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

St. John Unitarian Universalist Fellowship December 2014 Newsletter

christmasmusic2Merry 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.


Dec. 7 Gabriella Brand: What Lies Do You Live With?  We all live with social constructs….ideas or thoughts which we hold true, but which are not based on empirical evidence. What are yours? Do you hold tight to certain firm definitions of race or gender or family? Do you have set theories about health or diet? What’s so true for you that you never even question it?     How do these “truths” impact your life, your social action, your inner thoughts? Has your world ever been rocked by the realization that something you believed had a firm basis in “reality” was actually a bunch of horsefeathers?

Dec . 14 : Gabriella Brand: Disappointment: Some Buddhists teachers say “No expectation/No disappointment.” But most of us do have hopes and dreams and plans. Especially around the holidays, vacation time, or before special occasions. How do we react when plans fail to materialize, or when events don’t live up to our expectations? Sometimes set-backs are actually gifts. How can we build on disappointment to maintain a healthy emotional equilibrium? This sermon will explore ways to re-frame the things that happen to us…or don’t.

Dec 21; Gabriella Brand Who Deserves a Present?: Who Deserves a Present? Have you ever received a present and felt that you couldn’t possibly accept it? Was it too extravagant? Did you feel unworthy of it? Did the gift embarrass you? Did you question the motives of the giver? Lots of things hold us back from accepting the gifts that life offers us. Gabriella Brand will explore the psychologies of abundance versus scarcity and the joy of receiving, giving and re-gifting on an emotional level.

Dec 28th: A Trek to Tibet and back; slideshow and talk more info to come


Gabriella Brand is an educator, writer, consultant, life-long Unitarian, and foreign language enthusiast. She frequently addresses UU fellowships as well as other groups in the United States, Europe, and Canada. A former private school director, she is the author of numerous works of nonfiction, fiction and poetry.

One of her stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013. Recently, one of
her pieces about meditation was the Editor’s Choice winner in The Spirit First Competition. She lives in Connecticut and Québec, with her husband, the Reverend Douglas Peary. She travels widely, mostly on foot. Gabriella is available for (free) pastoral counseling during her stay on STJ

Phone number for Guest Apartment and Visiting Speakers: 693-8392


Our Sunday Services are held in the Great Room of the Gifft Hill School, Lower Elementary Campus, promptly at 10:00 AM. Children are invited to attend the service. Services are held October through June. Quiet time begins 9:45 AM each Sunday. Please be seated before 10 so we can begin on time.

Special Events:

Dec 14th: Executive Committee Meeting after service, all welcome to attend

Dec. 18th: CHRISTMAS POTLUCK Anna Tuttle’s come 6 pm and please call Anna with what you plan to bring or if you need directions. Plan to dine and enjoy a few rounds of Carol’s!

Dec 24th: 1st Annual Community Carol Sing in Cruz Bay, 5:30 pm – 7:30 at the Gazebo; come one come all, invite your friends, neighbors and share traditional carols!

Jan 31st; VIERS Overnight retreat. more info to come!

WEBSITE; Go to our homepage

Ride from the Cruz Bay Ferry Dock: If you would like a ride, please call Anna Tuttle at 776-6332 (a day in advance if possible).

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

Child care is available upon request (in advance)

We are always seeking donations to the operational costs of our fellowship. This will become very easy now that we have a PayPal account simply go to the page DONATIONS and click the “Donate” button. Your commitment and offerings pay for: our guest speakers (both local and visiting), upkeep and insurance for the car they use (which needs replacing), rent, utilities and cleaning of the apartment for them, rent of the school room for services, in addition to our accompanist, liability insurance for the school (new expenses), child care/education, and our dues to the National and Distinct UU. We encourage you to make a personal 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.

Please forward any newsletter info to me by Dec 28 for inclusion in Jan newsletter. Lisaway@vacationvistas.com

LOG IN to our website and blog. Current members should have received email with instructions for logging in.

Copies of our Guide to Island Housekeeping are still available for your personal use or for rental properties (I’ve had several guests comment extremely favorably about our work- and one took home to their own congregation so see how something could be adapted to their area!) Also available for reading or download at our website SMART GUIDE

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