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Henry Burt Stevens

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Member Since: Jan, 2005

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UU and me-Repost
By Henry Burt Stevens
Monday, May 09, 2005

Rated "G" by the Author.

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This story had been deleted in error and so I am reposting it now. Thanks, Henry


by Henry Burt Stevens, CLF Member, Punta Gorda, Florida

On January 30, 2003 I signed the membership rolls of the CLF, Church of Larger Fellowship-the largest congregation in the Universalist Unitarian Church. CLF started as a by mail congregation, now is an email congregation as well as mail.

It was the first time I ever signed a church roll. What happened?

The first church I attended, as a very young child with my parents, was the Universalist Church in Morrisville, Vermont during the period 1937 to 1942. We then moved to Orleans, Vermont and my family attended a community Protestant church. By the time I was about 11 years old I asked to be excused from further church attendance, and that was the end of my church experience.

Two books I read in high school started me on my path. The first was Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, and the second was Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton. I have been more of a woods walker than a book reader throughout my life, and although I do have more than two books now, most of the additional books follow themes from the first two.

A year ago I had a heart attack. It was my second visit within six years to the ICU at Bon Secours Hospital; the first visit was for a bleeding ulcer I did not know I had. Close call, that.

As part of my recent cardiac rehabilitation I took stress reduction classes. I found out that stress is stress. Although stress most commonly is thought to be from a negative cause, stress from a happy cause, such as being successful in business, is just as damaging to the immune system. I also learned that we choose what we want to be as a person.

My transformation was that I chose to stop being a happy but stressed person. I stopped my outside activities with business and discussion groups. I elected to stay at home with my wife and be a happy, unstressed person.

I went to meditation classes, as I'd always wanted. I signed up for an American Sign Language class. I've always been interested, and have become quite deaf. I started writing personal essays, such as this one, and having them published in the local newspaper.

My mother, 94 years old, came under hospice care last August and I started making photo family history booklets.

A stray kitten came by the house and is still with us, and will now be with us right along. Queen Lucy.

But a very important happening was finding out about UUism and joining CLF. What a wonderful thing for me. I now have a minister who sees and preaches "everyday transformation." Rev. Rzepka quotes from May Sarton. I find that UUism has a position I can support on marijuana and racial relations.

Being a stay-at-home, I find great pleasure with the CLF-L e-mail list. Every couple of hours one or more thoughtful and informative messages come from fellow CLFers all over the world right to my e-mail inbox. Though I mostly sit at home, I converse with like-minded people from the USA, China, Germany, Spain and many other countries.

Each day the sun comes up and I always take a moment to watch. Tomorrow never comes, it is always today. And it's always a chance to earn, learn and transform.

Quest July/August 2003 Contents

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Reviewed by Gianetta Ellis 1/24/2008
I can relate to always being a "woods walker." Further, I have always loved the Transcendentalists and was married in a UU church in PA. Interesting how early influences stay with us - your article demonstrates this well.
Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson 6/30/2005
Its an interesting article..I enjoyed it....m
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 5/26/2005
enjoyed the read, not sure i know what CLF is

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