Minister's Post, Fri Jan 27

Dear Ones:

Do you know about BLUU? It's Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism -- "committed to expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism; providing support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; and justice-making and liberation for Black people through our faith."

Origin. In 2015, in Cleveland, at the first-ever National Convening of the Movement for Black Lives, a dozen or so Black UUs were in attendance. They began conversations among themselves imagining a cohesive, national, vibrant community of Black Unitarian Universalists. BLUU emerged from those conversations.

The BLUU website explains that:
"In six years, BLUU has transformed from a small, informal gathering of Black UUs into an impactful 501(c)(3) organization that creates life-giving and life-saving opportunities for spiritual community and Black-centered organizing. Since its founding, BLUU has hosted a symposium centering Black UU theology, established a popular virtual worship space for Black people; organized UU congregations to donate and organize for bailout funds; and started a vibrant youth ministry. BLUU also just launched BLUU Havens, which will give Black folks opportunities to socialize, organize with, and spiritually grow with other Black people, especially Black UUs, in their local communities."
I hope you'll be interested to learn more. Start at the BLUU website.

Yours in the faith we share,

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

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

The Jan 22 service, "Participation":

The Jan 15 service, "Only Love":


Relax. That’s this week’s practice pointer adapted from “Just One Thing,” by clinical psychologist Rick Hanson: Relax.

It's easy to feel stressed, worried, or frustrated about finances, work, relationships, or the health of a family member. The body tenses up to fight, flee, or freeze. That’s how our ancestors stayed alive to pass on their genes. But we pay a high, long-term price for daily tension: anxiety, irritability, depression, heart disease, backaches, headaches, indigestion.

The number one way to reduce tension is through relaxation. Besides its benefits for physical and mental health, relaxation feels great. Just recall how nice it feels to soak in a tub, curl up in bed, or plop on the couch after the dishes are done. Being able to relax your body at will is a critically important inner skill.

It’s all about the PNS – the parasympathetic nervous system -- one of three divisions of the autonomic nervous system. The PNS is your rest and digest system. It slows the heart rate to conserve energy while increasing intestinal and gland activity.

Activating the PNS calms down the fight-or-flight system. Here are four ways to do that.

One, since it’s connected with digestion, PNS fibers fill the mouth. So relax your tongue and jaw; perhaps touch your lips. Opening your lips slightly can help quiet the stressful subvocalized inner chatter.

Two, take three deep breaths, with long slow exhales.

Three, take a minute calibrating inhale and exhale. Breathe in such a way that your inhalation and exhalation are equally long: five seconds in, five seconds out.

Four, breathe from the diaphragm – that is, let the belly expand with each inhale rather than the chest.

You’ll find more helpful details at the full post: "Relax."

Here it is, your...
#143: Love

Aldous Huxley wrote:
“Of all the worn, smudged, dog’s-eared words in our vocabulary, ‘love’ is surely the grubbiest, smelliest, slimiest. Bawled from a million pulpits, lasciviously crooned through hundreds of millions of loud-speakers, it has become an outrage to good taste and decent feeling, an obscenity which one hesitates to pronounce. And yet it has to be pronounced, for, after all, Love is the last word.”
If you suppose that Mole has not yet learned the last word, look again.

Mole spoke up one evening and asked, "Why don't we ever talk about love in our discussions?"
Raven asked, "What would you like to say about love?"
Mole stared back at Raven and was silent.


Religious Exploration: January 29, 2023

Religious Exploration & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
January 29, 2023

2022-2023 RE Theme: Unitarian Universalist Identity
Overview of the Year & Upcoming Schedule

View past newsletters at bit.ly/CUUCRENews

Young Voices in Worship

In an initial review of the report from the Self-Assessment Committee, the RE Council noted congregants' interest in having young voices in worship. We think that's a great idea and Rev. Meredith agrees! We are starting by inviting young people to read the chalice lighting and extinguishing words Sunday, February 19 and 26. These are whole congregation worship  Sundays so young people are in the sanctuary for the whole service. To volunteer, contact Tracy, cuucwptracy@gmail.com

New RE Council Lead

Join us in welcoming Karen Dreher as the new RE Council lead. Karen will support the Council in preparing for work focused on the future of RE at CUUC. Thank you, Karen, and welcome to the team!

Backpack Drive

Last Sunday to Sponsor a Backpack
$40 buys a backpack; smaller amounts help us purchase supplies. Stop by our table to write a note of encouragement for a backpack. Then come help us stuff the backpacks on Sun Feb 5 during the morning Religious Exploration program. Questions? Contact: Kathleen Kiernan (kathleenpkiernan@gmail.com). Click here to see our backpack drive flyer.

Tracy is off Friday, January 27 through Monday, Jan 30.
Joe Gonzalez is the onsite RE point person this Sunday.
You will find him at the welcome table in the RE lobby.

Sunday, January 29

Religious Exploration
1st-9th Grade Classes
(8th-9th OWL ends 11:45am)

1st-3rd Grade Class,  Our Whole Lives
Room 33, Yellow Hallway 
Christine H and Norm H are leading Session 2, Bodies and Gender, which continues the discussion from last Sunday about bodies and expanding children’s understanding of gender identity, gender roles, and awareness that all bodies are special. 
1/22 Homelink: Each week, teachers will give parents/caretakers a Homelinks sheet with information and suggestions for conversations to have at home, following up on the Sunday lesson. If you did not get a handout last Sunday, click here for the Session 1, Our Wonderful Bodies HomelinkChildren in 3rd grade and younger must be picked up in their classrooms. Please do so right after worship so RE leaders can go to other activities. 

4th-5th Grade Class, Toolbox of Faith
Room 41, Green Hallway
Laura G and Nicholas A are leading session 10, Courage and Conviction (Saddlebags). Saddlebags symbolize the courage and conviction bequeathed to us by the early Universalist circuit riders. Though they were often not welcomed, and sometimes even violently derided for their beliefs, they rode from town to town to preach their message of faith, hope, and love and to build Universalist communities. Using the example of these prophetic people, children explore courage and conviction in their own lives. They think about the challenges and the importance of taking a stand, and they learn how the resources of their Unitarian Universalist faith can help them discern what they feel strongly about and stand up for what they believe.

6th-7th Grade Class, Riddle & Mystery
Room 13, Red Hallway
Mohammed L and Nicole T are leading session 11, Touching All. Sixth and seventh graders stand at the brink of adolescence, finding new relationships, new challenges and a new sense of the self's place in the universe. This session makes the conceptual UU "interconnected web of all existence" concrete and meaningful for them. The youth consider their place in the many spheres that comprise their expanding lives. 

8th-9th Grade Class,  Our Whole Lives (OWL)
Room 11, Red Hallway | OWL classes meet until 11:45am
Kate C and Daniel T are leading session 17, Lovemaking and session 24, Communication with a Sexual Partner. This session will challenge the societal and media portrayal of sexual behavior as violent, manipulative, and devoid of caring and responsibility. Youth will differentiate between healthy and unhealthy relationships, and support their ability to communication effectively with a partner.

8th-12th Grade, Youth Group
Room 14, Red Hallway
Youth Group does not meet this Sunday so youth are invited to attend worship. 

10:00am Worship
In Person and Online

“Mistakes and Miracles” ~ Rev. Meredith Garmon

Reflections on the twists and turns, challenges and joys, of the road to multiculturalism.

Visit our website for the Sunday order of service. We continue to wear masks for Sunday morning worship and RE in the building. Revisit past services anytime at youtube.com/TheLiberalPulpit and subscribe!

Click here to join the live-stream of our Sunday Worship or phone in (audio only): 646-876-9923 · Webinar: 761 321 991 · 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.

Odyssey Program #3
with Guest Ted Kuczinski

After Worship, Sanctuary and Worship Zoom
At our Odyssey Programs, longtime CUUC members share the stories of their lives and faith with the congregation, to pass along wisdom and deepen our understanding of one another. Our third Odyssey is this Sun Jan 29, after worship, when we speak with special guest Ted Kuczinski. We will set up quickly after the service ends. In person attendees can take a minute to grab a quick coffee then join us back in the sanctuary. Folks on Zoom can also pick up a quick snack while remaining logged in to our Worship Zoom space.
Upcoming RE Schedule

Sat Feb 4, 10:30am: 10:30am RE/Meals for HOPE.
Sun Feb 5: K class with Tracy, 1st-12th grade Social Justice program. After worship: Mid-year RE check-in with families during the CUUC Brunch.
Sun Jan 29: 1st-7th grade classes & 8th-9th OWL. Youth Group attends worship. 
Sun Feb 12: 1st-7th grade Chapel with Tracy and 8th-12th grade Youth Group. OWL youth attend Youth Group.
Tue Feb 14, 7pm (will likely reschedule): Parents & Caregivers of MS & HS Youth Covenant Group.
Sun Feb 19: Whole Congregation Worship. RE does not meet. (School holiday)
Sun Feb 26: Whole Congregation Worship. RE does not meet. (School holiday)


Inviting Donations of Food Items

RE families are preparing 70 to-go breakfasts and lunches each month for HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle. We invite the congregation to donate individual-sized food items such as shelf-stable milk, juice, water, fruit cups, and soft granola bars, as well as napkins, loaves of bread, and peanut butter. Leave them in the labeled bins located in the foyer. Frozen items such as French toast, pancakes, waffles, frozen sausages or patties (no pork) can be brought in Saturday morning, February 4th or as coordinated with Christine Haran (christineharan@yahoo.com).

Family & Youth Activity
To-Go Bag Lunch Prep for HOPE

Sat Feb 4, 10:30am-12:00pm, at CUUC
We will be making bag lunches and breakfasts Saturday, February 4th, 10:30am-12:00pm. Join us and feel welcome to bring friends. RSVP with Christine Haran (christineharan@yahoo.com) to coordinate what food is needed.

A New Refugee Family is Coming

As a member congregation of the Interfaith Council for New Americans Westchester (ICNAW), CUUC is excited to once again announce that we have been asked to help resettle a new refugee family in the coming months. Click here to read a letter from the ICNAW team, with a link to donate. Contributions to ICNAW may also be made by sending a check to CUUC with "ICNAW" in the memo line. Contact: Jane Dixon (lilrhodie@gmail.com) and Robin Rocchi (robinandal@verizon.net)

Mid-Year RE Check-In

11:30am Sunday, February 5, Fellowship Hall
Join RE leaders during the community brunch for a mid-year check-in. We welcome your feedback and ideas! Look for the table identified for RE conversations.  

Self-Assessment Forum

Self-Assessment Report, Follow-up Q&A Forum
Sun Feb 12, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall
The CUUC Congregational Self-Assessment Committee has completed their report, from the thoughts, opinions, and ideas you have shared with us over the past 6 months. We encourage everyone to read the 14-page Summary Report and consider ways we can implement its recommendations. Please plan to join us at the follow-up forum on Feb 12, to discuss your ideas and share your questions.

Congregation Forum
Ministerial Search Process

Sun Mar 5 in Fellowship Hall at 11:30am
Mon Mar 13 online in Zoom 7899

The CUUC Minister Search Formation team, which creates the search committee for our new minister, has been formed. They will update the congregation on their progress each month during the Our Congregation part of the worship service. The team will also host both an in-person and an online Congregation Forum to discuss the ministerial search process and to answer your questions. Save the date! Contact: Creighton Cray (creighton.cray@gmail.com)

Community Conversation
Exploring the Future of RE at CUUC


Sun, May 7, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall and Zoom 8428
Times are changing, as are family needs and schedules. Join members of the RE Council and Tracy for a visioning discussion about the future of RE at CUUC. We will discuss feedback shared by the Self-Assessment Committee from the congregational survey, then explore what Religious Exploration and faith development might look like here in the coming years. It is exciting to think about what we can build together! Contact Tracy B, cuucwptracy@gmail.com.

Weekly Newsletters
Stay up to date by receiving the weekly RE newsletter (sign up here; read past Issues here) and weekly CUUC e-Communitarian (sign up here; read past issues 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