UUCGT Flash  
August 20, 2020    
     
 
On this August Morning...
A FLASH that is nothing short of EPIC!
Important Notice: the MST needs your help!, including workshop links!
Sunday: A T-Rex named "Penny" and much, much more, and "Black is the Body"
Board Report
Ministerial Search Team Report
Music & Religious Education
UUCGT Calendar:This Joint is Jumpin'!
Bulletin Board: Social Justice & Public Health
End Notes: Richard Wright on hope in dark times.
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We are a Congregation creating a better world by nurturing the heart and expanding the mind.

We provide a safe, caring community where all can freely explore diverse religious thought. 

We work for justice and equality with the power of compassion and compassionate power.

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TODAY'S FLASH IS NOTHING SHORT OF EPIC!

A lot is happening in and around the UUCGT as we move past the middle of August toward September and Autumn (it was 53 degrees F when I came in to the office this morning!).  In my brief two months with you I've never had to put together a Flash that was half this full of information.  And it's info that is not just important but crucial to the life of the Congregation. Throughout this issue you'll find at least 3,267 mentions (okay, okay, that's an exaggeration, but still - there are a lot) of Rev. Keith Kron's workshop Friday and Saturday, and his participation in our service Sunday. And by the time you get to the end of this issue you may decide it wasn't so much of an exaggeration after all.  That said: yes, this is long!  But please: take the time to read, to respond, to participate.  There are multiple exhortations for you to do so! There are messages from Rev. Cathy and updates from the Board and Ministerial Search Team ("MST").  Plus our calendar and bulletin board, and sharings from Music and Religious Education, and who knows what else by the time this goes out on Thursday at (I'm hoping) noon...

                                                - with gratitude and care,
                                                                                         Guy


AN IMPORTANT WEEK FOR THE UUCGT & YOU

A lot is happening behind the scenes to find a new Settled Minister for our Congregation! In this issue of the Flash are a report from the Board, the Ministerial Search Team's weekly update, and one more chance to be an active participant in the search by taking part in our workshop with Rev. Keith Kron of the UUA Transitions Office.  The workshop is in two parts, taking place Friday evening and Saturday morning.  There are links below to more info about Rev. Keith, a survey he'd like all of us to fill out before the workshop, and a video about completing the survey form.  If you haven't done so already, please take a few minutes to address this important step in our search for a Settled Minister.

The Zoom links for the two parts of Rev. Keith's workshop are here; they are repeated below in the Calendar...

Friday, August 21
7:00 PM 
   BEYOND CATEGORICAL THINKING   
   Workshop with Rev Keith Kron, Part I
   Meeting ID: 837 4139 2204   Passcode: 740370

Saturday, August 22
10:00 AM 
   BEYOND CATEGORICAL THINKING   
   Workshop with Rev Keith Kron, Part II
   Zoom info:  
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86155501293?pwd=eng1TXR5RmlxWnlFK1hsQ0FmRTNBZz09
   Meeting ID: 861 5550 1293    Passcode: 823674  




      
"...The blood let flow by the knife is the trail I followed
until I discovered the story, which is the mystery
of storytelling itself, and how hard it is
to tell the whole truth."

 - Emily Bernard
Black is the Body: 
Stories from my Grandmother's Time, 
my Mother's Time, and Mine 
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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Our guest the Rev Keith Kron will lead the Sunday Service, August 23, beginning at 10:30 AM.  Start signing into Zoom at 10:00 to visit before the Service begins.  Rev Cathy serves as Service Coordinator and will be assisted by - as we used to say in South Carolina - a whole passel o' folks.  The theme Sunday is a mouthful, but a very, very intriguing one: 

"What a T-Rex named Penny, Pittsburgh, and a Theologian Can Teach Us About the Future of Religion and the Greatest Sin of Our Time: Violence?"

Rev. Cathy shares some thoughts on what inspired her in this week's...

Minister's Musings 
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Dear Ones, 
 
This weekend, we will take time to widen our embrace in both the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop and in our Sunday Service led by the Rev Keith Kron, Director of the Transitions Office at the UUA. The meditation below, "Is this a gay church?" is a prelude to the weekend. It was written by Victoria Safford, the minister of the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota and is published in her book,Walking Toward Morning: Meditations (Skinner House, 2003).  
 
Please join us this weekend; the selection of a minister is important, and your participation is an opportunity for you to be part of that process!  Together, we will consider the hopes, expectations, and concerns you have for a new minister, learn more about the ministerial search process, and explore how thinking categorically about people sometimes interferes with choosing the best candidate.
 
Hope to see you there!
 
L, Cathy 

  - Rev. Cathy  
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People ask me sometimes, "Is this a gay church?"

It is a privilege to answer: "Ours is absolutely, gladly, hopefully and humbly, gaily, a gay church, a gay tradition, where everyone, including heterosexual members and friends, is welcome, where everyone is needed, where everyone's experience is cherished as a sacred text, because no one's experience of living or loving can be comprehensive, because each of us holds clues the others need about how to live with dignity and joy as a human person, and none of us knows enough about that yet to be considered whole.

"It is absolutely a gay church, even as ours is a gay world, if you would look around. Gay church, straight church, peoples' church, a human congregation made holy by the holy hopes and fears and dreams of all who wish to come. Come in, we say. Come out, come in. We're all in this together."

I will not speak of "tolerance," with its courteous clenched teeth and bitter resignation. I will not speak about "acceptance," of "other" people and some "other" kind of "lifestyle." I can only look in laughing wonder at human life in all its incarnations. I can taste only in passing the breath of the spirit of life on my mouth and understand our common longing to breathe in deep, deep gulps of it. I cannot think of being anybody else's "ally," even, because even that implies some degree of separation-some degree of safety for some of us, not all. We are "allied" with no one and with nothing but love - the larger Love transcending all our understanding, within which all the different, differing, gorgeously various, variant, beautifully deviant aspects of ourselves are bound in elegant unity.

I know that on some sad and disappointing days these words describe the church that yet shall be and not the church that is. I know, I know....But I know too that to answer is an act of creation. To answer this question, and some others, is a privilege, a prophetic imperative, a joy, a duty, and a holy sacrament.

 - excerpted from Walking Toward Morning: Meditations
(Skinner House, 2003), by Rev. Victoria Safford
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Rev. Cathy also calls our attention to the letter from the Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Grey, Ninth President of the Unitarian Universalist Association: "Practicing Now for a More Just Post-Pandemic Society."  

"I hold you all in care," Rev. Susan begins as she addresses the global coronavirus pandemic, current attacks on democracy in the U.S., continued racial injustice, and how we move forward together as a community when "we cannot 'go back to normal.'"  

You can perhaps access the entire text of her brief but profound message here.  For reasons I cannot fathom, this hyperlink keeps changing and many times brings one to "page not found."  In case the link is broken, I've copied Rev. Susan's message and saved it as a .pdf document.  You can also read Rev. Susan's Message here.
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You can read Sunday's Order of Service here.

Click here for the link to join the Service via Zoom; the passcode is 167208.  Or enter the following URL address into your web browser...

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81777448560?pwd=Y3pHTkpOSFhMTHU3dGg5b2o3YUoydz09

Meeting ID: 817 7744 8560
Passcode: 167208

You'll receive a reminder on Sunday morning!
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Our Sunday Services are automatically recorded and posted to our Zoom account. From now on we'll be posting a link to the most recent service in case you missed it and/or would like to re-view!  Click here to view the Service of Sunday August 16! A password is required, that code is Ig.xJ9E$  

(Storage capacity limits us to keeping only the most recent two or three Services online at a time, so only the current month's Services will be available at a time.)



Report from the Board
from Mary Anne Rivers

Your Board of Trustees met last Wednesday evening and I thought you might like to know some of what was discussed. Roberts Rules are not my best suit, but we managed to follow the agenda, and I thought that was an accomplishment. 

We discussed our concern over the number of those in attendance at the Zoom services, and are actively looking for ways to become more comfortable with being online.  Let me know any of your ideas on this; change is so hard!

Looking at the financial picture was enough for us to know we have to really educate ourselves in STEWARDSHIP - all of us have a responsibility to support the workings of our Congregation. As a Board, we are looking to other congregations to see what they might offer in new ways to approach this challenge. 

We spoke of giving more support to the Social Justice Action Committee this year.  One way is to place a link to the Michigan UU Social Justice Network on our Website, so that we could more easily and quickly access information. 

We want to make sure everyone knows that ALL ARE INVITED TO THE BEYOND CATEGORICAL THINKING WORKSHOP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 21ST 7-8:30 AND SATURDAY, AUGUST 21ND 10-11:30.   This workshop is designed to help us look more carefully into what we want in our new minister.  

[Is anyone noticing a theme? A trend? A leitmotif?]

If you have Board questions, please contact any Board member, and we hope to have answers for you.   I will try to be in one of the Breakout Rooms after the Sunday Service, so that could be a time to talk, also.  

Mary Anne Rivers 
231-267-5058 or 
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Mary Anne has reminded me that I need to update our list of current committee members.  Would the chairs of each and every committee please e-mail me at office@uucgt.org or call me (231-947-3117) with a current list of the members of your team?  Thank you!
                                                     - Guy

Ministerial Search Team Report
from Jan Zerbel
 

Your Ministerial Search Team is excited to report that our work toward bringing a Settled Minister to UUCGT is not only well underway, but on or ahead of schedule.

With the help of all of you, our eager members and friends, the process of finding the ministerial candidate who is just waiting for a perfect match with us will proceed expeditiously.

The current phase of our work includes:

  • Search Committee retreat with Transitions Coach - waiting for UUA coach
  • Congregational Record being edited (due by mid-Nov.)
  • Beyond Categorical Thinking application (due June - Sept.) 
  • Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop scheduled for Aug. 21 & 22 (due Aug. - Dec.) 
  • Congregational Survey scheduled for Sept.(due July - early Oct.)
  • Cottage meetings scheduled for Oct.(due Aug. - early Nov.)
A big thanks to you for completing the Beyond Categorical Thinking survey. We look forward to having you all participate with us for the very important workshop with
Rev. Keith Kron this FridaySaturday, as well as 
the Sunday service. Don't miss your chance to be involved. We're all in this together!
 
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ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING!
Beyond Categorical Thinking
with Keith Kron
August 21-22

     This is our last chance to encourage you to attend this workshop designed to promote inclusive thinking and prevent unfair discrimination during a congregation's search for a settled minister with UUA presenter Rev Keith Kron.  Two parts, each an hour and a half.  It will utilize conversations and case studies of actual events from other Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Part I Friday evening August 21st, 7-8:30 PM 
Part II Saturday morning August 22nd, 10-11:30 AM
Zoom links are above and below!  

If you have questions, contact Mary Van Valin

     In preparation, Rev. Keith requests that we all take the survey at the link here..

     Rev. Keith has also made a video to guide folks through filling out the form, which can be viewed at the following link...

     Rev. Keith Kron is the Director of the Transitions Office for the Unitarian Universalist Association, helping congregations and ministers as they navigate the ministerial search process. He is the former Director of the Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns for the UUA. He held this position for 14.5 years, from 1996-2010.
     In his time working for the UUA, he has visited over 450 Unitarian Universalist congregations from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and from Honolulu, Hawai'i, to St. John's, Newfoundland.


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MUSIC: "A Few Notes..."
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- from Music Director Renée Herman Russell - 

This week's service takes us down the path of seeing the whole, complicated picture that is a person. It is easy to place others in boxes for our own sense of security and comfort. I wonder, do we do that with music and musicians as well? Are there types of music you simply "don't like"? I know that most artists strive to be allowed to stretch their legs and try on different styles of music, even if their own "sound" lends itself to a certain genre of music. Here are a few of my favorite collaborative performances of musicians who have moved outside their expected box to experience and share something new: 
 
Gone, Gone, Gone -  Alison Krauss and Robert Plant
It Don't Mean a Thing - Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
Down In the Willow Garden - Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day - punk band) and Norah Jones
  
MUSIC VIDEOS FROM LAST WEEK'S SERVICE 
(click on the highlighted words)
  • Voice Still and Small - Link  HERE
  • I'm Moving On (Creative Arrangement) - Link HERE
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RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
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- from Adult RE Director Alison Ernst -

Reading & Writing Whiteness - 

I recently met with Reverend Cathy and we've decided to combine elements of a book group and a writing workshop to provide an opportunity for parishioners to explore their white privilege and experience in the institutional racist society of the United States. We plan to facilitate two 6-week sessions of Reading & Writing Whiteness, followed by two more, to meet the outpouring of UU community interest.

We envision the first round of groups starting the first week of September, to be followed by a second beginning in late October. We'll strive to ensure everyone who wants to participate in this group experience has a chance before the end of the year. Details about how to register are coming soon.

First sessions:
Tuesdays, 7 - 8:30 p.m. starting September 8
Fridays, 10 - 11:30 a.m., starting September 11

Second Sessions: Starting week of October 26
Days & times TBD
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- from Adult RE Teacher Claire Crandell -

"A circle of friends is a blessed thing."
from 
Sunday and Every Day, My Little Blue Book of Unitarian Universalism
 
On a beautiful Sunday morning UU youth met and shared their past week experiences and Week 6 accomplishments of the UU Summer Kit Challenges. Everyone had enjoyed their past week of summer fun and most had gone to the water. 

One of this week's challenges was to look carefully at a wave and build a model or take a picture. Someone had built a wave using clay. Another of the youth celebrated their birthday during the past week and was thrilled with a new telescope present. This prompted a shared discussion about various star constellations, the current meteor shower and becoming an astronaut. 

Another of the challenges was to build a miniature swing for an insect. A youth had done this and had put a spider on the swing but said the spider didn't stay on it. They also shared their observations of something that grows. One youth took us on a guided virtual outdoor tour of the family garden of vegetables and flowers. This was fun and prompted lots of comments. We ended with saying what fun and a blessing our circle of Sunday friends were as we waved a virtual farewell until next week.
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Families:  If your child has not received the RE Summer Creative/Fun Kit please let Betsy or Claire know.  We will deliver it to you!  
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UUCGT Calendar - Stay Up to Date

Sunday Services, meetings and classes are hosted on Zoom until further notice. Need help with Zoom? Click on Zoom links below.

To request a Zoom meeting setup and link for your group or committee meeting, please call or e-mail Guy at the office

Requests must be made by Wednesday at noon of the preceeding week, please, if you want your meeting or event included in the FLASH, especially if you are requesting a Zoom set-up!
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Friday, August 21
  2:00 PM
   Zoom rehearsal for Sunday Service   
7:00 PM 
   BEYOND CATEGORICAL THINKING   
   Workshop with Rev Keith Kron, Part I
   Meeting ID: 837 4139 2204   Passcode: 740370

Saturday, August 22
10:00 AM 
   BEYOND CATEGORICAL THINKING   
    Workshop with Rev Keith Kron, Part II
   Zoom info: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86155501293?pwd=eng1TXR5RmlxWnlFK1hsQ0FmRTNBZz09
   Meeting ID: 861 5550 1293    Passcode: 823674  
[Question for discussion: are the above colors garish enough?]

Sunday, August 23
10:30 AM
   Sunday Service
   You can sign in beginning at 10:00 AM to visit!

Monday, August 24
10:00 AM
   Stretch & Strengthen
   Via Zoom: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86328072766
1:00 PM
   Ukelele rehearsal with Renée
   Zoom info: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83676388015

Tuesday, August 25
10:30 AM
   Volunteer Comm. Lunch, Friends Church
   For info contact Mary Kiner
2:30 PM
   Sunday Service Coordinators

Wednesday, August 26
11:00 AM
   Stretch & Strengthen Class
   Via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8632807276
5:30 PM
   Wednesday "Bring-Your-Own" Picnic Supper - 
   All are welcome! Contact Mike and Sandra McDonald.

Thursday, August 27
2:00 PM
   Congregational Care Team
7:00 PM
   VE Rehearsal with Renée 
   Meeting ID: 824 6134 0486    Passcode: 728769

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New to Zoom?

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UUCGT Bulletin Board
Visit our website at www.uucgt.org

Chuck Brackett has been doing a hero's work taking hundreds of photos of our building and grounds and has spent many, many hours trying them in various combinations as slideshows and videos.  Soon this presentation will be one of the first - and most important - updates to our website.  Jolynn Paige - our Beacon creator and go-to webmistress - is always involved and working hard, and together we'll have an updated website and a new Facebook page ready before - how shall I phrase this? - "too long"?  Yes, that sounds about right: optimistic but sufficiently vague to CMA.  "Before too long."

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Video Recordings of the current month's Sunday Services are available online. From now on we'll be posting a link to the most recent service in case you missed it and/or would like to re-view!  Click here to view the Service of Sunday August 16! A password is required, that code is Ig.xJ9E$

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Rev. Cathy and others have requested/suggested that we begin linking to important social justice issues featured on both the Michigan and National UUA Social Justice pages!  Today we feature the Michigan UU Social Justice homepage - www.uujustice.org - where the banner headline is still TAKE ACTION NOW!  Call our Michigan Senators to demand "true COVID relief for American families."

Sen. Gary Peters: 1-202-224-6221Sen. 
Debbie Stabenow: 1-202-224-4822

Vote HEROES, not HEALS.
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I'm going to include again here the link to the Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Grey's poignant letter to all the UUA.  It addresses several issues of our time but does so succinctly.  As I wrote above, the link is fickle at best!  I've uploaded a .pdf of the Message here.
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If you know a college student, especially one about to begin his or her freshman year, you might offer some extra care and support.  The pandemic turned the end of their senior year of high school upside down, and is now doing the same to their first year of college.  Notre Dame and UNC-Chapel Hill began in-person classes and within two weeks has had to send students back home. And only Tuesday Michigan State University - days away from beginning in-person classes - told all students headed to the dorms to stay home. Those not living on campus may be locked into leases, pouring rent into apartments they don't really need.  The rites and milestones of commencement, prom, and others were taken from them in the spring, and now they're losing the company of their peers in the fall as well.  These may seem like relatively small sacrifices, but for many they are not.
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We still have 
BLACK LIVES MATTER T-shirts
Well-made, 100% cotton. $20 apiece.
This money supports local BLM efforts!
Please contact or come by the office. 

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Reminder: Book Club in August: White Fragility
Please contact Rev. Cathy

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        ___________________________________________

Coronavirus infections and cases of the Covid-19 illness are rising again in Grand Traverse County!  Local health departments have now identified 37 possible coronavirus exposure sites. Cherry Capital Airport, many restaurants and bars.  Continue to exercise caution and to stay informed!

(The NY Times is offering their coverage of the pandemic for free, without needing a subscription or running into a paywall.  This is true of The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and many other major media outlets as well.)

Continue to stay informed, be safe, save lives, be kind.  For many this time is causing mental health difficulties as well as possible physical illness.
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End Notes:  Further thoughts on hope in times of struggle...
      
"I would hurl words into 
this darkness and wait
for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all."
Richard Wright, 1908 - 1960  


  
Most of the UUCGT building is closed until further notice;
however the office will be manned Tuesday-Friday
for most of the next few weeks.
with any questions or concerns.

Contact Rev. Cathy at revharrington@mac.com
Stay up to date on Facebook & UUCGT website