There are real grounds now for anxiety about the future of our nation and subsequently the world. For many, the worry has less to do with the one controversial figure currently occupying the Oval Office, and more to do with a spineless Congress that has lost all proportion and meaning in terms of preserving democracy and acting responsibly on behalf of human good.
Not every American leader has enjoyed the support of the progressive population. Many differences have played out in the course of a presidential term or two. But what we face today is a phenomenon new to me: living in fear. If you live long enough you experience ideological battles. You win some, you lose some. That’s what a democracy is all about. But never until this point have we had to endure the dread that accompanies an authoritative president with questionable motives and a shaky psychological profile. He exemplifies a deviancy from a modern democratic and humane society. Our expectations of all cultural norms continuing have been shattered in less than 50 days in office.
The presidency thus far has been single-minded about destruction. All safeguards protecting minorities, women, and the safety of workers have been dismantled. The protection of the planet no longer exists; the goal of a sustainable planet is off the table. Government is but a shell of its former workforce. The new cabinet hell-bent on eliminating the departments they were supposed to lead. White nationalism has replaced any shred of decency in the country, with repercussions felt around the globe. The Republican Congress acquiesces to everything, gambling that passing a right-wing agenda is worth the risk of supporting a madman.
Our church, like many liberal houses of worship, have felt a “Trump Bump.” Why? I think it has to do with the basic gut-wrenching worry we carry in the pit of our stomachs. Inside of two months, the core values of our nation have been annihilated.
We now speak of the “unworthy poor,” and foreigners are perceived as threats to our safety. Facts are irrelevant as is scientific research. Violence is unleashed on sacred values, and again – people are afraid.
In fear, we turn to one another for support and strength. Our worlds are very different now. The word Capitalism has replaced the word Democracy as the banner to which we are to be committed. Capitalism now means freedom and progress. The press has become the “enemy of the people.” Fear drives us to one another in hope of finding solace and coming together in resistance.
Our church has had to stand tall in past eras: McCarthyism, Vietnam, September 11th. Today, our church must continue to provide leadership and vision. These qualities that we look for in a church are found when a creative congregation works closely with its inspired leaders. We are lifted by new numbers in our pews, not only because they like the music, worship, and religious education, but also because they want to work in the trenches of rebuilding our democratic nation. We must be dedicated to getting our hands dirty, and making avenues of possibility viable for people who deeply want to make changes. Together let us grow, build, and encourage one another in the hard work ahead. It’s the best tonic for combatting fear. TRG
But not what you think! I’m referring to the remarkable mix of generations that collaborated on one outstanding Sunday celebration—the one conducted on March 5. Not only did we have a full-to-overflowing house, but we had every set from our Religious Education program—the elementary-age kids, the junior high group and the seniors rally ‘round the pulpit, each with his or her individual and group insights in what represents the best, the essence, of what it means to be a devoted Unitarian—kind, concerned, fair and inclusive.
The presentation revealed how even the youngest members of our families are able to contribute to a strong sense of community which, of course, is one of the benefits of membership at First Church. This being Celebration Sunday, however, a key theme was taking responsibility for ensuring the vibrancy of the congregation.
Toward that end, Matthew Cockrum (our Minister of Congretational Life) transitioned to the Offering, in which he announced both good news and bad. The good news, said Matthew, is “we have all the money we need! (Pause….) The bad news is, it’s still in your pockets!” Special thanks to David Owens and David Zabriskie for their masterful musical and organizational skills, which energized the entire congregation.
For me, perhaps the strongest and most inspiring memory of the morning was the warm and cohesive sentiment that permeated the congregation—we are here, together, to support what is good and right for our entire community—the Church, our city and our country. My thanks to all who provide the “seeds”—the funds, the time and the talent that support our RE Program.
Sunday March 19
RE Council Meeting Room 201, 12:30-2pm
Saturday March 25
Interested in launching a Family Fun Night for our older youth? Meet in the Haven for our first “Movie Night.” Thirteen and up are welcome—adults, you too! Check our community calendar for more information.
Sunday April 2
Our Arts Program ends for children 4 through 11 years of age and we return to traditional curricula/class programming EXCEPT for grades 1 & 2 for whom we will offer Our Whole Lives “OWL” program from 11:00 to noon. For this group, OWL (Our Whole Lives) supports parents in educating children about birth, babies, bodies and families. Parents are required to attend this program offering with their child. If you do not want your child to attend this award-winning program, your child will be able to join another class during this time.
Monday April 3
Family Fun Night. All families, interested members or friends of our congregation are welcome to join us at 6pm for dinner. Adult time and activities for the children to follow until 7:30pm. We strongly encourgage you to pre-register for this event.
Sunday April 9
Child Dedication Sunday, during both 9am and 11am services. If you have an infant or young child whom you want welcomed into our Church community, please let Lissa Lander or Julie Miller know as soon as possible.
Sunday April 16
Easter Sunday. Easter Egg Hunt for the youngest members of our RE community, weather permitting. On this Sunday, The RE program will support our Refugee Committee by collecting gently-used toys or games and NEW (Health Dept. requirement) stuffed toys. Your generous donation will be greatly appreciated by children who arrive in our State with very few, if any, personal items. Your donation can be dropped off in box which will be placed in the Little Chapel marked “Refugee Toy Donation”.
Julie Miller, Director of Religious Education
“There are places I remember…” So begins the Beatles song, “In My Life.” As someone who grew up in a military family I developed the habit of living in multiple worlds at once. I always seem to be looking over my shoulder at the place I’ve most recently been, while simultaneously seeking to ground myself firmly where I am and scanning the horizon for what comes next. It wasn’t as nerve-wracking as it may sound to folks who’re more stationary, but I grew up with a subconscious awareness that I never knew how long we’d be somewhere or where we’d go next. And when folks would ask, “Where are you from?” my answer was always wherever we’d most recently been stationed. Our family was always stationed stateside, so my answers were as exotic as Louisana, North Dakota and Colorado - never places like Germany or Guam. We moved around less than many in the military and more than some. But my parents were always eager to find assignments that would give us a sense of stability and bring us into closer proximity with extended family. The result: I have a list of places that have been home. I have a capacity to form meaningful connections fairly quickly. “Moving on” is a natural part of life for me. I have learned how to say goodbye.
A few weeks ago Rev. Tom Goldsmith announced that he and Board had developed a strategy for funding the Congregational Life Minister position for another year and into the future beyond that. This is great news for First Church! You have warmly welcomed me and collaborated creatively about how to better integrate newcomers at First Church, how to provide more robust support for youth and their families. You are ready, I believe, to integrate another minister on a long-term basis into the life of First Church. Kudos to you!
I am not that minister. Though I have treasured (and will continue to treasure) the connections and relationships we have forged here, I joined the First Church staff team with an eye towards two years of service so that I could join my spouse after a year of a commuter marriage while he was in a PhD program at the University of Utah. Ultimately that academic program was not to Chad’s liking and we plan to move on after this second year with you - hoping to return to Seattle (where we were before Salt Lake City). I have come to value the unique qualities and gifts of Salt Lake City and of First Church. The beauty and power of this place and you, as a people, are not lost on me. This area and this movement need First Church and its unique ministries more than ever. You are well-poised for your next steps during this critical time in this country and the global village we share.
As per best practices in ministry, I will keep a distance from First Church after my departure. I will refrain from discussing church business when I leave, though will be available to church leadership for consultation as needed regarding any lingering work. It is important to allow space for you to develop a new relationship with whoever comes next and for me to focus my energies on my next ministry, whatever that is. Please know that I will be rejoicing whenever I hear news of the good work you continue in this place. Rev. Tom Goldsmith will have my contact information if needed and will also carry any good news to you of my future ministries. I already feel embraced by the warmth and caring of this community and know that will encircle me as I continue in future endeavors.
For now, though, we’ve got more work to do! I look forward to continuing to build the infrastructure that will welcome newcomers, support youth and families and better integrate the life of First Church for effective and collaborative ministries that build a just and progressive world!
Here’s to The Work!
Peace, Faith & Passion,
Seeking the Sources - Monday, March 27, 6:45-8:45 p.m. in room 201. Join Rev. Matthew and other seekers for this monthly drop-in session that includes movement, meditation and inquiry. This month we explore the fifth source, “Humanist teachings that counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.” Wear comfy clothes and bring your favorite meditation and yoga supplies.
Youth Ministry - Mark your calendars for the annual Youth-Led service on Sunday, April. 2. First Church’s high school youth (grades 10-12) will explore the seven principles in word and music at both 9 and 11 o’clock services. It’s always a treat!
Rev. Matthew Out of Town - I’ll be participating in a colleague’s installation in Rhode Island and will be out of town the weekend of March 24-27. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in time for Seeking the Sources on 3/27.
Hospitality & Membership - Informal Info Sessions April 2 - New to First Church or Unitarian Universalism? Join Rev. Matthew, Hospitality leaders and other newcomers for drop-in info sessions following the 9 and 11 a.m. services on Sunday, April 2. Meet Rev. Matthew at the piano following services.
"Women Of Courage". This original and powerful work by Mary Lou Prince and Patty Willis uses the combined forces of choirs from First Church and South Valley Unitarian to present this choral concert. Utilizing the extraordinary words of some of the world's most preeminent women, this world premiere performance is graciously gifted to us in partnership with the "Women Of The World"- an organization that is devoted to helping refugee women and their families. While admission is free, a suggested donation at the door of $15 will be equally divided between the "Women Of The World" and our 'Save The Budget' fund. Saturday March 18th, 7:30 PM First Unitarian Church.
Swing Dance FUNraiser April 1st with the Stratford Street Band and the Java Jive Singers. $25 in advance. $30 at the door. Holladay City Hall (4580 S 2300 E ) 7-10 PM Dress Up and Have Fun !! Free Dance Lessons beforehand. THIS IS SOOOO MUCH FUN!!! If you have any questions,... snag a choir member - Or, feel free to call David Owens (801-390-0488), or Andy and Marcia Walker (801-891-7030, 801-835-6721)
Arts Fair April 22nd The Annual First Unitarian Church Fine Arts and Crafts Festival will be held on Saturday April 22nd from 5 to 10 pm and Sunday April 23rd till 1:30 pm. Artists: Please register using the online form found on the Church Webpage: http://www.slcuu.org/component/rsform/form/7-artist-registration-form . This is a fun family event with food and entertainment provided. Artists can show their art for fun at no charge. All sales are handled by the church. Church retains 25%, artist receive a check from the church for 75%. All arts and crafts welcomed. Display space is limited, so sign up early. If you have any question please contact Bill Reed at .
Refugee Resettlement Committee Needs Donations Years before it became famous for the assassination of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate, the Ides of March marked the first full moon of the new year in Rome If your 2017 New Year’s resolutions faded as fast as the frequency of your gym workouts, the time is at hand for a re-boot. No need to beware the Ides of March and its implications for self-improvement, resolve to do something for someone in need. Donating your gently used furniture to the Refugee Resettlement Committee requires no more than a phone call to Joe Dubray at (904) 527-9773.
Dinner and Dialogue Are you new to our First Unitarian Church congregation? Well, we would like to welcome you and invite you join us for an intimate dinner in a member's home. There is a Dinner and Dialogue binder at the Congregational Life table in Eliot Hall where you can sign up. We have one dinner in March already set up for newcomers only and would like to encourage some of you "old timers" to help us by hosting several more. Of course, we also have dinners for everyone, so please look over the binder and see what might interest you. You can contact Darlene Thayne at or 801-455-6553 if you need any assistance on this. Let's get acquainted!
Mindfulness Group Every Sunday, meditation is offered as a time to pause, practice calming our thoughts and setting an intention to be mindful in our daily life. Guidance for developing meditation practice is shared along with suggested websites and reading. The community supports our intention to experience the benefits of being mindfully aware so that we may cultivate and live with calm, peace and ease. All are welcome. Sundays Following the end of the first service, in the Parlor.
UU Lunch Bunch A family-friendly group for anyone and everyone who would like to get together for lunch and chat with like-minded people. Meet at the Restaurant on Sundays at noon during the summer. For more information contact Sonia Carnell at (801) 262-1151 or .
March 19th: Pho Thin (2121 McClelland St)
March 26th: Saffron Valley East India Cafe (22 E Street)
In the Spotlight - Carol Romagosa
-Submitted by Jan Crane
“Education” is a word that sums up Carol’s life- she loves it and she lives it! A lifelong passion for learning propelled her to a first degree in Pharmacy (Albany College 1967) and later to a Masters and Doctorate in Health Promotion and Education at the University of Utah (2010.) She has taken classes ‘just for fun’ in creative writing, stress management, Chinese philosophy, poetry, the works of Carl Jung, Tai Chi, and Shakespeare for the last eight semesters. Professor Mark Matheson is an amazing teacher who makes the subject so interesting!
Carol Carl (her maiden name) grew up in upstate New York in a lovely close-knit German-American family; hence her taste for sauerkraut and German potato salad. She married a Cuban-American, Henry Romagosa. They lived in Chicago, traveled to Europe many times and eventually settled in Salt Lake City. Henry was outgoing, where Carol is very shy. Later, after her divorce, she really came into her own and found herself.
Working at the university bookstore, she decided to take classes- half price, what a deal! Adrienne Splinter was in one of her classes and they became friends. Later, when Carol decided to attend the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake, she told Adrienne and was surprised when she learned that was her friend’s spiritual home, too. Carol thinks she first heard about the church from an interesting article in the Tribune about walking a labyrinth. Another influence was a book that her ex-husband shared with her called “Being Liberal in an Illiberal Age” by Jack Mendelsohn. She investigated further and realized that she had been a Unitarian her whole life and didn’t know it!
Carol has participated in Small Group Ministry, several years as a facilitator, and the Women’s Sacred Circle. If you see a smiling petite blond woman at the Welcome Table warmly explaining the church to newcomers, that’s Carol. Once she found it hard to go up and talk to people she now loves to share and help others find a spiritual community, and get involved in the good things the church stands for.
Carol thinks it’s important to pledge because the church is a home- a Beloved Community! It means so much to her. The Seven Principles are what it’s all about- she may not remember them all, but the first and last are always with her- “The inherent worth and dignity of every person” and Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” If you don’t know Carol, stop by the Welcome Table in Eliot Hall and say hi.
In celebration of International Women’s Day March 8, First Unitarian Church's Women's Sacred Circle is offering a drop-in gathering space for those who want to support A Day Without a Woman General Strike. In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired women's marches across the globe, the strike will mark the day by recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system--while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. Women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.
Join us in solidarity with women who take the day off from paid and unpaid labor. Solidarity with those who avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women and minority-owned businesses). Or, just stop by, even for a few minutes, to experience the warmth of our Beloved Community.
Date: March 8th
Time: 3:00 to 5:00 pm
Place: First Unitarian Church Eliot Hall
-submitted by Julia Rossi
If you have never participated in CELEBRATION SUNDAY, you are in for a treat. We will have two services (9:00 and 11:00), excellent music, inspiring words, humor and amazing camaraderie. It’s an absolute must see! This is a time to reflect on your personal commitment to our church and to keep your promise to yourself to stay involved and active in your community!
A few responses to my request asking members to share ‘Why I Pledge’:
We are actually pledging members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Florida, but we also spend five months each year in Utah, and attend the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City every chance we get while here. We have pledged nearly every year since we started coming here, in 2005. We pledge because the church provides an opportunity for us to be among a community which shares and enhances our values and beliefs. We love that the church is full of enthusiasm and energy for social justice programs. We have deep admiration for Tom’s sermons and wisdom, for Matthew’s energy, and for David’s and the choir’s incredible music. It is our pleasure and privilege to pledge to help support the ministry and programs of this church and we hope to be able to do so for many years to come. -Barbara Rowe and Chet Chmielewski
Most importantly, I pledge because the First Unitarian Universalist Church
provides support and community that sustains my everyday life.
Pledging also holds me to my commitment for the year—
sadly, promises to myself don't always stand firm. -Nancy Howard
SEE YOU ON SUNDAY!
-Submitted by Sue Geary, Board of Trustees
In the Spring of 2015, your Board of Trustees approved the search for a Consulting Minister of Congregational Life, which was to be as a two-year tenure with an option for a third year. The Board, Minister Goldsmith, and other church leaders recognized that our church was experiencing the growing pains of transition from a pastoral-sized church (wherein congregants relate directly with the minister) to a program-sized church (wherein congregants connect within various groups within the church). There were several areas needing greater attention than could be provided by volunteers alone including, welcoming and integration of newcomers, membership development and retention, redesigning and expanding our Religious Education Program, and assistance with overall ministerial duties. Although we did not have the extra funding for a second position, everything that we read and heard about the transition to a program church advised that we must staff a bit ahead of the next growth point. A generous member of our congregation provided the financial underwriting for this temporary position.
We were indeed fortunate that Reverend Matthew Cockrum was available and willing to bring his broad experience, unique expertise, and many talents to this consultant assignment. (No, I’m sorry, we can’t keep him.) During a gathering on Saturday, February 25, Rev. Cockrum provided a report of his work and his recommendations for areas that need further attention. Not only has he attended well to his assigned areas of emphasis, he has also demonstrated for the congregation just what a second minister, working in concert with the senior minister, can add to the effective operation of our church and to our spiritual experience.
During our February meeting, the Board considered the costs of giving up the programs, services, and supports that we gained during Rev. Cockrum’s tenure against the modest financial leap of faith required to establish a second minister position. The Board voted unanimously to begin the search for a second minister, who will begin her or his duties with the 2017-18 church year.
This position must ultimately be fully sustained through our pledge revenues, but we do have supplemental income for the next two years. In a report to the Board in January, the Church Endowment Committee recommended that a portion of the investment growth of our endowment funds be transferred each year for the ministry of the church. We will also direct the proceeds of our next two church auctions (2017 and 2018) to this position. Your generous pledge this year and in future years will secure this critical position for our growing church.
Over 60 First Church folks joined Rev. Matthew Cockrum and the Support Team on Saturday, February 25, for the “Consulting with the Consultant” event. Gathered folks exchanged feedback about what they’ve appreciated and what could have gone better in the areas in which Matthew has ministered in the past year. Matthew shared similar impressions. Breakout groups ensued with planning and strategizing in four areas of church life: Adult Religious Education, Youth Ministry Leadership, Paths to Membership & Faith Formation, and Leadership Development & Volunteer Management. A full report (synopsis of the event with summaries of feedback from congregants and Rev. Matthew) is forthcoming. Stay tuned. Thanks for your support and participation!
-Consulting Minister for Congregational Life
OYRP: Owning Your Religious Past - Tuesdays, March 14, 21, 28 and April 4. 6:45-8:45 p.m. - Join Revs. Matthew Cockrum & Tom Goldsmith in this powerful 4-session series designed to assist participants in examining and exploring their religious past while also articulating their present and future. These sessions are open to all and will contain elements specifically geared towards those with LDS background. Register on-line here, with Rev. Matthew Cockrum via e-mail () or phone (801.582.8687 ext. 205) or at the Congregational Life table.
Seeking the Sources - Mondays, March 27, April 24 & May 22, 6:45-8:45 p.m. Room 201 - Join Rev. Matthew Cockrum in movement, meditation and inquiry of how we might benefit from accessing the six sources of our living tradition. No registration required, drop-ins encouraged. Come as you are. Bring your favorite yoga and meditation gear if you have any.