The Blessings and Challenges of Growth

Sometimes we tire of “opportunities for growth” as they can be extremely challenging and exhausting. For us, both as individuals and as members of a larger community, growth can be difficult at times. But it is also rewarding and the only healthy way forward. This service will focus on both the blessings and the challenges of growth.

Litha

The gardens are blooming, and summer is in full swing. Enjoy the celebrations of Midsummer! Also called Litha, this summer solstice Sabbat honors the longest day of the year. Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight and spend as much time as you can outdoors!

Location: First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, 605 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA  15213

Time: 7 – 10 p.m.

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The Space Between

We live in a highly divided world, one where we are separated by politics, fear, the news media, and many other ways. It’s hard to remember to look for points of connection and common experience sometimes. What if, in our interactions with others and ourselves, we focused on the relationship, thinking that it is in the relationship that the holy lives? Kristina is a candidate for UU ministry. She completed her parish internship at First UU Church of Youngstown and is currently a Chaplain Resident at the Cleveland VA Medical Center.

 

Doing and Being

We tend to define ourselves by what we do, what we have done, or what we plan to do. We ask children what they plan to do when they grow up, and when we meet new people one the first questions is often “What do you do?” But is all this “doing” what really gives our life meaning? Perhaps deeper meaning can be found in the space between doing and being.

 

The Meaning of Death: What My Young Daughter Taught Me

Children have a way of bringing us face-to-face with what matters most in life. In this, I am reminded of when my first child, my daughter, taught me how to deal with death, when she was just three-years-old.

Carl Johnson took part in a year-long sermon writing class facilitated by Rev. Jim. Sermons by other members of the class will be presented in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Stages of Life

Each day, while just living our usual routines, we often have interactions with others. Regardless of who we are, or what our situations may be, one thing that each of us shares in common is our ability to “possibly” impact another person, no matter how simple the interaction may be. How can having access to the stage, whether it is one person or one million, allow us to be our best selves? Does doing good lead to happiness, or do we need to already feel happiness in order to do good? How can we make the most of today’s stage, and all our stages in life? Join us as lay leader Mike Gravitt shares his experiences exploring these questions.

Mike took part in a year-long sermon writing class facilitated by Rev. Jim. Sermons by other members of the class will be presented in the weeks and months ahead.

Despair and Possibility

It often seems as though we are living in an era of despair. There are signs of despair all around us—including increased suicide rates, soaring rates of addiction to opioids, and a general sense of weariness and foreboding. What are the alternatives to despair, and how might we make the turn from despair to possibility, both as individuals and as members of a larger community?

Lammas

At Lammas, sometimes called Lughnasadh, it’s time to begin reaping what we have sown throughout the past few months, and recognize that the bright summer days will soon come to an end.

Location: First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, 605 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Time: 7 – 9 p.m.

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Mabon

Mabon is the Autumn Equinox, which divides the day and night equally. At Mabon, we pay our respects to the impending dark and give thanks to the waning sunlight. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.

Location: First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, 605 Morewood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA  15213

Time: 7 – 10 p.m.

Visit the Spiritways Facebook page.

Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. Traditionally, it is celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1, as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset. This is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasadh. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Location: Sunnyhill

Time: 7 – 10 p.m.

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Cold Moon-Full Moon

In Native American cultures which tracked the calendar by the Moons, December’s full Moon was known as the Full Cold Moon. It is fittingly associated with the month when winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This Full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes because it occurs near the winter solstice—the night with the least amount of daylight.

Location: Sunnyhill

Time: 7 – 10 p.m.

Visit the Spiritways Facebook page.

Yule

Yule is observed on the day of the Winter Solstice. Also known as Jul, Yule predates the Christmas holiday by thousands of years. There is some debate as to the origin of the word Yule. Some linguists suggest the word is derived from “Iul”, the Anglo-Saxon word for wheel. This makes a connection to a Celtic calendar, the Wheel of the Year. In the Norse culture, “Jul” refers to the god Odin. Odin was celebrated during Yule as well. Yule celebrations included bonfires; decorating with holly, mistletoe, and the boughs of evergreen trees; feasts; and gift giving.

Location: Sunnyhill

Time: 7 – 10 p.m.

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During construction, there is one service only at 10 a.m. in the Mt. Lebanon Rec Center.