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Society for Community Ministries
 

Blog-Crossroads


Crossroads

The Online Blog of UUSCM

Featuring Success Stories of Contemporary Community Ministry



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  • 17 Apr 2015 8:10 PM | Michelle Walsh

    SANCTUARY IS MORE THAN A BUILDING 

    1:15 - 2:30PM | D135-136 Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition.

     

    Sanctuary is a response to injustice, rooted in faith. Join us to learn more about the New Sanctuary Movement, hear stories about providing sanctuary from the First Unitarian Society of Denver and VOZ Portland, and get tools for deepening your congregation's or community's commitment to immigrant-led justice ministry. 


    Rev. Kierstin Homblette, Kate Burns, Romeo Sosa, Katia Hansen.

  • 17 Apr 2015 8:06 PM | Charles (Scot) Giles

    GA TALK: MULTIGENERATIONAL WORSHIP AND COMMUNITY MINISTRY 

    1:15 - 2:30PM | B117-119 Young Adults @ GA 


    Come and participate in GA Talks! GA Talks, TED-style presentation designed to entertain, educate and inform, provide an opportunity to listen to stories and wisdom from fellow Unitarian Universalists. Today's speakers are Rev. Christina Leone Tracy and Lincoln Statler. Hosted by Kenny Wiley and the Young Adults @GA community. 


    Rev. Christina Leone Tracy, Kenny Wiley, Lincoln W. Statler.

  • 17 Apr 2015 7:52 PM | Michelle Walsh

    REMIXING UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM: HOW TO CREATE AN ENERGY CENTER?

    1:15 - 2:30PM | D137-138 Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee. 


    The Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee will explore "Energy Centers" that are on the cutting edge of being an anti-oppressive and multicultural faith community, be it a congregation, co-op, or cafe. Come explore how you, too, can create an energy center that challenges us to build new ways of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist faith community. 


    Rev. Wendy Von Courter, Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong, Benjamin Gabel, Rev. Jackie Clement 

  • 17 Apr 2015 7:51 PM | Michelle Walsh

    CREATING OUR LEGACY, BUILDING OUR FUTURE: PLANNED GIVING MADE EASY

    10:45 – 12:00PM | B115-116 UUA


    Tim and Laura will present best practices for building a healthy congregational planned giving program. Attendees will learn the basics of how to solicit, manage, and steward planned gifts, to ensure that our congregations will continue responding to the needs of our changing world by expanding the boundaries of our faith for generations to come.


    Tim Brennan and Rev. Laura Randall

  • 17 Nov 2012 7:44 PM | Charles (Scot) Giles
        Over twenty years ago I began my path towards a second career as a UU minister - the first having been as an English and Drama teacher at both the high school and college levels. My first master’s degree was in the Art of Teaching (M.A.T.) and specialized in the teaching of composition.  

        Creating break throughs to the “I can’t write” limiting beliefs of college students by guiding them to write only about what mattered to them was really my entree into a “ministerial” way of working with people.

        At about the same time, I had begun to study dreamwork, and I had a life-changing dream that I was teaching people to write about their dreams.

        This was the catalyst towards seminary!

        I knew from the outset that mine would be a community ministry.  

        I wanted to be with people at depth in ways that supported them in finding and living their own most authentic lives.

        To dreamwork I have since added other tools and lenses for pscyho-spiritual development: Compassionate Communication (NVC), the Enneagram, energy work (EFT), Inquiry, Voice Dialogue - in addition to practices such as art-making, journaling, guided visualization, tai chi, meditation, prayer and the insights of the world’s wisdom traditions.

        My study of spiritual practices is and will be ever-expanding!

        What has evolved is a ministry of interfaith spiritual direction.  My website, The Path of Joy, describes it: my ministry serves people of all faiths seeking to live vibrant, fulfilling, meaning-centered lives - truly the path of joy!  

        It encompasses a private practice focused on serving individuals, couples, families, seminarians and clergy, seniors and business / professional women as well as an outreach ministry to Unitarian Universalist congregations, districts, ministerial chapters, interfaith groups and service-oriented organizations.

        Most people miss that we are not taught to orient our lives to listening for the Call of the Sacred in our lives - nor to believe in our capacity to create  fulfilling lives by learning how to overcome obstacles to hearing and following that call.

         Instead, most of us are taught either to obey the rigid rules of some authority embedded in a hierarchy or to fiercely compete for the maximum wealth, power and status no matter the cost - including to ourselves.

         Either is a painful way to live.
        
        My ministry focuses on the inner work that reorienting to living in response to the Call of the Sacred (named or unnamed) requires.

        It’s a huge undertaking for most of us!

        The skills the old paradigms require - self-discipline, analytic thinking, respectfulness, goal-setting - still have value, but need to become the servants, not the master of our lives. We also need flexibility, openness to the "flow,” spontaneity, willingness to question, play, balanced self-care - and always an inner attunement to the Sacred Aliveness seeking to move through us into the world.

        My community ministry has become successful, I believe, primarily because the principles and practices I teach guide my own life and ministry. My ministry keeps me on my own growing edge and is itself a spiritual practice I’m  most grateful for.

        I have expanded into new ways of offering my ministry. For example, I now Skype with directees from all over the country - originally a stretch for this “non-techie.” But clearly part of answering the Call.

        Living and ministering guided by Howard Thurman’s words has kept me centered - and I could not wish more for you: “Ask not what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
        


        

  • 12 Oct 2012 10:20 AM | Charles (Scot) Giles
    The Rev. Esther Hurlburt is the founder of Lexington Cooperative Ministry Inc. a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization, and the parent organization of The Legacy Home. Esther lives by the words of Isaiah who taught, “If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom shall be like noonday.”  Thus, the creation of Lexington Cooperative Ministry manifests a universal theology taking shape in community: Everyone benefits when we share with, care for, and live in cooperation with each other.

    While the Legacy Home is her ministry, Esther earns her living as a professional geriatric case manager.  She understands the needs of old people. Esther had a vision to buy a house for women so that the last years of their lives would be comfortable and safe.  She wasn’t sure how it could take shape, but her mentor told her a house would be available when she was ready for the challenge.  Indeed, October 2009 a house presented itself, and so did the one next door.   While standing on the lots of two dilapidated houses, Esther had a flashback to a Sunday School lesson taught nearly 50 years before.  She heard her childhood minister say, “We have to share.”   “We must share” became a familiar mantra in her family’s home.  She  learned  sharing was not only a necessity but also a responsibility.  It was then she knew deep down that her time had come to take a leap of faith and create the home she imagined possible.

    Esther has been busy for the past 3 years!  She provided the seed money for the houses with a portion of her inheritance and then hit the ground running.  She developed a Board of Directors and together they called on the community to help remodel two old houses.  They coordinated the work of 47 community partners and a battalion of volunteers, including themselves because the Ministry has no paid staff. They raised more than $90,000 in donations and came in below budget!  At the same time the Board developed the framework for cooperative living.  

    The Home is designed for 5 women, 60 years and older so they may share rent and other expenses to minimize the cost of growing older.  It is an opportunity to stay in community and it is an alternative to large apartment buildings or living alone. This newly remodeled 2500 sq. ft home has 5 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a sunroom with access to a deck, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, a library office, and a spacious backyard with room for relaxation and gardening.   

    The Ministry did not end with the completion of construction.  The concept of cooperative living is new in Lexington, so Esther continues to preach and teach the benefits of cooperative living and is busy helping residents adjust.  She is optimistic The Legacy Home will be a model for others like it.  In fact, she believes, just like she was taught as a child, that sharing is not only a necessity but a responsibility. See the website:  www.legacyhomeministry.org.
  • 31 Aug 2012 11:42 AM | Charles (Scot) Giles
    “Envision human relations without violence.”

    On Friday evening the men file into the room rather sullen and quiet.  After signing in, they take one of the chairs that are set in a circle.  They’ve come not knowing what to expect, only that if they complete this weekend workshop on Alternatives to Violence, the certificate they receive will gain them favor with the parole board.  They are willing to endure anything for one weekend in order to get that certificate.

    Coordinating the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops in the two prisons in Concord, MA is one of the ways that Upriver Ministries fulfills its mission:
     
    1. To engage in a public conversation about the violence that is embedded in our culture.

    2. To assist those who have behaved violently to discover a nonviolent path.

    A start-up ministry founded by Mark Richards in 2010, Upriver Ministries envisions human relations without violence.  The prison work is done in partnership with Concord Prison Outreach and with the support of the national AVP organization.  Upriver Ministries also participates in community dialogues around domestic violence.

    Currently, Upriver Ministries seeks to expand the Alternatives to Violence workshops outside of the prison setting and into the surrounding communities of Lowell, Lawrence, and Framingham.  By bringing this powerful, interactive experience to neighborhoods where overt violence prevails, we hope to build supportive communities that recognize the sources of violence so they can provide resources to aid in its prevention.  A long range goal is to establish a residential reentry program based on AVP principles.

    Mark meets regularly with Partners in Faith, a collaboration of agencies serving domestic violence victims in the greater Boston area hosted by the UU Urban Ministry in Roxbury.   As a facilitator trained in batterer intervention, Mark engages with the domestic violence community so that effective prevention measures can be directed to the source of the problem:  controlling partners. 

    Upriver Ministries took its name from the story of the village by the river that Rev. Richard Gilbert tells in the first chapter of The Prophetic Imperative.  Violence is so embedded in our culture that, ultimately, we will not dampen it by fighting each iteration as a separate event.  We must address the source of violence that lies within our own fears – our fears as individuals and our fears as societies.  Where we see those who would divide us in order to attain personal power, we must speak out.  When we witness institutional violence, we must repurpose that institution so that it serves to bring people together.  Most all, we must believe that a culture without violence is available to the human experience.

    On Sunday afternoon, during the graduation ceremony when the certificates of completion are handed out, the men are light-hearted and engaging.  They have formed a community through common experience.  On his way out, one man says, “This is like being out of prison for three days!”  They have descended into the abyss of their hearts and come up again with hope and power. It is the power of knowing that we can have human relations without violence. Through education and outreach, Upriver Ministries seeks to empower the communities it serves with this vision.

    For More Information: http://upriverministries.org
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