Sanctuary – What Does It Mean?

by Wini Atlas, Lay Minister for Social Justice. To most of us at UUCF, the Sanctuary is where we hold worship services and other events. We also understand sanctuary as a place of refuge for humans and wildlife. Sanctuary is an old concept going back to a Saxon king in the 4th and 5th centuries BCE who promulgated laws of the right of asylum. Sanctuary had legal standing in England until the 17th Century, during which authorities were prevented from taking even criminals from churches. The process, though still recognized in modern times, no longer has the force of law. Yet, we are familiar with political asylum, which must be […]

Re-emerging Into the Sunlight of Transformation

by Intern Minister McKinley Sims. So … Easter. The most important holiday in the Christian church year, usually corresponding to the Jewish festival week of Pesach/Passover, celebrates the story of Jesus of Nazareth’s miraculous resurrection three days after a horrific public execution. The words of the Christian Scriptures illustrate how a group of women went to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea to care for the body of their dead rabbi, only to find that the tomb was empty and the body was gone. Later, Jesus’ disciples claimed to have seen a resurrected Jesus, walking and talking, even eating food! If that’s not transformation, I don’t know what is. So […]

Coming Together in Response to Hate and Fear

Apr. 12, 2017. Dear UUCF, By now you may have heard about the ugly events of this past Tuesday: the Jewish Community Center and the Little River United Church of Christ, both in Annandale, were defaced with incredibly disturbing hate speech. This is part of an alarming increase in vandalism toward Jewish and other communities. We have been trying to understand if there are any lessons in this. What we have come to is that people are being targeted just for who they are and believing in a more loving, equal and just world. The Jewish community has been a specific target of hate groups for a very long time. […]

Words of Transformation for Our Faith

by Senior Minister Rev. David A. Miller. When I was young, I remember going to the synagogue with my dad in Skokie, IL, where after services sometimes we would have lox and bagels and chocolate milk. It was a wonderful ritual. Skokie was a white Jewish enclave where my temple was located but I lived in the Evanston school district and grew up and went to high school with people from many faiths, many cultures and many racial and ethnic backgrounds. We didn’t use words like “white privilege” or “white supremacy” but we did work on concepts like race relations, diversity and equality. After the end of the baby boom […]

It’s Just Plain Fun

by Director of Religious Exploration Linnea Nelson. My favorite part of the week is checking in with each class on Sunday morning. Every class is so different, created by the team of teachers and the personalities and interests of each group of children. I love the variety of ways our children explore ideas. Although each team has a printed curriculum, I know that they bring their own creativity to the class. I see the children deepening their friendships and understanding how to approach the world with wonder, awe, compassion and love. To give you a peek into our classrooms, I decided to ask a few teachers about how they see […]

UUCF Ministers Address Controversy at the UUA

A letter from Rev. David A. Miller, Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig and Intern Minister McKinley Sims. Today, as a result of a series of events within our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), Peter Morales resigned as president of the UUA. We want to share with you our best understanding of what led to this decision, and to reassure you of our collective commitment to continue the work of love and justice that is at the core of our faith. Last week it was announced that a new regional lead for the Southern Region of the UUA’s Congregation Life staff was hired. The successful candidate was a white man. News spread quickly on […]

A Risky Faith

by Intern Minister McKinley Sims. When my brother and I were little, he got a full-size trampoline for his birthday. It was an incredible day. We promptly spent the night on the trampoline, sleeping in denim blankets under the stars. We spent every day of that first summer (and most days of the summers to follow) bouncing and rolling on that trampoline. We came up with elaborate games and stories we’d act out, spray each other with Super Soakers, and work to understand the laws of physics that allowed us both to body-slam the trampoline at the same time, causing a certain Stretch Armstrong doll to fly onto the roof […]

Innovation for the Future of Unitarian Universalism

by Senior Minister Rev. David A. Miller. With huge excitement and anticipation, I have the privilege of announcing the recipient of UUCF’s Innovation Fund grant. Last Tuesday night, after a 9-month review process, the UUCF Board of Directors approved a proposal for a UUCF-sponsored, off-campus effort targeted to young adults (20s and 30s). The mission would be to help Northern Virginia young adults explore and live UU values in an intentional community. The proposal is a joint effort by Betsy Bicknell and Wendy Astell. 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 […]

The Responsibility to Play it Well

by Director of Music and Arts Laura Weiss. What if someone were to film a documentary of your voice? Your voice would be the star of the show. What if a producer were to tell your story based on the life of that voice? I wonder what we might hear; what might we see? The film might begin with your first infant cry – then perhaps a close-up of your first words with mom or dad. Perhaps it might then pan out to your first sentences or first questions about the world. Were you to show the documentary to your friends, you’d be joyous remembering certain moments as you watched […]

Fighting for Racial Justice at UUCF

by Kaye Cook, Co-leader, Racial Justice Steering Committee. From a young age, I had a strong sense of fairness and equity. Luckily, I was fortunate to work in the field of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) in the federal government for most of my career. When I retired in February 2014, I was looking for a way to stay engaged in racial and social justice issues. As luck would have it, my husband and I attended a service at UUCF the same month I retired. I knew immediately I had found a place where my core values and interests were shared by others and would give me the chance to stay […]