June/July 2011

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June/July 2011
Vol. 34, No. 10
Unity Church–Unitarian June/July 2011
The life of a congregation is a rich community tapestry of people, programs, ministries and worship. We lift up the patterns of this
tapestry at Unity Church with the threads of monthly themes woven through our worship and programming. These themes deepen
our understanding of our own faith and strengthen our bonds with one another in religious community. We explore each theme
in worship and in our newsletter; in covenant groups, guided writing sessions and Wednesday evening programming; and in our
community outreach ministries, our literary journal and programs; and many other opportunities. The June theme is Wisdom.
Wisdom, says the biblical book
of Proverbs, takes her stand at the
crossroads. She is found, not in the
quiet glen or near the babbling brook
where one might expect a wise word
to be heard. “Wisdom cries out in the
street,” Proverbs’ priestly scribes claim;
“in the squares she raises her voice. At
the busiest corner she cries out.”
Bread gained by deceit is sweet, but
afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.
In the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia,
the first recorded words of wisdom were
made in that most rudimentary written
form – the list. Understood by some
as the oldest approach to scientific
method, these early inventories have
been called “list wisdom.”
Can it be? Is Wisdom really as visible
and audible — and entangled in our
daily traffic — as that?
A time to be born,
A time to die,
A time to plant
And a time to pluck up what is planted.
Of course, our love of wisdom (philo +
sophia) can also take us down the long
halls of philosophy’s ivory towers reciting
Plato’s words. But wisdom traces its
truest lineage to the quotidian ground of
the pedestrian proverb, its deep insights
thinly disguised as practical instruction.
The way of the lazy is overgrown with
thorns, but the path of the upright is a
level highway.
Wisdom, in every culture, begins as
practical knowledge acquired through
experience and seasoned by love and
compassion. It is, according to religious
scholar and historian Mircea Eliade, our
human insight into the connectedness of
the world, and it begins with our senses.
As values were enlisted to organize
these inventories, they gave rise to the
proverb, linking human behavior with
consequences and connections.
The lazy person does not plow in
season; harvest comes and there is
nothing to be found.
We are called, by wisdom sayings
around the world, to pay attention. To
take note of the seasons. To listen to the
world and one another, that we might
hear and know a wider and wiser way of
being. “No one is wise enough alone,”
says the sign outside the House of
Charity serving free meals in downtown
Worship Theme Resources
Holy the Firm, by Annie Dillard, a small book uncovering large connections as
Dillard ponders time, reality, nature, suffering and God.
Blessed Unrest, by Paul Hawken, a timely exploration of the worldwide movement
to restore the environment and foster social justice.
Bartholomew and the Oobleck, Dr. Seuss, for the young and young at heart alike
Stand and Deliver, (1988) a dedicated teacher in Los Angeles inspires his dropoutprone students to raise their self-esteem by learning calculus.
Invictus, the story of Nelson Mandela's venture to unite his racially divided nation.
The hearing ear and the seeing eye —
God has made them both.
Every culture has its own methods and
forms for preserving and transmitting
wisdom across time. Some have
hitched it to divinity while others have
embedded it in the secular search for
knowledge and truth. Many, however,
agree with Kahlil Gibran, who noted
that while wisdom can be learned, it
cannot be taught without awakening
the wisdom within, discerned when
heart and mind engage together to
perceive our place in the world. The
wise teacher, Gibran says, “does not
bid you enter the house of wisdom, but
rather leads you to the threshold of your
own mind.”
What you see in yourself
is what you see in the world.
So, seeking wisdom, we find ourselves
back at the threshold, at the crossroads
where Wisdom takes her stand and
cries out, though not with a single truth
for all people and all time. Rarely does
she advise which road to take, nor does
she step out and stop traffic for our safe
passage. Instead, her words might be
spoken as plainly as the old Green Cross
Code of children’s curbside instruction,
saying, “Stop, Look, Listen, Live.”
Wisdom is the deep knowing that
comes when we stop at the crossroads,
pausing long enough to know who
and where we are, to remember where
we’ve come from, and to open the eyes
and ears of our hearts that we might
understand where we’re going and how
we are intimately connected to all the
traffic crossing our path along the way.
~ Karen Hering,
Consulting Literary Minister
Just words / Wheel of Life
Just Words
What did a six year old know about a church’s impending building project? I first
learned about it when my parents told my brothers and me that someone important
from our church was coming to visit and have an important talk with them. This
important church visitor was a member of the Board of Trustees who came to ask my
parents to participate in the capital campaign. My father was a sanitation engineer
who worked in the Public Health Department for the city and county of Tulsa,
Oklahoma. My mother was newly employed as a science teacher with student
loans to repay. They had four growing children and a limited budget. They were
as generous to our beloved Unitarian congregation as they possibly could be. But
here was an important leader of our church asking my parents to give even more!
My father expressed shock at the amount the visitor asked my parents to consider
giving. They took the time to think about the request. They thought and discussed.
They looked at their meager finances. They talked some more. They talked about the
role of the church in all of our lives.
Then my father asked for a family meeting. We didn’t have family meetings very
often, so it was obviously important. My father told us about the visit with the
important man from church. He explained that the man had asked my parents to
give generously to the capital campaign so we could redo our church. He then told
us that they had decided to give what the church needed from our family, but that
it was going to mean sacrifices on everyone’s part. We all agreed to these imagined
sacrifices as long as the Sunday trips for ice cream would continue. (I knew what
was important.) Both my parents talked about how important the church was to
them and how important their investment was for our future. I believe this meeting
shaped our attitudes toward giving and the role of religion in our lives. As a result of
that family meeting, all of us felt some level of investment in the capital campaign
and the resultant building project.
Once the new building was constructed everyone was asked to contribute in some
way. By then I was seven years old and I joined my second grade classmates in
doing what we could for the new wing. We created curtains for our new classroom.
We dipped our hands in bright tempra paint and put our handprints on the muslin
material which were made into curtains by one of the parents. For years afterward
I could go down when visiting the church of my childhood and see my handprints
in the second grade classroom. I felt as if the very fiber of my being was in that
building. I still do even though it has changed a lot since I was seven. I will always
love that church because I think my parents helped me understand that it was every
bit as much my church as it was theirs.
I feel that way about our former church in Oakland, California. I feel that way about
Unity Church. I feel that I am woven into the fabric of the very being of this building.
It is sacred space for me that I cherish and want to maintain and update so that future
generations can grow and flourish within its walls as I did so many, many years ago
in Oklahoma.
Some weeks ago some important visitors took Rob and I out to lunch. They spoke
of their commitment to the church and how they were stretching financially for the
future of Unity Church. They asked us to stretch too. Just like my father, I wondered
how much we could stretch.
We are giving more than we planned and in all likelihood will give even more. We
were inspired by their commitment and want to be a part of this next chapter in the
unfolding story of Unity Church. I hope you will too.
— Janne
The Wheel of Life
In Celebration
Charles Frederick Lord Donald
Born one more redeemer
May 12, 2011
to parents
Bryan Donald and Katie Lord Donald
and grandparents
Brooks Donald and Karen Mackenzie
Summer Worship
Schedule Reminder!
Beginning Sunday, May 29, and
continuing throughout the summer,
one Sunday service will be held each
week at 10:00 a.m.
Independence Day
The Church Office will be closed
Monday, July 4, in observance of
Independence Day.
commUNITY is the newsletter of Unity
Church–Unitarian. It is published
monthly, except the month of July.
Deadlines are the 14th of each month.
Subscriptions are free to those who
make pledges to Unity Church and are
available to others for $30 per year.
Unity Church–Unitarian
732 Holly Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
651-228-1456 • fax: 651-228-0927
[email protected]
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
June and July Worship Calendar
From May 29 through September 4, one Sunday service will be held each week at 10:00 a.m.
Beginning July 3, Sunday services are led by members of Unity Church.
Sermon podcasts and archives are available online at www.unityunitarian.org.
June Worship Calendar
July Worship Calendar
June 5: Growing Wise — Janne Eller-Isaacs
July 3: UUs in the U.S.A.: Patriotism for Grownups —
Chico Hathaway
Kerri Meyer described wisdom as “the knowing that waits.”
We grow wiser when we stop and reflect on the connections
that exist in our lives, within, among and beyond us. Janne
and Worship Associate Jeanne Barker-Nunn will explore how
we might create a climate for growing wise in today’s world.
This service will include a Bridging ceremony for Unity's high
school seniors. Special music offering this Sunday will be
Teresa Tierney, soprano.
June 12: The Attributes of Wisdom — Rob Eller-Isaacs
We know it when we see it. There’s a certain calm, an ability
to take the long view, a deep appreciation of the things of this
world that are kind, clarifying or beautiful. Rob and Worship
Associate Marg Walker will suggest some of the virtues we
might hope to cultivate along the path to wisdom.
June 19: Unexpected Wisdom — Jason Seymour
Opportunities for growth surround us in every moment, if only
we encourage our capacity to see them. Come, explore the
prophetic role of the liberal church... to freely seek wisdom in
unexpected places.
June 26: Wise Humility — Luke Stevens-Royer
We are a studious people of facts, of reason, of learning. Yet
when we study Wisdom traditions and modern science, we
are pushed toward a deeper truth, a sacred ambiguity. The
Biblical Psalmist says the beginning of Wisdom is to tremble
before God; Lao Tzu says the more we talk about the Tao the
less we understand it; and David Brooks speaks of emotion
and intuition being more important than our cognitive choices
to frame our reality. Many of us can probably agree that we
need more than just facts, but what exactly does that look
like? If the search for Wisdom is rooted in ambiguity and
humility, how does wisdom lead us to social healing and
Beloved Community?
Flowers for Summer Worship
If you would like to bring flowers from your garden for a
10:00 a.m. summer worship service, please contact Julie at
the Church Office at [email protected] The available
dates are June 12 through August 21. The flowers need to be
arranged in a vase and placed in the chancel by 9:15 a.m. on
the Sunday you select.
“The Fourth” in the U.S.A. is a time of flag waving and soaring
oratory proclaiming the greatness of America. When we look
at the picture of patriotism that is presented to us on such
occasions, what do we see? Mostly we are given color-crayon
patriotism, as if drawn by and for third-graders. But we are not
children. What sort of patriotism befits UUs, whose skepticism
brings them to a nuanced vision of theology and religion?
July 10: With One Smile — Katy Taylor
Sometimes opening to suffering is what awakens us to joy—
the heart is cracked open to the depth and breadth of life.
Another way to awaken to joy is to cultivate the soil in which
it grows and is nourished—and we can begin at any time with
one smile! Katy Taylor and Worship Associate Jeanne BarkerNunn take delight in playfully exploring the art of savoring
and welcoming all of life.
July 17: Lessons From the Cave — Ashley Horan
There are moments when life among other people, in the
midst of the often overwhelming pain of the world, becomes
too much. In such times, we often retreat "into the cave,"
seeking solitude and refuge and escape—a motif reflected in
almost every religious tradition. In this service, join Ashley
Horan and Worship Associate Bob Steller for an exploration
of the depths of the cave: what sends us scurrying inside, what
we may encounter within, and what might ultimately draw us
back out into the world once more.
July 24: Justice, Roll Like Water — Ellen Green
What's in a word? What is justice? Is there a synonym? Is it a
system or a way of being? If so, what is your personal way of
justice and how does it work in the face of conflicting systems,
especially when you have one foot in each? What's the end of
justice—or could be? Ellen and Worship Associate Katy Taylor
will wrestle with these and other personal issues with justice.
July 31: Stay Loose — Patricia Ohmans
What could a former shoe salesman know about international
diplomacy? How much can we really know about the
generation that preceded us? And how responsible are we for
the sins of our fathers? Patricia Ohmans examines these and
other conundrums in the life of John Larson Ohmans.
The June and July offering recipients are listed on page 10.
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Board of Trustees / Anti-Racism Leadership Team
Board of Trustees
ARLT at the White Privilege Conference
from Rob Fulton, chair
from Alana Howey and Pauline Eichten, Anti-Racism Leadership Team members
Each fall three new members are
selected to be on the Unity Church
Board of Trustees. The Board is
composed of nine members each
serving three-year terms. We have
been blessed over the years with
many members of the congregation
who have served in this capacity.
It’s the first day of the 12th annual White Privilege Conference, being held in
Bloomington, Minnesota. It’s the first time I’ve attended one of these conferences, and
I’m looking forward to what I might learn. I’m also feeling a bit stressed out by the
logistics of figuring out which workshop to attend (there are almost 150 workshops
being offered over the three days) and having to navigate through the mass of people
(approximately 2,200 participants) to get there. But first is the keynote address from
Michelle Alexander, a professor of law and civil rights advocate and author of the
book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. She tells
the story of how she finally came to realize that the so-called War on Drugs has
resulted in a redesigned system of racial and social control, similar to Jim Crow. She
spells out how it has worked and the devastating effects it has on communities of
color. And I’m sitting there thinking, how did all this happen without good people
protesting? I recognize that I knew of or had heard about various aspects of what
Alexander laid out, but I hadn’t put it all together. Alexander argues for a major social
movement to dismantle this new caste system, but cautions that is not enough. Unless
we address the critical role of race in the basic structure of our society, she says, a new
system of racialized social control will emerge. (Submitted by Pauline Eichten)
The primary duties of the Board of
Trustees are to oversee the Ends
Statements and to monitor the
Executive Team as they develop and
carry out the Means to reach the
Ends. The Board makes contributions
that lead the congregation toward the
desired performance and assures that
this occurs. The Board also establishes
governing policies and assures that
the Executive Team performance
meets expectations.
The Board meets monthly, alternating
between the third Wednesday of the
month (an evening meeting that lasts
two hours) and the second Saturday
of the month (a four hour meeting).
The term starts at the congregational
meeting in November.
The current Board of Trustees is
appointing a nominating committee
that will screen and interview
candidates for the Board and make
recommendations to the congregation
for three positions to be voted on at
the Annual Meeting.
The next several years will be exciting
as Unity Tomorrow becomes fruition
and the physical facilities are improved.
This means that there will be some
disruption to the facility as the work
progresses. The Board of Trustees will
be challenged to assure that during this
construction, the Ends Statements are
well honored and met.
Mari McCauley and I were able to split the next two days of the conference to cover
work and home duties. My first big impression is how very warm and authentic this
crowd is. During my workshops I learned that the whole spectrum of understanding
of racism and white privilege is represented here, and the “newbies” are being
embraced by the group. The crowd is highly diverse. Workshops involve dialogue
and deep sharing. It is through getting a bit uncomfortable that deep transformative
learning can occur.
This work of dismantling racism is soul work. We cannot be truly whole when we
are separating ourselves physically or psychologically from our brothers and sisters
of color, unconsciously or not. We cannot be effective in dismantling the system
of racism if we do not adequately do the work of addressing our own internalized
personal racism alongside it.
My greatest fears in seeking to develop meaningful relationships across race
were addressed on more than one occasion. The concept of microaggression was
discussed at length — the daily insults, invalidations and assaults that people of
color contend with. My intentions may be good, but in my position of privilege I
am unable to see how I may be causing harm to people of color in my words and
deeds. I appreciated the many examples and frankness of the speakers and attendees
in helping me become more aware of some of these. But it comes down to that
regardless of intent—if I’ve done harm, I must make restitution. It is not okay.
I learned that there are many models and ways of approaching antiracism work. One just
needs to explore for the best fit(s) for their personality. (Submitted by Alana Howey)
Please give some careful thought if
you might step forward and place
your name in nomination to join the
Board of Trustees. (The vast majority of
Trustees have nominated themselves
and that is quite appropriate!)
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
2012 Pledge Team / Hallman Ministerial Intern
Campaigning in Concert
Jason Seymour
from Chris Crosby-Schmidt, Pledge Team Member
2010-11 Hallman Ministerial Intern
Writing a piece for commUNITY is an odd exercise in time
travel. I’m tempted to wax poetic about the mid-May weather
that’s challenging my optimism as I type this; however, my
fervent hope is that by the time this appears, those fierce
winds, chilly temps, and icy rains will be a distant memory.
Projecting myself into the future, when a lovely Minnesota
summer is in full bloom, I get excited.
At the end of June, I will
conclude my time here at Unity
Church. Jen, Jonny and I will
soon embark on the next leg
of our journey... to Appleton,
Wisconsin, where I will serve
the Fox Valley Unitarian
Universalist Fellowship — a
healthy, growing congregation
of about 700 members — as their
Director of Membership Ministries. This is a terrific opportunity
for me professionally, and we are all looking forward to more
exciting adventures in the Northern Midwest.
At the risk of pushing a metaphor beyond utility (and elegance),
the Unity Tomorrow Capital Campaign is a similar exercise in
time travel. We’re all asked to imagine the next five, ten, thirty
years, and it’s exciting stuff. Like all the gardeners with their
itchy shovel-fingers, we’re getting ready to plant the seeds
of a beautiful future. The “quiet” phase, in which the Unity
Tomorrow team approaches a small group of church members
who have the potential for high contributions, is already under
way. And we’re looking forward with much anticipation to
the public phase, when the entire church community will
have the opportunity to participate financially.
With that excitement, however, comes a number of challenges,
especially for your friendly neighborhood Pledge Team. The
Capital Campaign timeline places the public phase this fall, in
October of 2011: smack in the middle of the annual Pledge
Drive. So we’re running the two campaigns together, in
concert. We’ll be asking the community for their annual pledge
of financial support for Unity’s day-to-day operations and
programming, and at the same time asking for an investment in
the future represented by Unity Tomorrow. Recurring pledge
and once-in-a-lifetime capital commitment, all at once.
So, if we’re asking people for money for two different purposes,
how do we help the congregation keep the two straight? That’s
precisely the question the Pledge Team has been wrestling
with. Thankfully, we now have some answers. We’ve joined
forces with Kit Brady and Lee Carey, both members of the
Unity Tomorrow Capital Campaign team and both legendary
Pledge Team members in the past, to plan and coordinate the
effort. Kit and Lee are the bridge between these two efforts,
providing information, insight, and guidance.
Together, we’re working on ways to engage the whole
community in both efforts. We’re planning events of different
sizes to connect with people on a level with which they’re
comfortable. We’re mapping out a path to October, when the
public phases of the two drives will be in full swing.
Yes, more time travel -- and more excitement.
While our destination brings with it much excitement, hope
and possibility… our departure is not without grief.
Truly, we will miss you. We have so enjoyed our time together.
We take with us so much: experiences, hopes and dreams,
stories, friendships… and a well-developed ability to discuss
uncommon weather.
So... as you will no doubt hear from me many, many times over
the coming weeks... thank you. Thank you for the opportunity
to join your staff, and your community, as the Hallman
Ministerial Intern. I take with me a wealth of experience that
I know will serve me — and the world! — well in the years
ahead. Thank you for listening to my sermons, for participating
in my classes, for sitting next to me in meditation, for sleeping
outside with me in a box in the snow. Thank you for allowing
the stories of our lives to intersect, if only but for a chapter.
Truly, I am changed for having known you. And this makes
me glad. It has been an honor to be among you for this past
I leave you in capable hands: yours. Unity Church is thriving,
and while there will be ongoing challenges — there always
are! — I know that you will meet them with grace and courage,
and with the kind of compassionate witness that continues
to expand the reach of Unity Church and heal the world in
creative and collaborative ways.
Your intern for next year is smart and capable, and I know
that you will show her the depth of care and interest that you
have shown me. I join the chorus of your voices in welcoming
Rachel Long, and in supporting her ministry at Unity. Look for
an introduction from her in the August newsletter.
With enduring hope for a way undivided, and faith in love to
deliver us as one… until we meet again…
Rock on, friends. And blessed be.
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Fellowship / Spiritual Practice / Community
Fellowship Groups
June 5: Grand Old Day Parking Alert!
These fellowship groups are open to
all. Please contact the person listed for
more information.
Congregants should be aware that street parking will be limited due to the Grand
Old Day street festival. The parking lots will be managed by Unity youth and adults
so that worshippers can park while fair-goers contribute money toward our youth
and community outreach ministries.
Men’s Retirement Group: Monday,
June 6 and 20, and July 11 and 25,
from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Contact: Phil
Morton at 952-934-3578
Job Transition/Networking Group
Unity Singles: Contact: Bonnie
Reiland at [email protected]
A New Look at the Bible: Second
Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m.
Contact: Paul Gade at 651-771-7528
Afterthoughts: Sundays after the
10:00 a.m. service. Contact: Paul
Gade at 651-771-7528
Unity Men's Group: Third Monday
of every month at 7:00 p.m. Contact:
Nels Otto at 651-484-4590
Unitots!: A playgroup for families
with kids through preschool age.
Fridays at 9:30 a.m. Contact: Michelle
Hill at 651-264-0884
Grandparent Unitots!: A playgroup
for grandparents and their grandkids.
Mondays at 9:30 a.m. Contact: Ona
Lentz at 651-222-8117
Unity Bridge Club: First Friday of the
month at 7:00 p.m. Contact: Mary
Barrett at 651-225-9708
Evergreen Quilters: Second Tuesday
of the month from 7:00-9:00 p.m.
and fourth Saturday of the month
from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Contact:
Peggy Wright at 651-698-2760
Unity Book Club: Tuesday, June 14,
July 12, and August 9. See ad at right
for book titles. All are welcome!
Job Transition/Networking: Mondays
at 9:30 a.m. Contact Rachel Holtzer,
Facilitator, at [email protected]
Meets every Monday • 9:30–11:30 a.m.
The Job Transition Networking Group was created to offer support, encouragement,
information, and skill-building resources to Unity Church members who are unemployed
or underemployed. Contact Rachel Holtzer, Facilitator, at [email protected]
Unity Church Book Club
Everyone is welcome — even if you haven’t read the book!
The Unity Church Book Club will meet from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14.
The Book Club will be discussing The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow.
On July 12 they will discuss This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life
by Africa's First Woman President by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. On August 9 they will
discuss The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax.
Living With Grief Group
Tuesday, June 14 • Third Tuesday of the month • 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs will offer a group for people living with grief and loss. All are
welcome to come to discuss issues related to the grieving process. Please contact
Janne ([email protected]) if you are interested in attending. Drop-ins are
welcome as well, but please contact the Christy Randall ([email protected])
to request childcare. This group will not meet in July.
Caregivers Group
Thursday, June 16 • Third Thursday of the month • Noon–2:00 p.m.
Are you a part-time or full-time caretaker of loved ones in your life? Do you need
support in order to sustain the care you are giving? Join Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs and
Pastoral Care Team member Cynthia Orange for an informal support group for
caregivers. Contact Janne Eller-Isaacs ([email protected]) if you would like
to participate in this group. This group will not meet in July.
Wanted: Summer Gardeners
Help keep our flowers blossoming all summer. Join other Unity Gardeners and sign
on for a few hours of weeding/watering. No experience necessary! Contact Ethel
Griggs at [email protected]
Remember Merging of Waters!
Remember to bring back water from your summer travels for our ritual Merging
of Waters in September! Families can help their children make special, beautiful
containers to keep the water in while we’re apart from one another.
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Literary Ministry / Unity Libraries
OPEN PAGE: reflecting with pens in hand
These guided writing sessions, led by Consulting Literary
Minister Karen Hering, are invitations to the creative spirit,
opportunities to correspond with “the still, small voice within.”
No writing experience necessary; only an empty page and an
open heart and mind. Check individual listings for location
and registration requirements and fees.
Sunday, June 5 • Noon-2:00 p.m. • NOTE EARLIER TIME!
Reflection Topic: Wisdom • Unity Church
“At the crossroads, Wisdom takes her stand.” Join us at the
crossroads of our own times considering the proverbs Wisdom
offers as her stand and guidance. What proverbial wisdom,
old and new, do we need today and where might we find it,
worldwide and within? This session is free and registration
not required, but an email to [email protected] is
requested to help in planning space and handouts.
Tuesday-Friday, June 14-17 • 9:00 a.m.-noon
Summer Institute in Spirituality and the Arts
OPEN PAGE Writing Session Series
Topics: Thresholds, Courage, Vocation and Becoming
Location: United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
Registration and fee information on-line at UTS Summer
Institute or by calling 651-255-6138. Register by May 31 to
receive a significant discount.
A threshold is a place of great vitality, where old greets new
and self meets the other. It can also be a place that brings
hesitation or even fear. This four-part series of morning
writing sessions is available at the annual Summer Institute
in Spirituality and the Arts offered by United Theological
Seminary of the Twin Cities. Three other workshop options
are available and participants can register for mornings or
afternoons only or for the full day. For information visit www.
July – August
Open Page writing sessions will not be offered in July and
August but will resume in September.
Other Programming and Resources
For more information about the Faithful Words literary ministry
and additional writing programs offered in other locations,
visit www.unityunitarian.org/literary-ministry.html. To receive
periodic e-mail notifications of upcoming literary programs and
invitations for member writings, contact Consulting Literary
Minister Karen Hering at [email protected] These
programs are supported by a grant from the Fund for Unitarian
Universalism and contributions from individual donors.
Read with the Unity Church Book Club this summer!
Details are on page 6.
Happy Summer Reading!
In the Library and Bookstall
from Shelley Butler, Library Team
photo by dottorpeni, courtesy of Flickr
Writing as a Spiritual Practice
School is out. Sun is shining. The vacation is planned. Adults
are enjoying one of the great pleasures of summer: reading a
book for the sheer enjoyment of it. The kids are… what? That
wise author, Unknown, once said, “TV. If kids are entertained
by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six.
Open your child's imagination. Open a book.”
In the Whitman Children’s Library: Check out imaginative
summer stories and vacation tales, such as My One Hundred
Adventures by Polly Horvath, The Vacation (also by the
amazing and hilarious Polly Horvath), and The Penderwicks:
A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very
Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. Not to forget picture books,
check out the brand new Minnesota’s Hidden Alphabet by
David Larochelle, photography by Joe Rossi.
New in the Anderson Library: UU’s write fiction? Yes: Summers
at Blue Lake is an engrossing story about a woman cleaning out
her grandmother’s home, finding a secret, and coming to terms
with the changes in her own life. Compelling and imaginative,
The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life by
Joyce Schwartz is said to prove that we can make impossible
dreams come true, and includes art by our own Katy Taylor.
John Buehren’s new Universalists and Unitarians in America:
A People's History is not just another list of familiar facts and
famous faces, but fascinating stories of a living religion including
those about people unrecognized until now.
In the Bookstall for Children and Adults: We have books
for the boat, the backpack and for around the bonfire; books
you can get up close and personal with, get sand in, splashed
upon, or melted chocolate on, or that you can mark up with
notes, like the bird you heard singing while reading "that"
page (unlike the kindle or a library book). We have memoir,
poetry, meditations, UU thought and history, children’s books,
pocket size books and so much more. Open All Summer!
Summer Writing and Art
The Cairns committee will be accepting submissions of art
and writing for the next Fall 2011 issue all summer! We look
forward to doing some summer reading of our own with
your submissions. Find out more on the Unity web site; send
submissions to: [email protected]
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Community Outreach Ministry
Join a Summer Trip to
Bolivia with Mano a Mano
Mano a Mano International Partners,
a local volunteer-based, non-profit
organization is one of Unity’s
commissioned Community Outreach
Ministry projects. Dedicated to
improving health and economic
well-being in very low-income rural
Bolivian communities, Mano a Mano
has built 120 community health clinics
that make health care available to
over 700,000 of Bolivia’s rural poor,
plus constructing schools, roads, and
water reservoirs, all in partnership with
residents of these areas.
During the ten-day visit we will visit
operating clinics in poor urban barrios
and remote rural areas, see roads
that Mano a Mano has carved into
mountainsides and water reservoirs
that help farm families increase their
meager incomes.
If you are interested in joining us in
Bolivia or would simply like to learn
more about Mano a Mano, we invite
you to contact Nate Knatterud in the
Mano a Mano office at 651- 457-3141
or Joan Velasquez at 651-558-9168.
Almost 90 Unity members and friends
packed the Parish Hall on May 7,
sampling a buffet of sumptuous
Indian food, shopping at a crafts table,
and enjoying traditional and not-soclassical Indian music on guitar and
mandolin by stringed instrument
whiz Greg Herriges.
Proceeds from the event will start
a scholarship fund to establish an
exchange with teachers and students
at the Eklavaya School for tribal girls in
Usgaon, India. Group leaders Wendy
Harris ([email protected]) and
Laney Ohmans ([email protected]
gmail.com) are already planning for
fall events, as well as a trip to India in
March 2012. Many thanks to all who
made the "Evening in India" a success!
Rondo Circle of Peace
from Sarah Balenger
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
—Albert Einstein
The Rondo Peace Circle, launched by Russel and Sarah Balenger in March 2010,
is a response by parents and concerned community members and organizations to
the gang warring and violence that threatens the well being of young men and their
families in the Rondo neighborhood.
In the 1930s Rondo Avenue was the heart of St. Paul's largest black neighborhood.
But in the 1960s, notes the Minnesota Historical Society: “The construction of I-94
. . . shattered this tight-knit community, displaced thousands of African Americans
into a racially segregated city and a discriminatory housing market, and erased a
now-legendary neighborhood.” The Rondo community has since rebuilt itself as a
vital cultural home to African Americans as well as one of the city’s most racially
and economically diverse areas.
According to 2010 Ramsey County Juvenile Services data, Boys Totem Town
“hosted” 168 young men that year. Zip code data show that 59 percent were from the
two neighborhoods—Old Rondo and the East Side, where opposing gangs generate
significant tension and violence. Current correctional responses had not reduced
recidivism; in fact, many Rondo residents saw the revolving door of incarceration as
a significant contributor to crime.
Now the Rondo Peace Circle, hosted at Unity-Unitarian Church, includes residents
of both neighborhoods. It has gained the trust and involvement of youth in
correctional placement, the commander of the St. Paul Police district serving Rondo,
the commander of the St. Paul Police Gang Unit, the assistant superintendent of
the Ramsey County juvenile placement facility (Boys Totem Town), and concerned
friends, family, and community mentors.
The Circle, preceded each week by a communal meal, tackles safety and survival
issues for our youth, encourages planning for a better path forward, and seeks to repair
the break of trust between community members and law enforcement personnel.
Amicus, Unity Church, Save Our Sons, the St. Paul Police Department, and Aurora
St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation support the Circle, which
uses listening, developing, coaching, and sharing to unleash the energy, experience,
and knowledge of many.
The Circle promotes collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power by
individuals, families, and communities to initiate transforming change. It encourages
the involvement, growth, commitment, and teamwork of individuals, families,
and community. It believes in the group benefits of mentorship and encourages
members to coordinate their actions to improve outcomes for themselves and their
Unity’s Restorative Justice and Anti-Racism Teams provide monthly meal preparation
for the Circle. Its Concerts for a Cause series and church members have donated
generously to the cause. The Rondo Circle of Peace offers its wholehearted thanks
to Unity Church for its ongoing, unconditional support.
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Community Outreach Ministry
UUSC Update
from David Byfield and Marty Rossmann, UUSC Local Representatives
Got Water? Defending the Human Right to Water
Water is essential for life. Yet, nearly 1 billion people lack access to safe water and
2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation — more people have access to a cell
phone than a toilet. The statistics are staggering. Even more surprising is how simple
and cost-effective the solutions are.
According to a 2006 United Nations Development Program report entitled "Beyond
Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis," every $1 spent in the cleanwater and sanitation sector creates on average another $8 in costs averted and
productivity gained.
Mark your calendars!!
The sixth annual Unity Church
Pilgrimage to New Orleans will take
place from November 6-12, 2011.
Watch for more information in the
August and September newsletters or
contact Pat Haff at the Church Office
([email protected]).
The U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution Friday, March 25, extending the
mandate of the independent expert on the human right to safe water and sanitation
for another three years. The resolution, passed by consensus, also gave the U.N.
Independent Expert Catarina de Albuquerque the powers of a special rapporteur.
This is good news for many reasons. The first is that, as a special rapporteur, de
Albuquerque now has different powers. In addition to assisting governments to
define the scope and content of the rights, she can engage with governments about
complaints from affected individuals, communities, and civil-society organizations
on issues and violations of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Secondly, the resolution explicitly states the full list of criteria for the human rights
to water and sanitation. The U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Human Rights
Council resolutions did not list the full criteria, which is outlined in the resolution:
"Encourages the Special Rapporteur, in fulfilling his or her mandate: (a) To
promote the full realization of the human right to safe drinking water and
sanitation by, inter alia, continuing to give particular emphasis to practical
solutions with regard to its implementation, in particular in the context of
country missions, and following the criteria of availability, quality, physical
accessibility, affordability and acceptability."
UUSC's goal is to ensure sustainable access to safe, sufficient, affordable water to
every person by enshrining the human right to water into law — internationally,
nationally, statewide, and locally.
UUSC needs your help to make this a reality — find out what you can do to get
involved! This information is taken from the UUSC web site – to learn more visit:
Evergreen Foodshelf
The third Sunday of every month
is Evergreen Food Drive Sunday.
Donations can be brought anytime
and should be placed in the barrels
located at both the
Holly and Portland
Avenue entrances.
June 19 suggested
items: cooking oil,
small bottles of
detergent (dish or clothing).
Whole Farm Coop
Buy meat, cheese,
more from local,
sustainable farms
and pick it up at
Order from www.
wholefarmcoop.com or
call 320-732-3023 by Wednesday,
June 8, or July 13. Orders will
be delivered to Unity Church on
Wednesday, June 15 and July 20.
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Ministry with Children and Youth / Offering Recipients
High School Bridging
June/July Offering Recipients
Sundays in the Garden
June 5 and July 17: Project SUCCESS is a youth-development non-profit organization
that has worked with middle and high school students in St. Paul and Minneapolis over
a seven year period to help them develop life skills that can transform their lives. Their
philosophy is to provide a non-judgmental and supportive forum where students can
speak out and be heard, where they can learn to assess themselves and their options
before making decisions about their future. To date, 10,600 students have been served
through programs such as school-based workshops, theater experiences, and one-onone assistance. Unity Church members, Delaney and Willie Webb have participated
and benefited from Project SUCCESS programs as have other Unity Church youth.
The congregation is invited to
celebrate the graduation of Unity’s
High School youth of the Class of
2011. Please join us on Sunday, June
5, at 9:00 a.m. for coffee and pastries
with the youth and their families.
During the 10:00 a.m. worship
service, the youth will be recognized
and the congregation will participate
in the Bridging Litany.
Each Sunday, thirty percent of the offering goes to support the Community Outreach
Ministry at Unity Church and seventy percent is given to the chosen community
non-profit recipient. Please make checks payable to Unity Church.
June 12 and July 24: Friends of Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County develops
park trails and works to preserve parks, open space, and urban forests. Over the last 25
years, their accomplishments include stopping park land development, establishing park
commissions, promoting an annual tree sale that has placed over 6,000 trees in parks,
removing buckthorn on the Mississippi River, restoring Pickerel Lake, and installing a
safe bikeway trail on the 1-35E bridge over the river. Unity member Marsha Soucheray
has served on the Friends board for about 15 years and as board president for one year.
Unity Church member Kathy Stack is the current president.
Children attending the 10:00
a.m. summer service with their
families are invited to join us for
our Summer Gardening program
each Sunday. Volunteer teachers
will help kids ages 4-12 tend our
vegetable and flower gardens out
in the Greenspace. The beautiful
blooms and healthy produce are
given to clients of the SummitUniversity Living At Home/Block
Nurse program. No registration is
necessary. Please make sure your
child has sunblock on and is signed
in each Sunday in the Yellow
Hallway downstairs. Regular R.E.
resumes in September.
Missed Registration?
Save the Date: September 7, 2011!
If your family missed our four Spring
sessions of registration for Religious
Education (R.E.) 2011-12, please
plan on joining us for the September
session on Wednesday, September
7, at 7:00 p.m. Many classes and
volunteer roles have already been
filled, so please come with an open
mind and flexible spirit. R.E. begins
on Sunday, September 18, 2011.
June 19 and July 31: Project Home, a program of the St. Paul Council of Churches,
serves as Ramsey County’s overflow family shelter, providing 40-60 beds for children
and their parents. Project Home partners with area churches, synagogues and schools
each month to provide a safe and clean temporary home for Ramsey County’s ever
growing homeless population. Each May, Unity Church serves as a host site for Project
Home with about 150 Unity Church members volunteering as evening and overnight
hosts this year. Unity member Elizabeth Wrobel serves on the St. Paul Council of
Churches board of directors and has worked to raise funds for Project Home.
June 26: The fourth annual Unity Church Chalice Camp is taking place from July
18—22 and this offering will go toward scholarships for some of the campers. The
theme of the camp this year is exploring the neighborhood right around Unity Church
and will be a blend of learning, service and fun for campers entering 1st-6th grade.
The camp will focus on Unity Church’s commitment to social justice right here in
our nearby neighborhood so campers will meet and help neighbors who participate
in the Summit University Living at Home Block Nursing Program (SULAH) or people
who are working to develop new community gardens. Unity Church member Katie
DeCramer is serving as Director of the Chalice Camp this year.
July 3: Microgrants is a Twin Cities nonprofit that gives small grants to selected lowincome persons for training, classes, equipment, tools, or other means of assistance
to follow their goals and achieve a better standard of living. Unity Church member
Phil Morton provides computer support for the Microgrants program.
July 10: Northwest Youth and Family Services (NYFS) is a nonprofit social service
and mental health agency serving residents of northern and southern Ramsey
counties since 1976. Its mission is to prepare youth and families for healthy lives,
touching over 4,000 individuals annually. NYFS provides a mental health outpatient
clinic, several educational and support groups, and general community social
service functions for several metro communities. NYFS offers one-to-one support
programs for individuals in need, from mental health counseling to chore services
for senior citizens who want to live independently. Unity Church members Mark
and Cynthia Stange have been active in several aspects of NYFS over the years with
Mark currently serving on the development committee.
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Summer Solstice / Music Ministry / Parish Hall Artist
Summer Solstice Reflection
from Katy Taylor, Seasonal Coordinator Worship Associate ([email protected])
Summer Solstice reminds us to notice and celebrate the full return
of the light. The daylight hours have been growing since
Winter Solstice, each day becoming slightly longer until
the Spring Equinox in March, when the day and night
were equal in length. This full-on light invites us out of the
house, into the warmth, into its embrace. The seeds that
slowly prepared themselves in the mysterious darkness
within the earth and within our souls are ready to bear gifts
in the fullness of the light. We are invited into a season of
fertility, abundance, vitality, and blossoming.
What is calling you into blossom? As the poet Mary Oliver invites, “Tell me, what
is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” You may want to write in
a journal or create a ritual to explore this invitation. How can you embody the gifts
that have been growing in you? Does anything need to be released in order to allow
these gifts to manifest? A short ritual could include:
In the brightness of the day
Write each “blossoming” or release on a small piece of paper
Light a candle and say a blessing or intention
Read one “blossoming” or release at a time, and then burn it in the flame,
allowing it to be transformed into whatever form it will take in your life.
Other ways to celebrate the Summer Solstice:
Create a flower garland for your head (dandelions make a great braided crown)
or your front door. Or put some flowers in your hair or around your house.
Paint a smiling sun on your cheek or on the back of your hand.
Drink lavender or chamomile tea with honey in it.
Enjoy sunflowers and fireflies.
Dance, sing, gather around a fire, and be merry!
Remember that as this day comes to an end, the days will very slowly become
shorter now, until at Autumn Equinox, the day and night will be balanced, and by
Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. Savor and revel in the bounty of
this summer season and the gift of “your one, wild, and precious life.”
Next year, we hope to celebrate the Summer Solstice together with a ritual at
Unity Church.
Unity “Walk-In” Choir
Sunday, June 12
Come and sing with members of the Unity Choir on Sunday, June 13. Come for a
rehearsal at 9:00 a.m. and sing at the 10:00 a.m. service! Come for some fun and
music quickly learned!
Wanted! Summer Musicians
Summer is a great time to share your musical gifts with your Unity family and
friends. Summer lay-led services begin on July 3 this year and continue through
August 28. If you are interested in participating in the music contact Kathleen
Bartholomay at 651-698-2431 or by email at [email protected]
Parish Hall Artist
Catherine Vesley
When I was young I had a chance
to spend a summer on the ranchette
my grandparents lived on outside of
Great Falls, Montana, in the shadow
of the Little Belt Mountains. Since
then I have always missed two visual
things while living in Minnesota, the
third stage of the landscape, and a
good view of the bones of the earth.
The Laurentian Shield is what's left of
our mountains, and the "bones" are
long since buried by glacial drift. To
paint those sorts of places that I fell in
love with at an early age, I routinely
travel to the west and southwest,
set up an easel in a lonely place
and paint away for a few weeks.
Gradually a series accumulates that
I take home and finish in the studio
over the winter. Some of the paintings
work, others are edited out, and the
survivors eventually hang on a wall.
The work has developed over years
spent studying and teaching art history
and studio arts in colleges; wandering
through museums, studying geology
and collecting rocks, hiking with
dogs on all sorts of varied terrain,
conserving and restoring antique oils
as a business, doing endless figure
drawings, and just staring at prairie
Through it all, I kept painting as a way
to keep what I saw alive in my mind.
A photo simply does not usually have
the impact. My painting style has
changed over the years, sometimes
becoming more abstract, sometimes
less; the palette shifts as does the
point of view. This is the current
crop and I hope you find something
of interest in them. For me, there is
something so appealing in massive
and brilliant red cliffs when you are
finishing a painting in your studio
on a frozen gritty January day in the
Minnesota we all know and love. It
was special there and I will return .
A Welcoming Congregation
June/July 2011 commUNITY
Unity Church–Unitarian
732 Holly Avenue • Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
651-228-1456 • fax: 651-228-0927 • www.unityunitarian.org • [email protected]
Rob Fulton, Chair, Board of Trustees
Janne Eller-Isaacs, Co-Minister
Rob Eller-Isaacs, Co-Minister
Barbara Hubbard, Executive Director
Leon Dunkley, Director of Congregational Life
Non-Profit Org.
US Postage
Twin Cities MN
Permit No. 1141
Time Sensitive
change Service Requested
Boston Pilgrimage
October 26–30, 2011
You are invited to join our ministers for a
pilgrimage to the Unitarian Universalist
holy sites! We’ll visit Plimouth
Plantation, Harvard Divinity School,
the Oracles of Concord, Walden Pond
and the historic churches of Boston.
There will be time for sightseeing as
well as conversation and reflection.
The approximate cost will be $1200
exclusive of airfare. If you are interested
in participating in this pilgrimage,
please contact Song Thao at the Church
Office ([email protected]) to
have your name added to the list.
Fly UP