This month we explore mystery through the senses, and this day we explore the sense of hearing through the absence of sound, silence. Silence was with us before we were born and silence accompanies us after we die. It surrounds our blue green planet earth in the vast silent darkness of space. And yet as scientific as silence is, silence is not neutral. A moment of silence can be a life-line for the single mother of three who longs for a moment void of chaotic noise, a moment she can claim for herself. Yet silence can also be an unwelcome companion for a person who’s life is filled with the silence of loneliness. Join us as we consider what kind of silence we want to cultivate together.
How do those surrounding them respond? We recently watched a story of sexual assault unfold on our television screens — a somber sonata with three movements. Movement One depicted the long-term devastation a rape victim experiences. Movement Two described the unreasonable expectation that the victim provide irrefutable evidence. Movement Three enabled us to witness the reactions of “the crowd” and their frenetic operations to protect and exonerate the alleged perpetrator.
This story is no new thing. It happens every day, and has for centuries. As a compassionate and caring people, might we answer this question: Can our hearts truly hear a victim’s story of pain and will we respond in the way of hope?
Kathy (Kalliope) is an ordained Baptist minister who worked for years with victims of violence. She founded Safe Places in Little Rock, AR to do this work.
Today we lift up the other side of our monthly theme on Memory by looking at the unexpected gifts of those living with Alzheimer’s. In a religion that has so often emphasized self-reliance and cerebral knowledge, how do we make sense of diseases that take those two things away? What resources do we have to make meaning out of this cruel disease?
Where leads our call? It is a workshop for UU Ministers but it is also a relevant question for congregations. A call is often thought of as something deep, unshakable. But it can also change, and should change, depending on the larger circumstances. Come join us this Sunday before Election Day as we seek to both remember who we’ve been and recommit to who we are called to be as UU’s in this beautiful and broken world.
Come for a service to remember our beloved dead. We’ll name those from High Street who have died in the past year and have an opportunity to light a candle for those in our personal lives who we’ve lost. Bring a photo or memento of a beloved dead one to add to our altar!
JoAnn Weiss, El Refugio Board Chair – October 21, 2018
JoAnn shared with us from her rich personal experience and how it relates to our need as human beings to not only seek refuge but also to provide refuge to those around us who need sanctuary.
JoAnn has been an activist for social justice in Latin America since the early 1980s. In California, she worked with refugees and asylum seekers from El Salvador and Guatemala. In Nicaragua, she served as a witness to U.S. policies during the Sandinista revolution, and in New Mexico, she worked as a community organizer in border communities. JoAnn is an instructor of Adult Education at Gwinnett Technical College, and has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett for nearly 20 years. She currently serves as Board Chair of El Refugio.
Our historic, wooden and stained glass sanctuary is important for more than just aesthetic reasons. It offers guests of the sanctuary a lived experience of what sanctuary might feel like: Peaceful. Safe. Grounding. The question our physical sanctuary asks us is not just how to preserve the physical sanctuary, but how to create living sanctuary for and with one another! What kind of space do we want to create together as a community seeking to better ourselves, our community and our world? Perhaps in searching for the answer we will find that sanctuary is not just about comfort. It is also about calling and being a living sanctuary in the world.
In-door Multigenerational Service As the world gets faster and noisier it can be harder and harder to hear the sounds of the animals. And yet their needs are just as real as ours: needs of habitat, of food, of sanctuary, of home. Today we celebrate the tradition of Saint Francis of Assisi and bless our animals. If you have a pet animal you’d like to get blessed, bring them, or if it’s easier, a photo or stuffed animal, and be ready for a Service filled with lots of animal noises!