Live Streaming of UUA General Assembly at UUFP

UUA GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2017 LIVESTREAM AT UUFP

General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Attendees worship, witness, learn, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Join UUFP Members and Friends to witness GA via Livestreaming!.

Thurs June 22           7pm – 10:30pm UUFP Library

Thursday Morning Worship ~ Business Meeting ~ Service of the Living Tradition

Fri       June 23           7pm – 10:30pm UUFP Sanctuary

Friday Morning Worship ~ Business Meeting ~ Presidential Candidates Forum

Sat       June 24           8:30pm – 9:30pm UUFP Sanctuary

UUA Annual Ware Lecture Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Mr. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and recently won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. EJI has also initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts challenging the legacy of racial inequality in America. Mr. Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the Olaf Palme International Prize, the ACLU National Medal Of Liberty, the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award, the Gruber Prize for International Justice and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award. In 2015, he was named to the Time 100 recognizing the world’s most influential people. Recently, he was named in Fortune’s 2016 World’s Greatest Leaders list. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, has been awarded 26 honorary doctorate degrees and is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. He is the recent author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 best books of nonfiction for 2014 and has been awarded several honors including the Carnegie Medal by the American Library Association for the best nonfiction book of 2014 and a 2015 NAACP Image Award.

Sun      June 25           12pm – 5pm UUFP Sanctuary

Morning Worship ~ Final Business Meeting ~ Closing Ceremony

UUFP: Nurturing Spiritual Journeys ~ Embracing Diversity ~ Celebrating Community ~ Turning Values into Action.

March on Harrisburg

 

UUFP hosted a group of 25 activists on Monday evening, May 15th to aid in their March from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. The March was a “non-partisan state-wide volunteer effort to heal our wounded democracy.” Their goal was to present 3 bills to the Harrisburg legislature: • ban unlimited gifts • end gerrymandering • create automatic voter registration Desiree coordinated with the organizers of the March, which enabled the activists to have a hearty evening meal, a safe place to “crash” overnight and a good breakfast to send them on their way to Reading the next day.

For more information on the March please visit http://www.marchonharrisburg.org/ Thank you to everyone who contributed food for the marchers. As expressed by this joyous pie eater, it was thoroughly enjoyed and happily consumed!

UUFP Social Action

 

“The Sea is Rising and So are We”

On April 29th, 2017, 17 members and friends of UUFP turned their values into action as they joined hundreds of concerned citizens at the Pottstown Climate March. Co-organized by UUFP members and UU Action Chair Desiree Peterman, The Pottstown Climate March invited participants to march to: “protect our right to clean air, water, land and healthy communities, promote preservation of our natural landscape and wildlife, ensure public funds and investments are directed towards sustainable technologies that transition our world to a cleaner, renewable energy economy that works for all, encourage investment in and focus on environmental education, and exercise our basic rights to protest and free speech”. Several elected officials from both parties were invited to attend the march, but only Representative Ryan Costello (R) attended. Costello did not march, but was able to spend time meeting and discussing concerns with marchers as they arrived. The march, one of about 300 in the U.S and internationally, began at the Hill School
in Pottstown and continued down High Street ending at Riverfront Park for a climate rally. Marchers came prepared with creative, homemade signs and chants urging action to fight climate change and protect valuable resources. As the march progressed down High Street, several inspired locals joined the demonstration and many others expressed their support via cheers, honks, thumbs up, and high fives. In between chants, UUFP members and friends instilled hope among the crowd with moving songs such as “We Shall Overcome” and “Peace, Salaam, Shalom”. After the march, participants gathered at Riverfront Park for a rally with environmental speakers, clean energy providers, food vendors, music, and various children’s activities. UUFP hosted an informational table, and member Cyndi Buell-Hall offered free children’s face painting. Moving forward, UUFP members and friends will continue the fight to protect the Earth, working to ensure a healthy world for future generations.

UUFP Gardens

The vegetable garden looks beautiful. For our spring planting we’re growing snap peas, carrots, arugula, spinach, kale, collars and radishes. Many of the spring planted vegetables are ready to harvest and they look very nutritious and delicious. Our volunteers do a great job. We were admiring the dark dirt as we were planting the summer vegetables on Tuesday May 23rd . We have many kinds of tomatoes. Yellow and red cherry tomatoes, Beefsteak and purple tomatoes along with basil and African tall marigolds growing from seed. We’ve also planted sweet summer red peppers and jalapeno peppers. We’re going to do our best in fighting off the squash bugs in the hopes that we have a plentiful harvest of cucumbers this year. Last year’s cucumber crop was decimated by these voracious bugs. Last but not least there will be some arugula available. Any donation received for the arugula will be used to fund the garden.

Ginny

From the Minister’s Desk, June 2017

I begin my summer break on June 18th for two months returning on August 18th. For me it is a time of rest and renewal, but the work of the church goes on. I will not be present to lead you for this period. That means that you will more intentionally have to minister to each other as you already do. We will continue to learn and grow in how to best treat each other and more fully share the responsibility of leadership. What the congregation is doing is not letting go so much as more fully sharing some of the burden and responsibility of leadership. When I return in August to begin my third year as your minister, we will quicken the pace of growing our congregation and securing our financial future. We will do this through greater stewardship participation and redoubling our efforts to be a more welcoming, embracing community. We can do this by keeping our mission and vision alive in our hearts. Together we can be more welcoming through a radical hospitality to each other and all who visit. It is only through welcoming and retaining new members will we be able to offer more ministry time and services. With Ethan as our new Religious Education Director I see a bright hope to attract more families with children and more enriching adult programing. This is an exciting time to be an active participant in the life of UUFP. We have the ability, if you are willing, to grow our community and move out of a survivor’s mode of thinking into an active, thriving community. Until I return I wish you a healthy, happy summer.

Yours in Faith,

    Rev. Paul

       678-939-4854                minister@uupottstown.org

Sunday Service, June 25, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

What is Moravianism?       Rev Dr. Stephen Nicholas

Our guest speaker is a retired Moravian minister. Rev. Nicholas is a native of York, Pennsylvania, and was ordained there in the First Moravian Church in 1967. He is a graduate of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, and earned the Doctor of Ministry from Lancaster, Pa. Theological Seminary. Rev. Nicholas will give us an introduction to the Moravian way of following Jesus by introducing us to the center of faith for Moravians. His message, called “The Moravians and the Religion of the Heart,” was originally delivered at Union Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia, in the fall of 2007. He is revising his message to suit us here at the UUF of Pottstown. At the conclusion of the message, there will be a time for questions.

Sunday Service, June 11, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Alcoholism: Thief and Killer                   Lay Leader: Cyndi Buell-Hall

Alcoholism, indeed all addictions, are much in the news today. Too many people still see addiction as a lifestyle choice instead of a biological disease. We will examine the disease model of alcoholism and attempt to put prejudice to rest.

Sunday Sermon – Moral Courage and Resistance – May 7, 2017

Moral courage and Resistance

Rev. Paul D. Daniel

 

Yom Ha’Shoah or as some refer to it as

 

 Holocaust Remembrance Day, was memorialized this past April 23rd.

 

Jewish communities prefer not to call

 

the dreadful events of the 1930’s and 40’s the Holocaust,

 

because of that word’s original meaning was of a burnt offering made to God.

 

Jews and others know there was no sacred offering.

 

Rather, the lives of six million Jews (and many others) were murdered

 

and if there was an offering it was to

 

the evil idea of racial purification, not to God.

 

The Hebrew term, Yom Ha’ Shoah  means day of the destruction, or day of the catastrophe.

 

And indeed, it was a destruction and a catastrophe, marked each year.

 

So today we remember, and because

 

so many families were completely wiped out,

 

leaving no one to say Kaddish in honor of the parents after they died,

 

we will close this time of candles with an English translation of that traditional prayer.

 

I light this first candle for the Shoah, the extermination of so many Jews, gays, gypsies, the handicapped, intellectuals and artists and dissenters.

 

Some of our own UUs were included in that great destruction,

 

among whom we remember Norbert Capek, the Czech Unitarian who

 

left us the ceremony of flower communion.

 

This dreadful chapter in human history is still not over:

 

Within the last year, a Nazi prison guard

 

who is alleged to have been part of the killing of several thousand Jews

 

was ordered deported from the United States where he has been living all these years.

 

At 89, he was ruled too frail to stand trial, and

 

the disposition of the case for his deportation and trial is still under consideration.

We light our first  candle] as a symbol of the sadism and brutality committed against each other.

 

Human savagery has been endemic throughout the ages of man.

 

There have been mass exterminations throughout history

 

From Genghis Khan to the

 

Turkish slaughter of the Armenians in

 

the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century under the Turkish republic.

 

These same struggles continue in our time against, repression and brutality.

 

Resistance to these forces mandatory and never feudal.

 

Had the Jews and the rest of the world not cowered in denial

 

about the rhetoric and action of Hitler

 

millions of people would not have fallen to the forces of hatred and prejudice.

 

This very day, we are all called to

 

use truth and moral courage to resist

 

the anti-democratic fear inducing tweets that

 

uses vailed language of exclusion of minorities and the marginalized to

 

scapegoat whole groups of people as

 

the cause for all the ills of this country.

 

We ignore these events at our own peril

 

and doom ourselves to repeat the excesses of a previous hateful time.

 

One only has to look to this very day

 

in Syria, Iraq or the Ukraine to know

 

such disregard for human dignity and life itself is ubiquitous.

 

The grief of so many victims is a stain on all of humanity.

 

Such pain, death and destruction

 

have no national boundaries and too

 

many peoples across this globe and through all the ages have suffered

 

their own Yom Ha’shoah, each a day of personal destruction, despair and catastrophe.

 

Our own country has been complicit

 

in the extermination of so many, to many native people.

 

We all need to be ashamed of our duplicitous history that left between

 

20 to 100 million indigenous people murdered since white Europeans came to their lands.

 

This shaming and persecution of

 

native people has left deep scars of

 

humiliation, suffering that continue right to this very day.

 

Last February, the Trump administration has approved the

 

previously blocked Dakota/Keystone pipe line to run through sacred Indian lands

 

with the strong potential to pollute local drinking water.

 

This decision is one of greed over people.

 

Just a few short months ago, in recognition of these issues many UU

 

stood hand in hand in the cold with the tribes most negatively impacted.

 

Sadly, victory turned to defeat when

 

the government changed hand and

 

Republicans took back all of congress and the presidency.

 

History teaches us that power tends

 

to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton1837–1869).

 

In the political realm oppression and scapegoating begins at the highest levels of government.

 

We are already witnessing disturbing echo of totalitarian rule in

 

Washington with executive orders that violate the constitution,

 

administration officials who lie without flinching and violate ethics laws with ignorance or impunity.

 

The courts are attacked and the judges defamed personally on the

 

of their origins and because the

 

President does not understand or respect the strict separation of powers between our three branches of government.

 

The administration seems to be filled with those who have exhibited

 

prejudice against certain groups of Americans

 

starting with the new Attorney General tasked to impartially upholding the law.

 

When the rule of law is ignored or abridged,

 

then all our cherished rights are in danger.

 

Those with white privilege may not be first to lose their rights nor will they be spared.

I

f we were to extending what is now happening to its sinister conclusion,

 

it is not a far reach to see oppression of certain groups grow and fester into

 

outright hostility and violence like what we saw in the 1930s and 1940s.

 

Are we to have our own ethnic cleansing of brown people and

 

immigrants, and see further diminishment of people of color

 

through enhanced stop and frisk and increased mass incarceration and

 

other restrictions of basic human right under the guise of protecting the

 

public from terrorism and violence in our streets.

 

While I fully acknowledge, we have legitimate concerns in these areas we all know from history it can be

 

taken to extremes as we saw in the last century.

 

Groups can be singled out for special scrutiny and persecution if we do not

 

hold tight to and defend to our rights guaranteed in the constitution.

 

Regardless of our political views we

 

must all be vigilant that the rule of law is followed.

 

Resistance to tyranny is mandatory to save our very souls.

 

This is not a partisan issue.

 

Rather it is a time for all of us to

 

revisit our constitution and then stand up for democracy before it is too late.

 

As a Jew, I have always believed that

 

another holocaust could happen somewhere in the world

 

when good people do nothing in the face of oppression and unchecked power.

 

Those who stoke our fears to justify

 

oppression in its many forms must be

 

opposed by all people of faith and all of us who love this country.

 

As UUs, our core value is the believe in the worth and dignity of all people as part of the connected web of all existence.

 

It is our sacred duty and calling as Unitarian Universalists to

 

stand against governmental powers when used inappropriately to demean certain groups of people.

 

We UUs have a long and storied history of defending the right of

 

the oppressed and standing on the

 

side of love and justice against tyranny.

 

Now more than ever our commitment to justice calls us to resistance and action.

 

We are all called to stand up to

 

defend our freedom and speak out

 

again injustice where ever it rears its’ ugly head,

 

starting in our national and state capitals.

 

If we do nothing when we see people abused and maligned,

 

we open the door to another day of catastrophe somewhere in the world.

 

Now, I light another candle for the failures to act, and for the

 

remembrance of those times when it might have helped.

[light candle]

 

And I light another candle of hope

 

that the world community will find ways to intervene in situations where

 

religious, ethnic, economic or political tensions are threatening to

 

turn repressive and murderous.

 

May there be no more days of destruction, days of catastrophe, anywhere in the world. Never again.

 

[light candle]

 

Now in closing, Let us speak

 

the words of the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead,

 

on behalf of all those children who perished with their parents and those

 

children and young people who never had a chance to have children of their own.

 

These words are also for all who are

 

oppressed and endangered by the laws and actions that occur in every country.

 

The words are in your order of service.

 

Unison words to honor the dead:

 

Let the glory of God be extolled. Let Your great name be hallowed, in the world whose creation You willed. May Your sovereign rule soon prevail, in our own day, our own lives, and the life of all Israel, and let us say: Amen.

Let your great name be blessed forever and ever.

Let the name of the Holy Blessed One be glorified, exalted, and honored, although You are beyond all the praises, songs, and adorations that we can utter, and let us say: Amen.

For us and for all Israel (and by extension to the whole of creation), may the blessing of peace and the promise of life come true, and let us say: Amen.

May the one who makes peace in the high places, let peace descend on us, on all Israel (indeed, all the world), and let us say: Amen.