Topic: Religious Exploration

Turned Outside In: Spiritual Silence for Saints and the Rest of Us

Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Turned Outside In: Spiritual Silence for Saints and the Rest of Us

Too often we think that silence is a spiritual practice meant for those living in cloisters or those of us who go on the occasional silent retreat. But, as English Quaker William Littleboy reminds us, “God is above all the God of the normal. In … read more.

The Festival of Lights in the Light of History and Memory

Also known as the Festival of Lights, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the 167-160 BCE Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 22, and we will take the opportunity to acknowledge an element of our Judeo-Christian heritage and consider the meaning of this celebration as it relates to our Unitarian Universalist faith. We will also hear from members and friends of our Congregation who identified spiritually and/or culturally as Jewish about their memories of Hanukkah growing up, and how their experience of it or, perhaps, their lack of experience of it, figured into their faith development and how they now regard and/or observe Hanukkah.
We will also, of course, light the Menorah, the iconic symbol of Hanukkah.

God is Not God’s Name

Religious language can never adequately satisfy our human desire to capture and to express our most profound experiences. Recent research by a Jefferson University Hospital neuroscientist and his colleagues confirm how prevalent and diverse spiritual or poignant experiences are and the lingering impact they can have on our lives. Even when we use religious language, we don’t all mean the same thing by the words that we use. I believe that Unitarian Universalist minister, Rev. F. Forrester Church expressed it well when he said that “God is not God’s name. God is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in each.”

Sharing Your Spiritual Gifts

Members of our Thomas Paine UU Fellowship Mystics Group will share methods they use to connect with their spiritual self and will guide the congregation in group meditation. Jennifer Blackwell, a member of the group, will give the sermon entitled “The Three Great Lies We’ve Been Taught That Are Uncloaked by a Spiritual Awakening,” an excerpt from a book she’s written.

Rumi in Words and Song

Please join us as we explore the words and message of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, Persian Sufi mystic of the 13th century. Michael London performs his music inspired by the deeply moving, transcendental poetry of Rumi. Michael performs in concert, at workshops and conferences, and in support of sacred rituals. He is also a teacher of leadership, organizational behavior, creativity, and management at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Poet Lisa DeVuono will read selected translations of poetry by Rumi. See for more info. Please come ready to fill your mind and heart.

A Journey of Faith

Guest worship leader Elsayed Elmarzouky, restauranteur, past president of the Islamic Center of Reading, PA, and chaplain in the correctional and healthcare systems in Berks County, will chronicle his personal journey of faith as a practicing Muslim in Egypt and the U.S. and how his understanding of Islam reflects principles underlying our UU faith.

We’re Not That Far Apart

Did you ever have two Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your door and think to yourself “I have nothing in common with these folks?” One UU did just that. Then he came to realize he had much more in common with Jehovah’s Witnesses than he (or they) might have imagined.