Upcoming at UUVerdugo

This Friday, July 20

The Verdugo HUUT! presents "beatlesque

7 p.m.

Our celebrated Hootenanny in the Hills brings L.A.'s finest musicians, storytellers, and comedians to our beautiful sanctuary for a night of music and laughs which the L.A. Times recently called "Hilarious!" and "A compelling experience."

This month's theme is "beatlesque" and, in addition to the delightful comedian Jackie Primrose Monahan, the HUUT! stage will feature David Kaufman, Carol McArthur, Deanna Neil, Mitchell Schaffer, Melissa McKinnon, Fogelfoot, Melinda Gibson, and Art Stucco—our biggest night yet. Not only that, but there will be prizes and beatlesque cookies!

And, for the first time, we will have childcare for tots from 2 to 12 (just let us know beforehand at 818-248-3954). See? It's getting so much better all the time.

 

Recommended donation: $10

The Verdugo HUUT! is a family-oriented show for audience members 12 and up.

Sunday, July 22

TMI—Too Much Information 

Guest Speaker: Rev. John Bloom-Ramirez  

10:30 a.m.


With Siri and Alexa at our beck and call, our lives are awash in information. It might even be too much. This sermon will explore the difference between information and wisdom, and some of the frameworks for making meaning out of the surplus of data in our lives.

Saturday, July 28: Monthly Movie Night  

"About Time(2013)

6:30 p.m.

This wonderful 2013 film by the creator of "Love Actually" is an unabashedly sentimental story about finding delight in everyday things if one is attractive, British, and financially stable.

Starring Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson, and the incomparable Bill Nighy.

This event—along with the popcorn!—is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, July 29

With Liberty And Justice for All

Guest Speaker: Rev. Betty Stapleford  

10:30 a.m.


We know those words as part of our United States pledge of allegiance. But what do they mean outside that context?  And what could they mean to us as Unitarian Universalists. Let's look a little deeper to see them without their flavor of patriotism.  They may just comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

(Rev. Stapleford spent many years as UUVerdugo's minister and we are delighted to have her back, even for one Sunday.)

Sunday, August 5

Comfort Zone 

Guest Speaker: Cantor Deanna Neil  

10:30 a.m.


When there is loss or difficulty, how do we find comfort? And on the other end, when do we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones? Together we'll explore the aspects of comfort and consolation.

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Wednesday
Apr272016

Continuing Conversations

 

            The autumn leaves, they have my attention.  The shorter days, they inform my life.  The cooler nights, the breezy afternoons, the colors of an awesome life, all bring me closer to this season and this time in my life.

            Recently Lisa and I saw a movie that was funny, quirky and relaxing.  “Hello My Name Is Doris” took us on a journey that was both upsetting to me and insightful.  The long and the short of it for me was about the midlife issues of caring for a parent, collecting too much stuff, sibling misunderstandings that extend into later life and fantasy exploration.

 

            Somewhere along the story the lead character Doris goes to a rock group’s performance (Baby Goya).  The young people at the show seem to love Doris and her style and way of being.  The head of the group tells us of an upcoming album title – New Vintage and wants Doris in her late middle-aged look to be the cover shot. Wow, that sent my head spinning.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I thought of our Unitarian Universalist Principles and was inspired!  I started thinking about the UU faith and in particular our congregation. And how we are New Vintage ourselves!

 

            Are we on the verge of living into a – New Classical age?  I sure hope so.  Finding the time, energy, spiritual direction and excitement that a new love or new vocation can bring is what I’m trying to find for us.  It is not that UUCVH isn’t wonderful just as it is; it’s the potential for more that intrigues me.  It’s that I see a congregation that is even more than what we presently are.

 

            This reaffirming of faith, this excitement about engaging the spirit, this willingness to dive in, taste, touch, and feel things anew, is both exhilarating and needed. The changing of the seasons, the march of time, the willingness to live into the moment is happening before our very eyes and if we are willing to walk through a new door of understanding maybe, just maybe we will find ourselves renewed by this community of seekers, teachers, saints, sages and sojourners.

 

            So my friends now is the time, not some later far off date.  The fall of this year or be it the fall of our lives is calling us in to action.  Our religious lives, our church, our world, needs us to recommit.

 

            We have had a few new youngsters join us and Elizabeth and the RE committee are hard at work.  AJ and I are offering different options for adult growth.  Our local cluster of congregations has created a new vehicle for service.  I for one am totally engaged.  How about you?

 

 I hope learning is taking place. I hope maybe, even just a little, contemplation into things we haven’t spent much time thinking about before is taking place?  The Board and committee on ministry and all of the committees are busy doing their thing! 

 

Social Action is ready, willing, and I believe able to be the hands or in part, the worker bees for our community of Unitarian Universalist who place a premium on doing, not talking.   Faith in action is a reality I respect!  Feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, mentoring the young or unemployed, cleaning our park, or some other way of being connected and engaged with the world about us is part and parcel of living our faith.

 

            I am hoping to host a meeting of Interfaith Clergy this season, right here to start a much-needed dialog.  I’ve been told I am one of maybe two ministers of African descent to have served this area?  I don’t know for sure, but as I attend local meetings I am usually the only person of my ethno cultural background.  Nevertheless, I believe in working together.  This is the only way I know to move forward in a very complicated world.

 

            Our own friendship dinners and possibly small group ministry are also part and parcel of the important work that congregations do together.  Yes, eating and sharing are work.  I think they are good works but work nevertheless and we enjoy each other at UUCVH very much!

 

            I’ve been wondering how many of you speak Spanish? I’ve wanted to be part of a Latino/English conversation for many years.  What would an open invitation to the Latino Community look like?  How would we welcome Spanish-speaking guest into our spiritual home?  How do we even bridge the gaping chasm between the others and ourselves?

 

I don’t have all of the answers or even enough of them at this point to give voice to them all and yet I know in my heart we must find a way.  The time is at hand.  The season is right. A new manifestation is going to be needed if growth and sustainability are important to us.  Then, and maybe only then, will we begin to act in radically different ways?  So my friends, get yourselves ready.  Prepare a way for a new you and a new us!

 

            I love autumn!  I love the possibilities it allows. I find it particularly lovely in a place like ours that has the best of all possibilities. The Verdugo Hills are beautiful.  Our weather, climate and lifestyle are like a dream to me.  The trails through the parks provide the most spectacular views. Our location is awesome if nature and beauty fill your heart. This backdrop for spiritual enrichment, deepening of our individual souls, and engagement of the big questions of life in a safe communal setting is awesome!

 

             How grand is that?  I’ve known some people that have waited a lifetime for a chance like we have.  The ability to come together on a weekly bias to live, learn, discuss, engage, lift up, review and celebrate is a wonderful thing.  The will to determine what we stand for and what our response to the issues of the day will be our quest.

 

            Ah yes, in the words of Rabindranath Tagore seem appropriate to me- Today the peace of autumn pervades the world… In the planets, the sun, and the stars, the joyous dance of atoms through endless time. (# 540 in our hymnal)

 

 

In faith,

Rev. Gordon Clay Bailey

 

 

 

 

July 2016

Staying Woke

One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake throughout great periods of social change.  Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions.  But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.  The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world-wide brotherhood.  Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools.

                                                                                                MLK jr

 

Staying awake during my drive is always an issue for me.  My eyes are not what they used to be.  I’m often distracted by the beauty of the land and my mind can wander.  What’s a middle-aged head in the clouds kind of guy to do?  Well for this cross continental trip the drive was made a lot easier for me as I contemplated our year together, what GA had/has in store for me/us and the global/national/local issues that both confound me and engage me.

So first things first- as I left Pasadena Monday I couldn’t help but be amazed and dismayed at the hills being on fire.  OMG (oh mother goodness), what a site to see driving away from our valley as the fire roared.  Then the landscape, mountains, plants, our state and nation pulled me into a love affair made new.  What an amazing place we call home. 

Then I had the sheer joy to find Native American radio and a show that talked about the word RADICAL and all of its implications, historic significance, and reality in today’s Public Square.  While in NM I wept long and hard.  Feeling so sad about the ways we have and continue to treat First Peoples. Feeling both a sense of connection and new purpose I’ve been Re- Radicalized and as long as I have breath I must be vigilant in doing what is right!

The heartland of our nation reminded me of the things of my childhood.  Green spaces, lots of trees, ice cream, fireworks, farms   and people that reminded me of aunt Bea and Andy- it sure feels good to me.  They were lovely to behold!  The reality probably is very different?  Some are doing well, some not so much.  Roads seem in really bad condition and our infrastructure sure needs a fix.  Nevertheless, I felt at ease.  Despite histories that are far from perfect and present conditions that leave me wondering about the worldview that people of the nation are seeing I was glad to get to this part of the world.

 

Arriving in Columbus and getting to GA has been on my mind and now I’m here.   Getting to work is what this trip is all about.  Getting my energies replenished by UU’s that are moving, doing, shaking and staying awake through the justice issues, political, social, environmental, cultural, changes and upheavals of our time is amazing to me.

What I’m seeing, hearing and feeling is life altering if you’re open to that kind of experience.  I feel open and ready to engage.  How about you?  GA can be visited on line.  Our movement is taking on big issues and I believe trying its best to help a world in need of healing/love!

Lastly, the music has been awesome.  I know of only a few things I like more than good music in fact really there is Nothing like being with thousands singing, moving, feeling the power of music to heal us and bring us together. I leave you with these words from a song you might know-

‘I Need You to Survive’ 

 

These words are simple yet they remain at the heart of my/our ministry together. 

 

Stay Awoke and in love,

 

Rev. Gordon

 

June 2016

 

Ahh sweet June and the weather is nice finally.  Children are getting ready for freedom, college students are back and the pace of life takes on a decidedly summer time attitude.

 

As I’ve grown older I am in awe of the summer season.   I have lots of expectations of beach walks, fun parks and lazy days.  I love the blue skies and long walks with my loves, my community and myself (time for internal discourse).

 

These are the days I’ve longed for.  I came in part to California to lead a life filled with short pants, tee shirts, sun tea, and cookouts, beautiful bodies and older bodies sitting on decks.  This way of life, all of it allows me to see and be seen in a different light.  I’m happier now and I’m more open to the world around me. I must admit it I’m a guy whose disposition is totally improved by the warm weather and sunny days.

 

So what happens if this isn’t your season?  Where do you turn if this time of year turns you off?  How do you survive the long season of the sun?  I guess it is much like those of us that tolerate winter or rainy seasons or even El Niños.  I imagine you find an air-conditioned space, draw the blinds, pull the curtains and delve into movies, novels and quite time in the house.  Wow, that doesn’t sound so bad after all.  The kids are outside!  The people are off to the beach, mountains or visiting their loved ones and hence the malls, stores and other places you might visit may be emptier?

 

Oh, where am I going with this?  I am going to the fact that no matter the season.  No matter your age.  No matter your health condition you’ve still got yourself!  You still have the situation that you’ve been a part of or even created.  You still have the woman/ man in the mirror.

 

Michael Jackson was a lot of things, the King of pop, a childhood star, an innovator of sight, sound and effect and yet for me as a man that shares the same skin illness (vitaligo), same era (late baby boomer) and same ethno cultural group (African American)

I am most appreciative of a song that he sang (Man In The Mirror) that captures so much of my mind when it comes to the life I want to lead at this point and time.

 

I’ve been a crusader of sorts.  Seeking to dismantle the linked oppressions that affect me and the world around us in negative ways.  I’m a do-gooder to a point and have stuck my nose in other people’s business too many times to remember.  But the issue of anti-oppression, concern for the environment and my deepest hope for the world that we live in to become the paradise (Beloved Community) I think it was meant to be consumes me.

 

I dream of blue skies but not just blue, clean fresh, exhilarating air that invigorates and renews the spirit of us all.  I fantasize about a world where racism and ethnic division no longer exist and people of the planet much like the wild flowers of a meadow live side by side in each other’s company.  All beautiful and possibly fragrant!  I am seeking a world free from the hate and stigma that being a member of the LGBTQ community brings.  The feelings that separate us and strikes fear, dismantles families, churches, and promotes legal affairs in our country. 

 

If I am Latino (Asian, African, Amer-Indian) and you are European it should not matter!

If I am gay (GLBTQ) and you are straight it should not matter!

If I am old and you are young it should not matter!

If I am not able bodied and you are able bodied it should not matter!

If you are well educated and I am not it should not matter!

If you are economically well off and I am poor or marginally getting by it should not matter!

If you are an activist and I am only able to manage my own affairs it should not matter!

 

I’m no longer a young healthy man; I’ve gone through a Job season.  Not that I was ever the Creators most perfect human.  Oh, far from it nevertheless, I’ve had my share of health woes and other issues that come up with parenting, life circumstances and my own internal idiosyncratic ways dealing with life.

I’m saying to you all that if we look in the mirror and are 100% honest and fair what ways might we change?  How might we grow our souls, bodies and minds in new and more productive ways? 

How can we use this season for the good of all?  I will be reading a lot this summer and pontificating a good deal over the next three months.  Look at Facebook and Twitter for my postings.  Engage with me in dialog over the electronic mediums and even send me a snail mail if you still use that tried and true form of correspondence.

 

I’m looking to change the tenor of my ministry and even myself.  I feel a new manifestation is at hand and I’m in the early stage of a great beginning.  I am planning a plethora of things for next congregational year.  I will be planning a new form of worship each month and year of adult RE that expands our horizons and brings us closer to our faith and spirit. I’m looking at more engagement with our youth, deeper connections with our local community.

 

 In the final analysis, what is our time together about if transformations of mind body and spirit aren’t possible?  I’m ready are you? 

 

I hope this summer will be a wonderful one for you all!  I trust you will be as safe as possible, use your sunscreen, hats, fans or AC as needed.  Drink lots of water!  Be kind to yourselves and to the world around us.  And know that I love you and have had an awesome season with you all!

 

In faith,

Rev Gordon Clay Bailey

May 2016

 

Often, people ask me what is different about Unitarian Universalist Congregations; I say that we are a people bound together by a behavioral covenant, rather than by a creed.  That we are a denomination of pilgrims on a journey of spiritual discovery and communal connection. The more I have thought about it, the more I have realized that my “standard answer” is not as complete as I want it to be, it doesn’t get to the core of my own beliefs, and ultimately its why the concept of Covenantal Community is the topic of this month’s new-letter column.                          

In reality, virtually all synagogues, churches, and masjids are covenantal communities and I am sure they would all hasten to point out that there are definite behavioral components to the covenants on which they are based. The concept of behavioral covenants is an ancient one, one that predates the sacred writings on which most western religious covenants are based.

But I am going to bring this closer to home.  I am suggesting that we look anew at what covenant means to us both individually and collectively as a congregation.  We have a unique opportunity here.  We are poised to make changes in our own lives and in this La Crescenta, Glendale, LA Co, community.  To this end I am offering a sermon on covenant, we are offering an adult education class on your building your own theology, and we have the annual meeting coming up.  All of these activities here at UUCVH along with the District’s annual meeting and our UUA General Assembly all lead us towards this critical act, this profound locus, this important ideal of what it means to be in community as a UU and a member /friend of UUCVH.

Hence, I don’t believe we can do both covenant and individualism, individuality, yes, but not individualism well within the context of the Unitarian Universalist faith.  Articulating and living our Principles as a commitment to covenant—creating and sustaining a community by “promising to one another our mutual trust and support”— and finances, this takes extra effort.

I hope, nay I am counting on this community of history and integrity, promise and reward to come together, shape a new future, and live long, prosper and love well.

This is my dream for us; I hope in part it is yours as well?

In faith,

Rev Gordon Clay Bailey

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