WEST PARIS — The First Universalist Church of West Paris will celebrate the season of renewal during April. Sunday worship services are at 9 a.m., followed with refreshments. Services are provided by a combination of guest speakers, the Worship Service Committee and the Rev. Fayre Stephenson who leads services at least twice a month.

April 1, Easter Sunday: “The Call of Easter” led by Stephenson. While Unitarian Universalists may differ about the significance of Easter, there are many aspects of Easter upon which most can agree. Easter is a time of renewal, rebirth and resurrection. On this Sunday the congregation will celebrate hope and renewal. The morning will begin with a potluck breakfast at 7:30 a.m. All are welcome.

April 8: “The Other Children of Abraham” led by guest speaker, Reza Jalali. He is recognized as one of the eminent ethnic Americans in “Making it in America: a sourcebook on eminent ethnic Americans” (©2001by Elliott Robert Barkan) and named as one of Maine’s 50 leaders by Maine Magazine in 2016. He is a writer, educator and refugee activist.

As a board director of Amnesty International, Jalali has led delegations to refugee camps in Turkey and Bosnia and the United Nations conferences. In 1992, he visited the White House as part of a national delegation to discuss the plight of Kurdish refugees fleeing Iraq.

Jalali wrote the Foreword to “New Mainers,” a book on immigrant’s experiences in Maine. His children’s book, “Moon Watchers,” has received a Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural Book. His books include “Homesick Mosque and Other Stories” and “The Poets and the Assassin.” Jalali has been included in 50 In 52 Journey, a national project to name “Americans who are problem-solvers, idea-generators in their communities, in their cities, and in their states and are moving America forward.”

Jalali has taught at the Bangor Theological Seminary and the University of Southern Maine. He has been featured in the National Public Radio’s nationally-acclaimed The Moth Radio Hour. He’s the co-curator of the Maine Historical Society’s 400 Years of New Mainers exhibition. Jalali is a faculty member of the USM Honors Program and advises Muslim students at Bowdoin College.


April 15: “The Inner Game of Tennis” led by Stephenson. Tapping the wisdom of W. Timothy Galley’s “The Inner Game of Tennis,” the service will be an exploration of personal transformation.

April 22: “Answering the Call” led by guest speaker, John Jenkins. His topic is based on Matthew 22:14: “For many are called, few are chosen.” Jenkins is an accomplished author, educator, trainer, leader and national public speaker. He has more than 40 years of experience in promoting personal and professional development, and has lectured and trained throughout the U.S., Japan and the People’s Republic of China, from the toughest neighborhoods in Newark, New Jersey, to becoming a historically elected leader in Maine. Many may know Jenkins as the mayor of Lewiston, or his work with community and individual-focused programs: Pep Talk, SAFE Plan, JENKINS Technique.

April 29: “The Sermon on the Amount” led by Stephenson. Webster’s defines stewardship as “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” The talk will consider the legacy the congregation as a society, and more particularly as a spiritual community, are called to leave children and the generations to come.

For more information about the First Universalist Church of West Paris and services, visit tinyurl.com/y7nrho9c or contact Marta Clements, 207-674-2143, mclements96894@roadrunner.com, or Bob Clifford at 207-674-3442, bobarlen@megalink.net.

To learn more about Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, visit www.uua.org/.

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