A Welcoming Congregation
 

The Community Spirit



April 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.

 Unitarian Universalist Rapid Response Network Training and Kick-Off!
 

When: Saturday, April 19, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Emerson Unitarian Church, 1900 Bering Dr., Houston, TX 77057
Calling all UUs in the greater Houston area to join us for this introduction to our exciting new program.

Why we have formed the UU Rapid Response Network:

  • As Unitarian Universalists, we have a demonstrated long history of over 40 years of acceptance and inclusion in areas that are often controversial in religious congregations — these areas include LGBT inclusion, women’s health and reproductive rights, and Interfaith cooperation and support.
  • Too often the voices of the religiously conservative are the only religious voices heard on these issues.
  • When instances of intolerance or discrimination occur in the Greater Houston area around these issues, we want a clear religiously progressive response so that people better understand the breadth of religious perspectives on complex issues.

The network will call “actions” 3-4 times a year so that we can gather around a particular incident or issue and get our voices heard! This training will introduce participants to the process.

To register for this training, go to: http://tinyurl.com/RRN-register

Please register by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, in order to be sure to get lunch, a T-shirt, and for childcare.

 

 
 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

April 3 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
April 5 (Saturday):
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
  5:30 PM - Movie Night - "The Frisco Kid"
April 6 (Sunday):
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service
April 10 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
April 12 (Saturday):
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
  9:00 AM - Work Day
April 13 (Sunday):
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service
April 17 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
April 18 (Friday):
  6:00 PM - Spiritual Cinema Circle
April 19 (Saturday):
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
  9:00 AM - Campus Advisory Team Meeting
  10:30 AM - Rapid Response Network Training
April 20 (Sunday):
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service
April 24 (Thursday):
  7:00 PM - FUUNCO Band Rehearsal
April 26 (Saturday):
  8:00 AM - dUUdes Disc Golf
April 27 (Sunday):
  10:00 AM - Sunday Service

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.

 April 6, 2014

Shelter from the Storm
Rev. Kathleen Ellis

 
Home is considered a sanctuary from work/life stress. When a family member is abusive, the rest of the family experiences trauma ... and with help, recovery toward health and wholeness. What's going on? How can we help?

 Sermon by the Rev. Kathleen Ellis, LIVE at Copperfield 

 
 April 13, 2014

Don't Eat the Marshmallow!
Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford

 
We live in a world of immediate gratification -- songs immediately downloaded to our phones, books on our Kindles or Nooks in 3 seconds. Hold on and wait! A spiritual practice of patience has been proven to make you healthier, wealthier, and yes, even wiser. Sometimes the way to a better life is to press "pause."  

 Sermon by the Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford.
 
 April 20, 2014

Easter
Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford

 
Sermon by the Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford
 
 April 27, 2014

The Problem of Anger
Rev. Dr. Daniel O’Connell

 
Another one of the seven deadly sins seen from a Unitarian Universalist perspective. Is it ever justified? Is it ever a good response? What about anger that motivates us to improve social justice?  Where is the line between self-less and self-ish? 

Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Daniel O'Connell.