I am excited by the way that 2023 is starting off!
First, one of the biggest and most interesting events in our year-long exploration of Curiosity is happening on Sunday, January 29: a Fireside Chat with Mónica Guzmán, the author of I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. Mónica will join me in the afternoon for a public conversation about her book: what inspired it, what she learned through the writing process, and how people are responding since it was released early last year. Most importantly, we will talk about why and how we should cultivate curiosity in ourselves. There will be time for Q & A after the conversation, so bring your questions, your curiosity, and a friend with you to this awesome event with a truly inspiring person.
Then in February, the Curiosity express goes full steam ahead as we form Curiosity Clusters! What are Curiosity Clusters, you ask? These are book study groups of 8-10 curious people who want to take a deeper dive into Mónica’s book. They will begin in late February and run for seven sessions. I’ll be sharing more information, including how to sign up, soon.
I really hope curiosity catches on here in our community. It is not just a way to find things more interesting. I see it as a way to address one of the deepest problems our society is facing today: ideological division, which leads to dehumanizing, hate, and, in the most extreme cases, violence. This is a justice issue. Depolarizing the extreme ideological divides, connecting across differences, and seeing the humanity in people who think and act differently: these are ways to create a fairer and more just world. A safer and more peaceful world. A world with more respect, compassion, and love. Curiosity is not just a way to find things more interesting; it is a powerful tool in building a better world. I hope you will join me in cultivating curiosity in ourselves and others. After all, I believe curiosity is contagious!
I wonder what awaits us in the rest of 2023? And I wonder, too, what will choose to make of it? I’m looking forward to a curious start to the new year.
– Jan Radoslovich, WUUC Board VP and Liaison to Ministry Council
“In the Soup” by Rev. Robert Walsh (Reading at the 10/23/22 Worship Service)
My dictionary says the word minister is etymologically related to the word minestrone. I am not making this up. They are both derived from a Latin root that means to serve.
The image of ministry as minestrone is particularly apt for the ministry church people do all together that makes us a ministering congregation. Each bean, each vegetable, each piece of macaroni or pinch of spice gives not only its substance to the soup but also its spirit, its texture and color, its flavor and aroma. Each person offers a unique set of gifts, and if we do our job of organizing well, each gift will be creatively matched with a need—so that the whole becomes a warm, nourishing, life-giving religious community.
All who serve the church and the principles and values we hold dear are ministers. If you are doing part of that work, you are doing ministry, no matter how unlikely that may seem. You are in the soup—the minestrone of ministry!
The “In the Soup” reading seemed like the perfect introduction to what the Ministry Council has been doing for the past several months. The Ministry Council works collaboratively with the Minister in the management and oversight of WUUC ministries and programs in accordance with the mission of the church while abiding by policies as specified by the Board and the congregation. The Ministry Council consists of Ministry Leads, Board Reps for meeting facilitation and notetaking, and the Minister.
For the past 7 years, the Ministry Council has been organized and operating under the “Three Umbrellas of our Ministry” – Community & Engagement, Transformation & Action, and Sustainability. The Ministry Council felt it was time to revisit this model, to literally spend some time “in the soup” of our work. How are the umbrella groupings working? What is our understanding of the Ministry Council mission? Is the Ministry Lead role effective in providing communication, collaboration, troubleshooting and oversight between ministries and with the Board and Minister? What changes need to be made to improve the functioning of Ministry Council in supporting the Ministry Leads and ministries of WUUC?
From April through August, 2022 the members of the Ministry Council focused their meeting time and efforts on addressing these and other questions about the Ministry Council model. We also sought and received input from Ministry Council alumni. A few outcomes of our work together:
We agreed that the Ministry Council model is working well, but that the Umbrella Groupings needed to be revisited.
We reviewed and clarified the mission of the Ministry Council and the roles/responsibilities of the Ministry Leads.
We reduced our meeting frequency to every other month, and will continue to meet virtually by Zoom.
We developed the “Seven Umbrellas of Ministry at WUUC” and confirmed or recruited Ministry Leads for each umbrella grouping.
Here are the new “Seven Umbrellas of Ministry” and Ministry Leads that were approved at the October, 2022 Board Meeting:
Sustainability – Ministry Lead: Marcia Sprang. Ministries include: Building and Grounds (BAG), Endowment, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Stewardship, Woodinville Country Day School, Building Rental, MarCom (Marketing/Communications)
Justice and Service – Ministry Co-Leads: Cora Goss-Grubbs/Pam Green (rotating)
Ministries include: Welcoming Congregation, Climate, Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF), Land Acknowledgment, Economic Justice, Blood Drive
Worship and Music – Ministry Lead: Donna Johnson. Ministries include: Worship Leaders, Zoomkeepers, Camera/Sound Techs, Choir/Special Music, Earth-based Services/Celebrations, December Labyrinth
Lifelong Learning – Ministry Co-Leads: Skylar Hopkins, Director of Religious Education/Rev. Dan Lillie. Ministries include: Nursery/Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Jr. and Sr. Youth Groups, Our Whole Lives (Lifespan Sexuality Education), Adult Religious Education, UU Identity Formation (Denominational Affairs Team yet to be formed)
Membership and Hospitality – Ministry Lead: Amy Genova, Membership Coordinator. Ministries include: Membership Team, ComCom (Internal Communications, E-mail Distribution Groups), Ushers and Greeters, Coffee/Social Hour Support
Social Connections – Ministry Lead: Tevina Flood. Ministries include: Engagement Groups, Social Events, Small Group Ministries, Pondering Groups, Connections Groups, Recurring Small Groups, Men’s and Women’s Retreats, Camping Trip
Care and Support – Ministry Lead: Rev. Dan Lillie. Ministries include: Lay Pastoral Associates, Care & Concerns Team, Support Groups
This Ministry model is an experiment and will continue to be evaluated as implementation progresses through the church year. If you have questions or feedback for the Ministry Council, please contact any of the Ministry Leads, Board Representative Jan Radoslovich or Rev. Dan Lillie.
If you shop at Amazon, please use https://smile.amazon.com/. Select Woodingville Unitarian Universalist Church as you charitable organization. When you check out and pay from the smile.amazon.com url, a portion of the purchase price of selected items will be paid to WUUC.
If you forget to use smile.amazon.com while shopping, you will still be able to access your shopping cart and pay by going to https://smile.amazon.com. This does not affect the price you pay for the items or any other rewards associated with your payment card. The church received $112.75 from Amazon for purchases between April 1st and June 30th.
If you shop at Fred Meyer, you can link your rewards card to the Fred Meyer Community Rewards program. Their reward program is slightly different. Fred Meyer pays annually based on the overall percentage of purchases by rewards members selecting WUUC. Please see https://www.fredmeyer.com/i/community/community-rewards for more details.
The ASJ (Advocates for Social Justice seeks your input! Every member and friend of WUUC is invited to fill out the Special Collections survey at https://forms.gle/eQqDwycdG5D8PvD68. On the third Sunday of each month, WUUC donates the worship offering to a non-profit organization which supports our Unitarian Universalist values. The ASJ is conducting this survey to solicit member/friend input into which organizations should benefit from this offering in the coming year (Nov. 2022 – Oct. 2023). The organizations in this survey have been curated from prior year’s Special Collection recipients and/or nominated by Justice Ministry teams.
Our primary guiding principle for Special Collection recipients is that they support our UU values. We give priority to organizations who operate in our community (King/Snohomish Counties), to which our gift (typically $500 – $750) would have a significant impact, and who work to address the unique dynamics and effects of intersecting forms of discrimination. The organizations in the survey meet these priorities to varying degrees. Please take a moment to visit our survey and choose your top 10 organizations out of the 20 listed.
On October 16, our Special Collection sponsored by Advocates for Social Justice will go to Honor the Earth, a native initiative to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard.
In July we collected $661 for the Woodinville Storehouse Food Bank, operated by a coalition of churches and denominations serving the local community by providing nourishment and ministry to those in need. They are a faith-based non-profit that is unique in the quality of fresh food they provide including dairy, baked goods, fresh produce, meat and vegetables. August’s special collection of $331 went to JUUstice Washington, which strives to inspire, educate, empower, and nurture the capacity of Unitarian Universalists (UUs), as well as our community allies, to collaboratively advocate for and undertake social and environmental justice initiatives. They support legislative change that aligns with our UU values in Washington state and beyond.
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.
Hinrin-yoku, is a Japanese phrase which translates to “forest bathing” or “absorbing the forest atmosphere.” The practice encourages people to simply spend time in nature, reducing blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety in general, leaving one in a calmer state. It involves only going into a natural space and being mindfully present, breathing deeply and listening to the natural sounds.
While the Pacific Northwest is abundant in forested areas, there can be impediments to enjoying these spaces for many people. There is concern about being alone in a remote area, difficulty with parking access, challenges in moving on uneven ground, and cost of parking or access passes among them.
Adjacent to the parking lot – on the right as you enter from the driveway – is WUUC’s Meditation Grove, a small patch of native vegetation that permits a wonderful short “forest shower”.
You’ll see native plants like salal, snowberry, sword fern, native blackberry and bracken fern under the tall evergreens and big leaf maples. A huge cut tree and stump remain to decompose slowly back into the earth. There is a short, looping path with a bench at the midpoint, including an original art installation. You’ll also see the memorial monuments noting members who have died.
Listening, the wind in the trees and the birds are soothing (except when the stellar jays get excited about something!). Perhaps you’ll even see some hawk feathers in the shrubs.
In a stressful world, a few moments in this space can be peacefully grounding.
Look for a small opening in the wooden fence that runs along the east side of the parking lot. (While generally cleared and tended, use caution as weather may have dropped branches or made puddles.)
Join us on Saturday, November 5, 2022 @ 6 pm for a meeting of the WUUC Nonfiction Book Club, hosted by Alaine Davis and Lane Owsley at their home in Kenmore. We will be discussing Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond by Alexandra Horowitz. RSVP to Alaine <email@example.com>.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Horowitz, an eye-opening, informative, and wholly entertaining examination and celebration of the human-canine relationship for the curious dog owner and science-lover alike.
We keep dogs and are kept by them. We love dogs and (we assume) we are loved by them. We buy them sweaters, toys, shoes; we are concerned with their social lives, their food, and their health. The story of humans and dogs is thousands of years old but is far from understood. In Our Dogs, Ourselves, Alexandra Horowitz explores all aspects of this unique and complex interspecies pairing.
As Horowitz considers the current culture of dogdom, she reveals the odd, surprising, and contradictory ways we live with dogs. We celebrate their individuality but breed them for sameness. Despite our deep emotional relationships with dogs, legally they are property to be bought, sold, abandoned, or euthanized as we wish. Even the way we speak to our dogs is at once perplexing and delightful.
In thirteen thoughtful and charming chapters, Our Dogs, Ourselves affirms our profound affection for this most charismatic of animals—and opens our eyes to the companions at our sides as never before.
(Modified from Amazon.com)
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.