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Showing posts from July, 2018

The most challenging commandment...

Every weekend I visit my 95 year-old mother who lives in Woodmere.   She still lives in the same house where I grew up, but now with an aide who provides her with 24/7 care.   Although her mind is clouded with dementia, she still enjoys simple pleasures- sitting on her porch with family members, looking at pictures of her great-grandchildren, painting with watercolors, and especially noshing on pastries from her favorite bakery- Walls.   My mother could eat an entire box of Walls cookies in a single sitting if we let her!   And who could blame her- they are SO delicious.   Walls has existed since I was a child.   It is legendary on Long Island (in the whole NY metropolitan area, actually), all you need to do is check Yelp to see the passion of its customers.   I remember tremendous long lines snaking out the door before the Jewish New Year with all of the locals anxiously waiting to buy their favorite honey cakes, strudels, the famous ‘Philly Fluff’ and ultra buttery rugela

"I wonder ..."

I wonder … A few years ago, I was at a week-long meeting of Quakers in upstate New York and we started every morning with a short community worship. Each day we were asked to turn to someone near us and ask an open-ended question, different every day, and all of them began “I wonder …” as in “I wonder how it might feel to… ?”   or “I wonder if you have ever … ?” At first I was shy, there were many people there I did not know, and I am not a morning person.  But that simple phrase seemed to have magic for us as a group.  “Wondering” became a welcoming invitation to imagine new things together and allowed a falling-away of discomfort.  I know that the worship leader that week was skilled and grounded and the group was open to Spirit.  I am sure that is the basis of the magic I felt.  But in the time since that week, I find that when I let myself “wonder” about something that needs my attention - whether it is how to reach out to someone whose views distress me or how to stop wat

A Community Ministry

A Community Ministry: Unitarian Universalist Style My name is Linda Anderson and I am a Unitarian Universalist minister.  A few weeks ago the Reverend Margaret Allen introduced us to Unitarian Universalism, so I will not repeat that introduction here. If you haven’t read her blog, I recommend it to you. Within Unitarian Universalism we have different types of ministers. I am a Community Minister in affiliation with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook. What’s a community minister, you might be thinking. Or what does it mean to be in affiliation? In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, a community minister is one whose ministry takes place, not within a congregation, but in the larger community. For example, a community minister might serve as a hospital chaplain, or serve in a faith-based legislative ministry or as a spiritual director. We affiliate with Unitarian Universalist congregations in order to root ourselves in our own faith tradition, for our o

One American Story

Perhaps it’s fitting that, as a Presbyterian, my first post on this blog happens to fall on Independence Day. Presbyterianism is, by definition, a system of church governance by representative assemblies, so Presbyterians love to claim an influence on the United States system of government! King George III apparently referred to the War for Independence as “that Presbyterian revolt.” Twelve signers of the Declaration of Independence were Presbyterians, including the only clergyman, John Witherspoon. According to the Presbyterian Historical Society: "Presbyterians were only one of the reformed denominations that dominated American colonial life at the time of the Revolutionary War. Presbyterians participated in the writing of state and national constitutions. Reformed views of God's sovereignty and of human sinfulness moved the new nation toward checks and balances and separation of powers."  And Long Island boasts seven of the eight oldest Presbyterian congregations