Unitarian Universalist Congregation
of Northern Chautauqua

companionship on life's sacred journey

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.
— Fred “Mr.” Rogers

Message From Our Minister

From the Heart

Are our hearts open to the “forces that create and uphold life”? I try to arrange my life to be open in this way, knowing my steps on the path to being open are halting and sometimes uncertain. Even with my hesitation and uncertainty, I still know the singing joy that can arise when we are in tune with these forces. When the words just seem to flow easily and naturally onto the page, when the pencil creates wonderful images without much direct conscious thought, when I am swept up in the singing and dancing – these are all times when I have felt in touch with these creative, living forces. I hunger for more, and these feelings keep coming.

This joyful direct experience is my own entry point to understanding our congregation’s affirmation of: “Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.”

This affirmation has lots of big long words in it; those words are only good if they guide our hearts to encounter the direct experience itself. Reverend Doctor Howard Thurman speaks of “the creative encounter.” You can say God is in this encounter, as Thurman does, but the encounter can happen whether you talk about God or not. Much more essential is the attitude of openness and welcome in our hearts.

May such quiet joy be in all our hearts.
Reverend George Buchanan