Beacon on the Hill February 2017
From the Ministers
Revs. Christian and Kristin Schmidt
Who are we? This is a question we frequently engage in in religious community, both as we work for greater personal depth and understanding and as our congregation strives to live out our mission and vision in the world. This month in worship, we will explore our many identities as individuals, in our relationships, and as members of wider communities.
Key to a piece of our identity as a community is the way we fund our ministry. Here at UUCB (and at all Unitarian Universalist churches) members and friends fund our budget and play a key role in determining how that budget is used to support our work together. As we prepare for our stewardship campaign and budgeting process for the 2017-2018 year, we have begun to envision what UUCB could be like in the next year, including shifts in how we do things.
As your new co-ministers, we have been paying attention to the community and how it appears to our fresh eyes—and how it might appear to visitors. Ever since we began our ministry with and among you, we have heard over and over again how much people want the congregation to grow. So, one of our highest priorities is to make the community as welcoming to newcomers as possible. Some aspects of making our church a welcoming one are easy (and some were in place long before we got here): providing clear information on our website, having a great welcoming presence when people walk through our front doors, clear directions in worship and signs around the building.
And there are other welcoming practices we will encourage the congregation to consider in the coming year. One such practice is providing free refreshments after worship each Sunday. This way, what one of our ministerial mentors calls “the sacrament of fellowship” will be more welcoming to our members and friends with financial hardships, and to those of us who simply forget to carry cash anymore.
We are also considering deeply what programming the church currently offers, whether it is the best use of staff and volunteer time and energy, and what we might offer in addition to, or instead of, what we do now. In some cases, programming might continue but in changed form, as we better align our staff and ministerial resources towards areas of energy and growth. For example, May of this year will see the last staff-led Thursday night Vespers service. Though this has been a long tradition of this congregation, attendance at the Vespers services is quite small—and some dedicated people are considering continuing Vespers as a lay-led activity. We are exploring offering weekly opportunities for spiritual deepening, some at the church and some out in our communities. Whatever shape this programming takes into the future, we are committed to providing dynamic opportunities for connection and growth that welcome and are accessible to as broad a cross-section of the congregation and beyond as possible.
As someone wise once said, change is inevitable, but progress is not. It is our mission as a congregation to make sure that the changes we make, either those we choose or that circumstances push upon us, are furthering our mission and vision, not hampering it. As we move forward, we hope all of you will contribute your thoughts and efforts toward these goals.
Christian and Kristin
Worship Services in February
Sundays at 9:30 and 11:15 am (except Feb. 12)
Theme for Month: Identity
Here at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, we celebrate the beautiful variety of individual, family, gender, ethnic, class, sexual, religious, and cultural identities in our congregation and beyond. We also celebrate the identity our faith tradition offers us. This month in worship we will ask ourselves questions like “Who am I?” “Who are you?” “Who are we?” and consider how shifting and expanding our answers might help us in our work to create a more just world.
February 5 Who Am I? Rev. Christian Schmidt with Worship Associate Jim Gasperini. Our identities, complex and multi-faceted, affect the way we see the world, how we are treated, and what matters most to us. The first step to forming deep, meaningful, diverse religious community is owning our own personal identities and acknowledging what that means for us, then beginning to understand others’ identities.
February 12 (11:15 only) Community Ministry for a New World. Together with our Senior Co-Ministers, Kristin and Christian Schmidt, affiliated Community Ministers Cat Cox, Jane Ramsey, Theresa Hardy, Sue Magidson, and Jeremiah Kalendae, joined by Lynne Cahoon and Ariel Smith-Iyer, will reflect on community ministry in this new era.
While only official members of UUCB may vote, everyone is encouraged to stay after the service for the Congregational Meeting.
February 19 What Does It Mean To Be UU? Reverends Christian and Kristin Schmidt with Director of Family Ministry Merrin Clough and Worship Associate Jeanne Foster. Join us this Sunday as we explore who we are as Unitarian Universalists. Through story, art, and song we will learn how and why we are a people of living tradition, people who change, and a people who change the world. This is a service for all ages!
February 26 The Purpose of Our Freedom, Rev. Kristin Grassel Schmidt with Worship Associate Cordell Sloan. Our free faith is sometimes mischaracterized as a license to do and believe “whatever we want” and our congregations as places where “anything goes.” This week in worship we will reflect on the roots of our Free Church tradition and consider not just what our identity as liberal religious people frees us from but what it frees us for.
Everyone is invited to stay after the 11:15 service for lunch to celebrate the kick-off of our Stewardship campaign!
February Good Neighbor (Sharing Our Offerings):
Alameda County Community Food Bank. On behalf of the entire Alameda County Community Food Bank community—especially the 311,000 of our neighbors who need and use their services—we are recommitted to help fight for what we believe: Food is a basic human right.
Personal Theology Schedule
Sunday mornings at 9:30 am in the Fireside Room
February 5 Matthew Fox, The Contemplative and Sacred Activism of Thomas Merton. Matthew Fox is an award-winning spiritual theologian, professor, activist, and an author of over thirty books. He is the founder of the University of Creation Spirituality. After his talk and discussion he will be selling and signing some of his books.
February 12 Ron Campbell, In Search of the Mask of Satori: A Performer’s Journey on the Path to Selfhood. Ron Campbell, the founder and CEO of Soar Feat Unlimited, performs, teaches, and makes art in distinguished venues across the globe.
February 19 Father Arthur Poulin, The Spirituality of Creativity. Father Poulin is a Camaldolese Benedictine priest and monk from Berkeley, whose landscape paintings echo the Impressionists. He views painting as a sacred journey, working from darkness to lightness, from the unknown to the known, and from chaos to unity.
February 26 Dr. Charles Tart, In Search of Enlightenment and Knowledge: Highlights from the Life Journey of a Transpersonal Para(Neuro)-Psychologist, Part 2, Scientific and Spiritual Smorgasbord. Dr. Tart is well known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness, as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, and for his research in parapsychology.
Humanist Connections Schedule
Sundays at 12:45 pm, followed by a potluck at 2:15 pm. Check kiosk in Atrium for location.
Format: A 10-minute presentation followed by moderated, timed discussion. All are welcome!
February 5 Hayden Looks at Ed Snowden, Sherry Fuzesy
February 12 Retro-tech: Old Solutions to New Problems, Ray Nelson
February 19 Nukes: More Scary Now than in the Cold War?, Don Klose
February 26 Epistemology: Theory of Knowledge, Don Anderson
Special Events in February
Sat, Feb. 4 Dream Workshop with Jeremy Taylor
Sun. Feb. 5 and Sat. Feb. 11 Love Songs and Chocolate
Sun. Feb. 12 Congregational Meeting
Sat. Feb. 18 Nonviolent Communication Workshop
Sun. Feb. 26 All-Church Stewardship Luncheon
Our Family Ministry committee has been very aware over the last few months of how anxious many of the children and parents in our community are about the future. Not only the future of our nation, but also how a Trump presidency will impact the unfolding of our children’s lives. Many kids and teens powerlessly ask, what can we do? Parents wonder how to prepare them for a world where bigotry still has such a firm hold on power.
Our Family Ministry leaders are asking similar questions. A week after the election our Faith in Action team on the committee met to regroup. Disappointment sometimes brings things into clear focus. Moving forward our focus is to help families:
- Joyfully celebrate Unitarian Universalist values
- Hold up those values that feel at risk in this political climate
- Transform concern into action and practice justice-making skills
- Draw inspiration and learn from our UU legacy of service, justice work, and civil disobedience
In the coming months you’ll hear more from the Faith in Action team (Shannon Roberts and Linda Zittel). Today we’d like to highlight the new curriculum cycle we will begin this month in our elementary classes. These lessons have been chosen specifically to support children in navigating the challenges of our times by helping them hone their own moral compasses.
4th-5th Grades – Sing to the Power
Sing to the Power affirms our Unitarian Universalist heritage of confronting “powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.” Participants experience their own power, and understand how it can help them to be leaders.
2nd-3rd Grades – Moral Tales
Every day our children go forth into a complex world where they are often faced with difficult decisions and situations. Moral Tales helps provide them with the spiritual and ethical tools they will need to make choices and take actions reflective of their Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values.
K-1st Grades – World of Wonder
As UUs we religiously respect the interdependent web of life of which we are a part. This class focuses on the direct experience of nature and how it is essential to children’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual development. We will kindle the spark of wonder and deep sense of caring that nature can inspire.
Wow, time is flying! It’s already time to begin thinking about next year’s Family Ministry program (August 2017 to June 2018). As part of our annual planning cycle, we invite folks to propose ideas for the upcoming church year. Do you have a program idea you’d like to submit that upholds our church’s mission to create loving community, inspire spiritual growth, and encourage lives of integrity, joy and service?
We will gather submissions until March 1st. Then our Family Ministry Committee will review these proposals to make realistic decisions about which we can do well. We intend to focus our energies on programs that help bring our UU values to life in the wake of a Trump presidency. We eagerly welcome your input in this shared ministry.
Rev. Jane Ramsey, UUCB Affiliated Community Minister
I have to tell you, February is one of my least favorite months…. When living on the East Coast, I remember the beauty of winter wearing off, sort of turning to slush, and it is still cold…. And on top of that—there is our new President.
I know this election has been soul-crushing.
It is one of my goals in my work as a hospice chaplain to assist people in finding genuine hope when coming to terms with dying. This may take the form of looking forward to being united with deceased loved ones, or anticipating release from pain and suffering, or a desire to live until some event, such as a birth or wedding or graduation within the family.
Maybe it is time for us to work on ourselves in that way.
As a person facing death comes to terms with the inevitability of death, what is there left? Viktor Frankl (in Man’s Search for Meaning) was able to find meaning while living in a concentration camp … can’t we find meaning (hope even), given the circumstances we live in today? Many people are afraid of hospice because they believe it is a step into hopelessness. I certainly felt that way as I ever so slowly accepted the reality of our new president. (Actually I’m not there yet.) Yet, if people can face death with hope, if Viktor Frankl could find meaning in life under the most dire of circumstances, who are we to complain and give up? We need to find a way of accepting the reality of our new President and still have hope.
It is essential that we keep hopelessness and fear from obstructing our way to hope.
That truth of hope exists, we just need to reveal it.
Coordinating Team Notes
Lisa Maynard, Coordinating Team Convener
The Coordinating Team’s recent discussion topics have included:
- hiring a sound system consultant to help us plan for excellent and reliable sound amplification for our Sanctuary, Social Hall, and Fireside Room;
- next steps in returning our smaller meeting rooms to general use (the upstairs Conference Room is ready, hurray!);
- the importance of clarity and of understanding how our actions contribute to our mission;
- the need for safety plans and evacuation drills;
- and of course our budget plans for the 2017-18 fiscal year!
We will provide some budget information sessions in March (dates and times will be announced later).
One way of looking at the role of the Coordinating Team is to say that we oversee the matching of operational needs with actions and resources, in order to pursue the mission of our church. Sometimes those resources are financial, for example when we contracted for mold remediation in some of our meeting rooms. At other times the resources consist of time, energy, expertise and commitment. Our dedicated staff provides such resources every day, yet to operate our church we need those resources from our members too. Thanks to our generous volunteers, who run the slides during Sunday services, organize social justice activities, guide our children in religious education, and serve on our Board of Trustees and many other committees, we get a lot done! And there are still many more opportunities to work together as a community!
The Coordinating Team meets twice monthly, on the first and third Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. If you’re interested in attending, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to verify our schedule and meeting place. Questions for the CT? Email CT@uucb.org.
This is my last message to you from the “President’s Corner.” After our congregational meeting immediately following the 11:15 service on February 12th, the board will meet briefly to elect new officers, and unless there is some sort of palace revolution (of which there have been no indications whatsoever!) Jack Duggan will become your new president. Jack has already demonstrated his signature blend of gentleness, strength and understanding; I know that UUCB will be in very capable hands.
Fortunately, we have an excellent transition built into our governance system, in which ex-presidents continue on as board members for two more years. I have certainly been grateful for Jean’s mentorship during the remainder of her board tenure, and I look forward to continuing to be of service. In particular, I look forward to helping to put back together two essential governance elements that we have taken apart: I aim to support and see brought to completion the revisions of our ends and governance manual.
The past three years have, undeniably, been intense and demanding: Barbara and Bill retired; we survived the whirlwind house-cleaning and cultural revitalization that mark a successful interim period; and we have begun a promising new shared ministry with Reverends Christian and Kristin. At the same time, this has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling chapters of my life. For a fairly quiet, introspective person, it has been a good stretch to become more publicly the person I have always been within my family and in my work as a teacher, to tap into and expand my resources for listening, loving, linking and lifting up all that is best in you, my church family. I cannot imagine a more supportive and limitless setting for this kind of personal growth. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Happy Lunar New Year!
The year of the Red Fire Monkey ends with the new moon January 28 – and the year of the Red Fire Rooster begins.
Having met with the CT twice in January, and receiving working orders, our preliminary budget draft for next year is in process.
Our budget priorities this cycle are still taking shape, and it will be a challenge to match resources to the actions set forth by the CT. Planning the schedule this year, the CT hopes to provide the congregation with an informational session in March, TBD, in advance of finalizing the FY1718 budget.
Please consider submitting your FY1718 pledge in March this year!
Mary M Muehlbach
A NEW ERA . . . NURTURING OUR COMMUNITIES
Now is the time to say YES and join the wonderful group of CONNECTORS. We are assembling a group of at least 20 who will meet with members and friends in small groups, or individually, to explore our love of UUCB and our commitment to its future. See our table in the atrium.
Can you help? Yes, you can!!
- Sign up to talk with others about this church we love – attend a training:
Wednesday February 1 at 7 pm
Saturday February 4 at 10 am
- Volunteer to help with the All-Church Luncheon: shop, cook, decorate, set up, serve, and clean up! New faces and willing hands of all ages welcome to join the fun.
Sun. Feb. 26 – Come to the All-Church Luncheon provided by the Stewardship team for entertainment and inspiration.
Sun. March 5 – March Forth on March Fifth as we begin our pledge drive. Plan your giving level for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 now and get the details when you join with a Connector or attend a small group gathering.
Social Justice News
Cracking the Codes: Ninety UUCB members and friends attended an amazing workshop on January 7th! Amikaeyla Gaston provided warm and wise facilitation of the film Cracking the Codes: A System of Racial Inequities that focused on understanding the language of racial inequities as they are expressed in interpersonal, institutional and structural forms. Attendees’ feedback included “presentation was breathtaking and amazing.” ..”enhanced my awareness of systemic racism,” “It brought awareness to me that I can make a difference if I see something racist and speak up.”
Training in Nonviolent Communication, Saturday, February 18, 1-5 pm: Following up on the “Cracking the Codes” workshop, this training (again sponsored by the Confronting Racism Project’s LFDC group) will lead UUCB members and friends through a process of talking about race, class, power and privilege, as we learn to speak our truth with power and love. We will learn skills to enhance authentic connection as we, together, create a world where everyone’s needs matter. We are hoping that UUCB youth will be able to join us.
Social Justice Council January Potluck/Meeting: We welcomed representatives of our Good Neighbor nonprofits (that receive our plate offerings), and they were guests at our potluck. They gave us summaries of their work.
“Post Election – Are We Chaplains of the Empire or Prophets of the Resistance?” – Craig Scott and Karen Paull (and 1,000 other lawyers) attended a forum on how to be a good ally. Craig and Karen made available to us information from the forum with a summary they called “Issues for the Resistance,” to assist the Council as it aims toward a social justice priority for the congregation. They also provided a quote by Rev. William Barber III:
“WE is the most significant word in the social justice vocabulary.
The issue is not what we can’t do, but what we CAN do when we stand together.
Craig and Karen posed these two questions to the Council:
“How may we, as a faith community, be called on to resist unjust and unconstitutional measures by the new U.S. Administration?
And, “How might we as a UU congregation prioritize our efforts to resist?
Five groups met and came up with priorities after reflecting on the ten “Issues for the Resistance.”
“Stand with local communities targeted because of race, religion, ethnicity, etc.” All five groups identified this issue as a priority.
“Oppose unjust treatment of Immigrants.” Three groups identified this as a priority.
“Stand with LGBTQ brothers and Sisters.” Three groups identified this as a priority.
“Health Care for All.” Two groups identified this as a priority.
“Local Housing, Food, Poverty.” One group created this new priority.
“Oppose Efforts to limit our Free Press.” One group identified this as a priority
“Preserve Quality Public Education.” One group identified this as a priority.
SJC effort to identify one issue to focus on for our congregation continues.
LFDC (Literature, Film and Drama Contingent of the Confronting Racism Project) The Literature, Film & Drama Contingent of the Confronting Racism Project has a lively roster for the next several months. On February 5th: We will add a “Social Justice Resolution for the New Year” to our Moments of Awareness of Unconscious Bias (MAUBs), and we’ll discuss J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Contact: email@example.com.
Social Justice February Potluck/Meeting will be on Sunday, February 12, 6 pm. All are welcome!
Social Justice Sponsored Project Applications
Each year the UUCB Social Justice Council presents proposals for “Sponsored” social justice projects to the congregation for its approval at the May annual congregational meeting. A sponsored project is one that may receive congregational support in the form of resources, such as worship time, funding, etc. Congregants are always free to pursue “affiliated projects” that are publicized by the church but lack official sponsorship.
For the second (church) year in a row, the sponsored project has been “Confronting Racism.” It has held several very successful events, plans to hold more, has put out educational materials, formed discussion groups, etc.
To apply for sponsorship of your project, you need to gather a group of members who commit to devoting time and energy to the project, and you must complete an application for submission to the Social Justice Council. The completed application must be submitted by March 1, 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Opportunities to DO Social Justice
Ceasefire Walks 7 pm Friday nights in Richmond—contact email@example.com.
Volunteers Needed: to “Read Aloud” with elementary school children in Richmond and San Pablo. Contact Judy Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers Needed: at GRIP to prepare and serve lunch to hungry and homeless people at the Souper Center in Richmond. Monthly, fourth Tuesday – email@example.com.
Immigration Vigil: First Saturdays each month, West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond; maw.jane@gmail to carpool.
Social Justice Table: Be sure to take a look at the Social Justice Council table each Sunday for what’s new, and encourage newcomers to check it out.
Dream Workshop with Dr. Jeremy Taylor
Sat. Feb. 4, 9:30 am–5 pm
If you haven’t experienced Dr. Jeremy Taylor’s dream group training, this once a year, intense one-day dream workshop will introduce you to the power of dream work using the technique “In my imagined version of your Dream.”
If you are familiar or an experienced Dream Worker, you know that “working” a dream produces profound insights not only when a dream is unpacked for a dreamer; but then the insights seem to resonate around the room for other participants’ lives. It is quite something to experience.
If you are new to dream work, this workshop will prepare you to work with and understand your dreams and the dreams of others. There are specific dream “tools” that Dr. Taylor will provide you for deepening your connection to the dream state for many dreams to come in the future. Please note that no previous dream work experience is required. You will understand how to use the dream tools within a short period of time of being at the workshop.
Because of the large group, not everyone will have a dream worked. Jeremy will draw from a hat the names of people who want to work on a dream. So bring a dream.
The cost for the one-day workshop is $70. Please bring a brown bag lunch for the 45-minute lunch break.
Reserve your seat by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Coordinator: Lonnie Moseley (510-655-1444).
Gather at 5:30 pm – Dinner at 6 pm – Vespers at 7 pm
Please join us for Richie Dawkins’ wonderful catered suppers at church on Thursdays.
February 2: Mardi Gras
Jambalaya with Crispy Creole Wings; Eggplant Etouffée (Vegetarian ); Garlicky Mixed Greens; Hush Puppies; House Salad; Beignets
February 9: Iris Carmen Dawkins’ Sunday Feast
Jamaican Jerk Pork Ribs and Chicken (or Tofu); Traditional Rice and Peas; Sweet Plantains; Panamanian House Salad; Mango and Coconut Pound Cake
February 16: A Place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Table with Edna Lewis as the Chef
Southern Fried Chicken (or vegi alternative); Glazed Sweet Potatoes; Braised Garlicky Collard Greens; Classic Pecan Pies
February 23: A Meal with the 44th President and His Family
Roasted Salmon with Citrus Dressing; The Obama Family’s Chili (vegetarian); Quinoa and Rice Pilaf; Roasted Carrots and Balsamic Onions; White House Kale Salad; Roasted Apples with Yogurt
Reservations: Email email@example.com or sign the sheet outside the office. Deadline is 10 pm Tuesday. Vegetarian and gluten-free options by advance reservation only.
Adults: $15 (includes wine, light snacks, and dessert). Children under 12 eat for free! Two adults + two youth ages 12-18: $35.
Vespers is an intimate half-hour (or less) worship service in the Fireside Room, led by one of our co-ministers or worship associates, with meditative music, a reading, singing, and a story, participatory activity or homily. Come check it out!
Congratulations to Dr. Gil Weisman on his retirement from 50 years as a psychiatrist. Twenty-five years ago, he started the Hume Health Center to provide free psychiatric care to economically disadvantaged people. Now, with federal funding, there are Hume Health Centers in five cities. Dr. Weisman is delighted his son Josh is now a rabbinical student. Congratulations to the whole Weisman family!
Longtime UUCB member Rev. Sonya Sukalski has been called as the settled minister of the UU Fellowship of Tuolumne County. (Rev. Craig Scott, now a UUCB member, is the minister emeritus there, and Sonya has served there since 2014.)
Our thoughts are with the families of Huston Smith and Royal Foote. Memorial services are being planned. We also offer condolences to a new member, Anna Charlesworth, on the passing of her mother.
Aileen Hohmann has appreciated support from the congregation as Al Delgado has been in John Muir Hospital since a severe stroke in late December. He is showing signs of improvement.
The “Tree of Life” celebrates and marks events in the life journey of our members. If you have items to share, please submit them to Dorothy Herzberg, firstname.lastname@example.org.
UUCB members are invited to submit poems to email@example.com, to be published when space is available.
The center holds all there is to know
the shape of grandparent root,
the now of petals letting go
to make room for rain washed fruit,
a place to focus, stay true and believe.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley
Covenant of Right Relations
- We covenant to build a religious community guided by love and sustained by respectful relationships.
- Believing that building healthy relationships is a spiritual practice, we aim to listen appreciatively, speak with care, express gratitude, honor our differences, and assume good intentions.
- We endeavor to communicate directly, honestly, and compassionately, particularly when we are in conflict.
- When we hurt one another, we will try to forgive, make amends, and reconnect in a spirit of love.
- In celebration of the common purpose that unites us, we will do our best to abide by this covenant.
MEMBERSHIP in this Unitarian Universalist congregation is open to all who see this church as their religious home and the principles for which the church stands as their own. People who wish to join participate in a membership information session, sign the membership book, and commit to supporting this church through participation and financially. To become a member, please contact our Membership Co–Chairs, Lonnie Moseley or Paul Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org), or speak with one of the co-ministers.
To subscribe to the email version of this newsletter or “The Week Ahead at UUCB,” email email@example.com. You can also find both newsletters at the uucb.org website under “News.”
UUCB general discussion list: http://groups.google.com/group/uucb_discuss/about
Email list for families: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for submissions to the March Beacon is February 17. Submit items to email@example.com.