Blogs

Reflections of the ministers and senior staff.

Blogs

Reflections of the ministers and senior staff.
Justice, Equity & Go Now In Peace
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
This February our monthly Soul Matters theme is Justice & Equity. You’ll hear about it in Sunday sermons, small group ministry discussions, in the Religious Exploration classes for our children, and also in a Soulful Home packet for our families as parents and caregivers serve as the primary religious educators for their children. While justice
Love as Spiritual Practice
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
In reflecting on goals, hopes, and dreams for 2024, what does Love ask, of each one of us, in this year, in this month, in this moment? Pause and listen, for the call of love, deep within the heart. Opening, allowing, noticing. Someone from the local community attending a workshop here recently commented that this place is a beacon of light in the
Living Into Intentions
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
Often as a year comes to a close, we exhale with relief, glad that we’ve made it through, especially when we’ve experienced difficult times. And it seems we’ve collectively, globally, experienced a slew of those times these past several years. But even when experiences have been pretty okay, we are happy to turn the page from another chapter of bei
The Gift of Story
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
Blogs
December is a unique time of year that features a variety of holiday celebrations. It’s not surprising that stories surround the whole season. In movies, books and songs, the end of the year is full of stories about the true meaning of living and giving. Then there are also the life stories we share with family and friends, recalling the past year,
Primordial Mystery, Drones, and The Night Sky
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
This week's blog post features Rev. Jacqueline's reflection as a video excerpt from the Jazz for the Holidays vespers service.
Grief and the Holiday Season
Rev. Jim Lewis
Blogs
Grief can move in unexpected ways, often rising up seemingly out of nowhere, reminding us of pain and loss. However, even while being unpredictable and individual, one aspect of the grief experience that is more common than not is the challenge of anniversaries.  These might be the anniversary of the day of death, birthdays, marriage, or any e
December in a UU Congregation
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
Long before the coming of Christianity, with which this time of year has been inextricably linked, people all over the world celebrated the rising of the Midwinter sun and the birth of the gods who held out to them the promise of a New Year with new hopes…. most often with fire -- a symbol of hope -- and with boughs of greenery that symbolized the
The Gift of Attention
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
Blogs
Years ago I was leading a workshop in Maine and offered an exercise in forest bathing. The immediate group response was, “Yes, I like to walk in the woods.” The idea was familiar, but not necessarily as a mindfulness practice. Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese form of nature therapy that originated in the early 1980s. The word, “bathin
In Lieu of Rev. Jacqueline’s Blog Post this Week…. Thanksgiving Cancelled at ERUUF!?
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
In years past a Thanksgiving meal has occurred in ERUUF’s Fellowship Hall, organized and led by members of the congregation. A small fund was made available for the purchase of two turkeys and a few side dishes, while volunteers contributed others. Staff set up tables and located the supply of decorations, tablecloths and other items that members u
The Generosity Donation Library
Rev. Jim Lewis
Blogs
Have you seen those mini-libraries on the side of the road? They often have books in them and the concept is that you can take a book if one looks good, but also you can leave a book if you have one to donate. I sometimes think of generosity the same way. Especially when I give something of myself and someone responds "I owe you one" or "I'll pay y
We give because...
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
We give because somebody gave to us.We give because nobody gave to us. We give because giving changed us.We give because giving could have changed us. ~ Alberto Ríos On early mornings when I was in seminary in Chicago, I’d go to a Starbucks on Michigan Avenue for my morning venti coffee with almond milk, enough coffee to wake me up and keep me awak
The Power of Three
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
Blogs
In this past Sunday’s sermon, I shared just a bit about my journey in hopes that it can encourage each of you to reflect on your own spiritual journey with the power of three: Three people that have shaped your life. Three key experiences on your spiritual journey. Three practices that feed your spirit. This invitation includes a nudging to write d
Heritage of the Sacred
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
If you have been in the vicinity of the sacred – ever brushed against the holy – you retain it more in your bones than in your head. ~ Daniel Taylor, In Search of Sacred Places
The Heritage of Grief
Rev. Jim Lewis
Blogs
This morning, I sit and type in a Waffle House. Growing up, Waffle House was where my Grandma Jeanette and I would often go to breakfast when I was visiting her. I still remember the songs she would choose on the Waffle House jukebox! And the flavor of Waffle House pancakes is still very specifically delightful to my tastebuds. She was my favorite
And So Who Are Our Ancestors?
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
How can we find a way to live in the knowledge that we are all related? How can we become better kin? ~ Patty Krawec, Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future
Listening as Spiritual Practice
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
Blogs
Every day we are inundated with information. Through words, images, conversations, screens, media, people, and life…it can be hard to keep track of what is most important in the deluge of noise and “news.” This year, the ministers at ERUUF are offering a series of classes to help all of us ground and center in the midst of all that life brings. In
The Embodied Path
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
The path of spirit is grounded in the embodied experience. ~ Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Welcoming the New and the Familiar
Rev. Jim Lewis
Blogs
In the past year or so, I have often reflected about the newness which we are welcoming into our lives, especially as we move forward from the most intense points of isolation connected to COVID-19. This week at ERUUF it was moving to two services each Sunday, a cause for much celebration! While there are many aspects of newness in all avenues of l
An Experience of Welcome–Prose Poem
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by content of their character. I have a dream today!I have a dream that one day,...right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters an
Living Legacy
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
Blogs
We are often taught or shaped by living examples we encounter in our lives. Yes, words matter, but often the greatest impact is in lived experience. Embodied values. This is true at any age. Yes, children are our teachers too. But it is especially true with our elders. The gifts of lived experience, the embodied wisdom of life’s journey can serve a
Gatherings
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
 
“What If? Pastoral Care, Religious Exploration, and Creativity”
Rev. Jim Lewis
Blogs
What if? It felt like such a powerful tool. As a child in the 80s, one of my friends favorite games was “Monster Shop.” The premise: what if we were all shopkeepers during the day, but turned into monsters at night and chased each other? It seems like potentially an odd game when I think back on it, but it was our favorite. It required creativity,
Dry Sponge Dry Well
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
 
Healing the Earth
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
Blogs
"When you wake up and see that the Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us, you touch the nature of interbeing. And at that moment you can have real communication with the Earth…We have to wake up together. And if we wake up together, then we have a chance. Our way of living our life and planning our future has led us into this situation
Ubuntu: I am because you are. You are because I am.
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
“In my experience, ubuntu is a deep and embodied understanding that human beings are not born but formed in community and relationship with one another.” ~ David W. Robinson-Morris
January: Jubiliant, Jumbled, or Just So-So
Rev. Jim Lewis
Holding Hearts
Growing up, my mother was always wary of January. She noticed that every year, she would be excited to prepare for and celebrate the December holidays. Then suddenly, when January arrived, all the excitement dissipated. We were left with cold, snowy landscapes and a strong dose of Missouri monotony.
Changes and Transitions
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
“‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar... “I–I hardly know, sir, just at present,” Alice replied, rather shyly, “at least I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.’” Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
What do we call you?
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Re-entry
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I recall first hearing the term re-entry when I was a child and watched on television as NASA astronauts re-entered earth’s atmosphere, shifting from the weightlessness of space to the strong gravitational pull of earth.
A Favorite Thing
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
Every day, I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight. --Mary Oliver
Ground Truth
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
“When our ideas and plans collide with reality, reality generally wins….” ~ Mark Lesser
Ripples in a Pond
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
"When we’re kind we inspire others to be kind, and it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends – to three degrees of separation." ~ David R. Hamilton, PhD  
Anchoring in The Storm
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
When the squares of the week fillwith musts and shoulds,when I swim in the heaviness of it,the headlines, the fear and hate,
Almost Done (AV Update part 3)
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
This complicated project with multiple vendors and many moving parts is finally coming to completion. The new speaker array and retractable projection screen were both installed in the ceiling. Additional electrical work was completed to power all the various components (screen, speakers, window blinds, projector). The Chapel will have a new screen
No Other World But This One
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
This is what was bequeathed us: This earth the beloved left And, leaving, Left to us. No other world But this one:
AV Update (part 2)
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
Even though we are not gathering in person for worship at this time, here is a peek behind the scenes at some of the work in the Sanctuary. Last Sunday you may have noticed we had to switch back to Zoom for live stream worship, which presented a few technical challenges. This is because we discovered during the equipment check that morning that one of the contractors had rewired the camera in preparation to interface with the new systems.
Traveling a Path
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
When my sister and I were children on summer-long visits with my grandmother, who lived in a rural one square mile hamlet in South Carolina (even today with a population of 500 people), we’d travel barefoot with my cousin along dirt pathways back up in the woods and over small and unsteady footbridges that were nothing more than a few planks thrown across a ditch or small creek.  
Opening Up The Heart
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
"We all cycle through the wall, the crisis, the opening of our heart, and the discovery of our kinship. No one has ever been you, but compassion lets us wash into each other like watercolors." ~ Mark Nepo
Sanctuary AV Update (part 1)
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
Physical construction has begun on the Sanctuary AV upgrade. While this is just one step in a complex process involving multiple contractors, we are hopeful for a mid-September completion date. So please pardon our dust over the next 6 weeks as installation continues in phases. The system includes a new speaker, large retractable screen, long throw
The Land We Occupy
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
For a person with indigenous roots in the Southeast who is looking for evidence of your homeland, you have to follow invisible maps. The landscape has changed, the surfaces of our histories have been written over: the longleaf pine ecosystem of Creek country’s southern territory reduced from ninety million acres to three million acres in under two
Learning What the Work Is
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I think our notions of what counts as radical have changed over time. Self-care and healing and attention to the body and the spiritual dimension—all of this is now a part of radical social justice struggles. That wasn’t the case before. And I think that now we’re thinking deeply about the connection between interior life and what happens in the social world. ~ Angela Davis
Witnesses and Testimony: Of People and The Earth
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
Earth is humankind’s unblinking witness. ~ Heather Lynn Mann I’ve been experiencing a deep undercurrent of sadness and grief during this season when I am also experiencing great joy at blooming bushes and trees, sun shining, and a colony of wild rabbits (or, word fact: fluffle” as such a colony is known!) hopping along the trails in my neighborhood.
Solar Update March 2021
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
ERUUF has had solar panels for six months now and we’ve learned a lot in this time. The good news is that we have seen a reduction in the energy bill and the system is working well. However, it’s becoming clear that tree shading issues were significantly underestimated by our contractor, and the solar project is now experiencing significantly lower
Be Here
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
“...in order to answer the question, ‘Where do we go from here?’... we must first honestly recognize where we are now.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Year that Answers
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston
Trouble Don't Last Always
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
As I was seeking a congregational hymn appropriate for our Jazz Vespers for the Holidays service, Rev. Cayer suggested the song, “Hush”. This particular service focuses on “stillness” so it seemed to make sense, in a way. But the truth is, I initially decided to go with it because I love when Ms. Joan Tilghman leads us in the song, and she was our cantor for the service.
A Prayer Giving Thanks
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I give thanks I give thanks I give thanks For all the good sent to us, even when we do not see it or know it. Good sent to us when the world seems so devastating and impossible, as if there is no way beyond the difficulties we experience, the grief and suffering we are a witness to, are a part of.             
Deeper Layers
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
…we are not defeated when we are worn down, just exposed anew at a deeper level. We are meant to live between the two.  ~ Mark Nepo
Rock Garden
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
No individual exists in their own nature, independent of all other factors of life. Each has the totality of the Universe at their base. All individuals have, therefore, the whole Universe as their common ground…. ~ Lama Govinda
Truth and Wisdom
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I have been born again and again and each time, I have found something to love. ~ Gordon Parks When I was a teenager, I longed for two things: truth and wisdom. It might sound a little nerdy, but that is indeed who I was. Sure, I wanted some of the other things that teenagers wanted too, like a new pair of shoes, a cool outfit, the latest record album by a group I loved, or to hang out with my friends. 
Every Day an Experiment
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
You are the laboratoryand every day is an experiment.Go and find what is newand unexpected. ~ Joel Elkes
What do you do with a heavy heart?
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
"These bodies are perishable, but the Dweller in these bodies is eternal." -- Bhagavad-Gita In this marathon race, each time I believe I’ve found my stride, evened out my breath, I find myself needing to shore up the heaviness of my heart about to burst from my heaving chest. Needing to lift my burdened spirit from the depths as I stumble forward, staggered by another senseless disregard for a Black or Brown-bodied life.
Missing Touch
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
"Maybe that’s why I want to touch people so often -- it’s only another way of talking."  ~ Georgia O’Keefe   I miss touch. I miss grabbing onto someone’s arm for support when I am bent over in laughter. I miss the casual brush of a hand across my skin. I miss shaking hands. I miss linking my arm with a friend’s as we walk along a path. I
Checking In
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
“Justice is what love looks like in public, just like tenderness is what love feels like in private.”  -- Cornell West One of the joys in being back at work has been listening to check-ins at the various meetings I’m having. To hear about, as if in the village square -- or actually the Zoom square! -- the goings-on in the lives of the people in our beloved community. Over the past year, life has thrown us collective curve balls -- even if personal lives for some of us might be going relatively well.
Point of Focus
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness...because in the last analysis all moments are key moments and life itself is grace."                                   &n
Lectionary
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
Whatever your problems and challenges, you are, you exist in this bright world with others, with trees, sky, water, stars, sun, and moon. If you sit there long enough and regularly enough you will feel this, even in your darkest moments.                                &
Uncertainty
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
Perhaps uncertainty has come up for you a lot over the past several weeks. Each day, nay, every hour seems to bring the unexpected in unimaginable ways as it's never come before. If an overwhelming sense of anxiousness and uncertainty has been squeezing at your heart these days -- know that it’s got a hold on many of the rest of us too. How will ou
Sustainable ERUUF (Part 1)
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
Thank you for helping to expand our compost and recycling efforts on campus. As we continue to live into our commitment to care for the earth, each of us plays a big part in creating the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. The waste reduction project has made great progress in the past year. Yes, this requires learning new habits and
Uncertainty and Change
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
In her famous novel Parable of the Sower (1993), science fiction writer Octavia Butler introduces readers to a new religion called Earthseed, founded as the Earthseed community struggles to survive the socioeconomic and political collapse of twenty-first century America due to poor environmental stewardship, corporate greed, and the growing gap bet
Being With
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I am sitting at my desk in my home office, the sun filtering through the open slats of my blinds, forming a play of light and shadow on my desk, on me. I am aware of birdsong outside my window, and imagine I sense the beat of their wings. A wise friend asked just yesterday, “How is life best lived one day at a time?"  Buddhist nun, Pema Chodro
Pardon Our Dust
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
As we roll into the new year you may notice a few improvements on campus. In the past two years almost every roof on campus has been replaced, including half the Care bldg. with a metal roof in preparation for a major solar installation this spring (more info coming soon). There is a new system to support composting and recycling at ERUUF on a larg
Becoming Bald
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I began last January 2019 with an extraordinary adventure: a trip to India for the Kumbh Mehla. The largest spiritual gathering on the planet, the one I attended attracted over 179 million pilgrims over six weeks to a temporary tent city in Allahabad, where everyone was immersed in ever constant ritual and chanting, such that even the simplest aspe
Jazz Vespers
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Blogs
Many have asked for a recording of the spoken word piece I delivered at Jazz for the Holidays on December 18. The service was unrecorded but the text is available below in this longer than usual blog post:   Life is veiled and hidden, even as your greater self is hidden and veiled. Yet when life speaks, all the winds become words; and whe
The Memory Collector
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
My mother is the family griot. She holds the memories of our family from way back, and enjoys sharing them, sometimes for the sake of the stories themselves, at other times for the irony and teachings they hold. In certain West African cultures the griot is a highly respected hereditary position; the person who holds the community’s historical narr
ERUUF Rocks
Chris Egle
Music
 Every summer it was the same. Pack a sleeping bag, and a week’s worth of contraband snacks, and take the seven hour bus ride to Haliburton, Ontario. The attraction was a youth camp for reform Judaism. The Jewish youth circle in my small town never exceeded a handful, so I was always happy to make the trip. Invariably, by the end of the first
Our Deepest Wisdom
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.Do justly now.Love mercy now.Walk humbly now.You are not obligated to complete the work,But neither are you freeTo abandon it. On a Saturday morning not long ago, a yoga instructor shared these words, attributed to the Talmud, to center the minds and hearts of those of us in her class. It had b
Rest
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
In June I took my first real vacation in quite some time. A confessed workaholic (a term I discovered in the book Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang originated from a study of ministers!), I was finally tired enough to unplug from work. I leaned very deliberately into my time of rest and embraced days filled with joy, love, contemplation, and simple fun
Introducing the New Web Site
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
Welcome to a new version of the ERUUF web site! The primary intention is to show the ERUUF community in action, with a focus on the shared ministry teams and values of the fellowship. The invitation is to explore and find your way on the site and in this beloved community. By design, it is set up to encourage exploration instead of linear mapping.
Finding Yourself at ERUUF
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I moved to North Carolina from Brooklyn 15 years ago, with much apprehension, two boys, and a dog in tow. A friend who relocated here several years before said, “Give it three years to decide whether it’s working.” What?! I thought. Three whole years? She proved correct. We settled into a Raleigh home, convinced by conservative southern relatives t
Ancestral Gratitude
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
I’ve been reading National Book Award winner Nikky Finney’s beautiful collection of poems called Rice. I close the pages after each haunting verse. This is the world of black folks who lived in Horry County, South Carolina, first enslaved and then free but oppressed and profoundly impacted by their labor in the rice fields of South Carolina’s coast
Our Blue Boat Home: When We Act
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
As a young girl running around my Brooklyn neighborhood playground in early spring, I quietly noticed tiny bumps that suddenly appeared on the branches of trees and bushes everywhere. Since no one spoke of this phenomenon, nor did I. But I walked to the school bus stop each morning and carefully observed the bumps transforming into buds, then growi...
Gospel Workshop
Chris Egle
Music
Recently in service we had the opportunity to experience the power of gospel together. Our Eno River Singers and Beloved Community Chorus joined with singers from One Human Family, accompanied by a powerful rhythm section, all under the baton of Dr. Raymond Wise. While not everyone personally espouses the religious traditions at the roots of gospel...
Green Sanctuary
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
Through the fall and early winter ERUUFians took the initial steps toward Green Sanctuary accreditation. Green Sanctuary is a program offered by the UUA to give congregations a pathway of study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges, most notably climate change. It provides a structure for congregations to examine their cur...
Seeking Balance
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
The quest for balance can sometimes feel like searching for a calm landing spot between the far reaches of a pendulum as it swings from one pole to the other in dichotomies: light and dark, joy and sorrow, justice and injustice, self and transcendence, health and illness, past and future, body and spirit, science and mysticism. Out and in, out and ...
Update on Special Campaign for Facilities Maintenance
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
The Special Campaign for facilities maintenance concluded Jan 31, 2018 and raised $320,768. The match grant challenge of $250,000 will bring the total to $570,768. The remarkable generosity of the Fellowship will enable ERUUF to care for the campus well into the future. The immediate plan is to pay off the remaining mortgage ($104,000 paid Feb 2018...
Eno River Fellowship Foundation
Rev. Daniel Trollinger
The Inner Workings
Each year, the Eno River Fellowship Foundation (ERFF) awards grants from the endowment for projects that make a significant difference in supporting our ERUUF mission and priorities. We fund creative, seminal initiatives and enrichment of our facilities to fulfill our promises. We request that proposals have a direct link to ERUUF's Strategic Plan ...
Bringing Our Intentions into Being
Rev. Jacqueline Brett
Palms Together
A few weeks ago I learned from Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen that in the practice of somatics --a learning process aimed toward embodied transformation -- it takes 21 times of focused practice for there to be a possibility of new behavior, 300 times for muscle memory -- for our bodies to instinctively do a new thing, 3000 times for embodiment -- so that it...