WEST PARIS — Worship services at the First Universalist Church of West Paris cause attendees to be inspired, comforted or moved to laughter. Services are offered on a variety of topics by a variety of guest speakers and the worship service committee.
A special time is the Christmas Eve candlelight service at 5:30 p.m., led by The Rev. Fayre Stephenson. Sunday worship services begin at 9 a.m., followed with refreshments.
Dec. 7, “’Tis the Season,” led by guest speaker, Pat Harris. December, the cusp of the year: days shorten, nights lengthen and winter is on the doorstep. Whether you love or hate them, the holidays are near. This reflection will ask us to journey inward to consider the notion of gifts, giving and receiving. Is it possible to enjoy this season despite the craziness it sometimes brings? The sermon will explore some possibilities.
Harris is a third-generation Unitarian-Universalist who grew up in Castine. A lifelong active church member, she has belonged to only three churches: Castine, Auburn and now Brunswick, where she lives after retiring from 37 years of teaching in the Lewiston school system. Her passion for the past 26 years has been lay ministry, and she has chaired worship committees in Auburn and Brunswick. She is a writer, quilter, photographer and art journaler. She resides in Brunswick with her partner, Deb Silverman (to whom she was officially married in March of 2013), their German Shepherd, Emma Leah, and their two old kitties, Buster and Annie.
Dec. 14, “Hope: The Heart of Christmas,” led by The Rev. Fayre Stephenson. As we find ourselves in the midst of holiday madness, we may wonder what this season has to teach us about hope and love. At this service we’ll take the time to pause, catch our breath and through our Unitarian Universalist lens, look at the Christmas message of hope for peace on this earth.
Dec. 21, “Candles in the Darkness,” led by The Rev. Fayre Stephenson. On this Sunday before Christmas, we will explore the qualities of light and darkness as they are revealed in the lessons of Hanukkah, Advent and the Winter Solstice.
Dec. 24, 5:30 p.m., Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, led by The Rev. Fayre Stephenson. This service will be a traditional service of readings and carols for the whole family. There will be special music and participants from the congregation. Invite friends and families. People attending the Christmas Eve service are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the local food pantry.
Dec. 28, “R.O.C.K.S.: James Luther Adams’ Five Smooth Stones: A creed for Untarian Universalists?” The Rev. Sue Gabrielson will discuss the Five Smooth Stones and whether they might serve as a grounding “theology” for Unitarian Universalists in the 21st Century.
Gabrielson has been the minister for the Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church since 2003. She also is a consulting minister for the Saco UU church and the executive director of the Maine Council of Churches. In 2012 she worked for the Yes on 1 campaign as the Faith Director, successfully bringing marriage to same-sex couples in Maine, and continued that work in a part-time capacity as the executive director of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination for a year following the election. Prior to her settlement in Maine, she served as the student minister for The First Parish of Watertown, Mass. for two years and as their director of religious education for a year.
She earned her Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School, undergraduate degree in religion and sociology from the University of Vermont and master’s degree in adult development from Vermont College. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in multi-disciplinary human services and public policy. She has travelled extensively, enjoys coaching her daughters’ school sports and spending time with husband, Rudy. She also spent five months thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and is active in the Unitarian Universalist community.