Our Good Old Young Adult Group

Feb. 19, 2018. By Intern Minister Pippin Whitaker. Since beginning my internship in September, I have been inspired by our Young Adult Fellowship group. With a little organizing on my part, this group for 18- to 35-year-olds gathers regularly and in healthy numbers. Despite busy schedules from school, parenting young children and new careers, the young adults take part in monthly social time, show up for social justice activities, organize community service projects and delve into spiritual renewal. On top of all that, they also lead and serve on committees and task forces throughout the congregation. This group format is a new phenomenon at UUCF. In the early decades of […]

On the Road to … Money Matters

Feb. 12, 2018. By Senior Minister Rev. David A. Miller, Generosity Team Chair Dave Wiemer and Annual Giving Campaign Chair Meg Harrelson. At this year’s UUCF Board of Directors retreat, the board decided it was important to be as transparent as possible in discussing UUCF’s budget and resources with the congregation. The UUCF Generosity Team is also taking bold steps to be as transparent as possible in communicating how we give, the kind of financial support required and what our pledges support. In a step toward that transparency, this year’s Annual Giving Campaign theme is On The Road To … Money Matters. Let’s face it: Money is hard for congregations […]

Driving Innovation for UUCF and Outreach to Young Adults

Feb. 5, 2018. By UUCF Innovation Fund grant co-recipient Betsy Bicknell. In a generous bequest, the late Stan Richards provided seed financing for innovative projects that expand UUCF’s outreach to those not now engaged in our congregation and/or Unitarian Universalism. Wendy Astell and I responded to this challenge, and in March 2017, the UUCF Board of Directors approved our proposal for a UUCF-sponsored off-campus community targeted to young adults (20s and 30s). The mission of this project is to help Northern Virginia young adults explore and live UU values and principles. Our vision is to provide activities and services for young adults who are looking for a spiritual home outside […]

Sexuality Education Is for Our Whole Lives

Jan. 29, 2018. By Interim Director of Religious Exploration Diana Tycer. I remember the first time I heard about the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education program offered by UUCF. It was at the Fall Adult Retreat when I was mingling in the dining room after dinner, chatting with a longtime UUCF member. Upon learning that I had an adolescent son, she asked if I was going to enroll him in OWL. My response, no doubt like many new to UUCF, was a blank look and the question, “What’s OWL?” And as I listened to the response, I was both excited and surprised that such a course was offered to […]

Reflecting on the Past to Choose Our Future

Jan. 22, 2018. By Intern Minister Pippin Whitaker. These past few weeks, as I delved into UUCF’s history of racial justice for a class project, I kept hearing a dramatic story retold. A member famously stood up in a worship service and asked why we had done nothing about racial justice in 20 years. This was in the 90s. Listening to more stories of our history and combing through the archives, I began to wonder, is this a pattern? Are we stuck in some historical “repeat” where we take on racial justice work one year and then put it down? You will have to read on to find out. But […]

Calling Attention to the Gulf Between Promise and Fulfillment

Jan. 15, 2018. By Assistant Minister Sarah Caine. When I took a class called Educating to Counter Oppressions at Starr King [School for the Ministry], I heard about an upcoming campaign made up of poor folks with a mission to teach and advocate for a more humane existence. The whole week of our intensive class, we focused on issues faced by Americans living in poverty – homelessness, discrimination when attempting to get a job, inability to save money because every penny is needed in the present moment, difficulty feeding the children who may have been born before the incident that created poverty or born into poverty. I had started to […]

‘A Legacy of Capability and Caring’

Jan. 8, 2018. By Rev. David A. Miller. Next week, Rich Sider, our director of administration, will retire to new things after 9 years with UUCF. Our gratitude for Rich’s administrative and general leadership through many years – transitions, joys and challenges – runs incredibly deep. His efforts have gone way beyond his job description to a level of deep caring for the people of UUCF, present and future. He leaves a legacy of capability and caring that will remain in our congregational systems for many years. We are also grateful to Rich’s family who supported his traveling back and forth to Harrisonburg for so many years. We wish Rich […]

Putting Our Second Principle to Work

Jan. 1, 2018. by Kaye Cook, Chair, Racial Justice Steering Committee. One thing that initially attracted me to UUCF was the congregation’s commitment to social justice work. Upon learning that Unitarian Universalism has seven principles for guiding and governing congregations and that the Second Principle is to affirm and promote justice, equity and compassion in human relations, I knew I had found my church home. When it was announced in February 2016 that the Racial Justice Steering Committee (RJSC) was being formed, I was eager to join the new group because it seemed like an opportunity to be involved in an effort close to my heart. In early 2016, there […]

Season of Light

Dec. 18, 2017. By Lay Minister for Membership and Outreach Shannon Williams. UUCF rang in seven new members at the exuberant ritual following the Joy Service earlier this month. This gives us one more reason to celebrate in a season already packed with celebration. It also gives me a chance to reflect on our congregation’s many members and friends, and the variety of ways we experience our faith journeys this time of year. The days grow shorter still. All around, twinkling lights frame homes and shops, even our own glittering Sanctuary. December radiates holiday cheer, but not all of us feel warmed by the light. Some of us may instead […]

How Do You Stay Hopeful?

Dec. 11, 2017. By Intern Minister Pippin Whitaker. Someone recently asked me how I stay hopeful about our society when it appears “things are tanking.” I believe we have the capacity to plant love, with every breath, even – and poignantly – amid heartache. I hope the love we plant will be enough to soften a clenched heart and make it weep. And ultimately, I hope because being hopeful is not a sentiment, it is a choice. I have hope because I chose to hold on to it. Sometimes it is defiant hope. Note, however, that hope is not the same as optimism. We humans are capable of heart-shattering depravity. […]