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2020-01-31

This Week in Religious Education: January 30-February 6, 2020

Sunday, February 2, 2020
Childcare (room 32, yellow hallway)
Diane K and Hans E welcome children into childcare every Sunday morning at 9:45am. Parents are welcome to bring comfort items from home. Please let Diane know if your child has allergies or specific needs.

10:00am: We all start in the worship service at 10:00am then children, youth and volunteers leave for Religious Exploration classes and Youth Group. Following Youth Group, youth have a worship planning discussion with Rev. Kimberley and Tracy. Children 3rd grade and younger must be picked up in their classroom.

PreK Children are welcome in the sanctuary for worship where they can enjoy the children's area with quiet activities or in childcare (room 32, yellow hallway).

K-1st grade Our Whole Lives (room 33, yellow hallway)
K-1st grade children resume OWL classes this Sunday. David B is leading a lesson on families and feelings, which invites children to learn about many different family grouping and arrive at a definition of "family." Janet W is assisting. 

2nd-3rd grade Passport to Spirituality (room 43, green hallway)
The children have a special guest this Sunday!  Susheela R will talk about growing up in the Hindu faith, sharing aspects of Hinduism that are most meaningful for her. Aaron N is assisting.

4th-5th grade Bibleodeon (room 21, blue hallway)
Children will learn about women in the Bible as well as the patriarchal nature of biblical Israel. The creative experience invites the class to look back over earlier sessions and make artistic additions to the wall art. Suzanne C and Christine M are leading.

6th-7th grade World Religions (room 41, green hallway)
The class continues learning about Islam this week with Mohammed L and Nicole T. This is their third class and the group is learning more deeply about Islam as a religion.

8th-9th grade Coming of Age (room 11, red hallway)
The class continues exploring UU theology. Christine H will lead discussion about good and bad, sin and choice, and the 10 Commandments. They will also explore images and paths to God. Kate C is assisting.

10th-12th grade Youth Group (room 14, red hallway)
Youth group meets with Daniel and Cyndi T to continue planning for the March 8th youth-led worship service. After worship, youth will meet with Rev. Kimberley and Tracy to discuss how worship planning is progressing.


Connecting in Community
Congregational Survey
These are the final days to participate in the congregational survey!  The Committee on Ministry is evaluating how we support our spiritual development and asks you to help by answering a survey. It should take 10-15 minutes and responses are confidential. You can take the survey online here. The survey is open until Monday, February 3rd. Contact Tom Wacht with questions (tjwachtesq@aol.com).

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

Connect With Our Children & Youth
There are openings coming up for you to get to know our children and youth by serving as an assistant in a Religious Education class. No preparation required! Just spend an hour with our amazing children and youth while you fulfill our Safe Congregation practice of having two adults with our young people at all times. Click here to view available dates - then volunteer!

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).

Sunday Morning Greeters
We would love to have families greet Sunday morning before worship. Children and youth are an important part of our community and it would be wonderful to include them in greeting members and guests! Your family would be in place 9:45-10:15am. Contact Jane Dixon (lilrhodie@gmail.com) to sign up for a Sunday.


Especially for Youth
UU Common Read
Our UU Common Read book this year is An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States and An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People. Written by Indigenous scholar and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, this book challenges readers to learn US history through a narrative that centers the story, the experiences, and the perspectives of Indigenous peoples.  We invite our youth to participate in upcoming discussions of the book at CUUC! Copies are available at coffee hour. Contact Jeff Tomlinson (jefftomlinson8@gmail.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.

Regional Senior High CON
Conpassion will be a day long conference (con) event planned by youth with the support of adults. At heart a youth con is an experience in building covenantal community. It is an immersive UU community experience where youth find love and acceptance. Our con theme and focus will be love and compassion. It will incorporate community building, fun, worship, spirituality, and youth leadership. The UU Congregation of Rockland is hosting this one-day CON for 9th-12th grade youth, Saturday, February 15th, 9:00am-8:30pm. Youth Deans are Tracy K and Luke J.  Cap is 35 youth so register soon. Youth registration, click here.  Adult registration, click here.

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. The CUUC contact is Joe Gonzalez (flegon@netzero.net).

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.


Summer 2020 UU Camps & Activities
River Rising - Fantastic Youth Leadership Building Opportunity (rising 9th-12th graders)
July 5-11 at the UU Church of North Hills near Pittsburgh, PA
July 27-August 2 at Main Line UU Church near Philadelphia, PA
Registration is OPEN for the UUA's Central East Region 2020 River Rising Youth Immersion Experiences! Through covenant, collaborative leadership, skill building, games, silent reflection, personal challenges, spiritual practices and many magical moments both planned and not, we grew stronger, resilient and capable of facing the future. Read more here and register here. Deadline for scholarships is June 1st.

Camping in the Grove (rising 4th-7th graders)
August 2-6, Murray Grove, Lanoka Harbor, NJ  Registration is OPEN!
Five days of fabulous camp fun with a healthy dose of UU religious education and history. The 2020 camp theme is "Hand in Hand," which was the name of the ship John Murray arrived on 250 years ago bringing Universalist religion to North America from Europe. Camping in the Grove is for children and youth entering 4th through 7th grade in the upcoming fall.  Additional information and to register, click here.

Adventures Head (rising 8th-10th graders)
Mid-July, Murray Grove, Lanoka Harbor, NJ
This program will offer exciting service opportunities and outdoor adventures to youth who have aged out of Camping in the Grove and to all youth of adventurous spirit.  We will be learning firsthand how we put our values to work in the world! More information coming soon on the Murray Grove website.


RE In the Coming Weeks

  • Sunday, February 9th - All begin in worship at 10:00am then most leave for RE classes and youth group. The Coming of Age class will remain in the worship service then have a sermon and worship planning discussion with Rev. Kimberley following worship. 
  • Monday, February 10th, 7:30pm - The RE Council is meeting for a mid-year check in of RE programming. 
  • Sunday, February 16th - All begin in worship at 10:00am then leave for RE classes and youth group. Some of the children's classes will have Children's Worship with Tracy and Amy Swiss to learn about the Brighter Futures After School Mentoring Program and fill backpacks with donations the Hunger & Homeless team collected. 
  • Friday, February 21st - Faith Friday programming: Youth Group, Adult RE Class, Adult Journey Group, Children's Journey Group. Dinner at 6:15pm. Programs 7:00-8:30pm. RSVP by e-mailing cuucevents@gmail.com and let us know which group you are attending. 
  • Adult Journey Groups 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 and the February On the Journey packet. The theme this month is God.  

RE Newsletters
Many 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.

Winter Weather Reminder
CUUC does not cancel the Sunday worship service for inclement weather.  Weather might, however, affect RE if leaders cannot make it in. If we are canceling RE classes and youth group, Tracy will send an e-mail to all RE families and volunteers by 7:30am Sunday morning. If you do not hear from Tracy, RE is continuing as planned. As always, use your own best judgement about whether to venture out or not. If not all teachers can make it in, classes will combine. Leaders of other CUUC meetings and events will communicate with their members if their activities are affected.

I look forward to seeing you!
in fellowship, Tracy

2020-01-30

From the Sabbatical Minister - January 30, 2020


Sometimes a weekly missive from the minister is a long, well formed, well executed exploration of a topic – whether it’s something happening in the world or the congregation, or an exploration of an idea, a theology, or a piece of art.

Sometimes, a weekly missive from the minister is a series of ideas, none worth more than couple of paragraphs, but all interesting and important. A buffet of blog bits… A smorgasbord of salient snippets…. A flight of fanciful factoids… An avalanche of alliteration… thus, I offer you some thoughts that are on my mind, in no particular order:

Building as Mission Statement


On Sunday, our building team will hold an informational session about the upcoming building renovations – renovations that include adding accessible bathrooms, better ramps and accessible entrances, access to the main sanctuary, a ramp up to the chancel. These changes are important and much needed, for many reasons – including the needs of those who already need a more accessible space, but also for those who may come to our doors needing more accommodations, as well as those members and friends who may someday in the future need them.

More, it becomes an important statement of who we are and what we believe. The architecture of this building speaks of a love of nature, innovations, creativity, and beauty. But it makes some underlying assumptions about who is welcome – accessibility accommodations send a signal, right off the bat, that you actually are welcoming everyone into your space, however they move to get in. Making your spaces accessible tell people without words that ‘we built this with you in mind’ and ‘we want you to enjoy our space as much as we do.’ That matters. By investing in this project with your time, talent, and treasure, you are affirming the extravagant welcome that CUUC promises to offer.

This Month’s Theme: God


When Rev. Meredith gave me the list of themes for the year, I was simultaneously delighted and daunted by the idea of talking about God with you this month; I’m grateful for the opportunity to share what I hope is a wide-ranging set of resources in On the Journey, as well as a three-part sermon series on Unitarian Universalist understandings about God.

Whatever your reaction to the word “god” – I hope you will engage with curiosity and wonder. The readings and the services are meant to spark your thinking about how you understand your own theology, as well as how we might speak to others about theirs. I invite you to be curious and turn to wonder; if your reaction to this theme is negative, ask yourself “I wonder why I’m reacting this way” and follow those thoughts. Let your inner teacher guide your exploration into your religious past, your current theologies, your assumptions, your stories. I am not saying you will suddenly become a theist if you’re an atheist, but I invite you to be curious and open as we look at this topic.

An Incomplete and Utter History of Unitarian Universalism


After a conversation with staff this week, I decided to share one of my favorite things with you – a one-hour survey of the history of our faith, spanning over 2,000 years on a whirlwind, madcap adventure. We’ll hold this session after the service on March 8th; I promise it’ll be informative and funny.

Eight Weeks Left


Yes, friends, we have just eight weeks left of the sabbatical! We’ve been doing a lot of good things, with some good stuff still to come. By the beginning of March, we’ll be prepping our Welcome Back Rev. Meredith plans and recapping the good work we’ve begun together. By then, we’ll also have a report from the Committee on Ministry’s study of our theology and spirituality, a firm plan for the building renovations, be in the midst of a stewardship campaign, and more. I hope you’ll spend some time this month thinking about what we’ve done together – what you’ve liked, what you haven’t – so that you are ready for Rev. Meredith’s return.

One Final Note


Thanks to all who sent book recommendations; I have quite a list and will not lack for good reading material.





2020-01-29

Music: Sun Feb 2


Beethoven and God….
I’ve always thought of Beethoven’s having a God’s-eye view of humanity. Heroism, grief, humor, gruffness, refinement—they all seem to reside side-by-side and segue one into the other with no warning or apology. Perhaps his music brings us a unique comfort because it “gets” us and allows us to be what we are.

Brahms and God….
In him are all the voices of our musical past, but reframed, reimagined, recreated. His rhythm, his unceasing melodic development---force us beyond our expectations and beyond our comfort zones. He is the great transformer.

Read on for programming details, and come to the Spring Concert at CUUC on Sunday, April 26 at 12:30 pm to hear more of Elena Peres and the CUUC Choir!

Centering Music: Elena Peres, violin; Adam Kent, piano
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30, No. 3
            II. Tempo di minuetto
            III. Allegro vivace
                                                Ludwig van Beethoven

Opening Music:
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30, No. 3
I. Allegro assai (excerpt)
Beethoven

Offertory:
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108
            II. Adagio
                                                Johannes Brahms

Interlude:
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108
            III. Un poco presto e con sentiment
                                                Brahms

2020-01-23

This Week in Religious Education: January 22-29, 2020

Gratitude
Special thanks to Racial Justice team members Amy Nathan, Jim Cobb and Rhonda Morgan for planning and leading special racial justice programming for our children and youth. They shared stories about the Civil Rights Movement and personal family history, and led meaningful discussions. It was a wonderful opportunity for our young people to connect with these adults and deepen their understanding of history and its legacy today.

Winter Weather Reminder
CUUC does not cancel the Sunday worship service for inclement weather.  Weather might, however, affect RE if leaders cannot make it in. If we are canceling RE classes and youth group, Tracy will send an e-mail to all RE families and volunteers by 7:30am Sunday morning. If you do not hear from Tracy, RE is continuing as planned. As always, use your own best judgement about whether to venture out or not. If not all teachers can make it in, classes will combine. Leaders of other CUUC meetings and events will communicate with their members if their activities are affected.

Childcare (room 32, yellow hallway)
Diane K and Hans E welcome children into childcare every Sunday morning in room 32. Parents are welcome to bring comfort items from home. Please let Diane know if your child has allergies or specific needs.

Sunday, January 26, 2020 (click links below for individual class newsletters)
10:00am: We all start in the worship service then children, youth and volunteers leave for Religious Exploration classes and Youth Group. Children 3rd grade and younger must be picked up in their classroom.

PreK-1st grade World of Friends (room 33, yellow hallway)
We have a short break from the K-1st grade Our Whole Lives classes. PreK children rejoin class this Sunday as the class meet Ravi and Sumalee to lean about Hinduism and Sikhism. Laura G is leading and Donna V is assisting.

2nd-3rd grade Passport to Spirituality (room 43, green hallway)
The class travels to Bangkok, Thailand this Sunday to learn about Buddhism. One of their activities will be to write caring cards to members of the CUUC community and they will learn about the role of art in Buddhism. Norm H is leading and Karen L is assisting.

4th-5th grade Bibleodeon (room 21, blue hallway)
Children will learn the story of David and Goliath this Sunday as it offers lessons about courage. They will also talk about how 4th and 5th graders can handle the Goliaths in their lives. Janice S is leading and Ted K is assisting.

6th-7th grade World Religions (room 41, green hallway)
Lyra Harada is leading class this Sunday with a focus on how religions have influenced pop and other styles of music. She will share examples from her Shinto and Buddhist background, as well as others. Sophie Mitra is assisting.

8th-9th grade Coming of Age (room 11, red hallway)
Members of the Economic Justice team are leading this Sunday as the class continues exploring how Unitarian Universalists put their faith in action.

10th-12th grade Youth Group (room 14, red hallway)
Youth group meets with Daniel and Cyndi T to continue planning for the March 8th youth-led worship service. Sophie M is stopping by to share her experience with youth CONs and encourage youth to participate. During lunch, Rev. Kimberley will check in with the youth about how their ideas are taking shape and offer her support for planning.


Community Chili Lunch
The 6th & 7th grade World Religions class invites you to chili lunch following worship! Suggested donation: $5/adult, $3/child, $15/family max. No one turned away. NEW: Take-home option to enjoy chili later or share it (add $2).

We could use one or two more pots of chili and invite you to break out your favorite recipe. Please Sign Up Here.

Special Invitation: Mid-Year Check In
During lunch, RE Council members will be available for a mid-year check in. We have made some changes this year and would like to hear how things are going. What would you like us to know? Look for the tables with "RE Check In" signs.

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


Connecting in Community
Connect With Our Children & Youth
There are openings coming up for you to get to know our children and youth by serving as an assistant in a Religious Education class. No preparation required! Just spend an hour with our amazing children and youth while you fulfill our Safe Congregation practice of having two adults with our young people at all times. Click here to view available dates - then volunteer!

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). 

Sunday Morning Greeters
We would love to have families greet Sunday morning before worship. Children and youth are an important part of our community and it would be wonderful to include them in greeting members and guests! Your family would be in place 9:45-10:15am. Contact Jane Dixon (lilrhodie@gmail.com) to sign up for a Sunday. 

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

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

Drag Queen Story Hour at Putnam Valley Library

Drag Queen Story Hour celebrates "the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models." The library is receiving criticism from a Catholic group. You might consider sending a letter of support to the library and enjoying the event with your children on Saturday, February 1st. Visit their calendar for more information. 


Especially for Youth
UU Common Read
Our UU Common Read book this year is An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States and An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People. Written by Indigenous scholar and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, this book challenges readers to learn US history through a narrative that centers the story, the experiences, and the perspectives of Indigenous peoples.  We invite our youth to participate in upcoming discussions of the book at CUUC! Copies are available at coffee hour. Contact Jeff Tomlinson.

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. 

Regional Senior High CON
Conpassion will be a day long conference (con) event planned by youth with the support of adults. At heart a youth con is an experience in building covenantal community. It is an immersive UU community experience where youth find love and acceptance. Our con theme and focus will be love and compassion. It will incorporate community building, fun, worship, spirituality, and youth leadership. The UU Congregation of Rockland is hosting this one-day CON for 9th-12th grade youth, Saturday, February 15th, 9:00am-8:30pm. Youth Deans are Tracy K and Luke J.  Cap is 35 youth so register soon. Youth registration, click here.  Adult registration, click here.

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. The CUUC contact is Joe Gonzalez.

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. 

River Rising - Fantastic Youth Leadership Building Opportunity
July 5-11 at the UU Church of North Hills near Pittsburgh, PA
July 27-August 2 at Main Line UU Church near Philadelphia, PA
Registration is open for the UUA's Central East Region 2020 River Rising Youth Immersion Experiences! Through covenant, collaborative leadership, skill building, games, silent reflection, personal challenges, spiritual practices and many magical moments both planned and not, we grew stronger, resilient and capable of facing the future. Read more here and register here. Deadline for scholarships is June 1st. 


RE In the Coming Weeks
  • 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. 
  • Sunday, February 9th - All begin in worship at 10:00am then most leave for RE classes and youth group. The Coming of Age class will remain in the worship service then have a sermon and worship planning discussion with Rev. Kimberley and Tracy following worship. 
  • February 16th - All begin in worship at 10:00am then leave for RE classes and youth group. Some of the children's classes will have Children's Worship with Tracy and Amy Swiss to learn about the Brighter Futures After School Mentoring Program and fill backpacks with donations the Hunger & Homeless team collected. 
  • Adult Journey Groups 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

From the Sabbatical Minister - January 22, 2020

The Sound of the Life of the Mind

As a child, I was a voracious reader. I spent more of my time reading than just about anything – when I got too old for picture books, I absorbed Nancy Drew mysteries. By the time I finished those, I was reading well enough that Mom introduced me to Agatha Christie. Even ‘going outside to play’ often meant reading while laying on a patch of grass or on top of a boulder or leaning against a tree or while dangling my feet in the creek. I continued my reading habits into my adult life – mysteries, classics, a little bit of fantasy, an occasional romance, always contributing somehow to my active imagination, characters and ideas living on in my mind.


When I attended Meredith College to finish my bachelor’s degree, I found I was only reading for school, so I delighted in the summer breaks and the post-BA time to dive back into reading for pleasure. Novels crept back in, but also a lot more non-fiction.

And then I went to graduate school. I don’t care what you’re studying in graduate school, there is a pile of reading so many miles high you skip half of it and still spend all your time reading. Some of the reading is life-changing, and some, well, you read because you just know that’s what your professor is going to fixate on, and you better have some familiarity with the material.

Even after graduation, I still had a required reading list – 84 books and articles to read in preparation for the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. The readings cover a variety of topics – theology, Unitarian Universalist history, ethics, sexuality, anti-racism, leadership, congregational polity, management, spiritual growth, professional standards, pastoral care.

And despite having received fellowship several years ago, the habit of reading for pleasure hasn’t come back. Despite having more time, I find I don’t naturally turn to reading as an act of relaxation and self care. I didn’t notice that it was missing too much, until recently, when I realized how much I wanted to cling to my identity as A Reader and how little I was doing of it.

But I don’t know what to read. What’s new? What’s hot? Should I go back and recapture classics? Should I turn to an unfamiliar genre? Return to old favorites to get a running start?  So much of our experience as Unitarian Universalists is exploring the life of the mind – what we’re thinking, how we see the world, what we’re listening to, watching, reading. Often I get to share what’s going on in the life of my mind, but now – with this new drive to reclaim reading, and the opportunity to read things I’ve not been assigned – I want to know: What are you reading? What’s captured your attention? What are you exploring? What books help you escape? What is intriguing and enriching you?

Of course, feel free to shoot me an email or hand me a list – but more than that, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to think about what is capturing your attention right now, what is energizing and comforting the life of your mind.





2020-01-21

Music: Sun Jan 26


This morning’s musical selections include works by composers who faced adversity. Some of that adversity was external, like homophobia or racism; some of it derived from internal challenges, like physical disability or illness. The creation and durability of their art speaks to the inner strength and abiding truth of their legacies.

Ludwig van Beethoven perceived his growing deafness at around the time of composing his so-called “Moonlight Sonata,” a work which broke with musical convention and redefined received forms. The composer struggled to accept his hearing loss, which he confided in his anguished Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802.

Scott Joplin is universally remembered and loved for his pioneering work as a composer of Ragtime, a quintessentially American musical form. His later years were marred, though, by disappointment over the indifference of the prevailing musical establishment to his opera Treemonisha, and personal suffering from the syphilitic dementia which claimed his life.

Often labeled a “musical mystic,” the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin imagined a vivid correlation between sound and color. His Prelude for the Left Hand is an early work, which calls to mind the wealth of music written for Paul Wittgenstein, a brilliant pianist who lost his right arm in the First World War.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky led a tense, nervous existence as a gay man in an uncomprehending, homophobic society. A brief, unhappy heterosexual marriage brought the composer deeper stress, and the rumor persists that his death from cholera was a form of suicide, from his knowingly drinking contaminated water.

On a happier note: two short works by Valerie Capers comprise the Musical Interlude. Dr. Capers, an African-American jazz legend who will return to grace CUUC later this year, was the first blind graduate of The Juilliard School. Her Portraits In Jazz reflect her pedagogical work introducing musicians of all stripes to this unique art form.

Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Sonata quasi una fantasia in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”
I.    Adagio sostenuto
Ludwig van Beethoven
Maple Leaf Rag          
                                                Scott Joplin

Opening Music:
Prelude for the Left Hand, Op. 9, No. 1
                                                Alexander Scriabin

Offertory:
Barcarolle, Op. 37, No. 6
                                                            Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Interlude:
From Portraits in Jazz
            Billie’s Song
            A Taste of Bass
                                                            Valerie Capers

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