CUUC

CUUC

2018-04-12

RE News: Sun Apr 15

Lifespan Religious Education
What could be more appropriate during the month of faith at CUUC than attending Faith Development Friday? Last month's gathering had 40 attendees, as Rev. Meredith facilitated the third session of Faith Like a River and our Family Journey Group continued. The Unitarian Universalist concept of faith is an ongoing action of discernment and discovery, in which knowledge and questioning add to the strength of our personal life compass. "Faithing," as James Fowler calls it, "is a process of wrestling meaning from life and subjecting it again and again to the scrutiny of our minds, the leap of our hearts, and the reality of action." RSVP to join us for some faithing this Fri or again on May 18.

Please see the following seven (7) announcements:

1) This Sun Apr 15
K-5th grade start in Fellowship Hall for Children's Worship that includes rehearsal of Sakura for the May 6 Flower Service.
6th-12th grade start in classrooms.

Classes
Pre-K-1 - Creating Home: Muhammad
2nd-3rd - Passport to Spirituality: England (Unitarian Universalism: Kindness to All Beings)
4th-5th - Bibleodeon: Jesus's Parables & Miracles
6th-7th – Neighboring Faiths: Buddhism Intro
8th-9th – Coming of Age: Faith Statements
10th-12th – Youth Group: Con Planning

To view the Religious Education Google calendar, CLICK HERE.
To view a spreadsheet version of the RE Calendar, CLICK HERE.

2) Faith Development Friday - Apr 13
An evening of learning, spiritual growth, and community
RSVP by 3pm to cuucevents@gmail.com

6:15pm Pizza & Salad Community Dinner
7:00pm Programs Begin...

Faith Like a River
The Wisdom RE Ministry Team invites you to an Adult RE experience facilitated by Rev. Meredith. This class explores the people, ideas, and movements that have shaped our faith heritage. What lessons do the stories of our history teach that can help us live more faithfully in the present? What lessons do they offer to be lived into the future? You may also join this program online via Zoom videoconferencing by going to https://zoom.us/j/2898507899.

Family Journey Group
Parents gather to discuss the theme of faith (facilitated by Barbara Montrose), while children have their own group with activities and discussion based on the theme (facilitated by Perry Montrose, DLRE). Adults without children are invited to participate in the parents’ group.

Youth Group Movie Night
Join us for a night of fun with fellow high schoolers and bring a friend!

Social Time for Adults
Those who would like more time to chat and just be together are welcome to continue hanging out in Fellowship Hall after the meal. Come to simply get to know your fellow CUUCers better, without specific programming.

Also stay for coffee and conversation after the programs.

3) UU Common Read Discussion Sun Apr 15, 11:40
Hosted by CUUC Wisdom Reading and Discussion Group

We will discuss Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, one of the two books selected for this year’s Common Read. This optimistic book is for Americans who are asking, in the wake of Trump's victory, What do we do now? The answer: We need to organize and fight to protect and expand our democracy.

Facilitated by Rev. Meredith and Sabrina Cleary (clearytheory@gmail.com).

4) Let's Play
Sun Apr 15, 1-3pm, Ethical Culture Society, White Plains
Children of all ages are invited to an afternoon of street games and activities. Free. ECSW is a participating congregation in the Council for New Americans and would love to meet all the refugee families that have recently settled in the county. Please spread the word—and bring your family, too! Contact: Sabine Salandy, director of education (SabineSalandy@ethicalculturesocietywestchester.org). FLYER FOUND HERE.

5) Bingo Night!
April 27 at 6:30
A night of pizza and community fun!
Help us out by donating a gift to our collection of prizes.
All ages welcome! $5/adult; $3/child; $15/family max.
RSVP: cuucevents@gmail.com

6) The 6th Annual Variety Show is Coming!
Sat May 12, 5pm
(pizza for performers at 4:30pm)

Rehearsal - Fri, May 11, 4:30-7pm
(snacks provided)

Proceeds from this year's show will go to:
The New American Children’s Cultural Enrichment Fund.
This fund gives the children of refugees in Westchester County the opportunities they have not had to play sports, attend performances, or explore the arts.

DECIDE HOW YOU WILL PARTICIPATE.
  • Perform - contact Liz at elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com
  • Bake - contact Erin at fosterblatt@gmail.com
  • Submit Recipes – contact Irene at irene.cox@gmail.com
  • Include 1 recipe with your own introduction/description/story (up to 200 words) and a photo of you/your family in the kitchen or elsewhere
  • Donate Raffle Prizes - contact Liz at elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com
  • (previous prizes: restaurant gift certificates, bouquets of flowers, wine, movie gift cards, games for kids (new only), chocolate and many more. If you are soliciting donations from local businesses, a letter explaining the background of the show and CUUC can be FOUND HERE.)
The Variety Show is not just for children to partake in - this is for EVERYONE AND ANYONE AT CUUC, and other local UU congregations, and your friends outside of CUUC!

7) 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

Recommended Reading

Centering is one of our Common Reads (see HERE).

Chandeerah Davis (CUUC Youth Advisor) and Jeff Tomlinson (of the Social Justice Coordinating Committee) especially encourage all members to read Centering. Come to the discussion session about Centering after the service on Sun Apr 22 if you can -- but read the book even if you can't come to the discussion.

And if you can't read much of the book, Chandeerah and Jeff especially encourage reading these passages:

from Rev. Darrick Jackson:
"The intellectualism in Unitarian Universalism comes with a culture of stillness. We are expected to sit quietly in our seats, listen intently with no emotion on our faces, no movement in our bodies. We are supposed to wait until after the service to express ourselves. I grew up in a culture of engagement. We had permission to respond to the service, to say Amen when we were moved by the words or music, to clap our hands and smile and nod our heads whenever the spirit moved us. We lived the hymn "When the Spirit Says Do" every time we gathered for worship. I have had to learn to restrain myself in UU circles, which distances me from the worship. Sometimes our worship feels more like a lecture to me. The first time I preached at a UU congregation, I was unsure of how my sermon was being received because there was no visible response. It wasn't until after the service that I learned that people did enjoy the sermon. Even now, I get slightly unnerved by the lack of response. I construct my services with UU stillness in mind; any attempt at a more embodied worship feels experimental and risky instead of one of many ways worship happens. I have always loved youth and young adult worship, as those services are generally more heart- and soul-centered and invite engagement and connection.
Engaging UUs in conversation about these areas where I feel disconnected from the UU culture is hard. I often struggle with how to say something, or if it is worth it. I worry about the other person's reaction, and I have to decide if I have the energy to deal with it. Often when I engage with someone about these matters, the conversation quickly turns to them (how they feel about it, how they are not to blame, and so on); instead of engaging the issue, I'm engaging their needs."
from Rev. Lilia Cuervo:
"Once I liberate my mind, my body feels free to move, to clap, to feel alive during worship. My heart aches seeing so many people in our pews restraining their desire to give in to joy through movement, frozen by fear of judgment. That is why, in my first sermon at First Parish in Cambridge, I promised that sooner or later I would have them dancing. I fulfilled my promise, and it was a happy day for me when, during a Day of the Dead service, five couples spontaneously, one by one, proceeded to dance in the aisles to the mariachi music.
Just by being present, a minister of color not only changes the makeup of a congregation but, if allowed to exercise leadership, helps over time to create an environment in which transformation can happen in small and big ways."

From the Minister, Sun Apr 15

Coupla things:

First, we have an extra-special Earth Day service on Apr 22. It's a joint service bringing together at CUUC all five of the Westchester UU congregations (Hastings, Croton, Mt. Kisco, Mohegan Lake, and us!) All five ministers will have roles, and a combined choir will sing. I'm very excited!

Second, I'm looking for a person or two who has some expertise in Parliamentary Procedure -- Robert's Rules or alternative. A subcommittee of our Board is exploring options for rules of procedure. Can you help?

Glad to see April finally beginning to warm up a little bit!

In love,
Meredith

In case you missed it . . .

Here's a small part of the Apr 8 Passover Seder service:



The Liberal Pulpit. The Liberal Pulpit is a YouTube Channel HERE! Videos include the sermons starting on Feb 25.

Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE.







Practice of the Week. Ecospiritual #5: Cogs in the Machine. Too many negative headlines about the environment can cause people to disengage from the debate altogether, believing that it is entirely beyond our control and influence. However, despite the risk of disengagement on the part of some, the first step toward recovering from our collective addiction to consumptive and polluting culture is recognition of the extent of our powerlessness.





Your Moment of Zen. Ordinary Morality. Porcupine came by one day looking troubled. Raven called down to her from the tall spruce. "What's up, Porcupine?" Porcupine said, "I'm hearing rumors from my old friends that Coyote Roshi is violating even ordinary morality." Raven flew down to her side and said, "She has this urge to prey on newborn lambs." READ MORE...

Zen Practice at CUUC: Sat Apr 14




Minister's Tuesday Coffee Chat. I'm at a coffee shop (almost) every Tuesday from 3-5pm. I invite you to drop by and chat.
Apr: Barnes and Noble Cafe, Vernon Hills Shopping Center, Eastchester
May: Red Mango, 1924 Palmer Ave, Larchmont. (A departure from coffee -- let's try a fruit smoothie!)






NOTES
  • The two Common Reads for 2017-18: HERE.
  • Of particular note, regarding Centering: See recommended reading HERE.
  • On the Journey, April: Faith. HERE.
  • Sun Apr 29. A SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING HAS BEEN CALLED to vote on the proposal that Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation takes the following Position on Escalating Economic Inequity . . . read the position HERE -- it's about a 10-minute read.

    This Week's e-Communitarian

    R.E. News: Apr 8

    Music: Apr 8

Cogs in the Machine

Practice of the Week
Ecospiritual #5: Cogs in the Machine

Category: Ecospiritual. These practices are oriented toward developing our spirituality through our connection with our planet home and our responsibility to care for it.


Part of coming face to face with reality is realizing how much of our collective situation is truly out of individual control. We live embedded within systems over which we have no power. We are citizens of a country whose government may do things – wage war, impose taxes, pass laws – with which we disagree. We may protest or work to elect people whose actions may better reflect our own opinions, but there is a limit to our influence, individually or as a group. Even if we dedicate our lives to a particular cause, there are a thousand other equally worthy causes that won’t receive our attention.

Every aspect of our lives – the food we eat, the cars we drive, the places we work, even the toilets we flush – has an impact on the environment, and precious little is within any appreciable individual control.

This can be disheartening and result in apathy. Too many negative headlines about the environment can cause people to disengage from the debate altogether, believing that it is entirely beyond our control and influence. However, despite the risk of disengagement on the part of some, the first step toward recovering from our collective addiction to consumptive and polluting culture is recognition of the extent of our powerlessness.

Consider this story: Once upon a time, “Mr. Green” wanted to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. He worked for Giant Megacorp Industries and wasn’t very happy about it, but he had children to support and jobs are hard to come by, so off to work he went. He recycled all he could at home and made sacrifices to save money for solar panels on his house. But he still worked for GMI and felt he couldn’t afford to quit. One day, GMI sent Mr. Green across the country on a big jet plane to an important convention where they served him factory-farmed food for his dinner. Every day, he handed out free goodies made of plastic to potential clients. He stayed at a Big Fancy Hotel where they changed his sheets and towels even when he told them not to do it. Mr. Green went home after the convention feeling guilty. He wanted to hep GMI become more eco-friendly, but his boss, Mr. Bigshot, didn’t care.

Sound familiar? There are thousands of Mr. and Ms. Greens out there today, doing the best they can in the real circumstances of their lives. We can accomplish a lot through individual choices, but we need to be aware of systems that are beyond our control. To change them, we may need to change laws, but more importantly we need to change the culture as a whole.

Decades ago, heavy smoking was commonplace. It was sophisticated and sexy. Today, non-smoking is the norm in the US and Europe. Why the change? Studies convincingly demonstrated the health harms of smoking, and laws were slowly changed accordingly. More important was the change that took place in the culture. Smoking is no longer the mark of glamour or status it once was. Attitudes shifted.

To change the Earth-destroying systems that are beyond our control, we need to experience a soul-deep cultural attitude shift and rediscover the sacredness of the Earth. We have the scientific understanding – but attitudes have not yet substantially shifted. Planet-destroying, do-what-I-want attitudes will need to give way to Earth-restoring behavior the same way that smoke-filled offices gave way to cleaner indoor air. Facing up to the way things really are is a critical first step toward making the deep changes our society so desperately needs.

Practices

1. The Roller Coaster. When you have some time when you won’t be disturbed, imagine you are getting into a roller coaster. As you visualize, engage your whole body. You sit, and the bar comes down. You’re strapped in. As the coaster begins to move, you realize there’s no turning back. Imagine yourself on the slow, jerky climb, the stomach-churning downward rush, the wind in your hair, the twists and turns. Now, imagine that instead of stopping, the ride keeps on going, on and on. You feel queasy, but people around you seem to be having fun. You can’t get off. Slowly, one by one, others start to feel sick like you do, and together you shout to the people in the control booth. Ride the coaster in your mind a while and think about all that is out of your control. The coaster is our culture. Are we shouting yet?

2. Ritual of Release. Obtain a fireproof bowl and at least a dozen slips of paper. Place the bowl on your altar, and over the course of a week or so, write down some of the Earth-threatening things that are out of your control. For example, you might write “illegal logging in the rainforest,” or “overfishing the world’s oceans.” As the bowl fills over the course of the week, spend a few minutes each day just being at your altar. Sit beside it and contemplate all that is implied by the items in the bowl. After a week, take the bowl outside and carefully burn the papers, symbolically releasing what you cannot control. Add the ashes to your garden.

Group Activities

Group Ritual of Release. Ask each group member to write down one example of threats to the Earth that are beyond the group’s control and add it to a large bowl. Spend some time sharing as a group, then take the bowl outside and burn the papers. Invite everyone to sit in silence for a while.

Questions for Group Conversation:
  • Have you every felt swept up by circumstances beyond your control? Is this experience a product of contemporary culture?
  • Have you ever consciously done something harmful to the Earth simply because it was easy? Did you feel guilty afterwards?
  • What charitable organizations do you support. What can you do to help their work?
  • What is it about the system of government under which you live (national, state, local) that makes it difficult to bring about cultural change?

* * *

Previous Ecospiritual Practice: 4. How Much Is Enough?

2018-04-11

Music: Sun Apr 15

Solo piano works by female composers are featured in the morning’s Centering Music and Offertory, in an attempt to give voice to the creativity of artists frequently overshadowed by their male colleagues and family members. Many of Fanny Mendelssohn’s works were originally published under her brother Felix’s name, and Clara Wieck Schumann aborted her own trajectory as a composer in favor of promoting her husband Robert’s piano music. French composer Cecile Chaminade, a gay woman, was by contrast a more independent figure, whose “Scarf Dance” has been a favorite among pianists for many generations. Amy Marcy Beach, known more popularly by her married name Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, was a prodigiously gifted pianist who is considered one of the great composers of America’s Second New England School, which flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Soprano Kim Force is also on hand with two moving selections offered in solidarity with the Me Too movement.

Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Mélodie, Op. 4, No. 2
                                    Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel
Sérénade, Op. 29
Pièce Romantique, Op. 9, No. 1
                                    Cécile Chaminade
Mazurka, Op. 6, No. 3
                                    Clara Wieck Schumann
With Dog Teams, Op. 64, No. 4
                                    Mrs. H. H. A. Beach

Opening Music: Kim Force, soprano
Silent All These Years                        
                                                Tori Amos

Offertory:
Scarf Dance, Op. 37, No. 3
                                           Chaminade

Interlude: Chris Force, piano
Til It Happens To You
                                                Diane Warren and Stefani Germanotta



2018-04-05

From the Minister, Sun Apr 8

With April Fool's Day just past, I reflect on the foolishness of Unitarian Universalism. We UUs are so foolish as to say that religion is not about beliefs. That’s why I argue that we are not agnostic, and that we misunderstand our own religiousness when we say we are. “I’m agnostic,” is the answer only if the question is “What do you believe about God?” Or, “What do you believe about the soul, in particular, its prospects for an afterlife?” But we’re there with our silly jester’s cap and wand (and chalice) saying, “But that’s not the question.” In the Tarot deck, the wizard card represents the one who knows the answers. The fool card represents the one who keeps changing the question. That's us!

St. Paul, I think, took a wrong turn when he cast Christianity as fundamentally about what one believed. For us Unitarian Universalists the question is not what shall we believe, but how shall we live? Who shall we live with in community? And, those moments we’ve had of mystery and wonder, glimpses of eternal goodness, transcendent oneness, what shall we make of those? How can the power of such radically nonsensical flashes be integrated with our daily life? Those are our questions.

The answer isn’t one that can be spoken or written down but must be lived out. So we come here, come together once a week to light some candles, share of ourselves, sing some songs, hear and consider a sermon, center ourselves on what is important, worship in the sense of worth-shape, give shape to what has deepest worth in our lives.

Since it is in our relationships that we find who and what we are in the vast web of reality, we come here to live by a covenant for how we relate to each other. Within our relationships as Unitarian Universalists, we can come to spiritual depth and wisdom and find the grace to walk on this planet fruitfully rather than destructively. We mutually agree to strive for authenticity and honesty together amidst mutual respect and care. We share not a belief, but an attitude, a faith that life is good, that justice is attainable, that caring redeems us, and that joy is one another’s company.

In love,
Meredith

In case you missed it . . .

Here's the sermon of Sun Apr 1:



New on The Liberal Pulpit. The Liberal Pulpit is a YouTube Channel HERE! Videos include the sermons starting on Feb 25.

This week's posts on "The Liberal Pulpit":
"An April Fool's Easter"

Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE.




Practice of the Week. Notice You're All Right Right Now. Look again at the thin slice of time that is the present. In this moment: Are you basically okay? Is breathing okay? Is the heart beating? Is the mind working? The answers are almost certainly yes. In daily life, it's possible to access this fundamental sense of all-rightness even while getting things done. You're not ignoring real threats or issues, or pretending that everything is perfect. It's not. But in the middle of everything, you can usually see that you're actually all right right now.



Your Moment of Zen. Zazen in the Forest. It had been stormy for several days, and the community did not meet. Finally, the winds calmed, the rains stopped, and the meetings resumed. Owl obviously wanted to speak, so the others deferred. "I've been told," she said, "that long ago, folks could devote themselves full-time to the practice, and enlightened masters emerged. Nowadays here in the forest, folks are so busy hunting and gleaning and protecting themselves that they have very little time for zazen. How can we hope to attain the level of realization the old masters attained?" Raven said, "They saw plum blossoms; we hear the robin." READ MORE...

Zen Practice at CUUC: Sat Apr 7

Minister's Tuesday Coffee Chat. I'm at a coffee shop (almost) every Tuesday from 3-5pm. I invite you to drop by and chat.
Apr: Barnes and Noble Cafe, Vernon Hills Shopping Center, Eastchester
May: Red Mango, 1924 Palmer Ave, Larchmont. (A departure from coffee -- let's try a fruit smoothie!)



NOTES
  • The two Common Reads for 2017-18: HERE
  • On the Journey, March: Wandering. HERE.
  • Sun Apr 29. A SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING HAS BEEN CALLED to vote on the proposal that Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation takes the following Position on Escalating Economic Inequity . . . read the position HERE -- it's about a 10-minute read.

    Or, if you like, you can listen to me read it out loud. (About 19 minutes, out loud.)


This Week's e-Communitarian

R.E. News: Apr 8

Music: Apr 8

RE News: Sun Apr 8

Lifespan Religious Education
After finding the hidden afikomen (Passover matzoh) on Fri, doing an Easter egg hunt at my wife Barbara’s workplace on Sat, and joining the CUUC Easter egg hunt on Sun, our daughter Nora arrived at Aunt Donna’s house Sun night to find an Easter basket prepared with goodies and blurted out, “Oh no! Not again.” You might feel this way when you think about celebrating Passover this Sun, but you will find our Passover Service to be interactive, interesting, and fun for all ages. It will be good to honor this important holiday in our congregation. We are bringing the elements of a Passover Seder into our regular Sunday service, with a meal to follow, so it is accessible to everyone. There will be explanations of the rituals to go with the readings, songs, and matzoh breaking. I look forward to sharing this with you on Sunday.

Please see the following seven (7) announcements:

1) This Sun Apr 8
Passover Service and Meal
All ages are in the sanctuary for this interactive multigen service. (Childcare is available for those who need it.)

Learn about and celebrate Passover, the important holiday about freedom, through our regular service that will contain Passover Seder elements and seat us all at tables in the sanctuary. The meal will follow the service in the sanctuary and close with the children's search for the afikomen (matzoh hunt) and a final blessing.

If you would like to help with the Passover cooking on Sat or serving and cleanup on Sun, please email me at dlre@cucwp.org.

To view the Religious Education Google calendar, CLICK HERE.
To view a spreadsheet version of the RE Calendar, CLICK HERE.

2) Faith Development Friday - Apr 13
An evening of learning, spiritual growth, and community
RSVP to cuucevents@gmail.com

6:15pm Pizza & Salad Community Dinner
7:00pm Programs Begin...

Faith Like a River
The Wisdom RE Ministry Team invites you to an Adult RE experience facilitated by Rev. Meredith. This class explores the people, ideas, and movements that have shaped our faith heritage. What lessons do the stories of our history teach that can help us live more faithfully in the present? What lessons do they offer to be lived into the future? You may also join this program online via Zoom videoconferencing by going to https://zoom.us/j/2898507899.

Family Journey Group
Parents gather to discuss the theme of faith (facilitated by Barbara Montrose), while children have their own group with activities and discussion based on the theme (facilitated by Perry Montrose, DLRE). Adults without children are invited to participate in the parents’ group.

Youth Group Social Night
Join us for a night of fun with fellow high schoolers and bring a friend!

Social Time for Adults
Those who would like more time to chat and just be together are welcome to continue hanging out in Fellowship Hall after the meal. Come to simply get to know your fellow CUUCers better, without specific programming.

Also stay for coffee and conversation after the programs.

3) UU Common Read Discussion Sun Apr 15, 11:40
Hosted by CUUC Wisdom Reading and Discussion Group

We will discuss Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, one of the two books selected for this year’s Common Read. This optimistic book is for Americans who are asking, in the wake of Trump's victory, What do we do now? The answer: We need to organize and fight to protect and expand our democracy.

Facilitated by Rev. Meredith and Sabrina Cleary (clearytheory@gmail.com).

4) Let's Play
Sun Apr 15, 1-3pm, Ethical Culture Society, White Plains
Children of all ages are invited to an afternoon of street games and activities. Free. ECSW is a participating congregation in the Council for New Americans and would love to meet all the refugee families that have recently settled in the county. Please spread the word—and bring your family, too! Contact: Sabine Salandy, director of education (SabineSalandy@ethicalculturesocietywestchester.org). FLYER FOUND HERE.

5) Save the Date for Bingo!
April 27 at 6:30
A night of pizza and community fun!
Help us out by donating a gift to our collection of prizes.
All ages welcome! $5/adult; $3/child; $15/family max.
RSVP: cuucevents@gmail.com

6) The 6th Annual Variety Show is Coming!
Sat May 12, 5pm
(pizza for performers at 4:30pm)

Rehearsal - Fri, May 11, 4:30-7pm
(snacks provided)

Proceeds from this year's show will go to:
The New American Children’s Cultural Enrichment Fund.
This fund gives the children of refugees in Westchester County the opportunities they have not had to play sports, attend performances, or explore the arts.

DECIDE HOW YOU WILL PARTICIPATE.
  • Perform - contact Liz at elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com
  • Bake - contact Erin at fosterblatt@gmail.com
  • Submit Recipes – contact Irene at irene.cox@gmail.com
  • Include 1 recipe with your own introduction/description/story (up to 200 words) and a photo of you/your family in the kitchen or elsewhere
  • Donate Raffle Prizes - contact Liz at elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com
  • (previous prizes: restaurant gift certificates, bouquets of flowers, wine, movie gift cards, games for kids (new only), chocolate and many more. If you are soliciting donations from local businesses, a letter explaining the background of the show and CUUC can be FOUND HERE.)
The Variety Show is not just for children to partake in - this is for EVERYONE AND ANYONE AT CUUC, and other local UU congregations, and your friends outside of CUUC!

7) 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

2018-04-04

Music: Sun Apr 8


Passover, which commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt, has engendered a wealth of traditional, liturgical, and programmatic music, examples of which are featured in this morning’s musical selections. In addition, the theme of liberation has resonated with oppressed peoples ever since Old Testament times, and a number of African-American Spirituals speak to an identification with historic Jewish struggles.

French composer Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) was an observant Jew, who is purported to have perished when he reached for a volume of the Talmud and toppled an entire bookcase! His paraphrase of the 137th Psalm recalls another period of exile during biblical times. Read on for highlights of musical works to be performed as well as a translation of the 137th Psalm.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Wade in the Water
                                    Traditional Spiritual, arr. by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Super Flumina Babylonis (Psalm 137)*
                                                            Charles Valentin Alkan

Special Music: Kim Force, soprano
There’s No Seder Like Our Seder
                                    Irving Berlin

Other Holiday-themed songs include:
Go Down Moses, Dayeinu, Soon the Day Will Arrive, Chad Gadya, and Shalom Chaverim



Psalm 137
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.
Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,

    “tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.

2018-03-30

From the Minister, Sun Apr 1

“When despair for the world grows in me,” Wendell Berry says, he turns to nature for solace. I, too, resonate with “the peace of wild things” – where “the wood drake rests” and “the great heron feeds.” After a while hanging out with the critters, though, duty and need calls me back into the human world. Is there anything among humans that lifts hope in answer to the despair of our times?

Answer: congregations. It is an awesome thing that you do, coming to and participating in CUUC. Just showing up Sunday after Sunday, and at other programs during the week, is huge.

Our ailing democracy needs more than fixes to our electoral system – necessary as those fixes are. We – Americans generally – also need work at opening our hearts to democracy as a way of life. At CUUC, we’re doing that work – and have been doing it since 1909. Here, as well as at congregations and other voluntary associations across the land, the arts, the skills, the heart-habits of democracy are cultivated and honed.

Being regularly at our congregation has helped you grow an understanding that we are all in this together, dependent on, and accountable to, one another. It has fostered appreciation of the value of “otherness,” and hospitality to the stranger, those who seem different.

Congregational life has taught you to creatively engage with tensions: both the internal tension of finding yourself doing something not precisely in line with what you’ve said you value, and the external tensions with people whose opinions differ from yours. Engaging those tensions, neither hiding them nor hiding from them, has helped you understand yourself and our neighbors.

In congregational life you have found your voice, known the satisfaction of contributing to positive change, and resisted narratives of your own powerlessness. You have created community, knowing that it takes a village to raise a Rosa Parks, and that steady companionship of kindred spirits nourishes the courage we each need to speak and act as citizens.

Regular participation in congregational life is not the only way to do the work of opening one’s heart to democracy as a way of life, but it is the best way I know.

I am so deeply appreciative of – and I invite us all to appreciate together -- what an important thing, what an amazing thing, it is to decide to be a congregation together: to keep our well-beloved CUUC going; to stay at the table to hash out differences; to resist the many temptations to take our ball and go home when things get a little hairy; to hang in and let the friction rub us smooth; to discern finally the lovely and delightful in one another and the light shining through our cracks.

You come to CUUC, and you do that -- and it is such a great, hopeful thing that you do!

The numbers are dwindling of Americans participating during any given week in any congregation where people practice and learn the gentle and the rough and tumble arts of being a people. More Americans are staying home. Those that do venture to a faith institution are increasingly likely to attend a mega-church, where they see a good show every week but participate in no decision-making, no dialog, no real encounter with one another. And our country suffers from the decline of heart-habits of democracy.

This is a concern, of course, but I do not despair – for hope is reborn every time I step into our building and see you, the members and friends of CUUC, creating, deliberating, deciding, learning, building, growing together. The democratic traditions and customs that you keep alive at our congregation, week after week, may have ebbed in our country in recent decades, but by keeping them strong at CUUC you help them have a chance, soon, to begin again to grow throughout the land.

If I may say it in my native tongue: Y’all are awesome!

In love,
Meredith

In case you missed it . . .

Here's the sermon of Sun Mar 25:



New on The Liberal Pulpit. The Liberal Pulpit is a YouTube Channel HERE! Videos include the sermons starting on Feb 25.

This week's posts on "The Liberal Pulpit":
"We Don't Have to Choose" (On Being Animal, part 3)
"Democracy: Not Quiet and Orderly, but Exciting" (Daring Democracy, part 1)
"Democracy: The Spiritual Need" (Daring Democracy, part 2)
"The Workshops of Democracy" (Daring Democracy, part 3)
Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE.
Practice of the Week. Let Go and Have Faith. (Occasional). For one week try letting go of something that you normally spend energy “shoulding” about or otherwise trying to control. Just let go of worrying and meddling with it. In other words: pick one thing that you habitually expend energy to control -- and then step back and let go of as much control as you can over that thing. Have faith that it will turn out OK (even if it isn’t what you would have thought you’d want).
Your Moment of Zen. Pain During Zazen. Black Bear came to see Raven one morning and said, "I have this persistent pain under my right shoulder blade. Shall I try sitting through it?" Raven asked, "Have you tried sitting through it?" Black Bear said, "It just gets worse." Raven said, "Maybe you should elevate your seat a little. Try sitting on a stone." Black Bear said, "It doesn't seem to help." Raven said, "Try lying down." Black Bear said, "Can I really do zazen lying down?" Raven asked, "How else can you do it?"

Zen Practice at CUUC: Sat Mar 31
Minister's Tuesday Coffee Chat. I'm at a coffee shop (almost) every Tuesday from 3-5pm. I invite you to drop by and chat.
Apr: Barnes and Noble Cafe, Vernon Hills Shopping Center, Eastchester
  • The two Common Reads for 2017-18: HERE
  • On the Journey, March: Wandering. HERE.
  • Sun Apr 29. A SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING HAS BEEN CALLED to vote on the proposal that Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation takes the following Position on Escalating Economic Inequity . . . read the position HERE -- it's about a 10-minute read.

    Or, if you like, you can listen to me read it out loud. (About 19 minutes, out loud.)


This Week's e-Communitarian

R.E. News: Apr 1

Music: Apr 1

RE News: Sun Apr 1

Lifespan Religious Education
The theme of the month for April is faith and it begins this Sunday on April Fool’s Day. Many UUs find faith to be foolish, when it is described as blindly following. However, the term contains so much more meaning than that, in a UU context. Paul Tillich in his book Dynamics of Faith defines faith as “the state of being ultimately concerned.” It is an orientation toward what matters most to you. Faith development theorist James Fowler talked of “faithing” as a process of wrestling meaning from life and subjecting it again and again to the scrutiny of our minds, the leap of our hearts, and the reality of action. It is about finding the meaning on which your life centers and deciding how to put that into action. Our UU faith community fosters that discovery. That’s no joke!

Please see the following six (6) announcements:

1) This Sun Apr 1
Easter Egg Hunt and Activities
Join us for our annual RE Easter festivities, including...
  • Easter Children's Worship
  • Egg Hunt
  • Cookie decorating
  • Easter crafts
  • Egg-and-spoon race and other games

To view the Religious Education Google calendar, CLICK HERE.
To view a spreadsheet version of the RE Calendar, CLICK HERE.

2) Passover Help Needed
Help make the Passover Service and Meal a success.
We need kitchen help on Sat Apr 7 and Sun Apr 8. There are many roles for all skill sets.
To sign up, CLICK HERE.

3) CUUC Recipe Book
Send in your favorite recipe to be included, whether barbecued, baked, or poured, by April 7.

The recipe book will be sold at the Variety Show on Sat, May 12 and the two Sundays afterward, with all profits benefiting the New American Children's Cultural Enrichment Fund.

If you'd like you or your child to be included, please submit the following to Irene Cox at Irene.cox@gmail.com and Erin Foster at eefoster@aol.com:
  • 1 recipe
  • Your own introduction/description (up to 200 words): perhaps the story behind why you make it, what the dish or cooking in general mean to you.
  • A photo of you/your family in the kitchen or a picture you want to share with the congregation.

4) UU Common Read Discussion Sun Apr 15, 11:40
Hosted by CUUC Wisdom Reading and Discussion Group

We will discuss Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, one of the two books selected for this year’s Common Read. This optimistic book is for Americans who are asking, in the wake of Trump's victory, What do we do now? The answer: We need to organize and fight to protect and expand our democracy.

Facilitated by Rev. Meredith and Sabrina Cleary (clearytheory@gmail.com).

5) Save the Date for Bingo!
April 27 at 6:30
A night of pizza and community fun!
Help us out by donating a gift to our collection of prizes.
All ages welcome! $5/adult; $3/child; $15/family max. RSVP: cuucevents@gmail.com

6) Refugee Children Need Friends
The family that recently arrived from Afghanistan and is living in White Plains would like to make some new friends. Would you and your children like to meet them, maybe for a play date or shared outdoor activity? (The children are 4, 5 and 10.)

For more information, please contact Jane Dixon, lilrhodie@gmail.com.

Sincerely,
Perry
Director of Lifespan Religious Education and Faith Development

2018-03-29

Let Go and Have Faith

Practice of the Week
Let Go and Have Faith

Category: Occasional. These are practices suggested for "every once in a while." Some of them are responses to a particular need that may arise; others are simply enriching occasional enhancements to the spiritual life. All of them are worth a try at least once. And any of them might become a regular and central part of your spiritual practice.

For this exercise, we will consider faith in its aspect of trust.

For the Western religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), faith involves trust in God. The core idea is that we don’t have to take responsibility for everything. How things turn out is, of course, an interactive mixture of what we do and what is beyond our control. Yet sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we control what we do not.

One of our “secret” strategies for control involves “shoulding.” I try to ensure that other people – or even inanimate objects – will behave in the way I want by clinging tightly to a belief that they should behave that way. Thus, when somebody (maybe me) fails to be and do as they should, and the result is that things don’t turn out as I want, I get upset. Trust (whether in God, or in society, or in the universe) involves letting go of trying to control everything – including letting go of shoulding. There are two levels.

Level A: Trusting that things will work out the way I want them to
Level B: Trusting that things will work out in a way that is really and deeply OK even if it’s very different from what I would have wanted.

“Level B,” of course, gets more to the essence of faith – which reminds us that acceptance as well as trust are central aspects of faith.

Your exercise, then, is:

For one week try letting go of something that you normally spend energy “shoulding” about or otherwise trying to control. Just let go of worrying and meddling with it. In other words: pick one thing that you habitually expend energy to control -- and then step back and let go of as much control as you can over that thing. Have faith that it will turn out OK (even if it isn’t what you would have thought you’d want).

Examples might be:
-If you always follow a recipe when you cook, try making something elaborate and original with no recipe.
-If there is some assignment that your assistant or co-worker carries out with your careful oversight, trying letting them "fly solo" this time.
-Trust your kid in a way you haven't before.
-Try giving your next presentation with fewer notes than you usually rely upon.
-Set aside time for being outdoors (beach, woods, etc.) -- but do not check the weather forecast -- avoid any source that might mention what the weather will be. If it rains, or is too cold (or hot), adapt on the fly.
-Or, if this is the sort of thing that would be novel for you, go into the city without a plan. Just see what catches your fancy.
-If you carefully pair your socks before putting them in the drawer, next time you do laundry, throw all the sock in the drawer loose.
-Go on a "news fast." For one week, read (watch, or listen to) no news media. Let the world take care of itself for a week.
-Pick something that you're a fastidious perfectionist about, and do a half-assed job one time. (Who knows? By aiming at "half-assed," it may turn out even better!)

NOTE: Do exercise reasonable prudence in selecting something to let go of. Stepping back and trusting your toddler to make it across a busy street by himself would probably not be a good choice.

For Journaling

Write about the experience. What was hard about it? What was surprisingly easy?
.

* * *

2018-03-27

Music: Sun Apr 1

Easter Sunday music at CUUC opens with works from religious and secular traditions by J. S. Bach, who saw all artistic creativity as an expression of the divine. The Offertory features a seasonal favorite by Unitarian composer Edvard Grieg. The CUUC Choir is also on hand with a Pete Seeger classic and a festive salute to the holiday. Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Sheep May Safely Graze      
                                                J. S. Bach arr. by Egon Petri
Partita No. 1 in Bb Major, BWV 825
                        Sarabande and Gigue
                                                J. S. Bach

Anthem: CUUC Choir directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Turn, Turn Turn       
 adapted by Pete Seeger, arr. by Roger Emerson  

Offertory:
To Spring, Op. 43, No. 6
                                                Edvard Grieg

Anthem: Ernie Kennedy, soloist
Easter Parade           
Irving Berlin, arr. by Mac Huff

2018-03-22

From the Minister, Thu Mar 22

In 2018, we've had a "Faith Development Friday" once a month. We've had three so far, and the April event will be on Fri Apr 13. It's great! We gather for dinner and fellowship at 6-ish, and programming starts at 7:00. I've been having a great time leading an exploration of aspects of UU history. On Fri Mar 16, we looked at the role of reason in our tradition -- its triumphs and pitfalls. On Fri Apr 13 we'll be looking at reform movements: the role of intentional efforts to make change, how intentional change tends to include unintentional change, how theology and institution interplay as each makes changes -- and how all this manifests in our UU history. Fascinating stuff!

Our you can choose to go to the Journey Group: Barbara Montrose facilitates the adult group, and Perry leads the kids group. There's also just the option of just enjoying social time with fellow CUUCers.

One Friday a month, CUUC is the place to be! You'd probably enjoy being a part of it.

In love,
Meredith

Sun Apr 29. A SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING HAS BEEN CALLED to vote on the proposal that Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation takes the following Position on Escalating Economic Inequity . . . read the position HERE -- it's about a 10-minute read.

Or, if you like, you can listen to me read it out loud. (About 19 minutes, out loud.)



  • The two Common Reads for 2017-18: HERE
  • On the Journey, March: Wandering. HERE.
Minister's Tuesday Coffee Chat. I'm at a coffee shop (almost) every Tuesday from 3-5pm. I invite you to drop by and chat.
Mar: Starbucks, 51 Purchase St. Rye
Apr: Barnes and Noble Cafe, Vernon Hills Shopping Center, Eastchester
New on The Liberal Pulpit. The Liberal Pulpit is a YouTube Channel HERE! Recent Videos: Feb 25: "On Being Animal" (Animal Advocacy)   *   Mar 4: "Spirituality of Money"   * Mar 11: "Wandering"
Recent posts on "The Liberal Pulpit":
"So They Won't Change Me" (Reflection with video link)   * Our Animal Condition" (On Being Animal, part 1)   * "The Greatest Cruelty on the Planet and the Worst Mistake in History" (On Being Animal, part 2)
Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE.
Practice of the Week. Aspire to the Impossible (Slogans to Live By). We’d be selling ourselves short if our aspirations weren't so lofty as to be impossible to fulfill. Just keep making effort in the direction of fulfillment of the aspiration but don't expect to complete the job. You will always have more to do. To commit to something you actually could accomplish is such small potatoes for a lofty, sacred human being like yourself.
Your Moment of Zen. The Way Things Are. Raven took her perch on the Assembly Oak and said, "The problem is that one thing seems to lead to another." Owl asked, "Isn't that the way things are?" Raven said, "Not really."...

Zen Practice at CUUC: Sat Mar 24

R.E. News: Mar 25

Music: Mar 25