Religious Exploration: September 4, 2022

Religious Exploration & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
September 4, 2022

2022-2023 RE Theme: Unitarian Universalist Identity
Overview of the Year & Schedule
Happening This Saturday!

RE Activity for HOPE's Soup Kitchen

Saturday, Sept 10, 10:30am-12:00pm, Kitchen

HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle is busier than ever. That’s why our families and youth have been invited to help provide to-go breakfasts and lunches. Bring in frozen breakfast foods (French toast, pancakes, waffles, frozen sausages or patties--no pork), self-stable milk, and fruit cup and make bag lunches in the CUUC kitchen on Sat., Sept 10, from 10:30 am to 12 pm. We hope to make this a monthly social justice activity! We may explore alternating months with 1st-5th grade families and youth in 6th-12th grade. Join us and feel free to bring friends. Food for the bag lunches will be provided. RSVP with Christine Haran (christineharan@yahoo.com) so we know how many people to expect and how much food to bring for sandwiches.

Enchanted Movie Party

Saturday, Sept 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! Dress up as one of the movie characters (or your favorite Marvel/DC character), wear your dancing shoes, bring a potluck dish to share, and get ready to sing along. We will provide drinks and a cake. RSVP with Arturo, arturocruzavellan@gmail.com.  

The CUUC family pool party was a great time! Eleven families attended and were treated to lunch, afternoon fun, and fellowship. Thank you, Catherine and Chris Kortlandt for hosting this wonderful event!
Sunday, September 11

Ingathering & Water Ceremony

Sunday, Sept 11, 10:00am in the Sanctuary and on Zoom
We return to the sanctuary for our annual ingathering worship service and water celebration. If you are attending in person, we invite you to bring a sample of water from your summer. Those watching on Zoom can have water nearby to participate. Let the water you collect represent how your summer has been for you.

Whole congregation, all ages worship.
Childcare is available. 

Quiet Activity Area

We offer an area in the sanctuary where families can sit and young people can have quiet activities. We know that even when their hands are busy, our young people are connecting with the rituals, words, and music of our faith. Doing a quiet activity or sitting on the floor can help them manage the time more comfortably. We ask parents to sit near your children so you can monitor activity and help our young UUs learn to navigate the worship space. 

Starting a New Year 
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 deepen our practices of being welcoming and inclusive. Find a full description of 2022-2023 programs HERE
Classes & Youth Group
Begin Sept 18

Don't miss out! Below you will find loads of information and dates to add to your calendars for CUUC community time.
  • NEW! Saturday, Sept 10, 10:30am-12:00pm, RE Activity for HOPE's Soup Kitchen (see the box above)
  • Saturday, Sept 10, 12:00-2:30pm, Enchanted Party for All Ages Hosted by Arturo (see the box above)
  • 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 
  • Sunday, Sept 25, 11:30-12:00pm, RE Information Session 
  • Wednesday, September 28, 7:30-9:00pm, Online UU Parents/Caregivers of Tweens/Teens Covenant Group 
Center Lane Trans Hacks Kit

Center Lane youth created a Trans Hacks Kit specifically for Back to School. The Kit includes templates of letters kids can send to teachers/administrators to ask that their names/pronouns be used, especially if their name/gender doesn't match what's on the attendance sheet.

Students can personalize the letters by filling out the blanks with their information and email them to any adults they'll be interacting with at school. The Kit also includes cute flow charts of what to do if you're misgendered by peers and/or teachers. Having a few clear, empowering responses in students' "back pocket" can reduce anxiety and awkwardness in those moments. We hope this resource is helpful to you or someone you know! Letter for students to send: Click HereLetter for parents to send: Click HereFlowchart:  Click Here.

CUUC Congregational
Self-Assessment Survey

The Congregational Self-Assessment Committee has created a questionnaire to help us gauge the general health and well-being of CUUC, and to discover where we see ourselves going in the future.

The questions should take about 20-30 minutes. Every CUUC congregant is encouraged to participate. If you have more than one congregant in your household, each individual should complete their own survey, youth ages 13-18 included. Your responses are anonymous. 
Survey Deadline: Sunday Sept 18

The Self-Assessment Survey is one part of a series of information gatherings that will be done in the coming year, as we prepare to transition to an interim minister in September 2023 and a new minister in September 2024.
Click Here for the Survey

Path to the Future

Saturday, Sept 24, 8:30am-4:00pm
The CUUC Self-Assessment Committee is hosting 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. This is one part of a series of information gatherings that will be done in the coming year, as we prepare to transition to an interim minister in September 2023 and a new minister in September 2024. Your participation and input are important! Childcare will be provided.

Parents/Caregivers of Tweens/Teens
Covenant Group

Wednesday, Sept 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). 

BIPOC Gatherings

Monthly on Mondays Starting Sept 12, 6:30pm
If you identify as Black, Indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC), you're invited to join the Central East Region's BIPOC gathering happening monthly.

In our gatherings we are joined by lay folks of color, lay leaders of color and/or religious professionals of color to be in community. Our conversations focus on topics like wellness and resilience and our goal is to center BIPOC experiences and create space to explore our UU experiences. Our first meeting of the year will be on September 12th at 6:30pm ET. Remaining dates: 10/3, 11/7, 12/5, 01/09, 02/06, 03/06, 04/03, 05/08, 06/05. Please email Sana Saeed, ssaeed@uua.org or Paula Cole Jones pcolejones@gmail.com for zoom information. 

LOFT Families

Sun Sept 25, Scarsdale Congregational Church
LGBTQ+ parents & guardians are invited to join LOFT Families, a program for LGBTQ+ parents and their kids, for our "Back to School Social." Join us for an afternoon of kid-friendly activities, and plenty of opportunities to meet & mingle with other local LGBTQ+ families. Visit the LOFT website for more information. 

Participate in CUUC Community

Find your place at CUUC as you engage in service. serving is a great way to get involved and build connection with fellow congregants. Click here to explore explore ways you can serve 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.

Lifelong Learning 
UU Identity
With our focus on UU identity this year, you might like to learn more about Unitarian, Universalist, and UU history. The Unitarian Universalist Association website offers links to resources. Leaders in Religious Exploration receive this overview. You can also see a list of well known Unitarians here, and here
As our attention increasingly turns to the upcoming election, we might hear about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, two Unitarians, suffragists, and abolitionists at the turn of the 20th century.  What we don't often hear in their stories is that African American suffragists were barred from conventions led by Stanton and Anthony. (History.com has this summary. NPR offers this history. Time offers this history.) And when the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870, making it possible (on paper) for men of any race to vote, Stanton and Anthony opposed it with elitist and racist language. Their suffragist efforts continued through ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which granted white women of a certain stature the right to vote. African American women continued to be disenfranchised in law and practice.

We should appreciate our UU roots and learn about those who came before, and we should be aware that their stories sometimes come with complex history. We should also learn about women like Harriet Tubman, Frances E.W. Harper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell who formed the National Association of Colored Women Clubs (NACWC), organizing for women’s enfranchisement, equal pay, educational opportunities, job training and access to child care for Black women. PRX has an interesting series, "And Nothing Less: The Untold Stories of Women's Fight for the Vote," hosted by Rosario Dawson and Retta, that brings us stories we didn't learn in history books.  Additional resources are found in our CUUC  RE doc online here
Tracy Breneman, Director of Religious Exploration and Faith Development, cuucwptracy@gmail.com
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains  
468 Rosedale Ave · White Plains, NY 10605-5419

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