December 6 - 12, 2018
The CommUUnicator
The Weekly Newsletter of
The Unitarian Society of Germantown
Building Beloved Community

THIS WEEK: We welcome the holiday season with music and greens, giving and receiving. Join us!
In Worship,10:30am
The Holiday Music Service:
Brother Heinrich’s Christmas , a musical fable by John Rutter

How do you write a new Christmas carol (well, new in the 14th or 15th century)? Sometimes assistance comes from where you might least expect it – like the donkey lying over in the corner of the stable. You just never know where help may come from – it’s a mystery! It’s been quite a while since the choir has presented this charming holiday piece, one that will appeal to children of all ages.

The USG Choir with Music Director Mark Daugherty and featuring Ashley Izard as the narrator.
In Child Spiritual Development
At 10:30am this Sunday, PreK through 6th Grade children will go straight to the Edna Jones Room upstairs to create holiday greens .

OWL Class will be 10:30am - 12:00noon in the Bristol Room.
Evening Youth Group will meet in the Kitchen and Bristol Room from 6:00-8:00pm.
Parents, please click here to find out details, especially about where to collect the children after the service ends.

Details about the CSD programs and schedules can be found on the website under the Spiritual Development tab.

Childcare for children 4-5 years old and younger is offered this Sunday and most Sundays from 9:00am - 12:00pm in the Committee Room. 
Before the Worship Service

Meditate in the Meditation Room. Meditation, reading, dharma and sharing are offered in Sullivan 3 on the First and Second Sundays of the month between 9:15 and 10:20am. All are welcome to join in quietly. On the other Sundays the space is open for those who choose to come and sit. For information on meditation, click here.

BRING IN nonperishable food items for our annual Fall Food Drive and put them on the designated carts in the Kitchen. Donations will be delivered to St. Vincent de Paul's Food Pantry. Please check expiration dates.
Coffee Hour
After the Worship Service

Enjoy a welcome and refreshments offered by Village 4. All the generous folks who provide food for Fellowship Hour or other church events are asked to label any foods containing nuts and be diligent in helping to announce if any food has nuts or other allergens .

At 12:00pm in the Daskam Room, attend Rev. Kent's special Report from Tijuana on the refugee caravan crisis.

After the service, attend the Greens Workshop. Details below.
Greens Workshop, A Family Fun Event
Sunday, December 9 following the service
Join us for the Annual Greens workshop! If possible, please bring wire cutters and gloves for yourself (but we do have extras.) Never made a wreath before? We will have some seasoned wreath makers to guide you through the process. Donations of greens are gratefully accepted! For more information, e-mail Deb Kish-Silver at . Cost: $5; Family $10.
Tijuana Border Crisis Conversation
Sunday, December 9, 12:00noon, Daskam Room
Join Rev. Kent Matthies to hear about his recent trip to Tijuana in refugee relief work. Thousands of refugees are being denied their right to apply for asylum. Thousands are hungry, cold, without sufficient legal or medical support. The UU Service Committee and other groups are establishing ways for people to support. Come learn and share. This conversation will take place adjacent to our lovely Greening Workshop. Folks will be encouraged to float back and forth between the two events.
Sunday, December 16, 10:30am
Fact or Fiction: The Power of the Mystic
Rev. Dr. Om Prakash Gilmore
Before most western religions, Mystery religions existed. They taught the secrets that pertained to how one might live and prosper in the world as well as myths and stories that passed on the deeper understandings of the mind, body, spirit, nature connection. During this service we will explore the nature of Mystery religions and how they tie every faith tradition and philosophy together into a deeper understanding of the self and the universe.

Rev. Dr. Om Prakash Gilmore was ordained as a UU Minister at USG in May of 1995 and has served several years in congregations and UU affinity groups. He received a M. Div. in Creation Spirituality in 2001 and has worked to combine social justice with health and wellness.  At present he is a spiritual life coach and licensed massage therapist as well as a talk show host at Blog Talk Radio and a Qigong teacher.  
Click here for an easy list of all Upcoming Events!
Yep, they are all right there on the website, thanks to Treva Burger.
Greening the Sanctuary
Saturday, December 15, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Fun, fast, and it adds so much to our holiday services! Come to USG for an hour of creating the swags for decorating the sanctuary with greens. No experience needed!! We will meet in the Sanctuary. Please RSVP to Elaine Hills if you can make it, (215) 206-6257 or .

Friday evening, December 14
We need one or two hale and hearty folks to help get the poinsettias INTO the sanctuary – be in touch with Elaine to verify time, etc.
Winter Solstice Celebration
Sunday, December 23, 6:00- 8:15pm
You are INVITED to USG's EarthSpirit Circle's Winter Solstice Ceremony that features the rolling of the Wheel of Fire, followed by a potluck dinner. By starting earlier, we hope to enjoy a bit of light at the beginning and allow little ones to get to bed at a reasonable hour. This may be our last Celtic festival as we anticipate changes for the New Year, so make sure to attend and bring something yummy to share (or even prepare) afterwards. We also suggest a drum or shaker and a mat for meditation. NOTE: Because of our bonfire, children must be accompanied by an adult. Blessed be!
Christmas Eve Family Service
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Monday, December 24, 4:00pm
Join Charlie Brown and friends as they rediscover the spirit of Christmas! With our children and youth starring as cast and crew—and Music Director Mark Daugherty as Schroeder—this holiday classic is sure to warm our hearts. Charlie Brown Christmas is a pageant for all, with lots of opportunities for young children and adults to sing, participate and catch the spirit. Contact Ryan Hurd, , if you, your child or your family would like to participate.
Directors: Jennifer Wilkinson and Ryan Hurd
Christmas Eve Cookie Reception
Monday, December 24, 5:00 - 6:00pm
On Christmas Eve, bring some favorite cookies for sharing. Celebrate the season with our entire congregation at 5pm, just after the Christmas Eve 4pm Family Service. The reception continues until the 6pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. If you can assist with the reception, please contact Gloria in the office ( .)
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Monday, December 24, 6:00pm
At the Edge of Mystery, with Rev. Kent Matthies and Music Director Mark Daugherty with the USG Choir
A small band of folks risked their lives to keep the Torah alive. Any analysis would have predicted that their fuel would run out --- but it lasted! An old, grouchy, selfish man’s heart breaks open and receives the grace of gratitude and generosity. A baby born in dubious circumstances leads people in the ways of God for centuries. How do we believe any of it? Standing at the edge of mystery lightens burdens and opens lives to new horizons heretofore unimaginable.
And in case you missed these Spiritual Development events in Tuesday's SPIRIT...

REGISTER NOW ! for another special Oren Jay Sofer Mindfulness Event : Saturday, January 12, 2019: "The Art of Mindful Communication : Finding Clarity and Poise in Life.” A mindful approach to nonviolent communication. How to find your voice, speak your truth, and listen deeply. Led by Oren Jay Sofer, author, and teacher of mindfulness and communication. Spaces fill up fast, so register soon : click here.

A new Difficult Conversation: Abortion , December 12, 7:00 - 9:30pm with USG folks and parishioners of Our Mother of Consolation Catholic Church in Chestnut Hill invited to participate. Contact Gerry Whelan if interested.

Deadline for ordering: TOMORROW, December 7
Our annual poinsettia display in the chancel will be set up on December 14. Please complete this form to place your order and make your payment via ACH (electronic check) or by credit card. Please select:
  • how many and what color (red, white, or pink)
  • what the brief dedication should be for the orders of service, and
  • when you intend to take your plants
The cost per each large plant is $23.  In addition, you may see Elaine Hills at Fellowship Hour on Sundays Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 to place your order and pay with cash or check. If you have any questions, please contact Elaine Hills at  or 215-206-6257.
Thank You, Awesome Leaf Rakers!
Thank you to the more than thirty volunteers who came out last Saturday morning to rake leaves, blow leaves and haul leaves until the whole property was winter-ready! A special shout-out to Berne Graham whose fabulous bean soup was so appreciated, to Mike Rogers and Gloria Guldager for organizing the effort, to youth whose help made a HYGGE difference, and to all those (such as Chase) who brought out their leaf blowers and donated their time. You are super-duper troopers!
Young Ushers Requested for Christmas Eve
If any returning college students or children of USG members/friends would like to participate as ushers for the Annual 6:00pm Christmas Eve service, please contact Steve Conrad,
It's a Breeze!
We invite you to connect with Breeze, USG's new, more powerful, user-friendly, and money-saving database, which includes a Member Directory .

Go to to create your own log-in, manage your profile, make contributions and view previous giving, and connect with other USGers. You may also download the Breeze app on your smartphone to have access to USG data while on the go. For those of you who loved the ChurchLife app for smartphones, you will love this app, too. Find out people's phone numbers, addresses, and get directions, all in one place. It is ... a Breeze!

Click here to get helpful tips for using the new Breeze database and Member Directory.

If you have any questions or need assistance using Breeze, please contact Gloria at .
Thank You to Parvathy Menon
After serving for some time as Ending Racism's co-chair of Education, Parvathy is stepping down from that role to devote more of her time to combatting racism beyond Philadelphia. We are grateful for the caring service she has given to ERC --- and glad she is not leaving USG!
Come Join the Choir!
The illustrious USG choir is looking for some additional singers! All that is necessary is the ability to match pitch and a desire to be a part of a venerable USG tradition that regularly rehearses (on Thursday evenings and on Sunday mornings) and sings at most Sunday services from September through the end of May. Interested? Please see Mark Daugherty , our music man.
We have a few new people on
USG's Creative Teams...
We are looking for more!

Do you enjoy telling stories with images? Working with PowerPoint or on a website? Are you a budding videographer?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, USG NEEDS YOU....
1)  to work with Rev. Kent and the various guest speakers and worship associates on Sunday worship slides creation and/or projector operations, and/or
2) to videotape the Sunday services, which Jeff Smith has done for many years, and/or
3) to help create and maintain information about our programs and activities on our website.

Please let Gloria know of your interest at .
We are excited to announce our new Text Giving option through Breeze for making pledge and contribution payments to USG!
Please click here to learn how to use this convenient tool.
Interested in Joining USG?
We welcome people into membership four times a year. We ask that people take a   UU-101  class (offered monthly, next:  December 16   ) and a  Membership Orientation   (offered quarterly, next:  January 13   ) before joining. There will be a  New Member Signing   on  January 27 . If you are interested in any of these events or for more information, please email Welcoming Co-Chairs Treva Burger and Lisa Dutton at   . In addition, you can visit our  Membership page   on our website,
Thank You, Villagers!
Thank you to all who participate in hosting Fellowship Hour! If you are willing to coordinate for your Village, please let Treva Burger, know. Below is the schedule for upcoming Fellowship Hour Hostings:
  • December 9 - Village 4
  • December 16 - Village 5
  • December 23 - Village 6
  • December 30 - Village 7
MLK Day Project Leaders Needed!
The MLK Day planning team is busy working on details for another successful USG MLK Day event on Monday , January 21 , 2019.   We are looking for a few more Project Leaders.  If you’re interested in helping to orient and guide project volunteers, please email the MLK Day co-chairs Lois Murphy and Devery Howerton at . Thank you!
MLK Day 2012
Calling all Volunteers! 
Pre-register now for the 2019 MLK Day of Service!
On Monday, January 21 of 2019, hundreds of volunteers will be buzzing around USG and out and about in the community engaged in numerous projects for the MLK Day of Service sponsored by USG.  Don’t get left out! 

You can preregister for one of 33 projects now by going to the website . Click on “Volunteer” to see a list of the projects with brief descriptions and then on “Pre-register” to fill out the registration form. 

You can choose from internal projects such as greeting people as they arrive, signing in volunteers, helping serve breakfast, making cards or thank you notes, or you can go out into the community to help clean up a park or roadside area, paint walls, interact with residents of a nursing home, or make bowls for the PIHN empty bowl event. These are just a few of the projects that might tempt you. 

Sign up soon before your first choices are filled up! If you have questions or need assistance, contacts are listed on the pre-registration form or you can send an email to .
Be a Holiday Angel
The Holiday Angel tree enables you to play Santa Claus for members of homeless PIHN families. Select a gift request ornament from the tree in the Dining Room, and bring in your unwrapped gift by Sunday, December 16. CSD children and youth (and perhaps some adults in Fellowship Hour) will then wrap them for delivery.
Winter Coat Drive
Please bring in donations of much-needed warm winter outerwear - coats and jackets - for distribution in our community, to PIHN's network and to Whosoever Gospel Mission. The coat collection barrel will be in the vestibule by the name tag boards from Sunday, December 2 until at least January 6. See Devery Howerton or Carolyn Scott with questions.
Adorn the Mitten Tree
The Mitten Tree will be in the Sanctuary on Christmas Eve, and everyone is invited to bring in warm woollies- scarves, mittens, gloves, ear muffs - to adorn it. If you are unable to come to either Christmas Eve service (4:00 Family Service, 6:00 Candlelight Service), you can hang your warm woollies on Sunday, December 30. On Monday the gifts will be taken to PIHN for distribution.
Social Justice Coffee Hour
Sunday, December 16, 9:15 - 10:15am
Get up, Get Coffee, Get Involved.

Please join USG members Dennis Brunn, Mel Strieb, Vanessa Lowe, Anne Gwynn, Rev. Kent Matthies, and Beth Lazer, who will share information about POWER's several justice campaigns focused on economic dignity, anti-mass incarceration, climate change, voter engagement, and public education funding. All are welcome to learn about opportunities for effective interfaith organizing via POWER -- P ennsylvanians O rganized to W itness, E mpower and R enew.
Sanctuary Families Fundraiser Dinner
December 28, 6:00pm at FUMCOG
(Every Fourth Friday)
Join the Reyes and Thompson families who are in sanctuary at First United Methodist Church of Germantown, FUMCOG, for dinner. Meet the families and enjoy the meal that they have cooked. The meal is open to the public. The fundraiser will occur each fourth Friday until the families’ situation is resolved. Please try to make at least a $10 donation.
First United Methodist Church of Germantown is at 6001 Germantown Ave. Use the entrance off the parking lot on the northwest side of the building. If you have questions, contact Yvonne Marlier
Sign the Petition to Help the Sanctuary Families
The goal is to get 10,000 signatures in the next two months to present their cases to senators in NJ and PA and see if we can get immigration officials to revisit their asylum cases. We need as many people as we can get to sign the petition. Please take a few minutes today to sign the petition and if you want, to pass it to your friends and family.

The families cook delicious meals for a dinner every fourth Friday at the church, or you can also donate money for the church ( ) and the New Sanctuary organization or if you know of a church or organization that would be willing to send the petition to their member please let me know.

Sound the trumpets! Registration is now open for our Central East Region New Day Rising Conference: Identifying Your Congregation’s Next Steps in the Struggle with White Supremacy Culture , Saturday, January 26 in Fairfax, VA
Slightly overwhelmed by all the options available for tackling white supremacy culture in your congregation? Join with Central East Region staff and UU congregational leaders for this day of learning. Click here to learn more.
Greater Philly UU Cluster Events
1) Missa Gaia UU Concert

2) To see more upcoming events at our GPC congregations, visit the GPC calendar:

3) GPC is on Facebook !
- Please "follow" us on the Facebook page, "Greater Philly Unitarian Universalist Cluster".
- Please join our Facebook group, "Greater Philly UUs". It is a "closed" group, so find "Greater Philly UUs" on Facebook and click the button to request to join.

4) Introducing UUA LeaderLab ! LeaderLab provides relentlessly useful resources for lay and professional leaders of UU congregations and covenanting communities. For more info, visit:

5) CER Guest in Your Pulpit program
The Guest in Your Pulpit Program is a listing of available ministers, seminarians, ministerial candidates and lay pulpit guests for congregations in the Central East Region. This program was created to assist churches to find people who are willing to provide services. For more info and to be added to the list, visit:

For more information on the Greater Philly UU Cluster, check out our website:
Get Involved! Meet Fellow UUs!  
Follow links below to find out more information about the events and groups at USG that occur usually once a month.

20's & 30's SGM Group - Second Thursday, December 13, 6:30pm, Drop-in Young Adults Small Group Ministry group. For more information, please contact Stephanie Bonner at or on Facebook where they maintain an active invite-only activities group. 

Book Group on Friday Morning - Third Friday, December 21, 10:30am at Cathedral Village. If interested in joining, please contact Barbara Dowdall. The 2018-2019 Book List is now posted on> About> Affinity Groups> Book Group .

CAMI (Citizens Against Mass Incarceration) - Fourth Monday, Next meeting January 28 , 7:00pm. At USG. Contact Nancy Anderson .

Caregiver Support Group - Second Friday, December 14, 11:00am - 1:00pm. At USG. Contact Maura Gallagher .

Coffee Hour for Social Justice - Next: December 16, 9:15 - 10:15am (none for November). Usually Third Sunday. Usually in Dining Room at USG. Get up. Get coffee. Get involved.

EarthSpirit Circle . First Monday, except for holiday weekends. Next meeting January 7, 7:00pm. At USG. Contact Donya at

BLUU (Black Lives of UU) Box Opening - First Sunday, January 6, 12:00 - 1:00pm. followed by....
ERC (Ending Racism Committee) - First Sunday, January 6, 1:00 - 2:00pm. At USG. Contact Barbara Dowdall.

Humanists - PUSH - Philadelphia Unitarian Society of Humanists , Fourth Sunday, December 23, 12:00pm. At USG. Contact Paul Teti .

Nature Walking at Valley Green - Please note time change: Starting in December, every Monday and Thursday at 10:00am, you can meet others - whoever shows up- at Valley Green in Chestnut Hill for a morning walk. Point Person is Steve Conrad, who is usually there.

Needle Exchange, a Handwork Group - Usually First Wednesday. Next meeting Wednesday, January 9 , 1:30 - 3:00pm, off-site. Contact Margaret Thompson .

Open Small Group Ministry - Usually Second Sunday. Next session December 16 , 12:00 - 1:30pm. Those new to SGMs can get a "sample" before making a commitment. For more information, contact Mark Bangela .

Racism Book Study Group - Next session: December 10, second Monday, 7:30 - 9:00pm. Contact Treva Burger.

UU-101 - Third Sunday, December 16, 12:00-1:00pm. UU-101 is an Introduction to Unitarian Universalism, held at USG, and childcare is provided. Please let a leader, Charles Gabriel or Eric Foster, know that you plan to attend by emailing to If unable to email, you can call Eric at 484-347-8998.
Join A USG Facebook Group!   
You can join a USG Facebook group as well as meet in person!
To find out about special events, post photos, and stay in touch, here are some of USG's groups and their Facebook links:

ASD (Adult Spiritual Development) facebook
CSD (Child Spiritual Development)
YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists) A Closed Group great to know about and if desired, ask to join.
YA - Young Adults
Greater Philly UUs - Social Justice & Other Greater Philly UU News
It is a "closed" group, so find "Greater Philly UUs" on Facebook and click the button to request to join.

P.U.S.H. Philadelphia Unitarian Society of Humanists

Exploring Elderhood
caring square
Our thoughts and prayers are with...
...Marilyn Dyson who is nursing a torn meniscus at home. Cards, emails, and phone calls are welcome.  

... Erica Miceli, her daughter Riley, and her son Michae l. Riley is being evaluated by doctors for a mass under her arm, and her son Michael was just hospitalized for complications of his juvenile diabetes. He'll have to be in the hospital for 4 weeks. Your caring thoughts, emails, and cards would be appreciated.

Our warm congratulations go to...
...Rev. Daniel Gregoire , who has become a minister in Final Fellowship. Rev. Daniel was ordained as a minister while serving his internship here at USG.

Caring Team
Linda Bernstein (chair), Sarah West, Rev. Kent Matthies

If you are aware of any joys or concerns that should be part of our caring system, please let us know. You can email
If you call a caring team member and do not speak directly, leave a voice mail and your call will be returned ASAP.
Rev. Kent Matthies, Minister -
Ryan Hurd, Director of Spiritual Development -
Mark Daugherty, Music Director -
Gloria Guldager, Church Administrator-
Carolyn Scott, Asst. Administrator-
Carolyn Cotton, Rental Coordinator -
Mike Rogers, Sunday Morning and Special Events Sexton -  
Tuesday's SPIRIT (not every Tuesday in the Summer) - Friday by 3:00pm
Thursday's Weekly eCommUUnicator - Wednesday by noon
Sunday's Announcements - Thursday by noon

The Unitarian Society of Germantown | 215-844-1157 | 6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19119