Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

Unitarian Universalist offers 'disciplined search for truth'

RECOMMENDED READING


If you drive by too fast, it's easy to miss.

Nestled within the trees off curvy Morris Bridge Road sits the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa, a meeting place for people seeking an alternative to mainstream religions.

There, people meet to mediate and ask questions, to reflect on current affairs and uplift one another. There, nature is celebrated, love is embraced and God has many forms.

The church, which opened in 1959, is in transition. Last summer, the Rev. Sara Zimmerman retired after five years. The Rev. Doak Mansfield, 65, a recent heart transplant survivor, is serving as interim minister until 2015.

Mansfield was ordained by the UU church in 1976 and has served at churches in Ohio, Alabama and Mississippi. I spoke to him about what it means to call oneself a Unitarian Universalist.

In your words, what is Unitarian Universalism?

Our premise is that freedom is the foundation of any spiritual or religious path. Unitarian Universalism is a disciplined search for truth. We are not creedal. We come together to look for truth without the expectation of finding absolute answers. We believe love is better than fear.

Unitarian Universalists are usually very socially conscious. We are proud of where we stand on issues like social justice and equality. Many people call these liberal ideas. I think they are just humane ideas.

How many members attend programs at the Tampa UU?

We have registered 123 members. We have a really active community. We have a diverse group of good people. We recently opened our new multipurpose building and we have the Dome, where we host concerts.

What does the Tampa UU offer the community?

We have the ongoing Sunday concert series. We are partnered with HOPE, the Hillsborough Organization for Prosperity and Equality, and are very involved in social justice issues. We marched in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. We have our ongoing children's religious education programs.

What do the children's programs teach?

The children study world religions. They study human nature, the discovery sciences and the natural world. They study our key principles. For instance we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

I can preach to you about God, Jesus, Mohammed or Confucius, but unless you get your act together and make your own decisions, you're really just buying into what I'm telling you. We teach that we are all a part of another and part of a great whole. So the children explore what it means to be a human being.

What is the biggest misconception about Unitarian Universalism?

That we don't believe anything.

Really, we don't believe in greed. We don't believe in differences. We're ethics driven.

If I had to say my personal theology, it's that love is a verb. God is a verb. We're in this life, on a journey with others, looking at all the magic in the world. I have the heart of a 32-year-old black female ticking in my chest now and so I'm able to be here.

In a cynical world with all kinds of misunderstanding I think telling people you're okay as you are and let's work well together is a good thing for people to believe in. But I'm naive.

Comments
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Updated: 2 hours ago
SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations. But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

Lys Isma was born in Haiti, but she’s used to driving in Miami with a license, going to college and living without fear of being deported.The Florida International University biology student has lived in Florida since she was 9 months old. Undocument...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Basketball: USF Bulls bounce back with rout of Howard; FSU, Miami win

TAMPA — Three nights after running out of steam in a loss at Indiana, USF had enough to steamroll Howard of the MEAC.A 17-1 run late in the first half helped the Bulls to a 75-52 win Wednesday before an announced Sun Dome crowd of 2,080. USF (3-2) he...
Updated: 3 hours ago
From USF-UCF, to UF-FSU, to Alabama-Auburn, it’s a busy college football Thanksgiving weekend

From USF-UCF, to UF-FSU, to Alabama-Auburn, it’s a busy college football Thanksgiving weekend

 
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it’s too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We haven’t turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. "It’s ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., Nov. 22, midday:76 001 3688e_SRit36220Wed., Nov. 22, evening:18 535 9156e_SRit57364LottoWed., Nov....
Updated: 5 hours ago

Top Trump staffers failed to file financial reports on their way out the door

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff Reince Priebus and foreign policy adviser Sebastian Gorka — failed to file legally required financial reports after they were dismissed this summer, according to government re...
Updated: 5 hours ago