By Carol Taylor
One of the things I appreciate about being a UU is our willingness to question previous doctrine and tradition, and adapt to what is needed here and now. Check out the latest issue of UU World, Stitching a Layered Faith, for stories of how the UUA and UU organizations are addressing changes outlined in the Widening the Circle of Concern report from the Commission on Institutional Change. “This ability to grow, change, and adapt is a fundamental expression of our living tradition” (from “Embracing an Ethic of Love” by Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray). “Unitarian Universalist programs seek not only social justice in the wider society, but cultural transformation within” (from “Change from the Inside Out” by Elaine McArdle). If you have not had a chance to read the WCOC report, it’s available in full online and there are hard copies available at the church. See for yourself what issues are being discussed and considered.
By Carol Taylor and Erika Jackson Kirkendall
Join us for a screening of the award-winning documentary On the Divide on June 29th. The film follows the story of three Latinx people living in McAllen, Texas who, despite their views, are connected by the most unexpected of places: the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border. As threats to the clinic and their personal safety mount, our three characters are forced to make decisions they never could have imagined.
The rights of child-bearing folks are under increasing threat in our country. “On the Divide is a slice of what is happening around reproductive rights on the ground.” Join us for a compelling look at the complex issue of personal reproductive choice and its impact on people’s lives.
Our own Erika Jackson Kirkendall has deep family connections to the community of McAllen. She will help us lead an in-person discussion after the showing. If you would like to make arrangement to view the film remotely, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional participation details to follow closer to the event.
We invite you to come join the Golden Girls for lunch the last Thursday in June, the 30th, at 11:30am. All women are welcome! We will again eat at McMenamins Tavern on the Square. The address is 18607 Bothell Way NE, Bothell. We will be eating outdoors under cover and with heat lamps if needed.
We will have good conversations and deepen our friendships so mark your calendars for June 30th and plan to be with us! Watch for the reminder closer to the date.
Teaching music has resulted in many unspoken rewards for me. However, I always kept in the back of my mind, what a Los Angeles teacher once wrote in the L.A. Times. She said, “Get your lovin’ somewhere else!”
In my early years, I gave young children piano lessons at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where I was part of the Young People’s faculty. Many teaching skills needed to be developed such as choosing music suitable to their age and developmental stage. At the same time, I was studying music education at a local university.
My favorite school district was in Long Beach, CA where they had a very well developed music program, because of the consultants in the music department who had an outstanding vision of what a school music program could be. I was a traveling vocal music teacher, visiting classrooms in K-6.
Classroom music was important, but it was in the glee clubs that selected students learned the value of hard work as they prepared 2- and 3-part songs for festivals and PTA programs. They learned the importance of perseverance and cooperation in achieving a higher musical goal. Every spring, the L.A. philharmonic performed for 5th and 6th graders. These classes were given special listening lessons to prepare them for the concert experience. Important listening skills were developed.
My volunteer work began when I moved to Kirkland in 1991. I discovered our new church and began to participate in the choir. The group needed a soprano so I sang with them until they needed an accompanist. Later on, I served on the music committee when the church was ready to hire a choir director and accompanist. I also helped the search committee discover our beautiful grand piano.
To me, a life in music reflects the ultimate source of spiritual and transcendental experiences. I feel much gratitude for having made a small contribution this source. Perhaps not very practical, but ESSENTIAL.
Dear WUUC Community,
Last month, our Worship Team collaborated with the folks at Evergreen UU Fellowship in Marysville to do a collaborative service honoring Easter and Passover. It went well, and I think everyone involved learned a lot by shaking things up and doing things a little differently than we normally would. The EUUF folks taught us some things about how they do worship, and we showed them some of what we’ve learned from transitioning to hybrid (in-person and virtual) worship services.
The lesson that sticks with me most from that experience, however, wasn’t about how to use our technology better, or how to construct the Order of Service differently; the lesson that sticks with me most is about the mindset we approach our worship planning with. The Evergreen folks live by the mantra: It’s about connection, not perfection.
I’ve noticed that since going to hybrid services, there have been a lot more roles and volunteer positions added to the Sunday morning worship team. We’ve got people who operate the cameras, people who run the sound board, a Zoomkeeper managing the online experience with the help of a Zoommate ready to jump in if needed. And then there’s the Worship Leader, who works with me to plan the content of the worship service. There are a lot of details to manage, and if I’m being honest, sometimes we get bogged down in the details. Sometimes we get so focused on making sure that all of the details are perfect, that we forget that our goal with the Sunday worship service is not about creating a slick, highly-produced piece of entertainment; it is an opportunity (an invitation, really) to come together, have a communal experience, and renew our spirits. It’s about connection, not perfection.
Now, of course I want our worship services to be interesting and engaging. I want them to be warm and welcoming, whether you attend virtually or in person. But I do find that when I plan and lead worship, I show up more authentically (and the services generally are better quality) when I remember the mantra that Evergreen uses: It’s about connection, not perfection. When this is my orientation, the end result is often better.
I think that this applies to other areas of church life too, not just worship. Have you ever been to a committee meeting that had way too much of the agenda left at the end of the meeting because everyone discussed the details of one item for way too long, trying to get it just perfect? Or have you ever missed the point of what someone tried to share with you because you were focused on the way they worded their statement, rather than what they were trying to express?
I’m guilty of all of these, by the way. And that’s why, when the folks at Evergreen shared their mantra, it really resonated deeply with me. It spoke to a truth that I hold close: we are in community to connect with each other. To support and love one another. We are not in community to perfect (or fix) each other. This is why those “religious” words like Grace and Forgiveness are important: they help a bunch of imperfect people (and we are all imperfect people) get along together. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.
For now, just remember: It’s about connection, not perfection. Repeat as necessary.
Peace and Blessings,