Friday, June 15, 2018

Coming of Age Boston Trip

Dear DUUF Community,

During our trip to Boston last week, we visited many historical UU sights and connected with the Coming Of Age group from First Unitarian Church in Dallas with whom we traveled. As well as learning about UU history, we had the opportunity to learn about the history of Boston and America at large. When we traveled to the Old Manse in Concord-- the home of influential transcendentalists such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson. We learned about the first battle of the Revolutionary War at a nearby bridge from a local park ranger.

 On our first day, we took a trip on an amphibious vehicle where we learned about the general history of Boston, such the fact that a significant part of Boston is built on landfill. On our second day we visited Arlington Street Church (the first Unitarian church and where William Ellery Channing was the minister) and Harvard Divinity School (the location of one of Emerson's most influential speeches). Locations like these were integral to the experience, helping us connect obscure names to actual buildings, pulpits, and rooms, where the stories we had learned previously in our Coming Of Age class began to come to life.

 On our third day we traveled to Concord by bus to visit the Sleepy Hollow cemetery (the final resting place of prominent transcendentalists such as Elizabeth Peabody, the founder of the first kindergarten in America, and Henry D. Thoreau). We also visited Walden Pond, where Thoreau wrote his famous book Walden. Myself and many others found this location to be especially spiritual; the quiet and beautiful surroundings along with readings by Rev. Aaron White of the Dallas congregation connected us deeply with Walden’s central idea of simple living and a higher power in nature.

 The following day we walked to King’s Chapel and went on the “Bells and Bones” tour where we saw their 325 year old crypt and climbed into the bell tower to see the bell that was recast by Paul Revere in 1814. Later that day, we enjoyed seeing whales on a whale watching ship east of Cape Cod bay and returned to see The Blue Man Group, a fast paced musical performance art, which is an experience I’ll never forget.

 On our fifth day we attended a Pride worship service at Arlington Street Church where we sang along with the UU community of downtown Boston and watched the Pride parade afterwards outside of the church. It was a very special experience to see such an inclusive and supportive event on such a large scale; this is something I hope to see in Texas in the future. After the parade we were afforded a few hours of free time, so Tesa Morin, students from the Denton group, and I went to Beacon Hill and visited picturesque Acorn Street.

 On our final day in Boston on Sunday, we returned to King’s Chapel to attend service, which was an especially unique experience. Although the church is affiliated with the UUA, the worship service is quite different from ours. The service included Psalms and readings from the Common Book of Prayer in its original Shakespearean-like form and an inspirational sermon on social action and justice. Even though it was a foreign experience, I enjoyed it and learned a great deal. I think this acceptance of learning from many different traditions and practices of other religions is one of the greatest parts of being Unitarian Universalist.

 I know that myself and many others have been changed by this trip; we have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a UU in this world. Connections have been made that are only possible with this firsthand look at the hearth and birthplace of Unitarian Universalism. I hope that future generations in this church can experience this too, because it is so incredibly important to understand what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist in an historical context.

 Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support and donations from the congregation. We are thankful to those that guided us in our fundraising, those that bought shirts, many who donated so that all of us could go on this trip, to our mentors, and to our teachers Pam and Tesa. We are thankful for their time, mentoring, guidance, and energy as they helped us to grow spiritually. On the behalf of the CoA group, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the congregation for providing this experience for us. We thank you.

 With gratitude,
 Gabriel Morgan

Friday, March 16, 2018

Easter Sunday at DUUF with services at 9:30am and 11:30am

All are invited for worship services on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. Join us for an all-ages story of emergence as we celebrate the Easter holiday. Rev. Pamela Wat leads our services at 9:30am and 11:30am.

Children are invited to participate in our annual Easter Egg Hunt between the services (at 10:30am). Bring a bag or basket and get ready for fun.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Inquirers Series starting on April 15, 2018

The Inquirers series resumes April 15th! Inquirers is a series of eight classes that can be taken in any order. Take all eight and win a prize! Join us between the Sunday services at 10:40 am in Classroom #2 to learn about Unitarian Universalist history, our fellowship, and how to become more involved at DUUF. Our first session, on April 15th, will be Q&A with the Minister. Newcomers and long-time members (and everyone in between) are especially invited to bring their buring questions to Rev. Pam as we explore what it means to be UU.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

DUUF Chili Cookoff 2018

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Join us for the MOST DELICIOUS chili in all of Texas. Contestants, bring your BEST chili, soup, or dessert. Omnivore and vegan entries welcome. Appetites encouraged! $7 for adults; $4 for kids. Raise funds to support DUUF AND connect with some fine folks. Members of our high school Coming of Age class will be selling new DUUF t-shirts to help fund their trip to Boston!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"Reflections 2" Welded Steel

On Sunday, January 14, 2018 we dedicated “Reflections 2” welded steel, a statue that now stands outside our sanctuary. It was made and generously donated by Jerry Daniel.

The sculpture has a steadiness about it. As the landscape around it changes and, as we change and move through the seasons of our own lives, it stands there steady and strong, yet somehow reminding us of something tender and yielding. 

Rev. Pam calls this piece "sacred art." “Sacred” because if you spend time with this sculpture, it will draw you toward what it is you need to discover. It might be a sadness, or a joy, or a strength, or a discernment, a slowing down. It might be community, or courage. This sculpture has the power and possibility to help you hear the voice of God, of spirit, of wisdom, of a higher power in your life. 

Please take time to reflect on how this sculpture speaks to you. Here are some questions that could guide your reflection:
  • What is your metal? What is hard and cold that needs to be made malleable? 
  • And what is malleable that needs strength and shape and direction?
  • Who are your people to whom you can go when you hurting or when you are in discernment?
  • What are the pieces of your life that you thought were finished, but that take shape in new ways?
  • Where does grief live in your body and how might you tend to it?
  • How do you tend to your feelings of emptiness (in unhealthy ways)?
  • How do you tend to your feelings of emptiness (in healthy ways)?
  • What makes you feel strong?
  • How do you cultivate openness?
  • What gives your life meaning?
  • How is your life taking shape? 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Q&A with the Minister on Sunday, January 14

Join us between the services on Sunday, January 14 for a Q&A with the Minister.

All are welcome to attend the first in an eight-session series to learn more about our congregation and to meet others. In this session Rev. Pam will answer any questions you bring! Think about what you’d like to know more about, or come and ask those deep existential questions that you’ve been wanting to explore!

We meet in room 2 at 10:40am and finish by 11:20am.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend 2018

This weekend we listen for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s urgent call to love and justice and we honor his legacy by responding with our own gifts. We have three opportunities to respond and you are invited. 

1. In preparation for the Martin Luther King, Jr. march (1/15) and the Women’s March Reunion (1/20), come to DUUF on Saturday (1/13) from 1:30pm to 3:30pm to make signs! We'll provide the supplies and some sample quotes, so just come ready to decorate. 

2. On Sunday (1/14) our service will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership and we will have a second offering to support the Denton African American Scholarship Foundation. In 2017 the top award winner was Jacqueline Willis (Ryan High School graduate now attending Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia). Last year they also awarded 13 scholarships and provided funds to freshman, sophomore, and juniors to help them excel. If DUUF pulls together $1,500, we will provide a year of tuition and fees for a community college student! $1,000 will help a student pay for books, meals and lab fees. $500 covers what a typical student pays for books and supplies. $250 will help a student pay for meals. $100 buys graphing calculators for two students. $50 will cover school supplies for a year. Let’s see what we can do DUUF!

3. On Monday (1/15) march with other members of DUUF by meeting up at the parking lot at South Welch Street and Union Circle/West Chestnut Street by 4:30pm or meet up with folks later at the program at MLK Jr. Recreation Center. Please support Denton’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.

No matter how you spend this weekend, may our shared efforts bend the arc of the moral universe ever toward justice. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Welcoming Guest at Your Table

Guest at Your Table (GAYT) is the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s annual intergenerational program to raise support for and awareness about UUSC’s work to advance human rights around the globe. Donation boxes are available at DUUF throughout December. Place one prominently at your home to remember the figurative guest at your table and to cultivate a generous heart in the weeks leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve (or other times before the end of 2017) please bring your donation to DUUF so that we can send our collective contribution to the UUSC.

UUSC works in over 25 countries with over 75 grassroots partner organizations. This year, we are highlighting the following “guests” and partners: 

Tulele Peisa supports Carteret Islanders being displaced by severe climate change impacts in the South Pacific.

RAICES provides legal aid and support for families held in Karnes family detention center in Texas. 

The Center for Social Integrity advances human rights in Burma through youth leadership development.

The Queer Detainee Empowerment Project supports LGBTQI+ immigrants in and outside of detention in New York.

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a 77-year-old human rights organization grounded in Unitarian Universalist values and founded to support refugees and political dissidents feeing Nazi Germany. Through research, advocacy, and grassroots partnerships, UUSC advances human rights in the United States and around the globe.

Contributions of any amount qualify for membership. Contributions of $125 or more are eligible to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the UU Congregation of Shelter Rock in Manhasset, NY. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Make DUUF part of your winter holiday experience!

On Christmas Eve (Sunday, 12/24) you have three opportunities to find new meaning and mystery in old Christmas traditions:
  • 10:30am "Christmas on Stage" - Rev. Pamela Wat and musical guest Paul Slavens take us on a journey through an interactive, staged version of the Christmas story. Connect to the joy and wonder of this holiday. Children and adults are invited. Please note that there will be one service on this Sunday morning with two later services in the afternoon/early evening. 
  • 4:30pm "Reindeer Games" - This year we are going to play our way to the meaning of Christmas! Be part of the fun and the magic on Christmas Eve. Rev. Pamela Wat leads our celebration and Santa Claus joins us for cookies and fellowship.
  • 6:00pm "Peace on Earth" - We gather to hear the story, to wonder about the circumstances, and to cultivate peace in our lives and in the world. Rev. Pamela Wat leads this traditional, candlelight Christmas Eve service on this most holy night.
On New Year's Eve (Sunday, 12/31) join us at 10:30am to burn the old and set intentions for the new. Start 2018 off with wisdom and clarity by participating in this annual burning bowl ritual. 

Hanging of the Greens is HERE!

Hanging of the Greens is an all-ages event to decorate the church for the season, enjoy one another's company, and share a meal together. A craft is planned for the young (and young-at-heart). Please join us whether you are bringing the holiday cheer, or in need of some holiday cheer, or just available to lend a hand in our decorating extravaganza. 

Please also be part of our potluck! We supply the pancakes and you bring a side dish or dessert.