sanctuary

The Free State

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UUC of Frederick
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick

It was a mixed weekend of sunshine, rain and snow at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick.  The youth were running the show while winter was outside fighting its best to hold off the promise of spring.

Although I would have truly loved to have heard the sitting minister, Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg, speak, he had turned over the helm to the teenagers to prove their place within the congregation.  With the promise of an intriguing title, “Golf Balls to Water,” the youth easily delivered a presentation worthy of their teachers and mentors.

With a mixture of topics on prayer, meditations, and personal musings, the youth took turns talking about faith and about their personal paths to discovering their own truths and experiences with devotion, and with finding faith in life and in self.  Without a doubt, the truly enlightening stories and experiences spoken by these young adults reflected the powerful community and faith of the UUC of Frederick.  We can only hope, that as represented in these youth, the words of their entire generation are full of the hope, truth, and love so important within our faith.

UUC of Frederick is home to a beautifully designed campus full of light and vision, and is certified as a Green Sanctuary Congregation.  It was truly a beautiful weekend home in the country for us on our travels.

* Just in case you can’t see the captions for the two pictures above (run mouse over them or click for slide show), this little bird is nesting in the middle of the UUCF parking lot!

For information on attending the UUC of Frederick: http://frederickuu.org/home/index.php

Example of the Golf Ball Philosophy: http://www.pickchur.com/2011/03/golf-balls-in-the-jar-the-philosophy-professor/ 

To learn more about the Green Sanctuary Program: http://www.uua.org/environment/sanctuary/index.shtml

UUC Sarasota in photos

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I loved the structures and gardens so much I couldn’t help myself–nearly 100 pictures!  Possibly my withdrawals from what looked and felt like spring?

Here’s a quick sampling …

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.