Welcome to Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship!
BUUF AffirmationWe join, in the spirit of love, to develop our religious attitudes objectively and honestly that life may be more meaningful.
Thoughts on the Fourth of July
Pastoral Letter July 2015
Dear Members and Friends:
Lately I have been disturbed by hearing in the marketplace and even in our church such remarks as "Both parties are corrupt – they are all prisoners of the fat cats." One of the early founders of the country, John Adams, said that if the American experiment in democracy ever fails, the destruction will be from within.
When people resort to such language as "They’re all corrupt," what is the real meaning of our democracy? Shortly we will celebrate the Fourth of July. There will be much celebration, and every town with a band will be on the street celebrating this experiment in living together in freedom. It makes me very sad that the criticism of our democracy is so dark and thoughtless. What we invented with our constitution was a new way of being free. Yes, we are free to criticize our government and to predict a dark future for our country. However, as we hear remarks such as “both parties are corrupt," we can fool ourselves into thinking that nothing can be done.
As we gather to celebrate on the fourth, let us be mindful of the fact that we are free people and that means each one of us has the responsibility to strengthen our democracy and to overcome the despair that some may feel as we are preparing for a very important election which will set the course for years to come. I wish that our constitution promised us the pursuit of joy and not the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a very thin word with no depth. Now, however, we have the chance to change the mood with which we exercise our freedom.
A Moment of Departure
When necessary, we begin our Spiritual Memoir Writing Group (SMWG) with a prompt of our choice. During our March 4, 2015, session I chose to combine two different prompts: the first was to write three brief self-portraits and the second was to write about a moment of departure.
We are always departing and arriving every moment, but at various times throughout our lives some arrivals and departures are more momentous than others. I recollected a photograph, or portrait of myself, taken on the verge of a great departure in my life. I am standing in front of my mother’s house in Phoenix, Arizona, next to my bearded cousin Buzz. There’s a smile beneath my moustache. We’re both in our 20’s, wearing light-weight long-sleeve shirts, my thumbs resting in my blue jean side pockets, Buzz has one hand casually parked in his. We each have a small back pack and a “carry-on-sized” suitcase on the ground beside us. When my mother took this photo I never thought she could be worried enough that she might think this could be the last she would see of me. No self-respecting 22-year-old thinks like that!
How to Save Christianity
Truth is like the fire at the heart of a many faced jewel.
Each angle shows a different aspect and a different color.
From: All Religions Are True by M. K. Ghandi
The statistics are damning. According to a recent CBS news report, for every person converted to Christianity in the U.S., four people leave the church. The Southern Baptist Convention expects to lose millions over the next 25 years. The last U.S. census reports that fewer people are attending church and declaring a religious affiliation. The Christian church in the modern western world is in steady decline.
Many of my fellow pastors complain that their congregations are aging with no young people coming to grace the pews. My own kids, now in their thirties, do not attend church. They think the church is antiquated and obsolete, a clay tablet in a computer age.
The Shapes of Liberal Religion
Does faith have a shape? Do faith communities have a geometry? Let's find out through a series of actions, reflections, interactions, ponderings, and challenges that build on your own personal experiences seen through the lens of shared community. Come prepared to think about the ways in which being in liberal religious communities of memories and hope, values and vision invites us to be mindful and a little daring about the architecture of our faith.
This year’s series of keynote workshops at Chalice Sparx Unitarian Universalist family camp in the Midwest will be presented by Rev. Dr. Randolph W.B. Becker ("Randy"), a life-long Universalist Unitarian now in his 43rd year of Parish and Religious Education ministry. Rev. Randy is no stranger to summer camps given he founded the Sophia Fahs Religious Education Camp on Long Island, NY, which will be celebrating its 35th Anniversary in August.