In times of challenge and serenity it is possible to experience yourself as a safe, peaceful sanctuary. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Whether you describe yourself as a theist, agnostic, atheist or other, there is a deep truth in the human capacity to find beauty and acceptance within self. Let’s explore how!
Too often we can live our days with a blurred vision or even closed eyes. Too often we fail to recognize opportunities to become our fullest, truest selves. In a world crammed with “options,” the challenge can be figuring out how and where to put your energies. As you listen to your soul, what is your vision for your life?
It’s easy to assume that we’re better off when we see things clearly, and can work from an accurate analysis of ourselves and the world around us. But realism has its limits, and there may be a greater role for illusion than we generally acknowledge.
The Rev. Libby Smith, M.Div., was ordained in 1992 and has served congregations in Rockport, MA, Warrrington, PA and Langhorne, PA. She also spent five years at chaplain at the (now closed) UU House here in Germantown. Now calling herself semi-retired, she does occasional adjunct work for the Central East Region of the UUA and enjoys the chance to do pulpit supply and rites of passage on request. She is delighted to return to USG!
The Jewish New Year is a time for finding meaning and getting right with God and conscience. Hashem is a name for God, which simply means “the name.” Whatever your theology you can listen for and live out the “voice” of Hashem. Theists, agnostics and atheists can all find great value in this time of atonement and renewal.
For our Ingathering Water Ceremony we begin the church year anew by celebrating our commitment to our UU Principles. Come help us celebrate new, beautiful sanctuary banners, which help us affirm and promote “the inherent dignity and worth of every person”, and “justice, equity and compassion in human relations”. Bring water from a special place from you summer – including your home. Together in Beloved Community we are empowered to more fully live out our values. Afterwards we will have a potluck lunch.
Ordained in 2006 as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Eileen is a lifetime resident of Philadelphia and a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. Eileen currently co-pastors the Community of St. Mary Magdalene which is located in Drexel Hill, Pa. and Palmyra, NJ. She is a registered nurse who worked for the School District of Philadelphia for 25 years. Eileen recently published her first book, How To Keep Your Parish Alive.
The poet Hafiz wrote, “Like the morning breeze, if you bring to the morning good deeds, the rose of our desire will open and bloom.” Summer can be a time to feel the morning breeze. Often this can lead to a more active, enriching engagement with life. Slow summer days can spaciously allow for blessings to flow. As we transition back to the “school year” how can we make space for grace?
It may be more blessed to give than to receive … but both are essential.
Maggie Beaumont has been a Unitarian Universalist, and a Wiccan, since 1998, and joined this congregation in 2014. She is a former dean of students at Cherry Hill Seminary and a past board member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS). After a varied career in mechanical engineering, journalism, real estate, and adult education, she earned a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and serves today as a hospice and hospital chaplain.
Charles Bowser will present an idea to do a small everyday thing that could have greater impact.
He is a single parent, union organizer, political activist and political consultant who officially joined the UU faith in 2004 at Harrisburg UU. There he served as a trustee, a regional delegate and a part of the membership committee that was instrumental in their congregation winning the O Eugene Pickett award which annually honors the congregation that has made an outstanding contribution to the growth of Unitarian Universalism.
Hildegard von Bingen was a Benedictine nun and abbess who lived in the area of Bingen, Germany in the late 11th and early to mid-12th century. She experienced visions from early childhood throughout her life and from these visions she wrote several books on religious philosophy; composed many plainsong hymns including the first opera in Western civilization; painted many illustrations of her visions; wrote two books on holistic medicine and pharmacy; and was advisor and frequent moral scourge to bishops, popes and emperors. In short, she was the renaissance woman 200 years before there was a renaissance man. Her religious philosophy centered on love, justice and the interdependent web of creation and was entirely consistent with modern day Unitarian Universalist beliefs.
Charles Gabriel was raised in the Catholic Church, wandered aimlessly through a 35-year period of atheism and finally developed a spiritual center to his life through the gift of his step-son’s drug addiction and the 12-step program influence of Nar-Anon and Al-Anon.
Charles joined USG in October, 2004 and has held several volunteer positions including Budget & Finance Committee member, Buildings & Grounds committee co-chair, Strategic Planning Council chair and Board of Trustees member.
Currently Charles sings in the USG choir and is now retired from church leadership. Today is his eighth sermon at USG.