JANUARY 06, 2019
UULALA

Monthly Theme:  GRACE
 

CULTIVATING ABANDONED PLACES



Please join us this Sunday morning as Fellowship Member Dennis Ward shares the story of a Third Place and the UU minister who is transforming an abandoned place into a community of love.

Located in the north Tulsa suburb of Turley, in an area that declined due to white flight, the economy and the usual ills that befall a poor community, a Third Place was the brainchild of Rev. Ron Robinson,  a UU minister who focuses on community service rather than Sunday Service.
A Third Place offers a variety of services including the only library in Turley, community gardens and orchard, thrift shop, art studio and more - taking the mission out of the church and into the community.
 



 
A "third place”—a term drawn from the work of sociologist Ray Oldenburg—refers to a place that is neither home nor work. “We are going to where the people are rather than making the people come to us,” says Robinson. “Our goal is to become embedded in the life of the larger community, providing life-giving opportunities. This also helps to get people out of the consumer model of church.”

Plan to stay after service for First Sunday Potluck.  Feel free to bring a dish to share or simply join us - there's always plenty.
 
After many years of varying careers from respiratory therapist, computer systems engineer, art gallery owner, and ceramic potter, I sometimes felt my working life was an all you can eat buffet. One day I was honest enough to accept I was more in tune with the writer’s way of life. A decision I’ve never regretted, says author and playwright Dennis Ward.
I tend to write stories that are intimate and from the heart. My late friend, Gisèle “Gigi” Carriton, inspired me to write my first play, which was a juried entry in the Hub City Theater Festival in 2008. I wrote the first version of Chez Gisèle, a one-act play, after I interviewed Gigi five months before she passed away. The play was my love letter to her.  I rewrote the play into a full-length, drag-musical, comedy noir play that premiered at the Cité des Arts Theater in May 2010. It was a hit with Lafayette audiences, selling out nine shows during its first three-week run. It was during the production that I learned of Gigi’s Jewish heritage and the horrors she and her family experienced during the holocaust. She rarely talked about her life during the war. I think it remained painful for her to the end of her life. In 2011, I entered the play in the New Orleans Saints and Sinners Theater Festival and it garnered a finalist position. It was also nominated for Best Musical Comedy at Lafayette’s Rosie Awards in 2014.
Since writing my first stage play, Chez Gisèle, I’ve been busy writing two novels following Gigi’s epic life story, Mademoiselle Gigi, and the sequel, Madame Gigi, two alternating stories of Gigi’s early life in America from 1946 to 1972. San Souci Books, the fiction imprint of the University of Louisiana Press, has published, Mademoiselle Gigi and Madame Gigi, which were released in August 2017.
For the stage, I’ve written and had produced three more full-length plays since 2010. The Roadkill Diner in 2011, a musical comedy, Big Daddy’s Last Dance in 2016, a comedy, and Finding Nelson Mandela, a comedy-drama, which was produced at the Cité des Arts Theater in August and September 2017. In addition, I’ve published numerous short stories and novel excerpts in Grey Wolf Publishing’s short story collection anthology, Legends. Also my stories have appeared in Deep South Magazine, and the University of Louisiana’s Southwest Review. I am truly humbled by readers and theater patrons who are following my books and plays. I sincerely hope my writing will be read and enjoyed by future generations.