Reverend Kaaren Anderson

"Whatever we can do, or dream we can do, let us begin it.
Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.
May we ever be bold in our living and in our loving."
(Adapted from Goethe)

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Minister's Office Hours: Thursday 10:00 AM - 12:00 noon, or by appointment.
Secretary available Monday 12:00 noon - 3;00 PM and Thursday, 8:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Recent Sermons:

In Pursuit of Happiness

Despite the Mess

Kaaren's Musing

     A new year is successfully birthed. With every New Year, I find myself reflecting on a lesson I need drilled into my head annually.
     In 1988 I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and as a present to myself-, I went to Hong Kong with one of my dearest friends as her parents were living in Hong Kong at the time. When I was there, I had promised my husband that I would get him some really good ginseng. All over Hong Kong there were small stores, with large barrels of various beans, herbal remedies and bucket after bucket of Ginseng.

     My first attempt to purchase ginseng in one of these stalls failed, as the shopkeepers spoke only Cantonese, a language that confounded the heck out of me. Cantonese is a tonal language, the word Ma, can either refer to your mother or a horse. As for my bastard Cantonese, I was surely going to insult the Chinese, and thus it took me 3 weeks to get the tones just right to tell the taxi driver the street we lived on. (Phonetically -Sub say ho, ghaw sung ding do) Anyway, my friend Mary Jo (MJ) knew of a woman–a native of Hong Kong– whose first language was Cantonese. MJ was sure Kathy could help us.

     The next day, we met Kathy, and went in search of an herbal shop. When we got there, I told Kathy that I wanted to find the best ginseng in the store. She asked the shopkeeper to show us the finest ginseng. The woman smiled, turned to a locked glass case behind the counter, unlocked the sliding door, and took out an enameled black box with gold engraving on the outside. She took a small key out of her pocket, and opened the box. Inside the box, was a bundle wrapped in vibrant red silk. She unrolled the silk, and there it was, the most expensive, priceless ginseng in the store.

     Now the inexpensive ginseng was about $10 an ounce. But this treasure trove was $300. an ounce. After hearing the price, the $10 bucket deal was looking better and better. I asked Kathy, where it was from. She asked the shopkeeper, and then started laughing. "What?" I said, not understanding her sudden burst of hilarity. "Kaaren," she said, "It's from Marathon, WI not that far from Madison!"
     Here was the most expensive ginseng in Hong Kong, one that I had traveled half way across the world to find, and I could have drove about 30 miles outside of Madison to obtain it. I never would have thought such a thing would be grown in Wisconsin, much less be deemed the most priceless of ginseng products.

     Now I tell you this story, because it reminds us to keep our minds open. Something that is always a worthwhile venture when a new year is taking its first steps. So many times, we hold a preconceived notion about an event, or one opportunity for understanding an idea, or consideration of how the world works. And yet, surprises are all around us–new ideas, new concepts, new ways of dealing with situations, and viewpoints of history. The world abounds with various possibilities: discerning a conflict or problem, interpreting truth, religious language, and the social sciences. If only we keep our minds open, we can continually see the world as exciting, and full of possibility; not narrow or constrained but offering options. And this is one of the key tenets of our faith that we are open to new revelations to truth, to science and reason, and to the endless pursuit of how to live with a mind that allows for the possible to shine forth. Always a good thing to keep in mind, as we embark on a new year –of possibilities.

Happy New Year!!

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Small Groups

Unitarian Universalism and Fellowship Groups are an integral part of developing your UU faith. These groups provide both a forum to explore spiritual issues and context for intentional community building. The idea is simple. The hardest part is having to pick only one! They are described below and on our events page. If you haven't already signed up for one of these small groups, please give the facilitator or me a call.  It's a great way to combine your faith and interests into a meaningful means to connect with other UU's.

For the spiritually inquisitive and adventurous, it is all too easy to live on the surface of life; this group helps bring more depth and soul to our living and loving. Rev. Anderson leads these monthly meeting groups by discussing the most provocative essay or short story she's encountered that month. Group members are also assigned a "spiritual adventure" to complete between gatherings. Especially good for newcomers interested in exploring the Unitarian Universalist's approach to spiritual development. See Kaaren if you are interested. Meets the 3rd or 4th Sunday of each month following the service, from 12-2. Childcare can be provided if the need is expressed.   Reverend Kaaren Anderson (724-3179)

 I AM   (Women's spirituality group)
 This group is designed to encourage women's personal and spiritual growth by utilizing feminist thinking and approaches. Facilitator: Susan Hamilton


 A chance to explore communally ones spiritual and creative self.
 Facilitator: Jack Pendrak

Come and join us for sharing, caring, music, dance, stories, games, food and lots of love and fun while we get to know our families together. This will be an opportunity to bring our individual UU families together to build a stronger community and church family. (This group meets the first Monday evening of each month.
 Co-facilitators: Dan Strobel & Reverend Kaaren Anderson (724-3179)

 An opportunity to connect with folks of similar sexual orientation discussing theological, ethical and spiritual questions. Facilitator: Isabelle Grenon

Sermon discussion Each month, Rev. Anderson will hold a brief sermon discussion with those interested in delving more closely into the day's topic. Please join us in the sanctuary immediately following the service.

Living Your Values
One of the things I love about Unitarian Universalism is the application of our principles to my living and loving. The religious life demands of us this melding of values and ideas, with integrity to our actions. So each month this year, I will include a living your values section to the newsletter and Order of Service as a means to apply our Unitarian Universalist's values to our everyday lives.   In faith, Rev. Kaaren

Here are three Community Development Loan Funds to check out:
Calvert Social Investment foundation
4550 Montgomery Ave. 1000N
Bethesda, MD 20814

The Calvert Foundation promotes community development and micro-lending throughout the US and the world. They require a minimum of $1000 investment and offer returns of 0-4%

Nicaraguan Credit Alternatives fund (NICA)
P.O. Box 1534
Madison, WI 53701

The NICA fund, a project of the WI Coordinating council on Nicaragua, addresses the root causes of poverty by providing low-income Nicaraguans with loans for small business, farming and cooperatives. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the world. The fund requires a $2,000 minimum investment for a minimum of two years and returns range from 0-6%.

ICE's Revolving Loan fund
57 School Street,
Springfield, MA 01027

The Institute for community Economics invests in affordable housing, focusing on economically depressed areas. Since 1979, the fund has loaned over $30 Million to those in need. With a minimum investment of $1,000 for one to ten years, the returns range from 3 -5%.

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