Unitarian Universalist Congregation,
Santa Rosa
Celebrating Life, Empowering People, Caring for One Another,
Helping to Build a Better World



UUCSR Newsletter


March 2021


COMMITMENT


Sunday Services are at 10:30am

Past services are archived on the

March 7
On Breaking Up
and Making Up

Service Leaders: Rev. Chris, Eric Fischer,
Era Capone; Music: John Ray, Roger Corman

A covenant is a binding agreement between people, or between people and the Sacred. Married couples have a covenant. UUCSR members have a covenant, and a congregation and its minister have one, too. Because of the nature of people and creation, such binding agreements change, grow, and sometimes get set down. Whole, repaired or broken, they can help us toward awakening and fulfilment.


March 14
The Great Mystery
Service Leader: Rev. Marcus Liefert

The UU North Bay Shared Service, hosted by the UUs in Marin

The actual topic for today's service is a mystery, but we're sure it'll be great. Hence, "The Great Mystery!"

Special Link for MARCH 14
Dial in: 669-900-6833
Meeting ID: 444 532 079
March 21
The Commitment(s)
of Marriage 

Service Leaders: Rev. Chris, Judy Withee, Era Capone, many others
Music: Alan Bell, Roger Corman

Marriage is by no means the only way to be in relationship with one’s sweetheart, lover or friend, yet, in spite of its well-documented history of failures (Henry VIII, anyone?) and 50% success rate, it remains eminently popular. We’ll look a little at the history of the institution and discuss why marriage (or something like it) is still worth supporting and celebrating, particularly now that it is legal across the land for everyone! 

March 28
The Commitment(s) of Parenting

Service Leaders: Rev. Chris, Clare Whitfield, Era Capone; Music: Sally Jones, Roger Corman

Few commitments are more demanding than supporting and raising children. This lifelong process demands that we are deeply grounded in hope, and have faith in human possibilities. Even if we might not have children of our own, we can all share in and celebrate this commitment with the many parents and children who call UUCSR home.


April 4
Easter / Flower Communion

Service Leaders: Rev. Chris, Veronica Jordan, Era Capone
Music: Roger Corman & the Choir

In This Issue
  • A Message from Rev. Chris
  • Your President's Message
  • What Your Board Is Up To
  • Religious Education and Family Ministry
  • Treasurer's Monthly Ledger
  • Administrative Manager's Minute
  • Adult Education
  • Diversity Dialogue
  • Borders and Beyond
  • Share The Offering
  • Musical Notes
  • Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans' Reflection
  • Caring Connections Committee
  • Other Groups and Special Events
  • SOUL MATTERS THEME GUIDE

A Message from Rev. Chris
Hi Everybody,

One year ago, at the end of February 2020, I was sitting on the couch clutching a heart-shaped pillow to my wounded chest after the open-heart surgery that surely saved my life. As I prepared to leave the hospital, my daughter, who had come to tend to me, was warning us about a dangerous new virus that had been reported in China, saying it was likely to make its way to the U.S. Since she is, admittedly, a bit of a worry-wort, I wrote it off as just her standard anxieties and turned my attention to getting out of the hospital and home to the couch. 

I'm glad she's not the sort to say, "I told you so." 

For here we are, a year later, having endured more isolation and stress than any of us probably ever thought possible. Our families continue to bear the great challenges of remote schooling and working from home, and our elders continue to battle loneliness and the very, very real risks posed by COVID-19. Do you remember last May, when UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray told us not to expect any in-person activities for at least a year, and we all thought that was premature and ridiculous?

I’m glad she’s also not the sort to say, “I told you so…”

With the vaccinations rolling out, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel (which we’ll trust is not another oncoming engine, ha, ha, ha). But we cannot yet disembark the train. 

In an article in Time in February, I read that researchers have identified a phenomenon whereby those who are enduring a long endurance test often have their greatest struggle around the 75% mark. Sailors on nuclear submarines, researchers in Antarctica, astronauts on a space station – they all get testy and their routines threaten to break down and they really want to quit somewhere around the ¾ mark. The solution to hanging in there, and making it to the end of the ordeal, is twofold. Maintain your daily rituals to stay centered on the here-and-now, and stay committed to the mission. 

Our mission, you may recall, is to celebrate life, empower people, care for one another, and help to build a better world. We are celebrating life every Sunday in worship together, where we are also empowering people by raising money for community service organizations each week. We are caring for one another through the lay chaplains, Soul Matters circles and neighborhood groups. And we helping to build a better world through our activism with the

North Bay Organizing Project, whose important ISSUES ASSEMBLY is on Zoom, on Saturday, March 6th at 10:00 at this link:


An additional approach to dealing with this long march is to recognize when some things have to be let go, if only temporarily. As most of you know, we have granted our beloved choir director, Sadie Sonntag, a much-needed leave of absence so that she can focus on her most important missions: educating children as a full-time public school teacher, and tending to her young son. Thus, the choir will take a break until we are meeting in person again. We will continue to produce and hear home-grown music thanks to our UUCSR music coordinators, and we will reprise many of the wonderful tunes the choir has recorded for us throughout the Pandemic. 

Over the next couple of months the Board, the Health Advisory Committee and I will continue to look at the conditions in the county and beyond and do our very best to get us back together in person whenever it is safe. But for now, we still need to chug along the track in our mostly separate sleeping cars, and wave to each other from the windows, and be as kind and hopeful and forgiving to ourselves and one another as we can be. 

75% done, means only 25% to go. So HANG IN THERE, my dears, and take it one beautiful Spring day at a time. May God bless you and keep you safe, and I’ll see you online soon.

Fondly, 
Rev. Chris


President's Message
It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times
 
As I write this, I’m looking out my window to a bright, warm(ish) sunny day, the vaccines are starting to really roll out, we can start to imagine a life beyond shelter-in-place, people are taking racism and racial justice much more seriously, we have a President who actually is asleep at 2:30 am (!), and we have the prospect of new possibilities for our congregation and community on our horizon.
 
But…much of the country is gripped in the worst polar vortex ever, once it is over we will return to one of the warmest winters and years on record, vaccines are rolling out too slowly and unevenly, there are new variants of the coronavirus out there, implicit bias is as pervasive and insidious as ever, we still have deep schisms in our country, and we are losing our beloved minister.
 
Which do you choose to focus your attention on? Are you a Pollyanna with rose-colored glasses on, or are you an Eeyore, certain that it’s all going to hell in a handbasket? Or are you something different – focusing your attention on a brighter future, but not without also paying attention to the realities of our time? 
 
I choose that “third way”. I have definitely had times this past year where I was an Eeyore. Though I tend to be a “the glass is half full of fizzy water” kind of person, I’m not a Pollyanna. I have to be careful about what I put my attention on, and when. I look at the PD headlines in the morning, but that’s it. I read articles from the PD and my tablet at night, after my day is done – and not too much or too many. I have this congregation that is rooted firmly in possibility, so that is fed back to me every week. And I am lucky enough to have work that requires me to be positive for my clients. All that that grounds me in hope and possibility.
 
I truly believe our Interim-Minister-to-come is going to be a great thing for our congregation and community. Rev. Chris has done such great work to create the strong, healthy, vibrant congregation that we are. Who KNOWS what that strong foundation will make available for us and our future? I’m excited to find out.
 
The more I read about what an Interim provides and the work they do with us, the more enthusiastic I get to find out what is possible, what is next for us. We’ve assembled a great Interim Search committee: me, Leslie Norinsky, Cathie Wiese and Paul Brockmann. Our first step will be to assemble a packet of material about us to post online for prospective candidates to review. But as with everything we do here, we want to include you in this process. 
 
The Interim is hired by the Board, but it’s also important that the search committee knows what your needs and wants are. So we will be setting up several “Listening Circles” (held via Zoom, of course) to hear from you. Stay tuned for dates and times!
 
I invite you to explore what’s possible for you and for our community in the days ahead. We’ll all be better for it!
 
In love and unity,
Natalie

What Your Board Is Up To
We had a chock-a-block meeting in February! We had another very useful conversation about racial justice, discussing where our congregation is and is not confronting our own implicit bias and what steps we can take to make things more inclusive.
 
The Board unanimously approved the Interim Minister Search Committee members, and was updated on the committee’s work. The committee also proposed holding 3 listening sessions to get input from the congregation. 
 
The Board approved the Health Advisory Committee’s recommendation that our courtyard be open for use by the RE program and adult members once there has been a sustained drop in Covid cases in Sonoma County, expected to happen in early March. Steps for reserving courtyard space and rules to keep everyone safe will be announced via Constant Contact.
 
The Realm team announced that a printable directory of UUCSR’s membership will be generated from Realm and shared with members. The Board expects more activity on Realm as the Congregation moves toward resuming in-person meetings.
 
We also got an initial report of a congregation-wide project that will be fun, engaging, and safe. Cathie Wiese is heading it up, so you know it will be well-thought-out and delightful! Stay tuned – it’s coming soon!
 
Take very good care,
 
Natalie 

Religious Education and Family Ministry
Hello everyone! It's hard to believe that March is already here, and spring is right around the corner. As we enter this season of rebirth, we here in RE are taking time to recommit to our UU Principles. This month, the kids and youth of our congregation will be taking a closer look at our 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th principles through stories, games, and discussion. They'll explore our theme of "Commitment" through the role these principles play in their lives, and how they choose to live up to these values.

This month, the kids will also be committing to staying connected with one another, as we in RE offer even more opportunities for families to stay in touch! With game nights, movie nights, story nights, Mystery Pals, UU Parenting, Dungeons & Dragon campaigns, and even in-person play-dates in our courtyard, we here in RE are striving to make sure that our kids and families have plenty of opportunities to be with one another!

If you or a kid you know would like to participate in any of these activities, check out our RE Weekly Newsletter, or email me directly at dre@uusantarosa.org. I am always thrilled to receive questions, comments, and feedback about RE, and I would love to hear from you!

In love and gratitude,

Era Capone
Director of Religious Education
Sunday, March 7th - Compassion: Committing to Our 2nd Principle
This Sunday, the kids of RE will be kind in all they do as they explore our second principle. They'll hear the story Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson. Afterwards, they'll come up with and perform random acts of kindness for their family, friends, neighbors, and more!

Sunday, March 14th - Change: Committing to Our 3rd Principle
Children this week will help each other grow as they take a look at our 3rd Principle. They'll hear Mae Among the Stars by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie, the true story of Dr. Mae Jamison, the first African American woman to become an astronaut. Afterwards, they'll work together and help each other learn through a fun (and silly) game of 20 Questions.

Sunday, March 21st - Curiosity: Committing to Our 4th Principle
The kids of RE will be getting curious this week as they keep searching for the true. They'll begin their exploration of our 4th principle with the story Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts. After the story, they'll share their own perceptions of "the true" as they make Rorschach-style splotches, and share what they see in the shapes they create. As they offer their own perspectives, they'll get a chance to celebrate and support each other's different views.

Sunday, March 28th - Conscience: Committing to Our 5th Principle
On this last Sunday of March, the kids of RE will be listening to their conscience as they are reminded that each person has a say. They'll begin their exploration of our fifth principle with Malala Yousafzai's incredible true story, Malala’s Magic Pencil. After the story, the kids will put democracy into action by roleplaying some tricky (and silly) scenarios, and voting on what they should do next.

Treasurer’s Monthly Ledger
Dear Fellow UUs—
 
Our books have not yet closed on February, but I project that the month may end in the red. We have had extra costs related to staffing our bookkeeper position, PG & E bill was higher than past months, and our Pledge revenue looks to be down. I will report on the final numbers at the Board Meeting in March, and in the March newsletter.
 
           We are busy at work putting together the budget for 2021-22. This is very challenging because we will be facing expenses for recruiting our new Interim Minister and we are not sure when we will be fully opening the Glaser Center post-pandemic. So we’re going to be relying a lot on estimates and “best guesses” for both the income and the expense sides of the budget. We expect to present it to the Board in April, and to the Congregation at our June meeting. I’ll keep you posted as we progress…
 
           Our Sustaining Pledge Team and Legacy Pledge Committee are both working diligently on the Financial Stewardship challenges facing our Congregation. If it’s been a while since you thought about your annual pledge, please consider an increase. If you’re thinking about making UUCSR a beneficiary of your will, please contact me!
           
We have welcomed a temporary addition to our Administration – Bettina Jefferis will be keeping our books and financial reporting while we plan the recruitment of a permanent bookkeeper. She’s already fitting right in! We bade a loving farewell to Laura Blum, who has embarked on a life of retirement in New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment!
 
Always feel free to email me at treasurer@uusantarosa.org
 
In Fellowship,
 
Jane DeYoung
Treasurer

From Our Administrative Manager
Are any of you amazed that we are in March again? Last March was the beginning of something we had never experienced. I am amazed that a year has passed.

While the Pandemic ebbs and flows UUCSR continues to do good work. My call for Desk Angels was answered quickly, we have had our first week working in the office together. We have a few slots that still need to be filled so please email or give me a call so we can put you to work. The tasks for Desk Angels can very but the work you do is so helpful for the congregation.

The board room and work room look beautiful! Thank you to Cathie Wiese, Paula Hammett and Larissa Greco. Each of you helped me get different tasks accomplished which was needed to restore our board room and work room. As the newbie to UUCSR I appreciate those of you that have offered me your wisdom and collective knowledge of all things UU. This has made my job easier as well as more enjoyable.

I look forward to our next baby step which will be reopening the courtyard to congregants for small groups. We will have some training with the Health Advisory committee to ensure we are well prepared to open with all safety measures in place.

Until Next time....
Kenyatta Jackson

Adult Education
WALKING WHILE BLACK:
L.O.V.E. Is The Answer
 
The UUCSR Adult Education Committee is proud to present WALKING WHILE BLACK: L.O.V.E. is The Answer, a film by A.J. Ali, on March 4, 2020, at 10:00am.
 
WALKING WHILE BLACK: L.O.V.E. is The Answer is an award winning documentary about improving relations between police and people of color. A.J. coined the acronym L.O.V.E. which stands for Learn about your community, Open your heart to the people in it, Volunteer yourself to be part of the solution, and Empower others to the same. His film won Best Documentary and Audience Favorite at the Garifuna International Film Festival in L.A. The film will be followed by a Q and A session.

This screening is part of the Adult Education series, Criminal Justice or Injustice? moderated by John Mutz.
 
A.J. Ali is author of L.O.V.E. is The Answer, an award winning companion book to his film. A.J. has published hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. He is the recipient of numerous business awards and in 2020 made history by being the focus of a 7 page spread in “Black History 365” textbook, for his L.O.V.E. is The Answer work. A.J. is a service-disabled military veteran who served honorably in the United States Air Force. He credits his time in the military with making him a servant leader and peacekeeper.

L.O.V.E. Is The Answer
2-Hour Webinar
Time: Mar 4, 2021 10:00 AM

Join Zoom Meeting
 
Dial-In: 669-900-6833
Meeting ID: 826 4172 6052
Passcode: 944081



Coming Soon

 
Golden Age Radio and its Times
presented by Alan Bell 

Scheduled for April
Watch for Zoom Invite
 
Radio was arguably the most significant development in communications since print. It kept Americans informed and entertained, helping them navigate the critical and harrowing years of the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the advent of the Cold War. This course will examine Golden Age Radio in the context of the times. We will listen to excerpts and episodes of popular shows — Fibber McGee and Molly, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Jack Benny, and so on — and hear how they reflected, and in some cases, altered society. How did Fibber McGee and Molly help win WWII? How did Suspense grapple with the conflicted role of women in the post-war era? How did the character of Rochester on The Jack Benny Program both maintain and undermine racial stereotypes? . . . and many, many other such questions. We’ll also discover how the various program forms — yes, even “reality” shows — were first developed for radio. We’ll hear how broadcast news was virtually invented on the eve of WWII. And we’ll examine the art of radio, the so-called “theater of the mind.”
 
Alan Bell spent nearly 25 years as a writer, producer and director, mostly for public television. He has won over 20 awards for his programs, including an “Emmy” and the Golden Gate Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival. He retired in 2009 from the faculty of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, where he taught broadcasting, journalism, and media history and criticism. He’s old enough to have gotten in on the tail end of “old time radio” as a child, but really developed his interest in it as an undergraduate in the mid-‘60s.
 

Sinless Sex: A Challenge to Religions
presented by William Stayton
 
April 27- June 1st, Tuesdays, 1:00 pm- 2:30 pm
Watch for Zoom Invite
 
 Have you ever had a discussion of sex and religion and felt pulled apart internally?  Have you ever wondered if you could be sexual and religious at the same time?  Have you ever been put in the position where you had to choose between acting out sexually in a safe, fun and experimental way or being religious with your sexual activity limited to marriage and procreation?  In your religious tradition, if any, did you have positive sexuality education that helped you work through feelings about masturbation, homosexuality, pre-marital heterosexual sex, or safer sex techniques - or were you told what you had to feel?
 
Join Bill Stayton, MDiv, ThD, PhD, for a discussion of his provocative new book, Sinless Sex: A Challenge to Religions.  With this book, Bill seeks to impart useful science-based information about sexuality that will correct misinformation about scriptures and religions that the majority of people, especially from the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have been brought up to believe. Bill brings to this subject a varied background - as a minister, family and sex therapist, and professor of psychology and human sexuality. He has taught several classes on sexuality to the UUCSR community

FROM THE DIVERSITY PROJECT
By Libia Marqueza Castro

When I reflect on the purpose of the Diversity Project, I am reminded of the times when I didn’t pay attention to things like diversity, equity, and inclusion. (What do these words even mean?!) I suppose this is my confession of sorts. 

My grandparents moved their families from Colombia to the United States because the prospect of prosperity was greater than the smog filled streets of Bogota and the poverty in Baranquilla. “The American Dream”. The ability to enter this country, build your personal wealth, and prosper in the land of the free and the home of the brave. 

It doesn’t work this way, though. Over the years after their immigration, my mother continued to learn English, took French courses, and helped take care of her younger siblings with my abuela as my abuelo spent his days doing back-breaking work at a spice factory. Since my father immigrated when he was younger, he spoke English without an accent. He played football, worked for a moving company, and eventually enlisted in the US Navy to become “the brave” that Americans always sing about. He became “our troops abroad” and a “soldier fighting for our freedom”. 

As stories go, my parents met through an introduction from my abuelas. They had a long distance relationship for seven years, while my father lived on an aircraft carrier and traveled all over Europe and Asia. They got married, had two kids in Puerto Rico, and eventually settled back on the mainland. My brother and I learned English, enrolled in predominantly White public schools, and became indoctrinated to the ways of assimilation. 

Assimilation. Code for “white supremacist conversion camp”. A series of beliefs that my grandparents and my parents thought were the way to success. To freedom. To happiness. Assimilation teaches survival skills, skills that include, but are not limited to: 

·      Only speaking Spanish at home
·      Viewing low-income housing as the projects
·      Believing the “pull yourself up from your bootstraps” mentality
·      Fearing folks who are experiencing homelessness
·      Seeing those who are unable to receive a formalized education as "less than"

The list goes on. And on. And on. For an added layer of ridiculousness, most of this learning took place where Black and Latinx folks were the majority (Baltimore; New Orleans, Houston). 

My unlearning began sometime between high school and grad school and has been active ever since. I know my parents are not inherently bad people. They did what they felt was necessary to ensure my brother and I had successful futures, ways of teaching that were passed on from my grandparents and great-grandparents. 

However. Racism, whether overt or covert, is never ok. Once my (de)education began, I could not stop seeing the hypocrisy in what we think is the “American Dream.” A dream should not include denouncing your culture in public. A dream should not include gaslighting and ignoring minoritized folks who are a product of a white supremacist system.  A dream should not allow privilege to outweigh humanity. 

My family has taught me many valuable lessons in morality, but I am a product of the US education system. I have learned more in these past few years than I ever did in my K-12 education about the stories of Indigenous (from Africa and the Americas) peoples being ripped from their homes and murdered; forced to forget their past and assimilate in ways that have ultimately damaged this nation. I’ve learned about how engrained racism is in me; from the books I read to the TV I watch. I have never celebrated the stories of Black folks or even of my own people until the past few years. I want to stop the cycle in my family, but goodness is this hard!

The Diversity Project is a space where I am able to continue to unlearn engrained racist ideals while facilitating space for others to do the same. This congregation is built on humanistic principles that are not always sunshine and rainbows. Nevertheless, the Diversity Project is constantly finding ways to bring this (de)education to our group in ways that are both uncomfortable and supportive. Be sure to join us for one our  upcoming events. 

This work is difficult, but so, so worth it. After being in this country for 41 years, my mother is voting for the first time in this election and I’d like to believe it’s because of the books and media I put in front of her. Or maybe she saw one too many Black bodies violated on her TV screen. Whatever the reason, this success is not one I take for granted. 

Do yourselves the favor and unlearn. Unlearn white supremacy so that we can rewrite the definition of the “American Dream”. The best part? The DP is here for you at every step of the way. We’re here for UU, you, you, you…
 

Borders and Beyond
Are you wondering how you might be of help to those in need with the extra funds you have received as a result of the Covid Stimulus Relief check?  The Borders and Beyond committee invites you to consider donating part or all of your relief money to UndocuFund, founded by the North Bay Organizing Project, Graton Day Labor Center, and North Bay Jobs with Justice. This is a worthy program in Sonoma County whose only focus is to provide financial relief to our undocumented neighbors who are struggling with the impact of job/income loss, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and, in some cases, the need to self-isolate due to a positive Covid diagnosis. This organization has a noteworthy track record of providing support through emergency grants to persons and families who, due to their undocumented status, cannot access unemployment insurance nor emergency funds through county, state, or federal programs.
 
You can find more information about UndocuFund and the work they do at undocufund.org. They have a secure online donation portal as well as information about where to send donation checks. Yes, they are tax-deductible. To date there have been many more applications for relief grants than can be met which has resulted in a wait list. Any amount you can give to help our undocumented neighbors make it through these unprecedented times beginning with fires, then floods, then the pandemic would be so appreciated! 
 
With thanks,
Borders and Beyond

Share The Offering
Building Beloved Community Within and Beyond Our Walls
Here’s a summary of what we have collected to share with external organizations in recent services:

KBBF Bilingual Radio (January 10) $350
Food For All – Valley of the Moon (January 24) $985

Donations to the support Saturday Breakfast between July 1 (start of our fiscal year) and January 31 were $15,505.

As of January 31, Saturday Breakfast had spent $10,642 to provide nutritious take-away lunches to people in our community.

To ensure Saturday Breakfast is funded, we generally reserve offerings on the first, third and fifth Sundays for Saturday Breakfast, with the second and the fourth Sundays given to support external organizations.

Below is a tentative schedule for “Share” organizations for the balance of our fiscal year until June. Please think about supporting these organizations on their identified “Share” Sundays, or through an online donation during the week after each Sunday through Realm. (On the Realm donations page, you can select “Share The Offering With Other Organizations,” and if you do that any time from the identified Sunday until the next Saturday, it will go to that organization.) Always keep our ongoing Saturday Breakfast and its hard-working teams in mind, and do let us know of any other organizations doing great work in our community that you’d like to see the congregation support. (Realm groups, A4SJ Share the Offering.) Thanks!

February 28: FISH (Friends in Service Here)
March 28: Catholic Charities of Sonoma County
April 11: Project Censored (multi-congregation service)
April 25: Russian River Alliance
May 23: Lifeworks of Sonoma County
June 13: SAY Sonoma County (Social Advocates for Youth)
June 27: Listening for a Change

Thanks for your continued generosity in support of our congregation’s mission of building beloved community within and beyond our walls.

Your A4SJ Share the Offering team – Elaine Wellin, Judy Elliott, Lynn Riepenhoff, Paul Brockmann, Serge Zimberoff


Musical Notes
Musical Notes
"On the day we are together again, I will pull you in close, like a hoop with no end, on the day we are together again." --words and music by Humbird, for Congregation Ben Haverim Chorus.

We have good news and bad news this month. First the good news. More and more people are getting vaccinated. New cases of COVID-19 are down. Hospitalizations are down. Deaths are down. The prognosis is, we should reach the mythological "herd immunity" by the end of July. Maybe next In Gathering we can actually gather in person!

But, as I mentioned it's not all good news. Our beloved Director, Sadie Sonntag has decided to lay down her director's baton for the time being. She has been juggling parenting and home teaching a youngster; teaching multiple online music classes; and using technology to facilitate choral singing among a bunch of computer-challenged older folks trying to sing in different parts of the county together.

Never fear, though, the music at UUCSR will continue. And we will pull each other in close like a hoop with no end, on the day we are together again!

So until we can gather in person and coordinate our voices in real time, we hope you can join us via Zoom or YouTube and sing along with us virtually. If you'd like to become a participant, email a Music Coordinator (musicians@uusantarosa.org).

Stay safe and keep singing.
--Randy Jones  

Covenant of UU Pagans
Happy Ostara: A Better New Year!

New Year's Day makes no sense.

Has that thought crossed your mind? Besides being the first day of the fairly arbitrary calendar we've agreed on, how is January 1 really different from the days before and after it? In fact, why begin the new year at a cold, dark time of year when we don't see much that is new?

But what if we had a New Year's day that did make sense — that reflected a real, physical transition point in the earth and sky? We’re coming up on one this month: March 20, the spring equinox, which pagans refer to as Ostara, the one day in Spring when the day and the night are the same length.

You might notice the similarity between the word Ostara and Easter, and that’s no accident: both come from Ēostre, goddess of the East and dawn. The ancient Babylonians made the spring equinox the new year, like the later Nowruz, the Persian new year. The original Roman calendar also started in March.
It’s not the only choice for the start of a new year. Rosh Hashanah takes place in September or October, near the fall equinox, some Asian cultures started the year in mid-April, and old Gaelic cultures celebrated the new year at Samhain, the end of October.

But Ostara stands out as a time to begin anew. And this time of renewal also fits well with the Christian idea of resurrection.

You can celebrate at home with the activities shown here, when it really feels like a new year. Now we can legitimately say, "Here Comes the Sun!"

~ Eric Skagerberg
Caring Connections Committee
Most of us experience emergency situations a few times in our lives.

For example, following surgery, a serious illness, or the death of a loved one, we’re unable to carry-on with our normal life for several days. Usually, family or neighbors step-in to help, but some of us don’t have those resources. That’s when the Caring Connections Committee volunteers can offer short-term help for UUCSR members, such as essential shopping, delivering a few meals, or providing a ride to pharmacies or medical appointments.

We also have a list of referrals for services we are not able to offer "in-house."

Gretchen Vap, our Outreach Coordinator, is a retired nurse practitioner who is available for consult. To request help or volunteer, contact Gretchen Vap or committee chair Mac Freeman.

Other Groups and Special Events
COSM
We are COSM, the Committee on Shared Ministry. The current committee consists of Bob Anderson (chair), Susan Bartholome, Frances Corman, Kitty Wells, Maria Praetzellis and Rev. Chris. We are charged with ensuring the health of the congregation by encouraging communication within the congregation, providing conflict resolution when needed, as well as supporting the minister.

This committee also participates in the yearly evaluation of the minister that we complete and submit to the Board of Trustees each February. We are here for both the minister and YOU, the congregation. So, talk with us! All communications with COSM are confidential. Feel welcome to call any of the COSM members. Our individual numbers are in the directory.

EVENING BOOK GROUP
The book group will meet via Zoom on Thursday March 11th from 4-6 p.m.  The book for March is The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai. In April we will read Where the Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens. Newcomers and visitors are welcome. Contact Linda Lampson for more information.

OLDER AND BOLDER WOMEN'S GROUP
Older and Bolder women’s group—for women congregants who are 80 and older. We continue to meet at 10:30 on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. We are fortunate that Chlele Gummer has agreed to set up our meetings; she has a list of the current members and sends emails to them with instructions each meeting day. For further information call Phyllis Clement at 823-0925, or Shirley White, Dorris Lee, or Clare Whitfield.



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Soul Matter Theme Guide
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547 Mendocino Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Phone: (707) 568-5381