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I noticed recently that the State Theater was showing Frank Capra's 1946 movie, "It's a Wonderful Life". I watched that movie every December in my earlier life, but I remember the last time I saw it as an older, wiser minister and was surprised how I viewed it with different eyes. It was the first time I was conscious of its blatant political incorrectness. For example, the way Uncle Billy's alcoholism was used for humor troubled me, but this isn't the first movie to do that and it won't be the last. Mr. Potter, the town villain, made an ugly slur about "garlic eaters" and the lovable, devoted maid felt just wrong.
But Jimmy Stewart was so darn handsome and passionate that I was captivated once again in the first few minutes. His self-sacrifice pained me and touched a core deep within me like I am sure watching this movie does for most viewers. Yet the romantic idealism was nostalgic and charming. Being a hopeless romantic, I was swept away by the sentimental love story with George and Mary. How unrealistic is it that those two would marry after Mary leaves for four years of college hardly noticed by George except for the wonderfully funny graduation party when they fall into the swimming pool? That memorable evening dampened by the death of George's father marked the beginning of a life of sacrifice and service to the town and people of Bedford Falls. George demonstrated a life of compassionate caring and of placing people above all else.
I loved every minute of this marvelous story of good over evil, and good old-fashioned neighborly love coming to the rescue. Sigh, we need more movies like this. I found myself choking back tears countless times. This was a movie that depicted the harsh realities of life in an honest way. The sad scene where George is devastated and defeated by Potter's dishonest scheme to destroy the Savings and Loan yet again, and he loses his temper with his children was hard to watch. It was a candid depiction of human frustration and weariness against the constant struggles of life. I had to laugh when he exclaimed, "You call this a happy family? And why do we have to have so many kids?"
George clearly loved his beautiful wife and four children, but yes, life is really hard sometimes. This movie is for everyone who ever felt unappreciated, tired and just plain angry at life. And, there's Clarence who made me want to believe in angels.
I think this movie is a brilliant classic even with its outdated charm and PC mistakes. I am reminded every time I watch it that every small act of kindness moves the world toward health and wholeness. The most poignant message of this movie is timeless isn't it? It is simply that every act of love matters, even the small ones. After all, it was ZuZu's little petals in George's pocket that reminded him that his life was indeed filled with riches.
In faith and love,
December 15 - 1
0:30 AM - "Grace Notes"
Rev. Cathy Harrington
Like those little musical grace notes whose only purpose is to freshen a phrase, the small grace notes of life can remind us of life's sacredness and the power of love.
Nursery care is available for infants through age 4
Children and Youth are asked to meet in the sanctuary
until after the Children's Benediction
Last Sunday we held a small (early) Winter Solstice celebration. The children learned about the holiday and its history, then were led through a ceremony with candles, words, and lots of noise to welcome the return of the light. We finished by making candle holders to take home.
This coming Sunday, December 15, Hal Gurian will visit the RE classroom to teach us about Chanukah. There will be a story, dreidels, and chocolate coins!
On December 22 we will hold an All Congregation "No-Rehearse Christmas Pageant".
Children are invited to arrive at 10:15 am on Sunday, December 22 to choose roles in advance or to be shown how to hand out costumes if they'd prefer an offstage role.
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Saturday, December 21
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A Winter Solstice Service
Vegetarian Potluck to follow
Bring a dish to pass & table service
~ Nursery care provided ~
A Christmas Eve Candlelight
Bring some cookies or holidays treats to share!
Starting in 2020!
Starting Point: An Introduction to the Unitarian Universalist Journey
This four-part program is designed for newcomers, but Starting Point has a lot to offer long-time members as well. If you have never participated in a small group, this is the perfect opportunity. Or, maybe you are a longtime member looking to fall in love with UUCGT and Unitarian Universalism all over again. Well then, consider Starting Point your spiritual "re-starting point"!
Rev. Cathy will lead the sessions which are scheduled after the Sunday Service from 11:45-1:00 pm in the sanctuary. Mark your calendar for the following dates:
January 26, February 2, February 16 & February 23
A sign-up sheet is located on the Welcome Table
Soul Matters Small Group Facilitator Training
If you are interested in co-facilitating a small group, contact Cathy ASAP for registration. There are two opportunities to participate in an online training session: January 9, 2020 at 7 pm or January 11 at noon.
This is a two-hour online orientation for small group facilitators and small group organizing teams. Essential for new facilitators and a great tune-up for experienced ones, training covers the basics of the Soul Matters facilitation model, tips for handling facilitation challenges, strategies for program growth and best practices for new facilitator recruitment and support.
Soul Matters Small Groups will begin in March
Sign-up sheets will be located on the Welcome Table.
UUCGT Bulletin Board
UUCGT Financial Statement as of November 30, 2019
Tax Year 2019 ending is quickly approaching. Any Pledge Payments or
Donations you would like on your Year End Statement for 2019 need to be
into the office no later than December 29, 2019 in order to be processed for year end.
Accounting / Bookkeeping Experience?
Flexible work schedule? Stay at home Mom?
Volunteer needed to act as back-up for our Accountant:
4-6 hours/week to learn system, then 1-2 hours every couple of weeks to
maintain skill level. Contact Jim Walworth, 409-9278 or Mike McDonald,
342-0768 for more information
A Warm Thank You goes out to Bill McKinley!
Bill planted, tended and cut the Holiday Trees that grace our building!
Thank you, Bill!
UU Brewing Community will meet on Sunday, December 22 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. Join us at the Workshop Brew Pub on Garland Street. Enjoy good conversation, a nice food menu and plenty of drink options. Contact John Hoffmann
Donations to Help our Community this Holiday Season!
NW Michigan Supportive Housing
Household move-in items for residents with mental illness. Bed sheets, pillowcases, laundry & hand soap, cleaning supplies, plungers, toilet cleaners & brushes, shower curtains, hand & bath towels, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.
Baskets of Bounty/Commission on Aging
Personal care supplies for low-income seniors.
Bins are located near the kitchen! Thank you for your generosity!
Be Aware of Holiday Gift Card Scams
Congregations across the U.S. have been targeted by email scams designed to look like a minister is asking members to send gift cards.
Stay safe - verify any email requests for money or gift cards. Do not click on email links, or send money, gift cards, etc.
Items Abound in LOST & FOUND!
heck for your lost items in the alcove by the name tag tower - Coats, sweaters, gloves, hats, kitchenware, water bottles, glasses...
+ Free Books, Calendars, Publications!
A Celebration of Her Life and Art
Enjoy a collection of MaryAnn's watercolor paintings currently displayed in the
UUCGT Corridor Gallery!
Her artwork is available for purchase from MaryAnn's daughter, Liz Swartzmiller - call 231.313.9038
BENZIE UU December Schedule
Benzie UU meets the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month at "Grow Benzie" 5885 Frankfort Hwy, Benzonia. Potluck 6:30pm / Service 7:30pm
- Barb Skurdall will treat us to her annual exploration of the Winter Solstice.
Awareness is the first step.
Sharing this article to help parents, teachers, relatives, teens -
How can we help those caught in this web?
Nazi Symbols and Racist Memes: Combating School Intolerance
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Should anyone be allowed to scan our faces and use for whatever means?
Please check the link out and form an opinion!
UUCGT Social Justice Action Team
Emmy Lou Cholak, chair
UUCGT Calendar of Events
Thursdays, 1:30pm, social hall
- Stewardship Team: Thursday, December 12, 1:30pm, library
- Singing Sisters: Saturday, December 14, 10:00am - 2:00pm, sanctuary
- Vocal Ensemble: Thursdays, 7:00pm, sanctuary
- OWL: Sunday, December 15, 10:00am - noon, meditation room
Sunday, December 15, 5:00
pm, meditation room
- Stretch & Strengthen:
Mondays, 11:00am, social hall
- Plant-Based Lifestyle TC Event: Monday, December 16, 6:15pm - Tickets through EventBrite, https://bit.ly/2t9kVci
SokukoJi Buddhist Community Meditation/Study:
Tuesday, December 17, 6:30-8:30pm, meditation room. See
for more information
Stretch & Strengthen:
Wednesdays, 11:00am, social hall
- Sunday Services Committee: Wednesday, December 18, 12:30pm, social hall
- Wednesday Potluck Supper: December 18, 5:30pm - Join Us!
UUCGT Board Meeting: Wednesday, December 18, 7:00pm, sanctuary
Shantideva Fan Club: Thursday, December 19, 9:30am, sanctuary
Congregational Care Team: Thursday, December 19, 1:30pm library
Transition Team: Thursday, December 19, 3:00pm, library
Vocal Ensemble: Thursdays @ 7:00pm, sanctuary
Winter Solstice Service & Vegetarian Potluck: Saturday, December 21, 5:00pm - Service & potluck are open to everyone!
Wishing you peace this holiday season...
UUCGT office hours
day - Thursday