The first is Mary Ellis, who will be volunteering at Fourth UU weekly through June and sharing fun and playful mindfulness lessons with our children. Mary, who attended Fourth UU briefly when her children were young, recently retired after a long career as a teacher and educational administrator in both Westchester and Putnam counties and since then has been pursuing studies in teaching mindfulness to children. As part of her coursework with Mindful Schools, she will be introducing our children to topics such as mindful breathing, mindful listening, mindful eating, body awareness and simple techniques for focusing attention and responding to emotions.
I am so pleased to welcome Mary and am really excited about this opportunity we are seizing to begin re-establishing our children’s religious education programming. We are turning our attention towards choosing lessons and activities from UUA curriculums and resources to complement Mary’s offerings AND recruiting adult volunteers to help lead sessions occasionally. Please let me know how you would like to be involved!
The second person to introduce to you is Paula Cole Jones, our congregation’s UUA primary contact person. She will be with us for our Sunday service, share her sermon, “A Year Made Better By Our Care,” and join us for our pot-luck lunch afterwards. We are fortunate to be one of the congregations in her care this year!
I have had the pleasure of coming to know and work a bit with Paula while wearing my other ministry hat, serving as Board Chair for the UU Ministry for Earth. She is the author of an essay on the history of the environmental justice movement in Justice on Earth, last year’s UUA Common Read. She is co-author, along with Bruce Pollack-Johnson of the proposed 8th Principle, which is being discussed by many UU congregations and has been adopted by some and the subject of my sermon next week. Most recently, Paula delivered the Sophia Fahs Lecture at General Assembly this past June, “Building A Community of Communities.”
Paula is a lifelong member of All Souls Church, Unitarian, in Washington, DC. Her experience in this multicultural congregation led to involvement as a leader in anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multi-cultural training and consulting with the Unitarian Universalist Association. She has years of experience as a Management Consultant specializing in group facilitation and institutional change. In a previous career, she worked as a Natural Resource Manager with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and as an Environmental Specialist with the District of Columbia Government
Paula is a past president of Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), a UU People of Color ministry and anti-racist collective, and the founder of A Dialogue on Race& Ethnicity (ADORE). She is the author of “Reconciliation as a Spiritual Discipline,” which appeared in the UU World magazine in 2004; a contributing author to three books, A People So Bold: Theology and Ministry for Unitarian Universalists, Darkening the Doorways, and Justice on Earth; and the editor of Encounters: Poems about race, ethnicity and identity, published by Skinner House Books.
Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Mary and Paula on Sunday!
With blessings for the journey,