Reflection Archives

October 2017

    • October 8: Which Roads Guide My Feet to Puerto Rico
      Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley
      Music: Diane Mellinger & NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Richard Waddell

      How shall we respond to the challenges of our time?  When the storms of life are so heavy, when the costs are so high, when things become scary and dangerous, what guides us forward with fierceness and with grace?  How can we best be of service in times of crisis?

    • October 1: Fearless Love—Reflecting on Forgiveness, Atonement and Engagement
      Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley
      Music: Diane Mellinger & NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Jenny Gelfan

      In the aftermath of Yom Kippur and as we move from the theme of Rituals and Routines and into the theme of Service and Activism, it’s good to be clear about what is that drives us forward.  What drives you forward in the joy of your days?  What inspires you and pushes you forward in the darkness of your nights?  Is it faith?  Is it hope?  Is it love that calls us on?  If Cornel West is right, if justice is what love looks like in public, what helps you to walk the difficult road of justice?

      September 2017

    • September 24: The Rite of Spring She Loved the Most Would End in Late-October
      Reflection: Rev. Leon Dunkley

      Music: Diane Mellinger & NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Hope Yeager

      Almost like a faith tradition, the yearly ritual known as baseball has its own creation myth.  The quote (not quite from scripture) reads, “In The Beginning, there was an open field on a sunny afternoon.”  Youthful cheers and smiles supply the majority of the subsequent text.  More than simply a sport or popular form of entertainment, baseball offers a springboard by which we might better understand ourselves, whether or not we are active fans of the game.  Come find out why!

    • September 17: No One Can Do Everything, but Everyone Can Do Something – Growing Up Change The World Kids
      Reflection: Phyllis Arata-Meyer
      Music: Diane Mellinger & NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Anne MarinelloPhyllis Arata-Meyers is the Facilitator of the Change the World Kids, a teen-run Vermont nonprofit, and has a strong commitment to community service, education, and conservation. Phyllis enjoys establishing connections, is intrigued by the unexpected, and the goodness, wonder and power of youth.   She taught primary school and college graduate course, and home-schooled two of her own children. As Executive Director of The Altai Conservancy, she worked to protect biodiversity and snow leopard habitat in Russia. Phyllis was named Woodstock Citizen of the Year after facilitating the major renovation of the Norman Williams Public Library in 2000. Since the inception of the Change the World Kids, she has helped guide the growth of the organization as a volunteer, helping coordinate hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours of local and international work by this group of dedicated teenagers. She holds a M.A. from Dartmouth College.
    • September 10: The Rite of Joy
      Reflection: Rev. Leon Dunkley

      Music: Diane Mellinger & NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Anne Macksoud

      To great acclaim, The Rite of Spring debuted in Paris in 1913. It was an orchestral masterpiece and an exquisite ballet. Its creators attempted to glorify the rituals of new growth. As autumn approaches and temperatures fall, another kind of dance is asked of us. This dance might best be called The Rite of Joy. Come find out why.

    • September 3: Beginnings
      Reflection: Rev. Leon Dunkley

      Music: Don Ransom and Diane Mellinger
      Service Coordinator: Susan Inui
  • August 2017

    • August 27: Why I am a Woodstock Unitarian Universalist: A Reflection on Truth and Meaning
      Reflection: Lynn Peterson
      Opening Words: Mike Backman

      Music: Bridgewater Community Chorus
      Service Coordinator: Mike Backman

      Lynn grew up in Chicago, attended St. Olaf College, Columbia Medical School and trained, worked, did research and taught surgery at the Brigham and Harvard  for 40 years.  For the last 20 of those years he started a Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, organized an Ethics Service at the Brigham and served in Harvard’s Program on Ethics and the Professions.  He retired to Woodstock and joined the North Chapel 13 years ago.

    • August 20: Joint UU Service at Barnard/Silver Lake
      Blessing the Space Between Us
      Reflection: Service lead by Rev. Paul Sawyer & Rev. Telos Whitfied with support from other congregations.
      Please join us for a Joint UU Service at the UU Church in Barnard. Service begins at 10:30am and will be followed by a BYO picnic at Silver Lake.
    • August 13: Pure Kirtan
      Reflection: Angie Follensbee-Hall & Josh Hall

      Music: Pierre Fournier
      Service Coordinator: Mary Blanton

      Angie Follensbee-Hall, born in Catania, Sicily, is a yoga instructor, yoga teacher trainer, and fine paper artist. She began leading Kirtan with her husband, Joshua Hall, a New Hampshire native and classical guitarist/ composer, in January, 2011. They perform as Pure Kirtan often with Ko Dustin on djembe and Esther Bostic on violin. This dynamic and eclectic chant group has been performing their unique, energetic, and blissful style of Kirtan throughout New Hampshire, Vermont Massachusetts, and on the banks of the Narmada River in India.

    • August 6: Silent Warriors
      Reflection: Bev McKinley
      Music: Rowley Hazard & Colleen Fleming 
      Service Coordinator: Mary Jeanne Taylor

      I started collecting sleeping bags after donating two winter sleeping bags to The Haven and hearing that in Sept 12, 2013 it was going to be in the 30’s and The Haven had two men who wouldn’t come in from the cold…I went home and decided to collect a few more for our  local homeless citizens….after an article at Christmas time I had collected over 75 bags…the spring of 2014 I founded Silent Warriors and started collecting personal hygiene items as this was an expense our homeless citizens couldn’t afford…we had a local church sponsor us as their outreach program and allow us to have the non- profit status,  which allows up to receive grants and large donations…we have a large storage unit in West Lebanon, NH….Silent Warriors now offers complete support to our Upper Valley Homeless citizens…

      July 2017

    • July 30: To Lie On The Beach Is Dangerous…
      Reflection: Rev. Gwen Groff
      Music: Kathleen Dolan and Mark Van Gulden
      Service Coordinator: Susan Inui

      I’ve been the pastor at Bethany Mennonite Church in Bridgewater Corners for the past 18 years. I’ve had the privilege of serving as interim minister of Pastoral Care at North Chapel since September, 2016. I have a degree in English from Franklin and Marshall College and a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary.  My spouse and I are parents of two children in college.

    • July 23: “It Could Be Any of Us” ~ The Gift of Women Caregivers
      Reflection: Elayne Clift
      Music: Amy McElvoy, Diane Mellinger and Pierre Fournier (flute duet/piano)
      Service Coordinator: Jessica Stout

      Women have always been caregivers. Whether looking after children, elders, family members or friends in small communities and urban settings with limited support systems, or acting as professional caregivers, they’ve been the primary providers of physical care and emotional support in many settings and circumstances. Today that remains true, and being the main caregiver may be more vital than ever.

      Because of many issues surrounding caregiving, Elayne Clift compiled a collection of prose and poetry by 21 women caregivers that give testimony to what caretaking has meant for contemporary women.  The anthology is called TAKE CARE: Tales, Tips and Love from Women Caregivers, published by Braughler Books June 1, 2017.

      Elayne Clift is a writer, journalist, lecturer and workshop leader. She spent the major part of her career working internationally on women’s health issues. Her latest short story collection, Children of the Chalet: New and Selected Stories, appeared in 2015.

    • July 16: Little Things Are Big Things
      Reflection: Gayle Smith
      Music: Alicia Breer (vocalist)
      Service Coordinator: Mary Hawkins

      Gayle is a retired registered nurse with 47 years of experience. She received her BS from Syracuse university, MS from Boston university and Nurse practitioner education from UMass , Amherst. She will tell of some of her experiences as a  1st Lt in the Army Nurse Corps in Vietnam,  as an NP, nursing instructor, EMT and, more recently, as a volunteer for Therapy Dogs of Vermont.

    • July 9: In Pursuit of Presence
      Reflection: Barbara Bartlett
      Music: Kathleen Dolan and Mark Van Gulden
      Service Coordinator: Veronica Delay

      For me, time with family and friends has been at the center of my life. But for as long as I can remember, I have treasured time being alone, savoring the sense of quiet. Despite that self understanding, being present to the moment has been a lifelong challenge. Growing up in a busy family in the Chicago metropolitan area, I was inevitably surrounded by my four brothers.  My professional life was also full of daily demands as I worked first as a teacher of special needs children, then as a social worker. It was only later in life that I began following my long-term interest in art.

      The Boston area, where Chris and I raised three children, was home for 30 years. But after a visit Woodstock in 1998 we began spending weekends here, captivated by the beauty and tranquility. After discovering the North Chapel and the wonderful community of people that it attracted, we moved to Woodstock in 2008.  In these beautiful and nurturing surroundings, I love creating visual art and find inspiration (and often materials) in nature. I also love walking, daily writing, gardening, swimming (especially pond swimming) and messing around in the kitchen.  And, most recently and importantly, “grandmothering” has become my new passion.

    • July 2: Salvation Farms
      Reflection: Theresa Snow
      Music: Don Ranson and Diane Mellinger
      Service Coordinator: Mary Blanton

      Theresa has worked in Vermont’s agricultural sector for almost 20 years. She founded Salvation Farms in 2004, receiving both regional and national awards. She has a degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management from Sterling College, has worked with well-known Vermont agricultural businesses like Pete’s Greens and High Mowing Organic Seeds, and served as Director of Agricultural Resources for the Vermont Foodbank. Theresa co-facilitates a national working group focused on infrastructure needs to manage farm surplus with the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic and recently joined the advisory committee for a World Wildlife Fund directed project looking to maximize farm resources in America. Theresa has a steadfast conviction for the responsible stewardship and use of our natural resources with a parallel dedication to the engagement of individuals across socio-economical demographics in the work that she leads.

      On Sunday, Theresa will reflect on the  issue of food loss on Vermont farms and Salvation Farms efforts to reduce food loss through community-based efforts that engage people in the process of building a more food secure and independent Vermont.

      June 2017

    • June 25: My Experience of Islam
      Reflection: Mohsen Medawi
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Don Ransom
      Mohsen is Palestinian and will be sharing his unique thoughts and feelings about his life experience.
    • June 18: What do manhole covers have to do with your sense of personal happiness?
      Reflection: Kim Christensen
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Bob WilliamsonKim lived in Santa Barbara, California for 47 years and during that time raised his 4 children.  He is a writer and an artist.  In 1989, he created the world’s first line of Braille Jewelry and one of his pieces has been placed into the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  In 1992 he moved to Hanover, NH and has lived in New England ever sense. He now lives on Perkins Pond near Sunapee, NH.  His unique experiences doing manhole cover rubbings are the basis of his talk.
    • June 11: Spiritual Exploration Step Up Day & New Member Recognition
      Reflection: Rowley Hazard, Kathy Astemborski, Carol Egbert
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Hope Yeager
      Rowley, Kathy and Carol will discuss the spiritual path in their lives that brought them to the North Chapel.
    • June 4: Waking Up to the Homeless
      Reflection: Don R., Anne Dean, Carol Egbert, Titia Ellis, Linda Galvao
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Richard Schramm

      May 2017

    • May 28: The Aramaic Jesus
      Reflection: Jim Totin
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Laurie Marshall
      Jim is the lay minister of the West Fairlee Congregational Church and also has a business doing window cleaning, painting and carpentry.  His life and work experiences, which include being a 200 hr. Svaroopa® Yoga teacher, have been about helping people to experience the world in a new and clearer way.  Jim has a son, Corin who is married and has two daughters  in Winooski, VT.  Jim and his partner Annie travel to Winooski often  to experience grandparenthood.
    • May 21: Mean What You Say, Own What You Play
      Reflection: Michael Zsoldos
      Music: Pierre Fournier
      Service Coordinator:
       Anne Macksoud

      Michael Zsoldos was introduced to music through his father’s vast record collection. Michael attended the Eastman School of Music where he studied classical and jazz saxophone with Ramon Ricker. He later studied with Andrew Speight and Branford Marsalis at Michigan State University and has a master’s degree in music theory. In 2010, Michael released his debut CD “Off the Cuff” with drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Martin Wind, and pianist Miro Sprague. “Off the Cuff” has been playing on radio stations throughout the US and Canada to great reviews and was on the nominating ballot in four categories for the 2011 Grammys. In his work as composer, Michael’s original score is featured in the award-winning documentary “Birdsong and Coffee” A Wake Up Call,” which has aired both on PBS and Link TV. Michael’s passion for teaching led him back to Vermont. He is currently on the teaching faculties of the University of Vermont, Interplay Jazz Camp, and Festival Internazionale Del Sassofono, in Faenza, Italy. He has conducted the District Jazz Bands in Vermont districts IV, V, and VI, and has been a repeat clinician for the Vermont and Maine Music Educators Associations.

    • May 14:WUHS’s Queer-Straight Alliance
      Reflection: Sam Raymond and Brad Archer
      Music: Diane Mellinger and the North Chapel Choir
      Service Coordinator:
       Jessica StoutMy name is Sam Raymond, I’m head of Woodstock’s QSA and a huge advocate of the LGBT+ community. I identify as transgender, using female pronouns despite my masculine appearance. My ultimate goal is to educate people as much as possible because through education we spread knowledge and understanding. I believe that a lot of the bigotry towards the community that we see today is driven by fear of the unknown, and what better way to lessen the fear of the unknown than to make it known?Our QSA (queer-straight alliance) is made of about ten or so kids, which is much smaller than other schools’, but what we lack in numbers, we more than make up for in acceptance and sense of community. The group was formed three years ago, starting with just two of my friends, Mr. Archer, and myself. The QSA includes everyone from trans to gay to bisexual to heterosexual allies who want to show their support. Despite our diversity and differences, we all share the same goal of spreading acceptance and the idea of fair treatment in our community.
    • May 7: Being Heard, Seen, Alive
      Reflection: Deb Heimann
      Music: Diane Mellinger and Special Guest David Ross
      Service Coordinator:
       Shoshana Belisle

      Deb is a freelance editor and a certified Level 2 teacher of Forrest Yoga in Woodstock. She spent five years in New York City directing and developing new plays and over thirteen years developing the editorial policies and processes of an international web-based communication network, working with communicators and colleagues in Colombia, South Africa, British Colombia, and all over the world. The foundation of her editing and her yoga is communication—to grow a more resonant connection between us and inside each of us.

      April 2017

    • April 30: The Bones of Faith
      Reflection: Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Susan Inui

      The service will be lead by our Ministerial Candidate Rev. Leon Dunkley. After the service, there will be an important Congregational Meeting to decide whether we will call the Candidate to be our new Settled Minister. Please note that only North Chapel Members who have signed the membership book will be able to vote. That said folks can sign and become members between now and the 30th.

      Minister Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

      Leon is a creative musician, a minister and lifelong Unitarian Universalist. He is driven by the spiritual possibilities of peace and deepest compassion.
      He studied music at Tufts University and at the University of Pittsburgh. He taught music for seven years at Brooklyn College and at Duke University.  Leon studied theology at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA and has been working in ministry ever since.
      Leon is dog-lover, a beer snob and a baseball fan.  He is currently writing a book about forgiveness and spiritual maturity.

    • April 23: Well Then, Can I Walk Beside You?
      Reflection: Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Susan Inui
      Special Dance Performances by Moving Spirit Dancers

      April 23 marks the start of Candidate Week, and our Ministerial Candidate will participate in the service which will also feature the Moving Spirit Dancers.

      Minister Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley
      Leon is a creative musician, a minister and lifelong Unitarian Universalist. He is driven by the spiritual possibilities of peace and deepest compassion.
      He studied music at Tufts University and at the University of Pittsburgh. He taught music for seven years at Brooklyn College and at Duke University.  Leon studied theology at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA and has been working in ministry ever since.
      Leon is dog-lover, a beer snob and a baseball fan.  He is currently writing a book about forgiveness and spiritual maturity.

    • April 16: Easter Sunday – The Spiritual Journey
      Reflection: Jim Totin
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Don Ransom

      Jim is the lay minister of the West Fairlee Congregational Church and also has a business doing window cleaning, painting and carpentry.  His life and work experiences, which include being a 200 hr. Svaroopa® Yoga teacher, have been about helping people to experience the world in a new and clearer way.  Jim has a son,Corin who is married and has two daughters  in Winooski, VT.  Jim and his partner Annie travel to Winooski often  to experience grandparenthood.

    • April 9: Freedom- A Call from the Heart
      Reflection: Rabbi Ilene Harkavy Haigh
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Jenny Gelfan

      Rabbi Ilene Harkavy Haigh is the rabbi at the Woodstock Area Jewish Community / Congregation Shir Shalom- in Woodstock VT. where she has served since 2012.   She is a graduate of Hebrew Union College / Jewish Institute of Religion, and the University of Pennsylvania.  After working for 20 years on Wall Street, Rabbi Haigh left the corporate world to enter the rabbinate.  Rabbi Haigh is deeply committed to the cause of liberal and progressive Judaism in Vermont and around the world.  Social Justice and spiritual health as well as interfaith dialogue are tenets of her service to the community.  With Woodstock and WAJC as her beloved adopted home she is pleased to be joining the North Chapel at this wonderful season and grateful for the invitation.

    • April 2: Insights for Writing
      Reflection: Carol Egbert, Sherry Belisle, Polly Forcier, Kathy Fiske
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Rick and Kathy Fiske

      We are a small group of friends without a formal name. We share tea, cookies and chocolate, too. We write together weekly using a prompt pulled from a basket and find insight when we share what we have written.  We are right together and so if we had a formal name it would be Write Together.

      Perhaps, our sharing will inspire others to share their writing with friends.

      March 2017

    • March 26: Hope Changes: Obstacles to Climate Justice
      Reflection: Maeve McBride
      Music: Diane and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Rhoda Moore

      Maeve will explore the parallels of the current climate crisis and being witness to her mother’s terminal illness. What is the meaning of hope in our time and under the current administration? How are we called to act in this time of crisis? How could ferocious love of people and the planet bring about our own joy and reconnection? What obstacles prevent us from our greatest transformation?

      Bio: Maeve is the Director for 350Vermont. She works on soup to nuts from grassroots organizing and event planning to fundraising and operations. Maeve’s academic background is in river science & engineering, and she completed a PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering at University of Vermont. Maeve has taught at UVM and the Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Her past projects include raingarden design, engineering logjam design, and water quality modeling. Although she has “retired” from engineering, she still loves rivers – literally and metaphorically. Maeve is a devoted mom, climate activist, lay Unitarian Universalist worship leader, gardener, and bike commuter.

    • March 19: Second Chance
      Reflection: Jay Kelly
      Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Mike Backman

      I wanted to be a teacher since I was in middle school. So I played and played and played. Rode my bike everywhere. Ran faster than the boys, did more sit ups, squat thrust, sprints and long jumps than most of the kids. Got so many Presidents Award patches that my red gym suit was full on both thigh sides. My mom kept sewing! My parents made a deal with me… they would pay 1/2 for a bike! I took over my brothers Westchester Co. paper route for the Reporter Dispatch and made money for my Royce Union 3 speed bike with sissy bars and hand brakes! Now I was off to the park and swimming, diving and eating French Fries. I remember winning a game of H O R S E against my oldest brothers friend who was a junior in high school! He even had home court advantage! High School was upon me and my family moved to Mahopac, NY. Didn’t know anyone, but I could play sports! So, I did!  I kept playing, running, shooting, throwing, sliding, defending and scoring!

      All that playing, got me an Athletic Scholarship to College. It was a first ever in my high school. That’s right, I got a B.S. in Education, finally a TEACHER! Jobs were tight when I finished my undergraduate studies. So I went back to school for a few more years and started my career in physical therapy. Most of my teaching has been in hospitals, rehab centers, brain injury clinics, school systems, home health, nursing homes, outpatient practices and aquatics. Love my work cause it’s not work to me. It’s almost 26 yrs. now.

      I have also been a Nationally Certified Massage & Bodywork Therapist for 16 yrs. Love it!

    • March 12: Buddhist Tools for Hard Times
      Reflection: Sally Warren
      Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Veronica Delay

      Sally Warren has been a Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition for 30 years. She started teaching Buddhism 10 years ago and is currently running a short  meditation intensive for her students in SE Vermont, as well as editing an online course on the Buddhist Path for a Tibetan Master. A teacher and an artist, she lives with her husband and two dogs in an old family house in Grafton VT.

    • March 5: Where are You?
      Reflection: Dov. Taylor
      Music: Pierre Fournier

      Dov Taylor received rabbinic ordination at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1968 and did doctoral work in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.  He has been a Smithsonian Institution Fellow in Jerusalem, a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Post-graduate Hebrew Studies, and the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard.  He has taught at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and at Brandeis University.  In 1997 Westview Press published his translation of the first Hebrew novel—an anti-hasidic epistolary satire that originally appeared in 1819.  His translation of the sequel to the novel is currently in search of a publisher.

      Dov is Rabbi Emeritus at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois where he served for twenty-five years before coming to Woodstock. His reflection is entitled, “Where are You?”

      February 2017

    • February 26: Finding Balance in Yourself and Our World
      Reflection: Jacqueline Overstreet
      Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Jessica Stout

      This reflection will discuss the feminine nature of ourselves and our world, finding balance in our own individual and collection yin and yang nature. Focusing on the qualities of creativity, intuition and compassion, and how we can cultivate and bring these qualities into our experience and into the world.

      Jacqueline Overstreet is a blossoming artist and therapist.

      Her artwork is focused on exploring and refining her love for oil painting, in which her subject matter varies from landscapes, to food and the natural world. Her most recent work has largely been influenced through her commitment to a daily art practice, and her focus on working on capturing the landscape in plein air.  Through her daily art practice she has deepened her attention on focus to the beauty of everyday objects, such as the food that we eat. Additionally, she tries to work seasonally to capture the beautiful surrounding Vermont landscape in plein air, deepening her understanding of light, composition and in capturing the sense of place in each painting location.

      In her life’s work she is most passionate about where art, psychotherapy and mindfulness intersect. She explores this intersection in her daily art and meditation practice, in addition to exploring the wide array of expressive arts and somatic psychotherapy techniques. She currently lives in East Barnard, VT with her husband and two yellow labs.

      Education: B.A. Historic Preservation & Community Planning & Studio Art, M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    • February 19: Mindfulness: What Is It, and How Can I Get Some?
      Reflection: Rob Chambers
      Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Kathy Astemborski and Don Ransom

      Rob first encountered mindfulness practice while traveling, first near Tibet, and then later in India. His interest grew over time, developing through several Upper Valley meditation groups, and then through multi-day meditation retreats around the US, and most recently through through a trip to Myanmar (Burma) to study with Sayadaw U. Tejaniya.

    • February 12: Mind if I Meditate?
      Reflection Rowley Hazard
      Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Mary Jeanne Taylor

      Rowley Hazard grew up on a farm in Norwich, studied Greek in college, cooked for a while, then became a doctor. His 35-year medical career has focused on the care and understanding of people disabled by chronic spinal pain. His long experience introducing patients in pain to relaxation techniques has recently moved toward a more mindful approach to his personal life.

    • February 5: The Relevance of Early Buddhist Teachings to Life Now
      Reflection: Doreen Schweitzer
      Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
      Service Coordinator: Anne MacksoudReflection cut short due to a medical emergency in the congregation.
      Patient is fine now!
      Doreen Schweitzer has explored various forms of meditation and related practices since 1969. Since the early 1990s, she has focused her study in the Vipassana/Insight tradition of early Buddhism and has practiced extensively in mindfulness meditation as well as the compassion practices under the guidance of both Buddhist monastics and the tradition’s better-known lay teachers, such as Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salsberg and Tara Brach. She serves as the guiding teacher of The Valley Insight Meditation Society and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is one of the founders of Hospice of the Upper Valley.

January 2017

      • January 29: Journeying Toward Wholeness
        Reflection: Shoshana Belisle
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Mary Blanton

        Shoshana has held a life-long interest in the intersection of spirituality, health and psychology. With a BA in psychology from UNC Chapel Hill, an MSW from New York University, and now an anticipated MA from Columbia University’s Spirituality Mind-Body Institute, Shoshana considers herself a lifelong learner and seeker of truth. Shoshana practiced as a mind-body psychotherapist at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing in New York City. There, she also researched complementary healing modalities and helped develop integrative medicine programming. Having found yoga and meditation to be powerful tools for personal development, Shoshana completed yoga teacher training at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. Shoshana now lives in Woodstock, VT, with her husband, Townsend, a Woodstock native.  She dedicates her time to raising three children, while studying and teaching yoga part-time. She is planning to begin her PhD in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University this year. Shoshana hopes to apply her training in holistic modalities to offer integrative mental health services that engage the mind-body-spirit connection to promote thriving.
      • January 22: Reflections on Transformation and Renewal
        Reflection: Group including Original Poems by Jenny Gelfan (read by Kathy Fiske), Jay Kelly, Judith Taylor
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Susan Inui

Stories and poetry about Transformation and Renewal.

      • January 15: A Regular Superman
        Reflection: Randy Leavitt
        Music: Pierre Fournier
        Service Coordinator: Don Ransom

        Artist, Story Teller, Fiddler, Teacher and Localist, whose family has lived in the same valley in Royalton for seven generations comes back to North Chapel to share a story.

      • January 8: Canoeing Through Life
        Reflection: Kevin Geiger
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Jenny Gelfan

        Kevin Geiger is the Senior Planner at the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission.  He has worked in regional and community planning for over 80 towns in Vermont since 1990, specializing in land use planning and regulation, brownfield assessment, water quality, and emergency management, including recovery from Tropical Storm Irene through buyouts of flood damaged homes.  He was the lead on a HUD-funded regional sustainability plan that can be found at  Kevin has served on several boards in Vermont, including President of the Vermont Community Development Association, a member of the State Emergency Response Commission, and as a founding member of the White River Partnership.  He is a Certified Flood Manager and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.  He has a Masters in Resource Management and Administration from Antioch New England Graduate School and a Bachelors in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic.  He loves working with rural areas, cooking, gardening, thinking, pruning apple trees, his family, and his dog.  He has recently started to learn bladesmithing and butchering.

      • January 1: Time of Transition and Transformation
        Reflection: Margaret Kannenstine

        Music: Diane Mellinger
        Service Coordinator: Joby Thompson
        Personal Story: Akankha Perkins

        Margaret (Peggy) Kannenstine has been an active part of North Chapel, her spiritual home, for decades.  She served on many of the church committees, and then the Board of Trustees.  Peggy was Chair of the Board for two separate terms.  She spearheaded the Capital Campaign to restore the church and make it handicapped-accessible as well.  Most of all she has enjoyed her years of singing with the choir.

        Peggy is an artist whose paintings and collages are centered on the expressive use of color. Her paintings and works on paper have been shown extensively for decades, and are held in the permanent collections of museums, hospitals, academic institutions and corporate collections, as well as numerous private collections around the country.

        Peggy is past Secretary of the Board of Directors of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. She Chaired the Vermont Arts Council twice. Peggy served on the Vermont Council on Culture and Innovation (VCCI), which studied policy issues of the Creative Economy for our state. She is a past Board member of New England Foundation for the Arts; was twice President of her local arts council, Pentangle. In 2005 she was invited to participate in the White House mini-conference on Creativity and Aging.  Peggy also served as Chair of the Board of Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, and is now on the founding Board of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Jct. VT.

        December 2016

      • December 18
        Special Solstice/Advent Service with Moving Spirit Dancers
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Richard Schramm
        Canvass Speakers: Denise Lyons
        December 18th: Special Solstice/Advent Service with the Moving Spirit Dancers. This tapestry of poetry, dance and music, created by choreographer Peg Brightman, features readings from Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, other seasonal poetry, and music by the choir, directed by Diane Mellinger. The dancers will perform three new dances, ending with the 12 Days of Christmas, assisted by the SE children! Peg Brightman and Service Coordinator Richard Schramm will be joined by readers Norwood and Joanna Long.The Moving Spirit Dancers, directed by choreographer Peggy Brightman, have been dancing in the North Chapel services on a regular basis since 2014.  They were also featured performers in Sarah Saul’s original oratorio, The First Seven Days in 2015 and 2016.Sundays dancers are Nicole Conte, Suzy Malerich, and Hope Yeager.
      • this-little-light prayer1
      • December 11
        Reflection: Eugene Friesen
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir and Eugene Friesen
        Service Coordinator: Mary Jeanne Taylor
        Short personal story: Bob Williamson
        Canvass Speaker: Deb Rice

Eugene Friesen grew up in a Mennonite church in California and attended the Yale School of Music. He has performed internationally with the Delos String Quartet while simultaneously working in contemporary theater in NYC and making recordings with saxophonist Paul Winter. He is currently a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Friesen is a trailblazer on the cello; his experience playing with drummers from all over the world, plus jamming with poets, dancers and actors have moved him to transcend the traditional use of the cello. Doubling cello lines with voice, lightning-fast double-handed plucking techniques, bold glissandi, percussive bow work – these are some of the colors of Friesen’s solo concerts.

      • December 4
        Dealing with Differences
        Reflection: Veronica Delay
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Barbara Bartlett
        Canvass Speaker: Geraldine FowlerVeronica Delay grew up in California and earned her first degree in Human Relations and Organizational Behavior  from the University of San Francisco.  She and her husband moved East in 1979 and settled in Woodstock in 1984. She went to the University of Vermont where she studied studio art and art history.  For many years she made pots with a local potter and eventually set up her own pottery called Tocco Terra Pottery.  These days she enjoys teaching language classes, pottery classes, gardening, and cooking.  She has been coming to the North Chapel since 2004.  She serves on the Search Committee and facilitates Circles of Trust and Evensong.

November 2016

      • November 27
        The Third Paradigm
        Reflection: Nan Bourne
        Music: Sarah Saul (Lutie)
        Service Coordinator: Don RansomNan Bourne attended the Woodstock Country School in Woodstock, VT & Radcliffe College. She married a college classmate, George Vaillant, who became a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard; they have 4 children &  7 grandchildren. They divorced in 1971, after Nan started the Boston NOW Chapter.  She has an M.A. in Transactional Analysis & has lived in Woodstock for almost 10 years.Ever since Nan, at the age of 3, heard her grandmother remark that “everyone should paddle his own canoe,” she has been fascinated by the concepts & dynamics of gender. At college she read gender sociology instead of studying for exams: in 1969 she helped kick off the Boston chapter of NOW.  Since then she has read widely in the area of prehistory (a term she considers a misnomer) & has taught the history of the goddess religion & its downfall at Osher & at the Woodstock Learning Lab.
      • November 20
        Thanksgiving Reflection, including a dialogue on Life and Hope
        Reflection: Chris Bartlett, Anne Macksoud
        Music: Diane Mellinger and NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Peter RousmaniereLife and Hope and the North Chapel: Our Nine Year Commitment. A conversation between Annie Macksoud and Chris Bartlett tracing the history of the North Chapel’s connection with Life and Hope Association, from our introduction to Venerable Somnieng in 2007 to the present, and exploring LHA’s future plans. Peter Rousmaniere will be the Service Coordinator, and will read reflections on recent LHA visits from Chris and Liz Cassell, Mike Backman and Steve Swayne.

North Chapel’s Annual Life and Hope Thanksgiving Offering

On  Sunday November 20, we will be committing our annual Thanksgiving Offering to the kids we support at Life and Hope’s Children’s Development Village in Cambodia.The annual cost of supporting six children at CDV is $7500 – less than the price of a cup of coffee per child per day for food, healthcare, education, clothing, and loving care. We hope you will give generously.  And for a reminder of this nine-year connection between North Chapel and Life and Hope Association, take a look at Annie Macksoud’s wonderful video. It’s is “must-see” viewing – even for a second time:

      • November 13
        On Teaching

        Reflection: Richard Schramm
        Music: Diane Mellinger and NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Hope Yeager

        Richard Schramm taught for over fifty years at places as different as Columbia, Cornell, Yale, Tufts and MIT on the one hand and Goddard College, The New School for Democratic Management and the MS Foundation Women and Economic Development Institute on the other. He loves teaching, i.e. helping others learn, and reflecting on all of teaching’s many dimensions, challenges and delights.

      • November 6
        UU Pillars, Nets, and Jewels
        Reflection: D’Vorah Kelley
        Music: Diane Mellinger and NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Jenny Gelfan
        Food Shelf Collection!

        Rev. D’Vorah Kelley, from The Keene (NH) Unitarian Universalist Church, will share a reflection on the similarities between two of our UU principles, (the “pillars”), with an ancient Hindu myth called “Indra’s Net” which may allow us to look at our First and Seventh Principles in a slightly different way.   She was ordained in 2010 by the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (Portland), and offers services, workshops, and ceremonies in the New England area.  A highlight of her year was leading a workshop retreat for women in Costa Rica! She has been Minister of The Week at Ferry Beach for the past four years.

        Rev. D’Vorah is passionate about co-creating ceremonies and rituals that celebrate Sacred Spirit!  Her faith traditions include Unitarian Universalism and Earth Based Celebrations.

        October 2016

      • October 30 History Beyond Trauma (Where of one cannot speak – Thereof one must speak)
        Reflection: Frank Barth
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir, with Special Guests – The cast of Choir Boy Service Coordinator: Richard Schramm

        I was born, raised, and educated in the Midwest. I moved east to Gettysburg PA to study at the Lutheran Theological Seminary. Upon ordination I was called by the Lutheran Ministry in Higher Education in New York City. In 1976 I became minister of the Mt Kisco Lutheran Church in Westchester New York. I left the parish ministry after serving five years and moved back to New York City as the Executive Director of the Jose Limon Dance Company. I met my wife Melinda Haas, dance accompanist for the Limon Company at a summer residency in Bennington Vermont. My marriage to Melinda was accompanied by two life changing events. We both entered analytic training at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York, and have pursued careers as Jungian Analysts. At the same time I was diagnosed with metastatic Melanoma.

        JAG Productions and ArtisTree present Choir Boy, a music-filled story of masculinity, tradition, coming of age, and speaking your truth, set in the gospel choir of an elite prep school for young black men. Performing at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, November 3rd through 20th.

      • October 23 Call and Response
        Reflection: Jen Canfield
        Music:Diane Mellinger, Jen Canfield with Kirtan chant, Ellen Miles & Jesse Taylor Service Coordinator: Susan Inui
        Spiritual Exploration: ArtisTree with Ben and Murray

        Since finding a copy of Ram Dass’ iconic book “Be Here Now” at a yard sale when she was 13, Jennifer Canfield has been dreaming in adventures of spirit and community. She loves to create projects, community events, and adventures.  Her favorite endeavors include running a half-way house for orphans in Russia, taking a 10,000 mile bike trip around the world, managing an award winning men’s cycling team in Italy, and creating a series of sacred chanting events in American prisons.  She directs the Call and Response Foundation which offers more than 200 chanting events annually in locations from South Africa to the Northern Territories.  She’s passionate about family, forests, meditation, drumming and singing.

        Musicians: Ellen Miles is a writer, living in Barnard, VT.  Jesse Taylor is a musician and teacher, living in Burlington, VT.

      • October 16
        Music: The Harmony of Being
        Reflection: Richard Waddell
        Music: Don Ransom, Michael Zsoldos, Fred Haas, Pierre Fournier, the NC choir and Diane Mellinger
        Service Coordinator: Mary Jeanne Taylor
        Spiritual Exploration: CHaD Hero’s Run4Ryland (childcare will be provided at the church for those who are not attending the race)

        Richard Waddell has lived in the Upper Valley since 1991 and is an  Associate Professor of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He first started attending UU services in 1987 while living in Washington, DC and was a member of the First Universalist Society of Hartland before joining North Chapel.

      • October 9
        Universalism: Past, Present and Powerful

        Reflection: Rev.  Kalen Fristad
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Mary Blanton or Don Ransom
        Spiritual Exploration: Field trip to Buddhist Tea House in W. WoodstockRev. Kalen Fristad has been a United Methodist minister for more than 39 years, is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, and is President of the Christian Universalist Association. He traveled the country full time with his wife, Darlene, from 2003 to 2006 accepting invitations to speak at churches, countering the teaching that many people will suffer for eternity in hell and proclaiming the hopeful message of universalism. Following then, he served churches in Iowa half time, while spending half time on the road. He retired from the parish ministry in 2013, but continues to travel the country speaking on universalism. Over the years he has spoken at more than 200 UU churches. Kalen has written a book on universalism, entitled; DESTINED FOR SALVATION: God’s Promise to Save Everyone, and a Study Book with the same title.
      • October 2
        The Map Is Not the Territory
        Reflection: Rob Hanson
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Mike Backman
        Spiritual Exploration: Harvesting Gardens with CTWK at ArtisTree

        Rob Hanson has taught for thirty-three years, the last twenty three of which have been at The Pomfret School now The Prosper Valley School. Over the years he has initiated a variety of outdoor science and writing programs in California and Vermont.  His recent passion is co-directing the Horizons Observatory where amateur astronomers host free stargazing parties for the public and assist students in creating astrophotographs of planets, galaxies, and nebulae.  He loves roaming the hills throughout the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park and on the Appalachian Trail.   In the summer of 2016 he thru-hiked Vermont’s Long Trail, an experience that was the impetus for today’s Reflection.  Rob lives in Woodstock.

September 2016

      • September 25
        The Power of Literacy To Transform Lives
        Reflection: Duncan MacDougal
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the NC Choir
        Service Coordinator: Carol Egbert and Deb Rice
        Spiritual Exploration: ArtisTree with Ben and Murray

        Duncan McDougall: Duncan is the founder and Executive Director of the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF), a Vermont-based nonprofit that supports and inspires low-income, at-risk, and rural young readers and writers from birth to age 12 throughout Vermont and New Hampshire.  Over the past 18 years CLiF has provided free, high-quality, inspiring literacy programs and thousands of new books to more than 180,000 children in more than 400 towns across the Twin States. CLiF serves children in shelters and low-income housing, refugee and migrant children, children of prison inmates, foster children, children in rural communities with limited resources, and many others.

        Duncan received an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College and spent seven years with Mercer Management Consulting in Boston.  He has been a commentator for New Hampshire Public Radio and a freelance writer. He is also active in local environmental and political campaigns.  He is the founder of Waterbury LEAP (Local Energy Action Partnership), a nonprofit that supports renewable energy, energy efficiency, and emissions reductions, and he currently serves as Treasurer for Sue Minter’s campaign for Vermont Governor.  Duncan lives in Waterbury Center, VT with his wife Belle (Tim Traver’s sister) and their son Jesse.

      • September 18
        Rites of Passage
        Reflection: Ben Fox
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the choir
        Service Coordinator: John Steinle

        Ben Fox LCMHC is a local Expressive Arts Therapist, Art Educator at Artistree, and community minister at the North Chapel. As part of the NUCS, he officiates weddings and funerals as well as teaches children’s spiritual exploration. When not making furniture in his shop or skiing, he can be found avidly fishing with his family and dog in the mountainous brooks near his home.

      • September 11
        Grief and Remembrance
        Reflection: Jessica Stout and Walter Horak
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the choir
        Service Coordinator: Anne Macksoud

        Jessica Stout has a professional background in clinical social work, with a focus on children and families in mental health settings. She holds a BA in Psychology from Connecticut College and an MSW from Columbia University. In recent years, Jessica has been a full time parent, a role encompassing great joys as well as the profound sorrow of losing her middle child to a terminal illness. A life-changing experience, this loss has prompted Jessica’s deep exploration of human grief and confirmed, for her, the cathartic and illuminating power of the written word.

        Walter Horak is a professional sculptor who exhibits widely and whose work is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. During his career as a visual artist, Walter has held teaching positions that have ranged from primary grades through the college level. He holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and graduate degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He resides in Rhode Island.

      • September 4
        Gather in Love
        Reflection: Hilary Mullins
        Music: Diane Mellinger and the choir
        Service Coordinator: Richard Schramm

        Hilary Mullins is a writer who lives in Bethel and has taught writing and public speaking at various Vermont colleges. She also preaches now and again at Unitarian Universalist and Congregationalist churches around the state. She has taken courses at The Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley and completed the UCC’s 3-year program in their Vermont Academy for Spiritual Training. Her book, The Cat Came Back, won a Lambda Literary Award back in the ’90s and more current essays and sermons she’s written can be found at the online magazine Numero Cinq. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College and is starting this fall at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, aiming now to integrate lively conceptual drawings into her writing and her teaching, particularly of Nondefensive Communication. She can be reached at

August 2016

      • August 28 What We Know by Heart Reflection: Gwen Groff of the Bridgewater Mennonite Church Music: Diane Mellinger and the Bridgewater Chorus Service Coordinator: Susan Inui

        I have been the minister at Bethany Mennonite Church in Bridgewater Corners for 17 years. Robert and I are parents of two teenagers. I have a BA in English from Franklin and Marshall College and an MDiv from Lancaster Theological Seminary.

      • August 21 Quiet Service Music: Diane Mellinger Service Coordinator: Don Ransom

        A low key, contemplative variation of our regular service.  The most significant difference will be the sharing of a fifteen minute moment of silence in lieu of a reflection.  Diane will be playing a couple of selections on her harp.  It will be an excellent opportunity for us to take a collective, deep breath together.

      • August 14 Lifelines Reflection: Bob Williamson Music: Diane Mellinger with guest Jack Snyder (guitar/vocalist) Service Coordinator: Mary Jeanne Taylor

        Bob Williamson is a retired teacher and schoolbook editor who moved to Vermont from Illinois 12 years ago with his wife Joan.  Seeking a new place after their two daughters grew up and moved out on their own, the Williamsons continue to find the Green Mountain State full of many welcome surprises.

        Bob’s devoted much of the past 28 years to gun violence prevention, prompted by an armed assault of his children’s elementary school in Winnetka, IL.  At Daniel Jantos’s invitation in 2008, Bob shared his activism in a reflection.  That welcoming moment solidified Bob’s ties with the North Chapel where he’s a been a member for six years.  His reflection today, “Lifelines”, focuses on those vital connections we discover that enable our various journeys through life.  Coincidentally, Susan Jantos’s sister, Holly Marihugh, was Bob’s next-door neighbor back in Illinois, underscoring those serendipitous links that inform our lives.

      • August 7 The Power of Mentoring: Changing Lives, Transforming Society Reflection: Jack Manning Bancroft Introduced by: Chris / Barbara Bartlett Music: Diane Mellinger with guest Alicia Breer (vocalist); Jack Manning Bancroft (guitar);and  Kai Mayberger (Didgeridoo) Service Coordinator: Chris and Barbara Bartlett

At 30 years of age, Jack Manning Bancroft is the Founder and CEO of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). In recognition of the program’s success, he has be named a Young Australian of the Year, has won a prestigious human rights award, and is the youngest person ever to have received an honorary doctorate in Australia.

In 2005, as a 19-year-old student, Jack founded AIME by organizing some university friends to mentor 25 inner-city Indigenous high school kids. Ten years later, that initiative has become a national program with over 2300 University student volunteers mentoring 4500 Indigenous high school students. These young AIME mentees are now finishing school and transitioning to University, further training and employment and at the same rate as non-Indigenous Australian kids – effectively closing a wide educational gap.

Jack is a high-energy social entrepreneur who has created a highly effective nonprofit organization with over 100 employees. It was just voted number 9 on a business magazine’s list of “The 50 Best Places to Work in Australia.”

The following is a link to The Australian Story, an Australian television program that told his story:

July 2016

      • July 31  Letting Heretics Speak Reflection: Kate Braestrup   Introduced by: Nancy Randall Music: Diane Mellinger with Don Ransom Service Coordinator: Jenny Gelfan

        The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Kate Braestrup spent her childhood in Algiers, New York City, Paris, Bangkok, Washington, DC and Sabillasville, Maryland. She married James Andrew “Drew” Griffith in 1985. Shortly after the birth of their first child in 1986, Griffith joined the Maine State Police, and the family moved to midcoast Maine.

        Educated at the Parsons School of Design/The New School and Georgetown University, Braestrup originally thought of herself primarily as a writer. She had published a novel, Onion, in 1990, after all, and occasional essays in national publications. More children arrived, but she expected to be able to continue combining motherhood and the writing of fiction and non-fiction for the foreseeable future.

        Trooper Griffith was killed in a car accident while on duty in 1996. Kate Braestrup was left a widowed mother of four children between the ages of 3 and 9. Life would not and could not ever be the same as it had been.

        As it happened, Drew Griffith had spent the last year of his life thinking about, researching and finally committing himself to becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, a plan that was naturally discussed extensively with his wife. In this way, unwittingly, he had prepared the way for Kate Braestrup to recognize and develop her own vocation. She entered the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1997, and was ordained in 2004. Since 2001, she has served as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, joining the wardens as they search the wild lands and fresh waters of Maine for those who have lost their way, and offering comfort to those who wait for the ones they love to be rescued, or for their bodies to be recovered.

        In 2006, Braestrup married the artist, Simon van der Ven. Between them, van der Ven and Braestrup have a total of six children, all whom are now sauntering, tiptoeing or being pushed up to and across the threshold of adulthood.

        These days, Kate divides her time between her service as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service and writing. In addition, she is a popular public speaker around the country and abroad, entertaining and educating interested audiences with her characteristic honesty, good humor and poignancy.

      • July 24 Answering the Call Reflection Jonathan Tuthill Music: Diane Mellinger with Rowley Hazard Service Coordinator:  Kathy Astemborski and Don Ransom PLUS Board InterviewJonathan grew up in the Upper Valley where he enjoyed spending much of his time exploring the hills of North Pomfret. After graduating from Hartford High Jonathan moved to Charleston, SC where he attended the College of Charleston and majored in Philosophy. Jonathan remained in Charleston for 8 years after college working in development and playing in the sun and sand. Jonathan returned to the upper valley 4 years ago and currently works as a Reentry Coordinator and Serves as an AmeriCorps Member with Twin Pines Housing Trust.
      • July 17  Poetry Gave Me Voice Reflection: Peter Rousmaniere Music: Diane Mellinger with Kathleen Dolan and Mark Van Gulden Service Coordinator:  Richard SchrammAfter most of his lifetime in the Boston area, Peter moved to Woodstock in 2005.  He began reading poetry in ernest 35 years ago.
      • July 10 Life without Torment Reflection: Jan Frazer Music: Diane Mellinger with Jenny Barry and Jim Yeager Service Coordinator: Jenny Gelfan

Until the summer of her fiftieth year, Jan Frazier lived a life typical for a well-educated, middle-class American woman. A divorced mother of two teenagers, she was making a modest living writing and teaching writing. In August 2003, she experienced a radical transformation of consciousness. Fear fell away from her, immersing her in a state of causeless joy that has never left her. While she has continued her life as writer, teacher, and mother, she has discovered it is possible to live a richly human life free of suffering. Her wish now is to communicate the truth that within every person is a pool of calm well-being that waits patiently to be stirred to life.When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening (Weiser Books, 2007) is Jan’s day-by-day account of the shift in consciousness and its alteration of her life. The Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is (Weiser Books, 2012) looks at the nature of suffering and explores ways beyond it. Opening the Door: Jan Frazier Teachings on Awakening (eBookIt, 2012) is an ebook collection of essays. It opens the reader’s awareness to the possibility of a richly human life, beyond what appears possible to the ego and the mind. The Great Sweetening: Life After Thought (eBookIt, 2016) is an ebook of essays that invite the seeker to ask What am I? Am I my ego and thoughts, or am I consciousness itself?

Jan Frazier has been inspired by numerous teachers, but the joy she lives in belongs to no particular tradition, and is available to all. Jan lives in southern Vermont.

      • July 3  “What we play is life” Louis Armstrong Reflection: Alina Bloomgarden Music: Diane Mellinger with Special Guest Michael Zsoldos Service Coordinator: Deb HawthornAlina Bloomgarden initiated a lot of programs throughout her career, most notably, Jazz at Lincoln Center. She brought Wynton Marsalis on originally as Artistic Advisor and Mr. Marsalis has agreed to the same role for her new initiative, Music on the Inside, Inc. MOTI was directly inspired by Louis Armstrong and the “Satchmuration” Alina produced in Woodstock in winter 2014. Learning with the students that Armstrong was arrested and sent to The Colored Waifs Home for Boys where they had a boys band, begged the question of our treatment of incarcerated youth today. She determined to do what she could and MOTI has just launched at Rikers Island and three other facilties are requesting its music and mentorship program. Thank you, Woodstock!


June 2016

Lynn Peterson practiced surgery, taught medical ethics and did research at the Brigham and Harvard for 40 years before retiring to Woodstock 12 years ago.  Since then he has been  active member of the North Chapel, devoted to gardening, living on 100 acres of green mountain forest, organizing courses on the environment and serving on numerous committees and boards.

        • June 19 – Father’s Day  Playing in the Void Reflection: Annie Bower Introduced by Joanna Long Music: Sarah Saul Service Coordinator: Don Ransom

For the past ten years, since retiring from teaching American Lit and composition at Ohio State University-Marion and moving to Vermont, Anne has taught tai chi, becoming deeply involved in forming a state-wide tai chi instructor training organization. She and partner Jim grow most of their own vegetables and fruit and are involved with issues of sustainability, climate change, and food economics. Anne grew up in Manhattan and has two daughters and a son, along with two granddaughters she wishes she could see more often. She chairs Pomfret’s Library Board, derives inspiration from the arts and literature, attempts poetry.

The reflection will focus on transforming ourselves by embracing our dark emotions, summoning our spiritual will, and reframing our stories, in order to experience life changes with love, compassion, and gratitude

Reverend Gary Shapiro is an interfaith/interspiritual minister, serving as a spiritual counselor, chaplain, worship leaders, and officiant for weddings and other life and transitions. Beginning in the late 1980s, Rev. Gary has worked professionally in the field of peace-building and conflict resolution, most recently, in Nigeria, West Africa. His work has focused on community development, trust-building and reconciliation, citizen empowerment, trauma healing, good governance, strengthening indigenous peacebuilding approaches, and mainstreaming peacebuilding into development work. Since being ordained in 2011, from One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York, his focus has been the integration of spirituality, personal development, and social peacebuilding. He is a member and attendee of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Hartland Four Corners, VT, and lives with his wife Helen on a homestead farm in West Windsor, VT. For more information on Rev. Gary’s ministry and peacebuilding work, visit

      • June 5 The Importance of Memory in the Age of Forgetting Reflection: Michael Zsoldos New Member Recognition: Sherry Belisle Update on Life & Hope Association Music: Diane Mellinger and the Choir Service Coordinator: Peggy Kannenstine Personal Story: Fran LancasterMichael Zsoldos was introduced to music through his father’s vast record collection, which included the music of Charlie Parker, Felix Mendelssohn, Billie Holiday, the Beatles, and Glenn Miller. Michael attended the Eastman School of Music where he studied classical and jazz saxophone with Ramon Ricker. He later studied with Andrew Speight and Branford Marsalis at Michigan State University and has a master’s degree in music theory.In 2010, Michael released his debut CD “Off the Cuff” with drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Martin Wind, and pianist Miro Sprague. “Off the Cuff” has been playing on radio stations throughout the US and Canada to great reviews and was on the nominating ballot in four categories for the 2011 Grammys. Michael can also be heard with jazz vocalist Samirah Evans and her Handsome Devils. The band recorded a live CD, “Hot Club” at the Vermont Jazz Center that was released in January 2011.Since 2004, Michael has been a performer and instrumental arranger for the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir and Dartmouth Idol, featuring Walt Cunningham. Michael’s playing and arranging can be heard on Cunningham’s 2010 album “When All God’s Children.” In 2008, they performed before capacity crowds at the Chicago House of Blues and Jazz at Lincoln Center. In January 2009, the choir shared the stage with Bebe Winans, Carole King, and Yolanda Adams at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration festivities.In his work as composer, Michael’s original score is featured in the award-winning documentary “Birdsong and Coffee” A Wake Up Call,” which has aired both on PBS and Link TV.Michael’s passion for teaching led him back to Vermont. He is currently on the teaching faculties of the University of Vermont, Interplay Jazz Camp, and Festival Internazionale Del Sassofono, in Faenza, Italy. He has conducted the District Jazz Bands in Vermont districts IV, V, and VI, and has been a repeat clinician for the Vermont and Maine Music Educators Associations.

May 2016

      • May 29 Living in the Lion’s Den Reflection: Steve Swayne Music: Diane Mellinger and the Choir Service Coordinator: Mike Backman

Steve Swayne is the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music and the music department chair at Dartmouth College. He has received fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His articles have appeared in The Sondheim Review, the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, American Music, Studies in Musical Theatre, the Indiana Theory Review, and The Musical Quarterly. He has written two books – How Sondheim Found His Sound (University of Michigan Press, 2005) and Orpheus in Manhattan: William Schuman and the Shaping of America’s Musical Life  (Oxford University Press, 2011; winner of the 2012 ASCAP Nicolas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography) – and is at work on two more. In addition to his work at Dartmouth, he has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and at University of California, Berkeley, and is an accomplished concert pianist.

Mike Backman has been a member of the North Chapel since moving to the Upper Valley in 2000.  He was very active with the church until starting a ‘sabbatical’ a few years back, and can now be seen more frequently on Sunday mornings attending the ‘Church of the Kayak’ or the ‘Church of the Cross-Country Ski Trail’.  However, he confirms that he still feels very much that The North Chapel is his church family and he is involved from time-to-time with fundraisers and other events.  Mike works in IT at Dartmouth and is very active with local theater groups. He and Steve Swayne will be celebrating their 7th (marriage), 16th (civil union), 22nd (commitment) and 25th anniversaries together this year.

    • May 22 Rachel Carson’s Spiritual Legacy Reflection: Nancy Crumbine Music: Diane Mellinger and the Choir Service Coordinator:Anne MarinelloUndergirding Rachel Carson’s environmental activism, her world-changing call to action in Silent Spring,  lies a profound spirituality that is articulated in all of her works  and is central to our UU tradition. Focusing on this core feature of her work, we will celebrate her words, her courage, and her call to action.The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jay Crumbine is a Unitarian Universalist minister, writer, actor, public speaker, and professor at Dartmouth College. She served as the first called Minister of the UU Congregation of the Upper Valley for twelve years. She lectures widely under the auspices of the VT and NH Humanities Councils and UU conferences both in the US and the UK. She is currently preaching once a month at First Universalist Parish in Chester, VT.In addition to her speaking engagements, she has given workshops on Star Island, at the Nightingale Center in Great Hucklow, England, in various UU churches in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and New York, as well as in her home state of Vermont.As part of the Star Island RE/Lifespan Conference for many years, Nancy has served as Theme Speaker, workshop leader, evening chapel leader, and Minister of the Week, a role she also held for three years at Star Arts Conference.Nancy maintains a close connection with the British Unitarians, participating annually as keynote speaker and workshop leader in Hucklow Summer School in England. At the British General Assembly in 2005, Nancy was the Essex Hall Lecturer and in 2012 she co-led, with British naturalist Julie Dadson, a week-long workshop on the Sacred Landscape. She was one of the organizers and keynote speakers for the International Elizabeth Tarbox RE Week held in England in April, 2008.Nancy is the author of Humility, Anger, and Grace: Thoughts Towards Educationand Time and The Unitarian Paradox. Her articles and poems appear in a number of anthologies, most recently in two volumes of The Still Puddle Poets. She is currently working on a book of short essays entitled Meditations on Sacred Land.
    • May 15  Marriage as a Spiritual Path – Audio Marriage as a Spiritual Path – PDF Reflection: Tim Traver and Delia Clark Music: Tim Traver and Don Ransom Service Coordinator: Susan Inui Personal Story: Peg KannensteinTim and Delia will celebrate 35 years of marriage next week. They were introduced by a mutual friend while students at the University of Vermont and quickly learned that they shared an interest in hiking, natural history, and the outdoors. They started married life co-directing a wildlife refuge on the Rhode Island coast, where their first child, Kalmia was born. They moved to the Upper Valley in the 1980’s where Mollie and Toben joined the family. They have lived in Taftsville and been part of the NUCS community for the past 20 years.
    • May 8 (Mothers Day) The Ladies of The North Chapel Reflection: Joan Harvey Music: Diane Mellinger and the Choir Service Coordinator: Mary Jeanne Taylor

      Joan Harvey spent her childhood on Happy Valley Farm in Taftsville but moved with her family to Florida as a teenager. After moving around the country and Germany with her military husband and children she now lives her in her beloved Upper Valley. Joan remembers the early days of her mother and the ladies of the North Chapel working to get this church reopened after a ten year closure.

    • May 1 Art and Soul Reflection: Kathleen Dolan Music: Diane Mellinger and the Choir Service Coordinator: Jessica Stout

      Kathleen Dolan is the founder and Executive Director of Artistree Community Arts Center now located in South Pomfret, VT. She moved to the Woodstock area from NYC in 2002 to have and raise her daughter, Lola and son, Cooper. She opened Purple Crayon Productions in 2003 as an establishment to offer her then 20 years of experience working with young children and the arts most of which was obtained in Boston, MA.. At this time Kathleen had a BA in Psychology, an MFA and and MA in Art Therapy. In 2007 Kathleen went back to school one more time to receive her MA in Mental Health Counseling. Currently, Kathleen is busy expanding Artistree into an ever growing inclusive and diverse offering of arts experiences. She pursues her own art and musical endeavors and teaches art and music classes to all ages both in and out of Artistree. Kathleen also has a now 3 and a half  year counseling practice and is hoping to receive her LCMHC VT. state license within the next few months. She lives in Barnard, VT with her partner, Mark van Gulden and her two children now thriving in middle school and high school.

      April 2016

      • April 24 DANCE SERVICE Earth Day – Awakening to Delights and Challenges Reflection: Peg Brightman

        For Peg, dance has been an essential path toward self-discovery, transformation, and finding community. She took dance at college to get out of gym. Despite family disapproval, and after training with Merce Cunningham, José Limon, etc., she continued dancing while raising a family. Peg joined the Festival Dance Company of Boston – a group dancing in Jewish temples, and then performed for ten years with Concert Dance Company, presenting her own work across New England and in Europe. At mid-life, Peg did doctoral studies in Arts in Education at Columbia, and began exploring visual arts. After seven years in teacher education, she returned in 2001 to New England and to her roots: creating dance for sacred spaces. In Maine, Peg’s group–Moving Spirit Dancers, performed in 24 different churches, art galleries, and senior centers; in Vermont, the Moving Spirit Dancers have been performing since 2012 in North Chapel worship services and other special projects.

      • April 17 Journey to the Heart Reflection: Mary Blanton

        Mary grew up in the Midwest, but fell in love with the mountains of Vermont as a 12-year old when she came here to camp. That summer also sparked her interest in hiking. Before moving to Vermont in 1998, she was a potter and a yoga teacher. She is still an avid hiker and backpacker and has been inspired by the UU permaculture garden to create one of her own in Barnard.

      • April 10 In Search of Hope: An Interfaith Experience of Israel-Palestine (Text Version) Reflection: Dov Taylor

        Dov Taylor was ordained at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1968 and did doctoral work in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.  He has been a Smithsonian Institution Fellow in Jerusalem, a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Post-graduate Hebrew Studies, and the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow at Harvard.  He has taught at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and at Brandeis University.  In 1997 Westview Press published his translation of the first Hebrew novel—an anti-hasidic epistolary satire that originally appeared in 1819.  His translation of the sequel to the novel is currently in preparation.

        Dov is Rabbi Emeritus at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Illinois where he served for twenty-five years before coming to Woodstock, and currently serves as rabbi of Chavurat Ki-tov: A Gathering for Jewish Life and Learning, based in Woodstock.

      • April 3 Resilience: Audio version Resilience: Text Version Reflection: Matt Friedman

        Matt Friedman is Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology & Toxicology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.  He has been a clinician, researcher and teacher for over 43 years having produced over 300 publications, including 27 books.  In 1989 he established the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a seven part center of excellence in research and education stretching from Boston to Honolulu.  He stepped down in 2014, after leading the Center, as Executive Director, for 24 years.  Since his semi-retirement he has remained a Senior Advisor at the Center, published 3 books, established the National PTSD Brain Bank, directed the Office of Research Mentoring at the medical school, started piano lessons and joined the Amazing Grays at the North Chapel.

      March 2016

      • March 27 EASTER Seeing the Light – Easter Sunday Service led by Rev. Telos Whitfield

      Rev. Telos Whitfield serves the Universalist Society of Strafford and also works as Project Coordinator for the Healthy Harvest Network supporting the food shelves in Southern Vermont, her “ministry of food!” She draws on the teachings of Buddhist peace teacher and leader Thich Nhat Hanh, the life of Jesus, as well as real stories of ordinary heroes and young ones, the beauty of our natural world, and a wide variety of sacred texts and poetry. She welcomes the opportunity to return to Woodstock, where she met a congregation of truly open hearts and minds.

      • March 20 Esther: A Woman in a Man’s World Reflection Deeya Pavelle

        Deeya Pavelle is a former psychotherapist specializing in childhood trauma and transitioned into teaching for her second career. She has published in both her fields and went on to study at the Humanist Institute. She currently works in Hartland as a substitute teacher and has a catering business specializing in vegan and vegetarian foods. Her passion for learning about religion began as a child when she first read the Book of Esther. She is the proud mother of two grown men and a four legged son named Hershey who fills her heart.

      • March 13 Room for the True Self Reflection: Rowley Hazard

        Rowley Hazard grew up on a farm in Norwich, went to Hanover High School and Harvard (classics, Nordic combined), cooked for a while, and then became a doctor. As a clinician, researcher and inventor, at UVM and now at Dartmouth, he has tried to help people with disabling spinal pain have better lives. He is deeply indebted to the North Chapel community and to Interplay Jazz and Arts. In this room he started singing jazz, thanks to Fred Haas and Sheila Jordan, who gave him a chance.

      • March 6 Community Organizing Reflection:  Zach Ralph, Introduced by Kathy Astemborski.

        Zach Ralph was raised in Woodstock, VT. He recently returned home to Vermont after graduating from Loyola Maryland with degrees in Political Science and French and after working for several political and environmental non-profits in Virginia, Washington DC, New York, Ohio, and Maryland. He returned home because he missed the green mountains and his loving family but also because he is committed to making positive and long-lasting changes that start with our community. He now works from Sustainable Woodstock as a Program Coordinator, the Vermont Youth Action network as a Content Developer, and Jakes Quechee Market as a Night Shift manager. Zach is committed to making a life in Woodstock to maintain the culture of our community that we all know and love.

      February 2016

      • February 28 Be Like Water: Transitions in Our Lives Reflection: Rev. Kevin Tarsa

        The journey of transition is the internal journey we take in response to the external changes in our lives, changes expected and unexpected, welcome and unwelcome. Change happens inevitably, in our personal lives and in our communal lives. What then?

        Bio: Rev. Kevin Tarsa serves the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort, SC as Interim Minister. A native of Michigan and a lover of all four seasons, he is nonetheless enjoying the warm South Carolina winter and the chance to harvest kale and plant snow peas in January. Rev. Tarsa is a lifelong church musician, a religious naturalist, and a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

      • February 21 On Gratitude and Happiness Reflection: Peggie Kannenstine and Rick Fiske
      • February 7 How We Help Refugees and Other Immigrants, How They Help Us Reflection: Kate Barta  & Sheldon Novick

        Sheldon Novick is a retired attorney and teacher of legal history, and the author of several books, including the prize-winning biography Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes. He has taught and written about the history of immigration and citizenship in the U.S., and is at work on a new book on that subject.

        Kate Semple Barta founded the Welcoming All Nationalities Network of the Upper Valley in 2011 with fiscal sponsorship from WISE, Inc.  In 2013, WANN began providing immigration legal services to low income and indigent immigrants in the Upper Valley, and beyond in NH and VT.  Kate is the Director and Attorney for WANN.  Before moving to the Upper Valley in 2006, she worked as an Asylum Attorney for the International Institute of Boston.  Prior to that she was a staff attorney for the Midwest Immigrants’ Human Rights Center in Chicago

      January, 2016

      • January 31             Transcendence and Privilege on the Road to Sustainable Culture – Simon Dennis Simon Dennis currently serves as the founding director of the Center for Transformational Practice, a residential community and non-profit organization in White River Junction, VT that advances effective environmental action by supporting the inner transformation of individuals and groups. Over the past five years, he has worked with a group of Hartford-based environmentalists to figure out new ways of promoting sustainable culture. During this time, Simon has also found intrigue and learning through serving on the Hartford Selectboard, and through efforts to harvest water from the skies and residential heat from a giant pile of compost.

      • January 24           The Tension in Tolerance                                Naomi Malik A reflection on setting boundaries in liberal communities.  Dr. Naomi Malik, mother of 3, wife of one, researcher, equestrian, seeker of truth, law abider and lover of all things natural.
      • January 17               Frying Onions                                                   Judith Taylor
      • January 10               We are the Spirit

      December, 2015

      • December 27              Burning of the Chaff                                  Neil Marinello Please join us for a guided meditation whereby we will ponder what is weighing on us and what we would like to release. Thoughts will be written down and we will then be invited to bring our writing up to be burnt in the cauldron.
      • December 6 Responding to Terrorism – PDF Laurent Louis Laurent Louis shares his thought process following the recent events in Paris. Can we fight terrorism with ideas?

      November, 2015

      • November 29      Aging: Acceptance, Uncertainty, Hope Dennis McCullough  Dennis McCullough, M.D., has been an “in-the-trenches” family physician and geriatrician for over 30 years. His book, My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing “Slow Medicine”, the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones lays out the humane complement to the world of American High-Tech “Fast” Medicine. He presently serves as co-director of the Upper Valley Community Nurse Project, and consults on eldercare issues.

      October, 2015

        • October 25, 2015       Hearts and Minds: Responding to Today’s Global Refugee Crisis Dr. Charlie MacCormick No one could be left unmoved by the unfolding human refugee crisis as hundreds of thousands of people flee war, persecution or famine. As President of Save the Children for 18 years, Charlie McCormick has experienced such crises first hand, and as a current board member of Save the Children, is following current events closely. Charlie  will offer a perspective the nature of the crisis, how global NGOs like Save the Children respond to them, and thoughts about how they might be dealt with more effectively. We hope you can join us for this informative and engaging reflection. Read Richard Waddell’s “What Anchors Us” piece here!

      September, 2015

          • September 27, 2015: Ryan Harb The Power of Permaculature with introduction by Sarah Hall
            This Sunday’s young guest reflector is Ryan Harb, who recently received the “Champions of Change” award from President Obama. Ryan is an internationally known Permaculturist. Come hear his story and learn how permaculture goes beyond just planting food to a way of creating a new culture.

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