12-3-2023 Order of Service

Generosity of Spirit

Sunday, December 3, 2023, 10:25 am

Online on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/738363620
Passcode: BUF

Zoom by phone, for audio only: (346) 248-7799
Meeting ID: 738 363 620
Passcode: 306220

I wonder why love is so often equated with joy when it is everything else as well. Devastation, balm, obsession, granting and receiving excessive value, and losing it again.

It is recognition, often of what you are not but might be. It sears and it heals. It is beyond pity and above law. It can seem like truth.

— Florida Scott Maxwell,
playwright and author, 1883-1979


Hospitality means primarily a creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.

Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place…It is not a method of making our God and our way the criteria of happiness, but the opening of an opportunity to others to find their God and their way.

— Martin Buber,
Austrian emigrant to Israel,1878-1965

Gathering Music             Ding Dong Merrily On High, by Jeanne Cotter

Kevin Allen-Schmid, piano
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; The First Noel
Emma Kusick, violin, Lisa Kusick, recorder

Welcome                          Rev Paul Beckel

Prelude                             Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Chalice Lighting              Pam Graham


Love is the spirit of this fellowship, and service gives it life.
Celebrating our diversity, and joined by a quest for truth,
We work for peace, and honor all
This is our covenant.

Singing Together             In the Silence (at back of grey hymnal)

Children’s Focus             Hope Machine, by the Okee Dokee Brothers

Lisa Kusick, Annie & Chris Sorich

Children’s Blessing               

We hold you in our love as you go, as you go.
May your heart be at peace as you go.
To nurture the spark of your precious life,
We hold you in our love as you go.

Reading                            from Being Peace, by Thich Nhat Hahn (1926-2022)


Reflections, Part 1        

Interlude                           Let it Fall, by Over The Rhine

Reflections, Part 2

Sharing and Singing       We Three Kings, Good King Wenceslas,

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Singing Together            #221  Light One Candle


Singing Together            #155, Circle ‘Round

Circle ‘round for freedom, circle ‘round for peace.
For all of us imprisoned, circle for release.
Circle for the planet, circle for each soul.
For the children of our children, keep the circle whole.


If you’re with us on Zoom today, please stay after the service for our online coffee hour. If you’re here in person, please join us downstairs for coffee and conversation. Visitors: you may wish to use a red cup — then we’ll know you’re open to a bit of orientation.

If you’re new, we’d be grateful to have you provide us with contact information so we can let you know what’s happening here. There are buff-colored visitor contact cards in the pew racks, and in the entryway, that you can drop in the collection basket. Or provide your contact information HERE. 

Improved Hearing Assistance in the Sanctuary

If you need hearing assistance when you’re in the sanctuary, you can now listen through your phone with earbuds, or through your own hearing aids by using an app connected to our in-house sound system. Just download the Listen Everywhere app onto your phone. When you turn it on in the sanctuary, it will detect the signal from our sound system. Then you can control the volume on your phone using your own wired or wireless earbuds, or using Bluetooth to your hearing aid.

Ask an usher for assistance. Come a few minutes early to set up your phone the first time; once you’ve got it set, it will just be a matter of turning it on. We will continue to provide the self-contained hearing assistance units with wired earbuds (or you can borrow the earbuds from these to use with your own phone).


Welcoming Children

There’s space up front with materials for drawing. For the more rambunctious, there’s a nursery at the back where parents can see and hear what’s going on in the sanctuary. Most Sundays, after 10-15 minutes in the sanctuary, kids are invited to go to their classrooms.

Contributions payable to “BUF” may be sent to:
1207 Ellsworth Street, Bellingham 98225

For info about donating online (credit card or PayPal), by automatic bank transfer, or via phone apps, see the “give” button in the upper right-hand corner at buf.org or contact the office: (360) 733-3837 / admin@buf.org


Tomorrow (December 4) at 7 pm – Taize Service
The theme for December’s Service is “Unbroken.”
In this time of change, turbulence, and brokenness, we come together for a reminder of what it means to be unbroken and resilient in community.
Taize is an evening of candlelight, prayer, meditation, and singing.
Please join us in the sanctuary or on Zoom – meeting ID 974 5697 4163, passcode BUF.

The January date for Taize has been changed to January 8.

Sundays Ahead

December 10   Holiday Music Service

“The Angels Sing Glory: Songs along the Arc of Justice”
featuring the BUF choir and soloists Walt Ellis and Joel Gabriel Johnson

December 17   Solstice – Rev Paul Beckel

December 24   Revs Barbara ten Hove and Paul Beckel

This is a traditional service with candlelight and carols
No religious education or childcare will be provided
Our Christmas Eve service takes place at 7 PM
Please note that we will not meet on the morning of Sunday Dec 24

December 31   Wholeness in Divisive Times

Music, art, poetry, and short reflections by BUF members and friends.
If you would like to share (3-5 minutes), send an email to Su Livingston (sulivingston@gmail.com) with a description of what you’d like to contribute. Please help us welcome the new year by contributing your gifts to this service.


At buf.org you can

  • Find Zoom links to Sunday services, and to our Taize services, which are held at 7 pm on the first-Monday of each month (except this coming January when we’ll meet on the 8th rather than the 1st)
  • Explore programs and events on the calendar—newcomers are welcome at all BUF activities
  • Subscribe to our newsletter: The MidWeek Update, and to our list-serv: BUF-news
  • Also online, type “Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship into a YouTube search to find recordings of recent Sunday and Taize services
  • For real-person help with any of this, contact our Administrator, Michelle: 360-733-3837 / admin@buf.org