‘Vision meeting’ to involve leaders for planning session March 26

The Executive Committee is calling a special meeting on Tuesday, March 26, for committee chairs and other leaders (as well as anyone else choosing to attend) in order to plan for the coming year.

The Executive Committee members, chairs of other committees (or persons designated by them), and others interested in Fellowship planning will:

  •  engage in discussion of how we can improve communication with one another;
  • share ideas for the upcoming 2013-14 pledge campaign.

Those attending may an appetizer or dish to share. Dessert and beverages will be provided. The chair or some other delegate is expected from each at this meeting, which is also open to other interested people.

For a complete listing of committees, please go to: http://www.uuathensoh.org/new/members/committees.htm

“What Passover Means to a Secular Jew – My Four Questions” by Dr. Laini Burstein on March 24

What are these questions?

  • Why does an atheist lead a Seder, the ritual Passover meal modeled on a Roman banquet?
  • Why commemorate the ostensible Exodus from Egypt over 3000 years ago, despite scant evidence supporting the existence of Moses?
  • Why proclaim joyfully “next year in Jerusalem” when the heart-wrenching Israeli-Palestinian conflict leaves so many people bitterly at odds?
  • Why celebrate the ancient liberation of my people, their enslavement dashed under the specter of long ago? Plagues, when billions of people around the globe today are yet starving and oppressed?

Please join Dr. Burstein as she shares her feelings about the vital importance of
keeping Pesach – a time to welcome the season of planting, reflect on the cost of freedom, and look ahead to the hope of peace.

Growing Together – March 2013

by Rev. Evan Young

Here we are, flush with excitement after an inspiring annual meeting at which we celebrated our achievements, appreciated our leaders, selected our representatives, and adopted an ambitious budget for the coming fiscal year.

So what are you going to do about it? It’s time to think about this now, because sometime in the not-too-distant future you’re going to be asked to express in concrete, dollar-and-cents terms how you value this community — you’ll be asked to make a pledge.

The question that’s coming is not about keeping the lights and the heat on here. It’s not about paying the bills or the pastor or the costs of maintaining and improving our building. It’s about who you want to become.Because what our faith community is for is to transform the individual and society — to move us all in the direction of a vision we hold sacred. And for all our fits and starts and missteps in living into this purpose, we are committed to articulating that vision together, and moving toward it with passion, courage, determination, and compassion.

The question that’s coming, then, is about how you’re going to conform your life, including your financial life, to express in real terms how important this vision is to you. And how much you love this community that works to make it real. And I’m bringing it up now because I want you to have had time to think hard about how boldly you can act. Will your answer be a resolute step toward our shared vision, and toward the person you yearn to become? Only you can say.

Growing Together – Feb 2013

by Reverend Evan Young

We Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. It’s the third of our seven principles. We believe that no one should be dehumanized through acts of exclusion, oppression, or violence because of his or her identity.

A simple enough idea — but as evidenced by a hate-motivated shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in 2008, not a universal one. In the wake of that shooting, the Uni-tarian Universalist Association created Standing on the Side of Love, an interfaith public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) elevates compassionate religious voices to influence public attitudes and public policy, harnessing love’s power to challenge exclusion, oppression, and violence based on sexual orienta-tion, gender identity, immigration status, race, religion, or any other identity.

This month marks the fourth year of “30 Days of Love.” Created by SSL, this event grew out of an inspiration to reimagine Valentine’s Day as a social justice holiday, and now is a month-long spiritual journey and commitment to sustained action and service. Individuals, groups, and congrega-tions throughout North America “make love real in the world” by engaging in community service and work for social justice, by proclaiming their commitment to inclusive community and compas-sionate public policy, and by putting into practice the ideals that have long animated and distin-guished our faith/community/tradition/movement.

In the contentious and vitriolic public square, UUs are called to stand on the side of love. In the face of shocking acts motivated by fear and hate, we aspire to stand on the side of love. Wherever peo-ple are excluded, oppressed, marginalized, and dehumanized, we stand on the side of love. Check out www.standingonthesideoflove.org. How will you stand on the side of love?

Seniors review UUFA meeting places from 1956 to the present day

On Sunday, February 10, Arline McCarthy, Bob Borchard, Milt Ploghoft, Ruth and Chuck Overby, Bob and Lois Whealey, William Beale, Dru Riley Evarts, and Jimmy Tong was the senior citizen group that reviewed the history of the various  housing choices of our Unitarian (later UU) group as it rose from infancy to a congregation large enough and imaginative enough to build the one-of-a-kind art structure we have called home since 1970.

Ploghoft spoke of the very earliest days, when the group met in homes and the old Hillel Foundation on University Terrace near the present Gordy Hall. It even met in Gordy (then called the Music Hall). Of those places, all except Gordy are now gone.

Next was a small church that Jimmy and Harriet Tong had bought on Hocking Street, with a parsonage behind where the Tongs lived and where the Sunday School kids met every week. Jimmy recently sold that house; the new owners razed the church just a few weeks ago. Jimmy told us about the Fellowship’s five years on Hocking Street, complete with photos of the adults in the church and the kids in the house.

Lois and Bob Whealey reviewed our next three “homes” and showed photos of them — Beacon  School (then off Terrace Drive), West Side School (on Central Avenue) and the Seventh Day Adventist Church (on Morris Avenue). They related a number of adventures that happened during those four years or so.

Then came William Beale, the chief figure in overseeing the construction of a solid cement-block building (he called it a box) on which artist John Spofforth could hang the beautiful, imaginative brick work that has become our signature as free thinkers and appeciators of beauty. He told some great stories, as did the others on the program, but time was too short to go deeply into these things.

Artist John Spofforth could not be with us, but he sent some beautiful writing about his thoughts as he designed the building, the “altar” in the grove, and the columbarium. These passages were read by Bob Borchard, who had made two sets of entry doors for the building, and Arline McCarthy, who also talked about her late husband, Cliff’s, artistry on the north wall and the decorative balusters on the deck.

Cameron Foster videotaped the program so others could see it, the Public Access TV station could show it, and we could preserve it in our history. Dru Riley Evarts arranged and moderated the program. Jimmy Tong  also played the piano for the service.