From the Ministers

Revs. Kristin and Christian Schmidt

Dear friends,

Here at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley our theme of the month is sanctuary. We will be delving into this rich theme throughout October in worship, and many of the break-out sessions during Reverse RE Sunday on October 14 will explore different aspects of sanctuary as well.

But sanctuary isn’t just something we are interested in one month out of the year; it’s one of our deep purposes as a congregation. Last year we voted to become a Sanctuary Congregation, and last Monday many of us had a potluck dinner together with the Cabezas family, whom our Sanctuary Team is supporting as they navigate our country’s complex immigration system.

Alongside this important work as a Sanctuary Congregation, as a community of faith we exist in part to be a kind of sanctuary to everyone – to offer peace, welcome, support, and solace for all people of goodwill who come through our doors. This part of who we are and what we’re meant to do and be together came through especially strongly in our mission and vision process last year, so much so that it informed a few of our Ends Statements (our shared goals as a community), namely: “We invite people of goodwill to make a spiritual home with us” and “People rely on UUCB in times of need.”

We’ve been hearing from many of you about the seemingly infinite number of requests you receive from worthy causes for money, time, and energy. The same is true for our congregation; there are so many things we could do in the service of our values, so many ways we could live into our vision together. Yet the power that comes when we unite in shared focus and purpose can become diluted if we try to do everything. That’s why it’s so important for us to make decisions thoughtfully and carefully about what we focus on and what projects we undertake together.

Later this month our congregation will have an opportunity to make one such significant decision. For decades this congregation has owned and enjoyed the Freestone retreat property in Sonoma County. Over those years it’s become a beloved and sacred place for many in our congregation, especially those church members who helped build it in the beginning and the generations of youth who went there for Coming of Age retreats. Unfortunately the property has also been difficult for the congregation to maintain. Before we became your ministers two years ago, the Board was forced to limit the extent to which the property could be used due to safety and liability concerns. As a result, last spring the Board proposed a motion to the congregation to sell the Freestone property.

We hope everyone will consider carefully whether you feel the Freestone property (and the required time, energy, and money it would take to renovate it for full use into the future) is an integral part of our purpose as a congregation. And we encourage every voting member of the congregation to participate in the meeting on Sunday, October 21 after worship where you can vote and help make this important and tender decision.

Whatever the outcome of the vote, our hope is that we continue to live fully into our shared purpose as a congregation so that the flame of liberal religion keeps burning brightly in a world and community that need it, now more than ever.

In faith,

Reverends Kristin and Christian

Sunday Worship Services in October

Sanctuary, 11 am

Theme for October:  Sanctuary

October 7 Music: Sanctuary for Your Soul, Bryan Baker, with Jim Gasperini, Worship Associate. Music can hold us when we need a safe space, a gentle assurance, when we need to feel hope, to find optimism. We will explore how music helps us deal with life’s challenges with a brand-new work for strings, piano and chorus by the young Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo—and through spirituals and music that carries the aspiration of young and old.

October 14 –  Exploring Sanctuary. On this our second Reverse RE Sunday, all ages begin together in worship, and then adults and youth alike will break out into their choice of several workshops and gatherings to explore the topic of “Sanctuary.” Children’s Chapel: Rev. Kristin Grassel Schmidt, with Cami Fuller, Worship Associate).

October 21 Attempting Church, Rev. Christian Schmidt, with Lee Maranto, Worship Associate. One of our new ends is: “People rely on UUCB in time of need.” Being a sanctuary congregation, helping people in a great time of need, relate to mission on congregation. How will we move forward into our vision? Is Freestone central to our mission and vision as a congregation?  (Congregation Meeting after service)

October 28 –  Sanctuary for the Soul, Rev. Kristin Grassel Schmidt, with Ann Riley, Worship Associate. When so much in our lives and our world is uncertain, when trouble comes our way, where do we turn for comfort and rest? Overworking, alcohol, and other distractions provide only temporary relief, and usually leave the underlying problem unaddressed. This week in worship we’ll dig deep in search of the solace of inner sanctuary.

 

Good Neighbor for October (sharing our offerings): GRIP, the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, transforms the lives of homeless, hungry, and disenfranchised people by providing counseling, nutrition, and temporary housing support. Our congregation has been serving lunch once a month at GRIP for many years and we are glad to continue to support this organization that provides so many vital services in our community.

Personal Theology

Sundays, 9:30–10:45 am, Fireside Room

Oct 7: James Baraz, founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, co-author of Awakening Joy: Ten Steps to Happiness, and guiding teacher of Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley. Equanimity: Finding Balance in Difficult Times.

Oct 14: Rabbi Harry Manhoff, Ph.D., a superfan and collector of comic books, a Congregational Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro, a lecturer at St. Mary’s College, and an author. Politics and Prayer: The History of the Siddur (Jewish Prayer).

Oct 21: Rev. Christian Schmidt, UUCB’s Senior Co-Minister, mystical humanist. Living in Anxious Times.

Oct 28: Deborah Schmidt, UUCB member since 2005, former UUCB Board of Trustees President, Coordinating Team convener, and a volunteer coordinator. She teaches music and writes memoir, family history and poetry. This Singing World, a poetry reading celebrating nature, human connection, love, and music.

Humanist Connections 

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!

Oct.  7:  The Scientific Mind of Philip K. Dick, Ray Nelson

Oct. 14:  Venezuela: What’s Been Going On, Anne Fitzmaurice

Oct. 21: How to Keep Your Brain Alive and Functional, Lee Lawrence

Oct. 28:  The Veil Is Thin: Rituals and Mystical Life of Halloween, Diane Rusnak

Special Events in October

Saturday, Oct. 6 – Parenting and Mindful Digital Life, 10 am–12:30 pm in the Fireside Room. Join Susan Wansing and Claudia L’Amoreaux as we explore the challenges of technology in our lives and how we can best support our children and teens as they live into the digital world. Free and open to the public, so invite a friend.

Saturday, Oct. 13 –

  • Buildings and Grounds Work Party, 8:30 am–noon. Come one, come all to help our facilities look their best! Sign up on the board in the Atrium, or RSVP to Lynne Cahoon if you’ll be there for breakfast, or just show up at 9.
  • Cat Cox’s workshop, “Women and the Wisdom of the Weird” (see below)
  • Ai Wei Wei’s Human Flow film, 7 pm, with preliminaries starting at 5:30 pm (see Social Justice Council News)

Sunday, Oct. 14 – All-Church Event: Reverse RE Sunday, Field Day and Picnic. Adults go to classes! Activities for all ages, many of them focusing on the theme of migration and sanctuary. Mexican food provided for lunch; contributions of other foods or beverages reflecting your roots will be appreciated! (See more info at end of newsletter.)

Sunday, Oct. 21 – Congregational Meeting after the service to vote on whether to sell the Freestone Retreat property. The board will also present information on the issue on October 14 after the service.

Saturday, Oct. 27 – GRIP Harmony Walk (see Social Justice Council News)

Workshop: Women and the Wisdom of the Weird

Saturday, October 13, 10 am–3 pm. October is the “witching hour” of the year! Join us for a day of “serious play” with art, dream images, story, song, movement and other creative spiritual practices of the Feminine to deepen your access to the mystical, intuitive “Wisdom of the Weird.” This Soul Knowing arises from “between the worlds” – and is always welling up within just for you! This workshop is a follow-up to Rev. Cat’s Personal Theology presentation at UUCB, “A Weird Woman Getting Weirder” (listen to the audio here). For female-identified participants. Registration limited. Fee: $65 including continental breakfast at 9:30 AM. Workshop begins at 10:00. Please bring something to share for potluck lunch and an object for the altar we will co-create! For more information, please email revcat@revcat.net; to register, please email lonniemoseley@hotmail.com.clough merrin

Family Ministry

Merrin Clough, Director of Family Ministry

It is an intense time here at the UU Church of Berkeley. The current financial challenges related to the deficit and cash flow problems have been a real challenge for church leaders. As a result of balancing the budget we are now understaffed. In addition, we are on the cusp of a big decision as to whether to sell the Freestone property in Sebastopol. As if that were not enough, the Board has three working groups looking into big questions about the future of UUCB. Will the church stay here on the hill? If so, how might we financially swing staying over the long haul? If not, what else might we do? Finally, what staffing structure do we need to support the ministry that will take us into the future? Yes, certainly these are intense times! For some this is all overwhelming and sometimes anxious.

Then again sometimes I wonder if we are all just finally being real. Religious institutions across the country are struggling. Many are closing their doors. It makes total sense that we are facing real challenges too.

Many of the decisions before us will shape the church’s future for decades to come. Or we may wander our way into a slow decline, ultimately closing the church doors for good. To be sure, there is an uncertain path before us. In the face of all of this I wonder, how do we take these genuinely tense times and turn them into a courageous moment in the life of this congregation? That is my question for you.

To be sure, the challenges before us will impact the family community. My hope is that we will meet these challenges head on. So, I have a few requests. First, stay connected. Our personal lives can get so full, and it is easy to drift away from church when things are hard. If you consider UUCB your spiritual home, continue to live into the caring connections that enliven our community. Ultimately these connections are the soul of this church. Let us not forget our Universalist forebears who during turbulent times insisted God is Love.

If you have the bandwidth, I strongly encourage you to take part in the congregational meetings. It is so important that the full range of perspectives are represented. Your vote as a member of this church is invaluable. I know Sunday afternoons are busy for families. Please mark your calendars: Oct 21; Feb 10; May 19. All from 12:15-2:00 p.m. There will be childcare.

Lastly, your Family Ministry Committee is preparing to wrestle with our small part of the church-wide challenges. Our team has just gotten back from a day-long workshop on Re-Imagining Sunday School. For some time, we have acknowledged that our program might not be meeting the needs of many families. We are still using a 1950s model of church. We also struggle with how volunteer and resource intensive it is. Now seems like the right time to dig deep and re-think our approach to faith formation. How might we better serve contemporary families and meet their genuine spiritual needs? In what ways might we better use our resources (people, money, staff, time)? Certainly, these are important questions to guide us forward.

If you have insight and leadership to offer Family Ministry as we look to the future, let me know. We are forming a team to reflect on these issues and make recommendations for the shape of our program. In the spring we will take part in a Re-Imagining Sunday School workshop series at Starr King School of the Ministry. This, I hope, will be a healthy direction for us during these trying times.

duggan jack

President’s Column

Jack Duggan

CHANGE

This is a very uncomfortable time for some of us at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley. We’re being asked to look at ourselves and to change. Asked may be a nice way of putting it. We’re having to look at ourselves and as a community we have to change. What we’ve been doing for a long time isn’t working. The most obvious example of this is that we’ve had to let staff go and this summer we didn’t have enough cash to pay our bills and make payroll for the staff that’s left. Like my mother during the periodic recessions when I was growing up, we had to decide what bills to pay and what bills could wait.

I have been asked why are we suddenly having money problems? There’s nothing sudden about it. This is a problem that’s been building for a long time and one that’s been hiding in plain sight. The charts Linda Laskowski has been showing to the board and board information meetings this past month are from 2015, and the problems we’re having now were discussed at a congregational meeting in 2015 and then again at the January congregational meeting. We didn’t fix it then and we still haven’t fixed it now. The only difference now is that the first aid that we’ve had to apply requires a much bigger bandage than it has in the past. In fact, this is a gap that only gets larger each year. It’s cumulative. It’s been going on for a long time.

The gap this year was covered by very generous members, or angels as we call them, who put up the money to cover our cash shortage, but it’s a loan, not a grant. It’s a loan because we’re not going to survive as a congregation if we have to keep turning to angels to save us. There’s only so much generosity or divine intervention that we can expect. It’s a loan because our generous angels are challenging us to step up and do what we have to do.

As members we have to look to ourselves to pay our own way, to be self-supporting as a congregation.  That means signing up as members and contributing as we can afford it, pledging, and when we pledge it means making the payment. If we have shortfalls on our pledges from previous years now is the time to make them up.

We can’t count on others’ generosity without being generous ourselves – money, if we have it, but also with our time. There are a core of volunteers who make UUCB work, but with the staffing cuts our need for volunteers is even greater. Yes, we older members have more time and there are some younger leaders, but more of the next generation need to contribute what they can and renew, refresh, and replace the leadership of the church. It’s an ongoing process and if the board, our programs, and the day-to-day tasks are going to get done, more members have to step up.

Does our current financial reality require that we sell assets? Freestone, move from the hill?  I don’t think so. It does mean we have to be realists. Look at our assets, look at our mission and look at our part in it and ask the hard questions. What do we need to keep our congregation strong? What does it cost? With large cuts to staffing we have balanced the operating budget this year. We haven’t begun to address the $250,000 annual maintenance required for our Kensington property. What sacrifices are we willing to make to keep the assets we have? How can we be sustainable? What am I willing to do and how much can I afford to contribute in time and in money?

I’m not as worried as some are about our congregation. I think by all accounts we have a very strong community. I believe our community will do what it takes to stay together and do the things that we need to do to be true to our principles as Unitarian Universalists. But the changes we will have to make as a congregation and as members will not be easy.  The task of leadership is to make clear what our reality is, and the task of the congregation is to make sound decisions that are good for now and for the future, based on those realities. The task of our members is to make the sacrifices in both time and money to make those decisions work.

Cash Flow Crunch

David Roberts

No, it’s not a new Ben and Jerry’s flavor, but it’s something we’ve been tasting here at UUCB over the summer.

Every institution, whether a church or a theatre or a small business, is constantly challenged to anticipate income and manage expenses.  A key challenge is to make sure there is always enough cash in the bank to pay the bills and expenses as they come due.  Last summer we got crunched.  And we’ve taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

What happened last summer?  First a little refresher on our expenses and income.  Most of our expenses are staff payroll and associated benefits.  75% of our total budget.  The rest are things like utilities, maintenance, insurance, office costs and repairs.  What we pay out is pretty much the same every month of the year.

On the income side, it’s different.  Our income comes from renters, pledges, gifts, community rentals and fundraisers.  We are fortunate to have two schools that pay us rent every month, regular as rain.  We have generous givers, many of whom send in monthly checks or remittances.  And we get a generous payout from the income on our $1.4 million endowment every year.  But much of our income is unpredictable on a monthly basis.  Some pledges get paid only at year-end.  Large community rentals come in at very irregular times.  So we have to keep a cushion of cash to tide us over when our cash income is less than our cash expenses.

This past year was different from most prior years.  A combination of reduced community rentals, a slowdown in the amount and timing of pledges, and our inability to shift cash into our operating accounts from other accounts left us with a year-end deficit that was unexpectedly greater than anticipated.  Going into the new fiscal year we had little flexibility in the cash available to pay our bills.  At the same time, our longtime Church Administrator and Lead Facilities Coordinator left our employ and their capabilities were not replaced.  That left us scrambling to understand where we stood financially and to provide adequate services to the church and to our renters.  And we experienced a “cash flow crunch” – not enough cash to pay our expenses when they were due.

To address the immediate cash flow issues, an ad hoc committee of volunteers gathered for discussions and ideas in early September.  A week later that group came together again to craft a specific plan to resolve the short-term cash flow issues and to craft a longer-term financial plan and reporting structure for the Church.  The group made a recommendation to the Board to adopt a resolution appointing a six-person Committee on Financial Oversight (CFO), to borrow up to $200,000 from members to bridge our cash flow requirements, to assist in the finalization of our 2016-17 audit, and to work to increase our community rentals. The Board met on September 12 and adopted the resolution.  On the Sunday following, the first $60,000 of loans were deposited, with another $40,000 expected in the next 15 days.  These loans have enabled the Church to breathe a sigh of relief and return to paying its expenses in a timely way.

The CFO has jumped into action to first assess more accurately our budgetary and financial reporting issues and in the next 30-60 days to make recommendations for changes that will improve both.  As part of the CFO’s work, its co-chair will sit on the Coordinating Team in place of the Church Administrator until a new Administrator is employed and up to speed.  This will allow more timely feedback to the CT and the Board about the issues and the possible resolutions.

The CFO has asked a group of volunteers to work together as a Community Rental Support Group to improve our marketing and make sure we generate much higher community rentals over the next 12-18 months.  Other volunteers are working with our facilities staff to supplement our services for renters and church events.

We are out of the woods for the short term.  With a lot of thoughtful planning, analysis and reorganization of our financial processes and reporting, we expect to make thoughtful recommendations about a financial reorganization in the coming months.  Our goal is a thriving UUCB with both the financial knowledge and resources to effectively operate regardless of the variability in our cash flow.

Cschmidt deborahoordinating Team Notes

Deborah Schmidt, Coordinating Team Convener

As you are no doubt aware, these are very challenging times for our church financially. Three years of deficit budgets, caused largely by lower membership and rising building and personnel expenses, have depleted our operating cash. Even though this year’s budget is balanced, we have been hard-pressed to meet expenses. At the same time, it has been difficult to reassign all of the tasks formerly assigned to the business administrator position.

As a result of all of this, a few weeks ago the CT convened a trusted group of members to develop a strategy for these trying times. At the same time, the Endowment Committee recommended the formation of a financial advisory council.

The board has appointed a Committee for Financial Oversight (CFO), co-chaired by Anne Greenwood and Dave Roberts. Members are Linda Laskowski, Ira Nelken, Grace Ulp and Maryann Simpson, with Jan Setchko acting as consultant. The CFO will be reporting to the board and advising the CT. As co-chair, Dave Roberts will serve on the CT, holding the position reserved for the Business Administrator. The CFO has already begun to work in earnest and has come up with recommendations, which are being implemented.

The CT is so very grateful for this infusion of expert and loving guidance. With all the challenges before us, we still have faith that this prophetic church will find its balance and continue being able to serve the world, which needs us now more than ever.

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.

Program Council News

Gail Simpson, Program Council Convener

UUCB’s third annual exuberant appearance in the Solano Stroll Parade brought an enthusiastic response from the onlookers on Sept 9th. Our distinctive yellow “On the Side of Love” shirts and banners declaring our concerns drew applause and words of encouragement – LGBTQ Rights, Black Lives Matter, Immigration Justice, and more!!  “Go UU’s!”

Our booth was beautiful. A special attraction was free ice-cold water. It was easy to observe dozens of lively conversations between our gold-shirted UUCB team and Strollers who stopped for a drink. Nothing beats the Stroll for broadcasting our presence in our East Bay community.

So, congratulations and many thanks to the dozens of UUCB volunteers who made it happen!!  Special shout-outs to Susan Lankford for coordinating the booth and to the choir for delivering gorgeous and touching music.

In the upcoming weeks, we expect visitors who learned about us at the Stroll. Let’s make sure they have a great introduction to the Church that always stands on the side of love and justice.

(NOTE TO SELF:  Add to the list of things to remember at next year’s Parade: Stop at the Judges’ stand!! We had a GREAT routine to present to the judges at the Parade – kazoos and dance moves to “This Little Light of Mine.” We coulda nailed it!! Well, there is always next year!)

Social Justice Council News

Literature, Film and Drama Contingent: The Labor Day weekend LFDC meeting found members and guests full of appreciation – for MAUBs (moments of awareness of unconscious bias) and the closer attention many of us now pay to our thought processes regarding people and situations; for the work of author Tim Wise (who was in the Bay Area for two sold-out events, alas!), especially his talent for factual details, in addition to great writing that helps us understand the state of our nation; and for the comedic-bordering-on-caricature work of Spike Lee’s movie, The BlackKKKlansman. (For true “caricature,” see The Birth of a Nation, which was originally called The Clansman).

Julie Rogers took a vote for next month’s Fishbowl Conversation, and the winning topic is “Disability.” On October 7, we will have three schools of fish: Those whose disability is visible; those who have an invisible disability, and those who are temporarily able-bodied and able-minded. Please contact Julie (jlundyr@gmail.com) if you are interested in participating in the Fishbowl. She will send questions ahead of time to each school, so participants will have fish food for thought.

JOIN TEAM UUCB FOR THE GRIP HARMONY WALK

All members and friends of UUCB are urged to participate in this year’s Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) Harmony Walk, which gives us the opportunity to build community while raising money for GRIP, an organization that does wonderful work providing shelter and resources for homeless families, plus three meals a day for hungry and disenfranchised people in and around Richmond. The Walk, plus a 5K run for younger participants, starts around 10:45 am on Saturday, October 27, from Nicholl Park, MacDonald Ave and 31st street in Richmond.  Visit the Social Justice Table for more information.

FREE FILM SCREENING

The Social Justice Council invites you to join us on Saturday, October 13, at 7 pm for a FREE screening of the film HUMAN FLOW by Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei.  After years of house arrest, he was given back his passport two years ago and re-located to Berlin. He then visited 23 countries within a year, filming refugees in camps around the globe.  FYI: This event coincides with Parents Night Out!!!  Childcare hours have been extended to 9:30 PM.

The doors open at 5:30 PM: Art-Making with Sylvia Parisotto; Story-sharing with our guests; and light refreshments.

FREE — tix REQUIRED:  humanflowuucb.eventbrite.com

TRAILER:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVZGyTdk_BY

Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.

Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity? 

Thoughts from Community Ministry

Rev. Theresa Hardy, Community Minister

What to do?

What to do when we of good conscience feel powerless? I have been asking myself this question for two years. With each new move towards autocracy and continued inequality in our country, the desire to answer this question reaches a level of crisis!

What to do? What to do? What to do? There is, of course, exercising my right to vote! There are protests I attend, and community groups I organize with and support. Many of us are busy and engaged in similar activities. And, my faith reminds me that many acts can help in this ongoing resistance to evil.

There is a place for collective engagement both seen and unseen. There are acts done for others and acts done for ourselves to keep our integrity intact.

As we enter this season with multiple ways to participate in keeping our democracy alive, let us not forgot the individual practices that keep us whole and add to the resistance as well.

I have borrowed a practice from a Unitarian Universalist colleague in the Northwest by keeping a battery-operated candle in our window since August. I don’t know that anyone notices, but the ritual of turning on the mechanical flame at dark is powerful for me. It reminds me, that I will not give in or give up! It reminds my children that when there is no light we make our own.

When I schedule my time correctly and meditate in the morning, I offer that time to the cause at hand. The Buddhist loving kindness meditation, may all be happy, may all be healthy, may all be at peace, is what I offer up for those hurting in the world.

So what do we people of good conscience do in these difficult times? Something, we can each do something large or small that adds to the chorus of voices shouting Love Resists. We are on the Side of Love!

partnerchurchPartner Church Committee News

Romania is preparing for a national referendum that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. Mike Pence was recently in Bucharest. Is there a connection or are these separate issues? Well, they are separate, but it took going to Romanian and Russian news websites to find out why Pence was in Romania. Nevertheless, both represent two streams of nationalist and regionalist trends in Eastern Europe. The Hungarian Unitarian way of life in Transylvania is certainly threatened by the nationalism espoused by many ethnic Romanians.

I recently saw a display of Ukrainian folk art with themes similar to Transylvanian folk art. Both are things that could rapidly disappear in rural areas that are catching up with the rest of the world. I could go on naming a lot of other threats to our friends in the Székelyföld, but I would rather offer encouragement rather than discouragement to entice your interest in UUCB’s Transylvanian Partner Church Committee.

Your Partner Church Committee is going to be working with you in the coming months to revitalize itself and our partnership with the people of Homorόdύjfalu. We need your involvement beyond just buying goulash at our Sunday lunches. We always have a need for donations to the Village Education Fund.  Interest in visiting Transylvania needs to reach a critical mass to make it happen. Having the village’s minister visit us would be a fine thing, but it will take a lot of time, talent, and treasure to pull off.

If you want the skinny on what’s going on over there, don’t ask Mike Pence. You’ll get a better answer from  Stephanie Ann Blythe or Anne Greenwood.

Music Matters

Bryan Baker, Director of Music

October begins with Music Sunday, the 7th, a service titled “Music: Sanctuary for your Soul.” Music can hold us when we need a safe space, a gentle assurance, when we need to feel hope, to find optimism. We will explore how music helps us deal with life’s challenges with a brand new work for strings, piano and chorus by the young Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo. And through spirituals and music that carries the aspiration of young and old.

The next Sunday is called “Reverse RE” and you will have choices of what to do. One of those will be “Drop-In Choir”, a chance to make music with the singers off the adult choir, either singing or drumming, or playing any instrument you like. We will focus on two songs “Down by the Riverside” and “Give Us Hope” to create a community of music making where all are welcome. And if you like the energy of this session, you will be welcomed to join in sharing the music with the congregation the next Sunday, when the children’s choir will join us.

Yours in harmony,

Bryan

pollard beth2Endowment Committee

Beth Pollard

“I promised for years to include UUCB in my estate planning.  Now I’ve made good on that promise.” – Stephanie Ann Blythe, “Maybeck Society” member.

On October 28, UUCB will host a luncheon for the Maybeck Society – members who have included UUCB in their wills/estate plans. There is still time for you to join – and be treated to a free lunch!

For those who think, “that’s not for me,” well, the 50-ish Society members were once like you – they hadn’t designated UUCB or even done estate planning. Why did they do it?

 “When I retired from my job of 35 years, I had already joined my community at UUCB,” said Kay Fairwell. “Here I found friends, family, and the inspiration to try new things and work to become my better self. I have received so much love and support from this community that becoming a member of the Maybeck Society was a no-brainer for me.” Or as Dick Sherman said, “A congregation is like an extended family. Sometimes you don’t see each other for a long time but you are always connected. I feel that way about UUCB ever since I joined a few years ago after my wife passed away. A legacy gift honors that connection and keeps it alive.”

But isn’t it hard to do? “It was easy!” said Kay. “I just listed UUCB as a beneficiary on my retirement account.”

As another member put it, “Even with modest assets, I wanted a will to lighten the load on my family. Once I moved forward, it was a snap to add UUCB to my beneficiary list.”

Contact endowment@uucb.org to join the Maybeck Society.

Leadership Experience 2019

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. Space is limited, so individuals are encouraged to apply to participate by October 15!

Buildings and Grounds Committee

We have new curtain panels on six windows in the Sanctuary! Finally completed, this was a truly collaborative building project with many starts and restarts. The purpose of these panels is to reduce the daylight coming toward the projection screen and for candlelight services. We now have six curtain panels, replacing the tattered original four. The windows are also now in better condition, cleaned and recaulked.

Barbara Hilbourn and Lynn Sullivan located the three fabric designs; the Aesthetics Committee, headed by Lynne Cahoon, reviewed and approved them.  Lynn Sullivan did the majority of the sewing with assistance from Barbara, Aileen Hohmann and Ann Harlow. Christina Creveling arranged for cleaning and the required certified fireproofing. Tom Tripp created new hanging rod devices and installed the curtains. Thank you, one and all!

The repairs in the Safir Room are moving along gradually. The Project Oversight Team will report again in next month’s Beacon.

More About Sunday, October 14

The Program Council designated the October 14 Reverse Sunday, All-Church Picnic and Field Day as one of four “All-Church Events” for the year, and decided to tie the event together around UUCB’s commitment to working for immigrants. We expect a large turnout the previous night for the Ai Weiwei film Human Flow, and will relate much of the day to the human migration shown in the film.

“Reverse Sunday” refers to a switch from our usual pattern of children leaving the worship service for classes and adults staying. On Reverse Sunday, adults will adjourn to breakout groups, most of which will tie in with the immigration and sanctuary theme. (Children won’t stay in the Sanctuary this time but will go to the Fireside Room for a Children’s Chapel with Rev. Kristin. Bryan will lead a singing session in the Sanctuary.)

During the “picnic” (which will be at least partly indoors) and field day, the PC is creating additional tie-ins through music, dance, food, and art-making. Butterflies (mariposa) are central as the positive image associated with refugees and immigrants.  The face-painting station will specialize in butterflies, and as part of the day’s “reversal” there will be an opportunity for children to draw butterflies on adult faces.  The Atrium will have a display (left over from the prior night) that shows the foods eaten in a typical middle-eastern refugee camp, to help us imagine our own positions being reversed with the positions of refugees.  The art-making station in the Atrium will display butterfly art and comments written Saturday night at the film, as well some drawings made by UUCB children last summer when they learned about the refugee crisis.  There will be a dance activity for all ages relating to theme.

For the lunch, we will have some Mexican food to honor the majority of immigrants to this area. We invite you to contribute a side dish, dessert or beverage that reflects your own family background of immigration. Please bring your contribution to the kitchen before the service and fill out a label to go with it. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to stay for lunch whether they have brought anything or not!

Holiday Fair

Be thinking about what you can donate to raise funds for UUCB in our Holiday Fair, December 2 and 9. Silent auction events and experiences? Handicrafts? Recycled gifts? Holiday decorations or attire? Baked goods? Contact annharlow@pacbell.net to help.


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 (membership@uucb.org), or speak with one of the co-ministers.

NEWSLETTER ITEM SUBMISSIONS: Submit announcements and articles by email to beacon@uucb.org. 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 beacon@uucb.org.

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