Beacon on the Hill, November 2018
From the Ministers
We are creeping (Halloween reference!) into holiday season. This month our congregation celebrates some treasured traditions, and of course next month we move into an important holiday season for many of our members, with Hanukkah and Christmas and other holy days. There’s some great stuff going on in and around UUCB this month, and we invite you to attend all of it!
On Nov. 18, we have a wonderful and packed Sunday. We will tell the traditional interactive Stone Soup story and share cornbread baked by our youth as part of a special ritual.
That Sunday is also Food Drive Sunday, in which our members and friends load a truck with non-perishable food donations and/or financial gifts to support the Richmond Emergency Food Pantry.
A very special guest
We want to personally invite you to attend church on Nov. 25 to hear Gregory Carrow-Boyd, our guest preacher that day. Greg is a religious educator, a member of the UUA Board of Trustees, and a cradle UU. His sermon is titled “Pray Like a Humanist.”
Rev. Kristin on leave
As you may already know, our young nephews have been staying with us for several months. In many ways, their presence is a blessing for our family, but it’s also a challenge to now have four little boys in our household. In order to take care of some family matters, Kristin is taking three weeks of family leave, which will end Nov. 9. In her stead, we have a guest preacher on Oct. 28; Rev. Christian will maintain his normal office hours and duties.
At a congregational meeting on Oct. 21, we discussed the future of the Freestone property. The board proposed selling it, and though a majority (55.6%) wanted to sell, we had decided beforehand not to do that unless at least 2/3 of those voting wanted to sell. As your ministers, we’re proud the congregation could discuss a contentious issue, talk about our resources in a way that reflects our mission, disagree, and stay connected in covenant. This vote leaves us still looking for guidance: we won’t sell the property, but the vote also seems to indicate we need to very judicious in how we move forward and be wary of committing too many resources to something more than half the congregation voted to sell.
Revs. Christian and Kristin
Sunday Worship Services in November
Sanctuary, 11 am
Theme for November: Memory
November 4 – Remembrance Sunday, Rev. Christian with Melissa Rosales, Worship Associate. This Sunday we honor and remember our ancestors and all we’ve loved and lost. Everyone is invited to bring a picture or other small item to place on the altar that represents someone you wish to remember.
November 11 – Living Forwards, Rev. Kristin with Jeanne Foster, Worship Associate. As Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards.” This week in worship we will wrestle with how to honor the past without being limited by it.
November 18 – Thanksgiving Sunday, Revs. Christian and Kristin with Cynthia Asprodites, Worship Associate. 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 gratitude. And don’t forget to bring your non-perishable food or financial donations for Food Truck Sunday!
November 25 – Pray Like a Humanist, Gregory Carrow-Boyd with Ann Riley, Worship Associate. There is an old joke about how Unitarian Universalists begin our prayers that is intended to mock us for the religious pluralism of our membership and the belief in continuously unfolding truth we advocate. The truth in the joke is that Unitarian Universalists do pray even when not to a higher power or for a particular reason: often, we do not even call our practices of presence or mindfulness prayer. Join us for an exploration of some of the ways we do and do not pray as UUs and how we might pray like a Humanist.
Good Neighbor for November (sharing our offerings): 1951 Coffee (1951coffee.com) is a non-profit specialty coffee organization seeking to promote the well-being of the refugee community in the San Francisco Bay Area by providing job training and employment to refugees and asylees while educating the surrounding community about refugee life and issues.
Sundays, 9:30–10:45 am, Fireside Room
Nov 4: D. Patrick Miller, author, investigative journalist, publisher, editor, literary agent, and Fearless Books and Literary Services operator. He has intensively studied “A Course in Miracles,” the Enneagram system of personality, Jungian depth psychology, shamanism, and related fields of contemporary spirituality. How to Be Spiritual Without Being Religious.
Nov 11: Dr. Bill Garrett, former Professor of Religion and Philosophy at JFK University, UC Berkeley and now teaches at OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). The Living Universe: Astrobiology and the Deep Story of the Origins of Life.
Nov 18: Wyndy J. Knox Carr, writer, mother of four, librarian-archivist, book reviewer, discoverer of roots from the WomenPoets of the Twin Cities to Jeremy Taylor’s dream work groups, and new UUCB member. Here I Am, Lord: Rediscovering Practices of Self-Worth and Community for Now and Our Future.
Nov 25: Wyndy J. Knox Carr, see bio above. Transition and the Only Way Out is Through.
Sundays, 12:30 pm, check kiosk for location
Format: A 10- to 15-minute presentation followed by moderated, timed discussion and a potluck at 2 pm (bring a dish to share or donate $5). All are welcome!
Nov 4: The Kavanaugh Phenomenon, Kathy Rai
Nov 11: Post Election Debrief
Nov 18: How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, Lee Lawrence
Nov 25: How to Draw Cartoons, Ray Nelson
Special Events in November
Friday, November 9, 7 pm (doors open at 6 pm): Lawrence Lecture 2018, Featuring Dr. Ysaye Barnwell in a Community Sing. World-renowned Dr. Barnwell will lead us in rocking the house! Formerly with the famed a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, Dr. Barnwell is an accomplished composer, vocalist and instrumentalist who has spent the last 30 years working as a master teacher and choral clinician in African American cultural performance. Buy tickets at our Sunday book table, online at https://ysaye-uucb.eventbrite.com/, or at the door. $20 for adults; $10 for students; no one turned away for lack of funds.
Our Annual Food Drive is this month! Our youth groups, the Youth Adult Team and the Social Justice Council hope you’ll join us on November 18th! We will be collecting food and money donations for our partners at the Richmond Emergency Food Pantry, an amazing organization that has been serving Contra Costa county for over 40 years. Any canned goods are welcome, but they are especially interested this year in: olive oil, short grain rice, tuna, toilet paper, and baby diapers and wipes. Please, no expired food—the pantry can’t accept it! They also have told us that cash donations are greatly appreciated, as they can stretch a dollar further than an individual can. Make out your check to UUCB, memo Food Drive. Not available on the 18th? Have questions? Have any boxes that we can use to transport food? Like to drop off a check early? There will be a table in the atrium on the Sundays leading up to the event (Oct. 28, Nov. 4 and Nov 11).
Thursday, November 22, 12– 4 pm: Thanksgiving Service and Potluck Dinner at UUCB. We provide the turkey, you bring all the fixin’s! So bring your friends and family and a side (appetizer, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, salad, dessert, drinks, etc.) to share. Please either sign up in the Atrium or email Mary Muehlbach at email@example.com with these details: number in your party (adults, youth 12-18, and under 12) and the potluck contribution you’ll bring (6-8 servings per adult in your party). Our Thanksgiving is a cooperative UUCB family feast. Please be prepared to assist with clean up. We ask that each attendee commit to at least 15 minutes toward cleaning up after the feast, and a few will need to stay for an hour or more. Doors open at noon, worship is at 1, dinner is served at 2. And as always, no one will be turned away for lack of bringing a dish or having signed up in advance. Our community welcomes everyone. There is no charge for dinner, but we will be accepting donations for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee ‘s “Guest at Your Table” program. This year’s theme is “Justice Across Borders.”
Zackrie Vinczen, Family Ministry Coordinator
October flew by in Family Ministry—it’s hard to believe that November is already upon us and the holiday season is just around the corner. I do want to pause and thank everyone who helped make the All-Church Picnic on October 14th a success. It was exciting for Family Ministry and the Program Council to work together to plan this event. It was also nice to see so many members of our congregation spending time together eating, laughing, or otherwise sharing a wonderful afternoon. So once again, thank you to everyone who helped make this event what it was.
Looking ahead, there are a few upcoming events we want to remind everyone of. The first is on November 18th. This is the date that the Youth Adult Team will be hosting our annual food drive here at UUCB. A table will be set up in the Atrium a few weeks prior so people can begin bringing donations. The food drive is an opportunity for our congregation to be of service to the larger community as well as deepen our personal commitment to UU values.
Also, for all our Religious Education Teachers and Advisors, please save Sunday January 13th on your calendars. This is the date of our next training event. We ask that all our active Teachers and Advisors RSVP to attend this event.
The last thing we want to make sure is on people’s radar is the upcoming K-1st Our Whole Lives class. OWL is a values-based, research-informed sexual education program that makes use of age-appropriate resources and materials. There will be an Info Session for families that are interested in learning more on February 10th from 9:00 to 10:45 am in the Family Ministry office. For more information on this program and the schedule, please visit the OWL section of the UUCB website. There you will find more information on the program as well the registration form.
Rev. Cathleen Cox
For the past 15 years I have been one of this congregation’s Affiliated Community Ministers, of which there have been 10 over the years. All of us are ordained clergy who serve in ways other than as a settled parish minister. But ordained clergy are no longer the only face of UU ministry.
How surprised would you be to learn that the UUA has identified “Unleashing Lay Ministry” as one of the key themes for the sustainability of Unitarian Universalism?
How surprised would you be to discover that over 100 UU lay leaders have chosen to identify as lay ministers and entered into covenanted relationship with their congregations as “commissioned lay ministers”? Commissioned lay ministers are charged by their congregations to serve within and beyond the congregational walls on its behalf according to their particular training, gifts and skills.
How surprised would you be to learn that there are resources within the UU Society for Community Ministries, of which I am President, to support those who identify as lay ministers and their congregations in the commissioning process?
How surprised would you be to learn that Meadville Lombard Theological School now offers a Master’s program in Lay Community Ministry?
Finally, how surprised would you be to learn that next month UUSCM and UUA staff leaders are partnering to look at how to expand access to commissioning resources for lay leaders and their congregations nationwide?
All this and more is happening.
Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams called on us to recognize “the priesthood and prophethood of all believers.” At this level all of us are part of the “shared ministry of the faith.” The times call us forward to be and do more in the name of the values we hold and the ideals we aspire to.
This fall I am asking the UUCB Community Ministry Committee to consider whether it is time to explore with you the possibility of UUCB becoming a commissioning congregation. The benefits for all of us, individually and collectively, are real. Stay tuned for more….
With You on the Path,
The October Congregational Meeting is passed. It was a well attended and very intense meeting. After more than an hour of discussion there was a vote. There were 142 votes including absentee, 79 in favor of the motion to sell Freestone and 63 against or 55.6% to 44.4%. The board agreed with the Freestone Committee that a decision to sell property should require a 2/3 majority to pass.
After 2:30 no one wanted to have another discussion and vote and the Freestone Committee withdrew their motion to hold the property for 10 years, sell two lots and use the money for repairs.
For me it was a very tense meeting. I wasn’t worried about the vote. What made me tense were all the details and the format and that the congregation would be able to hear what they needed to hear and say what they needed to say. Passions were strong and emotions intense but for the most part decorum was maintained and by the middle of the meeting I relaxed a little because I thought the meeting was achieving its purpose, to give the congregation an opportunity to make its thoughts on Freestone known. And that’s what happened.
My favorite part of the meeting was the tense waiting for the votes to be counted. It took a long time and a sing-along filled the air. Democracy is hard. There are hard votes that have to be taken. During those long moments we waited together and we sang. My very favorite part was when Naomi, 5 years old, led us in a song.
So the meeting is over and now the work begins. The leadership of the Church, the Board, the CT, the Freestone Committee, the various programs and the congregation need to address budget issues, fundraising, staffing and operations. As always the work of achieving our Mission requires full participation and the hard work of the details makes it happen.
Deborah Schmidt, Coordinating Team Convener
Probably the biggest potential growth area in our budget is community rentals. The Committee for Financial Oversight has created a Facilities Rental Support Group, consisting of Michael DeWitt, Jim Gasperini, Susan Lankford, Hilary Lorraine, Lenore Ralston, and Dave Roberts, working with rental coordinator Lissa Roos Parker. The team’s primary focus to date has been marketing and audiovisual support. New members are welcome!
Jim Gasperini, who already revamped the rentals portion of our website, is creating a couple of wonderful brochures, one for weddings and the second for other events.
For rentals and church events, we must be able to deliver good audiovisual services. Michael DeWitt is working with facilities coordinator Warren Smith to inventory and organize our AV supplies. After the inventory, we will purchase necessary upgrades, along with some duplications so that staff and volunteers can always find the right components for any given system.
We are advertising for an event host for community rentals (concerts, weddings, memorials, other significant events). Events last 3-8 hours, mostly weekends, afternoon through evening. This is a perfect part-time position for students, especially seminarians. Major duties include fine-tuning set-up (facilities staff does set-up ahead of time), responding to guest questions and requests, making sure the event goes smoothly, and ensuring that the venue is left in good order after the event. Hosts must be punctual, responsible, and professional; outgoing personality and AV skills are a plus. This is a fun job and a great opportunity for UUCB outreach! $25/hour; see contact information below.
The Coordinating Team meets on first and third Thursdays from 10 am to 12 noon. If you’re interested in attending, please contact the CT Convener to verify meeting time and place. Questions for the CT? Email CT@uucb.org.
Social Justice Council News
Coming Up in November:
MEMORIAL FOR NANCY “KELLY” KELLY, past co-chair of the Social Justice Council and lifelong defender of the least powerful in society, will be held at UUCB on Saturday, November 10, 2 pm. To volunteer to staff the welcoming activities, contact Jane Eisenstark or Norie Clarke. In Kelly’s memory, the SJC has donated $100 to Planting Justice, a nonprofit Kelly previously nominated to our Good Neighbor program.
COME HEAR BETTY REID SOSKIN, November 4, 12:30 pm, Fireside Room—Activist, Author, and Park Ranger at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park. This free event is sponsored by the Literature, Film and Drama Contingent (LFDC) of the Social Justice Council. The incredible, 97-year-old Ms. Soskin will discuss her book, Sign My Name to Freedom! Lorraine Schnurr and Jim Acock will facilitate the discussion.
From the Past Month:
Ai Wei Wei’s spectacular “Human Flow,” a film focused on worldwide migration, was shown and accompanied by a variety of stimulating activities. Participants enjoyed art projects featuring
mariposas (butterflies), representing the idea that migration knows no borders. Refreshments were modeled after meals displaced persons would receive upon entering a refugee camp. In a story corner, everyone could map and discuss the paths of their families’ migrations. On a story board, attendees wrote comments about the film and their experiences that evening.
Kudos to Beth Jerde for all the planning and to the many volunteers backing her up that evening.
Literature, Film and Drama Contingent
October’s LFDC meeting consisted of a “fishbowl” conversation on disability. Members participated in one of three “schools”–people who identified as having a visible disability, those who identified as having a hidden disability, and those who identified as having no disability at this time. The resulting discussion provided participants a chance to learn how people with disabilities are treated in this society and, in passing, a wonderful way to learn more about each other.
Good Neighbor for 2019
The following organizations were selected to be UUCB Good Neighbor organizations for 2019: CASA of Contra Costa County (Court Appointed Special Advocates), YES Nature to Neighborhoods, YEAH! (Youth Engagement Advocacy Housing),
INC. (Reaching Our Young Ladies), Planting Justice, Hip Hop for Change, RYSE Center (for Richmond/West County youth), Operation Dignity (addressing homelessness), East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Youth Spirit Artworks, Berkeley Food Pantry, and GRIP (Greater Richmond Interfaith Program).
From the Stewardship Team
I have to tell you something that’s amazing and wonderful: this congregation is self-governed and self-supporting. This is a core tenet of how we, as Unitarian Universalists, do church.
Being self-governed means that we make all decisions as a community (though the congregation delegates most smaller decision to leaders; the board, coordinating team, program council, ministers and staff). It means that we are in charge of what we do, who we are, and who we will become.
We are also self-supporting. All the resources we have are ours as a congregation to care for and use responsibly. Each year, we go through a process of determining what resources we will have and how best to use them. This is called stewardship (that’s the resource-raising part!) and budgeting (the decisions about how best to use our resources!).
Right now, our stewardship team is gearing up for its work. Our team asks members and friends to consider how they can financially support the congregation in the coming year and then to make a pledge; that is, a promise to give the congregation a certain amount of money in the next fiscal year, which starts each July.
Our new co-chairs, Patrick Cullinane and Lynne Cahoon, are excited about the upcoming campaign for several reasons.
We hope to better fund our social justice efforts; our social justice council and all those involved have a lot of energy and have been doing amazing work. Our board would like to commit more resources to their work so that our social justice impact can be even greater.
Another reason to be excited is how much this all matters: we are embodying what it means to be faithful in hard times, to strengthen our own selves and those around us, and to make the world we dream of a reality. This takes resources, but ones that we can give.
And on a more logistical note, we have had the capability to accept online giving for some time. We want to encourage more of our members and friends to use this feature, in which you can set up a monthly (or at other intervals) payment to go directly to the church. It’s easier for you and for our staff.
If you’ve read this far, I ask you to consider something: COULD YOU BE THE NEXT MEMBER OF OUR STEWARDSHIP TEAM? Yes, it’s so important I put it in ALL CAPS. You don’t need to have great financial resources of your own, or be a finance wizard, or even have great experience in fundraising. What we need is committed people who love their congregation and want to be a part of supporting it. We have a great team that could use a few more members for us to have the stewardship campaign we dream of and that our beloved congregation needs. If so, contact Patrick Cullinane right away!
Rev. Christian, on behalf of the UUCB Stewardship Team
Partner Church Committee News
First some general Partner Church news, then a more personal note. We recently sent a wire transfer to the village from the Village Education Fund. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the fund whether by donation or buying a bowl of goulash. The second bit of general news is about Romania’s recent constitutional referendum to ban same-sex marriage. While it passed by a better than 90% margin, less than 30% of the electorate voted. Romania’s president, who supports same-sex marriage, quickly ruled the vote invalid. We don’t know what happens next.
The personal note is all about my recent 50-year high school reunion. It’s Monterey High School if you’re asking (Go Toreadors!). Ours was a class of 400, so you had your closest friends and those you never knew. Laura was one of the people somewhere in the middle. At the reunion she was buzzing around the room, engaged in animated conversations with everyone and handing out business cards. There was something about Laura’s high energy which intrigued me. I had to see what her card said. It read “International Women’s Convocation” along with the flaming chalice in the “O” of Women’s! I immediately ran across the room to her. Who knew that one of my classmates was Laura Nagel, convenor of the 2017 International Women’s Convocation at Asilomar. If I hadn’t had any regrets about not going to the convocation last year, I do now. It turns out that she has been a UU since she was 14.
Anne Greenwood has been to the convos, and through her involvement with the UUA’s Partner Church Council has been encouraging Unitarian women in Transylvania to attend. If there is ever a better example of the “We are All Connected” slogan in action, you tell me. And if you need a compelling reason to go to your high school reunion, you might find a UU connection you never knew about.
Leadership Experience 2019 (Reminder)
Have you recently taken on a leadership role in this congregation? Are you considering taking on a leadership role but want to increase your experience, knowledge, and skills before doing so? Are you a new board member or board president but still haven’t found the instruction manual? Visit www.uua.org/pwr to learn more about and apply to participate in “Leadership Experience 2019.” This is a hybrid in-person/on-line leadership development program offered by the Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association that will take place this coming winter and spring.
Project Oversight Committee Report
Larry Nagel, Ira Nelken, Jane Lundin, Tom Tripp
Status of Endowment Projects:
Bid Package 1; Safir Room & Adjacent Skylights: This package includes new exterior wall and windows, new interior finishes of walls, ceilings and floors, lighting, heating and cooling, as well as repair and replacement of adjacent skylights and clerestory windows above the Safir room. Status: Construction work is underway, with completion and re-opening of the Safir Room expected in early January, 2019.
Bid Package 2; Exterior painting, sealing, caulking and rafter tail repairs: This package is generally intended to repair and secure the outside of the main building. Status: Contractor has been selected and is expected to start work in the spring.
Bid Package 3; Main Atrium Skylights: Repair and/or replacement of the leaking atrium skylights. Status: The architect continues to work on this bid package with four design-build skylight specialists. This work is deferred until next summer.
Mold Investigation, RE buildings: The investigation has confirmed that no further work is required.
The Oversight Committee forecasts that the work voted by the congregation will be completed within the authorized budget of $758,000.
EVERYONE can help make our annual Holiday Fair, December 2 and 9, a fundraising success. During November you could bake and freeze goodies for the bake sale; create handicrafts to donate (50% or 100% to UUCB), and set aside or bring in recycled gifts, holiday decorations and holiday attire (all in like-new condition, please). Most valuable would be if you can donate a silent auction item of an event you will host sometime in the next six months.
Volunteers will also be needed to set up and clean up the sale, organize hands-on craft activities, and serve a light lunch.
See the green letter and donation form enclosed with your pledge statement or pick one up at church on Sundays. Questions? Contact Ann Harlow.
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 “pathways to membership” 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.
NEWSLETTER ITEM SUBMISSIONS: Submit announcements and articles by email to email@example.com. Due to limited space, we do not publish announcements for events occurring outside the church community. The deadline for submissions is now the 20th of the month. Please try to be on time! Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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