the OUUC spark

October 13, 2022

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Feeling Overwhelmed? Try Gratitude. - Rev. Mary Gear

OUUC is among congregations of all kinds that started a new church year in September. For congregational staff and volunteers, it can feel like a lot to launch a new year with new programs. And with Covid, there is an extra layer of considerations and complexity.

This video from The First Church in Belmont Unitarian Universalist in Belmont, Massachusetts was a good reminder that sometimes when we’re feeling like life is a bit much, it’s a good time to remember our favorite things with gratitude.

Our Favorite Things

Some of their favorite things about the fall return to church are worship with choirs, people returning in brand new life stages, children and families, learning and growing, stretching and thriving, and exploring our knowing.

I’d say those are some of my favorite things, too. What are your favorite things this fall?

Blessings on your week.

Rev. Mary

P.S. Just to be clear, it’s First Church in Belmont that is doing the musical “The Sound of Music” this fall, not OUUC. But I hear there’s an OUUC cabaret in the works! Stay tuned!

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Thursday Evening Spiritual Practice

Thursday Evening Spiritual Practice is an opportunity to pause and catch up with ourselves mid week. Spiritual practice is the act of connecting to ourselves, to each other, and to something greater.

What to Expect:

The Spiritual Practice session begins at 7 p.m. in the OUUC Sanctuary and on Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 874 3878 6949
Passcode: 297714

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Covenants Are How We Live Our Values - by Rev. Sara Lewis

As I wrote last week, the Article II Study Commission has proposed some shared UU values as the first step of re-imagining our shared covenant (the 7 Principles). When I first saw their presentation at General Assembly in June, I was really moved by this approach. They asked us to think about our commitments as extensions of our values, and then to put them into action. For instance, we value Respect. So then what are the active commitments that flow from that value? What do we promise to actually Do because we value respect? And, what might we promise to Not do?

Contrast this approach to some of the other ways we have typically gone about making covenants. Often a new group will just start with the question “what agreements will help us work together?”. That’s not a bad place to start, but it assumes that we share values and understandings that we may not. And it jumps us right into a pragmatic place of managing behaviors, a rules mindset, rather than keeping us rooted in our hopes and highest aspirations.

Since I saw the values-first approach at GA, I’ve tried this approach each time I’ve guided a group through covenanting: the kids at Chalice Camp, the adult study/action circles I’m working with, and the OUUC youth groups. You can see some snippets of the Youth Group process in this video.

Youth Group Covenanting

Even with all these different age groups, the process has been really deep and moving. Values commonly listed first have included respect, love, and equity. Safety and responsibility also come up. Growing and learning, justice, courage, and honesty. So many important values that we share! And then after we have a list of values, we have moved to the question: how do we live these values? What are the actions we take because we value these things? What does that actually look like in action?

The way that we make covenant together in our small groups, our congregations, our association, and in other ways are all beautiful expressions of our deepest values. It is much deeper than just agreeing on a few rules. It’s a deeply spiritual practice, and central to our faith.

What values do you commit yourself to in your life? What covenants have you made, explicitly and implicity? What does covenant ask of you, and what does it give you?

Happy 70th Anniversary OUUC! by Rev. Mary Gear

On October 6, 1952, the Unitarian Fellowship of Olympia (UFO) was recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a member congregation of the UUA. The UFO grew and changed over the years became the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation in 1986. The congregation has grown in size to the thriving mid-sized congregation we know today. We can celebrate that for 70 years OUUC has been a liberal religious presence in Olympia.

If you’d like to know more about OUUC’s history, you can read the history of the first 60 years here, and you can watch our service from April 20, 2022 as we prepared to celebrate the 70th anniversary and my installation.

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Thank you to Tim Ransom and Emily Ray for compiling the first 60 years of OUUC. And, thanks to Tim, Emily and Lee Doyle for the festivities this year to help us celebrate.

These past 10 years have been very full and OUUC has transformed in that time. If someone is willing to capture the history of the past decade, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Anniversary OUUC!

Rev. Mary

Note: Rev. Mary will be away for a family visit out of state from Thursday, Oct. 13 through Monday, Oct. 17. She’ll return to OUUC and email on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

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Community Dinner Starts at 5:30 PM!

This week’s dinner will be catered by Olive Garden. 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)
  • 6:30 p.m. Defund Fear workshop (Classroom 3)
  • 7 p.m. Spiritual Practices (Sanctuary)

Faith in Action: UU The Vote!

UU the Vote: Faith Is An Action Word

UU the Vote Campaign Manager JaZahn Hicks and UUA Field and Programs Director Nicole Pressley talk about the importance of UU the Vote in the home stretch of the 2022 election and why its critical for everyone to get involved in.

To get involved, go to


Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.