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

2020-08-28

Minister's Post, Sun Aug 30

Our times . . . These are our times.

Some politicians are preferring to speak of the covid-19 pandemic in the past tense. Never blame politicians – they are ever only saying what we voted for them to say. And if sanity has failed to outvote insanity, that’s on all of us – it’s on me, and it’s on you. So there is a portion of us that wants to believe the pandemic is over. Therefore, let us be committed to not believing what we may want to. Let us not choose our beliefs, but believe what reality and our best dispassionate understanding -- which we also do not choose -- dictate and compel. Let us believe what we have to, not what we want to. Let us honor the evidence, however inconvenient, and make meaning of it with an imagination that encompasses multiple perspectives.

In fact, in the US, we saw declines in our death rate in May and June, then it climbed in July, leveled off in August, and is now declining, more slowly than it was in May and June. The US is still seeing a 7-day average of almost 1,000 deaths a day. That is half the death rate of last April, yet almost twice the 7-day average we got briefly down to in early July. One thousand deaths a day! We will reach a total of 190,000 deaths in the next few days.

Every human life this disease takes is a tragedy, wherever the person happens to have lived. Worldwide, the 7-day average of deaths per day from Covid-19 has barely budged for over a month. The disease continues to claim over 5,500 lives a day, as it has since mid-July. We are headed toward total deaths surpassing one million before the end of September.

Last Sunday (Aug 23), Kenosha police shot Jacob Blake. He was unarmed. He was shot in the back – seven times. After George Floyd’s murder 16 weeks ago, we saw an uprising – worldwide. But the police officers weren’t marching. Nothing about those demonstrations changed anything about the assumptions and methods of the average officer on patrol. Policing will change only when the structures and policies change. It will take some time to devise and implement new structures and policies. It will take some time for officers to adjust to different job descriptions, and structures of accountability, or be replaced. When I say it will take time, I am not prescribing what Dr. King called “the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” I prescribe, not a tranquilizer, but a stimulant, that, though the night be long, our eyelids grow not heavy, but our eyes stay wide and on the prize. We’ve got to know that we are in this for the long haul. Surely, we did not expect to be allies of justice for one season, and then it would be done? We will keep up the justice work, knowing that more killings will come – that we are far from peace and justice, but not as far as we were.

These are our times. May we give to them, as people of faith, the courage and care that is the best that we have and are.

Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

This week's Practice of the Week: Morning Orientation, Evening Orientation

2020-08-26

Religious Education: August 27 - September 3, 2020 (incl. Fall 2020 RE Schedule)

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
Religious Education & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
August 26, 2020



Click HERE for the

Fall 2020 RE Schedule!


Add the Dates to Your Family's Calendar

The 2020-2021 theme for Religious Education (RE) is JUSTICE & EQUITY, to support our young people in understanding justice issues, finding their voice, and carrying their values into the world. And we are deepening our partnership with CUUC Social Justice teams!

FALL 2020 K-12th Grade RE Classes: Over 7 fall Sundays, children and youth will learn about justice issues and collaborate with CUUC's Social Justice teams on a faith in action project they will share with the congregation. Fall classes will meet online after worship. September-December the K-4th grade RE class is collaborating with the Hunger & Homelessness team, the 5th-7th grade RE class is collaborating with our UU the Vote team, and the 8th-12th grade RE class is collaborating with the Racial Justice/In The Spirit of Truth team. 


Our Whole Lives (OWL): We will offer OWL for 5th-6th grade, 7th-9th grade, and the Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators curriculum when we can meet in person regularly again. We do not offer OWL online. 


Youth Group & Community Building: Youth Groups will meet online. We will also bring OWL youth together online to begin getting to know each other as youth and facilitators from the Rockland and Croton UU congregations will join us for OWL this year. We may offer in person community building activities this fall, conditions permitting, e.g., camp fire and s'mores, a movie under the stars. We would meet outside and observe safety protocols.

*We would like to offer a monthly JR Youth Group for our 5th-7th grade youth. YOU can participate on the team and build community with our amazing youth. Contact Laura (lkgoodspeed@gmail.com), Christine (christineharan@yahoo.com), or Tracy (cuucwptracy@gmail.com),

Adult RE & Journey Groups: Classes for adults will be offered every Sunday at 1:30 - stay tuned for topics! Journey Groups will continue meeting. Check the CUUC website for the schedule and information, cucwp.org
 

Click HERE for the Fall 2020 Schedule!

NURTURING COMMUNITY


Tomorrow / Thursday
Children's Story Time Returns

Barbara Mair will resume hosting Thursday evening children's story time, alternating reading with Jonathan, Nora, Austin, and other children would would like a turn. This week, Barbara will begin reading "The Saturdays" by Elizabeth Enright. Click HERE for a description of the story and coloring sheets.
 
Join us tomorrow/Thursday, August 27th
7:15pm Check-In & 7:30-8:00pm Story
Room 8428 | Mtg ID 817 388 428 & Pswd 468468
CUUC Fun Day

Join us for CUUC Fun Day Saturday September 12th, 12:00-3:00pm, conditions permitting. Our rain date is Sunday, September 13th, time tba. We will be outside, wearing masks and spreading out for tie-dyeing, rock painting, frisbee and catch, scavenger hunt, trail tours, bird watching and more! Bring your picnic lunch and lawn chairs or a blanket. Watch the newsletters closer to the date for confirmation that it is safe for us to hold this event. 

Do you have an outdoor canopy we can borrow for the event? Contact Tracy (cuucwpTracy@gmail.com)
 
Yes? No? Maybe?  
Thinking about joining us for the September 12th CUUC Fun Day? Please click here to let us know. Your reply will help GREATLY as we plan outside space use, and as we think about other gatherings. We understand plans change; replies are not binding. 
 

FAITH IN ACTION

UU 7th Principle
Citizen Science Project
PlaceKeeping Practice
Community Service Project

We are looking for individuals, teams, or families to adopt sections of the pathways around CUUC to observe and tend as we honor our interdependent web of existence. This is a great service and learning opportunity for children and youth! Contact Bice Wilson for details (bicewilson@gmail.com). 

Supporting Local Families
Experiencing Food Insecurity

The CUUC Hunger and Homelessness team and the Brunch Committee continue partnering with HOPE Kitchen to provide support for local families experiencing food insecurity. The need is great! Our CUUC team has been making weekly deliveries of dinner trays and lunch items that are prepared by our volunteers. You can help by making a financial donation for ingredients and supplies. With just $100 we can feed 200 people! Any donation is helpful. You can contribute by clicking the Donate button on our website or by sending a check to CUUC with “Share the Plate - HOPE” in the memo line. Contact Nicole Turygin (nturygin@gmail.com) and Steve Miller (obitsman@gmail.com) for more information. 
Religious Education & Social Justice

The 2020-2021 RE theme is Justice & Equity. Our 8th-12th grade youth will partner with the In The Spirit of Truth/Racial Justice team all fall for learning and faith in action. To understand current movements for racial justice, we need to understand our country's history. Summer is a great time to read the 1619 Project materials!
Links to the individual essays on The New York Times website can be found at the bottom of their article "Why We Published the 1619 Project." Find a link to The New York Times Magazine: The 1619 Project HERE. Read about CUUC's approach HERE. Join us Sunday, September 13th at 4:00 pm via Zoom for discussion about Linda Villarosa's essay, "Medical Inequality." We will also discuss an essay that the same author (click here) published in April 2020 on Covid-19 and the toll it has taken in the African American community. Zoom information will be available a few days before the session.

STAY CONNECTED & INFORMED

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

2020-08-25

Morning Orientation, Evening Orientation

Practice of the Week
Morning Orientation, Evening Orientation

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

from Training in Compassion
Norman Fischer, adapted

Begin at the beginning and end at the end. In other words, begin each day by orienting yourself, and end each day by orienting yourself. This refers to a particular very practical practice that I recommend to everyone. It’s quite simple. At the beginning of the day, on arising, say to yourself (and you can train your mind to cue itself to the practice as soon as your feet first strike the floor on arising from bed):
“Today I want to dedicate myself, to the best of my ability, to being generous and openhearted and benefiting others.”
That’s the point of today. That’s why you are getting up and not staying in bed. That’s why you are going to work or doing whatever it is you are doing. If you are a daily meditator, you can then go to your meditation in this same spirit.

At the end of the day, before going to bed, perhaps sitting on the edge of the bed or getting into the bed, take a few moments to review the day’s activities. Let your mind lightly slide over events that occurred, moments that will pop into your mind when bidden. And say to yourself:
“May everything that I have done today, with whatever level of skill or good intentions, in some way benefit others.”
The biggest problem with the idea of doing spiritual practice in our contemporary world is that there doesn’t seem to be time for it. No time to meditate at home in the morning – must rush off to work. No time to meditate in the evening – too tired and, anyway, there’s family, meals, more work, e-mails, phone calls. Certainly no time to go to a retreat, no time to go someplace to meditate with others – my schedule won’t permit it, it is too expensive, too far away, and so on.

This may all be true. But certainly there is no one who can’t afford or is too busy to have a thought in the morning and a thought in the evening. Cultivating the discipline to practice this slogan, even if it is the only one you can manage to practice, is sure to have a big impact on your life. It will change the way you feel about your days and how you view them.

You have been going through your life with some underlying attitude. Probably you don’t even know what it is. But it conditions how you feel about your life. Practicing this slogan will ennoble and elevate that attitude. And that change of attitude will being to affect everything in your life.


When you start your day, you could actually take a moment to think about what you are doing. Instead of just launching in, you could begin properly, with something in mind beyond just getting through your to-do list. In particular, you could look on each day as an opportunity to train your mind.

At the end of the day, before you fall asleep, instead of just flopping, you could review how you have done. You could begin by appreciating the times you were connected with compassion and joined it with what you were doing. Then you could also reflect on the times when you lost your connection to compassion and acted accordingly.

The idea is not to beat yourself up for losing your sense of compassion, nor is it to give yourself a medal for being good. You do not need to blame yourself or to blame anyone else. The idea is simply to take note so that you can shift your energy gradually in the direction of kindness and awareness.

The life of compassion and wisdom is a life-long journey, but that journey takes place one day at a time. You cannot do anything about days gone by, and speculating about the future can be overwhelming and somewhat pointless. But you can look at each day as a practice period, with a beginning and an end. So every morning you take a fresh start, and every evening you have a chance appraise how you have done.

Practice: Notice how easy it is to get so caught up with your life that you never have a chance to see it in any larger perspective. What happens if you take even a little time at the beginning and end of the day to step back and look at what you are doing? What makes you remember your commitment to compassion and what makes you forget?

* * *

2020-08-21

Religious Education: August 21-28, 2020 (incl. Fall 2020 RE Preview)

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
Religious Education & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
August 21, 2020

Fall 2020 RELIGIOUS EDUCATION 

The 2020-2021 theme for RE is JUSTICE & EQUITY, to support our young people in understanding justice issues, finding their voice, and carrying their values into the world. And we are deepening our partnership with CUUC Social Justice teams!

FALL 2020 K-12th Grade RE Classes: Over 7 fall Sundays, children and youth will learn about justice issues and collaborate with CUUC's Social Justice teams on a project or action they will share with the congregation. Fall classes will meet online after worship. September-December the K-4th grade RE class is collaborating with the Hunger & Homelessness team, the 5th-7th grade RE class is collaborating with our UU the Vote team, and the 8th-12th grade RE class is collaborating with the Racial Justice/In The Spirit of Truth team.  You can h
elp us collect stories and resources to share with families and volunteers: Racial Justice resources. Hunger & Homelessness resources. UU the Vote resources. Send suggestions to Tracy (cuucwptracy@gmail.com)

Our Whole Lives (OWL): We will offer OWL for 5th-6th grade, 7th-9th grade, and the Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators curriculum when we can meet in person regularly again. We do not offer OWL online. 

Youth Group & Community Building: Youth Groups will meet online. We will also bring OWL youth together online to begin getting to know each other as youth and facilitators from the Rockland and Croton UU congregations will join us for OWL this year. We may offer in-person community-building activities this fall, conditions permitting. We would meet outside and observe safety protocols.

Adult RE & Journey Groups: Classes for adults will be offered every Sunday at 1:30 - stay tuned for topics! Journey Groups will continue meeting. Check the CUUC website for schedule and availability. 

Fall 2020 RE Calendar Coming Next Week!
(click HERE for a peek)

To volunteer in RE this year, contact Laura Goodspeed (lkgoodspeed@gmail.com), Christine Haran (christineharan@yahoo.com), or Tracy Breneman (cuucwptracy@gmail.com),

CUUC COMMUNITY


Activity for All Ages!
Get Some Fresh Air & 
Help Prepare CUUC Grounds

 
TOMORROW/SATURDAY, August 22nd, 9:00am at CUUC
Our building sits on beautiful grounds we look forward to enjoying again. We need help preparing our grounds for Family Fun Day on September 12th, and to make it safe and fun to walk our pathways and explore our hillside woodlands and stream corridor. Gather this Saturday by the Spirit Fire. Bring work gloves, rakes, loppers, and a tarp to carry away cuttings if you have them. We recommend wearing a hat, sunscreen, and long pants with closed shoes to minimize ticks. Beyond September 12th, we are looking for individuals, teams, or families to adopt small areas or sections of pathways to observe and tend. Contact Bice Wilson for details (bicewilson@gmail.com). 

Children's Story Time Returns
August 27th

Barbara Mair will resume hosting children's story time, alternating reading with Nora, Jonathan, and other children. The first story will be chosen soon. Join us Thursday, August 27th. 7:15pm Check-In. 7:30-8:00pm Story. Zoom Room 8428 (login information below).
CUUC Fun Day!

Join us for CUUC Fun Day Saturday September 12th, 12:00-3:00pm, conditions permitting. Our rain date is Sunday, September 13th, time tba. We will be outside, wearing our masks and spreading out for bring-your-own picnics, tie dyeing, rock painting, scavenger hunt, trail cleanup, bird watching and more! Watch the newsletters closer to the date for confirmation that it is safe for us to hold this event. 

The CUUC Hunger and Homelessness team and the Brunch Committee continue partnering with HOPE Kitchen to provide support for local families experiencing food insecurity. The need is great!

The CUUC Hunger & Homelessness Team has been making weekly deliveries of dinner trays and lunch items that are prepared by our volunteers. You can help by making a financial donation for ingredients and supplies. You might sponsor a day or week of meals. Any donation is helpful. You can contribute by clicking the Donate button on our website or by sending a check to CUUC with “Share the Plate - HOPE” in the memo line. Contact Nicole Turygin (nturygin@gmail.com) and Steve Miller (obitsman@gmail.com) for more information. 
RE & Social Justice
Our 2020-2021 RE theme is Justice & Equity. To understand current movements for racial justice, we need to understand our country's history. Summer is a great time to read the 1619 Project materials! Links to the individual essays on The New York Times website can be found at the bottom of their article "Why We Published the 1619 Project." Find a link to The New York Times Magazine: The 1619 Project HERE. Read about CUUC's approach HERE
Join us Sunday, September 13th at 4:00 pm via Zoom for discussion about Linda Villarosa's essay, "Medical Inequality." We will also discuss an essay that the same author (click here) published in April 2020 on Covid-19 and the toll it has taken in the African American community. Zoom information will be available a few days before the session.

STAY CONNECTED & INFORMED

  • Click HERE for activity resources.
  • Many Journey Groups continue checking in over the summer. Visit cucwp.org/calendar for information about these and other gatherings; click on an event for login information.
  • Check the Online Programming Schedule for Zoom room information.
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains  
468 Rosedale Ave · White Plains, NY 10605-5419