Texas! Back to my home state but still so far from home! Today Austin and I attended the First Unitarian Church of Dallas in none other than the Lone Star State. Although the church community began there over 100 years ago, the current Frank Lloyd Wright-esque sanctuary is an homage to fluid space and shared community. The architect, Harwell Hamilton Harris, truly designed what he described as “a clearing in the forest,” all completed with a dominant burning chalice guiding attendees to the peace within the space.
Led by Senior Minister, Rev. Dr. Daniel Kanter, today’s service was one honoring the church’s “UU of the Year” for service and deeds completed within the church community (and in the greater Dallas community at-large), followed by a sermon titled, “Too Christian, Not Christian Enough.” Dr. Kanter well expressed the historical ties to Unitarianism, but also to those that led to the path of his suggested true labeling as a “Free Church.” One that is neither too Christian, nor Christian enough, in that so it is perfectly balanced without confines to secular and non-secular labeling alike. A place where Christians and Atheists commingle in celebration of diversity and compassion. A place where all whom support and commit to the seven UU Principles can live, learn, and love without judgment or inequity.
Stirring the passion was music provided by “emma’s revolution,” a fun and modernly folksy duo of Sandy O. and Pat Humphries. Austin and I both especially loved their song, “Peace, Salaam, Shalom,” written in response to reactions to the attacks on 9/11.
If you live in the Dallas area and would like to attend First Unitarian, you can find information about their services and events at www.dallasuu.org. Be sure to take time to explore the campus and have coffee with the UUs attending there. They will be glad to welcome you!
From the First Unitarian website, “As the largest liberal religious congregation in Dallas and one of the largest Unitarian Universalist congregations in the country, our history lives on today. We remain a progressive oasis in Dallas; a harbor for lost and wandering people without a compass for their religious natures; a place to read, discuss and move against tyrannies of the mind, heart and body; a treasure of wisdom and strength for our children; a community within which to weather the difficult times and celebrate the joyous times of life; and a voice of reason and challenge in an increasingly conservative religious landscape.”
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.
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.