SOCIAL HOUR

I welcome anyone to sign up for coffee hour. I can/will support anyone who wants to help with coffee hour. My phone to call is 413-447-9305. I welcome and support anyone thx, Ben.

Ben Foley, Organizer  🙂

SHARING AND CARING WELCOMES KATHERINE HOAK

We all know the importance of receiving acknowledgements indicating support when we are going through difficult times.  Those contacts are very important to all of us.  It’s important that the contacts be continued.  Therefore, please let me know when you’re aware of one of us is either ill or injured or somehow “under-the-weather,” so I can respond to those concerns.

My e-mail is: wkhoak@gmail.com.  My phone: 413-212-8240.

Katherine

Finding a Place by Kim Rivers

I can’t even remember what initially drew me in the church door. I’d gone in and out of the building for years. Classes, conferences, parties, meetings, concerts, I’ve been coming to 175 Wendell Ave for at least 30 years. Despite all the ins and outs, I’d never attended a service. I may have sat in the sanctuary, but there was no way I was going to church!

 

Growing up I attended catechism, which is school framed on the teachings of the Catholic Church. I wasn’t too swayed even as a youngster. Something about the whole premise of hierarchy and needing an intermediary to communicate with god didn’t sway me. I questioned everything much to the chagrin of the nuns and priests. I did make my first communion, but was never confirmed. I appreciate that when I told my mother I didn’t want to continue going to Catechism or church she agreed. Hence I sometimes jokingly call myself an almost catholic. I explored a number of other churches, but none resonated. It was in 7th grade through a course in Greek mythology that I had my first inklings of polytheism. This led me to the modern incarnation of Wicca. This is where I found my spiritual footing.

 

Wiccan and other pagan spiritual belief systems offered me freedom from original sin (because being born female meant I was already condemned) and deep connections with nature. No longer was I removed from other beings or the divine. I was a representation of the divine. This is what I think most spiritual seekers are after; not just a higher power to guide their lives, but a potential mirror to see themselves as more than the limits of their body, mind, and heart. Too often I’ve found these aspects of myself can be in competition and without some guiding principles formed into beliefs and values my id would rule most of my day-to-day. It’s not for lack of rational thought to temper my more primal drives, but rational thought sometimes needs a leaping off place. Enter the longing for spiritual connection and guidance.

 

When a friend invited me to the UU, I came with curiosity, but also some skepticism. It was church after all and I’d already rejected that model of spiritual pursuit. It seems however the cosmos had some different ideas to put before me. I found warmth, kindness, and compassion amongst the UUs. I also found folks from different spiritual traditions, including the pursuit of the intellect. I also found that my own spiritual beliefs or pursuits were not at odds with the UU principles I’d have not thought I’d find a resonance with others in the formal framework of worship. Perhaps it was that there are no doctrines per se, but only the now familiar principles based on dignity, justice, and actively living these in our community, not just confined to the walls of the church on a Sunday.

 

So too there’ve been times of strife and discord, but that seems to come with any large group from different backgrounds. I’ve seen the Pittsfield UU go through many growing pains. Heck, I’ve contributed to those pains sometimes, but what endures for me is the commitment people bring by returning again and again despite the strife. Some longtime members have chosen to step away. The reasons are as varied as the person, yet still this place endures. And as I sit here and write, I ponder the future. No one knows what comes next, but for the UU I think it’ll continue to draw people in seeking a path to share with others the deep meaning of what it means to engage the divine.

Letter from Carol Moak, UUCP Board President

Transformation.  Renewal.  Community.  Energy.  These are some of the concepts that have come out of the board meetings that were held over the summer to discuss our church’s future.  Although we recognize that we have problems regarding having enough money and having a dwindling membership (the same issues that most churches have), we feel committed to finding ways to revitalize our church community.  We believe in our 7 Principles, and we believe that when we come together each week, we become a part of a greater whole.

We meet each Sunday to share a spiritual – and often educational – experience.  We celebrate each other’s joys, and support each other in our sorrows.  We become a family that cares, loves, and yes, sometimes argues.  And that’s okay.  It’s better to disagree and to talk things out than to keep a perceived hurt inside and allow it to fester.

On that note, we plan to have a Congregational Meeting in late September or early October to discuss our challenges as a community, and to seek ways of transforming ourselves into a vital and re-energized family.  I hope that we will approach our issues with an attitude of creativity, positivity, and love.  Even when we disagree – and we will – we must remember that we are all working toward the same goal, and that we respect and care about each other.

Until then, Peace and Love, Carol