Beacon on the Hill May 2017
From the Ministers
Revs. Christian and Kristin Schmidt
What’s an “installation,” anyway?
You may have heard that we will be formally installed as UUCB’s senior co-ministers at 4 pm on May 7th. That may sound a little confusing, since we’ve already been here serving in that role for some eight months and it’s been almost a year since the search committee first introduced us to this community (indeed, May 6 will mark exactly one year from the first time Kristin and I spoke to the search committee in an initial interview)!
An installation is a ritual acknowledging our ministry, and that we and this congregation have made a covenant and a commitment to be together for a long time, to serve together in shared ministry, and to support one another in this community in living out our mission and vision.
It’s been some 20 years since UUCB last installed co-ministers, so let us refresh memories of what it looks like. In many respects it will look like many of our worship services, with music and readings, a sermon, prayer, and offering. It will also have some special aspects: charges (short speeches giving suggested guidance, sometimes quite forcefully!) to the congregation and the co-ministers, a laying on of hands in which we will receive blessings from all gathered, and perhaps most importantly, a set of promises between us as ministers and the congregation, represented by our president, Jack Duggan.
Also different from most Sundays will be the guests in attendance in addition to all the members of our congregation that will be there. Our preacher will be the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, president of Starr King School for the Ministry. Giving the charges will be the Rev. Morgan McLean, assistant minister of the UU Church of Davis, and the Rev. John Buehrens, developmental minister of the UU Church of San Francisco, and Christian’s former internship supervisor. The Rev. Maria Christina Vlassidis of Starr King UU Church in Hayward will introduce the offering, and UUCB’s affiliated ministers will also play several roles. Other guests from the area, lay and ordained, will be here as well. Our emeritus ministers, the Revs. Barbara and Bill Hamilton-Holway, sent a lovely message of congratulations along with their regrets that they will not be able to attend.
Perhaps most importantly, after the ceremony there will be a reception with food and drink and fun! We hope you can and will come and be a part of this joyous day. Childcare will be provided.
Revs. Christian and Kristin
Sunday Worship Services in May
Theme for Month: Embodiment
May 7, 11:15 am only – Whose Faith Is It? Revs. Kristin and Christian Schmidt with Cordell Sloan, Worship Associate. Our call to be an anti-racist, multi-cultural faith and congregation forces us to confront some unpleasant truths: Unitarian Universalism, and UUCB, too often uphold white cultural norms, and unconsciously but powerfully do harm to people of color both within UUism and without. Joining with some 300 UU congregations today in a teach-in about white supremacy, we continue to do the work of racial justice by examining ourselves.
May 7, 4 pm – Installation of Revs. Christian and Kristin Schmidt. See page 1, and if you plan to stay for the reception, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org; if you will need childcare, please write to email@example.com.
May 14, 9:30 (last early service) and 11:15 am – Flower Communion, Rev. Kristin Schmidt with Jim Gasperini, Worship Associate. Please bring a flower of your choice to church and place it in one of the large vases at the front of the sanctuary before worship begins. Don’t worry – if you forget to bring a flower we will have plenty of extras so that everyone can participate in this much-beloved Unitarian tradition. The 11:15 service is for all ages (no Religious Education classes will meet).
May 21, 11:15 only – Loving Our Whole Lives! Rev. Christian Schmidt with Stephanie Kroner,
Theresa Hardy and Vicki Augustine. David Roberts, Worship Associate. For many years this church has taught classes about healthy sexuality and relationships to people of all ages, incorporating both science and faith. Join us this Sunday as we hear from some of our OWL teachers about how knowing and loving our bodies, physical and spiritual health, and deepening our understanding of right relationship are all important parts of our faith. This service will be followed by the annual Celebration and Planning Meeting of the congregation to review the accomplishments of the past year, present the Albert Schweitzer award for outstanding service, and establish next year’s priorities and budget.
May 28, 11:15 only – To Question Truly Is an Answer, Rev. Christian Schmidt with Jeanne Foster, Worship Associate. This Sunday, Rev. Christian will attempt to answer any and all questions from the congregation. Attendees will have a chance to ask those burning questions about church, theology, social justice, current events, and almost anything else. Christian will answer as many as possible during the service.
May Good Neighbor (Sharing Our Offerings): Planting Justice. “We are transforming the food system one garden at a time. In the last 6 years, our team of formerly incarcerated landscapers has built over 400 edible gardens throughout the East Bay, empowering hundreds of people to grow their own food. Now, we’re cultivating urban farms and training centers that will dramatically increase the scope and scale of this work.”
Personal Theology Schedule
Sunday mornings at 9:30 am in the Fireside Room
May 7: Rev. Theresa (Tet) Gallardo, Origins of Unitarian Universalism in the Philippines and Current Practice. Rev. Gallardo is a Balazs Scholar, UU minister of the Bicutan Congregation in Manila, political organizer, volunteer, and Amansinaya.com founder.
May 14: Alex Pappas, Religions as Theories of the Absolute Reality from a Dualistic and Non-Dualistic Point of View. Pappas is a former teacher of World Religions at the College of Alameda, author, and an avid student of ancient traditions.
May 21: Alex Pappas, Comparison of Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (8 Step Yoga Path.) (see bio above)
May 28: Evaluation and Planning
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!
May 7: Robots, Teslas, Automation: Impact and Transformation, Lee Lawrence, Sherry Fuzesy
May 14: Open discussion
May 21: Humanism from a Minister’s Perspective, Revs. Christian and Kristin Schmidt
May 28: What’s Up with the UUA? Lee Lawrence, Ray Westergard
Merrin Clough, Director of Family Ministry
This year, especially, I realize how much this community is a tapestry of love and commitment. Each of us brings a unique thread into a pattern larger than ourselves. Our different gifts combine to shape a beautiful pattern. We are fortunate that this church is full of such richness. Abounding with the most precious treasure in the world, people.
Any Sunday you need a smile, take some time to be with the young people and families who are the center of our Family Ministry. They are simply lovely. Or visit with the volunteers who staff our programs for children, youth and their families. They are simply remarkable. Each person brings a bit of color and texture. In knowing them I can’t help but sense that we all are woven into something more beautiful and meaningful than is apparent.
This richness is especially vibrant for me lately. As I prepare for maternity leave, I am stepping back to see the Family Ministry program with fresh eyes. In a sense, I am working with lay leaders to imagine the fall without my presence as the Director. As I look forward to my time at home with the new baby, I am also getting excited for what will be happening here at UUCB. The source of this excitement for me is clear. There are such amazing and committed people who give shape to Family Ministry.
Leaders are stepping up to guide the program while I am gone, and you are in good hands. The Family Ministry committee and Youth Adult Team are capable and healthy leadership groups. As we plan for the fall, they are rolling up their sleeves and taking on even more ownership of the program. What is most impressive is that they are bringing a practical sensibility to it all. They want to continue to build and enrich our ministry, and are also mindful not to overextend themselves. It is inspiring to see the investment and impressive capabilities they bring.
We have people taking the lead on all of the key areas of my job while I am away. Next month we’ll announce more details about the summer and fall plans. For now I can give you a sense of the timeline. I will be out on maternity leave for 18 weeks, likely from early July to early November. Then I will return to work part time for one month as I adjust to being a working mom. By early December I aim to be back at UUCB full time.
Our ministry with the children, youth, and their families is truly a shared effort. Together with young people, parents, and other caring adults we co-create this wonderful place that is our spiritual home. It takes a lot of time and attention, a lot of people participating and leading. But when you add it all up there’s this magical equation that somehow results in a profoundly special religious community.
From the outside you might think that these folks simply have generous hearts and a little extra time on their hands. Though the truth is that the act of volunteering in itself inspires a sense of meaningful connection that so many of us long for. Again, there is some magic that happens when we bring our whole hearts into this shared ministry. In the coming months I encourage you to connect with the Family Ministry leaders to hear their stories and support them in this busy time.
If you are looking to step deeper into our UU community, consider volunteering. We’ve got the big jobs covered, and could use support from folks to teach children’s classes and work as advisors with the youth. So, if you are curious to explore how you might offer your gifts and find a greater sense of purpose within our community, please reach out to us.
Family Ministry Committee: Robin Cooper (Co-Chair), Glen Augustine (outgoing Co-Chair), Suzette Anderson-Duggan (incoming Co-Chair). Members: Megan Hailey-Dunsheath, Pier Sun Ho (outgoing), Colleen Farrell, Shannon Roberts, Linda Zittel, Winnie Sayre, Karl Rimbach, Maryann Simpson (outgoing)
Click the following link to RSVP for the party! Invitation to Merrin & Jared’s Baby Shower
As I sit down to write this, it has been a day of details. As often happens, I’m just barely keeping up, rushing to get to what I promised to do, need to do, said I would do, working on deadlines with tasks that I put off doing until they were almost too late. And dinner got started later than I planned. I have to admit last night I woke up, and I couldn’t get back to sleep with all the details chasing each other in my head.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all, frustrated that I can barely keep up. Being President has a very impressive ring to it, though lately a little tarnished, but in reality the job is one of details, signing checks, making agendas, trying to coordinate our efforts, attending meetings and making phone calls, the details of an organization with nearly 400 members, more than 10 people on staff, and countless volunteers.
I certainly am not in charge. I’m not the commander in chief. My job is to be one of the people who try to keep up with it all. Making that task more interesting is that all of our members and many of our friends are Unitarian Universalists, interesting people, good people, but not the easiest people to keep up with, to keep informed, to know what they want and what they need. UUs are involved and sometimes it feels like 400 cooks working in 400 pots.
So, in all of this it’s easy to lose track and forget why I’m here.
I ask myself who are we? Understanding who we really are takes a lot of questions and listening to each other. A good question is who would we like to be?
What are we doing? As a congregation we do a lot, in fact, we have activities within our congregation that build community among us and many members who do outreach to the community around us. As a community we try very hard to live our principles, to take care of each other and to take care of our community and our world. The question isn’t so much what we do, but how we do it.
How can we use our energy and resources to the best effect in the world?
For me the answer is that when I live this way, when I am part of a community that calls me to be generous with my time and resources, who supports me in what I do, and who needs my support I feel more human. I feel better about who I am and what I do. I more easily see the good in people around me. I am a part of people who do good, who make a difference, people who “stand on the side of love.”
So, together in a spirit of goodwill let’s take care of the details, worry together about the things that need worrying, getting things done, serving on committees and boards, showing up to meetings and events, so that together we can get better at who we are, what we do, and why.
For me, the community of our church has been a great gift and one I want to share with people and pass on to my children and my grandchildren, not the same but better. And take care of details.
Coordinating Team Notes
Lisa Maynard, Coordinating Team Convener
May is filled with church activities! As we move into the last several weeks of our church year, our busy calendar includes the installation of our co-ministers on May 7, and a congregational meeting on May 21—among many other events, activities, and meetings.
The Coordinating Team is excited about the 2017-18 budget proposal, which the congregation has the opportunity to approve at that May 21 meeting. As I mentioned last month, the budget planning process presents quite a challenge, to balance wonderful possibilities with the projected available funding. The CT was glad to propose a budget that includes funding for an intern minister position, more equitable staff compensation, and some operational cost increases and adjustments (fortunately we are able to balance some of the increases by economies in other areas).
Aside from all this financial planning, one of the things on my mind lately is the end of my term as CT Convener—and the need to find someone to take on this important role in August. The position has a two-year term; limited terms for such lay leadership positions help us all remember that the job is distinct from the person doing it. It’s time for me to move on, and for someone else to have all this fun!
The Coordinating Team meets twice monthly, on the first and third Thursdays from 10 am to noon. 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
A NEW ERA . . . NURTURING OUR COMMUNITIES
50% of the budget! That is how important our pledges are to the financial health of our church. As next year’s budget is being finalized, we need to know all commitments for next year. We need our financial contributions to keep UUCB vital and responsive to our spiritual needs and the needs of our communities.
With our support, UUCB will focus on the following next year:
- 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
In conversation with a Connector or a Stewardship Team member or visiting the Stewardship table in the church Atrium, your voice can be heard and your generosity recorded. Last year our median pledge was $133 per month.
The time is now for all members and friends to respond. Be as generous as you can; give till it feels good.
Stewardship Team: Ira Nelken and Cordell Sloan, Co-Chairs; Bob Moore, Jo Maxon, Marta Tobey, Patrick Cullinane, Mac Lingo, Rev. Christian Schmidt, and Rev. Kristin Grassel Schmidt
Stephanie Ann Blythe
Many thanks to all of you who enjoyed the Partner Church Committee goulash lunch on April 9. Proceeds go to the Village Education Fund, which enables students from Homorόdύjfalu to attend high school and university.
UUCB will be the host congregation for the 2017-2018 Balázs Scholar. Our ministers, Kristin and Christian, are very excited to be engaging with a Transylvanian colleague in the coming months. The Balázs Scholars Program brings a Unitarian minister from Transylvania to study at Starr King School for the Ministry. The scholar will be Lidia-Emese Bodor from Kolozsvár. Emese says:
“I was born in Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár and this is the place I spent most of my time, so far. My parents come from a little village near the city, called Suatu/Magyarszovát. That is the place I spent my summer holidays in my childhood, and it is the village that still gives me a part of the feeling called home. I have an older brother who lives in London with his beautiful family. I miss them a lot. My parents live here in Kolozsvár, they all retired and they spend some of their time in their birth village.
I finished my high school years at the János Zsigmond Unitarian High School. After that I studied at the Protestant Theological Institute and become a Unitarian minister. With the end of the studies I returned to the János Zsigmond Unitarian High School and started my work as a religious teacher and school chaplain. For the last eight years most of my work was related to children, youth and a variety of educational issues. I do believe in the importance of education and I love my work with the students, even if the Romanian educational system is not an easy one. From time to time I am doing other kinds of services and worships in different congregations, but I don’t have one congregation of my own.
In the last few years I studied philosophy. I have an active life. I like to call myself an optimistic person. And I feel that I like to deal with people, work with them, for them and help them. I believe that each decision and all the options came in my life by the hand of providence and I am grateful for everything.”
How can you get to know Emese? Sharing a meal, taking her on an outing in the Bay Area with your family, or inviting her to share a favorite activity are some of the ways. Giving her a ride up to UUCB is another way.
Jean Gleason, Interim Program Council Convener
All committee, task force, and program representatives, including any groups planning special events between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, are encouraged and invited to attend the
Date: May 13, 2017
Location: UUCB Fireside Room
Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM (or whenever we are done earlier)
The purpose of the event is to get everything we possibly can on the church calendar while avoiding “double booking” and conflicting special events. This is your time to reserve your preferred dates—and even your preferred room—for next year. Questions: email email@example.com
Social Justice News
Social Justice Council April 12th Potluck/Meeting: Two Social Justice Sponsored Project Applications will go before the May Congregational meeting for a vote. (1) Resisting Oppression – Project Leader (Nancy) “Kelly.” The objective is “Standing with marginalized local communities targeted due to race, ethnicity, religion, poverty, class, sexual orientation or gender identity.” $1,500 requested. As the issue of Unjust Deportations of Immigrants: Sanctuary as Love of Neighbor is aligned with the Resisting Oppression Project, they will be submitted as one Project. Elisabeth Jay will lead the part specific to immigrants. Amount requested $2,000 (“flexible”). There are three opportunities to “do” sanctuary in addition to physically housing: accompaniment, advocacy and participation in Rapid Response. (2) Green Sanctuary Program – The UUA Green Sanctuary Program provides a path for congregational study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges. Project Leader Mark Miner. Amount suggested $1,000.
UUA Practices & May 7th Service & White Supremacy Teach In – Lonnie Moseley, Rev. Christian Schmidt and Helen Tinsley-Jones: Lonnie expressed confidence in the UUCB community and our ministers in particular for taking UUCB’s inclusiveness and confronting racism to even more meaningful levels. Rev. Christian and Helen explained the recent controversy at UUA that led to the resignation of President Rev. Peter Morales, including long-term lack of diversity on the UUA governing board, failure to use a recent hiring opportunity to begin to remedy that issue, and subsequent insensitive speech in the President’s memo in response to challenges. Revs. Christian and Kristin are organizing at UUCB to implement the Black Lives UU challenge to conduct anti-racism teach-ins around these issues on May 7th and asked the SJC for support. At the UUA, until a permanent president is selected, there are three co-presidents, all persons of color. Helen, through her personal story, conveyed the accepting and supportive nature of the UUCB congregation for herself as a person of color. In addition, she called on the SJC to support programs that would solicit and support the voices of UUCB congregants of color and create structures for deep conversations among congregants of color as well as within the church as a whole.
Dine and Dialogue with our Muslim Neighbors, May 20. Dinner will be prepared by Muslims for Peace, assisted by UUCBers. The purpose of this dinner is to bring UUCBers together with our Muslim neighbors from the Masjid Al-Raham in Richmond, cook side-by-side; sit down and dine and dialogue side-by-side; and pray side-by-side. Through this process, we will learn from our Muslim neighbors about their religion, culture and beliefs, and we will share ours. Hopefully, bridges will be built and there will be on-going interactions between the two communities. This event is sponsored by the UUCB World Peace Committee and the Social Justice Council. There will be a collection to benefit GRIP Souper Center. RSVP by May 12th: https://2dineanddialoguewithourmuslimneighbors.eventbrite.com. For further info or to sign up to volunteer, contact Beth Jerde at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LFDC (Literature, Film and Drama Contingent of the Confronting Racism Project) enjoyed a delightful afternoon April 2nd with actor/director Darold Ross-Holloway, who helped us understand the playwright August Wilson and his work, with a focus on Fences. Ross-Holloway showed off his acting chops as well, ending his time with us as his favorite character, Gabriel, in the play’s final scene. On 7 May we will discuss White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America, by Nancy Eisenberg. You can read a transcript or listen to a discussion on NPR with the author, at: http://www.npr.org/2016/07/07/485138723/dispelling-the-myth-of-a-classless-society-in-white-trash All are welcome even if you didn’t read the book! Contact – email@example.com
ANNUAL UNDIE SUNDAY FOR GRIP April 30th. (Greater Richmond Interfaith Program) UUCB members donate packaged underwear as well as socks and pajamas for the residents of the GRIP Family Shelter. You may also bring any new or gently used clothing for the GRIP. Drop off at Social Justice Table.
Thursday Nights at UUCB
Gather at 5:30 pm – Dinner at 6 pm – Vespers service at 7–7:30 pm
Please join us for fellowship and Richie Dawkins’s wonderful catered suppers at church on Thursdays, followed by a short, intimate worship service. The final supper of this church year will be on May 25th. Next year, the tentative plan is to have supper and vespers just once a month.
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. Menus will be in the sign-up book and The Week Ahead weekly newsletter.
Adults: $15 (includes wine, light snacks, and dessert). Children under 12 eat for free! Two adults + two youth ages 12-18: $35.
Pacific Central District Assembly Reminder
Want to hear inspiring UU speakers and meet and compare notes with UUs from dozens of other churches—without having to book a hotel room? This year’s PCD Assembly will be at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church in Walnut Creek. The main event is Saturday, May 6, beginning with breakfast and registration at 8 am, opening worship at 9, workshops, lunch, a forum featuring all three UUA Presidential Candidates, and an annual business meeting. $75 (adults only) at the door.
UUA General Assembly
Consider booking a trip to New Orleans for the annual gathering of thousands of Unitarian Unversalists, June 21–25 of this year. (Next year is Kansas City, then Spokane.) See http://www.uua.org/ga for information. Attending GA is something everyone should try to experience at least once; some people return year after year to “worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process”—and, this year, to elect a new UUA president.
Summer Forum Preview
Sunday mornings at 9:30, June 4 to August 27, speakers and programs focusing on Social Justice will renew our values and sharpen our awareness.
June 4: Don Klose, retired psychologist. Disarmament vs. risking the existence of the future. Nuclear weapons threaten not only our physical existence but the basic moral compass of humanity as well.
June 11: Occupella, singer-songwriter Hali Hammer and friends. Witty political satire in music.
June 18: Supervisor John Gioia. What is happening in West Contra Costa County.
June 25: Ray Westergard. The Causes and Effects of Political Correctness. Discussion on how emphasis on political correctness has damaged the liberal agenda including social justice.
Committee: Dorothy Herzberg, Beth Jerde, Mac Lingo, Gloria Merrill, Barbara Rockhold
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 (email@example.com), or speak with one of the co-ministers.
To subscribe to the email version of this newsletter or “The Week Ahead at UUCB,” email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com
Deadline for submissions to the June Beacon is May 15. Submit items to firstname.lastname@example.org.