Worship Themes 2015-2016

We are excited to be entering our 2nd year of theme-based ministry. This year, we have decided to join with a collaborative of many other UU Congregations (including all those in our immediate surrounding area) as a part of Soul Matters, a theme based learning circle, and will for the most part be following the shared themes of the collaborative.  This means we will get to share resources and ideas about how to implement the theme in religious exploration, through music, and in our small group settings.  Find out more about this collaboration at http://www.soulmatterssharingcircle.com.

Our Worship Themes for the coming year will be:

  • September: Invitation
  • October: Forgiveness
  • November: Grace
  • December: Expectation
  • January: Resistance
  • February: Desire
  • March: Liberation
  • April: Creation
  • May: Blessing
  • June: Simplicity

Do you have a favorite poem, book, or article that speaks to one of these themes? Do you have a personal story about your own reflections on one of the themes? Let me know (gretchen@foothillsuu.org) before the 15th of the prior month, and we may be able to incorporate your submission into our theme based programming and/or worship service during that month.

As with last year, we will be “kicking off” the theme on the first Sunday of the month, primarily through our worship where we will usually be sharing in an All-Church Sunday where all ages are together for at least the first portion of the service to explore a story related to the theme, and begin to share in questions and reflections.

We will also continue to hold a Theme-Based Workshop after the second service where we will go deeper into the theme for all who are interested, which is an especially useful time for religious exploration teachers and small group leaders to come and have some time to reflect on the the theme before teaching and leading it for others.

New this year, we are also beginning a small group focused on the theme as well as sermons as our texts.  This will begin in mid-October, and will meet twice a month through June.  Look for more information on all of this by mid-August with the release of our Adult Religious Exploration 2015-16 Catalogue.

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Our second year…

Hello. I have enjoyed seeing many of you this summer at our colorful and well attended summer services. It’s hard to believe we are already entering August and our second year of interim ministry, led by the Rev. Howell Lind.

In February I wrote about us preparing for this second year of interim, and that we would choose a new interim minister. As a reminder from that blog post, I share again what the book “In the Interim” mentioned on the subject of congregations choosing to work with two interim ministers during this Interim period.

The two interims brought different styles, skills, passions, and insights to the congregation in all areas, not just worship. Interim ministry may be best served by the old adage, ‘Two heads are better than one.’ Two years and two ministers allowed for movement in many pivotal areas, including the staff team, worship, and religious education, governance, leadership…This was absolutely a key ingredient in allowing for a vibrant shared ministry to follow and to flourish.”

Many members of the lay leadership at Foothills met with the Rev. Nancy Bowen in July to take stock of the work our congregation did this past year, and the list was mighty.  We had an opportunity to really talk about what worked and what didn’t. It was a cathartic experience for all participants, and left us very inspired for this second year of the interim period.

I want you to know that the board of trustees have been listening, and we have been working hard to create a new direction for this coming year that honors what we have heard. It was a privilege to be a member of the search team for Rev. Howell Lind, and I am so excited for you all to meet him, get to know him, and most importantly, have him get to know you. There will be opportunities to do so in small “cottage meetings” in the coming weeks; look out for the dates. There will be a sign up sheet at coffee hour, and I am sure the Foothills Crier will announce them as well.

Please know my focus this year will be to make sure that our congregation is informed, as well as embraced as we move into this very exciting time.

I look forward to being with you all this year.

In faith and partnership,

Jennifer Powell – Board of Trustees, President

Foothills Unitarian Church Members and Friends Become Involved in the One Village One Family (OVOF) Program

Homeless gear logo

 

 

A few short months ago, Foothills decided to initiate collaboration with Homeless Gear’s OVOF program. A total of 29 members volunteered and were trained to become members of five Villages – no other church or civic group has responded to this need with such numbers – what an amazing display of our commitment to provide needed services to our community!
Already, two Families have been placed with our Villages and one of those families has moved into their own home – that is 2 families and 5 children we are already helping. Over the next several months, additional families will gradually be placed with each of our Villages and the Village members will meet with and mentor each of their families over a 6-7 month period.
The long term plan is to develop new Foothills Villages and continue our involvement in the OVOF program on an ongoing basis. This means that we will be recruiting and training new Foothills volunteers on an annual basis. We hope to always have 4 or 5 active Foothills Villages.
How can you help?
Each Village must raise $1500/family to help them with things like security deposits and the first month’s rent. That’s $7500/year for 5 Villages.
• You can help us raise the needed funds by buying a ticket and attending the Beer and Pizza fundraiser at 7:00 pm at Odell’s, Tuesday August 11th. Tickets are on sale in the Social Hall each Sunday after the service. The evening is certain to be a fun-filled affair, complete with entertainment and games for all.
• Perhaps you have some furniture or other household furnishings you no longer need and would like to give away to a homeless family.
• Perhaps you have special skills you might offer pro bono or at reduced price: car repairs, legal services, and more.
• Perhaps you have a rental unit that would be suitable for one of our families.
For more information on how to contribute and become involved in this tremendous outreach opportunity, contact Anne Fisher (anne.fisher@innovativeOTsolutions.com).

The Ones Who Show Up

BlackLivesMatter“Imagine if….We are a visionary church, leading our greater community and forming interfaith partnerships in our unquenchable thirst for social, economic, and environmental justice.”
 
Last Wednesday evening, I caught a glimpse of this courageous dream written by our provocative proposals team becoming reality.  It was late in the prayer meeting held by the Abysinnian Christian Church.  By then, we had all shed tears, sat in silence, shaken our heads and sung out loud, all to honor the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, the churches that have been burned in the south, as well as the rage and grief we feel at the continued presence of racism and white supremacy.
I had just offered my prayer, and in the program it said we should next be singing Amazing Grace.  But before that, Pastor David said, we needed to do something else.  It might make us uncomfortable, but, he said, the Abysinnian Church, and more generally the black church, is a hugging church. Unfortunately, in that prayer meeting in Charleston, they never got around to ending their time with a hug.  But on that night, we weren’t going to leave that out.  We were going to end in a hug.  We were going to look to one another, many of us strangers, and say before we embraced: You are my sister.  You are my brother.  And then, embrace.
About 20 of us were there from Foothills.  There were other white folks in the gathering, but mostly the rest were African American.  Pastor David was right – it was a little uncomfortable at first.  But the joy, and the willingness was palpable, and it didn’t take long to get over the discomfort and move instead into a great relief, and hopefulness for us all, and for our world.

The Rev. David Williams, had called me a couple days before the gathering to invite Foothills and me to join the meeting.  I had first talked to him right after the Charleston shooting; I reached out to him as a pastor of a primarily African American church in Fort Collins, expressing my grief, fear, and solidarity in response to such a terrible act.  We talked about our roles as pastors and preachers – him in a primarily black church, me in a primarily white church – in a time like this, and how to be a voice of both comfort and challenge as we address and seek to transform the continued presence of racism and white supremacy.

I was humbled, and honored, that a few weeks later Pastor David reached back out to me to invite us to share in the Prayer meeting.  And I was humbled and honored to offer a prayer.  But it was that moment of embrace that gave me a better understanding and a clearer vision for how we as a Unitarian Universalist congregation are called to live into this vision of courageous love in our own community.

Which is to say – the provocative proposals team wrote this statement about our leadership, but in that moment, I realized our leadership simply took the form of showing up, being present, and following the lead of others.  It meant stepping outside our comfort zone, praying in a way we don’t usually pray, singing songs we don’t usually sing – but doing so with love, and willingness, and good will.  It was powerful, and as I said before, it gave me a glimpse of our potential powerful future.

One of my colleagues, the Rev. Sean Dennison, recently challenged a gathering of UU ministers to consider what it would _MG_1989mean if Unitarian Universalists were known most of all as the “ones who show up.”  The ones who show up with open hearts, and open minds, with willing hands and generous spirits.  The ones who show up gratefully, humbly.  I took a note at Sean’s question – not because this was a new idea – but because I recognized that this is something we already do pretty well that we could build on, and become known for pretty easily.  Coincidentally, when I had first talked to Pastor David I had told him, if you ever need someone to show up for you, call me – call Foothills.  We’ll be there. We’ll follow your lead.  

If you were one of those who helped make my promise come true last Wednesday, thank you.  And if you couldn’t make it – don’t worry, there will be lots more chances for us to show up and lead through partnership, humility and generosity – for us to further the reach of love all throughout our community, and in our own lives.   Isn’t it a beautiful vision? 

Our New Sunday Morning Hospitality Plan: Connecting Our Many Groups

It’s no secret that we have been trying all kinds of ideas to help our community be a part of the ways we greet, usher, and provide social hour hospitality on Sunday – I am beginning my fourth year with Foothills, and I think we’ve tried at least 5 different big ideas since I started to try to find just the right fit.

With over 800 adults and 300 kids and youth who consider themselves in one way or another a part of our community, it is somewhat of a funny mystery why we struggle so much to fill our ushers, greeters, visitor table staff, and coffee-maker jobs every Sunday.  It’s not that our community isn’t willing to pitch in – we have in the range of 200 people doing some sort of service for the church or on behalf of the church every week! Yet….nearly every Friday, we keep finding ourselves without sufficient folks to take on these important jobs….

Over the past couple of months, the Membership Team and the staff has been brainstorming and thinking through what’s going on with this dilemma.  Through lots and lots of conversation, we came up with a plan that we are all feeling very good about, and two Sundays ago we launched our new plan.

This plan invites all of our groups – and I do mean all – from the Board to the Choir to ESL tutors to….everyone! – to cover at least one (and if they are big, more than one) Sunday in the church year, filling all of the hospitality roles as a team.  We created a calendar slotting everyone in, and we discovered that when every group participates we are able to cover the whole year of Sundays without any problem!

The group providing these important hospitality roles will in turn be promoted through an insert in the order of service and with special nametags, which will help our wider community to know more about all of the ways to connect in our congregation.   Serving together also allows the group to strengthen their relationship with one another, their sense of teamwork, as well as their connections to the congregation.  We had in mind building on the model the Brotherhood has kept over the years where they serve coffee together regularly – giving back to the community and strengthening their relationship with one another.

If you want to serve on Sunday but you aren’t a part of a group, don’t worry! We have created a group called the Free Rangers where we will invite you to fill in when groups aren’t able to cover all the slots, and a few Sundays in the year are reserved for the Free Rangers entirely.  To sign up for the Free Rangers, contact Kathryn at kathryn@foothillsuu.org.

If you are a part of a group, ask your group leader when YOUR Sunday is, and get it on your calendar now! We hope everyone will show up for their group’s Sunday, help people know about their group and ways to get involved, provide a wonderful welcome for everyone who comes on Sunday, and have fun along the way.

Thank you to all who do so much for our congregation.  I am constantly amazed and grateful to be a part of this generous, joyful and welcoming community.

– Rev. Gretchen Haley, in partnership with the Membership Team and the staff

Imagination and Wings

imagination and wings

I am feeling excitement as I imagine what our Religious Exploration programs at Foothills will look like in the coming year! What are you yearning for? What programs do you envision for our Foothills community? Gretchen and I would love to hear from you as we plan for the coming year. And as we make those plans I am looking back on the past year with gratitude.

During the month of June we offered our annual Religious Education Day Camp for 85 children with 36 youth counselors.  We held a counselor orientation the week before camp and invited two special guests, Cheryl O’Shea and Mark Beck who trained us to lead “peace circles” for our camp small groups using a restorative justice model. During one round of sharing around the circle, the youth were asked to respond to the question, “why did you decide to spend your week helping with this camp?” The answers filled my heart to the brim. Many youth said that they remembered coming to the camp every summer of their childhood, how much they enjoyed camp and how they loved and admired their youth counselors and wanted to offer the same experience to younger kids in our community. I am very grateful to be part of something that has made such an impact on the lives of our children and youth. It was wonderful to watch our youth lead their “peace circles” throughout the week and model this positive and affirming form of communication for our children. Our guests were very impressed with the compassion and thoughtfulness of the youth in our Foothills community.

During the past year we have experimented with offering Theme Based religious exploration programming for the first time. It has been a joy to see our children engage with adults in our community who have offered theme workshops in art, drumming, cooking and more. In the coming year we will share our theme based RE materials with our partner – the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley. Our monthly Theme Workshops have brought adult members together in small groups to engage with questions and shared learning around our themes. We plan to offer online opportunities to engage our monthly themes for people who are unable to attend a class at the church. I am looking forward to continuing programming based on our monthly themes in new and innovative ways in the coming year.

Our Small Groups have been a great success this year with the majority of adult church members participating in some type of small group experience. In the coming year we plan to offer a variety of small group options in addition to our successful Souul Circles.  We will continue to offer classes to learn and deepen our understanding of Unitarian Universalist history and theology, and opportunities to explore and embrace the theological diversity represented in our Foothills community. During our class titled “Why I am an Atheist who believes in God” I was moved by the deep sharing of our individual spiritual journeys and the mutual support and caring that occurred across differences of personal belief. In the coming year we will offer classes and workshops about social justice issues and classes like the successful “Estate Planning for the Heart” series that address immediate life challenges. We plan to expand our offerings of Spiritual Practices in the coming year as we have seen your desire to learn more about cultivating personal spiritual practices like meditation, yoga, drumming and artistic practices like Zentangle© and Soul Cards. I am grateful that we have committed the resources to offer childcare and transportation for more of our adult programs so that young parents and seniors can attend more easily.

The past year of transition has been challenging for our Foothills community and challenging for me as your religious educator, both personally and professionally. Luckily I consider myself to be a person who likes a challenge! At times it has been, confusing, stressful and unsettling; it has also been exciting, creative and liberating! I have admired the willingness of our community to imagine new ways of doing things and embrace the opportunity to expand the possibilities of how we learn and grow together. I have admired how we have remained open and spread our wings as we are growing into our future. There are so many things about our community that I am grateful for.

In faith and service,

Eleanor VanDeusen – Director of Religious Exploration

Reporting in From General Assembly – Our 3 Take-Aways!

Foothlls at GA 2015Last week, a delegation of 14 Foothills members joined in for some or all of the 2015 UUA General Assembly in Portland Oregon.  This annual gathering of over 5,000 representatives from Unitarian Universalist congregations across the US includes worship, learning workshops, lectures, reports, and the business of the association (think: giant congregational meeting) – plus the often-best-part of connecting with UUs from across the country in informal ways over the course of 4 full days.

It was a wonderful General Assembly in the great city of Portland, and we hope to offer the congregation lots of ways to hear back from us about our take-aways.  However, to get us started, I asked everyone to send in their “top 3” things off the top of their head that they felt everyone should know based on their experiences.  So, we’ll start here with that list and then look for more in-depth info coming soon.  Most of the general parts of GA are captured on streaming video, so if you’re anxious to learn more sooner than that – go to UUA.org and search for General Assembly.

GA Banner 2015In no particular order, our assembled TOP 3 Take-Aways!

  1. From a graceful presentation by UU Buddhists comes the idea that when a contentious debate becomes too heated, ask the group for a couple of minutes of silence and then to join the dialogue in a more loving manner. This was practiced by the GA moderator in the final general session.
  2. The worship services were moving and restorative – especially the International Worship Service, with participation from several countries, and wonderful music; but also the CLF worship service and the Sunday morning worship service with the GA choir and a moving sermon.
  3. It was joyful to meet UUs from around the country and around the world.
  4. From a workshop on “Building Contemplative Practices”: Carrying the sacred into everything we do, bring a spirit of contemplation to our every day actions. “bring spirit to the work and make it holy.”
  5. Many rich, diverse sources of practices, music (Taize chanting, Sufi Zikur chants, Kirtan, Buddhist, Kundalini, Muslim chants) and collaboration for our Services(especially Vespers!).
  6. From a workshop on Non-Violent Communication (source:Marshal Rosenberg):
    1. All actions arise from (a beautiful) need
    2. When in conflict
      • Pause – Get yourself under control
      • Connect to your unmet needs(empathy for self)
      • Connect to the unmet needs of the other(empathy for other)
      • Seek solutions grounded in empathy
  7. From workshop on “branding” (speaking of millenials): people join a cause, not a club.
  8. From Kathleen Dean Moore – philosopher and author: A moral problem calls for a moral response and the church is an institution of moral affirmation. Our work is to set the moral context – we have an obligation to protect the earth and climate change is a failure of reverence, a betrayal of our children and an issue of justice (the poor of the earth are disproportionately affected adversely by the excesses of the richer).
  9. People I met have a positive impression of Foothills.  In particular, our work with small groups and Share the Plate projects – I think we will be seen as a resource.
  10. Building relationships and respect at the intersections of cultures: As we engage partners in the wider community, how do we advance our values of multicultural growth and witness in social justice work with those who may differ with us on important issues? After attending a fascinating multiculturalism workshop at GA in Portland, where we learned tools for advancing equality, I was having breakfast in a small logging and sawmill town café when news broke on Fox News of the marriage equality SCOTUS decision. I was struck by the irony of the situation when our pleasant meeting of strangers evolved into some tension as TV coverage sucked up the oxygen in the café, as contrasted with the jubilation I imagined among UUs in the Oregon Convention Center. The lesson and challenge for me is to keep trying, learning and exercising leadership to further our love and values in activities such as One Village One Family and Faith Family Hospitality with people of different faith traditions and values. Or just enjoying the experiences engaging with folks over breakfast at the local café. We can help “Get to Yes” with our shared interests and community partners, even when we have trouble agreeing on every important issue.
  11. From Alison Miller’s powerful sermon in the Sunday morning worship:  the stories we tell matter – they shape our vision of ourselves and how we feel hopeful or hopeless.  With any set of “facts”, we have a choice in how we construct that story and tell it to give the “story” its power.
  12. From the Berry Street Lecture by Sean Dennison, this question: “For whom does your heart break?”
  13. From a workshop on “Talking the Walk: Speaking Justice in the Language of our Faith”–the idea that we don’t check our reason at the door when we enter church, but we often check our spirituality at the door on our way out into the world (especially when we engage in social justice work). The workshop leaders then took us through an exercise to help us reframe our social justice commitments in language tied explicitly to our Unitarian Universalist faith.
  14. 150627_cornel_westFrom the Ware Lecture by Cornel West, the four questions from W.E.B. DuBois at the heart of the lecture” How shall integrity face oppression? What does honesty do in the face of deception? What does decency do in the face of insult? How does virtue meet brute force?
  15. From a workshop on “Habits of Humility and congregational teams as learning communities” –  A culture of humility is a culture where no one is the expert. There are 3 viruses that show up in our congregation:  1. Scoring – someone tries to be the smartest in the room; 2. Sneering – sarastic comments about others who “don’t get it”; and 3. Shaming – directly calling out people who “don’t get it.”
  16. From the same workshop – spiritual strength in the congregation – Have a commitment to learn together.This requires: Willingness to be vulnerable and a covenant to hold that tend space; trust in leaders, curiosity, openness to what is unseen an unknown, engagement with difference, and resilience.  While learning as a community we hear how other people learn new topics, everyone is a learner and a teacher, and we are multi-generational.
  17. From a workshop on “Leaderly leadership – Accountable Leadership” – The session was most powerful when Marlin Lavanhar spoke (also reference everything he shared in his Thursday Service of the Living Tradition sermon).  He shared that intentionality is what we do – who we put on our board, how we advertise, where we advertise – why are we doing this, is this the right person at the table? We need to increase people’s ability to sit with discomfort, while always making sure they will be beloved and safe, just not always comfortable.  Be aware how your intention can have a hard impact.  He shared how their congregation has transformed over the past 15 years, 71/2 years a mainly liberal white congregation, then merged with a Pentecostal congregation which how they have existed in the past 7.5 years. On Sundays they offer 3 different services: humanist, tradition, and “Unicostal” service.  Lastly: Love the stranger, love the other – doesn’t mean liking.  In the spirit of Loving Beyond Belief – welcome all who welcome all.  You do not need to like or believe what others believe or like them to love them.
  18. As the Foothills world turns, as the Foothills pendulum swings….Our family was attracted in 2001 to our Foothills community in part because of its intellectual past and then-present humanist perspectives. It was good to touch base at GA in Portland with the UU Humanists. These past few years at Foothills have been a transition with some interesting, yet uncomfortable changes. And although I still identify as a religious humanist, I also welcome our more “heart,” and “spiritual” communications while expanding our concepts of theological diversity in our Foothills community. As my support for a free pulpit in UU churches sometimes contrasts with my wincing when our heavier holy language feels like “fingernails on a chalkboard,” I maintain that our close relationships and sense of community will help us work through a new normal. Hopefully, as our ministerial searches continue, we will seek people with complementary skills and abilities who can serve our diverse community within our available resources, while realizing that trying to do so is a particularly difficult job.
  19. The Power of Foothills connections with the regions and the UUA – The Portland GA was the second I have attended, following the Salt Lake City GA in 2009. As we attended sessions, met old friends and made new ones, the value of our wider UU relationships was reaffirmed. We can learn much from our fellow congregations and ministers about how to make progress in social justice work, running our church organizations well (also known as “church governance” – not a scary phrase, by the way!), and strengthening our relationships in our Foothills community, Northern Colorado and the wider world. The process of growing into our future can be eased by building those relationships and drawing on lessons learned by our new friends who have already navigated many of these issues. Yes We Can!Photo/Nancy PierceFrom a workshop on “Congregational Polity for a Beyond Congregations Age” – we have been congregational in polity much longer than we have been liberal in theology.  Polity is the way churches are connected to each other, sets of beliefs, doctrines, and structures that hold local churches together.  Spirituality can be practiced alone; religion cannot. People no longer feel being claimed is important – membership is going down. Joining and covenanting is like wedding and marriage.  Joining and wedding happens once.  Covenanting and marriage is continuous.  A community that accepts an individual act as connect is creating a community of isolation – people want to be connected, but membership is not the only way to do that.  How do we do that? With covenant.  With the larger UU movement.
  20. From a session on adult faith formation – we need opportunities every Sunday for seekers to “drop in” and learn about the culture of the church.
  21. From the session on domestic violence I was reminded that one in four women have been or will be in their lifetime the victim of physical or sexual violence. I was asked to change practices in my congregation as a result of this fact. I concluded that we need to train our pastoral care volunteers on how to recognize indicators of victimization and how to respond appropriately and that a sermon on  what it feels like for women or men to be controlled by men in their home or job would be very helpful and could reach a broader audience than the pastoral team can identify. We were reminded that domestic violence is present in all congregations.
  22. hqdefaultI was quite taken with the energy and flow of the worship sessions, the great music with joined singing by all near 5,000 of us.  Also how much black spirituals seem to speak to so many of us in words and music and emotions—so fitting for these times   Also the great sermon by Rev. Allison Miller on Sunday morning.
  23. From a session on engaging church members along a continuum of involvement comes the idea of having ten volunteers each take one church member to coffee each month, twelve each during a year. During this time the volunteer learns what the member is involved in at the church and what they want to do more of. This is not a pledge visit, but instead purely a time to get to know more members in a deeper way, to engage each member more and to thank them for their past involvement. This simple act helps the membership team, staff and ministers to better know 120 members each year while helping members to feel heard, appreciated and wanted.
  24. “Let phones be smart…  We need to be wise and strive for integrity.”  From the Ware Lecture by Cornell West.  I was so struck with it that I pulled out a pen and piece of paper to write it down.
  25. From a session on Classism:  We need to confront classism in our own congregations before we can accomplish true justice work outside our congregations, because so much of the justice work we identify includes some kind of classism.  Class is not just how much money you have in the bank.  It is related to education level, employment, income, speech, color, immigration, etc., etc., etc.  People “pass’ for middle class to fit in.  Just like we work to become Welcoming Congregations to the GLBTQI community, we need to work to understand and become welcoming to class differences.
  26. From a session on Planned Giving:  This is often the only opportunity a parishioner has to make a large (in their own terms) gift, and can strengthen the bond between the individual and the church.  If you want congregants to include this final donation in their estate plans, you have to educate them, ask them, keep in touch, and recognize those who do in advance.
  27. From the Ware Lecture: We need to be a “Blues” people – which means not turning away from the pain or suffering of the world, but responding to it with love and hope.
  28. I think Cornel West’s major points on decency, integrity, honesty and virtue are worthy of discussion and a sermon here at home.  I am reading his book Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism.  I hope I can convince
    one of the book groups we belong to to read this book.
  29. I attended many of the climate change groups and was glad to see many other UUs ready to work and act on this most threatening of issues. And that it was one of the four actions issues chosen.
  30. Also several of the workshops gave focus to the corporate capitalist structure of power and control that we all live in, something many people UU or not, still feel uncomfortable about naming the elephant in the room.
  31. 150625_marlin_lavanharThe sermon from Marlin Lavanhar on Thursday night was maybe the most moving sermon I’ve ever heard from a Unitarian Universalist.  A few highlights: “most people… including most of us… (including me) are more afraid than we let on…If coming to church means putting on our Sunday face and hiding all of this from one another and presenting a façade of self-reliance (well, pardon me Mr. Emerson) but who wants to go to that church?”  “I’m willing to bet that most of us have something about ourselves that we would be scared to tell the people in our congregation… but that if we did tell and we found they still love and respect us, it would be incredibly healing for us and would free others to do the same. Now that sounds like a church I’d like to attend!” “But as I’ve begun to teach and preach from my mistakes, rather than always talking about my successes.”hile we’ve created a whole conference this year on the idea of discovering the “New Way”… I want to propose that it’s not a new way that we have to live into. It’s that we have to finally embody the fullness of the proposition which is the old way. We have yet to fully embrace the promise of our democratic, covenantal tradition.” YES YES YES