Gratitude for This Beautiful Congregation

Jun. 17, 2019. By Assistant Minister Rev. Sarah Caine. This is my last blog for UUCF. While we’ve known since very early in the congregational year that 2018-19 would be the end of my time at UUCF, it still feels like it has gone so quickly. We started some good work here together and I’m very proud to have been the assistant minister for this wonderful congregation. You have helped shape my journey and allowed me to use my skills in ministry with your blessings – including ordination, something I worked toward with 3 years in seminary, 1 year in residence as a hospital chaplain, 1 year working in ministry […]

Taking Time to Breathe, Reflect and Find Joy This Summer

Jun. 10, 2019. By Senior Minister Rev. David A. Miller. Our congregational life has a rhythm much like schools: we gear up in August for launch in September and we wind down in June for what always feels like a much needed rest. This year has been particularly challenging, and the rest and break to breathe and regroup seems particularly necessary. For years, it has felt like religious life in America in general and Unitarian Universalism specifically is going through a transition. I have talked about it as a period of realignment from what might be called the 20th Century way of doing “church” to a new 21st Century model. […]

How Is Unitarian Universalist Worship Created?

Jun. 3, 2019. By Lay Minister for Worship and Arts Susan Bennett. It’s been my pleasure and privilege to serve as UUCF’s lay minister for worship and arts for the last 6 years. I’ve learned and gained as much, if not more, from the experience as I have hoped to give to this congregation of souls I love so dearly. I’ve worked alongside five ministers, four intern ministers, four music directors, two directors of religious exploration, two worship committee chairs and countless lay worship associates. What an amazing and diverse group of UUs! As we collaborated to share inspiring, spiritually vital, joyful, creative, meaningful and hopefully transformative worship with this […]

Goodbye As We Journey Together

May 27, 2019. Major transitions remind me that we humans are irregular time travelers. We move through time with experience and memories accumulating in a fascinatingly unique manner, like a decorator crab adding random objects to its shell. No two journeys are alike. Significant or intense events are enshrined in the heart and mind, and too many names and specifics may be only vaguely recorded. You will notice this if you talk to any two people who shared the same experience; they often argue endlessly on the date, food eaten, people present and so on. It is as though they hold different pasts. We all do, although our memories and […]

Coming of Age With a Different Kind of Creed

May 13, 2019. By Youth Ministry Coordinator Courtney Firth. When I was 13, I was baptized in the Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterians usually baptize babies, but this one vestige of my mother’s Southern Baptist roots held on so that I could make the choice on my own at an appropriate time. So I spent a year with another church member who talked about my faith with me, helped me memorize the Apostles’ Creed and generally prepared me for life as a fully fledged Christian. In Oklahoma, Presbyterians were considered generally more liberal than the Baptists down the street. And while I was able to think for myself and choose what […]

Where Two or More Are Gathered

Apr. 22, 2019. By Young Adult Community Leader Tyler Coles. Three weeks ago I had the opportunity to take part in the Gathering Summit, a virtual convening of community builders from around the world. The core of this convening was twofold: to ponder why people no longer engage traditional places of “meaning-making” and to share best practices around “innovative gathering strategies.” As you might suspect from an online conference that frequently referenced such phrases as “innovative gathering strategies,” there was a collective tendency for the cumbersome and heady. But what do you expect from a group of people who willingly gave up their weekend to discuss shifting social trends and […]

Just Breathe

Apr. 15, 2019. By Senior Minister Rev. David A. Miller. When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breathe out love. Hymn #1009 “Meditation on Breathing.” Some days I sit in my office at UUCF and watch the emails stack up in my inbox and I think, just breathe David, just breathe. This continues if I go on Facebook, or look at the news or think about all the information going in and out of my head on a minute-by-minute basis. The rate of information in this world is dizzying and sometimes it is important for us just to stop and breathe in and breathe […]

Breaking Toward Wholeness

Apr. 8, 2019. By Lay Minister for Membership & Outreach Shannon Williams. “We cannot be everything at once. Instead, when you are with me, and I am with you – when we are part of this community grounded in Love – we are enough … we are whole.” – Alexis Engelbrecht, Soul Matters Family Ministry Coordinator In spring 2017, I had the pleasure of participating in the UUCF Membership Committee’s Anniversary Dinner. One year later, as a new lay minister, I assisted the committee in planning this lovely event, which recognizes congregants who are celebrating membership anniversaries. Both years, I enjoyed what appeared to be a seamless, masterful orchestration. Every […]

What Am I Doing to Impact the Healing in My Community?

Apr. 1, 2019. By Director of Music & Arts Laura Weiss. While working on my master’s degree, my professor and I met each week after he observed me directing the choir. He was beloved by his students, and his mentorship was invaluable to me. One week, he quietly asked me if I ever made audio recordings of my rehearsals. I expressed that I had and that I listened dutifully each week to the choir’s tone on the playback to assess how to improve the group’s sound. My professor leaned back and cautiously asked if I had ever listened to myself on the track. I was sure that I had, I […]

Affirming My Call to Military Chaplaincy

Mar. 25, 2019. By Assistant Minister Rev. Sarah Caine. As I near the close of my time at Chaplain Basic Officer Learning Course (CHBOLC) here at Fort Jackson, SC, I’ve been asked to reflect on how this course has helped forge me as a chaplain. CHBOLC is an odd mixture of orientation to the Army and ministry because people arrive for the course with different levels of familiarity with each piece of the job. We spend most of our days in classrooms learning about regulations, Army writing and pastoral skills in the pluralistic environment. We do have the occasional opportunity to do cool Army things like the Victory Tower (rappelling […]