Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recent happenings....

Picture to the left: The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover on the evening of April 24, 2010.

Lots of interesting happenings lately at the UUCiA -- and at the UUA, with UUCiA folks participating...

First, last Saturday night on April 24, we had "An Evening of Irish Literature and Music", featuring UUCiA friend Thomas Rice doing readings from his memoir, Far from the Land. Readings from the book were interspersed with musical performances by Rose Clancy (of the Clancy family tradition, on fiddle and mandolin) accompanied by Stuart Pete (on guitar and tin whistle).

Above, Picture to the Left: Thomas Rice starts his reading... Picture to the Right: Rose Clancy and Stuart Peet begin to play...

It was truly a wonderful evening, lots of fun... One of my favorite moments was when Thomas surprised us all by jamming (playing harmonica) with Rose and Stuart. They sounded great together!

To purchase Thomas Rice's book, Far from the Land -- and to benefit the UUCiA in the process -- click this link.

Yesterday, April 28, was also a big day. It started out with three of us (two adults and one youth) participating in the UU Mass Action Network's Advocacy Day. The day began at the UUA "headquarters" at 25 Beacon Street, with some training and education. Speakers included State Senator Susan Tucker (a member of the UUCiA, as a matter of fact) and State Representative Byron Rushing.

Picture to the left: Nancy Banks, Executive Director of the UU Mass Action Network, introduces State Rep. Byron Rushing.

All three of us UUCiA participants learned a lot and had a meaningful day. The fifth principle of Unitarian Universalism is "The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large", and Advocacy Day fit into this quite nicely.

We had a chance to speak up for homeless prevention programs, climate change prevention programs, health equity programs, and transgender rights.

It was a full and inspiring day!

Then, later yesterday evening, it was back to the UUCiA and the "Full Moon Drumming Circle". These drumming circles are so much fun -- so healing and uplifting. Don't miss the next one, on May 26. All are welcome!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Full Moon Drumming Circle!

Join us Wednesday, April 28, at 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover (UUCiA) to celebrate the full moon with drums and rhythm instruments. All are welcome, no experience necessary. Drums/instruments provided. UUCiA address: 6 Locke Street, Andover, MA. It's FUN!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Irish Literature and Music

Please join us at the UUCiA, 6 Locke Street, Andover
this Saturday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. for

"An Evening of Irish Literature and Music"

This program features local author Thomas Rice. Rice will be reading excerpts from his new book Far from the Land, a fascinating memoir describing growing up in rural Ireland in the 40’s and 50’s.

In addition, Rosemary Clancy will play fiddle, mandolin and banjo, alternating with the reading. Rosemary Clancy’s father belonged to the famous Clancy tradition band, The Irish Ramblers.

Books will be available for purchase, and the author will be signing. Proceeds from the book sale will go Haitian Relief. Admission is free, but donations to Haitian Relief accepted at the door.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Great weekend at the UUCiA!

Picture to left: The big screen at the UUCiA -- very nice for showing a movie!

This past weekend at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover was a great one....

On Saturday night, we had our first "movie night". (Free of charge -- bring your own beverage, we supply popcorn!) We showed Capitalism: A Love Story, which was just as thought-provoking as we had hoped it would be.

The turn-out was wonderful -- something like 20 people came. Not bad!

We asked everyone to bring a lawn chair (or other comfortable chair) to sit in, and that worked out well. It was cute to see our sanctuary filled up with lawn and beach chairs -- maybe next time we'll have to have a beach ball!

The very next evening, Sunday night, we had another strong turnout for a special program of the 15th Annual Women's Spirituality Series: "Female Spiritual Heritages of Crete, Greece, & the Aegean". Scholar Max Dashu gave a wonderful PowerPoint presentation and talk... fascinating stuff!

Picture to left: Scholar Max Dashu (with shadow!) explaining some history with a map of the region.

We learned quite a bit about goddesses, priestesses, and women’s rituals from 6000 BCE to 200 CE.

Max had some wonderful images of female figurines, Cycladic marbles, Cretan frescos... She also had some images I had never seen before of bee seeresses, snake women, bear girls, shamanic dancers and crone masks.

The visuals were wonderful!

I learned a lot about patriarchy’s impact on the goddess traditions over time.

Picture to the left: Just one of many images shown on the UUCiA screen.

We saw many rare images from the legendary Suppressed Histories Archives collection.

For more information visit

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Female Spiritual Heritages of Crete, Greece, & the Aegean

The 15th Annual Women’s Spirituality Series presents

Female Spiritual Heritages of Crete, Greece, & the Aegean
a visual presentation by Max Dashú
Sunday April 18, 2010 7:00pm Suggested Donation: $15 Unitarian Universalist Congregation 6 Locke Street, Andover, MA 01810

Ancestors, goddesses, priestesses, and women’s ritual, 6000 BCE to 200 CE. Female figurines, Cycladic marbles, Cretan frescos and seals; bee seeresses, snake women, bear girls, shamanic dancers and crone masks; archaic Hera and Artemis, the Mistress of Animals, Hekate, Gorgons, the Furies, Medea—and patriarchy’s impact on mythology. This isn’t the Greece we were taught!

Rare images from the legendary Suppressed Histories Archives collection. For more information visit

Thursday, April 15, 2010

a "found poem" of sorts

At a recent Veterans for Peace meeting, a member shared this poem... It touched me, so I wanted to share it here:

Directions to the Armorer
by Elder Olson

All right, armorer,
Make me a sword-
Not too sharp,
A bit hard to draw,
And of cardboard, preferably.
On second thought, stick
An eraser on the handle.
Somehow I always
Clobber the wrong guy.

Make me a shield with
Insignia. I'm often
A little vague
As to which side I'm on,
What battle I'm in.
And listen, make it
A trifle flimsy,
Not too hard to pierce.
I'm not absolutely sure
I want to win.

Make the armor itself
As tough as possible,
But on a reverse
Principle: don't
Worry about its
Saving my hide;
Just fix it to give me
Some sort of protection-
Any sort of protection-
From a possible enemy

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter, and a clean, new look

Left: Our spring quilt and Easter flowers on the altar.

This Saturday, we had a spring clean-up at the UUCiA. Our wonderful volunteers cleaned up our building and grounds in all sorts of ways. The plants and grounds look so much better, as do the floors and walls. The kitchen is looking great. Really, a big, big improvement. Thank you to all who came and helped!

Saturday evening we had a wonderful potluck dinner for the Rev. Peter Richardson, the congregation's minister emeritus, and Eleanor Richardson, the congregation's former music director (Peter and Eleanor are married). It was a fun homecoming, with long-time congregants clearly happy and touched to see Eleanor and Peter again (and Peter and Eleanor happy and touched, too).

Peter and Eleanor were in town because Peter delivered the Easter Sunday sermon, and led the service. I wish I could have been there to hear it! (See a blurb on Peter and Eleanor's return in the Andover Townsman at this link. See Peter's website at this link.)

Below are more improvements from our spring clean-up:

Above: We added a flaming chalice poster, for some color in the sanctuary.

Above: The bulletin board was re-covered, and looks so much better! It blends with our banner, too.

Above: Now our entryway is more colorful with these two hangings.

Above: Detail of the new hanging. I love it!