Thursday, May 18, 2006

UU Military Congregation in Maryland

Linda from the UU Fellowship of Southern Maryland writes:

I am writing you from the UU Fellowship of Southern Maryland, a little over an hour south of DC and adjacent to the Patuxent Naval Air Station in Lexington Park, MD. Our congregation has many members who are retired from various branches of the military as well as many contractors that support the work of the base here. On May 28, we will be conducting a lay-led sharing service with the title "Honoring Those Who Protect Our Freedom" and is described in our newsletter as follows:

"On this Memorial Day weekend, it seems appropriate to ask how we can honor members of the Armed Forces who put themselves in harm's way to protect our freedoms and our way of life, while at the same time honoring our UU values to promote peace. And what about the many civilians who work for the Armed Forces as employees and contractors? This morning's sharing service will be an opportunity to explore these important - and sometimes difficult questions."

I have listened to the tape from last year's GA on "Unitarian Universalists in the Military" and that's how I got your address and blog address. I have wonderful material from that tape, but would also appreciate any readings that you recommend. When reading your blog, I got the feeling that you were reaching out to congregations to help them understand this issue better and to talk about being more welcoming and inclusive. I will plan to use Gini Courter and Bill Sinkford's comments.

Our congregation is sensitive to the issues I heard on the tape. About 18 months ago, we had a service for Peace Day when our retired military members talked about their time in the service and the "peace missions" and work they did with communities that they were stationed at. It was an eye-opening event for our hard line peace folks, something that the quieter military folks were so relieved to
experience. It has meant all the world to our military folks to no longer hide who they are and to be acknowledged as true UUs too.

I have not served in the military myself, but have a younger brother who is an active member, an officer, in the Navy, stationed in Norfolk.

I am glad that we are learning to me more inclusive - it's about time!

Thanks for the work you are doing and if you can provide any assistance for our worship service on the 28th, I would appreciate it.

Linda, thanks for YOUR work. If anybody can help her out with readings for her service on Memorial Day weekend, please e-mail us and we'll pass it along.

1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

Rev. Augustus Conant founded my Church.

He had to leave it because of his stand on slavery and went to the Rockford Church which he had to leave too for the same reasons.

Our Minister tells a story of his funeral. His body was returned to the Generva Church. His coffin placed at the front of the Church for his servercie and at the same time his infant child was baptized while helf over his father's coffin.

Very emotional story when she tells it. I believe she tells the story as symbolic of never splitting the Church over wars again regardless how congregations and ministers feel abou them.

You might want to email her for details and anything you could use for your service.

Conant served in the same Illinois regiment with Rev Moody of Moody Bible school fame. I thought that would be a wondeful model for a debate and asked Rev Bates at Geneva about it and she said Conant is on record saying litte about Moody...

...well, maybe I could write a play or something and take artistic liberities.

Conant's story is a good one.