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Bernardston Unitarian Church

in the historic 1739 Meetinghouse
Fall Calendar

Ministers: Rev. Albert Ciarcia and Rev. Steven Wilson

Music : Beverly Phelps Administrator: Annette Mackin Wadleigh

Web master: Mark Wadleigh

Bernardston Unitarian church

Steve's Ordination in Rutland, VT on Sept. 9~ Al delivers the charge.


DON'T MISS ~ OCT. 5, 8PM the return of THE MAMMALS! Traditional music played with extreme talent and energy!

This concert sold out last year~ tickets on sale now!

Proceeds to benefit Franklin County Community Meals and our Green Sanctuary Fund! Ticket info. on our web site or 648-9574.

Weekly schedule of services:

Sunday morning coffee & refreshments at 11am - service at 11:30 am

Childcare/children's moment and Sunday school each week

1st & 3rd Sundays: Rev. Steve Wilson presides

2nd Sundays: Rev. Al Ciarcia presides

4th Sundays: ARTS & ACTIVISM PROGRAM - devoted to local concerns, guest speakers, special arts programs, and time to be active instead of just listening! Also the new Children's Choir will meet on 4th Sundays with Music Director Beverly Phelps

5th Sundays, when they occur, may or may not be scheduled. Check our website, or call 648-9574 for 5th Sunday schedule.

4th Saturdays our book discussion and foreign policy discussion group generally meets from 10-12am. Check the web site or call 648-9574. (The discussion is preceded by an optional ½ hour silent meditation led by Susan Cummings.)

Considering Iraq Event, August 19, 2007 Singer/Songwriter ~Peter Siegel

Bernardston Unitarian church

Eric Wasileski 's speech on Iraq may be viewed on Cable TV or our church video.


Sun. Sept. 16 – Rev. Steve Wilson and a Psychiatrist talk about guilt.

Wed. Sept. 19- Women's Group will meet at the home of Rowshei Maghsoodi from 7-9pm. Bring nibbles. We'll be making beaded jewelry, or bring your own craft to work on. Directions: call 413-522-4563

Sat. Sept. 22– 10 am book discussion : The Great Turning, From Empire to Earth Community ~ David C. Korten We'll discuss the first three sections and continue in October as the group wishes. This book is a must for those looking for and working toward a positive future.

Sun. Sept. 23- EQUINOX CELEBRATION Literary readings by the authors featured in the Equinox Journal. Led by Maureen Moore, journal publisher. Open mic for local writers as well.

Sun. Sept. 30- Coffee, donuts and dust cloths. Come join the work party sprucing up for THE MAMMALS CONCERT. ANNUAL MEETING 3pm.


Fri. Oct. 5 – The Mammals Concert 8pm

Sun. Oct. 7, Rev. Steve Wilson, “Human Evolution”

Sun. Oct. 14, Rev. Al Ciarcia, “I like you the way you are!” bring a photo of yourself in the past- any age.

Sun. Oct. 21, Rev. Steve Wilson, “Prayer”

Sat. Oct. 27, Lay Leadership workshop in Worcester

Sun. Oct. 28, Honoring our Elders- their stories


This Fall we are “Honoring our esteemed Senior Members” by highlighting their own stories. We thank Ed Phelps for helping us collect some wonderful memoirs from our Seniors which will be highlighted on Sunday October 28, live and on video!


Bernardston Unitarian Church will offer a children's choir program beginning Sept. 23, with Beverly Phelps, our music director, learning new songs on the 4th Sundays during the adult Arts and Activism Programs 11:30-12:30

WE WANT MORE ART! The addition of gallery walls and the art work of our neighbors has inspired our lives this past year. We also hosted art workshops enjoyed by our congregation and community members. Our “Meetinghouse Community Gallery” hopes to enter a second stage of activity with local artists participating in cooperative open studio, Holiday Sale and gallery hours. Call Annette Mackin Wadleigh for more information 648-9574.

Middle Eastern “Belly” Dancing classes are taught by “Kismet” now on Monday evenings at the Bernardston Unitarian Church from 7-8 pm. Beginners and all ages of women welcome! Contact number is 413-522-4563

Rev. Steve: Redefining “Crazy” Things to Care About

I spent a few days of this summer on a road trip with my friend Ruth Johnstone.

Ruth is 90 years old and lives alone, she moves very slowly, and tears up when she speaks of her sister who we always buy a treat for when we stop for ice cream. Our summer trips have become a tradition. It might be her favorite thing each year. It might also be mine.

I love to travel with Ruth first and foremost because we simply have a blast. Secondly, because she flatters me with catch phases from generation gone-bye. “Steven, you are a rare bird!” she says. Thirdly we do this summer pilgrimage to somewhere that strikes her fancy because I see it as my mission to add a touch of absurd fun to her world.

To re-define that crazy is not to.

Redefining crazy trips is part of an overall conspiracy. Often, I call her up in a fake voice and tell her that her donation to (….insert crazy group to donate too) Harp Seal Hunter’s retirement fund is overdue. Next summer I am threatening/promising we drive to Alaska. I witness or maybe imagine that the sheer absurdity of our trips help redefine the level of what is normal, and most importantly what is possible.

On our trip to Niagara Falls this summer listening to a fun radio station that played music from the 40’s, prompted the “are things better or worse than they used to be?” conversation.

We initially each took a side, and started down the list of blessings and problems of each era. We agreed that the dual population explosion, nuclear weapons, and environmental issues demand a vote that yesterday was better. We agreed that the overt racism, homophobia, overall poverty of the average American, and poorer medical care call forth a vote that today is better. Down the list we went, never finishing the conversation.

Early on we both stumbled upon and were stopped by the reality that no matter where we stood there are too many starving and sick children in all generations. We both agreed that that reality is, and always was “unnecessary and disgusting”. We agreed humanity does a surprisingly, bad job at not accepting this.

It was quiet for a while, both of us paused in the truth that we generation after generation let people starve, live with bad water, etc. In our next breath, we both said nearly simultaneously that “I” did not feel that I was doing enough about it.

We both in that moment expressed a collective sign that we as a species had not muscled up the energy to hold, the joy, yes- the joy it takes to perform the crazy counter insurgency on our own self interest and even our own sense of futility to solve those basic problems. We agreed that there was something of a destructive common sense about us as individuals and people retreating to our own privacy.

Your Pastor, who I need not remind you is about to be legit soon, gives you permission to care about that stuff up to the point of obsession.

You,… here,… in our holy, sacred, irreverent wood home are invited to feel a holy deep holy sadness that we as a species cannot seem to care enough about each other not even not to kill one another, but not feed or clothe each other. Republican or Democrat, Pagan, Buddhist, or Christian, flatlander or native are invited to do that here.

Each summer I invite myself to forget about whatever else I might be doing and take Ruth on vacation. Each week may we here not decide to answer, or rationalize, or explain in any way why we as a world can’t get crazy and playful and silly enough to solve those problems. And may you be crazy to believe that attending that small church that gives a “bleep” to keep caring.

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