Have you ever felt like social justice work was just one more item on your long to-do list? I’ll be honest; I have felt this way at times! We know how important these efforts are, and yet it can sometimes seem stressful and overwhelming to fit them into our busy schedules.
As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm the importance of promoting justice, equity and compassion in human relations. So how do we find the strength, the energy and the enthusiasm to help heal our communities and our world? I believe one answer is that we do this work in spiritual community together. By coming together as a community of loving hearts, we can transform this work into an activity that brings more joy and meaning into our own lives.
When we do advocacy and service work in community, it can reconnect us with friends and family and nurture our spirits. In the summer and fall at UUCB, there have been multiple opportunities to participate in fun and meaningful activities that have helped create a more just world. At monthly immigration vigils, we have offered healing prayers for those harmed by a broken immigration system. At the GRIP Harmony walk, we had the chance to meet our neighbors and walk together for an important cause. For the Bring Your Weight in Food Drive, children, youth and adults of all ages joined together to collect food to give to those in need in our community. In all of these activities, we shared laughter, smiles and the warmth of love.
This month there are many opportunities to promote justice and compassion in our world. Saturday January 5 is the monthly immigration vigil, from 11-12 at the West County Detention Center in Richmond. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 21, we will have a service project open to people of all ages. Stay tuned for details! On Saturday January 26 at 5:30, families are invited to serve a dinner at the GRIP Souper Center. In this month and in the months to come, may we each find ways to bring healing to the world around us, and may our own hearts be healed along the way. May it be so.
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Worship at UUCB
Sundays in August
Summer Worship Schedule: 10:00 a.m. (one service only)
Childcare available from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
August’s Theme: Vulnerability
August 3 - We Are…
Who do we mean when we say “we?” Do we mean who we think we do? When does “we” unintentionally exclude? What does inclusivity really look like? Rev. Dr. Sue Magidson preaching; Kay Fairwell, worship leader
Rev. Dr. Sue Magidson is a longtime member of UUCB and one of it’s community ministers. She serves as the Spiritual Care Coordinator and Chaplain at San Leandro Hospital. As a lifelong UU and Jew, she thinks a lot about who we mean when we say “we.”
August 10 - Pieces of the Puzzle
Walking a trail, taking a pilgrimage, and navigating a labyrinth are metaphors for our life’s journey. Folks who are hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail have a similar destination in mind, though many different approaches to getting there are employed. Rev. Sonya Sukalski speaks about the blessings and lessons of the trail. Rev. Sonya Sukalski preaching; Rev. Jay Atkinson, worship leader; Rev. Greg Ward will offer a short testimony.
Rev. Sonya Sukalski is one of UUCB’s community ministers. Sonya serves as the Director of Faith Community Engagement for Specialty Studios and The Video Project, who harness the power of socially conscious media to touch hearts, engage minds, and inspire action. Sonya developed the UU Legislative Ministry of California’s Spiritual Activist Leadership Training (SALT) for young adults from 2010-2013 which graduated 23 activists equipped to lead us into a better future.
August 17 - Perfect Strangers
What is your relationship with trying to be perfect? Have you ever tried to be perfect in order to be noticed... to be appreciated... to be loved? Trying to be perfect may sometimes get us attention, but often it comes with a price: people only know us for what we do and not who we are. And in the process, we become perfect strangers. Rev. Greg Ward preaching; Jay Atkinson, worship leader.
August 24 - Praying to a God that Laughs
Becoming an adult is serious business, so serious, in fact, that many of us lose our sense of humor along the way. When did we lose our mirth? Our imagination and whimsy? When did we finally surrender our playfulness? And how do we coax these essential tools to return? Rev. Greg Ward preaching; Jeanne Foster, worship leader; Merrin Clough and our team of R. E. volunteers will be charged.
August 31 - Flying--or the Story of a Young Trapeze Artist
A circus experience from my childhood growing up in New Orleans and Robert Frost’s poem “Choose Something Like a Star” together provide the stimulus for a reflection on what it means to be daring in life and what it means to have for a safety net below us the “interdependent web of all existence,” which we UUs affirm and promote. Rev. Dr. Jeanne Foster preaching, with Kay Fairwell, worship leader.
Rev. Dr. Jeanne Foster grew up in New Orleans and went to undergraduate school at Tulane University. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Starr King, was ordained by the Monterey Peninsula UU Church, and served as minister of the UU Fellowship in Modesto. She earned her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in the interdisciplinary area of Religion, Literature, and the Arts. She is currently Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. A published poet, her work has appeared in numerous journals. Her poetry book, A Blessing of Safe Travel, won the Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Award. Among her other books are Appetite: Food as Metaphor, an anthology of poems by women, and a critical work, A Music of Grace: the Sacred in Contemporary.
Sundays in July
Summer Worship Schedule: 10:00 a.m. (one service only)
Childcare available from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
July 6 - Voices of Compassion: Jesus and the Buddha
Although they lived far apart in time and distance, the Buddha and Jesus were remarkably similar in both their teachings and their lives. Both preached the golden rule; both saw living a life of compassion as the ultimate goal of their teachings. Rev. Craig Scott preaching, with worship leader Rev. Sue Magidson, Time for All Ages with Michèle Voillequé, Early Birds Choir and Larry Nagel (slides).
Rev. Craig Scott is a member of UUCB. He has recently retired (for the second time) as minister of the UU
Fellowship of Tuolumne County in Sonora, CA. Working with members of UUCB, Craig has pursued a ministry of social justice that includes engaging the congregation with community organizing in local Contra County communities, as well as work for immigration justice.
July 13 - Can Unitarian Universalist Theology Help in Times of Need?
We all have bad times as well as good. UUs have rejected a faith with pat answers, which sometimes leaves them without the awareness that there is help within our faith tradition during times of need. This sermon, based in part on Rev. Jane’s doctoral dissertation, is an affirmation of our UU faith and how our spiritual needs may be met. Rev. Jane Ramsey preaching, Time for All Ages with Merrin Clough, Kaeden Wemmer (slides).
Rev. Jane Ramsey is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister, a Community Minister affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley. Rev. Ramsey is currently completing her Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling. She has worked as a hospice chaplain and facilitated a Grief Support Group, a Facing Aging and Dying Group in the past and is currently facilitating a Support Group and a Guided Autobiography Group at UUCB.
July 20 - Faith in a New Economy
In this new era of corporate greed, communities around the world are eager for an economy that serves democratic society. From among the greatest peace-makers of the 20th Century to modest Christian communities in America today, we will explore ways people of faith are the center of a new economy, and consider our role as Unitarian Universalists. Student Minister Zak Wear preaching with worship leader Kay Fairwell, Time for All Ages, Karl Rimbach (slides).
Student Minister Zak Wear is a M.Div. Candidate at Starr King School for the Ministry. Residing in Richmond, CA, his previous work has included community/electoral organizing, non-profit governance, and worker cooperative management. Among other commitments, he currently serves on the board of the Atchison Village Credit Union, an $8M NCUA-insured institution that is committed as a low-income, community-development service to its members.
July 27 - The Prodigal Daughter: Forgiveness and Return
With the help of the familiar teaching story in Luke—The Prodigal Son, only updated and recast—we’ll explore four steps in the process of forgiveness: hurting, hating, healing, and home. Yes, there are some betrayals almost too big to handle, so we’ll stay close to the ordinary, the relational: times we’ve hurt or been hurt by the people we count on, by the people to whom we belong, and by the people we have vowed to be in relationship with. We know we’ve been hurt when we lose our power to bless. The Rev. Sue Magison and Student Minister Zak Wear are our worship associates. UUCB’s Director of Music Bryan Baker and organist Katya Kolesnikova will gift us with music. It’s Zak’s last Sunday with us. Let’s send him off with our good wishes and appreciations.
Rev. Carolyn Wood Colbert, recently retired, is a double P.K. (preacher’s kid). Both her parents were Universalist ministers. Carolyn is a Starr King School for the Ministry grad and has served UU congregations in Washington, Oregon, California, New Jersey, and New York. She is Minister Emerita of the UU Church in Eugene, Oregon. Back home now in the East Bay, she is delighted to be a member of UUCB. While her ministerial career has been a joy, she says that her real calling and title should be “Stage Mother.” Just ask.