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

January 2016 NUUS-letter

January 2016 NUUS-letter

May the new year be new ground for the seed of our dreams.

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.


Sunday Service Topics for January 2016:

January 3     Old Men and Fire     Rev. Gary Kowalski

When he moved to Santa Fe and into semi-retirement, our visiting minister Rev. Gary Kowalski decided that joining the local volunteer fire department might be a good way to get involved and be of service to his new community. After a year of fire school and responding to calls, he reflects on the mission of being an emergency responder, as well as the life lessons that flow from a high pressure fire nozzle. Come feel the burn!


Sunday Service:  January 10     Celebrating Our Kinship With All Creation     Rev. Gary Kowalski 

Life is a community, not a commodity. This morning, Gary Kowalski reflects on the spiritual and emotional kinship we share with all living creatures, a truth evident in our proto-human past, in the teachings of indigenous people, in the unconscious lives of children, and confirmed by modern scientific research. Recovering our identity as younger siblings in Earth’s larger family, he suggests, is key to facing our environmental crisis and building a viable, sustainable future.


Sunday Service:  January 17     The Legacy Of Dr. M.L. King     Rev. Allen Wells

I had the honor of having been arrested with Dr. King and sharing his cell block.  I would like to tell you what this experience has meant to me, discuss how his message has been ‘sanitized’, and propose how his proposal for a ‘revolution of values’ relates to current events: racial, economic, and environmental.


Sunday Service:  January 24     No Need To Succeed     Rev. Allen Wells 

We can fail at personal changes, burnout trying to correct injustices, and perhaps we may fail as a human species.  But lack of success does not invalidate the worth and rightness of our actions.  As C.K. Chesterton once observed: “If a thing is worth doing, it worth doing badly.”  What is fulfilling for us is free from outcomes.


Sunday Service:  January 31, 2016     Good News!     Rev. Allen Wells

There is some.  It’s just not located where we usually look for it. Join us in exploring why bad news is so tempting, where good news lies in wait, and how the Buddha helps us to distinguish one from the other.


Speaker Backgrounds:

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.


Allen Wells was born of Irish/English parents in Charlottesville, Va. under the shadow of Monticello.  In fact, his great, great grandfather helped Thomas Jefferson found the University of Virginia.  But, Allen didn’t realize Jefferson was a Unitarian, until he converted from Presbyterianism to UUism while at Davidson College, a Presbyterian College in North Carolina.

After graduating from Divinity School at the University of Chicago, Allen worked for a publisher on the history of atheism.  He went on to serve as minister of UU congregations in Weymouth, Mass., Hollis Queens, NY, at The First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn, and of The First Unitarian Society of Rockland, County, NY. He also served as Director of Religious Education for the UU Congregation of Monmouth County and the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship.

In 1984 he became a staff therapist at The DiMele Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy in NYC. Then he established the Allen Wells Center for Psychotherapy and Healing, a holistic mind/body spirit counseling center, in Morristown, which he directed for 12 years.  Now as a UU Buddhist psychotherapist, he continues a Mindfulness Based consultation practice of psychotherapy and spiritual direction.

He holds a postgraduate degree in counseling from the Institute of Religion and Health in NYC, and a certificate of study at the Integrated Study Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Mass.

Allen is interested in bridging the internal, personal, psychological world, which we commonly call spiritual, and the external political, social, economic, environmental world, which we usually consider material.  He finds himself at home on the picket line or on his zafu, teaching meditation.  He is also particularly interested in the interplay between neuroscience and Buddhism.

He loves poetry. But, he acknowledges that he hasn’t written any books because he says, he would rather spend the time ballroom dancing. Rev Wells is the Affiliated Community Minister The Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown, New Jersey.

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


Special Events in January 2016:

Sunday January 10 – Board Meeting after service, all are welcome to attend. If you would like to get more involved in our Fellowship, we are looking for additional board and committee members.

Sunday January 31 – Annual Meeting after Service and Pot Luck – Everyone is invited to attend.  Learn what your Fellowship has accomplished in 2015 and what is planned for 2016.  Learn more about the various committees and vote for officers.  Bring a dish and/or beverage to share, as well as your cutlery, plate and cup for enjoying the meal, in order to reduce waste.

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