News – December 17, 2021
Dear Members and Friends:
We are in the midst of an exciting holiday season full of possibility and diverse and meaningful services at First Church. They will be able to be enjoyed either in-person or live-streamed. Even if you missed the “Feeding the Community” Thanksgiving service and the appearances by the choir, there are a half dozen more observances to enjoy before the end of the holidays!
Carol Burrus, our Director of Religious Community, and I have crafted a very special service for this upcoming Sunday. Join us for a multi-generational holiday look at the wonderful possibilities journeys are able to present to us. Interactive stories, festive carols, and lively songs make this a joyful and meaningful service for all ages.
I’m sure you’ve noticed how early it is getting dark. Tuesday the 21st will be the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year. On that evening at 7:00 pm, we will observe the Winter Solstice with our annual vespers service. There will be ritual, readings, and music by Traveler and Mark Vogel, our outgoing Music Director.
Then, on Friday, we will be having a pair of Christmas Eve services. At 5:00 pm, we will have our Spanish language service, then our English language service will follow at 7:00 pm. Familiar carols and readings, as well some new texts, will lead up to the traditional candle lighting ritual.
On January 2nd, I continue my annual tradition, begun years ago at this church, of reflecting on some individuals who made their marks, the most of their time, and whom we lost in 2021.
On the day after Christmas, I will use one of the seminal works by another great we lost this year to provide the themes for my sermon. In the second act of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” the observation is made, “There are only two worthwhile things to leave behind when you depart this world of ours: children and art.” I’ll reflect on this idea and several others found in the Pulitzer-Prize-winning musical.
For those of you who have all your holiday shopping and baking done, there is an opportunity to make new friends and better the planet on Saturday. First Church’s Green and Community Project Teams will join the City of Houston to plant trees on December 18 with the mission of protecting and promoting trees and as a measure to clean the air, mitigate run-off and beautify our neighborhoods. This is a collaborative effort which will take place in Macgregor Park from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Go to the CPT page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Many of you many not have heard: Unitarian Universalist Association President the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray was arrested Monday while protesting outside the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds of activists, including influential faith leaders, were expressing support for, among other things, the Build Back Better bill, voting rights and ending the filibuster.
Frederick-Gray, as well as The Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, spoke at the rally. Read more about the protest here.
We’re excited so many of you are participating in our Sunday services in person or online. Take care of yourselves and each other, mask up, and have a blessed holiday season!
Rev. D. Scott Cooper
Assistant Minister of Congregational Life
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston