Sunday, 18 April, 2021: How Did I Get That So Wrong?

I’ve spent most of my life being wrong. Not about everything. Just about most things.

— Chuck Klosterman, But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past

Robert Helfer will lead the service.

Please Join Us for Worship.

We are forgoing meeting in person during the coronavirus epidemic, meeting on Zoom. We share music, readings, and hymns on our usual presentation slides, have a story and a talk, and share joys and sorrows, as well as a virtual “coffee hour” discussion starting at 10:30, with the service at 11. If you prefer not to be seen, video is optional. If you would like to participate, please email westforkuu@gmail.com for details and a link, or for help with using ZOOM.

If you are a regular attendee, we have added you to our Google Group if we had an email address. If you have not gotten a group email already, please email westforkuu@gmail.com so that we can add you to the group, which we will be using for staying in touch with each other during this time. Public announcements will continue to be posted here on the website and on our Facebook page and Twitter account, as usual.

Email westforkuu@gmail.com or use our contact form for more information or write to us at PO Box 523, Clarksburg WV 26302

Sunday, February 21, 2021: With Feathers

Great Blue Heron striding along a drifting log in Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tennessee

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
++That perches in the soul –
++And sings the tune without the words –
++And never stops – at all –

— Emily Dickinson, “‘Hope’ Is The Thing With Feathers”

This Sunday we will consider “hope” and “things with feathers” in anticipation of the coming reawakening we call Spring, though still so far away. Robert Helfer will lead the service.

Please Join us for Worship.

We are forgoing meeting in person during the coronavirus epidemic, meeting on Zoom. We share music, readings, and hymns on our usual presentation slides, have a story and a talk, and share joys and sorrows, as well as a virtual “coffee hour” discussion starting at 10:30, with the service at 11. If you prefer not to be seen, video is optional. If you would like to participate, please email westforkuu@gmail.com for details and a link, or for help with using ZOOM.

If you are a regular attendee, we have added you to our Google Group if we had an email address. If you have not gotten a group email already, please email westforkuu@gmail.com so that we can add you to the group, which we will be using for staying in touch with each other during this time. Public announcements will continue to be posted here on the website and on our Facebook page and Twitter account, as usual.

Email westforkuu@gmail.com or use our contact form for more information or write to us at PO Box 523, Clarksburg WV 26302

Sunday, February 14, 2021: With Feathers

Great Blue Heron striding along a drifting log in Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tennessee

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
++That perches in the soul –
++And sings the tune without the words –
++And never stops – at all –

— Emily Dickinson, “‘Hope’ Is The Thing With Feathers”

This Sunday we will consider “hope” and “things with feathers” in anticipation of the coming reawakening we call Spring, though still so far away. Robert Helfer will lead the service.

Because of technical difficulties this service was deferred until Sunday, February 21, 2021.

Please Join us for Worship.

We are forgoing meeting in person during the coronavirus epidemic, meeting on Zoom. We share music, readings, and hymns on our usual presentation slides, have a story and a talk, and share joys and sorrows, as well as a virtual “coffee hour” discussion starting at 10:30, with the service at 11. If you prefer not to be seen, video is optional. If you would like to participate, please email westforkuu@gmail.com for details and a link, or for help with using ZOOM.

If you are a regular attendee, we have added you to our Google Group if we had an email address. If you have not gotten a group email already, please email westforkuu@gmail.com so that we can add you to the group, which we will be using for staying in touch with each other during this time. Public announcements will continue to be posted here on the website and on our Facebook page and Twitter account, as usual.

Email westforkuu@gmail.com or use our contact form for more information or write to us at PO Box 523, Clarksburg WV 26302

Sunday, January 24, 2021: In Other Capitals

Bronze figure of a Sewer worker peeks through the manhole in Bratislava

I walked up to a counter in Antalya Airport to tell a disbelieving airline employee that our flight would shortly be canceled because the tanks being reported in the streets of Istanbul meant that a coup attempt was under way. It must be a military exercise, she shrugged. Some routine transport of troops, perhaps? If so, I asked her, where is the prime minister? Why isn’t he on TV to tell us that? Another woman approached the counter. “This must be your first,” she said to the young woman behind the counter, who was still shaking her head. “It’s my fourth.”

— Zeynep Tufekci, “This Must Be Your First”, The Atlantic, December 7, 2020.

The Sixth Principle of Unitarian Universaism encourages us to affirm and promote “the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all”. This Sunday Robert Helfer will explore some of the implications for Unitarian Universalists in our time.

Welcome before prelude

Good morning and welcome to West Fork Unitarian Universalists. I’m Robert Helfer and I feel blessed to serve this congregation as a lay leader. I’m glad to see all of you here today.

Thank you for joining us.

[If guests] I’d like to welcome our guests. Thank you for taking a chance and taking the time to walk through our doors and join us for worship.

Let us use the prelude for centering. We are about to enter sacred time. We are about to make this time and this place sacred by our presence and intention.

Please silence your phones… and as you do so, I invite us also to turn down the volume on our fears; to remove our masks; and to loosen the armor around our hearts.

Breathe.

Let go of the expectations placed on you by others—and those they taught you to place on yourself.

Drop the guilt and the shame, not to shirk accountability, but in honest expectation of the possibility of forgiveness.

Let go of the thing you said the other day. Let go of the thing you dread next week. Be here, in this moment. Breathe, here.

Prelude: Get Together, The Youngbloods

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Birth of The Unitarian Church in Transylvania

“Dávid Ferenc” (@unitariandavidferenc) posted this earlier today (6 January 2021) on Facebook:

On this day, January 6, in 1568 king John Sigismund assembled a Diet to be held in the town Torda (today Turda in Romania). At this Diet our Bishop Francis David inspired the delegates to later approve the first toleration edict of freedom of faith among the Christian religions.

This was a new and revolutionary idea of freedom of religion at that time, and therefore January 6 1568 also is considered by tradition to be the birth of The Unitarian Church.

Here’s the famous painting by Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch showing Bishop Francis David at the Diet of Torda. A painting well known by Unitarians.

Francis David at the Diet of Torda, 6 January 1568

Sunday, December 6, 2020: Creating Christmas

Can you in your Conscience think, that our Holy Saviour is honoured, by Mad Mirth, by long Eating, by hard Drinking, by lewd Gaming, by rude Revelling; by a Mass fit for none but a Saturn or a Bacchus, or the Night of a Mahometan Ramadam? You cannot possibly think so.

— Cotton Mather, Grace defended: A censure on the ungodliness, by which the glorious grace of God, is too commonly abused. A sermon preached on the twenty fifth day of December, 1712.

Christmas is a much loved holiday in the United States, celebrated to some extent by Christians and non-Christians alike. But that wasn’t always the case. For a generation during the 17th century, all celebration of Christmas was banned in Massachusetts, as it had been in England after the Puritan victory in the English Civil War. For a century or more after the law banning Christmas celebrations was repealed, Puritan ministers like Cotton Mather continued to preach fiery sermons against such activities. When Christmas finally returned to respectability it was, we are told, largely through the encouragement of Unitarian and Universalist ministers and laypeople.

Welcome before prelude

Good morning and welcome to West Fork Unitarian Universalists. I’m Robert Helfer and I feel blessed to serve this congregation as a lay leader. I’m glad to see all of you here today.

Thank you for joining us.

Let us use the prelude for centering. We are about to enter sacred time. We are about to make this time and this place sacred by our presence and intention.

Please silence your phones… and as you do so, I invite us also to turn down the volume on our fears; to remove our masks; and to loosen the armor around our hearts.

Breathe.

Let go of the expectations placed on you by others—and those they taught you to place on yourself.

Drop the guilt and the shame, not to shirk accountability, but in honest expectation of the possibility of forgiveness.

Let go of the thing you said the other day. Let go of the thing you dread next week. Be here, in this moment. Breathe, here.

Prelude: “The Sound of Silence”, Simon & Garfunkle

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