AU G UST 2 0 2 1
M A D I S O N U N I TA R I A N
ommunion is a powerful word and a powerful concept, but many of us dismiss it because of the symbolism of the Christian ritual of Communion. While our observance of Communion goes back to the beginning of Unitarianism and Universalism, the ritual has not enjoyed the status in our tradition that it has enjoyed in other Protestant traditions. This makes sense given our liberal theology, which has tended to a low Christology that emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, and a high anthropology that focuses on human potential. As we have moved away from traditional observances of communion, we have embraced communion as connection and fellowship. Rev. Ray Baughan, a Unitarian Universalist minister, wrote in 1965, “When people turn from the table where bread is broken and candles glow, be sure you have invited them not to your house, but to their own, and offered not your wisdom, but your love."
From the Touchstones Journal on the theme, communion.
FROM THE EDITOR Brittany Crawford, Communications Director
can still see the gold embroidered letters “In remembrance of me” contrasted with the rich purple altar cloth. Communion services were always my favorite as an acolyte. Serving the bread was a sacred honor I understood at a young age. Even after years of theological studies, it is what I heard in my high school Sunday School class that had the greatest impact on my appreciation of this ritual.
struggle of living. For all of us, the pandemic has altered how we participate in the daily act of communion. We’ve managed to forge new ways of sharing and surviving together, but perhaps now we hold a greater appreciation and understanding for what we often took for granted.
Communion feels like a fitting theme to end my regular column in the newsletter. “From The Editor” began as one of many voices introducing Ms. Ringo was a legend among Sunday School our monthly themes. In my last column, I teachers. She filled our room with bean bag shared my intentionally vague answer to the chairs and encouraged us to think. She was question, “how is it with your soul?” This month a miracle worker if you consider that high I want to share more with you as it impacts my schoolers showed up each Sunday morning to work here at FUS. fill up the bean bag room. In a series on the As many of you know, I have long wrestled with sacraments, she challenged us to think about a sense of call to ministry and the restrictions what it means to take bread and wine and to imposed by my home tradition, the United remember. The elements of bread and juice Methodist Church. The pandemic forced me to represented the very basic human need to eat reckon with this call and how it might manifest and drink for survival. To do this among 12 at this time in my life. During this reckoning, friends was to remember that we are not meant I decided to return to seminary to pursue the to live this life without connection. At the heart Master of Divinity degree as I continue to of it, communion transforms the ordinary into discern this calling. a sacred moment. I greatly appreciate your kind responses to We partake in communion each time we sit my column and your graciousness in reading down and eat in the company of others. The them each month. I am grateful to the Staff food we share is a communion of the hands Leadership Team for their support in allowing that prepared it, the farmers who tended it, me to continue working part-time as your and the bees, sunlight, and soil that grew it. Communications Director while I am in school. What could easily be seen as a process for I am also grateful to my colleagues for their survival is a reminder that we are intimately support and to this community for reminding connected. The company we share it with—our me of both the importance and the joy found families, coworkers, strangers, friends—is a in community. reminder that we share in both the joy and the
“SOUL GROWS IN COMMUNION…FROM T DEEPENS INTO COMPASSION AND THE MADISON UNITARIAN
FROM THE MINISTERS Rev. Kelly J. Crocker, Co-Senior Minister
cannot hear the word communion without being transported back to the hard wooden pews of St. Patrick’s Church in Scranton, PA. There’s no way to know how many times I walked down the aisle to receive that holy sacrament. I still remember the first time I was able to receive communion, feeling so very grown-up and feeling that I belonged. Over the years, my understanding of communion has, of course, changed and evolved from the way I understood at the ripe old age of seven. In our Unitarian Universalist congregations, we hold a broader understanding of communion, including our very own rituals of Flower Communion and Water Communion. Our rituals hold deep meaning, remembrance, and connection. The first time I ever walked into the doors of a UU congregation was on Easter Sunday. That morning they were holding a communion service, one in which they shared blueberry muffins. I remember my shock and questioning how this could, indeed, be communion. I remember the minister of that congregation, Elwood Sturtevant, addressing this question during his sermon and wondering if he had noticed the strange look that must have been on my face.
from them, to teach them, who welcome this opportunity to help them, to be helped by them, to have fun with them, and to love and be loved by them. A communion of people who—if they cannot welcome—at least recognize the need for struggle, for anguish, for disappointment, and for sorrow. And—who hope somehow to reach that ultimate commitment that will give their lives tremendous meaning.” What I learned at that first experience of a UU communion ritual was reminiscent of what I learned when I was seven. Our lives are made up of continual moments of communion, extraordinary ones celebrated by friends and family, and very ordinary ones that are no less profound. Moments when strangers become friends, when we see our own lives and hopes and fears reflected in the life of another, when we remember how connected we truly are, when we arrive at the door of another, and we find ourselves arriving home. May we all be blessed with these extraordinary, ordinary moments of communion.
I hear echoes of Elwood’s words in these of UU minister Judy Deutsch, who wrote in 1974, “Our stay here is a communion. A communion of people with ideas and feelings to share and with time to learn the ideas and feelings of each other, a communion of people who are seeking to live their lives as fully as possible, who welcome this opportunity to live with others, to learn
TRUE CONVERSATION...COMMUNICATION D CREATES COMMUNIT Y.” -SAM KEEN AUGUST 2021
ABOUT FLOWER COMMUNION
ABOUT WATER COMMUNI ON
The Rev. Norbert Čapek, the founder of the Unitarian Church in Prague, wanted to create a meaningful ritual that would bind the diverse members of his church closer together. He created the Flower Festival Service. It was first held on June 4, 1923. People were asked to bring a flower or even a twig. They placed the flowers in a large vase, an act of free will that connected them to the congregation. All of the flowers held together in the vase symbolized the diversity and beauty of the gathered church. At the end of the service, members took a flower different from the one they brought. The hymn by Joseph and Nathan Segal captures the dynamic of the Flower Communion: “From you, I receive to you I give, together we share, and from this, we live.”
An early, and perhaps the first water communion, was held at the Women and Religion Continental Convocation of Unitarian Universalists in East Lansing, Michigan in November 1980, which was attended by approximately 350 women. It was created by activist Carolyn McDade and Unitarian Universalist leader Lucile Schuck Longview. The water communion was entitled, Coming Home, Like Rivers to the Sea. In her song, Coming Home, Carolyn McDade wrote, “We’re coming home to the spirit in our soul. / We’re coming home, and the healing makes us whole. / Like the rivers running to the sea / We’re coming home, we’re coming home.”
This simple ceremony was brought to America by Maja Čapek in 1940, the wife of Dr. Čapek, and began to spread among Unitarian Universalist congregations. Dr. Čapek was executed at Dachau in 1942. This communion of flowers recognizes the freedom offered to us by our liberal faith.
As McDade recalled, “It was a strong service, about community taking power…about creating a political and liberating theology.” This “celebration of connectedness,” as McDade called it, empowered women. “It was very moving, the women bringing water from places of spiritual importance.” This ceremony was also designed to demonstrate solidarity with women globally, as women the world over traditionally draw and carry water. The justice dimensions of the water communion have been reinforced by the water concerns of the UU Ministry for Earth and the UU Service Committee. Water Communion has become an important ritual in congregations as a homecoming in which waters flow home to the sea.
The histories above are reprinted from the Touchstones Journal on the theme, communion.
THE MADISON UNITARIAN
E AT I N G
TO G ET H E R by Li-Young Lee
In the steamer is the trout seasoned with slivers of ginger, two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil. We shall eat it with rice for lunch, brothers, sister, my mother who will taste the sweetest meat of the head, holding it between her fingers deftly, the way my father did weeks ago. Then he lay down to sleep like a snow-covered road winding through pines older than him, without any travelers, and lonely for no one. AUGUST 2021
CRE NEWS & UPDATES Leslie Ross, Director of Children’s Religious Exploration Program
f I sit in a Children’s RE classroom and close my eyes, I can once again feel the excitement and joy of a room full of the sounds of friendship, learning, and engaging activities. I hear chimes rung, opening words spoken as the chalice is lit, joys and sorrows shared, and children clamoring to reach for materials for that day’s activities. Soon, I will put the imagining aside and see it all in the three-dimensional form! How wonderful that will be!
• People will be asked to sanitize their hands upon entering the room. We are confident that these strategies will allow us to be safely together, in community, once again.
Our biggest obstacle at this point is teacher recruitment. It has been particularly challenging for a few reasons. Our enrollment is down, so we have a smaller number of parents to draw from despite having the same number of Our classes will return to in-person gatherings classes offered. Our parents are understandably starting Saturday, September 11. Parents can weary after a year of turning their homes into request a virtual option as well, and if there is schoolhouses. And for some, there is hesitancy sufficient interest and willing teachers, we will in being in a room with unvaccinated children. offer a Zoom class for those not comfortable The result is that we have several classes at risk with a return to in-person gatherings. Several of being cancelled. The images on the next page classes are full; others still have room. Click show where our needs are at this time. here to register. What are we doing to keep our unvaccinated children safe? Here are a few Please let me know if you have interest in filling requirements we’ll enforce as long as FUS is at any of these spots. As you may have heard in Level 1 of reopening (to learn more about our the video (https://youtu.be/7GAh4Gc_gDc) reopening plan, go to www.fusmadison.org/ we ran during worship a few weeks ago, it’s important that as a community we welcome coronavirus): back our children with as much commitment • Masks will be worn by everyone throughout and enthusiasm as we ourselves hope for our our FUS facility. (Those under 2 years of age own “homecoming.” Several of our teachers will not mask. Recommended for ages 2-4.) have shared testimonials about their teaching • Teachers are required to be vaccinated. experiences. • We will not include parent helpers in the classroom until vaccinations have been Our community has learned so much about our approved and children have had ample time resilience, our ability to bend to the needs of the to get vaccinated. time, and FUS’s role in our personal and spiritual • Each participant will have their own bag of lives. It’s exciting to come together again with basic supplies to use for minimizing frequent this new wisdom as we launch into a significant contact with materials. “next chapter” in FUS history. I’m so glad to be • Teachers will be encouraged to move traveling this journey with all of you! whatever activities they can outdoors when possible. THE MADISON UNITARIAN
TEACHERS NEEDED If interested in learning more, contact Director of Children’s Religious Exploration, Leslie Ross, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-233-9774 ext. 119.
SATURDAY CL ASSES Preschool
SUNDAY CL ASSES Preschool
REOPENING INFORMATI ON Brittany Crawford, Communications Director
n June 30, we shared a comprehensive review of our reopening plans and how these plans are based on science and rooted in our Unitarian Universalist values of centering the most vulnerable among us. On Tuesday, July 6, we moved to Level 2 and the return of small group gatherings. It has been a joy to witness your return to our campus.
Additionally, we will continue to hold an online-only coffee hour.
More information, including a video, will be shared later this month via email and on our website. More information, including all updates, can be found at www.fusmadison. org/coronavirus. For questions, please contact Executive Director Monica Nolan at We continue to monitor the progression of the email@example.com. pandemic and engage the advice of our FUS As we welcome Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson Medical Advisory Team and the UUA. At the into our community this month, we also time of this writing, we anticipate moving to welcome the opportunity to gather in person Level 1 on Saturday, September 11. Coinciding again. with the usual start of our program year, we look forward to holding our first in-person worship services since March 2020. Services will be limited to 50% capacity for all three services: Saturdays at 4:30 pm and Sundays at 9 am and 11 am. All services will be held in the Atrium Auditorium and live-streamed on a screen to additional seating in the Landmark Auditorium. Masks and social distancing are required for in-person services. We are not providing hymnals, orders of service, Red Floors, or other materials that involve physical contact at this time. All elements needed for services will be made available on a screen or accessible for downloading to your phone or tablet. A recorded service will be available for online streaming on Sundays.
IN-PERSON SERVICES RETURN ON SEPTEMBER 11
WWW.FUSMADISON.ORG/CORONAVIRUS THE MADISON UNITARIAN
COMMUNITY INFORMA WHEEL OF LIFE
Our hearts are with Mark and Janet Clear and their children Naomi and Sierra as they mourn the passing of Mark’s mother, Bonnie Edelstein, on July 3. Bonnie was an active member of her community and is greatly missed. We send our love to Janet Swanson, our Director of Membership and Adult Programs, Rob Gurke, and their family as they mourn the passing of Janet’s father, Ed Swanson. Ed’s deep and abiding love for his family was evident throughout his life and is deeply missed. We hold Mike and Alyssa Ryanjoy, their children Thea and Winnie, and their families in our hearts as the mourn they passing of their sister-in-law and aunt, Sarah O’Callaghan. They are also grieving the loss of Alyssa’s beloved grandmother, Rosemary. Our deepest sympathy to their extended families who deeply miss them.
YOUTH GROUP RETREAT
Youth Group is excited to kick off the 2021-2022 program year with an end-of-summer retreat to Indian Lake County Park! All teens—grades 9-12—are welcome and encouraged to join us, regardless of previous participation in the group. The retreat will be from Saturday, August 28, to Sunday, August 29, as we will be staying overnight at a group campsite. Visit https://tinyurl.com/fusyouth to sign up for the retreat and to be included in future updates about the trip. If you have any questions, please email Sophia, Youth Group Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“THERE IS COMMUNION OF MORE THAN AND WINE DRU THE MADISON UNITARIAN
ATION OUR CO-SENIOR MINISTER On July 1, Rev. Kelly Crocker became our Co-Senior Minister. Rev. Kelly’s ministry has included several titles over her 20 years with FUS and now leads us in the next chapter of our community life and co-ministry. Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson will join her in August as Co-Senior Minister.
WELCOME, REV. KELLY AJ! This month, we welcome our newly called minister, Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson, to our community! Rev. Kelly AJ begins his ministry with us on August 1. Join us for his first virtual service as our Co-Senior Minister with Rev. Kelly Crocker on Sunday, August 8, at 10 am.
WHAT IS CO-MINISTRY? The arrival of Rev. Kelly AJ, the new role for Rev. Kelly C, and the start of co-ministry at FUS is an exciting new chapter in the long history of our congregation. As we begin this new chapter, we wanted to share with you the recording from Candidating Week where Revs. Kelly AJ & Kelly C discuss their vision for co-ministry and answer some of your questions. You can watch the recording on our YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/cBllVKy8Ob4.
N OUR BODIES WHEN BREAD IS BROKEN UNK.” -M.F.K. FISHER AUGUST 2021
A MONTH OF SERVICES Sundays @ 10 am. Online only. www.fusmadison.org.
with FUS Members The last three years of interim ministry have concluded, and we extend a special First Unitarian Society poetic welcome to Kelly AJ as he joins with our beloved Kelly Crocker to create “Team Kelly.” In a traditional but modified poetry service, FUS poets reflect on the journey of leaving, loving, grieving, and moving toward a new future.
WELCOME TO THE TABLE
Revs. Kelly J. Crocker & Kelly Asprooth-Jackson As we welcome Rev. Kelly AJ to FUS, we consider what it means to be a community where all are welcome at the table. A community where we welcome one another’s stories with openness, where we experience communion in one another’s smiles. We will reflect on our shared hopes and dreams for our community and invite you into contemplation with your own hopes for FUS as well.
THE MADISON UNITARIAN
HEART TO HEART
Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson, Co-Senior Minister The intimate exchange of communion is a possibility in any meeting between two or more individuals, as well as between different communities or cultures. How do we move from alien to neighbor, stranger to friend? We will explore this month’s theme in our own lives through the metaphor of speculative fiction about the interchange between beings from this planet and beyond.
THE SIMPLEST OF SACRAMENTS
Rev. Kelly J. Crocker, Co-Senior Minister
Each of us has experienced moments of deep communion with those we love and trust. What of those simple moments, perhaps completely unexpected with a friend or family member, or even a stranger? Can we be surprised by communion in very simple ways? I think we can, if we can find ways to keep ourselves open and ready with an answering yes.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson, Co-Senior Minister In a religious context, for many of us, communion brings to mind a particular ritual of the Christian faith: the ceremony of bread and wine derived from the last supper shared by the teacher Jesus with his disciples. But the meaning and practice of that ritual is both varied and wide, with our own Universalist and Unitarian ancestors having taken part in its evolution. In this service, we’ll consider not only some of this history but also what our own relationship to the idea of communion as a religious practice might be. AUGUST 2021
CONTACT US STAFF LEADERSHIP TEAM
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Rev. Kelly J. Crocker, Co-Senior Minister email@example.com x.112
Alyssa Ryanjoy, President
Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson, Co-Senior Minister firstname.lastname@example.org x. 113
Emily Cusic Putnam
Monica Nolan, Executive Director email@example.com x. 115
Esme Hill-Gorman, Youth Representative
Ava Rochester, Youth Representative
Janet Swanson, Director of Membership & Adult Programs firstname.lastname@example.org x. 124 Leslie Ross, Director of Children’s Religious Exploration email@example.com x. 119 Karen Anderson, Religious Exploration Program Staff firstname.lastname@example.org x. 129 Sophia Granger, Youth & Campus Ministry Coordinator
email@example.com Tim Cordon, Social Justice Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org x. 125
Lorna Aaronson Tom Dulmage John McGevna, Secretary Ann Schaffer Creal Zearing
Our lay ministers provide a confidential, caring presence to congregants undergoing stressful life challenges or joyous occasions. Under the guidance of our called ministers, they promote the spirit of community through direct service in visiting the ill and healing, facilitating support groups, and more. Contact a lay minister at 608.233.9774 x. 126
Dr. Drew Collins, Music Director email@example.com x. 121 Heather Thorpe, Children & Youth Choir Director
firstname.lastname@example.org Linda Warren, Assistant Music Director
Cheryll Mellenthin, Project Coordinator email@example.com x. 130
FUS MADISON 900 University Bay Drive Madison, WI 53705 608.233.9774 www.fusmadison.org
Tom Miskelly, Facilities Manager firstname.lastname@example.org x. 120 Dan Carnes, A/V & Event Specialist
email@example.com Steven Gregorius, Event Specialist
Brittany Crawford, Communications Director firstname.lastname@example.org x. 117
ALL OF WHO YOU ARE IS CELEBRATED HERE