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Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Pittsfield, Maine

(formerly First Universalist Church)

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What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?

Unitarian Universalism affirms and promotes seven Principles, grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world's religions. Our spirituality is unbounded, drawing from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience and ancient tradition as described in our six sources

The Seven Principles are:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

 

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The Journey Begins: Doing Things Differently in Challenging Times

June 9, 2017

It’s been said that work is thus named because it is not play, not rest, not vacation. Our work here at this great big church with no resident minister, a small council, low attendance in a great big, aging building is a tremendous challenge.

 

I am reminded of Wendell Berry’s poem The Real Work and his insight that “…when we no longer know what to do,” we’ve “come to our real work,” “the real journey.” 

 

A few months back, I found myself drawn into the history of the church discovering to my great delight two timelines dating back to our beginnings as the First Universalist Society. Then I started talking with people who have nothing to do with our church, people with skill sets we lack, but that have no tie to our building, faith tradition, or future. The more people I engaged, the clearer it became what an incredible resource our building is - not just to those of us who call ourselves members, but to the Town, the region, and even the state. Further, we’re fortunate to have this small, but determined congregation with a can-do attitude and a willingness to try new things, to fall, and to get back up again. 

 

We can do this. We can sustain our church. But we cannot do it alone.

 

There’s no map or set of directions for how to do this, and there is no guaranteed outcome, but if there’s ever a place for hope and faith, it is here. If ever we needed time to think, to forgive, to make mistakes, to redeem ourselves, it is now. Ours is a place where “we keep idea and possibility alive” as Krista Tippett put it on a recent episode of On Being called “Thinking and Friendship in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt for Now”. 

 

Ours is a place where we take care of one another and hold one another in community, and we do so without absolutes. Ours is an unpredictable future, but one I hope you will join us in as we consider what German Jew and American philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote about and studied: neighborly love. Not the love of desire, or of one’s kin. The kind of love critical for us today is the kind “that says, ‘I want you to be.’” Neighborly love amidst a political and national climate that would have us divided based on difference - color, race, gender, the happenstance of where you were born, political party, you name it. When we hold our space sacred for the acts that make it so, when we think, when we risk becoming, we have possibility and we have a future for which we will work our hearts out.

 

There was a time when this space and everything required to restore and renovate it was, perhaps, too overwhelming to consider. But that time has passed. We’ve begun talking with architects, structural engineers, historic preservation officers, and we’ve begun the process of discovering financial resources. We are stewards of an incredible place, and we’ve inherited that fortunate burden. Despite the work it will take, this is our work now.

    

We are beginning a journey forward, but that journey will look different from anything that’s come before. In order to hold our Unitarian Universalist community together, we have to think differently and do differently. We have to open our doors wider, toot our horns, and welcome people in - people who need space, and time, and quiet, and respite, and motivation, and uplift, and action.

 

All kinds of people.

 

All kinds of welcome.

 

Let’s give it a try.

 

Sunday, June 18, we will hold a congregational meeting at which point we will discuss and vote on financial commitments, building maintenance, and our name. Your input is critical. 

 

This is our journey now; come along.

 

Holly Zadra

Council Moderator

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