12-2-17 Sangha Update

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you all well an happy and very, very grateful.

This is just a reminder that there will be a gathering tomorrow evening at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County in the Lily Pads Complex on North Rd. in Peace Dale at 6 PM. We will enjoy sitting meditation, looking more deeply at Thay's teachings from Creating True Peace, recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings and share the Dharma. I hope you will be able to be with us.


I am sorry to have to let you know that our dear friend Philip Smith's father, Curtis, passed on Nov. 30 at the age of 100! (Many of you have met Philip. He has sat with the us and several of the Sanghas and helped every year with the Aldersgate Retreat) Curtis was an amazing man and a sweet, kind and caring soul...much like his son! I have included his obituary below and his service will be tomorrow afternoon. Please hold Curtis, Philip and their family in your hearts and in your prayers. You can send a note to Philip at philip58@gmail.com

SAVE THE DATE - Day of Mindfulness - January 27th at the Westminster Unitarian Church in East Greenwich. registration 9:30-10 and the program will go from 10-3:30. There will be a Transmission Ceremony to formally transmit the Five Mindfulness Trainings at the beginning of our day. If you are interested in receiving formal transmission please fill out the form below and get it back to me as soon as you are able. If you would like to learn more about the transmission, please feel free to contact me. We will enjoy sitting and walking meditation and a Dharma talk and some sharing. I hope you will put this on your calendar and plan on joining us. It is wonderful to be able to be peace together. More details will follow.

Also…if you or any of your friends have still not seen the film “Walk With Me” the Jane Pickens Theater in Newport has been so happy with the response to their first two showings that they plan a third showing on December 18. It will be a lovely respite in the midst of the holiday season….so if you know anyone who is interested, please get tickets at the website… http://janepickens.com

Engaged Practice...Things are getting even bumpier than they were before for our country. It has been very anxiety producing for many. As I have said before, I urge all of you to be well educated about what is happening in our country. It is a wonderful opportunity to deepen our practice and send love letters and make phone calls to those in positions of power. You can contact all of your representatives at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials You can also participate in the Sangha google group to communicate directly, get information and engaged practice updates, news about activities, ride sharing, etc.

Also there is now a RI Community of Mindfulness Facebook Page that offers news and videos, etc.

I hope you can be with us tomorrow and in the meantime, if you are feeling a bit powerless, or overwhelmed, I hope that this might inspire you...It is a reminder of the power of one...and the power of empowerment. We need to empower each other. Let's do it!


with much love and many hugs,


Obituary for Curtis Warren Smith

Curtis Smith, retired United Methodist Minister, died November 30 at the age of 100 in East Providence, RI, surrounded by his family. Curtis Warren Smith was born in Highland Park, Michigan on October 28, 1917, the elder of two children born to Wirt Jordan Smith, a realtor, and Ella Pauline Curtis Smith, a teacher. His parents divorced when Curtis was 12, and his mother single-handedly raised Curtis and sister Barbara. Curtis graduated from Highland Park High School in 1934 at age 16, having skipped ahead a year. He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, graduating in 1938. Curtis’ sophomore year was spent in Guangzhou, China studying at Lingnan University with other young American men, some of whom became lifelong friends.

After graduating from Wesleyan, Curtis worked at the YMCA in Hartford, Connecticut for three years, working with young men. He took them on a notable trip to Oberlin College for a conference where he sang God Bless America for the first time, which had recently been made famous by Kate Smith.

In 1941 Curtis entered Chicago Theological Seminary, after hearing an especially boring sermon at his local United Methodist Church and deciding he could do better. At seminary he met Rosemary Hirst (of Detroit) and they married in 1948, after he had served as a minister in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, for four years. After their marriage they moved from Pittsburg to the Canaan, Vermont parsonage. Their first child, Margaret Clara, was born in 1950, and shortly thereafter the Smiths moved to Henniker, New Hampshire, where Susanna Pauline was born in 1953. In 1956, Curtis took a sabbatical from the church and the family moved to Manistee, Michigan for a year, where he worked as a union night watchman for a salt refinery.

In 1957, the young family went to Lancaster, New Hampshire, where Curtis became pastor of Christ United Methodist Church for seven years. Philip Roger was born there in 1958. In 1964, Curtis, wanting to become involved in the civil rights movement, moved the family to the Peninsula Conference on the eastern shore of Maryland. His first posting was in East New Market, Maryland, and the following one in Townsend, Delaware. Curtis made inroads in establishing a relationship with the African Methodist Episcopal church in Townsend, and also worked on developing the youth programs at Townsend United Methodist Church. In 1971, with one child left at home, Curtis and Rosemary moved to Frankford, Delaware, joining the Frankford charge. After Philip’s graduation from high school, Curtis and Rosemary moved to the Allen charge in Allen, Maryland. After six years there, they moved to the Choptank, Maryland charge. Curtis retired in 1985, and Rosemary and he moved back to Lancaster, New Hampshire where they rejoined Christ United Methodist Church. Curtis remained active, filling in for other pastors occasionally and officiating at weddings and funerals, until his complete retirement at the age of 89. After Rosemary’s death in 2005, Curtis lived alone in the house in Lancaster for several years until moving into an assisted living facility in Providence, Rhode Island, near his son Philip. His last years were spent at Tockwotton, a nursing facility in East Providence.

Curtis had a prodigious memory and a love of classical music, opera, baseball (first the Detroit Tigers, then the Red Sox), hiking, reading, writing and receiving letters. He was faithful in keeping in touch with old friends and good at making new ones. He was always on the side of those who were in need – the ill, those affected by racism or poverty or war. He was a lifelong pacifist. He enjoyed working with youth always.

Curtis is predeceased by his wife Rosemary and his sister Barbara Suter. He is survived by daughters Margaret Smith (Victor Martino) of Bainbridge Island, Washington and Susanna Smith (Julie Orr) of Seattle, son Philip Smith (Rochelle Sokoll) of Providence, granddaughter Heron Greenesmith (Daniel Parr) of Boston, grandson Emerson Greenesmith of New York, and one great-granddaughter.

A service for Curtis will be held at 2pm on Sunday, December 3rd at Haven United Methodist Church, 200 Taunton Ave., East Providence, RI.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) or the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).