the OUUC spark

September 15, 2022

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Welcome! - by Rev. Mary Gear

Our spiritual theme for the month of September is “welcome.” As we begin a new congregational year, we welcomed each other back from the Summer with our In-gathering and Water Communion service last Sunday, September 11. It was wonderful to sing together in a round and to hear the wonderful OUUC choir once again.

You can watch the service here:

OUUC Sunday Morning Worship Service - September 11, 2022

For water communion, we mingled our water to signify our return and new beginning. We invited you to share the meaning of your water, in the chat for those online and on paper raindrops in The Commons for those in person. Our two rivers – online and in-person -- joined together.

Below is what you all shared.

Thank you to everyone who shared and for finding meaning in gathering our water.

What are you welcoming this month?

Blessings on your week.

Rev. Mary

What is the meaning of your water?

Let's Party for Peace - by Rev. Sara Lewis

You may recall that a feature of Rev Mary’s Installation this spring included an exchange of gifts, which is a traditional and common practice for a ministerial installation in a congregation. OUUC gave Rev Mary a stole, made by the Sewing Ministry Team, and Rev Mary gave OUUC a Peace Pole. There are estimated to be about 200,000 peace poles around the world, proclaiming our common wish for and commitment to peace on earth.

Our UU values of inherent worth and dignity, interdependence, and compassion all support a call to work toward a world of peace and justice for all. And while we have never been united in an understanding of pacifism (see some interesting history here), we have long worked for peace. Peace work has also been important to many here at OUUC, with past projects including Nuclear Disarmament classes and talks and the creation of memorial markers for the civilian casualties of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now we will have a new visual reminder of peace, which I hope will help us reflect on how peace is part of our values, part of our practices, and part of our hopes and aspirations for the world. A big Thank You to Rev Mary for this gift!

The Buildings and Grounds Team have identified a great spot for the Peace Pole, right near the main entrance. They’ve already dug the hole, which is now marked with an orange cone for safety. Thank you, B&G! And now we can all join in: when a peace pole is “planted”, there is a ceremony to perform. As Rev Mary and I were looking at the fall calendar, we realized that we could hold this event near International Day of Peace, which is September 21st.

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Which brings us to the planned Party for Peace at OUUC 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!

Back to School Blessings

Image of Rev. Mary Gear and congregant at the annual Blessing of the Backpacks

Last Sunday we held our annual Blessing of the Backpacks, attended by about 25 students and their family and friends. Grades represented ranged from preschool to grad school. We, as a faith community, support and encourage all in their life long journey of learning. We still have backpack charms which were blessed at this ritual, so if you are a student and couldn’t make the blessing, please still come and get a charm from Rev. Sara or Anissa!

Happy Back to School Season to you all!

Quixote Village to Quixote Communities: A growing mission and vision to serve the unhoused - by Joe Shorin

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Most OUUC members know the basics of OUUC’s instrumental role in creating Quixote Village: OUUC was the first faith community to provide sanctuary to the residents of an unauthorized homeless community camped on City of Olympia property in 2007; its members and leaders were instrumental in a multi-year and multi-organizational effort to host Camp Quixote; and during that time, they were actively engaged in the planning and development of Quixote Village, a 30-unit tiny home village on Mottman Road built to provide permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.

“We are proud of the success of our model and our residents, and we are excited to be offering a variety of expanded services to meet the needs of our community.” Colleen Carmichael, Executive Director of Quixote Communities.

Quixote Communities will recognize OUUC and other founding faith organizations at its Tiny Homes—Big Future celebration on Saturday, September 17 from 6:30pm - 9:30pm at the Hands on Children's Museum. This will be a fun outdoor event with live music by Vendredi's Bag and food from the Crowded Kitchen. Tickets are only $20, include food and drink, and will help support Quixote Communities' work to provide permanent supportive rental housing for veterans and other homeless folks in Thurston, Mason, and Pierce Counties. As President of the Board of Quixote Communities, and as a former long-time member of OUUC, I extend a heartfelt invitation to all OUUC members and friends to this event. You can RSVP here.


Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.