July 3: Linda Van Voorhis. Title: Course in Miracles: Finding Peace.
Linda has been a member of UUCR since 1995, and a student of Course in Miracles for many years.
The Course in Miracles is one of many paths of Spirituality. For me it has offered a way to find more peace and a more positive outlook on life. While it tends to have a Christian vocabulary, I find that it truly supports many perspectives of religion. I find that all faiths tend to have certain basic truths that weave a pattern through them all.
July 10: Dr. Salahuddin Ahmed. Title: What is Islam? Ask a Muslim."My name is Salahuddin Ahmed, a retired Civil Engineer with a PhD in Engineering. I am a volunteer for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a grass-roots organization founded in 1968 to provide relief, education and outreach to the general population. For the last several years my focus has been to reach out to anyone who would listen, and to provide honest information about Islam."
Ever wonder what Islam is really all about? Have
questions you've been too embarrassed to ask or just never had the opportunity? Following a brief introduction about Islam, Dr. Ahmed will entertain questions from those in attendance.
July 17: Len Hayward, M.Div. Title: More Alike Than Different
Len Hayward, M.Div., was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has a Masters of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Mass., and is now pursuing ordination as a Unitarian Universalist minister. He is an initiated Druid in the Bardic grade of the “Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids,” and one of the founding members of the Inland Empire Druid seed group, “The Fellowship of Birch, Yew and Oak.” Len has a passion for teaching and loves to open minds and hearts to the natural world and to the delight of connecting with people from different spiritual paths.
Do you know what makes a Baptist a Baptist? The media loves to show the Bible thumping, hatred spewing, condemning bigots who are Baptists in name only. Actually, Baptists are more like UUs than they are different; some are very progressive. Let's compare reality with “what we know.”
July 24: Carol Hayward.* Title: Tree Wisdom.
What do you think of when you hear the term “druid?” A bunch of bearded old men in white robes at Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice? What about "bard?" Shakespeare is often referred to as “The Bard,” so how is that different (or is it?) than bards in Druidry? Druidry in its many forms goes back many centuries before Christianity, but there are almost no written records left of this predominantly oral tradition. We will take a look at modern neo-pagan Druidry and how it is lived out today in modern society.
July 31: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: The Home of Truth
Rev. Suji Fox was minister of the Home of Truth for four years and will be sharing with us the history and messages of the church:
How it came into being at the turn of the 19
Its spread throughout California and parts of other western states;
The metaphysical messages of its founders, (sisters) Annie and Harriet Rix;
Its worldwide appeal to other spiritual leaders;
Its participation in the peace movement during wartime; and
Its place in the community of Alameda, CA today.
Please join us!
June 5: Carol Hayward.* Title: Choices.
The upcoming presidential primary gives us the opportunity, and the privilege, of making choices about people we want in government. We make many other choices in our lives, both big and small. Whether it is the choice of what to wear, what choice of career or even what we choose to believe, the act of making a choice - and the ability to make choices - can be important to who we are.
June 12: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett.* Title: Polarized Politics: Where's the Common Ground?
How polarized ARE American politics? Silly question, right? Surely our present levels of mutual distrust and name-calling are unprecedented in American history. But they're not. We've seen worse - much worse. Despite our popular myths, no single narrative defines "America." Drawing on historians from David Hackett Fischer to Colin Woodard, I'll describe a nation cobbled together from a variety of local cultures with local agendas, local loyalties, local needs. Our internal struggles have varied from polite to genocidal. In 2016, our task as people of faith is not just to speak truth to power, but to hear the voices of those who feel powerless. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.
June 19: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: Thank You, Dad, For Being You.
On this Father’s Day, Suji will talk about fathers—personally--and about fathering in general.
Whether our experiences are with a birth father, a lifelong paternal supporter, or a totally absent dad, we all have thoughts and feelings about those relationships.
You’re invited to come and consider your own judgments
appreciations for that person (or those persons) in your life.
June 26: Avery Sheldon Burrows. Title: Healing Church.
Avery has been a member of UUCR since 2008. He has been leading metaphysical healings for 25 years using stones & stone designs. He is a Level 1 practitioner of Reiki healing, and he practices guided meditation. Avery was married for 25 years, and raised two children.
Using stones and pendulums, Avery will conduct a healing service for our church.
May 1: Steve Fuji & Multigenerational Service. Title: A Beltane/May Day Celebration.
Also known as May Day, Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1. It is the celebration of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora, and the God appears as the May King and Jack in the Green. The Maypole dance represents their unity: the pole itself is the symbol of the God, and the ribbons that encompass it symbolize the Goddess. The ribbons tied to the pole represent the seven colors of the rainbow. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.
Our Sunday service on May 1 will include a Beltane ritual and Maypole dance.
May 8: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett.* Title: Mother's Day: Lessons of Our Ancient Roots.
As an anthropologist, I am fascinated by the role of women in prehistory. The Ascent of Woman holds implications for what makes us human - and for our future. In the case of this congregation, how can we apply these lessons for the future?
May 15: Carol Hayward.* Title: "Between" - Waiting and Wondering, or Connecting?
The simple word "between" can hold so many meanings for us. We can be between jobs, or in a time between spring and summer, or it can refer to relationships such as the phrase "between friends." Places that are between, times of transition, can be sacred, liminal spaces, often to be marked with ceremonies or special rituals.
What do you do when you are in a between place?
May 22: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: Forgiving the Story of Adam and Eve: The Male and Female in Each of Us.
It’s probable that primitive men and women delineated their roles for the preservation of the species. Religious and cultural history, however, has been defining woman and man in ways that can—and do—limit, stereotype and penalize each.
Suji will talk about some of these interpretations of gender psyches and roles and how understanding the metaphysical essence of each can bring balance to every individual human being’s life.
May 29: Dr. Jane Guttman. Title: Kids in Jail: a Portrait of Life Without Mercy.
Dr. Jane Guttman is a correctional educator championing children in custody with a bold, compassionate spirit. Her work with jailed children has blazed a trail for best practices in education and social justice. Her belief in the merit and promise of all children is inspiring. Jane’s recently released book, Kids in Jail: A Portrait of Life Without Mercy, unveils the shattering narrative of youth incarceration, as well as the extraordinary hope that prevails,despite the despair of custody. An educator, poet, retired health professional, mother, and grandmother, Jane lives in the San Bernardino Mountains with her partner and cherished pets.
Jane will look at the complexity of jail for kids, the tragic aftermath, and how hastening reform can redirect our lost children and nurture our communities. She embraces the humanity within each child, engaging our hearts, minds, and spirits in hope of bringing them back to us. She will explore the concepts of
children are not adults
one is much more than the worst action experienced.
Welcoming rehabilitation as sacred steps, she advocates for discarding concepts of retribution, and working towards options that are safe, just, and merciful for all youth, even those who have committed serious crimes.
April 3: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: My Time In India
This service could also be entitled
My Timelessness in India,
as life in an ashram for 5 weeks was so vastly different from life just outside the ashram gates. I will describe those differences and tell why my experiences in India are a highlight of my life.
April 10: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett.* Title: When Karma Runs Over Dogma: Science & Mysticism as Subversive Activities
If we compare the scientific method (hypothesis, testing, theory) with mysticism (experience of altered consciousness) we will certainly find contrasts, but we will also find similarities. Indeed, there are historical parallels in how our society has treated these kinds of exploration. Your karma doesn't need to run over your dogma, but don't leave your dogma in your karma with the windows closed.
April 17: E. G. Acosta. Title: Independent Search for Truth. Author and speaker Elizabeth G. Acosta is a life-long student of world religions. Her long and ardent search for greater wisdom and higher truths led her on a journey to far-away lands and to fascinating encounters with spiritual leaders from many backgrounds. Her book, titled Ancient Wisdom Common Ground: An Interfaith View of the Spiritual Journey We Call Life, is one of the fruits of her long, spiritual search.
Most people inherit their religious, political, and other similar beliefs from their families and the cultures in which they are raised. Most Christians are Christians because they were raised Christian, most Buddhists are Buddhists because they were raised Buddhist, and so on. Author Elizabeth Acosta followed the beat of a different drum. She began questioning things from a very young age, and continued asking questions throughout her life. This led her on a fascinating, enlightening, and at times humorous journey, leading her to believe that God is one, we are one, and truth is one, and the ultimate lesson is love.
April 24: Carol Hayward.* Title: Children of Earth
This past week we celebrated Earth Day, and soon we will be celebrating Mother’s Day. What is it about our relationship with the Earth that brings such strong feelings of connection and "family?" How does our image of "family" affect our relationships with the Earth and each other?
March 6: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: What is a Church?
A look at devotion, community and service as a path to self-realization and happiness. Suji's years in various communities – as a practitioner and teacher of yoga, breath-work, and meditation; a public school educator; a full-time minister; a musician; and a political activist – have given her insight into major elements of "church," be it a temple, mosque, tent, choir, classroom or shared living space.
March 13: Tom Neilson. Title: Sensibility.
Tom Neilson, Ed.D., is a folk musician, draft dodger, storyteller, activist, educator, humorist, Humanist, and basketball coach. His award-winning songs of humor, compassion, and social commentary have been performed in 21 countries on 5 continents. Tom has been at the forefront helping communities organize against water privatization, mountain top removal, nuclear energy, and more. He uses music to address gender, race, class, sexuality, addiction, and current events.
Tom lives in Greenfield, MA with Partner, Tour Manager, Business Manager, Show Stealer, Driver and Technical consultant... Lynn.
Tom will consider the distinction between "sensibility" and "being sensible," and explore the concept of "sensibility," as it relates to choices, particularly its relationship to social change and other transitions in our lives.
March 20: The Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett.* Title: Outside the Box: How Paradigms Break and Reform.
Anybody remember the old TV series "The Twilight Zone?" Some unsuspecting person would be living her/his routine life. Then fate would hand out a short detour...into the Twilight Zone. Well, the Zone is always right around the corner. It can be a scary place. It can also be very beautiful. Let's explore!
March 27: Carol Hayward.* Title: New Life Arising.
Now that spring has officially arrived we see many images of new life - from Easter eggs, to an empty tomb, to a recognition of a renewal of nature like the recent flower bloom in Death Valley. What does new life mean to you?
February 7: Carol Hayward.* Title: A New Hope.
Second in a two-part series, loosely inspired by the new Star Wars movie (spoiler-free, however), and a look back at the original "Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope."
From the depth of winter's quiet and meditative silence, the promise of new life awakens. With that new life and growth, comes a new sense of hope for our future.
February 14: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett.* Title: Love is Work: Valentine's Day and the True Meaning of Commitment
The word "love" has many meanings. Today's media emphasize romantic love - and even then it is usually a shallow, even adolescent view of romance. But if we watch successful, mature couples, their love looks more and more like the other forms of love: friendship, family, community, even the universal love of all persons or all living things. The common theme is a practical understanding that love is hard work. Unlike infatuation, real love is an ongoing lesson in patience, loyalty, and humility. Beyond the hearts and flowers, that's the real meaning of Valentine's Day.
February 21: Dr. Justin Scott-Coe. Title: Riverside's Green Movement: An Update
Justin Scott-Coe, Public Affairs Director for the Monte Vista Water District, has over 11 years of experience in water resource management and public affairs program development. In 2009 he was appointed to the Riv. Board of Public Utilities and served as Board Chair in 2013-14. He also serves on the Riv. Green Accountability Performance Committee and the Wood Streets Green Team Board of Directors, and is past member and chair of the Riv. Neighborhood Partnership Board. Dr. Scott-Coe has a Ph.D. in English from Claremont Graduate University, and a Grade 3 Water Use Efficiency Practitioner Certificate from the American Water Works Association, California-Nevada Section.
The Unitarian Universalist's
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." As an expert in Riverside's water resource management, Justin will address current environmental initiatives and local events such as the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE conference at UC Riverside on March 21st, and the Riverside Green Festival and Summit at Riverside City College on April 23rd.
February 28: Carol Hayward.* Title: Herstory.
In 1977, the Women and Religion Resolution was passed unanimously at the UUA's General Assembly. The dual focus of the resolution was to urge the UUA to look at the religious roots of sexism, and to encourage all Unitarian Universalists to examine the extent to which religious beliefs influence sex-role stereotypes in interpersonal behavior within families and friendships and in the workplace.
March is Women's History Month, and many of the women active in the suffragist movement were Unitarian Universalists. Let's take a look together at women's 'herstory' through the ages.
January 3: Steve Fuji presents a Multigenerational Service. Title: Stone Soup
In this inspiring
adaptation of Jon Muth’s
three strangers, hungry and tired, pass through a war-torn village and learn about the strength people possess when they work together. Embittered and suspicious from the war, the people hide their food and close their windows until a clever stranger suggest making a soup from stones. Intrigued, everyone brings what they have until-- together, they have made a feast fit for a king!
January 10: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Title: Our Church School: Priority for 2016!
Our church school – why is it such a priority for 2016? We have practical as well as spiritual reasons. Church growth is a major factor. Study after study shows that young families are looking for an alternative. Children are asking questions. Children are hearing strange and often scary things. The choice is not between religious education and no religious education. It’s like sex ed: the choice is between good religious education and what they’ll hear on the playground. I want to see the church I remember as a kid: big, strong, active, a force to be reckoned with. Let’s make it happen. By the way, I also have a few ideas about ADULT classes as well!
January 17: Lee Greer* & Aric Isom.* Title: Martin Luther King's Birthday: A Day of Remembrance and Service.
Martin Luther King's birthday is a day to remember the long struggle to rise above slavery and racial oppression, through Jim Crow laws, to the Civil Rights movements. Dr. King's legacy of service points to the struggles for today: racial/ gender justice, the "Black Lives Matter" movement, reformation of the justice system, environmental justice, peace, economic security, and service to our own congregation
January 24: Niala Terrell-Mason. Title: Making a Space for Ourselves in Religion.
Niala Terrell-Mason, a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont with a degree in sociology (emphasis in women's studies), is currently a student at the Claremont School of Theology working on a Masters of Divinity in Interfaith Chaplaincy. She is a Christian-leaning agnostic UU who is very interested in interfaith/interreligious, womanist/feminist, anti-racist, and queer inclusive faith that seeks to reclaim religion from highjackers who use it to hurt, dehumanize, and exclude people.
Many of us found Unitarian Universalism because we left other religions and/or denominations that left us out, didn't speak to or for us, or actively excluded us. UUism is often a refuge and a safe haven for those who have not given up on faith entirely. But what if we demanded our inclusion? Our right to be part of the narrative? The story that would seek to erase you *needs* your presence, for it's own sake--and yours.
January 31: Carol Hayward.* Title: Awakening.
First in a two-part series, loosely inspired by the new Star Wars movie (spoiler-free, however).
We are at the time, half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, when we celebrate Imboc, Candlemas, St. Brigid's day and even Groundhog Day as the beginning of Spring. What do we look forward to awakening in our lives?
December 6: Carol Hayward.* Title: What Are We Waiting For?
The mad holiday rush is on, and we often hear "How many shopping days 'til Xmas?"
Are we spending our lives waiting - for the next sale, the next better job, or for the
to show up? Rather than living life
, why not live every moment to the fullest?
December 13: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Title: Shall We Blame the Muslims? Or Look at Real Issues?
Scapegoating is as old as America, as old as humankind. Native American, Black, Irish, Italian, Latino - don't be offended if I left you off the list. I could go on for pages! We keep making the same movie with different characters. Instead, let's look at what's really going on in the world in 2015. It's not all bad news, friends. Let's look at the big picture.
December 20: Carol Hayward.* Title: Darkness and Light
To quote the words of a favorite song:
"Light is returning, even though this is the darkest hour, no one can hold back the dawn. Let's keep it burning, let's keep the light of hope alive. Make safe our journey through the storm."
Let's take another look at Darkness and Light as we reach the point of the longest night of the year at Winter Solstice.
December 24: Rev. Suji Fox.* Christmas Eve Candlelight Service & Christmas Carols.
December 27: Ellen Stapenhorst. Title: Out of Darkness.
Colorado-based singer-songwriter Ellen Stapenhorst has traveled around the country and beyond for over four decades with her music and programs on personal, spiritual and social awareness. Her songs reflect her lifelong interests in the environment, positive change, and peace. She worked for years in the field of conflict resolution and stress management, based on the mind/body art of aikido (“the way of harmony”). Now she loves sharing her music and stories, and helping create thoughtful, healing and joyful gatherings. A native of Southern California, Ellen started her musical career in the LA coffee houses of the Sixties and has shared the stage with many artists including John Denver, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Buffy Ste. Marie, Shawn Colvin, and her brother Steve Stapenhorst. She is currently working on her fifth album of original music. www.EllenStapenhorst.net
As the days begin to get longer, it’s a good time to reflect on where we’ve been and what we would like to bring to the new year. Singer/songwriter Ellen Stapenhorst will offer songs and stories from her journey, and some thoughts about choices we can make as we turn the pages on the year and bring the gifts out of the darkness.
November 1: Samantha Lynne Gupta, M.Div. Title: A Letter to My Ancestors: Stories from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Samantha Lynne Gupta holds a Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology and is currently a doctoral student in Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology and Ecological Psychology. Her previous work included directing a youth-organizing non-profit in Riverside and South India called “Child Leader Project,” directing the community-based research office at UC Riverside, and designing and co-facilitating a state-wide “spiritual activist” curriculum for UU young adults with UU Justice Ministries. She currently serves as an interfaith chaplain at Homeboy Industries in Downtown Los Angeles and is dedicated to the work of caring and regenerative activism for ecological and social justice—particularly for racial justice. Samantha spent her childhood and teenage years as a member of this church, and continues to attend the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles as a member with her husband, Vijay.
What are the myths that keep us hurting? Samantha Lynne Gupta will share stories from her recent visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of a reconciliation delegation for the 70th commemorations recognizing the use
of atomic weapons in Japan. She will share her experience at the ceremonies, in the homes of survivors and in the halls of weapons museums—reflecting on the relevance of survivor stories for our present-day work of healing and justice.
In recognition of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), an altar will be made at the front of the church. You are welcome to bring images or items of those in your life or the life of your local or global community who have died. These images will be honored during the service.
November 8: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: There Must Be More to Life Than Having Everything.
As we enter the season of Thankfulness, we start to go within.
Leaves fall, mornings chill, days shorten.
What do we find as we turn from the outer to the inner?
Born on Thanksgiving, our speaker Suji Fox has a lot to say about counting blessings.
November 15: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Title: Jesus Christ: Taking a New Look.
In our various Unitarian and Universalist traditions, we too often define ourselves as vaguely “Not-Christian.” Yes, I understand the pressure to explain our identity in simple terms to outsiders. Yes, I understand the strength of old “religious allergies.” But is this fair – or useful? We go to great lengths to glimpse the truth in various faiths. Why not in the faith in which our UU traditions are ultimately rooted? With open minds and open hearts, let us take another look. There is hidden treasure here.
November 22: Steve Fuji presents a Multigenerational Service. Title: Charlie Brown and the First Thanksgiving.
Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and friends as they recall the story of the
first Thanksgiving and learn the true meaning of the
holiday and the importance of friendship, cooperation, respect, and
November 29: Carol Hayward.* Title: Attitude OR Gratitude?
You may have heard of the expression about having an "attitude of gratitude," but what does that really mean in a world where sometimes it is hard to find things to be thankful for?
October 4: Carol Hayward,* M.A., M.Div. Title: Seeking Balance.
We are just past the Autumn Equinox, the time when day and night are equal. It is a balance point, if you will, of the seasons. How many of us struggle with seeking balance in our lives? Let's take some time together to look at ways of balancing our lives, from many diverse sources of wisdom.
October 11: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Title: LGBT Rights: What's the Future?
Our country has made great strides regarding LGBT concerns in the past few years, both legally and socially. However, overconfidence can lead to complacency, and there is much yet to do. This issue will be examined from both an historical perspective as well as current need and goals.
October 18: Dr. Lee Greer & Steve Lawless.* Lee is a scientist, professor, practicer of meditation, and lay leader from UUCR. Steve is a pianist, singer, & composer extraordinaire. Title: Eco-Zen meditations: A Scientific and Buddhist Perspective on Earth's Life in Planetary Ecological Crisis.
A biological scientist and a singer-songwriter team up to explore Earth's dilemma in the ecological crisis when a 6th mass extinction is taking place and our planet's life support systems and even some eco-systems are starting to collapse under human exploitation, from the perspective of the most perceptive and scientific of ancient spiritualities. How can we live in hope and strive in love for all life?
October 25: Ruth Barrett. Title: Preparing For the Sacred Dark Season.
Ruth Barrett is a seasoned ritualist, ordained Dianic high Priestess, singer, and author of Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries: Intuitive Ritual Creation. She has been teaching ritual arts and facilitating female rites of passage since 1980. Ruth is also a singer and folk musician whose recordings, beginning in 1980, have been among the pioneering musical works in the Goddess Spirituality Movement. She has been a contributing writer for several books, most recently Elders and Visionaries: Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality. Ruth is co-founder of Temple of Diana, Inc., and teaches for Cherry Hill Seminary.
is the Celtic holy day of Samhain (“summer’s end”), also known as Hallomas, Halloween, or All Hallows Eve. Traditionally, this holiday ended the Celtic agricultural year, and folk beliefs honoring one’s beloved dead, ancestors, and spirits gradually became adopted into the Trick or Treat secular holiday we know today as Halloween. The holiday is a wonderful opportunity to review the past year, divine for the future, and to compost what no longer serves your life. Come and prepare to close the door of the Old Year.
September 6: Marilyn Gottschall, PhD. Title: Choosing Hope in Uncertain Times.
Dr. Gottschall received a doctorate in Social Ethics from USC, School of Religion. She is Professor Emeritus from Whittier College, Dept. of Religious Studies, and while at Whittier she was Chair of Religious Studies and Coordinator of Global Studies. Currently, she is a member of the Citizen's Climate Lobby.
Hope is a spiritual choice, particularly when ecological havoc suggests that hopelessness is a rational option. Today we will explore the ways in which mature hope, chosen in the face of uncertainty and in the deep well of love, propels and sustains us to act on behalf of creation… against the odds.
September 13: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Title: Shamanism - Just for Native Americans?
“Shamanism – Just for Native Americans?”
The easy answer:
“No, shamanism is not confined to Native Americans. The very word ‘shaman’ is from the eastern hemisphere. Shamanism exists on every continent except Antarctica.” But is this answer sufficient? The harder answer is another question: “How can a European-American like me do shamanism without either stealing from native peoples or indulging in poor scholarship regarding shamanism in Europe?” For THIS question, the answers are neither simple nor easy.
September 20: Karolyn Verville-Johnson, PhD., Sunshine Haven Rescue. Title: Helping Your Local Wildlife Rehabber.
Karolyn Verville is a Humane Officer and Wildlife Rehabilitator at Sunshine Haven Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation. Although she lives in Riverside, she is studying Veterinary Forensics at the University of Florida. She is the Senior Environmental and Safety Scientist at Bausman & Co. Also - she is the Tenor Saxophonist with the Saxuet Jazz group.
will speak to us about living
in an urban environment
with the wildlife around us, and the role of your local Wildlife Rehabber.
September 27: Bridget Doerr, Yevin Cho, and Eslam Tarboush, members of the group "Liberty in North Korea." Title: Life Inside of North Korea.
"Each of us came by this issue very differently, but we each immediately felt a connection, and a call to action. Eslam is from Egypt and really felt a draw to the issue because of his own experience with a dictator. Yevin is Korean American, and has been aware of the things going on in North Korea since childhood. I [Bridget] have always been drawn to world issues, and when I found out about North Korea I was shocked that this issue was not being talked about."
This presentation will focus on the people living inside North Korea, and those who have escaped. There are changes happening in North Korea today that are not only being initiated by the people, but are being propelled by North Korean refugees who have been resettled in South Korea and the United States. Learn about the hermit kingdom from a perspective not often told, and learn what you can do to help the people of North Korea accelerate change.
August 2: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon Title: The Wonder of Science. This is the third in a series of three services on the theme: "We Are All in a State of Becoming." Or, as Joan's mother used to say: "We ain't done yet." These will focus on our First Source.
Have you ever wondered why some people go on “silent retreats”? It is because silence comes with its own gifts that can only be discovered when one is quiet long enough to “hear” them. This Sunday, let us devote our regular Sunday Service to a quiet, meditative time… soft, healing, music, readings and poetry. Let us be renewed and refreshed as we discuss the Wonder of Silence, and how it can bring healing and change into our lives.
August 9: Carol Hayward,* M.Div. Title: What is Your Harvest?
Last weekend many celebrated Lughnasadh, a traditional Celtic celebration of the first wheat harvest. In modern Southern California, it seems strange to be celebrating harvest when the temperatures are still hovering in the 90s. We can, however, take some time, look a bit deeper, and see what harvest our lives can yield.
August 16: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Title: The Zen of Hoping: Realism and Optimism in Balance.
Thich Nhat Hanh has described Zen simply as watering the good seeds, not watering the bad seeds. As I look at our changing world, I consider an informed optimism to be a "good seed," while despair is certainly a "bad seed." But the discipline of realistic hope is a constant balancing act!
August 23: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: The Heart of God.
By whatever name one chooses to attribute to “God-Goddess” (Love, Being-ness, Self, Infinite Intelligence, etc.), how can we find and live life from that essence? Together, let’s experience the quiet, yet vibrant, Self within as we allow the ego to hush its judgments, comparisons and competitions.
August 30: Steve Fuji, UUCR's Director of Religions Education. Title: The Choice to Save the World.
This is a futuristic fable about how the children of the 21st century save the earth, starring children and adults of our congregation, directed by Steve Fuji.
July 5: Carol Hayward,* M.Div. Title: Independence, Interdependence, Freedom, and Peace.
As we celebrate the 4
of July weekend, there is always much talk about Independence and Freedom. But what about Interdependence? And with all the violence and trouble in the world, how do we seek Peace? Please join us as we take a look at these ideas through a Druid's eyes.
July 12: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Sermon Title: Same Sex Marriage: How Progress Happens!
Things can change very quickly. Same-sex marriage is one example of this. The speed of this shift has been breathtaking. It is even more amazing in the context of longer LGBT history. Why did this change happen? And why not with other situations? Can we apply lessons from LGBT history to other struggles? And if not, why not?
July 19: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon Title: We Are All Masters in the Making.
This is the first in a series of three services on the theme: "We Are All in a State of Becoming." Or, as Joan's mother used to say: "We ain't done yet." These three sermons will focus on our First Source.
Everybody is good at something. It isn't always the thing which we do for a living... it isn't always something that others find of value... it may even be something we do that we never tell anyone about, because, if we did, we know others would not approve. But we all have that "thing" we do that we practice over and over again, in our own way, striving for perfection.
Antonio Gramsci believed that
an intellectual... even if by one's social location and education one was not recognized as such. I think we are all on our own Path to Mastery. Join us this Sunday as we celebrate that!
July 26: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon Title: Zen and the Art of Practical Compassion.
This is the second in a series of three services on the theme: "We Are All in a State of Becoming."Or, as Joan's mother used to say: "We ain't done yet." These will focus on our First Source.
You're driving down a crowded freeway, it's hot outside, and you're late. Then, to top everything off, someone cuts you off! The nerve! Suddenly you are flooded with adrenaline, and you immediately start thinking of ways to "get back at them."
is valid, and the behavior may "feel good" at the time, is it really healthy for you or for the world around you? Does it make you a better person? Does it build a more peaceful world?
Please join us as we explore "the ways and the whys" of Practical Compassion,
a Zen perspective as well as from other traditions.
June 7: Lee Greer.* Title: What Can "God" Mean Today for Unitarian Universalists?
June 14: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Title: Game of Thrones: What to do When Winter is Coming.
Of course, winter is always coming, right? In the TV series “Game of Thrones,” that is the inherited wisdom of the main family, who live in the bleak northern stronghold of Winterfell. But this awareness, instead of driving them to despair, gives them deep reserves of strength, honesty, even compassion. Calling upon real history and prehistory, Dr. Boblett will present strategies for looking at life realistically but also productively. Winter is certainly coming. Take up skiing!
June 21: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon: Beyond "God the Father."
2000 years, the archetype of the Father God as the single, ultimate, dominant creator and
of the universe has been the predominant image of "fatherhood" in Western Culture. However, the Post-Modern and Feminist movements have been challenging that image as being ultimately destructive as we move into the 21st century. Please join us as we look at some new positive
images of fatherhood from the past,
reemerging in popular
uraging us to love and protect Mother Earth rather than to dominate Her for our own personal use and abuse.
June 28: Rev. Suji Fox.* Title: What Does it Mean to be Free?
There's a lot of talk in the political realm today about "freedom." It seems it is often used as a euphemism for "entitlement." In keeping with our upcoming Independence Day, I'll explore the concept of "freedom" as applied to: the spiritual Self, all human beings, and a person living in the USA.
May 3: Bonnie McFarland (Lay UUCR Worship Leader): Title: The Merry Month of May: From Sacred to Profane.
May 10: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Mother's Day: Women as Symbols, Women as People.
Last month I spoke about the middle way between naive acceptance of myth and automatic denial of its relevance. Now, on Mother’s Day, I will tackle one of the most fiercely debated topics in the anthropology of religion: the role of women in religion, both as symbols and as living people, starting in the Paleolithic. On the one hand, I reject the notions of a primal matriarchy or a Great Mother Goddess in the Ice Age. On the other hand, I would be very wary of discounting entirely the power of woman in prehistory. In the world of dreams and visions, in the world of living action, the power of women and womanhood has shown in unexpected ways. Hint: Homo Sapiens depend a lot on the seasons!
May 17: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon: Everybody Is A Star!
"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players...." So said William Shakespeare in his play As You Like It. We are all on stage, and we all have our parts to play. For Universalist Unitarians, the play that we are in is called "Building a Fair and Peaceful World." That is how we like it.
This Sunday, we will be introducing some new characters, and we are going to ask them to come forward and take a bow. Please join us as we Welcome our Newest Members to the Universalist Unitarianian Church of Riverside!
May 24: Lifespan Learning (Steve Fuji, Director of Religions Education, & children): A Warm Fuzzy Flower Communion.
n 1923, the Rev. Norbert F. Capek, founder of the modern Unitarian movement in Czechoslovakia, began what has become the Unitarian Universalist Flower Communion Service. Today it is perhaps the most widely celebrated ritual in Unitarian Universalist congregations.
very spring we devote a Sunday to this festive participatory service, which celebrates both the earth's beauty and humanity's oneness. Through the exchange of flowers, we show our willingness to walk together in our search for truth, disregarding all that might divide us. Each person takes home a flower brought by another – thus symbolizing our shared celebration in community.
May 31: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon: The Ever-Blossoming Now.
The Present grows from the seeds of the Past. The Future is the Harvest. What lies between is the Ever-Blossoming Now. Bil Keane, the creator of the "Family Circle" comic strip once said, "
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.
" The present is the place where we have agency. The past is unchangeable, and, while we can try to prepare for the future, the future is guaranteed to no one. Yet, the Past carries valuable lessons that can be used as tools in the Present. This Sunday we will talk about how the Past informs the Present to help us to build the Future that we desire.
April 5: Lee Greer, Scientist, professor, practicer of meditation, lay leader from UUCR. Title: Post-Easter - Giving Jesus an Honorable Burial, at Last, With the Rest of the Human Family.
This is a Unitarian Universalist meditative response, applying the wonders of science, reason, and the sweep of history, to the Christian Easter season.
April 12: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Sermon: The Deep Roots of Easter: What Can We Apply to Our Lives?
There are really two forms of fundamentalism. We are familiar with one: the idea that religions do not evolve, do not branch off from each other, do not draw sustenance from strange and wonderful roots. All religions have this temptation, Western and Eastern. But there is another fundamentalism, what I will call the Fundamentalism of Denial. Here, all religions are false because all religions are based in stories that can be picked apart, whether the Bible, the Vedas, the Qur'an, or the Sutras. But there is also a Middle Way, which I will try to trace using the stories of Passover and Easter. How can we apply this Middle Way to life? Come and find out, friends.
April 19: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon: Heal the Earth, Heal Yourself.
In honor of Earth Day, this Sunday we will be looking at Poetry, Song, and Ritual from the Druid Tradition. Joan DeArtemis will be leading the service. She will be joined by Carol & Len Hayward of the Fellowship of Birch, Yew, and Oak, a seed group of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD). Please join us!
April 26: Penny Newman. Topic: The Environment - A Matter of Social Justice.
In the 1970s Penny was a special education teacher and mother of two. But her life took a dramatic change in 1979 when a series of heavy rains caused the Stringfellow Acid Pits to overflow into the back yards and school playgrounds of Glen Avon where she lived. This became California's worst toxic waste site. Today she is the executive director and founder of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Ms. Newman has received numerous awards as an environmental activist, and she was nominated as CA Senate’s 2005 "Woman of the Year." She has appeared on numerous television shows including the Oprah Winfrey show, and she was the subject of an HBO documentary, "Toxic Time Bomb." This 25-year battle of a small town against the pollution from the Stringfellow site is recounted in her book, Remembering Stringfellow.
I will focus on the human toll of environmental degradation from climate change to uncontrolled growth – it’s not only stewardship of the natural environment, it's our very survival.
MARCH 2015 March 1: Bonnie McFarland (lay UUCR worship leader). Title: ... And So Life Unfolds.
When a group of people, sharing a common core set of beliefs, come together with loving hearts to support each other on their search for meaning, things can still go wrong. Being human, we have an amazing ability to create stresses & strains in our relationships under the best of circumstances. This might be what really differentiates us from our kindred animal brethren. At UUCR we have seen our share of trials & tribulations over the last few years, and the results of the Survey Monkey we took last December show that we are recovering, but we have some work yet to do. And so life unfolds.
March 8: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Sermon: Homo Sapiens: A Tough Past, a Bright Future?
People who fancy themselves as deep ecological thinkers often dismiss our species as a “flash in the pan,” For such (mostly amateur) nay-sayers, we are a talented but deeply flawed animal, creative but even more destructive, causing a planetary melt-down that will take us down with many other species. Yet I have never heard a trained anthropologist come to this conclusion without serious qualifications. Perhaps this is because actual working anthropologists know our potential too well to be entirely pessimistic. In this talk, I will engage in some futurism of my own, making a few predictions from the perspective of a man who works from the feet up on an animal capable of wonderful adaptations. Let’s worry about our mistakes – but let’s also dream!
March 15: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon: Ain't I a Woman?
“You can’t do that! You’re a girl!!!” These are, perhaps, the seven most damaging words ever spoken. How many great scientists, political leaders, and social innovators were never able to blossom to their full potential simply because, as girls, they were told “girls can’t”. This Sunday, for Women’s History Month, we will be looking at women who said “Yes I can.”
March 22: Aric J. Isom, Sr., lay leader from UUCR. This Sunday Aric will share a story that he wrote for his eight grandchildren.
A member of UUCR for over ten years, Aric is the Founder and President of a non-profit, peace, and community building organization known as Friends Across The Line, or “Fat L.” Aric holds a degree in Business Communications, and currently acts as a local Area Governor for Toastmasters International. Aric and his life mate Diane first came to UUCR to listen to a talk on torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib; he jokes that he thought it was a “how-to” class.
Title: The Giant Crack in the World.
We all have our likes and dislikes, things that make us happy or sad. We're all entitled to our own opinions, but does that make us more right than someone with different likes? Why do we fight over opinions? Can we ever coexist with a person unlike ourselves? Can we ever share our differences? This week we will share a story for all ages about conflict and differences handed down from an ancient people, as told by our own Aric J. Isom Sr.
March 29: Bonnie McFarland (lay UUCR worship leader). Title: Palm Sunday - Is it Relevant for UUs?
What is the meaning of Palm Sunday for a Unitarian Universalist? Palm Sunday itself is essentially a starting point for things to come for Christians. But we are a diverse community, looking for meaning that we can share. Palm Sunday, it turns out, is a good starting point to look ourselves, our relationships, and our community.
February 1: Waudier E. Rucker-Hughes. Presentation Title: Police Abuse of Force, National and Local - Seeking Justice.
Waudier is the Riverside NAACP President & long-time civil rights activist. Michael Dunn is Co-Chair of Riverside Police Accountability Board and has many years of peace and social justice activities. He is Professor Emeritus in Biochemistry, UCR.
February 8: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, M. Div., D.Min.* Sermon: Gay Rights: A Spiritual Perspective.
At its beginning, the gay rights movement placed a strong emphasis on spirituality. Today the writings of Edward Carpenter and Harry Hay are almost forgotten. But there is still a strong undercurrent of interest in the role of LGBT people in religion - and the role of religion in the lives of LGBT people. Dr Boblett brings an anthropological perspective to this discussion, from the living "Two-Spirit" practices of Native North American peoples to the often forgotten memories of similar traditions in surprising places.
February 15: Joan DeArtemis, M. Div.* Sermon: Black History Month: Why It Matters to Everyone.
Black History Month was officially proclaimed in the United States in 1976, when Pres. Gerald Ford said we would “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." However, not everyone has been a supporter. Morgan Freeman said, “I don't want a Black history month. Black history is American history." Mr. Freeman is almost right. Black History is not just American History; Black History is World History. Please join us as we discuss some amazing people, and how their thoughts and deeds have helped to influence and inform Unitarian Universalism.
February 22: Matt Vasko. Sermon: Celebrating the Search for Truth and Meaning.
Matt is a 10 year member and lay leader at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena. He is active in their Social Justice programs, and currently organizing their Big Neighborhood Saturday, an annual event that serves to beautify and revitalize area public schools. He works as a freelance writer and social media marketing manager.
Our fourth UU Principle calls us to “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”
At times liberating, at times daunting, the search challenges us to take a personal faith journey to new levels of understanding.
Matt will share some details of his faith journey and reveal why the search for truth and meaning can be a struggle, but one worth celebrating.
January 4, 2015: Worship Committee: "What is Your Resolution"
The Worship Committee, along with some members of our congregation, will explore our annual resolutions and why we set them.
January 11: Dr. Michael Boblett, M.Div, D.Min.* Sermon: The Ghosts of History: How to Break Free.
In psychotherapy we often dig through personal traumas or bad family dynamics, but only occasionally do we look at the even deeper scars left by earlier history. So most of us are still guided by ways of thinking painfully instilled in our ancestors centuries or millennia ago.
January 18: Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.* Sermon: From Selma to Montgomery to Birmingham.
In 1965, when African American civil rights protesters tried to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to petition for voting rights, police used clubs and tear gas to stop them. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King sent out a call to other relitious leaders for support. Amongst all of the other supporters were roughly 100 Unitarian Universalist ministers and approximately 100 UU lay leaders as well as about 350 clergy and lay leaders from other denominations. The events that followed ended in tragedy.
This Sunday we will talk about the movie Selma, and how that story fits into our own Unitarian Universalist history.
January 25: Linda Van Voorhis [lay UUCR worship leader]: Course in Miracles.
The Course in Miracles is one of many paths of Spirituality. For me it has offered a way to find more peace and a more positive outlook on life. While it tends to have a Christian vocabulary, I find that it truly supports many perspectives of religion. I find that all faiths tend to have certain basic truths that weave a pattern through them all.
August 24, 2014: Jennifer Waters. Sermon: May the Odds be Always in Your Favor.
Jennifer is a lay leader at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena.
August 31: Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.* Sermon: Relax, Nothing is Under Control.
Part 1 of 3-part series on detachment, serenity and change.
Change is stressful. Change is scary. Change can be downright terrifying…. Even when it is change for the better. It takes a lot of courage to be willing to accept a change. It takes even more courage to make one.
September 7: Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.* Sermon: Courage to Change.
Part 2 of 3-part series.
In keeping with last week’s theme, we will be, again, looking to Zen, 12 Step, Pop Culture, the Tarot for lessons regarding Change.
September 14: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Sermon: The Way of the Ancesters.
This sermon is the product of a lifetime of study. In it, I try to address questions that have permeated my work as a Parish Minister and my work in Holistic Health. Body, mind, and spirit – this is the slogan of many healers. But how many of us truly integrate these things? My approach is anthropological: I look at the deep roots of the human animal, our story as a species. I ask: ‘How can we act naturally in this modern world?’ The answers are not easy, but they are fun!
September 21: Pat Cawunder & Lee Greer, lay leaders from our congregation. Both are experienced in meditation. Pat has taught meditation and Tai Chi for years. Sermon: Meditation.
Meditation is a powerful tool for improving brain functioning and increasing happiness.
Church members Pat Cawunder and Lee Greer will explore this practice from ancient wisdom traditions and summarize recent scientific research.
Our annual water communion will also take place.
September 28: Denise Beauchamp is a lay leader at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena. Sermon: Becoming a New Mom at age 50
October 5: Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.* Sermon:... and the Wisdom to Know the Difference.
October 12: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Sermon: Global Warming; Advice From Our Ancestors.
art 3 of her 3-part series building upon the Serenity Prayer, Joan will explore ethics. How does one know when to act and when to be still? How does one know when to speak up, and when to keep silent? There are many things which we are powerless to change, but there are also many things that we can. The next question is, if we
As I watch the mountains of my childhood lose their greenery, I try to take a long view. I try to remember the many changes Homo Sapiens have seen in our brief time on this planet. Ice Ages have come and gone. Shorelines have risen and fallen by hundreds of feet. Ecosystems have shifted dramatically south and north. Some of the changes we face are without precedent. Many are not. We are a resilient species. But our civilizations are fragile. Every one of us descends from people who have seen their world collapse – but started again. On this occasion, I want to meditate a little on human resiliency and what it takes. Oddly enough, I am guardedly optimistic about this culture’s chances. But survival will require a lot of evolving – both as a society and as persons. Let’s talk about that.
October 19: Chris Arnold is a lay leader at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena. Sermon: Where is Now and How do I Get There?
Chris has been a filmmaker all of his professional life. His most recent documentary film TRANS, a feature documentary about the Transgender Community, has been shown in over 52 film festivals world wide and has won more than a dozen Best Documentary and Special Media awards.
October 26: Vonya Quarles, J.D., Criminal Law Attorney; Executive Director of Starting Over (whose mission is to assist low income men, women, and children in need of housing by providing emergency and transitional housing and reentry services); Chair, Riverside All of Us or None (meets in this church, 6 pm, 2nd Friday of the month). Sermon: And How Are the Children?
Vonya brings a strong point of view based on her life experiences – that of overcoming great obstacles, of transformation and growth.
She will be speaking about the effects of incarceration on the families left behind, and on Proposition 47, why it is a good law and should be passed.
As a formerly incarcerated woman, and the daughter of a formerly incarcerated woman, Vonya brings a keen insight into redemption and rehabilitation, and shares firsthand what it is like to be the child of a person convicted of a crime in our society.
November 2: Dia de los Muertos service.
This service, led by our Worship Committee, weaves together the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration with our own UU traditions of honoring and remembering those who have passed before us.
November 9: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett.* Sermon: Roots and Reasons: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the True Meaning of Autumn.
We are all survivors. We are all the descendants of survivors. But how do we celebrate this awareness? How do you share this awareness with others? Festivals like Halloween and Thanksgiving have been commercialized. But let us look at their roots and reasons. And then let us celebrate these festivals in ways that pass on their deeper lessons. In other words, let us create memories that will echo in future generations.
November 16: Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.* Sermon: Blessed Be Our Harvest.
As Unitarian Universalists, we have Seven Principles we use to help guide us in our worship and our lives. Our tradition comes from Six Sources, the last of which is “Spiritual teaching
s of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” This week we will look at the “spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions” to see what they have to teach us about abundance, and why it is important to ensure that this abundance is available to everyone.
November 23: Dave Mowry, Curt Keedy, & Linda VanVoorhis, with the musical assistance of Steve Lawless and Don Cruz. This is a lay led service by some of our very talented folks. Title: Being Fair With the Methodists??
With the help of our congregation, we will be attempting to answer the strange question (posed in the sermon title), as we peel back the layers of the mystery surrounding the story. Think of it as Sunday Morning Dinner Theater without the dinner.
November 30: Worship Committee. Topic: Finding Our Way Through the Holidaze
With Thanksgiving behind us, we officially enter the Holiday Season with the celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years. Some of us look forward to this with anticipation, eager to share special traditions with our loved ones and friends. To others this is a time that brings painful memories of loss, hardship, abuse, hunger, and sadness. Whatever feelings this season brings to mind, we are reminded of the holidays wherever we go. We will be bombarded by the music, the crowds, the decorations, the sales, the crowds, the smells, the requests for giving, the movies, and, of course, the crowds. What do the holidays mean to you? Whether you face this season with dread or delight, we’ll explore how to find peace and new meaning this time of year.
December 7: Lee Greer* - Trajectory of Peace
December 14: Rev. Dr. Michael Boblett, MA, M.Div, D.Min.* Sermon: True When Freedom: From Slave to Servant.
I have often described my office as the Michael Boblett Wild Human Rehabilitation Center, where I take abused and cage-crazy humans, the products of millennia of attempts at domestication, and prepare them to return to the wild. But while we are not domesticated animals, we are certainly social creatures. What does it mean when we apply our newfound freedom to helping others? What is the difference between slavery and service? Hint: There's a difference between being a "rebel without a cause," and being a true revolutionary.
December 21: Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.* Sermon: Winter Solstice.
December 24: Joan DeArtemis, M.Div.* Christmas Eve Service
In the silence of the night
When the snow lies soft and still
You can see a magic light
And hear the ring of Christmas bells
Though the night seems long and dark.
It is the earth has gone to sleep
The stars that dot the sky above
Hold you in their precious keep
So close your eyes and come with me
The Christmas bells will bring you home.
From “The Christmas Bells Carol” by Loreena McKennitt
December 28: Robert Melsh - Topic: Stone Soup, an Old Tale Retold.
When it feels as though we're living in a time of scarcity, how can we act from a place of abundance? This service relates a familiar story, introducing two strangers who coax an entire village into realizing the power of sharing and giving. It also encourages us to be aware of opportunities to notice grace and practice random acts of kindness