the OUUC spark

December 1, 2022

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Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you. ~Rumi 

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On Refuge - Rev. Mary Gear

This is the month when we tell the ancient story of a young woman giving birth to a child in the refuge of a barn because there was no room at the inn. In this month we tell the ancient story of an oil lamp that miraculously burned for eight nights in a temple, a sanctuary, a refuge. In this month, we tell the ancient story of darkness, hibernation, refuge, and the return of the light.

These stories will help us explore our monthly spiritual theme of “refuge.”

Refuge is shelter or protection from danger or trouble; it is safety, comfort. We can find refuge in a place or a person or people. Refuge can be a thing or a time. Refuge can be an idea or what some call God/Spirit/Universe.

What comes to your mind and heart when you hear “refuge”?

We are coming through a hard time of upheaval and change. Where have you found refuge?

One of the places I find refuge is in nature, and I know I’m not alone in that. As I write this, snow is falling in Olympia, blanketing the trees with white, making it quiet. That it won’t last is part of the magic.

I also find refuge in the sanctuary at OUUC. The place is beautiful, for sure. But it is people that make it a place of refuge. It is our presence that makes it a sanctuary.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned that sanctuary can be bigger than a place; it can extend outside of walls into cyberspace and across state lines. My experience of refuge has changed.

How about yours?

As we enter this time of holidays and holidays...and busyness, here are some lines from John O’Donohue’ s poem “For One Who Is Exhausted” from his book To Bless the Space Between Us.

You have been forced to enter empty time.

There is nothing else to do now but rest

And patiently learn to receive the self

You have forsaken in the race of days.

Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in our senses, open up

To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain

When it falls slow and free.

Draw alongside the silence of stone

Until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,

Having learned a new respect for your heart

And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

Blessings on your month.

Rev. Mary

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Modified OUUC Schedule for This Snowy Thursday, December 1

It's snowing in West Olympia with freezing temperatures expected, so we're closing the OUUC building for today. Please stay home and safe, and join us online.

Here's what will happen with today's events:

  • No office hours today. Please reach out to OUUC staff by email or phone.

  • No community dinner tonight. Please join us next Thursday for plant-based sloppy joes and coleslaw.

  • The "Building the World We Dream About" class will meet at 6:30 pm online only for today. For class participants, check out today's email from Sara for the link.

  • The 7 pm spiritual practice with Rev. Mary will be online only. (The spiritual theme of refuge seems especially relevant today!)

    Here's the Zoom link:

    Meeting ID: 874 3878 6949
    Passcode: 297714

  • The "Our Whole Lives" (OWL) class is cancelled and will resume next week.

  • The Building Anti-racist Kids class is also cancelled and will be rescheduled.

Thank you and see you soon!


Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.