Connections Newsletter
All the news you need to know to connect, grow, and serve.
The Presence of the Present - sermon by Rev Terasa Cooley
Sunday, December 16, 2018, 9:15 & 11:15 a.m.
"The Presence of the Present"
Sermon by Rev. Terasa Cooley. This time of year always seems to be full of a frenzy of activities. Some of them fun, to be sure, but many of them stressful and exhausting. How do we find a way to stand still amidst the clamor and simply be present?

Irv Lachow is our Worship Associate. Sanctuary Singers sings under the direction of Mimi Bornstein and the Chamber Choir under the direction of Sophia Morreale.
Celebrate the Season with Us!

Sunday, December 23, 9:15 & 11:15 a.m.
Christmas Pageant - Multigenerational Service
This family-friendly service features the nativity play, “Los Posadas,” as well as traditional carols and reflections upon what a journey to a strange land might tell us about our spiritual journeys. Both services will be livestreamed at

CHRISTMAS EVE - Monday, December 24

3:00 & 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Service for All Ages
A family-friendly service with singing and stories. We will discuss some of the history of our favorite carols and lift up the spirit of joy, gratitude and awe that is the Christmas season. The service will also include our beloved Mitten Tree. Please bring donations of gloves and hats to decorate the tree. The gloves and hats will go to those in need in our community in the New Year. In order for you to share this special time with far-away family and friends, these two services will be livestreamed at

7:00 p.m. Traditional Lessons and Carols Service
A traditional Christmas Eve service with the retelling of the first Christmas and the singing of carols and candle-lighting.

9:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Jazz Service
Featuring jazz musicians Maya Rogers, vocals; Dante Pope, percussion and vocals; Eric Waters, guitar; Tyler Sherman, bass; and Mimi Bornstein, piano.
Wed, Dec 19, 7:30pm
Stepping Outside the Holidays: CHRISTMAS
Many of us feel lost during the holiday season. While others are celebrating times with friends and family, some struggle with isolation and estrangement. If the holidays leave you disquieted, join us in a quiet meditative service to mark the season in a simpler way.

Date: Wednesday, December 19, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Center Gallery
MoonFire Yule Ritual
You are welcome to join MoonFire for a Yule Ritual on December 16. Come see the annual battle between the forces of winter and spring. Engage in theological debates about the two Kings. Come celebrate the “reason for the season” with carols, crafting, and a good old fashioned Pagan ritual. This family-friendly ritual will involve the conjuration of luck and good cheer in the upcoming season through singing, crafting of small tokens, and the lighting of candles of hope and joy. But no wagering on the battle between winter and summer, since everyone, except the Holly King of Winter, knows the outcome. As always, potluck will follow the ritual. For more information on MoonFire, please visit, or contact

Date: Sunday, December 16, 1:30 p.m.
Location: Fellowship Hall
Winter Solstice Transmissions Meditation Service
Our next Transmissions meditation service celebrates the Winter Solstice--a special time of hope and promise--hope and promise of light, warmth and spring! The evening includes contemplative meditation, music, chanting, along with soundscapes by Jim and Ashley Cash of Woven Green and a walking meditation on the Labyrinth. Freewill donation.

Date: Friday, December 21, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Location: Center Gallery
Friday Morning Devotions
We invite you to smooth the path into the weekend with a half-hour of meditation followed by shared reflections each Friday morning beginning at 7 a.m. Please contact in advance either David McTaggart ( ) or Gregg Forte ( ). A ride is available afterward to Ballston Metro.

Date: Each Friday, 7:00 a.m.
Location: Room 20 (Youth Room) 
Church Matters
Board Update

Over the past year, we – the Board – have heard from congregants regarding their displeasure with the speed at which the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) handled the investigation of misconduct by UUCA’s former senior minister, Aaron McEmrys, during his time at our church. We share in this belief and we think it’s important for the MFC to hear from us on this subject.

To that end, Al Himes, the chair of the Board, has sent a letter to the MFC outlining how the nine-month process had a significant, negative impact on our church’s community. The letter can be viewed here

In the letter, we reminded the MFC how they originally told us that the investigation would take a couple months but it eventually spanned nine months. We saw that this extended time period contributed to divisions within our congregation. This extended uncertainty may have also hampered UUCA’s annual pledge campaign as the investigation spanned a longer period of time that coincided with this important, yearly fundraising effort. These are just some of the ways our congregation was affected by the extended time period of the investigation. 

In addition, many congregants have expressed the desire to better understand the process the Ministerial Fellowship Committee follows when they are confronted with situations such as Aaron McEmrys’ misconduct while serving as a minister. You all will have the opportunity to hear directly from a representative of the MFC, Rev. Sarah Lammert, on January 13, when she will be at UUCA for two purposes. She will lead services on that day and she will also conduct a discussion session between services to answer questions you may have about the MFC.

We – the Board – hope that this letter and the opportunity to speak with Rev. Sarah next month will help individuals continue to heal from the events of the past year.

With love.

The Board of Trustees 
Connecting with the Ministerial Search Committee: Congregational Survey
By Sarah Yue, Ministerial Search Committee Member

I grew up in a family, and in a community, where everyone knew each other’s story. My parents, both descendants of Dutch immigrant farmers, were raised in the same small town in rural Iowa and were (friendly) academic rivals throughout their high-school and college years. Both chose careers in education – my dad as a college professor, my mom as an elementary-school teacher – and while they eventually moved to upstate New York for my dad’s job, they remained close to their extended families and spent every summer and holiday back on the family farm. My sister and I grew up in a setting where everything was comfortable and familiar: we lived in the same house for our entire lives, attended the same schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade, and were members of a small and tight-knit church that was also filled with Dutch farm families. That’s not to say that my parents didn’t introduce us to a wider and more complicated world; we spent semesters in Israel and Europe, hosted an exchange student from the Dominican Republic, and helped sponsor a refugee family from Haiti. But within the warm, loving circle of my immediate family and community, the stories of our lives were largely the same. We shared the same background, lived by the same values, and based our sense of self on the cultural and religious traditions that we all had in common.   Read more >>
A Big Save for UUCA
By Tamara Srader, Chief Executive Officer

We have great news to share and wanted to let you know. Many of you remember that last year we had an extra collection to “green” the campus. We had just enough money to replace all of the toilets to low flush-per-gallon. We replaced 21 toilets and this month we received our first quarterly water bill. The results are amazing! This time last year we used 87,000 gallons of water. This year we used 39,000 gallons which cut our usage more than 50 percent. Not only are we saving money we are also lessening our impact on the environment by cutting our water consumption as well as sewage output. Thank you for your continued support! We could not have done this without you.
Lifespan Religious Education
RE Nursery Volunteers Needed
We are looking for a few volunteers at each service to volunteer in our nursery. The commitment is one hour and a half during service once or twice a month. If you enjoy playing with little ones (3 and under), reading stories, and stewarding our youngest congregants in their UU faith development, please email LeeAnn Williams at for more information. 
Crafty Volunteers Needed
For at-home volunteer opportunities, we are looking for 3-4 crafty people to help us complete some of our Spirit Play story boxes, as we have little pieces here and there that need to be replaced or added. If you like to craft and want to share these stories with your little ones at home, this is a great opportunity for you. Please email LeeAnn Williams at for more information.
Holiday Pageant Signups 
Our annual Holiday Pageant will be Sunday, Dec. 23 at both the 9:15 and 11:15 service. Children 3 years and older are encouraged to participate. Speaking parts for the older kids.  Costumes provided. 

For the 9:15 service, please sign up here.

For the 11:15 service, please sign up here.
***Rehearsal times are listed on the Signup Genius. 
Faith in Action
Share-the-Plate for December 16: Alianzas working for Accompaniers to Guatemala

Alianzas (formerly Partners for Arlington and Guatemala, PAG) is a long-standing social justice ministry of UUCA. Since 2006, Alianzas has partnered with both international and local grass-roots organizations to promote human rights, environmental justice and educational opportunities for indigenous people in Guatemala and dignity and rights for immigrants in our community. The shared offering on Sunday, December 16, and donations made online from December 16-23, will go toward sponsoring human rights Accompaniers in Guatemala.
Through our partnership with NISGUA (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala), UUCA has sponsored 20 human rights monitors-- ACCOMPANIERS--who provide an international presence for Guatemalan communities, organizations and individuals threatened when trying to claim/protect their rights. Through our alliance with our Guatemalan partners, ADIVIMA, we support scholarships for some 50 Mayan students to attend middle and high school once they have completed their free elementary schooling. And volunteers from our congregation give many hours in service and solidarity to our immigrant neighbors from Latin America.
Please visit the Alianzas table in Fellowship Hall following the service to learn more about this important human rights partnership work and about the delegation which is visiting NISGUA from February 10-20. 
Join the UUCA Guatemala Trip
Join us for an exciting trip to Guatemala in February 2019. This wonderful opportunity to meet our social justice partners and learn about Guatemalan culture and activism. Spend three days exploring their rich culture in Guatemala City visiting various museums, cultural sites and meeting with UUCA-sponsored accompaniers from NISGUA. And, spend five days in the Rabinal area visiting our Adivima partners and meeting with the scholarship students we support. This trip is open to UUCA members and friends and all affiliated friends and partners of Alianzas (formerly PAG)l You do NOT need Spanish language skills to participate. For more information, see the flyer here. If interested, please email Anne McKnight,

Date: February 10-20, 2019
A-SPAN Personal Items Drive
UUCAers are asked to bring donated personal items on Dec. 30 and Jan. 6 for distribution through A-SPAN--the Arlington agency that serves the homeless. Needed items include: travel-sized toiletries, socks, boots, coats, or gift cards (Giant, Safeway, etc.). Those wishing to serve as holiday sponsors for individual clients can get wish lists by emailing Yana Bellemy at Items for sponsored clients can be dropped at ASPAN directly prior to the holidays or can be brought to UUCA’s A-SPAN team in Fellowship Hall on December 30 or January 6 after services. 

Dates: December 30 and January 6
Location: Fellowship Hall
Buckingham Cooks
Cooks from the Buckingham community will be selling savory Latino fare after services on Sunday. No time to eat? They’ll provide carry out. Income from sales will go to a charity which benefits immigrants.

Date: Sunday, December 16, after services
Location: Fellowship Hall
Secret Santa Reminder
Remember to bring in your Secret Santa gifts this Sunday, December 16! Bring your gifts and leave them under the Christmas trees in the upper and lower level lobbies. Thank you to everyone for helping to make someone's holiday a bit brighter.
Sharing Peace with You
Look for the Little Friends for Peace ( LFFP)/ Peace Camp team folks in Fellowship Hall on December 23. We'll have a little something for you. Our team is preparing messages of peace that you can hang on your tree. Peace begins with you and me, and we'll help you find peace and share it throughout the holidays! You can also learn more about Little Friends for Peace, including Peace Camp, Peace Circles, and our new “Circle Up” campaign.

"It is my conviction that there is no way to peace – peace is the way." 
--Thich Nhat Hanh
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Equal Exchange and You
The Unitarian Service Committee began in 1939 when Waitstill and Martha Sharp left their children with relatives and went to Europe and rescued many potential victims of Nazi persecution. The organization was modeled on the Friends Service Committee. In 1961 when the Unitarians and Universalists merged, the name of the Service Committee was also updated.

In a sermon at UUCA, the former President of the UUA, Bill Sinkford,  focused on the UU Service Committee and its work, illustrating how UUSC differs from other groups providing similar services. He said: 
I remember so vividly the tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean in 2004. The devastation was massive, and the appeals for relief funds were immediate. There are large relief agencies that know how to provide emergency supplies. UUSC played a different role. Their partners in the area knew that life in the fishing villages on the coasts would only return to sustainability if the fisherfolk could replace their splintered boats. So UUSC did not try to duplicate the emergency relief being provided by others; instead, they focused on providing one key element that would allow the people most affected — and with the least resources — to sustain life: boats.

The work that UUSC supports is characterized by concern for the people who are most overlooked. It focuses on empowerment of local partners and support for efforts that have the chance to create sustainable systems and practices.
I am grateful because UUSC allows me to place my small stake in
the ground on the side of justice in places and with people far from my immediate concern. That allows me to hold the consciousness of our connectedness and our shared yearnings for justice. UUSC helps me — and us — hold more of the world in our care.

The Coffee Project of Equal Exchange consists of partnerships with various faith and other groups. Equal Exchange donates 5% of the cost of goods sold to the partner organization of which the UU Service Committee is a part. 

Equal Exchange purchases at UUCA are a true “win-win-win”:
  1. You win with great products at good prices,
  2. UUSC and UUCA win by increased funding, and 
  3. The growers win with the fair prices, business advice, and improved quality of life they receive from their affiliation with Equal Exchange.

Our final Equal Exchange sale for 2018 will be Sunday, December 16 between services.
Upcoming Better Angels Workshops

Join fellow UUCA congregants and community members as we continue to explore how to heal the political divide in this country and transform partisan conflict into mutual understanding. UUCA will be hosting two Better Angels workshops in the upcoming months:

Skills workshop: January 12, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. More info and registration here.

Red/Blue workshop: March 16, 2019, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Both workshops are interactive, hands-on experiences that include practical strategies for engaging in a loving and constructive way with those with whom we disagree politically. The two workshops are complementary in structure, and you are welcome to attend one or both. Questions? Feel free to reach out to Sarah Yue,
UUCA African American Book Sharing

What We Have Read
Our UUCA African American Book Sharing Circle has met now for almost two years. We will celebrate what we have learned and shared on January 6. We will have a copy of all the books we have read and participants in our sharing will be at the table ready to talk about what we have learned intellectually and experienced emotionally and spiritually as we discovered America through African American eyes, ears, and voices. Please join us in Fellowship Hall on January 6 following the services.

Date: Sunday, January 6, after services
Location: Fellowship Hall

What We Will Read
AND, join us to discover the artistry of Maya Angelou and her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at our sharing circle on Friday, January 18.  A Penguin/Random House review describes this book “…as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. [This book] captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.” See you January 18. 

Date: Friday, January 18, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Welcome Room 
'Tis the Season to help out with Meals on Wheels!
UUCA delivers meals on the fourth Thursday and Friday of each month. We have a wonderful
crew of dedicated volunteers, some of whom do both days. However, December is a busy 
month, and we are short of volunteers for December 27 and 28. Many UUCA families find that volunteering with their school-age children is a great holiday vacation activity! Care to join us this month?  

The time commitment is from 11 a.m. to bout 1 or 1:30 p.m. The meals are delivered at 11 am to the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, 601 N. Vermont St. (corner of Carlin Springs Rd., just west of Ballston Common Mall. Please contact one of the coordinators, to volunteer: Tina Hinh, or Sara Anderson, or 703-532-3830.
UUCA Peace Camp 2018
Save the dates June 26-July 6
Good news, UUCA and Little Friends for Peace ( LFFP) have set the dates for our 22nd anniversary Peace Camp at UUCA: June 24 to June 28 and July 1 to July 5 (no camp on July 4). 

Campers (ages 5-14) can attend both weeks or just one. UUCA Peace Camp offers campers the opportunity to explore cooperation and conflict resolution in a safe and supportive environment. At Peace Camp, campers will discover that peace begins with them. Plan for your peacemaker to attend both weeks, or just one, depending on your schedule. Registration will open soon.

Peace Camp at UUCA is a partnership between UUCA Peace Ministry and Little Friends for Peace.  

Dates: Week 1: Mon 6/24 to Fri. 6/28
Week 2: Mon. 7/1 to Fri. 7/5, except Thurs. 7/4
Music Ministry
Children's Choir Rehearsals for December

December 16 
10:30-11 a.m. Chalice Singers
12:30-1 p.m. TrUUbadours
Both in the Chapel

December 23 
All Children's Choirs sing for both services.
National Chamber Ensemble Holiday Concert: Holiday Time Warp
Features 2018 Outstanding Young Artist Achievement Award Winners

Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
NCE puts the spotlight on youth for the holidays! Christmas Past, Present and Future are celebrated when the National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) presents Holiday Time Warp featuring classical masterpieces, seasonal favorites, a performance by area string students and the winner of NCE's Outstanding Young Artist Achievement Award.

The evening concludes with a Carols Sing-Along, led by beloved tenor and media personality Patrick D. McCoy. The concert will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. More information and tickets here.

Date: Saturday, December 15, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Sanctuary 
Congregational Life
UUCA's Annual Shenandoah Retreat
**NEW DATES** June 21-23, 2019
Join us for our 45th year! The UUCA Shenandoah Retreat is a family-friendly, multi-generational meetup at Big Meadows Campground in Shenandoah National Park. Campground reservations open for our dates in just a few weeks on December 21, so don't miss out! Stay in a campsite or in the Big Meadows lodge. More info about the retreat and a link to our registration and the campground reservation page can be found here.
New Pastoral Care Gathering
Death Cafe
A Death Cafe gathering seeks to increase awareness of death with a view to help people make the most of their (finite) lives. It's a safe, welcoming place in which people share their ideas, concerns, fears, and hopes about death. Death Cafe's have become a global movement. There have been thousands of Death Cafe gatherings held throughout the world. From the administrative details of death and dying to the most profound spiritual or philosophical issues, all topics are welcome. Mark your calendar for January 20. Come for the coffee, tea and cake, and stay for what promises to be interesting and stimulating conversation.

Date: Sunday, January 20, 1:30 p.m.
Location: Activity Room
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Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA
4444 Arlington Blvd
Arlington, Virginia
Call: (703) 892-2565