First Universalist Society in Franklin

DRE Corner 2-17

“There is a balm in Gilead that makes the wounded whole.”

Director of Religious Education FUSF

Aoife Barrington-Haber, Director of Religious Education

By Aoife Barrington-Haber

As people of faith, we UU’s are seekers. While our theological beliefs are diverse, we share a common focus on bettering our lives here on Earth, rather than on what awaits us after death. Many of us come to Sunday worship to heal ourselves and each other. “Heal” of course means “to make whole.”

Right now our country is deeply divided, and we lie wounded by the most dangerous weapons: anger, sadness, hatred, fear, ignorance, greed. As we push forward with the work to heal these wounds, we must first attend to the care of our own hearts.

Dr. Brene Brown, a sociology professor who studies shame and vulnerability, found that there is a certain kind of person whom she dubbed “wholehearted.” To live wholeheartedly is to live from a place of connectedness and authenticity, grounded in a sense of worthiness and belonging. This is extremely relevant to the practice of our UU faith. I believe it is much harder to honor the inherent worth and dignity of others without first having a sense of our own deserving of love and belonging.

If you have not yet read Brene Brown’s work or listened to her talks, I strongly recommend you check them out! In her talk series called, “The Power of Vulnerability,” Brene outlines what she has identified as the habits of wholehearted people and dubbed the “Guideposts for Wholehearted Living,” as well as the “gremlins” or nagging barriers that prevent us from being our authentic selves.

The one I want to highlight is “Creating meaningful work; letting go of self-doubt and ‘supposed to.'” All wholehearted people, she observed, engage regularly in some type of creativity. There is no such thing a person who is “not creative.” But the “supposed to” gremlins get in our way. Work is supposed to be boring and exhausting. We’re only supposed to be what makes us money. (I’m an accountant, not a jeweler.) Aren’t you supposed to be doing something productive?

Some of us, myself included, are fortunate enough to have a career that is grounded in our passions and values. If this is not you, then consider claiming your slash/career; your second career is work that feels like play, that is driven by purpose and meaning, and that pays you back, not in money but in joy. I am privileged to work with so many wonderful slash/RE Teachers! May your hearts be whole, and may you pass your sense of love and belonging to your students.

Blessed be.


Our Spring Semester of classes begins February 5th. Classes include:

PreK Chalice Children continues, with Stephen Dennis, Ursula Roxin-Dixon and Donna Morin

Grades K-2 Wonderful Welcome; connecting with nature Claire Mallette, Pat Slovacek and Kathy Trefethen

Grades 3-6 Harry and UU continues with Shannon Nisbett, Courtenay Schwartz and Nathan Marble

Grades 7-8 The Fifth Dimension; exploring social and ethical issues through The Twilight Zone. Ari Alpert, Bill Callahan, Monica Mathis and Cheryl Magadieu


Comments are closed.

We invite you to visit us at First Universalist Society in Franklin

Sunday services begin at 10 a.m. Children and youth religious education 10 a.m.

phone: (508) 528-5348


Our Meetinghouse is located at 262 Chestnut Street, Franklin, MA.

Our mailing address is: PO Box 316, Franklin, MA 02038