News for

2019-05-31

From the Minister, Fri May 31

The weekend of May 17-19, I was yet again impressed with, and grateful to, this congregation I serve. It was exciting to behold the outpouring of energy and interest in meeting and getting to know Rev. Kimberley Debus, who will be the sabbatical minister while I'm away for six months from Oct 1 to Apr 1. CUUC is truly ready to engage with some new possibilities, and that's wonderful!

Rev. Debus will be bringing CUUC some new ideas and some different skill sets: she was herself a UU music director before going into ministry, so she brings a level of musical expertise that I lack to the collaboration with our music staff, and with her eye for aesthetics she will surely be a help to our members that are already at work on making the look and feel of our worship space more vibrant, enticing, welcoming, and conducive to spiritual experience. She has an Adult RE curriculum of five sessions that she created herself that I believe she will be offering while she's here.

There will be some changes. Perhaps some of them will instantly strike you as good ideas, and maybe you'll be rather dubious about others, but I trust you'll give every experiment a fair chance to win you over. Then when I get back, I'll be keen to know which changes you liked and that we should keep. I've encouraged Rev. Debus to be bold in deviating from "the way we've always done it." Upon my return, I look forward to having some adapting to do to "the new CUUC"!

Yours in faith,
Meredith

Practice of the Week: Love We need to give love to be healthy and whole. If you bottle up your love, you bottle up your whole being. Love is like water: it needs to flow; otherwise, it backs up on itself and gets stagnant and smelly. Look at the faces of some people who are very loving: they're beautiful, aren't they? Being loving heals old wounds inside and opens untapped reservoirs of energy and talent. It's also a profound path of awakening, playing a central role in all of the world's major religious traditions. READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen: The Goal This is Gray Wolf's fourth appearance. She first appeared in #22 where she asked about karma. We didn't see her again until #59 where she remarked that the enlightenment of bushes and grasses didn't "seem so likely somehow." Then, in #75, she asked how to keep the vow to save the many beings.

Is not the goal of life more life? The goal of inquiry more inquiry? The goal of art more art? The goal of health more health?

When practice is one's whole life, what else could there be to want?

Case
Gray Wolf made one her rare visits to the circle, and after a talk by Raven she remarked, "The goal of practice seems to be just more practice."
Raven bobbed her head. "Well?"
Gray Wolf hesitated, and then asked, "So there's no end to it?"
Raven hopped down from her perch to a little hummock beside Gray Wolf, put her beak to Gray Wolf's ear, and murmured, "Thank goodness."
Verse
No one thought, this will never end.
Still, no one thought, this will end
Often enough not to be surprised
When it did.

Then, behind the shock:
Continuation.
Some this there is
That doesn't end.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven Index   ☙   Zen Practice at CUUC

2019-05-30

Religious Education: Sun Jun 2

There were no RE classes this past Sunday, in light of the fact that it was Memorial Day weekend. Now of course it is common practice, and one celebrated by many as the “unofficial” kick off of the summer, to go to the beach or join families and friends at a barbeque. Lest we forget the teachings of Unitarian Universalism that we provide to our students, let’s take a moment to recognize the true message of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a living testament and remembrance of all those individuals who participated in war to defend our country and way of life. They fought to protect and defend the well-being of countries assaulted by aggressive governments and, in the process, sacrificed their very lives. War has pervaded our society and humanity since time immemorial: The Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so the list continues to grow. Structures of evil have swallowed up millions of lives in the name of power, control, prejudice, inequity, and greed. All those in our armed services were standard bearers for the very principles that UUs - as well as our society at large - hold dear. Memorial Day honors and immortalizes their actions and their mission to uphold justice, honesty, peace, and the democratic process. These individuals may be gone but never their place as our role models. We as a community may never be placed in such jeopardy of actual demise, however should we do anything less in our daily lives? I think not, as it is not only our right, but responsibility to behave as soldiers ourselves. Our Unitarian Universalist covenant enables us to reach our children, other congregants, and people at large with a message of hope, a desire to live in harmony, and an abiding affirmation of the sanctity of life. In doing this, we pay homage to all those who came before us and offered the ultimate sacrifice. They were and remain the best of humanity, and we thank them with our continuing love.

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, Jun 2
All ages start in classrooms.

College Scholarship Awards - deadline extended
CUUC is offering two scholarships in the amount of $250 for our graduating seniors. Qualifying youth are encouraged to send a short essay on their contributions and leadership at CUUC, with a brief explanation of how the scholarship will be used, and the names of two CUUC references to re@cucwp.org by Mon Jun 3.

Special Friends Meet-Up Breakfast, Sun Jun 2, 9:00am, Fellowship Hall
Our Special Friends pen pals will meet for a reveal breakfast on Sunday, June 2, at 9:00am in Fellowship Hall. We will have disguises for you to help create an air of mystery! Please let us know ASAP if you are not able to attend so that we can let your friend know in advance. Contact Laura Goodspeed (lkgoodspeed@gmail.com).

Faith Development Friday, Fri Jun 14, CUUC
Our evening of learning, spiritual growth, and community. 6:15pm Pizza & Salad Community Dinner; 7:00pm Programs; 8:30pm Coffee. Programs include “Faith Like a River” Adult RE and Family Journey Group. All are welcome to stay after the programs to share coffee and a chat. RSVP to CUUCevents@gmail.com by Fri 12:00 noon so we know how much pizza to order.

RE Party for Michele Rinaldi & Perry Montrose, Sun Jun 16, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall
After our Religious Education Sunday service, join us at a party to thank Perry and Michele for all their hard work on our RE program this year and to bid them a fond farewell. We wish them both all good things in the future!

$500 Voucher toward UU Camp
Sophia Fahs RE Summer Camp, Sun Aug 18 - Sat Aug 24, Camp Echo, Burlingham, NY
After 38 years on Shelter Island, the Sophia Fahs Camp has moved to Camp Echo in Burlingham, NY. Thanks to a special grant, a limited number of $500 VOUCHERS are available to NEW CAMPERS. Vouchers are first come/first served. Deadline Jul 1 2019. To request a voucher, email ​sophiafahs@gmail.com.

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:

2019-05-28

Music: Sun Jun 2


This morning’s solo piano music consists of fragments, short pieces which function like the broken shards of glass to make a mosaic. In the Centering Music, several of Chopin’s 24 Preludes recall the composer’s sublime collection of brief introductory works, created to sound like improvised prefaces to something bigger. In the Offertory, the first six pieces of Robert Schumann’s Papillons conjure up the short dances and unpredictable procession of guests at a masquerade ball. The composer was inspired by the final chapter in Jean-Paul Richter’s unfinished novel Years of Indiscretion, in which twin brothers Vult and Walt switch costumes at a ball to discover the true feelings of Wina, the woman they both love. For the Romantic-era authors who influenced Schumann, the masquerade ball was a symbol of self-transformation and freedom from societal constraints.

Elsewhere, Kim and Christian Force provide another musical exploration of the monthly theme of Borders and Boundaries in Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory,” and the CUUC Choir serves up Greg Gilpin’s “Rise Above the Walls” and an arrangement of Spirituals by Sonja Poorman.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Twenty-Four Preludes, Op. 28
            No. 1 in C Major
            No. 2 in A Minor
            No. 3 in G Major
            No. 4 in E Minor
            No. 22 in G Minor
            No. 23 in F Major
                                                Frederic Chopin

Special Music: Kim and Christian Force
The Edge of Glory
                                                Lady Gaga

Anthem: CUUC Choir directed by Georgianna Pappas
Going Home      
             American Folk Song and Spiritual, arr. by Sonja Poorman 

Offertory:
Papillons, Op. 2, Nos. 1-6
                                                Robert Schumann

Anthem:
Rise Above the Walls     
                                                            Greg Gilpin

On the Journey, Jun: Borders/Boundaries

The June issue of "On the Journey" has arrived! HERE

We'll be exploring BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES. Don't miss it, and don't miss your Journey Group meeting to get together to work with this issue!

Here's your preparation:

"Poems," p. 2.
  • Henry Bellamann, "Edges."
  • Bei Dao, "The Boundary."
  • Richard Wright, "Between the World and Me."
  • Tyler Knott Gregson, "From Wildly Into the Dark."
  • Sophie Jewett, "Across the Border."
Do any of these speak to you? Reveal a new perspective?

"Border/Boundary Quotations," p. 3. Which quote is your favorite? Why?

Readings:
  • "The Harder I Look, the Blurrier Things Get"
  • "The Boundary of Identity: The 'Ship of Theseus' Problem"
  • "We Are Stories and Stardust"
  • "The Threshold"
  • "Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe"
  • "Letters to a Young Poet"
  • "Why Boundaries are Overrated -- Even at Work"
  • "Strangers in Their Own Land"
  • "Lines and Boundaries: An Orange County Almanac"
  • "Advent Manifesto: Does My Soul Still Sing"
  • "Why Sex is Not Binary"
  • "The US Border is Bigger than you Think"
  • "No Old Maps Actually Say 'Here Be Dragons' -- But an Ancient Globe Does"
Questions, p. 11.
  1. Do you stay away from boundaries or push them?
  2. Are you afraid of or attracted to crossing boundaries?
  3. Do you have a border between your personal and professional selves?
  4. Does the “Ship of Theseus” conundrum reveal a disturbing challenge to our ideas about the bounds of our identity?
  5. What has it done to our sense national borders to have seen, since the late 1960s, photos of Earth from outer space – where no national borders (except coasts) appear?
  6. What is the importance of respecting boundaries in a marriage? (see Rilke excerpt)
  7. How do we cross “the empathy wall” – and does it matter if we do? (see Hochschild piece)
  8. Are efforts to eradicate an invasive species analogous to a kind of “ethnic” cleansing? (see James Brown piece)
  9. Are boundaries – such as between work life and personal life – overrated, as Courtney Martin argues?
  10. What do you make of the border between grief and grievance? (see Lederach piece)
  11. Anne Fausto-Sterling notes, “By birth a baby has five layers of sex” – chromosomal, gonadal, hormonal, internal reproductive organs, and external genitals. Each of these “layers” is nonbinary – and the sex-direction of one layer may conflict with other layers. How does this awareness change one’s perception of the boundary between male and female?
Our Spiritual Exercise: What are the borders between people – between groups of people – that justice and compassion calls us to cross? This month, can you identify such a border that you have tacitly observed – and then cross that border?

The link to the current and all past issues of On the Journey can always be found at cucmatters.org/p/journey-groups.htm

2019-05-24

Thank Without Ceasing

Practice of the Week
Thank Without Ceasing

Category: SLOGANS TO LIVE BY: Carry these reminders at all times. These practices don't require setting aside a separate substantial chunk of time -- but they will slow you down a bit (and that's a good thing.) Resolve to get stronger at living by these maxims, day by day. Sometimes make one of them the focus of your daily journaling.


“Pray without ceasing,” instructs the apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians (5:17). The Greek word translated as “without ceasing” (adialeiptos) doesn’t mean nonstop, but constantly recurring.

Two of the central functions of prayer are to articulate to ourselves our heart’s hopes (which can devolve into the merely “asking for things” concept of prayer), and to express gratitude. For this practice, we focus on the gratitude.

Paul's full phrase is "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances" (Thes 5:16-18). For Paul, thanks is given to God. If “God” tends not to be in your vocabulary, then think of being grateful to reality, to the world, to all things that are not in your control, that you cannot earn or deserve. Such gratitude offers a remarkable path to feel closer to reality (or God) during one's daily activities.

When forty spiritual leaders were asked about their favorite method of feeling closer to their Creator, the most common answer was focusing on feeling grateful to God (or reality) throughout the day.

As Ram Dass put it,
“Gratitude opens your heart, and opening your heart is a wonderful and easy way for God to slip in."
Letting reality slip in means becoming more able to set aside the ego-defenses and delusions that separate us from reality.

Many spiritual traditions emphasize prayer that expresses thanks for the blessings in one's life. Many years ago, Jonathan Robinson arranged to interview a Native American medicine man named Bear. They met at a location sacred to Bear's tribe, and Bear suggested that they begin by offering a prayer to the Great Spirit. Robinson's simple prayer was that the time together be well spent, and that it would serve for becoming closer to reality. Then Bear took his turn. He prayed in his native tongue, and he kept praying, as Robinson grew increasingly restless, for fifty minutes.

Trying to hide his irritation, Robinson began the interview by asking Bear, “What did you pray for?” Bear's calm reply was, “In my tribe, we don't pray for anything. We give thanks for all that the Great Spirit has given us. In my prayers, I thanked Spirit for everything I can see around me. I gave thanks to each and every tree I can see from here, each rock, each squirrel, the sun, the clouds, my legs, my arms, each bird that flew by, each breath I took, until I was finally in full alignment with the Great Spirit.” It was clear to Robinson that this man really knew how to pray.

How

Begin by saying, “Thank you reality for [whatever is in your awareness]." You may want to “prime the pump" by thanking reality for things that are easy to feel grateful for. You might say, "Thank you for my health. Thank you for such a beautiful day. Thank you for [name of your partner].”

Then, as gratitude swells in your heart, say "thank you” for whatever you are aware of. If you are driving somewhere you might say, “Thank you for my car, thank you for my iPhone, thank you for this beautiful music, thank you for this nicely paved road, thank you for the man that just cut me off, thank you for the anger that he stirred up in me, thank you for the opportunity to practice forgiveness."

All things are gifts given to us to enjoy or learn from. Normally, we take virtually everything for granted, and rarely stop to appreciate the wonderful things we are given. It can be eye opening to realize that even middle-class folks of today live better than kings lived just a hundred years ago. Yet, without the “thank you” habit, the amenities of modern life go unappreciated.

Once you have used this practice for a while, you will even begin to value things that are unpleasant. Getting cut off by an aggressive driver is no one's idea a good time, yet Thessalonians says, "Give thanks in all circumstances." From a grateful state of mind, you can see that the experience is an opportunity to practice and strengthen your patience, compassion, and forgiveness. Thank you, reality, for that help!

Like any repeated mantra or phrase, "thank you" can build up a momentum of its own as you use it throughout the day. It can, however, become mechanical and rote if attention is not given to appreciating in your heart the gift you've been given.

There is an ecstasy that arises out of gratitude. The “thank you” practice also helps us become more aware and present in the eternal now. By giving thanks for what's right in front of us, worries recede, replaced by an expanded awareness of what is currently occurring.

* * *

From the Minister, Fri May 24

Last weekend I was yet again impressed with, and grateful to, this congregation I serve. It was exciting to behold the outpouring of energy and interest in meeting and getting to know Rev. Kimberley Debus, who will be the sabbatical minister while I'm away for six months from Oct 1 to Apr 1. CUUC is truly ready to engage with some new possibilities, and that's wonderful!

Rev. Debus will be bringing CUUC some new ideas and some different skill sets: she was herself a UU music director before going into ministry, so she brings a level of musical expertise that I lack to the collaboration with our music staff, and with her eye for aesthetics she will surely be a help to our members that are already at work on making the look and feel of our worship space more vibrant, enticing, welcoming, and conducive to spiritual experience. She has an Adult RE curriculum of five sessions that she created herself that I believe she will be offering while she's here.

There will be some changes. Perhaps some of them will instantly strike you as good ideas, and maybe you'll be rather dubious about others, but I trust you'll give every experiment a fair chance to win you over. Then when I get back, I'll be keen to know which changes you liked and that we should keep. I've encouraged Rev. Debus to be bold in deviating from "the way we've always done it." Upon my return, I look forward to having some adapting to do to "the new CUUC"!

Yours in faith,
Meredith

Practice of the Week: Thank Without Ceasing Then, as gratitude swelled in my heart, I would say "thank you” for whatever I was aware of. If I was driving somewhere I might say, “Thank you for my car, thank you for my iPhone, thank you for this beautiful music, thank you for this nicely paved road, thank you for the man that just cut me off, thank you for the anger that he stirred up in me, thank you for the opportunity to practice forgiveness." READ MORE


Your Moment of Zen: Realization and Equanimity As for equanimity, Raven demonstrates it.

As for realization and equanimity, which one is beaver and which is dam?

As for teaching, remember what Huangbo (755?-850) said: "I do not say that there is no Zen, but that there is no Zen teacher" (Blue Cliff Record 11, Book of Serenity 53).

Case
In a private meeting Woodpecker asked, "Is realization the same as equanimity?"
Raven said, "Don't confuse the beaver with the dam."
Woodpecker asked, "What's equanimity?"
Raven said, "I'm not a very good teacher."
Woodpecker said, "Oh, come on!"
Raven said, "It's okay."
Verse
Some of them, though, had a gardener.

Daffodils did not have teachers.
They did not study the craft
Of blossoming.
They were not taught to have six petals
And a corona,
Or drilled in color selection;
Took no classes in stem construction,
Received no instruction in photosynthesis.
From blithe stamen to untutored roots,
Throughout its growing, the daffodil was
An incorrigible truant.
No, no daffodil ever had a teacher.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven Index   ☙   Zen Practice at CUUC

2019-05-22

Religious Education: Sun May 26

With only a week left in May there is, I’m sure, a collective rejoicing from "non winter" folks as we herald in the summer that is right around the bend! But before we start that celebration, let’s marvel at yet another impactful Children's Worship and Social Justice Sunday program last week. Lyra Harada, our children's music director, continued with the rehearsal of "It’s a Small World" for RE Sunday Jun 16. This day, however, she incorporated choreography for K-7 as well. Everyone was very animated and really showing off their starring roles. There was a lot of laughing, exuberant singing, and great dance moves. Watch out, producers of Chorus Line! The third and last installment of Social Justice Sundays was presented to 4th-7th grades by the LGBTQIA co-chairs, Tony Arrien and Joann Prinzivalli, and team members. The discussion centered around the story, "Red, A Crayon’s Story." "Red" is a blue crayon with a red wrapper, so he can only draw blue no matter how much he resists. His mother sends him out to play with a yellow classmate ("go draw a nice orange!"), but Red is miserable. He just can’t be red no matter how hard he tries! A brand new friend gives him a whole new perspective and he discovers that he is blue. Red can now be himself, and finds he has the courage to be true to who he really is. The lesson as explained by Tony and Joann hit home in a very poignant, deep way. The students saw this story as a metaphor for all individuals on the LGBTQ spectrum, often struggling to find their inner selves, just like the crayon Red. Even though Red is exactly the way he came from the factory, he didn’t feel red, nor act like red. Instead he was happiest when he was blue because that is who he was meant to be. The analogy to factory reminds us all that we do not choose the form, appearance, and role we are born into, but that does not mean we shouldn’t strive to embrace the ones we were meant to own and live. So, three more weeks of RE are busily being planned to celebrate Affirmation and our Bridging Ceremony. Combined with all this are our annual barbeque and Father's Day, as well as the Annual Meeting. The conclusion of the RE school year is an exciting time for families, students, and the congregation and is a testimonial to the children's continuing growth and engagement in CUUC. Our hope is that the years students spend in RE provide a guidepost to lifelong dedication to compassion, acceptance, and humanistic counsel to others.

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, May 26
No Religious Education classes. The nursery will be available for the youngest.

College Scholarship Awards - last week to apply
Each year CUUC offers two scholarships in the amount of $250 for our graduating seniors. Qualifying youth are encouraged to send a short essay on their contributions and leadership at CUUC, with a brief explanation of how the scholarship will be used, and the names of two CUUC references to re@cucwp.org by Fri May 31.

Special Friends Meet-Up Breakfast, Sun Jun 2, 9:00am, Fellowship Hall
To our Special Friends pen pals: you are formally invited to our Special Friends reveal breakfast on Sunday, June 2, at 9:00am in Fellowship Hall. We will have disguises for you to help create an air of mystery! Please let us know if you are not able to attend so that we can let your friend know in advance. Contact Laura Goodspeed (lkgoodspeed@gmail.com). Hope you've been having fun making a new friend at CUUC!

RE Party for Michele Rinaldi & Perry Montrose, Sun Jun 16, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall
After our Religious Education Sunday service, join us at a party to thank Perry and Michele for all their hard work on our RE program this year and to bid them a fond farewell. We wish them both all good things in the future!

Summer programs for youth and young adults are an important way to support young Unitarian Universalists in their faith development and help them discern their life’s calling. Learn more about summer programs offered by the UUA office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at uua.org/young-adults/events.

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. 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. murraygrove.org
  • UUMAC Retreat is one week in July at DeSales University in PA. uumac.org
  • CERSI is one week in July in Oberlin, OH. cersiuu.or
  • SUUSI is a weeklong multignerational event in North Carolina. suusi.org

2019-05-21

Music: Sun May 26


Music connected to war and peace is featured in recognition of Memorial Day. French composer Maurice Ravel dedicated each movement of his suite Le tombeau de Couperin to friends lost during the first World War. The title alludes to the 17th-century composer François Couperin, whose Baroque style Ravel parodies with sly references to American jazz harmonies. Schumann’s “War Song” hails from a collection of teaching pieces, and features numerous imitations of horn calls and fanfares. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor included a South East African warrior song “Take Nabandji” in his collection of Twenty-Four Negro Melodies, published in 1904. Finally, peace in the natural world is embodied in one of Unitarian composer Edvard Grieg’s touching Lyric Pieces. Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
From Le tombeau de Couperin
            Forlane
            Rigaudon
                                                            Maurice Ravel

Opening Music:
“War Song” from Album for the Young, Op. 68
                                                            Robert Schumann

Offertory:
Take Nebandji
                                    Traditional South East African arr. by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Interlude:
Woodland Peace, Op. 71, No. 4
                                    Edvard Grieg

2019-05-18

From the Minister, Fri May 17

Our theme for May is beauty. We speak of beauty in many ways, primarily in three categories: beautiful people, beauty in nature, and beautiful art. Putting one’s finger on what makes a person, a scene, or an artwork beautiful is not easy. When it comes to art, philosopher Denis Dutton has an evolutionary explanation for attraction to art. The primary mechanism, he says, works through mate selection.

We are attracted to art – that is, find art beautiful – because we recognize that making it is difficult. No one would buy tickets to the ballet or a concert if just about everybody could dance or play music as well as the performers we go to see and hear. The paintings hanging in art museums are the ones that the curators – whose tastes are shaped culture generally – recognize as rare products of talent and refinement. Those paintings are significantly different from what “just anybody” could paint.

It isn't that they are rare because they’re so beautiful. Rather, it's the other way around. We find them beautiful because the skill that could produce them is rare.

Dutton’s argument is that the ability to do something difficult and exceptional is a signal of mate suitability. Art, like the peacock’s tail, is uselessly extravagant – but such extravagance is a sign of good health and nutrition -- of not having to struggle just to survive. Ability to make something particularly well – by any standard recognizable as requiring a learned skill carried to an exceptional level – is an indicator of health, intelligence, fine motor skills, and enough status and wealth to have the leisure to make something “for its own sake,” not directly useful. Thus mate selection rewarded and reinforced human propensity to display artistic skill. And, just as the peacocks with the biggest tails really were, often enough, good mates, so were the humans with the highest level of artistic skills. Thus the genes of both artist and art lover had improved chances of being passed on.

Words attributed to Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) are worth remembering: "All things beautiful are difficult.”

Yours in faith,
Meredith

Practice of the Week: Study Spiritual Texts You can learn a lot by reading. Certain texts are helpful guides for developing spiritual wisdom. Aside from the canonical scriptures of established traditions, there are many works of wisdom and insight. Here is an essentially random sampling of just a few of the sort of books I have in mind, in no particular order. READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen: Rectification Zen emerged when Buddhism from India spread to China and took on influences from Daoism. (There was no formal merger of institutions of Buddhism and Daoism, thus it is said that Buddhism and Daoism "shacked up," and Zen is their illegitimate love child.) Less recognized is the influence of Chinese Confucianism on the emergence of Zen.

"The rectification of names" is a Confucian idea that stresses that a stable social order depends on ensuring that words correspond to reality -- or at least to consensually shared understanding. In the Analects, Confucius writes:
"A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect." (Book XIII, Chapter 3, verses 4–7, trans James Legge)
Raven here invokes the Confucian idea -- though more for "getting one's own house in order" than for social order.

On the one hand, words are but fingers pointing to the moon. Don't mistake the finger for the moon.

On the other hand, the finger is our "pointer." It matters that we're pointed in the right direction.

Even so, back on the first hand, when it comes to enlightenment, "realization is not like your conception of it; what you think one way or another before realization is not a help for realization" (Dogen).

On the other hand again, Dogen also spoke of the need to arouse the aspiration for enlightenment -- which necessarily involves some conception, howsoever vague, tentative, and inevitably ultimately wrong.

Case
During snacktime one afternoon, Black Bear asked, "How can I realize enlightenment?"
Raven asked, "What do you mean by 'enlightenment'?"
Black Bear said, "You know what I mean."
Raven said, "Fix up your terms and your path is fixed up."
Black Bear asked, "How can I fix up my terms?"
Raven said, "Your own intimate terms."
Verse
Knife scrapes butter over toast
Morning sun slants across the table.
Through the window: spring leaves, a few flowers.
Beside the coffee: a folded paper telling
Today's effects and causes of
Unhappiness, of names sliding apart.

This is a knife.
It, and my hand, spread that butter.
There is the light, the sun.
The leaves are green, flowers yellow, white, purple.
These names are right.
What is there to get wrong?

In a minute I'll unfold the paper,
Let in the day's chapter,
Slanted as the light,
Looking for clues to what is asked of me.
One must be careful
When there is this much to love.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven Index   ☙   Zen Practice at CUUC

2019-05-17

Religious Education: Sun May 19

Well, as shocking as this might sound, last week was another busy, informative, and fun RE children’s service in Fellowship Hall. Grades K-7 started out with Jane Dixon, who explained that two new refugee families had arrived in our country and asked if the students would like to make welcome cards. They absolutely did, and worked intently on designing beautiful and colorful “welcome to America” cards, which Jane promised to deliver. Next on the agenda was children’s music director Lyra Harada working with the students on “It’s A Small World,” to be sung at RE Sunday, June 16. Lyra led the rehearsal with a great deal of energy and the students responded with a lot of laughter and bantering back and forth. The audience of adults even “egged” the kids on by saying, “we can’t hear you” and the children stood up like a chorus and increased the volume, as asked. They were great, as was Lyra – our very own junior choir! At this point, grades K-3 left to their classrooms and 4-5 and 6-7 students were invited to hear special guest Ivan Smith from the Coachman Family Center talk about the plight of people who are homeless and about the resources that Coachman provides for them. The youngsters quickly got a sense of how limited the space was for these families at the center and how few personal belongings they could have. This served as a perfect segue for the question posed to the students: what items would they bring if they were homeless and there was a limit? They also were asked to think about what they would miss the most. The answers that several children had were not surprising, as we have very focused, introspective, and deep young people in CUUC RE. They felt that the lack of privacy, or as they aptly termed it “personal space,” was the biggest loss. This session with Ivan and Ray Messing truly added another level of understanding and compassion to the UU principles taught every Sunday. Looking ahead, we have another Social Justice Program on May 19 by the LBQTIA team, we have Memorial Day around the corner on May 26 with no RE classes, the Special Friends breakfast and Annual Meeting on Jun 2; barbeque and Affirmation Sunday on Jun 9; and of course RE Sunday on Jun 16. Whew! I don’t know about you but I’m amazed at the whole lot of fun, food, camaraderie, and well-deserved honoring and recognition of the RE students that is coming up. The culmination of a wonderfully facilitated RE year… until next time!

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, May 5
Grades K-7 start in Fellowship Hall for Children's Worship. Lyra will be here with music activities. Grades 4-7 will move to 41 for the LGBTQIA Social Justice Sunday program. Grades 8-9 start in classes. Youth grades 10-12 will stay with their families in the sanctuary.

College Scholarship Awards
Each year CUUC offers two scholarships in the amount of $250 for our graduating seniors. Qualifying youth are encouraged to send a short essay on their contributions and leadership at CUUC, with a brief explanation of how the scholarship will be used, and the names of two CUUC references to re@cucwp.org by Fri May 31.

Special Friends Meet-Up Breakfast, Sun Jun 2, 9:00am, Fellowship Hall
The secret pen pals in our Special Friends program will be revealed at a celebration breakfast. We will provide masquerade costumes to help with the excitement of meeting our mysterious writing partners. Thanks to all participants for helping our kids and adults get to know one another better and for creating greater community at CUUC!

Summer programs for youth and young adults are an important way to support young Unitarian Universalists in their faith development and help them discern their life’s calling. Learn more about summer programs offered by the UUA office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at uua.org/young-adults/events.

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. 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. murraygrove.org
  • UUMAC Retreat is one week in July at DeSales University in PA. uumac.org
  • CERSI is one week in July in Oberlin, OH. cersiuu.or
  • SUUSI is a weeklong multignerational event in North Carolina. suusi.org

2019-05-14

Music: Sun May 19


Hard to believe she’s a grandma, but Janet Bear, our intrepid Music Committee co-chair, is the guiding force behind this morning’s musical selections. At last fall’s Goods and Service Auction, Janet won the chance to plan music for a Sunday morning worship service. Mindful of her interest in music inspired by women as well as by her joyously burgeoning family, I have programmed works connected to childhood, women, and female offspring. The Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge alludes to his daughter Yvette in his charming Sonatine pour Yvette from 1962. Robert Schumann’s Kinderszenen was inspired by his love of Clara Wieck, who would eventually become his wife. These “Scenes of Childhood” remind listeners that Clara was a girl of 11 when Schumann met her. Debussy had his beloved daughter “Chouchou” in mind, when he wrote his Children’s Corner, which furnishes his memorable tribute to African-American musical culture in “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk.” Jacques Ibert’s lilting “A Giddy Girl” rounds out the gallery of portraits of young women. Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Sonatine pour Yvette
            I. Vivo e spiritoso
            II. Moderato molto
            III. Allegretto
                                                            Xavier Montsalvatge

Opening Music:
From Scenes of Childhood, Op. 15
                                    Träumerei
                                    Robert Schumann

Offertory:
From Children’s Corner
                        Golliwogg’s Cake Walk
                                                Claude Debussy

Interlude:
From Histoires
             A Giddy Girl  
                                                Jacques Ibert

2019-05-10

Rare, Precious Fluke

Practice of the Week
Rare, Precious Fluke

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


We’ve learned that we humans are quite small in relation to the big world. We are unimaginably tiny compared to the universe, and are but new arrivals in the history of life on Earth. Still, all Earth’s creatures are precious.

Of all the species that have ever lived, 99.9 percent are extinct. They evolved into being, lived for a time, and are now gone. Recent extinctions have often been caused by human activity, and this is a tragedy that deserves our attention to prevent more losses. But there have been extinctions – even mass extinctions – before there were any primates, let alone humans.

There have been five mass extinctions:
  • 444 million years ago (mya),
  • 375 mya,
  • 251 mya,
  • 200 mya, and, most recently,
  • 66 mya, when the dinosaurs were wiped out.
In each of these, the Earth lost at least 75% of her species. The most devastating, the Permian extinction 251 mya, claimed 96% of all species. The survivors repopulated the Earth, their descendants branching into new and different lifeforms.

That evolution produced primates is a huge fluke. It’s even more improbable that one of them would be an ape about five or six feet tall with armpits, musical instruments, bad jokes, and all the rest that makes us the species we are. We’ve produced written language, painted masterpieces, solved quadratic equations, and built skyscrapers, Kew gardens, and the internet. We ask ourselves the deep questions of philosophy and religion and wrestle with alternative answers. We’ve ventured into space and looked back at our home in awe.

Tiny newcomers on the cosmic stage though we be, we are rare and precious—a gem indeed. We are offspring, parents, siblings, lovers and friends. We have the capacity to feel compassion for each other, and the creatures who share our planet. We are capable of acts of tremendous kindness and deep abiding love.

Yet every species is unique. All species emerged from the tangled thicket of evolutionary history going back to the beginnings of life. They too are rare and precious gems.

Practices

1. Honoring Your Uniqueness. Clear your altar of any previously used items. You are a singular being, unlike anyone else on Earth, now or in the past. Your experiences, perceptions, life story, and genetics are unique. (Even if you have an identical twin, your life experiences are yours alone.) Express this uniqueness on your altar. Put up some photos of your ancestors to represent your genetic legacy, and some items that symbolize your life story and experiences. This is a creative snapshot of the person you are right now. How might your altar have been different had you created it five years ago? Ten years ago?

2. Observe Endangered Species Day. Sadly, many animals are on the path to extinction due to human activity. Since 2006, environmental groups around the world have commemorated endangered species with a special day, to bring attention to the issue. In the United States, the third Friday of May is Endangered Species Day. Think about ways to mark the day in a meaningful way. Consider participating in a local event, or writing a letter to the editor of your local paper to raise awareness. Learn about some endangered species in your bioregion. Discover how you might help them survive and adapt to a changing world.

3. Many Paths and Possibilities. Just as evolution could have taken many other paths than the one it did, our lives also could have turned out very differently. In your journal, reflect on the roads not taken in your life. Don’t dwell on what might have been “better.” Simply acknowledge the many possibilities. Next, consider the many paths open to you at this stage of your life. Of the infinite possibilities, only one path has unfolded and only one will unfold. So it is with the evolving Earth.

Group Activities

Memorial for an Extinct Species. Gather your group, and plan a memorial to extinct species. It can be dedicated to one specific species, or all animals made extinct by human actions. It can be as simple or elaborate, temporary or permanent as your group wishes it to be. Outdoor memorials, or those associated with a park or nature preserve, are particularly appropriate. One example includes a gift of several birdhouses made by group members for endangered birds on a nature trail. Or the group might plant some native wildflowers. You may choose to mark the gift with an explanatory plaque, or leave it unadorned. If you prefer not to create a permanent memorial, consider hosting an event for Endangered Species Day and incorporating a tribute to extinct species as part of the event.

Questions for Group Conversation:

  • Not only are we rare and precious, but so are the other creatures that share the Earth with us. What obligation, if any, do we have to the other living beings on our planet?
  • How can we balance human needs with the needs of other species who also call the Earth home?
  • Imagine a world where more than one hominid species survived to the present day. What might that world be like? What challenges would people face while sharing the world with our very close cousins? How would we define human? (Is it important to define humanity?)
  • What are some positive traits of the human species? Negative ones? How can we balance the two?

* * *

From the Minister, Fri May 10

There are many noncongregational ways to pursue spiritual development – books, classes, regular sessions with a spiritual counselor. Congregational life brings some unique features to the spiritual path. For better and for worse, congregational life includes these five features you won't find on other paths of spiritual development.

1. Self-governance: involvement with committees; democratic participation in, and approval of, the budget process; deliberating about policies, procedures, bylaws; creating and leading programs. Congregations give you a role in running the place. Yoga classes or sessions with a spiritual therapist don't. I know that the prospect of being on a committee may not be very appealing. Spiritual community that is run by the seekers themselves offers a unique level of richness, meaning, and connection.

2. Group Identity and Belonging. There is deep satisfaction in being a member of the Unitarian Universalist “tribe.” Belongingness in a community of care and concern is a deep human need. Many such communities, including Unitarian Universalist ones, work at mitigating the insular aspects that some communities develop. We want to ensure that our identity as “UUs” doesn’t exclude other identities. UU Christians, UU atheists, UU Buddhists, UU pagans, UU Jews, UU Humanists, and others, all find belonging as Unitarian Universalists.

3. Family membership. Family belongingness -- both parents and children in a context of multiple generations -- is an integral feature of congregational life. You don't get that with a spiritual counselor or a meditation class.

4. Caring for each other. Congregation members show love and care to other members – building friendships at congregation gatherings, visiting each other for social occasions and when one of us is sick. These things will naturally happen among a circle of friends, but congregational life affords the chance to have a bigger circle. It’s nice to care and be cared about by people that know you well. Caring and being cared about by group members that may not (yet) know you all that well adds a rewarding layer of meaning to life.

5. Social justice action as a faith community. You don’t have to be in a congregation to work for social justice, but in congregations, justice and spirituality are integrated. This may not be so true in some denominations, but it tends to be the Unitarian Universalist way. Working with fellow congregants on justice projects is an essential part of our spiritual path.

Yours in faith,
Meredith

Practice of the Week: Rare, Precious Fluke Of all the species that have ever lived, 99.9 percent are extinct. They evolved into being, lived for a time, and are now gone. We humans, tiny newcomers on the cosmic stage, are rare and precious—a gem indeed. Yet every species is unique. All species emerged from the tangled thicket of evolutionary history going back to the beginnings of life. They too are rare and precious gems. READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen: The Best Turning Points Jackrabbit Roshi was there at the beginning of our adventures with Raven -- in #1, where he put the teaching of mutually dependent arising at the center. Since then, Jackrabbit has only been referred to: in #38, where Raven invites her students to speak up about "anything in our program that troubles you"; -- #70, where Woodpecker asks about reports that Jackrabbit is now putting "just this!" at the center; -- and #86, where Owl asks about Jackrabbit supposedly having said, "the mind has no qualities and its essence is compassion."

Turning points unavoidably arise, if they arise at all, within and out of your own situation. But, as Owl learns, it's no easy thing to be grounded in, and clear about just what your situation is

Case
Owl came forward one evening and called up to Raven on his perch, saying, "Jackrabbit Roshi was the first teacher you met."
Raven said, "That's right."
Owl said, "I've heard he said the best turning points come out of your own situation. Did you ever hear him say such a thing?"
Raven said, "What's your situation?"
Owl swung his head from side to side.
Raven asked, "What turning points come from that?".
Owl hooted.
Raven said, "I'm not convinced."
Verse
"During revolutions, scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before." --Thomas Kuhn

When did it happen? You
Becoming you, I becoming
This.
Is not change, though continuous,
Punctuated?
Were there not moments --
   a day, a year, or two --
Of seeing through a new glass,
Just as dark,
   maybe,
But that seemed less so?
Were we not given
Glimpses because of which we took
A yellow-woods road that
Made all the difference?
Did we not,
At some identifiable-afterwards time
Turn aside from the task of shoring up the imperium,
And set ourselves instead to construct new forms?
When?
When did it happen?
Might it be happening again?
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven Index   ☙   Zen Practice at CUUC

2019-05-09

Religious Education Sun May 12

Spring is still teasing us, but it is May and with that comes the assurance that warmer weather will soon be here to stay. Our RE classes K-7 started in the sanctuary last Sunday and were the chosen audience for Perry Montrose’s Wonder Box story. There were dinosaurs, fossils, turtles, and the like, which were humorously described in the whimsical and silly poems of Ogden Nash while Adam played accompanying music for each animal. What an innovative, entertaining story for the day! This worship was also our annual Flower Service, where congregants both brought and took home a flower in a gesture of community, friendship, faith, and affirmation of the theme of beauty.

While grades K–3 went to classes, the 4–5 and 6–7 students came to Fellowship Hall for a Social Justice program on recycling. They learned about the Greenhouse effect and different types of recycling. All the students made name tags as the newly dubbed “Eco Experts.” They will be the ambassadors, instructors, and educators for the congregation, especially during brunches and meals. No one will be confused any longer as to what recycle bin to use, with our Eco-Expert team on hand! Go Team Eco and many thanks to Janet Bear and the SJT for putting together a great program!

Perry and I had the opportunity to spend some time in the 2–3 class and talk about the upcoming Affirmation Service on June 9. The students explained in their own words what affirmation meant and they discussed what they wanted as their special treat. When an ice cream station was mentioned, screeches of joy went up, probably heard all the way down to Fellowship Hall. Rosie Rugg said it all with “Oh, my Gaawwwd!” She also made it clear she was partial to Starbucks. My, how times have changed…

We are absolutely delighted to say that the Variety Show was beyond a huge success and transformed CUUC into an electric, exciting forum for all our performers and possible future contestants of America’s Got Talent, or our preference, Unitarians Have Talent. Either way, the bake sale and silent auction certainly pushed us over the top and PrideWorks will be the recipient of approximately $4,000 collected! Even with all that being said, believe it or not there’s more! We are building up to the Special Friends breakfast on June 2, then Affirmation Ceremony, Father’s Day, and our annual barbecue on June 9. And last but not least we will celebrate RE Sunday with its Bridging Ceremony on June 16, the last day of RE before our program goes on summer break. So much to do and so little time, but so much joy, anticipation, and fulfillment is and will be experienced by our students and congregation in large part due to the abiding, consistent, dedication of staff and teachers.

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, May 5
Grades K-3 start in Fellowship Hall for Children's Worship, Grades 4-7 start in classes where they will meet Ivan Smith of Coachman Family Centers as part of Social Justice Sunday. Grades 8-12 start in classes. Lyra will be here with music activities.

Faith Development Friday, Fri May 10, 6:15 Pizza & Salad, 7:00 Programs, CUUC
Come for our monthly evening of community and spiritual growth. Programs include Faith Like a River Adult RE, and Family Journey Group for parents and kids. RSVP to cuucevents@gmail.com by 12 noon Fri May 10, so we know how much pizza to order.

College Scholarship Awards
Each year CUUC offers two scholarships in the amount of $250 for our graduating seniors. One scholarship is given in honor of Sylvia Schnall-Pierorazio and the other Rev. Betty Baker, both former CUUC Directors of Religious Education. Please send a short essay on your contributions and leadership at CUUC, with a brief explanation of how the scholarship will be used and the names of two CUUC references to re@cucwp.org by Fri May 31.

Kids and Adults - Remember Your Special Friends Letters!
We have less than month to go in our pen pal program. Our Special Friends reveal breakfast will be in June, and we will provide masquerade costumes to help with the excitement of meeting our secret writing partners. Thanks to all participants for helping our kids and adults get to know one another better and for creating greater community at CUUC!

Healthy Youth Relationships Retreat POSTPONED
The healthy relationships retreat for youth and parents that Westchester UU congregations were planning with Center Lane on May 11, will be rescheduled to a date in fall 2019. Stay tuned!

More Activities for Westchester UU Youth and Families
The Westchester UU congregations have planned activities to strengthening community among Westchester UU youth. Save the dates and register to make the events will happen! Click HERE for more info.
  • Sunday, June 30: NYC Pride March, 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising (multigenerational event)
  • Saturday, July 6: Bowling - By Popular Youth Request! (6th-12th grade youth)
  • Saturday, August 3: Social Youth Gathering (6th-12th grade youth)

Summer programs for youth and young adults are an important way to support young Unitarian Universalists in their faith development and help them discern their life’s calling. Learn more about Thrive Youth, Summer Seminary, Meaning Makers, and other summer programs offered by the UUA office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Visit uua.org/young-adults/events.

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. 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. murraygrove.org
  • UUMAC Retreat is one week in July at DeSales University in PA. uumac.org
  • CERSI is one week in July in Oberlin, OH. cersiuu.or
  • SUUSI is a weeklong multignerational event in North Carolina. suusi.org

2019-05-07

Music: Sun May 12


Unlikely beauty is embodied in much of Beethoven’s music, which sometimes baffled his contemporaries with its sudden juxtapositions of diverse moods and affects; his work often seemed oblivious to the categories most other composers treated as inviolable. In the first movement of his Piano Sonata No. 28, heard in this morning’s Offertory, for example, Beethoven seems to mix pastoral traits with sudden tragic outbursts. In the Centering Music, female composers of Ragtime are featured, in recognition of Mothers’ Day and in order to call attention to the contributions of overlooked demographics. Elsewhere, the CUUC Choir is on hand, with a touching lullaby from the Sephardic tradition and a timeless expression of beauty by John Rutter. Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Phoebe Thomson’s Cake Walk
                                                            Sadie Koninsky
Hoosier Rag
                                                Julia Niebergall
Dusty, a Rag
                                                May Aufderheide

Anthem: CUUC Choir, directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Durmé, Durmé*    
                        Sephardic Folk Song, arr. by Audrey Snyder
*Translation: Sleep, Sleep mother’s little child. Sleep without worries or pain.  Sleep.     
          
Offertory:
Piano Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101
            Etwas lebhaft, und mit der innigsten Empfindung
                                                 Ludwig van Beethoven

Anthem:
For the Beauty of the Earth  
                                                John Rutter

2019-05-03

From the Minister, Fri May 3

The 2018-19 UUA Common Read is:

If you haven't read it, I do hope you'll get a copy and give it a look. The more UUs learn about what UUs are doing and how they're doing it, the more engaged and meaningful we can become -- enriching our world and our own lives.

Take Chapter 12, for example.
Deborah Cruz, with Alex Kapitan, "The Journey of Partnering for Justice," pp. 131-148.

This chapter tells how Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (BUF), a couple hours north of Seattle, Washington, partnered with indigenous groups in area of the Salish Sea (a.k.a. Puget Sound), to fight for protections of territory and fishing-rights against threatened development. Together, they won a significant victory in blocking construction on Lummi land of what would have been the largest coal export facility in North America.

The chapter outlines BUF's extensive planning, program organizing, moblizing of other UU congregations, and development of a service learning program through the UU College of Social Justice. The authors note:
"BUF members have learned that to effectively engage in intersectional justice work with frontline people directly affected by environmental injustice, we have to embrace six key practices: humility, authenticity, listening, cultivating trust, doing our homework, and being in it for the long haul" (p. 138)
The chapter then unpacks how BUF followed these six practices and how important it was that they did.

Give it a look. Let me know what ideas for CUUC come to your mind as you read about this inspiring example.

And check out this resource for developing multicultural collaboration: HERE

For my reflection/summary on previous chapters, click the title:
  1. Jennifer Nordstrom, "Intersectionality, Faith, and Environmental Justice"
  2. Paula Cole Jones, "The Formation of the Environmental Justice Movement"
  3. Sheri Prud'homme, "Ecotheology"
  4. Sofia Betancourt, "Ethical Implications of Environmental Justice"
  5. Adam Robersmith, "Cherishing Our World: Avoiding Despair in Environmental Justice Work"
  6. Peggy Clarke, Matthew McHale, "Becoming Resilient: Community Life for a New Age
  7. Kathleen McTigue, "Drawing on the Deep Waters: Contemplative Practice in Justice-Making
  8. Pamela Sparr, "Transforming Unitarian Universalist Culture: Stepping Out of Our Silos and Selves
  9. Kathleen McTigue, “Learning to Change: Immersion Learning and Climate Justice
  10. Peggy Clarke, "Eating the Earth"
  11. Mel Hoover and Rosed Edington, "Water Unites Us
Yours in faith,
Meredith

Practice of the Week: Find Beauty In keeping with our theme for May, Beauty, consider these thoughts for finding more beauty in your life and developing a beauty habit! "There's so much beauty all around us. But I think that for many people, there is little sense of this. That was certainly true for me before I started deliberately looking for beauty. And then we wonder why life doesn't seem very delightful!"
READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen: Doubt Three essential conditions for Zen practice are: Great Faith, Great Doubt, and Great Determination. This Great Doubt is not intellectual doubt. It is:
"utterly becoming one with our practice to the point that our entire body and mind are like a single mass of inquiry. As long as we think that there is something called 'ourselves' that is practicing, we have not quite achieved great doubt. When we become truly absorbed in our practice, then the practice itself is practicing -- our spiritual energy solidified into an immovable mass of questioning." (Koun Yamada).
What is it? Open your mouth to proffer an answer, and you've lost it.

Case
One evening Woodpecker asked, "The term doubt seems to be used in an unusual way in our practice. How do you understand it?"
Raven said, "What's this?"
Woodpecker asked, "Well, what is it?"
Raven asked, "What is it?"
Verse
Who hears? What is mu?
How is it I speak
Without moving my tongue?
What is the sound of a hand?
What is here?
I ask, not wanting to know,
but to remember I don't.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven Index   ☙   Zen Practice at CUUC