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SUNDAY Sept 19 ~ 10:30 AM

In Person Outside at the Castle & Streamed on Zoom
Rev. Allen Harden
Sermon: "We Will Do This Hard Thing Together"
Our new minister will be delivering his first sermon to our congregation this Sunday. He'll speak on the "hard thing," which is building and maintaining a vibrant church community where people feel they belong, where they grow their souls, and where we find ways to improve ourselves and the community where we live.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86882290617?pwd=bFQxQzRmbUFqbEg2Wm1TMzZYWTNEdz09
Meeting ID: 868 8229 0617
Passcode: 398421

Bring a chair (we'll have some if you don't) to the church parking lot.
After our service you are warmly invited to stay and visit.
**********
NEW SAFETY GUIDANCE: In response to new guidance from the UUA concerning the Delta variant, we encourage you to wear a mask at outdoor worship (regardless of vaccination status). In addition, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask and practice social distancing when participating in congregational singing. Please be considerate of your neighbors and communicate with them when choosing your seating arrangements on Sunday. -

BUC Spotlight

WELCOME to BUC, Reverend Allen!

We have a new minister!  Below is his first entry into Contact, our church newsletter.  Read it and you will see that Rev. Allen Harden and his ministry show the promise of being a "great fit" with our community.  If you are a "like thinker", please join us.  

"A new beginning, a fresh start. For me, these describe taking on a Ministry at Beverly Unitarian Church. So much will be new for me as I learn about your community and the religious climate you have created. So far, I really like what I have heard and seen, starting with the glowing testimony that Rev. David Schwartz related to local ministers in his appeal to encourage applicants for this position. I am also encouraged by the few of you I have met.

And who am I? I am a lifelong UU who finally got wise enough to steer my life into Ministry. Some of the choices that got me here were difficult change is always hard but I know that I finally found a true vocation and calling. I know that I belong in pastoral ministry in a congregational setting. While I have many ideas and beliefs of my own, I do not bring a rigid agenda to this ministry. I am interested in finding the words and actions that feed each of you as individual persons, in creating ways of being and sharing that help keep this congregation strong and vital, and building strategies that effectively apply our shared values to benefit the community we live in and to serve the larger good.

I am familiar with Beverly, but by no means an expert. I grew up in the D.C. suburbs, and moved to Chicago in 1974 to do graduate work in Sociology at the University of Chicago. I met my wife Pat here, we were married in 1980 and have lived in Hyde Park ever since. We have two adult daughters, and are so proud that each is working in a helping profession in Chicago. We also have two granddaughters (ages 4 and 7) and our family enjoys the gift of being deeply involved in each other’s lives. I will try to give my wife and daughters some privacy, but I imagine you will hear about the grandkids a lot.

What else can I tell you? My theology is deeply Humanistic. I find a clear call to personal agency in my Humanism, and the imperative to work on creating meaning and purpose in life. At the same time, feel a strong pull towards reverence and awe for the natural order of our world and cosmos. I believe in the science, and that everything in creation could be explainable if we ever find the right explanations. But sometimes, the mind doesn’t work that way. Just last week I was sitting on a dock in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with my daugh- ter. It was about midnight. We listened to loons, owls, and other living things that I hope were friendly. The sky was lit up with stars that you just can’t see near Chicago. We saw several brilliant shooting stars, the Milky Way crossed the entire sky, and we could even identify one cluster as Andromeda (the next Galaxy out). Science explains almost all of this, but my personal experience was far more spiritual than scientific. I was in a sacred place, I was part of the sacred. I felt simultaneously tiny and huge. Creation is awesome, even to (or especially to) a non-theistic thinker.

Let us come together, let us learn to listen to one another, and find out what makes us each tick. Let us hold one another (metaphorically during pandemic) and care for one another. Let us welcome all, work towards justice, and keep growing our souls. I might be the Minister, but our ministry belongs to all of us, so let us get out there and do some good. I am in."

 

Farewell & Good Luck, Dear Rev. David

From the Minister:

Dear Members and Friends of Beverly Unitarian Church,
With excitement for the future and sorrow at the transition, I write to share that I have been invited to be the candidate for Lead Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Colorado.
This summer, I will step down as minister of Beverly Unitarian, and move out west. Teri will start a new chapter in her professional life and will pursue another degree and licensure so she can practice counseling in clinical settings in additional to congregational contexts.
I am so grateful for the four years we have spent together. You have shaped my understanding of what is possible in liberal religious community, and of what ministry is.
In our time together, I am so deeply proud of the work you have done as a congregation. You considered and committed to restoring Chicago’s only castle while keeping the firm, healthy conviction that the church is not just the building. You carried out the largest capital campaign in the history of the congregation, bigger even than purchasing the building 70 years ago. You’ve welcomed new members not just as names in the book, but into full belonging and participation and ownership of the church community. And you have moved through the last 15 months of pandemic with grace and hope and solidarity as a community. I have watched you do incredible, improbable, remarkable things as a community.
And in our time together there are also things not done: initiatives and possibilities we won’t get to do together. In any transition, there may be loss from what happened and from what never will be. But more important than any initiative or project is the connection and partnership with so many of you, the people of Beverly Unitarian Church. Thank you; I will miss you.
Even without this transition in minister, you’re beginning a new chapter in the life of the congregation. Repairs and preservation work on the building is finished. You’ll return, safely and deliberately, to in-person church in the months ahead. As they did in hiring me, the Board will appoint a thoughtful committee to seek out a new minister. Julia and I are in conversation with the Ministerial Fellowship Credentialing Committee and are hopeful that she will be able to complete her internship by serving at BUC again next year.
In our governance as Unitarian Universalists, and code of ethics for ministers, a departing minister makes space for the incoming minister. This summer I’ll step away from the life of the congregation—physically and virtually, and on social media. This separation lasts through the interim period and at least into a newly settled minister’s tenure: contact with the congregation or congregants would only be at the invitation of the current minister. This may be hard, but I ask you not to reach out, since I would have to decline any requests. I will miss you, but it is by stepping back that I can make room for you and your new minister to thrive together.
You have flourished by being the best of who you are. You have flourished by following your mission to grow your spirits and help heal the world—gathered in community and grounded at 103rd and Longwood. As sad as I am to leave, I am deeply and profoundly hopeful for the future of this congregation. I will always be rooting for your health and flourishing.

In hope,
Rev. David

Minister's Take on "Clutch Power"

This is Rev. David's column in our May Contact newsletter.

From the Minister: Building and Rebuilding

In third grade, my mother told me: “you have to stop building according to the directions that come in the Lego package and make new things.” A few years ago, taking that advice, I gathered every gray brick among the collection I’d kept all these years and built a Lego replica of the First Unitarian Church in Hyde Park.

Don’t let the finished photos fool you. Like our collective work in the real church, I spent as much time tearing down and rebuilding as I did building.

Ten hours in I realized I had made the sanctuary two bricks too narrow: I tore the pillars to the ground and rebuilt. After finishing the flat walls between arches on the sides of the sanctuary I realized the walls were off-white, not gray: I tore them down and rebuilt. I spent eight hours on three versions of the grand piano before getting the scale right and a lid that opened. Adding the library required tearing out the adjacent wall of the sanctuary: to be strong the wall had to be a continuous whole, not two unconnected walls standing parallel.

Through quiet nights in the spring and summer I built and rebuilt. I patiently removed my cat Milton whose favorite place to stand was exactly in the middle of the sanctuary. I built and rebuilt and petted Milton and built and rebuilt.

Early in the process, I knew it might not come out looking good. But I wasn’t anxious about it: the work and the joy (and the frustration) was in the building and rebuilding. Maybe it would come out and maybe it wouldn't -- but I could imagine it and I could work for it, and the pleasure was in the process.

It’s the same for the brick and mortar church. Of course, literally, this is what the Castle restoration was about: remaking spaces to keep the physical building serving the future of the church that gathers inside it.

But the reality of the continual rebuilding goes beyond the bricks. Committees form and do their work, and dissolve and get rebuilt into something else entirely. Leaders formal and informal contribute to the continual rebuilding.

Sometimes, you build the invisible infrastructure of the church which makes it mysteriously sturdy: direct and kind communication, making amends, stepping up to service, respectful disagreement. Sometimes a committee grows, shifts, or changes direction. Sometimes you take a program apart, back into bricks, and build something new with it.

The technical term for the stickiness of two Lego bricks as they grip each other is “clutch power.” No build holds together without clutch power. The whole is only as strong as the clutch power of any two bricks linked together. The sturdiness of the tallest structure is determined only by the relationship of any two bricks next to each other. The same is true for our congregation: the glue that cements us is our connections to each other.

In this present moment and the months ahead, we need clutch power! May the strength of those connections give us the confidence to build and rebuild our community as we go into our shared and unknowable future, together.

In hope,

Rev. David

"Ask for help when you need it; offer help when you can."

To help us through lonely days during these times of Covid, Rev. David's Contact column offers hope.  You can read the poem To the New Year that begins his article by clicking on the Contact link on the left of this page.

"The days are getting longer, but it’s deceptive: they’re getting longer by what feels like microscopic increments. The cold and the snow and the long slog ahead to spring may to suggest despair as a viable option. The wisdom for a moment like this is deceptively simple: Ask for help when you need it; offer help when you can.
I’m a practical person, and there’s some part of me that feels asking for help is a burden or an imposition – or, even worse, that I need to know just exactly what my problem is and just what the solution is before I reach out. Maybe this is your experience too: you feel crummy inside, and so you decide to wait until you stop feeling crummy before reaching out. But when the struggle is with isolation – whether in your head or in your house – it’s ok to just reach out. In fact, that is itself part of the solution.
Call a friend with a cat and ask them how their cat is doing. Email a friend and tell them the least funny joke you know. (Mine: why do you never see elephants in trees? Because they’re so good at hiding.) Call someone from church you don’t know too well and tell them Rev. David said to ask for their favorite cookie recipe because it is now, apparently, a religious obligation to eat cookies. You’ll get connection and cookies out of it: a win-win.
As much as the new year brings a new beginning it can be a difficult time. You don’t have to do it alone. We’re a community of care, and support, and bad jokes, and cookie recipes, and compassion. Ahead comes the walk toward spring, toward vaccination, toward hugs and handshakes and singing together again. We’ll get there, together: our hopes, such as they are, invisible before us, untouched and still possible.
In hope,
Rev. David"

Buddhist Meditation

Reverend Marcia Curtis is temporarily canceling the Sunday evening meditation until further notice. For more information please click redlotussangha.org.
We hope to resume the meditation and dharma talks in the next few weeks.

Religious Education

        

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