April 22, 2010
Prairie Web Sites:
Society Home Page
items and program descriptions are due on the 1st and 15th of each
month. Feature articles for the full Prairie
are due on the 15th of each month. Please send to Kate Liu at
April 24, 2010
April 25, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 2:00 pm - Prairie Elders meet at Oakwood.
May 1, 2010 - Prairie Fire Bulletin
May 2, 2010
May 9, 2010
May 15, 2010 - Prairie Fire item
May 16, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 7:00 pm - Program committee meets.
May 25, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010 - Memorial Service for Mary Lou Diehl, 3pm, at Prairie
Sunday, June 20, 2010 - Retirement Party for Rev. Ralph Tyksinski.
Sunday, April 25, 2010, 10:00 am: "Pilgrimage to Boston," presented by Prairie High Schoolers. The high school class, led by teacher Barb Park, has been taking part in the Coming of Age curriculum provided by the Church of the Larger Fellowship. They have spent the year learning about our seven UU principles, history of Unitarianism, Universalism and the merger. They've also learned about various forms of spirituality and had different people from the congregation come and talk to the students about their beliefs and practices. As an end to the class Barb took the students on a pilgrimage to Boston to see where it all began. While spending their nights in the Eliot & Pickett Houses (the UUA's B&B) they took a tour of the UUA, had a meeting with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and took the heritage walk through Boston. The students have learned about the structure of a UU service and have selected the readings and music for this service. They will tell us what they have learned and their experience at our UU birthplace.
Sunday, May 2, 2010, 10:00am: "Terratheism: A New Way to View Science and Religion," presented by Andrew Kerr. An exploration of terratheism, the belief that Earth’s community of life has a lot to tell us about the nature of God, because Earth’s living things struggle to achieve God’s hopes as the means to succeed in the struggle for life. Our presenter, Andrew Kerr, is the Speaker with the Free Congregation of Sauk County. Andrew and his wife, Jennifer, operate Greenspirit Farm, near Dodgeville, a family run farm specializing in a wide variety of lovingly grown, organic vegetables and small fruits.
Sunday, May 9, 2010, 10:00 am - "Women Composers, II," presented by Jim Reilly. Jim Reilly will return to Prairie for his third visit. When he was here last year for Mothers' Day he performed music by a variety of women composers, and this year he returns to that theme---"Women Composers II". He will both play on the piano and sing for us a variety of music ranging all the way from the French composer of salon music Cécile Chaminade to Billie Holiday. Interspersed will be readings by members of Prairie of works by women. The choir, under the direction of Barbara Park, will perform a work by Elizabeth Alexander. Jim Reilly, a pianist and a tenor, is former Director of Music at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis and Music Director Emeritus of Mindekirken (The Norwegian Memorial Lutheran Church) in Minneapolis. He performs most often as a vocal accompanist, but this past year has included solo vocal performances in Chicago and Madison and solo piano work in Minneapolis and Iowa. He is in town to sing at the Unitarian Society Friday Concert Series here (on Friday May 6) with pianist Jeffrey Wagner from Chicago. Jim grew up in Syracuse, N.Y. in the same Universalist Church as our own Barbara Park.
Sunday, May 16, 2010, 10:00 am - "Transition Sunday," presented by R.E. Committee. Like green caterpillars transitioning into beautiful butterflies we all go through many changes in our lives. In the UU RE tradition these transitions start with a child dedication and end with the Coming of Age program. This service will honor our youth as one begins their journey into Unitarian Universalism and another completes the Coming of Age program and graduates from high school. At the end of the service RE students will present a gift to the congregation.
The next morning our high school students
will present: "The Boston Pilgrimage". Students have been participating
in the Coming of Age program and will share what they have learned
during the school year and talk about last month's trip to Boston.
This will also be the last official day of
RE classes, but no worries, there's still plenty of RE activities for
the month of May. May 2nd will be our last Spirit Circle. We'll talk
about the RE year and then take a tour of the nearby community gardens
to look at Prairie's new garden plot. There's already lots of activity
in the gardens so hopefully we'll get a chance to talk to some of our
May 9th will be an RE game day at
Marlborough Park and the 16th will be our Transition service. We'll
have a toddler in our nursery room going through the child dedication
ceremony and we'll be recognizing graduating senior, Madeline Arnold.
The service will end with
the RE students presenting a very special gift to the congregation. I
hope to see you all there!
As always, see you on Sunday,
to Meet May 1st
made transitions, some are pondering them and others have current or prospective help at home. Let’s share what we know.
All meetings begin with informal conversation at 1:30 pm, followed by discussion beginning at 2:00 pm. If possible, please bring some snacks to share and your own beverage cup. For more information about the group or to arrange a ride, please call one of the following: Donna Murdoch 238-3802, Gordon Cunningham 230-3367, Rosemary Dorney 238-4382 or Rose Smith 233-3363.
Pledge.... "A Drop in the Bucket?"
Ahead: Prairie Fall Family Retreat!
Once again, Phyllis Long will be serving as Program Coordinator. If you are interested in offering a program, please let her know. It would be helpful, if you want to offer a program, to let her know when you will arrive at Pine Lake and how long you plan to stay. We will also need people who would be willing to devote an hour or so to child care, as we expect some babies and toddlers. You can contact her by email plong373 (at) gmail.com, or call 608-325-7397. Of course, you can also let her know Sunday morning!
This year there will be an additional, lower-cost option available for accommodations. We are taking advantage of the Birch Cabins, which are bunk-house style. If you'd like to see the cabins (and the rest of the camp), you can visit their website at http://www.pinelakecamp.org/birchcabins.html.
Another new event we are planning this year is that we will all cook dinner together at the Oakwood Center on the Saturday night of the retreat. Plans are underway for a fabulous spaghetti dinner with sauces to accommodate the full range of eaters, from vegans to carnivores. Maybe we'll even be able to include some veggies from Prairie's garden plot!
If you have any questions about the retreat, please contact Phyllis or Kate Liu (Prairie's administrator.) Registration for the retreat will begin in August, which will come up sooner than we think!
Long, Retreat Program Coordinator
Range Planning Q & A with Speaker Andrew Kerr of Sauk City UU
Parish Meeting Sunday, 5/16/10
one and all! Our annual spring Parish Meeting promises to be
action-packed as usual. Below is the tentative agenda:
Parish Meeting will follow the Transitions Service, and we hope most
of our families will be able to stay for the meeting. We will have a
youth RE party during the meeting, and hopefully a few of you can
volunteer to play with our youth instead of attending. Watch for
details and reports coming to you by email and printed out ahead of
time. See you there!
Social Action NotesThe Prairie Social Action committee will begin collecting white socks for migrants in Arizona. The UU Church of Tucson's ministry of No More Deaths gives medical aid to migrants found in the desert or deported to an aid station in Mexico. A frequent medical care given to migrants is to dress blistered and bleeding feet. The UU Church of Tucson will be receiving the Bennet award at General Assembly this June in Minneapolis for their work, and this is a small but important way Prairie can support our larger UU social justice ministries. Mary Somers and Nancy Graham will be able to take the socks to Tucson in the fall when they return. There will be a basket in the lobby of Prairie for members to leave socks.
Rev. Ralph's Ruminations
Dear Prairie Members and Friends;
It’s Springtime and the daytime temperatures have gone from Winter brisk to Summer heat! Living in South Central Wisconsin conditions us to deal with the kinds of changes that our weather brings that can challenge our sensibilities. We have little to control the way our weather changes. However, this is not the case for the way we deal with change in our congregational life. I have found the following piece to be helpful and meaningful in providing a “framework” for understanding the social and interpersonal dynamics of congregational life. It is especially insightful about the way a congregation faces “transitions” and how individuals bring their internal needs, desires and expectations to deal with “big” changes. I hope you will find some of the insights that Ken Brown makes applicable to making Prairie a healthier congregation.
in Small Congregations
Change is always difficult, yet it happens every day in our lives in small and big ways. It is also is a regular component of congregational life. When a visitor shows up on a Sunday, the dynamics in a congregation have changed, particularly if the newcomer stays. We all need to be aware of the small changes, but the leadership needs to plan for the bigger changes, like finding a new meeting space, calling the first minister, changing the time of the worship service. In small congregations the impact of such change can be more immediate and problematic. Thus it is vitally important for the leadership of small congregations to plan for such change. Having a clear shared mission on which the congregation can build change is the beginning. Any change of import must be based on a plan that helps fulfill the congregation’s mission.
William Bridges suggests, in his book Managing Transitions, that it is not the change that impacts organizations like congregations, it is the transition. Once the plan for a change becomes clear to those in charge of the planning, the leaders need to plan for the transition. Too often the leaders of any change try to push or pull people into the change without allowing for the transition that people must go through.
Bridges states that change is external, representing the different practice, structure, or policy that a congregation faces. The transition is internal; it is what impacts people; it is the psychological reorientation that people go through that leads to the change. There are three different processes that a congregation moves through to get to the change.
The first is saying goodbye to whatever must be given up in order to move toward the change. Leaders need to be in conversation in multiple ways with congregational members, to listen to their feelings and to help them understand that any change means that some ways of doing things will end. Only by listening to congregational members can you help people understand
that while they may be giving up something they love, by moving to a new site, for instance, or bringing in a new minister, that there are other things that will be gained that will help the congregation achieve its mission.
The second step in the transition involves helping people move into the neutral zone. Even after people have become willing to let go of the way things were done in the past, they are not immediately able to start anew. Bridges suggests that the neutral zone is the place where people can process their feelings and begin to understand how the change will help them and the congregation achieves their mission. This may be an uncomfortable phase but the wise leader allows space for people to sit with the impact of the change. The wise leader will not push people into the third stage but will let them work things through and calmly answer people’s questions.
The last stage is moving forward into what Bridges calls “the new beginning.” Moving into this stage means that people have worked through enough of their emotions and questions to accept the change. The trick is to recognize that not everyone will move to stage three; in fact, at any given time some folks will not move out of stage one. Leadership needs to recognize this fact of community life and still move ahead.
One problem in many congregations, particularly small congregations, is that we allow a few people to block a change that has been well thought out and fits with the congregation’s mission. This last step of communicating with those who insist on not moving into the third stage is crucial. We need to say to these people that while we care about them, the congregation is moving forward, and we hope they will move with us, but if they cannot we understand. You might even suggest they take time off for a while but if they have to leave you understand. Leadership cannot be held hostage by a few people. Threats of withholding pledges, quitting the congregation, or other such actions should not prevent a congregation from moving forward. This is difficult in small congregations where people feel they cannot lose any members. But if a congregation is to survive into the future such choices must be made.
Transition work leaders must also recognize that the more time one spends on managing the various stages, the longer it will take to move to the new beginning. Yet if the leadership is willing to take this time, the change will be easier in the long run.
Change is part of being human, part of any congregation. Taking time to understand transition is very important for making change in our congregations. If you want to learn more about the work of William Bridges, you can read his book Managing Transitions, from Perseus Publishers. Also remember that your District staff understands the role of transitions in congregational life and may be able to help your congregation in such situations.”
Vol 3.Track 9-Drive Time Essays: Small Congregations Originally released February 2009-UUA
to be journeying with you,
Food and Faith--A Sacred Connection
“Eating is perhaps the most intimate way in which we engage with the world around us… The manner and substance of our eating should reflect our spiritual and ethical values, and a positive relationship with the earth.”
-- Jack Kloppenburg, Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology at UW-Madison
Well-known UW professor and food activist, Jack Kloppenburg, will kick off an afternoon of thought and action on the theme “The Sacred Act of Eating” on Sunday, April 25 from 2:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison. This, the fourth annual “Food, Faith and Earth Day” event will feature an interfaith panel reflecting on sacred food traditions, music, workshops, and exhibits. It will culminate in a community meal featuring locally-grown food prepared by Chef Barbara Wright of The Dardanelles Restaurant in Madison. Page 7
The event is free except for dinner which is $8 with an advance reservation or $12 at the door. For more information or dinner and childcare reservations, go to www.foodfaithearthday.org.
City UU Seeking part-time administrator
Hospitality for WIAA Track meet in LaCrosse
Universalist Fellowship of North Bay Offers WINE