BUUF Announce


Your weekly newsletter of events and issues 
At and Around 
Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 

For every individual searching for spiritual meaning, 
Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
provides a welcoming and caring religious community
dedicated to diversity of thought, social and environmental justice,
and peace for all.


Joys and Sorrows


We are delighted to announce that four new BUUF members unexpectedly pledged this Sunday at our Ingathering Service. A warm welcome goes out to Rachel Reed, Jaryn Ruggless, Lisa Quinlan and Ralph Heibutzki! In addition, several members who recently signed the membership book formally joined the congregation during the service, including: Randy Kooyers, Jeff Green and Terry Sundstrom. Welcome all! 

BUUF friend Bea Takeuchi, 97, has returned to Berrien County and is residing at Woodland Terrace Senior Living Center in Bridgman, where she would welcome visitors. 

Congratulations to Persephone Tusciuk, who was selected to play the role of Tiny Tim in the Twin City Players' upcoming performance of Scrooge! 

Our hearts go out to Deej Leggit, whose great-nephew died unexpectedly last week, and to the La Fleur family on the death of their pet cat. 

We send loving, healing thoughts to Keely Adams' dad in Oklahoma, who was newly diagnosed with acute leukemia, and to Candace Onweller's sister-in-law Barb, who was recently diagnosed with returning cancer.

And finally, a special thank you to Brian, who quietly and modestly cuts the church lawn on a routine basis. He never seeks out recognition but we definitely notice and appreciate him!

To share your joys and sorrows with the larger BUUF community send an email to Office@BerrienUU.org or contact Rev. Jim McConnell at Minister@BerrienUU.org or 574-229-6536.


Sunday Service

Sunday Service: "What's on Your Refrigerator Door?"

This Week at Berrien UU

October Book Club: "Sing, Unburied, Sing"

October Book Club Meeting

Friday, October 5, 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Dorothy Long will host the next book club meeting on Friday, October 5th, at 7:00 PM. (Note the location change.) We will be starting the series of books chosen for the PBS/New York Times Book Club: “Now Read This.”  The first book will be their January 2018 selection, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.


Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen

Saturday, October 6, 9:00am - 1:00pm

Berrien UU serves lunch the first Saturday of every even-numbered month (February, April, June, August, October and December). Our next scheduled day is this Saturday, October 6. 

Berrien UU volunteers will provide the food, cook and help clean up the kitchen. This is a terrific opportunity to serve the greater community, support our Social Justice mission and enjoy the company of fellow BUUFers and guests at the kitchen. Rev. Jim McConnell generously leads the group in planning the meal and dessert and he will gladly find a role for all volunteers, whether they've helped dozens of times or this is their first time. Please consider coming to the Soup Kitchen to help, even if it's only for an hour or two. 

The Soup Kitchen is located at 233 Michigan Street in Benton Harbor. 




Nothing to Gain

The following article by Rev. Jim McConnell appeared in the September 29th Insights Column of the Herald Palladium.

There is a very old story that comes from the Zen tradition. It goes like this:

A young student came before the Master one day and says, “Master, I understand that you have attained complete enlightenment. Is this true?”

“It is true,” the Master replies. “I have attained complete enlightenment.”

“Master, what have you gained by attaining complete enlightenment?”

“Absolutely nothing,” the Master says. “If I had gained anything, it would not be complete enlightenment.”

What did the Master mean?

In the Zen tradition, enlightenment means to discover your true identity, which is that you are not a mere being but Being itself. Or, as the great German mystic Meister Eckhart said, “The eye by which God sees me is the same as the eye by which I see God.”

Or, as the even greater mystic and poet Rumi said, “Out beyond the notions of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I will meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other has no meaning.” (Note: When Rumi refers to the other in his poetry, he is most often referring to God. In this quote he is saying, in his poetic way, that distinctions between God and self disappear when one experiences transcendence.)

For the Master, Eckhart and Rumi, one’s true identity is God.

Prophets, gurus and messiahs have their places in our religions, as do ministers, priests, rabbis, mullahs, shamans and medicine men and women.

But when it comes right down to it, (by “it” I mean the it in “It is raining out,” or, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,”) we must do our own salvation, find our own enlightenment, be our own prophets.

The whole is within. Nothing is lacking. You are complete. Jesus, the Buddha and Allah are all within.

For the young student at the beginning of this article: Enlightenment means that Being is your true identity. Therefore, it is impossible to gain anything from enlightenment. You already, as you always have, had it all.

Saying it in a slightly different way: You are it.

From the Nag Hammadi Gospels of Jesus: Jesus was out walking, with his disciples, on the Sabbath. They came upon a man harvesting grain, which was considered a grave sin against God and the Jewish people, as working on the Sabbath could delay the coming of the Messiah. Jesus said, “Man, I tell you, if you know what you are doing, you are blessed. If you do not know what you are doing, you are accursed and a transgressor of the Law.”

If the man knew that he was Being and not just a being, he could not break the law because the law flows from him. If he did not know this, he was a criminal and deserving of punishment.

From a wise friend of mine: A Buddhist monk goes up to a hot dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything.”

Insights is written by area clergy to give different viewpoints on a variety of topics. It is published each Saturday in cooperation with the Berrien County Association of Churches. 


Our Grass is Growing and It Needs Mowing!

It's hard to believe, but we continue to have beautiful weather into October, which means the grass will keep on growing! Please help with keeping BUUF's lawn trimmed, tidy and inviting to all.

Trimming the lawn is easy and relaxing using BUUF's electric-powered, rechargeable, self-propelled mower. If you're not sure how to work the mower, just ask Harvey Johnson, our Green Sanctuary Committee Chair, for a brief lesson! 


Planning Ahead

BUUF Potluck Brunch: Small Group Ministry

BUUF Potluck Brunch: Small Group Ministry
Thursday, October 11, 
11:00am - 1:00pm

We invite you to join us for a yummy potluck brunch and our Small Group Ministry on October 11th from 11am-1pm. Small Group Ministry is a structured, respectful and caring conversation on a significant life topic.  All participants will have an opportunity to share their perspectives, tell their stories and listen deeply. The topic for this meeting is Gratitude, both a feeling and spiritual practice. Here is a link to the readings and questions which you may choose to review before the meeting. If you have any questions, please contact DRE Katharine Lion (dre@berrienuu.org).

Small Group Ministry Readings on Gratitude

St. Joseph Solar Celebration at Berrien UU!

St. Joseph Solar Celebration at Berrien UU!
Sunday, October 14, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Bring your friends and neighbors for a fall celebration of solar power! We’ll have food and fun, and you can check out our solar array up-close, ask experts all of your solar questions, and learn about using more free and plentiful sunshine to power Michigan. This open house is part of the Michigan Solar Celebration series sponsored by Michigan Interfaith Power & Light and other organizations. 

For more details and to RSVP, click here.