expressions of faith beyond theology are featured in this morning’s solo piano
Unitarian composer Edvard Grieg once wrote, “Artists like Bach and Beethoven erected churches and temples
on the heights. I only wanted... to build dwellings for people in which they
might feel happy and at home.”
Johann Sebastian Bach’s
Lutheran faith ran so deep that, even when he was writing the sort of secular
music included this morning, he always headed his manuscripts with the initials
S.D.G.---“solo Deo gloria” (To the glory of God alone).
Robert Schumann found
prophetic wisdom in avian form in his “Prophet Bird” from his suite Forest
The popular African-American
Spiritual “Deep River” finds heaven and salvation in the universal “campground”
on the far side of the Jordan River.
CUUC’s Choir is on hand as well with a preview of Antonio Vivaldi’s joyous Gloria
as well as a popular African song.
Read on for
programming details and stay tuned for spoken introductions.
Adam Kent, piano
Prelude and Fugue
in E Major, W.T.C. I
J. S. Bach
Little Bird, Op.
43, No. 4
Op. 71, No. 4
Anthem: CUUC Choir
directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Gloria in Excelsis
Deo from Gloria
arr. by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
“The Prophet Bird” from Forest Scenes, Op. 82
Postlude: Gigue from Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825
The 8th-century Indian philosopher, Shantideva extolled the path of spiritual cultivation:
Put on an ever-smiling countenance.
Do not move furniture and chairs noisily.
Do not open doors with violence.
Take pleasure in the practice of humility.
Always strive to learn from everyone.
Speak with moderation, gently.
Express yourself with modesty.
In the West, though, words like these bump into gender stereotypes. The lines sound like Victorian advice for girls and women. For boys and men? Not so much.
Understandably, feminists in the 60s and 70s were wary of the gender-oppressive uses to which they saw such teaching put. But the problem was never with Shantideva's values. The problem was that the West (and East, too, by and large -- spiritual teachers like Shantideva notwithstanding) glorified and rewarded men for being forceful, scowling, noisy, immodest and immoderate. Whether, in the end, this did -- and does -- more damage to our boys than to our girls is an open question -- and ultimately not to the point.
Progress toward gender equality and progress toward a more spiritually enlightened society go hand in hand. When boys are taught gentleness, modesty, and service to others, then girls need no longer be wary of that teaching themselves.
The "single intention" to keep is to be kind, to benefit beings, yourself not less, and not more.
When you eat breakfast, keep that spirit. “May I have breakfast this morning to nourish all beings.” When you go to the toilet, keep that spirit. “May this, too, be for the sake of all beings.” When you walk upstairs, do it to rise up in goodness with all beings. Walk down the stairs to deepen commitment to truth for the benefit of others. Leave the house to go forth to do some good for someone else. Return home in the hope that all beings will one day return to their true home. Whatever you do, dedicate your activity to others. Compose little sayings for yourself like these for the activities of your day.
Can you actually sustain a practice like this? Of course not! You’ll forget. But every time you remember, re-dedicate yourself to serving all beings. Take a breath right there at the moment of noticing you’ve forgotten. Forgive yourself (“Oops, there I go again”) and return to your single intention. The more you practice it, the more you will remember. If you can practice grace before meals, you can practice “grace” at other repetitive occasions during the day.
This one intention – to be dedicated to others -- is something that we can always trust and always rely on to set us straight, no matter how mixed-up we may be. Whatever is going on, always come back to this best and most basic motivation – the wish to care about others and to be of some service to them.
Here it is, your... MOMENT OF ZEN
#137: Everything Collapsed
Everything there is presents itself in each moment, each appearance. Our task is to maintain this reality -- "maintain," as in, "cause or enable (a condition or state of affairs) to continue," and also as in "state something to be the case; assert." But how?
Wolverine dropped by for zazen and announced, "Everything on the Blue Planet is contained in this appearance."
Porcupine said, "That's true. How do you maintain it?"
Porcupine said, "The Blue Planet collapsed."
That joke about small towns:
"Don't blink or you'll miss it."
I used to think no town could be
so small that this was true.
Now I think no city could be
so large this isn't true.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonA
Before colonizers arrived, the inhabitants of this area were the Lenape, which means "the people," and are also known as the Lenni Lenape, meaning "true people."
European colonizers named the Lenape, Delaware Indians after the colonizer-named Delaware River that runs through their territory and was formerly called the Lenape Wihittuck. Unami is the Munsee dialect of the Lenape of this area. It is a dialect of the larger Algonquian language group that covers much of northeast North America. Algonquian tribes consist of peoples that speak Algonquian languages and historically shared cultural similarities. There are hundreds of original tribes that spoke several dialects of this language group. You may read about the people of this area as the Munsee Lenape. These names reflect subsets, movement, and language of the Nation, as well as colonial naming.
The United States has over four hundred years of ongoing violence against indigenous lives and culture. Some refer to ‘Thanksgiving’ as the ‘National Day of Mourning.’ Understanding and acknowledgement of this may vary among those you spend time with this week.
Unitarian Universalism is a living faith, calling us to live into our values, to shape the world in an image of love and justice, to undo systems and a culture of racial oppression and violence, and calling us into right relations and accountability. This week especially, we deepen our faith and our commitment to racial justice through indigenous solidarity by listening to and centering the voices of Indigenous Peoples. You can hear more about this in Tracy's November22, 2020 Time for All Ages [begins at 16:00] where she explored UU values and responsibilities, and the indigenous people of this area.
Below are resources to help us center indigenous experiences and voices during this season and as we re-learn history:
SURJ Thanksgiving Toolkit geared for white folks to discuss settler privilege and Thanksgiving with family, friends, and broader community. Excellent resources and discussion prompts from Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).
There are several opportunities to spread cheer during the holidays. Look for collection boxes and individuals staffing tables. Additional information in the boxes below.
Volunteer New York!
Local Holiday Volunteering
Volunteer New York! offers a list of meaningful ways for individuals and families to volunteer and support local needs. The opportunities listed here are updated regularly throughout November and December with donation drives, DIY projects, and seasonal nonprofit support.
Through December 11th, bring in canned goods and shelf stable items for the Ecumenical Food Pantry. Contact John C, firstname.lastname@example.org. And donate new and gently used/like new toys and stuffed animals suitable for a small apartment as well as items for teenagers. Look for collection boxes in our lobbies. Contact Mary C, email@example.com.
Through December 18th, purchase gift cards for families at the Coachman shelter. Look for the table in the Fireside Area. Contact Jacy G, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sundays, 9:45am-11:45am, Room 32, Yellow Hallway
Diane, Hans, and Max T welcome young children in childcare. We offer a safe, loving environment where our youngest build community. We wear masks and play outside when weather permits.
We offer an activity area in the sanctuary for anyone who would like a quiet activity during worship.
We know that even when their hands are busy, our young people are connecting with the rituals, words, and music of our faith. Doing a quiet activity or sitting on the floor can help them manage the time more comfortably. We ask parents/caregivers to sit near your children so you can help minimize distractions as our young UUs learn to navigate the worship space, then encourage them to tidy up the area after worship.
10:00am Worship In Person & Livestream
“Pooh Lessons” ~ Rev. Meredith Garmon I'll share some of A.A. Milne's stories and reflect on what they have meant to me through the years.
Visit our website for the Sunday order of service. We are no longer requiring proof of vaccination. We continue to require masks for those in the building.
Click here to join the live-stream of our Sunday Worship or phone in (audio only): 646-876-9923 · Webinar: 761 321 991 · Passcode: 468468. Everyone live-streaming the service is invited to stay online afterward to socialize on Zoom. Log in to bit.ly/CUUC-CoffeeHour or phone: 929-436-2866. Meeting: 336 956 2210, Passcode: 468468.
Weekly Story Time Resumes Dec 1
Thursdays, 7:30-8:30pm, Zoom 3131
Barbara M is reading Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt, which she expects to finish by the end of December. Synopsis: The Tillerman children, Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy, have always presented a unified front to the world in spite of the problems they have to deal with. Their mother is mentally ill and can no longer care for them. They are very resourceful and set out to do something very difficult during the course of the book: find relatives and find a home.
The next book will likely be the 2nd in this series. Barbara notes that it would be easy to bring new participants up to date so don't hesitate to join in! The group curently has upper elementary and middle school participants. Contact: Barbara M, email@example.com. Resuming Dec 1st, meet in Zoom: https://bit.ly/CUUC-Zoom-3131 | Phone (audio only): 646-876-9923 | Meeting ID: 313 195 3131, Passcode: 468468.
5th-12th Grade LGBTQ+ Night
New group starting in December! Friday, December 2
LGBTQ+ Youth Night is a youth-only social & support space for LGBTQ+ and allied youth in 5th-12th grades. Provided in partnership with The LOFT LGBTQ+ Center and WJCS Center Lane.
Come out to meet new friends & have fun! Free pizza and snacks provided. When: LGBTQ+ Youth Night meets on the 1st & 3rd Fridays of every month from 6:30-8:30pm. Who: LGBTQ+ and allied youth in 5th-12th grades. Where: The LOFT LGBTQ+ Center, 252 Bryant Ave, White Plains, NY 10605. Register Here (encouraged, but not required).Contact The LOFT (firstname.lastname@example.org) or WJCS Center Lane (email@example.com).
Support HOPE Soup Kitchen
Inviting Donations of Food Items from the Congregation
Saturday, December 3rd, CUUC
RE families are preparing 70 to-go breakfasts and lunches each month for HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle. We invite the congregation to donate individual-sized food items such as shelf-stable milk, juice, water, fruit cups, and soft granola bars, as well as napkins, loaves of bread, and peanut butter. Leave them in the labeled bins located in the foyer. Frozen items such as French toast, pancakes, waffles, frozen sausages or patties (no pork) can be brought in Saturday morning, December 3rd or as coordinated with Christine Haran (firstname.lastname@example.org).
UU BIPOC Gatherings Monthly
December 5, 6:30pm
If you identify as Black, Indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC), you're invited to join the monthly Central East Region's BIPOC gathering.
In our gatherings we are joined by lay folks of color, lay leaders of color and/or religious professionals of color to be in community. Our conversations focus on topics like wellness and resilience and our goal is to center BIPOC experiences and create space to explore our UU experiences. We meet monthly on Mondays at 6:30pm ET. Remaining dates: 11/7, 12/5, 01/09, 02/06, 03/06, 04/03, 05/08, 06/05. Please email Sana Saeed (email@example.com) or Paula Cole Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org) for zoom information.
CUUC Holiday Cookie Exchange Bring Some, Take Some
December 11, During Coffee Hour
Bake your favorite holiday treats, put them on small wrapped plates or in small bags for the exchange, and please add a tag listing the ingredients.
Canned Goods Collection for the Ecumenical Food Pantry
Sundays through December 11
Donate supplies to the food Pantry for distribution to our neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity.
Here's a change to help in a concrete way, and to encourage our younger memebers toward compassion and the joy of helping. Especially welcome are canned yams and jelly, but any shelf-stable items will be most appreciated. Contact John Cavallero, email@example.com.
Gift Cards for Coachman Family Center
Sundays through December 18
Make sure to visit the Coachman Gift Cards table in the Fireside Area this holiday season! Sign up and donate what you can so we meet our goal of presenting a $25 gift card to each school-aged child at the Coachman Family Center, a local shelter for families experiencing homelessness. You can bring cash or check, and the Hunger and Homelessness committee will purchase the gift cards to be delivered to the approximately 200 children currently living at Coachman. You can also mail checks to CUUC with the memo "Coachman Gift Cards." Or you can donate online at cucwp.org by clicking the yellow Donate button and selecting "Coachman Gift Cards" from the dropdown list. Thank you in advance for helping us improve the season for those in our local community! Contact Jacy Good (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jubilee 3 Anti-Racism Workshop
Fri Jan 13, 6:00–9:00pm; Sat Jan 14, 9:00am–8:00pm; Sun Jan 15, 12:00–6:30pm, on Zoom
This is important. Our congregation is in the midst of deep conversations about our future. If we are to live into our intention to build a more diverse congregation, to be more inclusive for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) members, and nurture a more diverse future for our UU faith, we need adults who continue learning so we are well equipped to do the work and include our young people. The Jubilee Three training is an opportunity to model the importance of doing this work in faith community and to support our community in developing a common language and lens to help us move forward together. I hope you will participate with us. Registration opens to all UUs in North America this weekend so register asap to guarantee your spot. Register at https://tinyurl.com/CUUC2023JubileeThree. RE teachers, advisors, and REC leadership, send your registration confirmation to Tracy for reimbursement (email@example.com). Parents interested in participating, contact Tracy to discuss financial support.
Tracy Breneman, Director of Religious Exploration and Faith Development, firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
468 Rosedale Ave · White Plains, NY 10605-5419