UUs to consider the Christmas tree tradition

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    By Pauline Benetti
    Special to The PREVIEW
    Our Unitarian Universalist faith is a living tradition and we look to many sources for our inspiration. Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries, it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness.
    This Sunday, John Buehler, our lay service leader and speaker, will explore the origins of our Christmas tree traditions and tie that into our local forests and the best type of tree to harvest for our community. Following service, he will lead our community in search of the perfect tree for our fellowship. To add to the fun of the search, we are invited to bring a hot drink and something to share.
    Buehler and his wife, Cindy, retired in 2017 and are enjoying life in Pagosa Springs. He worked for the USDA Forest Service for 37 years serving in a number of states — Wisconsin, Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Washington and Arizona — and with all Forest Service programs, including developed recreation, trails, surveying, timber, outfitter guides, wilderness, roads, minerals, lands, fire, range, wildlife, fisheries, soils, hydrology, botany, weeds and silviculture.
    He started his career as a forestry technician, moving on to forester, recreation district staff, deputy district ranger, district ranger and stewardship staff officer and is proud of his long service.
    His academic preparation served him well in his chosen field. At the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, he received his Bachelor of Science in forest management and forest recreation with a minor in natural resources management in 1981. Other interests include kayaking, paddle-boarding, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, camping and music.
    Our fellowship offers each individual support in our unique spiritual path and an opportunity to participate in positive social and environmental action. We welcome diversity and invite everyone to share in our faith community.
    A potluck will follow service on Dec. 15 as our fellowship says goodbye to Pastor Dean Cerny and celebrates a relationship that began in the summer of 2016. His last Sunday with us will be Dec. 22. To schedule a private meeting with Cerny or for further information about the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, call 731-7900.
    Religious Exploration (RE) classes are held on the third and fourth Sundays and continue through to May. For more information about RE, contact Anna Ramirez at afrancis_@hotmail.com.
    Find us in Unit B-15 of the Greenbriar Plaza. From North Pagosa Boulevard, turn right onto Park Avenue and right again into Greenbriar Plaza, then turn left and continue around the complex until you see the Unitarian Universalist sign as it faces the mountains. Join us. For further information about the fellowship, visit pagosauu.org or call 731-7900.