UUs to consider ‘What’s a Heaven for?’


By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

Essentially, all civilizations, around the globe and over the millennia, have envisioned some form of an afterlife: a “heavenly realm” by many different names with many different characteristics, wherein the “soul” or “spirit” or the non-corporal equivalent resides when a person’s life in the corporal world ends. Merlin Wheeler’s program this Sunday was inspired, he said, by a quote from Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

The program will explore how various cultures — from ancient Mesopotamia to modern religions, from the Far East to Mesoamerica — have envisioned an afterlife and the beings that inhabit it. Then, Wheeler will offer a strictly personal, and perhaps somewhat heretical, speculation on how these spiritual beings who inhabit “heaven” experience their realm.

This program taps into two of the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism: acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth within our congregation, and a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Wheeler has been a member of the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (PUUF) since moving here in 2006 from New Mexico, where he’d lived for 33 years. He has been an occasional service leader and/or speaker at our fellowship. He currently serves on the worship committee. His other interests include whitewater canoeing, hiking and mountain biking. He spends a good deal of time each year in his woodworking shop.

Our fellowship offers each individual support in our unique spiritual path and an opportunity to participate in positive social and environmental action. We welcome diversity and invite everyone to share in our faith community. On the third and fourth Sundays (Dec. 15 and 22), leadership is by Pastor Dean Cerny. To schedule a private meeting with Cerny or for further information about PUUF, call 731-7900.

Religious Exploration (RE) classes are also held on the third and fourth Sundays and continue through to May. For more information about RE, contact Anna Ramirez at afrancis_@hotmail.com.

Find us in Unit B-15 of the Greenbriar Plaza. From North Pagosa Boulevard, turn right onto Park Avenue and right again into Greenbriar Plaza, then turn left and continue around the complex until you see the Unitarian Universalist sign as it faces the mountains. Join us. For further information about PUUF, visit pagosauu.org or call 731-7900.