Meditation and Poetry
The Rev. Dr. Natalie M. Fenimore wrote, "The Rev. Lewis McGee (1893-1979) was one of the first African American Unitarian ministers and a Civil Rights activist."
Rev. Fenimore is the Minister for Lifespan Religious Education at Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR).
These are the words of Nelson Mandela, freedom fighter and President of South Africa. Many look to the process of protest for freedom and the later truth and reconciliation process in as a model for justice-making to be studied. by Rev. Dr. Natalie M. Fenimore
A few weeks ago, Chris Cooper, a Black man was bird-watching in Central Park. He asked a White woman to follow the rules and put a leash on her dog. She called the police and said an African-American man was threatening her. He wasn’t. Chris Cooper videoed their encounter. In that video, we see a White woman willing to “call the police” on a Black man and risk escalating a situation to possible violence – so that she could “win” a trivial argument. She didn’t win, because of the video. How many other times was there a different outcome? Chris Cooper’s sister, Melody Cooper, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times.
Imagine giving yourself permission for a lazy – and observant – summer day.
Presented by Rev. Natalie M. Fenimore "What happens to a dream deferred?" In 1951, Langston Hughes, the “Bard of Harlem,” wrote about the possible consequences of the American deferred for Black Americans. And his question is, still painfully, with us today.
The late Irish poet and priest, John O’Donohue, deeply rooted in the Celtic spiritual tradition, presents blessing as a way of life, a lens through which the whole world is transformed.
Kabir Daswas a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint. His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda. Kabir is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating followers of both were misguided by the Vedas and Quran, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively. During his lifetime, he was threatened by both Hindus and Muslims for his views. When he died, both Hindus and Muslims he had inspired claimed him as theirs. Kabir suggested that Truth, which he often called Raam, is with the person who is on the path of righteousness, considered all creatures on earth as his own self, and who is passively detached from the affairs of the world. To know the Truth, suggested Kabir, drop the "I" or the ego. (adapted from Wikipedia)
The UU minister Jonipher Kwong offers this prayer. Calling us all – from all the corners of the Earth – to proclaim the wondrous love of the Spirit of Life. In these troubled times may we remember that love must be our response and we must not be silent. Just listen to the nightly cheers for hospital workers and first responders happening all over the world.
The Rev. Fenimore has been the Minister of Lifespan Religious Education, at Shelter Rock since called in 2013, after having served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Maryland and Virginia as Minister of Religious Education and Parish Minister. She holds the Doctor of Ministry and a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary and an MA from Hood College. She is a Credentialed Religious Educator, Master’s Level.
On April 20, 2020, Rev. Dr. Fenimore wrote, "What are you grateful for? What are the ways that you finding to show gratitude? Do you have a gratitude practice? One family in our congregation exchanges calls each evening where they say one thing that they were grateful for that day. This was their practice before this time of social isolation but it would be a good practice now as well. "
April 13, 2020: Rev. Dr. Natalie M. Fenimore offers these words of reflection by The Rev. Dr. Jane Rzepka. This Easter Monday in the Christian tradition, a time to rest and reflect after the Easter Sunday Celebration. We also continue Passover. UUCSR will hold its virtual Seder together on Wednesday, April 15 (information on www.uucsr.org). Our community continues to stay connected and we encourage everyone to reach out to support each other.
Langston Hughes, “In Time of Silver Rain”
In time of silver rain the earth puts forth new life again, Green grasses grow and flowers lift their heads, and over all the plain the wonder spreads Of life, Of life, Of life. In time of silver rain the butterflies silken wings to catch a rainbow cry and trees put forth new leaves to sing in joy beneath the sky. When spring and life are new.
In my zoom check-in calls with a friend, I was reminded to get my face out of the screen and look outside – spring is out there. And so I have found a comfy chair where I can look up from my many, many zoom calls and see an outrageously, extravagantly, life affirming tree in bloom. But in truth the zoom calls and phone calls that we exchanging are also outrageously, extravagantly, life affirming…our community is in bloom right now – yes, other things are happening that are sad and scary – AND look at the ways we our community of faith is blooming…
"This is How We Are Called," by Kimberly Beyer-Nelson is from "How We Are Called: A Meditative Anthology." The Rev. Dr. Natalie M. Fenimore wrote, "Take a moment to consider that we are still connected to the rhythm of the natural world. The birds are returning to be with us. The flowers bloom. We can cup our hands and hold this peace…"
The Rev. Dr. Natalie M. Fenimore recorded a reading of her own titled, “We Are Called,” from the published UUA Meditation Manual: Voices from the Margins edited by Jacqui James and Mark Morrison-Reed.