September 2020 Newsletter
Piedmont UU Church Chalice Logo
Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
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September 2020 Newsletter
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. 
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Welcome to our 2021 Generosity Campaign and Membership Confirmation!
Click here to pledge online and update your membership and contact information now.

Our theme for 2021 is Finding Our True North. We invite you to pledge as you are able, and if you have any questions about our campaign, please contact us at generosity@puuc.org. One of our team members or our minister will gladly reach out to talk!

Blessings on your journey this week!
Ship sailing on the water
A Word from the Minister
Rev. Mary Frances Comer

“Steer By the Compass of Your Soul”
Dear Folks,

I offer you a warm welcome to a new month and a new monthly theme: Worth and Dignity. September is also the month of our Annual Generosity Campaign and Membership Confirmation during which we gratefully receive your pledges for 2021 so that we are able to plan our budget with integrity and confidence. As you are able, we invite you to consider what amount is right for you. Last week, we mailed the pledge packet which contained a letter from the minister, a new pledge form (which is also online), and a bookmark/ticket to our upcoming Generosity Campaign Gala which will be emceed by our own Director of Music, Kaarin Record Leach. The night will feature...

Ticket to church gala
Touchstones Journal
As you contemplate this months theme, we are pleased to share with you a new monthly offering called Touchstones Journal. You’ll find articles (Rev. Victoria Weinstein’s article is particularly timely), stories, and even a family activity. Each month will offer a quote for each day along with questions for thought and discussion. May this publication nurture your spirit and shore us up as we seek to honor all aspects of our mission.
Music News
Kaarin Record Leach
Kaarin Record Leach
Last month, we introduced a new newsletter feature called ‘Musician Spotlight’ to give you the opportunity to learn more about the musicians in our midst. This month we’re pleased to have Nancy DeLux sharing her story. Interested in being featured? Let me know and I’ll make sure Perry gets the word so he can contact you. In the meantime, please enjoy learning more about Nancy and her musical background!
- Kaarin (kaarin@puuc.org)
Musician Spotlight: Nancy DeLux
I have been an alto in our choir for over fifteen years, and it seems that I am carrying on a family tradition. A cousin discovered a late 1800’s newspaper article stating my paternal grandmother was also an alto in her Universalist choir in Herkimer, New York.

I grew up in the small town of Ilion in central New York where I lived with my parents, sister, and my maternal grandmother. After teaching myself the very basics of the piano, my grandmother decided to pay for lessons. However, singing was not my forte, and as a fifth grader I was told by my teacher that...


Upcoming Newcomer Orientations
If you're a newcomer to Unitarian Universalism or to Piedmont UU Church and would like to learn more about either, or if you're interested in becoming a member, we welcome your participation in this event led by Rev. Mary Frances and Membership Team members. RSVP to the membership team at membership@puuc.org for the meeting details and Zoom link.

  • September 12th at 10:30 a.m.
  • October 10th at 10:30 a.m.
  • November 14th at 10:30 a.m.
  • December 12th at 10:30 a.m.

Other times available by request. membership@puuc.org
Our Small Group Ministry, Chalice Circles, begin this week (deadline for signing up). Register today by via this easy form. Please sign up even if you have verbally committed to your chalice circle so that our records are accurate.

In the past, we have organized geographically, but until we are in a very different place with Covid-19, Chalice Circles will not be meeting in person; thus, geography and time constraints may no longer be an issue for those who've wanted to participate in the past but couldn't. Please note: We encourage Chalice Circle members to switch groups each year to create new connections and get to know more people.

The intimacy of these small groups allows for a deeper level of connection with members of Beloved Community. Our Chalice Circle topics and discussion prompts correspond with the following monthly themes with a focus on Building Beloved Community.
  •   September: Worth and Dignity
  •   October: Emotional Intelligence
  •   November: Spirituality
  •   December: Kindness

Email us at chalicecircles@puuc.org to sign up, and we'll be in touch very soon. Groups will be set up for you automatically through the church Zoom account, and your link will be the same each month. We look forward to seeing you soon. 
Blessed be!
Peanut Butter Jar
First Sunday Food Drives in Salisbury
Let’s keep sharing of our abundance during this time of pandemic by continuing our First Sunday food drives.

For the Salisbury Gathering, please bring your donations to the temple between 10 a.m. and 12 noon on Sunday, September 6th. There will be someone in the parking lot to accept your donations.

For the University Gathering area, please drop off food directly at your favorite pantry.

Thank you for your generosity.
Water bowl and pitcher
We Need YOU and your photos for these two Special Services!

For Our Annual Ingathering Service (Water Communion), we ask that you send in one of the following:
  • Upload a 15-30 second video of your water and its significance (e.g., This water is from my favorite lake which represents serenity, or This water represents the peace I wish for each of you), OR
  • Send in a photo holding up a message of what your water represents OR
  • Send a message to Rev. Mary Frances, and she will pour water in our common bowl, naming the significance of your water. For example, "This water represents the vast oceans and the creatures who live there..."OR
  • Share during our ritual in our chat box, but we'd love some photos and videos from you for this annual event when we pour water from various places into a "common" bowl.
We need these water photos by September 8th to be included in the service. Thank you!
dog and cat
For our Annual Blessing of the Animals Service, please send us photos (with names) of your beloved animal friends and family (with or without you in the photo)! We welcome photos "In memory of" as well.

Our deadline is Monday, September 28th. Following the service during Coffee Hour, we may offer opinions on the cutest dog, the cat most likely to ignore us, or the horse most likely to play the role of a unicorn! This year, ALL of our animals may be "present" to receive our online blessings!

Email photos to contact@puuc.org. Contact the office (deb@puuc.org) for help uploading a video.
Save-the-Date for PUUC's First Ever Online Show and Tell (Zoom and Tell!) — Friday, September 25th, at 7 p.m.
For this first Zoom and Tell, we invite you to bring your art projects, marble collection, your UU birdhouses, your lawnmower carburetor, your pottery, knitting, handmade custom face masks, ceramics, paintings, and whatever other creative joy you can share with us. This is a time for fun, fellowship, wonder, and awe! Bring an OLD or NEW project/painting/or even a magnificent vegetarian recipe you'd like to share. RSVP via this quick form with your name and what you'll be sharing! ALL are welcome!
Are you gifted? Talented? Skilled? Or just excited to share with others?
We're looking for folks to lead some workshops for fellowship, enrichment, and to nurture spirits. Here are some ideas we hope to launch with your help:

  • Clicking-for-a-Cause or Knit-and-Chat - Wouldn't it be wonderful to make baby blankets for members and asylum seekers? Or Care/Prayer Shawls for those ill or bereaved? We can't meet in person right now, but we can certainly cozy up to a computer screen while we knit and crochet together! Please email contact@puuc.org if you're willing to be part of this group and create these items with love to have on hand.

  • May it be Sew! Our MAP (Migrant Assistant Project) focus this fall and winter will be on providing diapers to asylum seeking families in the Charlotte area. We'd love to provide masks for as many as possible at no cost to them. The sky's the limit with a sewing group. We could even design UU masks for sale! Do you sew? Say sew! Let us know! Please email contact@puuc.org if you'd like to take part in this project either short or long-term.
Sign Up for Our Upcoming Anti-racism; Multi-cultural Book Discussion Beginning in September

Our study of See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love by Valarie Kaur begins on September 24th at 7 p.m. 

The group will meet via Zoom as we embark on a 6-week study of this powerful and inspiring book. All are invited to this virtual gathering on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:15 to explore this newly published work by renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer, as she declares that "revolutionary love is the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves." Kaur invites us to see no stranger but instead look at others and say: "You are a part of me I do not yet know...Starting from that place of wonder, the world begins to change: It is a practice that can transform a relationship, a community, a culture, even a nation. See No Stranger is a practical guide to changing the world, a synthesis of wisdom, a chronicle of personal and communal history – all joined together by a story of awakening."

Participants should purchase a book and be prepared to discuss the weekly readings. Discussion questions will be provided, and a journal is recommended to record thoughts and questions as you read. The full meeting and reading schedule will be provided in the September newsletter. The preparation for our first discussion is the following:
  • September 24th—Preface, Introduction, and Chapter 1 (Wonder)

This study is free, and all are welcome! We just need you to RSVP to contact@puuc.org in case we need to schedule more than one study group due to size. 

We invite you to consider purchasing from one of the Black-Owned bookstores found in this Town & Country article.

Please RSVP to contact@puuc.org for planning purposes.
Waldo
Where's Waldo? Auction
Where's Waldo? He's out searching for extra storage space for all the great auction items that have already come in! The Auction may be in November (5th-14th), and it may seem far away, but it will be here before you know it. Thanks to those who have already sent in their auction items. We already have 80 items! You can contact Pat and Doug if you need assistance or ideas @ pat_and_doug_wall@hotmail.com. Fill out our online donation form to donate items.
Stay tuned for information in our October newsletter featuring opportunities to take part in the following:
  • A 3rd Planning a Celebration of Life/Memorial Service Workshop offering with our minister
  • Mapping Your Spiritual Autobiography with Art Workshop/Sharing Group
  • Another "Zoom and Tell" (see description above)
  • And more!
A Thank You from Althea Bernstein

Message from UU Althea Bernstein:
"Thank you. I love you all. Please stay safe. I hope to visit soon!
Love, Althea"
Postcard
Fellowship Options
Sundays
Ethical Explorations
Meeting (online) Sunday mornings, 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 (gbame@pobox.com). The group is currently discussing Every Time I Learn the Meaning of Life, They Change It by Daniel Klein.

Interactive Sunday Services
Sundays at 11:00 a.m., enjoy shared time with others as we watch the service together, chat with one another, and enjoy a virtual coffee hour after the service.
Mondays
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:
Wednesdays
Music at Piedmont UU
Virtual Choir Rehearsal
Wednesdays at 7:00 pm
All are welcome! Visit puuc.org/music/musicschedule/ for the complete schedule and Zoom links, or contact kaarin@puuc.org.

Thursdays
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
Thank you for your generosity during the month of July!

Piedmont UU Church Financial Health: July 2020

Monthly Income   $23,558
Monthly Expense   ($20,373)
Monthly Mortgage Principal Payment ($1,721)
Monthly Cash Flow $1,464

Year to Date Income   $123,470
Year to Date Expense  ($136,266)
Year to Date Mortgage Principal Payments ($11,807)
Year to Date Cash Flow  ($24,603)

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 committment ot Beloved Community.

Collection Plate
This Month's Shared Offering Plate
Migrant Assistance Project

A portion of this Month's Plate Offering Goes to the Migrant Assistance Project (MAP)

We are in our third year of involvement with MAP. As many of you know, during 2018 and 2019, several of our members met asylum seekers at the bus station every Tuesday as they arrived from Texas and passed through to their final destinations with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Sometimes children and babies as well as adults came through in winter without proper clothing or shoes. Out of the goodness of your hearts and through your generosity, we offered warm soup and sandwiches, fruit and snacks to go, clothes, shoes, stuffed animals and toys, as well as basic toiletries. What a blessing you were to each person who passed through. They arrived confused and downtrodden after their time being held in Texas, sleeping on concrete, sometimes being separated from family members, and being fed sometimes only once per day--in spite of reports from the White House that would indicate otherwise. They were caged.

When the current occupant of the White House shut down the borders, the steady stream of asylum-seekers coming through on busses lessened, but MAP continued assisting asylum-seekers who were settling locally. One of the major contributions was diapers, and now the MAP founders, Nikola and Marsha, are asking that this be our focus right now. In a joint effort with Holy Covenant UCC, a neighboring church on WT Harris Blvd., we seek to assist 25 families who have no transportation.

Please give generously to our plate offering this month so that our MAP ministry to refugees continues to thrive. You can donate online anytime, and designate plate offering rather than pledge. Thank you for nurturing the spirits of our refugee neighbors!

Interactive September Services
Please join us at 11:00 am on Sundays. Immediately following the service, we will move into a time of fellowship.

Attend by using any of the following options:
Sunday, September 6, 2020

“Finding OUR True North as a Congregation”
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
A recent sermon titled "Finding Your True North" included a focus on loving ourselves and others with intention as we embark on our individual journeys in the direction of finding our True North. Today we revisit this topic with a focus on "Finding OUR True North together as a Congregation. Today also officially kicks off our Annual Generosity Campaign which includes a testimony from one of our long time members, Helen Gardiner-Parks. Of course, we'll have the usual amazing music and time of fellowship to follow!
Sunday, September 13, 2020

“Our Annual Ingathering & Water Communion Service”
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
The Annual Water Communion service is normally a time of coming back together after summer travels, a time of beginning a new church and school year, and a celebration of our reunion with a shared ritual. Each year, members and friends are invited to bring small amounts of water that hold special meaning (e.g., a favorite location or a special occasion), and during the service we place the water into a common bowl. This year's Water Communion will be virtual but very meaningful as we invite you to send in images or videos of your water and what it represents. (See the separate announcement regarding sending your contribution to the ritual, and thank you for remaining connected and committed to beloved community).
Sunday, September 20, 2020

“The Best Way to Predict The Future”
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Abraham Lincoln said: "The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it." May that be so for us as we plan our new year together! This is the third week of our Annual Generosity Campaign, and our goal is to have every member and friend pledge by next Sunday. If you haven't done so but would like to pledge now, you can use our online form, and you'll be directed to our Generosity Campaign and Membership Confirmation form. Rev. Mary Frances preaches today, and member Carol Armstrong offers a testimony. We will also hear from our choir!
Sunday, September 27, 2020

“Vision 2021”
Rev. Mary Frances Comer
Today we wrap up our 2021 Generosity Campaign as we begin the process of not only "visioning" 2021 but also looking years ahead. Eleanor Roosevelt said: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Today we consider our collective, beautiful dreams as a beloved community.
Community
The "new Reading Rainbow"
Airing on September 1, Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices is a new Netflix show that celebrates children's books written by Black authors, about the Black experience.
Each episode features a Black celebrity reading a book in full, including Lupita Nyong’o, Common, and Tiffany Haddish.
The children's show is hosted by 15-year-old Marley Dias, the creator of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign.

Upcoming Webinars ~ Taking A Collective Breath: Deepening our Alignment with the Movement for Black Lives

UU the Vote, Side With Love, and UUSC are excited to invite you to Taking A Collective Breath: Deepening our alignment with the Movement for Black Lives, a series built around the elements of the BREATHE Act and created in a collaboration between Side With Love and UUSC. The webinars will explore the components of the BREATHE Act and utilize its structure as a way to focus our energies to effectively support ongoing racial justice work. Come learn and build with local and national partners who are shaping conditions to make liberation possible. This is an invitation to locate yourself in this moment as well, we each have a role to play.

The Series:

September 8 at 7pm
Webinar 3: Education: Allocating New Money to Build Healthy, Sustainable & Equitable Communities for All People
Panelists: National Director and Writer Jonathan Stith, Alliance for Educational Justice and Youth Organizers


September 22 at 7pm
Webinar 4: Environmental Justice and Public Health
Panelists: Environmental Justice Advocates and Directors Roundtable


October 13 at 7pm
Webinar 5: Holding Officials Accountable & Enhancing Self-Determination of Black Communities
Panelists: Minister Sheena Rolle, Deputy Director Faith In Florida; Nicole Pressley, National Organizer UU The Vote and Let My People Vote Campaign

Visit the registration page for more information. Thank you!
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Quick Links
Piedmont UU Church website: www.puuc.org 
Piedmont UU Church blog: https://puuc.org/blog
 
Contact Us: 
Ali Allen, Administrative Assistant — ali@puuc.org 
Holly Brown, Ministerial Intern — holly@puuc.org
Rev. Mary Frances Comer, Lead Minister — maryfrances@puuc.org
Deb Davelka, Congregational Administrator — deb@puuc.org
Emma Gardiner-Parks, Religious Education teacher — emma@puuc.org
Sean Glover, Religious Education Lead Teacher — sean@puuc.org
Kaarin Record Leach, Director of Music — kaarin@puuc.org