issue is the last
planned issue fully printed as we have done before; in the future we
will offer the Journal as a print on demand version for those who still
seek it in printed version, and we will make it an online,
downloadable Journal with an interactive capacity for including
responses and going deeper into the insights shared by our authors.
Our web team will be working toward this throughout the year, so stay
tuned for updates, and if you are interested in helping to shape this
new incarnation of the premier theological journal in our movement,
let us know. This is the time to be a part of the future of the UUCF
and this is a way to do it.
For more information
on the UUCF Journals, click here.
UUCF Leadership and Ministry Teams We are proud to
announce the new UUCF Board of Directors
President for the next two years is Mr. Dean Drake of
Fenton Michigan, who has served both as Vice President and as our
Revival Team Leader. See Dean's first column as president in this
issue and online.
Vice President is
Mr. Gil Guerrero, congregational administrator at Horizon UU church
near Dallas Texas where our revival this year will be held in
October; Gil has been secretary of the UUCF and helped with the web
team that revolutionized our website and has been helping us build a
virtual office and begin making our leadership gatherings more effective
and productive for us scattered physically in so many places and time
Secretary is the
soon to be Rev. Kristin Grassel, who has been on our Board of
Directors, and is now the new Assistant Minister at Kings Chapel in
Boston. She has been summer minister and former intern minister at
Bay Area UU Church near Houston.
New Treasurer is
Ms. Jennifer Sandberg, a member and deacon at Universalist National
Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., which will be the site of our
2012 Revival. Jennifer has written Advent devotional materials for
the church which have been shared through the UUCF too. She will be
taking over for Ms. Peg Bartel whom we should all give great thanks
to for ten years of service as Treasurer, as an inspiration and
supporter in moving the UUCF into its current online presence, and in
many ways serving at Revival and GA and as an evangelist for our
Continuing on the
Board of Directors will be the Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, in a one year
term as past president, and Board member Ms. Danielle Marx Conwell of
New Board of
Directors members will be the Rev. Tony Lorenzen of Pathways
Church in the Dallas Fort Worth area, who is serving on our
Revival team this year as worship coordinator, and who was an intern
minister at First Parish in Weston, MA before moving to Texas;
the Rev. Betsy Schuereman, new consulting minister with the UU Ocean
County Congregation in Toms River, New Jersey, and recent interim
minister at Louisville, Kentucky, and Meadville, Pennsylvannia; and
Kimberly Beyer-Nelson, director of religious education at Cedars UU
on Bainbridge Island, WA, a spiritual director, who has previously
served in Christian Adult Education in both First Plymouth
Congregational Church in Lincoln, NE and First Congregational United
Church of Christ in Alpena, MI.
The UUCF Ministry
Teams to which you are invited to serve on will be headed by these
various Board members:
(Revival, General Assembly, regional events, mission trips):
Rev. Lorenzon and Ms. Marx Conwell
(Good News, Journal, Website, more) Rev. Rolenz, and Ms.
Beyer-Nelson who will serve as the new Good News editor.
(recruitment, nurture, outreach, small groups, liaisons to
Christian Churches within the UUA, clergy and seminarians, and
others) Kristin Grassel and Gil Guerrero.
(budget, donations, appeals, grants, bequeaths, more) Ms.
Sandberg and Rev. Schuereman.
Drake is ex officio in all the committees.
Meetings are mostly held via free phone conference to you; contact email@example.com for conversation
on which area within these teams you would like to help this
From General Assembly 2010 in Minneapolis
This year at
General Assembly in Minneapolis and some verbal images as well
This year at GA , we anchored the exhibit hall space
for Theological Sources booth, shared by Buddhists, Mystics, Jewish
Awareness, and Pagans. The conversations were lively with people
who were finding out about the UUCF and in some cases about UU
Christianity for the very first time, perplexing some and making some
feel very much at home.
We sponsored events
inside the booth that allowed people visiting us to go deeper than booth
browsing allowed, and we had a spirited time with a small group for
the annual dinner, held this year in the John Dietrich Room of the
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, the flagship church for UU
humanism, in the room named after the minister who early in his
career helped launch humanism into Unitarianism. In there being
hosted by the church in wonderful ways, we raised our voices in hymn
sing as well, singing such song standards for our revivals as Blessed
Assurance and Leaning on the Everlasting Arms and more. The spirit of
love was stronger even than the thunderstorm that raged outside
during the event.
Rev. Alma Faith Crawford's communion service hit home
on a personal level about the power of God and the symbols of
communion itself to call us to a deeper way of life than what so much
of the dominant American culture tries to call us to. You can get an
audio copy of Rev. Crawford's sermon by clicking here.
And most of all the long continuous singing of Let Us
Break Bread Together as more than 130 people at the service lined up
for communion will stay with those who were there, as will.the tears
in the eyes of many, many who only take communion once a year at this
event, the tears of some who had never taken it before, the tears of
some who hadn't taken it in a long time and this was the first in
their Unitarian Universalist setting
We distributed notebooks of communion resources we made up out of the
archives of UUCF and historical archives and handed out for free, or
freewill donation, to all at the service so they could learn more
about this powerful experience. We held a discussion on holding
communion in UU churches as part of the GA program too.
Next year General Assembly will be held in Charlotte,
North Carolina from June 22-26. Ware Lecturer will be acclaimed
author Karen Armstrong. Stay tuned for more information on UUCF
programming, or join our Events team and help plan our General
GA is always a financial cost to the UUCF because we
do not charge admission to programs, or the booth, and we are not
allowed to take an offering during our worship services. And yet we
have continued to expand our presence because we believe in reaching
many more UUs in particular and those who are new to UUism and in
different parts of the country with the liberating message of Jesus
and Freedom. Your support allows us to maintain this presence which
helps maintain the presence of Jesus in the UUA.
Here is a link to a nice reflection about the
communion service at General Assembly that was posted on the UUCF Facebook page.
Column by Mr. Dean A Drake
You, the members of
the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, have asked me to
serve as president of this unique organization for the next three
years. This is an honor I both willingly and humbly accept.
Fellowship has certainly changed since its inception as the Unitarian
Christian Fellowship in 1945. When it was founded, Unitarians were
still primarily Christians. Several decades later, when the
Unitarians merged with the Universalists to form the Unitarian
Universalist Association (UUA), the Christian Fellowship's mission
was to witness to a Christian presence in what was then a Humanist
faith. Since that time until recently, the Fellowship was
formally an independent affiliate of the UUA with a clear charter to
address the needs of Christians within the UUA.
Two years ago, the
UUA revoked the independent affiliate status of nearly all such
organizations, including the Christian Fellowship. Some
organizations thus affected could not adjust and became
inactive. The Christian Fellowship, however, survived.
Through the efforts and vision of many, including my predecessor
Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and our Executive Director Reverend Ron
Robinson, our Fellowship began the transformation from an institution
into a movement.
a movement from an institution? A movement is a community and
not just a body of members. A movement has a purpose and
mission beyond itself, giving time and talent to further a purpose
greater than the needs of its members. And a movement aspires
to realize a vision and not just meet a goal.
The first step in
our transformation is for all of us, together, to build
community. We have already begun this process. We have
redefined our mission to also include all those who are "too
Unitarian Universalist to be Christian and too Christian to be
Unitarian Universalist." We have marshaled our limited
resources to expand our presence in Cyberspace with our revamped
website UUChristian.org and our creation of a virtual office.
We have consistently enrichened the Revival experience, with this
year's Revival in Texas on track to be the most memorable one
yet. We have intentionally expanded our scope beyond the more
Christian churches in New England to better represent liberal Christianity
throughout North America.
There is work
enough for all in building a community that will restore the true
Good News of Jesus to a world that seems to have forgotten that the
one God loves us all. The Way to this community according to
Jesus is recorded in the Book of John: "A new command I give
you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one
another. By this all will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another." We all have a role to play: may
we all be an active part of that community.
Rev. Ron Robinson
Each summer at our
district UU church camp I offer a workshop that has Jesus in the
center. This year it was a four day workshop called "In The Way
of Jesus" and explored the four items of the parables, the
Lord's Prayer, missional communities, and communion. One thread that
developed connecting them all was how we were learning to see each of
them as wild, freeing, even dangerous in ways that they often had not
been portrayed in our past.
Too often the parables had been taught as domesticated conventional
wisdom and morality tales instead of radical upending the status quo gems
of liberation. Too often the Lord's Prayer has become rote and so
familiar that it is often discarded or little thought of, instead of
being a kind of poem that carries signals about the deepest
theological issues of our lives and is a contemporary prayer for our
times in need of the kind of social justice and heartfelt desire
carried in this so first century Jewish prophetic themed prayer. It
needs to be set free again and I loved being able to bring in the
latest UU Christian Journal as a major resource for this.
Too often our ideas of church are stuck in the manifestation of
church that was prevalent during the churched culture, and we have
domesticated such a powerful concept as church was in the beginning
in its time of illegal underground counter cultural community forming
way. We looked at the many ways today church is becoming wild and
organic again instead of organizational, and how the next big thing
was networks of groups so small they could change the world around
them every time they met. It was great to refer to the resources we
have for small groups in the Jesus way, equipped through our website
and online support. And we saw how communion, the Jesus meal of all
encompassing love and justice, had been so truncated and domesticated
and divisive, or divorced from its original context, that people
could either see it as a doctrine or too ritualistic and irrelevant,
instead of experiencing its heart of challenging our everyday
consumerism and isolation from "those other" children of
God we put out of mind and sight.
We used video clips each day to set the theme of rediscovering the
wildness of Christianity. We used the episode about the parables from
the curriculum Saving Jesus, where we hear how they show us a God
that changes sides from the God of the dominant culture; we used the
scene in the movie The Soloist where the homeless mentally ill on the
streets at night are prayed over using the prayer by one of their
own. We used clips about the Catholic Social Worker movement and
houses of hospitality from the movie Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy
Day story, and from the documentary called Briars in the Cotton Patch
about the Koinonia Farm that even before the civil rights movement
was stirring up the souls in south Georgia as the Rev. Clarence
Jordan formed an intentional inter-racial Christian community that
was despised and threatened by those around it but later would form
Habitat for Humanity and help change not only south Georgia but the
world. We used the scene in Romero where Archbishop Oscar Romero
faces off against military troops in order to reclaim a sanctuary and
administer the eucharist and tells the oppressed gathered that they
are the body of Christ too now, that they become Jesus in their
world. And we used the two scenes, opening and closing, from the
movie Places in the Heart starring Sally Field; the first showing how
everyone in the Texas town of the 1930s ate their meals on their own
indicative of their segregated community, and the latter showing a
communion being held in the community church that was truly a sample
of a messianic banquet where enemies and friends were joined
together, where forgivenness and reconciliation had the final word
and not the violence and hatred and greed.
For more on
adopting this workshop or others, and for the resources and
conversation, you can go to my Planting God Communities blog. Share
with us, there or with us at the UUCF, your own workshops and
presentations, sermons and more, in your church and in your area.
This summer I have also been meeting at Phillips Theological Seminary
here planning a new online course for supervised ministries. I have
previously co-taught an introduction to theological education online
course here and have seen the power for community building that can
occur across wide physical differences as we better use our new
technologies; there can be a level of intimacy and openness and
inclusion of all in some ways more so than through face to face
classes. There are challenges but great opportunities, and I have
been thinking of ways that the UUCF can develop online communities on
a more relational basis than through our email lists and blogs. I am
sure that many of you are involved with similar ways exploring online
learning and support and I think we need to, online and in conference
calls, find ways to take what we are experiencing other places and
create deeper ways the UUCF can actually facilitate worship together,
learning together, and where possible serving together. Let me know
if you are interested. It will only happen I know as the work of
others, and as we are able to find and dedicate resources toward it,
but we can begin moving toward it and experimenting.
As you will read elsewhere, these are times of great opportunities
for us, and of great risk inherently coming with them, as we live in
the spirit that continually maketh all things new. May it be with thy
spirit as well.
2010 Jesus Retreat with Rev. Carl Scovel
The 'Love' of God
Rev. Carl Scovel
Join the Rev. Carl
Scovel, emeritus minister of Kings Chapel in Boston, for his annual
Jesus Retreat at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, MA, Friday to
Sunday Nov. 5-7, 2010. This year's focus will be on
"The 'Love' of God".
The Rev. Scovel writes: "Although in the past we have focused on
the person of Jesus, this year I want to focus on what I believe was
the center of his personhood as well as his teaching, namely, the
"love" of God. I put that word in quotes to suggest that
God's love may differ from even our kindest use of that word."
He continues, "This theme comes out of our last retreat's
discussion on universalism and or, more expansively, universal
salvation. as a theme for our next retreat. Later, it occurred to me
that the root of this doctrine is God's good intent "in our
creation, preservation, all the blessings of this life" and in
the restoration offered by Jesus and other great
avatars. Of course, this raises questions. How can we trust
God's good intent in a world so full of misery? How can we live as if
forgiven? Can there be justice if love forgives all sins? And many
more, none of which we shall answer, but some of which we must at
least raise. So once again we propose to encompass the ineffable in a
weekend retreat, knowing we will fail, but hoping that by God's grace
we shall find a blessing in our failure."
Those in retreat will begin by considering the Syriac, Aramaic,
the teachings of Julian of Norwich, Isaac the Syrian, Karl
Barth on this doctrine, and people will receive these readings
before the retreat. An exercise is planned to help us
examine our experience with the various phases of God's
"This may sound as if there will be no time for sleep," he
said, "But this is a retreat and we will take a Saturday
afternoon break, and spend that evening singing some of the great
"love" hymns of our tradition including two or three
now-neglected hymns from the Universalist past. We will need to
bring our own supper on Friday night and prepare our own breakfasts
from the frig and cupboards. The brothers will bring Saturday lunch
and supper, and Sunday brunch."
You may register by sending a check for $130 made out to
Carl Scovel at 36 Hampstead Road, Jamaica Plain MA 02130.
Call him at 617-533-3681 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Join * Renew * Pledge
You can change the world by keeping alive the free and
radical spirit of Jesus in the world, especially in our historic home
of Unitarian Universalism and through our UUCF life. Here you can join with us for the first time, renew or upgrade your membership, answer the call to contribute to specific projects or make special donations.
The UUCF is a self-supporting and self-sustaining
institution. The first and most important reason to stay connected to
the UUCF is because we represent a liberal religious Christian
presence in the Unitarian Universalist Association. We believe that
Unitarian Universalism is broadened and deepened by our active
presence and our faithful witness. We represent one of the few
organization in the UUA that can claim an authentic theological
position, and the only one that can claim a historical tradition that
dates back to the beginning of our movement.
Address: P.O. Box 6702, Turley, OK 74156-0702
Phone: (918) 794-4637
are non-creedal followers of Jesus rooted in the history and
tradition of Unitarian Universalism. All who wish to freely
follow Jesus are welcome to be members of the UUCF.
Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship