Having grown up in a predominantly white, republican town during the 90’s, Christianity was pretty much an expected belief system. My mother brought me up in the Episcopalian faith, attending Saint Stephen’s Episcopal church in Waretown every Sunday for the first 15 years of my life. However, I began a lifelong struggle with religion at the age of 9 when my Sunday School teacher told me my father was going to hell for being an Atheist. This declaration was the catalyst for my initial rejection of religion.READ MORE
What was once an acre of useless weeds in Berkeley Township now teems with rows of crops, producing vegetables and fruits for nearby food pantries, and giving Ocean County folks a spot to grow their own produce. The Wrangle Brook Community Garden, near Lakehurst and Southampton Road, is the result of three years of tireless effort by members of the Unitarian Universalist Ocean County Congregation (UUOCC). They envisioned the vacant lot as a spot to help alleviate hunger and encourage self-sufficiency. READ MORE
BERKELEY – The Wrangle Brook Community Garden may not look like much in late March. But wait a few months, when the tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables are in full bloom. It won’t look like the same place.
“It’s very upliftting to be a part of it,” said founder Bonney Parker, on a recent chilly, windy day at the garden, which is off a dirt path off Southhampton Road in the Silver Ridge Park section of the township. Parker and her sister share one plot each summer. Ironically, her sister is the gardener, not Parker. “I wish I could say I was a gardener,” she joked. “I’m an organizer.” The one-acre lot has been home to 40 private plots, space for spices, and land for local food pantries for the past three years. READ MORE
Embrace the Soul ... Embolden the Spirit ...
Enrich the Community
Good morning. It is nice seeing several long time friends here today. And to new members and guests, I say, “Welcome, I’m glad to meet you.”
When Shirl asked me a few weeks ago if I would be interested in being the speaker for this Sunday I was conflicted. I didn’t have any topic at hand that I thought offered fresh insight to the equinoxes and solstices in general or the spring equinox in particular. My hesitation and trepidation notwithstanding, I said yes … Shirl had set the hook.
So let me start with a bit about my history with this congregation. I’ll describe how that experience ultimately led to my discovery of Wicca. I’ll explain my understanding of why Wiccans came to create and celebrate their religious holidays and, finally, I’ll talk about the intrinsic balance as I see it between the worlds of nature and spirit.
Like many, for me the end of the year is an opportunity to look back as well as set an intention for the year to come. This year, the intention I am setting is to welcome all that is—to make room in my spirit for tension, heartbreak, challenge, and uncertainty without turning away; to stay with it and be present, listening for what it has to teach.
We live in a tumultuous time of struggle that is literally life and death for many people. This forces us to question the way we have done things and how it has brought us here. In this challenging time, what “to do” is not always clear. We can’t always right the things that have been broken. Tension, divisiveness, and the complexity of multiple experiences is real. READ MORE
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