September 2020 Theme – “Renewal”
”Not All Who Wander Are Lost” This Labor Day weekend we’ll reflect on the importance of rest and renewal. As poet May Sarton noted, we can “forget how important the empty days are.” We periodically need relief from the constant grind of responsibilities. Led by our minister, Eric Severson.
September 13 – Ingathering Sunday
“Remaking the World” Join us for our ingathering service. We’ll celebrate the renewal of community by bringing our whole selves. And we’ll hold a modified water communion ceremony. Led by our minister, Eric Severson.
“Eternity In Our Hands” Join us as we celebrate renewing relationships — even in these unusual times — and how we might view community as a source of renewal. Led by our minister, Eric Severson.
“Breaking the Rules” – In these days of COVID and BLM and political unrest, the rules we live by are being revised. Which rules should we follow? When is it OK to break the rules? Can we write our own rules? Led by UUFoM member, Judith Hill.
“Themes of Harvest” – For Pagans, the first harvest sabbat is on August 1st. Members of the UUFoM CUUPs group reflect on this time of year and themes of harvest. Led by UUFoM member, Christina Van Poucker.
“What is Your Garden?” – To most people, a garden is a part of their yard or landscape that has been planted and tended. But a garden can exist in our minds and hearts, a place where our memories and recollections of locations we have visited have made a sanctuary that connects us to Nature. Led by UUFoM member, Mary Johnson.
“Emmaus House” – Donna Clarke, Executive Director of Emmaus House, talks about the ministry of the Emmaus House in Saginaw and how it helps women transition from jail, prison, or rehab back to independent living.Donna Clarke, Executive Director of Emmaus House, guest speaking.
July Theme – “The Earth/The Environment”
“Best Fiction Ever!” – Reading fiction is fun, but is it also useful? UUFoM member Sarah Nuss-Warren talks about how fiction and science fiction have influenced her spirituality. Led by Sarah Nuss-Warren
MI UU Churches – What have we discovered about remaining hopeful in the midst of the unknown that we can sustain in the future? Our beloved community of UU Michiganders and their friends and family will come together in worship on Sunday, July 12th at 10:30am. Up to 1000 people may participate via Zoom. The service will also be streamed on Facebook and YouTube. Following the service, there will be a state-wide coffee hour gathering. Please join us in this precious opportunity like no other to explore hope as we share sacred space across the “Internet of Spirit.”
“Blessing of the Animals” – Led by Linda Rector.
“To Grow a Seed – The Soil and Water Come First” – In a crisis it is natural to yearn for better times, and, although we may feel least prepared for careful reflection at that time, a crisis may in fact be the perfect time to reflect on what we need to survive and to thrive. We have wants, we have needs and we sometimes confuse them. Perhaps rather, the social framework of values in which we live fosters confusion. In this service we will explore some aspects of identifying how we can invest our time and resources both as individuals and collectives to pay dividends of meaningful personal and societal growth. Led by Chris Nakamura, Board Member-At-Large.
June Theme – “Play”
“Strength in Diversity” – Join us for an unusual Flower Communion service. We will celebrate the earth’s natural beauty, our own great diversity, and the courage it takes to live and fight for sacred ideals. Led by Eric Severson, Minister, and Heather Cleland-Host, Director of Lifespan Religious Education.
“Our Incredible Journey” – The Incredible Journey tells the story of a cross-country journey of two dogs and a cat that actually happened, but for the most part was unwitnessed. It was an unintentional journey, much as the one we find ourselves on right now. Come join us in celebrating our incredible yearlong journey across our interfaith community, within our community, and ultimately across the internet. Come sing a song with our UUFoM community! Led by Heather Cleland-Host, Director of Lifespan Religious Education.
“The Stories We Tell” – We can be stronger and more effective together than as individuals. Each person’s narrative, combined, makes our shared stories even richer. Join us as we acknowledge in story the many and collective ways we have served one another and our community.
“Poetry: A Little Bit of Heaven in a Disaster” – Poetry can express all sorts of emotions, from anger to love, despair to humor. We have a poetry Sunday every year, but this year, finding meaningful insight into our shared and particular situations with the Covid-19 lockdown, the flood, and now widespread civil unrest due to institutional racism and divisive leadership makes the challenge of finding the right words without becoming pedantic daunting. Poetry cannot change the world, but it can reflect it. We’ll give our best shot.
May Theme – “Vocation”
“The Calling of Our Hearts” – Do you love what you do? Whether you work in or outside the home, what does your heart call you to do? What are the barriers? Come explore how vocation matters, and how it might change through a lifetime. Led by Eric Severson.
Order of Service
Service Recording – Coming Soon
“The Economics of Poverty” – Put yourself in another person’s shoes: no work, no car, no insurance, food stamps, mouths to feed. It can be hard to make ends meet and escape the cycles of poverty when the cards seem stacked against you. Just what might it take to turn the corner? Led by Eric Severson.
Order of Service – Coming Soon
“Coming Together” – Due to the flooding disaster that has hit our area, we will gather for a very simple service, an opportunity to check in with one another, process this trauma together, and reunite around our mission and vision.
“Mending the Brokenness” – One mask, sock, mitten, or hat at a time, people’s avocations can help heal the world. Join Ellen Dodge Severson and other UUFoM crafty folks in discussing how and why they use their gifts to provide for others.
April Theme – “Liberation”
“Hitting the Reset Button” Big changes in our lives (like the current crisis) can help us see life differently, even liberate us from our routines. We have a chance to rethink our priorities. Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
“Our Prophetic Potential” How best can we serve one another and others? Unitarian Universalist minister the Rev. Meg Riley identifies three aspects of a “prophetic congregation.” Come reflect on the liberating potential of our faith tradition and imagine what that could look like in our little corner of the world. Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
Order of Service.
“The Great Escape” Liberation requires hope, determination, and a plan. Though we can’t predict the future, we can spend some time plotting our eventual release from self-isolation. What’s the first thing you will do? Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
Order of Service
“All In — Pulling Together” In order to be just, liberation must be collective. So, come rain or shine, we’re all in this together. How do we make the grass seem greener on both sides of the fence? Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
Order of Service
March Theme – “Freedom & Responsibility”
“Personal Rights and Responsibilities” Many of us take for granted our ability to speak out when we feel the need. But what happens when one’s safety, or even life, is threatened? What is the responsible thing to do? What is the right thing to do? Fellowship friend Sohail Qamar, who has traveled with his family to over 33 countries, will share powerful anecdotes about personal rights worldwide and the role of responsibility. Sohail Qamar speaking.
“What Is Freedom For?” Millions fought and died so that we might be free. But free from what? For what? How do we balance freedom and responsibility? Let’s move beyond the esoteric to some practical solutions. Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
“Unless” The beauty and bounty of summer begins with a tiny bud on a branch, or with a tiny plant emerging from a seed and thrusting through the soil to the sun. We will explore the power and responsibility we have as individuals to change the world, for better or worse. Unless we take those first steps, a journey never begins. Join us to find the promise in the word “unless.” This is a multigenerational service. Led by Eric Severson, Minister, and Heather Cleland-Host, Director of Lifespan Religious Education.
“The Credibility Gap” Public figures often make promises they can’t keep. But, too often, there also is a gap between our own intentions and actions. Let’s consider ways in which we might hold elected officials accountable and improve our own credibility. Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
“Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands” How do we respond to circumstances we’ve never experienced before — especially when they call us to new responsibilities and curtail our freedoms? What do our consciences and values suggest? Please join us for an online service to examine our human nature and ways of coping.
February Theme – “Resilience”
“Is There Life After Death?” When a loved one dies, the life we have built can be shaken to its foundation, and sometimes, even the foundation crumbles. How, then, do we keep living when our loved one dies? Come explore strategies for rebuilding a life after death, and ways foundations can be reinforced even before the great quake comes. Led by Denise Reiling.
“Back From Despair” Finding a spiritual home that gives us hope by affirming our personal identities can be life changing, indeed, life saving. So it is with Unitarian Universalism; perhaps it was true for you. Come celebrate stories of resilience from within and beyond our fellowship. Led by Eric Severson, minister.
“On Hope and Courage” The long, dark days of winter can be challenging for many of us, and the seemingly endless and urgent needs of the world cry out for courageous, loving action. The values and sources of Unitarian Universalism can help us through these times and respond to this call. Led by Eric Severson, minister.
“Committing Our Hearts” Love and compassion sometimes are difficult to give. No one wants a broken heart, and yet vulnerability is essential to building or deepening relationships. How might we draw on our Judeo-Christian heritage in loving our neighbors as ourselves?
January Theme – “Thresholds”
“Life Transitions” Sometimes making a life transition is like walking through a door into a new and different world. Join us as fellowship members reflect on important life transitions they have experienced. Eddie Mulford and Amy Rogers, guest speakers.
“Going Out or Coming In?” It matters, when crossing thresholds, whether we are entering or exiting — or does it? Come explore some of the ways we approach what may be mundane or numinous experiences. Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
“Thresholds We Dare Not Cross” We human beings developed a fear response for good reason. We learned good and evil and where to draw the line (sometimes). What are some of the thresholds we dare not cross today and why? How might we harness our fear and act with courage? Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
“The Final Threshold?” To the best of our knowledge, physical death is the final threshold of life. But many world religions suggest otherwise, that some form of spirit remains or continues on. Let’s explore some eschatology together. Led by Eric Severson, Minister.
December Theme – “The Unexpected/Awe”
“The Unexpected Journey Into Paganism” Members of our Ancient Shores CUUPS chapter will share stories on how they became pagans. Afterward, congregants will be able to ask questions about the panel’s paths and beliefs. Led by Scott and Monica Hughes and members of the Ancient Shores CUUPS.
“Annual Choir Service” Our fabulous choir members will present our annual music-filled service where songs of the season will be sung sweetly in celebration of the onset of winter and the holidays. If you miss the service, or just love hearing the choir sing, come and see the UUFoM Choir at the Dow Gardens Christmas Walk on Friday, December 13 at 5:30pm, near the birches, only a short walk from the main building.
“Turn the World Around” Pageant Sunday This year’s Winter Pageant will be held on December 15 during the service. It will include a modern adaptation of O’Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” A young couple moves into their new home just before Christmas. They have very little money, and each sells something precious to themselves in order to give something to a person who is more precious to them (their spouse). Our story is full of surprises as we find out what happens when they exchange gifts (and what happens to their ex-belongings). Come celebrate the holidays with song, story and tales from the children of our congregation. See how a new perspective can turn your world around.
“What Is To Come” Whether it is in a hospital room, at home by the phone, or during the long months of winter or of a pregnancy, waiting can be the hardest part of any period in one’s life. That is especially true when the stakes are high and the future is unknown. The Christian season of Advent has much to teach about waiting for that which is to come and finding the unexpected.
“And So the Children Come” In this Christmas Eve service we will celebrate through story and song the hope and awe inherent in the nativity story, reverence for every human life, and the promise of generations.
“Beneath the Snow” In the cold and dark of winter in the Upper Midwest, it is easy to succumb to depression and “cabin fever.” It is a good time to tend one’s body, mind, and spirit and to look beyond the surface of things. What might we find beneath the snow? The sacred dark, perhaps, and surely more.
November Theme – “Thanks and Praise
“Sharing Our Gratitude” Gratitude Journals have become a well-known technique for improving one’s happiness and stress level. The worship team has asked UUFoM members to keep a gratitude journal leading up to our November theme of “Thanks and Praise.” UUFoM members will volunteer to share entries from their gratitude journals during this service. By sharing our gratitude, we hope to be drawn together as we support and affirm the goodness in the world together. Susan Mayer speaking.
“On the Shoulders of Giants” We discover truths by building on previous discoveries all the time, often without realizing it. We’ll reflect on the giants in our lives, the truths they helped us to see, how we might serve as giants to others. Eric Severson speaking.
“Transgender Courage” In thanks and praise of living with integrity and courage, we will center the stories of transgender and nonbinary folks and will honor the memory of those who lost their lives to violence in the past year. Eric Severson speaking.
“Thanks for Simple Gifts” As we approach the Thanksgiving Day holiday, let’s prepare ourselves for gatherings of people, overconsumption, and the winter holiday countdown by focusing on small, more immediate sources of joy. Eric Severson speaking.