Here are some stories from CVUUS members about what the congregation means to them.

Caitlin Gildrien

O congregation of sensible shoes.

O buttoned plaid shirts, men in neat beards,

O matriarchs with your practical Judy Dench hair,

O, church parking lot of Prius and Volt. We

 

are trying. We hung Black Lives Matter

over the door, and that’s not nothing.

Nobody is saying it’s nothing. What

they’re saying is “Keep going”

 

Or maybe, “What next?”

If we call it Social Justice,

what next? If

we call it Radical Love.

 

If we call it Anti-Racism.

If we call it Covenant.

If we can say that whatever

we’ve done so far, it may not

 

be nothing, but it is also

not enough.

 

Myself, I would not know how

to go to an AME church.

I would not know where to sit

or what to wear or how to sing.

 

I’m sure I would be welcome, but

I am not sure that I would make it

so far as to find out. And you?

O congregation who actually sings

 

Kum-ba-yah. Whatever you call light,

we must shine it. Whatever you call faith,

tell it to get ready, and get ready

to lean into it. Lean forward

 

into the fear, the unease:

Your growing edge.

And ye shall know the fruit

is ripe when the thorns

 

prick your tender skin. And

it’s okay to hate it

when it makes you bleed, o friends,

o sweet earnest friends. But let us hate it

 

together, and let us keep going.

Let us keep going.

Barbara Drapelick – Sunday, February 26, 2017

Love is the doctrine of this church, the search for truth is its sacrament, and service is its prayer.

I love those words, and to me they capture the essence of CVUUS, what we do here together each week, and what we take with us when we leave and go out in to the greater world.

I believe that everything in this life at its most fundamental level is based on love, and that everything we do in life must have love as its foundation.

I believe that justice, compassion, and respect are all born of love, and I feel that righteous anger, too, springs from love and a passion to make things equitable and just.

I believe that love will always win in the end. Always.

This may all sounds well and good, and I will readily admit that I am an idealist. But am I a PollyAnna? Not by a long shot. I know there are tremendous obstacles and trials on the path of love. It’s something we all deal with every single day.

But I see CVUUS as an incubator of love and hope, as a safe haven in which to envision and build the stepping stones to a more loving and peaceful world. CVUUS is a place where I come precisely because we don’t all look the same, we don’t all think the same way, and we don’t all approach things from the same perspective. That’s the way life is. We respect and value our differences, and even though we may not always be perfect when it comes to bridging our differences, it is something we yearn for and strive to do.

Every time we welcome someone through that door and every time we walk out of it, we are ambassadors of justice, of compassion, and of love. And at CVUUS we are committed ambassadors.

I see it time and again in our readiness to face challenges, in our passion to act, in our fearlessness to confront hatred and violence, in our willingness to admit mistakes and to regroup and go at it again; in our eagerness to reach out and share, I see it when we look in each other’s eyes, clasp hands and honor each other and our work together.

We may be small here at #2 Duane Court in Middlebury,VT, but we are mighty. I know that our efforts and the love we build here together does and will have an impact far beyond our little burg.

So, let’s squirt some WD-40 on the hinges of our hearts and open them even wider. Let’s continue to be resilient and creative in the face of animosity and difficulties; let’s build and share more love in every possible way we can.

Because love in all its manifestations is the only way forward.

Chris Prickett

I’m Chris Prickitt, and I’ve been coming to CVUUS for nearly three years.  I grew up in Middlebury, went to the Mary Hogan School for my elementary years, fifth and sixth grade in what is now Twilight Hall, and High School, class of ’69.  I went to Colby College and ended up staying there in Maine for forty years after college, working on a farm for five of those before entering the teaching profession.  I taught 8th grade English for thirty-one years. I returned to Vermont in June of 2013. I’ve been working for the last two years at Eastview, the retirement community up beyond Porter Hospital.  I’m on the maintenance crew, but I also drive residents in the bus or van to appointments and special events. I get to play music there twice a week as well. (EastView is where I got to know David Flight and Abbott Fenn and actually quite a few of our current CVUUS members.) I enjoy many special relationships with residents an co-workers there.  Oh yes, life is good, and I am happily back in Middlebury.

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Hannah Sessions

As some of you know, I was raised in this community from the age of 9. I vaguely remember the infamous first meeting in the Berninghausen’s, and remember well every stage of our growth leading up to this lovely space. In the early days of planning CVUUS it was my own mother who made the “piss or get off the pot” pronouncement which perhaps prompted the paths of fate which have brought us all together today. I know her bluntness and aforementioned approach to life and decisions has prompted many a move in my own life.

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