Rev. David Parke served as Minister at the Unitarian Society of Germantown from 1965 to 1971. David returned to our pulpit for the USG 150th Anniversary to great acclaim. Having recently celebrated his 90th birthday, David will reflect on what he has learned.
The human capacity for memory is a miraculous gift, which can create great meaning and purpose in our lives. Of course, memory can also bring recurring visits to pain and trauma. Engaging memory as a spiritual practice can create healing, hope and empowerment.
An important Sunday at USG was when Rev. André Trocmé preached here. In 1942 Rev. Trocmé bravely led his French town, Le Chambon, to become a safe sanctuary for Jewish refugees seeking housing, food and passage to new countries. Today our neighbor church, The First United Methodist Church of Germantown, serves as Sanctuary for two families who do not have legal immigration status. How are WE called to participate in efforts to make a safe and caring community for all people to be themselves?
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?