August 2016 Connection


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Issue No. 1908

Venice, FL

August 2016


Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: 10:00am

August 7, 2016: "In All Thy Getting, Get Understanding"

Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd. This Sunday, our sermon was recorded at this summer's General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio. Every so often a sermon comes along that becomes pivotal for our entire progressive movement, and this just might be one of them. You will not want to miss the spectacular Nancy McDonald Ladd!

August 14, 2016: "Unbroken"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. American Olympian Louis Zamperini's story of survival in Japanese POW camps in World War II sounds like the stuff of movies. But the reality of that story honors all our veterans. (reprise of Nov. 8, 2015)

August 21, 2016: "Going Both Ways"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. "here are only two ways to live your life," wrote Albert Einstein. "One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is." What Einstein didn't say is that these two approaches to life are mutually exclusive. (reprise of May 3, 2015)

August 28, 2016: Service

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. Topic to be announced.


Adult RE: Asta Linder House Rm. A

August 7, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: Kierkegaard's Paradox"

See how Kierkegaard presents faith as a gift from God, that, paradoxically can never be accepted by reason, no matter how diligently reason tries to "grasp" it. A Great Courses lecture with discussion to follow.

August 14, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: 19th Century Suspicion and Feuerbach"

Feuerbach, one of the major 19th century's critics of Christianity, sought to "unmask" the way religion prevents us from grappling with the reality of life. it. A Great Courses lecture with discussion to follow.

August 21, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: Marx - Religion as False Consciousness"

Karl Marx argued for a more materialistic interpretation of religion and culture, portraying religion as a symptom of human alienation grounded in social and economic structures. A Great Courses lecture and discussion.

August 28, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: Nietzsche and the Genealogy of Morals"

Friedrich Nietzsche was a critic of both religion and modernity. In The Genealogy of Morals you hear his view that the modern period is the culmination of the nihilistic "slave morality" at the heart of Judaism and Christianity.

Special Offering

August 14, 2016: Alliance for Fair Food

Alliance for Fair Food (AFF), is a network of people of faith and religious institutions that works in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to raise poverty wages and end modern-day slavery and human rights abuses in the fields. AFF brings the spiritual resources of diverse faith traditions and the moral weight of faith-based voices in society to our work in collaboration with farm workers for justice in the fields. Checks should be made out to UUCOV, with "Alliance for Fair Food" in the memo line.

Minister's Corner

There’s No Cancelling Hope

glasses-books 250x137It’s the middle of the summer in Venice and there’s not supposed to be much going on. So when Linda and I heard (thanks, Marilyn Marcus!) that Sarasota’s chief of police had agreed to meet the county NAACP to talk about recent events on the national scene, we wondered about attending. When we saw that the meeting would be at Bethel CME Church in the Newtown neighborhood, we decided we had to go.

One reason: Bethel CME is the church home of Dr. John Walker, his wife Meadow Lark, and the powerful choir you may have met when they rocked our sanctuary during Venice Interfaith’s Winter Series the last couple of Januarys.

When we drove up to the church north of downtown Sarasota, the streets were jammed with cars. But then an announcement was made that the meeting had been cancelled - something about ‘logistics,’ so the meeting would be rescheduled at a later date.

One man began telling people to meet at his church on MLK Drive, so we followed the crowd to a tiny one-room building with a nice front porch and a tinny loudspeaker set up outside.

When the meeting began, we pastors (Revs. Gina and Kelly had come from SunCoast Cathedral) were squeezed into the front of the room to sit in places of honor on the chancel. Linda and a bunch of her new BFF’s remained out on the porch.

A few people took the microphone to talk about the recent police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philandro Castile in Minneapolis. A few expressed sympathy for the five officers killed in a Dallas ambush. Many were there to vent their frustrations and air their grievances about their treatment at the hands of Sarasota police and sheriff’s deputies.

It was a long meeting without much focus; the only collective decision made was that they must meet again.

The main thing I left with was a sense of the extreme level of fear on our streets between the people in our communities and the police who are charged with protecting and serving them. But I also got a sense that people now understand that the police are as scared of the situation as they are and – as wrong as it may be – the people may be the ones who have to diffuse situations to help police officers remain calm so that residents stay alive.

One more thing: it gave me great hope to see such a diverse group gather to talk about solutions to huge problems and to hear the ideas of a bunch of young people who know that it’s up to them to make of this mixed-up, messed-up world what they can.

In the end, the people on the porch got drenched in a rainstorm and the people in the pews got drenched with sweat in the evening’s heat. But many went home having heard that we are not as divided as it sometimes seems.

And that Love just may, in fact, be the final answer.

Keeping the faith,


How to Contact Us

Mailing Address: UUCOV
1971 Pinebrook Road
Venice, Fl 34292-1563


Minister: Rev. Khleber Van Zandt V
Phone: 314-223-0551
Office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-1:00pm
Email or phone anytime to meet at a different time.

Office Administration: Nan Kritzler
Phone: 941-485-2105
Office hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am -Noon

Music Director: Steve Hanson
Phone: 630-346-1842

From the Board

General Assembly….the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists.

LyonDave150June 22-26, 2016. My first. Feeling anxious and somewhat apprehensive, I embarked on a 2 ½ hour drive to Columbus, Ohio to join 3,800 other UUs.

After an orientation, much appreciated by us newbies, and a regional meeting with our Southern District leaders, I attended the Opening Celebration. I knew then I was among friends and comrades. The energy escalated when the Rev. William T. Barber called us to action in the style of the Rev. Martin Luther King. Wow! Did he rock!

The next three days were filled with workshops with such catchy names as: Planned Giving Made Easy, Innovation & Inspiration for Stewardship, We Met on Line, and 360: With You At Every Turn. A total of 8 Workshop time slots with 18-20 program choices in each slot. Lots of options. I learned several things I will share with teams at UUCOV.

The business of UUA was conducted in five general sessions usually two hours in length. Our five delegates voted in these sessions. The Congregational Study/Action Issue chosen this year for a four year study was The Corruption of our Democracy, proposed by our own Kindra Muntz. Proud to see and hear Kindra and what a great cause!

Sunday Morning. A 180 voice choir including our own Leie Carmody, led by Dr. Glen Rideout. Talk about beautiful and inspiring!

The sermon was presented by Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd. She asked that we move past the internal fights about which bylaw gets changed this year, whether we cater to the Humanist or the Theist, whether we use the word God or god, and which color we paint the bathroom in order to address larger issues.

  • Infant mortality differences between races – racial inequality
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Gun control – assault weapon ban
  • Prison re-entry programs
  • Judicial reform to reduce sentences for non-violent offenders
  • Availability of low cost housing
  • Services for homeless
  • Voter registration
  • Immigration Policy – deportation prevention

These are issues I have listed that pertain to our corner of the country. They are issues that we can do something about. Which ones would you have us take on? Let’s talk and then choose a course of action.

Rev. Nancy challenged us, inspired us to thunderous applause. I felt moved and emotional. We held hands and sang. I felt at peace and yet inspired. I hope when we show the Sunday service at UUCOV you can feel that emotion.

-- Dave Lyon

Congregational Life

Why am I a Legacy Friend?

FeatherPenLegacy Friends help secure a strong financial for UUCOV with present gifts or future bequests.
(Marilyn and Charles Amick are in at UUCOV’s beginnings)
Having moved to Sarasota from NYC 1992, Charles and I loved our new home but were uneasy with the conservative atmosphere. To blend our disparate religious backgrounds, we chose the UU's and when a chance to start a new congregation arose, we answered the challenge. We came to love our new "home", where we met many wonderful people. We decided early on that our circumstances enabled us to make a lifetime commitment to see this congregation grow and prosper and we are so happy to be in such good company among the Legacy Friends.

Coordinating Council Team Highlights – What is goin’ on !!!

The following is some of the work your Teams were doing in July 

Social Events - Annual calendar is in process of being finalized.

Lifespan RE – Summer activities scheduled and planning for several initiatives in planning for the fall and winter in cooperation with VICA and the Venice Peace Initiative.

Campus Team - The utility room has been insulated to dampen sound to the Sanctuary; electrical receptacle has been added to allow additional coffee urn in the Sanctuary; and Wi-Fi has been set up for Asta Linder for Family Promise. Also, all buildings have been powerwashed .

Social Justice - announces that UUCOV is providing the use of Asta Linder to Family Promise for housing of families July 24th to August 1st. Other congregations will provide the volunteers but the Family Promise Coordinating Group will monitor the program daily.

Summer sandwich making for homeless is continuing as well as Community Dinners.

The UUCOV-sponsored CSAI (Congregational Study/Action Issue), “The Corruption of our Democracy” was selected at General Assembly; it is now UU’s four-year study and action topic.

Welcome/Membership - Summer visitors continue to join us on Sundays and volunteers are needed at the Welcome Table. If you are able to help out one Sunday during the summer please contact Eileen Leapley at .

Fiscal - The Legacy Committee held a focus group in July with some Legacy members to work on how to encourage participation in a meaningful manner. Further meetings to involve more Legacy members will be held in the fall.

If any of the above excites you, please join in. Room for all. Our committees are open to both members and visitors. A list of Team Leaders and their contact information is on the bulletin board on the lanai and is on our web site. Join in and be part of this energy. And if you have questions, just ask.

Thank You, Thank You

thanksThe Social Activities team wishes to express its heartfelt appreciation to our Board of Trustees for its unanimous vote in support of cost-free UUCOV social events. The team believes that this new direction will encourage enthusiastic participation by a wide variety of diverse audiences, while strengthening stewardship of all UUCOV members.

Please check the UUCOV calendar for announcements of upcoming events, as well as the weekly bulletin, Happenings and the monthly newsletter, Connection. You are sure to find several activities of interest to you.

Outdoor Living History Drama

Manatee Burying GroundWe’re alerting you now to an event on October 7th for which tickets will go on sale on Sept. 6th. They will sell out fast! On October 7th, a UUCOV contingent will attend “Spirit Voices from Old Manatee,” a living history outdoor drama and cemetery tour about the lives of early Southwest Florida. Thespians in period dress personify several of Manatee’s early pioneers interred at the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds. Their graveside dialogs are based on narratives from archives, descendants, diaries, military logs, books and legend. Please email your interest to  by Aug 30th. We will car pool from UUCOV leaving at 6 pm Friday October 7th.

Bon Giorno, Sicily

SicilyThe UUCOV Travel Groups announces the destination of its 4th trip. – a fabulous trip to SICILY in September 2017. An informational meeting, with dinner following, will be held on Thursday August 18th at 4 pm in the Sanctuary for adventurers and armchair travelers alike. A reprise of the event will be held for our seasonal members in January.

A representative from Collette Travel will describe our customized 12 day trip through Sicily, based in Palermo, designed to enable UUCOV members and friends to travel together. Join us for a fun evening of a Sicilian dinner, with beer and wine. Reserve a seat at the table by emailing Nancy Ryder or signing up on the lanai through August 14th. Dinner is $12 a person.

Lifespan Education

Message from our Director of Religious Education

WilliamsJaye150This month, I complete my recap of highlights from Connie Goodbread's workshop on Teaching As Relationship . She presented Lifespan Program Consultant Laurel Amabile’s model for viewing lifespan learning , which is based on Maria Harris' “Fashion Me a People”.
Amabile asserts that five aspects of congregation life can communicate its curriculum.

Social Justice

She stressed that it is incumbent on the congregation to be vigilant to guard against conflict between our explicit curriculum and our practices (implicit curriculum), e.g. a congregation expressing a desire to be inclusive, but doing little outreach to groups not already present in the congregation. To put it simply, walking the talk.

What does the lifespan education program offerings say about who we are? What does programming that currently isn't offered say about us? Where can we reduce, where needed, to gap between what we teach and the norms and practices we exhibit? I look forward to working on these topics together.

By The Sea, By The Sea, By The Beautiful Sea


In June, our YRE group was led by Karen Griffin on a nature-focused trip to Nokomis Beach. The children were provided with photos of a variety of plants, trees, shells and sea plant life to search for and find. It was a sparkling morning and our children dove in literally and figuratively! The following Sunday they used inspiration from their trip to create some amazing sea-themed art work.


Heads Up for Out-of-Towners

If you’re over 55 and think you might like to be part of a winter program, facilitated by Sylvia Hancock and Mary Helen Braceland , to write the odyssey of your life, remember to bring any useful background material such as pictures, letters, journals and diaries when you return to Florida later this year.

Spiritual Fellowship

The August drop-in Spiritual Fellowship Group will be facilitated by Barbara Walker on Thursday, August 18 from 1-3pm in Waters Hall. In what ways do your beliefs or disbeliefs affect your behavior, ethical system, relationships and avocations, and what were the sources of your personal philosophy?

Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language

LanguageThis month, we complete our Great Course on Linguistics, meeting Wednesdays 7-9pm, Asta Linder House Room A. The Great Courses video lectures are followed by a discussion facilitated by Charlotte Neagle.

A Summer History Discussion Forum

UUCOV and the Venice Area Historical Society continue to present 2 more forums focusing on the South after the Civil War. The monthly meetings take place at UUCOV on the first Tuesday of the month, 2 pm; Brad Jenkins and others will present overall material prior to discussion. JenkinsDiscussionReadings on each topic are suggested, but not a requirement. The books are available through the library system and from Amazon.
Tuesday, August 2, 2:00 PM, “Miss Scarlet's South”
Edwards, Anne. The Road to Tara: The Life of Margaret Mitchell, 2014.
Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind, 1936.
Pyron, Darden. Southern Daughter: The Life of Margaret Mitchell, 1991.
Tuesday, September 6, 2:00 PM, “Dixie Becomes America or Vice-Versa”
Bartley, Numan V. The New South, 1945-80: The Story of the South's Modernization, 1995
Daniel, Pete. Standing at the Crossroads: Southern Life in the Twentieth Century, 1996.

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club
The Book Club will not meet June-September; instead, members will participate in the Historical Society’s Forums on first Tuesdays of the month (see Summer History Discussion Forum).

BuddhaMindfulness Meditation
Guided meditation and a look at early Buddhist teachings on living a more peaceful life. Wednesdays, 6:00 - 7:30pm, led by Linda Kabo. The group will not meet June, July, and August; will resume on September 7.

platoPlato's Circle
Plato's Circle, an open discussion group, meets 1-3pm the first Wednesday of each month in Asta Linder . The August 3rd topic will be: “What is Happening in China?”
Dale Povenmire and Brad Jenkins will kick off the discussion. Dale has recently read Rob Schmitz “The Street of Eternal Happiness”; Brad will focus on John Gittings “The Changing Face of China: From Mao to Market”. Some of you may have read or want to read Evan Osnos “Born Red: How Xi Jinping Became China's Most Authoritarian Leader since Mao.” in the April 6, 2015 issue of The New Yorker. After an intro of 20 minutes max, the floor will be open to anyone who wants to contribute. Folks who have recently visited China are especially invited to attend and participate in the discussion. All are welcome.

socratesSocrates Cafe
Socrates Cafe are gatherings around the world where people from different backgrounds get together and exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences while embracing the central theme of Socratizing, the idea that we learn more when we question and question with others. All UUCOV members, friends, and neighbors who enjoy lively discussions are invited to participate. Socrates Cafe meets every third Wednesday of the month in Waters Hall at 1:00pm..

ThreeOClockThree O'Clock Poets
The Three O'Clock poets group will be suspended until the fall.

Social Justice

Fruit for Community Dinner

fruitwebPlease bring fruit to UUCOV on Sunday, August 7. Our congregation is responsible for supplying fruit to distribute to guests of the Interfaith Community Dinner at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on August 8. The dinner guests especially like bananas, which are easier for them to eat, although apples and oranges are popular as well. We need approximately 150 pieces of fruit to give out. Thank you for your generosity.

“The Corruption of Our Democracy”

UUALogoKindra Muntz outlines the process: An amazing process unfolded by which the Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) “The Corruption of Our Democracy” , one of four study issues proposed, won at the General Assembly to become the four-year study, 2016-2020*, for UU congregations nationwide. Thank you to our UUCOV board for submitting this proposal, and thanks to all who supported it and realize this issue influences many issues UUs care about.

Here was the scenario at GA that led to the final vote:
Thursday afternoon a “mini-assembly” was held in which all four 2016 CSAI proposals were presented to interested attendees. Each proposer gave a two-minute speech to the standing-room-only crowd of about 130. When people chose which proposal they wanted to support, almost half the room came with me. They offered great suggestions to modify my speech, and provided four excellent back-up speakers which included a member of the Youth Caucus (high school age) as well as the Young Adult Caucus (20-30 year olds), and two others, including a Community minister who had experience with racism, gun violence, and more, but decided that our CSAI would benefit all issues.

Friday morning our CSAI speaker team met at 6:30 AM to rehearse our speeches together. Then, at the official presentation and vote that morning of the entire assembly, the shock came when the presenter of the CSAI proposal on Climate Change and Environmental Justice withdrew from the contest and threw his support to the proposal on “A National Conversation on Race”. Despite that unexpected change, our team did a great job and won support from delegates on site and around the country. We went to a runoff vote with “A National Conversation on Race”, and won by about 60 votes. Now the challenge is to work with everyone passionate about racism, gun violence, climate change, and more to show how addressing “The Corruption of Our Democracy” can benefit us all.

The UUA now takes the CSAI over, and will produce a study guide for all congregations by November 15. In the meantime, all of us can work to register voters and encourage everyone to participate in our democracy and vote in our primary and general elections.

* See it and all recent CSAIs at
To learn how you can make a difference, please contact the Common Good Committee, or 941-266-8278.

Denominational Affairs

UUA General Assembly

At the Sunday service at GA, Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout (Minister of Music and Worship at the First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor) and director of the GA choir, spoke this poem he had written. Do you find it beautiful? Provocative? Magical? Or....?

god is no noun.
and certainly not an adjective.
god is at least a verb,
and even that shrinks her.
god is not so much a woman
as she resides in the improbable
hope of brown mothers.
god is not so much a man
as he is at work in the memory
of my grandfather’s laugh.
god is not trans.
god swims in the tears
of the one who sees
her real self,
at long last,
in the bathroom mirror.
god is not black; neither is he white.
god is wading in the contradiction of songs from slave shacks.
and I have seen god in the alabaster smiles
of children at play.
we’re getting michelangelo all wrong.
god is not the bearded one surrounded by angels,
floating over the sistine.
he is not adam with his muscled back pressing the earth.
god is the closing inch of space
between their reaching fingers.
don’t believe for a moment that god is catholic.
for god’s sake, he isn’t even human.
have you heard the wood thrush
when the sun glistens the huron?
can you see the flowers,
how they speak to bees without a word?
still, god is no spring blossom, no wood thrush.
god is neither the sun nor the bee.
god is what you see in the blossom.
god is when you hear the river
and suddenly discover how
much of it is part of you.
to be clear,
god is not you.
god is somewhere in the 14 billion years
which have come to mean that you are.
god is, after all, at least a verb.
she is neither pharaoh’s rod nor moses’ staff.
we must be the ones to cease our slavery.
she is not interested in blame, neither does she offer praise.
truth, gratitude are ours to breathe.
she will not have your answers.
she is too large for answers.
she dances too wildly to be fastened to them,
and answers are nouns anyway.
god is at least a verb,
twirling in the radiant reds of spring
singing in the rare silences between rapid opinions,
attending the tears of dark-skinned deaths, learning in tiny, alabaster smiles.
god is waiting in the space between fingers
that might connect.
he is waiting for us
to stop naming her.
she is waiting for us to
see all of him.
god is waiting
to be un-shrunk

Further Reflections from the UUA General Assembly

qua ga 2016In June, Mark Murray, Leie Carmody and Kindra Muntz attended the UUA General Assembly, a spiritual/intellectual/emotional extravaganza. known as the General Assembly. Here are their reactions,thoughts, experiences. Look for more next month.

Mark Murray: I am a new member of the UUCOV community. I joined our UUCOV team at the conference for a two day period. The UUA General Assembly offered a two day (Wednesday and Thursday), limited conference admittance, which worked for me. I really enjoyed learning from both the professionals from UUA and from my team members from UUCOV. There is so much to learn about our UU Association! There are many ways the UUA Association is able to help us with resources, in many areas of our UUCOV community endeavors.

We at UUCOV are but a small but important part of a much larger UUA community. We can count on support from both the UUA National organization and other UU communities who are willing and able to help. We are part of a wonderful, larger group of people like us, who work to make our world a better place. I would encourage anyone interested to attend the UUA conference in New Orleans next year.

Leie Carmody: Two years ago, GA was held in Providence, R I.; I was 45 minutes away in Massachusetts and decided to go. But fate (in the form of medical emergencies) limited my attendance to a day-and-a half. Just enough to whet my appetite for more.

So this year I went, walked that convention center miles and miles and miles each day and returned home exhausted and energized. I listened, I learned, I voted, I yelled and cheered, I sang, I bonded with strangers, I cried, I protested, I was filled. And I felt reconnected to what brought me into the UU fold 55 years ago. A sense of being with “my people” – who cared, who dared, who spoke up, who committed themselves not only to live by shared principles but to promote them proudly.

Kindra Muntz: I love attending our UUA General Assemblies! There is always something new to learn, insights from other congregations, and updates on what UUs are doing on some of the most important issues of our day. At GA 2016, I also realized how important chance conversations are, and reminded of the importance of attending key workshops.

By chance at lunch on Wednesday, I sat next to a young woman who was a mentor for the Youth Caucus. I said, "Oh, I am so hoping to have a member of the Youth Caucus speak for our Congregational Study Action/Issue proposal, The Corruption of Our Democracy. Do you know of any Youth delegates who might speak?" She said, "We only have three who are delegates, but one of them may be interested." And good fortune, the one showed up at the Mini-Assembly on Thursday, and agreed to speak on Friday. He was brilliant!!

Our Congregational Advocacy and Witness Director for the UUA, Susan Leslie, persuaded Rev. William J. Barber II of Moral Mondays in North Carolina to speak both at the Opening Ceremony of GA 2016 on Wednesday, and at a workshop of his own on Thursday. After his brilliant words on Wednesday, he attracted a full house at his workshop Thursday. I made sure to attend onThursday, and was grateful to be able to shake his hand after his workshop, and have him sign his book, The Third Reconstruction. His work is inspiring to us all.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Comments, kudos, questions, concerns, musings - all welcome. 325 word maximum. Send yours to  for our Connection editor, Leie Carmody.

Publication Deadlines

Connection: Articles and announcements for the Connection are due on the 20th of each month for the next month's edition. Please email your submissions to .

UUCOV Happenings: Events submissions are due at Thursday 9:00am for inclusion in UUCOV Happenings. Please email your submissions to .

UUCOV Mission and Covenant

Our mission is to build a welcoming and diverse community which encourages growth of the human spirit, the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and active participation in social and community issues.

In a climate of joy, goodwill and trust this congregation covenants

  • to treat one another with kindness and respect,
  • to listen with openness and acceptance,
  • to support and protect the environment of which we are all a part,
  • to solve problems responsibly as we grow and change,
  • to encourage learning and nurture the growth of diverse human spirits, and
  • to dedicate time, talent and re- sources in an effort to make a difference in local and world communities.

In the spirit of our free religious heritage, we promise these to one another.

UU Principles

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

UU Sources

The Living Tradition we share draws from many sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
  • Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.

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