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December 9, 2016
Latest News
KK Wilder Memorial Service
Vigil to End Gun Violence
Speaking of Stewardship
Christmas Eve Ushers Needed!
First Night Lasagna Dinner
FUUSB Book Group: "My Stroke of Insight"
Upcoming Sundays for Children
First Night Volunteer Sign Up
Guest at Your Table
Child Dedication Ceremony
Breath of Fresh Air
Upcoming Services

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Important Dates
December 11
Child dedication sign up deadline

December 13
FUUSB Book Group: "My Stroke of Insight"
12:00 p.m. 

December 14
Vigil to End Gun Violence
Local Vigil: In front of Burlington City Hall, 149 Church St.    

December 18
Multigen Worship
Child Dedication Ceremony

December 24

Christmas Eve Candelit Services


4:00 p.m.- Families
6:00 p.m.- All Ages
8:00 p.m.- All Ages

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Dear Ones,

Earlier this week, at a gathering of First UU justice lay leaders and program staff, we shared what, during these times, was especially weighing down our spirits - and also that from which we are taking heart. There are many things giving me heart and courage right now, but one of the most powerful is YOU. In recent weeks, I have taken heart in the Meeting House on Sunday mornings, when I see your faces and hear our collective voices raised in song. I have taken heart from the way you are reaching out to and welcoming the myriad newcomers who are seeing what First UU has to offer. I have taken heart in your energy and commitment to action. And I have taken heart in the wise and healing words you have shared over coffee, around circles, and across the table at meetings. 

I also took heart when so many of you reached out to me after last Sunday's worship - in which I shared that our neighbors at the Vermont Islamic Society had received a hateful letter - to ask what can we do to show our solidarity and support. You can read more about the letter here:

As I shared with some of you, by chance, Andre and I were already slated to meet with Imam Islam Hassan from the mosque on Tuesday, to get to know one another better and explore how we can build our relationship with our Muslim neighbors. Following that visit and follow up conversation in the interfaith community, the following has emerged:

Solidarity Gathering at the Islamic SocietyNext Friday December 16, from 1-2pm

Our own Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA) is hosting a solidarity gathering at the Islamic Society, at the invitation of Imam Hassan, in conjunction with their regular Friday service next week. The service will run from 1-1:35pm, then members of the interfaith clergy will address the gathered community, offering our solidarity, support and friendship. All who can are welcome to attend, and we hope as many First UU'ers as possible can be part of this special visit (as the middle of the school and work day allows!). VIA is hoping to get a headcount, so if you are interested in being part of our UU contingent, please email Andre, our ministerial intern by this Wednesday 12/14 at noon at After you sign up, we will be in touch with more information about what to expect during the visit, ways we can show our respect when we are there, directions and carpool options (parking is limited at the mosque).

- Love Letter Campaign

During this Sunday's worship services, we will have an opportunity to write letters/make cards of love, support, and friendship to our neighbors at the Islamic Society. I will personally deliver them as part of our visit next Friday. If you won't be at the UU this Sunday, but would like to participate, please feel free to send or drop off a letter or card by the Meeting House any time before Friday, and we'll include it.

- Community Building Meals with our Muslim Neighbors to Come in 2017

Imam Hassan has warmly invited us to attend one of the Islamic Society's monthly community dinners in the new year (our Building Bridges RE class (7th grade) recently attended one!). We will also be exploring hosting a meal at our Meeting House for the Islamic Society community sometime after that. If you are interested in assisting with that effort in any way, please be in touch with Andre, who will be working with Linda Graves and other lay leaders to develop this emerging ministry.

Love and light,
Rev. Mara 
Afterword- Sunday, December 4
by Rev. Mara

Last Sunday's service lifted up wonder as an antidote to anxiety and despair. 

Martha's Reflections for All Ages told us about the Unitarian astronomer Maria Mitchell:

Here are the readings:
*"In Spite of Everything, the Stars," by Edward Hirsch

*From Nelson Bryant, a longtime outdoors columnist for the New York Times:

Once there was a boy who beheld the earth with a wonder much like yours.
Each dawn was a promise, each season a delight, 
and the world, for all its anguish, was good to know.
Those were years when the boy could spend an entire September afternoon . . . watching trout hover above the pebbles in a brook, a time when the years that lay ahead seemed inexhaustible, a time of soaring dreams.
And it was a time when a gull's cry, muted by fog and distance, could call the boy down miles of empty beach, his thoughts as wide as the ocean.
It may startle you to know that your father, who was once the boy, still feels the tug of moonlight and marvels at the first lilies of spring.
The secret I would have you know is that even though the years will steal your fresh beauty, it need only be, in truth, a minor theft. What you must guard against is the jaded state wherein there is nothing new to see or learn.
Marvel at the sun, rejoice in the rhythmic wheeling of the stars and learn their names, cry aloud a December's first snow, slide down the wind with a hawk and cherish the smell of wood smoke and mayflowers or the caress of a warm wool blanket. 
Tarry by a stream where willows bend and flee tedium's gray embrace.
Cherish laughter and whimsy but battle unrelentingly for what you know is right and be aware that the thieves of wonder can enter any heart.
You will love and be loved, hurt and be hurt, and you will know despair and taste regret but if your father's wish is answered, you will accept all this and ask for more.

Rev. Mara's sermon mentioned The Washington Post's 2007 Joshua Bell "experiment." You can read Gene Weingarten's original related column here:

KK Wilder Memorial Service: Sunday 12/11 at 2pm

chalice by river A Celebration of the Life of longtime UU member KK Wilder will be held on Sunday December 11 at 2pm in the Meeting House. KK passed away in October after a long illness. We warmly welcome all to this remembrance of KK and honoring of her life. We are in search of a few people who might be able to usher for the service. If you are interested to usher, please email Mary Fillmore, who's helping coordinate the service: A reception in the Parlors will follow immediately after the service.

Vigil to End Gun Violence
by Jud Lawrie

Come together to remember the more than 120,000 Americans killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook school massacre.  Help us to shine a light on this tragic toll!
At 100s of locations nationwide we will give voice to all victims and together help #EndGunViolence.  

Local Vigil: in front of Burlington City Hall, 149 Church St.  Wed Dec. 14th, 5:30PM.  Mayor Weinberger and Chief del Pozo have been invited to speak.  For more information: Anna Niemiec:  
I hope you'll join us at this local vigil in support of the national effort toward ending gun violence. 

Jud Lawrie
Chair, UU Gun Violence Task Force

Speaking of Stewardship- Gratitude and Generosity
by Nancy Knox

Join us in the inspiration of Beloved Community at This time of year, and especially this year, I find myself thinking about the blessings in my life. Personally, I am grateful for our UU community at this time of uncertainty in the larger world, and I strive to reflect that gratitude in my actions and generosity.  The Stewardship Team will host an activity this Sunday (Dec. 11) and next week (Dec. 18) after both services, to collect your thoughts about gratitude and generosity in the context of our UU Society. Look for a table/poster/easel in the parlors, the vestibule and downstairs (in the library) where we invite you to jot down a few thoughts or a word about what aspects of our UU Society inspire you to give of your time, energy and resources. Here are some prompts for consideration:
  • What do you feel gratitude about here at FUUSB?
  • What do you support here at FUUSB that excites you the most, or speaks to your heart?
  • What inspires you to practice generosity in line with your values here at FUUSB?
Please jot down a thought or a word and post it on one of our posters this Sunday or next! Questions or comments? Contact me, Nancy Knox at

Christmas Eve Ushers Needed! 
by Nina Buss

null Christmas Eve Ushers: Christmas is coming and that means we're looking for ushers/candle lighters for our beautiful Christmas Eve services.  Duties include handing out orders of service, passing an offertory basket and helping with candle lighting.  Please consider signing up to help with this lovely traditional service!  We're using to organize the sign up for this.  Here is all you need to do:

1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on 
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on 
3. Sign up! Choose your spots - will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy! 

First Night Lasagna Dinner
by Sharon Leach

Calling all: Lasagna Makers, Cookie Bakers, Servers, Clearers and Setter Uppers!

The First Night Lasagna dinner is a family-friendly event during which we feed lots of hungry and chilly First Night participants a hearty, tummy warming spread!  Please join in for a fun and rewarding evening by cooking your favorite tasty lasagna, baking cookies and/or becoming part of the special team of workers who make this event possible. This year the Yuuth Group is raising money for our annual Service Trip.  We hope to go to Cape Cod to do animal rescue or another environmental job.

We need: Lasagnas (fresh from the oven) and Baked Goods to be delivered between 2 and 4 pmDec. 31st. We are serving from 4:00 - 8:00 and need Volunteers to sign up for shifts from 2:00 - 5:30 and 5:15 - 9:00.

Sign-up sheets for Lasagna Makers, Cookie Bakers and Volunteers are at this link:  
You can also sign-up on the bulletin boards for Lasagna Makers, Cookie Bakers and Volunteers. Please sign up and help make this a memorable event! For additional information please contact: Jean Palmer at or Sharon Leach at

FUUSB Book Group: "My Stroke of Insight"
by Gerry Quinn

Please join us on Tuesday, December 13 at 12 o'clock at the UU as we discuss My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor. In 1996, 37 year old Harvard trained brain scientist Jill Taylor experienced a massive stroke that left her unable to walk, talk, do mathematics, read, or remember details. Her remarkable story details her slow recovery of these abilities, describing her progress and taking us on a tour of the right and left sides of her brain.

Meetings are held upstairs in the Susan B Anthony room. Newcomers most welcome.
Upcoming Sundays for Children
by Martha Dallas

Dec 11
: Classroom Sunday (Last class in preschool-7th till Jan. 15th!)
  • OWL 5th-6th Orientation for participants and their parents (12:45-3:15)

Dec 18: Multigen worship to celebrate the Winter Solstice. 8th Grade OWL meets.
  • OWL 5th-6th Session #1 (12:45-1:45)

Dec 25 & Jan 1: One 10 AM worship service. NOTE: Childcare in our nursery will not be available these two Sundays. Children are welcome to stay in the sanctuary or parents may supervise them in our nursery.

First Night Volunteer Sign Up
by Bob Furrer

It's almost time to greet a New Year, and the FUUSB will once again be a First Night venue! For those wishing to volunteer at the event, there will be a sign-up sheet posted on the first floor bulletin board of the Meeting House as of December 11th. There are five shifts available ( 12:302:404:406:40 and 8:40), with three slots per shift. Each volunteer receives a First Night Button which gives them access to most of the celebration's events. Volunteers can pick up their buttons anytime after 12:00 noon on Dec. 31st. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and be able to meet and direct the public.

Volunteers must sign-up in person at the Meeting House!!

Guest at Your Table
by David and Sally Conrad

Guest at Your Table is the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's (UUSC's) annual intergenerational program to raise support for UUSC's work to protect human rights and defy hate from the ground up, while also applying pressure on those in power at the top-as UUSC founders Martha and Waitstill Sharp did during their missions to rescue Jews and dissidents from Nazi Germany.
         UUSC is proud to carry forward the Sharps' legacy by continuing to defy hate and protect the lives and rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and other marginalized groups, both here in the United States and throughout the world.  UUSC partners with grassroots organizations in over 25 countries around the world, including the Arab American Civic Council in southern California which provides refugees with the resources they need to build a new life in an unfamiliar country.
            We urge you to participate in this year's Guest at Your Table by reading "Stories of Hope" and using a donation envelope available in the Parlors or on tables in the sanctuary.  Online, please go to to make your tax-deductible contribution.  Any amount is welcome, but a donation of $40 or more earns you annual UUSC membership benefits and a gift of $125 or more is eligible to be matched-doubling the impact of your gift.  Thank you!

Child Dedication Ceremony
by Martha Dallas

We will be holding a Child Dedication Ceremony as part of worship on Sunday, Dec. 18 at both services. If you would like to have your little one dedicated, let us know! It's a sweet ritual of welcome and love, inviting all present to support the child and their family in the journey of growing up and exploring in faith. Contact Martha Dallas - or Rev. Mara -