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2020-01-16

From the Sabbatical Minister - January 16, 2020


Remembering Dr. King

I was a small child when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, and mostly unaware of the news or the reasons for changes in my parents’ moods – my first real memory of news is the moon landing. But as an adult, the importance of this man’s passion, commitment, and righteousness continues to inform us today as we dream of the beloved community.

Yet in order to achieve the dream, we must not only transform our politics and our culture, but we must transform ourselves. As my contemporary. Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom writes, “we must not just express our desired change, we must reorganize our thoughts, our perspectives, and even our organizations to be like the anti-racist, multi-cultural, anti-oppression world we want to see. And the sad truth is that as long as our denomination is organized the way it is, the best we can hope for is change. True transformation will elude us, and nothing short of transformation is what we need.”

On the day before he was assassinated, King encouraged us toward transformation, to keep on this path, because the journey is worth it:

“Something is happening in our world. And you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, ‘Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?’ I would take my mental flight by Egypt and I would watch God’s children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land.

“And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there.

“I would move on by Greece and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon. And I would watch them around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.

“But I wouldn’t stop there.

“I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders.

“But I wouldn’t stop there.

“I would even go by the way that the man for whom I am named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church of Wittenberg.

“But I wouldn’t stop there.

“I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.

“But I wouldn’t stop there.

“I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but ‘fear itself.’

“But I wouldn’t stop there.

“Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, ‘If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy.’

“Now that’s a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in a way that we, in some strange way, are responding. Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, the cry is always the same: ‘We want to be free.’”

Amen.




2020-01-15

This Week in Religious Education: January 15-22, 2020

Faith Friday, January 17, 2020
6:15pm Pizza Community Dinner
7:00-8:30pm Faith Friday Programming:
  • Rev. Kimberley's Class, Habits of the Heart
  • Adult Journey Group
  • Youth Group
  • Children's Journey Group. 
The January Journey Group theme is Authority. On The Journey packets are available on our website, click here. RSVP by noon on Thursday, January 16th by e-mailing cuucevents@gmail.com and let us know which group you are attending.

Saturday, January 18, 2020
6:00pm HS Youth Group meeting at the Rockland UU to begin planning the February 15th CON. RSVP to Jane Cowan, janeccowan@gmail.com or in the GroupMe chat.

Sunday, January 19, 2020 (click links for individual class newsletters)
*Winter weather is forecast for Saturday. If it lingers and Sunday RE is affected, Tracy will send an e-mail to all RE families and volunteers by 7:30am Sunday morning. As always, use your own best judgement about whether to venture out or not.

8th-9th & 10th-12th Grades: Special Dr. Martin Luther King Day Program
Begin in the sanctuary at 10:00am then youth will go to special programming in the youth group room, 14. Rhonda M. of the Social Justice/Racial Justice Team is leading a program for 8th-12th grade youth about the children's crusade and the role of youth in the African American freedom struggle, and how our faith calls us to action today. 

6th-7th Grades: Islam Unit Continues
Begin in the sanctuary at 10:00am then youth will go to class with Mohammed Loutfy and Nicole Turygin to continue learning about Islam. Class meets in room 41.

K-1st & 2nd-3rd & 4th-5th Grades: Special Dr. Martin Luther King Day Program
We all start in the worship service at 10:00am then children, youth and volunteers leave for RE. We have a very special K-5th grade program planned. Jim Cobb of the Social Justice/Racial Justice Team is sharing stories of his and Mary's families' ties to slavery, including Mary's great grandmother who was born into slavery. He will also talk about a child's rocking chair that has been in their family for generations. The stories will be told in a manner appropriate for the children's ages and understanding. This is an wonderful opportunity for the children to spend time with an elder of the congregation. Laura G is the assistant. They will meet in classroom 43.

Childcare
Diane Keller and Hans Elsevier welcome children into childcare, room 32, during Sunday morning worship. Parents are welcome to bring comfort items from home. Please let Diane know if your child has allergies or specific needs.

Upcoming Opportunities 
Community Chili Lunch
Following worship and classes January 26th, join us for a community chili lunch.  The Religious Education Council would like to hear from families in a mid-year check in.  How is RE going so far this year for your family?  What would you like us to know?  Look for tables with "RE Check In" cards.

During lunch, Rev. Kimberley will check in with the youth group about their worship planning for the March 8th youth-led worship service.

Congregational Survey
The Committee on Ministry is evaluating how we support our spiritual development, and asks you to help by answering our survey. It should take 10-15 minutes and responses are confidential. You can take the survey online here. The survey is open until Mon Feb 3. Questions? Contact: Tom Wacht (tjwachtesq@aol.com).

Metro NY Social Youth CON
The UU congregation in Summit, NJ is hosting a social CON for 9th-12th graders Friday, January 31-Sunday, February 2. The theme is CONspiracy. Social CONS are youth events that provide a safe space for UU youth to have a weekend of worship, workshops and fun! Jane Cowan from the Rockland UU will serve as our adult sponsor for the weekend. Click here for more information and to register. 

Serving Indigenous and Families of Color
I would like to be in conversation with Indigenous and Families of Color (you or someone in your family is Indigenous or a Person of Color) who attend CUUC. I am wondering if our RE ministry is meeting your needs and would be grateful for a conversation around what that means for you, what it means for you and your family to feel supported and served in this community. Please feel welcome to speak with me any Sunday after worship or to reach out via e-mail (CUUCWPTracy@gmail.com) or by phone/text (914-434-7539).  Thank you, Tracy

Beloved Conversations Family Pilot
A few years ago, this congregation participated in Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity.  We are excited to let you know that the Fahs Collaborative has been working on a Beloved Conversations Family (BCF).  The initial version is for families of color and multiracial families. They anticipate another version will be written for white families at some point in the future.

Our congregation has the opportunity to pilot the curriculum and we are excited to do so. Participants in this pilot will be UUs who identify as People of Color, Indigenous people or as white people in multiracial families. We hope to offer this in the late spring and will be extending the invitation to families at the other Westchester UU congregations. The pilot includes an opening retreat and five 90 minute sessions. Please contact Tracy Breneman to express interest or for additional information. 

Sunday Morning Greeters
We would love to have families greet Sunday morning before worship. What could be more welcoming to families than having a family greet them at the door! Your family would be in place 9:45-10:15am. Contact Jane Dixon (lilrhodie@gmail.com) to sign up for a Sunday. 

Backpack Donations
The Hunger & Homelessness Social Justice Team is sponsoring a backpack drive to support the Brighter Futures After School Mentoring Program. Throughout the month of January, you can sponsor a backpack or purchase items to fill backpacks. Click here for the flyer with more information. Contact Amy Swiss with questions (amyswiss@aol.com). 

Teen Benefit Concert & Dinner
Rivertown Teens invites youth from various religious denominations to work together to host a benefit performance and dinner to support a cause of their choosing. This is a great way to meet youth from other faith traditions and contribute to an important social need. Click here for the flyer which has more information.

Teen Essay Contest
Lifting Up Westchester is holding their 3rd annual Annual Student Essay Contest.  This year’ theme is Why Hope Is Important, particularly at times of personal hardship and diversity.  What is hope? Beyond basic necessities of food and shelter, do we need hope to thrive? How do you restore hope in someone who has lost it? The deadline to enter is January 31st.  Click here for more information. 

In The Coming Weeks

  • Sunday, January 26th - Sunday, January 26th - All begin in worship at 10:00am then leave for RE classes and youth group. Following worship and RE, join us for a community chili lunch. The Religious Education Council would like to hear from families in a mid-year check in.  How is RE going so far this year for your family?  What would you like us to know?  Look for tables with "RE Check In" cards. During lunch, Rev. Kimberley will check in with the youth group about their worship planning for the March 8th youth-led worship service.
  • Sunday, February 2nd - All begin in worship at 10:00am then leave for RE classes and youth group. Following youth group, youth have a worship planning discussion with Rev. Kimberley and Tracy. 
  • Adult Journey Groups also meet monthly on the 2nd Thursday and Friday, the 3rd Thursday and Friday, the 4th Sunday and Wednesday, and the 4th Thursday. Click here for more information. 
RE Newsletters
Ahead of Sundays when classes and youth group meet, each class and group receives their own individualized weekly newsletter. If you would like to receive one or more RE newsletters in your e-mail, sign up here.

I look forward to seeing you!
in fellowship, Tracy

2020-01-14

Music: Sun Jan 19


Music by composers of African descent is featured in this morning’s solo piano selections.  Born in Niagara, Canada in 1882, R. Nathaniel Dett is especially remembered for his In the Bottoms Suite for piano, which concludes with the festive “Juba Dance.” At one time, few advanced piano students neglected this finger-twisting work.

Scott Joplin, one of the pioneers of turn-of-the-century Ragtime, enjoyed a revival of popular interest after the 1973 caper “The Sting” made use of his “The Entertainer,” performed as part of the Centering Music.

British-born Samuel Coleridge-Taylor made appealingly romantic piano arrangements of music from orally-disseminated sources of African and African-descended music. His setting of the Spiritual “Deep River” sets the popular tune in a series of atmospheric variations.

The CUUC Choir is also on hand with arrangements of uplifting Spirituals to round out our musical commemoration of MLK Day. Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
From “In the Bottoms,”
            His Song; Honey; Juba Dance
                                                            R. Nathaniel Dett
The Entertainer
                                                            Scott Joplin

Anthem: CUUC Choir, directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Nothing’s Gonna Stumble My Feet 
 Spiritual, arr. by Greg Gilpin

Offertory:
Deep River
                                                Spiritual, arr. by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor



Anthem:
Song of Freedom (based on the Spirituals Oh, Freedom and Freedom in the Air)   
                                                Victor C. Johnson 

2020-01-11

This Week in Religious Education: January 9-17, 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020 (click link for class newsletter)
10th-12th Grade: Important Youth Group Meeting
Youth Group meets 10:00am-12:15pm. Begin in the worship service at 10:00am then head up to youth group with Cyndi and Daniel Tillman. Youth will begin discussing a theme for the March 8th worship service they are leading. Following the worship service, Rev. Kimberley and Tracy will join youth group to continue the discussion until 12:15pm. It is VERY IMPORTANT that youth attend this Sunday so we can gauge youth participation in leading worship March 8th and confirm this service on the worship schedule.  If youth will not be able to attend youth group this Sunday but would like to participate in the March 8th youth-led worship service, they should let Cyndi and Daniel know that in the GroupMe chat asap.

8th-9th Grade: Coming of Age Class Meets 
Begin in the sanctuary at 10:00am then youth will go to class. Christine Haran is continuing the discussion about faith as a guide for the spiritual journey. This Sunday, they will learn about the 6 Sources of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Erin Foster is the assistant. Class meets in room 11. Coming of Age youth and mentors are in touch via e-mail. Please schedule two discussions in January. Remember to hold March 27-29 for the Murray Grove, NJ credo writing retreat and Sunday, May 17 for Coming of Age Sunday. 

6th-7th Grade: Islam Unit Begins
Begin in the sanctuary then youth will go to class with Mohammed Loutfy and Nicole Turygin to begin the unit on Islam. Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, with about 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. Class meets in room 41. If you would like to help plan a visit to a Mosque or Muslim Community Center, please contact Tracy. 

4th-5th Grade: Children's Worship
Begin in the sanctuary at 10:00am then children will go to Children's Worship in the Fellowship Hall. We have the first of two programs celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Amy Nathan is joining Tracy Breneman to share her new book, "A Ride To Remember." This is the story of Sharon Langley, the first African American child to ride the carousel at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore when it was desegregated in 1963. The carousel is now on the National Mall in Washington, DC. We will hear the story, hear Amy's experience writing the story and meeting Sharon, and begin discussing what children can do to foster change that makes our communities more welcoming and fair places. Read more about the story on Amy's website and the publisher's website

2nd-5th Grade: Children's Worship
Begin in the sanctuary at 10:00am then children will go to Children's Worship in the Fellowship Hall. We have the first of two programs celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Amy Nathan is joining Tracy Breneman to share her new book, "A Ride To Remember." This is the story of Sharon Langley, the first African American child to ride the carousel at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore when it was desegregated in 1963. The carousel is now on the National Mall in Washington, DC. We will hear the story, hear Amy's experience writing the story and meeting Sharon, and begin discussing what children can do to foster change that makes our communities more welcoming and fair places. Read more about the story on Amy's website and the publisher's website

PreK, K-1st Grade: K-1st Our Whole Lives
Begin in the sanctuary at 10:00am then children will go to class. David Bowen is leading session 4, Families. In this session, we celebrate family life in all its diversity and validate each child's family configuration. Children gain awareness and appreciation for their own families as well as families different from their own. Class meets in room 33. *Please do not send children to class with toys. There is a lot of energy in this group and it helps the teachers to minimize distractions.

A fundamental goal of the OWL program is to forge a strong partnership between CUUC and home, and a strong bond between parent and child. After each class and in this newsletter, children will receive the HomeLinks discussion page and corresponding OWL Parent Guide session so you can continue the conversation at home. 
Session 1, Our Wonderful Bodies Part 1 Homelinks and Parent GuideSession 2, Our Wonderful Bodies Part 2 Homelinks and Parent GuideSession 3, Healthy Bodies, Safe Bodies Homelinks and Parent Guide


While K-1st grade children have eight Our Whole Lives classes, PreK children are invited into childcare or may enjoy the children's area in the sanctuary. They may also join us in Children's Worship in the Fellowship Hall.

Childcare: Special Child Dedication
Diane Keller and Hans Elsevier welcome children into childcare, room 32, during Sunday morning worship. Parents are welcome to bring comfort items from home. Please let Diane know if your child has allergies or specific needs. We are celebrating Ellie's child dedication during the worship service. A child dedication is a beautiful ceremony that honors the child and family while affirming our connection in community and shared covenant. 

Images & Activities Order of Service
When we have whole congregation worship and everyone stays in the sanctuary for the full hour, a special order of service is available with images and activities. If you were not at CUUC last Sunday, you can click here for the puzzles.

Metro NY Social Youth CON
The UU congregation in Summit, NJ is hosting a social CON Friday, January 31-Sunday, February 2. The theme is CONspiracy. Social CONS are youth events that provide a safe space for UU youth to have a weekend of worship, workshops and fun! Jane Cowan from the Rockland UU will serve as our adult sponsor for the weekend. Click here for more information and to register. 

Serving Indigenous and Families of Color
I would like to be in conversation with Indigenous and Families of Color (you or someone in your family is Indigenous or a Person of Color) who attend CUUC. I am wondering if our RE ministry is meeting your needs and would be grateful for a conversation around what that means for you, what it means for you and your family to feel supported and served in this community. Please feel welcome to speak with me any Sunday after worship or to reach out via e-mail (CUUCWPTracy@gmail.com) or by phone/text (914-434-7539).  Thank you, Tracy


Beloved Conversations Family Pilot
A few years ago, this congregation participated in Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and EthnicityWe are excited to let you know that the Fahs Collaborative has been working on a Beloved Conversations Family (BCF).  The initial version is for families of color and multiracial families. They anticipate another version will be written for white families at some point in the future.


Our congregation has the opportunity to pilot the curriculum and we are excited to do so. Participants in this pilot will be UUs who identify as People of Color, Indigenous people or as white people in multiracial families. We hope to offer this in the late spring and will be extending the invitation to families at the other Westchester UU congregations. The pilot includes an opening retreat and five 90 minute sessions. Please contact Tracy Breneman to express interest or for additional information. 

Sunday Morning Greeters
We would love to have families greet Sunday morning before worship. What would be more welcoming to our children and youth than to have CUUC children and youth offer a warm welcome as they arrive!  Your family would be in place 9:45-10:15am. Contact Jane Dixon (lilrhodie@gmail.com) to sign up for a Sunday. 


Backpack Donations
The Hunger & Homelessness Social Justice Team is sponsoring a backpack drive to support the Brighter Futures After School Mentoring Program. Throughout the month of January, you can sponsor a backpack or purchase items to fill backpacks. Click here for the flyer with more information. Contact Amy Swiss with questions (amyswiss@aol.com). 


Teen Benefit Concert & Dinner
Rivertown Teens invites youth from various religious denominations to work together to host a benefit performance and dinner to support a cause of their choosing. This is a great way to meet youth from other faith traditions and contribute to an important social need. The first planning meeting is tomorrow, January 11th, 4:00-5:30pm at South Presbyterian in Dobbs Ferry. Click here for the flyer which has more information.


Teen Essay Contest
Lifting Up Westchester is holding their 3rd annual Annual Student Essay ContestThis year’ theme is Why Hope Is Important, particularly at times of personal hardship and diversity.  What is hope? Beyond basic necessities of food and shelter, do we need hope to thrive? How do you restore hope in someone who has lost it? The deadline to enter is January 31st.  Click here for more information. 


In The Coming Weeks
  • Friday, January 17 - Faith Friday programming. Join us for pizza at 6:15. Programs meet 7:00-8:30pm: Rev. Kimberley's class, Adult Journey Group, Youth Group, and Children's Journey Group. The January theme is Authority. On The Journey packets are available on our website, click hereRSVP by noon on Thursday, January 16th by e-mailing cuucevents@gmail.com. 
  • Sunday, January 19 - All begin in worship at 10:00am then leave for Dr. Martin Luther King RE activities led by the Racial Justice Team. Jim Cobb is leading the multiage children's group. Adine Usher and Rhonda Morgan are leading the youth program. 
  • Sunday, January 26 - All begin in worship at 10:00am then leave for RE classes and youth group. Following worship and RE, join us for a community chili lunch. 
  • Adult Journey Groups also meet monthly on the 2nd Thursday and Friday, the 3rd Thursday and Friday, the 4th Sunday and Wednesday, and the 4th Thursday. Click here for more information. 
I look forward to seeing you!in fellowship, Tracy

2020-01-09

Music: Sun Jan 12

Classical musicians: musty, bespectacled; more curators than artists; priests, but not visionaries. The popular stereotypes suggest that the interpreter of classical music follows a sacrosanct score, faithfully conserving the musical past.

But how do performers know what music sounded like in remote times? How can they be certain that the texts they revere have been transmitted reliably over the centuries? How can they be confident that the dots, slashes and other symbols they must decipher meant the same thing at the time of creation as they do now?
 
In reality, the classical musician is like an actor who creates flesh and blood out of a script. Different actors revivify characters is different ways; the musical composition does not have a single, fixed identity.
 
Mozart's Fantasy in C Minor, K. 475, performed as this morning's Centering Music, has come down to modern-day performers through a fitful history. The work was composed in May 1785 and was published later that year by a Viennese firm. Apparently, there were numerous discrepancies between the manuscript and the printed edition, and it remained unclear to publishers of subsequent editions how many of the changes were authorized by the composer, and how many might have been the initial publisher's amendments. Some 19th-century editions were based on the autograph, others on the first printed edition. Then, in the 20th century, the manuscript disappeared, and pianists could rely solely on published versions. Through a strange error in filing, the long-missing manuscript resurfaced in 1990, at the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia! It provided numerous insights into Mozart's compositional process, the evolution of the work, and the fine line between writing and improvisation that existed in 18th-century music.
 
The works of Frederic Chopin have also posed serious questions for interpreters interested in discerning the composer's intentions. In the days before international copyright, Chopin had publishers in several European countries. He had to copy out his works by hand to send to each publisher, and these copies—often made on the same day!---frequently diverge from one another. Chopin, it would seem, had a hard time settling on a final version of his compositions. The situation becomes only more complicated when one studies proof sheets corrected by the composer, dedication copies he wrote out after publication, and other changes he introduced in the printed scores his own students used. In many cases, the pianist must join in the process of artistic choice to bring Chopin's music to life; he proves to be an unauthoritarian authority. This morning, one of his Mazurkas, an amalgamation of folkloric forms from his native Poland, is played at the Offertory.

In addition, the CUUC Choir is on hand with a traditional Navajo chant as well as a tender evocation of childhood.  Read on for programming details.
 
Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Fantasy in C Minor, K. 475
                                                Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
 
Anthem: CUUC Choir directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Now l Walk in Beauty 
 Gregg Smith   
 
Offertory:
Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 7, No. 3
                                                Frederic Chopin
 
Anthem:
Dreams that Children Dream  
 Ruth Elaine Schram

From the Sabbatical Minister - January 9, 2020

Among our explorations of the topic of authority in our Journey groups and our worship services, we are considering questions of how we raise our children to claim their own agency while understanding both the role of authority in families and how authority works well - or is abused - in the larger world.

Sometimes the examples we can explain to our children and youth are hard to find, and sometimes the examples are in the news as we open our On the Journey packets. Yet as we wrestle with how to understand the use and abuse of authority on the international stage, we also wrestle with how to talk to our children and youth.

I offer you this poem, written in the last days of 2016, which feel prescient and helpful today - not only for our children, but for us too. May you find a blessing in it.

“What to Tell the Children” by Rachel Kann



Tell them that this is the great awakening.

Tell them that we humans have made some huge mistakes
And that’s how we now find ourselves in this tenuous place.

Teach them that hate is the poison.
Teach them that love is the remedy,
That it is better to be readied for what comes next,
Even if the revelation is painful.

Tell them that this is the paradigm shift,
That the old is collapsing in on itself,
That this death rattle is simply a temper tantrum;
The last gasp of a dying Goliath.

Remind them of how they get wild
When they are most tired,
And then pass out,
That this is what it’s about,
That this is what is happening to a decrepit and ineffective empire.

Tell them that everything is not ok,
And knowing that is ok.

Tell them that pretending
That what is unacceptable is fine
Is what got us to this sick and dysfunctional spot on the timeline.

Apologize for any prior attempts to teach them denial.
Tell them you were blinded by desire for comfortable numbness.

Express that you had the best of intentions,
That you were working within a broken system,
Where few benefited at the expense of many,
That you laid low,
Kept to the status quo,
Obediently played your role,
But those days are over, because
Now you know better.

Tell them that they have no responsibility
To follow someone blindly based solely on a title.

Teach them to practice discernment.

Tell them authority and respect
Must be earned and are not inherently deserved.

Teach them that there are good people and bad people
From every background, ethnicity and belief system,
That they must align themselves with kindness,
That there is no more time for divisiveness.

You tell
Them that just because something is legal,
That doesn’t mean it’s right.

You tell them
To stand up and fight.

Remind them of all the lawful atrocities
Committed in the sick and twisted history
Of this violent country,
That Rosa Parks righteously broke a law and the world took notice,
That Harriet Tubman is our modern-day Moses,
That women would not be allowed to vote,
And no one would have proposed another notion
If the blessed rebels hadn’t taken a stand.

Tell them love will win this war,
But only if we remember
That love is not just one unending cuddle puddle,
But fierce as a mother bear protecting her cubs.

Tell them that although this existence is damaged beyond repair,
They must not despair,
There is possibility,
And we will willingly and willfully open ourselves
To new ways of being because
The old way is not working,
Has never worked,
And the world deserves better,
And we’re worth it.

Tell them they are not free
While another suffers under enslavement.
Teach them that we are all limbs on one body
And we cannot chop off our own arm without deep suffering.

Teach them humility,
But also to re-learn to trust their intuition and
Beg their forgiveness for unintentionally misleading them previously.

Tell them their gifts are useful.
Tell them they are beautiful.
Tell them they are the truth.

2020-01-01

From the Sabbatical Minister - January 1, 2020


A New Year, A New Leaf

As we head into a new year, we often talk about making resolutions and starting new habits. We look at the new calendar as our golden opportunity to make a new start – and if we miss this one, we can take advantage of other chances the calendar provides: the Chinese new year, and the first day of spring, then the first day of school, then the holidays, and suddenly we’re back to the New year and we might not have actually made that new thing a habit.
Maybe the change shouldn’t be about something that will likely be discarded by Valentine’s Day.
What if instead, on New Year’s Day, we just decided to look at things differently?
We often use the phrase ‘turning over a new leaf’ to describe doing something new. When I hear it, I think about flipping the page of a book – turning a new leaf to a blank page where we can write our new story, and we think we can be something or someone new. What we forget is that we’re still writing in the same book; it’s the same story that we’re continuing. Maybe we take it in a new direction, but it’s still the same story.
Turning over a new leaf might actually be about looking at things differently.
I also think about tree leaves – especially in the summer, when the leaves turn to face the storm that’s coming. It’s still a leaf, no matter what direction it’s facing, but now we see it differently, and we learn something from seeing this different perspective – whether it be that rain is coming or something deeper.
Imagine if we did this with other people too – learning from their stories, their experiences, their reactions. What are they teaching us from their perspective? Can we learn something about the world and ourselves when we look at it from the other side? What new story might we write?
In the coming year, I invite you to not make resolutions, or make promises to yourself that you may not be able or inclined to keep. Instead, I invite you to turn over a new leaf, listen to different perspectives, hear the stories of others – and yourself – in different ways. When we do this, we connect with more compassion, grace, and inclusiveness.
Let this be our year to turn over a new leaf.




This Week in Religious Education: January 1-8, 2020


Hello CUUC Families, Community and Visitors,

I send my wishes for a safe and blessed start to the new year.  May 2020 bring you joy, health, opportunities for personal growth and meaningful connection with others.



SUNDAY, JANUARY 5th
Worship begins at 10:00am.  Childcare is available every Sunday with Diane and Hans.

Join us for whole congregation worship this Sunday. Rev. Kimberley's service is about a singing revolution. The tools of resistance are many and varied, but none is so beautiful as many voices raised in song. We will hear stories of musical resistance and learn some new songs to inspire our work to love the hell out of this world.

Orders of service with images and activities will be on hand for anyone of any age.  A quiet activity area and materials are available in the sanctuary for those who appreciate coloring or something to occupy your hands while experiencing the words, music and rituals of our faith.


IN THE COMING WEEKS
This Weekend – RE classes and youth group do not meet.

Sunday, January 12th – The RE Council meets at 8:15am in room 41.  10:00am Classes and Youth Group:

  • K-1st Grade Our Whole Lives with David Bowen and Tom Ryan;
  • 2nd-5th Grade Children's Worship with Amy Nathan and Tracy Breneman;
  • 6th-7th Grade Class with Mohammed Loutfy and Nicole Turygin;
  • 8th-9th Grade Class with Christine Haran and Erin Foster;
  • 10th-12th Grade Youth Group meets at 10:00am with Cyndi and Daniel Tillman then continues at 11:45am for youth-led worship planning with Tracy & Rev. Kimberley. 

Friday, January 17th – Faith Friday Programming.  Click here for the January 2020 On the Journey packet about Authority.

Sunday, January 19th  – RE Classes; No Youth Group.

Sunday, January 26th  – RE Classes & Youth Group meet, then join us for Chili Community Lunch and an opportunity to share feedback with the RE Council.


RE NEWSLETTERS
Ahead of Sundays when classes and youth group meet, each class and group receives their own individualized weekly newsletter. If you would like to receive one or more RE newsletters in your e-mail, sign up here.


I look forward to seeing you!
in fellowship, Tracy