Karen G. Johnston

A smiling Rev. Karen Johnston

Rev. Karen G. Johnston (she/her/hers) is the Senior Minister at First Unitarian Universalist Society Burlington in Vermont. Before becoming a minister, she spent 20+ years as a clinical social worker. Buddhist meditation, her befriending death practice, and the Work That Reconnects all sustain her spiritually.

Karen is the founder of Date with Death Club, a secular, justice-affirming, and enlivening curriculum to explore mortality in community, which she sometimes leads and actively encourages others to bring to their communities.

From Karen G. Johnston

Displaying 21 - 30 of 30

Leader: Ours is a world alive and aloud with the presence of creatures and critters. Animals abound, interwoven in our human lives and wholly independent. This is the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part....

Responsive Reading | By Karen G. Johnston | July 17, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: 1st Principle (Worth & Dignity), 2nd Principle (Justice, Equity, & Compassion), 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), Animal Blessing, Animals, Awe, Direct Experience, Earth-Centered, Nature, Relationships, Responsibility

Let us ground ourselves in gratitude: using the colorful paper and something to write with, we prepare for our Gratitude Confetti ritual. Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/on-being-column-the-hardship-we-accept/"…; I encourage myself to remember that being grateful...

Ritual | By Karen G. Johnston | January 23, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: Beginnings, Ending, Gratitude, Humanism, Integrity, New Year, Secular, Unitarian Universalism

Remembering to breathe and to breathe deeply and then once more, to take the breath in and let the breath out, we pause, poised as we are, at a point of risking, at a possibility of courage: #metoo. Risking vulnerability Risking pain Risking being known Risking being not believed Risking being...

Prayer | By Karen G. Johnston | January 23, 2018 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: 1st Principle (Worth & Dignity), Body, Courage, Direct Experience, Gender, Healing, Mothers, Sexuality, Vulnerability, Wholeness, Women

Before beginning, dramatically turn your back on the congregation and children, and place a smudge on cheek. It is important that this be a smudge that is large enough for the congregation to see, but does not cover the whole face. One cheek is good. Turn around....

Time for All Ages | By Karen G. Johnston | April 4, 2017 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: #BlackLivesMatter, Anti-Oppression, Community, Covenant, Direct Experience

Do not be alone right now. Gather together. Gathering together grows courage: in ourselves and in others who see the numbers swelling. It is a small thing, but right now it is an important thing....

Affirmation | By Karen G. Johnston | August 1, 2016 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: 2nd Principle (Justice, Equity, & Compassion), 3rd Principle (Acceptance & Spiritual Growth), 6th Principle (World Community), Community, Direct Experience, Justice, Power, Prophetic Words & Deeds, Purpose, Responsibility, Solidarity, Unity

I am sad. I am mad. I am afraid. These small words keep repeating in my head and heart. We give voice to our grief because of the lives stolen in Orlando: gay and lesbian and trans lives. Latino and Latina lives. Beloved, cherished lives. We give voice to our prayers for lasting comfort for their...

Prayer | By Karen G. Johnston | June 14, 2016 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: America, Anti-Oppression, Courage, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer, Love, Pride Sunday, Terrorism, Unitarian Universalism

Inexplicable. How we rise each morning, instead of burying our heads under bedcovers, sewing them shut. Why we keep on welcoming babies with bone-deep joy to this sordid world. How we fill burlap sacks with grit and gratitude, our hands shredded as we drag one over the other....

Poetry | By Karen G. Johnston | April 7, 2016 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: 1st Principle (Worth & Dignity), 4th Principle (Truth & Meaning), Balance, Brokenness, Disaster or Crisis, Grief, Hope, Integrity, Limitations, Living Our Faith, Mystery, Wholeness

Inspired by Full-Week Faith, created by Karen Bellavance Grace through the Fahs Collaborative, First Parish Church of Groton decided to hold a Blessing of the Backpacks. Here are some nuts & bolts, in case you don’t want to reinvent the wheel: Don’t Do It the Night Before School Starts: We...

By Karen G. Johnston | October 13, 2015 | From LeaderLab
Tagged as: Multigenerational Faith Development, Rites of Passage

What if when I light the chalice, you hear an invitation to welcome gratitude for the earth? This week, as I got ready to light the chalice, my family talked about blessings from this planet. Here is my list: [list 3-7 things] And now, with this flame of hope shedding light in your heart: what is...

Chalice Lighting | By Karen G. Johnston | May 6, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), Animals, Children, Earth, Earth Day, Earth-Centered, Environment, Gratitude, Nature, Unitarian Universalism, WorshipWeb

This pastoral prayer is adapted from the prayer of Shantideva, an 8th century Buddhist monk and major source of inspiration to the Dalai Lama, who references the original prayer often. There are many translations, some of which contain the whole text; some of which do not....

Prayer | By Karen G. Johnston | March 2, 2015 | From WorshipWeb
Tagged as: 2nd Principle (Justice, Equity, & Compassion), 3rd Principle (Acceptance & Spiritual Growth), 6th Principle (World Community), 7th Principle (Interconnected Web), Brokenness, Buddhism, Healing, Hope, Service, Unitarian Universalism, Wholeness

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