Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. John, U.S.V.I.

December 2015 Newsletter

Learning to Identify and Care for St. John Trees and Plants

A project of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. John, Green Sanctuary Committee.

“Trees are sanctuaries….Whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They preach the ancient law of life…. When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us:

Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. …

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. When we have learned how to listen to trees, then …our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. “

From Hermann Hesse, Trees: Reflections and Poems


December 2015 NUUS


Merry Christmas!! Happy Hanukkah! Festive Kwanzaa!

Blessed Winter Solstice!

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St John Mission Statement: We nurture and inspire our community with open minds, as we connect in spirit and celebrate our island home.

Sunday Services are held in the Great Room of the Gift Hill School, Lower/ Elementary Campus, at 10:00 AM from late October through early June. Please be seated before 10 so we can begin on time. Directions can be found at our website: www.uufstjohn.com .

Ride from the Cruz Bay Ferry Dock: If you would like a ride, please call Anna Tuttle at 340-626-2625 (at least one day in advance).

Children are invited to attend the service. Please arrange for child care (held just outside where services are), at least one day prior to service by calling Elena Glenn at 503-560-8337.

Members and friends frequently meet for lunch after Sunday service. We welcome visitors to join us.


December Sunday Service Topics:

December 6 The Unitarians of India Gabriella Brand

Did you know that there are 15,000 Unitarians in India with their own state holiday? This spring, Gabriella Brand went to Meghalaya under the auspices of the Unitarian -Universalist Partner Church Council to visit Unitarian churches, schools and orphanages in the Khasi Hills, near Bangladesh. Her visit provoked as many questions as answers. What does it mean to be a Unitarian? What do most UU’s know about their denomination and its history? What are we forgetting to celebrate? Gabriella shares what she learned from the gracious and welcoming congregants and ministers she encountered.

December 13 What Are You Afraid Of? Gabriella Brand

Do your anxieties keep you awake at night? Or do you tend to deny or play down your troubling thoughts? What fears are perpetrated by the media? Are we paying attention to the right things? We all have different coping techniques. Fear can be a gift, but it doesn’t usually come with instructions. Gabriella Brand, counselor and writer, helps demystify the nature of our anxieties.

December 20 Do You Hear What I Hear? Gabriella Brand

The best holiday gift you can give: Deep Listening. Our children, our aging parents, our friends …they all want to tell us something, but are we really listening? All too often our attention is divided. We listen with only half an ear, our minds racing ahead to what we’re going to say or do next. Yet we can give something priceless when we really focus on what we are hearing. Gabriella Brand, inspired by the recent work of musicians, spiritual leaders, and psychologists, explores the concept of “deep listening”.

December 27 “Aloha, Arivederci, Gracias and Je m’ excuse” Rev Gary Kowalski

Travelers on the earth are required to learn many phrases and linguistic tricks to navigate their way through foreign lands. This Sunday, as we reflect on the ending of one year and the beginning of another, Reverend Gary Kowalski suggests that a very simple vocabulary can help us find our way through life and the passing seasons. Come learn the four fundamental words that every voyager needs to know.

Speaker Backgrounds:

Gabriella Brand is an educator, writer and linguist. . She served as a Middle School Head in three private schools and currently works as an international consultant. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. A Unitarian for over fifty years, Gabriella speaks five languages and travels widely, mostly on foot. She has completed several spiritual pilgrimages.

Gary Kowalski is the author of books on nature, history and spirituality, including The Souls of Animals and Goodbye Friend: Healing Wisdom For Anyone who Has Ever Lost A Pet” (both from New World Library); Blessings of the Animals: Celebrating Our Kinship With All Creation, Science and the Search for God and The Bible According to Noah (all from Lantern Books); Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America’s Founding Fathers (BlueBridge Publishing); and Earth Day: An Alphabet Book (Skinner House). His author’s website is www.kowalskibooks.com.

Reverend Kowalski currently serves the Unitarian Congregation of Taos, New Mexico.

Phone number to reach UUF guest apartment and visiting speakers is 340-693-8392.


Special Events in December 2015:

Sun. Dec. 13 – Board Meeting after service, all welcome to attend. If you would like to get more involved in our Fellowship, we are looking for additional board and committee members.

Mon. Dec. 21 – Christmas Potluck at Anna Tuttle’s starting at 6:00pm. Everyone is invited to this festive family event. Email kathy.guidi@gmail.com to coordinate your pot luck item or for directions. Appetizer, side, main dish, salad or dessert. Bring your own beverage and your Christmas spirit! As usual, we will practice our caroling for Christmas eve.

Thurs. Dec 24Annual Community Carol Sing in Cruz Bay, 5:30 pm – 7:30 at the Park Gazebo. Come one come all; invite your friends, neighbors and guests to share in our traditional caroling!


Offerings are taken during Sunday Services or go to: www.uufstjohn.com, and click the “Donate” button. We are always seeking donations to cover the operational costs of our fellowship. Your pledge commitment and offerings help to pay for the operational costs of our fellowship like: rent, utilities and cleaning of the apartment for our guest speakers; rent and liability insurance of the school room for Sunday Services; in addition to the cost of our piano accompanist, child care during service, and our dues to the National and Distinct UU. We encourage you to make a personal pledge commitment so that your board may more realistically budget for the year and so that you can receive a tax deductible donation letter from us.


Nuusletter Info: Please forward any nuusletter info to me by January 20, 2016 for inclusion in January nuusletter. kathy.guidi@gmail.com


Copies of our Guide to Island Housekeeping are still available at Sunday Service, for your personal use or for at rental properties. Also available for reading or download at our website.


Coming up at UUF Sunday Services in 2016!


17 Rev Allen Wells

24 Rev Allen Wells

31 Rev Allen Wells Annual Meeting after Service


7 Rev Allen Wells

14 Merry Stockwell

21 Merry Stockwell

28 Merry Stockwell


6 Merry Stockwell

13 Dan Zukergood and Laurie Herrick

20 Dan Zukergood and Laurie Herrick

27 Rev Karon Sandberg


3 Rev Karon Sandberg

10 Rev Christina Sillari

17 Rev Christina Sillari

21 Rev Christina Sillari


1 Kimberly Cartwright and Ewell Hopkins

8 Kimberly Cartwright and Ewell Hopkins

15 Vicki Brown on Bali – TBC

22 Nana Hendricks

29 Nana Hendricks

If you have a topic you would like to share at a Sunday Service or know of a minister who might be interested in coming to St. John, please write Linda Sorensen at: topscotch@earthlink.net.

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