Beacon on the Hill, June 2019
From the Ministers
From the Board of Trustees
Coordinating Team Notes
Social Justice Council
Partner Church Committee
From the Ministers
While we are only about halfway through 2019, June marks the last month of our church year. And what a year it’s been! Together, UUCB has begun a process to change the way we nurture the spiritual growth of our children, youth, and families. We’ve deepened our support and relationships with our Good Neighbor organizations. We’ve worked together as a community to clarify and sort out our finances. We’ve begun to explore many different paths toward financial sustainability and greater missional focus we could choose to take into the future. And you, the congregation, passed a budget last month for the 2019-2020 year crafted around two main goals: spend within our means and staff for growth in both membership and facility rentals.
In order to budget for those goals, our programs have had to be cut and our congregation’s footprint in our own buildings reduced to make more space available for rent. The monies UUCB will receive from the Veatch Fund (thanks to all those who generously gave to our Endowment during the Wake Now Our Vision campaign) are also being used to subsidize the two new staff positions that will help us move towards membership and financial growth: the Executive Director and Membership Coordinator. The investment of the Veatch Funds into our staff and the cuts to programs and relocation of the Family Ministry office are significant, and yet it is important to remember that they do nothing to address the approximately $2 million in known repairs our facilities will require over the next few years.
We repeat what’s been said many times this year when we say that UUCB is at a pivotal time. The congregation spent a lot of time and energy this year working on how to address a large accumulated deficit. It will take time to replenish those funds, but the plan to address this short-term challenge has been defined and put into place. Now, we urge everyone to turn their attention to larger challenge that remains ahead of us: the state of our Kensington campus and the long-term financial sustainability of our congregation.
One of the biggest mishaps communities make when considering doing something new is to allow fear to limit their imagination. We’ve noticed some of this begin to crop up, especially when the future of UUCB is painted as a choice between growing and maintaining the status quo in our current location or shrinking and selling our campus with our tail between our legs. It’s easy to fall into this kind of dualistic thinking when we are worried about the future of something we love. But the truth is that there are a multitude of possible futures for this congregation, some that would have us transform our current campus and grounds, some that would have us relocate closer to the places where our mission and vision may be calling us to go. Staying on our current campus does not necessarily mean we will grow, and a decision to relocate may very well position our community for more growth than we could ever achieve in Kensington. No path (including the choice to take no action, change nothing) is without risk, and none has a guarantee of success.
This month our worship theme is “beauty” and we encourage everyone to reflect on the beauty of our community and the work we do together to transform lives. The building we occupy as a congregation is but one of many tools our congregation has to use in the service of our mission, vision, and ends. Over time, such tools become appreciated, beloved, even cherished, and yet we owe it to future generations of East Bay Unitarian Universalists to consider carefully how we are using the buildings we have and how and whether a different one might equip us to do better ministry together. Because ultimately, the purpose of our church is not to have one of the best views of the Bay (although that sure is nice), it’s not to preserve a beloved place, it’s to nurture spirits, heal our world, it’s to create loving community, inspire spiritual growth, and encourage lives of integrity, joy, and service. And when we focus on that purpose, when we work together to serve out our shared ministry, it is a beautiful, powerful thing.
Yours in beauty and power,
Kristin and Christian
Worship Services in June
Sanctuary, 11 am on Sundays
Theme for June: Beauty
June 2: The Fullness of Life, Rev. Kristin Grassel Schmidt preaching; Cami Fuller, Worship Associate. Life is so full of change and transition, and that’s part of what makes it so precious and beautiful. Join us for our annual “Tree of Life” service where we recognize and reflect on life’s transitions. This Sunday is also the last Sunday of RE, so we will thank all of the volunteers who have helped us offer incredible religious education for our children and youth over the last church year!
June 9: Lessons in Absence, Zackrie Vinczen preaching; Lee Maranto, Worship Associate. Experiences have a way of persisting beyond the initial contact. I’m sure we’ve all felt a joy or sorrow linger longer than the event that caused the emotion in the first place. This phenomenon of persistence has been aptly called Hauntology by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. In this sermon we will explore the haunting quality of past events and examine the lessons these specters can offer us today.
June 16: Athletic Beauty, Rev. Christian Schmidt preaching; Jim Gasperini, Worship Associate. Join us as we explore the grace, beauty, competition, and triumph of the athletic endeavor. Whether you love sports or hate them, whether you were first-team All-American or never wanted to leave the bleachers, there’s something we can all learn and appreciate.
June 23: Farewell to My Father, Rev. Chris Schriner, guest preacher; Cynthia Asprodites, Worship Associate. Rev. Dr. Chris Schriner, Minister Emeritus of Mission Peak UU Congregation in Fremont, will explore estrangement and reconciliation in the context of gay pride month. Chris earned a Doctorate in Religion from Claremont School of Theology and an M.S. in Family Counseling from the University of LaVerne. He has spoken twice at our Personal Theology forum. In addition to ministry, Chris worked for 25 years as a psychotherapist. He is the author of six books, including Your Living Mind: The Mystery of Consciousness and Why It Matters to You and Bridging the God Gap: Finding Common Ground Among Believers, Atheists and Agnostics.
June 30: Beyond the Eye of the Beholder, Rev. Kristin preaching; Jeanne Foster, Worship Associate. While the way we measure beauty varies across time, culture, and individuals, human beings seem to instinctually try to protect things they think are beautiful. This week in worship we will explore this instinct and the role beauty can play in growing our compassion and moral sensibility.
Good Neighbor for June (sharing our offerings): Youth Spirit Artworks uses art and art-based jobs to empower and transform the lives of homeless and low-income youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25. They currently serve 158 youth from Berkeley and the East Bay. Your offering today will help YSA in their work to use art as a vehicle for self-confidence and paid employment for youth in our wider community. They are planning a Youth Tiny House Village and have launched an Adopt-A-Tiny-House Program, inviting faith congregations and other organizations to individually and as groups pledge to help support completion of a Tiny House. Congregations have the option to contribute financially, to organize volunteers to assist with construction, or both. Jim Acock and Jane Eisenstark are our liaisons with this project.
Summer Forum: Toward a Just World
9:30–10:45 am Sundays from June 2 through August 25
June 2: Youth Spirit Artworks executive director Sally Hindman will talk about Tiny Houses and job skill development for youth 16–25.
June 9: Rev. Dr. Phil Lawson, former minister of Easter Hill Church and co-founder of GRIP, Greater Richmond Interfaith Project, will discuss his 50 years of social activism in Richmond.
June 16: Anna Rabkin, author of From Krakow to Berkeley: Coming Out of Hiding, will read from her memoir about surviving the Holocaust but losing her parents as a young child in Poland and speak about her life as she has “traveled across oceans and through waves of cultural and political change.”
June 23: Nadya Tannous, education & advocacy coordinator at Interfaith Peace-Builders (Eyewitness Palestine) and general coordinator of the trans-national Palestinian Youth Movement, will speak and show a short film.
June 30: Dr. Gail Simpson (UUCB member) worked in Ethiopia on a UN drought relief program 45 years ago. This January she returned to work on a collaboration between Opera Frontier (her company) and Circus Abyssinia. Join Gail, her executive consultant Meseret Daba, and their families for an abbreviated ramble through such topics as: 1) Ethiopian hospitality; 2) how recent political events shaped an opera-circus collaboration (including videos); and 3) creativity and cultural appropriation. Ethiopian coffee will be served.
Sundays, 12:30 pm, Safir Room
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!
June 2: Why doesn’t the US support artists, musicians, poets who feed our souls? – Diane Rusnak
June 9: Open Discussion, 10-minute topics – Lee Lawrence
June 16: Fun Family Stories – Sandy Nixon
June 23: Why do human beings congregate in cities? – Marcia Bates
June 30: Greta Thunberg and Extermination Rebellion – Sherry Fuzesy
Special Events in June
Sat. June 1: Anti-Child Trafficking Seminar – 10 am–1 pm, Social Hall. Did you know that California has one of the highest rates of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth (CSEY) in the United States? And that the Bay Area ranks in the top 5 for metropolitan areas for CSEY in the nation? This seminar is intended to educate attendees on the scope and definition of this hidden crime as well as what we can do about it. Speakers are Lucia Ray-Gullien, Anti-Human Trafficking Program Manager for Community Violence Solutions, and Gordon Jackson, National Director for PROTECT Prevention Education. Childcare will be provided. For more info, please email email@example.com or phone Anne Wardell at 510-932-9034 and leave a message. You are encouraged to sign up to attend on Eventbrite and to tell people you know who work with potentially vulnerable children about this program.
Sun. June 2: Lost and Found Sunday – Please check the Lost and Found tables in the Social Hall for items you or your children may have left behind this year. (And if you are missing serving dishes you’ve brought to potlucks, please check the lower cabinet just inside the kitchen door.)
Sat. June 8 : Junque Sale, 10 am–2 pm, North Parking Lot – Please volunteer to help out if you can (firstname.lastname@example.org). Lots of strong arms will be needed to carry tables and merchandise out between 8 and 10 and to clean up after 2. Help is also needed on Friday afternoon and probably on Sunday. You can bring contributions for the sale between June 2 and the morning of June 8. No bulky furniture or clothing (shoes OK if in good condition). No more than five books per person, and keep in mind that everything should be saleable!
Sat. June 8: Kensington Symphony Orchestra Concert, “Symphonic Scandinavia,” 7:30 pm, Sanctuary ($25, Students & Seniors $20)
Sun. June 9: Youth Spirit Artworks Tiny House will visit our parking lot. (It may arrive the previous day.)
Sat. June 15: Raymond Miles Memorial Service, 2 pm, Sanctuary. All are welcome to celebrate Ray’s life.
Sun. June 16: Mist Tree Moon Circle, 7 pm, Fireside Room. Celebrate the Summer Solstice with a ritual followed by optional potluck snacks. All pagan-friendly or pagan-interested folk welcome!
Sun. June 23: Becoming a Member of UUCB, 12:30–2 pm, Ministers’ Office. If you are feeling UUCB to be your spiritual home, or you wish for more information about what it means to be a Member of UUCB, this meeting will provide an opportunity for you to share your spiritual journey with others (including a minister and other members). You will learn about the benefits and responsibilities of membership and how UUCB lives out its commitment to your spiritual growth and its commitment to taking care of the community. Please join us. Lunch will be served. Contact: Lonnie Moseley, (510) 655-1444, email@example.com.
Sun. June 30: All-Church Potluck Lunch to bring our community together and welcome new members (following a new member ceremony during the service). Please bring food or beverage to share, and introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.
There is a song of resistance from the apartheid in South Africa. The words of this song are “Courage my friend, you do not walk alone, we will walk with you, to sing your spirit home.” As I prepare to leave UUCB and head off to my new church, these words keep echoing through my mind. I find comfort in them and their reminder of the courage that comes from the realization that we are not alone. The courage that is possible when the strength of a community is behind you.
This past year presented a lot of change for Family Ministry and you all faced this change with courage. Often when presented with challenges, we can find it more comfortable to pull away (and draw into ourselves). This past year however, many of you chose to lean into these changes and embrace the possibility of growth that comes from such turbulence.
The reality is that there is more change on the horizon for Family Ministry. The hiring process is still underway for the next Director. We recently moved offices so that our former office could be rented and generate additional revenue. Budget cuts mean we will not have a Program Assistant going forward.
All these things together mean it’s going to take time to adjust. With fewer staff hours to dedicate to administration and program support, priorities will need to be set and expectations will need to shift. The new office space will require a deeper degree of collaboration between Family Ministry and other programs. And the new Director will certainly bring their own skill set and style of leadership.
In addition to all of this, there’s also the work of the R^3 team which is intentionally working to shift the culture of Family Ministry. This team has generated a list of suggestions to be implemented in the years ahead. Changes to make our program relevant to the needs of families and young people in the 21st century.
This is a lot for one program to face all at once, and I know that it can feel a bit overwhelming, but I want to remind you to have courage. Have courage and know that you aren’t alone in this work. Despite all the change and uncertainty, you still have each other.
A message from Mary Lynn:
I wanted to let you all know my last day as Childcare Coordinator will be June 9th. I have so enjoyed working with all of you here. I have especially loved getting to know the children and spending time with them. I’ve seen them grow in beautiful ways. I will miss our time together both playing and learning.
Thank you for your support and for trusting me with your kids.
I wish everyone the best.
Coordinating Team Notes
Deborah Schmidt, Coordinating Team Convener
Guided by the sun, the stars,
the earth’s magnetic field,
she charts an ancient course
for the place where she was born.
Vertex of the echelon,
she breasts the lofty winds,
on a planetary scale.
She brings nothing but herself,
feathers, hollow bones,
and faith that yet another
will come to take her place.
Soon, exhausted, she will slip
back into the vee,
letting a new leader
move forward seamlessly.
Flying in the wake, behind
and just above the last,
she will rest, uplifted,
in the vortex of their wings.
Together they will bring this flock
My term as CT convener ends August 1. We encourage you to come forward to the CT, Board or Nominating Committee with nominations for my replacement. With the hiring of an Executive Director, stabilization of our staffing structure, and possible upcoming changes in the responsibilities of the CT, this post will actually be quite manageable! I am happy to go over specifics with anyone who is interested, either for themselves or for someone else.
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.
From the Board of Trustees
My Congregational Meeting Afterglow
For many months our UUCB members have borne the angst and upset of a barrage of bad financial news, together. Among our many reactions we’ve played “fault tag” and the “blame game” adding bad feelings to the anxiety we were already enduring. Yes, we were tempted by these discordant siren songs. But on Sunday, May 19th, our inner resilience was on display. I want to hug every one of you who stood by your “peeps” anyway despite the frustration of many mangled attempts to understand exactly how we got in our present situation. When normal knee-jerk reactions could easily have been more fractious, angry and damaging, we weathered the height of the storm of upset. I observed that our covenantal relating was real and strong. I left the congregational meeting confident in our capacity to right our ship. I believe that we are on our way. This period of spiritual practice definitely involved some heavy lifting and I believe has left us stronger.
Change is happening. We are navigating through these rapids maintaining the balance of our character with emotional and mental agility pulling nary a muscle. What have we learned that we can feed back into improving our decision and steering processes? I’m thankful that our bonds of caring have proven stronger than the shearing forces of this most trying passage. I’m thanking each of you that stayed Sunday and worked and cared. And whether consciously or unconsciously, held to our covenant and gave a full measure of sweet to a bittersweet gathering.
Social Justice Council
Elected at the Social Justice Council May meeting:
Sheldon Jones, Chair
Norie Clarke, Scribe
Jim Acock, Treasurer
The Social Justice Council is sponsoring a free seminar on Anti-Child Trafficking on June 1 (see Special Events above). Reservations requested.
Come to the 9:30 Summer Forum on Sunday, June 2 to learn about how you can help Youth Spirit Artworks with its tiny house-building project, and see a sample on June 9.
The next monthly potluck and meeting of the Social Justice Council is Sunday, June 9, 6 pm. All are welcome!
LFDC Meeting Recap
There There, by Tommy Orange, proved to be a very compelling story for our group – painful, challenging and eye-opening – as it “…encouraged us to understand and talk about the anger of disenfranchised groups. It provides a platform to draw attention to a problem requiring solutions,” according to Mimi Bull, whom we were very fortunate to have facilitate the discussion. Mimi’s maternal grandfather, David, was the great-grandson of Native American Indian Chief Sitting Bull, according to her mother.
Next up: Elizabeth Rosner will join us on June 2nd to discuss her book Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory. It is exquisite.
Schweitzer Awardees: Raymond Miles, Jane Lundin
Congregational Meeting, May 19, 2019
Posthumous Presentation to Raymond Miles by Lonnie Moseley and Cordell Sloan
Raymond Miles, our beloved friend and dedicated congregant, died last Monday before he could receive in person today’s Schweitzer Award for 30 years of dedication and service to UUCB.
Many of you know that Raymond was the former dean of the Berkeley Haas School of Business. He is famous at Haas for changing the culture and creating a campus that invited the community to participate together with the school. And just like at Haas, this gentle, brilliant man championed community building at UUCB at every turn.
In addition to his wise counsel as a church leader, Ray was Chair of our Capital Campaign Task Force, where he guided us in our deliberations for how to have a successful capital campaign. Always quiet and unassuming, I didn’t know until gathering information for this award that this visionary trailblazer and innovator at Berkeley’s Haas School was also the trusted confidant of many of our church leaders. He generously shared his world-class management, fundraising, and planning talents with us at UUCB.
This is not a eulogy for our friend, Raymond Miles. His Memorial will be here at UUCB on Saturday, June 15 at 2 pm where you will hear about his extraordinary commitment to Unitarian Universalism, his Haas School accomplishments, his community building, diversity commitment, financial management and all-around love for his fellow congregants.
The Schweitzer Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated him or herself to serving this congregation. Raymond, along with his beloved wife, Lucile, were truly dedicated to creating loving community, inspiring spiritual growth and encouraging us to live lives of integrity, joy and service. The day before he passed, Ray was here at UUCB—like he was every Sunday—stalwart, present and dedicated.
Raymond’s wonderful family will now accept the Schweitzer on his behalf.
Presentation to Jane Lundin by Deborah Schmidt
Jane and Bob Lundin attended UUCB’s inaugural service in 1961, and for years afterward they actively attended events here. But it was Bill and Barbara’s first sermon that drew them into membership.
Jane joined the choir in 1999. She has served on the Altar Flowers and Aesthetics Committees and has been active in chalice circles. Since Bob’s death in 2017, one of her key connections to the church has been the chalice circle for the bereaved. Another set of deep connections, this time to other adoptive parents, was forged through Barbara and Bill’s service on adoption.
The Lundins have been generous givers to UUCB and its causes. Jane has also contributed to our auctions, running one and setting up an auction website for us, and hosting many memorable auction events.
Jane has served over twelve years on the UUCB Board. Initially asked by Jean Moore if she would consider board membership, Jane joined the board in 2000. It was a particularly difficult and contentious time for board service, but she stayed on because of John Cahoon, only resigning in 2005 owing to health challenges. Known for her able and concise writing style, she was asked to rejoin as secretary in 2013. As if keeping minutes and tracking documents were not enough, she has stepped up again and again for all kinds of key board-related tasks, especially those where her considerable real estate expertise has been needed: the Land Use Task Force, which became the Asset Management Task Force, instrumental in researching possibilities for leveraging our land assets; the Capital Improvements Oversight Committee, responsible for overseeing the use of congregation-authorized funds for building projects; and securing appraisals for Freestone.
In addition to all of her official service, I have to add that last summer she agreed to cover for me during what I hoped would be an uneventful chapter in the life of this church and ended up putting out fires right and left, including tenant, staff and legal crises.
The minute she termed out as secretary, two new volunteer jobs were proposed to her. She continues to work actively on readying the cottage for new occupancy and has plans to help onboard our new ED and to keep pushing for clear financial reporting. It goes without saying that she will continue to be in demand and, hopefully, enjoy being a vital part of this community. But she says if she looks busy now, you should have seen her three decades ago.
She confesses to sometimes being sharp of tongue, but I for one (and I know I am not alone), coming from a family where the maxim was “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all,” have come to treasure her wisdom and forthrightness, as well as the very big heart behind it all. And, because even in this progressive church sometimes we do not measure up to our aspirations to dismantle sexism, she has been a fabulous model of a very capable and intelligent woman who refuses not to be heard.
Partner Church Committee
Stephanie Ann Blythe
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, and I’m afraid it should be the latter. UUPCC sends out an email to individual and congregational members to say that registration is open for their annual luncheon and business meeting at General Assembly in Spokane. Our office administrator, Alisa, replies to the email asking, “What is UUPCC?” Alisa knows perfectly well that UUPCC stands for the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council. She was subtly pointing out that their email never spelled out the name. Alas, the person at the Partner Church Council who responded to Alisa did not pick up on that. To make things worse, that person then misidentified our own Anne Greenwood, who is running for a second term on the UUPCC Board of Directors. Oy, that hurts!
Okay, so the national group seems to have an identity problem, but I think UUCB’s Transylvanian Partner Church Committee has its own identity problem. One aspect of this is that I often get asked, “When are you going to Transylvania again?” How nice it would be to hear, “When can I go to Transylvania?” Sure, the committee is not always making itself more visible. Anne can’t be at church some Sundays, and I am often busy setting up and running the projector for worship services. Thus, we do not set a table in the Atrium or Social Hall, and Partner Church is invisible for another week. We don’t update the display in the case by the restroom entrance often enough, too.
We have changed our meeting date and time. It is now the 2nd Sunday of the month from 12:15 pm to 2:00 pm in the Conference Room. Let’s make a deal (or a date). The Transylvanian Partner Church Committee will toot its horn louder, and you will come by to check us out on June 9. In the meantime contact me or Anne Greenwood for the latest skinny.
What is an endowment? Why do we have them?
An endowment is a donated fund or source of funds that is set aside and invested to provide a long-term source of income for the church. Often there are restrictions to the use of this gift.
Our by-laws say that the income from such an investment can be used as long as the real value of the gift is maintained. We have two forms of endowment – Donor Designated (Permanent) and Board Designated (the bylaws call it “Quasi”) – a “sort-of” endowment; the use of the “Quasi” endowment is controlled by vote of the congregation.
It is important for the donor of the gift to indicate – in writing – whether the gift is intended to provide income to the church in perpetuity, or to be used as directed by the Board with congregational vote. Our Maybeck Society is a group of members who have said that in their wills they are giving money to the church. They state whether this gift is to go into the Permanent Unrestricted Endowment or into one of the existing permanent endowments restricted to: Theological Education, Religious Education, Building Maintenance, Lawrence Lectures, Armstrong Garden, or Staff Pension Fund. It is possible to create a named memorial fund if the gift is over $25,000 (the amount currently specified by our current investing group, the UUA Investment fund.)
The “Quasi” Fund is enlarged by gifts which do not indicate a purpose.
There is a seven-page small-type Gift Acceptance Policy which boils down to limiting the acceptance of new donor-designated permanent endowments to those which further the mission of the church and are do-able by the committee. For instance, it would be possible for a person to want to institute a memorial of 10K to her husband – The Frank Felixfilia Rescue Mission for Homeless Kittens. The 27 kittens would add a great deal to the Atrium on Sunday morning, but the Endowment Committee might well respond, due to the size of the gift and its purpose (finding homes for kittens), that we really must not accept this gift.
Speak to an Endowment Committee member if you are interested in becoming a member of the Maybeck Society. Lenore Ralston, Ira Nelken, Susan Singh, Grace Ulp
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.
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