July 22, 2010
Director of Religious Education
Editor/ Congregational Administrator
Prairie Web Sites:
Society Home Page
items and program descriptions are due on the 1st and 15th of each
month. Feature articles for
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010, 10:00 am at Sauk City: "Exploring a UU Meaning for Faith, If Any?" Joint program with Sauk City UU, James Reeb UU, and First Unitarian. We are once again invited to attend a joint service of all four area UU congregations to be held at Park Hall of the Sauk City UU congregation, to be followed by a picnic on their grounds. (Please bring a dish to pass and your own table service.) As UUs, we explore and question religious topics together, as a means to help each of us find our own answers, if any. Please note that there will be no service at Prairie that day. To get to Sauk City UU, take Highway 12 west. After crossing the bridge into Sauk City, turn right at the first light onto Water Street. Go three blocks and turn left onto Polk Street. Park Hall will be on your right at 307 Polk Street.
Sunday, August 1, 2010, 10:00am: "Summer Reads," presented by Rose Smith. We Prairie people are readers. This is the time to share your recommendations of books you've read recently. If possible, please come to the service with the title, author, publisher, and publication year of the book you would like to share, as we will compile a list after the service. Please join us for this wonderful summer tradition led by retired librarian and avid reader, Rose Smith.
Sunday, August 8, 2010, 10:00 am – "Worth and dignity of all people: UU’s and Arizona migrants
Assembly, the biggest annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist
Association, is scheduled to be in Phoenix, Arizona in 2012. The recent
passage of a very controversial immigration bill in Arizona has created
a debate over whether to go ahead with plans for this GA in Phoenix AZ,
and if so how this GA would differ from a normal GA due to the
immigration issue. We will hear what the UUA Board originally proposed,
what was worked out in the mini-assembly sessions, the final proposal
and the results of the voting. Members of the Tucson UU
congregation’s group No More Deaths may also be presenting.
Sunday, August 15, 2010, 10:00 am - Special presentation by Rev. Jane Esbensen, candidate for the consulting minister position at Prairie UU.
Religious Education NewsWhile students are outside enjoying their second month of vacation I've been busy inside enjoying planning for the start of the RE year which will be August 29th. It's going to be another great year; I'm so excited! Calendars are done for Fall and Winter as well as plans for the Fall Frolic, field trips and several speakers. The RE brochure will be finished by the end of July and will be sent out along with the calendar to all students and their families. Before the year begins we can still enjoy those lazy, hazy days of summer by weeding Prairie's butterfly garden, doing arts and crafts or just playing at the park. If you'd like to spend a Sunday morning with Prairie children you're in luck! We have two days open in August, the 15th and 22nd. Please sign your name on the sheet at the back of the meeting room or let me know on any Sunday.
Coming up is our annual Summer Spree event for middle and high school students. We'll be outside camping in the Prairie yard on Saturday, July 31st until the next morning. We'll be enjoying a campfire, roasting hot dogs and telling scary stories. I've invited the middle and high school students at James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation so there will be a chance to make new friends. If you'd like to join us page 2 please let me know. I'm in need of people for the evening and to stay the night.
I want to thank everyone who signed up to be volunteers this summer with our youth. Having every Sunday filled with someone wanting to spend time with our young people tells them that they are loved by members of their community. This Prairie community has taken to heart the adage that it takes a village to raise a child, and I want you to know how much your efforts are appreciated by me, the children, and the parents.
As always, see you on Sunday.
Director of Religious Education
Contract Minister Recommendation and Parish Meeting
The ministerial search committee has proposed Rev. Jane Esbensen as our new contract minister and the Prairie Board has agreed to pass this recommendation to the congregation. On August 15th, Rev. Esbensen will present the program, which will be followed by a potluck and a parish meeting to vote on this recommendation.
Rev. Esbensen is in her second year as a half time consulting minister at Lake Country UU Church in Hartland, Wisconsin. She would take the position at Prairie as an additional half-time position.
Rev. Esbensen comes highly recommended on several fronts. She is viewed as an excellent speaker, both thoughtful and insightful. I think we will find her presenting ideas which challenge us. She will bring a humanist perspective but appreciates the need for spiritual reflection and ritual. She also loves “talk backs” after sermons, which fits our style well, and not all ministers are comfortable with this.
Rev. Esbensen is regarded as gifted in the area of pastoral care and tends to gravitate to that as a priority over other areas of ministry according to a number of references.
Rev. Esbensen is open to the idea of shared ministry and will do joint planning with our program committee, especially looking at overall themes and identifying any gaps in our programs. She has a definite interest in social justice and perhaps could help us strengthen our approach to these issues.
She is currently visiting in Sweden. When she returns, I plan to arrange several opportunities for her to meet with small groups prior to the August 15th service and parish meeting. This will include the Prairie Board, the staff, and the program committee. In addition, I will be arranging a time for folks who are not currently serving on the board or program committee to meet with her in an informal, small group setting. If you are particularly interested in this or if you have issues you would like to discuss with Rev. Esbensen, please contact me.
Park, Prairie UU President
Mary Somers, WOW coordinator
Prairie Book Club Update
The Prairie Book Club meets monthly, after the Sunday Service at Prairie, about 11:45 a.m..except for September when it meets at the Prairie Retreat at Pine Lake Camp (near Westfield, WI). Bring potluck food to share at the Sunday club meetings. This is an open book club. You may come whether or not you have read the book. For more information, contact Mary Mullen, 608.298.0843 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, July 18 - Roads to Quoz, An American Mosey by William Least Heat-Moon is about a series of short trips – total of 16,000 miles - rather than one long trip as Heat-Moon’s other books were. In this book he covers the Oauchita River in AR and LA, the Florida Panhandle, portions of the Southwest, a swath from Missouri to Maine, portions of the Great Plains, and the East Coast. “Wherever he is, Heat-Moon’s thought is often tethered to questions of sustainability and equitability…deep ecology.” 608 pages. Feel free to select whatever trips appeal to you. Of the parts read by Mary Mullen, she especially suggests the chapters starting on pp. 15, 71 with 78, 86, 188 with 194, and particularly 306 with 317. Recommended by Al Nettleton.
August 15 – Book club members can choose from 2 books on
Postville, Iowa: Postville:
A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America
by Stephen G. Bloom or Postville
by Mark A Grey, Michele Devlin, and Aaron Goldsmith. Both books
concern the clash between the residents of a small, intensely
Christian town and the group of Lubavitcher Jews who open a highly
successful kosher slaughterhouse there. The book club will meet after
the brief parish meeting.
Sunday, October 17 – Now and at the Hour, a novel by our own former Prairie member Marty Drapkin, is the story of three isolated people in Ward B: a young aide, a 12-year-old boy with a brain injury suffered in a football game, and a 54-year-old man with cerebral palsy. The three “”struggle to connect with others and to find some meaning, and maybe even salvation, in their lives.” One reviewer remarks that “the novel is more than just a memorable character study of compromised individuals; it deals with such difficult issues as the nature of identity, the responsibility of state and society, the existence of God, and, above all, the Jobean question of why the good person suffers in what appears to be an untenably indifferent or incomprehensibly hostile world.” 224 pages.
Recommended by Erin Bosch. Contact her to get a $6 copy from the author: 238-6285 or email@example.com We hope Marty will be able to attend our discussion!
for the Future Follow Up
THIRTEEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT A SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEM by Lena Rotenberg
course on Menu for the Future, Northwest Earth Institute, page 92
more information, please contact Kathy Converse, chair of the Green
Prairie Elders meetings
Prairie Elders is a group of over-65 Prairie members who meet once a month (generally on the 4th Tuesday) at Oakwood, in the Nakoma room, for conversation and mutual support. New members are always welcome. Topics alternate between general interest and more personal items. For July 27th the topic is "Implications of the Texas Social Studies Curriculum ." The Texas School Board’s removal of Martin Luther King’s quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere” typifies the
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.
Prairie Fall Family Retreat!
Our annual fall family retreat will be held at Pine Lake Camp in Westfield, Wisconsin, on the weekend of September 17-19, 2010. The next Prairie Fire Newsletter will contain full program descriptions and a registration form, but here are some “teasers” to get you thinking!
We have the program just about finished and it contains some of the favorite elements we do every year as well as some new things. There will be folk dancing and Bollywood dancing, a talent show, recorder and Spanish lessons, yoga, crafts (paper bags and seeds,) a presentation of the Ware lecture from GA, nature walks and story time, a workshop on coping with stress, and more. The women's group and the book club will also have their regular monthly meetings at the retreat. We will be cooking spaghetti dinner together on Saturday night and having our traditional Key Log ceremony on Sunday morning.
options have expanded from last year. In addition to the cabins,
camping, and hotel-like accommodations, there will also be a
“bunkhouse” style option. You can look at all the lodging
options online at
If you have any questions about the retreat, please contact one of us, and we hope to see you there!
Long, Retreat Program Coordinator plong373 (at) gmail.com
Our Young Families
be available. Thanks so much for your help in welcoming and supporting the youngest folks in our society and their parents!
Phyllis Long, Retreat Coordinator
Union to hear and see report from TAM 8
We will start as usual with a potluck lunch at 11:45 am, with the photographic report and discussion from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. All who are interested in critical thinking and skepticism are encouraged to attend.
Kathy and Randy Converse announce the marriage of Tara Converse and Chris Rollins on June 5, 2010, at the Allen Centennial Gardens on the UW Campus here in Madison. Tara and Chris met in 2004 while students at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. Following graduation, Tara spent a year teaching English at a high school in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan, where Chris learned why she loves Japan so much. Following Japan, they moved to Philadelphia while Tara completed a Masters degree at Drexel University in Dance Movement Therapy. Tara and Chris currently live in Bloomington, IL. Chris is a jazz musician and works for US Cellular. Tara is a dance movement therapist for children with mental health needs that are in professional foster care at The Baby Fold.
Social Action NotesDeath and Human Rights Violations at the Arizona-Mexico Border Presentation The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom presents Death and Human Rights Violations at the Arizona-Mexico Border by Leila Pine and Craig McComb. Leila Pine is a member of First Society and has spoken at Prairie on this issue. The speakers will discuss their work with the No More Deaths humanitarian organization, and cover updates to Arizona's SB1070 / racial profiling, the Arizona boycott, and Arizona Freedom Summer. The presentation will be held Tuesday, August 17th at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 605 Spruce St. There is no admission fee, but the organizers ask that you bring an item for the St. Luke's food pantry. Mary Somers Social Action
UU & Wider Community News
Ethical Eating study group at FUS
The 2008-2012 Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) for the UUA is Ethical Eating. First Society invites you to join members of their Environmental Action Committee and others at First Unitarian Society this fall to delve into Ethical Eating as it relates to the environment. Kicking things off, at our August 5 meeting, we will discuss the book The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. This book is available through the Madison Public Library system in print, audio, and electronic versions or can be purchased from your favorite bookseller. Future meetings will be devoted to specific aspects of the topic such as: soil fertility, water and air quality, energy use, technology/GMO issues, and effects on other species. Meetings of the Environmental Action Committee are the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. starting Thursday August 5th. Join us for one or all of the discussions! Look at the First Unitarian Society Calendar and newsletter for notices of meetings (http://www.fusmadison.org/calendar/calendar.shtml). Meeting rooms are posted on the door of the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive. For more information - Liz Wessel, 238-9934.