From the Widening Our Vision (WOV) Team…

Mr. Rogers and our Open and Affirming Journey

Beloved children’s television show host Fred Rogers donned his trademark sweater and sneakers at the
start of each episode and asked, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”  He had much to teach generations of children about acceptance, caring, inclusion, being ‘helpers’  — lessons that are valuable for both young and old.

He shared his wisdom at Dartmouth College’s 2002 commencement ceremony,* and although his words were aimed at the graduation class, they also speak to our Open and Affirming journey, as we seek to widen our vision and extend a welcome to all, no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey.

Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel, a facet of that jewel, and in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not. … Deep down, we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course now and then. …

[Roman philosopher] Boethius wrote this sentence: “Oh happy race of mortals if your hearts are ruled, as is the universe, by love.” … [There is a] deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive: love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed. So in all that you do, in all of your life, I wish you the strength and the grace to make those choices which will allow you — and your neighbor — to become the best of whoever you are.

—Fred McFeely Rogers, 2002

Please mark your calendars and join us for our…

Widening Our Vision Speaker Series  Come, listen, learn, share, discuss, ask questions!

Sunday, April 3 ~ Stacy Esposito
Please join the Widening our Vision team in Hardy Hall after worship on Sunday, April 3. Stacy Esposito, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and owner of Healing Roots LLC, will lead an activity and discussion about how we can support the LGBTQ+ community. Special focus on the topic of transgender folks, as people have asked how to be better allies to this group. Come with questions and an open heart!


Sunday, April 24 ~ Leaf Seligman
Leaf Seligman will preach on April 24th, followed by an open “Circle session” in Hardy Hall for anyone interested in participating.  Leaf will share from her personal experience in the LGBTQ+ community, as a teacher, and from her wisdom and expertise in leading Restorative Circles, the aim of which is fostering deeper peace and mutual understanding. “One of the most important contributions of Circles is the strengthened web of relationships among a group of people. … As people sit together, talk about values, share personal stories, and work through disagreements in an atmosphere of respect and caring, they weave strong cords of connection among themselves.”*


Rescheduled – date TBD  ~ Gerri Cannon
Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event will be rescheduled.  Gerri Cannon will speak to us  about her personal experience and journey as a transgender woman.  A fellow member of the UCC, Gerri is a member of the NH House of Representatives (2018-present); a member of the Somersworth School Board; has held a wide variety of hardware, software, marketing, education and consulting positions across the past three decades; and as a master carpenter, is owner and founder of Cannon’s Carpenter on Call.

Email with questions or comments

*Read the entire text of Mr. Rogers’ 2002 Dartmouth commencement speech here.

© 2023 The Congregational Church of Hollis, UCC