Sermon, April 15, 2018: “Saying Goodbye to Make Room for a New Hello ”, Rev. Sara Hayman

There’s a story that been living with me as I’ve prepared for this Sunday.
It’s a story about a little boy living in a village.
Every day he goes out into the woods and forest.
His parents worry about him – there’s danger out there,
thieves, possibly; something could happen?
“Why do you go?” his father asked.  “To find God.”
“Don’t you know God is everywhere the same – here, in you, in me,
in the temple and at home; you don’t have to go to the woods
to find God.  God is everywhere the same.” “Yes, father,
I know that, but I am not everywhere the same.”
 
                                                            *****
Very soon, it will be my time to go to the woods, so to speak!
What a gift you are giving me in letting me go and take sabbatical;
What a journey it will be to bring myself—to walk myself—
into new experience of time and places and landscapes and
relationships that will help me to find (and feel and be
nurtured more readily by) the presence of God,
by the Spirit of Life within me, by the Holy Spirit
we each wish to serve and bring more and more to life
as we understand it.
 
I am the luckiest minister I know at the moment!
 
                                                            *****
In a sermon she titles, “Not Your Grandmother’s Sabbath,”
UU minister Ana Levy-Lyons says this about the importance of
taking and making “Sabbath time” in our lives: A brief aside, it’s been
interesting to learn that that word sabbatical comes from the
word Sabbath, which in Hebrew is related to the word shabbat,  
meaning “to cease, desist, or rest.” Ana writes, “…our world desperately
needs a “pause” button. And not just any pause button, but a spiritually
charged, heart-opening space that’s set apart from our regular lives.
We need sacred time. We need time outside of the cycle of
work and consumerism. We need unplugged time. We need time
alone and we need time together. We need time to dream and
think and pray and meditate. We need time to play.
We need time in nature – to sit under a tree,
to climb a mountain, to take a long walk…”
 
Going on Sabbatical, being on Sabbatical will help make this
possible for me…I’m more grateful than I can say…
grateful, too, to be leaving you for a short time –
6 months will go by quickly, I’m sure— knowing, seeing
and feeling that we are in a good, healthy place together
as minister and congregation right now.
 
                                                            *****
 
For these past seven years, we have been working hard
at walking faithfully together—what a blessing it is to know that’s true!
 
We’ve have shown up for one another to companion each other
through times of difficult tender losses, and we’ve dedicated
ourselves to the children we love who are growing up among us.
We have celebrated your marriages and tried to be there for you
as relationships have changed and health and well-being have been challenged…
 
You are a loving community that knows how to weave people into
the fold and really mean it, really include them and I love that about you!
 
Together, these many years, we’ve taken actions to care
for our building, this beautiful place where we gather—
we’ve paved the parking lot, and installed a state of art fire safety system;
we’ve renovated the Community Room and put down new carpeting;
did you see the new stoves in the kitchen? And we’re using technology in worship…
who’d ever have guessed we’d get here?!
 
Together, we’ve been building systems to strengthen
our church and how we work—we now have a PM&M Committee,
and Fiscal Matters Committee; we have a SGM Coordinator.
Our Safety Committee has come back to life and is working on
big, timely dreams and plans. We have equipped more people
to be Pastoral Visitors and as such to be ready and willing to visit
and be there for others, particularly when things are hard.
 
I’m still excited that have a Mission Statement, one infused
with the genius and ethos of this vibrant community—
I feel  your presence in it—“Celebrating the sacred, we gather in
loving community to nourish souls and live justice into the world.”
 
In January of 2011, we were 87 adult members of this congregation.
Today, there are 127 adult members!
 
We have had two incredible Ministerial Interns, Lane and now Amy.
Very soon Amy will be with us as Student Sabbatical Minister.
 
And we have a Congregational Covenant—words we’re agreed upon
(thank you, Margaret Thurston!) that call us to the disciplined
and faithful practice of purposefully walking together in the spirit
of love and trust and kindness, and to come back from conflict
when it arises, and to nurture health in ourselves, in our relating
to each other, in our shared congregational life.
 
We have 28 solar panels on our sanctuary roof, and
new members among ready and willing to revive a Green Team—
people who will help us walk the walk of more sustainable living
and help us care for the earth which is our home.
 
I don’t have to tell you that we now know how to make egg rolls,
and we pull off miracle Service Auctions, and more and more
we believe together in our ability (our agency and strength)
to try and do just about anything we dream up and set our mind to.
 
YES, we have been working hard together,
walking faithfully together, learning side by side, growing together,
bringing our mission and ministries more and more to life—
not just to benefit our selves or meet our own needs alone,
but to be able to reach out, and to sincerely welcome others in;
to be able to affirm and celebrate the dignity of every person and being—
I think of the high school kids of the GSDA at Ellsworth
who get your cookies and a loving note each week;
I think of the work our Welcoming Congregation
Renewal Taskforce…how they’re calling us to see & celebrate
and stand up for the rights and dignity of transgender people…
I think of our Mid Maine YoUUth Service and Learning Projects,
the pilgrimages we’ve taken together that our youth might
see and experience more of the world around them
and be called more deeply to loving and serving others…
 
We have been working hard together…
And we are in a good place, a strong, healthy
and vital place, and that is all the more reason
why it is right and good to begin our Sabbatical
Journey together now…
 
                                                            *****
Bill Clark, long time member and chair of our Sabbatical
Committee, is the one who said it months ago, maybe even
a year ago: In taking Our Sabbatical, we the one things we cannot expect
to happen is that we will stay still or be unchanged…that’s not the way life works.
It will be impossible to be exactly the same or exactly where we are
Now, as good and hopeful as that is, when come back together.
We will change, and grow, and remember again,
I hope and trust, the strength and beauty of our separate
selves as minister and congregation, two entities who love and walk together,
and who each have their own ministries to grow and share.
 
While I’m on sabbatical, I pledge to you, with joy
and a deep breath and a keen knowing that it’s right,
I pledge to you that I will be doing my work.
I will be letting go of you…knowing in my heart of hearts,
that you are and you will be so fine;
that without me, you’ll have a chance to come to life in
ways I haven’t yet imagined because you’ll be needing
and caring for each other, and for our church community;
needing and caring for all who arrive with more
of a sense of ownership, agency and space to do it.
 
Doing my work on sabbatical will not look like being busy
all the time; writing emails and going to meetings and being
in the usual grind of things. Doing my work on sabbatical
will mean living my life in a ways that will help me to rest and grow,
to refill my reserve and attend to my health and my relationship,
while being disciplined about showing up to each day
and being grateful for the gift it is. My Sabbatical journey
will be about making time to write, and pray, and listen,
and put myself in the way of beauty that I might
find and feel more rooted in and nourished by
the presence of God, that I might come back to you, my beloved people,
with new imagination and clarity about how to be your minister;
about how better to partner with you in more helpful ways;
about how to continue growing and throwing roots down with you,
that will support and sustain this congregation and our
shared ministry together hopefully for years and years to come.
 
                                                *****
Before I became a parish minister serving in this congregation,
I was a hospice chaplain.  In that ministry, I learned the importance
of acknowledging beginnings and endings and the truth of our
finite-time together.  You may have heard me say, please do not
die while I’m gone and that request still holds, AND we know
life will happen as it will happen. 
 
So as we prepare in ourselves to let go of each other,
that we might come back and enter into a new part
of our journey together, I want also to say these five things…
I love you.  That’s just true. I thank you…for being my people.
I forgive you and ask that you forgive me for all the times
and ways I’ve let you down.  In this moment, though it’s hard to do,
I say goodbye….what a gift you are in my life…
and what a way we are making…
 
Buen Camino, my beloveds.
God speed, too.
Amen and Blessed Be…

April 5-May 3 (Weds) 2-4pm – Cakes for the Queen of Heaven

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven

How would your life have been different if, when growing up, the divine had been imaged as female?

“Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” is a woman-honoring adult religious education curriculum of feminist theology that examines pre-Judeo Christian cultures that worshipped the female as divine. The concepts of equality and reverence for the female in a religious setting are eye-opening to many participants. More than Goddess 101, this workshop series examines important elements of today’s women’s lives: personal, interpersonal and societal.

Offering a 5 session course for women beginning on Wednesday, April 4 and running for 5 consecutive weeks from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the Sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth, Maine. Facilitated by Carol Leonard.

Pre-registration is required ($10 fee for materials, payable at the first class). Contact Eileen at the UUCE office for more information or to register: 207-667-4393 or office@uuellsworth.org.

The title for the curriculum comes from the book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible wherein God speaks to Jeremiah, saying: “Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven and to pour out libations to the Goddess, in order to anger me!” (Jeremiah, 7:17-18).

Carol Leonard is a midwife and is the author of the best-selling memoir, Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart, A Midwife’s Saga, Bad Beaver Publishing, 2010. To order, go to Amazon or www.badbeaverpublishing.com.

Jan. 26, 6pm – PASA Sponsors film “Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point”

PASA Sponsors “Fix It”
Maine All Care will be showing the film “Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point” at UUCE on Friday, January 26, 2018 at 6 pm. (A snow date of February 2 is planned.) After the film, there will be a panel discussion on universal healthcare in Maine led by Hancock County healthcare providers and business leaders. Refreshments will be offered following the program. There is no charge and all are welcome. Please contact Bruce Becque at 207-667-6601 for additional information.

This documentary takes an in-depth look into how our dysfunctional health care system is damaging our economy, suffocating our businesses, discouraging physicians and negatively impacting on the nation’s health, while remaining un-affordable for a third of our citizens.

Maine All Care is a non-partisan and non-profit organization, committed to educating the public and policy makers in Maine to improve the current healthcare system in Maine making it accessible and affordable for all. Maine All Care is dedicated to the goal of achieving universal, high quality, and affordable healthcare for all residents of Maine.

Local chapters work to inform and educate our neighbors about the need to transform the current healthcare system into a state wide, publicly funded universal healthcare system. This is done through community health forums, guided discussions, film screenings, and other community sponsored events. There are currently nine active chapters in Maine.

February 9, 6-8pm: MaineTransNet Program

MaineTransNet Program at Ellsworth Church

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth (UUCE) and MaineTransNet (MTN) will be co-sponsoring a workshop on Friday, February 9 (snow date: Friday, February 16), from 6:00 to 8:00pm entitled “Tour for Trans Allies” at UUCE at 121 Bucksport Rd., Ellsworth. This program is free. For additional information, please email: Quinn Gormley at quinn@mainetransnet.org.

The program will address: terminology, gender theory, and use of pronouns. There also will be a discussion on the “Pillars of Allyship”: five ways to support friends and the local trans community. The “tour” will bring this training, along with a panel of local trans people, to all 16 counties in the state of Maine at least once. 

MaineTransNet facilitates peer support groups for trans people and allies in addition to providing avenues for social networking and public dialogue. MTN directs people to available resources and provides training and education opportunities. 

With the transgender community expanding rapidly in a politically hostile environment, MaineTransNet is working to generate as many allies as possible in every corner of Maine. The transgender community is strongest when supported by many friends, and individual trans people are more likely to thrive when the people in their lives know how support them.

Tour for Trans Allies sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth and Maine TransNet.

Friday, February 9, 2018
6-8pm
The Unitarian Universalist Church
121 Bucksport Rd.
Ellsworth

This program is free. For additional information, please email: Quinn Gormley at quinn@mainetransnet.org.

Aug 3, “The Revolution Will Be in G Major”, Jim Fisher

Religion and society are in constant flux, interacting as partners dancing in spirals. Some religious and social movements are ponderous while others take dramatic and even violent leaps. Music provides us with a lens into the maelstrom of change, measuring progress, provoking action, giving solace and building unanimity. We will think and sing about music and social change.

Easter Sermon, Apr. 8, 2012: The Promise of Resurrection in our Lives

On this Easter Sunday, in most Christian churches around the world, people celebrate the bodily resurrection of Jesus as Christ. How do we, 21st century Unitarian Universalists, enter into this story? Where does resurrection happen in our lives & the world?

Rev. Sara Hayman

Click the link below to download a text of this sermon:

4.8.12.Easter.Sermon
 

December 14, 2008 – Gathered in Mystery

Gathered in Mystery
Dec 14, 2009
Ellsworth, Maine
Leela Sinha


What if there is a god?

What if all the skeptics are off track and all the atheists are wrong, and there is a god, or gods?  What if that god is really a god who listens, a god who responds, a god who hears and is heard?
What kind of god would you have, if you had a god?  What kind would you claim?  Where would you find your god, or gods?   Would you lie with them, sleep with them, eat with them?  Would you argue with them?  Would you have fireside chats?  Where would you find them, or where would they find you?  If there were a god or gods, and if you could choose, what kind would suit you best?

Fiddler On The Roof’s Tevya likes to pace, and shout and shake his fist at the sky; Mary Oliver goes walking; more than one biologist has found god at the end of a microscope; in the movie Contact, Jodi Foster’s character finds something so beautiful it brings her to tears on her way to another universe.  As humans we have been seeking the divine for thousands of years; what we have found has filled volumes, transformed careers, caused the rise and fall of empires.  We all crave contact with the divine.  We all want to be united with that which is precious, special, delightful, holy.  How we understand that divinity varies, and ways to encounter the divine are almost limitless.

In the end it’s much simpler than everything we have built up around us.  Here, we believe in direct access to god or that which is holy—no priest, minister, or saint needs to intercede for us.  We are all we need and have all we need to be in the presence of infinite love and to be infinitely loved.  But none of us are expected to be infinitely loving.  We are human, just human, deeply and intensely loving but with limits of time and place and body and spirit.  Continue reading

October 12, 2008 – Association Sunday

Association Sunday

October 12, 2008

Who would we be without each other?

Would we be lonely? Would we be sad? Would we be finally, totally at peace?

UU Singer/songwriter Peter Mayer, who wrote “Blue Boat Home”, also has a song about introverts. “People upset me when they interrupt me with calls and unannounced visits, and on top of that when they chat about nothing at all and I ask what is it? I do have a lot to do. Can you return at two? I will not be here by then. Just leave what you need me for on a note on the door so I can ignore it, my friend.”

“I’d like to hire my own secretary who’s mean, someone who says things like, “Mr. Mayer can’t be reached; he is not in, you see. He’s in a meeting ’till ten. I suppose I could take your name. Who are you anyway? Please never call here again.”” (“The Introvert Song”, from the album “Elements”)

Some of us are clearly more externally-oriented than others. But humans are made to be social. We are made to live among each other, to laugh and cry together, to love and fight and heal in unending circles of days and months and years. No matter how introverted we are, there is a basic human need for each other; without touch, without companions, infants die and adults go insane. We are made for contact: challenging contact, intimate contact, creative contact, religious contact.

Each of us has different priorities: Continue reading

October 5, 2008 – Openings

Openings

At last it is October.  The colors are here, the fall is here, Samhain and Halloween are coming with Thanksgiving to follow, and with these come pumpkins.

Pumpkins are squash, with tasty seeds and tasty flesh and an efficient enough shape to render carving worthwhile.  Efficiency, in this case, is measured in proportion of volume to exterior dimensions, with more being better.  While it is possible to grow a zucchini with roughly the same mass as a medium-sized pie pumpkin, it is much harder to make a jack o’ lantern out of it.  Acorn squash fares somewhat better, but pumpkins hold pride of place for a reason: they are good.  Their plumpness suggests plenty; their flesh is succulent roasted or stewed, they keep well, and one’s hands fit nicely inside the top, if one begins with a suitable lid.

I did not always know this. Continue reading