When normal feels impossible …

“‘Only it is so very lonely here!’ Alice said in a melancholy voice; and at the thought of her loneliness two large tears came rolling down her cheeks. ‘Oh, don’t go on like that!’ cried the poor Queen, wringing her hands in despair. ‘Consider what a great girl you are. Consider what a long way you’ve come to-day. Consider what o’clock it is. Consider anything, only don’t cry!’

Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. ‘Can you keep from crying by considering things?’ she asked.

‘That’s the way it’s done,’ the Queen said with great decision: ‘nobody can do two things at once, you know. Let’s consider your age to begin with—how old are you?’

‘I’m seven and a half exactly.’

‘You needn’t say “exactly,”’ the Queen remarked: ‘I can believe it without that. Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.’

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”” – from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol

“Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” – Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

“One Hundred and Eighty Degrees” – Federico Moramarco

Have you considered the possibility
that everything you believe is wrong,
not merely off a bit, but totally wrong,
nothing like things as they really are?
If you’ve done this, you know how durably fragile
those phantoms we hold in our heads are,
those wisps of thought that people die and kill for,
betray lovers for, give up lifelong friendships for.
If you’ve not done this, you probably don’t understand this poem,
or think it’s not even a poem, but a bit of opaque nonsense,
occupying too much of your day’s time,
so you probably should stop reading it here, now.
But if you’ve arrived at this line,
maybe, just maybe, you’re open to that possibility,
the possibility of being absolutely completely wrong,
about everything that matters.
How different the world seems then:
everyone who was your enemy is your friend,
everything you hated, you now love,
and everything you love slips through your fingers like sand.

Collective Imagination and Liberation

“We are in an imagination battle. Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown and Renisha McBride and so many others are dead because, in some white imagination, they were dangerous. And that imagination is so respected that those who kill, based on an imagined, radicalized fear of Black people, are rarely held accountable.

Imagination has people thinking they can go from being poor to a millionaire as part of a shared American dream. Imagination turns Brown bombers into terrorists and white bombers into mentally ill victims. Imagination gives us borders, gives us superiority, gives us race as an indicator of ability. I often feel I am trapped inside someone else’s capability. I often feel I am trapped inside someone’ else’s imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free.” – adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy

What happens to a dream deferred? Or all together denied? What happens when an entire nation, already reeling from a pandemic, witnesses a murder before “its” very eyes? Does poetry have anything to say in such a situation? Might a piece of art console us? Might a poem begin to tell a story that we are finally ready to hear? Might that new story heal us? Might new dreams arise?

there is an edge (ode to radical imagination) by adrienne maree brown

There is an edge
Beyond which we cannot grasp the scale
Of our universe.
That border,
That outer boundary
Is imagination.
The only known edge of existence
The only one we can prove by universal experience –

We can imagine so much!
We can only imagine so much.

If perhaps it is a function of our collective minds
A dream of our endless nights
Then there will be abundance so long as we can imagine it –
Abundance on earth
If we can imagine it
Or abundance of earths
A sphere for every tribe
And every combination.
And to have it all
All we need is to remember
there is an edge
And grow our dreams beyond it.

– inspired by #ArtChangeUS

First Sunday of Advent 2020

This week we celebrate the First Week of Advent in 2020. The Christian spiritual tradition is an important to UU origins and remains an important source of wisdom today.

Light the Candle of Hope

Now the Work of Christmas Begins By Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the hear

UU Lent 2020 – Day 5 – Sanctuary

🎶Make us aware we are a sanctuary Each made holy loved right through
with thanksgiving we’ll be a living
sanctuary a-new 🎶

The dictionary defines sanctuary as a place of refuge or safety.

The reflection That They May Have Like-Mindedness by DeReau K. Farrar talks about what brings us together and keeps us alive. The prayer at the end is powerful:

“That which is in us and all around us and which constantly draws us to our holiest selves, commit my heart to the call of making life more abundant — for myself as fiercely as for others. Drive me away from comfort that excludes, hates, or divides. And remind me every day that I am not the end of knowing. Amen.”

UUA Repair Process Shared Statement

From Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray’s facebook post

In the Spring of 2017, our association went through a significant institutional rupture that was also intensely personal for many at the heart of those events. Since then, the UUA has recommitted itself to the work of institutional change, to living into the aspirations of our beloved faith community that is anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural and deeply inclusive. At the same time, as a religious community there was also personal repair work that needed to happen, including with the institution of the UUA.
Acknowledging this, a number of people impacted by the events of the Spring of 2017 gathered recently to engage in a restorative conversation. This process was not about expecting agreement nor getting to full resolution, or healing all that was broken. Rather, this was about making space to gather as people – people within a shared faith – to honor and recognize one another’s humanity with all of our feelings and experiences, and to own our own roles as well as our pain.
Together, with our facilitators, we created a statement to describe our gathering, its purpose and character, which I invite you to read. I shared this as part of my recent report to the UUA Board of Trustees and have permission from those who gathered to share it widely with our larger Unitarian Universalist community. I invite you to approach this statement with curiosity and care, and to let the possibility for restorative practices open your heart.

Here is the repair statement

Sunday, September 8, 2019

“We live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience. ” – UUA website

Join us for Worship:

Our services are Sundays at 11 a.m.  at the Progressive Women’s Association Event Center, 305 Washington Ave. in downtown Clarksburg, behind the Courthouse. There are classes for children and adults 10 to 10:45 am, and a coffee gathering before the service. More about us.

This Sunday, Cricket Hall will lead us in an exploration of sources of our faith that provide us comfort and inspiration. 

Classes and worship are replaced by Spiritual Outings on the first Sunday of each month during the summer, with brief worship, a potluck picnic, and outdoor activities. The schedule is in the sidebar.

We would love to have you come worship with us.

Children are welcome.  There is childcare and an activity for young children during the service.

The building is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible restroom.

Map

The schedule for the current adult religious education class is here.

Email westforkuu@gmail.com or use our contact form for more information

or write to us at PO Box 523, Clarksburg WV 26302

First Sunday in Advent – Hope

“Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus. The name derives from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming.” Marked over the course of the four Sundays before Christmas, Advent is traditionally celebrated with an advent wreath: a ring of evergreen with 3 purple candles and one pink one (or 4 purple candles) that represent: Hope, Love, Joy (pink) and Peace. ” – From the UUA Website

 

In her reading “Christmas Comes Whether you are Ready or Not“, Cynthia Frado discusses the feeling of not being ready for the season.

 

Here is a prayer from Cricket

In this time of waiting, may we hold the world in our hearts.
In this time of waiting, may we hold each other’s hands.
In this time of waiting, may we be thoughtful and introspective.
In this time of waiting, may we delight in the darkness and all it teaches us.
In this time of waiting, may we rekindle the fires of hope, love joy, and peace within ourselves and our communities.
In this time of waiting, may we become ready for the coming day.