May 2, 2024

Join Us for Worship This Sunday!

May 5 at 10 a.m.

Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer – Guest Minister

Rev. Karen G. Johnston – Worship Associate

"In Praise of Our Differences"

It is important for our Unitarian Universalist congregations to discern what we hold in common and find ways to live our values in the world. Pluralism is one of the values our Article II Study Commission has proposed for our collective consideration. Let’s explore how an enthusiastic embrace of our differences might help us grow our souls and bless the world, individually and together.  

Rev. Melissa is the Director of Ministries and Programs for the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and the Minister Affiliated with First Parish, in Northfield, MA, a small, rural, lay-led congregation. 

Join us for worship in person in the Sanctuary, or online. The livestream link and order of service will be shared at bit.ly/FUUSBWorship, or visit our YouTube channel.

Following the service, all are welcome to Coffee Hour outside, weather permitting.

While at the Meeting House, anyone is welcome to wear a mask. In the spirit of caring for each other, please stay home if you have any cold or flu symptoms. Thank you.

Children & Youth This Sunday!

Rowan Van Ness, Director of Youth & Emerging Adult Ministries

Sunday, May 5, 10 a.m.

Attention Parents! We will begin our morning together with Family Chapel in the Community Room on the lower level, sharing 15 minutes of child-centered worship, focused on our May earth teacher: the Lake Champlain watershed, after which parents can head upstairs for the remainder of the service in the Sanctuary, while children break into their exploration groups.

Middle School will discuss pluralism as a UU value, while both groups of younger children will prepare for their parts in the May 19th service. Nursery care is also available throughout both Family Chapel and the rest of the service, beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Rev. Karen G. Johnston, Senior Minister

Here is the call to worship from this past Sunday's service, in honor of mud season. Here is the text from Rev. Karen's sermon, Making the Most of Muck.

Here is a link to the video recording of last week's service.

Youth and Young Adult Updates


Rowan Van Ness, Director of Youth & Emerging Adult Ministries

High School Yuuth Group (roughly ages 14-18)

The next Tuesday evening Yuuth Group meetings are May 7th and 21st, from 6-8pm, and we'll meet on Sunday, May 19th at 9am, before the Faith Development service. All high school youth are welcome! Please RSVP to rowan@uusociety.org.

Emerging Adults (ages 18-25) and Young Adults (ages 18-35)

Our final Young Adult gathering of this congregational year will be on May 5th, meeting at 11:30am in Susan B Anthony Room upstairs. We'll gather, check in, do a little singing, and talk about the future of the group. A light lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Rowan so she can be sure to pick up enough food. You can reach out to rowan@uusociety.org to get access to our conversations and planning on the Signal app.

Occasionally, Rev. Karen contributes to the weekly UUA meditation, Braver/Wiser. This week, one of her pieces was published. You can read it here.

An Update on a Staff Transition

Rev. Karen G. Johnston, Senior Minister

With regret, I write to confirm that because we can no longer fund the position of Director of Youth & Emerging Adults, we are saying good-bye to Rowan Van Ness at the end of this fiscal year. While the hope for this position was that it would last two years, the budget does not support it beyond this current fiscal year. News of the loss of this position was first announced to FUUSB in preparation for last Sunday’s Meet the Budget conversation with the Board and was referenced at the meeting itself. Her last Sunday with us will be June 9th - please be sure to come to say farewell.

Rowan has been present at FUUSB not only in this current position, but as an Intern Minister, coming during the pandemic and serving for about a year in that way, before coming back to FUUSB last August. She has done such powerful work this past year in so many ways, including helping our youth stay connected to FUUSB, in guiding the Emerging Adults and the Young Adults as old as 35, to know they are valued and belong here at FUUSB. Her absence will be strongly felt and it will fall to the rest of us to ensure that that felt-sense of welcome continues. Here is the letter from Rowan to the congregation.

First UU is still enthusiastically committed to ordaining Rowan ~ more details on that to come. As with all religious professionals, there will be a period of time in which Rowan and First UU will take space from each other to allow the fullness of this transition take place. Of course, Burlington is a small town and Rowan’s path and that of congregants will no doubt cross. If you have questions, feel free to reach out. ~ Rev. Karen

Update on the Search for a new

Director of Music

Rev. Karen G. Johnston, Senior Minister

With last week's news that James will be departing as our Director of Music, we have already been moving forward.

A search team has been formed to work with Rev. Karen: Karen Cooper, Zoe Hart, and Lance Smith, who are all active in the congregation.

The position has been advertised locally (Seven Days) and online (Indeed and on our website) as well as in national UU forums. Our hope is to complete the search process by mid-June with an August start date. Whether we can meet this timeline will depend on the pool of applicants we receive.

And that's where YOU can help! Word of mouth is powerful when it comes to a part-time position like this. That's how we got James five years ago! So please share the link to the job posting on our FUUSB website. Talk it up amongst your friends - you might not know someone, but they might. Share it on your social media.

Please mark June 16th on your calendar as this will be James' last Sunday service.

We're Hiring!

Christina Fulton, Director of Operations & Finance

We're Hiring! FUUSB is currently hiring for two positions.


Caretaker - Caretakers are the folks that welcome people into our building during evening hours, they help set up and take down rental events, they keep an eye on our beautiful property, and close up the building at the end of the day. We have several caretakers on staff, and we are looking for one more to join our team. The hours and days of the week vary, but usually around 5 - 7 hours per week. Send a letter of interest to Christina at xina@uusociety.org.

A/V Assistant - We are looking for two people to work as Audio Visual Assistants. These folks usually work on Sunday mornings, but also may be asked to work at other events that are live streamed, like weddings and memorial services. We will train you to use our A/V equipment working on both the cameras and sound for livestreaming. We need people who are extremely reliable.

Childcare Provider- Adult - Childcare for infants and toddlers in the Society’s nursery on Sunday mornings; and to safely supervise age-appropriate activities for children at other Society events, meetings, and functions as requested by Faith Development Staff.

All of these positions pay well over minimum wage. If you are interested, please email Christina at xina@uusociety.org to learn more about this great opportunity!

Outdoor Art Installation this Sunday:

“All Are Welcome at My Table”

Nina Dahlstedt Bussk, Member

This Sunday following the service, we will be hosting an outdoor performance art piece on the front lawn presented by a graduating UVM senior, Wini Mae Bettenburg. Wini describes the piece as a “queering of the Last Supper that celebrates queer food and joy, as well as reclaims my Catholic roots. It is an interactive performance piece in which I bake bread to be shared as people listen to a soundscape of interviews with queer folx all around Burlington.” 

Please join us for this unique event!

DRUUMM Public Worship

May 8th - 8pm

Zoe Hart and the Racial Justice Team

DRUUMM is Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries. For most of the year DRUUMM provides services by and for UUs of color. Each year in the spring DRUUMM hosts a Public Worship open to all. I have attended the DRUUMM Public Worship the past two years and encourage everyone who can to attend. It is, in my experience, always a beautiful and powerful experience. I wonder sometimes what Unitarian Universalism might look like today if we had welcomed UUs of color throughout our long history. The DRUUMM Public Worship gives me a glimpse of what might be possible. 

The service is online on Wednesday 5/8 at 8pm. The theme of this year's worship is Choosing Joy! Click here to learn more about the service and to register in order to get the link to the service. 

John Brown Lives! Day

Rev. Karen G. Johnston, Senior Minister

On May 11th, Rev. Karen will give the prayer at the wreath laying at this year's John Brown Lives! Day at the former Brown Family homestead near Lake Placid, NY. Her participation echoes the actions of the minister who officiated at John Brown's funeral, Rev. Joshua Young, who served First UU at that time and who is one of Rev. Karen's UU heroes.

John Brown Day began in 1922 as a pilgrimage by Black Philadelphians Dr. Jesse Max Barber and Dr. T. Spotuas Burwell to honor, as Barber put it, “this great friend of the race.” Every May, well into the 1980s, groups traveled from Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, and elsewhere to the Brown family homestead to keep Brown’s memory alive. While there was a decade or so when it went dormant, it was revived in 1999. Rev. Karen's participation in this event is one of the ways that First UU lives into our anti-racist commitment of the 8th Principle in Unitarian Universalism.

Pre-Recorded Service - May 26th

Rev. Karen G. Johnston, Senior Minister

Our May 26th Sunday service will be pre-recorded only due to Marathon Sunday. Please take part in making it happen by video recording yourself near water, saying

“In the end we will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”

These words are from Baba Dioum, a Senegalese environmentalist.

Would you do this? Please hold your camera horizontally and then upload to this folder by May 15.

FUUSB Late Spring Auction

Click to donate your auction item here.

If you have questions you can reach out to SpringAuction@uusociety.org.

Recharge your Spirit at Silver Bay 

Erika Reif, Director of Lifespan Faith Development

Planning your 2024 activities and travels? Be sure to include UU Weekend at Silver Bay October 11-13, 2024 (with an option of an extended stay until 10/14/24) in your schedule! 

This annual retreat is the perfect way to say goodbye to the summer and enjoy the beauty of a fall weekend. Whether from an armchair discussing topics of interest, standing on the top of a mountain, or drifting in a kayak, this weekend will fill your mind and recharge your spirit before the onset of another winter. 

Children under 6 are free and discounts for older children and youth. Register by June 2, 2024 and receive lowest rates! And remember – your room, all meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch, programs, activities and entertainment are included in the price.

Many individuals and families from First UU have signed up already! If you register, please also add your name to this spreadsheet, so we can coordinate! Some financial assistance is available for anyone who can't afford the cost; contact erika@uusociety.org

Additional information about Silver Bay and UU weekend, including the registration form and a slide show, at https://albanyuu.org/blog/silver-bay-weekend-2024/

This Saturday join us for the

Installation of Rev. Karen G. Johnston

Sarah Forbes, Installation Committee

Join us this Saturday, May 4th at 2pm to celebrate the Installation of Rev. Karen as our 17th Settled Minister. It is a celebration of our beloved corner of Unitarian Universalism, which means that all of the UU Universe will be celebrating with us, at least in spirit. We will have guest Unitarian Universalist clergy from far and near, including:


Julica Hermann de la Fuente is giving the sermon.

Rev. Jake Morill is giving the Charge to the Leadership.

Rev. Peggy Clark is giving the Charge to the Congregation.


An Installation Team has been working to create the vision for this event. Thank you to Sarah Forbes, Tom Porter, Suzanne Stimik, and Linda Vogler. 

Save the date-Saturday, May 4th, 2pm. Please RSVP if you are planning to come and you haven’t already at https://bit.ly/RevKarenInstallation.

This is an event for all ages - children are most definitely welcome and, in fact, there is a role for them. If you would like child care, advanced registration is requested on the RSVP form.    


Given all that is happening in the world, let’s take this opportunity to celebrate each other, our potential, and moments of joy!



Our Whole Lives (OWL)

Click the following links to access the OWL Interest Forms:

UCCRI-VT Seeks Mentors for

new Vermonter Youth

Monica Sargent, Immigration Justice Team

The Immigration Justice Team (IJT) invites members of the congregation to serve as mentors to new Vermonter youth through the US Committee on Refugees and Immigrants-Vermont's (USCRI-VT) Crossroads Program.

A robust mentorship training program, Crossroads will be delivered on zoom via 6, two hour sessions to be scheduled in May-June. Interested persons will attend a 1 hour orientation to the experience on zoom prior to committing to the training.

At least 10 volunteers are needed to conduct the training.

Multi-generational volunteers with a min. age of 21 are sought. A one year commitment is expected, though relationships often extend beyond that. Weekly contact is desired within a 10-12 hour/month timeframe. Two references, a background check, and submission of one's driving record are required. Volunteers will also meet the youth's parents and receive ongoing support from USCRI-VT.

For more info, contact Program Assistant, Laurie Stavrand, lstavrand@uscrivt.org or 802-578-0886.

The IJT congregational contact is Monica Sargent, sargentmonica05@gmail.com or 802-355-0428.

Think of the difference you could make in the life of a former refugee youth new to Vermont and our area.

Annual Potlock Picnic Volunteers

Kim Watkin, Membership Team

Sunday, June 2nd, is the date for the Annual Potluck Picnic here at the FUUSB. We are looking for members of the congregation to join an ad hoc planning group for the Annual Potluck Picnic. Email Kim Watkin at watkinfam@aol.com if you are interested in joining this ad hoc planning group for this fun-filled event! 

Upcoming Worship Services

In-Person & Live-Streamed Sunday Services

May 12 at 10 am

"Liberated in Faith"

Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, Guest Minister

Mary Beth McNulty, Worship Associate

May 19 at 10 am

"Faith Development Sunday"

Erika Reif & Rowan Van Ness, Worship Leaders

Betsey Ferries,

Worship Associate

More details at uusociety.org

Joys & Sorrows & Gratitudes Form
Click here to submit a joy, sorrow, or gratitude.
Weekly Events
Visit uusociety.org for more information!

Sundays - 8 am

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Community Room

Sign up to help: signup.com/go/yAbRpfy

Sundays - 11:10 am

Coffee Hour

Outside, weather permitting.

Mondays - 5:15 pm

UU Meditation Group

Susan B. Anthony Room

Questions? Email meditation@uusociety.org

Tuesdays - 6 pm

next meetings: 5/7, 5/21

YUUth Group

Susan B. Anthony Room

Wednesdays - 5:15 pm

Love & Justice Vigil

In front of the Meeting House

Wednesdays - 7 pm

FUUSB Choir Rehearsal

Parlors & Zoom

Quick Links

FUUSB Calendar

FUUSB Website


Staff Directory

We Are Going

The Steeple

The Path


Church of the Larger Fellowship


In Case You Missed It 
Visit the publication archives on our website!
How to Get the 
Word Out
Click here for this year's publication information!
Contact Us
First UU Society of Burlington
152 Pearl Street
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 862-5630