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Arriving Empty Handed

By Jon Sievert

At this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service, the Rev. Mark Stringer offers a meditation on the vulnerability and the value of being present.

UU Service
“Arriving Empty Handed”
With Rev. Mark Stringer
Sun, Jul 17, 10:30am
La Posada de la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15

We often think we are not enough as we are, that to be of use in encounters, especially those heavyhearted moments when people we love are in trouble or hurting, we must come bearing presents of the “right” thing to say or to do. What if we lived as if the only gift we needed to bring to our encounters was our presence, our willingness to be a witness and a companion as our friends and family members travel through their challenges on their own terms without our unsolicited advice or well-intentioned encouragement? What if we arrived at these encounters “empty handed?”

Rev. Stringer has served as the Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa, since 2001, as the church more than doubled its membership and has been honored as a Unitarian Universalist “Breakthrough Congregation.” A native of Akron, Ohio, Rev. Stringer is a graduate of Chicago’s Meadville Lombard Theological School. Before discerning his call to the Unitarian Universalist ministry, Stringer taught English composition at Chicago State University and communication at Ashland University. He also performed in national tours as a professional actor and facilitated diversity awareness workshops sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. Stringer lives in Des Moines with his wife Susan and their two daughters.

Special music is provided by Paula Peace and Michael Moore. Peace is recently retired after 38 years as the director and pianist of the Atlanta Chamber Players. Moore, her husband, has been the principal tubist for the Atlantic Symphony for nearly 50 years.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at La Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15, and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at


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