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I was originally raised a Roman Catholic. My family attended a Roman Catholic church that had the usual Christian art featuring Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and a few saints. I grew up thinking that churches only displayed religious art and nothing else.

When I started attending a Unitarian Universalist church as a young adult who was a recent college graduate, I was amazed to see art that not only didn’t reflect a particular religious point of view but the artworks themselves would frequently rotate on a regular basis where new art would be erected and displayed. Much of the art that’s usually on display were created by local artists, many of whom are not UUs.

When I visited other UU churches in other cities, I found that many congregations also featured a rotating display of art done by area artists (who may or may not be UU) that didn’t necessarily reflect a particular religious dogma.

Many of the art my church (Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland) displays run the gamut from painting to drawing to mixed-media to sculptures to photography. Some of the art is abstract while others might feature a portrait of a person or an animal or it might reflect a certain view on social issues or politics.

Here are a few photos I took of an art exhibit that’s currently on display at my church right now. They are a series of paintings done by a local self-taught artist named Antonio Moore, who has sold some of his work to famous people such as Mark Cuban and Jay-Z. His paintings include people like Kiss, Miles Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra, and Barack Obama.

If you want to see the art for yourself in person, the best time is on Sunday mornings after 11:15 a.m. (when Sunday service usually ends) until around 1 or 2 p.m. For other times, you will have to contact the church office to make special arrangements.

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Last month I shot a maypole dance in my Unitarian Universalist church after the Sunday service on June 3, 2018. It was originally supposed to be held outside but it rained heavily that day so it was moved indoors. Here is my footage.

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This Easter was really different this year. I’m used to having Passover and Easter Sunday falling on the same day but I thought it was really freaky to have those holidays scheduled on the same day as April Fool’s Day.

I basically went to Easter Sunday service at the local Unitarian Universalist Church. There was an all-ages crafting table where people can dye Easter Eggs and make Easter-related crafts.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There were a number of eggs that had the contents removed via blowholes so one could decoupage an egg as a permanent keepsake decoration. I tried my hand at making a decoupage Easter egg and here is the result.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There was an Easter egg hunt held in the glen of the church after Sunday service ended. The kids really had a blast hunting for those Easter eggs then turning the plastic eggs in for a special Easter goody bag.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

The adults spent the occasion socializing while some of them wore festive Easter themed clothes and accessories.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There was a box of matzohs set out for people to eat since that day was also Passover.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Even though the weather was cloudy and cold that day the flowers were in bloom, such as these daffodils.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

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I had a pretty busy Saturday at my church. First I went to a memorial service for a longtime church member who passed away recently. I had decided to attend an all-ages party that was being held at that church that same evening so I went to the memorial service, hung around for the reception that followed afterwards, then headed for the nearby Starbucks that is located inside of a Target where I brought my laptop with me and killed time by surfing the Internet until it was time for the second event to begin at my church.

We ended up having a pretty light turnout. The high point was that someone had brought Play-Doh and soon everyone—both adults and children alike—were playing around with the stuff.

I ended up joining in as well. I used to love playing with Play-Doh as a child but I outgrew it once I was around 9 or 10 years old. I haven’t really touched it in years. So I played around with it. I began to remember the old Saturday Night Live sketches featuring The Mr. Bill Show, which satirized children’s TV shows by featuring a character made entirely from clay who would end up getting abused in a gruesome yet hilarious fashion. I attempted with making Mr. Bill’s head but I was relying 100% on memory so I know it’s not that great.

It turned out to be all for naught because only one other person present got my Mr. Bill reference. Everyone else were either too young to remember Mr. Bill’s late 1970s heyday or they were way older than me and they could’ve cared less about Mr. Bill even when he was popular enough to spawn a line of t-shirts. (I still remember having my own Mr. Bill shirt when I was in high school.)

After that attempt, I took out a dolphin-shaped cutter and I began to just roll out the blue Play-Doh then used the cutter to cut out dolphin shapes. I ended up making this pattern of clay dolphins.

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My Unitarian Universalist church congregation had hired a new minister about six months ago. As part of the hiring process, we had a Ministerial Start Up Workshop that was led by our region’s contact in the Unitarian Universalist Association.  I was asked to take pictures of this workshop. The only reason why I’m writing a blog post about this is so I can prove to people that, yes, I can take pictures of events.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop began after the usual Sunday service ended and it started with lunch.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The Reverend Megan Foley of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) led the workshop.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Everyone sat in a circle in order to make it easier to communicate with each other face-to-face.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Basically much of the time was spent on describing the history of our congregation, what were its successes and what were its mistakes and things of that sort.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Our congregation’s new minister, Rev. Rachel Christensen, spoke outlining her hopes for the congregation’s future.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop ended with a communal art project but one didn’t have to be an accomplished artist to take part.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

A bag was passed around that was full of foam Valentine heart stickers in a variety of colors (ranging from light pink to deep red) and styles (some had glitter on them). The idea was to choose the hearts we liked the best.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Here’s the set of hearts I chose.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

We stuck our hearts on a board. Here is what the board looked like when it was finished.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

My church was hosting a special all-ages congregation-wide Friday night party last week and I was recruited to take pictures for this event.

Basically the theme of this party was a celebration of all of the birthdays that happened last year. The main room of the Meeting House (where Sunday services usually take place) had 12 tables with each table representing a month along with decorations based on what that month usually represents.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

The party started with dinner. Each participant was requested to sit at the table of our birth mont. So I sat at the December table where two other people also sat. We started talking about our shared experiences with having birthdays so close to Christmas while eating our meal.

There were times when I got up and took a couple of pictures.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

Here’s a view of the decorations and the rest of the Meeting House room as taken from behind the December table.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

We had a Bingo game where we had to match the squares that all had the names of famous Unitarian Universalists.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

Then it was time for serving the birthday cakes. Each table got its own birthday cake with different flavors and decorations based on the particular month.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

The next photo shows the cake for the December table, which was naturally decorated with a winter Christmas theme. (Of course this event took place so soon after December so the memories of the winter holidays were still fresh in my mind.) The cake also tasted very good.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

I took pictures of the other cakes and I tried a few slices as well.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

The evening basically ended with the adults and teens socializing among each other while the kids played.

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

4F's Birthday Party at Paint Branch UU Church, January 19, 2018

Santa Claus

My Unitarian Universalist congregation had its annual Kwanzaa service on New Year’s Eve this year (mainly because New Year’s Eve fell on a Sunday in 2017) where lunch was served following the end of the service. Here are my photos of the food and the decorations from that day.

Santa Claus

Since Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, my church did a special all-ages Christmas pageant for the Sunday morning service where people re-enacted the nativity scene. Here are my photos from that day.

People did some socializing after the service ended.

Here’s a photo of the Christmas tree and poinsettias.

I had volunteered to stay after the service to help with the clean-up chores. While I was in the kitchen I noticed an Ouija board. You know you’re in a Unitarian Universalist church when you see an Ouija board out and no one raises a peep about it. (I can only imagine how a fundamentalist evangelical Christian church would react if one of its members brought an Ouija board to its facilities. LOL!)

I went to the annual Holiday Warm-Up Party at my church where I ate food, socialized with people, helped a little bit with trimming the Christmas tree, and I took a bunch of photos. We had a variety of crafts and activities centering around both Hanukkah and Christmas. I had a blast being with my friends on the first night in December.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

One of the crafts involved making ornaments using oranges and cloves.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

People of all ages helped with decorating this year’s Christmas tree.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

The church served dinner during this party, including pizza as well as a variety of other food.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

The Director of Religious Exploration lit the chalice, which is a ritual that is usually performed in Unitarian Universalist churches to indicate the start of an event, such as Sunday service or a more social event like this party.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Puzzles and coloring pages about Christmas and Hanukkah were available for anyone to use.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

We also had a singalong of various holiday hymns like “Deck the Halls” and “Light One Candle.”

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Here is what the Christmas tree looked like at the end of the party.


Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

I shot this video of the Chalice Dancers doing a performance to the song “Peace Before Us” during Sunday service at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland on December 3, 2017.

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