In the Interim: 6/7/2019

arif-mamdaniPracticing Beauty:

Last Sunday, we celebrated Flower Communion, a UU ritual that symbolizes the beauty and uniqueness of each of us, while also celebrating the vibrant bouquet that we are together. So, it seemed logical to me, as we enter a month with the theme of beauty, to invite us into a practice of beauty. Below are instructions for a flower meditation – a simple way of sitting and focusing our attention on a flower. Beauty unfolds when we slow down and pay attention, and this flower meditation is a simple way to explore this terrain. Try it for a week (or all month!) and let me know how it goes for you.

How To Practice Flower Gazing Meditation:

  1. Be sure to choose a flower that resonates with you. Set it about a foot in front of you at a comfortable angle, preferably at eye level. For beginners, it’s better to focus on one single flower instead of a bouquet. Feel conscious of your body’s contact with the ground. Connect with the earth that grew the flower sitting before you.
  2. Gaze at it with soft, relaxed eyes. Blink normally, and relax your facial muscles. Plan to meditate for around 10-15 minutes.
  3. Look at it as if it’s the first time you’ve ever seen a flower. Discover what it actually looks like. Avoid labeling what you’re looking upon; instead of focusing on petals or pollen, notice the unique shapes, colors, textures, and scents present in front of you. Feel its vibrant life energy. When thoughts come up, notice them, and then gently redirect your attention to the flower in front of you, neither pushing them away nor indulging them.
  4. After 10-15 minutes have passed, thank the flower and offer it gratitude for its gifts. Close your eyes for a minute or so. Can you still see its image in your mind, or feel its presence in front of you?
  5. Continue with the rest of your day and notice that your mind is calmer, your body more relaxed, and your attention sharper. If you start practicing this regularly, you just might start noticing the specific details and beauty not just in flowers, but in every common object you come across.

(Thanks to gardencollage.com for the flower meditation instructions.)

— Arif

Each week, the interim ministry team will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme, the state of the church, or the state of the world. MegTerri and Arif will alternate writing this “In the Interim” post. We encourage your comments.

OWL Facilitator Training Soon in Robbinsdale

If you are interested in being trained to teach OWL classes at UUCM, sign up now for the August 23-25 training at Robbinsdale UCC. Choose one of two levels: Grades 7-9/10-12 or Grades K-1, 4-6. Register here. The cost is relatively low, but do speak with Malia Brandt if you are interested in having your registration fee reimbursed. The church has the necessary curricula.  Act now and let us know when you are trained!

The UUCM Greeter Sign-up Has New Options

Now there are two greeting options for Sunday mornings at UUCM, available through the Greeter “button” at the top of the UUCM website home page.

  • Guestbook + Red Cup Greeter – Welcomes all people as they arrive and helps newcomers to feel oriented and at ease.
  • Family Greeter – Welcomes all people as they arrive and attends specifically to new families with children to help them feel oriented and comfortable. Please sign up for as many services as you can manage. Greeting instructions are on the sign-up page.

We welcome and encourage children to join adults in greeting (and ushering!), as well. They often enjoy these roles. Thanks very much for all you do for UUCM!

Social Generosity Offering: June 2019

Our JUNE Social Generosity Offering will go to OutFront Minnesota, whose mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination. They envision a state where LGBTQ individuals have equal opportunities, protection and rights, and are working toward the day when all Minnesotans have the freedom, power and confidence to make the best choices for their own lives. Click here to learn more.

Note: All cash placed in the Sunday collection, as well as checks to “UUCM” with “Social Generosity” in the memo line, will go towards the Social Generosity cause for the current month. You may also use the basket to make other contributions to UUCM. Simply make your check out to “UUCM” with instructions in the memo line.

From the Board: June 2019

The UUA Soul Matters topic and theme of worship for the month of June relates to beauty; the written material in the curriculum is rich and inspiring. It starts with asking: “What does it mean to be a people of beauty?

UU minister Sean Parker Dennison writes, “The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility. What we believe is beautiful we will not wantonly destroy.”  With this we are reminded that beauty does more than soothe and heal. It demands. It calls. It creates commitment. It doesn’t just say “Love and appreciate me.” It says “Protect me! Fight for me!” It steps out in front of us and points to a precious world that needs our help. It paints a picture of new ways of living and declares, “Follow me there!” It’s not just the thing that nurtures our activist efforts. It is the reason we take to the streets. (p.1)

Last Sunday at church, I sat beside a woman who looked familiar, but I did not know her name. After the service, we sat and talked, and she introduced herself and said she had been coming to UUCM off and on for many years, but that today was the first time she had attended a service in our new building. Continue reading →