In fall Earth begins releasing all the things she held onto in spring and summer, and by midwinter she has let everything go. There is a quiet humility about the Earth in winter. She grows dark earlier and stays cold longer while animals and people retreat inside to escape the wet and freezing cold that takes hold. My reflection will consider what we might learn from Earth as she gracefully surrenders to this emptiness that precedes all form, to the peace that precedes activity, and to the rich darkness that precedes the light.

How about a “help and run” Christmas gift? That’s what we will be doing this morning. NO formal service but you have an opportunity to help members of our community without spending a dime. You can choose from several activities:
1. Bring baked and bagged cookies and/or help deliver them to some folks in need. (See Nancy Lockwood or Barbara Bogart for details.) OLDER kids may be able to help here. Certainly they can bake cookies at home and bring them.
2. We can shovel neighbors’ walks. In case of no snow, we will find other jobs in the neighborhood for you.
3. Go with a group of other UU’s to UUFL members’ home who need 45 minutes of in home help, maybe move some furniture, hang a curtain, set up a outdoor light display. See other notice in newsletter if YOU might need services.
4. Rest of us will stay in the building and set up our holiday decorations. Kids WILL have RE but will come out a bit early to help decorate the tree once it is ready.
5. Bring gifts for the “Family in Need”

This Sunday will be an informal gathering over coffee to discuss any topic of the group’s choosing hosted by Barbara Bogart.

As I age I am all the more persuaded that gratitude – basic, heartfelt gratitude for the simple gift of life — is an essential for religious living. Without a lively sense of gratitude for the miracle of being here in the first place – without a heartfelt sense of how very lucky we are to have the chance to hang around in this amazing world of ours for a while – to participate, relate, connect, live — we eventually lose energy and perspective that is required for living life fully, joyfully, and responsibly. A grateful heart is the engine for a life well and passionately lived. I believe it is really that simple.
However, I’ve found out that it is not simple, figuring out where this kind of life-enhancing, life-saving gratitude comes from, and how we as individuals can come to possess it in our daily living. So I’ll share what I have discovered, so far, about where it comes from.
Toward the beginning of this service we will hold a simple but elegant Child Dedication and Naming Ceremony for Claire and Tim Moloney’s child Sage and for Matt and Renee Gray’s child Julep.
NOTE: Because this very special ceremony takes a bit of time, neither of our regular liturgical ele-ments, Story for All Ages and Joys and Concerns, will be offered in this service but will return in December.
Children’s Religious Education
Thanksgiving Feast (see page 3 of Newsletter for details).

Longtime Laramie resident and active friend of UUFL, Lisa Muller, went on a 3 week trek in Nepal. It was a journey of spiritual and physical challenges and an opportunity to think about life lessons learned. Lisa will also have a special story for the children. Please join us.
Children’s Religious Education

With this sermon I am taking up a noble tradition in the ministry, going back to the 17th Century. One or two Sundays before an election, almost every preacher in the land devoted his sermon to the body politic. It’s a great literary genre. Often, the fire and brimstone preaching was so hot that an Election Day sermon was the one sermon a minister might be remembered by. There was a reason for that. No words were minced. He entered the pulpit and for the next TWO hours proclaimed a long recitation of mournful complaints about how the country’s problems were your fault and how God is punishing everyone for their sins.
I won’t give you two hours’ worth of a sermon, and I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. I’m not even going to tell you that everything wrong with this country is the public’s fault or the result of God’s responsive wrath. But I will share my thoughts on how our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to consider what we’re voting about as well as for. Maybe this will be the sermon you’ll remember me for?
NOTE: For this service we will not have the regular liturgical element of Story for All Ages. It will be return in the November 13 service.
After the service the Social Action Team and I will be providing soup as the main offering for a potluck luncheon and then sponsoring a special presentation on the history of U.S. Presidential campaigns in relationship to the current one. The goal of this special presentation, which is being offered by Dr. Oliver Walter, is to offer what is missing in our current conversations — that is, “hope.” See page 7 of the November Newsletter (uularamie-news-november-2016) for details on this special event.
Change for Change is for the Laramie Animal Welfare Society.
Children’s Religious Education

The end of October and the beginning of November is a time when the theme of death is imminent in nature. It is also the time when many religions pay homage to their beloved dead. In this service I will reflect on the way we Unitarian Universalists honor our beloved dead. Everyone is invited to bring to place on our altar a photograph of a loved one who has died and/or some object which the deceased one treasured. Remembrances of animal companions are welcome too. The death could have happened a long time ago or recently.
R.E. Advisory Team is hosting the First Annual All Congregational Halloween Party! (And Potluck) Time 3-6 pm

We have done this several times over the years and it is always interesting and fun. This is your chance to get up and share your opinion on issues, both large and small, local , state or national, which you feel strongly about. You will get 3 minutes to stand on the “soapbox” and speak to a (somewhat) captive audience. Issues can be from local, to international issues….they don’t have to be political in nature. Maybe you a pet peeve or an issue you want others in-formed of. Please try to be positive and no personal attacks. Come, listen, learn, connect.

In our Unitarian Universalists’ Principles and Purposes we claim as our sources for inspiration, Jewish, Christian, Humanist and Earth-Centered teachings. As it’s our practice in the liberal tradition to honor the wisdom messages we find in these religious teachings, in this service I’ll reflect on how the wisdom found in the Jewish Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — which together are referred to as “The Days of Awe” — is relevant to Unitarian Universalists.
Guest violinist Anna Schenfisch performs for us the beautiful Kol Nidre, a very special piece of music played on the holy day of Yom Kippur.

Led by guest minister Rev Leslie Kee . Her sermon will be “Valuing Inherent Worth: How Hard Can It Be?” Since valuing the inherent worth of every person is Unitarian Universalism’s first principle, it is important to go deeper and explore how this affirmation calls us to look forward while seeking better ways to honor our unique gifts as individuals and within our spiritual communities. Leslie is an engaging speaker and has spoken to us before. She is the former chaplain for the women’s prison in Lusk and now serves a growing UU congregation in Casper. Please come welcome her back to Laramie this morning.
Religious Education