Proud To Be Part Of The Human Race: The Rescue Of The Danish Jews

By Dr Max Lawson

Although reticent by nature, a few words are in order about my attachment to Denmark and all things Danish. I taught for six years at the International People’s College in Elsinore (of Hamlet’s Castle fame) which is on the sea coast
about an hour’s drive north of Copenhagen. On weekends I took students on excursions. One particularly poignant one was to Gilleleje, the most northern point on the island of Zealand and the closest crossing to Sweden, twenty minutes by boat. Gilleleje, like Elsinore itself further south, was one of the escape centres to Sweden.

I took the students to the local ,village church in Gilleleye, which had a large loft or attic in which Jews were hidden, pending their escape to Sweden. Indeed they could see Sweden from a large porthole window. One group were betrayed either by a Danish informer or simply the Germans picked up loose gossip around the town. Another group that did not make it were the elderly Jewish residents of a
nursing home – they were overlooked.
In all 481 Danish Jews were deported to the Eesienstadt (north of Prague). From this “model” concentration camp many were deported to Auchwitz but the Danes were allowed to stay, a promise the Danish authorities had obtained from
Werner Best, head of the German occupation of Denmark.

The retelling of this extraordinary event in October, 1943 can be found here.

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In What Do We Place Our Trust

by Geoffrey R Usher

Robert A Storer served two long ministries in Massachusetts in the second half of last century. He visited Sydney in 1982 and preached in the Sydney Unitarian Church, and then in 1985 I stayed with him at the start of my speaking tour of Unitarian Universalist churches across America. I want to start by reading a piece entitled “Trust” which is in Robert’s little anthology Prayer Thoughts:
May we learn to trust in the things we see about us each day.
In simple acts of goodness, in kind and gentle words, in ways we gladly help one
another.
May we learn to trust in people,
In those with whom we disagree,
In those who want from life something quite different from what we desire.
In those who cannot possibly see things our way.
May we learn to trust in the underlying rightness of people’s motives.
Remove from us any suspicion or fear that another person deliberately wishes to injure us.
Let us learn to trust in the important things,
The things that are precious in our lives,
The daily friendly contacts,
The ability to laugh away tension, to drive away our fears.
Let us rejoice in friends who believe in us even when we act rashly and blindly, who stand by us even when they cannot defend all that we do or say.
Enable us through the strengthening power of this communion so to live on this
earth that we will strive to increase moments of beauty, to enlarge the happiness of others, to strengthen the bonds of human fellowship, to extend the areas of peaceful living on this earth, to trust that all can be well with us and others when we give life and motion to our trust.

You can read this sermon in full here.

 

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Henry David Thoreau Quote

IN THE STREET AND IN SOCIETY I AM ALMOST INVARIABLY CHEAP AND DISSIPATED, my life is unspeakably mean. No amount of gold or respectability would in the least redeem it — dining with the Governor or a member of Congress!! But alone in distant woods or fields, in unpretending sprout lands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even on a black and, to most, cheerless day, like this, when a villager would be thinking of his inn, I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related, and that the cold and solitude are friends of mine. I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing and prayer. I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home… It is as if I always met in those places some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible, companion, and walked with him.

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian and leading transcendentalist. He has long been an inspiration to Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists. The piece above comes from his diary January, 1857

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau

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Unitarian Universalism

Unitarian Universalism arose out of the joining together of Unitarian and Universalist Churches in the US. Here is how they describe themselves.

In Unitarian Universalism, you can bring your whole self: your full identity, your questioning mind, your expansive heart.

Together, we create a force more powerful than one person or one belief system. As Unitarian Universalists, we do not have to check our personal background and beliefs at the door: we join together on a journey that honors everywhere we’ve been before.

Our beliefs are diverse and inclusive. We have no shared creed. Our shared covenant (our seven Principles) supports “the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” Though Unitarianism and Universalism were both liberal Christian traditions, this responsible search has led us to embrace diverse teachings from Eastern and Western religions and philosophies.

Unitarian Universalists believe more than one thing. We think for ourselves, and reflect together, about important questions:

The existence of a Higher Power
Life and Death
Sacred Texts
Inspiration and Guidance
Prayer and Spiritual Practices
We are united in our broad and inclusive outlook, and in our values, as expressed in our seven Principles. We are united in shared experience: our open and stirring worship services, religious education, and rites of passage; our work for social justice; our quest to include the marginalized; our expressions of love.

A more detailed explanation can be found here.

 

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Quote for our Post-truth Times

The further  a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.

George Orwell.

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