News March 8, 2024

Cover March 10, 2024(1)
Dear Members and Friends,

The outdoors have been on my mind lately. I guess it comes ‘naturally’; it certainly feels like Spring. (Our Spring Equinox Vespers is coming up on Tuesday March 19!) And I’m hearing more and more about the Total Solar Eclipse that will be on April 8. In our Sanctuary, as part of Fotofest, there are large-scale photos of outdoor scenes that belie the atrocities that happened there. Our Garden Team and sextons work hard to keep our campus green and attractive. And one of history’s most celebrated naturalists is Henry David Thoreau, the philosopher and transcendentalist who was raised Unitarian. No wonder my mind keeps drifting outdoors.

I moved into my condo last June, not an ideal time to plant flowers around my small front patio. So I waited until this past Saturday, set my GPS for a garden center, and spent about twice what I intended. Later that afternoon, my patio was bordered by bright yellow marigolds separating the fuchsia bougainvillea, which I hope will soon begin climbing the fence. Rev. Colin reports at the same time he was beginning his rooftop vegetable garden.

Every month, a different group presents to the Third Ward Cloth. On Tuesday morning, it was NEO Nature & Eclectic Outdoors which helps people lead more outdoor-oriented lives for better health, wellbeing, and resilience. Their Healthy Outdoor Communities is a groundbreaking initiative that promotes equitable access to nature and green space as an equalizer in the fight against health disparities in urban communities.

Houston has a plethora of parks to enjoy. There is an entire block with playground equipment, a ball field, picnic tables and live oaks only a block from my condo. I can easily walk to the Metro, where I can ride to either Discovery Green or Hermann Park.

If you’d like a change of scenery, consider a weekend getaway with other church members in the Texas Hill Country. The Retreat at U-Bar-U is March 23 – 25, and promises great times walking the outdoor labyrinth, hiking, or viewing the sky at a Star Party. Register here if you haven’t yet.

This month our Lives of the Spirit luminary is Mary Brave Bird, the Sicangu Lakota writer and activist, and I have been coming across various writings by Native Americans. Sun Bear of the Chippewa Tribe tells us, “I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.”

Being outdoors harmonizes mind and body and energizes the soul. Many studies show an undeniable link between human health, both mental and physical, and being in nature. I encourage you to get outside, shake off some stress, and learn to relate to your environment. Maybe plant something; it will do you good.

Much love,

Rev. D. Scott Cooper
Associate Minister
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston
Where are the Ministers?

Rev. Scott
will join Rev. Colin on the chancel on March 10 (Don’t forget to Spring Forward!), and he will be preaching on March 17. On Thursday, March 14, he and Conrad will be helping to sponsor the “Bringin’ in the Green” fundraiser for the Montrose Center. On Saturday, March 23, they will be hosting their Annual Church Auction Dinner.

Rev. Scott will be joining guest preacher Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika on the chancel on Sunday, March 24. Later that week, he and Conrad head for the high seas on vacation.

Rev. Colin
will be preaching the month’s installment of Lives of the Spirit on March 10th and the Easter sermon on March 31st. March 11th to 17th he’ll be on vacation, taking the teenagers in his house on junior year college visits. March 23rd to the 25th he and his family will be attending the church UBarU retreat.