This Sunday 

This Sunday: Native American Stories and Symbols (a Personal Theology) 

Unitarian Universalism draws from many sources, one of which bespeaks a Native American ethos: “Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions…celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” Native American spirituality is as diverse as its many tribes. There are common threads, however, woven throughout these spiritual perspectives: living in balance with nature and communicating beliefs, dreams, and reality using symbols. Penni Haskins will discuss how honoring Native American spirituality reflects a core UU principle — the respectful search for knowledge and personal meaning. Lay Leader – Mary Ann Borchert, Presenter – Penni Haskins, Music – Vera Alexander.

This Sunday: Who owns Hiroshima? 

This week marks the sixty-fourth anniversary of the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How the bombings are remembered both in this country and in Japan is ostensibly based on a factual understanding of the events — but also reflects present-day political and social considerations. Similarly, any discussion of “peace” as a Unitarian Universalist principle depends on subjective interpretation. What we think, feel, and believe today might not last as the world changes around us. Ross Coen will discuss the historiography of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, especially how they are viewed today by new generations of Americans and Japanese, to show that history is about the present as much as the past. Speaker, Ross Coen. Music, Susan Grace.

This Sunday: Replacing Judgment With Empathy 

Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. teaches the art of communication, speaking to the life forces within each of us.  Starting with ourselves we can learn to relate compassionately, creating inner peace and harmony in our families, our communities and the world.  This Sunday participants in the Nonviolent Communications Workshop will share the knowledge they gained in this study. Lay Leader, Suzanne Osborn. Presenters, Workshop Participants. Pianist, Yuri Bult-Ito.

This Sunday: Articulating Your UU Faith 

Okay, you’re a UU. “What do you believe?” How would you answer that question, especially if the person asking it is not familiar with Unitarian Universalism? Twenty UUFF members spent a day thinking and talking about the words we use and that are used by others when talking about UUism. We learned new things about the history and theology of our chosen faith. We ruminated. We role played. Clarity (at least a little) ensued. By the end of the day, we were each ready with our answers to the question: What do you say after you say, “I’m a Unitarian Universalist”? Some of participants in the workshop will share their answers and reflect on the journey they followed in arriving at a personal credo statement. Lay leader, Lisa Sporleder. Various Speakers. Pianist, Susan Johnson.

This Sunday: Subsisting sustainably – The ethics of being an Alaskan who loves fish 

Ethical Eating was selected at UUA Study/Action Issue for 2008-2012. However, when you look in the study guide at uua.org (www.uua.org/environment/eating), it says next to nothing about fishing. Rich Seifert has volunteered to rectify this oversight. The ethical and environmental issues surrounding fishing are global, but they touch us close to home here in Alaska. We will learn about some of the issues surrounding subsistence fishing in Alaska and examine our own spiritual and ethical responses. This is our third service in a series on ethical eating. Upcoming services include the spiritual discipline of berry picking (August) and a reflection on raising animals for food (September). We will end the series in September with an “ethical eating potluck” of locally grown/raised food.

This Sunday: Walking Meditation 

Walking meditation is a form of meditation in action. Most people find it easier to be keep their awareness focused while doing walking meditation than in sitting forms of practice. This service provides an opportunity to practice mindfulness while walking as we go out of doors and enjoy the use our labyrinth and tree-lined driveway in a contemplative walking meditation. Indoor or outdoor sitting meditation is an alternative for those not able to participate in the walking meditation practice. Lay leaders, Julia Stewart and Susan Kessler. Accompanist, Susan Grace.

This Sunday: Learning, Laughing, Loving GA! 

What happens when a splash of Fairbanksans enters a sea of Unitarians in an ocean of Mormons? Find out this Sunday when we hear reports from “GA” — the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations that just wrapped up at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. GA offers five days of music, worship, business, lectures, classes and workshops on a range of topics from soul work and social witness to fund raising and governance. Since no two people will have the same experience with so much to choose from, we’ve asked several participants to share what they learned and what they loved at GA 2009.  Lay leader, Phil Osborn. Various speakers. Pianist, Yuri Bult-Ito.

Gardening – Why bother? 

This Sunday: In a recent New York Times article, author and food activist Michael Pollan asks why we should bother trying to change our lifestyles when the immensity of the climate change problem dwarfs any possible personal response. Yet he argues that growing your own food — even just a little — is one of the most powerful things an individual can do to change the cheap-energy mind. For the second Sunday in our series on ethical eating, we’ve invited accomplished local gardener Dr. Walter Benesch to philosophize on why he gardens. Lay leader, Rich Seifert. Accompanist, Vera Alexander. Read More »

This Sunday: Summer Solstice Celebration with Whale Coast Friends 

Join us in celebrating midsummer’s day with songs, stories and readings dedicated to Sol (the sun). Summer solstice literally means the day the sun stands still. In the far north, it means more than that – an almost never-ending day when Earth itself seems to pause in its rotation to mark the culmination of the sun’s long slow ascent against the sky and take a deep breath before beginning its downward journey toward winter. This pagan-flavored service will help us appreciate the importance of this eternal cycle to Native American and other Earth-based spiritualities. Whale Coast guests and any UUFF members who wish to join them will canoe down the Chena to the service. Lay leader, David Welch.

More than the Sum of Our Wants 

In a radical little movie last summer, the robot WALL-E helps humanity come to its senses after generations of luxurious meaninglessness. Our journey, too, can include learning to become “more than the sum of our wants.” Guest ministers, Revs. Barbara Wells ten Hove and Jaco B. ten Hove are both “homebred” UUs, were ordained in the mid-1980s, married in 1990 and served separate congregations in the Seattle area. During that time, they made a few trips up to Fairbanks to preach and teach. Then they began a co-ministry in Maryland in 1998, but last summer they returned to the Seattle area, now co-ministering at Cedars UU Church, on Bainbridge Island, Wash., so we lured them back to Fairbanks for a visit. Read More »