News – November 12, 2021

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston

Dear First UU Church Community:

A long time ago, when I first came to the U.S. as a 16-year old, I had to learn a lot about language and culture. Back then, someone asked me, “how do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your country?” At the time, in my limited English, I could only answer “we don’t?” From another perspective, perhaps we all celebrate it, at least the essence of el día de acción de gracias, as we get together with family and friends throughout the year.

Since we’re already anticipating the holiday celebrations, I’m glad to share many exciting things that are happening at First UU Church! Starting tomorrow night!

Saturday, November 13th

Traveler will be in concert at 7:30 pm

Sunday, November 14th

Rev. Scott’s service is titled “A Priori1 Gratitude”

Thursday, November 18th

As a native-Spanish speaker, being part of the Grupo de Crecimiento Espiritual is very special to me. A relatively-new and unique opportunity to share with other Spanish-speakers, it’s very comforting to learn and share stories about our path and experiences with Unitarian Universalism. Join this conversation in-person or online at 6:30 pm.

Sunday, November 21st

Get ready for a multigenerational service led by Carol Burrus!

Wednesday, November 23rd

Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving in community! Once again, Tawanna and her family have volunteered to prepare individual meals for members and friends. Pick up a to-go Thanksgiving meal and let’s say thank you, Tawanna and family!

It’s also that time of the year when we announce our special holiday services! As you drive by 5200 Fannin, you will soon see our new banner announcing one Solstice service and two Christmas Eve services! Download your copy HERE and please share it!

Getting back to the meaning of Thanksgiving, there are certainly many things to be thankful for. I would like to share with you a “Thanksgiving” story. On a recent trip home to El Salvador, I met Ernesto, a 45-year old man who earns his living pushing a heavy ice cream cart throughout many neighborhoods. Up the hills, down the hills he goes, pushing his cart. The ringing of a bell signaled his proximity and his loud, unique sing-song “¡paletas! ¡sorbetes! ¡helados!” made me run outside with a one-dollar coin2 in hand. I felt like a little kid, excited and unable to choose just one paleta. (So, I bought two instead.) “How long have you been selling paletas?” I asked. “About twenty years,” he said with pride and a friendly smile. “I have been able to raise my children and I make a living,” he added without complaint. We talked and he proudly shared how he has had a good, blessed life and how he hopes to continue pushing that cart for many more years… As he started walking away, he said thank you. I was still holding my two paletas and could not get my brain to comprehend his contentment with what I perceived to be “too little.” A few seconds passed and I called out “¡Don Ernesto!” He turned as I said “Thank you! ¡Que Dios le bendiga!” (May God bless you). He beamed! At that moment, his genuine smile felt like such a spiritual gift! I last saw him pushing the cart, making his way slowly up the hill. He did not realize the lesson on gratitude and humility he gave me. Despite being a stranger, this humble and spiritually-rich man connected with me, impacting my life forever.

This month, as we continue to reimagine gratitude, I hope we find many Don Ernestos on our path. And even better, I hope we can also be a “Don Ernesto” to others, radiating happiness, being thankful for what we have and for each day of our lives.

¡Un abrazo fraternal y virtual para todos ustedes!

Alma Viscarra
Membership, Communications & Spanish Ministry Coordinator

1 I had to look "priori" up 🙂 and even had to read the description a couple of times 🙂 🙂
Since 2001, the U.S. Dollar became the legal currency in El Salvador. And since June 2021, El Salvador also adopted Bitcoin as its second legal currency.


This Sunday, Rev. D. Scott Cooper invites us to reflect on whether gratitude can only be expressed for those things we have observed and experienced, or might gratitude be an understood truth that undergirds our lives and mindsets? Join us in person at 5200 Fannin St, or click HERE to join online.

Every Friday, we send out our digital newsletter to all members and friends. We invite you to learn more about issues that are important to the congregation, the latest information presented by the Board of Directors, other news about activities and special events being held at First UU Church! If you would like to subscribe, please visit our subscription page.


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