September – The Secret of Life
October – Creativity
December – Lost and Found
January – Connections
February – Heat
March – Mortality
April – The Unknown
May – Story
June – Bloom
September – The Secret of Life – three poems inspired this theme: “The Secret” by Denise Levertov; “Secret of Life” by Diana Der-Hovannessian; “The Secret of Life” by Ellen Goldsmith. Paul Kalanithi wrote in When Breath Becomes Air: “Life is about loving, not avoiding suffering.” What is your secret of life? Have you received great advice from an unlikely source about the secret of life? What is your hardest won secret of life? What is the secret of life you have never doubted? What is the secret of life you used to believe in, but now see it as a false truth? Do you think there is a secret of life? Ingathering, Rosh Hashanah.
October – Creativity – From the earliest creation of the earth and all the stories humans have told about our beginnings, to our contemporary creativity in the realms of art, science, and more, creativity is an innate human capability. This month, we’ll hear creations from Follen’s poets and writers and seek to find the creativity that lies within us all. East Village Fair, Yom Kippur, Indigenous People’s Day, All Souls Day.
November – Transcendence – All humans are capable of experiencing awe in the presence of greatness, something larger than ourselves. Humans have sought transcendence in many ways—through religion, drugs, discipline, and more. We seek transcendence from the cares and ills of the world; in the best of times, when we return from an experience of awe, transcendence, or reverence, new spiritual and emotional pathways are open to us. Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving.
December – Lost and Found – Inspired by Pulitzer Prize winning author Kathryn Schulz’s book of the same name, this theme will explore what it means to be lost and found; our relationships with each other as well as our relationships with objects that come in and out of our lives; and what it is we are really seeking. Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas.
January – Connections – Our UU principles remind us of the interdependence of the web of creation: we are all connected. How do we strengthen weak connections; end unhealthy connections; build coalitions; and stay connected to who we are and what is most important to us? New Year’s, MLK Day.
February – Heat – In the coldest month, let’s bring out the fire of commitment and justice! In the fight for justice, we speak of holding people’s feet to the fire; using heated language; and keeping the flames burning. Righteous and holy anger can provide a warming and inspiring heat when the world around us seems cold and uncaring. Let’s turn up the heat together! Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Stewardship.
March – Mortality – In this Lenten season, we approach the fact of our mortality. We are limited in our lives, experiences, and humanity. How do we grapple with the fact of death? How do we find peace with our choices, and let go of all we cannot have or do? We’ll contemplate different visions of the afterlife and the seasons of life. Lent.
April – The Unknown – There is so much that we do not know or fully understand! Whether we exist in the state of being that is “not knowing” or the turn our focus to the external mysteries beyond us that we don’t even know we don’t know, there are many ways to contemplate the unknown. To “not know” in Greek is “agnostic”! Let us be curious, wondering, humble, and agnostic together. Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Easter.
May – Story –How we tell our stories is how we shape our lives. With inspiration from fiction, psychology, and history, we’ll reflect on the power of narrative and the power we have to change it. Coming of Age service, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day.
June – Bloom – As spring blossoms into summer around us, we will celebrate Flower Communion and our high school seniors bridging into their future. What is budding and growing in your life? Flower Communion, Bridging, Bloomsday, end of church year and beginning of summer services.