UU La Crosse
A Unitarian Universalist Fellowship


August, 2019 Monthly Newsletter
Find the time to nourish your soul

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” Mahatma Gandhi
 
I grew up in a family that prayed regularly. My family of origin prayed
before every meal and before going to bed, reciting the same prayer
every day for each. I never experienced my parents praying
spontaneously. Both sets of grandparents prayed daily. They used
the same resource, a daily calendar where you ripped off the newest page, which included a scriptural passage, a reflection on the passage, and a prayer. My maternal grandparents did their daily devotion using this page word for word. They took turns reading the passages. My paternal grandparents expanded the devotion. Only my grandfather read, with my grandmother sitting silently. When it came time to pray he not only included the prayer that had been written out, he also added his own prayer. He included all the things he was thankful for, he expressed his hopes, asked for help, and not so subtly expressed his approval or disapproval of the issues in the world around him and asked God to set everyone right!
Sometimes I was glad that prayer was not such an involved process in my home. But sometimes I appreciated the intentionality that my grandparent had in setting aside a dedicated time to worship every single day. As soon as breakfast was over and the table cleared, this was what they did, without exception. It had been the same when their kids lived at home and they maintained the ritual when the grandkids spent the night.  I noticed that they seemed calmer and more centered when they finished, that somehow this ritual set them right within themselves. They were ready for the day. 

When I left home for university, I did not bring the tradition with me.  By then I had left the church of my upbringing and didn’t see that I needed to replace prayer with anything. But as time went on, I realized that I had no time in my day set aside to stop and refocus. While the traditional prayer of my childhood no longer worked, what it accomplished was something I still needed – time set aside that wasn’t about being productive but rather about simply being, with some kind of physical action that my body and mind could fall into with an ease born of repetition, where you came out of the experience feeling restored. 

Our theme this month is prayer and it should be of no surprise that in Unitarian Universalism, what we mean by prayer is as diverse as the theologies and philosophies that we claim, aspire to, and practice. We espouse humanism, feminine and earth centered spiritualities, atheism, agnosticism, monotheism, pantheism, panentheism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity within an overarching Unitarian Universalism. Prayer can be different in each of these traditions and practices, but the centering focus is that prayer creates the space to reconnect to the values that we hold sacred and gain clarity about our lives. We can empty our minds or channel them gratitude, frustration, hopes, desires, and aspirations.

As we move into this month, be thinking about the ways you can carve time out in your life for centering, reconnecting and renewing.

Yours in spirit,
Rev. Krista.

From the Board President
Ron Malzer
August 2019

As I write this on July 21, much of the country has been through a bout of extreme weather. In recent days La Crosse has experienced a heat index as high as 116°, rains heavy enough to again close major sections of the Myrick-Hixon trails, and cause power outages, among other challenges.

Our UU values call on us to pay attention to the interdependent web of all existence (the UUA Seventh Principle). Starting this summer, our Fellowship has a social justice team renamed to emphasize this part of our beliefs: We now have the “Social and Environmental Justice Team”. David Boen chairs this team, and will be communicating with the Fellowship about the ways we can put our beliefs into practice.

August is the month that our Fellowship kicks back into high gear. We’ve used June and July to put on intriguing services and service projects, somewhat different from the ones we do between August and May.

In August, we have three UU minister-led services! Rev. Taves will return to us, serving as our half-time consulting minister, and will again be physically present and able to meet with us in person over an eight-day period. We certainly are eager to hear her first sermon of the Fellowship Year on August 18! And on both August 4 and August 11, the service will be led by The Rev. Ann Tyndall, who, prior to coming to La Crosse, was parish minister at the large UU congregation in Evanston, Illinois. Her in-depth exposure to Buddhist as well as UU traditions will enrich us all.

In August we will also have a service that is a Fellowship tradition: a dedicated performance on Sunday August 25 at 9 AM at the Great River Folk Festival, in Riverside Park. The guest performer this year will be the Coulee Region’s own Johnsmith, bringing his exquisite songwriting talents and spiritual presence to us. For the first time in the 15-year or so history, of this service, the event will be an advertised part of the Festival and open to all interested.

The August/September time is one in which we should expect new faces and new energy. People who have relocated from other communities have already contacted our Connections Coordinator Jen Miller to get information about our Fellowship. Let’s all have our eyes open for unfamiliar faces and make sure that we send a message that we truly are welcome to all. We need to do extra work examining on our own attitudes and actions to make sure we are connecting affirmatively when those of minority identities check us out.

I will be away from Fellowship the first two weeks of August, a period in which our son will be getting married. The Fellowship is in good hands while I’m gone. Let August be a time when growth in every sense of the word can take place for us as individuals and our Fellowship.

Visioning work nears completion

The Visioning Team has been actively collecting and collating large amounts of data.  We have spent countless hours at our 15 organizational meetings, 12 listening sessions (the remaining two are to be completed by the end of June), interviews with 14 Community Collaborators, and much independent work and synthesis. We are nearing the draft of a vision statement. 
 
There were several themes that came across in the listening sessions:

1) Feels welcoming, engaging, enthusiastic, connected, safe, dynamic, and relaxed
2) More diversity in attendees (age/economics/LGBTQ/ethnicity/education/spiritual beliefs)
3) Community activism/belief into action
4) Proudly known in community for our gifts and message
5) Multigenerational and challenging Religious Education and small group
6) Engage with Community Partners
7) Professional leadership
8) Flexible physical space

Role of Minister: being cared for, leadership, focus, continuity, connection with community. May not want Minister to preach every Sunday, but be available for other needs, for example pastoral care.

We have also met with 14 Community Collaborators to ask for their opinion of who we are and what they need us to be in the community.  Their responses indicate that the UU Fellowship is mostly known for our community activism (11 of 14 responses) for issues ranging from race relations, to sexuality, to empowerment. Our group is viewed as educated, empowered, open to all, non-doctrinal, and free to act as a community or issue convener and spokesperson for various causes by about half of the interviewed groups. While this is somewhat encouraging, at least one third of those interviewed do not know what we really stand for or could use more information about us. However, there is some consolation to hear from at least two groups that we are “small but mighty.”

There was much consensus on what the community needs us to be. Eleven of the 14 groups indicated that we should do more partnering and collaboration, including interfaith collaboration, with existing groups and that we be a voice for and with the marginalized in our community. Also 6 of 14 saw a need for social justice outreach and five requested a need for support, whether by monetary donations, volunteerism or cross-promotion of events and causes. Three of the groups recognized us as a place for individuals who are spiritual but not religious (the Nones) to congregate.
Sunday Services

August 4 – "What I Learned About Prayer Being Raised by Humanists"
Ann Tyndall
I was raised in the midst of the golden age of humanism in post war (that’s WWII) Unitarian Universalism. Boy was I surprised when, as a young UU minister, I discovered a capacity for (humanist) prayer. Thanks to my parishioners who challenged me, I explored this innate urge more deeply and came to articulate it more clearly. I look forward to sharing some of my journey with you.

Ann Tyndall served as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister for 23 years, and for the past 16 years has been practicing Shambhala Buddhism. Ann and her partner Barbara moved to La Crosse when Gundersen hired Ann to be a chaplain in the Spiritual Care Department. In June she began working as a system wide bereavement coordinator for the Resolve Through Sharing bereavement program at Gundersen. She also enjoys the opportunity to do more teaching at the Shambhala Meditation Center in Minneapolis where she is a member.

August 11 – "Praying with the Buddha and His Sons and Daughters"
Ann Tyndall

In keeping with this month’s exploration of prayer, I offer a Buddhist teaching on 3 practices: mindfulness-awareness, loving-kindness, and tingle. Periods of practice will be woven through the teaching. The Buddha was clear about our capacity to awaken to our innate nature of openness, compassion and wisdom. But he told his students — in my words — “Hey! Don’t take my word for it! Try it yourself and draw upon your own experience to confirm what I teach.” Bring your curiosity.

Sunday, August 18 – "Living On a Prayer" – Rev. Krista Taves

When 1980s rock band Bon Jovi released their hit single, "Livin' on a Prayer" in 1986, North America had just barely recovered from the early '80s recession. It was clear that the unbridled economic growth that many took for granted after World War 2 was over. With it came new challenges and more of us became aware that we were, indeed, living on a prayer. 

August 25 – Annual Great River Folk Fest Service feat.  Johnsmith
Riverside Park

This year's service at the Great River Folk Fest will feature a sermon by Rev. Krista Taves and music by Wisconsin artist  Johnsmith .

Sunday, September 1 – No Se rvice – Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Uncapped Conversations
August 2, 6:30 p.m.
Java Vino, 2311 State Road, La Crosse
Rev. Taves.
“Living Prayerfully.” Join us for an informal evening of spiritual exploration and
good conversation at a local establishment. We order at 6:30 and begin the
conversation at 6:45 p.m. We use focusing readings and guiding questions, with
each question going a bit deeper. The location guiding questions will be posted on
the UU La Crosse Facebook page a few days before the session. Please RSVP at
revkristataves@gmail.com as space is limited.
August schedule

Rev. Taves/ schedule
Rev. Taves is with us from Sunday August 18 through Sunday August 25 th . If you
would like to meet with Rev. Taves during her visit, please contact her at
revkristataves@gmail.com. She would love to hear from you.


Notes from Jen Miller,
Connections Coordinator

Happy August!

Another month has passed with astonishing speed. Although July was very hot, I enjoyed our evening walks with our dogs and the nightly firefly shows. 

My family enjoyed having the opportunity to volunteer at Kane Street Community Garden. We are currently gardenless, so we are very grateful to have access to this beautiful space. Volunteering at the garden is something that we will continue to do as a family. I love the idea of fresh produce in the winter! 

July was a busy month for UU La Crosse. Our service projects were a hit. I especially appreciated that the children were able to help with the projects too. They assisted with creating fruit salads and wrapping desserts to beautifying cupcakes. Thank you to everyone that participated in making the service projects a success. 

If you are looking for additional ways in becoming more connected with the fellowship, Donna and I are here to help. We are available to chat with after service or by email. We can be reached at jen@uulacrosse.org.

On closing, if you would like to help with tabling at events, please let either Donna or I know. We will be representing UU La Crosse at a number of community events this month and can certainly use the help. 

Jen
Volunteer at Kane Street Garden
Get your gardening groove on by volunteering at Kane Street Gardens, the UU Special Collection for this summer. Located on the corner of Kane and St. Cloud streets in North La Crosse, the garden provides produce for the Hunger Task Force.

Summer volunteer hours,now 'til October 15th
Monday    8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday    8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Thursday   8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday     8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday    8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sunday     Closed
What they need help with is whatever is going on that day, such as weeding, planting and transplanting, pruning, watering, mulching, harvesting, and cleanup. You do not need to make an appointment; just show up within the scheduled times listed above. Also, if you are volunteering on a harvest day you can get first choice at whatever is being harvested. Here is the schedule for harvest:
 
Monday 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Thursday 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – Noon
Summer Special Collection is for Kane Street Garden

The Special Collection for June, July, and August will be for the harvesting of "seed money" for our annual congregational project. Between now and June 2020, this congregation will be partnering with the fabulous Kane Street Garden, as part of our initiative on social and environmental justice. Money for supplies money is needed by our Social Justice Team. Place cash in the specially-marked envelopes, or write a check to "UU La Crosse" with the words "Kane Street" on the memo line. Our UU Fellowship is a 501 c(3) organization.


Summer Update for Collection Basket Aiding Those in the La Crosse Area

Here’s a list of items which are most needed at this time for folks experiencing home insecurity in our community:
Men’s T-shirts
Socks for women and men
Motel-sized hygiene items
New underwear for women and men

These items are needed for New Horizons’ Boutique (free items for clients):
Full-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner
Full-sized tubes of toothpaste
Razors and deodorant
Toilet paper and cleaning supplies
Interested in Joining the UU La Crosse Choir?

Mi-mi-mi-mi and you...and you...and you...and you! Any and all with an interest in singing in our Fellowship choir are invited to join. We have said farewell to a few wonderful members over the past year, and we are looking to again grow our membership!

Rehearsals are the first and third Wednesday nights of the month, 7-8:30 p.m., with a bonus potluck and mini-rehearsal to kick off the year on Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 5:30-7:30. The choir typically rehearses prior to and then sings on the Sundays that follow the Wednesday rehearsals (twice per month). Our first Sunday service this fall is on Sept. 8.

If you have questions about making "joyful noise" with our choir or wish to RSVP for Aug. 28, please email Rita by Friday, Aug. 16 (if possible) at  choir@uulacrosse.org .
UU La Crosse is Hiring!
Religious Education (RE) Teacher
$15.00 per hour

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse is looking for a caring and energetic candidate to teach children from Kindergarten to second grade in our RE classrooms on Sunday mornings. This position is from 9:30am to 11:30am for a total of 13 Sundays. This position is from September - December 2019, with the
potential to renew in January.

Please send your cover letter, resume, application form and references to officeadmin@uulacrosse.org .


Annual Rock and Water Ceremony
September 8th, 2019

We again will incorporate our traditional Rock and Water Ceremony into our Sept. 8, 2019 Sunday service. The tradition of a Water Ceremony was started in 1980 by two UU’s (Carolyn McDade and Lucile Schuck Longview) as a means to honor our connectedness to one another, all life, and our planet. For our Fellowship, this ritual has expanded to includes rocks. 
All participants are encouraged bring rocks or water from locations that hold special meaning. Rocks and water function as metaphors for our connectedness to those places on this planet to which individuals feel a special bond. Through this service, we strive to deepen the meaning of our 7th principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Great River Folk Fest Looking for Volunteers
Friday, August 23rd - Sunday, August 25th
Riverside Park, La Crosse

The 2019 Great River Folk Festival is ramping up, and that means that we will be in need of volunteers like you to pull it off! 

New for 2019: If you sign up by Monday August 5th as a volunteer you will receive an official 2019 GRFF t-shirt. We can't pull it off without you, and your support is greatly appreciated.  Look for the Sign-up Genius link on our web site . Signing up only takes a few minutes, and you can lock down your favorite job and shift.

-David Boen, Volunteer Coordinator
Contacts
 
Office Hours
 Emmy will be available for drop-ins or appointments  Thursdays from 10am – 1pm .
 As usual, email Emmy at  officeadmin@uulacrosse.org  if you would like to meet outside of office hours or need assistance otherwise.
She is also at the Fellowship building on Sunday mornings.
 
Deadlines for Newsletters & Announcements:
 
Weekly E-news : Giorgia at enews@uulacrosse.org by 12pm Mondays
 
Monthly Newsletter:  Janis at jollyjanis22@gmail.com  by 23rd of the month
 
Order of Service:  Emmy at officeadmin@uulacrosse.org u  by 12pm Mondays
 
All other announcement s: Emmy at officeadmin@uulacrosse.org.

STAY CONNECTED

Watch for additional weekly updates on our  Facebook page  and  Website

UU La Crosse
608-796-9993