Peter Mayer

The Peach State

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UUCG Standing on the Side of Love, 2012.  Photo credit:
UUCG Standing on the Side of Love, 2012. Photo credit:

Standing on the Side of Love, Peter Mayer in concert, and the National Preach-In on Global Warming had the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and its minister Rev. Jan Taddeo, in a whirl this past Sunday.  Not to be weighed down by a busy schedule, the community affirmed Love with grace, enjoyed Peter Mayer with the strength of UU spirit, and was moved by Rev. Taddeo’s emotional plea for our Earth.

Standing on the Side of Love is “an interfaith public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. It is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and all are welcome to join” in this fight for social justice.  And join it has, as with many other congregations in the United States, the UUCG has joined in the “30 Days of Love” movement which ends its annual drive this Sunday, February 17th, 2013.

Rev. Taddeo focused her moving talk, “Living the Beauty Way,” around the need for Unitarians to focus their lives lessening our footprint on the earth, and in taking steps such as lowering the use of its resources by simple means like recycling and driving electric vehicles.  Of course, her concern was far deeper, bringing her emotions within reach as she discussed a documentary, “The Hungry Tide,” about a tropical island that is slowly disappearing due to Global Warming and in the process taking the home of its residents and the land from our earth.  Joining Rev. Taddeo, the congregation signed postcards to be mailed to the White House requesting that President Obama and the United States exert itself as the international leader in the war against Global Warming and in the support of peoples displaced by its destruction.

Peter Mayer, photo by Paul Dols
Peter Mayer, photo by Paul Dols

Lifting the spirits of everyone was the addition of one of our own, Unitarian folk singer Peter Mayer, to the weekly service.  Mayer sang three of his songs including “Blue Boat Home” and “Church of the Earth,” following the day’s theme on the wonders of our earth.  A bonus for me was meeting Mayer and sharing our pilgrimage with him, and then enjoying one of the CDs he gave me, “Heaven Below,” as we drove east through the Georgia rain.

Unique to the service was the format of the day’s events, a once monthly practice.  After attending the regular service, we then got our drinks and snacks and formed circles of six people where we joined in listening groups focused on the monthly theme “Evil.”  On the surface a strange topic, but we took turns discussing evil and how it has affected our lives. It proved to be a moving and bonding exercise for all in our circle. And while the adults were focused in our groups, Austin was with the middle-school kids discussing topics related to the congregation’s quest for becoming a Welcoming Congregation.

For information on attending the UUC of Gwinnett:

Standing on the Side of Love:

Interfaith Power & Light, A Religious Response to Global Warming:

Video trailer for “The Hungry Tide” documentary about the nation of Kiribati:

To see Peter Mayer’s concert schedule or purchase CDs, visit:

For information on the UUA and Welcoming Congregations, click on the chalice to the right or go to:

The Heart of Dixie

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Located in Alabama, near the home of the Civil Rights Institute, is the beautiful mountain crested sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, a church with a proud history of uncountable contributions to the promotion of racial equality in the South.  Nestled in the woods, it is surrounded by patios with full gardens and a scrolled gateway, welcoming even in the stark of winter.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

On my visit,  the Rev. Lone J. Broussard spoke about “Our Blue Boat Home.”  Although the song of the same name (by folk singer Peter Mayer) is familiar to most Unitarians, Rev. Broussard stressed the need for our faith to overcome our “compassion fatigue” as related to the ongoing issues of global warming, and to humankind’s limitless reaping of the earth’s bounty without regard to her future.  While requesting such a task, she also explained how the possibility of self-sufficiency has been achieved by many, including the Danish Isle of Samsø, a model for eco-friendly living as well as progressive example to us all.

Metaphorically speaking, she went on to describe the “elephant in the room” that sits and makes himself at home, eventually wandering off when ignored, well expressing our own convictions as they come and go with whatever happens to be the ‘popular’ cause of the day.  Yes we need improved gun regulations, and yes we need to be concerned with equal rights, and yes we need an end to war–but what are these issues without a home for humankind and the abundance of life that we share our earth with?

In ending, Rev. Broussard asked the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?”  (Of course, the answer is one bite at a time!)  However, I would love to now ask that we all invite Mr. and Ms. Elephant into our homes for tea, questioning them in detail, inquiring, drilling and finding our compassion once again within their stories.

To learn more about the UUC of Birmingham:

For information on the Isle of Samsø:

Peter Mayer’s website:

To hear Peter Mayer’s “Blue Boat Home”: