Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St Croix

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Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Croix – September, 2015 News Alert

Dear Members, Friends, and Visitors – Greetings! I hope each of you had a great summer no matter where you spent it – on or off Island!

One of the things I most like about St. Croix is our sub tropical climate and the eastern trade winds that produces year round summer temperatures. And while Hurricane Season (July to November) can be a little distracting, a more welcome distraction is the start of the Fellowship year that begins the second Sunday in September to May. The Program Committee has once again worked its magic to identify top notch community meWelcome phrase in different languages. Word clouds concept.mbers that represent critical issues.

As you know, beginning in September, the second and fourth Sunday of each month the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship holds its worship services and features guest speakers’ that talk about key issues. As the minister I bring you homilies (short sermon talks) covering a range of topics. The first and third Sundays Covenant Group, facilitated by Gail Nealon, hosts interesting and thought provoking conversations.

Much like many state siders that have to set their clocks for time changes I invite you to adjust your schedules and activities to accommodate Fellowship services and Covenant Group at 10 A.M. on Sundays. We want to see your face in the place so we can welcome you back as we continue to build a community of individuals making a difference on our beautiful Island of St. Croix.

Don’t forget your water. This year the emphasis is on the importance and significance of water as a spiritual and justice issue. We will have extra water for those that need it!

Warmest Regards, Rev. Qiyamah



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Water Ceremony – September 13, 2015

The Water Communion, also sometimes called Water Ceremony, was first used at a Unitarian Universalist (UU) worship service in the 1980s. Many UU congregations now hold a Water Communion once a year, often at the beginning of the new church year (September).

Members bring to the service a small amount of water from a place that is special to them. During the appointed time in the service, people one by one pour their water together into a large bowl. As the water is added, the person who brought it tells why this water is special to them. The combined water is symbolic of our shared faith coming from many different sources. It is often then blessed by the congregation, and sometimes is later boiled and used as the congregation’s “holy water” in child dedication ceremonies and similar events.

Faith Without Borders

The Water Ceremony/ Communion Service is an excellent opportunity for Unitarian Universalist congregations to express their commitment to our Sixth Principle: We covenant to affirm and promote the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all. See Sixth Principle Resources for Water Communion Services.


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New UU Year 2015-2016

Welcome. Our first service for the fall begins September 13, at 10am.


Who are we? We Are Unitarian Universalists

We are brave, curious, and compassionate thinkers and doers. We are diverse in faith, ethnicity, history and spirituality, but aligned in our desire to make a difference for the good. We have a track record of standing on the side of love, justice, and peace.   

We have radical roots and a history as self-motivated spiritual people: we think for ourselves and recognize that life experience influences our beliefs more than anything.

We need not think alike to love alike. We are people of many beliefs and backgrounds: people with a religious background, people with none, people who believe in a God, people who don’t, and people who let the mystery be.

We are Unitarian Universalist and Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Atheist and Agnostic, believers in God, and more.

On the forefront of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer inclusion for more than 40 years, we are people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

We welcome you: your whole self, with all your truths and your doubts, your worries and your hopes. Join us on this extraordinary adventure of faith.


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Special Addition to our UU Calendar: February 1, 2015

Usually we are inspired by two services a month at UUFSC. However, this Sunday, February 1 we will be privileged to hear Rev. Edmund Robinson speak on the subject, Is Pleasure Enough? In addition, a number of the dancers that have convened on STX for Rev. Robinson’s dance classes will be in attendance. So come out and hear Rev. Robinson and his talented wife, Jacqueline at our usual time, 10-11 AM.

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Newsletter-January 2015

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Croix

The Fellowship meets at the Jewish Community Center in Herman Hill (Route 83) the second and fourth Sundays September-May. Services and Sunday School are held at 10 AM.

Refreshments and conversation follow.

Upcoming Schedule of Services

1/11 Stewardship Sunday-  Rev. Qiyamah Rahman

The service will be followed by a potluck lunch

1/25 Religious Education Sunday – Rev. QiyamahRahman

2/1   Bonus Service-Guest Rev. Edmund Robinson

Covenant Group

Stewardship Sunday: a reminder

On January 11, 2015 we will celebrate Stewardship Sunday. The focus will include how we can support our congregation with our time, talent and treasure. Susan Kraeger will briefly describe the pledge campaign for 2015.  A pledge brochure will be available at the door.  We will gather for a pot luck lunch after the service.

Minister’s Column

Happy new year to each and everyone of you. I must confess that I make new years’ resolutions although many believe it is a waste of energy and time because we tend to fall short of our promises to ourselves. I am an eternal optimist and so I make promises that I do not always keep but I find that I need to set goals for myself and push and test my resolve to carry them out. I am getting better and better with them. Perhaps I deem it important that I be as meticulous with my words and promises to myself as I am with my words and promises to others. My resolution is to keep doing those things that are working in my life and to show up with integrity to present my gifts to the world as my legacy. Sweet and Simple! Someone that inspires me to do this (and I have many role models) is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I quote from his speech, I Have a Dream…his last before his death four days later at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.  He said, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top and I don’t mind. Like anybody, I’d like to live a longggg life. But longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up the mountain and I’ve looked over and I’ve seeeeeen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. ”

That was Dr. King’s final sermon and his final words to the public. It was the bravery of a woman, Rosa Parks, on Dec. 1, 1955 that forever changed his life and catapulted him onto the national and international arena, for he first came to our attention with the Montgomery Bus Boycott as a result of her refusal to give up her seat. Others joined in a boycott that lasted for a year and ended with black folks in Montgomery, Alabama saying, Yes We Can. Eventually bus segregation was ruled unconstitutional, hence, a major civil rights accomplishment. Dr. King as we know is known for his articulate sermons and impassioned speeches in which he spoke out against injustices, such as racism. In the spring of 1968 he began to also denounce materialism and ultimately militarism.  Dr. King challenged our nation’s moral authority and memory. He challenged America to make good on its promises of justice and freedom for all people. King’s legacy created a new narrative – one that was interfaith as well as culturally and racially diverse, a narrative that we are still attempting to make good on in this country.
Every Sunday here at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Croix we affirm and invite people of different faiths, different cultures, races, economic status and different sexual orientations to join us in worship. So we are carrying on Dr. King’s legacy through the Unitarian Universalist tradition of inclusion. January 11th is Stewardship Sunday. In order to carry on Dr. King’s legacy, our Unitarian Universalist legacy we need your support. We need your time, your talents and your treasure. We need your commitment to help carry out the vision of inclusion. We need your commitment to help carry out our mission of justice, democracy and honoring the inherent worth and dignity of humanity. I am pained as I watch broken hearted the injustices and carried out day after day. I cannot bring myself to speak of them from the pulpit because of my grave distress. I would be a blubbering mess in five minutes. When I say I am heart broken I do not speak these words lightly. But I have not given up. Yes, some days I am overwhelmed that what Dr. King and so many others fought for are not even recognizable rights. I am dismayed at the state of our conversation on race. The state of our conversation on interfaith dialogue. I am holding us in the best light because I know that we are capable of so much more. What it will take to produce our highest and best good requires your time, talent and treasure. I promise to not give up and to stay the course and keep the faith if you promise that the battle is worthy of your time, talent and treasure.
Please go to the website at (  http://www.UUStCroix.org) for my complete sermon on Dr. King and getting to the Promised Land. Almost every Unitarian Universalist congregation stateside commemorates this great man during the month of January. Because we only meet twice a month it is really difficult to squeeze in all the holidays and topics deserving of our time. But two topics that are dear to my heart at the beginning of the new year is recognition that what we do matters, hence, Stewardship Sunday. And so I invite you to support the work of the UUFSC so that it continues. The other topic is Rev. Dr. King and his legacy that has served to inspire me and so many others. Let us keep the dream alive! Let us keep hope alive! Let us be dreamers and hope builders! We can make a difference!

Blessings! Rev. Qiyamah – See you on Sunday!

Adult Education at the Jewish  Community Center

Hello my U-U friends —

Rabbi Marna here, inviting you to join members of the Jewish community in our adult education opportunities over the next few months.

1) We will be diving deeply into the foundational stories of Genesis, using the wonderful Bill Moyers series BILL MOYERS: GENESIS – A LIVING CONVERSATION as our jumping-off point.  We will explore the Story of Creation, Temptation, The First Murder,  Apocalypse (Noah and the Flood), the stories of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, the Binding of Isaac, and much more. For this study group, everyone should have a Bible (any translation is fine — and if you don’t have one and don’t want to buy one, you can — of course! — read the relevant chapters

2) Upcoming: Thinking about Israel/Palestine and Jews and Muslims

This topic was raised as one of interest by members of the Jewish community last spring.  I have chosen three

movies which. I think, shed light on some of the complexities of the situation and will stretch us and provoke important discussion.  Dates are:

Saturday January 31 – The Lemon Tree [If you’ve read the book with the same title — this is not a movie version of

the book, but an entirely different story.]

Saturday February 28 – Precious Life

Saturday March 28 – Arranged

These films will be viewed at individual homes — more information to follow. All events are stand-alone — no need to make a long-term commitment.  Come whenever you can.  If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 340-514-7578.  Hope to see many of you!


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Newsletter: December 2014

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. Croix

The Fellowship meets at the Jewish Community Center in Herman Hill (Route 83) the second and fourth Sundays September-May. Services and Sunday School are held at 10 AM.

Refreshments and conversation follow.

Upcoming Schedule of Service

12/14-“There is Value in the Valley, Qiyamah Rahman

12/28-“Holidays/Holy Service”, Yoshea Daniels, Shelli Brin, Bruce Spector

Covenant Group

Message from the board President, Jim Nealon

Hi Everyone…here is a friendly reminder: as I mentioned at our last service, we will be taking up a special collection at our next service, on December 14th, for UUSC-UUA’s (the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association) Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund. If you wish to make a donation to this worthy cause, please bring your check made out to : UUSC- UUA Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund. Thank you.

If you also wish to make your year end donation to the UU Fellowship, we will be passing two baskets. Gail Nealon

Stewardship Sunday/a reminder…
On January 11, 2015 we will celebrate Stewardship Sunday. The focus will include how we can support our congregation with our time, talent and treasure. Susan Kraeger will briefly describe the pledge campaign for 2015. A pledge brochure will be available at the door. We will gather for a pot luck lunch after the service.

Minister’s Column (reprinted from November Newsletter)

Part II Reviving the Spirit

In this month’s column I am continuing the conversation about my theology, mystical humanism and my spiritual journey.

I am particularly inviting of others theologies because I am very eclectic in my own theological orientation, that is, a combination of African cosmology, Christianity, Islam, metaphysics (spirituality) and Humanism. As a minister and community activist I encourage respectful sharing and discussion but tend not to tolerate disrespectful “debating.” I believe it is disrespectful and unproductive and a waste of time since none of us can really prove our beliefs. So, yes discussion is acceptable along with friendly inquiries, but hostile arguments and rants are not acceptable. The theological diversity within Unitarian Universalism is what has kept me a Unitarian Universalist and continues to inspire me.

My theology includes some of the following beliefs and ideas: • human beings – homo sapiens, exist to find God/the Sacred/the Divine because humans seek the recognition that something greater than themselves exists.  • Our person hood matters because we are a reflection of the sacred life and energy of the Universe. • Love is the fundamental source of life and power. • Our existence calls forth a deliberate recognition of community which nurtures life and celebrates love.  • We possess freedom of choice and can decide between good and evil, and the doing of good or the doing of evil. However, humans have a propensity toward good unless other factors corrupt this tendency. All choices bring consequences. • Suffering is an inevitable outcome of the human existence. I do not view it as a “punishment” by something or someone outside of ourselves  • Humans are social creatures that seek community; this reflects our drive towards connections and our interdependence.  • Humans inner ecology is like that of a self organizing system. The “self” is mutable and influenced by internal and external experiences according to context and function.  • Human history is the product of human actions and thus humans of necessity are the supreme arbiters of values for human existence.

The theological context of my call to ministry includes the freedom to decide between good and evil. I am influenced by process theology in which God/goodness lures but does not coerce humans to good deeds. Thus, God/Spirit lured me (called me) and invited me to ministry to be of service. Thus, I chose to respond to a call and claimed a life for which ministry is my “lifestyle” “vocation” “life long pursuit” “my love” “my gift” to the world.

Womanist theologians such as Emilie Townes have also influenced my theology. Townes contends, “womanist spirituality is the deep kneading of humanity and divinity into one breath, one hope, one vision. Womanist spirituality is not only one way of living, it is a style of witness that seeks to cross the yawning chasms of hatreds and prejudices and oppressions into a deeper and richer love of God as we express Jesus in our lives.”

As I come into my senior years I am claiming the wisdom of time and grounding myself in the things that I know the most about – being Black and being female. I know a little bit about resiliency. On the other hand I sometimes feel that I know absolutely nothing about love. And yet I have been the recipient of much love. I simply did not recognize it at the time nor could I really appreciate it and receive love fully and completely. Some of the things we know we take for granted. Resiliency is one of the things I know about. I can talk about being picked up after shattering in what seemed like a million pieces and in the middle of all that – be able to turn my life around. I do not take that for granted. I do not assume that everyone knows how to reach inside or to call on powers and sources greater than themselves in the midst of life’s storms. I cannot tell you how to do it because you may need something else for your journey. But I know how to be present with you and to listen to you and affirm your journey. That is why I am called to ministry. My ministry is about inclusion and journeying with individuals.

What else could I talk about but the love which has carried me forward through the years? What else could I embrace but that which held me when I could not stand. What else could I know to name but communities of support that loved me through times when I could not love myself.


In a sermon titled, Are You a UU Mystic?, R.M. FEWKES on JUNE 6, 1999 stated, …There is virtually no religious system that does not include a mystical tradition–the Kabalah in Judaism, Sufism in Islam, Hindu yoga, Buddhist meditation, Gregorian chant, Quaker silence, shamanic journeying, native vision quests, and Unitarian Universalist Transcendentalist philosophy. Mysticism takes many forms and expressions–nature mysticism, soul-mysticism, ethical-mysticism, God-mysticism, the mysticism of love and service, knowledge and understanding.” According to Fewkes, most mystics speak a common language of personal experience and union with the divine, the all, or the holy.”

Fewkes further contends that mystical experience is often associated in the popular mind with the irrational or fanciful and not connected with the real world. Nothing could be further from the truth according to Fewkes. Fewkes states that, “Mystical experience has to do with a sense of unity and connection with reality–with nature, with people, with the web of life, with the soul, and with God. Nothing could be more natural than the experience of oneness with all that is. Science tells us we are part and parcel of nature through an evolutionary process manifest in natural law. Mysticism tells us that we are one with the whole of being and that our separateness is a transitory illusion. Science uncovers the truth of our connection with the natural world through reason and analysis. Mysticism comes to the truth of our interconnectedness through intuition and experience. They are two sides of the one coin of reality–the outer and the inner. The mystical and the rational are one. Reason, we should remember is both analytical and synthetic. We analyze, decipher and test the reality we encounter in order to figure out how it all hangs together. It’s like drawing a picture by first deciphering the dots of reality, and then we take the next step by connecting the dots. Both the scientist and the mystic are engaged in the business of trying to connect the dots of reality, the first from within, the latter from without.”

” Mystics declare in one way or another that revelation is not sealed, that the discovery of truth and the encounter with ultimate reality is a continuing process. Walt Whitman, America’s poet of the soul, put it this way: “I do not say that Bibles and religions are not divine. I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out of you still. It is not they who give the life. It is you who give the life.”

Fewkes asserts that if we do extend beyond our skins, if we can function in both Sensory Reality and Clairvoyant Reality (and clairvoyance means “clear seeing”), then maybe we are at the point of beginning to understand the unities and universals of our Unitarian Universalist faith.”

“Unitarianism says we are all one (because God is One and we are part and parcel of God), while Universalism says we are all linked to a universal reality from which we can never be separated (because God is Love and salvation and wholeness are forever and always available to all).”

Fewkes maintains that Unitarian Universalism is grounded in a mystical sense of connection of each to all, and all to each. Our Unitarian Universalist Principles and Purposes refers to “the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part”, and then goes on to talk about the “direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.” If that is not a mystical statement then I do not know what is. It is time for us to reclaim and own our Transcendentalist mystical heritage. It is both the source of our sense of connection to the whole of being, and of our social conscience that recognizes our connection to one another in justice and love, and our responsibility to the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part.”

Blessed Be! Rev. Qiyamah


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