Displaying items by tag: Torch Articles

December 15th

Sunday Service (9am)
Christmas Pageant (11am)

 

December 21st

Winter Solstice Celebration
(Service 6 pm ~ Dinner 7 pm)

 Tickets: Adults $15/Youth 12 and Under $5

December 22nd

Lessons and Carols Service (9 & 11 am)
 

December 24th

Christmas Candlelight Service
(5:30 and 7pm)
 

December 29th

(9am & 11 am Service)

 

Giving Tree in Eliot Hall

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Monday November 4th at 6:15pm in Eliot Hall.

UU ORIENTATION: Tuesday November 5th at 7pm in Eliot Hall.

UU SOCIAL JUSTICE: Wednesday November 13, 7pm in Eliot Hall.  "Peace in the Middle East"

BOOK DISCUSSION WITH REV. TOM: Monday November 18th, 7pm in Eliot Hall. We will discuss “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRAY PRE-HOLIDAY SWAP: Saturday November 23, 10am-3pm in Eliot Hall.

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share. 

DREAM GROUP: 4th Sunday 12:45 pm in Room 201

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 10am, in the Parlor,
  • Third Wednesday Meetings:  6:30pm in The Parlor
  • Tuesday Meditation Walks: 9am, Jordan River at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 So.

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday in Room 201 12:45pm.  Rise Up Nimbly And Go On Your Strange Journey; To The Ocean Of Meanings ...Rumi. 

SANCTUARY:  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have volunteers in Eliot Hall after both services ready to answer your questions and to help you engage or re-engage with Sanctuary.

  • VOLUNTEER: To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
  • BACKGROUND CHECK (New & Renew) Consent: http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT $15 donation. All Sanctuary Volunteers need to renew/upgrade their background checks to Level 2 
  • SANCTUARY TRAINING: Complete the training survey to let us know what days/times work for you: survey is included in the Background Check Consent form linked above. 
  • DONATE TO THE SANCTUARY FAMILY FUND: To donate by check, make check payable to: First Unitarian Church and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note. Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/sanctuary- fund OR https://slcuu.org/about/donate-online. You may also donate through the GIVELIFY app, just check the Sanctuary Family Fund. 
  • DONATE TO THE SANCTUARY DEFENSE FUND: To donate by check, make check payable to: First Unitarian Church and write: Sanctuary Defense Fund in the note. Online donations to the Sanctuary Defense Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/ about/donate-online. You do not need to create a profile. Click on the Click Here to Donate button (on the left of the donate online webpage), notice the Donations section of the form, enter the amount of your donation next to the Sanctuary Defense Fund choice, press continue, and follow the remaining instructions. You can also make a donation by smartphone with the GIVELIFY app.

WOMEN’S SACRED CIRCLE:  Second Tuesdays, The Haven 5:30 -7:30pm,  Course of Study: Rise Up And Call Her Name: LILITH.  During this course of study, we will learn about a variety of cultural traditions that honor goddesses and esteem women. We will also become acquainted with some of the beliefs that are associated with these traditions and how varied spiritual practices stimulate personal inner journeys. 

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn


All The Things


Thank You

As hard as it is to believe, our first curriculum block of the year is over for grades 1st-6th this week! Take a minute to thank you classes teachers for volunteering their time, talent and love!

    1st/2nd- Carrie and Calvin Black
    3rd/4th-Julie Miller
    5th/6th- Ian Mitchell and Kendra Smith

 

ART BLOCK

Woot! For grades 1st-6th grade, next week begins our Art Block. As the youth voted on at the end of last church year, this year we are supporting Primary Children's Medical Center by making and creating art kits for children in-patient in their network of hospitals. As always, in order to do our good work in the world, we need your help! All of the supplies and activities have been planned, the only thing we need now is you!  Please sign-up below to volunteer to be a classroom assistant or a lead teacher.

 

Family Fun Night

Ho Ho Ho! I know, I know, we haven't even finished with the Halloween nonsense this week. But Christmas is coming sooner rather than later, and so are the wagons of expectations with it. Let's talk about it!

Join us on Monday, November 4th at 6:15 pm for the LAST Family Fun Night of 2019. We will be joined by Rev. Tom Goldsmith, and we're hashing out the holidays. We'll start with dinner at 6:15 pm, then our friend's elementary school and younger will go on their way. Friends younger than Kindergarten will go with our fabulous childcare provider, Anna Fonnesbeck, to play in the nursery. Elementary-aged folks will join Lissa Lander and Amanda Esko to work on a super-secret holiday project. Older youth are welcome to join in the discussion with the adults.

This should be a fun night for all. Please get in touch with any dietary restrictions or allergies. See you on Monday!

Family Fun Night Registration


DINNER PATROL
Speaking of Family Fun Night, we're desperate for volunteers to cook for Monday's dinner! You have a budget of $200, it can be home-made or ordered-in. If you've enjoyed Family Fun Night's in the past, please consider taking a turn to organize the meal. 

Family Fun Night Dinner Patrol


RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Join the RE Party! Registration for this church year is up and running, please register today! 

 

CHALICE LIGHTING FAMILIES
We're looking for chalice lighting families! Please signup to light our chalice in the main sanctuary!   Questions, email Amanda Esko at . Click here to register for Chalice Lighting

 

CLASSROOM VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Help! Our classrooms still need volunteers! Follow the link below to signup. Remember, we are a co-operative program, and need family support in order to maintain safe adult/youth ratios in classrooms!  Questions, email Amanda Esko at . Click here to sign up to volunteer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you think it’s possible that the researchers at Exxon Mobil have regrets about deliberately misleading the public about the effects of fossil fuels on climate change? Corporate leaders engineered their business plan that netted $290 billion last year. Obviously good for the company, but destroyed the Earth. Where were the whistle-blowers when we needed them?

The researchers themselves were dead accurate. They knew the facts did not support the self-serving science back in the 1970’s when they predicted that fossil fuel emissions could be catastrophic. By 1982 they predicted that the atmosphere would contain 415 parts per million of carbon dioxide by 2019. Exxon researchers were some of the best in the country, able to forecast not only the precise amount of CO2 37 years into the future, but the consequences as well: rising sea levels, intensified storms and fire, agricultural disruption, etc. But in Exxon’s effort to ensure their own prosperity, they deliberately confused the public by insisting that climate change was merely politically motivated. 

I am trying to understand how saving the planet and protecting public health and safety have devolved into a political issue rather than a human issue. The seeds for corporate indifference towards the public were planted back in our “Gilded Age of Robber Barrons,” when businessmen smelled the riches attained through ruthless and unscrupulous practices. The capitalistic impulse of placing profit far ahead of people and the Earth never subsided. Boeing’s lust for profit recently caused two fatal yet preventable airline crashes. And more locally, the Inland Port, forced down the throats of the Salt Lake Valley citizenry, will demolish a vital ecosystem, pollute the air with coal and diesel fumes, and sacrifice a quality of life for the sake of business dollars. Anyone who (logically and humanely) supports the planet and the lives of future generations is labeled either a socialist or a terrorist. Let me remind you: Exxon spent more than $30 million on Think Tanks to sway the public to go against their own best interests. 

Beyond the headlines and photos and reporting on the California fires, we find a terrified and vulnerable population. My children and grandchildren are in the mix. Their homes have not yet been set ablaze, but they inhale the smoky air, all power has been lost, and there’s no cellphone service. Schools are closed and so are businesses. A fear has penetrated the minds of all: Is this the new normal? 

Our last contact with them came when they traveled 30 miles to regain phone service as they were desperately looking for ice to place in coolers to save some food before spoilage. There is no ice to be had anywhere in Northern California. And if there were ice to be sold, can you imagine the price a 10-pound bag of ice could command? Supply and demand keeps our nation humming. 

Maybe everything really is reduced to political motivation. One political party consists of climate change deniers; the other party seeks alternative energy solutions. One party wants government to end regulations; the other party relies on regulations to keep people safe and alive. And we have a huge election coming up in exactly a year. It’s a referendum on the life of all species including humans. It’s a referendum on the future. You would think we might have learned a lesson or two by now about greed extinguishing life itself. But Exxon has released its latest business plan: A 25% increase in oil output by 2025. The writing is on the wall. Have we become illiterate? TRG

It’s an old aphorism, that beauty is seen through the eye of the beholder. Indeed, there are many shades of beauty; no one holds the definitive view. But can the same maxim be applied to the sacred: What is sacred for some isn’t sacred for all. This may apply to certain rituals in a house of worship or beliefs and practices that hold meaning only to some and not others. 

Reciting a Buddhist chant at a sangha may not appear sacred for many. We can’t all agree that a certain painting or sculpture holds beauty. When I hear responses to my sermons it feels like we can’t agree on anything because of such vastly varying perspectives. And this is a good thing. It keeps conversation crisp, the artist humble, and keeps religious rituals from becoming too universal.

My question, however, is this: Are we widely varied in our appreciation of beauty when it comes to nature? A recent headline in the Salt Lake Tribune prompted this question: In Policy Change, Feds to Open Utah National Parks to ATVs. The accompanying photo captured mountain bikers on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands. Even the newspaper photo of the red rock took your breath away. It was both beautiful and touched a nerve within which even a skeptic wouldn’t hesitate to call “sacred.”

At a recent worship service led at Harvard Divinity School by Ali Asam, a professor of Islamic studies, he quoted the prophet Muhammad. In the Qur’an, a sacred text like all scriptures, it is written: God is beauty and loves beauty…all of creation, as a manifestation of the Divine, is beautiful.”

It seems that beauty and nature and sacred are all of one thread. One need not ascribe to a particular religious faith to feel the awe and splendor inherent in nature, ostensibly to be preserved in our National Parks. It was a given that whatever developers do to this earth in their persistent pursuit of endless monetary gains, the public would always find beauty and experience the sacred within the confines of a National Park.

The trust has been broken. The roar of an ATV will soon pierce the hushed silence beckoned by natural splendor. Machines destined to destroy the environment will soon tear up trails meant for gentle admirers. So much for the idea that God is beauty manifest in all of creation.

I have to wonder if white nationalism, in the guise of individual behavior or as a governmental power, has zero feeling or connection to beauty. I have tried to understand how decimating the aesthetics of red rock country can result in anything positive. Sure, the rationale is that the land belongs to us to destroy as we see fit. And destroying ecological habitats and sacred Indian artifacts are of no significance while pursuing personal pleasure on an ATV. In the hierarchy of man over beast and landscape, there is no such thing as beauty. 

I have to wonder if beauty sits at the core of our huge national divide. We’re not divided so much by left wing or right; by red state or blue. It’s about beauty. We see it so differently. Some see it as sacred to be respected; others see it as mundane to be abused for personal use. So perhaps the old aphorism still holds sway: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It makes me wonder if the divide will ever be healed. TRG


All The Things

Religious Education has had a BUSY month! We've had In-Gathering, hosted a church-wide potluck, and worshipped together. The 5th/6th-grade class not only learned about childhood illnesses, but they also took action and raised over $700 for Primary Children's Medical Center by selling bean soup between services. I can't wait to see what October brings us!

In Peace,
Amanda Esko 
Director of Religious Education

 

NEW FAMILY DINNER
Are you a new family to First Church looking to connect? Join us on October 21st at 6 pm for our New Family Dinner! This is a great opportunity to meet other new families, share a meal, and learn more about our program and church offerings. Dinner will be provided, please RSVP to Amanda Esko at . 

 

RE REGISTRATION
Join the RE Party! Registration for this church year is up and running, please register today! 

 

CHALICE LIGHTING FAMILIES
We're looking for chalice lighting families! Please signup to light our chalice in the main sanctuary!   Questions, email Amanda Esko at . Click here to register for Chalice Lighting

 

CLASSROOM VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Help! Our classrooms still need volunteers! Follow the link below to signup. Remember, we are a co-operative program, and need family support in order to maintain safe adult/youth ratios in classrooms!  Questions, email Amanda Esko at . Click here to sign up to volunteer

 

FAMILY FUN NIGHT

 
Boo! Let's start October off right with a Family Fun Night first, a movie sing-along! Join us on October 7th, at 6:15pm in Eliot Hall for dinner and a viewing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, singing along encouraged! Questions or dietary restrictions? Email Amanda Esko at  and let us know. See you on Monday! Click here to sign up for Family Fun Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Boo! Let's start October off right with a Family Fun Night first, a movie sing-along! Join us on October 7th, at 6:15pm in Eliot Hall for dinner and a viewing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, singing along encouraged!

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share. **Meeting October 7th instead of Sept 30th**

YOUNG ADULT GROUP: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. Our next social event is a Discussion with Monica in The Haven, Thursday October 10th at 7:30 pm. For more info or to RSVP, visit the Facebook group (First Unitarian SLC Young Adults), or email: , or reach out to Heather Drenckhahn.

NEW FAMILY DINNER: Are you a new family to First Church looking to connect? Join us on October 21st at 6 pm for our New Family Dinner! This is a great opportunity to meet other new families, share a meal, and learn more about our program and church offerings. Dinner will be provided, please RSVP to Amanda Esko at  

FIRST CHURCH HALLOWEEN SPOOK-TACULAR: Join us for pizza, games and a spooky sing along!  A suggested donation of $5 a family is appreciated!  October 29th 6pm in Eliot Hall.

DREAM GROUP: 4th Sunday 12:45 pm in Room 201

MEDITATION WALKS:  8am, Jordan River at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 S.

Mindfulness Meditation CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 10am, in the Parlor,
  • Third Wednesday Meetings:  Beginning October 16th 6:30pm in The Parlor

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday in Room 201 12:45pm.  Rise Up Nimbly And Go On Your Strange Journey; To The Ocean Of Meanings ...Rumi. 

SANCTUARY:  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have volunteers in Eliot Hall after both services ready to answer your questions and to help you engage or re-engage with Sanctuary.

  • VOLUNTEER: To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
  • BACKGROUND CHECK (New & Renew) Consent: http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT $15 donation. All Sanctuary Volunteers need to renew/upgrade their background checks to Level 2 
  • SANCTUARY TRAINING: Complete the training survey to let us know what days/times work for you: survey is included in the Background Check Consent form linked above. 
  • DONATE TO THE SANCTUARY FAMILY FUND: To donate by check, make check payable to: First Unitarian Church and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note. Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/sanctuary- fund OR https://slcuu.org/about/donate-online. You may also donate through the GIVELIFY app, just check the Sanctuary Family Fund. 
  • DONATE TO THE SANCTUARY DEFENSE FUND: To donate by check, make check payable to: First Unitarian Church and write: Sanctuary Defense Fund in the note. Online donations to the Sanctuary Defense Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/ about/donate-online. You do not need to create a profile. Click on the Click Here to Donate button (on the left of the donate online webpage), notice the Donations section of the form, enter the amount of your donation next to the Sanctuary Defense Fund choice, press continue, and follow the remaining instructions. You can also make a donation by smartphone with the GIVELIFY app.

WOMEN’S SACRED CIRCLE:  Second Tuesdays, The Haven 5:30 -7:30pm,  Course of Study: Rise Up And Call Her Name: LILITH.  During this course of study, we will learn about a variety of cultural traditions that honor goddesses and esteem women. We will also become acquainted with some of the beliefs that are associated with these traditions and how varied spiritual practices stimulate personal inner journeys. 

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY: Friday September 6th, 7-9pm, Eliot Hall

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Monday September 9th at 6:15pm. Eliot Hall

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share.

DREAM GROUP: 4th Sunday 12:45 pm in Room 201

MEDITATION WALKS:  Beginning September 24th 8am, Jordan River at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 S.

Mindfulness Meditation CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 10am, in the Parlor,
  • Third Wednesday Meetings:  Beginning October 16th 6:30pm in The Parlor

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday in Room 201 12:45pm.  Rise Up Nimbly And Go On Your Strange Journey; To The Ocean Of Meanings ...Rumi.  September 8th 2019 Course of Study: An Emerald Earth Felicia Norton & Charles Smith PhD  9-8-19 Part 1-Awakening to an Emerald Earth (pp 1-33)  Practice #1 Tranquility Meditation—Dwelling in the Space between Thoughts

SANCTUARY:  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have volunteers in Eliot Hall after both services ready to answer your questions and to help you engage or re-engage with Sanctuary.

  • VOLUNTEER: To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
  • BACKGROUND CHECK (New & Renew) Consent: http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT $15 donation. All Sanctuary Volunteers need to renew/upgrade their background checks to Level 2 
  • SANCTUARY TRAINING: Complete the training survey to let us know what days/times work for you: survey is included in the Background Check Consent form linked above. 
  • DONATE TO THE SANCTUARY FAMILY FUND: To donate by check, make check payable to: First Unitarian Church and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note. Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/sanctuary- fund OR https://slcuu.org/about/donate-online. You may also donate through the GIVELIFY app, just check the Sanctuary Family Fund. 
  • DONATE TO THE SANCTUARY DEFENSE FUND: To donate by check, make check payable to: First Unitarian Church and write: Sanctuary Defense Fund in the note. Online donations to the Sanctuary Defense Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/ about/donate-online. You do not need to create a profile. Click on the Click Here to Donate button (on the left of the donate online webpage), notice the Donations section of the form, enter the amount of your donation next to the Sanctuary Defense Fund choice, press continue, and follow the remaining instructions. You can also make a donation by smartphone with the GIVELIFY app.

WOMEN’S SACRED CIRCLE: September 10th; The Haven 5:30 -7:30pm,  Course of Study: Rise Up And Call Her Name: LILITH.  During this course of study, we will learn about a variety of cultural traditions that honor goddesses and esteem women. We will also become acquainted with some of the beliefs that are associated with these traditions and how varied spiritual practices stimulate personal inner journeys. During this opening session, we will explore what it means to take a journey to Earth-based spiritual traditions around the globe. Because woman honoring religious imagery has often been devalued, we will together reclaim the first wife of Adam, known as Lilith.

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn


All The Things

Why do we teach High School OWL (Our Whole Lives)? Because STI's are on the rise among Salt Lake County youth. Because even though they took OWL in 8th or 9th grade, in 8th and 9th grade they didn't have a serious partner, who they are NOW doing SERIOUS things with. Because they see babies, and think having one can't possibly be that hard. Because, because, because. OWL is not just about the act of sex. Let's say that again for the people in the cheap seats, OWL IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE PHYSICAL ACT OF SEX. It is so, so much more. It's a safe space, with trusted adults and friends to ask questions. It's a group where they can learn how to do a self-breast or self-testicular exam (did you know that more than half of the men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer are between age 20 and 45?) I know our families make their homes safe spaces for their kids to ask questions. But you are dreaming if you think that every question your youth has is going to be directed at you, not their friends. Our OWL classes are open to all, not just families who are already enrolled in RE at First Church. Tell your friends who have High School aged youth. Let's give them another time and space to be in community, learn, and ask their very important questions.

In Peace,

Amanda Esko 
Director of Religious Education

OWL

High School OWL(Our Whole Lives) High School, will meet twice a month, on Sunday evenings. Please know that these classes do fill up, but priority is given to families registered and established in our Religious Education program.  Click here for High School OWL Registration .  Questions? Email Amanda Esko at


RE Registration

Join the RE Party! Registration for this church year is up and running, please register today!  Click here to for RE Registration 

 



Chalice Lighting Families
We're looking for chalice lighting families! Please signup to light our chalice in the main sanctuary!
Help! With RE beginning next week, our classrooms all still need volunteers! Follow the link below to signup. Remember, we are a co-operative program, and need family support in order to maintain safe adult/youth ratios in classrooms!  Click here for Volunteer Signup 
 
 RE Calendar
September 5- COA Parent Orientation
September 8- In-Gathering
September 9- Family Fun Night
September 15- Welcome Back Potluck
September 15- HS OWL Parent Orientation
September 22- Activities Fair
September 29- COA Ropes Course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week I faced the U.S. flag, pledged allegiance to it, and sang the national anthem, all while placing my right hand over my heart. I had only a fleeting impulse to take a knee, or not cross my heart, or not even stand. But I proceeded with these patriotic exercises nonetheless, and felt proud.

I was in Fairfax, VA, witnessing my son-in-law take the oath in becoming a U.S. citizen. He’s from Bangladesh, married my daughter almost seven years ago, but still faced relentless scrutiny while traveling. With a middle name of Mohammed, it sure ain’t easy entering the U.S. But he likes to say he only travels with his lawyer (my daughter). When you string together the number of hours they have been detained, it would equal a month worth of humiliating searches and intimidating cross-examinations. 

But there we were, the three of us in a crowded room, following the protocol for all the rituals on the road to becoming a citizen. Everyone was instructed several times about crossing one’s heart when saying the pledge, as though noncompliance could possibly nullify the mountain of paperwork and endless anxiety in dealing with immigration bureaucrats. Nobody was going to take that chance.

But despite feeling like one was being processed on an assembly line, a mood of joy mingled with relief and pride. My son-in-law’s ceremony included sixty-six people representing thirty-nine different nations from around the world. There was one from Germany, England, Canada, and Ukraine. Everyone else was dark-skinned or Asian, lifted by a spirit of new beginnings/new life. 

We sat through a video of Donald Trump reminding us how great it was to be an American, and a video of Madeleine Albright, an immigrant herself, addressing the unlimited possibilities in America for immigrants. We all pledged, and sang, and waved little American flags, and finally, one-by-one, each immigrant was called by name to receive her or his naturalization papers. Each immigrant took the certificate as though receiving an Oscar. Smiles and tears and love and laughter filled the room. 

I felt enormous delight that my dear son-in-law could travel now with a U.S. passport, eliminating the duress of going through customs. But the contradictions ricocheted around my mind: Immigrants are not welcome in our country; endless opportunities do not exist for people of color; Democratic principles are on the chopping block. And yet…there is still an ideal of America we seem to carry in our hearts. It’s like a blueprint for a country that strives for equality and justice, even when it stumbles along the path to freedom. I realized that despite my criticism of our nation’s hard right turn, I was not about to forsake my U.S. citizenship. Hope for this country is unfailing and all enduring. My son-in-law can now join the rest of us Americans in turning this country around

We went to dinner that night at their favorite restaurant in Alexandria. When my daughter made the reservation she was asked if it was a special occasion. She explained the circumstances, thinking nothing of it. The whole restaurant staff must have been alerted. When we arrived, the African American bartender fixed us free drinks. When moving to the dining room, our table was draped with the American flag. Our Korean waiter told us he had become a citizen just the year before. Then a guy from the kitchen crew came out to greet us. He was from Bangladesh. They babbled on in Bangla as though they were brothers. 

It was a slice of America that filled me with warm sentiments. Not the free drinks, but the international tapestry of immigrants, still counting on making their dreams come true in this country. They each have a story to tell. And all their stories together comprise the threads of American greatness, making it incumbent upon us all to realize our nation’s potential. TRG


New Church Administrator(s)…

It has not been easy filling the church administrator position following 15 years of Hal’s dedication. The church has grown both in numbers and complexity over that span of time. Although painful for everyone involved, we have learned some important lessons along the way. The UUA has actually broken down the administrator position into three levels: church administrator, business administrator, and financial executive. We were unclear about these distinctions because we’ve been coasting with the same person for many years. 

A year ago we hired Carol who was (easily) one of the more beloved staff persons ever. We found out the hard way that while she served as the perfect administrator, she agreed that the position actually required further skills. We then hired Philippe who has an MBA and tremendous international experience in accounting. A financial executive fell unwittingly into our laps, but we could not afford the salary for that level. Although Philippe was delighted to work here (we do have a very congenial staff), he was tapped for another position that could pay him what his high level of expertise deserved. 

In searching for a new “business administrator,” we were very pleased to receive 13 applications.  From this unexpected large pool of applicants we are pleased to announce that we have selected Margaret Kosorok to serve the church as our new Church Administrator.  Please welcome her warmly as our newest staff member.


Among ourselves…

It was a summer of many losses in our congregation. Earlier this summer, we held services for Pete Peterson and Marion Nelson. Recently we suffered the losses of Julie Swaner and Rawlins Young. Their respective celebrations of life will be held much later: For Julie it will probably be in March. We will make announcements beforehand so everyone knows. For Rawlins, please note there will be a viewing on September 5thfrom 6:00 -8:00 p.m. at Holbrook Mortuary on 3251 South 2300 East; a graveside service on September 6that 1:00 at the Salt Lake Cemetery; and a celebration of Rawlins’ life at First Unitarian on September 29that 4:00.

As a congregation, we all grieve the loss and extend our love and sympathy to the families. We are grateful for a community in which we can come together to share joys and sorrows with the wonderful people who comprise this church community.