Minister's Post, Fri Mar 31

Dear Ones:

The world has certainly changed in the last 10 years.

A former president has been indicted. That happened this week. The thing is: we've been anticipating an indictment for some time now. That's the world we now live in.

We now have machines -- AI -- that can converse with us so naturally they feel like a person. And they know everything that the internet knows (which is just about the sum total of human knowledge, plus a fair degree of human ignorance thrown in for good measure), so they make for a pretty handy conversation partner. They are, in effect, "counterfeit people" -- and maybe they pose a threat to human society just as counterfeit money does. That's what some folks argue. They might be right. What a world!

I read today that scientists have created a woolly mammoth meatball. Yep. They can grow meat cells in the lab, without having to grow them inside the body of a living animal. So they took some muscle cells of sheep and mixed in DNA from a woolly mammoth. How did it taste? No one was allowed to sample it because, being woolly mammoth, it contained proteins that haven’t been eaten in thousands of years -- so the scientists weren't sure it would be safe. What a world!

Still and all: the best that life has to offer is community and friendship. Each other. And so we gather, as people have for as long as there have been people (about 200,000 to 300,000 years, I'm told), to afford to each other this greatest of gifts.

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 Mar 26 service, "The Importance of Vow":

The Mar 19 service, "Musical Awe":


It’s time again for our Ecospiritual practice for this month – adapted from Rebecca James Hecking and brought to you by Community UU’s Environmental Practices Social Justice Team. Meeting the Soul’s Needs.

Sustaining the planet requires sustaining our spirits. Healthy living doesn’t come naturally for us, who were built to crave salt, sugar, and fat. We’re also built for spirituality – to connect to a larger meaning, to have genuine friendships and community, to be generous and of service. But just as we can get lured into unhealthy eating, we get lured into unhealthy, lonely TV watching and consumerism – the junk foods of the spirit.

The “Primal Matrix” we seek is “a healthy, wholly functioning psyche in full-bodied participation with a healthy, wholly functioning Earth." It’s the interconnected relationships with our inner selves, each other, and the ecology. For most of us, alas, rediscovering and reintegrating this Primal Matrix requires significant effort.

Looking deeply at your own life, and honestly considering your soul’s needs requires regular, ongoing introspection. Each day spend some being still and quiet, some time journaling, and some time with spiritual texts. Bonding with the ecology around us heals and transforms us and the Earth. The work of sustaining our souls and the work of sustaining our planet each is necessary for the other.

Ecospiritual practices for this month include: Cloud Watching – spend a half hour just gazing at clouds. Small change --adopt one new simple Earth-friendly habit. And Touchstone Connection. For details on these, as well as group activities for your Ecospiritual group, see the post: Meeting the Soul's Needs

Here it is, your...
#152: Power

Circulating the power (of, say, being discussion leader) is the Way.

Dao De Ka-Ching!

Owl asked, "Does the Way have its own power?"
Raven said, "It circulates."
Owl asked, "What is its path of circulation?"
Raven said, "Why don't you lead the discussion tomorrow night?"



Religious Exploration: April 2, 2023

Religious Exploration & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
April 2, 2023

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

View past newsletters at bit.ly/CUUCRENews

An Update from RE

We are in a time of transition at CUUC, including in Religious Exploration (RE). At a recent Community Chat, it was noted that many do not know what we are thinking about in RE. With important work ahead of us, we need to fix that! We will begin sharing updates so you can follow along and participate. Click here to the first short update and stay tuned for more soon!


Friday, March 31, is International Transgender Day of Visibility, dedicated to celebrating the contributions that transgender people have made to society, and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. 

In 2018, when such messages were rare, CUUC member Tony Arrien created this wonderful public service video for TDOV featuring fellow CUUC-ers Joann Prinzivalli and Elias VanDette. As Unitarian Universalists, we understand that the full expression of diversity of gender and sexuality is a gift, and recognize the importance of opposing growing legislative attacks against the LGBTQIA+ community. To get involved with the CUUC LGBTQIA+ Social Justice Team, contact: Jennifer Stevens (jennifercstevens@gmail.com)

Sing-Along/Play-Along Night
for All Ages

Fri Mar 31, 6:00-10:00pm, Fellowship Hall
Christian and Kim Force are organizing an informal, all-ages, Sing-Along/Play-Along night, to share our spiritual practice of making music together. We'll gather to enjoy some songs, sing-along style - or, if you're a musician, come and play along with us, too! If you have a special song request or want to bring an instrument, contact Kim (kimforce@gmail.com) or Christian (force2k1@gmail.com).

Play Time This Week

It was such a help to Paige and Ryan when Kim and Duncan F went to play with their girls, Amaya (age 3.5) and Anna (age 2), that the Care Team and Friday Night Journey Group thought we'd invite others to have playtime while mom and dad pack up the house to move.

The girls are adorable and excited to have visitors. When Irene dropped off a meal, the girls looked at her as if seeing her was the most thrilling moment of the year :). If you’re available in the next week to have playtime with Amaya and Anna, please sign up here: bit.ly/KirkConnPlaydate. Have fun! Contact Irene Cox, irene.cox@gmail.com.   

Calling Young Musicians

The May 7th and 21st worship services will feature music from members of our congregation. We would love to hear you play! If you have something you'd like to share, please let Adam know by April 23rd for the May 7th service, or by May 7th for the May 21st service. We look forward to hearing from you!! To participate, contact Adam at adamkentpianist@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 2nd
Masking Policy Update: Based on the current COVID risk level in Westchester, masking is now optional during worship services and RE.
Individuals are welcome to continue wearing a mask.

Sundays, 9:45am-11:45am, Room 32, Yellow Hallway
Diane, Hans, and Willow welcome young children in childcare. We offer a safe, loving environment where our youngest build community and play outside when weather permits. 

Religious Exploration
Whole Congregation Worship

We gather together this Sunday for whole congregation worship and offer a quiet activity area in the sanctuary where children can be comfortable. We ask adults to sit next to that area if your child(ren) will be there and help them learn to navigate worship space. 

at CUUC and Online

“Forging Ahead with Excitement and Commitment” ~ Rev. Meredith Garmon
More about how our vows -- our commitments -- constitute the meaning of lives. And how essential generosity is. And community. And how excitingly fulfilling all of this is. Oh, yeah!

If your young person is in the sanctuary quiet activity area, please sit in the chairs nearby to help them learn to navigate worship space.

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.

Upcoming Schedule
Fri Mar 31: Sing-Along/Play-Along with Kim and Christian
Sat Apr 1: First Saturdays PlaceKeeping Practice
Sun Apr 2: Whole congregation worship
Sun Apr 9: Whole congregation worship & Easter treats
Fri Apr 14: OWL Classes for 4th-5th & 6th-7th grades, and Parents/Caregivers
Sun Apr 16: 1st-7th grade classes. After worship: Parents of young people exploring gender identity
Fri Apr 21: CUUC Game Night for all ages
Sun Apr 23: 1st-12th grade RE PlaceKeeping, installing leaf packs

PlaceKeeping Practice

Sat Apr 1, CUUC Grounds
Join the PlaceKeepers each month on the first Saturday to appreciate, improve, and maintain the building and grounds of CUUC, our spiritual home. Socialize by the Spirit Fire, help tend our springs and paths, or take a walk and watch for wildlife. You are welcome to join us throughout the day. Contact: Bice Wilson (bicewilson@gmail.com), Terri Kung (terrikung@yahoo.com). 

Fun Game Night
for All Ages

Fri Apr 21, 6:00pm Pizza, 7:00pm Games, Fellowship Hall
Calling CUUCers of all ages! Everyone is invited to bring their favorite game or just join us on Friday, April 21, 2023 to CUUC at 6pm for a pizza dinner and then we'll match players with games starting at 7pm. Whether your favorite game is Scrabble, Uno, Trivial Pursuit, Mah Jongg, Trouble or Hungry Hungry Hippos, bring it along or just come to socialize with other people. Suggested donation for dinner, $5. Contact Audra Russell, audrar631@gmail.com

Westchester Interfaith Youth Alliance

The WYA is a committee of teens from youth groups all over Westchester. We come together to put on effective youth-led peer education and service events. If you are interested in attending upcoming events, click here: Get involved!

Take Action for Earth Day @ Pitch in for Parks 2023
Sat Apr 22, 10:00am-2:00pm

Join in this community effort and help us clean up one of Westchester's most valuable assets! Each year, Westchester Parks Foundation and the Westchester County Parks Department host Pitch in for Parks. It is their largest volunteer event which falls on Earth Day! This year we will be volunteering at the Bronx River Reservation in White Plains. Volunteers will paint, rake, prepare and plant flower beds, clear trails and shorelines, restore wildlife habitats and remove invasive vines from trees. Click here to register a teen

Weekly: WYA hosts weekly teen zoom sessions on Sunday nights at 5:00pm where teens have time to share their ideas, engage in discussion about planning and organizing events, and hang out. To learn more email our Program Director, Chloe Fernandez

Community Tag Sale 

Sat Apr 29, 9:30am-3:00pm, at CUUC
Ways YOU can participate in CUUC’s Tag Sale…
1. Save the date, April 29, on your calendar so you can come!

2. Rent a table so you can make space again in your closets while making a bit of cash. Contact Nora Freeman (norafreeman777@gmail.com) or Alex Sehdeva (alex.sehdeva@gmail.com). We will set up your table for you - you just bring and set up your things to sell (and take home what you don't sell). You can also split a table with a friend!
3. Have breakfast or lunch with us. Meals by Mahnaz is cooking and will have food to purchase all during the event.
4. Come early and help us set up tables (sellers will set up their own sale items).
5. Bring small appliances/small pieces of furniture to donate to Furniture Sharehouse.
6. Come later in the afternoon to help us put away tables.
7. Come any time of the day to chat with your CUUC friends and enjoy our grounds.
8. During April, help promote the event within your social network and communities.
9. Bring your children or grandchildren. Have them hawk your wares, or (gasp) sell their old clothing/toys for a percentage of the profits.

Call for Caring

The Friday Family Journey Group and the Caring and Sharing Circle invite the congregation to help support a member family facing challenging transitions, with either financial contributions or by providing dinners for four adults, now through Fri Mar 31. Find more information and a sign-up list at https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/7edz88. Contact: Irene Cox (irene.cox@gmail.com) or Lois Holt (mediamomforlife@gmail.com)

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. These dates are open: April 30 and May 14. To volunteer, contact Tracy, cuucwptracy@gmail.com

Queer Youth Advocacy Retreat
A Space for LGBTQ+ Youth to Find Community

WHO: For all high school-aged youth with an interest in LGBTQ+ justice
WHEN: May 12-14, 2023
WHERE: Camp Unirondack - a UU Camp! (Free shuttle from Albany, NY is available!)
FEE: Totally free!

WHAT: Our Queer Youth Advocacy Retreat is a weekend designed to bring together young queer and trans leaders, advocates, activists, organizers, school club members, and aspiring allies. The weekend offers a place for young people to connect with one another, exchange ideas, build knowledge and skills, think critically, and work together toward LGBTQIA+ justice. It is also a place to build friendships with likeminded people, and experience a celebration of Queer community, Queer joy, and the magic of being together in the great outdoors. The weekend will include educational workshops & trainings; engaging youth-centered discussion groups; memorable camp experiences including games, campfires, boating, and other outdoor activities; creative activities and art projects; positive and affirming sharing and performance spaces; and opportunities to build close bonds with other youth and mentors.

All LGBTQ+ youth and allies are welcome! More information. Register Here. If you would like to volunteer at the retreat, register here

Community Conversation
Exploring the Future of RE at CUUC


Sun, May 21, 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 continue building together! Contact Tracy (cuucwptracy@gmail.com).

Help enhance our festivities! If you have a photograph of Rev. Garmon to share, please email to Kim Force (kimforce@gmail.com). You can share your favorite memory at bit.ly/RevGarmonMemories. Contacts: Catherine K (catherinekortlandt@gmail.com), Emily E (emily.economou@gmail.com)
Resources for OWL Classes 
1st-3rd, 4th-5th and 6th-7th grades
& Parents/Caregivers

One of the core priorities of the OWL curriculum is to encourage communication between children/youth and their parent(s)/caregiver(s). The Homelink resources support that by providing material to continue discussion about class topics at home. 
1st-3rd Grade
We are using the K-1 curriculum with our 1st-3rd grade class. This class meets Sunday mornings.
4th-5th and 6th-7th Grade
We are using the 4th-6th curriculum with our 4th-5th and 6th-7th grade classes. This class meets over four Friday evenings. The next and last class is April 14th. Click here for class dates and topics as well as materials for parents and children to discuss before and after class. 
(The 4th-5th grade Toolbox of Faith class and 6th-7th grade Riddle and Mystery class continue meeting Sunday mornings.)

Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators
This is the corresponding small group ministry for adults, offering opportunity for adults to recall your own experiences at the age your children are now, and to be intentional about how you would like to support your child as they have questions and strive to make decisions that are healthy for them. Parents and caregivers may participate in this class even if you do not have a young person attending an OWL classes. Click here for class dates and topics as well as questions to reflect on after class and resources. The next and last class is Friday, April 14. 
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