The Madison Unitarian December 2021

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everence is an experience that doesn’t lend itself well to spoken language. It is not just a mind experience but a full-body experience, and so it is non-verbal. We feel reverence in our flesh. As such, reverence is expressed in prostrations in temples. It is felt and communicated in the silence of cathedrals, and in sacred spaces we create…and in nature. It is conveyed in sacred touch when all that we wish to share is beyond words and the trusted hand of a friend shares our wonder. Reverence is ultimately in the temples of our own hearts and in the connection of our hearts with one another.

from Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan in Touchstones

The Madison Unitarian volunteer editorial team: Lari Fanlund and Hannah Lee

FROM THE MINISTERS Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson, Co-Senior Minister


inter is coming. It’s been cold enough lately that you could believe it was already here. The days grow shorter, and the nights grow longer. I can see my breath in front of my face and feel the dry cold crinkling on my skin.

ourselves from the cold—gas furnaces, synthetic insulation, and cars with heated seats—things our ancestors could not have hoped for, and if we can afford them, any of these privileges may be ours. But so many of these new ways we have to insulate ourselves Long ago, the onset of winter was a time for from the harsh realities of winter often push bonfires and revels late into the night. People us apart rather than bring us together; they gathered together for warmth and shared express practicality but not reverence. We what light they could make together in the retreat to private spaces for electric light dark. Ancient pagans marked the solstice and fossil-fueled heat. What is too often with fire-lighting bonfires, torches, and even missing in our modern rituals for surviving the coming of winter effigies to express their is honoring the natural reverence for the fading world and the forces sun and their hope for that sustain us and its renewal. Modern give shape within the pagans still do much warmth of community. the same today, but

For me, this is why I need religious community. I do not wish to be warm and alone, or to live a life brightly lit, yet afraid of the dark.

that habit is not unique to them. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Christian observance of Advent all involve lighting candles in the days close to the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. Tiny suns to keep watch in the lengthening night.

In our modern age, we have things much brighter than meager candles or even large bonfires, of course. Electric lights and decorations, both indoors and out, mark this season now. In my neighborhood, and perhaps also in yours, there is one particularly impressive house that is a nightly storm of color and radiance, all flashing and glowing and beaming, casting shadows until the dawn. Or perhaps that local beacon of nighttime light is your own. We have magnified the brightness of our substitute stars and found ways to insulate THE MADISON UNITARIAN


For me, this is why I need religious community. I do not wish to be warm and alone, or to live a life brightly lit, yet afraid of the dark. I would rather spend time with others who share my fate: held tight by gravity to a rock spinning through space, its axis askew, and my own little part of it starved for heat for three months or so out of every twelve. In the reverence of community, there is light to share even on the longest night and warmth to enjoy even in the chill of winter. So this year, as the seasons turn and the fire of the sun seems almost to fade, I will be with the people who celebrate life and who will do their best to love each other even as the world grows cold. Whether the opportunity comes online or in person, I hope I’ll see you there.


FROM THE BOARD John U. McGevna, Board of Trustees Secretary

s 2021 winds down, we find ourselves beginning to uncover our way into a new and exciting era of co-ministry and hopefully see the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on all our lives. As a part of our reflection on how members of FUS will shape our new future together, FUS held its parish meeting in October.

you are taking part in shared ministry. There are no small roles, and each action contributes to making FUS a full and vibrant faith community. As I mentioned earlier, we are entering a new and exciting era of co-ministry with Kelly Crocker and Kelly Asprooth-Jackson as our Co-Senior Ministers. Team Kelly and our committed FUS staff are working together to establish a just and equitable partnership between our two ministers. They are doing this by respecting the gifts each brings to the table. They are also in contact with Michael Schuler, our Minister Emeritus, to establish a covenant in accordance with UUMA guidelines that would allow Michael to participate in the life of our community. We as a congregation can support this effort and the new road to a co-ministry by sharing our many individual gifts.

We planned to approve the nomination of two youth advisers to the board but had to postpone that decision due to a lack of quorum. So we proceeded with our other major work for this meeting, and that was the question of “What are the ways we can share ministry?” Our President, Alyssa Ryanjoy, gave an overview of what we were generally looking for in this question. Then we broke into several small groups to talk at length about how each of us viewed shared ministry in our new co-ministry I know that many of you are tired of Zoom environment. and worshiping remotely. You are anxious to As you can imagine, the responses we received see the end of the restrictions imposed by were varied and covered a number of roles we the pandemic. Sometimes it is hard to see our play as members of the congregation. Members way clear of this, and the future can look dark in each group spoke out on ways we can be and foreboding at times. But we are deeply involved in shared ministry. There was also a indebted to Kelly Crocker and our FUS staff desire for clarity of the roles that members for all their hard work in leading us through of the congregation would play. Examples the worst of this difficult period. I will leave included welcoming newcomers during coffee you with a quote from one of my favorite hour and looking out for people who may need authors. William Faulkner spoke these words at to talk after service. A theme that ran through the Nobel Prize banquet in 1950. Though his almost every group was a desire to reach out to words were directed at young writers, they can local churches that share our values and form apply to everyone. "I believe that man will not working partnerships. Ideas included pulpit merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, swaps or joint activities between congregations. not because he alone among creatures has an Group members almost universally noted that inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, whatever we do at FUS, from making coffee, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and singing in the choir, being a member on some endurance. As we move forward together, we committee, or taking part in a Journey Circle, too shall prevail."



H OLIDAY SERVICES Click here for a full listing of services. More service information is available on pages 14-15.


Each year we gather to share sacred space with kindred spirits as we acknowledge and honor our feelings of loss, grief, anger, regret, or pain during this season. Loved ones missing from the table, pressure to live up to expectations, challenges of living in a pandemic can make us feel blue rather than jolly this season. If this most wonderful time of the year is bittersweet and complex for you, please join us as we find peace in being with one another and find freedom in authentic ways of marking the holiday season with rituals that honor the realities of our lives. In-person service only.

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES FRIDAY, DECEMBER 24 Online registration is required for these services:

AWAY IN A MANGER FAMILY SERVICE @ 2 PM Our Christmas Eve services begin with our Christmas Eve Nativity Pageant. The service is gentle, warm, and full of wonder and love—a favorite of families with little ones. We ask each family to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to a local food pantry. Those who choose to dress up may participate as an angel, a shepherd, a wise one, or an innkeeper. Please join us for this participatory and joyous celebration of the Christmas story. In-person service only.

WELCOME CHRISTMAS @ 4:30 PM & 7 PM Gather for a celebration of the spirit that infuses this season with hope and joy and holy light. Through stories, music, carols, and poetry we will honor the blessings and gifts of Christmas and celebrate holiday wonder old and new. We will end with the warm glow of candles and the soft choruses of Silent Night. Live-stream option available at 4:30 pm only.

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL @ 10 PM Enter together into the sacred space of Christmas Eve with this service of music, candlelight, and story. Join us as we welcome the spirit of Christmas into our world and into our hearts. We will also partake in a Christmas Eve communion, sharing in the bread of community and the light of hope. Live-stream option available. THE MADISON UNITARIAN



The great sea moves me, sets me adrift. It moves me like algae on stones in running brook water. The vault of heaven moves me. Mighty weather storms through my soul. It carries me with it. Trembling with joy.

by Inuit Shaman Uvavnuk DECEMBER 2021


CABARET WINTERFEST Cheryll Mellenthin, Project Coordinator


ur in-person, winter-themed Cabaret is just around the corner! All the brainstorming, planning, and imagining have brought a lot of joy for what is possible when we engage from our hearts. Member and staff engagement is the quiet theme for this year’s gathering. Our event hopes to offer something for everyone, believing that when we come together as an extended community, fellowship happens. As with any event leaning on Mother Nature’s goodwill for pleasant winter weather, we have a full range of inside and outside activities. The Landmark building is home to all auction and raffle-related features—tables of silent auction favorites and raffle baskets in the Auditorium and spilling into the Loggia. You don’t want to miss our LIVE Auction with MC Steve Goldberg. The Gaebler Livingroom will be bustling with tables for craft-making, including ornament creations, a warm fire in the hearth, and humming with holiday music. You can make your way to the Atrium building to string cranberries and popcorn, add your newly-made ornaments to our holiday tree, and string lights for the season in the Commons. We'll celebrate with music and laughter, new and familiar faces, friends of all ages, and just being together again. Outside the Landmark hearth doors, our firepits will be blazing! Enjoy our Frank Lloyd Wright-approved heaters, tables in the shelter tent for craft-creations, plus a hot cocoa and hot cider station to warm you from the inside. We’ll have food carts in the



parking lot until 3 pm—more detail on our food options coming soon. Other activities include taking a hike in our prairie to collect seeds, filling bird feeders, or perhaps making a snowman. This event also expands to supporting our Madison-area community. We'll be collecting non-perishable food items for Middleton Outreach Ministries. Learn more about their current needs at There will also be a collection of wrapped gifts for kids to be distributed by 100 Black Men of Madison. Learn more about this organization at Cabaret Winterfest is the collaborative effort of staff and members to gather us together in fellowship and highlight our values of inclusion and stewardship. This event is also our most important fundraiser of the year. Your advance ticket purchase helps us with planning to make sure we have enough fun for everyone. For those unable to participate in person, you can still support the event by becoming a sponsor or by donating an auction item (by Monday, December 6). More information is available at: fusmadison. org/cabaret. Tickets are also available at the door. (If purchasing a ticket presents a financial hardship, please let me or Rev. Kelly Crocker know so we can be sure to provide you with free tickets.) We are still looking for volunteers for both final plans and the day of activities, so please contact me at cheryllm@ to learn more.



Drew Collins, Music Director

he theme for this month’s All Music Service, “The World is Sound,” comes from a Hindu mantra: "The world is sound. The universe, vibration. Returning to the source of one. We raise our voice." The FUS Children's Choir, Teen Choir, combined adult choirs, music staff, and guests will raise our voices in readings and song to ring in the holiday season and celebrate music’s role in our spiritual life. We will stir together a mixture of traditional carols, familiar solos, and some new favorites as well. We hope you leave the service feeling warmed by the beauty of music and changed by the spiritual content.

I am fascinated by the intersection of sound, science, and spirituality, which are all found in this Hindu mantra. As we learn more about the universe at every scale—from the sub-atomic to the cosmic—centuries-old spirituality is becoming reflected in scientific reality. • String theory holds that subatomic particles contain bits and loops of string, the vibrational state of which determines that particle’s properties. • On a cosmic scale, scientists are seeing evidence that the universe is connected by a vast web of gaseous filaments, each of which can extend for millions of lightyears and between multiple galaxies, connecting everything.

The prelude combines two familiar tunes from the Fifteenth-century, O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming merged together in an arrangement • In 2005, scientists described a possible role of sound in the formation of the for solo piano. The service will feature two universe. In the moments following the Marian hymns, Schubert’s Ave Maria sung Big Bang, the universe rang like a bell. by Heather Thorpe, and the Irish tune Muire Matter surfed on waves of waves that Bheannaithe (Blessed Mary) played by Linda behaved like soundwaves and began to Warren on solo harp. Congregants will collect along those wavefronts. Cymatics join in the music-making as well, taking an has shown us that matter behaves in opportunity to sing some holiday hymns that response to vibrations, with certain sometimes get left behind, such as the old frequencies resulting in order and others American The Hills are Bare at Bethlehem resulting in chaos. We are beginning to and the English tune Let Christmas Come. see that that principle may indeed have We will also hear the beautiful harp solo, See played a role in the very creation of the Amid the Winter’s Snow. universe itself. While the focus will remain on the music and meaning of the holiday season, we will • On a planetary scale, the Pythagorean theory of musica universalis (literally, also take a moment to venerate music itself, universal music) regards the movements especially its role in our worship services and of celestial bodies as a form of music. spiritual community. The combined adult (This theory is sometimes referred to in choirs will sing “Nada Brahma,” the Hindu poetry as “the harmony of the spheres.”) chant quoted above. DECEMBER 2021


Sixteenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler held that such "music," though inaudible to the ear, could nevertheless be perceived by the soul. This is borne out by recent measurements that calculate the frequency of the earth at 7.83 Hz, an octave displacement of Om, a meditative tone used in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The frequency of our sun, 126.22 Hz, is an octave displacement of the tone associated with the border between Yin and Yang in Daoism.

universe brought light and harmony itself. We will explore both in this season's All Music Services on Saturday, December 11, at 4:30 pm, and Sunday, December 12, at 9 am and 11 am. "The world is sound. The universe, vibration. Sound is the manifestation of the universe, sound manifests itself in the form of all life. Sound is that which binds, sound is the means for liberation. Sound is the bestower of all, sound is the power behind everything, sound is everything."

The birth of Jesus brought metaphorical light to a darkened world and a message of harmony between people. The birth of the

SPECIAL FRIDAY NOON MUSICALE December 3, 2021 • 12 pm - 12:45 pm FUS Atrium Auditorium Free and open to the public

Featuring Mark Valenti on piano Music from Beethoven, Bartok, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy Our Friday Noon Musicales will return on January 14, 2022!





Gail Bliss, FUS Housing Advocacy Team Member

or many years, FUS has dedicated all of our winter holiday service offerings to an eviction prevention fund administered by Just Dane, formerly known as Madison-area Urban Ministry. Joining Forces for Families (JFF), a program of Dane County Department of Human Services, helps disperse these funds to clients they serve. In the past couple of years, mostly because of the pandemic, there has been an increase in federal funds for eviction prevention. When renters who are facing the threat of eviction are eligible for these federal funds, JFF and Just Dane tap into these funding sources first. The funds that we donate are extremely valuable to these organizations as they can use them for a wider range of people whose situations don’t fit the specific requirements attached to the federal funding. Linda Ketcham, the Executive Director of Just Dane, told us our contributions help low-income working people who have been hit with unexpected medical, funeral, or car expenses and find themselves coming up short when it is time to pay rent. Often, they don’t have sick leave or medical insurance. Some folks are ineligible for federal funds due to their immigration status. For the many people that JFF serves, our unrestricted funds can make the difference between making rent and keeping their home or falling into a financial hole that can very quickly lead to eviction and homelessness. During the winter holiday services in 2019, FUS raised over $6,000 during six services. Last year, the FUS Housing Advocacy Team

became very concerned about people losing their housing in the upcoming spring when the eviction moratorium was expected to expire. We also feared that with fewer and online-only holiday services, we would not generate the kind of contributions in years past. We decided to sponsor a matching challenge grant and in a couple of weeks, raised $6,300 that we promised to match dollar-for-dollar with contributions collected during the holiday services. Well, this plan worked beautifully—our congregation met the challenge and then some—we ended up raising almost $20,000 in total with only a few online services! During this second year of pandemic and economic instability, these contributions have made the difference between keeping the family home intact or homelessness for many Madison-area families. While it is impossible to know what will happen with our holiday service attendance this year, it is clear that our in-person attendance will not be back to “normal.” It is also clear that the housing crisis in our community isn’t going away. Please, let's keep FUS’s contribution to eviction prevention going strong. Join us this holiday season, online or in person, and make a generous gift during one of our holiday services. You can also mail a check to FUS, 900 University Bay Dr. Madison, WI 53705, and put “Eviction Prevention Fund” in the memo line. Thank you, friends, for all that you do to help to prevent evictions!





Sara Strom and Kayo Tada, FUS The Road Home Team Coordinators

he FUS Giving Tree returns this year! As in past years, we hope you will help us support the great work of The Road Home, a nonprofit agency that empowers and supports families experiencing housing insecurity. We are so grateful for the many ways that so many FUS congregants have helped us.

in school, and we have seen their outlook change as they are able to relax and enjoy the safety and security of stable housing. The Road Home offers long-term solutions to homelessness, and it has been so inspiring to play a part in these solutions.

We have been so grateful for the way that our fellow FUS congregants have joined us Before we launch into how you can get in the work, and we hope this year will be no involved, we thought we'd share more with you exception. Please consider helping so that all about The Road Home and how we became of The Road Home families can celebrate a involved. The two of us started volunteering wonderful holiday season with some special with our children years ago. It was one of the gifts under the tree. few agencies that encouraged families with The FUS Giving Tree will again be mostly children to get involved. Over the years, we virtual this year. The request from The Road have been so impressed with their successful Home is for gift cards and gift baskets for each solutions to addressing homelessness for family. We will again use a Sign-Up Genius families with children. The Road Home form. Click here to sign-up. Once you signempowers families and assists with things up, purchase the gift(s) you signed up for, and like finding a job, securing childcare, finding then mail or drop them off directly at The financial assistance to obtain and maintain Road Home, 890 W Wingra Dr., Madison, WI permanent housing, and accessing enriching 53715. Gifts are due by December 10. programs for families. If you prefer, we can help with getting your Last year, more than 95% of homeless gift to The Road Home. You can also give less families in the program secured stable than $50. No contribution is too small. If housing after only one year in the program. you would like our help with either of these We have seen firsthand how stable housing options, please email us at theroadhome@ can have a palpable effect on the whole family. We’ve watched families start laughing more. We have seen children doing better




It is with heavy hearts that we share that Joy Wiggert passed on November 8. Joy had been a choir member since 1993 and a bearer of much compassion and love in our community. She is deeply missed. A memorial service is being planned for spring.


Our beloved RE Program Staff, Karen Anderson, left FUS in late November for a new position closer to home. We miss her generous, kind, and inquisitive spirit, and her love for birds and animals. Her years of experience in early childhood education were an invaluable asset to our Children Religious Exploration program. We wish her all the best in her next adventure. Dear FUS Families, Thank you for the warm welcome and kindnesses you have shown me while working at FUS! Your sparkly spirit has infused my time with joy and wonder. I have accepted a position at Willy St. North. I have been treated so well at FUS that it has been a difficult decision to leave, however, I am very excited to be working close to home. I have learned much and grown because of being involved with the families and staff in this caring and justice-seeking community. In the future, I look forward to returning to FUS to continue the search for truth, be edified in worship and enjoy community during coffee hour. In the meantime, if you’re ever on the Northside, stop in and say, “hi.” Be well and see you down the road! Sincerely, Karen Anderson




A MONTH OF SERVICES In-person Services on Saturdays @ 4:30 pm & Sundays @ 9 am & 11 am Online Service on Sundays @ 11 am •



with Rev. Kelly Crocker & Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson

Unitarian Minister A. Powell Davies wrote, “Life must have its sacred moments and its holy places. We need the infinite, the limitless, the uttermost—all that can give the heart a deep and strengthening peace.” Reverence is what brings us those feelings of awe and gratitude for the gifts of this life—truth, beauty, hope, human connection. How do we mark these sacred moments in this holy place we share? What lets us know that we are entering into a time of reverence, a time set apart from the ordinary days? There are causes for reverence everywhere we look, let’s explore how we can keep ourselves open to them. Familiar carols for harp and organ, and Heather Thorpe sings a favorite Bach aria.

DECEMBER 11 & 12


with FUS Music Staff & Choirs

The theme for our winter All Music Services, “The World is Sound,” comes from a Hindu mantra: “The world is sound. The universe, vibration. Returning to the source of one. We raise our voice.” Join the FUS Children’s Choir, Teen Choir, combined adult choirs, music staff, and guests as we raise our voices in readings and song to celebrate music and the holidays. Traditional carols, familiar classics, and some new favorites.



DECEMBER 18 @ 4:30 PM*


with Rev. Kelly Crocker & Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson

The longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice, is the time when the light returns, and our days slowly begin to lengthen. It is a time to remember, in story and song, the hope that lives within this dark and fertile time and within each of us, as we recall the true light of our lives, the love that lives within, and the power we hold when we shine our light into the world and partake in the miracle of renewal. Featuring FUS Teen Choir and Solstice Harp Ensemble. *Online registration is required for this service:

DECEMBER 19 @ 9 AM & 11 AM


with Ken Lonnquist and Friends Based on an ancient Yule tale, Old Befana is a recipe for enchantment. Its warmth and magic put an illuminating spin on a familiar night of miracles, its three Kings, a bright shining star, and a very special child. Hearing that a special child is coming to make the world a better place, Befana begins a search which continues to this day during the holiday season. Join us for a time of wonder, goodwill, and hope.

DECEMBER 24 CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES Information available on page 6



with Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson

We live in a loud culture—where the strength of one’s convictions is often measured in decibels. We live in a loud season—with traditional songs and celebrations that are much beloved, but that can still be a lot to take in. In-between Christmas and New Year, join us for a service exploring the sanctity of calm and quiet. What lessons does the absence of sound have to teach us? Music to send out the year. *Only one service will be offered in person and online this weekend on Sunday, December 26, at 10 am. Join us for a virtual coffee hour online @ 11 am.





Rev. Kelly J. Crocker, Co-Senior Minister x.112

Alyssa Ryanjoy, President

Rev. Kelly Asprooth-Jackson, Co-Senior Minister x. 113

Emily Cusic Putnam

Monica Nolan, Executive Director x. 115

Lorna Aaronson Tom Dulmage John McGevna, Secretary Ann Schaffer


Creal Zearing

Leslie Ross, Director Children’s Religious Exploration x. 119

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.

Janet Swanson, Director Membership & Adult Programs x. 124

Tim Cordon, Social Justice Coordinator x. 125


Dr. Drew Collins, Music Director x. 121


Contact a lay minister at 608.233.9774 x. 126

Heather Thorpe, Children & Youth Choir Director

Linda Warren, Assistant Music Director


Cheryll Mellenthin, Project Coordinator x. 130 Tom Miskelly, Facilities Manager x. 120 Dan Carnes, A/V & Event Specialist

Steven Gregorius, Event Specialist Brittany Crawford, Communications Director x. 117

FUS MADISON 900 University Bay Drive Madison, WI 53705 608.233.9774



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