July 8 Annual Poetry Service: Resilience

This service will feature several members of the congregation reading poems of their choosing (written by them or another author), related to the overall theme of “Resilience.” RESILIENCE: Latin, resilīre – to spring back, rebound 1)  the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or adversity; toughness; buoyancy 2)  the power or ability to return to an original form or position, after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. If you are interested in reading a short poem related to the theme of “Resilience,” and also briefly speaking about why that poem is meaningful to you, please contact Lisa Reitzes at lisa.reitzes@seattlechildrens.org  no later than

Continue reading

Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains – Word Meanings Matter

One of my favorite lines from the Chinese wisdom book The Tao te Ching (ca. 3rd century before common era) by Lao Tzu is “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” (verse 64). It’s very familiar to many people here in the Western world. The words seem straightforward. The journey began with a first step. I don’t know about anyone else, but that suggests to me that whatever journey I am thinking about started some time ago “back when.” Here’s an example. Westside’s journey began many years ago in 1959 when a group of people began to meet here

Continue reading

We’re In This Together: Nearing the End – Patti McCall, Board President

The final words of my final letter to you as Board President is about the upcoming year. WSUU has experienced a long transitional period. Rev. Peg retired just shy of three years ago. Our DRE Betsy Lowry retired a year later. We had an interim minister who stayed with us just one year and who was fortunately followed by the steadfastness of Rev. Alex Holt. Our hardworking and conscientious Ministerial Search Team of 2017 finished their year of work without the satisfaction of a settled minister. Now we learn our beloved chaplain, Rev. Mark Newton will be retiring at the

Continue reading

DRE Column for May – Chaplaincy Institute Graduation and Ordination

It is with great joy and excitement that I announce that I have graduated from the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley and have been approved for ordination as an Interfaith Minister and chaplain.  The ordination ceremony will be held on September 22, 2018 in Berkeley. In the world of Religious Exploration, we DREs are responsible for finding creative ways to encourage, inspire, and support the work of faith exploration and formation at home and at church. As Westside’s RE program evolves to keep pace with the evolution of the needs and availability of children, volunteers, and parents, I am ensuring that

Continue reading

Minister’s Musing Among the Mountains – Week of May 4

“What’s the hardest part of being an interim Minister?” The above question was one of those questions from last summer’s “Stump the Minister” service. I’d planned to respond to the unanswered questions over the course of this church year. Events caught up with us and I had to delay the responses until now. So, what is the hardest part of being an interim minister? The main challenge is moving every year or two (or occasionally 3 years as here). Everything in a temporary home has to be sold, given away, or packed up to move to a new location. Books

Continue reading

Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains – Week of April 18

“Are We Having a Church Fight?” Someone asked me that question recently. I had to pause for a moment to think about the implications of what they were asking. After all, we all *know* that church fights are bad… I forget what I said exactly in response, but I wouldn’t call any of the conversations at Westside to be in the category of church fight. I’d suggest instead that what’s going on is a spirited conversation. More on that below. The image of a classic church fight is not a pretty one. One cartoon I saw years ago imagined a

Continue reading

Poetry and Gratitude – Cynthia Westby, Dir. of RE for Children and Youth

What if you woke up each morning to a poem instead of an alarm?  Poet Naomi Shihab Nye, famous for her poem “Kindness” (you can read it here:  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/kindness), woke her son up for years with poetry from poets all over the world.  Always short, sometimes just a stanza of a poem, that morning’s poem would come up, over time, in the family’s conversations as their son brought up the feelings and ideas evoked in him by the poem of the morning. What would grow in us if we took time each day for poetry?  What would grow in our

Continue reading

Why We Can’t Shy Away from the Term “White Supremacy” – Tracy Burrows, Social Justice Council Chair

At a Social Justice Council meeting earlier this month, we discussed plans for a new Racial Justice initiative at Westside. We’d met with representatives from Eastshore UU’s Beloved Racial Justice group and we’d reached out to nearby UU congregations to see if they were interested in joining with us to offer the UUA curriculum Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity. We also discussed Eastshore UU’s advice that we not begin our conversations on racial justice effort with the term “white supremacy.” We heard that the term was too divisive – especially for congregants who are just beginning to understand

Continue reading