The Sunshine State
Amongst the idyllic beauty of Sarasota’s foliage lined streets is the beautifully manicured gardens and sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Florida. With our motorhome settled in under a magnificent tree, Austin and I enjoyed a peaceful and gratifying weekend on the grounds.
The UUC of Sarasota has the largest membership in Florida and on this Sunday the sanctuary was literally standing room only for the 11:00 service. New to the church in 2012, the Rev. Roger Fritts is a charismatic speaker that draws one in comfortably to the warm atmosphere of the community. Speaking on Buddhism, as a part of an ongoing World Religions series, Rev. Fritts blended meditative readings, music, and the roots of the religion with a playful touch of humor. A popular belief system among Unitarians, he went on to explain the Buddhist belief that as we do not have souls, our rebirths are resultant from the “inexhaustible force of karma” that keeps us tied to the confines of physical being. Also similar to the UU chalice symbol as a focus within our sanctuaries is the Buddhist centering on the light or lamp within ourselves.
When visiting UUCS, one must take the time to tour the campus which easily fills an hour when taken in fully. The sanctuary, designed by architect Tollyn Twitchell, brings warmth into the space using a cypress beamed ceiling over glass and Ocala stone walls, and topped at the ends with stained glass windows by artist Syd Solomon. Opposite the sanctuary, and on the other side of the courtyard, is the office building which also holds a meeting space and art gallery in the Lexow Wing courtesy of the UUCS Arts Council. But not to be outdone is the magnificent Memorial Garden on the west side of the sanctuary, a sacred space tended to in memory of those lost to the community. Even in winter, the garden is full of colorful and fragrant blooms in tribute to the many gifts the earth provides.
For more information on attending the UUC of Sarasota: http://www.uusarasota.com/
To learn about Buddhism in Sarasota, visit: http://www.meditationinsarasota.org/
UUSC Art Gallery with hours for viewing: http://www.uusarasota.com/our-church/art-gallery.php
Architecture and photos of the inner sanctuary: http://www.uusarasota.com/our-church/architecture.php
6 thoughts on “The Sunshine State”
February 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm
So delighted that you enjoyed our church and wrote about it on your blog! Thank you- Julie Leach, President, UUCS
February 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm
It would have been impossible not to. Wonderful welcome by people and nature alike!
February 20, 2013 at 10:20 am
Thank you so much for the beautiful article and pictures you posted about our church. I’ve only been a UU for not quite three years and I am so happy I found my spiritual home with this extraordinary congregation. I’m so happy you liked our church and then were kind enough to write about it.
February 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm
Please visit us again when you’re in town. Every visit is a new experience.
December 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm
Hi there… I found this image some time ago, and I wanted to use it for future inspiration, but instead of putting it in my “inspiration” folder, I put it in my “stock images” folder. I completely forgot that this wasn’t a public domain image when I used it to make 2 images for a Facebook page. I am so sorry. I did not mean to use your image without your permission. It was just such a great one that I knew I would want to model a future project on it. I am so happy that you aren’t upset, but I do feel really bad about it. Thank you for being so generous with your artwork! You are an excellent photographer with a great eye!
December 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm
Thanks for the comment. I am truly blessed that it touched you and glad to have it used with credit. I’m only one year into blogging and it’s great to see my art spreading to other UUs! I took over 100 photos at the Sarasota UU and have an additional post with a photo gallery including some of my favorites.