Torch Article: In the Life

04 October 2016

In the Life - Rev. Matthew Cockrum

National LGBT Coming Out Day
Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur
Saint Damien Canonization Day
Indigenous People’s Day & Columbus Day

That’s a whole lotta holiday in a little bit of time.
These are some of the observances - civil and religious - that show up on my calendar for the coming weeks.

Each of these observances has both historic and contemporary significance for me in my personal life and in my continued growth and development.

As a queer cisgender man, National Coming Out Day - a holiday created as part of an effort to fight stigma and advocate for AIDS research and funding - has been a part of my life and consciousness since I first came out almost 25 years ago.

Rosh Hanshanah and Yom Kippur have increasingly become part of my personal consciousness since I discovered my maternal Jewish roots, buried and hidden by her family in an effort to pass as respectable White middle-class people in the 1950’s.

Saint Damien - Father Damien of Molokai was one of the first “saints” I met in my mostly un-churched upbringing. A Catholic priest who served a mission in Hawaii’s “leper colonies” (still in existence, though much diminished) and contracted the disease, now known as Hansen’s Disease. His image and story continues to serve as an inspiration and challenge to whole-hearted giving.
Indigenous People’s Day & Columbus Day - Is one of the ongoing cusps of my life. It is an example of consciousness raising and another challenge to take responsibility for histories of genocide and White privilege, working through White shame and fragility and moving toward right relationship.

There’s a saying in yoga that “the pose starts the moment you want to get out of it.” This is not to say that suffering is necessarily redemptive or that we’re to injure or torture ourselves. Rather, it’s a reminder of the tricks our minds play and how quickly we seek to avoid discomfort and challenge. For those of us who have a tendency to push ourselves too hard, it can also serve as a reminder that we must balance mind/body/spirit, rather than overrule any one aspect of that necessary whole.

This month’s “Seeking the Sources” session (October 31, 6:45-8:45 p.m. in the Little Chapel) we’ll be exploring the first source of Unitarian Universalism, “Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life.” What observances - daily, annually - help you to tap into the wisdom of your experience of mystery and wonder? What moves you to renewal and openness?

Whatever your practices, I invite you to continue to seek openness in service of creation and renewal.

Here’s to The Work, friends.

Peace, Faith & Passion,

FYI - Matthew will be away at a minister’s gathering in Colorado Springs October 17-20.

Night with Soul Report
Thanks to all who helped in creating and attending the fantastic “Night with Soul” event with Rev. Robert Fulghum and music from The Disposable Thumbs on 9/30. (Insert photos) Kim Grob Lee and Kristen Quinn and their host of volunteers transformed Eliot Hall and provided tasty jambalaya and desserts. Altogether you helped raise almost enough money to cover one of the four chaperones we intend to send on the New Orleans service trip with our high school youth this summer. Thanks so much! Keep an eye on the bulletin boards in Eliot Hall for updates and more opportunities to support this important part of First Church youth ministries!

Youth Ministries Reports
Our Whole Lives - 8th & 9th Grades - Off to a running start with an introduction to an expanded notion of sexuality, our 8th and 9th graders and their teachers are moving into deeper conversations about values as they pertain to healthy relationships and examining accurate scientific information about human anatomy and physiology. Remember 10:45-12:15 in Junior High Room (#218)

World Religions - 6th & 7th Grades - have begun their exploration of world religions with Unitarian Universalism! They’ll be in the Parlor for their regular session (11-12:15) on 10/09 and will be heading on a field trip for Hinduism on 10/16. Parents, keep an eye on the 6th-7th grade Facebook page for reminders or check with your teachers, Sara Jordan, Usha Spaulding, Ian Mitchell and Jenn Gibbs. Remember 11-12:15 in Parlor (Room#225)

High School - 10th-12th Grades - Are eagerly engaging in debates, discussions, reflections and learning. They’ve also begun planning a regional youth conference “Con” for Martin Luther King weekend along with youth from our UU congregations in South Valley and Ogden. A social with area youth is in the works for early November. Keep an eye on the high school Facebook page and RE Newsletter for updates. Remember new times - 10:45-12:45 in the Haven (Room #214)

10/30 Sermon Title - Living with Loss, Dancing with Death - Rev. Matthew Cockrum, speaking

UU Orientation & Info Session - 10/24 - 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Eliot Hall. New or new-ish to Unitarian Universalism or First Unitarian Church? Curious about how to get connected with this community of service, learning and justice? Join staff and lay leaders in an intimate evening of questions and exploration. RSVP online by clicking here, or to clminister@slcuu or Rev. Matthew Cockrum at 801.582.8687 ext. 205. Child care available upon request and light refreshments served.

Seeking the Sources - 10/31 - 6:45-9:45 p.m. in the Little Chapel - join Rev. Matthew Cockrum and other seekers in this drop-in session, focused on the sources and principles of Unitarian Universalism. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat or meditation cushion if you have one. Movement, meditation and mindful exploration for all!

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