2022-08-19

Minister's Post, Fri Aug 19

Dear Ones,

I'm looking forward to being in the pulpit this Sunday (Aug 21). I'll be talking about living with koans -- and then unpacking one particular one.

Koans are little stories -- about 1 paragraph, typically -- from the Zen tradition. Three of the major collections of these stories that are studied in many of the Japanese-derived Zen centers in America are: The Gateless Gate, the Blue Cliff Record, and the Book of Serenity. The Gateless Gate consists of 48 koans, and the other two consist of 100 koans each. There are some duplications -- koans that appear in more than one of the collections -- and removing the duplications leaves 209 different koans.
I've been living with these 209 little stories since 2004 -- 18 years, now, since I began earnest koan study. The koans are like the parables that Jesus tells -- often paradoxical, puzzling, and offering many layers of interpretation and meaning.

Here are three that I'll mention on Sunday. I invite you to turn them over in your mind beforehand:

Blue Cliff Record #6:
Yunmen, giving instruction, said, “I don't ask you about before the fifteenth day; bring me a phrase about after the fifteenth day.”
Yunmen himself answered in the monks' stead, “Every day is a good day.”
Blue Cliff Record #3 and Book of Serenity #36:
Great Master Mazu was unwell. The chief monk of the temple came to ask him, “Master, how are you feeling these days?”
The Great Master said, “Sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha.”
Blue Cliff Record #74:
At each meal, Master Jinniu himself would bring the rice bucket to the front of the Zen hall, dance there and laugh loudly, saying, “Dear Bodhisattvas, come and eat rice!”
(Xuedou said, “Although he behaved that way, he was not [simply] kind.”) A monk asked Changqing, “An ancient worthy said, 'Dear Bodhisattvas, come and eat rice!' What does it mean?”
Changqing said, “That is exactly like praising and giving thanks at the midday meal.”
Yours in the faith we share,
-Meredith

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Aug 14 Service, Audra Russell, "Religious Humanism: A Colorful Thread in the Tapestry of Our Faith”



The Aug 7 Service, Rev. LoraKim Joyner, "You Say What?"



Here it is, your...
MOMENT OF ZEN
#125: Guided By Karma

We've only seen Cougar once before -- back in #23, when he asked about whether karma was "just cause and effect."

Is impermanence ("all things pass quickly away") a reason not to care about others? Should we care about them only if they (or if something) is permanent?

Perhaps the impermanence of all things is precisely the reason for lovingkindness and compassion right now. Perhaps that's what Raven is saying.

Mara can quote scriptures -- and selectively use a teaching against other teachings. But all the teachings point in the same way; each one is an implication of all the others. So if you're using one teaching (e.g., impermanence) to question another teaching (e.g., compassion), then you've understood neither teaching.

Case
Cougar's presence created a certain tension in the circle, but he didn't seem aware of it. One evening he asked, "If all things pass quickly away, why should we be concerned about suffering of others?"
Mole abruptly excused himself with a bow and hurried off, muttering.
Raven said, "Mara can quote sutras."
Cougar said, "I'm serious."
Raven said, "All things pass quickly away."
Verse
"If everything is urgent, then nothing is."
The management consultants direct.
They mean, by this major premise,
To imply a modus tollens:
Minor premise: It's not the case that nothing is urgent.
Therefore, conclusion, not everything is.

I accept your premise, Madam or Sir Advisor.
And build, instead, a modus ponens:
Minor premise: Everything is, indeed, urgent.
Therefore, conclusion, nothing is.
Every sight seen or sound heard --
Or fragrance smelled, or tactile sensation felt --
Is of a thing that cannot wait,
And that does.

Now, dear ones, consulting and consulted,
I offer you this (different?) proposition:
If everything is impermanent, then nothing is.
This, and that, and all, pass away.
And don't.
Their departure casts them in the light of eternity,
As every tick of the clock is redolent with timelessness.

What, then, could be urgent? What not?
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
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2022-08-16

August 17, 2022; Religious Exploration, 2022-2023

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
Religious Exploration & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
August 17, 2022

2022-2023 RE Theme: UU Identity
Save the Dates

September is right around the corner and we are excited for activities to start picking up! Don't miss out! Below you will find loads of information and dates to add to your calendars.
There are dates for Our Whole Lives (OWL) orientation. Orientation for parents and caergivers is required if you'd like your 1st-3rd, 5th-7th, or 8th-9th grader(s) to participate in OWL. There are also orientation dates for those of you who will be supporting RE this year. We'll be writing to teams soon. And there are dates for fun community building activities, like the pool party on spotlight below! Read on...
Spotlight

RE Family Pool Party!
Sat Aug 27, 12:00-3:00pm
RE families are invited to an end-of-summer pool party! Catherine and Chris Kortlandt are hosting us in their home’s indoor pool and large outdoor deck (116 Hillair Circle, White Plains). Bring a towel and your appetite. Children and youth younger than 9th grade must be accompanied by a responsible adult. For more information and to RSVP, contact Catherine (catherinekortlandt@gmail.com) or Tracy (cuucwptracy@gmail.com). 
2022-2023 
Initial Dates
 
Below are dates you can save for CUUC community time. It is especially important for 1st-3rd, 5th-7th, and 8th-9th grade Our Whole Lives (OWL) families to note the orientation and class dates below. Dates coming soon for a RE check-in with CUUC BIPOC families, dance party, Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a game of billiards or kickball! Check the last pages of our Overview & Schedule doc for updates.
  • NEW! Saturday, Aug 27, 12:00-3:00pm, RE Family Pool Party at Catherine and Chris Kortlandt’s Home (see above to RSVP). 
  • DATE CHANGE! Saturday, Sept 3, 10:00-11:00am OR Tuesday, Sept 6, 7:30-8:30pm (attend one), Online Volunteer Orientation 
  • Saturday, Sept 10, 12:00-2:30pm, Arturo’s Enchanted Party for All Ages (dress up, sing along with the movie, brunch/lunch potluck) 
  • Sunday, Sept 11, 10:00am, Whole Congregation Worship, Ingathering 
  • Sunday, Sept 11, 11:30am-1:30pm, 8th-9th grade Our Whole Lives (OWL) Parent Orientation (required for participating families) 
  • Sunday, Sept 18, 10:00am, Bag Blessing & First day of Classes & Youth Group 
  • Sunday, Sept 18, 11:15-11:30am, Parents Meet RE Leaders 
  • NEW! Sunday, Sept 25, 11:30-12:00pm, RE Information Session 
  • NEW! Wednesday, September 28, 7:30-9:00pm, Online UU Parents/Caregivers of Tweens/Teens Covenant Group 
  • Saturday, Oct 1, 10:00am-12:30pm, Fall Fun Day for All Ages & PlaceKeeping 
  • NEW! Wednesday, Oct 19, 7:30-8:15pm, Online RE Information Session 
  • Sunday, Oct 30, 11:15-12:30pm, Odyssey Speaker, Karen Schatzel 
  • NEW! Sunday, Nov 6, 11:30-12:00pm, RE Information Session 
  • Sunday, Nov 20, 11:30am-1:00pm, 5th-7th & 1st-3rd Our Whole Lives (OWL) Parent Orientation (required for participating families) 
Overview
2022-2023 Theme: UU Identity

Unitarian Universalists bring our full selves to religious community. This means we celebrate the identities of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religious heritage and others that enrich our community. As we consider UU identity, we will explore ways to be welcoming and inclusive. 

Sunday mornings will consist of a mix of curriculum classes and youth group, special programs (e.g., social justice and PlaceKeeping), chapel, and whole congregation worship. Class groups are Kindergarten, 1st-3rd grade, 4th-5th grade, 6th-7th grade, 8th-9th grade, and Youth Group for 10th-12th grade.

This is an Our Whole Lives (OWL) year for us and we are offering 4 sections. We open OWL classes to friends and area residents with the requirements that all parents/caregivers who have a child or youth participating must attend orientation (dates above) and participants commit to the full schedule.  We will offer OWL for 1st-3rd grade & 8th-9th grade on Sunday mornings, then 5th-7th grade on 3 Friday evenings in the spring (dates above), and the Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators class (schedule tbd). 

We will offer parents and caregivers resources and support as primary educators and in building meaningful traditions at home, a Covenant Group for Parents/Caregivers of Tweens/Teens, a five-part Being a UU Parent series, and the Parent/Caregiver OWL class noted above.

We will also explore the future of faith formation at CUUC alongside our congregation's self-assessment. You are invited to help shape the future of RE and connect across generations! We will support you with development opportunities and make participating in RE feel like an enriching small group ministry. Click here to respond to our RE Connect opportunities or e-mail Tracy at cuucwptracy@gmail.com

 
Community

Participate in CUUC Community

Find your place at CUUC as you engage in service. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and build connection with fellow congregants. Click here to find a list of CUUC committees and groups you can support and information on who to contact to learn more. You can also click to learn more about connecting across generations and to learn more about our Social Justice Teams.

Help Plan Our Future

You have a say in our future! On Mon Aug 29, the Congregational Self-Assessment Committee will be sending out a survey for you to complete. Then on Sat Sep 24, they'll host a "Path to the Future" gathering where we will reflect on where we've been as a congregation, discuss how we’d like to go forward, and offer ideas and thoughts on how to create an even more dynamic and thriving community for CUUC. There will be more opportunities for sharing to come later in the fall - stay tuned!
Feeding Our Neighbors

Mon Aug 15, 10:00am-2:00pm; Sun Aug 21, 11:30am-3:00pm
Meals for HOPE Meal Prep, CUUC Kitchen

Too many cooks... is a wonderful thing! Sign up to help our Meals for HOPE cooking team. Even a few hours is appreciated. Please sign up IN ADVANCE using the PLANNING SCHEDULE to help us coordinate. The team now works three weeks each month, usually the first two Mondays, and the third Sunday.

Enchanted Movie Party

Saturday, September 10, 12:00pm (noon), Fellowship Hall
Mark your calendars: We will start the new year in worship and RE with a party! Arturo Cruz Avell├ín invites you to an Enchanted movie party to celebrate its 15th anniversary and in anticipation of the September release of the sequel, Disenchanted! Arturo is making welcome signs in different shapes and sizes for the children to hold. Dress up as one of the movie characters, wear your dancing shoes, bring a potluck dish to share, and be prepared to sing along. We will provide drinks and a cake. Contact Arturo with questions and to RSVP, arturocruzavellan@gmail.com.  

Parents/Caregivers of Tweens/Teens
Covenant Group

Wednesday, September 28th, 7:30-9:00pm, Zoom 8428
This UU covenant group is for parents and caregivers of middle school and high school youth to meet and be present to each other.

From Chaos, Wonder and the Spiritual Adventure of Parenting: “In the context of parenting, the spiritual [...] becomes tangible. It is felt, touched, and communicated daily as the tone and color of family life. We hear, taste, breathe, and touch the spiritual through the ways we attend, together, to countless sunrises, meals at the family table, celebrations, frustrations, griefs, joys, laughter, and responsibilities. We feel its press in the disparity between the path we hope to walk - full of kindness, love, forgiveness - and the path we actually walk.” As a covenant group, we will share and support the fullness of each other’s experiences of parenting. 

The first gathering is Wednesday, September 28th, 7:30-9:00pm and we will set an ongoing meeting schedule together. Gatherings will be on Zoom: bit.ly/CUUC-RE or meeting ID 817 388 428 and passcode 468468.  For phone audio dial 646-558-8656. Contact Tracy B (cuucwptracy@gmail.com) and Nicole T (nturygin@gmail.com). 
CUUC Children's Play Group

We have a CUUC Children's Play Group to help families with young children stay connected and build community. Families will meet at a park, each other’s homes, CUUC or other locations as decided by the group. Activities are suggested and coordinated on a shared spreadsheet. If your family would like to join this play group, e-mail Diane (dakmv@aol.com) or Tracy (cuucwptracy@gmail.com)  for the spreadsheet link.

Reproductive Rights
Social Justice Team

CUUC has started a Reproductive Rights Social Justice Team, inviting you and other local UU congregations to participate

"Our Unitarian Universalist faith holds central the inherent worth and dignity of all people, which includes a belief in the sacredness of all bodies, and the importance of self-determination and human agency. As part of a liberatory Reproductive Justice movement, we affirm our commitment to building a world in which all people are able to make choices about their bodies, their health, and their families within safe, thriving communities" (Unitarian Universalist Association). Please click here for a list the CUUC team is compiling with information and organizations that are supporting reproductive rights. To join the team or be added to the email list, email Mary Cavallero (marycava4@gmail.com) and Terri Kung (terrikung@yahoo.com). 

ACLU Activist Series

Tuesdays, 8:00pm, Online
This summer you can join the ACLU People Power’s Abortion Activist Series, a collection of virtual events and trainings on how you can join the fight for abortion rights. There are two left. Find more information and RSVP here to save your spot

Session 4: ACLU State Strategy for Reproductive Rights: Part III
     Criminalization of Care, 
August 23, 8:00pm
Session 5: ACLU Electoral Advocacy Priorities: Abortion and the Midterms, September 6, 8:00pm

Past Sessions:
Session 1: Know Your Rights: Digital Privacy and Abortion Access, July 12
Session 2: ACLU State Strategy for Reproductive Rights: Abortion on the Ballot
     Fighting for Access at the State Level, July 26
Session 3: ACLU State Strategy for Reproductive Rights: Part II
     Fighting for Access at the State Level, 
August 9

Summer Sundays
Childcare

9:45am, Room 32 in the Yellow Hallway
Diane and Hans offer childcare for young children every Sunday. Everyone wears a mask and children play outside when weather permits. No snacks are served. 
Worship

10:00am, Fellowship Hall & Livestreamed
All ages are welcome! Wear a mask. Activity boxes, coloring sheets, crayons and cushions to sit on the floor are available in the RE cabinet in Fellowship Hall. The order of service is posted on our website. Revisit past services anytime at youtube.com/TheLiberalPulpit and subscribe!

Click here to join the live-stream of our Summer Sunday Worship
or phone in (audio only): 646-876-9923 · Webinar: 313 195 3131 · Passcode: 468468. 

Everyone live-streaming the service is invited to stay online afterward to socialize on Zoom. Log in to bit.ly/CUUC-CoffeeHour or phone: 929-436-2866. Meeting: 336 956 2210, Passcode: 468468.
For up-to-date information, schedules, and Zoom links, visit the RE overview and schedule. You may also consult our CUUC website calendarRead All CUUC Announcements in the Weekly e-Communitarian Newsletter
Tracy Breneman, Director of Faith Development and Religious Education, cuucwptracy@gmail.com
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains  
468 Rosedale Ave · White Plains, NY 10605-5419