A Welcoming Congregation
 

The Community Spirit







May 2014







 

Minister's Letter

Testimony

As Unitarian Universalists, we don’t often say, “May I share my testimony with you?” We are a tradition that doesn’t proselytize, we don’t try to convert others to our religious belief.

Often, when we do tell people about our church, we stammer a bit, and throw out a few bits of information that could probably be found on a Wikipedia page: “We aren’t just Christian!” “We don’t tell you what to believe!” “Emerson was a Unitarian!” (Well, maybe you are far more eloquent; I must confess that’s what I’ve blurted out before.)

On Facebook, several of us discussed the idea of “testimony.” Telling our stories of how being a Unitarian Universalist has changed our lives. Frankly, I think that’s more compelling that trying to come up with a short speech defining our denomination.

My colleague, the Rev. Gretchen Haley, wrote an excellent essay, “How to Write Your Unitarian Universalist Testimony.” In it, she recommends both that we own our own story, and that we understand we are part of a larger story, the living tradition of our faith. She offers a three point outline for structuring your testimony: What Brought You? What Keeps You? What’s Next? (To read more: http://revgretchenhaley.weebly.com/1/post/2014/03/how-to-write-your-unitarian-universalist-testimony.html)

Our stories are powerful. This church has transformed lives, mine included. Would you share your testimony with me? I’ve love to hear it. 

Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford, minister@fuunco.org
https://www.facebook.com/joanna.crawford

News from the Board

Happy Spring from your Board Representative!

Our Stewardship pledge time has come to a close. Thank you so much to those who turned in pledge cards during this time! Your gifts are appreciated. If you have not turned yours in, please do so as soon as possible. Our Treasurers are currently working on Budget for our Annual Meeting.

Our feedback meetings to discuss the proposed changes to the quorum went well. Thank you for your input! All three campuses reached similar consensus. Final wording on the changes will be shared before the Annual Meeting.

April is a month of growth and change. This is as true for flowers and plants as it is for our church. We return to one service on our campus, and add a Sunday Growth Group right after services. Give it a try! Connect with your fellow churchgoers, and grow your spirit.

 
President's Report

First Church is a powerful voice for progressive ideals and action; feeding souls and changing lives. Board member Connie Acosta reflects that our 503 status and our constitution limit First Church’s political actions. The Board discussed how we can support the upcoming City of Houston anti-discrimination ordinance. The Board passed the following resolution: “The Board of Trustees of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, Texas unanimously supports efforts to discourage discrimination and promote inclusion of all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion. When we fight hatred and discrimination for any one group, we do so for all.” The ministers or any church member can speak to the city council in support of this legislation as individuals but not as representatives of the church.

The Board addressed some major issues at this month’s meeting. The following are discussions and actions that the Board took:

    Results from March 9 meetings:
      • The Board held its third meeting with members in March to discuss the proposed Constitutional quorum amendment. All but one member supported the change. A suggestion to allow mail- in ballots was made. The Board will discuss this suggestion, but this is a matter for a future Board.
      • The Board approved amending the current quorum in the constitution: The quorum for all meetings of the Church Membership shall be at least 60 voting members of the Church or 25% of the voting Membership, whichever number is smaller.

    Proposed revision: “The quorum for all church meeting shall be 15% of the church membership.

    Every other month, I attend the Copperfield campus for service. It never fails that Susan Berg greets me at the door. Her genuine smile and welcoming words always make me feel that I am a part of the Copperfield campus. The initial greeting at any church door can influence whether or not a visitor returns. Copperfield is in good hands with Susan. Thank you, Susan for your service.

    In Fellowship, Your Board President
    Sheila Whitford

Outreach - Social Justice Team

Share the Plate Logo from Allen Avenue UU Church in Portland, ME

Share the Plate Logo from Allen Avenue UU Church in Portland, ME

Texas Wildlife Rehab Center Project

Five people gathered to help local urban wildlife on Saturday, March 8! Dana and Autumn represented Copperfield Campus, and Lois, Megan, and Elizabeth represented Museum District campus. The task for our four-hour shift was chopping apples for the upcoming baby bird program. Our grand total was 11 quart-sized baggies of apples, completed after four hours of peeling, chopping, chopping, and chopping some more! The mash will be frozen until needed in April and beyond. The Texas Wildlife Rehab Center helps an average of 2,000 baby birds each spring that are displaced from nests. We enjoyed Roslyn Even, the director of TWRC, and had fun chatting while chopping. Thanks to all who participated!

Website: http://www.twrc-houston.org/
Want to give feedback about the church?

Want to give a compliment? Have a complaint? We now have a Healthy Communications binder in the foyer for any of your church related concerns. Because we are covenanted to be in honest, caring, relationship with one another, no anonymous feedback is accepted. Please talk to Rita Cusack if you have any questions.

The Music Stand

We are excited to perform at the UU Music Fest on April 12.  This festival is always a fun time.  We listen to other bands, mix and mingle with other UU churches, share munchies and drinks, and hang out with friends. The FUUNCO band will play a set with a few of my UU originals and some revved up UU songs.

Meanwhile, in the Sunday services, we are continuing to work hard to provide you with a great musical experience every Sunday.  We've added a ukelele to change up some of the tunes, and worked on vocal harmonies and quality.  We hope you like what we've been doing.

For more information about our music program, contact me at music@fuunco.org or by phone at 281-685-1455

Jen Rathbun, Music Director, Copperfield Campus

Lifespan Faith Development

Religious Education for children from pre-k(4yrs old)- 12th grade is available at no cost for all interested persons. It is held on Sundays from 11:15am-12:00pm. 

For information, contact Adriana Gil-Wilkerson  lifespan@fuunco.org.

For Adult RE Growth Groups information, email adultre@fuunco.org.

All Religious Education lessons from pre-k-12th grade are based on the 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism as well as on most of the sermons from Sunday worship.

If you are interested in an opportunity to be involved in teaching RE, being an RE teacher assistant, or volunteering for the RE program,  you may contact Adriana.  Even though our year is in full swing, we have roles to fill!

Community Building

Our pre-school through 5th grade class is focusing on defining each person as a self and a connected member of community with the lessons about who they are in this world and how they fit in.  We are enjoying helping them create a journey through life with compassion and connectedness.

Our 7th-12th grade class have weekly discussions led by our RE teachers about their world in context related to the weekly sermons.  They also engage in social games and exercises to get to know each other better and build their community of growth and support.

 
Adult Faith Formation

We currently have one Growth GroUUp meeting once a week. This is a ‘mixed group’: some folks are driving up to the church Monday evenings from 6:30-8:00 (child care is provided), while others are attending virtually! Very exciting! Please contact Adriana Wilkerson or Chandler Wilkerson for more information.

I am thrilled to announce that we will open a new Growth GroUUp on Sunday, March 23! This groUUp will meet directly after service. The discussions are 90 minutes in length, so we can really get deep into the sermon topic. It will be open to visitors as well as friends and members. Please let me (Tracy Cook) know if you are interested.

 Thank You Message from Judy Sadler Bunch
 
Dear FUUNCO friends,
This is a sincere thank you for all the food, love and support that you recently sent during my recovery for shoulder surgery.  While I am not yet 100% and it will months before I get a full range of motion, I am out of the sling, in physical therapy and able to drive .  My gratitude cannot be measured in words.  Just know that it felt good to know that I had food in my freezer so I wouldn’t go hungry and some of you even offered rides.  I could feel your well wishes during those restrictive days.  The warmth of caring from you has truly been shown to me.
 
 Beltaine Celebration and Ritual
 

 
 The Facebook - Social Media Training for the Curious
 

April 26, 2-4, at Museum campus
May 10, 2-4 at Thoreau Campus
May 17, 2-4, at Copperfield campus

Facebook, twits and blogs, oh my!  Do you have a cell phone, tablet or laptop but you feel left behind when people start talking Geek?  Come to a socially fun, educationally light, introduction to how people communicate in our modern age.

Taught by our student minister, Rebecca Crystal, she will be the first to admit she doesn’t know much but has been described as a patient teacher. She knows when all else fails shut the computer off, count to ten and try again. However, she still doesn’t know how the 5 remotes work, or why there is a need for 5 of them.  And just what is HULU?

Our congregation is embracing the new technologies as communication tools, so this class will put you in front, at least on the passenger's side.

 

 
 FUUNCO Annual Retreat Registration Now Open to All First UU Campuses
 

Relax at UBarU

Imagine spending a long weekend in fellowship and spiritual growth in the beautiful Hill Country! Our Annual Retreat to U-Bar-U is May 23-26 this year. For many of us, this retreat has the best of many different events. There is the beauty of the area, the lovely weather, the ability to get away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and reconnect with Nature. The Meeting House and other Houses are climate-controlled, and wifi is still accessible! Catered meals have been a blessing for our group for many years. Want to know more?! Brochures are printed, with pricing and available options.

Our theme this year is the 8 Spheres of Spirituality. These Spheres are: Personal Spiritual Practices, Communal Worship Practices, Spiritual Partnerships, Mind Practices, Body Practices, Soul Practices, Life Practices, and Justice Practices. If you would like to volunteer to share how you participate in one of these Spheres, please contact Tracy Cook or Karin Gates, or email retreat@fuunco.org.

Space is limited to the first 40 adults and children.  Register now by clicking HERE.  We look forward to spending the weekend together!


Upcoming Events

calendar
Please verify all event times and locations before attending. See complete calendar details at fuunco.org/calendar

May 1 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
May 3 (Saturday):
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
  5:00 PM - Beltaine Public Ritual presented by Copperfield CUUPs
  5:30 PM - Pot luck and Games night
May 4 (Sunday):
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service
May 8 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
May 10 (Saturday):
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
  9:00 AM - Work Day
May 11 (Sunday):
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service
May 15 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
May 16 (Friday):
  6:00 PM - Spiritual Cinema Circle
May 17 (Saturday):
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
  9:00 AM - Campus Advisory Team Meeting
  2:00 PM - The Facebook – social media training for the curious
May 18 (Sunday):
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service
  11:30 AM - Annual Meeting
May 22 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
May 23 (Friday):
  All Day - FUUNCO Annual Retreat at UBarU
May 24 (Saturday):
  Continued - FUUNCO Annual Retreat at UBarU
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
May 25 (Sunday):
  Continued - FUUNCO Annual Retreat at UBarU
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service
May 29 (Thursday):
  Continued - FUUNCO Annual Retreat at UBarU
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal

Upcoming Services

Services are held each Sunday at 9:30 am and 11:30 am through March 16th, after which they will be held at 10:00 am. For further information call 281-656-6822, or visit our Sunday Services page.