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Topic “Minister's Message”

Minister's Musings

Following is Rev. Allen's article in Contact, our monthly newsletter.  It bears repeating.


Minister’s Musings Rev. Allen Harden

Charles Dickens began his Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Now, Dickens may have had his time in mind, but these words seem timeless. They definitely apply to where we are now.


The great news is that we can now hold some hope that the pandemic is waning, and barring another new set of variants, may even be headed towards a new normal where Covid-19 is just a really nasty disease. We are feeling it in most walks of life. And it was a true pleasure to join with most of you in church this morning, to share space, bump elbows, hear the piano, and to chat easily after the service. Our zoom sessions have served us well, and kept us connected in our time of need, but it is so nice to leave them behind us for a while. I look forward to a time of full ease in community.

The terrible news is the sudden onset of a ground war in Europe, as Russian troops invade Ukraine. Already, these actions have incurred huge costs in life and property, and stolen the innocence away from new generations. I heard one woman interviewed as she was trying to take her child and her mother to safety in Poland. “I cannot express what I feel” she said, “and that is not because I don’t have the words in English, but because I do not have them in any language.” What can express how she must feel when everything secure and stable and safe in her world has been ripped away at the whim of one very powerful and dangerous man.

And there are many things good and many things bad in between these two poles. It is hard to become centered when there is so much else to pull us this way and that.

Today was a gorgeous day here in Chicago. It teased us about the coming of Spring and the regeneration of daytime and warmth and green things. I found great joy in the day, as I hope you did. In the face of everything, always seize the precious moments of joy. We need them, and we deserve them.

In faith and love,

Rev. Allen


Minister's Message: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My hopes for the coming year are that we all thrive, flourish, and grow. I wish that each of us can find places of comfort, niches where we feel safe. I wish that each of us will fell wanted, valued, and loved. These places might be physical, they might be in relationship with loved ones, they might be within our congregation. Taking care of one another takes intention and can be hard work, but it is an effort that the Beverly Unitarian Church community has been very good at managing.

At the moment, we are doing a déjà vu with the pandemic, and it is painful. I was so looking forward to sharing the beauty and glory of our Christmas Eve service with all of you in our sanctuary, and then joining in song and candlelight (and cocoa) afterwards outdoors. But, it was not to be, and we had to turn to a zoom-based service. The service itself felt lovely, but I missed you being there with us. Going virtual was the right thing to do, and most of us were able to enjoy the experience while eating cookies and treats so lovingly distributed by the elves of our castle. As I said, we are good at caring for one another, and we should all take pride in this caring nature.

I am confident that we can continue moving forward during the New Year, and we are starting to build programming ideas to create opportunities for continued engagement and stimulation. The first of these, that I will announce here, is a series of Monday evening discussions with the Minister. These will be zoom discussions that will start by addressing a specific topic that may be of interest or importance. I will offer these at 7:30 p.m. on the Mondays following Sundays when I lead worship so there will usually be two each month. On January 3, we will consider tension in belonging to world community while living with national sovereignty. January 17 is Martin Luther King Day, so we will relate our own memories of Dr. King, the Civil Rights movement, and racial justice in America.

I look forward to 2022, and will hold onto my optimism that the pandemic will recede and we can begin to live again, as we chose.

In faith,-Rev. Allen

Discussions with the Minister & Zoom Links: 

Mon, Jan 3, 7:30 p.m. Topic: World Community?

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 895 4668 8443
Passcode: 909589

Mon Jan 17, 7:30. p.m. Topic: MLK and Civil Rights.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 839 2006 6152
Passcode: 065770



WELCOME to BUC, Reverend Allen!

We have a new minister!  Below is his first entry into Contact, our church newsletter.  Read it and you will see that Rev. Allen Harden and his ministry show the promise of being a "great fit" with our community.  If you are a "like thinker", please join us.  

"A new beginning, a fresh start. For me, these describe taking on a Ministry at Beverly Unitarian Church. So much will be new for me as I learn about your community and the religious climate you have created. So far, I really like what I have heard and seen, starting with the glowing testimony that Rev. David Schwartz related to local ministers in his appeal to encourage applicants for this position. I am also encouraged by the few of you I have met.

And who am I? I am a lifelong UU who finally got wise enough to steer my life into Ministry. Some of the choices that got me here were difficult change is always hard but I know that I finally found a true vocation and calling. I know that I belong in pastoral ministry in a congregational setting. While I have many ideas and beliefs of my own, I do not bring a rigid agenda to this ministry. I am interested in finding the words and actions that feed each of you as individual persons, in creating ways of being and sharing that help keep this congregation strong and vital, and building strategies that effectively apply our shared values to benefit the community we live in and to serve the larger good.

I am familiar with Beverly, but by no means an expert. I grew up in the D.C. suburbs, and moved to Chicago in 1974 to do graduate work in Sociology at the University of Chicago. I met my wife Pat here, we were married in 1980 and have lived in Hyde Park ever since. We have two adult daughters, and are so proud that each is working in a helping profession in Chicago. We also have two granddaughters (ages 4 and 7) and our family enjoys the gift of being deeply involved in each other’s lives. I will try to give my wife and daughters some privacy, but I imagine you will hear about the grandkids a lot.

What else can I tell you? My theology is deeply Humanistic. I find a clear call to personal agency in my Humanism, and the imperative to work on creating meaning and purpose in life. At the same time, feel a strong pull towards reverence and awe for the natural order of our world and cosmos. I believe in the science, and that everything in creation could be explainable if we ever find the right explanations. But sometimes, the mind doesn’t work that way. Just last week I was sitting on a dock in the Northwoods of Wisconsin with my daugh- ter. It was about midnight. We listened to loons, owls, and other living things that I hope were friendly. The sky was lit up with stars that you just can’t see near Chicago. We saw several brilliant shooting stars, the Milky Way crossed the entire sky, and we could even identify one cluster as Andromeda (the next Galaxy out). Science explains almost all of this, but my personal experience was far more spiritual than scientific. I was in a sacred place, I was part of the sacred. I felt simultaneously tiny and huge. Creation is awesome, even to (or especially to) a non-theistic thinker.

Let us come together, let us learn to listen to one another, and find out what makes us each tick. Let us hold one another (metaphorically during pandemic) and care for one another. Let us welcome all, work towards justice, and keep growing our souls. I might be the Minister, but our ministry belongs to all of us, so let us get out there and do some good. I am in."


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Kids 5 to 12 years old

Children aged five through twelve, who are fully vaccinated, are invited to attend the first part of the church service to hear "the story for all ages."  They will then leave to attend their UU Education classes, where everyone who is with them is fully vaccinated.

Buddhist Meditation

Reverend Marcia Curtis For more information please click

Religious Education

Childcare for our youngest is available during services.

All children are welcome!   



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