Beacon on the Hill March 2017
From the Ministers
Revs. Christian and Kristin Schmidt
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: our Stewardship campaign! Some people might think I’m joking that this season, in which we ask members to pledge their financial and other support to the congregation, is the most wonderful, but I’m not. Because although it can seem like we’re talking about money, we’re actually talking about community, dreams, and vision.
This community runs the way it does because of the support it receives from its members and friends. That support is in time, in energy, in presence, and yes, in financial resources. Without any one of those, we could still have a church community, yes, but it would be a radically different community than the one we have now. Repeatedly, in our six months here, we have heard about the importance of the community here, of the people who are a part of it, the places where it gathers, and the activities, events, and programs of which our church is a part. The small interactions on Sunday mornings, being together in a rally or march, coming together to create music and teach children and learn: these are the moments we make together in community that change lives and our world.
I often ask people what their hopes or dreams are for themselves and for UUCB, and I am always impressed by the answers. The way we achieve those dreams is by setting our efforts towards them, working together, and providing resources to make them possible. Again, this is exactly what real stewardship is all about.
In the words of one of our stewardship team co-chairs, Cordell Sloan, we get to “actualize our dreams and hopes for this congregation” through this campaign. We get a chance to make real the things we want to happen through our voices, our participation, and our financial support.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! So let me invite you again to our all-church luncheon on Feb. 26 and then to the March 5 Sunday services, where we formally kick off our campaign. If you already feel moved to pledge, fill out the form you should have received in the mail (or get an extra one from the stewardship display next to the church office, or ask a member of the stewardship team for one!). I hope you will consider how much you can give, how much you will give to help make dreams come true, and what this community truly means to you.
Sunday Worship Services in March
Sundays at 9:30 and 11:15 am (except Feb. 12)
Theme for Month: Risk
March 5, 9:30 and 11:15 am – Stewardship Sunday, March Forth on March Fifth, Rev. Christian Schmidt with Worship Associate Ann Riley. We’re starting a new era as a congregation, and a troubling era for our nation: it’s clear that our witness has never been more needed, that our words and actions must be strong in this time and place. Let’s do it together!
March 12, 11:15 am only – Risking Joy, Jessica Clay (Starr King seminarian) preaching, with Worship Associate David Roberts. Join us as we explore what it means to let joy lead our lives. How do we remain open to joy and present for the work of social justice? Let’s live into the question together. And don’t forget – this Sunday is Daylight Savings Time!
March 19, 9:30 and 11:15 am – Risk and Reward, Rev. Kristin Schmidt with Worship Associate Mary Muehlbach. People around the country and world are frustrated with institutions big and small that profess commitment to justice and inclusion but whose practices suggest they are more invested in comfort, preference, and the status quo. More people also seem to be taking bigger risks for the sake of what they believe in – risking arrest, ridicule, and unemployment for the sake of clean water, immigrant rights, and many other important issues. This week in worship we will consider what we as a congregation might risk for the sake of our shared values.
March 26, 11:15 am only – The Risks of Being Spiritually Awake, Kathryn Jay preaching, with Worship Associate Jim Gasperini. The poet William Stafford wrote that “it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep.” In times of uncertainty and despair, the lines grow sharper, the darkness gets deeper. Being awake means risking comfort for greater awareness, risking complacency for growing justice, risking loss for necessary change. What risks do we need to take in order to make ourselves and our community more able to fulfill our principles and stay awake as UUs?
March Good Neighbor (Sharing Our Offerings):
Since 2001, WriterCoach Connection (writercoachconnection.org) has sent teams of trained community volunteers into secondary school English classrooms in Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito and Richmond to work one on one with students on their writing assignments. The program helps students:
- Raise writing proficiency
- Develop critical thinking
- Build academic confidence
Personal Theology Schedule
Sunday mornings at 9:30 am in the Fireside Room
March 5: Rev. Cathleen Cox, UUCB Affiliated Community Minister, spiritual director, teacher, certified dream worker and workshop facilitator; 2002 recipient of the Margaret Fuller Award of UU Women’s Federation. “Jesus: Radical Teacher of Love in Action.”
March 12: Rev. Christian Schmidt, M. Div., Andover Newton Divinity School, UUCB Senior Co-Minister, father, humanist. “Detoxifying Masculinity.” How can we as a church support the healthy growth and development of boys and men? In a world that pushes a view of masculinity that constricts the way men are “allowed” to be and act, and simultaneously hurts both those men and all other people, presenting a positive view of what masculinity can and should look like should be an important part of what we do at UUCB.
March 19: Bill Garrett has a Ph.D. in religion and philosophy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. For over 40 years, he has taught courses in the history of ideas, including religion, culture, philosophy and literature. He now teaches through the Osher Lifelong Learning Program and the Fromm Institute. “The Re-emergence of Paganism in the 21st Century: It’s Not What You May Think.”
March 26: Bill Garrett, PhD (see previous bio). “Thinking Through the Anthropocene.” What is the Anthropocene? A proposed epoch dating from the beginning of significant human impact on the Earth‘s geology and ecosystems. The Anthropocence thus includes, but also transcends, the duration of human-caused climate change.
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!
March 5: Reproductive Strategies and the Abortion Debate, Marcia Bates
March 12: How and Why to Be a Cartoonist, Ray Nelson (and Sharing Memories of Alan Fong)
March 19: 1984: What Did Orwell Get Right? Harold Ogren
March 26: Fear, Anne Chapman
Special Events in March
Sun. March 5, 12:15 pm: LFDC Guest Speaker Luncheon with Reverend Donnell Jones on The State of Race Relations in Contra Costa County and in a Fearful Nation
Sun. March 12, 12:30 pm: Kitchen Summit – learn about food safety, make suggestions for improving our kitchen
Sun. March 19, 7 pm: Mist Tree Moon Circle Spring Equinox celebration, led by Anne Wardell
A NEW ERA . . . NURTURING OUR COMMUNITIES
As we enter a new era for UUCB, in these challenging times, we value UUCB more than ever to deepen our spiritual lives, nurture our communities and heal the world. We need each other. We need to share our love, talents, and yes, our financial resources to accomplish the following:
- To ensure a bright future for UUCB and our new ministers, the Revs. Christian and Kristin Schmidt, as they bring new ideas and energy to congregational life
- To learn more about ourselves and how to make a difference and be a good person in a troubled world
- To leverage our deeply needed hands and hearts for our ministry both in our congregation and in the larger world
Your pledges are the largest source of funds to support all this effort. Your value for UUCB and your generosity are vital to our future together.
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.
Stewardship Team: Ira Nelken and Cordell Sloan, Co-Chairs; Bob Moore, Jo Maxon, Marta Tobey, Patrick Cullinane, Mac Lingo, and Rev. Christian Schmidt
This month we continue a curriculum for elementary children chosen to support them 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.
In my community ministry of spiritual guidance to individuals, couples and communities, I do a lot of traveling, leading worship services and workshops on Creating a Culture of Right Relationship for UU congregations.
This work focuses on helping people have the sometimes difficult dialogues across differences that will allow them to understand one other, communicate respectfully and authentically, and stay in covenant even when it’s tough.
I call my ministry The Path of Joy because I so deeply believe that this is the call of the Spirit of Life: to stay connected to ourselves AND to one another—openhearted, compassionate and honest simultaneously— and to experience the deep fulfillment that brings.
I believe it’s crucial to extend this effort at mutual understanding across the deep national divides we find ourselves in now. In the long run, nothing else is going to work.
Recently, in a service in another state, I spoke about the universal human needs I believe voters on both sides were longing to meet in the recent election. These include needs for security and safety, respect, community and belonging, as well as financial sustainability.
A couple came up to me after service with tears in their eyes. He said, “I am a Republican, and my wife is a Democrat. We’ve been searching for a spiritual community where neither of us would be shamed.” She said, “Today we have hope that this UU congregation could be that place.” I told them I hoped so, too.
Good people across the political spectrum are hurting. In the shared ministry of this faith, so beautifully grounded in inclusivity, I invite you to open your heart in every direction.
With You on the Path,
Coordinating Team Notes
Lisa Maynard, Coordinating Team Convener
The Coordinating Team has scheduled two budget preview sessions:
- Thursday, March 9, 7:30-9:00 pm in the Fireside Room
- Sunday, March 19, 12:45-2:15 pm in the Fireside Room
At these sessions, we will provide an overview of our proposed budget, and outline operational changes that would go with the proposed budget. We will also present planning and leadership opportunities related to the suggested changes. For me, this budget planning process has been a great chance to work with our new settled ministers as they bring a fresh perspective to allocating the resources of our congregation. Let’s explore new possibilities together!
Ann Harlow has resigned as Convener of the Program Council and member of the CT. We thank her for her dedicated service. We are in the process of looking for someone to take her place; the nominee must be approved by the Program Council, CT and Board of Trustees.
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.
As a congregation, as a nation and as individuals these are interesting times, times of change and transition. Over and over we hear the call to action, a call to participate in the change for the good, to stand on the side of Love.
I belong to UUCB because we are a community of people who participate, who act, people who work to affect positive change in our congregation and in our communities.
We are a diverse and diversified community, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. UUCB brings us together. That’s not always easy nor should it be. To be a good leader I need to listen to all of our community. I need to hear from you. I invite you to share your concerns, your ideas, your hopes and your worries with me and all of us in the leadership of our congregation.
I like who we are. Let’s do it more and better in these times of change.
From the Treasurer
The year of the Red Fire Rooster begins with a deluge. I have been watching over and over and over Sister Rosetta Tharpe on YouTube, “Didn’t It Rain,” while waiting for the rain to let up.
It was raining cash late last year with a few wonderful donations to our endowment and building fund. Thanks to all who sent funds & I apologize for not being more proactive about sending out individual thank yous. Know that your donations have been welcome “rain” to our coffers!
With budget season in full gear, I have been wearing several Treasurer’s hats trying to keep up with all the changes. Thanks to all who provided program budgets for the information collection period.
The February Treasurer’s report is now available online with a hard copy available in the kiosk in the atrium. The bad news here is that we are delaying our Community Rentals marketing campaign until we have an end date for major repairs to the rafters’ dry rot. This increases our expected FY1617 deficit from $10,000 to $68,000. The deficit includes estimated total $50,000 in repairs to the Safir room.
We have known for some time we have a deferred maintenance cost that has been accruing. The good news here is that my monthly reporting of this cost has been greatly inflated. Our facility and grounds committee provided the CT with a report dated January 17, which tallies on the high end $120,000 in imminent repairs needed.
We will need to make some rain to make these repairs.
Mary M Muehlbach
Social Justice News
LITERATURE, FILM & DRAMA CONTINGENT OF THE CONFRONTING RACISM PROJECT
SECOND ANNUAL SPEAKER LUNCHEON
MARCH 5TH at 12:15 in the Fireside Room
Reverend Donnell Jones: The State of Race Relations in Contra Costa County and in a Fearful Nation
Reverend Jones has been a pastor for 27 years at churches in Tennessee, Alabama, and California. In 2008, he and his wife opened New Direction Christian Academy, a private school educating K-8th grade students. He has served as a Community Organizer and as Interim Executive Director of CCISCO (Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization), organizing around issues of crime prevention, immigration, education, and economic equality. He is currently serving as the coordinator for the Richmond Ceasefire Initiative and Civilian Review Authority, tasked with evaluating and scrutinizing violence reduction efforts in Richmond. He was appointed to the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition in 2015.
Social Justice Council February Potluck/Meeting – Are We Chaplains of the Empire or Prophets of Resistance? Discussion and Vote on Congregational Priority: Referring to the choices made by the groups at the January 11th SJC meeting, a lively discussion took place. The final version of the priority for the Congregation was: “Stand with those local people who are targeted or marginalized because of race, religion, ethnicity, LGBTQ, income inequality, poverty or class.” In addition, Mark Miner has convened a group called “Green Sanctuary Program” expecting to work on and educate about environmental justice. They will be completing an application, hoping to be approved as a Sponsored Project by the Social Justice Council. “Cultivating Common Truth in a Divided Nation: Uniting People on Both Sides of the 2016 Presidential Election” – This is the working title of a documentary proposed by Gail Simpson and award-winning documentarian Connie Field. Gail was looking for and received support from the Social Justice Council. Creating the film will include meetings between ten or so members of a liberal church (UUCB) and a conservative church, who will meet for a series of structured encounters over perhaps a year. Reverend Christian has already volunteered to be one of the people to enter into this dialogue. For this project, UUCB help is only needed for meeting space and volunteers. Funds will be found elsewhere.
Dialoging Across Race, Class, Power and Privilege – Saturday, February 18, 1-5pm. Following up on the “Cracking the Codes” workshop, this training was facilitated by Nonviolent Communication (NVC) facilitator, diversity trainer and consultant Nancy Kahn. This was another event sponsored by the LFDC (Literature, Film and Drama Contingent of the Confronting Racism Project). About 50 UUCB members and friends were led through a process of talking about race, class, power and privilege. Conversations in pairs gave attendees a chance to deeply listen to another, and feed back to the speaker what the listener had heard. Then the pairs worked together on identifying what piece the listener may have missed, noticing how easy it is to be thinking of oneself instead of the other. These skills can enhance authentic connection as we, together, work to create a world where everyone’s needs matter. Lonnie Moseley shared on the UUCB Discuss List: “Thank you very much for bringing Nancy Kahn and providing the NVC workshop. The tools and skills she offered give real implementation power to our Church’s “Covenant of Right Relations.”
St. Mark’s Immigration Forum – Thanks to Joanne Wile for pulling together this session on February 19th that was jointly sponsored by UUCB and St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Richmond. Over 200 people attended the meeting, hearing a review of individuals’ constitutional rights by immigration attorney Elisabeth Pellegrin, who led the event using role-plays (with help from ACLU Chapter Chair Antonio Medrano) to demonstrate what to do if stopped in the street or authorities come to your house. Over 500 “red cards” were distributed, providing a script about constitutional rights for anyone dealing with immigration representatives. UUCB had nearly 20 attendees, including co-minister Rev. Kristin, and three Spanish speakers, Julie Rogers, Linda Laskowski and Jack Duggan, worked the welcome table. Further resource information was provided by the ACLU of Northern CA Berkeley/Northeast Bay Chapter. Linda had this to say: “This opportunity was life-changing. Nearly everyone in that room either had no papers, or knew someone who didn’t. At some point, some of them will be in a situation where they will remember what they learned. It literally will change their lives.”
Postcard Writing – At our February 19th service, Rev. Kristin suggested that we write postcards to legislators to make sure they support the proposed California SB-4, which would achieve universal health care (including immigrants!). Postcards and sample notes were made available by BRAND NEW member Brenda Kienan, who partnered with Beth Jerde. It surely looked like a lot of UUCB-ers took advantage of their opportunity to take a social justice action!
LFDC (Literature, Film and Drama Contingent of the Confronting Racism Project) discussed J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, and tried to understand why people vote against their interests. We reviewed two powerful movies: “Hidden Figures” and “I Am Not Your Negro,” instructive for the way they depict how things have changed in 30 years, and how they have not.
On March 5, Reverend Donnell Jones will talk about The State of Race Relations in Contra Costa County and in a Fearful Nation at the LFDC’s Second Annual Guest Speaker Luncheon. We have another special meeting planned for April – watch for the announcement in The Week Ahead. This gives us two months to read (or listen on tape to) Nancy Isenberg’s study, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, our book selection for May. More info: email@example.com
Report from the UUCB Buildings & Grounds Committee
There is a lot to report on the care and maintenance of our magnificent campus. We had a couple of cold Sundays in the Sanctuary when the furnace broke down. We called in three heating companies before finding one that could locate the part we needed. Our committee is now developing a longer-term plan of action to deal with the fact that the furnace is over fifty years old and will soon require major repair or replacement. The mold in the Safir Room has been eliminated, and we are now working on bids to repair the unavoidable damage done in the mold remediation process. Hiring a tree maintenance company to remove the dead or dying Monterey pines on the campus is a project that has stalled for several months but is now beginning anew. We also have uncovered severe dry rot in the outer ends of the roof beams, and we are working on a plan to repair this problem. Finally, we are beginning to develop a plan to repair and refurbish the kitchen so that it conforms to all applicable building and health codes. We have recently installed a sturdy new kitchen screen door. Feel free to admire it from the outside, but please don’t use the kitchen as a shortcut between the childcare area and the Social Hall.
If any buildings and grounds projects fit your interests and your skills, we would love to have you on our team. Please contact Larry Nagel at (510) 558-0842 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, just drop in at the Buildings & Grounds Committee Meeting, which is every fourth Monday at 4 pm in the Fireside Room.
Good News on Membership Growth
You may have heard that our certified membership number (reported to the UUA) as of February 1 was 365, a drop of 6 from 371 in 2016. This was due in large part to having only one membership signing since last June—until February 19, when we signed up 19 new members! We are also at the highest 52-week average for first-time visitors since 2011. The Kensington Outlook will feature our new co-ministers in March. Let’s keep up the good momentum, encouraging friends to visit and making newcomers feel truly welcome! Remember to reach out to anyone you see standing alone with a purple cup.
Sing with a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band!
In late March, UUCB is planning to begin hosting a regular weeknight rock n’ roll, non-audition community chorus led by Moses Canales and the Soul Rising Band. Look for details at UUCB.org and in our weekly announcements.” Email Gail Simpson (SimpsonDrG@earthlink.net) if you are interested in helping lead this initiative.
Kelly Kelly is back from Cuba.
Frederick and Roberta Shaw are going back to Chandigar, India at the end of February. Frederick has developed a public health project over 15 years. He will be talking about it when they return.
Ellen and Alan Fisher are moving to Fairfield, and Bruce and Marilyn Harris are moving to Montana. We’ll miss you all!
Welcome back, Don Wollwage and Kathleen Baumgardner, returning after a year in Chicago!
Al Delgado continues to make progress in recovering from his stroke, now in Kentfield Hospital, where Aileen visits him daily.
We’re still dancing from the “Let It Be a Dance” service Rev. Sue Magidson did in January. Thank you, Sue!
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, email@example.com.
Thursday Nights at UUCB
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.
March 2: Chicken, Beef and Vegetarian Tacos, Spanish Rice, Cumin Pinto Beans, Condiments, Slaw Salad, Dessert
March 9: Barbecue Pork Loin or Seitan with Roasted Onions, Roasted Mixed Sweet Potatoes with Apples, Steamed Broccoli with Garlic and Herbs, House Salad, Dessert
March 16: Lasagna Bolognese, Vegetarian Lasagna, Sautéed Spinach, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad, Dessert
March 23: Chicken or Tofu/Eggplant Tandoori, Basmati Rice Pilaf, Saag Paneer with Peppers, Channa Masala, Condiments, House Salad, Dessert
March 30: Meatloaf or Veggie Loaf with Mushroom Gravy, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, House Salad, Dessert
Reservations: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or sign the sheet outside the office. Deadline is 10 pm Tuesday. We always allow for some drop-ins, but reservations are preferred.
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!
Spring Fundraiser: If you could help plan a chili cook-off and possible auction for April 8, please email email@example.com. Other creative fundraising ideas are welcome, and a new Fundraising Team would be great!
Summer Forum: If you have any suggestions for speakers on social justice-related topics for the Summer Forum series (Sunday mornings, June–August), please contact Dorothy Herzberg, firstname.lastname@example.org.
UUCB members are invited to submit poems (with or without images) to email@example.com.
LET IT BE
let us be
as flocks of birds
guiding each other
by touching wings.
© Claire J. Baker
FIRST CROCUS – A JESTER OF HOPE
Crocus dances up from the dark Earth
With a message from Persephone
© Carol Carlisle
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 April Beacon is March 15. Submit items to email@example.com.