Beacon on the Hill, July 2016
The monthly newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley.
Introducing Our Ministerial Candidates
The Ministerial Search Committee is very pleased to announce that the Reverends Christian and Kristin Schmidt are our candidates for senior co-ministers of UUCB. The Schmidts currently serve as interim co-ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Christian is a 2012 graduate of Andover Newton Theological School while Kristin graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2010.
Christian is a Texas native and Kristin grew up in Maryland. They met while Kristin was serving as an intern minister outside Houston and Christian was beginning seminary. Married for six years, they have two sons, four-year-old Chester James (“CJ”) and one-year-old John.
The Schmidts practice a theology that is both humanist and theist. Kristin describes herself as a universalist while Christian calls himself as a mystical humanist. Their theologies complement each other, and, as Unitarian Universalists, they call upon and honor all of the beliefs and spiritual practices that UU embraces.
Here is their vision for their shared ministry with us:
“In searching for a congregation, we sought out a shared ministry, and not just between the two of us! We believe that all people, whether ordained or not, bring unique gifts and perspectives to congregational ministry. We sought a ministry of mutual engagement, commitment, and good humor, one shaped by the partnership of ministers and congregation working together to nurture spirits and to help heal our world.
We also hope for a ministry of prophetic leadership. This country and our world are facing the most significant social, economic, and environmental changes we have seen in several generations. Unitarian Universalists have an amazing opportunity to respond faithfully to these changes in relevant ways that call the human family into more compassionate, sustainable, and just relationships. Additionally, we hope to lead the challenging and fulfilling work of congregational growth in our ministry together. While many congregations state a desire to grow, we believe that lasting numerical growth is the natural result of a congregation’s efforts to grow in service and spirit. Growth can be hard, but it can also be profoundly fulfilling spiritually, and it is work we find deeply fulfilling.
In all of these areas, we believe the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley is the right match for our ministry, and we can’t wait to meet you all at Candidating Week!”
You will hear the Search Committee’s reasons for selecting the Schmidts, and we hope as you get to know them during Candidating Week, July 2 through July 10, that you will find your own reasons for wanting to call them as our next ministers.
Check the Search Committee website at https://uucbminsearch.wordpress.com/ as we update it with information about our candidates. More importantly, visit Kristin and Christian’s website at www.revschmidt.org.
Worship at 11 am
Theme for Month: Misfits/Heretics
July 3: Revs. Kristin and Christian Schmidt, ministerial candidates, first sermon, with worship associate Mary Muehlbach
July 10: Revs. Kristin and Christian Schmidt, second sermon, with worship associate Kathryn Jay
July 17: Finding Safe Harbor: The Healing Power of Love, worship associate/seminarian Moses Canales. The true story of refugees Tuhin and Jansana, and how their love was strengthened in a Bangladesh refugee camp, told in songs and words.
July 24: Kinetic Theology, Rev. David Usher with worship associate David Roberts
July 31: “This Machine” Tour, singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman with worship associate Ann Riley. The only way to stay sane in this crazy election cycle is to pay attention and write songs about how to protect all the things that make this country great. We are all lucky to live in a country where anyone can grow up and become president and we all live in fear of that same thing.
A speaker series focused on social justice, Sunday mornings at 10 am in the Fireside Room.
July 3: Dr. Mimi Bull, retired legislative analyst, “Prisons for Profit”
July 10: Dr. Lynne Henderson, Director of the Shyness Institute, “Compassionate Social Fitness for All”
July 17: Walter Gorski, mental health worker, “Community Clinics: How Are They Doing?”
July 24: Valerie Cuevas, Member Board of Education, West Contra Costa School District, “Change and Construction in a Challenging Time”
July 31: Candidates for the State Senate: Nancy Skinner, Sandré Swanson, Katherine Welch
Candidating Week All-Church Events
Sunday, July 3, 12–2 pm: Q&A with the Schmidts in the Sanctuary, followed by Welcome Reception. Please contact Lynne Cahoon (email@example.com) if you would like to help with refreshments.
Friday, July 8, 7–9 pm: All Church Gathering with the Schmidts. Members who are not scheduled for small group conversations are especially encouraged to come. Please contact Barbara Cullinane (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lisa Maynard ( email@example.com) to bring finger-food appetizer or dessert.
Saturday, July 9, 1– 3 pm: Snack-Food Picnic especially for families, Arlington Park
Often summer can feel like a slow time at church. Not this year! This month our ministerial candidate is visiting. Early July will be bustling with activities and opportunities to meet them. Take a peek at the Search Team’s announcement for a full schedule of events. And mark your calendar for our family event with this exciting guest. Join us on Saturday, July 9, from 1 to 3 pm for a Play Date & Snack-Food-Fest. It’ll be a fun, low-key time to visit with the candidate and hang out with your UUCB friends. But note, this event will not be at the church as there’s a rental that day. We’ll meet at Arlington Park (1120 Arlington Blvd.). Bring snacks and games to share.
Our Summer Program… Possibly you’ve seen the posters by The Miracle Group? That’s our summer religious education class. We’re having a great time playing with the concept of miracles by simultaneously looking for the rational “how and why” while keeping close the truth of a miracle’s mystery. A miracle, however one understands its source, allows us to respond to something unexpected with awe and wonder. This multi-age class for children in first grade and above is exploring the miraculous—from the scientific to the spiritual—and experiencing the beauty of how those two approaches can co-exist. This is a truly Unitarian Universalist summer program, guided by curriculum co-written by former UUCB Family Minister Chris Holton Jablonski.
Take Home Activities… Looking for meaningful ways to draw out conversation or activities to deepen the dialog with your child about substantive topics? There are now Take Home activities available online for each of our religious education sessions with the children and youth. You can quickly find these on the Activities for Families page on our website, in the This Week in Family Ministry email, or the online calendar. Simply click the name of the activity and a full session description plus a Take Home activity appears. Over the summer you can find this info for our Summer RE Class.
My little red car proudly sports a license-plate frame reading “Unitarian Universalist Church: We are all connected.” Lately, I have been struck with the reality of this. Lisa Maynard and Joanne Wile have been working on our org chart; it is challenging to fit it into the available templates, when our actual structure is much more like an ecosystem than the typical hierarchical organization. There are all kinds of connections between organizational elements of UUCB, and beyond that, between all of you active and committed individuals.
I would love to see a one-month UUCB calendar that includes not only the impressive range of events scheduled onsite but the myriad other church-related activities that we generate or participate in together offsite. If you ask anyone around here what they have been doing lately, they will undoubtedly mention a committee meeting, a social event at another UUCB home, an outing with another UUCBer, or a regular volunteer commitment inspired and/or organized by this church. It is a circle dance, loving community in action, the rich, yeasty, very human manifestation of the “interdependent web of all existence.”
And now we are about to embark on another circle dance, a dance of mutual discovery, as we take advantage of the multiple activities planned for candidating week. This is our chance to explore the extraordinary match that our trusted search team is proposing for this extraordinary church.
The week culminates in a special congregational meeting, immediately following the July 10 service, to vote on calling the minister. For those who absolutely cannot be present for that meeting, there will be provision to vote by absentee ballot. Look for more details in your congregational meeting packet, which soon will be coming to you in the mail.
May our circles of connection radiate and multiply!
We have declared VICTORY! This is the second year that we have met or exceeded our target amount, and we can be proud of ourselves! THANKS to all who are participating in meeting our goal and moving beyond. With 192 pledges recorded as of June 15, including incentive pool donations from 24 households, we have achieved 99.7% of our $529,000 budget goal. That equals $527,451.
In the coming months, as we add new members and get the final outstanding pledges, we know we will meet and surpass the budgeted number. So, PLEASE turn in your pledge if you have not yet done so. Remember, you may adjust your pledge at any time if your circumstances change. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to pledge or change your pledge. Paper forms are available at the literature table outside the office, as well.
We are searching for a Core Team Leader/Convener (or Co-Leaders) for the existing team. If you like to organize events, work with inspiring team members and have fun, please contact Marta Tobey, Jo Maxon, Bob Moore, Ira Nelken, or, ongoing Coordinating Team member, Lisa Maynard, or Board President Deborah Schmidt. Anne Greenwood is officially retired as of July 1 and is eager to pass on her accumulated knowledge and wisdom to the next team!
Lisa Maynard, Coordinating Team Convener
Your Coordinating Team has embarked on summer activities! Director of Administration, Mary Ellen Morgan, upon returning from the UUA General Assembly, serves as Acting Chief of Staff as we await our new minister. CT Convener Lisa Maynard and Program Council Convener Joanne Wile plan to work this summer on updating the Coordinating Team Operating Policies. The current policies are on our UUCB website at http://uucb.org/about-us/governance/church-documents/. Click on Administrative Policies, and you will see that the last update was in 2014. There are some gaps in the policies, and we hope to fill them by documenting more of our standard operations and by developing operational policies where none currently exist.
When the Coordinating Team was restructured last summer, the current CT Convener and the Program Council Convener were appointed by the Board of Trustees for one-year terms. Recently, the Board approved a one-year extension of my term as CT Convener; I will serve a total of two years. Program Council Convener Joanne Wile will step down at the end of August. Ann Harlow was elected by the Program Council, and confirmed by the CT in June, as the next Program Council Convener. She will take on that position September 1. We hope that staggering the two-year terms of the two lay members of the Coordinating Team will provide an efficient transfer of responsibility and knowledge, as well as a supportive environment for both lay and staff members of the CT.
The Coordinating Team meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 3 to 5 pm. Our meetings are open to the congregation, but we occasionally change meeting date and place to accommodate member obligations and church operations, so if you’re interested in attending, please contact me (email@example.com) to verify our schedule and meeting place. Questions for the CT? Email CT@uucb.org.
Ministerial Search Committee
Stephanie Ann Blythe
Candidating Week begins as July begins. The Reverends Kristin and Christian Schmidt arrive in town on Friday, July 1. On Saturday, July 2, they will be meeting with the Board of Trustees and the Search Committee. You will get your first opportunity to meet the Schmidts on Sunday, July 3, when they preach at the 11 am service. Following the service there will be a facilitated question and answer period. At 1 pm we will have a welcome reception organized by Lynne Cahoon. Kristin and Christian will have a busy week meeting with lay leaders, church staff, and many committees. There will be an all-church social at UUCB on Friday, July 8, from 7 to 9 pm, chaired by Barbara Cullinane. Then on Saturday, July 9, the Religious Education/Family Ministry folks will have a Family Picnic from 1 to 3 pm at Arlington Park just up the road in El Cerrito. We hope to see you at these events where you can meet and greet the Schmidts. All are invited!
Sunday, July 10, will be a big day in the life of our church. The Schmidts preach again at the 11:00 am service. Afterward, the Board of Trustees will convene the congregational meeting to officially call the new ministers. Voting will be by secret ballot, and absentee voting will be permitted. Per our bylaws, a 90 percent vote in the affirmative is required to call a minister. The candidates will not be present during the meeting. They will be notified of the result and will decide whether they will accept the call. Look for more details from the Board of Trustees regarding the congregational meeting.
WHY ANOTHER CO-MINISTRY?
The Ministerial Search Committee did not actively seek out co-ministry teams during the first round of search, but we would have considered one under the right circumstances. Meanwhile, Christian and Kristin Schmidt were beginning an interim ministry in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and could not participate in the first round of search. Seeing that UUCB was still available in the second round and knowing that we had been served well by a previous co-ministry, they were ready to apply for our position. A key point in our discussions with them is that they would be sharing one full-time position. We are all in agreement on that point.
Questions or comments? Email the Search Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check the Search Committee website at: https://uucbminsearch.wordpress.com/. We will be updating it with information about our candidates.
Joanne Wile, Convener
The Program Council has entered a period of transitions in its membership. We have elected, and the Coordinating Team has confirmed, Ann Harlow as the Program Council Convener beginning in September, which means she will also serve on the Coordinating Team. Program areas and their representatives on the Program Council will now be:
Adult Religious and Spiritual Exploration – Lonnie Moseley (Adult Workshops & Classes, Humanist Connections, Personal Theology, Write for Your Life)
Buildings and Grounds – Larry Nagel (Aesthetics Committee, Buildings and Grounds Council, Freestone Retreat Committee, Kitchen Team, Landscape Committee, Safety Working Group)
Communications – David Lingenfelter (Communications Team, Publications, Video, Website)
Family Ministry – Glen Augustine and co-chair TBD (Coming of Age, Family Ministry Committee, High School Youth Advisors, Youth Adult Team)
Finance – Ira Nelken (Book Table, Financial Advisory Committee, Fundraising, Jewelry Table, Snack Table)
Membership – Paul Hudson (Gen UU, Membership Ministry Committee, Wheel of Life, Young Adult Network)
Music and Arts – Gail Simpson (Adult Choir, Early Birds, Gamelan Ensemble, Handicrafters, Music Committee, Play Readers Anonymous)
Pastoral Care – Barbara Cullinane (Appreciation Circle, Caring Circle, Chaplains, Pastoral Associates)
Social Justice – Kelly Kelly (Climate Core: A Community of Concern for Climate Change (6C Group), Confronting Racism, Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organizations (CCISCO), Friends of Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR), Good Neighbor, Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), Green Sanctuary, Partner Church Committee, Read Aloud Volunteer Program, Summer Forum)
Worship – Carol Carlisle and Mary Muehlbach (tentative) (Altar Flowers, Chalice Circles, Mist Tree Moon Circle, Presentation Associates (Slide Nerds), Ushers, Worship Associates)
If you have a group not listed above that wishes to affiliate with one of these areas, please contact me, email@example.com.
The Program Council will meet with the ministerial candidate on July 6 (in place of its regular monthly meeting), and will hold a retreat on August 13 at Gail Simpson’s house. We appreciate the work of the first’s year’s participants and welcome our new members.
UUCB has quite a few groups that get together for monthly potlucks, some at the church on Sunday evenings and others in homes. These include:
- Social Justice Council
- Humanist Connections
- Two Men’s Groups
- One “Extended Family” multigenerational group
- Play Readers Anonymous (formerly Blended Voices)
- Family Spirit Circle
There are other people who would like to be part of a potluck group but don’t know how to find one. We invite you to come to a massive all-church potluck supper on the 5th Sunday in July, where you can learn about the groups that already exist and perhaps form some new ones based on geographic or other affinities. Mark your calendar for July 31, 5-8 pm, and watch for more details in the weekly newsletters.
Contra Costa Racial Justice Council – UUCB Social Justice Council (SJC) has an ongoing involvement with this Racial Justice Council that includes having hosted its first Summit in February. This group has led to the County Board of Supervisors establishing the Racial Justice Task Force, which is tasked with investigating racial disparities in county incarceration, education and housing. The Supervisors’ Racial Justice Task Force put out a request for applications for seven community members (which closed 6/15). A number of UUCB members have applied.
UU Economic Justice Conference – SJC members participated in this conference hosted by SFUU and sponsored by the California UU Justice Ministry, where over 50 people attended. Panelists discussed partnerships with groups advocating for low-income workers and affordable housing. Rev. John Buehrens proposed the concept of the human right to a roof over one’s head.
Youth Ministry – Following up on UUCB Family Ministry’s request for SJC engagement with youth at UUCB, the SJC will work directly with youth to carry out the annual “Bring Your Weight in Food” drive in November. Additionally, it was suggested that the Council engage youth to address county school boards on the wide racial disparities in student suspensions. UUCB youth ministry participants are invited to the SJC potluck/meetings on the second Sunday of July and of August at 6 pm, and to participate in the Ceasefire Walks on July 22 and August 28.
The Literature, Film & Drama Contingent (LFDC): The LFDC wrapped up its first year with a potluck, planning session and discussion of Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. It voted to continue meeting through the summer (first Sundays at 12:15) and to choose books, etc., that interest us—without focusing on a specific minority group. We’ll also add “something you don’t know about me” to our MAUBs (moments of awareness of unconscious bias) during check-ins. For the meeting on July 3rd, The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, will be discussed.
Ceasefire Walks: Friday nights in Richmond at 7 pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
GRIP: UUCB volunteers prepare and serve lunch to hungry and homeless people at the GRIP Souper Center in Richmond on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Want to volunteer? email@example.com.
Read-Aloud: Volunteers needed to read aloud at local elementary schools in Richmond and San Pablo during the school year. Contact Judy Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July Good Neighbor: Bay Area Community Land Trust: (http://bayareaclt.net/BACLT/Home.html) BACLT is the only non-profit in the East Bay developing housing cooperatives which provide home ownership for low-income and moderate-income households. In addition to developing new housing cooperatives, BACLT has training workshops to existing housing cooperatives helping them manage their property effectively. BACLT promotes green building, solar energy and water conservation in housing cooperatives.
If you want to be added to the Social Justice email list contact email@example.com.
We will finish the year with a deficit of about $40,000. Among other reasons, facilities expenses were higher than expected, and fundraising will be below budget nearly $12,000. Thanks to all who made an effort to work toward this goal, which we indicated going in to this year as “possible” for a congregation our size, but ambitious given the retirement of our long time fundraising guru. Special thanks to the Music Committee and event participants for raising more than $12,000, exceeding their $5K goal by 147%!