CUUC

CUUC

2018-07-13

From the Minister, Fri Jul 13

The third of the three AIWs (Actions of Immediate Witness) passed by the delegates at General Assembly 2018 was: "We Are All Related: Solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors." The action addresses the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is on Great Sioux Nation Treaty Land, and the "intercultural community of transformation and prayerful resistance" that formed at Standing Rock to oppose the Pipeline's construction under the Missouri River -- which flows on down through Kansas City, where the 2018 General Assembly gathered.

Through 2016 and into 2017 Lakota/Dakota/Nakota (Sioux) peoples were joined at Standing Rock by "people from more than 300 Indigenous nations" and "allies of many colors" to protect the waters of the Missouri. The Obama administration halted Dakota Access Pipeline construction pending an Environmental Impact assessment. However, President Trump reversed this action and construction resumed. The pipeline was completed in April 2017 and oil began flowing through it the next month.

The AIW notes that "Unitarian Universalists play a unique role among faith communities, forming strong bonds as relatives with Indigenous Water Protectors," and that "unprecedented numbers of Unitarian Universalists, Indigenous and otherwise, were propelled by our values to respond to this call for solidarity and were generally welcomed as relatives" at the Standing Rock protests.

"Seven Indigenous Water Protectors face federal charges in Bismarck-Mandan. A National Jury Project randomized survey concluded that 77% of the jury-eligible population in Morton County and 85% in Burleigh County have already decided that Water Protectors are guilty, yet requests to change trial venues have been denied."

"As Unitarian Universalists," the AIW declares:
  • We express our gratitude to Standing Rock, Sacred Stone Camp, Oceti Sakowin Camp, Sicangu Rosebud Camp, and associated camps for welcoming us as relatives and affirming that all people belong to the human family.
  • We affirm solidarity with Water Protectors, including defendants, inmates, and their loved ones.
  • We pledge our direct and tangible support for local Indigenous movements that seek to protect the environment and restore traditional Indigenous ways of life.
The AIW urges extending "relationships of solidarity with Water Protectors, leveraging our spiritual, financial, human, and infrastructural resources in support of Water Protectors, especially those who face ongoing charges and prison sentences, and their loved ones." It also asks "the UUA to supply materials and guidance such as curriculum development, educational materials, and support for networking among UUs to work in solidarity with Water Protectors."

Read the full statements of all three AIWs. Here are the links:
"End Family Separation and Detention of Asylum Seekers and Abolish ICE"
"Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons for Profit"
"We Are All Related: Solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors"

Westchester UU minister, Rev. Karen Brammer, was at Standing Rock in Nov-Dec 2016. She posted about the experience at "Voices of Liberal Faith." See HERE, and scroll down to "Brammer, Karen".

Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit.
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week: Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look them over and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.

Your Moment of Zen: Emptiness. At a Tallspruce party, Porcupine cornered Raven and said, "I wanted to tell you that I've found that there is no basis for emptiness." Raven looked startled, then she and Porcupine burst into laughter. READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jul 14

2018-07-06

From the Minister, Fri Jul 6

The 2018 General Assembly (Jun 20-24) adopted three AIWs (Actions of Immediate Witness). Last week I summarized the first: "End Family Separation and Detention of Asylum Seekers and Abolish ICE." The full AIW is HERE.

This week, let me tell you about the second AIW: "Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons For Profit." It notes that "prisons for profit encourage longer terms of imprisonment and maximize profit by minimizing services and rehabilitation," and that many prisons "charge for necessary medical care using private, for-profit medical companies." Prisoners' limited ability to pay "perpetuates illness, debility, insurmountable debt, and chronic poverty. People in prisons are dying every day due to prohibitive medical cost." It is a "a system of oppression that perpetuates and further criminalizes poverty." The Supreme Court has declared these practices unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment (Estelle v. Gamble, 1976), and the practices violate the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners -- yet the practices continue.

The AIW "denounces the predatory practice of charging medical fees to people in prison," and calls on UUs to:
  • Contact Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner urging him to sign HB 5104, which is currently on his desk. This bill would end medical fees for people incarcerated in Illinois.
  • Contact Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and state legislators to demand an end to fee-for-service medical care in their states.
  • Publicly oppose the practices of Corizon Health, which profits from privatized health care in Kansas, Missouri, and in twenty other states, as well as Wexford Health, MHM Services Inc. and other companies that supply health care for local, state, and federal prisons and ICE detention facilities.
  • Get more deeply involved in direct service prison ministry through such actions as beginning or joining local prison ministry efforts within your congregation or community organization; networking with others engaged in prison ministry; leading worship or small group ministry within prisons; becoming a pen pal; and welcoming post-incarcerated persons into your congregation.
  • Continue to educate ourselves on the adverse impacts of prison privatization and the many injustices such as a) grossly disproportionate impact on marginalized groups, b) solitary confinement practices, c) prison-based gerrymandering, d) voter disenfranchisement and e) employment discrimination.
Read the full AIW HERE.

Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit.
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week: Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look them over and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.

Your Moment of Zen: Saving the Many Beings. Mallard appeared in the circle after a trip and asked, "The first of our vows is to save the many beings. You told us that the Sixth Ancestor said this means, 'You save them in your own mind.' Is that all there is to fulfilling this vow?" Raven said, "Completely fulfilled." Mallard said, "But what then?" Raven said, "Not just your skull." READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jul 7

2018-06-28

From the Minister, Thu Jun 28

Last week, I was at the 2018 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Kansas City.

GA is always exciting and always teaches me something. My first GA was 20 years ago: 1998 in Rochester, NY. In the years since then, I missed a few, though not many. Kansas City was my 18th GA. It was also my first GA serving on the Commission on Social Witness (CSW), to which I was elected at the end of the 2017 GA. Originally named the "Commission on General Resolutions," the CSW shepherds the processes for the social action resolutions that are voted on by all the delegates at GA. This includes shepherding:
  • the CSAI (Congregational Study/Action Issue) process through submission of proposals many months in advance of GA through the delegate vote to select one such proposal for a 4-year exploration by our congregations;
  • the SOC (Statement of Conscience) process through which the CSAI culminates in statement which the delegates may vote to adopt. For example, the 2017 GA adopted an SOC on economic inequality which our congregation adopted, in amended form, last April.
  • the AIW (Action of Immediate Witness) process through which a maximum of three issues raised at GA turn into statements at GA.
In the coming weeks, I'll use this column to write about the CSAI that was chosen at GA 2018. But, first, let's look at the AIWs that were selected. I'll discuss each of the three in the weeks ahead. First, "End Family Separation and Detention of Asylum Seekers and Abolish ICE."

The 578-word statement references our 2013 Statement of Conscience on immigration (read this SOC HERE), and notes that families are being separated, "children are abused and drugged," and that "white supremacy criminalizes black and brown bodies and the exercise of their rights." The statement calls on UUs to demand reunification of families, an end to incarceration of asylum seekers, investigation of the drugging and abuse of detained children, and abolition of ICE and removal of immigration oversight from the Department of Homeland Security.

The statement also urges us to participate in the Jun 30 Mass Mobilization (see HERE) and Jul 2 events at border areas, support immigration reform, and "build accountable relationships with immigrant-led groups, supporting what they request, without usurping leadership."

Read the full AIW statement HERE.

Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit. New in the last two weeks:
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week: Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look them over and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.
Your Moment of Zen: Delineation. Porcupine came over with a gift of leavings. "Kind of you," said Raven. "I have a report," said Porcupine. "This morning when the birds woke me up, I realized that my quills and my skin don't delineate me." "What delineates you?" asked Raven. "You always blink when you ask a hard question," said Porcupine. Raven said, "You are very observant." READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jun 30

RE News: Sun Jul 1

Lifespan Religious Education
Summer is here and that means games! Childcare is provided during the Sun services and high school youth will be there with, Diane, to play games with children of all ages. There may even be water balloons, so join in the summer fun on Sundays.

Please see the following three (3) announcements:

1) Summer Sunday Games During the Service
Children of all ages are invited for:
  • outdoor games
  • basketball
  • playground play
  • water balloons
  • board games
You are also welcome to attend services as a family in air-conditioned Fellowship Hall. The childcare room is also air-conditioned.

Nursery care is available.

2) All You Need to Bring Is Your Presence
Each CUUCer has an opportunity to connect with our children, youth, and adults in Religious Education.

There are many ways to be a part of it...
  • Teach once a month on a six-person team
  • Help in an interest area
  • Adult RE, welcoming newcomers, social events, social justice, spiritual practices, music, or your special interest.
Contact Perry at dlre@cucwp.org or 914-946-1660 x4 to find your place in RE.

3) UU Summer Camps & Retreat Centers for Children, Youth, and Families
Unitarian Universalist retreat centers offer the opportunity to connect with UUs from around the country in fun and fellowship. Whether you are looking for a place to go as a family or somewhere for your kids to experience a fun camp, there are many amazing Unitarian Universalist summer destinations:

Ferry Beach is oceanfront in ME.
ferrybeach.org
The Mountain is atop the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC.
mountaincenters.org
The Rowe Center is in the Berkshire Mountains in MA.
rowecenter.org
Sophia Fahs RE Camp is one week in August on Shelter Island.
www.liacuu.org/Fahs
Star Island is a 46-acre island off the NH coast.
starisland.org
Unirondack is in the NY Adirondacks.
unirondack.org
Murray Grove is a Universalist retreat center nearby in NJ.
http://www.murraygrove.org/#!camping-in-the-grove/c15no
UUMAC Retreat is one week in July at DeSales University in PA.
uumac.org
The Central East Region offers a Summer Institute focused on climate change.
http://omdsi.org/
SUUSI is a weeklong multignerational event in North Carolina.
https://www.suusi.org/

Sincerely,
Perry
Director of Lifespan Religious Education and Faith Development

2018-06-21

RE News: Sun Jun 24

Lifespan Religious Education
I look forward to seeing those of you who will be attending the Juneteenth service this Sunday. There will be supervised games for children of all ages. It is a great opportunity for bonding over the summer. Children are welcome to invite a friend to join in the fun. Families can also attend the service together.

Please see the following three (3) announcements:

1) Summer Sunday Games During the Service
Children of all ages are invited for:
  • outdoor games
  • basketball
  • playground play
  • water balloons
  • board games
You are also welcome to attend services as a family in air-conditioned Fellowship Hall. The childcare room is also air-conditioned.

Nursery care is available.

2) All You Need to Bring Is Your Presence
Each CUUCer has an opportunity to connect with our children, youth, and adults in Religious Education.

There are many ways to be a part of it...
  • Teach once a month on a six-person team
  • Help in an interest area
  • Adult RE, welcoming newcomers, social events, social justice, spiritual practices, music, or your special interest.
Contact Perry at dlre@cucwp.org or 914-946-1660 x4 to find your place in RE.

3) UU Summer Camps & Retreat Centers for Children, Youth, and Families
Unitarian Universalist retreat centers offer the opportunity to connect with UUs from around the country in fun and fellowship. Whether you are looking for a place to go as a family or somewhere for your kids to experience a fun camp, there are many amazing Unitarian Universalist summer destinations:

Ferry Beach is oceanfront in ME.
ferrybeach.org
The Mountain is atop the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC.
mountaincenters.org
The Rowe Center is in the Berkshire Mountains in MA.
rowecenter.org
Sophia Fahs RE Camp is one week in August on Shelter Island.
www.liacuu.org/Fahs
Star Island is a 46-acre island off the NH coast.
starisland.org
Unirondack is in the NY Adirondacks.
unirondack.org
Murray Grove is a Universalist retreat center nearby in NJ.
http://www.murraygrove.org/#!camping-in-the-grove/c15no
UUMAC Retreat is one week in July at DeSales University in PA.
uumac.org
The Central East Region offers a Summer Institute focused on climate change.
http://omdsi.org/
SUUSI is a weeklong multignerational event in North Carolina.
https://www.suusi.org/

Sincerely,
Perry
Director of Lifespan Religious Education and Faith Development

2018-06-15

From the Minister, Fri Jun 15

Dr. Seuss's "Oh, The Places You'll Go" is especially popular during this time of graduations and send-offs. To the jaunty journey that he describes, I add these lines:
Doctor Seuss laid it out – the good doc got it right.
You will soar through bright days – and you’ll struggle dark nights.
What he failed to mention, no, he said not a word,
is you’re NOT on your own. That would be too absurd.
Life is for friendship, community, love:
The people, the beings, that you most think of.
He said you’d be lonely – that’s probably true.
You’ll feel heartsick, despairing, and anxious, and blue.
These feelings you’ll have tell you something that matters:
That friends make you whole when your heart is in tatters.
Oh, the places you’ll go, you won’t go alone.
(I’m not talking ‘bout Facebook, or swiping right on your phone)
The companions you’ll find, and the love that awaits you --
That's the besty-best part of where this life takes you.
Success feels nice, and failure feels sad –
Of both, you’ll have plenty, the good and the bad.
There’s Community, too – the folks who don’t see you
For mountains you moved, but for just how you be you.
Who you will be is such fun to be scheming.
WHOSE you will be is what gives it all meaning.

(See the full post HERE). Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit. New this week:
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week. Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look over this list and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.

Your Moment of Zen. Later in the same meeting, Owl then asked another question: "Right Thinking comes immediately after Right Views. I have problems with my thinking. What is Right Thinking?" Brown Bear said, "The point." Owl said, "My thoughts go on and on." Brown Bear asked, "Is that your focus?" Owl blinked and said nothing. READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jun 16
Let's Talk
Office hours, and the Weekly Coffee Chat will resume in August.

I'm off to General Assembly -- leaving early on Tue Jun 19 and getting back late on Mon Jun 25.

From Tue Jun 26 through the end of Jun, I'm available by appointment.

The two Common Reads for 2017-18: HERE. Of particular note, regarding Centering: See recommended reading HERE

On the Journey, Jun: Justice. HERE

2018-06-14

Parting Words

Cindy Davidson, Ministerial Intern

The time to close the ministerial internship chapter of my life is fast approaching! And, while I am happy to be moving on in my journey, I confess saying “Good-bye” isn’t something I’ve been looking forward to. I’d much prefer a “So long for now! See you out there in the big wide UU world!”

I’ve had plenty of time to think about and anticipate the good-byes that come with the ministerial life. Before even arriving here, I had written and preached in our preaching class the “Sermon for the Sunday after the Minister announces their resignation.” Coincidentally, my own home minister had just announced his resignation the week before that class met and I had ALL the feelings – as a congregant and as someone envisioning being in his shoes someday. My situation now, and yours, is a bit different since I’ve had a well-defined term of service here -- there’s no surprise for us in my leave-taking! But, the challenges of disconnecting in a healthy and life-affirming way remain.

While I leave with such a sense of gratification from our time spent together as well as joy and excitement about the road ahead, I feel some sadness now and expect there’s sorrow ahead knowing you will no longer be a regular presence in my life. I’ll miss you just as some of you have told me you’ll miss me. Sometimes a leave-taking can trigger feelings we may have about earlier losses in our lives, and we may not even realize this is going on. “Breaking up is hard to do,” as the song says…. even in the context of our relationship of only two years. I know I’ll be wrestling with some of those feelings and thoughts, and perhaps you will have those moments, too. After all, we’ve become accustomed to each other’s ways, worked through any difficulties or annoyances, rallied around shared passions and visions, and supported each other in times of difficulties and joys. Let us each be gentle with ourselves and cherish the memories.

Best practices and guidelines for UU interns serving congregations is to make a “clean break" at the internship's end. The UUA's Internship Manual has this to say:
"In part because interns and members of the congregation need to encounter the emotions associated with saying good-bye, it is customary for the intern not to maintain any contact with members of the teaching site for at least a year.

Ministry is fundamentally about service to a congregation or a community-based entity. When an intern has the opportunity to cope successfully with the grief that is a part of leaving, it enables them to gain that understanding of ministry as service. The other reason for making a clean break is that any incoming intern deserves to be welcomed by a congregation or constituency that is not still engaged in a relationship with a former intern, along with all the feelings and loyalties that might accompany that relationship."
Soon after my last service with you, this Sunday, I will be closing down my CUUC email account, “unfriending” Facebook contacts, and exiting the CUUC Forum Facebook group. Of course, should we have a chance encounter in our daily walks of life, greetings and light conversation are quite appropriate!

I want to thank you wholeheartedly for being such a welcoming and supportive teaching congregation. This has been an invaluable opportunity for me to wrestle with big and formative questions: Who am I as a minister? What are my strengths, weaknesses, and growing edges? What truly feeds me? How might I best minister to the needs of this community and the world? Working with you – staff, leadership, and congregants – and observing all aspects of congregational life, including the close-up and behind the scenes life of the parish minister, has been such a rich and rewarding experience. I am better for having spent this time with you.

With gratitude and love for the many ways you continue to be a blessing in this world,
Cindy