Saturday, December 20, 2014

Adult Sunday Forums for January and February 2015

January 4         “Regional Interfaith Declaration supporting PNW First Nations” with
                       Deb Cruz, BUF’s Native American Connections Committee

On February 15th, BUF will be holding a special congregational meeting.  At this meeting, the congregation will be asked to consider requesting our Pacific Northwest District leadership to sign an interfaith declaration of regional faith leaders, in supporting the Pacific Northwest First Nations, in their struggles to oppose energy development projects throughout the Northwest and to safeguard the traditional lands, waters, and sacred sites of their peoples from destruction.  Come with your questions and your discussions on this resolution that will be decided upon at GA this year.

January 11         "Choice at the End of Life" with Cynthia Heft, Client Support 
                        Volunteer for Compassion and Choices of Washington

C&C of WA was instrumental in passing the Death with Dignity Act in November 2008. Cynthia will discuss aspects of the law and her experiences working with clients, providing free end-of-life counseling and support to terminally ill Whatcom County residents who desire to have choice at the end of life without going through protracted and often painful end-of-life events. "It has been an honor," she states "to assist the critically ill and their families who are navigating the last chapter of life, by providing the information and support that they need to make their own unique choices." In 2010, following the prolonged deaths of her parents, Cynthia, a longtime resident of Bellingham, became a Client Support Volunteer. 

January 18       “Getting There” with Susan Horst, Director, Mobility Programs,
Whatcom Co.

Throughout history humans have transported themselves in various ways: by horses, canoes, stage coaches, sailing ships, trains, gliders, motorcycles, elephants, our legs, bikes, wagons, autos, mules, etc, etc, etc.   What are the choices and challenges today and for the future?

January 25         “Classroom Challenges” with Kathryn Peck, Teacher, Sedro
Woolley District

Kathryn teaches early grades in a rural area Skagit school where many of her students come from low income and Hispanic homes.  She daily confronts and solves difficult teaching problems that would be rare in middle- and upper-class schools. 

February 1         “Poetry and Healing” with poet/educators Matthew Brouwer,
Betty Scott and Kevin Murphy

Matthew, Betty and Kevin will look at the ways poetry can promote health for both the individual (reader and writer) and the culture at large—offering solace even as it strives to be a disruptive force. The poets will share poems as well as stories of teaching poetry to troubled populations—kids in juvenile detention, people suffering from chronic illnesses, and individuals in crisis. William Carlos Williams said that “men die miserably every day for lack of what is found [in poetry].” Is that true? Matthew, Betty and Kevin are eager to explore with you poetry's energetic influences. 

February 8       “The Last Child in the Woods” with Saul Weisberg, Exec.
Director, North Cascades Institute

Many of us seek to protect Nature through politics, legislation, litigation, conservation, but several decades ago Saul realized that something else was more basic:  education, especially the education of youth, a realization that led to his founding the highly successful Institute in Skagit Co. 

February 15       Beyond Pipelines: Settler Solidarity with Indigenous Land
Defenders with James Leder, WWU Student

Some of you may know James as the outstanding photographer from the recent Totem Pole Journey.  James has not only been supporting our local First Nations, but has been actively involved in working with the Wet'suwet'en community and the proposed Pacific Trail Pipelines that will carry natural gas to the British Columbia Coast.  You are invited to join James in an interactive discussion about ongoing Indigenous struggles against resource extraction projects in unceded British Columbia. The conversation will be led by settlers who have been involved in solidarity work at the Unist'ot'en pipeline blockade, and will be centered around how settlers can engage in consent-based support work from their own communities.

February 22     Off to GA! with fellow BUFsters

Join fellow BUFsters as we talk about this year’s UU General Assembly in Portland.  Every year, the Unitarian Universalist Association holds a national conference of Unitarian Universalists.  This year’s GA will be held in Portland, Oregon from June 24th through the 28th.  BUFsters who are veterans of past GAs will be on hand to share their experiences and wisdom on how to navigate this huge event.  We have information available on this year’s GA, including the strong presence that BUF will have in this year’s programming.  If you are planning to attend GA or interested in learning more about what GA is, please join us!  We are encouraging as many BUFsters who can, to attend, and this will be a good introduction for you.  Early registration begins March 1st planning needs to start soon.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Adult Sunday Forums for September through December 2014

September 14, 2014:  “An Important Undertaking” with Bob Keller. 
Many sociologists and psychologists claim that Americans “deny death.”  This spring Pat and he finally made a decision that they had procrastinated for years:  their burials, where and how? We will discuss a decision that confronts everyone.   Bob taught the Fairhaven College “Death and Dying” class for 26 years.  

September 21, 2014:  “Education: Making it Personal, Social, and Global?” with Ariel Bronstein of Explorations Academy.
International study and service expeditions is one of our beliefs that global citizenship is a central part of a 21st Century education.  By placing academics in a meaningful, real world context, can we help young people with the profound undertaking of becoming adults capable of conscious and responsible action in our changing world?

September 28, 2014:  “What’s So Important About Shellfish?” with Nicole Gilmore of Taylor Shellfish Farms. 
Nicole will be speaking on what shell fish farming is and how the farms do it and will speak to the importance of water quality issues and ocean acidification and it’s impacts on wild and farmed marine life.

October 5, 2014:  October 5, 2014:  “True Social Change” with Christina Woeck of Community to Community
Christina will share her experiences and learnings as an anti-racist white person who has spent several years working within the grassroots Eco-feminist social justice organization, Community to Community Development. She will share her journey that started as a student intern, to an Americorps volunteer, to an anti-racist white activist committed to true social change as a way of life. She will also share her thoughts on solidarity and ideas of concrete action to take now.

October 12, 2014:  “My Tulalip Life” with Mel Sheldon. 
After a long term, Mel Sheldon recently retired as chair of the Tulalip Indian Tribe.  He will review various life experiences, education, and decisions that led to that leadership position and to his present work.

October 19, 2014: “Bioregionalism and the Local Food System:  Is this a way forward?” with Dave Timmer, Five Loaves Farm
What is “bioregionalism” and how can this philosophy help us take the next step in building up and participating in our local food system?  Dave will share some of his experiences in starting Five Loaves Farm (a small urban farm) and the Lynden Farmers Market and, through that, what he has learned about participation in a robust local food system.  

October 26, 2014:  “Remembering a Life” with Don Cramer. 
After a logging childhood in Morton, then Perkins Theological Seminary, on to being Methodist clergyman to living in London, the Philippines, India and Texas leading Institute for Cultural Affairs programs, Don then developed a local handyman business.   How did such a journey begin?

November 2, 2014:  “The Power of Honor” with Swil Kanim of Honorworks. 
With a violin as his guide, Swil Kanim experienced the transformative power of Honor and recognized its potential to fundamentally change lives in a positive way, as it had done for him. Since then, Swil Kanim has dedicated his life to bringing that same possibility of positive transformation to
individuals through his music and storytelling.  HonorWorks strives to bring the transformative power of Honor to the community by producing enriching educational, cultural, and artistic programs and events that promote multiculturalism, cultural empathy, and self-value.

November 9, 2014:  “Our Lives in South America” with Erica and Jamey Wolverton. 
Four years ago Jamey and Erica accepted teaching positions in Brazil, followed by a year in Argentina.   They will explore how this affected their children, their understanding of Hispanic cultures, and their appreciation of the Portuguese and Spanish languages.  Jamey currently teaches ma at  Shuksan Middle School.  

November 16, 2014:  “A Tribe Without Land” with Kate Elliot. 
Kate will be speaking on what it is to be a landless/treatyless tribe and how they struggle to hold their culture together.  Kate Elliot is a Chinook tribal member and a Unitarian Universalist from Eastshore UU.

November 23,2014:  Boats, Kayaks, Canoes and Community” with Steve Walker. 
Steve has led a strenuous life of outdoor vocations. Today as the director the Community Boating Center in Fairhaven, he experiences an outpouring of help and cooperation by many volunteers.  He will examine why this job has been so uplifting and inspiring.

November 30, 2014:  No Forum, Holiday Weekend

December 7, 2014:  Social Justice UUSC – TBA
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies.  Learn about how BUF as a congregation and you as a member can participate in helping UUSC achieve it’s goals.

December 14, 2014:  “On the Steep Trails of Nepal” with Rand and Dana Jack. 
Dana, a world renowned psychologist, and Rand, local attorney and founder of  Whatcom Land Trust, have lived in Nepal several times.   They have just returned from a month of hiking in a remote, difficult region of that country.  What have they learned about the people there, and about themselves, in these travels?  

December 21, 2014:  “Church:  A New Vision” with Rev. Charis Weathers of Echoes. 
Come hear about one of the newest churches in Bellingham. Experimenting with new ways of doing/being church, Echoes has quickly established itself as a community concerned for Bellingham at large and has been very busy in the social justice and environmental spheres.  Charis Weathers, the pastor of Echoes, will give the history of this unique group, how they've done what they've done, and what they hope to emerge.  Rev. Weathers was also this year’s Totem Pole Journey Blessing minister.

December 28, 2014:  No Forum Holiday Weekend

Any questions or comments, please contact Deb Cruz at

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Introducing the BUF Adult Sunday Forum Program

Adult Sunday Forums at BUF we’re originally designed to provide an opportunity for BUF members that were not comfortable with the more traditional and formal worship services, to gather and connect.  In the last few years, the forums have evolved into adult educational opportunities covering a wide variety of topics and speakers.  They take place nearly every Sunday between mid-September to mid-June, from 9:15 – 10:15 am, just before the worship service (at 10:30), in the Conference Room.  Forums are not typically held on Sundays close to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

First Sunday of every month.

The first Sunday of the month is currently reserved for speakers from local organizations who will be recipients of our Social and Environmental Justice Committee (SEJC).  In April and May of each year, our SEJC solicits and selects those organizations that will be the recipient for a given month throughout the church year.  The idea is the recipients get the opportunity to talk about the issues that they are addressing so the congregation understands what they’re giving money to when the collection is taken up on the second Sunday of every month.  It also gives the congregation and members from the greater community to learn, in more detail, the issues of the day and the challenges those issues pose.  Some of these issues include food justice, domestic violence, women and family services, youth services, Native American issues, environment and environmental justice, reproductive rights, poverty and more.

Third Sunday of every month.

The third Sunday of every month is currently reserved for speakers involved in dealing with environmental or Earth topics.  This Sunday gives the congregation and members from the greater community the opportunity to learn, in more detail, the environmental issues of the day and the challenges those issues pose.  Some of these issues include local water challenges, GMO and organic food issues, earth-based spirituality, fossil fuel project impacts, wildlife conservation, land conservation and use and more.


One Sunday in each quarter is currently reserved for our partner Community to Community, to educate the congregation on the issues that they are working on.  Topics include eco-feminism, domestic fair trade, migrant farmworker rights, women’s and families health and nutrition, racial profiling, social forum movements and more.

Remaining Sundays.

The remaining Sundays of the month invite a variety of local community members to talk on a wide range of topics including different perspectives on career choices, religion, music, art, health, ethics, local history and more.

Suggestions for potential speakers are always welcome.  Current forum coordinators include Bob Keller, Coral Dudek and Deb Cruz (