|Unity Church of North Easton News|
|"We Pledge to Walk Together..."||
Volume 3, No. 16, January 31, 2014
| Rev. Kristin's February Challenge!
Whether you call it serenity, enlightenment, inner peace, or just strength of character, our religious tradition (like most others) encourages us to grow in emotional maturity. This is the quality that allows us to stay calm and upbeat despite having a rotten day, and to maintain faith in the potential for human goodness despite the presence of violence and discord around the world. Ours is a faith that values such strength, and we come together to worship, serve others, and socialize so that we can help one another along our separate but shared paths.
We all can be intentional about tending to our inner selves by finding activities that help us to center ourselves, discover grace, or connect with the eternal. Our Unitarian and Universalist ancestors referred to these as spiritual - or devotional - practices. But whatever word works best for you, they are all activities that, pursued regularly, help us connect with our deepest and truest selves and grow in emotional and spiritual strength. They can even become inner havens, emotional spaces that come to sustain us through some of life's most difficult times.
Our worship theme for the month of February is Spiritual Practice
and so we will be exploring both the purpose and benefit that such activities can have in our lives, and some of the spiritual practices themselves. Some of us might already have a strong spiritual practice, some of us might not. In the interest of practicing what I preach, I am challenging myself to try a new spiritual practice every day for the month of February. I have several of those books that offer readings for each day of the year, and I'm going to choose one, read each daily selection, and then meditate for ten minutes every morning. I'll let you all know how it goes and what difference it makes for me!
So, whether it's meditation or journaling, prayer or gardening, reading sacred texts or hiking, making music or something else entirely, I hope you will join me in this February challenge and begin a spiritual/inner practice you've never tried before. It's temporary, low-risk, and just might make a huge difference in your life! Won't you let me know how it goes for you?
With joy and anticipation.
Gift of the Heart: Yankee Swap & Potluck
Come join the fun. Our December Annual Holiday Potluck and Yankee Swap was snowed out. The Fellowship Committee has rescheduled it for Saturday, February 15, 2014, 6 - 10 p.m.
, in Parish Hall
This is a Potluck meal; please sign up in Parish Hall to indicate if you will bring an appetizer, entrée, side dish or dessert. There will be a Yankee Swap so bring a wrapped gift worth about $5.00. It can be the one you found in December.
We are trying to arrange childcare, and we need to have 3 or more children registered for this to happen. Please contact Cheryl Brigante, at cherylbrigante at hotmail.com
, to register for childcare.
What is a Circle Dinner? Upcoming Fellowship Events
The Fellowship Committee has been busy scheduling some fun events in the upcoming months. Please put these on your calendar now, and be sure to bring your friends and families, too!
- February 15, 2014 - Gift of the Heart, Yankee Swap / Potluck
- March 15, 2014 - St. Patrick's Day Fun for all ages
- March 22, 2014 - Circle Dinner
- April 2014 - Earth Day Events
- May 2014 - Theater Event
- June 2014 - Circle Dinner
One or more groups of ten people who want an excuse to share a potluck meal and some conversation at someone's home.How does it work?
The Social Activities committee finds one or more people willing to host the meal. Hosts offer their homes but are not responsible for providing the meal.
The host receives the names and contact information of the people who will attend from the Social Activities committee, and then tells everyone what to bring to the potluck. Hosts usually provide beverages and/or snacks, but this is really the host's decision.
These dinners have always been a popular way for small groups of new and veteran Unity friends and members to share some low key, non-committee work... time together.Do I have to travel from house to house?
No! Contrary to popular myth, you do NOT go from house to house. Groups of ten or fewer people go to one home and spend their entire time there :-).
For more information about Fellowship events, please contact Cheryl Brigante, at cherylbrigante at hotmail.com.
We are moving along well in our year of visioning here at Unity Church. Here is where we are in the process:
Sixteen people participated in the first Visioning Workshop in December. The purpose of that first gathering was really to nail down some concrete ideas about our mission - why Unity Church exists and what our most basic purpose is. Re-articulating the mission is the first step in any effective visioning process because it helps us get clear on what purpose our shared ministry exists to serve.
Group Responses from the Workshop
Tell the story of when you were most proud of being a part of Unity Church.
- Community allows individual voices to he heard, collaboration, inclusiveness, outreach
- Sense of belonging, receiving and giving
- Collective self-confidence, willingness to take risks, pride was shared
- Overcoming internal challenges
Talk about the experience here at Unity Church that has had most positive impact on your life or changed you for the better.
- Change perceptions - as individuals and as a church, see world with more authenticity
- Support during times of crisis made clear how important it is to show up
- Personal development, become more accepting of all, freedom to be self
- Ability to provide value to others
Why did you decide to make Unity Church your church?
- Music, sense of community
- Welcoming, liberal, involvement prior to commitment
- Worship experience, respect/care for kids, fun fellowship
- Sense of tribe
Role of the Committee on Ministry
The Committee on Ministry, the group of people asked to observe and tend to the overall shared ministry of the congregation, have taken up the hard work of beginning to draft a church mission statement taken directly from from the visioning participants' responses to date. As this process progresses, they will continue to build this draft and ask for review and comment by the whole congregation.
This mission statement begins as follows:
We welcome people of all ages to connect and grow in:
- Spirit and thought
- Community and connection
- Service to others
I hope you will join me in thanking the members of the Committee on Ministry (Jenn Gold, Audrey Davies, Katelyn Haven, and Carolyn McCafferty) for their hard work when you see them next. I hope you will also share your feedback with them at coffee hour on Sunday, February 2. You are also welcome to send me an email (klgrassel@gmail) which I will forward along to the committee.
When you consider what feedback to offer, I hope you will consider the following questions, and these tidbits about what mission is and isn't. And if you still have questions or want to talk with me about any aspect of the visioning process, please don't hesitate to contact me so we can find a time to chat.
- How does the above draft mission statement make you feel?
- Acknowledging that there may be a word or two that you don't personally connect with, do you feel like this expresses who Unity Church is at its best, or what our purpose as a religious community is?
- Is there anything core to Unity Church that this statement is missing?
Things to remember about mission:
- Mission is about the present - A hospital's mission might be "we are an institution that provides medical care."
- Vision (which we will explore more in our second visioning workshop on Sunday, February 9 after worship) is about the future - A hospital's vision might be "we are becoming a convenient hospital in our community and strive to become the hospital with the shortest emergency room wait time." Vision is rooted in mission and addresses a need that extends outside of the institution itself.
- We need to be clear on our mission before we can begin to think about our vision. In other words, we can't figure out where we ought to head if we don't know why we exist in the first place!
Exploring Our Gifts
All Church Visioning Event 2 of 3
Sunday, February 911:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
In our first visioning workshop back in December we had a wonderful time telling one another our stories. We told one another the stories about what has made us most proud of being a part of Unity Church, what about the church has most changed or influenced the way we live our lives, and why we chose to make Unity our church. Through this process we discovered that we share some ideas and values about who we are as congregation. Since then, the Committee on Ministry has been leading our we evolving articulation of our mission (or purpose) as a congregation. Now that we have begun to put who we are into words, we move into discovering what gifts we have to offer, both to one another and to the world beyond our walls.
In this second of three visioning gatherings, we will explore the gifts, strengths, and unique perspectives we possess as a congregation. So join us after the service on February 9 (February 23 snow date)
for a fun and inspiring conversation about the passions, interests, and skills we each bring, and how with those gifts we might be uniquely equipped to serve the needs of our communities, both within and beyond our walls.
Everyone, whether you are a long-timer or a newcomer, is invited to participate. A light lunch will be served and childcare will be provided. There is no need to register, but if you have questions about the event please contact Rev. Kristin Schmidt
All three of our visioning conversations will be guided by the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) process
. AI encourages organizations to discover their focus on where their successes, energies, and passions are, rather than getting stuck in problem-solving mode. As David L. Cooperrider and Diana Whitney write in their book A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry
, "In AI the arduous task of intervention gives way to the speed of imagination and innovation; instead of negation, criticism, and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, and design."
To learn more about AI, please visit
The Rev. Kristin G. Schmidt
Unity Church of North Easton
Unity Exchange is Back!
The Unity Exchange
is a place where members and friends can offer gently used items to others for just a donation to the church.
Be sure to check there often, as items are added as they are offered!
Unity Church 3rd Annual
Bed & Breakfast Fundraiser is Back!
Host friendly, interesting dancers and musicians while raising money for Unity Church!
The New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA) has a festival in Mansfield each spring. Folk musicians and dancers come from around the world. Some (young adults, musicians) cannot afford hotel rates.
You can help them and raise some funds for Unity Church by providing a bed or even just floor space to participants during the fair on April 25-27, 2014.
This was a wonderful success last year, generating good will and funds for our community.
Here's How it Works
- Church members register to provide a bed and/or floor space, a shower, and a continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- Anna Linzi matches hosts with guests. Please contact Anna at 781-727-7521, or emaill her at annatl124 at gmail.com.
- Hosts and guests email each other to finalize details, like check-in and check-out times. Guests send the checks to the church. This year there are weekend rates at $60 per person for floor space, $75 per person for single bed space, and $150 per bed for a double/queen/king.
What Hosts Need to Know
- The festival starts on Friday, April 25, 2014, at 7 pm and ends at 11:30pm each night, so many of the guests will be coming to your house late. It starts at 10 am on Saturday and Sunday. You can specify quiet hours that work for you.
- The festival has a lot of activities, dances, performances, workshops, and more! Click here for more information about the schedule of events.
Host Application Form
For continuously updated details about how you can help,
click here to get to the Unity Church NEFFA web page.
You can also directly contact Anna Linzi at 781-727-7521 or ANNATL124 at gmail.com. Anna is leading this event for Unity Church.
UUA Book Fair at Unity Church Every Sunday
Unity Church is hosting a Book Fair, with books for sale from the publishing houses of the Unitarian Universalist Association. A sample of their books will be available for you to choose from. You can also order a specific title listed in the UUA Bookstore catalog.
This is a wonderful fundraiser for Unity Church; you pay the list price an
d the church receives 40%
of the price.
We will continue the Book Fair into the winter of 2014. Look for the Book Fair Table in Parish Hall during Social Hou
r. Contact Cheryl Brigante
or Anna Linzi
for more details.
When the Weather Outside is Frightful
For the safety of our friends and members, in case of extreme weather conditions, please call the church office (508-238-6373) after 8:00 am on the day of the Service or church event for a message about whether the Service or event has been cancelled.
Looking for Unity Church Member Contact information?
You can find it on our web site under the Member Access menu,
after you log in as a member.
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|Photo Credits for this Issue of the Unity News|
Ellen Dehm, Cheryl Brigante, and Cathy AdlerUnity News Contact Info
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