When I first came to Philadelphia, the First Unitarian Church on Chestnut Street was impossible to miss. With its rainbow flags gently moving in the April breeze, it was forever etched in my memory as a place that I would need to visit when I officially moved to the city. Sure enough, less than four months later, I attended both my first young adult evening worship and a summer choir retreat, and knew that this place was indeed the home my spirit so desperately needed. Here I could lay down…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on May 20, 2015 at 5:21pm — No Comments
“God doesn’t need our prayers. We need our prayers.” It may seem like an obvious observation, but this statement from my one of my professors moved me to some further reflection. Who do we believe receives our prayers? How do we pray? What is the expected outcome of our prayers? Why do we pray?
The specific answers to these questions will be different for every single one of us. The rich diversity of belief within our tradition surrounding the nature of God or…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on January 15, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments
“What does resilience mean to you?” While helping to facilitate a youth worship in December, I had the opportunity to hear youth reflect on the relevance of resilience to their lives and the world. When it was my turn to share, I immediately thought of my seminary community.
At Union, we were in the thick of two major moments – finals and citywide protests. Many of our hearts had been broken again and again over news of black lives being claimed by the forces of institutional…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on December 15, 2014 at 9:36pm — No Comments
On August 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in broad daylight. Official autopsy reports indicate that Michael Brown was shot six times. On Monday November 24, prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that a Missouri grand jury decided that there was no probable cause for criminal charges against Officer Wilson. This announcement came only a few days after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a police officer in…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on November 25, 2014 at 4:44pm — No Comments
“You were made from love, to be love, to spread love.” Every once in a while when I need a pick me up, I watch Kid President’s “Letter to a Person on their First Day Here.” It is filled with nuggets of wisdom that help to remind me that life is inherently beautiful, and that we all have worth simply because we exist. The line above is my favorite. It speaks of our origins, our essence, and our purpose, all of which he names as that…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on November 20, 2014 at 1:59pm — No Comments
“God is still speaking.” The United Church of Christ launched the “StillSpeaking” campaign in 2004 to help increase the relevance and welcoming capacity of religion. In presenting the idea that “God is still speaking,” the UCC reminded people that God, or the divine mystery that some call God, still speaks to us today, through people, nature, new understandings of holy texts, the arts, and more. The symbol for this campaign was the comma, indicating the continuation of something that already…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on October 14, 2014 at 5:05pm — No Comments
“What’s your answer?”
I turn to Ochiai, the priest from the shrine who is my guide on this trip to Kyoto.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
He tells me that the Zen rock garden in front of us at the Ryoan-Ji Temple is famous. There are 15 rocks, he says, but you can only see all of them at the same time from one place. I understand the message on clarity that comes from that design, but something about it still doesn’t feel right for me. Why is there only one right way to look…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on September 15, 2014 at 4:27pm — No Comments
Times Square is about to get a lot more crowded. I can tell that I have fully adopted my New York resident status because just writing those words made my left eye twitch. Normally, the thought of millions of people walking through Times Square would fill me with anxiety, frustration, and the urge to use a lot of four-letter words. But for one day, September 21, 2014, that thought fills me with hope, exhilaration, and the most powerful of four-letter words:…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on August 19, 2014 at 11:30pm — No Comments
I am terrified of heights. I believe that if the universe wanted me to go beyond the 5 feet, 6 inches that it made me, than I would be taller. I cling for dear life when I’m on a ladder, I’ve never climbed a rock wall, and when I “lean over the edge in wonder,” it’s usually for a limited time only.
I just signed up to rappel off of a building.
Many of us know the old adage, “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it,” which has been…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on May 13, 2014 at 1:24pm — No Comments
I’ll be honest. When I first signed on to be the Lead Teacher for Religious Literacy last summer, I had an agenda. I needed to fulfill a “religious education competency” for my eventual meeting with the Ministerial Formation Committee, and the opportunity was too good to pass up. A familiar congregational environment, children whose brilliance I had already witnessed during intergenerational services, and the chance to build my…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on April 16, 2014 at 8:30am — No Comments
Reflections on the Moral March
It should come as no surprise that I love to worship. In the broadest of terms, worship connects us to something greater than our individual selves. It is the process through which we celebrate and commit ourselves to the infinite, evolving, and interdependent relationships that our faith brings to light. It is the…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on February 15, 2014 at 9:30pm — No Comments
30 Days of Love, or National Standing on the Side of Love Month, begins on January 18, 2014. It is a month of “intentional action, service, education, and reflection,” which people around the world, many of them Unitarian Universalists, observe both as individuals and…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on October 23, 2013 at 6:07pm — No Comments
This year’s UUA General Assembly marked my second pilgrimage out to the land of chalices and yellow t-shirts, which happened to be located in Louisville, Kentucky. Although my attitude, agenda, and activities differed significantly from the ones that dominated my 2012 “Justice GA” experience, I am pleased to say that one crucial element carried over from last year – the intense commitment of our denominational leaders and membership.
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on June 25, 2013 at 8:52pm — No Comments
These words are not uncommon to our congregational life, honored and voiced most often during our worship services and meetings. But what exactly does it mean to “covenant?” Why do we as a faith community, as a religious movement, engage in the act of covenanting? Some of us may be quick to substitute in our minds the words “promise” or “agree” whenever we hear the term “covenant.” But that is an over-simplification, an incomplete assessment, which misses the…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on May 18, 2013 at 10:03am — No Comments
That’s no typo! Every year, thousands of Unitarian Universalists come together for our annual General Assembly in June. This year, from June 19 – 23, Louisville, Kentucky will become LUUisville (in my mind anyways), and will be home to dozens of interactive programs, worship experiences, and…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on May 1, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments
If there is one reality that has been affirmed on my budding ministerial journey, it is that people are messy. And I do not just mean in the physical, dirty-dishes-in-the-sink, underwear-left-on-the-bathroom-floor sense. I am talking about the emotional, psychological, and spiritual messiness that makes us the relationally complicated beings that we are. I am talking about the parts of our selves that behave in ways that are not always purely driven by love, that aspect of our nature that is…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on April 17, 2013 at 3:34pm — No Comments
Dear First Unitarian Members & Friends,
The efforts for just and humane immigration reform have been gaining steady momentum, and success, in recent months. From the introduction of the Pennsylvania DREAM Act last month, to the growing support for reform across party lines, it is time for us to show our support for just changes to our immigration policies. It is time for us…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on April 3, 2013 at 12:00am — No Comments
Can't get enough Unitarian Universalism? Want to learn from the ministry of other UU churches so you can help our congregation and denomination grow? Want to meet hundreds of amazing people all wearing chalice necklaces or t-shirts?
Register for the 2013 Joseph Priestley District Assembly today! This annual assembly brings together Unitarian Universalists from across the district (PA, DE, MD, DC, VA) who are interested in learning new ways to live out and grow…Continue
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on March 15, 2013 at 12:00am — No Comments
(Text for those who like to read!)
Life is a blessing. Part of the joy of being human is being able to at least partially appreciate the miraculous beauty that is inherent in our world, and the holiness found in all of creation. Part of the joy of being human is having the ability to relate in such nuanced ways, especially to other people. But with that…
Added by Ranwa Hammamy on March 1, 2013 at 6:30pm — No Comments