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 […]

The Last Campaign! Really??

Mar. 18, 2019. By Terry Goplerud and Dave Wiemer, UUCF Generosity Team co-chairs. If you’ve been a member of UUCF for a while, you know that each March, everyone in the congregation is asked to renew their annual pledge. There is usually a theme, a brochure, a banner, posters, sometimes videos and many talks from the pulpit by various people imploring us to make or increase our pledge and to turn in our pledge cards. It involves lots of volunteer and staff time and usually culminates in further staff and volunteer time tracking down missing pledges. Not this year. This year marks the beginning of a new approach to pledging […]

The Aftermath of Loss

Mar. 11, 2019. By Senior Minister Rev. David A. Miller. It is a call you never want to get. It came last Monday and changed everything. We, the families, the staff, this congregation and the entire community, lost three souls – Flori, Vladimir and Nathan – in a violent and tragic act. These acts – so often seen in the news as another story in the lore of violence from the barrel of a gun – were now, as it has been for so many before, intensely personal. This was not a premeditated act, but an act in the midst of a troubled night in a family that we have […]

Friday Night Worship: Exploring New Ways of Being in Community

Mar. 4, 2019. By Lay Minister for Worship & Arts Susan Bennett. In these increasingly anxious and troubling times, I find myself returning regularly to the need for grounding and self-nurturance. It’s important not just for me but also as a path to being of service to others. I first learned this lesson long ago when I was a mother of young children. As the spiral of life unfolds, I return again and again to this lesson. I simply am no good for others unless I take care of my own spiritual needs. And even though I know that to be true, it’s so easy to be overtaken by the […]

Mindfulness Is a Means of Transformation

Feb. 25, 2019. By Director of Religious Exploration Diana Tycer. The UUCF mission statement sits on my desk, and I read it almost daily. As I am sure you all know, it says our mission is to transform ourselves, our community and the world through acts of love and justice. For some in our congregation, those words call them to bold and visible action. They protest monthly in front of the National Rifle Association headquarters, they travel to Richmond to lobby our state representatives, they network in the community to combat climate change, serve the homeless and foster interfaith collaborations. They work with others in the Unitarian Universalist Association and […]

Small Acts of Tremendous Spirit

Feb. 18, 2019. By Lay Minister for Membership & Outreach Shannon Williams. The night of “The Vagina Monologues,” the UUCF campus thrummed with energy. A full house, songs by the unstoppable Nikki Ames to get our engines going, then one voice after another telling the shared story. The show satisfied, troubled, expanded, inspired. We all could have walked out afterward fulfilled by the experience. But most of us didn’t walk out. We paused, lingering by the snack table and makeshift bar. I watched in awe as our Commons, packed with members, friends and neighbors, bloomed to life. The sight thrilled my heart. The space transformed from a room with folding […]

A Time and a Place

Feb. 11, 2019. By Intern Minister Pippin Whitaker. “I want to just cry, but they’re waiting. There’ll be a time and a place for that,” I recall a bereaved spouse in the hospital telling me she couldn’t cry – she needed to put on a strong face for the grandchildren. Grief unfolds in so many different ways, and numbness is certainly one of them. Yet I wondered, with this expansive family and all the arrangements she would need to make, when would she find her space to cry, or yell or sit with sadness? When do any of us find the time and space to grieve our losses, our hurts? […]