Join us this Sunday for a service about Science & Technology.
Sunday, June 25th, is Spirituality of Science Sunday. June Blackwell will lead the service, Connie DeGraaf will have a special scientific experiment for the Story for all Ages, and John Tuscuik, David LeFleur, and Patrick will share their own experiences of Science and the Spirit.
First Sunday of the Month Potluck!
Bring a dish to pass, or bring just your appetite. Not everyone brings a dish every time, but everyone is encouraged to enjoy the food and fellowship.
BUUF through the Green Sanctuary Team has agreed to provide volunteers to assist with the Fresh Start Children’s Garden in Benton Harbor. The neighborhood children’s garden, has been led by Emma Kinnard for more than 10 years. The garden is located at the corner of May and Pearl Streets in Benton Harbor (1104 Pearl Street). The garden has been cleared of last years material. Volunteers are needed to dig some paths and lay out the plots of vegetable rows. Come for 5 minutes or come for an hour, but come help create the 2017 Fresh Start Children’s garden. Come and visit even if you are not able to assist. If you would like to help or visit another time contact Harvey at 269-470-1470. He has a key.
Please join us this Sunday at 10:30am for a service about “Environmental Justice in Guatemala“. Hilary Johnson is a graduate student at Western Michigan University getting her Masters in Social Work. She will speak on her experience traveling to Guatemala and learning about sustainability, permaculture and community health in the Lake Atitlan region.
Please join us at BUUF for a potluck brunch on Wednesday, July 12, from 11 AM to 1 PM, when we’ll ponder the question: “Doesn’t everyone deserve a chance at a good life?” This TEDTalk is described as follows: “Aspirations are rising as never before across the world, thanks in large part to smartphones and the internet — will they be met with opportunity or frustration? As President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim wants to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. He shares how the institution is working to improve the health and financial futures of people in the poorest countries by boosting investment and de-risking development.”
Let us play together. Discover your spirit guides through tarot cards. Bring your own cards or consult those available. This is a time for sharing and building sisterhood. A love offering for our local Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence will be taken. Please bring a snack to share, if able. Led by Gretchen Ohmann and Nan Lundeen. Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open to all adult women of the community!
Please note the change in date and join us at BUUF on Thursday, July 13, from 7-9 PM for a Creative Conversation on a topic selected by Katharine Lion and described as follows: “Anthropologist Jeremy Narby describes his work decoding Amazonian shamanism and linking their knowledge system to the DNA molecule. He illustrates the concept of intelligence in nature with the story of putting a slime mold inside a maze.” Talk about having “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part”!
Next month’s pick is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. We will meet at June’s home on Friday, July 14. I’ll send out a reminder and the directions in a couple weeks.
This book is quite popular so if you don’t want to purchase it, get your name on a wait list right away! If you do own it and could lend it, please let us know. Buchanan and Watervliet have copies that are marked “in” at this moment. Niles audio is in but the book is out. St. Joe and Lincoln Townships copies are all currently out. MEL shows most copies are currently checked out across the state. We will have to help each other with access to this one.
Here’s the review from NPR:
Count Alexander Rostov — recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt — is a “Former Person.” Russia’s new Soviet masters have sentenced him, improbably enough, to house arrest in Moscow’s luxurious Metropol hotel, where he lives out his days decorating the dining room with his bon mots and dashing around like Eloise, if Eloise were set in a twee version of Stalinist Russia.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n,” Milton’s charismatic Satan tells us — although the finest hotel in Moscow, with its restaurants and barber and elegant clientele, is a bit of a stretch for the fiery pits of damnation (or the snowdrifts of Siberia, for that matter). Anyways, thus confined, Rostov passes the decades making a whole world out of a hotel and the people in it — a precocious 9-year-old, a moody chef, the French maître d’, and so on. He is not the king of infinite space, exactly, but he does live a full and rich life according to the principle that, “If one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them.”
A Gentleman in Moscow is a novel that aims to charm, not be the axe for the frozen sea within us. And the result is a winning, stylish novel that keeps things easy. Flair is always the goal — Towles never lets anyone merely say goodbye when they could bid adieu, never puts a period where an exclamation point or dramatic ellipsis could stand. In his narratorial guise, he likes to drop in from the sky in dramatic asides, rhetorical questions, and cute self-referential footnotes.
And then there are the digressive flights. When a sinister hotel waiter (and Bolshevik stooge) suggests the wrong wine to accompany Latvian stew, the Count thinks, “The Rioja? Now there was a wine that would clash with the stew as Achilles clashed with Hector. It would slay the dish with a blow to the head and drag it behind its chariot until it tested the fortitude of every man in Troy …” and so on.
Russia and all of its sufferings seems incidental to the plot — the book could have taken place in a grand hotel in Paris or London or New York just as easily. When the outside world makes itself felt, it’s usually as an excuse for a charming caper of some kind: One episode has the Count, the chef, and the maitre d’ conspire to scrounge the ingredients for a perfect bouillabaisse from war-depleted Moscow. After three years of plotting, they pull it off, and “with the very first spoonful one finds oneself transported to the port of Marseille — where the streets teem with sailors, thieves, and madonnas, with sunlight and summer, with languages and life.”And then there are the digressive flights. When a sinister hotel waiter (and Bolshevik stooge) suggests the wrong wine to accompany Latvian stew, the Count thinks, “The Rioja? Now there was a wine that would clash with the stew as Achilles clashed with Hector. It would slay the dish with a blow to the head and drag it behind its chariot until it tested the fortitude of every man in Troy …” and so on.
All of the verbal excess, the gently funny mock-epic digressions, the small capers and cast of colorful characters, add up to something undeniably mannered but also undeniably pleasant. A Gentleman in Moscow is like a quipping, suavely charming dinner companion that you are also a little relieved to escape at the end of the meal.
-Annalisa Quinn is a freelance journalist and critic covering books and culture.