Beacon on the Hill November 2016
From the Ministers
Revs. Christian and Kristin Schmidt
As one of the most contentious presidential elections in living memory draws near, it seems especially fitting that our theme for worship at UUCB this month is “Covenant.” A covenant is a promise, or set of promises, that people make about how they want to be with one another. Many faiths are rooted in specific faith statements, and our tradition certainly includes particular and very deeply held religious ideas. We believe that every person is precious, that human beings have agency, and we believe in the importance of building a world community that works for everyone. But at its core, Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal faith. In other words, what binds us together as people of faith is a promise about how we will behave with one another rather than a list of beliefs we share.
Though we are still new here, we have already borne witness to the ways members of this community put our congregational covenant into practice. Some of you have practiced direct communication to share feedback and questions with us. We’ve seen others care for people in times of need. And we’ve been so glad to see you assume good intentions and engage with one another respectfully even as issues of conflict have inevitably arisen.
Our church community, like all communities, is complicated, and because it is made up of people, we will never live out our covenant perfectly. But thankfully, perfect adherence isn’t really the point. Rather, by practicing our covenant with one another at church, we develop all sorts of people skills that can serve us well in other areas of our lives. And by being called back into covenant with one another over and over again, year after year, we can grow in compassion, patience, humility, and countless other spiritual or inner fruits.
We are also thrilled to announce that we’ve set a date for a pretty significant part of our covenanting with all of you. The service to install us as the Senior Co-Ministers of this church is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Sunday, May 7. In this service, the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, President of Starr King School for the Ministry, will preach, the congregation and ministers will make promises to one another about how we want to serve together, and then we’ll celebrate with food and cake. We hope you can make it!
Early Thanksgiving Blessings,
Kristin and Christian
Saturday, Oct. 29: GRIP Harmony Walk/5K Run (http://www.gripcommunity.org/2016/07/27/register/ )
Sunday morning, Oct. 30: Remembrance Sunday (Day of the Dead), in which we honor and remember those we have loved and lost. You are invited to bring a picture or other small item that represents someone you wish to remember for the altar. This is a service for all ages (no classes for children and youth). Contact for info or to help: Carol Carlisle, Worship Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday evening, Oct. 30: All Church Halloween Potluck and Dance Party with SOUL Rising, 6–9:30 pm. Adults are asked to pay $15 each, or $10 if they bring food for the potluck; children and youth free. Contact for info or to help: Gail Simpson, email@example.com.
Worship at 9:30 and 11:15 am
Theme for Month: Covenant
Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 am on Sunday, November 6. Set your clocks back 1 hour on Saturday!
November 6 What Matters Most, Revs. Kristin and Christian Schmidt with Jeanne Foster. For too long conservative Christians have controlled the national conversation about morality. This week in worship we will join with thousands of liberal congregations around the country in a moral revival of the issues that matter most in our country today: poverty, racism, xenophobia, and making an America that works for everyone.
November 13 How Are We Together, Rev. Christian with Kathryn Jay. While our tradition is rooted in several particular religious ideas, Unitarian Universalism is at its core a covenantal faith. This Sunday we will explore the promises that unite us as a congregation and how our covenantal faith calls us to be people who practice what we preach.
November 20 A Harvest of Thanks, Rev. Kristin with Cordell Sloan. In this service for all ages we will enjoy the many gifts of life as we sing harvest hymns, hear the Stone Soup story, and share cornbread together in a ritual of thanks.
November 27 To be announced.
November Good Neighbors
Richmond Emergency Food Pantry and Berkeley Food and Housing Project will share our Sunday service donations for the month of November. Both provide crucial services to local people in need, since 1971 and 1970 respectively.
Personal Theology in November
Sunday mornings at 9:30 am in the Fireside Room
Nov. 6: Carolyn West, “More Than a Hero.” Ms. West, the Director of Religious Education and storyteller at Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley, teaches classes on mythology and stories. She is also an essayist and a poet; and she has been sharing world stories with the kids—and adults—most Sunday mornings since 2004.
Nov. 13: Come hear Dr. Bryan Baker’s seminar on “Finding a Shared Vision Through Collaboration.” Dr. Baker is the Director of Music at UUCB and our Luminescence Choir. He conducts for Masterworks Chorale and the San Francisco Choral Society. He has served on the faculties of College of San Mateo, San Francisco State University, Foothill College, and Arizona State University. Dr. Baker has played solo concerts, chamber music, and accompanied vocal recitals across the United States and in Europe and South America.
Nov. 20: Ray Nelson will discuss “What is Inspiration?” He is a local science fiction writer, cartoonist and propeller beanie inventor and a long-time UUCBer. Ray studied theology at University of Chicago and spent four years studying in Paris among the Beat Generation and existentialists like Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.
Nov. 27: UUCB member Cordell Sloan will speak on “Putting Recent Brain Science to Good Use: Practical Tactics for Better Living and Smarter Aging.” In the early 1960s, Rev. Cordell Sloan Sr. enrolled his sons, young Cordell and his brother, in a white school, sued when denied admission and won, resulting in the desegregation of public schools in Wilson County, Tennessee. Cordell is now a technology guru, a dream expert, and a jazz musician.
This month we’d like to give a big shout out to the Youth-Adult Team! This team, comprised of half youths and half adults, is responsible for so much vital work in our UUCB community. Last year alone they created the Youth Event Guidebook for special events and a partnership covenant for youth and adults working together. This year they will focus on the planning of fun and meaningful activities for youth including the “Bring Your Weight in Food” food drive. This team provides a multigenerational context for lifelong learning and fellowship that every community grows and thrives from.
And what an amazing youth community we have here! This month the Middle Schoolers will be making cornbread together in preparation for the church-wide Cornbread Communion on November 20. They have been eager to do cooking projects and this is one way they can offer their passion in service to the community. This is just one way in which youth at UUCB are committed to creating a better and more welcoming community both within and outside of these church walls.
Speaking of making a difference, we’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Lindsey Lam. Lindsey is a junior in high school who has been serving the UUCB community on the Youth-Adult Team. Lindsey will be stepping down from her position on this team to make way for younger leaders. Her next step is to work with Chalice Circle leader Lenore Ralston to host a covenant circle for youth and adults in January. So thank you, Lindsey—we look forward to your continued leadership in this church community and in the wider world!
Alejandra Robins and Hailey Smith are inspiring leaders who will continue as youth representatives on the team. They are excited to plan social events, find ways to bring spirit into the center of our youth ministry programs, and eager to mentor younger youth. If you (or anyone you know) are interested in participating in this critical group, the Youth-Adult Team is seeking two new Middle School reps. In November the Youth Group will vote on who the new representatives will be. If you are interested please email Merrin Clough, Director of Family Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gratitude pours from our hearts for all that spend their time, energy, and creativity nurturing and learning from the youth in this community. Thank you to the adult representatives on the Youth-Adult Team: Rebecca Mitchell, Logan Stump-Vernon, and Gillian Smith. Your commitment to multigenerational community is essential to inclusive and welcoming congregations. While we’re at it, let’s take some time to recognize all the volunteers in our Youth programming—whether it be Coming of Age, the Youth-Adult Team, or both the Middle and High School RE groups—your dedication to the youth in this community is truly a service and a ministry unto itself.
The youth are not only our future, but our present. Actually, the youth aren’t ours at all—they belong to themselves; their hearts and minds are not ours to shape and control, but theirs to grow and exercise. Often it is the young people who lead the way, who are at the forefront of social movements, accelerations in learning, and innovations in society. This is not because the older adults deem it so, but because they themselves are committed to cultivating the environments and the institutions of which they are a part. Let’s us move together in the spirit of blessed co-creation, community, and love. May it be so.
Thank you for participating in our Start-Up Workshop! We were 64 strong in the morning, with about 20 staying for the afternoon. In the morning we created a timeline of our history and then split into groups to identify our unwritten rules, the stories that are alive for us, our traditions, and truths often unacknowledged. Some of this was familiar from the Congregational Conversations held during the interim ministry. But, while the interim period pushed us to constantly question and improve ourselves, this workshop included a wonderfully refreshing time for lifting up our strengths. Some of the following are quotes taken right from our easels:
We have a beautiful campus and a retreat center, both in stunning locations. We are welcoming to all. We have no creed, but we have a great mission and values. We are a well-functioning, thriving, caring, covenanted community of amazing people, of friends who value each other regardless of the length of our membership. We have a rich diversity of expertise, creativity and innovation– and a capacity to disagree. We are not fragile; we bounce back, we fix things.
We are blessed with ministers and staff (family ministry, music, administrative and facilities) with phenomenal vision, gifts and training. We have increased our commitment to leadership development, including for youth, providing opportunities that build strengths and skills we can take with us down the road and into our lives. Our lively Social Justice programs, including Confronting Racism, Read Aloud, GRIP, and CCISCO, serve the community in multiple ways. We have a splendid rainbow of other lay-led programs, including Chalice Circles, Personal Theology, and Humanist Connections. Our incredible music and family ministry programs continue to nurture, connect and inspire us.
So as we give thanks this month, let’s celebrate the strengths of this beloved community!
Thanksgiving at UUCB
We will provide the turkey and stuffing. You will bring a prepared dish to share. Please sign up in the Atrium by the Thursday before Thanksgiving (we need an accurate count for set up).
Cost with prepared dish: Adult $10, Youth 12-18 $5, under 12 free. Family: 2 adults, 2 youths $25. Cost without bringing a prepared dish: Adult $15, Youth 12-18 $10, under 12 free. Family: 2 adults, 2 youths $40.
Contact Mary Muehlbach for additional information.
Coordinating Team Notes
Lisa Maynard, Coordinating Team Convener
I have been working on the implementation plan for our new UUCB safety policy. As I ponder the steps needed to complete this project, it becomes ever more clear that a comprehensive safety plan for our church requires involvement from our whole community. Our covenant begins with the promise “…to build a religious community guided by love and sustained by respectful relationships.” Indeed, I hope that love will guide us to ensure a safe environment for all at UUCB.
How can we work together to do that? Here are a few ideas:
- Do you have expertise in safety response, safety training, or other types of training? We could use a few consultants in developing our safety implementation plan. If you might be willing, please email me at the address below. Your consultation services need not include attending a series of meetings!
- Our ushers welcome us to Sunday worship services and help us all to have a safe and comfortable experience. Do you think you could be our next new usher? See “Usher Appreciation Reception” below.
- Would you like to have safety training for the church group that you participate in? Email me at the address below.
- Are you excited about getting prepared for emergencies? Look for announcements of emergency training and drills, and prepare to participate!
I look forward to building more community with you all!
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 (email@example.com) to verify our schedule and meeting place. Questions for the CT? Email CT@uucb.org.
Bring Your Weight in Food Drive: Please Save the Date, NOVEMBER 13th
Hello, my name is Lindsey and I am a youth in the Youth-Adult Team. I and Alejandra, Haley and other youth are working with the Social Justice Team to plan the Food Drive. We ask you to consider donating food that means something to you, that reminds you of some happy moment in your life. Also, you could donate money. Just come to our table in the atrium on the Sunday leading up to the Food Drive. (Checks should be written to UUCB with “Food Drive” in the memo line). Your money will be converted into Safeway gift cards for families to purchase their Thanksgiving meal. Also, you could donate sturdy cardboard boxes for when we pack the food up to take to the Food Pantry.
The Richmond Emergency Food Pantry Can Use These Non-Perishable Foods:
- Canned Tuna & Chicken
- Canned Beans
- Condiments: Mayonnaise, Mustard, and Relish (small sizes)
- Soup (10 – 16 oz. cans)
- Peanut Butter (16 oz. jars)
- Tomato Sauce
- Dried Cereal (12 to 20 oz. boxes)
- Canned Vegetables (especially green beans 16 oz.)
- Rice in any size
- Boxed Cereals in 12 to 18 oz. sizes
You can bring your food on November 13th, or ahead of time, into the atrium of the church where there will be a table and some room to store them until 13 November. Thank you for helping to support those in need.
Social Justice Council (SJC) – In an effort to welcome additional people interested in attending Council meetings, we will be alternating the Second Wednesday and Second Sundays for the next three months: dates will be Nov. 9, Dec. 11 and Jan. 11. Then we’ll review. The potluck dinner is at 6:00 pm; meeting usually starts at 6:35 pm. Fireside Room. All will be welcomed!
Literature, Film & Drama Contingent (LFDC) of the Confronting Racism Project – Several LFDC members are working with the World Trust, producers of the film Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial inequity. Film segments are braided with facilitated dialogue. UUCB members and friends attending will engage in talking about the system of racial inequity and implicit bias, prompted by stories in the film. This intensive training leaves people with new questions and the inspiration to engage in change. Members and friends welcome! January 7, 2017, 1-5 pm.
At the LFDC October meeting, attendees enjoyed a full agenda. We reviewed the film Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible; discussed the article “It’s Not About Race!” and shared our responses to the book and documentary Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ Story. Our book selection for November 6 is Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall. We’ll also review the new movie The Birth of a Nation, and, as this meeting takes place two days before the election, we’ll review the Berkeley Rep’s adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s novel, It Can’t Happen Here. We will meet at 12:30; check the kiosk or The Week Ahead for room location. You are welcome to attend even if you didn’t do the homework! Contact Camille Parker.
More Opportunities to DO Social Justice
Volunteers Needed: to “Read Aloud” with elementary school children in Richmond and San Pablo. Contact Judy Sam.
Volunteers Needed: at GRIP to prepare and serve lunch to hungry and homeless people at the Souper Center in Richmond. Monthly, fourth Tuesday –Contact Ray Westergard.
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. Applications are available from SJC Council Co-President Norie Clarke. The completed application must be submitted by March 1, 2017.
Interested in being on the Social Justice email list? Contact Jane Eisenstark.
Usher Appreciation Reception
Everyone who has ever served as an usher here at UUCB and anyone who is interested in learning more about it is invited to join us for celebration, fellowship, and light refreshments. As part of this gathering we’ll chat about what you feel is working well in the ushering process, what things might need some tweaking, and how we might better support our ushers into the future.
Time is the mirror into which you stare.
– Robert Penn Warren
Our new Co-Ministers are settling in. Our shared leadership has come together to begin as the work of this new ministry unfolds. And time moves ever blessedly forward with or without our consent.
We have much to be thankful for. We begin our fiscal year with a surplus as of August 31, $22,278. Cash is essential for breathing room. Our surplus so far this year has allowed us breathing room, which I expect will be short lived.
We depleted our cash last fiscal year with underperforming revenues outside of pledges. Also, we used cash for capital items not included in the umbrella of our capital campaign (new fencing, sound system in the sanctuary, new heater for the caretaker’s cottage, etc). All small items that added up.
I expect to spend time over the next month sharing the particulars of our cash position with folks who can translate this for you: the Fiscal Advisory Council, the CT and the members of the Board of Trustees.
Staring into the future, how will this fiscal year unfold with limited cash in our working capital accounts? I am ever watchful. As we wind our way through this fiscal year, I expect we will want to look for ways to build in a surplus for next fiscal year’s budget.
Mary M Muehlbach
- Claire J. Baker for her Grand Prize at Artists Embassy’s Dancing Poetry Festival (Palace of Legion of Honor, SF) and for five poems in the mixed media website sfpeaceandhope.com.
- Elizabeth Hutchins on her ordination by the Chaplaincy Institute
- Mac Lingo, now an Aquarian Minyan Ordained Chaplain
- Sue Magidson, now a Board Certified Chaplain (through the Association of Professional Chaplains)
- Barbara Rockhold for winning a First Prize in the El Cerrito Art Show
Mac Lingo welcomes anyone interested in his work as Chaplain at San Quentin to attend a Restorative Justice session once a month. Contact him for the clearance procedure.
Happy travels to:
- “Kelly” Kelly, going to Italy
- Lorraine Schnurr, going to Ireland
In other news:
Doug Frew went to his first major league ball game! It was on his bucket list, and now he has a little flag and hat to remember it!
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.
It has been an honor to serve as an Affiliated Community Minister with Starr King School for the Ministry and UUCB this past year. I’ve met so many wonderful members of the community with a passion for spiritual growth, social justice, and community engagement. I want to offer a special thanks to the co-chair of my Committee on Ministry, Lonnie Moseley, and committee member Dr. Ali Kayhani for offering their skills, insights, time, and love to strengthen my spiritual leadership and our communities. We faced an especially difficult year with the unexpected passing of my dear heart-friend, sheikh, and co-chair of my Committee on Ministry, Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé. Anyone who knew “Baba” admired him not only for his dedication to educating generations of multi-religious, counter-oppressive Unitarian Universalist and progressive religious leaders but also for his immense spirit, contagious humor, and all-embracing love. We felt his spirit with us as we accomplished so much at UUCB and Starr King and, indeed, he lives on in each of us.
In the past year, I was able to co-facilitate multiple new member events, including chapels and dinners; consult with lay leaders and staff responsible for membership, hospitality, and outreach; and contribute to the Sunday worship life of the community. I also served full-time at Starr King where as the Director of Admissions and Recruitment I’ve been able to recruit some of the largest and most diverse classes in the history of the school, in addition to joining the adjunct faculty and teaching Eastern philosophical traditions and counter-oppressive change. We’ve had so many transformative conversations in all of these contexts about our ongoing work dismantling white supremacy cultures, deconstructing cisheteropatriarchy, addressing Islamophobia, challenging dominant economic systems, and dreaming of communities and a world where the inherent dignity and worth of every person is affirmed and celebrated. Thank you to everyone who helped bring this past year into being, and I hope our work continues to burn brightly into the future!
On two Sundays, December 4 and 11, we will have our annual Holiday Fair before and after the 11:15 service. As usual, we welcome donations of new or lightly used Christmas and Hanukkah decorations, handicrafts, food gifts, stocking stuffers, and other gift-worthy items. A few tables will be available for UUCB members to sell their own wares with 50% going to the church.
For the silent auction, please think about an “event or experience” you could offer. Theme dinners in members’ homes are especially great ways to both raise funds for UUCB and help members get better acquainted. You could also offer a workshop, a tour, lessons, services—you name it, and usually someone will be happy to buy it! Auction donation forms will be available on the website and on the members’ information table soon.
Please contact me, email@example.com, if you have any questions, would like to reserve a sale table, or can help out in any way with this fundraiser. We are thinking of having a paid gift wrapping service—is that something that would interest you, either as a customer or volunteer?
Please plan to do some of your holiday shopping at UUCB, and please contribute to the silent auction or holiday sale if you possibly can!
UUCB Maybeck Society Lunch
On October 9, 25 members of the Maybeck Legacy Society were honored for their intent to leave a legacy gift to UUCB. They join the 38 UUCB members below who have notified us of this intent.
Since 2000, the UUCB General Endowment has more than doubled (an increase of nearly $1.3 million), mostly due to market gains and interest. We kept nearly $500,000 in the endowment account, but the rest of it, nearly $850,000, was used as specified in the by-laws of this church – for its operations: the salaries of our ministers, our religious education program, our beloved music directors, organists, and sections leaders. Most recently the congregation approved up to $100,000 as a loan for exploring the potential use of our 9 acres on this hill. In 2008 it was a loan of nearly a half million dollars for the 342 solar panels on the roof. Endowments are truly the “gift that keeps on giving”.
One of the hallmarks of a generation is not how it provides for itself, but how it provides for future generations. A legacy gift does that. Please contact any of the Endowment Committee members (Anne Greenwood, Grace Ulp, Lenore Ralston, Abbot Foote, Austin Henderson, Mary Muehlbach, and Linda Laskowski) or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
A very special thank you to our current Maybeck Legacy Society members:
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