December 2014
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UU topic: ‘From whence does your help come?’

By Jean Strahlendorf
Special to The PREVIEW

On March 16, Dr. Dick Richardson will present a talk addressing the question, “Where do we find help for living and growing spiritually?”— a recurring theme for the Unitarian Universalists (UU) Fellowship this past year.

For the writer of the 121st Psalm, from which the title of this presentation is derived, the answer was straightforward: “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (New American Standard Bible).

Jewish and Christian teachings, however, are only one of the six sources UUs use to find help in living their faith. The Reverend Christine Robinson (of the Albuquerque UU Church) used the metaphor of the Wikipedia to describe UU faith as a “work in progress.” She suggested that UUs create individual interpretations of their faith by choosing the sources they find most meaningful and applying the lessons taken from them to issues that shape their lives.

Two issues that deeply concern many UUs are the apparent inability of political leaders, especially at the federal level, to work together constructively and collaboratively, and how frequently faith, which should unify, seems to divide humanity into warring camps.

One of the six sources that UUs draw upon is the words and deeds of prophetic women and men that challenge us to incorporate the transforming power of love in our lives. In this presentation, Richardson will draw upon the prophetic words and deeds of Nelson Mandela, a former president of South Africa, to foster the reshaping of our confrontational political process. Mandela used principles of reconciliation and respect for individuals with differing beliefs as a construct to dismantle the legacy of apartheid, racism, poverty and inequality, and these methods may serve as examples for our political system.

Richardson was a university professor for more than 30 years. He retired in 2011 as professor emeritus of higher education at New York University. Before moving to Arizona State University in 1977, he served for 10 years as the founding president of Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pa. His academic work focused on higher education access and equity, university outcomes and state policy. Richardson is author or co-author of eight books on higher education and other numerous articles and chapters. He has served as a consultant and expert witness in cases involving minority access and gender equity. He received his BS from Castleton State College (Vermont), his MA from Michigan State University, and the Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He also was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

The Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship sponsors a children’s spiritual educational program and encourages families with children to please join us for our Sunday service.

Our children’s religious programs teach our Unitarian Universalist heritage, ethical living, moral precepts to love your neighbor, work for a better world, and to search for truth with an open mind. Arts and crafts projects also are utilized to illustrate these principles.

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. The address is Unit B-15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa Boulevard by the fire station, then left into the back parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.

This story was posted on March 13, 2014.