"The River"
Sunday Service
Sunday, August 9, 2020
10:30 am
The Miracle of Social Change

Ken Stern

IIn August of 1859 slavery seemed like it would last forever in the United States. Then, in September, John Brown and a small band attacked Harper's Ferry, Virginia. Sixteen months later seven southern states panicked at the prospect of Lincoln taking office and seceded from the Union in January, 1861, before he was inaugurated. And that is why the Civil War began. From Thoreau, who gave a talk on John Brown, through Frederick Douglass, the suffragists movement and women gaining the vote, to African Americans insisting on Civil Rights in the 1950s, to Black Lives Matter and protesters in the streets now, there have been miracles moving us toward justice.
Sunday Service On-Line
Regular Sunday services are offered on-line for the duration of this emergency.

We haven't found a way to transmit snacks and coffee, but otherwise we will reconstitute much of the experience of coming to the Fellowship.

The technology platform we're adopting, called Zoom, lends itself to a participatory experience.

We will be together at the same time. We will see each other, talk in turn, chat, listen, and watch. It will be like a campfire for the dispersed.

The Zoom link will be emailed to you on Sunday!
Remembering Elymra
Elmyra Zehner passed away Monday, Aug 3. She died at home with her family by her side. Her daughter, Christy will write up an obituary but probably not for a while.  Hopefully in the future Rev. Barbara Davenport will officiate a celebration of life at SUUF.

"It has come to light that Elymra Zehner was in fact mortal. The freshness of her views and the vigor of her convictions gave the impression of indefatigable youth. Her invincible smile and her generous attention to the needs of others -- human, animal, avian -- seemed as eternal as springtime. She was a sharp resource of information and a bountiful contributor to our Fellowship. We will miss her achingly, ever grateful for her example of a long and worthy life." Jim Heard

"She was a role model for how to be our very best Unitarian selves. Although her wish to make it to the November election didn’t materialize, Christy, her daughter said her Mom did proudly vote in the primary."  Rev. Barbara Davenport

"Elmyra was a very special person that I’ve known since 1982 when she and Howard joined the Fellowship. I remember when she joined because I was president of our small group back then when everyone had to take a turn at being president and/or program chair. Fred Zeretske had the treasurer job covered. Polly and Bob Winkelman and Dundas Winn also joined in 1983. Those were the major events of my presidency."  Claire Phillips
the first and possibly only annual


unveiling the miraculous skills gifts dexterities voices abilities craftiness mastery flair knack know-how and genius
in our very midst!

Music! Song! Dance! Poetry! Knitting! Legos! Woodworking! Painting! Sculpture! Drama! Prose! Cake decorating! Photography! Model Airplanes! Rock Collections! Whatever Your Thing!

hosted by our very own

Kathy Roche-Zujko

Enter! Send pictures or videos to:

Thank you grounds cleanup elves. Looking good!
Covenant and Commitment, Not Comfort
by Rev. Sarah Schurr

I really enjoy being comfortable. I like wearing my favorite sneakers and eating comfort food, like Mac and Cheese. But sometimes we need to set aside what is comfortable for us, as individuals, in order to serve the greater good. It is like wearing a face mask when going to the store during a pandemic. It might not be comfortable, but we do it to protect the public health. It is just the right thing to do.

The UUA Commission on Institutional Change just published their report. It is called Widening the Circle of Concern. Each congregation is being sent a copy, and you can buy your own from the UUA bookstore. This extensive report examines the cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism. Much of the report focuses on our promises to be a more inclusive faith and to shed our white supremacy culture that pushes UUs of color to the margins, or right out the door.

Widening the Circle of Concern has a number of suggestions for how we can make things better. The one that really spoke to me was "Covenant and commitment, not comfort, should be the binding fabric of UU congregations and other communities." This is a powerful statement and it may fly in the face of what many people like most about their congregation. For many, our UU congregations are comfortable safe havens for educated and like-minded liberals, especially those who are white. Leaders in our congregations will often work very hard to keep things comfortable, to not make waves, as a way to save the congregation from the loss of members or money. This is not a good long term plan for our faith.

Change can be uncomfortable, but change we must!We live in a changing world that is more multicultural than ever before. Many of the new people who seek us in 2020 have little patience for our old and comfortable ways that hold whiteness as normative. Some of our current practices are just hurtful, even when we mean well. Here are just two of the many recommendations of the Commission on Institutional Change:

  • Explore ways to train and credential religious professionals other than always requiring an expensive graduate education that can be inaccessible to people with lower incomes.

  • Help multicultural hospitality practices be foundational as we train greeters, ushers, and worship leaders to avoid microaggressions and other behaviors that make people of color feel unwelcome in our faith communities.

These changes may feel very uncomfortable to some, especially those of us who are white and well served by the old ways. But if we are bound by commitment to our faith and the covenants we share, then it is worth the discomfort. Like wearing a mask at the store, it will serve the health of our congregations, and help us heal the world. And it is just the right thing to do.
PWR & UUA NEWS Update on Regional Assembly 2021: Love Right Through by Amanda Radak, PWR Events Coordinator

This time is terrifying and wonderful, simultaneously. We guess and forecast, and try to make it through each day. And come to focus on those things we value most: the people we can be with, or not be with, the places we cherish and things that we miss most and are planning to prioritize differently, knowing what we can no longer tolerate and the gratitude we can offer for things large and small.

I wrote that a month ago, and it still seems amazingly timely. It was followed by this quote (author unknown) which starts out sounding dated, reflections on yester-month:

"When you go out and see the empty streets, the empty stadiums, the empty train platforms, don't say to yourself, ‘It looks like the end of the world.’ What you're seeing is love in action. What you're seeing, in that negative space, is how much we do care for each other, for our grandparents, for the immuno-compromised brothers and sisters, for people we will never meet."

Yet we still hold this love and if we could flip the script:

"If you go out and see the crowded streets, the full town squares, the bustling court yards, don't say to yourself, ‘It looks like the end of the world.’ What you're seeing is love in action. What you're seeing, in that packed space, is how much we do care for each other, for our ancestors, for the targeted brothers and sisters, for people we will never meet."

What will life look like in another month, or six, or a year?

The UUA recommends not gathering in person for the next year, and I worked as your event "unplanner" this spring, not a job I ever would have wished for. I love making connections; this seems the opposite, but it prioritizes each of you, and without you there are no connections. PWR has shifted from encouraging you to gather in the fall in our often multi-city or multi-state events. We are dreaming up the possibilities that online gatherings allow; Suddenly, El Paso & Fairbanks aren’t so far apart. Honolulu & Missoula are an easy get together. Pondering how we can continue to care for you and your congregations from afar.

In this light, gathering 700 people early next year at Regional Assembly seems careless, in stark contrast to the protective measures we have taken thus far. So we have renegotiated and are planning to gather in person in southern California in early 2022. We hope to see everyone there, then.

In the meantime, I wonder, how does your love look in the world? What care do you take, of self? Of others? Of our world? How do we love through this pandemic? Through this cultural shift? Through this election cycle? Clear through our lives?

We invite you to:
Love Right Through
Feb 13-14, 2021
A Virtual Regional Gathering
Doris Brevoort is hosting the Covenant Circle as a midweek Zoom meeting. Chatter and chitchat with your cherished chums at Wonderful Wednesdays at One.

Topic: Wonderful Wednesdays at One
Time: 01:00 PM

If you are interested in joining the Circle, email Doris at fieldofwans@comcast.net.

The Zoom link will be emailed to you on Wednesday.
Reduced and variable office hours in August. It's summer vacation time again. Because of the Covid situation, volunteers will not be helping out in the office, and I will still be here, but not keeping regular office hours. I will be doing the newsletter on Thursdays for sure and will send it out about 4 pm on that day. If you have contributions, get them to the office by 3 pm on Thursday. Stay well, and take care, Claire
Updating Contact list in August. The Fellowship maintains a members and friends contact list. The list contains, name, address, phone number and email. If you have changes to your information or are new and would like to be included, please email the office. The list is distributed via email, but only to those who are included in the list.
News from SUUF members and Friends This space awaits a photo or poem or news or reminiscence from you, when you're ready. Email your contributions to the office.

Empty space awaiting your news, etc.

"Summer Miracles"
Starting June 29th, our Fellowship begins "Summer Miracles," a program that invites a prolonged encounter with awe and wonder. Stories from our Unitarian Universalist Sources and hands-on activities engage members (child AND adult) to discern miracles, experience and express awe and wonder, and discover their own agency for miracle-making. We will make a uniquely Unitarian Universalist inquiry—a religious search which simultaneously embraces the awesome truth of a miracle’s mystery and the “how and why” of rational explanation. We will explore different kinds of miracles, from the awesome, ordered beauty of Earth and all life on it, to their own capacity to transform themselves and others to bring forth love and justice.

This is an online based program intended to stand-in for CRE, but as this is a multi-generational program everyone is invited to participate. If able, I urge members to join our private, member only facebook group. There, having discussions on activities will be much easier and more engaging. Non-members and those without facebook can opt for the weekly email, which will be sent out every Monday.

If you would like to opt-in for the weekly email or have questions, please contact Tatum at tatumkenn97@gmail.com
Happy July birthdays!!! Best wishes to Cindy, Rev. Barbara G, Michael, Rev. Vincent, Andrea, Christopher, Odessa, Cat, Greg, Disa, Rosemary, Kathy, George and any others celebrating your special day this month.
Helping Kindness: a note received from Tatum Kenn

Hope all is well, 

Just wanted to put it out there that if there's anyone in our Congregation who is at-risk and would like assistance with receiving groceries or other goods, if handed a list and money, I can make some trips.  

Best, Tatum.

Skagit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (SUUF)
PO Box 1203
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Here's the address above for mailing pledge checks and donations. Thank you for your continuing support!
Activities hosted at Diversity Hall (See flyers and information posted on the Renters Bulletin Board in the hall.)

Dances for Universal Peace hopes to return in 2021.
Office Administrator, Newsletter: Claire Phillips skagituu@gmail.com Hours: Tue. & Thur. 12-4 pm

Worship Team Leader: Sally Riggers suufmusic@gmail.com

Board contact: Jim Heard james.heard@skagituuf.com
Skagit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
500 West Section St.
PO Box 1203
Mount Vernon, WA 98273