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

Habib's  B&B

Hannah was seven years old the December her dad turned away so many guests.  The census takers, new to town, had taken over the mayor's house; throngs of travelers converged on the city.  Hannah's folks- Habib and Ruth- ran a bed and breakfast of sorts. Their house was plum full. There were guests spread out on camel skins and wool blankets in the living room, a single fellow who had taken up residence in the bathtub and she herself was now sleeping between her parents, as a family of 5 took claim of her room.

Habib woke at 4:30am to get a head start on the chores before his guests untangled themselves from bed sheets and sleep, waking hungry, raucous.  Earlier in the week, a maid had quit in a huff, mad about overtime hours, so the family made up for the deficit.  Assigned towel duty, Hannah found herself offering guests linens, and inquiring as to the quality of slumber.

It was on one of those nights, right before her mom had called her upstairs for another Shaharazad tale that the doorbell rang yet again. Habib dreaded this moment of turning yet another away.  All week, they had tried to make their home open to as many as possible, offering discount rates and flexible payments to weary travelers. He had persuaded neighbors not akin to guests, the need for hospitality.  He had organized volunteers to bring their family tents to the public parks so latecomers might have dry shelter.  Habib even let a number sleep free, for fear of turning anyone out into the cold night, alone and unsheltered.  And yet, it's not enough Habib thinks to himself.  "We need a NO VACANCY sign, " he mumbles as he opens the door. Hannah nimbly squeezes her small body between her father's long legs, and the stucco door jam. She wraps her arm around his hip, slipping her fingers into his back pocket.

The traveler introduces himself as Joseph, and gestures to a young pregnant woman on a donkey as his fiancé- Mary.  Though the young woman appears tired, Hannah thinks she resembles a lollipop- round and sweet.  Their exchange is quick.  Her father explains that not a room, closet or bathtub is left.  He truly is sorry, considering Mary's condition and all.  "Unfortunately, the best I can do, is let you use the stable."  Joseph spies the neighboring houses, then lifts his hand to Mary's cheek and murmurs something.  Hannah mirrors the gesture with her own warm palm on her cheeky jaw. "That would be just fine." says Joseph. "I'll see if I can find you a few blankets," calls out Habib.  Soon, they wave good night.  Habib shuffles into the house, calling out to Ruth, "Let's not forget about that young couple tomorrow morning for breakfast, my love." Hannah leans against the door jam.  Joseph jerks the bridle, leading them to the manger, shortly disappearing into the black veil of night.

Hannah whispers goodnight, trudges up the stairs, and climbs into the middle of her parent's big bed.  Soon, the house is quiet, and a measured breath fills the room like a familiar melody.  She rests her head near her mother's long chocolate brown hair, and inhales lavender and musk.  Years later, she will remember this moment, of hot sleeping breath, the rise and fall of her parents bodies, and the enveloping feeling of being loved, cared for, safe.  For now, she can hear the harmony breath of various house occupants.  She lays her hand on her father's wide back and whispers,  "Your heart is big papa."   "A big heart."  She says out loud to the darkness.  Then the familiar sleep song starts singing to her drowsy soul.  She falls asleep to the collective breath of the house in continuous round, " a big heart, a big heart, a big heart" it sings back to her in time.

December Living Your Values
 Principle: Truth, Justice and Compassion in Human Relations
 What to do: Support the UUSC Guest at Your Table Program
 Its simple.  Just add to your box each day, with spare change or a hefty check, it's all
 up to you.  The UUSC supports fabulous programs concerning the justice and equity
 of the worlds human population. To find out more about their programs, go to or speak to Mary Yoder about opportunities for change.

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

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Previously Published:

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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