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January 2021 Theme: Imagination – Rev. AJ Galazen

My father worked as an industrial engineer for a toy company, and he also designed and manufactured toys in his own business, so I was always surrounded by new games and toys. For a short time, I worked on the assembly line producing a toy called “Perfection,” which was a kind of hand-eye coordination puzzle where you had a minute to place objects in their proper position before the whole thing went kablooey.

I still have a fascination with toys, and I have amassed a collection of hundreds of games. I don’t have much time to play anymore, but I’m still intrigued by the pieces, the colors, the interactions and the way the same ideas can get re-imagined years later. For example, I love science fiction, and when the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey came out, Parker Brothers produced a game called “Universe” using colored geometric shapes on a grid. It wasn’t very popular, but over the ensuing years, games like “Tetris” and “Blokus” were created using some of the same principles.

Our theme for January is “Imagination”. To try new things, we first need to know something about old things. Our spiritual imagination can include dreams, prayer and mysticism. We can imagine a new future, but we can also re-imagine our past in new ways. Imagination may require that we “let go” of something before taking the next journey.

I started reflecting on toys when one of my colleagues mentioned that modern toys are “too over determined,” they tell children what to think, instead of letting children develop their own imaginations. That reminded me of my father and his toy business. Some of my favorite toys were plain wooden blocks of many shapes and sizes. I could create anything I wanted, and then tumble it down and start something new. 

DUUF is embarking upon a time of imagination and innovation. January is a month of new beginnings, and of building up new things. We have many new opportunities to engage in community.

I will be offering brief worship services on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm. Each service will be a short reflection on the monthly theme. After the service, you are free to leave, or stay for a “drop-in covenant group,” a time of centered discussion around a question relating to the theme.

For a deeper covenant group experience, consider joining a monthly group facilitated by Nancy and Ericka. These 90-minute sessions will provide time for personal check-in, and space to listen to the still small voice within. Look for details and announcements in coming days.

Several members of the community have been looking for adult education and social justice opportunities at DUUF. In response to these requests, a new Adult Program Team is forming to plan, coordinate and promote offerings. Everyone is invited to attend the first brainstorming meeting on Sunday, January 10 at 2:00 pm. Please come with your ideas and energy as we imagine what exciting and interesting activities this team could organize in the coming year!

January also brings a new administrator to DUUF, Ian Lyon. You will be hearing more from Ian in the coming weeks, and we are so blessed that our outgoing administrator, Jennifer Collins, will be orienting and training Ian in his new duties. Thank you, Jennifer for all your hard work!

There’s no doubt about it. 2020 was a very unique, very rough year for all of us. And even for those who have tried to find a sense of meaning and hope in all the devastation, it has been difficult. As one person said to me recently, “The loneliness is immense and heavy.” My hope for the New Year is that we can re-emerge and re-connect in new ways, and move from the heavy burden of loneliness to a sense of wonder and imagination.

I wish each of you a bright and wholesome New Year!