the OUUC spark

September 23, 2022

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Interconnected - by Rev. Mary Gear

On August 27, many of us gathered at Millersylvania Park for a long-awaited congregational picnic. What a wonderful and joyous event! So many attended for food, music and fellowship. There were games! Lots of kids! A sing-along! And yummy food! It was wonderful to gather outside in that beautiful setting.

What you may not be aware of is that tragedy also struck in the park that day. I’m going to say a bit about that and invite you to not read further if you prefer.

Toward the end of the picnic, Wendy Tanner came to tell me that emergency vehicles were down the road in the park and that likely meant an accident or drowning. So, Wendy and I went to see if we could be of service. When I arrived, the EMTs and police chaplain put me to work sitting with the family and friends of a young man named Miguel who had gone underwater and who the police divers were attempting to rescue.

You can imagine that the family and friends of this young man were distraught as Miguel had been underwater for some time.

When the divers rescued Miguel, they took him to an ambulance and eventually transported him to the hospital. As I sat with the family and friends, I listened to their stories of him and of the day. I listened to their grief and their hope.

When the family and police crew left, I took a few minutes to pray for Miguel and his family and to center myself before returning to the OUUC picnic. I thought I’d likely never know what happened to Miguel as I prayed for him in the days that followed. A few days later, I saw a small article in the newspaper about the accident and that the un-named young man was in critical care at the hospital.

Last week I learned that Miguel Ramos was 28 years old when he died on September 2. He left behind his beloved and a baby born earlier this year. HIs family describes Miguel as a giver, as even in death he was an organ donor.

His family is seeking help with burial costs for him through a Go Fund Me campaign. I have donated to the fund and invite you to do so. You can find the campaign here.

We never know how our interconnection will show up and impact us. Being with Miguel and his family, I was reminded how deeply we are interconnected and how we can be invited, gently or not, to recognize that connection.

Please join me in sending support to Miguel’s family in whatever form you can, spiritual and financial.

In gratitude for the reminders in whatever form, I wish you blessings on your week.

Rev. Mary

Article II - by Rev. Sara Lewis

Unitarian Universalism is a living tradition, with changes and evolution to our theology, our identity, our practices, and more as we journey together. And we are now in one of those times of reflection and possible change that may really shift UUism again. The UUA is currently in the process of reviewing and revising Article II of the UUA bylaws …. That sounds pretty boring doesn’t it? Bylaws?

But this particular article of the bylaws is actually really important to our identity as Unitarian Universalists. This article of the bylaws contains the 7 Principles, the 6 Sources, the purpose of the UUA, the inclusion clause, and a freedom of belief statement. Packed into a pretty small section of text, there is a lot of our core identity right there. And it might change!

Of course, these statements have changed in the past, and of course they may change again in the future. We learn new things. We use new language. We become more sensitive to certain things. We grow, and we change. This is a living tradition.

There is a Study Commission looking at Article II right now, and they will be proposing new language, new statements, in January. There are opportunities this week and next to attend zoom meetings with the study commission, and provide feedback on some draft language before the January recommendations. If you’d like to attend a session, you need to pre-register.

Zoom Session Registration

Rev. Mary and I will be doing a forum and Q&A about all of this after service on October 2nd, 11:30am. There’s a lot to talk about!

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Party for Peace at OUUC takes place on Saturday September 24th, 4-7pm. Please join us for the planting and dedication of the peace pole, for a potluck dinner, and for activities and discussions of peace. There will be something for all ages, and this will be a chance to be in community together outdoors as well.

Volunteers for set up needed. Contact Rev. Sara if you can help!

Honoring The Past, Looking to The Future - by Rev. Mary Gear

This past Saturday evening, I was honored to attend on behalf of OUUC, Quixote Villages annual fundraising event “Tiny Homes, BIG Future.” It was a joyful gathering of several hundred supporters of Quixote Communities service to our neighbors who are unhoused.

OUUC was recognized as one of the founding congregations of this organization. Some of you may remember when OUUC hosted Camp Quixote in the parking lot in the early 2010’s. I was honored to be with Tim Ransom to accept this recognition. We’ll have a ceremony to hang the plaque at OUUC in the near future.

I was delighted to hear that Quixote Communities provides permanent, supported housing; this method has proven to be an effective way to address houselessness. There are many ways to support the good work of this organization. You can learn more about Quixote Communities and how you can be involved at their website.

Thank you to all who have supported Quixote Communities over the years and to those who continue to do so. Thank you for helping to honor the past and move into the future.

Rev. Mary

Community Dinners Have Begun!

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Our first Community Night Dinner last week was a great success! We had over 40 folks come and enjoy good company and food together. A big thank you to the volunteers last week: Sally Brennand, Shelley Ferer, Diana Finch, Melanie Ransom, Diane Daley, Bob Brennand, and James Browne.

Dinner will be served each week, 5:30-6:30. Next week (9/29) will be Buddha Bowls. Come and join us!

To volunteer: OUUC: Thursday Dinner Help (


Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.