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Spirituality and Social Action Don’t Have to Rule Out One Another

Stephan Papa Atencion

By Jon Sievert

At this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (UUFSMA) service, the Rev Dr Stephan Papa explores the relationship between social action and spirituality.

Richard Gilbert wrote that he arises in the morning, “torn between the desire to save the world and to savor it.” William Sloan Coffin said that Unitarian Universalists have “a thick ethic, but a thin theology.” Do we need to develop both social action and spirituality? People tend to emphasize one or the other as if they are polar opposites, but they are not.

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr demonstrated the importance of both. How do we do that in our lives? Is pursuing spirituality just a way to avoid changing yourself or society? Do you experience the call to social justice as more shaming than inspiring? MLK said we need to “reestablish the spiritual ends of our lives in personal character and social justice.” How can the Fellowship help you develop your spirituality and your social activism?

Papa is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister who Papa received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. He last served the Two Rivers Congregation in Carbondale, CO. Prior to that, he worked as a special assistant to the president of the UUA for Growth Funding for seven years. He has also been the senior minister of the Main Line Unitarian Church in Devon, Pennsylvania, for five years and with the First Universalist Church in Denver for 19. He served congregations in Fort Lauderdale and Buffalo, helped sponsor three new UU congregations, and served on the Moderator’s Congregations Come First Task Force, the UU Fund for a Just Society, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and chapters of the UU Minister’s Association.

In retirement, Stephan volunteers with the Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, at the First Universalist Church in Denver, where he is Minister Emeritus. He also volunteers as a Restorative Justice Facilitator in the Denver public schools.

Guest musician at this week’s service is YaYa Fuentes, a Chilean singer and instrumentalist who plays the hang, a Swiss instrument in the steel-pan drums family that is played with the hands and fingers to produce a hauntingly beautiful sound akin to a harp, bells, or a tuned steel pan drum.

For more information about the UUFSMA, including our Sunday morning children’s religious education program, social action outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities, and Care Team, join us any Sunday at 10:30am at the Hotel La Aldea or check out our website at uufsma.org

 

UU Service

“To Savor the World or Save It?”

By Rev Stephan Papa

Sun, Oct 6, 10:30am

Hotel La Aldea

 

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