MOSAiC | Making OurSelves Alive in Community

Have you noticed that First Unitarian Society is a large and vibrant place? Have you ever walked into a service to look around and realize no one looks familiar? If you have had this experience, you are not alone.

The beauty of a large congregation is that there are many opportunities – for social justice, personal growth, education for the ages. A struggle, however, is how to get to know your fellow seekers on a deep and meaningful level. A new program has recently begun to help you do just that.

MOSAiC stands for Making OurSelves Alive in Community and that is the goal of this new initiative. We want to help members and friends discover one another and themselves through an exploration of our monthly theme in a small group format.  Small groups are great places to get to know other people and to get to know yourself. Over time, those who choose to participate can build deep connections with one another, with the congregation and with the sacred.

Whether the topic is “simplicity” “privilege” or “gratitude,” the conversation is respectful and caring and leads to greater understanding. In each monthly gathering, within small groups facilitated by a member of the congregation, all participants will have the opportunity to share their perspectives, tell their stories, and listen deeply. The time begins with a sharing by Rev. Kelly or Sasha Ostrum, our Ministerial Intern, on the monthly theme. Then participants will split into small groups of no more than eight people.

These gatherings ad held on the fourth Monday of every month at 6:30 pm on the Atrium Auditorium. There is no sign up required and you can attend as you are able. No worries if you miss a month, come when you are available.

It is a shared human longing to belong; to find your people; to feel “at home” in a place. We all long for that place where someone knows our name and is happy that we’re there. From the youngest child to the graying elder, we all want to be seen, be heard, be listened to, deeply and reverently. This is MOSAiC. This is our time to come together in community and build real relationships with those sharing our path. We hope you will join us on the journey. For more information

Resources on Duty and Obligation….

Each month FUS has a thought provoking theme that we explore together.  In October, it’s Duty and Obligation.  Here are a few items to get contemplative juices flowing….


“A Few Good Men.”  Tom Cruise is a naval JAG (attorney) and Jack Nicholson the commander of the Marines based at Guantanamo in Cuba. What does the concept of duty mean in today’s military?

“The Rose.”  Bet Midler stars in this dramatization of the life of the legendary rock singer Janis Joplin.  Her excessive sense of obligation to her manager and her fans leads to self-destruction.

“Cedar Rapids.”  A convention of insurance agents in Cedar Rapids Iowa provides viewers with an inside look at people who struggle to reconcile their duty to the company with the demands of conscience.

“The Last Temptation of Christ.”  This controversial film based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis depicts Jesus in a very human light.  Torn between his carnal desires and his messianic obligations, Jesus finds himself in crisis.  A powerful, if unorthodox presentation.


“Hamlet”  Shakespeare’s most memorable and oft-quoted play features a young man who is duty-bound to avenge his father’s murder but who lacks the resolve.

“The Narcissism Epidemic” by Jean Twenge & W. Keith Campbell. Much has been written in the past few decades about the narcissistic personality.  The authors document the spread of this disorder, whose subjects feel little if any sense of obligation to others.

“Acts of Faith” by Eboo Patel.  In this young man’s autobiography the author, an Indian-America, gradually reclaims his family’s Islamic and cultural heritage along with the traditional obligations this entails.

“The Active Life” by Parker Palmer.  An early work by this well-known writer.  Along with our duties toward others, do we have a duty to ourselves?  Palmer addresses this question from a number of angles.

Child Dedications @ FUS

Dedication Ceremonies will be held during all three services on the weekend of
October 4 and 5.  A child dedication is a uniquely UU naming ceremony. It offers
the opportunity to celebrate these young lives, welcome them to our community,
and offer our blessing to them and their family.

For more information, please contact Rev. Kelly Crocker at /MCL or 233-9774, ext. 112. More at /child-dedications.

Duty and Obligation…

From Sasha Ostrom, FUS Intern Minister

On Sunday, September 21, 2014 over 300,000 people converged on New York City for the People’s Climate March.  As my fellow UUs and fellow activists made their way to NYC, I felt conflicted: called to go, to witness for climate justice; duty-bound to stay, to meet obligations here at FUS; obligated go to, to meet my commitment to anti-racism by speaking out against environmental racism; obliged to stay, to meet my obligation to protect the planet by not engaging in unnecessary air travel.  How to choose?!

As we move away from last month’s focus on Simplicity, I cannot help but think that this month’s theme of Duty/Obligation is rather complicated.  After all, there are many different kinds of duties and obligations, and oh how they compete!  Our obligations include work obligations, family obligations, legal obligations, moral obligations, duties imposed on us involuntarily, duties we accept willingly, and so on and so forth.  How do we juggle all our obligations without dropping the ball too often?

Though we may generally live up to our own expectations of ourselves as good people, sometimes it can be hard to do all that we feel we are ethically required to do.  There are a great many reasons for this, but the one I want to focus on for the time being is our individualism.  We live in an individualistic society and belong to an individualistic faith tradition.  Even though most of us are liberals who very much want to live in a society that promotes the general welfare, we often join our more conservative brothers and sisters in our emphasis on personal responsibility.  As a result, we can feel guilty when we think we’re not doing all we must or frustrated when we think others are not doing all they should.  And let’s be honest, these feelings are not entirely unjustified when we look at the world and see that despite our and others’ best efforts, human suffering and environmental devastation persist.

I think the words of that great Unitarian Universalist minister and theologian James Luther Adams are helpful here, even if they are framed in language that may be uncomfortable for some of us.  In “Theological Bases of Social Action”, Adams emphasized the relationship between responsibility and our response to the divine, community-forming power of love and the possibilities of being, stating, “The response to divine power is responsibility.  The covenant of God is with the community and the individual members of it; it imposes responsibility upon community and individual for the character of the community and especially for concern with the needy and the oppressed.”

The emphasis on communal responsibility—not merely our responsibilities to our many communities but also our communities’ responsibilities to us and to the rest of the world—is a remedy to this individualistic sense that we must do it all alone.  When we commit to participating in communities that seek to be a positive force in the world, we find that we do not have to do everything all by ourselves.  Instead, we can commit to doing what we can in a personally-sustainable way and meanwhile trust that others will pick up the slack by doing the same.  Together, we are a greater force for good than we could ever be alone.

I did not go to the People’s Climate March on September 21st, but I know that my community was there on my behalf while I focused my energies elsewhere, and with that I am content.

Spiritual Practice Groups @ FUS

Spiritual practice can be a pathway to greater understanding of self and of the world in which we live. Our spiritual practice groups create a community that provides mutual support, guidance and comfort as we grow together. All of the groups are open and welcoming. Consider joining us!

Centering      Prayer- Meets every Tuesday      from 4:45-5:30pm. Join us if you are looking for a way to begin your      practice or to companion with others in the practice. Newcomers always      welcome! Contact Kim Stege at or 244-5875.A second session is held      on Sundays between services, 10:15-11:45am. Contact Janet Swanson at or 233-9774 x131.

Insight      Buddhist Meditation- Meets every      Sunday evening from 6-8 pm throughout the year in the Landmark Auditorium.      An introductory session is offered the second Sunday of each month. Call      Lori or Dave Creswell at 238-1234 for more information.

Mindfulness      Meditation- This sitting      group meets Tuesdays from 5:45-6:45pm. Drop-ins are welcome! Contact      Claire Box at or 334-5279.

Japanese      Crane Meditation is a gentle      standing set of movements done to a quiet musical background. It is      appropriate for a wide range of ages and abilities. There are two weekly      sessions held at FUS, September through May. ~ Bobbi Zehner and Joan      Heitman lead the Japanese Crane      Movement Meditation on Wednesdays, 12:15-1:00 pm in the Atrium      Auditorium. Joan is the contact person for the Wednesday sessions. ~Ann      Schaffer leads the Japanese Crane      Movement Meditation on Thursdays from 5:00-5:45pm.

Join us!



News From the Red Floors for Sept. 26 to Oct. 3, 2014

Dear Neighbors…    Harry Carnes

Greetings from the Red Floors, which have been quite busy this week as we have hosted the Congregation Shaarei Shamayim for the Jewish High Holy days. They have been a fun and vibrant presence.

The staff is busy preparing for our own celebrations as well, with Kelly sequestered in her office writing the sermon, Dan Broner rehearsing several musicians, and the building team putting the last touches on preparations for the High School lock-in.

It will be very lively and lovely here with the Society Choir singing and Kelly speaking about “Walking Each Other Home.” Hope you can make it.

But if things keep you from venturing out, I wanted to mention a new service here, our live feed on YouTube. Yes, you can now watch our Sunday Services on your internet-connected devices such as Tivo, Roku, Apple TV, or on your computer. Give it a try and let us know what you think. You’ll find a link at

See you at the Meeting House!

- Harry Carnes, Director of Communications 



Select to Connect!

Still pondering an event you might sponsor for Select to Connect? Go for it. In three short weeks, members will be signing up for events, and we want to get yours in the line-up. It does not have to be lavish – simply fun! Add in a snack and you have an event!
Go to the FUS website (/select ) and check out some of the events that have already come in. And there are more to come. and don’t forget to bring your calendars on the 18 and 19 of October so you can mark down the events you sign up for.
Stop by the table and chat with Becky and Sally this weekend. Or, submit an event at /select. If you want to talk to someone, call Sally at 233-9774 ext. 123, or e-mail her at /developmentdirector.

Water Sentinels Fall Planning Meeting
Join the Water Sentinels for a fall planning meeting on Sunday, September 28, at 4 p.m. in Courtyard D. Help with a planned activity or bring new ideas! For more information, or to submit an idea for an activity, contact Liz Wessel at 238-9934 or

Ancora String Quartet Concert This Sunday * One of Madison’s premier chamber ensembles will perform music of Haydn, Mendelssohn and Amy Beach in our Landmark Auditorium this Sunday, September 28, at 2 p.m. Admission is $15, $12 for seniors and students, and $6 for children under age 12.

20s30s Open House * Join us for the FUS 20s/30s Fall Open House! Sunday, September 28, in the Landmark Meeting House from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Come connect with an FUS/UU/intellectually and spiritually curious community, and enjoy food, beverages, and conversation. More at or contact Katie Ramos at

Women’s Alliance meets October 1 * The first Wednesday of October the Alliance will meet in the Community Room, Oak Apartments, Oakwood Village, at noon. Bring your own sandwich.

MOSES Action  On Wednesday, October 1, MOSES/WISDOM will hold a public action on the steps of the State Capitol focused on the abuses of solitary confinement in our state prisons. It will occur at the State Street entrance from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Organizers are hoping for a very large crowd–please come if you can. For background on this issue, see, and other articles posted on the Center for Investigative Journalism web site,

Meeting House Nursery School Pre-registration Day * On October 1 at 9 a.m., Meeting House Nursery School will start taking names for their Registration Priority List for the 2015-2016 school year. Families may call in (233-9776) and add their name to the list. FUS members receive a higher priority for placement. New families are placed in the order in which they appear on the list. There is no obligation to register and no fee to be placed on the list. An Open House will be held on January 18.  FYI-MHNS currently has openings in their afternoon two-year-old and 4K classes for this year!

Friday Musicales Return October 3 * The Arbor Ensemble with flutist Berlinda Lopez, violist Marie Pauls, and cellist Rebecca Riley will usher in the Musicale season on Friday, October 3, at 12:15 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium. Free admission.

To all Members and Friends: We are cleaning out the Isom house to make room for additional classroom space. For the price of hauling items away, these things all work, and can be yours:  An oven (2), televisions (8) an older working refrigerator, a clothes washer, a clothes dryer, used couches, and laser printers. If you have a need for any of these, please contact Tom Miskelly at 233-9774 ext. 120) or We will help get them up to the driveway and into a truck.

Child Dedications * Dedication Ceremonies will be held during all three services on the weekend of October 4 and 5.  A child dedication is a uniquely UU naming ceremony. It offers the opportunity to celebrate these young lives, welcome them to our community, and offer our blessing to them and their family. For more information, please contact Rev. Kelly Crocker at /MCL or 233-9774, ext. 112. More at /child-dedications.

Reconnections Veterans Support Group * The Reconnections Veterans Support Group will be starting up again on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. beginning October 8 in Bethel Lutheran Church’s Library Media Center. Pizza the first night and we’ll figure the rest out! Free child care available on site. For more information contact Roz Woodward at 251-1074 or

Jail Tour * On Wednesday, October 8, our FUS MOSES Ministry Team has arranged for a tour of the Dane County Jail from 7 to 8:30 p.m. There are still a few spaces left on the tour. If you are interested, please contact Lisa Munro by September 30 at A background check form must be completed in advance for each person going on the tour.

20s & 30s Group Sunday Brunch * On October 12, meet after the 9 a.m. service upstairs by the name tags, or at Einstein Bros Bagels on University at 10:45 a.m. RSVP to Matthew Doyle Olson,

Charlie King in concert at FUS! * On Saturday, October 18, at 7 p.m. Sister Maureen McDonnell will celebrate 50 years of vowed Sinsinawa Dominican life, and has chosen to honor the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice with a benefit concert as her Jubilee event. Honor Sister Maureen and hear renowned folk and labor activist musician Charlie King in the Atrium Auditorium. $20 in advance/$25 at door. Contact Rabbi Renee Bauer for tickets or to volunteer at or 819-4740.

New Member Book Signing
on Saturday, October 25

Are you ready to become a member here at the First Unitarian Society? Our October Membership Book Signing will be held on Saturday, October 25, at 6 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium. If you have UU background or have taken the “New UU” series, we invite you to join us. Please RSVP before October 16 to our Coordinator of Member Programs, Jeanne Sears ( or 233-9774 ext. 116). You will be mailed information for your completion before the book signing. On October 25, we welcome you with introductions, the book signing, presentation of a Chalice pin, taking your picture and appetizers. Family members are welcome to join us!

Wondering about Unitarian
Universalism and the
First Unitarian Society?

Our New UU Orientation series is available in November. This class consists of four sessions. This class is offered on Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. beginning November 2, and on the 9,16, and 23. Childcare is offered during this class.
New UU is an orientation class for newcomers and friends of the First Unitarian Society. During the four weekly meetings, participants have the opportunity to:

  • get acquainted with other curious adults,
  • learn about Unitarian Universalism and the organizationof the Society,
  • explore whether their beliefs and values are consonant with Unitarian Universalism,
  • consider your next steps to deeper involvement at First Unitarian Society.

Registration are available in the Commons, or at /newuu.


Adult Religious Education

Adult Education

Complete class list and registration at /adult-ed

Come to The Evolution Forums!

  • Next Tuesday, September 30, Nick Schweitzer, an active FUS member for 30 years and retired Administrative Judge for Dane County, offers the second of our pre-forum discussions, “Evolution in the Courts.”  This program is free and open to the public.
  • On October 7, we begin the forum by welcoming UW-Madison Professor John Hawks, Vilas-Borghesi Distinquished Achievement Professor of Anthropology, to share recent discoveries leading to new frontiers in human evolution.
  • On November 7, Rev. Scott Prinster will join us to share his passion for religious questions about creation.

There will be six speakers in our 2014-2105 Evolution Forum; programs are $10 and open to the public. Check the catalog for our schedule or visit /evolution.

begins Sunday, October 5

Rev. Michael Schuler is offering a Sunday afternoon program on October 5, 12 and 19, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Hearth Room. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all share the bible, “the Book,” as a common scriptural heritage and are all monotheistic religions – believing there is only one, true God. Michael will trace the origins of each tradition, describe their core beliefs and practices, describe the various (often competing) factions that arose from all three, and shed light on their relationship through the centuries.

Saturday, October 18

Join Rev. Kelly Crocker for this experiential workshop to learn practical strategies to release the power of intentional forgiveness in your life.  The workshop will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Atrium Auditorium; lunch is included. Childcare is available by request until October 10.

“Healing and Reconciliation Film Series”

with Rev. Michael and Trina Schuler Join us for fellowship and meaningful film discussion: Tuesday evenings, Oct 21, 28 and Nov 11, 18 in the Landmark Auditorium 6-9:30 p.m. Complimentary Snacks. An option to order from a limited menu from Sai Bai Thong; delivery is at 6:15 p.m. More information is available in the Adult Education catalog or at


“Walking Each Other Home”

September 27 * 4:30 pm – September 28 * 9 and 11 am

Kelly J. Crocker, Minister of Congregational Life

“Walking Each Other Home” with Kelly J. Crocker, Minister of Congregational Life

This weekend, as we pause to commission our Lay Ministers, we will take a look at the gentle dance of giving and receiving. Oftentimes we are asked for help, or we feel a deep urge to help someone else, and sometimes we need to ask for help ourselves. This giving and receiving and is often difficult and fraught with challenges. Yet we each have so much to give and we know that doing so can lead to some of the most joyous moments of our lives. We’ll explore how we can each join in the dance.

Musically, on Saturday, pianists Pamela McMullen and Linda Warren will play hymns arranged for piano duet. Sunday, The Society Choir will sing Dale Warland’s arrangement of the Shaker tune Simple Gifts.


Tonight @ FUS | “Turning the Mind Toward Enlightenment”

A Special Appearance by Domo Geshe Rinpoche

  • Thursday, September 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. •
  • Landmark Auditorium • Suggested donation: $15

“Turning the Mind Toward Enlightenment.”

Domo Geshe Rinpoche is a teacher in the Geluk lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the White Conch Dharma Center in Neillsville, WI. Her students say that she presents the proven methods of Tibetan Buddhism, with a thorough understanding of Western culture and language. While being rooted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of transformative meditation, her teachings are adapted for Western students and are leavened with humor.

“In today’s world,” she writes, “so many things are vying for our attention that we have forgotten why we are here. How can we hear the call to something deeper amidst the noise and distractions of the world? Turning the mind toward enlightenment is a paradigm shift that directs us toward deeper meaning and true happiness. Come and explore how we can become attuned to this deeper call of awakening.”

News from around the UU World

UUs are funding a lot of great ideas and helping make them into a reality.  Faithify, a new crowdfunding website that exclusively supports UU projects, was introduced at General Assembly back in June and has already helped get several projects off the ground.  If you haven’t visited the site yet, you should!  ( )

Faithify is exciting to browse not only for those who wish to support or find support for a UU project but also for those who simply want to learn about and get inspiration from the projects out there.  Check out the wide range of ways people out in the UU world are working hard to bring people together in community and live out our values in the world!

Faithify isn’t the only way to learn about cool ideas floating around the UU world.  Our own MidAmerica Region offers a series of webinars that explore different topics each month.  This month’s offering, “Nurturing Generosity in Your Congregation”, will be at 7:45pm on October 16th and 21st, and next month’s webinar on November 13th and 20th will be about “Creative Inclusion: Living into Our Radical Welcome”.   If interested in either webinar or in learning about future webinars, please visit the MidAmerica Region website at

Finally, speaking of welcomes, Starr King School for the Ministry—one of the two UU-identified seminaries training people for ministry—has welcomed a new President!  Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt just began her tenure at SKSM in June this summer following Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker’s 25 years of service as SKSM’s President.

More at

“Turning the Mind Toward Enlightenment” on Thursday 9/25 @ 7 pm

By Domo Geshe Rinpoche

Thursday, September 25 from 7:00-8:30

Landmark Auditorium – A SPECIAL APPEARANCE

Suggested donation: $15.00

Domo Geshe Rinpoche is a teacher in the Geluk lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the White Conch Dharma Center in Neillsville, WI.  Her students say that she presents the proven methods of Tibetan Buddhism, with a thorough understanding of Western culture and language.  While being rooted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of transformative meditation, her teachings are adapted for Western students and are leavened with humor.

“In today’s world,” she writes, “so many things are vying for our attention that we have forgotten why we are here.  How can we hear the call to something deeper amidst the noise and distractions of the world?  Turning the mind toward enlightenment is a paradigm shift that directs us toward deeper meaning and true happiness.  Come and explore how we can become attuned to this deeper call of awakening.”