Music: Sun Nov 6

Consider arriving by 10am on Sunday November 6 for a special Music for All Ages presentation by Adam Kent and CUUC member Mary Lane Cobb. Adam and Mary will discuss the theme of Evil as it pertains to racism and discrimination, illustrated by the haunting poetry of Langston Hughes set to music by Margaret Bonds. Mary will perform several additional settings of Hughes’s poetry in the Music at CUUC opening event at 1pm that afternoon. In the Opening Music and Interlude, Manuel de Falla’s sultry ballet music for El amor brujo evokes witchcraft and obsessive, destructive love, and the Offertory features the wacky Poltergeist by American ragtime composer William Bolcom. Read on for programming details.

Prelude: Music for All Ages with Adam Kent and Mary Lane Cobb
I, Too:  the poetry of Langston Hughes and the music of Margaret Bonds
Opening Music:
Danza del Terror from El amor brujo
                                    Manuel de Falla

The Poltergeist
                                                            William Bolcom

Danza ritual del fuego


Music: Sun Oct 30

Sunday morning’s musical selections reflect on the “Day of the Dead” theme of the service. The Prelude features the slow movement of one of Beethoven’s early piano sonatas, one of the composer’s deepest expressions of grief and mourning. Soprano and CUUC member Kim Force, who offers several vocal works as well, offers the following comments about the Opening Music and the Interlude: In “I Will Follow You into the Dark”, the singer muses about what would happen if his love should die before he does. Chris Martin from Coldplay wrote “Fix You” for his wife after the tragic passing of her father, with whom she was very close. The song looks at how we try to support people suffering from loss.

Read on for programming details.

Prelude: Georgianna Pappas, piano
Piano Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3
            II. Largo e mesto
                                                Ludwig van Beethoven

Opening Music: Kim Force, soprano
“I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie
Ben Gibbard

The Whippoorwill Dance              
                                    Joe Jordan

Interlude: Kim and Christian Force
“Fix You” by Coldplay
C. Martin, J. Buckland, G. Berryman, W. Champion


Succeed at Rejection

Practice of the Week
Succeed at Rejection

How to Overcome Fear of Rejection

"He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through"
(Robert Frost)

When I was seventeen, I was very shy. It was hard to meet women my own age. By the time I was a freshman in college, I had only been on two dates. I was terrified of being rejected. My fear was like a prison, keeping me locked away in self-imposed loneliness. One day, I vowed I would overcome my fear. I would plow my way through it. I enlisted the help of a good friend to help sustain my motivation to face my fright head on. I gave my friend $50 and told him, "Don't give me this money back unless I get rejected by ten different women by the end of today." I figured experiencing ten rejections would lessen my fear.

I strolled down to the University Center to seek out women. As I approached the first, sweat was dripping from my forehead. My knees were shaking, and as I said, "Hello," my voice cracked. When she turned and saw me shaking and sweating, she worriedly asked, "Are you all right? Do you need me to call an ambulance?" I assured her she didn't to do that, and that I'd soon be OK. A brief, awkward conversation ensued before I mumbled, "Would you like to go out together sometime?" In a kind voice she responded that she had a boyfriend, but that she was flattered that I had asked.

Only nine more to go, I thought as I began to breathe again.

Each rejection got easier. I soon noticed that the women I spoke to seemed more nervous than I was. My rejections were proceeding rapidly and smoothly until the seventh woman I approached. When I asked her for a date, she said, "Sure."

I hadn't thought of that possibility. "Sure, what?" I said.

After she convinced me she was really agreeing to a date, I wrote down her number, and, in a state of happy amazement, soon asked another woman for a date. To my surprise, she also said yes. By this time, I was feeling at ease while I asked women out, and the results were often positive. In fact, I had to start acting like a jerk in order to reach my quota of ten rejections and get my $50 back. After a total of eight acceptances, I finally got my tenth rejection. In one magical hour I had set up my love life for my freshman year and put a big dent in my fear of rejection.

The key to overcoming fear of rejection is to set it up so that getting rejected counts as success. As I faced my fear, I saw that it wasn't so bad. I could survive. Since I was fully prepared for it, rejection didn't seem like a big deal anymore. I noticed that with each rejection, it got easier. In addition, as my fear went away and I became more relaxed, I was often rewarded with an unexpected "yes."

Perhaps there is some area in your life in which the fear of rejection has kept you from moving forward. Maybe you've made success too important. Instead, try rewarding yourself for just making an effort and getting a "no." You'll survive. You'll become less controlled by fears of failure. And you'll probably get some unexpected yeses.

The ability to face rejection is one of the most crucial skills for creating a happy life.

There's a spiritual lesson here. When you structure a situation for yourself in which you count failing as succeeding, you teach yourself that what life is really about is neither failing nor succeeding. It's about showing up. It's about bringing the fullness of who you are to every situation. If judgmental fears are keeping you from fully showing up as your unique self, a spiritual practice of plunging into those fears can lead you out the other side.

* * *
For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week Index"

Democracy Book Discussion

Calling all UUs of the Hastings and White Plains congregations! The corruption of our democracy calls for our attention.

Reverends Peggy Clarke and Meredith Garmon will be facilitating an exploration of healing our democracy and Parker Palmers book, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit. Join us on Wed Nov 30 at one of these two times/locations:
11:00am at First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings
7:30pm at Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains

Why This Issue?

The need for securing truly democratic process is clear. Delegates at the 2016 General Assembly in Columbus, OH, selected "The Corruption of Our Democracy" to be the 2016-2020 Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) of Congregations.

Every two years, at General Assembly, the delegates select one issue for Congregational Study and Action for the following four years. (Thus, we are always in the first two years of one issue, and in the last two years of another issue). Delegates at GA 2016 considered other nominated topics, "Climate Change and Environmental Justice," "A National Conversation On Race," and "Ending Gun Violence in America." Feeling that these important issues could not be effectively addressed unless our nation's democratic process began working, delegates chose democracy as the single most important issue for UUs to begin addressing.

What is a CSAI?

The Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) is an invitation for congregations and districts to take a topic of concern and engage it, reflect on it, learn about it, respond to it, comment on it take action -- each in their own way. A CSAI is NOT a statement -- it is a question.

What Does Improved Democracy Have To Do With Unitarian Universalism?

Our Seven Principles give us spiritual grounding to put our faith into action. Our fifth principle declares our commitment to "the right of conscience and the use of democratic process in our congregations and in society at large." Our General Assembly considered CSAI proposals in 2010 and 2014 on “Revitalizing Democracy” and passed AIWs (Actions of Immediate Witness) in 2011 and 2013 on amending the constitution.

What Are Some of the Questions for Study?
  • Unitarian Universalists have identified escalating inequality, racial justice, voting rights, immigration, reproductive justice, marriage equality and more as major moral concerns. Now climate change looms large. Could passing an amendment establishing that only human beings, not corporations, unions and other artificial entities, have constitutional rights, and money is not free speech, benefit these important issues?
  • What does “corporate personhood” mean and why is it important to address that in addition to “money as speech” in a proposed constitutional amendment?
  • How have Supreme Court decisions over the past two hundred years created this “legal fiction”?
  • How does treating corporations and other artificial entities as persons violate our Unitarian Universalist principles?
  • Is a moral political revolution needed to address voting rights, gerrymandering, voting methods, and the possibility of public financing of campaigns?
What Suggestions for Actions Does our Unitarian Universalist Association Offer?

The Advocacy and Witness staff at UUA is preparing a resource guide for the issue. So far, these suggestions have been posted at UUA.org:
  • Hold forums in your congregation on the various proposals to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and other Supreme Court decisions giving moneyed interests sway in this country.
  • Show the 30-minute film “Legalize Democracy” and discuss how this supports our Seven Principles and affects all ages.
  • Encourage your congregation to pass a resolution for Move to Amend and endorse it.
  • Encourage your City Council and County Commission to pass a resolution for Move to Amend, and work to place a ballot initiative or non-binding referendum on your city or county ballot, so all voters can speak out on this important issue. Invite youth to participate in this effort.
  • Educate your congregation about the Interfaith Caucus of Move to Amend. Use the issue of climate change to reach out to other faiths.
  • Join your UU State Action Network, or start one if your state does not yet have one, and encourage them to include climate change as a core issue and the amendment movement to help address it.
What Are the Hastings and White Plains Congregations Doing?

Let's begin our plunge into the spirit work of restoring/creating democracy by looking at Parker Palmer's wonderful and insightful book, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.

Join us on Wed Nov 30 at one of these two times/locations:
11:00am at First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings
7:30pm at Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains.

Order a Copy of the Book

Order from Amazon: CLICK HERE
Order from Barnes & Noble: CLICK HERE
Order from Indie Bound: CLICK HERE

About the Book
In Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker J. Palmer quickens our instinct to seek the common good and gives us the tools to do it. This timely, courageous and practical work—intensely personal as well as political—is not about them, “those people” in Washington D.C., or in our state capitals, on whom we blame our political problems. It’s about us, “We the People,” and what we can do in everyday settings like families, neighborhoods, classrooms, congregations and workplaces to resist divide-and-conquer politics and restore a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

In the same compelling, inspiring prose that has made him a bestselling author, Palmer explores five “habits of the heart” that can help us restore democracy’s foundations as we nurture them in ourselves and each other:

- An understanding that we are all in this together
- An appreciation of the value of “otherness”
- An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways
- A sense of personal voice and agency
- A capacity to create community

Healing the Heart of Democracy is an eloquent and empowering call for “We the People” to reclaim our democracy. The online journal Democracy & Education called it “one of the most important books of the early 21st Century.”
From the Englewood Review of Books:
“There is a deep and disturbing cloud hanging over the United States. It is a malaise that is leading to cynicism and self-centeredness. The antidote is to be found in the healing of the heart of our democracy, so that we might emerge from this private focus to a public one, which recognizes our interdependence. I know of no better guide to discerning the problem and the solutions, than this book by Parker Palmer. It is a prophetic book, one that needs to be taken with all due seriousness, if we are to emerge from our malaise stronger and healthier than before.”
From Publishers Weekly:
"He bravely takes on the current political climate, and this book provides therapy for the American body politic. His insights are heart-deep: America gains by living with tension and differences; we can help reclaim public life by actions as simple as walking down the street instead of driving. Hope's hardly cheap, but history is made up of what Palmer calls 'a million invisible acts of courage and the incremental gains that came with them.' This beautifully written book deserves a wide audience that will benefit from discussing it."
Spirituality and Practice says:
Healing the Heart of Democracy is a hopeful book that lifts up and hallows the heart as a source of inner sight. Inspired by the efforts to understand and undergird democracy by Abraham Lincoln, Alexis de Tocqueville, Rosa Parks, and others; the author sends us on our way rejoicing with the small portion of hope that he has planted in our minds and souls.”


Music: Sun Oct 23

Solo piano works by Unitarian composers of Christian origins are featured this Sunday at CUUC. Edvard Grieg’s charming Lyric Pieces are frequently influenced by Norwegian folklore, and much of Béla Bartók’s output reflect the composer’s research into traditional Eastern European music. Arthur Foote was organist the First Unitarian Church of Boston for 32 years, although his music seems most heavily indebted to European late-Romantic references. Read on for programming details.

Prelude: Adam Kent, piano
Norwegian Melody, Op. 12, No. 6
Woodland Peace, Op. 71, No. 4
Homeward, Op. 62, No. 6
                                    Edvard Grieg

Opening Music:
Romance in F Major, Op. 15, No. 3
                                                Arthur Foote
Rumanian Dances
            Dance with Sticks
            Waistband Dance
            Stamping Dance
            Rumanian Polka
            Quick Dance
                                                Béla Bartók

Notturno, Op. 54, No. 4


The Coming of Autumn

The Coming of Autumn at the CUUC Parsonage, 2016. See the 2014 series HERE.
Mon Oct 10:

Fri Oct 14:

Mon Oct 17:

Thu Oct 20:

Sun Oct 23:

Wed Oct 26:

Sat Oct 29:

Tue Nov 1:

Fri Nov 4:

Mon Nov 7:

Thu Nov 10:

Mon Nov 14:


Science & Spirituality: Beyond Words

"Science and Spirituality" meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month, at CUUC, at 11:30.

Next meeting: Thu Oct 27, 11:30a

At our Oct 27 meeting we will begin discussing:
Carl Safina, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

Grab a copy of the book and join us! For Thu Oct 27 we'll be discussing: "Part One: Trumpets of Elephants" (pp. 5-136).

Order from Amazon: CLICK HERE
Order from Barnes & Noble: CLICK HERE
Order from Indie Bound: CLICK HERE


"I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?"

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack's personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity's place in the world.

About the Author

Carl Safina's work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. He has a PhD in ecology from Rutgers University. Safina is the inaugural holder of the endowed chair for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the steering committee of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and is founding president of the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the 10-part PBS series "Saving the Ocean" with Carl Safina. His writing appears in "The New York Times," "National Geographic," "Audubon," "Orion," and other periodicals and on the Web at National Geographic News and Views, Huffington Post, and CNN.com. Beyond Words is his seventh book. He lives on Long Island, New York.


Music: Sun Oct 16

Join us this Sunday for special musical programming with the CUUC Choir. At 10am, Choir Director Lisa N. Meyer leads a Music for All Ages program during the morning’s Prelude, which culminates in a song-sharing experience with everyone assembled. Popular favorites by Carole King and from the African-American Spiritual tradition feature vocal solos by CUUC parishioners Kim Force, Mary Lane Cobb, and Ted Kuczinski. Read on for programming details.
Music For All Ages: The CUUC Choir, with Choir Director Lisa N. Meyer and pianist Georgianna Pappas
“How Music Brings People Together”, including “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music
Homeward Bound  
Marta Keen, arr. by Jay Althouse  
Mary Lane Cobb and Ted Kuczinski, soloists

You’ve Got a Friend
                                                Carole King
Kim Force, soprano

Hush, Sombody’s Callin’ My Name
American Spiritual, arr. by Brazeal W. Dennard
Mary Lane Cobb, Soloist



Music: Sun Oct 8

Violinist Elena Peres returns to CUUC to perform Max Bruch’s arrangement of Kol Nidre, the holiest prayer of the Jewish liturgy associated with Yom Kippur. Mozart’s charming Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major is also heard during the morning’s Prelude and Offertory. A prayerful Song without Words by Felix Mendelssohn—a composer of Jewish descent—is the Opening Music. Read on for programming details.

Prelude: Elena Peres, violin and Adam Kent, piano
Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major, K. 301
I.               Allegro con spirito
                                                Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Opening Music:
Song without Words in A Major, Op. 19, No. 4 “Confidence”
                                                Felix Mendelssohn

Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major, K. 301
II.              Allegro

Kol Nidre, Op. 47
                                                Max Bruch