the OUUC spark

September 29, 2022

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Give Peace A Chance - by Rev. Mary Gear

We continued our monthly gatherings last Saturday with a Party for Peace in honor of the International Day of Peace and the dedication of OUUC’s peace pole. It was a glorious fall day with wonderful potluck food and great company. Thank you to all who participated! And a special thanks to the Buildings & Grounds Team for installing the peace pole. The installation group was Jerald Dodson, Eric Ness, Lynne McDonald and Marie Arensmeyer. Thank you!

This is part of the dedication ceremony for the peace pole:

Welcome to this dedication of OUUC’s peace pole. This peace pole is my gift to OUUC in honor of the 70th anniversary of the congregation, presented at the installation in June. OUUC has been a force in this community for 70 years! That is worth celebrating!

Peace poles are a prominent symbol of peace all over the world. There are more than 200,000 poles in 230 countries. There is a peace pole in every state capitol in the US, at the North and South poles, at in the United Nations, and at the Vatican. By planting this peace pole, we are joining a world community of peace.

The peace pole was created by a Japanese survivor of WWII named Masahisa Goi. Sensei Goi witnessed the devastation caused by World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After that his life took on a new meaning and purpose as he dedicated himself in service to humanity and the attainment of global peace and harmony. Through deep meditation, he gained much insight into the spiritual nature of humankind and received the message, May Peace Prevail On Earth in a moment of great inspiration.

This peace pole contains the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in seven languages that I chose: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, Hebrew, Japanese, Romanian and Spanish. It also contains the phrase “May Peace Prevail in our Hearts” and a rainbow flag for LGBTQ+ rights.

Today we dedicate this peace pole as a reminder of our call to work for the peace that comes from justice. On this day, may we re-dedicate our hearts, minds, and spirits to this life-giving work.

Amen and Blessed Be.


I’ve added OUUC’s peace pole to the international map at Peace Pole Project. You can find it here.

Wishing you each some peace in your week,

Rev. Mary

P.S. After the September 18 service on Welcoming the Breath, Rev. Sara sent me this poem. It’s the sermon in a poem titled “The Anatomy of Peace”—how great is that? Enjoy.

The Anatomy of Peace by John Roedel

The Anatomy of Peace

An Note Regarding the Family of Miguel Ramos

Gratitude to everyone who contributed to support the family of Miguel Ramos, the young man who drown at Millersylvania Park. The family made their request and then some. Thank you for your generosity.

Welcome - by Rev. Sara Lewis

This year Rev. Mary and I are steering the worship, faith development, and community life programming around an annual theme and monthly themes that deepen our exploration of that annual theme. The annual theme is:

Building Beloved Community through a focus on anti-racism and the practice of coming together again, in person, online, and in covenant.

The September theme was WELCOME, and it was the launch of this new theme and this new church year. We practiced welcome in many ways this month. In worship, we invited in Welcome as the ingathering and water communion on 9/11, and as Rev Mary invited us to Welcome the Breath on 9/18, and I invited us to welcome our whole selves into this community and into praxis on 9/25.

We also welcomed the start of many new religious education programs, with the launch of our 7th-9th grade Our Whole Lives class and an Anti-Racism class for elementary grade children, both on Thursday evenings. And speaking of Thursday evenings, we have welcomed community in for a weekly meal hosted in the Commons, every Thursday 5:30pm.

For those dinners, someone asked me recently if they will always be vegetarian. The answer is mostly Yes, because I believe that is the most welcoming thing to do. When we make our menu plans, we are hoping to make something that will be good and healthy and tasty and accessible by most people. If we aim for vegan food, with maybe a bit of animal product on the side at times, we will meet the needs of most of the people, since an omnivore can eat vegan. And there is plenty of wonderful food to welcome onto our tables, even with that restriction. Come and check out the food, and the good company!

Another event we held this month was to welcome our new Peace Pole. If you haven’t seen it yet, look for it right at the top of the stairs leaning to the main doors facing East End Street. We dedicated the pole and had a lovely potluck dinner together on the 24th.

The energy, enthusiasm, and attendance have all been great this month. In fact, attendance on Sundays has reached a point where we are thinking about the Sunday schedule and how many worship services we need to have. We want to remain a community of welcome! If you are interested in being part of that conversation, you can join Rev Mary and myself this Sunday, Oct 2nd, at 11:30 for a discussion of the Sunday service schedule.

As we leave this theme and move on to Covenant, what aspects of Welcome do we want to carry forward? What or who are you welcoming into your life? When do you feel welcomed? What are the blocks to welcome? How can we be a welcoming community? I would love to hear your thoughts on all of these questions!

Books, Brownies, and Beans, happening Nov. 5th

Books, Brownies, and Beans, happening Nov. 5th, needs two things from you right now: books and time. Bring your books, your neighbors’ books, your family’s books! We also need volunteers to sort books a couple of times a week now, plus a whole crew to join together and create this awesome fundraiser the first week of November.

We’ll be moving books into the container at 4:45 p.m. today. Strong volunteers appreciated! Bring a dolly if you have one. For more information on how to help make this event happen, contact us.

Community Dinners Have Begun!

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This week’s dinner will be “Buddha Bowls” (Rice, plant based proteins, veggies, and fun toppings and sauces). Donations accepted. Volunteers welcome! Sign up here.

Following this dinner, there will be:

  • 6:30 p.m. Growing Anti-Racist Kids Class (Spirit Play Room)
  • 6:30 p.m. 7th-9th grade Our Whole Lives (Classroom 5)
  • 7 p.m. Spiritual Practices (Sanctuary)


Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.