BY NANCY REES - IOWA LAKES UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP
Unitarianism and Universalism arose independently in Europe and North America during the 16th century. Both were liberal religions, using Bible-based guidance. Unitarianism refers to the belief in a single God, as opposed to the Holy Trinity. Universalism refers to the belief in a loving God and universal salvation for all.
In 1961 the Universalists, organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, organized in 1825, consolidated to become the Unitarian Universalist Association, a world-wide liberal religious organization with over 1,000 congregations and 200,000 members. The UUA represents all congregations in the United States.
The philosophy of the ILUUF can be summed up in the Seven Principals. Member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
• The inherent worth and dignity of every person
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregation
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
In 2004, a group of local citizens, Ann McCormick and Chuck Reed, Bob and Sara Koepp, Jane Shuttleworth, Bob and Genie Reed, Bob and Betty Sneitzer, and Paul Arnold, began the process of forming the Iowa Lakes Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. After a year of documentation, the ILUUF became official in 2005, with these and additional founding members forming a small nucleus of congregants.
The ILUUF membership is made up of people from varied walks of life, economic backgrounds and beliefs. All are welcome here, all have a voice, all matter. However small my own voice has been over these past 13 years with UUF, it continues to gain volume in an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement. I am humbled to be among this group of individuals, as they openly share insights, perspectives, and experiences that have assisted me on my own spiritual journey. I thank each of them for creating this venue in the Iowa Great Lakes Area.
The Iowa Lakes Fellowship's programs cover a variety of religious, social, civic, artistic, and environmental topics, to mention only a few categories. The stimulating presentations spur our thoughts and spark equally rewarding conversations. One might say the Fellowship is a melting pot for the sharing of ideas in a welcoming atmosphere.
The Fellowship is open to the public, for one visit or many. We look forward to the return of summer residents and visitors, as well. We also have attendees who are members of other area churches. Whatever the involvement, ILUUF is open to all. We welcome diversity and new ideas, in an atmosphere where each individual is respected, and every voice is heard. This is a place of peace and acceptance; a place to restore the mind, nourish the Soul, and uplift the Spirit.
Upcoming programs are announced in the Dickinson County News and the Lakes News Shopper prior to the second and fourth Sundays of each month. The Fellowship meets at the Arrowwood Resort. In the front lobby you will find notice of the meeting room. Coffee and conversation begin at 10:30 a.m., with the service starting at 11 and lasting one hour. An optional lunch after the service, in the same meeting room, provides a chance to discuss the presentation and talk with the speaker. The cost is $10 per person.
In addition to the Sunday services, members and friends enjoy other types of gatherings. The ILUUF Book Club meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Recent reads have been “The Girl on the Train,” “The Road to Character,” and “Black Elk Speaks.” The April book is Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman.”
A group studying “A Course In Miracles” meets twice a month, on the second and fourth Mondays. The discussion covers videos by Carol Howe, author and international authority on the course.
Solstice parties are among the congregation’s favorite social events – family oriented, with music and great food. Other social get-togethers are planned throughout the year.
When I was asked to write this article for the Dickinson County News, it was not my intent to create an advertisement. My wish is to share an important part of my life with my community … that others may benefit as well. I remember the first time I attended the ILUUF, feeling apprehensive and unsure, wondering what and who would be there. I never stopped coming … that was 13 years ago. Nor has my spiritual journey ever stopped evolving.
In closing, I speak for all of us at the Iowa Lakes Unitarian Universalist Fellowship when I say that we would like to welcome you to join us, whether for an occasional hour, or for years to come. Please watch for upcoming presentations, and drop in. We look forward to seeing you!
Please visit our web site at uuokoboji.com for more information on time, date, and location of meetings and events.