Sunday Worship video for March 22, 2020. Hosted by Franny Howes and Nac Payne. Run time: 6 minutes.
Grab a cup of coffee and carve out a moment to be present with us this weekend, from the sanctity of your own couch!
Sunday Worship video for March 22, 2020. Hosted by Franny Howes and Nac Payne. Run time: 6 minutes.
Grab a cup of coffee and carve out a moment to be present with us this weekend, from the sanctity of your own couch!
Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this 20 minute worship video from the comfort of your own couch! A presentation by Courtney about our Interdependence during this pandemic.
By Carol Imani
When I asked Anya Kawka if she would be my next subject for an interview she tried to persuade me to choose someone else. “Everyone knows who I am, so I think it would be better for you to talk to one of our newer members” she said. I didn’t agree. I thought that, although Anya is probably the highest profile person in our fellowship, few of us know much about her other than what we see her doing on Sunday mornings. But I tried to oblige her and scheduled an interview with a newer member. Before I could talk with that person, though, she went out of town for a week and the deadline for newsletter was approaching. So at that point Anya was willing to sit down for a talk with me under a large pink tree in full bloom in her yard and here’s what transpired.
Anya first came to Klamath Falls in 2015, “as the trailing spouse” from The Dalles, where she grew up, because her husband, Michal, had gotten a job running the TRIO program (for students with special needs) at OIT. At that point, their son, Bogdan, so familiar to us all, was just seven months old, and Anya and Michal visited various congregations to see which might be a good fit. She had grown up as a Catholic, and although “that was a meaningful upbringing” she’d also had a crisis of faith in high school when she realized that she could not believe in Jesus as the son of God. “When we went to the Unitarians we met Chuck and Sally and the second week Sally asked me to be the treasurer. ‘But I hate numbers, I hate math’ I said and Sally’s response was ‘Well, someone’s got to do it’ and after two years of that Chuck asked me if I’d be the president of the fellowship. I really struggled with that, because I felt that I still wasn’t even sure what UU is all about. But Chuck said ‘Oh, that’s okay. We just need someone to deal with the administrivia.’ So, in 2017 Anya, who previous experience overseeing things was as the Programming Coordinator for the Parks and Recreation District in the Dalles, became the President of the Fellowship, or more accurately called the Chair of the Board.
What enabled Anya to feel comfortable in her new role was attending a UU Regional Assembly in Eugene, especially a workshop about the meaning of “Beloved Community” in which the facilitator “had us share our various beliefs about religion, which turned out to be quite different and we learned that being in a ‘beloved community’ means not hiding our differences, but embracing them in an atmosphere of acceptance.”
More confidence building came from Reverend Sara Schurr, a Unitarian minister based in Portland, who acts as a consultant to regional UU fellowships of under 75 people, and one of the ways in which she was helpful was in offering Board Development days. Among the things Anya absorbed were
After being intensely involved in all aspects of the fellowship since then, Anya is now cutting back on her involvement a bit. Though she won’t be on the board any longer she will still be chairing the RE (Religious Explorations) Committee and still sitting in on board meetings for a while. She has witnessed a number of key changes in the fellowship over the last few years, and says they were prompted, in large part by how “We’re no longer a congregation in a cupboard, but are now renting the space for our exclusive use.” That has led to, among other things, more programming, including Art Nights, Family Game Nights, and New Member Orientation. And that, in turn, has made the process of becoming a member much more clear than in the past. Another change has been participation in the process of becoming a “Welcoming Congregation for LGBTQ people” which has included putting a “non-discrimination clause” in our bylaws. And all of these changes “have helped us gain new members.” In addition, she says that now “I’ll get to focus on things I particularly enjoy such as overseeing the social media page, as well as outreach, marketing.”
Anya runs a small daycare business from her home during the week, and was motivated to start that when she discovered that “Klamath Falls has a huge shortage of childcare options. I just wanted a place where the TV would not be on all day, and the food would be healthy and that was impossible to find.” But now that Bogdan will be starting kindergarten in the fall she’ll be phasing the business out since, although it’s been fun, it’s also been “exhausting.” And she’s started doing an online masters in education from the University of Oregon.
I asked why she’s doing the degree, phrasing it in terms of that silly question “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” and she said that actually she might like to found an alternative school someday. “I think that school is less about kids finding their own strengths than having to conform to one-size-fits-all norms, less about figuring out who you are, than capitulating to standardization.”
She also told me that her undergraduate major, at Willamette University, had been theater. But “not acting” she said, “more production: bossing people around, organizing them” and so that might also have a role in what the future holds. Certainly those skills would come in handy in running a school.
In the meantime, she and Michal try to visit Michal’s family in Poland every other year. So that must add another dimension of experience to whatever comes next for her. I didn’t get to hear about those trips, though, because Bogdan, who had gone into the house to use the bathroom, left the keys inside and locked everyone out. So we said our goodbyes, and off they went to climb in a window.
In an early 2019 email I read of a book by Jack Kornfield*, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. (Ain’t that the truth! ) “…after even the most cosmic and profound experience, we go back to our daily lives and tend to our chickens or children, or paperwork” (or all the above).
Recently, UU Church of the Larger Fellowship minister, Meg Riley**, declared, “Looking at the piles of bills, to-do lists & emails, as tiny, petty annoyances to deal with before I do something fun, OR I can look at them as gift opportunities for connection, for meaningful conversation, for decision making and creative future design”.
She continues, “It’s kind of a cliche and kind of a truism that how we do one thing is how we do everything”. “…remember to re-center and inhabit one’s life.”
Rev. Meg closed sharing her practice of each morning stepping out her door (in Minnesota) and declaring out loud, “This is the day I have been given. How do I choose to show up for it?” As Art Buchwold put it, “Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is the only time we have.”
AND, we wish rewarding times to DAWN ALBRIGHT in her new position as Coordinator for the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* J. Kornfield, Vipassana Buddhist teacher
** Meg Riley, Sr. Minister, UUCLF, Jan 2919
Cuddle Puddles, Cluster Cons and Embedded Systems
Eddy Sackinger says that he has a “vivid memory” of leading a meeting of YIC and YAC from a “cuddle puddle” and “I very much miss it.”
“Oh,” I said, feeling totally clueless, until he explained that a “cuddle puddle” was a bunch of kids lying on the floor with their heads on each other’s stomachs, YAC was the Youth Adult Council, YIC was the Youth Involvement Committee, and both were at the Unitarian Fellowship in Corvallis, where Eddy, as a teenager, truly became a Unitarian, and where he led these groups, maybe not always from a cuddle puddle. Listening to this, I was beginning to feel acrynymed-out, but in those days Eddy also belonged to YRUU, Youth Religious Unitarian Universalists, which enabled him to go on trips to places like state parks and participate in “Cluster Cons,” which I think he said were three-day overnights.
Who knew that interviewing Eddy would be so challenging. I knew that, as one of the oldsters at our Klamath Falls fellowship I was always happy to see Eddy, first of all for his warm and gracious self, but then too because, since he’s all of 24, having him around, and knowing that he has been a Unitarian for a long time, made me feel that nobody could accuse our fellowship of not having age diversity. “Yes, I am the token young adult” he said when I told him about those feelings, but “that’s begun to change over the last few months. Now we’ve got Courtney and Brittany.”
Eddy started out in Tualatin, a suburb of Portland, and moved to Corvallis at age eight when his dad, who is a mechanical engineer, got a job there. He didn’t arrive in Klamath Falls until 2013, to attend OIT and major in “embedded systems” something which, for me, also required an explanation. Embedded systems, I learned, are computers in other devices, such as cellphones, digital cameras, and cars, for instance. Eddy anticipates graduating from OIT in 2020 and wants to write software for companies which make the hardware for those devices.
His academic career, however, hasn’t been all smooth-going. He dropped out of OIT for a while in 2015, feeling that he just wasn’t prepared for the challenge of some of the courses he was required to take, in particular calculus. He got a job for a while with Klamath Technology Services and then, “wanting to explore the world” enrolled in an Americorps program called City Year, where he was placed at San Houston High School in San Antonio, Texas, as a tutor in a math class. Talking about that experience his face lights up and “It was wonderful” he says. There was a great deal of ethnic and racial diversity at the school and “For the first time in my life I was interacting with people truly different than me. I realized how much I valued diversity, and so that experience involved values clarification in many ways.” Also, he says, “The food in Texas is amazing, particularly breakfast tacos.”
Back in the Northwest Eddy spent a year in Portland, going to Portland Community College and working at Best Buy. Then a vacancy at the house which his parents own in Klamath Falls opened up and Eddy decided to tackle OIT again. Things went better than had the first time around, in part, says Eddy, because “In San Antonio I had to be a role model, advocating for others, and that taught me how to advocate for myself.” So, when things got rough again in math classes and other classes, Eddy was no longer afraid to ask questions and work out the issues.
“Also” he says “I came back because I was missing the fellowship here. It’s a welcoming community, a place where I feel morally grounded and personally valued, and you guys make me feel older than my age suggests that I am.”
“At the end of the day life is about people.”
–Carol Imani, February 26, 2019
As someone who has been involved with the Klamath UU Fellowship for many years, I’ve known Julia Jackman for a long time. But interviewing her for our newsletter turned out to be a joy as I realized that, in a sense, I’ve hardly known Julia at all and was so pleased to be getting better acquainted.
Julia grew up in Santa Barbara, California and attended the University of California in Santa Cruz, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in politics. It was in Santa Cruz that she met her husband-to-be, Bob Jackman after they had both graduated from UCSC. Bob was then accepted to medical school at George Washington University in Washington D.C., and wanted Julia to come along. However, when she was uncertain that she wanted to make that commitment, having known him for only six months, he just waited, another year as it turned out, until she was ready and they took a two-and-a-half month journey across the country to D.C., where they’d be for four years.
In Santa Cruz Julia had developed an interest in massage therapy, and completed a massage certification program. In D.C. her primary goal was to work in the environmental field, but the first job she got there was working part-time at a massage therapy business. She then also got a job with a consulting company which worked for the Environmental Protection Agency, looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gases through increasing energy efficiency, and then after that at the International Institute for Energy Conservation, which sought to interest other countries in adopting more efficient technologies. However, worthy as those jobs were, Julia realized that she really wanted to work one-to-one with people and so thought she might do a masters degree program in nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle. Bob was in the Navy, though, while in medical school, and the Navy decided to send him to Pensacola, Florida to do a residency in Family Medicine, (not exactly Seattle) and while there, Julia became pregnant with their daughter, Rowan, who was born in 1995. Fascinated with the process of pregnancy, Julia shifted her focus to pursuing becoming certified as a childbirth educator.
Next came a move to Mystic, Connecticut for four years, where Bob trained as an undersea medical officer, and their second child, Rylan, a son, was born in 1998.
In 1999 the family moved to Klamath Falls, where Bob did three more years of a residency at Cascades East. But, in considering the possibility of becoming a childbirth educator Julia realized that it just wasn’t practical. Bob was frequently on call, and as a childbirth educator, as well as a mom with two young children, she’d have to be on-call too, and so she decided against it. The idea of pursuing a massage therapy career began to appeal to her again and “Four nights a week for nine months I went over the hill to classes in Ashland at The Ashland Institute of Massage and got my license.”
These days, “Bob is Associate Professor at Cascades East Family Medicine, so he is doctor to his own patients and supervises and teaches young doctors, oversees the clinic, and lots of other stuff. Rowan is in Portland now after a year living in Australia, and is trying to find work. Rylan is living in Salt Lake City and works as a cook/chef-in-training at a high-end restaurant called Table X. And I am a massage therapist. I love my work. I love the immediacy of it, and the true connection to people it gives me. I love being able to help people learn about and connect to their bodies, and of course it is so satisfying to give people some measure of relief from pain and discomfort. It is almost magical at times.”
Julia finds a similar sense of “immediacy and connection” through “Spending time with my two doggies, Poppy and Bella (especially hiking with them, pretty much a daily activity!), and my horses Luna and Jojo. Animals are so basic, honest, uncomplicated in their motives, and so loving,” and other activities which give her a sense of connection to the physical world, such as gardening, walking/hiking, and cooking.
Her involvement with the Unitarian Universalist Church has been long and rich, beginning in Connecticut and continuing here in Klamath Falls as soon as the family arrived. “I was roped into being greeter for a future service by our founder Ben Kerns the first time I attended. He was charismatic and it was hard to say no to him! Over the years, I have served as religious education coordinator, secretary, president and treasurer (at the same time), briefly groundskeeper (I gave that up quickly as I could barely keep up with my own yard!), newsletter editor, and general board member. Periodically I tried to escape from these duties, but some crisis or another kept pulling me back in: after the fire, I couldn’t help but ask Rev. Patt and Phil if help was needed; Patt asked me to take on communications. Then more recently, when the great and honorable Sally Wells asked if I might take over her role as worship coordinator, I HAD to say yes…a person doesn’t say no to Sally!
“I have been both active participant in and observer of our Fellowship. I have seen it grow and diminish, and loved it and its people, and been frustrated by it. I don’t have a favorite sermon, but one of the best memories is of when we had the Tibetan Monks come and create a mandala in the center of our sanctuary. It was the most amazing and beautiful experience watching these souls praying, chanting and creating a beautiful and very intricate sand mandala, and then deliberately demolish it after blessing it with prayers of peace. That was a very meaningful lesson about the impermanence of all things. More recently, I have really enjoyed hearing Bill Martin’s services. Thanks Phil for bringing him in initially!
“While I loved our old site and building, the fire was a blessing in disguise. We had become, in my opinion, more attached to the building and location than to the reality and potential of our fellowship. Caring for that building was ultimately a restriction to our growth; it was a lot of work and required more time and money than we could provide. Relocating to downtown has opened a lot of doors and opportunities for us. I like that we are sharing space with another faith community but I would like to someday see us have our own building again (an easier one to maintain, hopefully!). I have really enjoyed having Anya as a “leader” these past couple years. She has been so good for the Fellowship in terms of improving organization and professionalism. I am excited that we have finally made a solid connection to our southern Oregon fellowships. I have hopes that we will continue to grow and become more and more relevant and active in the community as a whole, both as a spiritual source and a place of hope, sanity and positive change.”
January 29, 2019
This is the first of an ongoing series of interviews with members of our fellowship. Each month a new one will appear in the newsletter. It’s an effort to help us to get to know one another better. Comments are welcome. – Carol Imani
As long as I’ve been coming to services at the fellowship, I’ve had an affection for Chuck Wells. At age ninety-three Chuck is our most senior member, but he also always has a knack for genuinely witty, laugh-out-loud comments, making it clear that nothing gets by Chuck and that he’s fun to be around. So recently I sat down with him to learn about the rich life he’s had which, without doubt, has helped him to develop that special sense of humor.
Chuck wanted to know why I chose him my first subject for an interview, and said that he and Sally, his wife, concluded that, due to his age, there was “a sense of urgency” about talking with him, but he wanted me to know that it is “unfounded.” I told him that reminded me of something Mark Twain had said, that “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” and of course Chuck was acquainted with that Twain quote. He also said that he attributes his long life to three things: “Good genes, a love of work and activity, and a happy marriage.”
Chuck was born in 1925 (“that was five years after women got the vote and one year after Indians became citizens”) on “a farm which backed onto the Erie Canal near Rochester, New York, but when I was fourteen months old my family came west to the San Francisco Bay Area. The day before my eighteenth birthday I enlisted in the Coast Guard, and became a sailor at sea with the North Atlantic Ice Patrol.” After that Chuck was at San Mateo Community College and then San Jose State, majoring in education, and minoring in sociology and speech therapy. He also drove an ambulance in San Francisco, and student-taught in San Francisco’s Chinatown, with third and sixth graders, earning his B.A. from San Francisco State.
When he moved to Marin County he taught in three San Rafael schools where “release time for religious education was mandatory” and he recalls one young student, “acting as if the angels of fury were on his tail, telling me ‘I’ve got to go to cataclysm.’“ He also said that, “in order to enjoy the luxury of a public school salary, which back then, in the mid-50’s, was $4,800 a year,
I had to make ends meet by also teaching part time at another school.” So, apparently, very little has changed since the 1950’s in terms of how underpaid teachers are.
A unique teaching experience came along when Chuck got a job with the Bayview Schools at San Quentin Prison in San Francisco. “That was a time” he says, “when we were trying to rehab people”. Chuck found that he liked working with adult prisoners. He recalls one in particular, who was raised in a black Alabama orphanage and decided to start over. He started in the first grade, and worked his way through the grades, graduating as the school’s valedictorian. In his speech he explained that inmates had the choice to be free in their minds while physically prisoners, and the guards were both physically and mentally prisoners while on duty because they had to be continually focused on the inmates.
Chuck was married at twenty-five in the San Jose Unitarian church. He and his wife Marie had two sons. In 1958 he was offered tenure at a school where he was teaching “but I turned it down because I wanted to move to San Jose because we’d met some good Unitarians from there at the Unitarian conference in Carmel.” In San Jose he taught seventh grade, a class of “educable mentally retarded” students; however, “about half the students were Latino kids who had nothing wrong with them mentally.” When he told the school counselor that he felt it was “a crime against those kids” to combine them with kids with mental disabilities and to not be taught separately the response was “I can put them in a class with forty-six other kids, but I figured you could do more with them.” So those students stayed in Chuck’s class. “They were a great bunch, and I hated to leave them at the end of the year.”
Around that time Chuck’s wife became the secretary at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, which trained future Unitarian ministers, so they moved to Berkeley, and Chuck experienced what he describes as “a mid-life crisis.” After deliberating over the law, the ministry or continuing in education, a solution presented itself in the form of a masters program in adult education and human resource management at UC Berkeley, and “I took off like a rocket there”. That led, subsequently, to a job offer with the National Iranian Oil Company, in southern Iran, for the next three years. His marriage ended after coming back to the States. He met Sally. They married and went off to Tripoli in Libya, working for Mobil Oil for 1 ½ years, and “we had a wonderful time in a beat up Land Rover exploring the desert and sea coast.” That was followed by three years, again with Mobil Oil, in Sumatra, Indonesia, which was “also wonderful, though we were moist all the time, since we were only three degrees above the equator.”
Finally the world travelers decided it was time to return to the United States, specifically the American west, and “we bought an abandoned ranch outside of Chiloquin” and were there for thirty-five years. Their most important adventure was creating the non-profit Chiloquin Visions in Progress and raising $1,750,000 to build what became a beautiful and much-needed community center, housing a branch of the Klamath County Library and the Two Rivers art gallery.
Five years ago when it became apparent that the ranch was requiring more time and attention than they wanted to give, they moved to Klamath Falls and turned their attention to all kinds of community efforts here, including involvement in the Unitarian Fellowship. When asked about what he values the most in our fellowship Chuck says “That it grows deeper all the time. It’s a refuge where you can refill your spiritual tank for the coming week. And there’s also just getting to know the UUers and experiencing their spiritual journeys, as well as the growth
of the board, its breadth and depth, in an effort to provide leadership consistent with our principles.”
For my December 9th program,”We never hide from history, we MAKE history”, (Sen. John McCain), I had a lovely closing, from Spring UU WORLD-2014, a piece by Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Prize for Literature winner.
When finalizing preparation for that Sunday, I concluded no way
could I end by reading it aloud. Please understand—I know you will.
In follow-up, I’ll share it here in the New Year.
As I tried to emphasize that Sunday, this fellowship has 61 years of making history in this area.
Allow me to share this from a memorial for Aretha Franklin: “It’s a poignant reminder of what we’ve lost, but more importantly, it’s a reminder that greatness is always within our grasp—and that history teeters on a knife-edge, with fear on one side and hope on the other.”
There’s some thought for the New Year-2019.
GOOD WISHES! HAPPY NEW YEAR
NOVEMBER 2018 ARCHIVES
The 2018 Spirit Awards have lovingly been presented. In June the Rev. Patt Herdklotz received hers, followed in October by our own Eric Jensen, and UU/Community friends Paula and Dwight Long.
Our member Scott Wagner was remembered September 22nd by KF family and friends. In October first-responders in Santa Clara County, CA held a memorial for Scott. Joyce and Justine attended. Scott was an EMT and fire fighter in his career.
Oregon has a new poet laureate, Kim Stafford, and he has a close connection to our UUFKC. Kim follows in his father, William’s footsteps as poet laureate. Kim taught at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, as did William.
William was a poet and pacifist and in1970 became twentieth Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, now known as U.S. Poet Laureate.
Kim an essayist and poet, is additionally responsible for sorting untold boxes of William’s unpublished poetry, private papers, publications, photographs, recordings, teaching materials for Lewis & Clark’s library Special Collections and Archives. No small task.
Kim’s wife is Perrin Kerns, daughter of Ben Kerns. Ben was one of the founders of UUFKC, and a guiding light until his demise. In by- gone-years, when visiting family in KF, Kim spoke to our fellowship.
October 13th Lou and I marched with the Rogue Valley UU Fellowship in Ashland’s Gay Pride Parade. Definitely a highlight, almost akin to the Portland Women’s March of 2017, and truly encouraging for warm response given RVUUF banner & marchers.
Diane Triana and Mark London say, “HI” from Brentwood, CA.
THANKS to Barry Gumburt for his meal-assists for the Wagner family during Scott’s illness. Barry is a former UUFKC board president, and now seeks the Buddha’s way.
Sandi Geer was diagnosed last May with Psoriatic Arthritis. After months of enduring pain she had a major fiscal pain. In August she learned her one-a-week shot @ $500 would no longer be covered by insurance. Acupuncture helped, somewhat. CHEERS to Sandi.
November 9-10, 2018 is 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, ”Night of Broken Glass”, in Germany and Austria. Jews were killed and their property destroyed. Too outlandish to have happened?? History IS repeating itself in the mass incarcerations, with no human dignity, of asylum seekers, and families separated. UU Principle One: The inherent worth & dignity of everyone.
We jump from an 80th to a F I R S T.
Happy FIRST Birthday to Master Raelond Johnson.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL
September 23rd, 10:00 am The simple ceremony will include blessings from multiple faith traditions and cultures, singing, and is open to the public. Regular Sunday Service at 10:30 follows.
A Peace Pole is the simplest of monuments – a wood pole with the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” inscribed in several languages.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County will host a re-dedication ceremony of their Peace Pole on Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 at 10:00 am. (( Join the event on Facebook!
This particular peace pole was originally installed in June 1998 beside the former Pine Grove School building which in those days was owned by UUFKC and served as their meeting place.
Twenty years ago, when Connee Pike-Urlacher and Robert Pike-Urlacher lost their second son, Baby Oliver (in utero) they chose the Peace Pole as a memorial. They chose the eight languages to adorn the pole with the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth”. Hebrew and Arabic were included for the two nations in a conflict at that time, Israel and Palestine, hoping for a peaceful resolution.
“It was the second Peace Pole in Klamath Falls, that I’m personally aware of, ” says Barbara Turk, UUFKC archivist. “Its dedication was a tribute of hope for good will in our world, and a path from extreme grief to continued living for the Pike-Urlacher family.”
The 1998 dedication drew people of many faiths and cultures who shared a beautiful summer day with one another, and heard inspiring speakers on peace between nations and peace between neighbors.
When the Pine Grove School building burned in 2011, the firefighters on the scene were able to rescue the Peace Pole from the blaze. It has lain in storage for seven years until this summer when a friend of the Fellowship restored the pole’s base and readied it for re-installation at the Unitarian Fellowship’s current home at 801 Jefferson st.
“The message of peace is universal,” says UUFKC board chair, Anya Kawka. “I see this pole as a symbol of humanity’s shared hope for peace. No one wants to live through war and strife. Republican or Democrat, Christian or Jew, we are all trying to live our best lives and care for our families. We have more in common than we do in conflict.”
The Unitarian Universalists have shared a building with St Paul’s Episcopal Church for seven years now. The Episcopalians have been very supportive of the installation of the rescued Peace Pole on the grounds of the church, and will be participating in the dedication ceremony. “It just shows how much we share,” emphasizes Kawka. “Although we worship differently on Sunday mornings, we are able to come together around this simple prayer for peace.”
The Peace Pole Re-Dedication ceremony is open to the public.