2020 Virtual Giving Tree In early December, Green Leaf community leaders spent time connecting with 15 Green Leaf families to listen to their needs and wishes to create the Giving Tree list. Then over 30 WUUC members and friends donated Giving Tree gifts to those families, providing for their basic needs as well as some special gifts during this holiday season.
On distribution day, Advocates for Social Justice members Pam Green and Cora Goss-Grubbs were joined by several staff from Arrowhead elementary school — the school that many Green Leaf children attend — to greet the families and begin getting to know them face-to-face. (Come back next month for more about our work with Arrowhead staff and Green Leaf leaders building trusting relationships that foster equity and school success.)
Green Leaf leaders expressed deep gratitude – here is a note from one of them, Tami Siemers: “My family would like to extend our gratitude to all involved with helping our community. This process has been an experience that I don’t have all the words to describe — it was overwhelming with positive results. You have given us hope and light, and made a little girl’s Christmas wish come true.”
The Giving Tree organizers also feel gratitude to our church community for addressing the inequity especially felt during the holiday season, and doing so with generosity, spirit, and a personal touch.
Special Sunday Collections
November’s special collection raised $310 for TRUUsT (Transgender Religious professional UUs Together), an organization of trans Unitarian Universalists who are living out a call to ministry within Unitarian Universalism. Its mission is to advocate for the gifts, safety, liberation, and leadership of trans religious professionals in Unitarian Universalist ministries and institutions.
Our ASJ special collection on Dec. 20 will go to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. The total amount raised is not yet tallied. The UUSC is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates. We hope you will consider giving generously to UUSC’s important work.
Our next special collection, during the service on Jan. 21, will go to NAMI. The National Association of Mental Illness is a community-based non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life for those impacted by mental illness through advocacy, education, and support.
The ASJ Committee thanks WUUC members and friends for their generous support of our monthly special collections, which take place during services on the third Sunday of every month. Instructions for giving are posted during the service, and you can also donate anytime the following week at https://onrealm.org/wuuc/-/give/now, or by sending a check to WUUC at P.O. Box 111, Woodinville, WA 98072. Please make checks out to WUUC and write “ASJ Special Collection” in the notes.
By Donna Johnson Worship Team Chair We have changed the title of the WUUC Worship Associates to Worship Leaders. This reflects the responsibilities of this dedicated group of WUUC lay members you see beside our minister (well, virtually beside) each week.
In addition to assisting with worship services, Worship Leaders collaborate with the ordained minister and others in planning, preparing, and evaluating worship services. In these activities, Worship Leaders are like members of a small band who not only play an instrument, but also help set the tone and hold the energy when the band is performing as well as plan strategically for the future.
Each week, our Worship Leaders help bring many people together in the common task of creating meaningful worship. Our Worship Leaders exhibit leadership qualities such as a strong sense of the purpose of each worship service, the ability to communicate with the team, and a “Servant Leader” focus on the well-being of the WUUC community.
Each month, WUUC explores a theme of the month… January’s Soul Matters theme is IMAGINATION.
The question we will explore is: What does it mean to be a people of Imagination? Here are a few thoughts to ponder as we consider, discuss, learn and play with this theme.
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Imagination’s great gift is improvement. At least that is what adults are usually taught. Yes, imagination can help to heal the world. Imagination moves us forward. It makes us better.
We are urged to imagine and build the world we dream of. A world with more justice. More peace. More love.
And to do this work, we are often called to imagine a world that is real, but broken. To imagine pain and suffering that we have not experienced; hunger and starvation, poverty, violence, war, oppression, tyranny and, for many, insurmountable suffering of the heart, mind, and spirit.
But Imagination isn’t just a force that drives us forward toward a more perfect future,
There are ways in which this view of imagination can impoverish us. It can steal the stage. It can shut out the experience of the perfection of the present. When we review what has been painful in our past, and what could be problematic in our future, we suffer unnecessarily.
Imagination pulls the sacred into our impoverished present. Through the lens of imagination, we can perceive the common as precious, even miraculous.
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Perhaps our most important work is to re-imagine imagination.
When you got out of bed this morning. After a shower, you didn’t just pull on fresh clothes, you also pulled out a jewelry box and slipped on your grandmother’s ring. As you slid it on your finger, she slid, not just into your memory, but into your day. Now, because of imagination, you aren’t just elegant, you’re accompanied.
Or how about that invisible friend of yours when you were a child? Imagination made sure you didn’t travel through those early years alone. It conjured up a loyal friend.
The laughter of our children becomes the sound of angels. Sunshine on our face becomes a greater treasure than gold.
… Wouldn’t it be great if we walked around surrounded by our souls, so that they were the first things people saw… Then people would judge us by who we really are. … Imagine no more racism, ageism, sexism, fatism, shortism, homophobia. Imagine falling in love with who a person is, just by looking at them. … Imagine people knowing by your soul…
What will become of a failure? What can be built with an honest mistake? Keep paying attention. Keep dreaming and supposing that more is possible. We don’t know the ending. And if you are tired, then it must be time to rest. Staying curious is like a muscle. We flex – reaching for what we don’t yet know. And relax – leaving space for what is yet to come.
Rev. Theresa I. Soto
The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
If a fairy could grant me one wish, it would be to give every child an imagination that would last a lifetime.
This article was Inspired by Soul Matters January 2021. It was adapted and embellished, and some parts were copied, by Linda Sherry.
By Wendy Condrat Here are six recommendations for those who have a new relationship with trees after reading Richard Powers’ “The Overstory.”
“Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot” by Peter Crane
“American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree” by Susan Freinkel
“Oak: The Frame of Civilization “ by William Bryant Logan
“Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit” by Andrew Moore
“ The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring” by Richard Preston
Each of these stories traces the history and rich contributions to America’s past as to our dependence and love of these trees, despite their disappearance from our landscape. (In a matter of decades, the American Chestnut was eradicated.)
And if you have not read “The Overstory,” begin with that as a lengthy but gripping historically fictional but factual journey into eco-forestry.
Join us on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. via Zoom for a meeting of the WUUC Nonfiction Book Club, hosted by Alaine Davis. We will discuss “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama. RSVP to Alaine, email@example.com.
One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2020
A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy
In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.
Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of Nov. 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office.
Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. — Barnes and Noble
Four times a year, the WUUC Book Discussion Group gathers to read and talk about a nonfiction book. You only attend the meetings about books that interest you, so we end up with a different group of participants every time. We meet to connect and talk about a book in depth. Anyone is welcome to suggest a book and/or lead a discussion. Contact Alaine to RSVP, suggest a book, or offer to host a future discussion.