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Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
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January 2021 Newsletter
A Word from the Minister
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Mary Frances Comer
Love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness,
 goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control.

Dear Beloveds,

Welcome to a new year, a new day, and to our January theme of Deepening Consolation! What a blessing to continue this journey with you.

On Sunday we said goodbye to 2020 with our virtual burning bowl (Fire Communion) ceremony and ushered in a new year with the blessing of our prayer cards. Until we meet again in person, perhaps you’d like to write your intentions, wishes, hopes, messages to the universe, or prayers on a...

January's Touchstones Journal: Consolation & Desolation
Click on the image above to read the full journal.
Widening the Circle of Concern image
Study – Discussion Group for Widening the Circle of Concern
January 7th–March 19th on Thursdays (Fridays on the 3rd Thursday of each month) at 7 pm

Dearest Members,
You are invited to join our ministerial intern, Holly Brown for a special discussion group focusing on the UUA Commission on Institutional Change (COIC). The Commission released their report this summer called Widening the Circle of Concern. Over the course of 11 weeks, attendees will explore the report and develop action items that the congregation may be able to implement. The study is open to all members, but will be especially helpful for leaders of teams and committees to be involved. This will be an opportunity for collaboration for all participants as we learn alongside one another and work together with the Social Action Team to implement some of the actions in the larger congregation. The Report says “we must understand that, as a ‘living tradition,’ our faith’s survival depends on its relevance, and relevance depends on accepting and addressing the truth of the findings of the Commission. To fully accept this truth with integrity requires action at every level of our movement.” The study provides the opportunity to discuss and formulate a response/action. The sessions are scheduled for January 7th–March 19th on Thursdays (Fridays on the 3rd Thursday of each month) at 7 pm. Please consider making a commitment to attend all 11 sessions if possible. To learn more about the Commission on Institutional Change and to find the report online visit the UUA website. Contact Holly by email at for more information, questions, or to sign up.
Peanut Butter Jar
New Drop-Off Location for First Sunday Food Drive in Salisbury
Thanks to the Foremans for hosting our new drop-off location for our First Sunday Food Drive in Salisbury. Items may be left at their home (contactless in their garage) from Saturday through Sunday afternoons at 5:15 the first weekend of the month at 200 Sheridan Drive (28144). Thank you for your ongoing donations for this important ministry!

For the University Gathering area, please drop off food directly at your favorite pantry. Our donations help serve a significant homeless population these winter months.
Monday Meditation Discussion
Starting Jan 18th the Monday night meditation group will discuss America's Racial Karma: An Invitation to Heal by Larry Ward.

All are welcome. Contact Pema Tara for more information at 413-358-2626.

Attend by using any of the following options:
Upcoming Newcomer Orientations/Inquirer's Class

Please RSVP to the membership team at if you'd like to attend our next class on Sunday, January 24th at 1:45 pm or if you'd like to schedule a private meeting with our minister.
Save the Date: Friday January 29th at 6:30 Salisbury Gathering Fellowship
All friends and members of PUUC are welcome to attend this Friday night fellowship. We will open with a chalice lighting and reading and then have a time of discussion and check-in.
Fellowship Options
Ethical Explorations
Meeting (online) Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m., this is an open group that collectively choose books, magazine articles, etc. to focus attention on various ethical questions. If you have questions or would like to be added to the group email list, please contact George Bame (

Sunday Morning Interactive Service, 11:00 a.m. (Zoom Room opens at 10:45)
Please note there is no interactive service on October 4th.

Piedmont Meditation Sangha
Monday Night Meditation
Meditation and discussion Mondays at 7 pm.
All are welcome. Contact Pema Tara for more information at 413-358-2626.

Attend by using any of the following options:

Music at Piedmont UU
Virtual Choir Rehearsal
Wednesdays at 7:00 pm
All are welcome! Visit for the complete schedule and Zoom links, or contact

Thankful Thursdays
Thankful Thursdays with Rev. Mary Frances at 12:15 p.m.
Bring your lunch to the computer screen as we dine together and chat. We will begin with a check-in and sharing of something we are grateful for as we seek to focus our gaze on what is right in the world and what we're thankful for in our own daily lives.

Financial Updates

Piedmont UU Church Financial Health: November 2020

Monthly Income   $20,554
Monthly Expense   ($17,492)
Monthly Mortgage Principal Payment ($1,721)
Monthly Cash Flow $1,342

Year to Date Income   $190,854
Year to Date Expense  ($214,201)
Year to Date Mortgage Principal Payments ($18,674)
Year to Date Cash Flow  ($42,021)

Part of the income deficit you see is Covid-19 related (for example, significant loss of rental income or families whose income has been affected.) If you are able, please consider helping us bridge the gap during this time of pandemic.To contribute to the financial health of our congregation, click here to make a donation now. Again, thank you for your commitment of Beloved Community.

Collection Plate
This Month's Shared Offering Plate
Crisis Assistance Ministry Logo
January's 50/50 Plate Recipient — Crisis Assistance Ministry

The mission of Crisis Assistance Ministry is to provide assistance and advocacy for people in financial crisis, helping them move toward self-sufficiency. Learn more about Crisis Assistance Ministry by visiting their website.

The Shared Plate partner for the month receives 50% of undesignated/non-pledge offerings. You can support our Shared Plate partners even when we aren't meeting in person via the website. Select Give Now under the generosity menu and select "plate collection" for the fund.Thank you for your generosity!
Interactive January Services
Sunday Schedule:

Attend by using any of the following options:

View services from previous Sundays via our video channel.
Sunday, January 3, 2021

Fire Communion (Our Annual Burning Bowl Ceremony) — Making Peace and Moving Forward as Individuals and as a Community  
Rev. Mary Francs Comer & Holly Brown
This week we closed the chapter of the former year as we symbolically and virtually burned the prayer cards placed on our prayer stands at Salisbury and University Gatherings from January through mid-March of 2020. We also marked new beginnings by blessing the cards we will use when we are able to resume in-person services. In this interactive service, we invited attendees to write down something to release from the past and something to embrace for the future.
Sunday, January 10, 2021

"You Okay? No, I Mean Really?"
Guest Speaker, Shakeisha Gray
We are pleased to welcome back Shakeisha Gray as our guest speaker. Shakeisha is a candidate for ministry with the UUA and is endorsed by the American Humanist Society as a chaplain. She is in the midst of a year long CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) Residency as a chaplain at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem and volunteers as a certified death doula. Shakeisha will speak to us on the following: "You okay? No, I Mean Really?" We ask this question all the time, "are you okay?" but do we really want the answer, or better yet, when we're asked, do we really want to give an answer? Especially the truth? Shakeisha will explore this question (and others), the answer (and others), from the lens of her work as a hospital chaplain, especially as a hospital chaplain during a global pandemic when so many things have been lost to us. Let's share a moment of pause and reflection to ask ourselves, are we okay? No, really?
Sunday, January 17, 2021

53 Years Later: Combatting Systemic Racism with The Eighth Principle
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
How far have we come in fulfilling the dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and civil rights activists of the 60s? In a culture rooted in white supremacy, today we look at the relationship between Rev. Dr. King's work and The Poor Peoples Campaign under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William Barber. We also consider the call from Black Lives UU to add an Eighth Principle to Unitarian Universalism's 7 Principles.
Sunday, January 24, 2021

When The Mindfulness Bell Rings
Rev. Mary Frances Comer     
How do various religious traditions view consolation versus desolation, and what are the spiritual practices used to navigate these two states of being? At Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh's meditation center, "when the mindfulness bell rings, everyone knows to pause in what they are doing and breathe mindfully three times before returning to whatever they were doing. Just three conscious breaths (B. Pescan)." Today, in this meditative service, we will sound the singing bowl of mindfulness as we look to the poems and prayers of Irish poet, John O'Donahue to quiet our minds and bring us a sense of consolation.
Sunday, January 31, 2021

A House of Desolation
Holly Brown
This week we will consider how hospitality or the lack there of can move us torward or away from a house of desolation. Hospitality is an essential part of creating, maintaining, and deepening connection to one another, to visitors, and to the community.
Piedmont UU Church Covenant of Right Relations
Love is the spirit of this church
and service its prayer. 
We covenant to honor all spiritual paths
with hospitality, 
To assume the best of one another
from our highest selves, 
To dwell together in peace through kindness, 
And to serve others with compassion,
Honoring one another as members of Beloved Community. 
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Quick Links
Piedmont UU Church website: 
Piedmont UU Church blog:
Contact Us: 
Ali Allen, Administrative Assistant — 
Holly Brown, Ministerial Intern —
Rev. Mary Frances Comer, Lead Minister —
Deb Davelka, Congregational Administrator —
Emma Gardiner-Parks, Religious Education teacher —
Sean Glover, Religious Education Lead Teacher —
Kaarin Record Leach, Director of Music —