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May 31 - Jun 6: e-CommunitarianMinisterREMusicOtherCUUC Shrine of Vows

2020-05-29

This Week in Religious Education: May 29-June 5, 2020

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

 
Sunday: May 31, 2020

Presence in the Midst of Crisis
Rev. Meredith Garmon

Our presence is a fundamental offering. A person aligned with their purpose, who has integrity and wholeness, creates a presence that ripples out through the world. It reassures and empowers others. It changes the world. 

Centering Music at 9:50am ~ Welcome at 10:10am, Room ending 1991  
After Worship Virtual Coffee Hour, Room ending 2210  

 

This Sunday: RE for K-12th Grade

We are staggering log in times. Thanks to Laura Sehdeva for managing Zoom breakout rooms while Tracy is off this weekend.   

~ 10:00-10:30am, 4th-5th grade Bibleodeon class with Alex Z & Ted K (Room 2210) 
~ 11:20am-12:20pm, K-3rd grade DIY music activity with Lyra H & Laura G. Bring these supplies: toilet paper or paper towel roll, wax paper or tin foil, rubber band, scissors. Send a favorite song to Lyra (musicalyra13@gmail.com) to be included in the activity. (Room 8428 in their own breakout space) 
~ 11:30am-12:30pm, 6th-7th grade World Religions Class with Chris B (Room 8428 in their own breakout space)
~ 11:30am-12:30pm 8th-12th grade Senior Youth Group - Welcoming the COA youth to SR Youth Group! (Room 8428 in their own breakout space)

~4:00pm Youth/Adult Discussion: Did you know that in a sense, the war over slavery was also a war over the future of the economy and the essentiality of value? Depictions of enslaved people were even engraved on the backs of some Confederate bills. Learn more about "Good as Gold" from our upcoming study of The New York Time's 1619 Project, sponsored by the Racial Justice/In the Spirit of Truth team. (Room 7899)

Share Your Stories
for RE Sunday
 
The RE team is collecting stories from our children, youth and volunteers for RE Sunday on June 21st.
Below are three questions - you may respond to one, two or all three. Along with each response, please let us know the name of the person responding and their grade in school or role as an adult volunteer.

1) WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT RE THIS YEAR?
2) WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THIS YEAR ABOUT BEING A UU?
3) WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT NOT SEEING EACH OTHER IN PERSON AT CUUC?

Click HERE to respond or e-mail your responses to Tracy (CUUCWPTracy@gmail.com). 

If you would like to submit a video response to be included in a video compilation for RE Sunday, follow these steps:
  1. Record responses to *each question separately* to facilitate editing videos together.
  2. Record in landscape, not portrait (sideways, not up and down).
  3. Set your device to record in high resolution.
  4. Have a light source behind your phone/computer facing you so we see your face clearly.
  5. Upload the original, high resolution videos to Google Drive or another sharing service and share it with Tracy (CUUCWPTracy@gmail.com) by June 15th (sooner is appreciated).
Note: videos will be public when the worship service is posted on our YouTube channel.
Thank you for participating! 
Celebrating Our
Graduating Seniors 
 
One of the gifts we will give our Bridgers (graduating seniors) this year is a UU hymnal with beloved music and words of our faith.
If we were meeting in the building, we would make hymnals available in the Sundays leading up to our Bridging ceremony so you could write in them. This year, given our circumstances, we invite you to submit notes online, which we will put in the youth's hymnal.  We have 4 youth Bridging: Evan Cacchione, Niall Ryan, Oliver Schwartz, Aiden Breneman-Pennas. Click HERE to submit notes of congratulation and encouragement. We are celebrating Bridging Sunday, June 21st.
K-12th Grade 
Classes, Group, Activities
May 31 ~ June 21


Click HERE for a Handy Schedule
updated May 27th
Sunday, June 7th:
  • Whole Congregation Worship; K-12 morning RE classes and groups do not meet
  • CUUC Annual Meeting Following the Worship Service
Sunday, June 14th: 
  • 10:00-10:30am 4th-5th Grade Bibleodeon Class (Rm 2210) 
  • 11:20-11:50am K-3rd Grade Activity (Rm 8428, Separate Breakout Room)
  • 11:30am-12:30pm 6th-7th Grade World Religions Class & 8th-12th Grade Youth Group (Rm 8428, Separate Breakout Rooms)
Sunday, June 21st:
  • RE Sunday & Bridging, Whole Congregation Worship; K-12 morning RE classes and groups do not meet
CUUC Annual Meeting
We are planning to hold the meeting online after worship Sunday, June 7th. Login details will be coming shortly. Our proposed budget and slate of nominees have been emailed to CUUC Members and Friends. If you did not receive yours, please contact Pam at admin@cucwp.org.  

2020-2021 Budget Q&A Sessions  
The proposed 2020-2021 budget has been emailed to CUUC Members and Friends. Treasurer Chris Kortlandt is offering four online Q&A sessions to review next year's budget before our annual meeting.   
  • Sun May 31, 12:30pm - Room ending 7899
To request a 1-on-1 online session to review the budget and numbers, email TreasurerCUUCWP@gmail.com
RE Partners with the Hunger and Homelessness Team
CUUC Hunger and Homelessness and the Brunch Committee are currently providing extra support for HOPE Kitchen. In addition to weekly hot meals, HOPE Kitchen is providing additional food to families at this time. Lunch items, such as sandwiches, cookies, and snacks are welcome. Approximately 120 sandwiches are needed weekly, so feel free to make as many or as few as you’d like. Contact Nicole (nturygin@gmail.com) and Steve (obitsman@gmail.com) FIRST so you can coordinate what you will provide. Thank you!

Story Time Recordings
Audio Files with Familiar Voices
You Can Listen to Any Time
CLICK HERE
Resources
View our growing list of online 
activities and, click 
HERE.
Zoom Rooms
Visit cucwp.org/calendar and click on an event for login information.
Check the Online Programming Schedule for details.
To reserve a Zoom online meeting rooms, contact admin@cucwp.org.
 

ONLINE MEETING ROOMS
Worship Space ending 1991 - zoom.us/j/761321991 or call 646-876-9923 and enter 761 321 991
 
Room ending 2210 - zoom.us/j/3369562210 or call 929-436-2866 and enter 336 956 2210 
 
RE Room ending 4635 - zoom.us/j/602164635 or call 646-558-8656 and enter Meeting ID: 602 164 635 

Room ending 7899 - zoom.us/j/2898507899 or call 646-876-9923 and enter 289 850 7899
 
Room ending 8428 - zoom.us/j/817388428 or call 646-558-8656 and enter 817 388 428
 
Room ending 8944 - zoom.us/j/9836638944 or call 929-436-2866 and enter Meeting ID: 983 663 8944.
 
Adam Kent's Zoom - zoom.us/j/2506008849 or call 646-558-8656 and enter Meeting ID 250 600 8849. Password 315 625. Please mute your microphones.
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains  
468 Rosedale Ave · White Plains, NY 10605-5419






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From the Minister, Sun May 31

Dear Ones:

I was living in Florida in 2012 Feb when Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Sanford, Florida. By 2014 Jul, when Eric Garner was killed in NYC, I was here in White Plains. The next month, Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, and eight months after that, Walter Scott was shot dead in Charleston. In response to these and many other police killings of black people, the Black Lives Matter movement spread. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations adopted resolutions of support and displayed "Black Lives Matter" banners in front of their buildings. Our congregation passed our Black Lives Matter resolution in 2016 Apr.

It's been eight years since Trayvon, and over four years since our congregation adopted its resolution of support for Black Lives Matter. Has anything gotten better? The case that it has not looks pretty strong. In highly-publicized cases, Ahmaud Arbery was killed near Brunswick, Georgia last Feb 23 -- and though there was never doubt about who pulled the trigger, 74 days passed before the rising storm of protest finally prompted an arrest. Then Christian Cooper was assailed with racist threats while bird-watching in Central Park last Monday (May 25) morning. (The video he took was posted to twitter by his sister, former CUUC member Melody Cooper.) Later the same day, George Floyd died in Minneapolis with an officer's knee on his throat.

Georgia's attorney general Chris Carr, albeit belatedly, says, "I expect justice to be carried out as swiftly as possible." And beyond the specifics of the Arbery murder, Carr says his office will review how the investigation into Arbery's death "was handled from the outset." Georgia governor Brian Kemp said "Georgians deserve answers" about the incident. Those are marginally stronger responses than high-level authorities offered in Florida eight years ago, or in Missouri six years ago. In Minnesota, the officers on the scene when George Floyd died have been promptly fired -- more summarily than they would have been in the past, I believe -- and one of the officers has now been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. I was struck by Governor Tim Walz's analysis and his grasp of the historical roots when he said,
"The very tools that we need to use to get control to make sure buildings aren't burned and the rule of law collapses are those very institutional tools that have led to that grief and pain. These are things that have been brewing in this country for 400 years."
I don't recall a governor talking that way before.

These are vague gestures toward a possibility of progress rather than actual progress. They might turn out to be nothing more than strategies for managing protest. We don't know. The arc of the moral universe, if it bends toward justice, or is to bend toward justice, is and will be agonizingly slow and exasperatingly uncertain. There is and will be overt backlash from folks who don't know how to navigate a more equitable reality. There is and will be negligent failure to actively dismantle unconscious racism from folks who feel sure they "aren't racist." There is and will be more virtue signaling than virtue. Our task remains what it has been: to do the work of learning without holding any knowledge certain; to do the work of examining ourselves, our habits and assumptions; to speak up for justice when speaking up is called for and to shut up and listen when that is called for. All of these are difficult, and we will often get it wrong. When has the path of love ever been otherwise?

Carry on, good people. Carry on.

Yours in faith,
Meredith

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.
May 3. "Transforming Your Inner Critic" TEXT. VIDEO.
May 10. "There Is No Try" TEXT. VIDEO.

Also find these videos, as well as videos of many other past services, at our Youtube channel: HERE

Practice of the Week: Take Many Breaks.

As we evolved in hunter-gatherer bands over millions of years, life moved at the pace of a walk, in rhythm with the seasons and with the rising and setting of the sun each day. In many of the hunter-gatherer cultures still existing today, it takes only a few hours a day to find food and shelter. Its a good guess that our ancient ancestors lived similarly, and spent the rest of their time relaxing hanging out with friends, and looking at the stars.

Sure, life was tough in other ways, like dodging saber-tooth tigers, yet the point remains that the human body and mind evolved to be in a state of rest or leisure -- in other words, on a break -- much of the time.

But now, in the twenty-first century, people routinely work ten, twelve, or more hours a day -- when you count commuting, working from home, and business travel -- to put bread on the table and a roof over their heads. Much the same is true if a person is a stay-at-home parent, since "the village it takes to raise a child" usually looks more like a ghost town these days. Many of us are on the job and on the go from soon after we wake up in the morning and check emails or feed children (or both!) to the last time we pull phone messages at night.

It makes you wonder who is "advanced" and who is "primitive"!

The modern, pedal-to-the-metal lifestyle produces chronic stress and tension, and related physical and mental health issues. It also crowds out creative pursuits, friendships, recreation, spiritual life, and time for children and mates. Therapists these days often see families where one or both parents are dealing with work sixty-plus hours a week (both because there are so many such families, and because the stress of it drives them to therapy). The job is an elephant in the living room, pushing everything else to the margins.

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting comfortably somewhere in your old age and looking back on your life and reflecting. Do you think you are going to wish you had spent more time on the job or doing housework?

Or wish you had spent more time relaxing, hanging out with friends, and looking at the stars?

How

So promise yourself that you'll take more breaks. Most of them will be brief, even a minute or less. But their accumulating effects will be really good for you.

Here are some methods for getting more breaks; pick one(s) you like best:
  • Give yourself permission. Tell yourself that you have worked hard and deserve a little rest; that it's important for your health; that your productivity will actually increase with more breaks; that even cavemen/women got more breaks than you!
  • Renounce everything else. When it's time for a break, drop everything else for that time. Truly "clock out."
  • Take lots of microbreaks. Many times a day, step out of the stream of doingness for at least a few seconds: close your eyes for a moment; take a couple of deep breaths; shift your visual focus to the farthest point you can see; repeat a saying or prayer; stand up and move about.
  • Shift gears. Maybe you have to keep grinding through your To Do list, but at least take a break from task A by doing a different kind of task B.
  • Get out. Look out the window; go outside and stare up at the sky; find a reason to walk out of a meeting.
  • Unplug. If only for a few minutes, stop answering your phone(s); shut down e-mails; turn off the TV or radio; take off the earphones.
  • Make your body happy. Wash your face; eat a cookie; smell something good; stretch; lie down; rub your eyes or ears.
  • Go on a mental holiday. Remember or imagine a setting (mountain lake? tropical beach? grandma's kitchen?) that makes you feel relaxed and happy. When you can, go there and enjoy yourself. "They" may have your body, but they don't get your mind.
  • Keep your stress needle out of the red zone. If you find yourself getting increasingly frustrated or tense in some situation, disengage and take a break before your head explodes. Staying out of "red zone" stress is a serious priority for your long-term health and well-being.
To get at the underlying causes of your busy life and lack of breaks, consider all the things you think you have to do. Can you drop or delegate some of these? And can you take on fewer commitments and tasks in the future?

Personally, I've been slowly learning how to say no. No to low priority activities, no to great things I just don't have time for, no to my appetite for filling up my calendar.

Saying no will help you say yes to your own well-being, to friends, to activities that really feed you, to an uncluttered mind. To the stars twinkling high above your head.

For Journaling

Reflect on each of the bullet points above: Would it work for you? Why or why not? Will you implement it? Which one is your favorite?

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Moment of Zen: The Joke

When Zen people appear to be dodging a question, maybe they are dodging it. Or maybe they are directly answering it. Or maybe both. Consider Blue Cliff Record #78:
A monastic asked Zhaozhou, "All the Dharmas are reduced to oneness, but what is oneness reduced to?" Zhaozhou said, "When I was in Qingzhou, I made a hempen shirt. It weighed seven pounds."
Can you see how "I made a seven-pound hempen shirt" is exactly what oneness is reduced to? Zhaozhou could not have more directly answered the monastic's question. Or consider the case that appears as both Blue Cliff Record #73 and Book of Serenity #6:
A monastic asked Great Master Mazu, "Please tell me directly, Master, the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West."
Master Mazu said, "I am tired today, I can't explain it to you. Go and ask Zhizang."
The monastic asked Zhizang about it.
Zhizang said, "Why don't you ask our master?"
The monastic said, "He told me to ask you."
Zhizang said, "I have a headache today, I can't explain it to you. Go and ask Brother Huaihai."
The monastic asked Huaihai about it.
Huaihai said, "I understand nothing about that question."
The monastic told Great Master Mazu about it.
Great Master said, "Zhizang's head is white, Huaihai's head is black."
This monastic wants to know the meaning of Bodhidharma coming from the west. This is thoroughly explained to him five times. (1) I'm tired. (2) Why don't you ask our master? (3) I have a headache. (4) I don't understand. (5) This is white and that is black. Each one of those answers tells precisely the meaning of Bodhidharma coming from the west.

"It really doesn't amount to much" is the joke -- and saying that to Mallard is letting Mallard in on that joke.

Case
Porcupine was foraging near Stillpond and met Mallard unexpectedly,
"Porcupine!" exclaimed Mallard, "I've wanted to ask you about something. It almost seems that you and Raven have a secret understanding of some kind."
Porcupine said, "We know the same joke."
"Can you let me in on it?" asked Mallard.
"It really doesn't amount to much," said Porcupine.
"Tell me," demanded Mallard.
"Mallard!" Porcupine exclaimed. "You aren't listening!"
Verse
"When devoted invocations are sent forth, they are perceived and subtly answered."
And if the invocation isn't devoted?
Or isn't sent forth?
Or, for that matter, isn't invoked?
Still perceived.
Still answered.
Still subtle.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
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E-Shrine of Vows

Check out our electronic CUUC Shrine of Vows: CLICK HERE. Eventually, these will be printed out and incorporated into a physical display. For now, draw inspiration from your fellow Community UUs by seeing what they have vowed. If you're vow isn't included, please email it Rev. Meredith at minister@cucwp.org