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To Help and Not to Harm:  A Tale of Good and Evil, UU Service

Sunday, November 12, 10:30am
Hotel Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15
Free

To Help and Not to Harm:  A Tale of Good and Evil, UU Service

Throughout history, human beings have been the beneficiaries of heroic actions, most frequently those of an outstanding individual taking a committed stand regardless of the conventional status quo. Sometimes that’s not enough. At this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service, the Rev. Wyman Rousseau points to an historical example of collective heroism that shows how we as individuals can join with others to help through dark times.

For a few years during World War II, one of the safest places to be, particularly if you were a Jew, was the French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Jewish people in France found their lives in danger when the Vichy regime of France decided to collaborate with the Nazis. Led by their local pastor, Andre Trocmé and his wife, Magda Trocmé, and the Pastor’s assistant, Theis, the villagers aided up to three thousand Jewish children and adults escape France and find safety in Switzerland. Pastor Trocmé faith was grounded in Protestant Huguenot Christianity. His wife’s faith was grounded in humanism.

The pastors and their spouses were not the lone heroes of this story. All the villagers took a stand “to help and not to harm.” One question arising from this story is “Why did this village promote the good when other villages around them did not?” How did goodness prevail in Le Chambon? What lessons might we derive for today’s even greater refugee crisis? It is estimated that war, other kinds of violence in the homeland, and climate change have made refugees of 65 million people. Reverend Rousseau will address these questions in his Sunday service.

In 1981 Haverford College (founded by Quakers) awarded the village of Le Chambon an honorary degree for their exemplary humanitarian behavior during the war. In 1990, the entire town received the “Righteous Among the Nations” award from Israel “for their bravery under extreme danger.” In 2004 the French officially recognized the heroism of the villagers. In 2007 the town was given the French Righteous Among the Nations Award at a ceremony at the Panthéon in Paris.

Reverend Rousseau has been a Unitarian Universalist minister for 49 years, serving congregations in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida and North Carolina. Wyman is the founder of Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, NC. He also served six years as the Southeastern Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America and leads occasionally Haiku Mindfulness Walks in San Miguel’s botanical garden, El Charco del Ingenio.
The U.U. Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15, and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The meeting room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at uufsama.org.

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