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Launch Date Announced

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UU Austin with map

Launching August 19th!

We are so excited to be headed back on the road and visiting with everyone again!  This next trip will cover four months and a travel route spanning from California to Massachusetts.

Exact visit dates with locations will be announced as we travel.

 

 

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Writing for Worship

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Since beginning my travels in January, I’ve been wanting to write a book based on what I’ve seen and experienced  in the many worship services I’ve attended.  Although a topic was elusive to me before now, I magically awoke this morning with not just one, but two book ideas that I could begin on today!  Excited and eager, I’ve already begun blocking out one and writing topic points for the other.  I guess this will be a simultaneous project in the works, but I’m not complaining, I’d rather be working two projects than none.

inspiration
inspiration

Part of what I’ll be working on is listing things that all congregations should either be doing, or not be doing, when it comes to worship services.  This comes from the many pages of notes I’ve taken while attending in the different locations.  Whether I felt welcome.  Whether I felt lost during the process of the actual service, etc.  All things, even simple, create either a warm community or a place to avoid.  And while I’ve not found a place to avoid, I have noticed little things here and there that could be shared among the many congregations as a means of improvement to all.

What I would like to hear is what all of you feel is a pet peeve when attending a service, or what makes a special moment when attending a service.  Was the signage bad when entering and you felt lost?  Did you feel awkward because the order of service didn’t say when to stand or when not to?  Did joining in with a certain aspect make you feel more spiritual or accepted?

If used, your name will appear in the book with your comments so please feel free to join in!  You can also share on our Facebook page, traveling tUUsome, with a link to the right.

The Sunshine State

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Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota Sanctuary
Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota Sanctuary

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.

UUCS Memorial Garden

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

The Land of Enchantment

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Today we are in beautiful New Mexico!  The first state of our year-long journey on the road.  Although we have traveled within her borders many times, it’s always a new and exciting experience driving through the desert river valley of the Rio Grande as the mountains guide us north.

Picture from the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque Order of Service, January 6, 2013
Picture from the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque Order of Service, January 6, 2013

This morning Austin and I attended the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, led by Rev. Christine Robinson.  The church has 785 members, including three branches in Carlsbad, East Mountains, and Socorro.  With it’s community growing in size, First Unitarian is in the midst of building a new, larger sanctuary, as even attending on this cold winter day I found the existing sanctuary full to the brim with fellow UUs.  This was only one of three Sunday services held at the Albuquerque sanctuary each Sunday, and did not include children from the Religious Education (RE) classes which Austin attended.

Rev. Robinson’s message was a popular, annual “Obituary” service, honoring with esteem (and much friendly humor!) selected people from our world that passed during the year 2012.  Along with uplifting and inviting music and song by the church band, Spare Parts, and a familiar singing of “Spirit of Life,” the community provided a warm, meditative, and inspiring contemporary service.

If you live within the reaches of First Unitarian and would like to attend, you can find information on their upcoming services, events, and locations at www.uuabq.org or by calling (505) 884-1801.