From the Minister, Sun May 3

Various versions of these lines have been circulating around the internet. My thanks to Karen Schatzel for emailing me one version and prompting me to see what could be tracked down about the origin and perhaps context of the piece. (Not much, is the answer. Some sources attribute it to Paul Williams, and others say, no, it wasn't Williams, and that its origin is unknown.)
When you go out and see the empty streets,
the empty stadiums,
the empty train platforms,
don’t say to yourself,
“It looks like the end of the world.”

What you’re seeing is love in action.
What you’re seeing, in that negative space,
is how much we do care for each other,
for our grandparents,
for our immunocompromised brothers and sisters,
for people we will never meet.

People will lose jobs over this.
Some will lose their businesses.
And some will lose their lives.

All the more reason to take a moment,
when you’re out on your walk,
or on your way to the store,
or just watching the news,
to look into the emptiness,
and marvel at all of that love.

Let it fill you and sustain you.
It isn’t the end of the world.

It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.
Yours in solidarity,

The Liberal Pulpit

Recent past services:
Apr 5: "Taking Care, Giving Care." TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 12: "Traditions of Liberation." TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 19: "What's Your Great Vow?" TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 26. "Attending to the Indigenous Voice" TEXT. VIDEO.

Find videos of these and many past services at our Youtube channel: HERE

Adult/Youth Religious Education

Sundays, 4:00 - 5:15, in zoom room ending 7899.
Click here:

Or telephone: 646-876-9923, and use meeting ID: 289 850 7899
The UUA Common Read

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States and the adaptation for young people.
Get ready for our upcoming Zoom class: Four sessions, led by Rev. Meredith Garmon and Jeff Tomlinson
May 3, 10, 17, and 24 -- 4:00-5:15.
Order your copy from uuabookstore.org (or any major online bookseller), and start reading now!

More info about the UUA Common Read at uua.org/read

Practice of the Week: Take Pleasure
"Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one's voice." (Joseph B. Wirthlin)

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
(Laura Ingalls Wilder)

When you find pleasure in life, you are not pushing away things that are hard or painful. You are simply opening up to the sweet stuff that's already around you -- and basking, luxuriating, and delighting in it.

This activates the calming and soothing parasympathetic wing of your autonomic nervous system, and quiets the fight-or-flight sympathetic wing and its stress-response hormones. Besides lifting your mood, settling your fears, and brightening your outlook, the stress relief of taking pleasure offers physical health benefits, too: strengthening your immune system, improving digestion, and balancing hormones.


Relish the pleasures of daily life, starting with your senses:
  • What smells good? The skin of an orange, wood smoke on the air, dinner on the stove, a young child's hair ... 
  • Tastes delicious? Strong coffee, delicate tea, French toast—chocolate!—tossed salad, goat cheese ... 
  • Looks beautiful? Sunrise, sunset, full moon, a baby sleeping, red leaves in autumn, images of galaxies, fresh fallen snow ...
  • Sounds wonderful? Waves on the seashore, wind through pine trees, a dear friend laughing, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, silence itself ...
  • Feels good on your skin? Newly washed sheets, a good back scratch, warm water, a fresh breeze on a muggy day ...
Next, include the mind: What do you like to think about or remember. For example, bring to mind a favorite setting -- a mountain meadow, a tropical beach, a cozy living room chair -- and imagine yourself there.

Last, savor these pleasures. Sink into them, take your time with them, and let them fill your body and mind. Marinate in pleasure! Notice any resistance to feeling really good, any thought that it is foolish or wrong . .. and then see if you can let that go. And fall back into pleasure.

Enjoy yourself!

* * *
Also on the web (click on title):
"8 Simple Pleasures You're Forgetting to Enjoy" (Huffington Post)
"75 Simple Pleasures to Brighten Your Day" (zenhabits.net)
"10 Ways to Find More Pleasure Every Day" (CNN)
"The 30 Most Satisfying Simple Pleasures Life Has to Offer" (Marc Chernoff)
"Are You Taking Time to Enjoy Life's Simple Pleasures?" (Live Rich Live Well)

* * *
For Journaling

Describe five ordinary things that you took pleasure in today.

* * *

Moment of Zen: Where Are They?
Sixty-one episodes ago, in #59, Gray Wolf asked Brown Bear about dedicating sutras to the enlightenment of bushes and grasses.

It is not difficult to mouth the words, "all things are myself." But do you remember it when asked where the trees are?

Saying it is one thing, showing it is another, knowing that you are showing it regardless is another.

One evening Owl said, "When Brown Bear visited us, Gray Wolf asked her about the dedication of our sutras to the enlightenment of bushes and grasses. Brown Bear said, 'They are very patient.' I've been musing about this for a long time, and I still don't know what to make of it."Raven asked, "Where are they?"
Owl said, "Bushes and grasses? All around."
Raven said, "Like the moon and birds."
Owl said, "Stones and clouds."
Raven said, "Very good. Now, where are they?"
Owl hooted.
Raven said, "Yes! Yes! On that path."
The old man in the forest hut,
A dozen kilometers from the nearest road, which is dirt,
And about the same to a power line, or another building,
Lives on nuts and berries, which he cans,
And the occasional package sent by a religious order
To a P.O. box, which he visits when the post office is closed.
Six years without seeing up close a face,
or hearing a voice, of another human.
Beneath the hackberry whose bloom petals mottle his roof
There are no hermits.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

Zen at CUUC News

On the Journey, May: Joy

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

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

This month's the spiritual exercise is making a list. Be sure to look at that exercise and bring your list with you to your Journey Group.

Five excellent TED talks are listed. You'll want to see them!

Questions, p. 9:
1. What is joy? What is its relationship to happiness? What feelings and images come to mind
when you think of the word “joy”?
2. What, in your life now, gives you joy?
3. What brought you joy when you were a child? Is that source of joy gone? Has it evolved?
4. What is the relationship between joy and sorrow?
5. What will be your legacy of joy to the generations that follow yours?
6. What regular habits and practices might create more joyfulness in your heart, home and
7. How much joy do you really want? If you could choose what percentage of your waking
hours for the next four weeks will be filled with ecstatic bliss, what would you choose? What are you
doing to bring your experience closer to the percentage you chose?
8. Think of some moments when you felt most alive. Does there seem to be a connection
between aliveness and joy?
9. If 50% of your happiness comes from your genetic “set point,” how cheerful by nature would
you say you are? If 10% of your happiness comes from circumstances, how do your circumstances rate
these days? If 40% of your happiness comes from what you do and think, how are you doing in this
10. How do you experience the connection between creativity and joy?
11. Kahlil Gibran says, “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked....The deeper that sorrow carves
into your being, the more joy you can contain.” How do you experience the connection
between joy and sorrow? Some say that your openness to (capacity to take in and not push
away) joy is equal to your openness to grief or pain. Does this seem true?
12. Is joy for you a solitary or communal experience?
The link to the current and all past issues of On the Journey can always be found at cucmatters.org/p/journey-groups.htm

This Week in Religious Education: April 29-May 6, 2020

Religious Education & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
April 29, 2020


MAY 2020 Schedule

Month-at-a-Glance Schedule of Recurring
Programming for All Ages ~ A Handy
Reference to Print & Post at Home


Additional RE & Related Programming

Daily Information is Also Always Found on the 
CUUC Online Programming Schedule 
Our Online Calendar


Thursday, April 30
4:00-5:15pm Film Talk: Inside Out in Room ending 2210.
Discussion about the film, “Inside Out,” ahead of Sunday’s sermon that will focus  on internal voices, especially the inner critic. The film offers a step forward in self-understanding to realize that "me" consists entirely of an unruly parliament of internal voices. Watch the film via your service provider. Discussion hosted by Rev. Meredith and Tracy Breneman.

Friday, May 1
[3:00-3:30pm] No A Tempo with Adam; Adam Kent is on a short break. He'll see you next Monday!

Sunday, May 3
11:30am-12:30pm ALL RE Classes and SR Youth Group Meet! Everyone logs into zoom.us/j/817388428Each class & youth group will then have their own breakout room for an opportunity to catch up and reconnect.  More information below. 

4:00-5:15pm Youth & Adult Discussion of the UUA Common ReadAn Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in Room ending 7899.  
Part 1, pp. 1-55 ("Introduction: This Land"; "Chapter 1: Follow the Corn"; "Chapter 2: Culture of Conquest"; Chapter 3: Cult of the Covenant").  Order the book from the UUA bookstore, HERE - or from your favorite book source. Facilitators: Rev. Meredith and Jeff Tomlinson.

Story Time Recordings
Audio Files with Familiar Voices
You Can Listen to Any Time

Barbara Mair Reading Stuart Little by E. B. White in 5 Parts: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / (Part 5 reading is Thursday, April 30th)

Rev. Meredith Garmon Reading:

  • Two Stories about God: 1) Old Turtle by Douglas Wood and 2) Hide and Seek with God by Mary Ann Moore
  • Two Stories: 1) The Wind of Change: John Murray Comes to America by Janeen K. Grohsmeyer and 2)  Who is the Buddha? by Thich Nhat Hanh

Amy Nathan Reading Twenty & Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop: Chapters 1 & 2 / Chapter 3 and half of Chapter 4 (we need to re-record-coming soon) / Chapter 4 Continued / Chapter 5 (end)

Sunday: May 3, 2020

Worship:  Transforming Your Inner Critic
Rev. Meredith Garmon
9:50am Centering Music
10:10am Worship Begins

In Our Virtual Worship Space-Online: zoom.us/j/761321991 or
by Phone: 646-876-9923 with Meeting ID: 761 321 991

11:00(ish) Virtual Coffee Hour
Zoom Room Ending 2210: zoom.us/j/3369562210

Religious Education 

11:30am-12:30pm ALL RE Classes & SR Youth Group Meet!
Everyone logs into zoom.us/j/817388428 Each will then have their own breakout room for an opportunity to catch up and reconnect.  The COA class will continue planning their May 17th worship service.  Leaders listed below, and may be joined by other members of the teaching teams. 
  • Nursery: Diane Keller & Hans Elsevier & Sophie Major
  • PreK-1st Grade: Laura Goodspeed & Laura Sehdeva
  • 2nd-3rd Grade: Karen Leahy
  • 4th-5th Grade: Janice Silverman & Ted Kuczinski
  • 6th-7th Grade: Gail Johnston & Chris Breault
  • 8th-9th Grade: Tracy Breneman and COA Mentors
  • 10th-12th Grade Youth Group: Cyndi & Daniel Tillman

4:00-5:15pm Youth & Adult Discussion: An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz with Rev. Meredith and Jeff Tomlinson in Room ending 7899.  This is the UUA Common Read Discussion this Sunday: Part 1, pp. 1-55 ("Introduction: This Land"; "Chapter 1: Follow the Corn"; "Chapter 2: Culture of Conquest"; Chapter 3: Cult of the Covenant").  Order the book from the UUA bookstore, HERE - or from your favorite book source.
View the growing list of online activities and
resources we have shared, all collected in one place: HERE.

Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains  
468 Rosedale Ave · White Plains, NY 10605-5419

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences



Music: Sun May 3

The relationship between young Beethoven and his short-term mentor Haydn brings to mind both “inner” and “outer” critics and their impact on creativity. Sponsored by the Elector of his native Bonn, in 1792 a 21-year-old Beethoven set out for Vienna to study with the great composer Haydn, who was his senior by almost 50 years. Anyone familiar with Beethoven’s early music recognizes the profound influence of the older composer, but their relationship was far from easy. For his part, Haydn seemed to find his junior colleague arrogant and dishonest; no doubt, Haydn knew that Beethoven’s original wish had been to study with Mozart. On the other hand, Beethoven seemed to vacillate between experiencing his teacher as disinterested or else jealous of his talent. When all is said and done, Beethoven seems to have suffered a creative dry spell during his one year of study with Haydn. The works of his performed this morning—a movement from his first piano sonata and some of his Bagatelles, Op. 33—have proven hard to date. Scholars surmise that he may have started work on these pieces before his studies with Haydn, only to complete them afterwards. In any case, he clearly sought some reconciliation with the older composer, when he dedicated his first three solo piano sonatas to him.

This morning’s Music for Parting gives a taste of Haydn’s own music—brimming with wit, and reminding us of the composer’s unending nose-thumbing at the conventions of his time.

Elsewhere, references to Looney Tunes (Stay tuned, folks!) elicit Chopin’s “Minute Waltz,” immortalized by that greatest of pianist Bugs Bunny in the 1955 feature “Of Hyde and Hare.” Unitarian composer Edvard Grieg has a quick turn, too, giving us a glimpse at a mischievous woodland troll in one of his Lyric Pieces.

The CUUC Choir is represented in recorded form with Don Bessig’s joyous “Flying Free,” as if inviting us to soar unencumbered by nattering inner critics and other albatrosses.

Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2, No. 1
            II. Adagio
Bagatelles, Op. 33
            II. Scherzo: Allegro
            III. Allegretto
                        Ludwig van Beethoven

Opening Music:
Bagatelles, Op. 33
I.               Andante grazioso, quasi allegretto

Waltz in Db Major, Op. 64, No. 1 “Minute”
                        Frederic Chopin

Little Troll, Op. 71, No. 3
                        Edvard Grieg

Anthem: CUUC Choir, directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Flying Free
                        Don Besig


From the Minister, Sun Apr 26

This pandemic will lift. Maybe sooner, maybe later, it will lift. Yet the post-pandemic world will not be like the pre-pandemic world. How it be different is up to us. The pandemic provides a unique opportunity to re-shape our relationship with each other and the Earth. Indian novelist Arundhati Roy writes:
“What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus. Coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality,’ trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
Arundhati Roy's full essay is HERE.

Yours in faith,

The Liberal Pulpit

Recent past services:
Apr 5: "Taking Care, Giving Care." TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 12: "Traditions of Liberation." TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 19: "What's Your Great Vow?" TEXT. VIDEO.

Find videos of these and many past services at our Youtube channel: HERE

Adult/Youth Religious Education

Sundays, 4:00 - 5:15, in zoom room ending 7899.
Click here:

Or telephone: 646-876-9923, and use meeting ID: 289 850 7899

Sun Apr 26: Exploring the Practice of the Week, "Don't Be So Predictable". Read the post about this practice HERE. Questions: How predictable is life for you these days? What habit-patterns or automatic reactions are part of your personality? Can you imagine dropping those patterns? What would it be like? "Imagine being yourself for the love of discovering every day who you are in relation to others: loving them, and yourself in the process of loving them" -- does this sound attractive? What would it take to get there?

The UUA Common Read

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States and the adaptation for young people.
Get ready for our upcoming Zoom class: Four sessions, led by Rev. Meredith Garmon and Jeff Tomlinson
May 3, 10, 17, and 24 -- 4:00-5:15.
Order your copy from uuabookstore.org (or any major online bookseller), and start reading now!

More info about the UUA Common Read at uua.org/read

Practice of the Week: Balance

Paying attention means using all of our senses in being in the world and in the moment. Stop a moment. Feel the chair in which you are sitting. Notice the temperature around you. Listen for the sounds of your background symphony. Breathe. Appreciate the colors of your clothes, your skin, the sky, or the ceiling. This practice only takes a few moments and is not bound by place or time or ritual. READ MORE

Moment of Zen: Vast Indeed

Porcupine came to see Raven after the talk that night and said, "The Blue Planet is immensely vast, isn't it!" Raven said, "It doesn't stop there." Porcupine wept. Raven said, "Vast indeed. Vast indeed." READ MORE

Zen at CUUC News

Covenants at Home During a Pandemic

We had our first Parent Group this week, an opportunity to share and support each other as we navigate parenting through a pandemic. 

I shared Rev. Jason Seymore's "Creating Family Covenants - Parenting During a Pandemic," which tells one UU family's story about creating a covenant for this unique experience of extended home stay. 

Whether we create an actual covenant at home or not, it is a reminder for me that our chosen faith is grounded in intentional community. It matters how we interact with each other and we can choose to nurture our relationships in ways that help them grow and deepen. We can also choose to respond with grace when stress gets the better of us or someone near us. 

Often, we think of covenants as behavioral agreements. They are more fundamentally about relationship, an invitation to hold the needs and journey of others as they need them to be held, which might at times look different from how we wish our needs and journey to be held. 

When thinking about covenants at home during a pandemic, simply asking those dear to us, "What do you need today?" is a start. It is an invitation for them to honor their experience, and possibly an opportunity for you to support them. 

Leaning into nurturing intentional community, intentional relationships, first means taking care of yourself, then being gentle with yourself when you stumble. We are in uncharted waters. Grounding ourselves, when possible, in intentionality might help us feel like we can steer our experience rather than being swept along with the current. 

We are all on a journey of living into our best selves, and we can choose to be gentle with ourselves and others as we are living our pandemic best selves.

Next week, we will practice giving and receiving grace as we savor Rev. Cecilia Kingman's post, "Dear Parents: It Will Be Enough." The Parent Group meets Tuesday evenings, 8:15-9:15pm.  zoom.us/j/817388428 or phone 646-558-8656 and enter Meeting ID: 817 388 428.

Tracy Breneman, CUUC Religious Educator

Fardin & Mahnaz on NPR

Fardin & Mahnaz were on NPR! They were part of a story about local refugees helping with the coronavirus response in Westchester.

If you have three minutes, the story is well worth a listen.

Wall of Vows

Instructions: Articulating Your Vow
As you think about how you would articulate your Great Vow, it’ll be helpful to reflect on your sources of vow. There are three sources: inherited, reactive, and inspired.

Inherited Vow. What is your inherited vow? As you were growing up, what were you given to understand by your parents or primary caretakers was the primary function of a life? They may never have articulated it to you, but if you had to now articulate what your parents’ great vows were, what were they?

Reactive Vow. What experiences of wrong or harm have shaped you? Sometimes people who become doctors had a formative experience with illness or death -- or people who become lawyers experienced injustice in their childhood or youth. Or maybe unpleasant experiences with your parents or other significant adults imbued with a clarity about the kind of person you wanted NOT to be. What reactions in your life have shaped your sense of the purpose of your life?

Inspired Vow. We pick up inspired vows – often in adolescence or early adulthood – when we learn about someone we admire. We aspire to be like them. Martin Luther King Jr’s vow of nonviolence came from an inspired vow – inspired by the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. Athletes often draw inspiration from a particular athlete they admire. Who are your heroes?

Discerning Your Vow. To bring out your vow -- to consciously articulate and thereby strengthen it as the orientation of your life -- it helps to explore those three sources of vow: the inherited, reactive, and inspired. Then reflect on how to bring this sources together into one overall Great Vow of your life. You may Email your Great Vow to me at minister - at - cucwp - dot - org. OR: Add your vow as a Comment below.

Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation's
Wall of Vows

* * *
I vow to live with compassion and integrity.

* * *
Make the time to care for yourself, to be kind to all others, and to protect the planet. -Jacy

* * *
I vow to push forward in love.

* * *
I vow to live soulfully, and to give back.

* * *
My great vow is to give of myself through caring, nonjudgmental listening, my empathy and sympathy, my friendship to all those who are struggling in life with things like sickness, death, relationships, daily life for an immigrant etc.

* * *
To give everyone the care I give to my family. To hold my beliefs lightly and change them as circumstances change.

* * *
To be present in loving awareness.

* * *
I vow to be mindful of both self care and care for others.

* * *
I vow to know, to know not-knowing, to not know;
To learn to be what is new, to arrive fresh, to arrive in love, to endear;
To stumble with, to embrace, to grapple;
To companion, to befriend, to love, to love, to love;
To attend (to serve, to wait);
To notice, to bear witness, to never let creation play to an empty house;
To be the motion of stillness -- and the stillness of motion;
To yield, and yield, and yield, and budge not an inch;
To receive all the pain of the world -- and all the joy;
To rest in the peace of defeat -- restless in triumph;
To live until I die -- and die, and die, and die until I live.

* * *
I vow to love and to learn.

* * *
Accept all beings as my teachers

* * *
I vow to recognize, cultivate and nurture community

* * *
See the Magic in everything.

* * *

* * *
Aging gracefully
With Compassion, Frugality, and Joy

* * *
Inherited: education has a way live to my adult live life free of economic uncertainty and potential hardship; don’t let others squelch my talents
Reactive: to be free of emotional instability
Heroes: political and cultural leaders who fought for fairness and equality, e.g., JFK, RFK, MLK, Gene McCarthy, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan

* * *
Inherited - Be selflessly loyal to one's family
Reactive - Be open minded, no matter how challenging
Inspired - Learn to be happy with less

* * *
I vow to live soulfully and use my gifts to give back.

* * *
I want to be a home my children can--and seek to--visit throughout their lives.

* * *
To give and receive love. To continue to learn, evolve and move forward. To listen more. To speak up. To not be afraid. To always be kind.

* * *
I vow to keep learning about what really matters.

* * *
Be the person who makes others feel welcome and thereby makes him/her self feel welcome and fitting in.