Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shofar, shogood?*

We are blessed at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover to have a shofar.

And just what is a shofar? A shofar is a horn, usually made out of a ram's horn, used in some Jewish worship services. The shofar is used particularly for the "Days of Awe" -- the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Joshua famously makes the walls of Jericho come tumbling down by blowing the shofar.

This Sunday, September 27, my sermon will be about Yom Kippur from a Unitarian Universalist perspective. I am especially looking forward to blowing the shofar. I have no special training in this, mind you, but as an enthusiastic (but very amateurish!) trumpeter, I'm able to get a decent sound out of it. Let's hope I manage to do this Sunday under pressure!

I have noticed that the shofar has a rather unpleasant smell. It turns out that this is common, and it's apparently due to the rotting flesh of the ram. It's a real horn, after all. Some refer to this smell as "shofaritis". On my list of things to do this week is to clean the shofar the best I can, because let me tell you... the smell can nearly knock you out!

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a wonderful and inspiring holiday indeed. To quote Robert Eller-Isaacs, "We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love." May it be so.

Visit the website for Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness, (according the the website) "an organization committed to addressing the Jewish dimension of Unitarian Universalism’s multicultural challenge." Among other things, UUJA works "to help people deepen their understanding of Judaism and the ways it has impacted, and can continue to develop, our Unitarian Universalist faith."

*I thought I had invented "shofar, shogood" when I first thought of it, but a Google search reveals that many, many people before me thought of this! I guess everyone loves a pun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Full Equality

It was so wonderful to see you on September 13 for our Opening Sunday and Water Communion! I particularly enjoyed hearing your stories of the summer, and of what the water you brought meant to you.

The UUA's Standing on the Side of Love campaign (link here) is something that I will follow closely this year. One of the issues that the SSL campaign is addressing now is full equality under the law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

This is something that I believe in strongly. Recently, the Rev. Bill Sinkford, former President of the UUA, spoke out on over-turning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). See him speak on this YouTube video:

You can do your part to "stand on the side of love" too. Click here to sign the UUA-sponsored "Standing on the Side of Love" petition for full equality.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

article in today's Andover Townsman

There is a very nice article about the UUCiA and "the new minister" in today's Andover Townsman. To read it, click this link.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New sign, and Water Communion coming!

Above: Our newly painted sign. Click on the image to see it enlarged.

Thanks to our wonderful congregants, we have a newly painted sign. It is much easier to read from the street. That's a good thing, because we really want people to come and join us!

Our first Sunday worship service of the 2009-2010 year "congregational year" will be on September 13, starting at 10:30 a.m.: "Water Communion", a gathering ceremony often used in Unitarian Universalist congregations on "homecoming" Sundays. All are invited to bring a small quantity of water to the service, sharing why the water is special or representative of the summer. It will be wonderful to be together again, and to meet new friends! (The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover is located at 6 Locke Street in downtown Andover.)