FUUB Banner Project

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FUUB Banner Project

  1. 1. The Unitarian Universalist Sources and Values Banner ProjectBack in 2007 the Board of Trustees created the Welcoming Sanctuary Task Force and charged it with the taskof “transforming our buildings …into a truly welcoming and inspirational space, alive with the unique spirit ofour congregation in particular and of Unitarian Universalism in general.” We started our work in the vestibule– cleaning, de-cluttering and repairing. We installed a new brochure rack and bought a stand for our rainbowflag . And then a little over a year ago after soliciting design ideas from the congregation, in 2010 we installedthe much admired Chalice and Welcome sign in the tympanum. Our artist, Cooper Miller, designed,fabricated and installed this sign.Once we completed the tympanum art project, we were ready to think about ways to make our sanctuary itselfmore welcoming. The Task Force members and most people who come into our sanctuary find it very beautiful– the Minard Lafever gothic revival interior, the Tiffany stained glass windows, the two rose windows and thebeautiful angel mosaic on the west gallery wall. But as beautiful as the sanctuary is, the visual message thatmost people receive when they enter is not a Unitarian Universalist message. If any religion is evoked, it isChristianity, which is not surprising since our forbears considered themselves Christians and even named thisbuilding the Church of the Savior. Our clerestory windows depict individuals who can be considered UU“saints,” but still the visual “message” of this space is largely Christian, Euro-American and 19th century.The Task Force wrestled to find a way to bring in our UU message, along with a 21st century vitality and color,while still honoring the sanctuary’s existing beauty. What we have come up with is a set of banners to hangfrom the balconies that evoke our UU Sources of Inspiration. The shape of the banners is inspired by ourgothic revival architecture and the colors are inspired by our Tiffany windows. We are so fortunate to havewithin the congregation and Task Force two terrific artists, Cooper and Melody, who were able to take the ideaswe brainstormed and turn them into beautiful images. These images will give newcomers and congregants animmediate visual understanding of who we are as UUs. The Task Force believes that this clear visual messageabout who we are and what is important to us can only help us attract and retain new members. And thebeauty and vibrancy of the banners themselves will enhance everyone’s worship experience. -Nancy Witherell
  2. 2. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life; "To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.... The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence." - R.W. EmersonCopyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  3. 3. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love; Love - Peace - Justice This is an intimate yet magical depiction of a red heart in the hands of the viewer at the moment of transmission; love in the process of being offered or just received. Like a heart, Love is tender and delicate yet radiates vitality in all directions; there is no symbol more befitting.Copyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  4. 4. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love; Love - Peace - Justice The dove is the universally understood symbol for the rarely practiced virtue of peace. Hands releasing the dove against an indigo sky illustrate that true peace thrives when we are willing to release our tight grasp on other living entities and material things. Its feathered wings reflect the angels’ wings in the stain glass windows.Copyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  5. 5. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love; Love - Peace - Justice Lady Justice once personified a universal virtue of unbiased fairness, but now adorns a system that too often favors the underwriters of the law and creates victims by labeling them criminals. In this banner an old verdigris statue of Justicia holds a scale that has fallen out of plumb. A small human hand reaches up to raise the plate lowered by the elements and neglect, in an attempt to restore the balance of justice.Copyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  6. 6. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Wisdom from the worlds religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life; Artist Statement: The wisdom of many religious practices and faiths are represented in these sacred objects: the Yoruba dance wand, the Shinto Torii, the Buddhist prayer wheel, the indigenous peoples smudge bowl, the Muslim prayer rug, the Taoist Meditation Balls, the Sikh Kirpan blade, the Hindu prayer beads.Copyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  7. 7. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to Gods love by loving our neighbors as ourselves; Artist Statement: In this sky blue banner crepuscular rays permeate the clouds and fall on two houses of worship in a divine embrace of Judeo- Christian neighbors.Copyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  8. 8. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit; Leonardo Di Vincis famous image of the Vitruvian man was inspired by Vitruvius’ proportions of man and Pythagorus’ sacred geometry which posited that the square represents the material and the circle, the spiritual. Humanism rejects the duality of spirit and body, the Vituvian man depicts the unification of the two. In this banner we have incorporated a female figure to account for the feminine aspect which science has revealed is actually the default human form, thus unifying another cultural duality. The banner is gold to reflect the value of Humanism to the UU tradition.Copyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  9. 9. Sources and Values Banner Project First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Source: Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature. "Nature, in its ministry to man, is only the material, but is also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man" -R.W. EmersonCopyright © 2012 Demonstrous Productions, LLC
  10. 10. Viewed together the banners form a rainbow, whichsymbolizes diverse sources forming a cohesive whole.
  11. 11. Please come to First Unitarian’s Congregational meetingafter the service this Sunday October 21st, 2012 for the vote to endorse this project. Thank you - The Welcoming Sanctuary Task Force

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