Dear First UUers,
The fire is out; yet, the ashes smolder. Notre Dame, the grand jewel of medieval architecture, went up in flames yesterday, leaving only its bell towers, flying buttresses, and stone ribs standing against the Parisian sky. Notre Dame, “Our Lady”, was built on an island in the center of a city as central to our western cultural heritage as the cathedral is to religious believers and tourists alike. The “Blessed Mother” opened her doors for eight-hundred years, welcoming millions of worshippers and admirers in awe of its beauty and symbolism.
Articles, blog posts, and stories will be written by the thousands as memories and tributes are offered as witness to the power of place, a tower of stone and wood representing much more than a Gothic residence of an archbishop. Notre Dame is a cathedral reminding us of a religious era that helped mold our Western sense of morality, its spire vaulting into the heavens seeking connection with divine.
Promises of rebuilding are taking shape and money is being pledged. Even as the world is in shock and our hearts grieve, remnants of the old will be recast into the future. It begs the question of priorities when funds are desperately needed, visible around almost every corner as homeless panhandle and immigrants line up at borders and board overcrowded boats to seek safety and shelter. Yet I would argue that we need places in our lives, even grand cathedrals, to remind us of what it means to be human. Our post-modern world for all of its blessings of inclusion, too often loses sight of the need for symbolism that can remind us of our shared humanity. Religious or not, human beings are storytellers and meaning makers. Since the beginning of time, we have sought answers and responded through language, art, and movement. Sometimes, we build cathedrals.
The spire might once again rise into the heavens restoring the edifice to its place in the skyline. Even so, we would do well to remember our own morality, regardless of religious language, to use the metaphor of the Blessed Mother to feed the hungry, shelter the stranger, and welcome everyone – worshippers and tourists alike. It matters that we connect what we know with our hearts and our efforts.
In our sacred space – the wonderful rambling campus we call First UU that houses us as we come together to pause, learn, and be challenged and grow – may we pledge to take care of our building and all the life-giving work that is centered within, as it is the place that collects not just our bodies, but also our hearts and minds as we reach back into our own liberal religious heritage and pull it into the future for all that is good and holy. May we always give thanks and continue to open our doors in a welcome that meets the sorrows and joys of this world, including our own. As we find life and love within, may we then go out and love the hell out of this world. That is a religion that we can put at the center and call our own.
As the heat of the flames dies down, the work begins. Our job is to continue the legacy of love that our Unitarian and Universalist ancestors centered in our UU faith. Let us be the flying buttresses that stabilize and connect, the body of ribs that house our values, and the bells in the tower that ring out in love, justice, and welcome.
With love at the center,
Thank you to this community and to all those who gather and help us mourn and remember the lives of those we love. On Saturday, we celebrated the life of Tom Porch, just as we have joined in rituals honoring the cycles of life in the past. I understand there were stories and threads that helped loved ones remember the fullness of Tom. This is what we do well – celebrate life. And it is something we do together in a spirit of love. Thank you for your part in making this so.
Thanks to our Caring Team for the excellent workshop on the Social Effects of White Privilege on Sunday afternoon with guests Noel Williams, former President of NAACP, Columbus; Katelin Hansen, Strategic Initiatives Director for Community Development for All People; and Tina Pierce, CEO and Founder of WORTH (Working through Obstacles Reaching True Heights).
It is annual canvass time! Avoid the calls – help keep us from guessing your intent so that we are able to plan responsibly. Your gifts and support are how we live our values in our community and out into the world. Please return your completed pledge forms. Thank you!
• CONCERT – Columbus Women’s Chorus
Sunday, April 28th, 3pm, First UU Sanctuary
For the past year, the Columbus Women’s Chorus has been rehearsing at First UU. Their 30thanniversary spring concert is “No One Is Alone: Music Connects Us All”. Several First UUers sing in the Chorus, including Rev. Marian who happens to have tickets for sale.
For information about family and child-focused events and classes, or to be added to the RE News mailing list, contact Elizabeth Mount, our Director of Religious Exploration.
TONIGHT! April 16th, 6–8:30pm, Fellowship Hall
You are invited to a Passover Seder with the Rabbi Jessica Shimberg of the Little Minyan Kehilah. This Seder will be inclusive for people who are Jewish, UU, secular, or curious, and who wish to respectfully engage with a Jewish religious holiday.
This evening is intentionally welcoming for families and children as well, having both a relatively short Haggadah (the text recited at the Seder during Passover). Childcare will be provided for our youngest, and for any older children who need to take a break to get some wiggles out before returning to the table at any point.
For the potluck, please bring a dish which is vegetarian, and avoids leavenings like yeast, baking powder, baking soda, or basically any breads and cakes. Watch out for things like salad with croutons; it’s easy to forget that’s a bread product.
We suggest a donation of $5–$15 per person to offset the costs of the Seder plates, ritual wine/juice, and matzoh ball soup.
(Every) Wednesday, 6–6:30pm, Sanctuary
Sacred Song Circle
Leave the hectic pace of the world behind and join with others in a circle to sing songs of the spirit that move our hearts. All are welcome.
Friday, April. 19th, Room 7
RAINBOWCONNEXIONS: Potluck and Gathering
This group is for those who identify themselves as LGBTQIA…
Bring your favorite food to share. Stay for the meeting which will include planning fun activities, doing business, enjoying community. Most monthly gatherings include an Odyssey.For more information, contact Georgia.
Saturday, April 20th, 10am–Noon, On the Grounds
First UU Earth Day Clean Up and Taco Lunch
All are invited to help honor the earth through labors of love to help clean up and spruce up our church grounds so that we might all enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us. For more information contact Patricia Boughton.
Saturday, April 20th, 1–4pm, Fellowship Hall
Soul Witness workshop – Repeat – all are invited
(this is the Nic Askew/Soul Biographies work that Revs. Marian and Eric presented in a sermon in January)
Join us for a workshop to explore the science of listening. This is an experiential workshop that will address the mechanics, setup, and theories used to go deeper into questions like, “What’s on your heart?” and “How goes it with your soul?” Rev. Marian, Rev. Eric, and Sam Pollock will lead the workshop.
Sunday, April 21st, 9:15 & 11am (Passover, Easter, Earth Day)
“Resurrecting Paradise” with Rev. Marian
In art and architecture, religion has shifted its views of where paradise is located. In this season of Passover, Easter, and Earth Day, we will examine the connection between the ancient and modern and what might give us hope.
Sunday, May 12th
Flower Communion, Child Dedication, Mother’s Day.
If you have a child(ren) that you would like to participate, please contact Rev. Marian, Rev. Eric, or Elizabeth.
SANCTUARY and JUSTICE UPDATES
FILA: First UU’s Benevolence Fund for Immigration Legal Assistance
FILA is up and running and is accepting donations (tax-deductible) and applications for assistance. Brochures detailing the fund are available in the lobby and back hallway, and information is also readily accessible via the church website, at: www.firstuucolumbus.org/fila
Donations can be made via check (made payable to First UU, with FILA in the memo line) or via the website, following the link, above. Questions may be addressed to either Jan Phillips, or via email at: FILA@firstuucolumbus.org
The fund has helped its first person, Jennifer who is a mother with two children, helping her pay for her asylum application.
Gift Cards. Kroger gift cards to help Edith and her family with food while she is in Sanctuary. Give your cards to Jan P. or Ginnie V. in Fellowship Hall after services.
THIS MOMENT IN UU HISTORY
Sponsored by the First UU Archives Team
April 15, 1894
Joseph Workman died at the age of 88. He was a founder of the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, Canada, and is known as the “father of Canadian psychiatry”.
April 17, 1648
John Webberly was imprisoned in Oxford, England, for translating the publishing Unitarian books. He remained in prison until his death.