From the Ministers

Revs. Kristen and Christian Schmidt

Every day at UUCB we are impressed and humbled by the commitment that members of this community bring to living out our values here at church and in the wider world. The time and talent that volunteers and staff spend making our worship, education, justice, and fellowship gatherings and activities happen is amazing, and it speaks to the importance of this community in our lives and the lives of the communities of which we are a part.

But it takes more than generous commitments of time and talent to fuel the ministries our congregation is known and loved for; it takes generous commitments of treasure, too. This year, our Stewardship Team has set a goal of a 20% increase in financial commitments for the upcoming fiscal year. The Team will be sending out information and talking with the congregation about the importance of this year’s goal. All throughout the month of March worship will include a focus on the value of stewardship and everyone will be invited to consider what they feel called to pledge, or promise, in terms of financial support to fuel the mission of this congregation for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. And March 25 is Celebration Sunday, when our guest preacher will be UUA Co-Moderator Barb Greve, and everyone will have the opportunity to make their financial pledge during the service.

As many of you know, and as was discussed at the special congregational meeting at the end of January, our congregation is in the midst of discerning how best to support our thriving ministries as we make decisions about the future of our campus. The Board is actively recruiting volunteers for working groups to explore several ways we might proceed into the future in a sustainable way. Along similar lines, the Coordinating Team and our treasurer are crafting a budget that reflects changing times; the budget will be balanced, but hopefully not by making painful cuts.

After carefully considering all of this, our family is increasing our pledge this year by 25%. Though we know not everyone will have the means to make such an increase, we encourage you to think deeply about how much this congregation matters in your life and how much you can increase your pledge to help us live even more fully into our mission to “create loving community, inspire spiritual growth, and encourage lives of integrity, joy, and service.”

One especially exciting part about stewardship this year is the debut of online giving! It’s up, running, and an option available for anyone to use that connects directly with our database system. In fact, we have already received $9,000 in pledges and other giving online. If you’d like to give this way, just click the “Give” button at the top of our website www.uucb.org and follow the instructions. If you run into any trouble, just call the office or speak to a Stewardship Team member. However much you are able to give this year, and by whatever method you choose to do so, we are proud to serve with such generous, committed people. May our generosity and our commitment continue to guide us all well.

In faith,

Revs. Christian and Kristin

Sunday Worship Services in February

Sanctuary, 11 am

Theme for Month: Perseverance

Feb. 4 What’s in Your Resiliency Toolkit? Rev. Cat Cox, Rev. Theresa Hardy, Rev. Sue Magidson, Rev. Jane Ramsey, Lynne Cahoon and Ariel Smith-Iyer. When things get hard, what helps you persevere? This Community Ministry Sunday, UUCB’s Community Ministry Committee will reflect on resiliency in their lives and work, and encourage you to reflect on what’s in your resiliency toolkit.

Feb. 11A Community of Perseverance, Rev. Kristin Schmidt with Cami Fuller, Worship Associate. From believing in ourselves to leaning on one another while working toward a common goal, life often asks us to persevere. Join us for this service for all ages about what it means to be a community of perseverance. Please stay for the Annual Meeting after worship! Childcare for children through kindergarten will be provided during the service and childcare for all ages will be provided for the Annual Meeting.

Feb. 18 Music Sunday: A Mass for Peace, Bryan Baker with Jeanne Foster, Worship Associate. As a response to violence in the world, the English classical/pop composer Karl Jenkins wrote a beautiful, exciting and above all powerful work titled The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. The musical and human message of grief and hope has resonated strongly with people throughout the world. Members of our Social Justice and Music teams have worked together to create a moving combination of music and images.

Feb. 25 – Strength of Will, Amanda Weatherspoon with Kathryn Jay, Worship Associate. Henry Ward Beecher once said, “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.” Join us this week as we consider what makes for a healthy approach to the harder parts of life.

February Good Neighbor (sharing our offerings): YEAH Berkeley stands for Youth Engagement, Advocacy, and Housing. This organization helps youth set goals and create lives they want while providing shelter, food, counseling, and other necessities to homeless youth in our community.

Personal Theology

Sundays, 9:30 am, Fireside Room

Feb. 4: Dr. Karen Voorhees, UUCB member, writer. In 1981, while working on her Ph.D. in cultural history, Karen Voorhees began meditating and discovered levels of truth and beauty beyond the intellectual. Since then she has meditated two to three hours daily while pursuing her intellectual interests, including the work of Ken Wilber, outside academia.The Future of Religion; A Report on Ken Wilber’s What Now Conference.”

Feb. 11: Dr. Irene Sardanis, retired psychologist turned writer. She’s been published in The Sun magazine and many anthologies, most recently The Magic of Memoir and Women in the Americas. She will publish her memoir in 2019, Beating the Bronx: Tales from a Greek Immigrant Daughter. Writing as a Spiritual Practice.”

Feb. 18: Dr. Matthew Fox (internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, Episcopal priest, activist, author and professor; founder of University of Creation Spirituality), Jennifer Listug (writer, spiritual leader, and publicist), and Skylar Wilson (wilderness guide, leader of inter-cultural ceremonies) will discuss Order of the Sacred Earth,” an intergenerational community of sacred activists who have vowed to be “the best lovers and defenders of the Earth that we can be.”

Feb. 25: Dr. Kendra Smith, psychotherapist, trainer and coach; teacher of metta and vipassana meditation; and longtime UUCB member. Consciousness After Death? Investigation and Personal Experience.” For many persons, this topic is unsettling and controversial, but there has been some serious investigation and for centuries there have been reports of communication with persons “on the other side.” Saint Augustine was one of these reporters. The belief that when the brain flatlines it ends consciousness is a culture-bound belief. Kendra will speak of investigations and of her own experience. She will also touch on the relationship between some forms of meditation and out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

Humanist Connections

Sundays, 12:30 pm, RE Building, Rooms 3 & 4

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!

Feb. 4Dream Work: The Legacy of Jeremy Taylor, Ray Nelson

Feb. 11 (after Congregational Meeting): What’s the Meaning of Your Life?, Lee Lawrence

Feb. 18: Homelessness, Earl Williamson

Feb. 25: Swedish Death Cleaning, Don Anderson

Special Events in February

Sat. Feb. 3, 9:30 am–5 pm – Dream Workshop (see below)

Sat. Feb. 3, 7:30 pm and Sun. Feb 4, 1 pm – Love Songs and Chocolate. Performances and desserts by members of our Luminescence choir. This year there will be no admission charge, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

Sat. Feb. 10, 10 am–4:30 pm – Class Conversations workshop (see below)

Sun. Feb. 11, 12:15 pm – Congregational Meeting: Election, awards, vote on being a sanctuary church, and introduction to the annual pledge drive.

Sun. Feb. 18, 12:15 pm – Mission and Vision: Where Our Gladness and the World’s Hunger Meet. In this third set of conversations about UUCB’s future, we will integrate what we’ve learned about our shared resources, assets, skills, and passions with the needs in our wider communities and see where we are being called to serve and lead. Please come, enjoy a light lunch, and share your perspectives as we discern what UUCB will do in its next chapter.

Sat. Feb. 24, 8 pm – UUCB and UU San Francisco choirs join with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra for The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (see Music Matters below)

Family Ministry

Merrin Clough, Director of Family Ministry

Our Whole Lives- Sex Ed for 4th-6th Graders

Did you know that the Family Ministry program at UUCB is going to hold a 4th-6th Grade Our Whole Lives class in the coming year?

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is an age-appropriate Sexual Education program based in Unitarian Universalist values and a scientific understanding of human development and sexuality.

Our teaching team is Stephanie Kroner, Alice Lemieux, Michael Armstrong, and Paul Hansen, all of whom have undergone the OWL facilitators training for this age group.

The dates for this program have already been set and are as follows.

  • OWL (4-6) Info Session ­– Sunday 2/11/2018 9:30–11 am
  • OWL (4-6) Orientation – Sunday 2/25/2018 12:30–3 pm
  • OWL Class Sessions – Sundays 12:30–2 pm March–May

If you have a child in 4th-6th Grade, and would like for them to participate in this program, please use this link to let us know if you will be at our info session and to register your child.

If you have any additional questions about this program, feel free to contact us by phone or email: Family.Ministry@uucb.org or (510) 525-0302 ext. 307.

Creating Our Program Together…

Wow, time is flying! It’s already time to begin thinking about next year’s Family Ministry program (August 2018 to June 2019). As part of our annual planning cycle, we invite folks to propose ideas for the upcoming church year. Do you have a program idea you’d like to submit that upholds our church’s mission to create loving community, inspire spiritual growth, and encourage lives of integrity, joy and service? You can submit that inspired idea here!

We will gather submissions until March 1st. Then our Family Ministry Committee will review these proposals to make realistic decisions about which we can do well. We intend to focus our energies on programs that help bring our UU values to life. We eagerly welcome your input in this shared ministry.

It’s never too late to volunteer! Contact Colleen Farrell or Megan Hailey-Dunsheath (RE) or Karl Rimbach (Legacy Links) to explore how your interests, skills, and experience can meaningfully shape the spiritual formation of our youth.

President’s Column

Jack Duggan

duggan jack

One of my goals as a congregational leader is that this community we call UUCB be as strong for the next 127 years as it has been for the last 127. To that end, the board is taking steps to ensure the financial sustainability of the congregation. We don’t expect this to be an easy or quick process, but it’s an important one and one that will take all of us.

As this newsletter goes to press we are engaging the congregation in considering needed repairs to the buildings and how best to pay for them. Just as importantly for the future, we have been involved this year as a congregation in a process of Mission and Visioning. Who are we? Who can we be? How are we going to be sustainable?

The time for action is here. The Board of Trustees is putting together working groups with board members and other congregational members, who will collect information about several important factors over the next year.

1) A feasibility study on a capital campaign to update and repair our buildings.

2) A full staffing assessment, to identify what our needs are and what we can afford. Some of this work was done during our interim ministry, but more remains.

3) Whether, in the long run, another location for the church is possible and whether it would make sense to consider it.

Also we’ve been talking about Freestone for a very long time. We need to make decisions about Freestone, our Sonoma County retreat property, and the board will be facing that issue and working with the Freestone Committee and the congregation to reach a decision on what to do, possibly selling Freestone or investing in making needed repairs. What we do has to be compatible with our vision as a congregation. The plan is to present a board proposal in Fall 2018 about how to move forward.

We’ve been waiting and preparing for this moment in our congregational life for a long time. For the last three years we’ve been taking a hard look at ourselves, looking at our resources and our needs. We called new senior co-ministers and now together we are working on a sustainable vision for the next era in our congregation’s life. The board’s job in this work is not to make decisions, but to offer concrete proposals to the congregation who will make the decisions guided by our mission and vision.

This month we will be asking members to join us in the working groups to look at these issues and to make recommendations. In the coming months the board will be considering the recommendations of the groups and making proposals based on those recommendations. About a year from now we will have finished the first stage and we can move forward with a plan for the future.

The time to be sustainable is now.

Board of Trustees Election

The Nominating Committee has selected Cordell Sloan and Linda Zittel as new candidates for the Board and Jack Duggan and Logan Stump-Vernon for re-election. Voting will take place in the Atrium beginning January 28 and ending on February 11 at 11 am.

Dream Workshop

Saturday, February 3, 9:30 am–5 pm

UUCB will host the Dream Workshop originally scheduled to be conducted by Dr. Jeremy Taylor. Dr. Taylor died suddenly on January 3, 2018—two days after the passing of his wife, Kathryn. The leaders of the workshop will be various students who have graduated from Dr. Taylor’s Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work. The workshop will be conducted to honor Jeremy and will follow the agenda he originally designed for the day. Four dreams will be “worked” by the leaders and other participants. This workshop is for individuals interested in understanding the help, healing and insight that our dreams offer us. UUCB and Dr. Taylor’s friends and students are grateful for the dream techniques and life-changing insights that Jeremy has given to so many people. Come and discover how to extract the wisdom from the scenarios that visit you at night. Please note that the workshop is NOT a Memorial for Dr. Taylor but honors the invaluable training he has given to us all. The donation is between $25 and $50. Bring your lunch. Register with Lonnie Moseley, lonniemoseley@hotmail.com or call 510-655-1444.

UU Class Conversations Workshop

Saturday, February 10, 10 am–4:30 pm

UU Class Conversations (http://www.uuclassconversations.org/) is a national UUA-supported project. This is the first all-day workshop open to congregational members to be held on the West Coast. Two of Class Conversations’ founders, the Rev. Dorothy Emerson and Denise Moorehead, as well as Megan Dowdell, will be facilitating. Interactive, engaging, and positive, the workshop allows participants to share their own stories around class, as well as educating about classism within UU and in our broader social justice work.

Testimonial from Jack Duggan: “I attended a [Class Conversations] workshop at the GA. I found it very unsettling and very eye opening, well worth it. I bought the book Class Action: The Struggle with Class in Unitarian Universalism. I found it to be one of the best books I’ve ever read on class and with great specific application to us (UUs). I’ve signed up for the workshop and really look forward to it.”

Refreshments and registration open at 9:30 am
Workshop includes lunch (vegan and gluten-free options provided)
Childcare available if requested in advance
Sliding scale $20-50, no one turned away if you cannot afford to pay
Please register in advance HERE

Thoughts from Community Ministry

kalendae jeremiahRev. Jeremiah Kalendae

Dear Beloveds,

Thank you for the outpouring of support I received while I was hospitalized in November with endocarditis. It brought me so much comfort to know that I was loved and cared about in that difficult time. I have finished all of my treatments as of the other week and I am expected to make a full recovery – thank God!

In the midst of these health challenges, I was offered and accepted the temporary Sabbatical Minister position at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland and have recently begun serving in that role. After almost four and a half years at Starr King School for the Ministry, responding to my calling to build the fiercest, counter-oppressive, multi-religious, and Unitarian Universalist student body possible, I knew my calling was complete and Spirit was calling me to new endeavors. This means I will need to take a break from community ministry while I serve this congregation. I may, however, return to community ministry when this position ends in the summer. At the moment, the future beyond the summer is unclear.

It has been a great joy to serve UUCB and Starr King over the past several years. I have so many wonderful memories of Community Ministry Sunday, new member nights, chapel services, and consultation with membership, outreach, and staff. In your support of my ministry at Starr King, you also helped me to recruit, prepare, and educate the next generation of religious leaders. It has been a wonderful relationship that has hopefully helped to strengthen the bonds between these two communities and create possibilities that may not have existed before.

My hope is that I may be able to return to community ministry after this Sabbatical Ministry but I await the call of my Beloved to whatever service I may be called in the coming weeks and years.

I wish you blessings of unexpected abundance, holy wisdom, and radiant joy in this new year!

With Love and gratitude,

Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae

Buildings and Grounds Committee

Chair Larry Nagel is recuperating at home from medical treatment, and I am filling in as best I’m able until he can resume the work. As I’m fairly new to the Committee, this has been with heavy reliance on info from Larry and other longtime Committee members.

Our primary work this month has been the prioritization of urgently needed building maintenance, confirming costs, and conveying this information to the Board of Trustees and to the congregation.

The following repairs are urgently needed:

  • Restoration of the Safir Room
  • Repair of rafter tails (main building)
  • Exterior painting and caulking (main building and Safir wing)
  • Replacement of skylights (main building)
  • Mold investigation and remediation in the RE building

These projects together are estimated to cost $758,000. Why are these projects deemed urgent? In the case of the Safir Room, the room cannot be used until repaired, and we are losing rental income due to its unavailability.

The other items impact the integrity of the building. The longer we delay, the more expensive is the damage, and the higher the eventual costs would be. These things need to be done ASAP.

We have been asked by the Board to inform the congregation of the scope of work needed, the costs, and the reasons for doing it quickly. As of this writing, our intention is to educate the congregation in preparation for the January 28 special congregational meeting to allocate funds for the repairs.

If funds are allocated, we are prepared to move quickly on the Safir Room, and as soon as prudently possible on the other projects.

Respectfully submitted after consultation with Larry,

Susan Lankford, Interim Chair

Report on Special Congregational Meeting

On Sunday afternoon, January 28, the congregation voted to approve the motion authorizing expenditures of up to $758,000 from Board Designated Endowment earnings for the projects listed above. Although condition number 4 was deleted from the motion, the intent will remain to do some major fundraising to replenish as much as possible of this amount and to continue moving toward financial sustainability.

Coordinating Team Notes

schmidt deborahDeborah Schmidt, Coordinating Team Convener

The CT wishes to acknowledge the difficulty of the conversations all of us have been having lately about our church finances, building maintenance, and planning for a sustainable future. We are very grateful for your dedication and commitment in showing up for these hard but necessary discussions. Our ultimate reward will be a plan for a sustainable path forward.

In this context, the CT has begun, with our treasurer, Mary Muehlbach, to engage in careful, earnest planning for next year’s budget. Our commitment is to at least a balanced budget, with a possible surplus. This will probably mean some cuts which will affect all of us.

Thanks to Mary Ellen Morgan and Lenore Ralston, accounting for the last capital campaign is now complete. This has been reported earlier, but recent questions have prompted us to make this information available to you. We raised nearly $840,000. Owing to increased construction costs and expenses required for ADA compliance, we were not able to complete all the projects on our wish list. But we were able to reroof the main building, create a beautiful new terrace, and pay for tree removal. The document 12-13 Capital Campaign Expenses is now available on our website.

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

Gail Simpson, Convener

Let me begin my term as Convener by inviting you to learn more about us. The Program Council is composed of lay leaders representing nine major program areas at UUCB. Almost anything you value at the church is affiliated with one of these program areas. (Let me know if you agree or not!) So take a moment to familiarize yourself with our team: Social Justice (Beth Jerde), Music/Arts (Gail Simpson), Adult Education (Lonnie Moseley), Family Ministry (Robin Cooper, Suzette Anderson-Duggan), Membership (Paul Hudson), Pastoral Care (Barbara Cullinane), Buildings & Grounds (Larry Nagel), Communications (Ann Harlow), and Rev. Christian Schmidt joins us as an ex-officio member representing Worship.

Two years ago, our Interim Minister urged each of us to create a personal “elevator speech” that distills our passion for UUCB. I worked hard to come up with one that satisfied me: UUCB is a place where people find a lifetime of support for discovering and pursuing their calling to make the world a better place.

I now face the challenge of creating an elevator speech that describes the defining work of the Program Council, especially as it relates to the Board of Trustees and their administrative arm, the Coordinating Team. I haven’t got the speech yet, but let me know what you think of this metaphor:

The Board of Trustees consists of your democratically elected representatives, charged with visioning, fiscal obligations and policy. The Program Council is more like the housemate who takes responsibility for organizing household events and chores. We work for the well-being of our diverse “residents” by coordinating, communicating, housekeeping and reminding people to share.

Social Justice News

Sheldon Jones, Reporter

From the January Potluck/Meeting:
SJC members with Helen Toy’s leadership organized to march as a contingent at the January 20 Women’s March in Oakland.

Jane Eisenstark led us in looking at where we are in looking at racism. It was mentioned that white people and people of color process racism differently and so, we have two different caucuses that will first meet separately and then together, beginning on Sunday, February 25.

From the Literature, Film and Drama Contingent:

After reading the UUA’s 2017-18 common read Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, the Social Justice Council’s Literature, Film and Drama Contingent held a lively discussion in January. Following memories of parents taking us along as they voted, being the first to desegregate a school, running for class president, putting up posters, family civics lessons, canvassing and stepping out onto the streets, resisting order, and many other stories, a rich mosaic of democracy in action took hold. Switching to challenges facing democracy today, including the large amounts of money in politics, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and needing to rethink democracy and its relationship to freedom and community brought a more somber, realistic tone to the discussion. We ended on a hopeful note with people calling for building democracy through creating community, whether that’s knocking on doors, creating a sanctuary church, and many other ideas. The LFDC will continue the discussion of Daring Democracy and return to The Obama Inheritance on February 4 at 12:30 in the Fireside Room.

Partner Church Committee News

partnerchurchStephanie Ann Blythe, Reporter

As we UUs celebrate the 450th anniversary of the Edict of Torda, proclaiming religious tolerance throughout Transylvania, we tend to forget that it was in practice for only a few scant years. Last month I noted how the Hungarian Unitarian Church’s embrace of marriage equality lasted but a few years. If we tend to view our partnership with Homorόdύjfalu in idyllic terms, we need only glance at the world news section of our favorite news source and find new stirrings of ethnic conflict in Transylvania. We would be foolish to think that the village is isolated or somehow immune from events outside its bucolic valley. Indeed, on some of our visits we have been told “It’s not a question of if, but when” in regard to civil conflict.

The Szekelys, who are the largest subgroup of ethnic Hungarians in Romania, are making new demands for autonomy, and they unfurled the Szekelyfold flag before the Romanian Embassy in Budapest to make visible their demand. The Romanian Prime Minister’s response was “If their flag flies, they will fly next to it.” Our villagers are Szekely, and they live in the very heart of the Sekelyfold, the native region seeking autonomy. I don’t know enough about the situation to advise the UUCB community whether to lend active support or not. But I will encourage you to support our Village Education Fund, as it is the best way to give the people of Homorόdύjfalu the means to thrive in a complicated, changing world.

Your Transylvanian Partner Church Committee is fully committed to maintaining a thriving relationship with Homorόdύjfalu. Please join us in this quest. Feel free to ask Stephanie Ann Blythe or Anne Greenwood for more insight into the very complex situations surrounding our partners.

Music Matters

baker bryan

Bryan Baker

February has two special musical events, in addition to the music of Sunday morning services. FIrst up is chocolate! LOVE SONGS & CHOCOLATE. Chocolate and Love Songs together again: Mmmmm. Beguiling love songs from opera to jazz, Broadway to pop, in a cabaret-like setting, interspersed with a rich variety of tasty treats. Fun, romantic, sweet, uplifting. Saturday night, Feb. 3 at 7:30 and Sun. afternoon, Feb. 4 at 1 pm, in the Social Hall.

This second event highlights collaborations: Social Justice and Music and Arts create a film; UU Berkeley/Kensington and UU San Francisco join together to sing with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra. The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is a powerful work, an hour long, written after the Kosovo war and honoring the hope for a peaceful new century. Karl Jenkins composed beautiful and exciting music, with the ancient “l‘homme armé” tune as a unifying musical element. A blockbuster on the East Coast and in England, its strong musical and human message of grief and hope resonates strongly with audiences. People from Social Justice and Music are working together to create a film to go with this work, and I think the visual and musical combination will prove profoundly moving. Every time there is another event like the attacks in Las Vegas or Manchester or Orlando, or terrifying rhetoric between the US and North Korea, or when I read of the situation in Yemen or see video of what remains of many cities in Syria, I feel a sense of helplessness, of what can I possibly do? And then I feel especially grateful for the chance to do an event such as this where we can, at least, sing our hopes for peace.

You can experience this event on Saturday, February 24th at 8 pm in the sanctuary. The Kensington Symphony Orchestra, choirs from Berkeley and San Francisco, soloists Marcelle Dronkers, Megan Dibble, Rod Lowe, and Richard Fey; Bryan Baker conducting. Tickets at the door: $20 general, $15 for students; no one turned away for lack of funds. This is a fundraiser for the UUCB general fund.

Yours in harmony,

Bryan

Reminder from the Endowment Committee

Make your legacy gifts count even more! Thanks to a challenge grant from the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, 10% of your bequest to UUCB (or any qualifying UU organization, including Starr King, UU Service Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Association) will be matched, up to $10,000 per gift. This means, for example, leaving $50,000 to UUCB in your will, charitable gift annuity, or other planned gift would generate an additional $5000 to UUCB, payable in 2019 and 2020 regardless of whether or not UUCB had yet received the gift. Download forms and get more information at wakenowourvision.org/, or by contacting your Endowment Committee, endowment@uucb.org.

Poetry

[Editor’s note: Each of these poems included indented lines, but I am finding it too difficult to make them work in the HTML coding. If someone would like to volunteer to help with HTML, please email me. All UUCB poets are invited to submit poems to beacon@uucb.org. ]

OATMEAL

We fold into mush
dried cranberries, oat bran,
slivered almonds,
half-&-half and honey.

When we briskly stir,
lumps yield like kisses,
heat vapors warm hands,
eyelids.

Spoons chime merrily
on myriad-type bowls.
Oatmeal upholds us
like fine literature and love.

© Claire J. Baker

 

SANCTUARY ILLUSION
(from where we sat)

The first Sunday
of the new year
when Bryan played
classical jazz on
grand piano in chancel,

the chalice flame
rising higher in
sanctuary appeared aligned
with Bryan’s keyboard
igniting his notes.

© Claire J. Baker

 

CATCH AND RELEASE

The pundits say that
we are in the time
between time
Which makes me wonder
what I’ll be taking
with me to the next
time zone
And sure do hope I have
some questions answered
before then.

For instance … is the light
sequestered in each
drop of dew
Loosened in the eternal
catch and release of
life, to perhaps
Come back as
the blue of a robin’s egg
or an infant’s first breath?

Just wondering.

© Gerry Keenan

 

MISS DICKINSON

Miss Dickinson has spoken of a line,
Between the Here and some vast nameless There,
Which might be Death or God or Empty Air,
By turns dark, light, infernal or divine.

A bird, a grave, a twilight is a sign,
That points to Someone, Something off somewhere.
You stand and listen, wait or only state.
How can you see what you cannot define?
You tilt your head and suddenly you see!

Of course! That’s it! How could you be so blind?
It was right there before you every day!

It’s only …
It’s only …
It’s only there is nothing you can say.

© Ray Nelson


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 the 15th of the month. Questions? Please email beacon@uucb.org.

WEB SITE: http://uucb.org

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS:

To subscribe to the email version of this newsletter or “The Week Ahead at UUCB,” email administrator@uucb.org. You can also find both newsletters at the uucb.org website under “News.”

UUCB general discussion list: http://groups.google.com/group/uucb_discuss/about

Email list for families: Email family.ministry@uucb.org