• Joseph Plummer
    Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Online Service
    “Inside Another Culture: Insights, Delights, & Revelations”
    Speaker: Frank Thoms
    Sunday, January 10, 2021
    10:30 am
    Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/414604040
    Password: 294513

    By Joseph Plummer
    UUF Secretary

    Step inside Soviet Russian life during this Sunday’s UUFSMA Online service and see, in the words of Guest Speaker Frank Thoms, “an understanding that the world’s peoples are part of one family.” Recounting an amazing journey, author and educator Thoms will explore the guiding principles of Unitarian Universalism, as he experienced them during nearly a year in the Soviet Union on the eve of its dissolution. While he pursued a rewarding personal mission to teach, he also found an opportunity to test and affirm three of the UU Seven Principles.

    While many people travel to discover another culture, Thoms learned in the USSR to “seek the dignity and worth of every person” he met and thus affirmed UU Principle One. He also enacted Principle Four by relaxing his defenses toward the Soviet people, citizens of America’s Cold War adversary, and engaged in “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” As a citizen of the world, he leaned heavily upon Principle Seven, “respecting the interdependent web of existence” which he and his Soviet-Communist counterparts shared.

    “Being inside another culture, the ‘culture of the enemy,’ these principles allowed Russians and me to become vulnerable with one another,” he says. “I met Russians and saw aspects of their lives and mine mingling. I saw dignity, felt their struggle for self-worth, and sought meaning with them.”
    His insights draw upon eight trips to the old Soviet Union and one to the new Russia while teaching English for a year at four schools in three cities - Leningrad, Moscow, and Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan.

    His book “Behind the Red Veil: An American inside Gorbachev’s Russia” (SparkPress 2020) presents his understanding of Russians––and himself. A teacher for nearly forty years in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Worcester Massachusetts, he also worked for twelve years as an educational consultant. Thom and his wife moved to San Miguel nine years ago and, in the past five years, he has worked on a book about his experiences during the closing days of the Soviet Union.

    To participate in our online Sunday Service, visit the Fellowship’s website at www.uufsma.org and click on the Zoom Service button displayed on the home page. If requested, enter password: 294513. Sign-in from anywhere Sunday mornings between 10:15-10:25 am CST.

    Through grants and awards, UUFSMA donates at least fifty percent of its budget to support nonprofit organizations that provide health, educational, and environmental services for underserved communities in the San Miguel region. Please support this work by clicking on the website home page Donate button. Now more than ever, your support is essential.

    Due to the coronavirus, UUFSMA has suspended in-person Sunday services and other gatherings. A growing collection of previous online services can be found on the UUFSMA’s YouTube channel. Go to https://www.youtube.com/ and enter UUFSMA in the search box. The UU Fellowship welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
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