Sian's Shenanigans

Sian's Shenanigans

Reverend Sian Wiltshire, Minister

By all means reach out and say hello! I can be reached by email, revsian@ocuuc.org, or by church phone at (714) 556-2882 (x302). Mondays are my day off, but I’m generally at the church during normal business hours T-Th and happy to meet with people at a time that is convenient to both of us during other times of the week.

~Rev. Sian

Mantra

Welcome to the new year! Each year, people around the globe find a spurt of motivation to make a new year’s resolution – to diet, get in shape, expand their mind, see family more – the list goes on and on. We try year after year to change and grow. I think it’s a rather beautiful tradition even if it tends to fade away within a few weeks. It’s so wonderfully human to try! Recently I was talking to one…

Wonder

There is a lovely story I read recently about the history of the Christmas tree. Christmas trees were brought over to the US by German immigrants, but they were made famous by Harriet Martineau, a writer and abolitionist, who had been invited to the family of Rev. Charles Follen, a Unitarian, to stay with them over Christmas. Charles and his wife had secretly brought a tree into the house (usually Christmas trees were outside) unbeknownst to their three young children…

Change

There are some forms of change that come easy for me. For example, I’ve probably lived in 50-60 different places in my life; I’m used to moving around and while I don’t always enjoy the journey, I always enjoy the destination. I haven’t yet found a place that I don’t like. And I love to learn – you all know I’ve always got some new hobby on my plate, and I try to make the services diverse and intellectually stimulating…

What is Courage?

A friend of mine once told me that he thought I was a courageous person. I was confused. I hadn’t done anything to my mind that seemed in any way courageous. When I asked him why he said that, he re-plied, “Well, you went off and lived in Australia. You’ve moved around a lot, even overseas.” I was rather stunned that he considered that “courageous.” I had moved around all my life – my parents were inveterate travelers. Moving was…

Ten Years at OCUUC

I can’t believe it: I’m entering my 10th year with OCUUC! How cool is that!? For those of you who have been a part of the church for much longer, you might think that’s not that long. But for me, it’s quite the milestone. I grew up moving almost every year or so. The longest I had ever lived in one place until age 16 was 1.5 years. Since then, as an adult, the most I’ve been at any job…

A Blessing for Everything

Years ago, I read a book called “The Carmina Gaedelica.” It’s a collection of Celtic Christian prayers, enchantments and blessings from the 19th Century from the Outer Hebrides of the Scottish Isles, a place that had preserved much of its original pagan roots. When you read the prayers and poems (and, yes, spells/enchantments!) you can tell they are unique immediately; they were all once from the druidic/pagan tradition. When Christianity came along, they just added in Jesus and Mary. What…

Beauty in People

I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a really cool gift: I sense the beauty in people. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they do, just about everyone has this inner spark of beauty. You can call it a soul if you like. I’m sure it’s connected to empathy and compassion, but it’s something I’ve been aware of since I was probably a teenager. Often I can tell that this inner beauty in them is covered up by…

Waking Up!

About 20 years ago, I was going through a rather stressful time. And every morning my alarm would go off and jar me awake with its insistent noise. After all an “alarm” is meant to raise your anxiety level, almost to the point of panic, so that you get out of bed. I decided that this was not a good way to start my day, so now I have an alarm that wakes me up with a light that slowly…

Concept of Faith

Faith is sometimes a difficult concept for Unitarian Universalists. We want to trust only the concrete, the science, the numbers. But Faith is about trusting in yourself, in humanity and in the future. It’s not an easy thing to do and the reality is that sometimes even having faith doesn’t mean that the future you want will come true. But faith isn’t always about everything going your way. It’s about trusting that the work you do now will have an…

Circles and growth

He drew a circle that shut me out—Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.But Love and I had the wit to win:We drew a circle that took him in!Edwin Markham, poet laureate of Oregon from 1923-1931 Gender pronouns notwithstanding, I love this quote. I think it often gets at the heart of why so many communities don’t expand to include those that are different. We draw circles about who is in and who is out. So many communities ask people who…

Intentional Learning

I’ve always thought that everyone should go to seminary. I learned so much there – learning how to listen and better communication skills; learning to see different points of view and being aware of my power; learning how to builds bridges; and learning, most of all, how to connect to the Holy that resides within and around me. But then, one day, it occurred to me that going to church is pretty much like going to seminary! If you are…

Holiday Joy

December can be a busy month for ministers. Not only do we have additional services like Christmas Eve and the Winter Solstice Singing Ritual, but there is all the normal planning around Christmas that goes on. I admit, I tend to get a little humbug and hunker down, resenting the need to shop, to hit the malls and post office. Until two years ago. Before the pandemic hit, Rev. Judy, when she was our Director of Religious Education, asked me…