Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


“In the Flow” Jazz Festival Concert–at UUSS—Sunday night, May 11

UUSS is co-hosting two concerts.  See our website to find out how to get to us.

On Sunday night, May 11, we will be one venue for Ross Hammond’s annual In the Flow weekend jazz festival. The headliner is Dwight Trible, who will sing at services in the morning. UUSS will get half the ticket sales. The artists keep all the revenue from sale of recordings. There will be no alcohol, but if a UUSS volunteer group wishes to sell snacks as a fundraiser, let me know.

Ross will also coordinate and host a concert on Sunday evening, June 8, by a UU couple from Iowa known as Gate House Saints, with an opening act by local talent. UUSS will make money on this event as well.  If you can help out on June 8, please contact Ross. If you haven’t heard Ross on guitar in church on a Sunday, see www.rosshammond.com for his local venues.

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Atheism & Spirituality — Sermon Excerpt March 23, 2014

Spirituality has to do with renewal, when we take our worn lives and cultivate a new enthusiasm for what is ours. It’s about building bridges of connection between our solitary self and others. It’s about finding your place in the family of things, in the family of life.

When I meet people socially they often ask what I do, where I work. I usually tell them. In reply, they might say, “Oh, well, I’m an atheist.”

Their tone implies: If you’re angling to invite me to services, Mr. Minister, I’m off the hook! But I say, “Oh, good. I have plenty of atheists in my congregation! Agnostics too.”

. . .

I like to think of a UU congregation as an inter-faith community. We strive to welcome differences of theology while celebrating common ethical values. But it’s not easy.

It can feel vulnerable to speak from the heart, to express your personal views. When we dare to speak from the heart, it calls for trust and courage. When we ask another “What do you believe?” it calls for the practice of curiosity and a discipline of respect. Let us help one another to practice courage and respectful curiosity.

At our best, we can be an intentional inter-faith community. What holds us together in our diversity is a set of shared values, and a set of promises, which we call a covenant.

 

Listen to the whole sermon, and find others, at http://uuss.org/Sermons.



“Enchanted April” in Sacramento — Theater Review
April 19, 2014, 8:41 am
Filed under: Theater (Plays

Our church’s own Theater One company, founded in 1960, launched this play last night on our stage.  “Enchanted April,” by Matthew Barber, was a Tony Award nominee for best play recently and it has won other awards.  Based on a 1922 novel, it also was a movie in the 1990s.

It takes place in London and in Italy in 1922, just a few years after the devastation of the First World War, which left many woman in widowhood.  But it’s still a man’s world, as we learn from the bored, frustrated married woman among the main characters.   Two of them reach out of their isolation to rent a castle together for a ladies-only retreat on the Italian coast.   Themes include marriage and gender roles, duty vs. freedom, religious piety vs. joy in life, and the transformation from self-limitation to daring self-expression, and from mistrust to friendship

I see a lot of theater in town and am glad to have seen this play too!   It’s a very enjoyable romantic comedy.

Tim Anderson’s lighting, set design and construction are amazing and beautiful, the results of many weekends of work for this local Elly Award winner and church member.  Sound effects are effective, and the music is lovely.  Lisa Karkoski and Mike Erwin, lay leaders at UUSS, have brought out the gifts of the script and of their gifted ensemble of actors.  I had not seen or met most of the cast before, as they are from the wider theater community and not members of my church.  All of them  inhabited their characters just right (highlighted by very good costuming)–lovely and moving performances.

Our Theater One regulars David Paul and Ron Galbreath played the leading ladies’ husbands, both going through a personal transformation after their wives have asserted themselves as autonomous beings and rent a house together in Italy for the month of April.

“Enchanted April” runs Friday & Saturday nights at 8:00 PM:  April  25, 26; May 2, 3.

And Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM:  April 27, and May 4.

Buy tickets at church after the 9:30 or 11:15 AM service or at www.theaterone.org

 

 



Chalice Lighting Words, Ordination Ceremony, March 29, 2014

Words for Chalice Lighting by Roger Jones

Ceremony of Ordination of Amy Moses Lagos to the UU Ministry

Saturday, March 29, 2014, in San Francisco

Good afternoon. When Amy Moses-Lagos was growing up in Springfield, Illinois, she attended the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist, now the Abraham Lincoln Congregation.

I know this, because when she was six, I was one of her Sunday School teachers there, when I was younger then, than she is now. Of course, this means that of everyone in this room who has had a formative influence on Amy as a Unitarian Universalist, I had the earliest influence, and therefore I guess the most profound…unless you count her mother, brother and sister, who are also here

Back then, in that congregation, at the start of every Sunday service, a child would lead the congregation in words for lighting the chalice.

Those words, and ours today, are combined from two sources: the late Rev. Elizabeth Selle Jones, now departed, the minister emerita of our church in Livermore, and from a Passover Haggadah, whose words are in the gray hymnal.

 

This flame affirms the light of truth, the warmth of community, and the fire of commitment.  [Selle Jones]

Please repeat each line after me:

 May the light we now kindle -PAUSE

Inspire us to use our powers -PAUSE

To heal and not to harm, -PAUSE

To help and not to hinder, -PAUSE

To bless and not to curse, -PAUSE

To serve you, Spirit of Freedom!

 

So may it be.



Breaking news: More Saturday dinner tix available for UUSS auction, plus a UU justice conference Saturday

#1

Good news from Glory, our head chef for the New Discoveries auction dinner.

We have enough tickets left and enough fresh ingredients purchased that if you have not yet reserved or bought your ticket, you are LIKELY to be able to get one at the door! To be certain, you may email Elaine in the UUSS office today or call her at 916-483-9283.

Doors open and silent bidding starts at 5:30 PM. Dinner served at 6:30 PM. The live auction starts after dinner with Rev. Lucy as auctioneer. TOMORROW, April 5!

Dinner tickets $20. Kids under 12 eat for free. For the live auction only, tix are $10.

Professional child care provided at no extra charge in the Room 11 Nursery! If you’re coming you might email Miranda so she can let our caregivers know whom to expect.

I hope to see you! Let’s give our thanks to our hardworking team of auction volunteers for making this big event possible.

#2

UU Economic Justice Summit Saturday, April 5, in Walnut Creek

The UU Justice Ministry of California’s new executive director extends an invitation to the UUJM economic justice summit for UUs from around the state. It features inspiring worship, area experts on suburban poverty and food inequality, and the Robert Reich documentary, “Inequality for All.” The host minister is the Rev. Leslie Takahashi Morris, of Mount Diablo UU Church in Walnut Creek. It will be over in time to make it back for the UUSS Auction & Dinner. Read about it at uujmca.org/advocacy/economic-justice-for-all/



April Newsletter Highlight #2 — From Grasshoppers to Goats — An Explanation

Some of you have been asking me about the goats you have seen on our church campus recently. They are truly adorable but are here for a more practical purpose.

They are not here every day but are brought here three days a week and watched (herded) closely. We have been blessed, finally, by rains and by new green growth of grass on campus. Unfortunately, our UUSS Grasshoppers —the teams of grounds keeping volunteers— need some new people to help out in the wake of retirements of longtime volunteers. (Call Elaine in the Office if you are curious about what the commitment and the tasks involve.) While waiting to get a larger group of human Grasshoppers, we have bought a small herd of goats to keep the grass and weeds cut back.

This purchase will NOT affect the funds available for the Building Project! The funds for the purchase of the goats have come out of the fundraising line in the operating budget. The goats will be… uh, gone before this Saturday night’s Auction Dinner.

Speaking of the dinner, you have one more day to buy tickets from the UUSS Office, since April 2 is the deadline and today is April 1. Thank you.



April newsletter highlight #1 — Senior Minister’s Message: A Big Step and a Bold Future

 

On April 6, our members vote on whether to authorize UUSS’ borrowing of up to $1.1 million to close the funding gap for our Building Project. A big step.

I don’t like debt! I pay my credit cards off each month (except when I forget). I don’t like construction and remodeling either. After two months of living in piles of papers after moving to the senior minister’s office, my friends came from the Walnut Creek church last fall to do an “intervention” for me. Call it a forced makeover.

 

However, the results have been worth it in my office (If you know the before and the after, you know what I mean.). I am confident the results of our Building Project will be worth it:

  • A bigger, brighter, welcoming space for all the spiritually progressive and spiritually hungry folks who will come looking for a place to belong and connect.
  • An energy-efficient facility, plus bike racks, and better drainage—putting our green principles into practice. The facility will be more accessible and safer.
  • More space so we can all meet together in a service and for fellowship activities.
  • A beautiful sanctuary to give spiritual comfort in times of stress or grief.
  • A larger profile in the region as a beacon of liberal religion and service to the local community. More facilities to support our social justice ministries.

Because I think the result will be worth it–and because I like avoiding debt–I am thinking about how much more deeply I can dig into my appreciated assets and increase my level of participation in the Building Fund. I know from conversations that many of you are thinking about that as well.

I know that not everyone can make a large gift. That is okay! We would never ask you to make a gift that you don’t have.

However, we can all be generous, so we hope that everyone will find a way to participate in a way appropriate for them.

Your moral support, encouragement, good questions and creative ideas also matter very much. Your presence here is what matters most. This is how we build the beloved community.

Thank you for your giving. Thank you for being part of UUSS.

Yours in service,

Roger