September 2020

A Note from Council Moderator
Holly Zadra

Usually, as summer wanes and the farmers’ markets fill with produce, I am busy gathering pounds of green beans and sourcing turkeys for the Meeting House’s annual turkey supper. When the nights get colder and the plants begin to draw inward, I usually welcome the signs of the approaching fall as a harbinger of rest. But this year, that impending sense of bundling up for the dark, reflective season ahead brings me a kind of trepidation. The novelty of the virus has passed, and the silver linings of this worldwide pandemic have lost their luster. Fall, for many, harbors seasonal depression that, even in a “normal” year, can be accompanied by isolation. Harvest festivals and celebrations of the changing seasons — those gatherings that buoy the spirit despite the onset of shorter days — must all be done this year within our little Covid bubbles, and for some, those bubbles include only one.

Over the course of the pandemic, many of us have witnessed or personally experienced acute mental health deterioration — and this, in addition to any of the physical ailments already upon us. Some of us have grieved the loss of loved ones; others grieve impending loss made all the more heartbreaking when we cannot come together to celebrate life in death. 

We are a social species. We need one another. Our hearts resonate in rhythm when we coordinate our voices, or our lungs, or our dancing legs.

Though we cannot gather together in person, we can make time to reach out to those we know and love, especially those who might not have family nearby or who live alone. We can still make food for our neighbors. We can still hang out on the porch. Those who are able can walk together and catch up while filling up on fresh autumn air. We can still share life’s troubles and joys over the phone or Facetime. We can find creative ways to offer and receive comfort; we can share project ideas for the winter ahead that help structure our days; we can all practice the art of gentility and love with whomever we happen to meet — even at 6 feet distance.

This year, UUMH will operate with a skeleton crew. Nonetheless, dear Michael Mooney and various Council members will be offering Sunday Zoom calls where we can share joys and concerns, light a candle, and open our hearts and ears to one another. We will be sharing more formal sermons from around the country — even the globe — and we hope that you will find just one more silver lining in this challenging historic moment as we take the opportunity to listen, and learn, and reach out in ways we never quite expected.

It is said that we give comfort and receive comfort, sometimes at the same time... 

Feeling uninspired? Need some helpful hints? Here are Seven Simple and Powerful Ways to Cultivate Comfort https://gratefulness.org/blog/7-ways-to-cultivate-comfort/

Stay tuned for a schedule of upcoming Sunday morning calls. We look forward to seeing you soon.

~Holly Zadra
Council Moderator for one more month



Congregant News


Prayer, mail, & a phone call

Two of our beloved members continue to struggle with health concerns and could always use a friendly note dropped in the mail, a phone call, or a prayer. Reaching out — especially during this time of sometimes crippling isolation — benefits everyone. Stay in touch!

Jan Pratt 
(207) 487-7260
123 RYAN ST, APT 101
PITTSFIELD

Julianne Bousquet
(207) 458-9117
198 BATES ST
PITTSFIELD

Joe Sanborn
A beloved congregant and Pittsfield resident, Joe has suffered 3 strokes over the last several months. He is recovering well and living at Pittsfield Community Care, (554 N. Main Street / 207-487-6889)
and encourages and welcomes socially distant visitors and phone calls!


Upcoming Events

Listening Circles
1st and 3rd Sundays | 10am

We are starting Listening Circles back up, beginning on Sunday, September 20th at 10am. Our first will be a virtual Ingathering, led by our new Worship Team Committee. Michael Mooney will be leading the Circles on the first Sunday of each following month, with congregant led Circles on the 3rd Sunday. Please contact Michael Mooney if you're interested in facilitating an upcoming Circle, and for more info!


UUMH Council Meetings
2nd Thursdays | 6:30pm

Council meets the second Thursday of every month through Zoom. We’re still looking for hearts and minds who wish to help lead. Interested in participating? Email info@pittsfielduu.org for a Zoom link to the meeting. Our next Council meeting is scheduled for October 8th at 6:30pm...


UUMH Annual Meeting Online! 
Sunday, October 18, 2020 | 10am

Along with all the other changes in the world, 2020 marks the first ever online annual meeting of the UU Meeting House.

Each year at the annual meeting, we vote in new Council members and officers and approve the annual budget. In order to conduct business, we require a quorum of members to show up to the meeting, so mark your calendars for Sunday, October 18 at 10am.

Look for a Zoom link and instructions in October’s newsletter.


The Welcome Table Team has been brainstorming...

With our church closed for construction, as well as Covid, the team has been working on some ideas on how The Welcome Table can be brought back to life, within this new framework.

One idea would be passing out a brown bag type lunch, which would be prepared offsite, and then handed out by a volunteer on Fridays.

If you are interested in learning more, have some ideas, and/or are interested in volunteering with this effort, please contact Michael.



UU the Vote News
Recently, we applied for and received a $500.00 "Get Out the Vote - 2020" project grant from the UU Funding Program, funded in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility.

The grant is awarded to congregations in support of their work in "Get Out the Vote - 2020", a non-partisan project to help the public get information they need about registering to vote, and/or requesting an Absentee Ballot. It will be used to support our administrative costs of this effort, and support future voter events.

We have been working with MUUSAN, The Maine League of Women Voters, UU the Vote, and the Maine Poor Peoples Campaign, in efforts to gain Electoral Justice, not only here in Maine, but nationwide.

We have a few folks trained on and using a Text Banking system, which is encouraging registered voters to request an Absentee Ballot for the upcoming November elections. We have attended several of the various organizations online meetings, coordinating our efforts to increase voter registration, voter knowledge, encourage Absentee Ballot requests, and upcoming Electoral Justice events.

We are looking for volunteers to join in on our efforts! There are several ways you can help, ranging from super simple Text and Phone Banking (your private number is never used) to joining us for an upcoming local event we are planning. Contact Michael Mooney for more info on how you can help us Get Out the Vote!
UU Meeting House Building Update

Work continues on our basement...

TC Hafford has recently completed their portion of the sizeable job with the addition of two industrial dehumidification units (see pic), that are directly connected to the new drainage system, and will assist us in keeping our basement dry.


Work will begin soon on the reconstruction of the bathrooms, finishing the stairway and reinstalling the chairlift. We will be installing fire proof doors and sectioning off Kiersted Hall from the bathroom area, potentially increasing the useability of both the hall and the auditorium.

Stay tuned for more construction updates!
 
Want to donate to the effort? 
Help Wanted!
Notes from MUUSAN:

Got a heart for social justice and a skillset in bookkeeping, social media, and organizational wrangling? Interested in bringing your talents to a grassroots advocacy group that is doing important work in the world? MUUSAN is hiring for a part-time Administrative Coordinator, working from their headquarters in Augusta. Here's the full job description.