Windows Weekly November 22, 2018
Albany UU Windows Weekly
Welcome to Windows Weekly, Albany UU's central source for news and updates. Have a safe and delightful Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

W e welcome everyone. Our Unitarian Universalist community seeks truth and deeper meaning, pursues justice through inspired action, and cultivates compassion and love for all connected by the web of life .
Sunday Service 10:00 AM
November 25, “The Sabbath of Humanity,” Joe Paparone

Sabbath is often understood as a time of rest, but material injustice means some people never get to rest. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus confronts the rules and rhythms of Sabbath and reframes Sabbath as a justice vision for society

Joe Paparone is the lead organizer of the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS, and Coordinating Committee member of the NYS Poor People’s Campaign. His work involves organizing faith communities, labor unions, and community groups in the struggles for racial, social, and economic justice. A life-long New Yorker, Joe lives in Albany with his wife Lesley and their dogs, Artax and Nym. He is currently pursuing ordination in the Mennonite Church USA.

Music : Richard Porterfield with piano music of Leoš Janáček and Ruth Crawford Seeger

The hymns we will be singing are:

HYMN 347: “Gather the Spirit”
HYMN 391: “Voice Still and Small”
HYMN 360: “Here We Have Gathered”
HYMN 411: “Part in Peace”

Here is a place you might find the words to our hymns.
Sunday Services
10:00 am

December's theme: Mystery

December 2, “Mystery: Of the Light,” Rev. Sam Trumbore
Just how did that lamp oil that was supposed to last for only one day actually last for eight? How do we encounter mysteries in our lives that seem to violate what we know, or think we know, to be true? How open are we to making room for the new possibilities?

Music : Albany UU Choir sings Hannukah songs in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew.

December 9, “Mystery: Of the Conception,” Rev. Sam Trumbore
Christians believe that Jesus was conceived through a divine interaction that happened between Mary and God. This was an acceptable idea at the time, less true today because of what we now know about how reproduction works. Can the story still be true even though the science says it can’t? Can UU’s hail Mary as full of Grace?

Music: Guest Artist TBA

December 16, “Mystery: Of the Skit”
Just about every Christmas pageant has a few mistakes and miscues. The costumes are non-optimal. The animal hats look a little funny. Yet, in some mysterious way, it still almost unfailingly moves people deeply as they gather together with their children to reenact Jesus’ birth.

Music: Albany UU Choir and String Quartet led by Richard Porterfield

December 23, “Mystery: Lessons and Carols,” Rev. Sam Trumbore
Join us on an interpretive journey through lessons, readings and carols about Christmas. This approach was inspired by the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, celebrated for the past 100 years in the Chapel of King’s College in Cambridge.

Music: Seasonal Carols 

(Monday) December 24, “Mystery: Of the Song,” Rev. Sam Trumbore
Candlelight Christmas Eve Services (6:00 and 8:00 PM, in the Sanctuary)
This is the 200th Anniversary of the song Silent Night.  The song powerfully engages the mystery of why God would choose this time, this place, and this child to be God’s agent in the world to bring a message to us. Our response will not be analysis, not be skepticism but rather wonder, awe and gratitude.

Music: Albany UU Choir led by Richard Porterfield with Chris Jensen, associate conductor; music of Daquin, Victoria, and Vader & Rouse

December 30, David Weissbard, service information TBA


Focus Food Pantry
Please consider a contribution to the Focus Food Pantry on Sunday. There will be an envelope in the order of service for your check or cash. Thanks for helping!

Planning for weather emergencies
In the event of severe weather, a decision to cancel Sunday morning RE classes will be publicized by 9:00 PM Saturday.

A decision to cancel Sunday meditation and the service will be publicized by 8:00 AM Sunday.

The cancellation of all other classes, programs and meetings depends on a decision by the chairperson. We hope to receive information enabling a cancellation announcement two hours before the event start time.

Notice of cancellations will be by email sent through Constant Contact.

Office Hours
On Thursday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 23 the Albany UU office will be closed. We will see you at 9:00 am on Monday, Nov. 26! 

Holiday Bazaar Helpers Needed  
We need volunteers to help price items and set-up tables on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10 am. We also need people to sell at the craft table after the service on Sunday, Dec. 2 and 9. There will be a sign-up sheet for Bazaar workers on the bulletin board in Channing Hall. If you have questions, please contact Sigrin Newell at 518-439-6705 or

Drop off Finished Crafts for Holiday Bazaar
If you are donating your handmade craft items to the sale, please place your items in the box labeled ‘Crafters’ Box’ on the top right shelf in the coatroom by Friday, Nov. 30. You may also drop off your crafts at Albany UU between 10 am and 12 noon on Saturday, Dec. 1.  

Calling All Albany UUs of Color!
The Inclusivity Team is considering hosting a local or cluster gathering to support UUs of Color. In order to gauge interest, if you identify as a Person of Color, we would love it if you would share your thoughts on whether you would be interested in attending such an event, and/or any thoughts as to topic of discussion whether focused or informal, and any other ideas for the gathering welcome. Please send email to Annika Pfluger (

Warmth for the Homeless
It's that time again to gather blankets, sleeping bags, and warm coats, etc. Please put them in the bin in the coatroom to be given to those who are homeless. Thank you for helping.
Sunday Schedule

9:00 AM
- Mindfulness Meditation, Sanctuary

9:45 AM
- Nursery/Toddler Rooms open

10:00 AM
- Sunday Service, Community Hall
- Programs for Children and Youth

11:00 AM
- Coffee Hour, Channing Hall

11:30 AM
- Artist Reception, Channing Hall

11:45 AM
- Green Sanctuary Committee, Room B-7
- Governance Working Group & Nominating Committee, Room B-8

Quick Links

Sign up for a class or event

- Send and email to:
- Sign up at the Sign Up Site in Channing Hall
- Call the church office, 518.463.7135
If childcare is offered for the event, please let us know you need it when you register, including names and ages of children.

Board of Trustees 2018-2019



Ex-officio Members
Sam Trumbore, Minister
Jim Hutchins, Chair, Religious
Education Council
Matt Lesniak, Chair, Social Responsibilities Council

Elected Officer (not on Board of Trustees)
Seth Edelman, Assistant Treasurer

Rev. Sam Trumbore,  

Church Administrator
Tammy Hathaway,

Director of Religious Education and Family Ministry
Leah Purcell,

Music Director
Dr. Richard Porterfield,

Music Associates (volunteer)
Randy Rosette, Chris Jensen

Administrative Assistant
Sapphire Correa,

Religious Education Assistant
Elizabeth Baldes,

Lead Youth Adviser
Tracey Hickey

Izzy Wright

Snow Removal Tech
Quintain Murray
Sam's Outlook
Not Knowing What You Don’t Know

Maybe you’ve seen this pie chart divided into three sections. The tiniest section is what we know we know. I know how to walk and talk. I can (mostly) care for myself and relate effectively to others. Because of my education, I know a fair amount about history, psychology, math, and science. I can program and troubleshoot computers with some level of proficiency (or at least I used to). I know a lot about Unitarian Universalism and how to be a minister.

The next bigger wedge is labeled what we know we don’t know. I am only fluent in English so there are many languages I know I can’t speak or understand. There is a whole lot of math, physics and chemistry that I don’t know or have forgotten. There is an enormous amount music I’ve never heard and numerous books on my kindle I haven’t read or only read the sample content I downloaded. I’m aware of the vastness of what I don’t know that I would like to know – if only we could design a brain-machine interface so I could just download it all into my brain like what happens in science fiction.

The biggest of the rest of the pie is all that I don’t know that I don’t know. I can’t even describe what that might be because I don’t know what it is. When I was in elementary school I didn’t know calculus and differential equations were a thing. Neither had I any idea about quantum mechanics or quarks. Think about what people didn’t know they didn’t know two or three hundred years ago! Even more troubling is what people two or three hundred years from now will know – and will be looking back on us as primitive ignorant fools.

And even then there are limits to what it is possible for us to know. I think about that as I sit out on a clear, crisp summer night in some very dark place and look up at the stars. Most of what I see is very, very far away, a distance measured in light years. There are spectacular events happening out there thousands of light years away that will not be known by our astronomers’ tenth or twentieth generation of grandchildren. It will take that long for the first light to reach us that will let us know something happened.
We could be the vanguard of life in the universe. Or life could be evolving in hundreds if not thousands of places just in our galaxy. There may be perfected life forms out there who have answered all of life’s most persistent questions. And they can’t tell us about it because they are just too far away. Or maybe their spacecraft are on their way now. On the other hand, there could be predatory life forms out there just waiting for the first radio transmissions from us. Once they figure out how to decode our television signals, they will see how tasty we are, then decide to come find our planet by following those signals as a homing beacon … and eat us.

There are vitally important questions that perplex us like the meaning of life, the existence or non-existence of a supreme deity, whether there is life after death or some kind of continuity of existence between reincarnated bodies. But we may be asking the wrong questions or framing those questions in ways that isn’t helpful, useful or satisfying because we don’t know what we don’t know.

Even asking these important questions at all might be part of the problem. Embedded in them is fear that we are either missing out on something important we should be doing or we are doing something that we should NOT be doing. There is no rest for the weary Christian striving to build heaven on earth following the guidance of Jesus. Jews are commanded to follow the law and repair the world. Muslims strive to surrender their will to Allah. Buddhists seek to awaken, be liberated from suffering and then save all beings.

And still, we will not know what we don’t know. There is no escape from not knowing. And some of what we don’t know could help, harm or both. There is just no way to remove deep mystery from every day of our lives. That mystery is so large is engulfs everything we know and know we don’t know.
So how do we live without knowing, recognizing that what we don’t know is as likely to harm us as help us? One look at a black hole tells us the universe is anything but benign.

The best answer I’ve got is letting go of knowing-it-all as a life goal. That doesn’t mean letting go of advancing my knowing and expanding that first sliver. There are clear benefits to knowing more – a reason our brains are so big. Life values the expansion of knowing for improving the odds of survival of any life form. Just recognizing that you don’t know what you don’t know creates a little humility and openness to others, and a willingness to learn. That too has evolved a powerful tool in us called curiosity and interest that helps advance our knowing. That has been a successful survival strategy too.

So as we consider the theme of “mystery” this month, I recommend not fighting with it or resisting it. Just let the mystery be and dance with it. You just might learn something!
                                                                                                               Rev. Sam

More from our blogs:

Calendar of Holiday Events

Sunday, Dec. 2
11:00 am  Holiday Bazaar , Channing
11:45 am Pageant Part Selection , Room 26

Sunday, Dec. 9
11:00 am  Holiday Bazaar , Channing
                Tree Decorating , Channing
11:30 am  Pageant Rehearsal , Community Hall

Sunday, Dec. 16
10:00 am  Multigen service with the Pageant , Community Hall
1:00 pm  Caroling

Saturday, Dec. 22
4:00 pm  Multigen Winter Solstice Celebration , Channing

Sunday, Dec. 23
10:00 am  Multigen Christmas service , Community Hall
11:00 am Holiday Music Jam! Channing

Monday, Dec. 24
6:00 pm  Candlelight Christmas Eve service , Sanctuary
7:00 pm  Cookie Reception , Channing
8:00 pm  Candlelight Christmas Eve service , Sanctuary

Invitation to a conversation
The Albany UU Board of Trustees has announced its intention to involve the congregation in a discussion of "What would it look like for Albany UU to be a good neighbor?" Its announcement stated that the Board believes that a sharper focus and greater intentionality will allow our congregation to make a more significant positive impact "on our community, our neighbors, and the world." 

Over the past year, the Governance Work Group has been talking with the Board about a new vision of how our congregation will govern itself, one that will enable the Board to focus on such important questions about our future.

The Governance Working Group has also been meeting with several committees and individuals as it works on this new governance structure. We now invite everyone to a presentation about what we have done so far. On Sunday, Dec. 9 at 11:30 AM following the Service, we will meet in Room B-8 with everyone interested. We also want to hear comments and questions from everyone.  Please come to hear a brief presentation, followed by a Q & A with the Governance Working Group.
Artist Reception
Come to Channing Hall and view the art of November’s feature artist, Janet Tanguay. Her mixed media paintings include recycled items. You can meet Janet at a reception this Sunday Nov. 25 during coffee hour. Learn more here .

Getting to Know UU: orientation to UUism
Saturday, Dec. 1, 8:45 am-noon
We invite you to join us for "Getting to Know UU" to learn about Unitarian Universalism and about our congregation. Learn more  here .

Holiday Bazaar and Pie and Soup Sale
Sunday, Dec. 2, during Coffee Hour
Come shop for one of a kind hand crafted items perfect for holiday giving. This will be your chance to stock up on your favorite homemade jams, soups and pies. Find more information here .

Pageant part selection, Dec. 2
If your child would like a part in the pageant this year, come to Room 26 at 11:45. The roles include Mary, Joseph, royalty, shepherds, barn animals, and angels, plus narrators. Learn more here .

Holiday Tree decorating
Sunday, Dec. 9, during Coffee Hour - please note date change from previous publications
Join in the making of simple ornaments and decorations to decorate the tree in Channing Hall. You can also bring an ornament to donate to the tree.

Game Night and Potluck
The Religious Education Council will host a Game Night and Potluck on Friday, Dec. 7 . Potluck dinner starts at 6 PM. Games start at around 6:30 PM. Find more information here .

Walker Book Group
Join the Walker Book Group for a potluck and discussion on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 5:30 pm in Channing Hall. Bring your favorite dish to share and a small contribution to cover beverages. We will discuss Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I. , By David Grann. Find more information here .

Solstice Celebration
Saturday, Dec. 22, 4:00 pm, Channing Hall
All are welcome - this is an event that children can join in. Bring drums and noisemakers if you have them. Bring finger food, if you're able, for our gathering afterwards.

 Holiday Music Jam!
The annual Albany UU Holiday Music Jam will take place on Dec. 23 during coffee hour.  The event is multi-generational, multi-level, and multi-instrumental. Learn more here .
Sunday Volunteers
Would you like to be involved in the Sunday service in a more meaningful way?
Visit Sunday Hospitality Sign Up to find out about the ways you can volunteer on Sunday morning. We thank you and could not do what we do without YOU!
-Leah Purcell, Director of Religious Education (RE) and Family Ministry,

Keep up with what's happening for children and youth (including high school and jr high weekend “cons” in November) and resources to support parents and caretakers at home by
checking out Leah's RE Newsletter!

Check out the interactive bulletin boards for children, youth and adults in Channing Hall and the 2nd floor and basement hallways – and make a contribution!

Nursery/Toddler Room opens at 9:45 for children and infants under 2 years old

This is a regular session of Sunday school groups this week.

Children in grades Pre-k through 7 th grade will start in the service in Community Hall with their families and go to their regular groups until 11:20.

Youth in Grade 8 and up meet for their groups starting at 10:00

An RE highlight from last week:

The 4 th /5 th grade group the Kick-Butt Unicorns, welcomed a visitor and everyone learned to tie a sailor’s knot as a way to connect to the story of story of Joseph Tuckerman, a Unitarian minister who founded the practice of social work in America and created the organization which is now the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry
-Matt Lesniak, SRC Chair, email

SRC Recommends the following:

For the past 7 years, Albany UU has provided meals for one evening every two weeks for Albany's Overflow Homeless Shelter , located at the Lutheran church a few blocks away. This year, a new coordinator is needed for the Overflow Shelter Meals. The meals need to be delivered by 6:30 PM on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month, from November until mid-April. The meals are to serve 25 people, and they consist of an entree, salad, and dessert (the former coordinator also included rolls or bread as an extra). Some parts of the meal can be made ahead of time, and brought together and delivered on Monday. This is a BIG volunteer job, but advice is available from the former coordinator, and there is a list of other Albany UUs who aided last year. Also, Matt Lesniak can be available for as many as half the Mondays to help. Contact Matt at (518) 496-3760 or if interested or for more details.

Be sure to stop at the Social Responsibilities (SRC) Table in Channing Hall or check out the SRC bulletin board for more information about social action.

Green Sanctuary's Tip of the Week!
Practicing Our Seventh Principle:
Carry around a couple of plastic containers in your car to use for "doggie bags" when those restaurant portions are too big.
To share your Joy or Sorrow with our Albany UU community, you may submit it on a yellow card during the service or by using our online form.

Julie Lomoe had surgery for a subdural hematoma at Albany Med on October 30. After three days in Intensive Care, she was transferred to Schenectady Center for rehab. She's recovered faster than expected and is now home.

Need to Talk? Albany UU Pastoral Care Associates are here to listen!
Our Pastoral Care Associates have been trained in compassionate listening skills and are available to all members and friends of our congregation. To contact a Pastoral Care Associate, email: , contact Rev. Sam Trumbore , the Albany UU office at 518.463.7135, or one of them personally. They are: Chuck Manning, Phil Rich, Randy Rosette, Sandy Stone, Lisa Barron, Donna Meixner, Dee VanRiper and Sharon Babala.
Regular events and meetings
Check Windows Weekly for changes to date, time and location. 

11:45 PM Inclusivity Team (1st)
5:30 PM       Walker Book Group (2nd)
11:45 AM      Social Responsibilities Council (3rd)
11:45 AM      Green Sanctuary Committee (4th)
6:15 PM        Religious Education Council (1st)
10:00 AM      Philosophy Discussion (weekly)
1:00 PM        Bridge (weekly)
7:00 PM        UU Humanists (3rd) - Nov. only
10:00 AM      Projects & Quilts (weekly)
7:00 PM        Choir Rehearsal (almost weekly)
1:00 PM       All Sides Considered (1st & 3rd)
7:00 PM       Program Coordinating Council (2nd)
7:00 PM       Board of Trustees (3rd)
Going to miss a Sunday?

You can listen to the entire Albany UU Sunday service at home or on your mobile device. The two most recent services are available as MP3 files on the Albany UU member resource website. Here is how to access:

username: AlbanyUU
password: EEthelredBrown405

Our sermon archive (select Ministry/Sermon Archive on the left website menu) has pdf files of sermons texts (when available) and audio files of sermons. You can also request the office put a service on a CD.
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
Parking: Parking is available on the street. On Sundays (and for some special events) Albany UU has permission to use the University at Albany’s Hawley Parking Lot on Robin Street at Washington Avenue.

Office hours
September-June: Monday-Friday, 9:00-3:00
July-August: Monday–Thursday 9:00-1:00


Building use
To reserve a room for an Albany UU activity or to rent a hall or classroom space , for a personal or non-Albany UU activity, contact Administrative Assistant Sapphire Correa (518.463.7135 or ).
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany | 518.463.7135| 518.463.1429 | |