Almost 40 years ago, when I was teaching in northern Spain, my wife, our small son and I took a trip to Andalucia during the university Christmas vacation. Our son, because of a medical condition, needed to have a stroller. While in Granada, the stroller broke and needed to be welded.
Here we were, two young adults in a strange city over the holidays needing to get a stroller repaired. I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t even know the Spanish word for “weld.”
I saw a policeman at a corner and decided to give him a try. I explained what I needed as best I could and showed him the stroller. He was polite, but he had no idea where I could get it fixed. A bystander overheard our conversation. He interrupted and said that he thought he knew where I could get the stroller repaired.
He asked me to follow him. We walked a couple of blocks and descended into an underground garage that had a repair shop. He was a regular customer there and knew the staff. He explained to them what I needed. They had welding equipment there.
The fellow at the shop took a quick look and said that he could not do it because the stroller was aluminum and it needed special welding equipment. He referred us to a shop several miles away in an industrial park. The man who had taken me to the garage without hesitation offered to drive me there. We jumped in his car and drove to the metal shop.
A man at the shop took a look and said that yes, he could repair it. He dropped the project he was working on and welded the aluminum so that it was stronger than new. He would accept no payment. The middle aged Spanish Christmas angel then drove me and the stroller back to our hotel. A couple of hours had passed since he overheard me talking to the policeman.
I have no idea what we would have done without his help. He could not have helped more had he been a supernatural angel of mercy. When I thanked him profusely, he dismissed my thanks by saying he was certain I would have done the same for him in my country. I want to believe he was right. And I wonder how many times I have not helped simply because I was preoccupied by my own concerns and not paying attention.
The holidays are typically time for family and friends. They are a time of feasting, reunion and celebration. We gather with those we love. During the holidays we cherish precious memories and create new ones.
The holiday season is also a time of generosity, a time when traditionally we take special collections to help others in our community. We act out of love for those we may not even know.
Love, the deep compassion that all faith traditions teach and nurture, is not just for our family and friends. A deep religious love is not limited to an inner circle. And this love is also not passive. Love reaches out. Love acts. Love is aware.
The man who helped me and my family in Granada could easily have ignored my plight. I would have never known. He could have chosen to mind his own business. He could have given up when the first shop could not fix the problem. Instead, he reached out to a stranger. He continued to help until the problem was resolved.
Just imagine how many people around us need a simple act of kindness. Imagine the difference we might make in another’s life.
May each of us delight in the company of family and friends this holiday season.
May each of us open our awareness and open our hearts to opportunities to act out of compassion. May each of us find time to be a little miracle in someone’s life.
May this be a holiday season filled with blessings.
Hace ya casi 40 años, cuando yo estaba dando clases en España, mi esposa, nuestro pequeño hijo y yo viajamos a Andalucia durante las vacaciones navideñas de la universidad. Nuestro hijo necesitaba una carreola debido a una condición médica. Mientras estábamos en Granada, la carreola se rompió y necesitábamos que alguien la soldara.
Ahí estábamos, dos adultos jóvenes en medio de una ciudad extraña durante las fiestas, necesitando componer una carreola. No sabía ni por donde comenzar. Ni siquiera conocía la palabra “soldar” en español.
Ví a un policía en la esquina y decidí preguntarle. Le expliqué lo que necesitaba lo mejor que pude y le enseñé la carreola. Él fue muy cortés pero no tenía la menor idea de donde la podíamos llevar a componer. Otra persona alcanzó a oir la conversación, nos interrumpió y nos dijo que creía saber donde la podrían componer.
Me pidió que lo siguiera. Caminamos un par de cuadras y descendió hacia un garage subterráneo que tenía un taller. Él era un cliente regular de ahí y ya conocía a los trabajadores. Les explicó lo que yo necesitaba. Tenían equipo de soldadura ahí.
El encargado le echó un vistazo y dijo que no podía hacerlo porque la carreola era de aluminio y necesitaría equipo especial de soldar. Nos refirió con otro taller a varias millas de distancia en un parque industrial. El hombre que me llevó a ese taller, sin dudarlo ni un instante, ofreció llevarme para allá. Brinqué en su coche y nos fuimos al taller de metales.
El encargado vio la carreola y dijo que sí, que sí podía componerla. Dejó de trabajar en el proyecto que estaba haciendo y soldó el aluminio de manera que quedó mejor que nuevo. Se rehusó a recibir pago. El ángel cuarentón de mi Navidad Española entonces me llevó a mí y a la carreola de regreso al hotel. Habían pasado un par de horas desde que me escuchó hablando con el policía.
No sé que hubiera hecho sin su ayuda. No podía haberme ayudado más si hubiera sido un ángel de misericordia sobrenatural. Cuando le dí las gracias profusamente, las descartó diciendo que estaba seguro que yo hubiera hecho lo mismo por él en mi pais. Quiero creer que estaba en lo correcto. Me pregunto cuantas veces no he ayudado, simplemente porque estaba demasiado ocupado con mis propios asuntos y no estaba poniendo atención.
Los días de fiesta típicamente son para amigos y familiares. Son un tiempo de festejar, de reuniones y de celebración. Nos reunimos con nuestros seres queridos. Durante los días de fiesta recordamos memorias inapreciables y creamos nuevas.
La temporada de fiestas también es temporada de generosidad, un tiempo en el que tradicionalmente hacemos colectas para ayudar a otros en nuestra comunidad. Actuamos con Amor hacia quienes ni siquiera conocemos.
El Amor, esa compasión profunda que todas las tradiciones de fe enseñan y fomentan, no es solamente para nuestros amigos y familiares. Un Amor religioso profundo no está limitado a un círculo pequeño. Y este amor no es pasivo. El amor se extiende. El Amor actúa. El Amor es conciente.
El hombre que me ayudó a mí y a mi familia en Granada bien podía haber ignorado mi dilema y yo nunca me hubiera enterado. Podría haber elegido preocuparse por sus propias cosas. Podía haberse rendido cuando el primer taller no pudo arreglar el problema. En lugar de eso, se acercó a un extraño. Continuó ayudando hasta que el problema quedó resuelto.
Imagínense cuantas personas a nuestro alrededor necesitan un acto de gentileza. Imaginen la diferencia que podemos hacer en la vida de otra persona.
Que disfrutemos la compañía de nuestros seres queridos en esta temporada festiva.
Que cada uno de nosotros se concientize y abra su corazón a las oportunidades de actuar con compasión.
Que cada uno de nosotros encuentre el tiempo para ser el pequeño milagro en la vida de alguien.
Que esta temporada de fiestas esté llena de bendiciones.
“As we begin to grieve the death of Nelson Mandela, I am reminded of his words, ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’
As members of a faith community committed to equity and justice, we remember the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. He shines as an example of how one person can change the world and make it a better place.
Today and every day let us face our own fears of the unknown and the misunderstood. Remember Nelson Mandela’s words so that we may embrace that fear, conquer it, be courageous, and change the world.”
You can be a leader at GA 2014.
In October, we let you know that applications were open for a variety of Youth Caucus Staff positions, for both youth and adults.
Applications close on December 1, so we wanted to remind you of the opportunity and to get your applications in. Youth Caucus Staff is a fabulous opportunity to meet new people, develop your leadership skills, and attend General Assembly for free.
Diverse, Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM)* will present a full weekend Regional Conference January 17-19, 2014 at First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Diego, California. “Creating Family in Community” is the theme that sets the stage for intergenerational exploration of the ways we examine, redefine and name ourselves in relationship to others. In a spirit of openness and welcoming we build the beloved community, sometimes grappling with the tough issues of oppression and privilege, but always circling back to the ways we celebrate together with love, joy and compassion.
Friday night opens with a joyous celebration open to everyone. Hosted by poet and spoken word artist, Christopher D. Sims, the evening will feature an all ages line-up of local and imported poets, spoken word artists, musicians, and dramatists. Performers will have an opportunity to garner donations for their organizations that are in alignment with the vision of DRUUMM as we seek to build a meaningful anti-racist, anti-oppressive multicultural, multiracial community. Refreshments will be served at a late evening reception.
Saturday will be a day filled with workshops and identity caucuses for DRUUMM members and friends. Anyone is welcome who self-identifies as a Person of Color (not considered “White” in the USA, such as people with African, Asian/ Pacific Islander, Latino/Latina/ Chicano/Chicana/ Hispanic, Native American/ Indian/ First Nations, West Indian/ Caribbean, Middle Eastern, or multiracial heritage), or who has encountered personal oppression in overt or subtle forms because he or she appears to be of a racial or ethnic identity other than White or Anglo/European.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided. Saturday night’s family gathering dinner will give multicultural, multiracial families of many definitions and configurations an opportunity to relax and unwind together followed by some fun music and our best dance moves as we venture out to enjoy some of the sights and sounds of San Diego.
A bevy of DRUUMM ministers from across the country will preach at all three worship services on Sunday, 9:30 and 11:30 at the Hillcrest Campus and 9:30 at the South Bay Campus. All are welcome to attend. This remarkable event will reach even further in deepening our connections and understanding at a Sunday community luncheon and forum where the congregations will share their reflections with each other and then bid farewell to enjoy the beautiful San Diego region before heading home.
Registration fees and other details will be announced soon. The conference is partially sponsored by the church’s ROAR with SOUL (A Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Team) – We Resist Oppression And Racism with a Spirit of Openness, Understanding and Love.
Find out more by contacting Jan Carpenter Tucker, firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/JTWSD
* DRUUMM provides support and advocacy for Unitarian Universalist (UU) People of Color (POC) and works to build a community in UUism. We work for self-determination, justice, and equal opportunity; empower our various ministries; celebrate our diverse heritages; overcome racism through resistance; and transform and enrich UUism through our multicultural experiences. We strive for an accountable relationship with our allies of Anglo/European descent for the purpose of building a larger UU community committed to transforming UUism into an anti-racist, ethnically multicultural movement.
Want to know how to build the leadership capacity of your youth? Looking for ideas on how to support your youth leaders? Curious about how to make your mostly-adult committees welcoming and accessible to youth?
This webinar is intended for adults who work with youth (youth advisors, religious educators, ministers, etc) and focuses on best practices for fostering youth leadership, both within youth groups and as part of the larger community.
Some of what we’ll discuss:
- Shared youth–adult leadership, with examples of how these ideas work in practice
- Tips and tricks for supporting youth leaders
- How to include youth on boards, committees, task forces and teams
- Opportunities that your youth can take advantage of from the UUA
This webinar on October 15th at 3pm Eastern will be recorded and made available at a later date on the UUA website.
If you e-mail email@example.com to let us know you’re coming we’ll send you a reminder… but it’s not required.
Here’s how to join the webinar on October 15th:
FULL WEBINAR: To join the meeting from your computer or mobile device, click or copy and paste this URL into your browser:
PLEASE NOTE: You can listen in if you have speakers, but participating in discussion or asking questions requires a microphone.
AUDIO ONLY: To access the audio only (or to provide additional listening/participating capability to accompany the video on your computer):
- Dial +1-347-817-7654
- When prompted enter the pin number.
- Attendee Pin Number: 21588251
Having trouble joining this meeting?
Click or copy and paste this URL into your browser to visit the Fuze Support page:
– See more at: http://blueboat.blogs.uua.org/2013/10/01/youth-leadership-101-webinar/
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Nominating Committee nominates candidates for all positions elected by the General Assembly except for President and Moderator. Candidates for elected positions may also be nominated by petition.
Positions to be elected at the 2013 General Assembly are: Board of Trustees, Financial Advisor, Presidential Search Committee, Commission on Appraisal, Commission on Social Witness, General Assembly Planning Committee, Ministerial Fellowship Board of Review, and Nominating Committee.
Read more if you are interested in serving the Unitarian Universalist Association on one of its appointed committees or fill out an online application form. The deadline to apply is December 15 for terms beginning in June 2014.
The UUCSJ Associate for Administration and Enrollment is responsible for setting up, maintaining and operating the enrollment and administrative functions of the UU College of Social Justice. These include serving as the frontline of customer service for UUCSJ in handling inquiries, providing information and resolving problems; working with UUSC and UUA Communications Staff to develop program recruitment and communications strategies and assist in their implementation; ensuring that the uucsj.org website contains accurate, up-to-date program information and setting up application forms; assist UUCSJ staff in managing the process of screening, selecting and enrolling participants; collecting participant fees, and administering scholarship funds.
More information can be found on the UUSC website.