Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains, NY
Spirituality   ·   Compassion   ·   Service
December issue of On the Journey: Grace -- Click HERE
This week's post from the Sabbatical Minister HERE
Practice of the Week: Face Ecological Reality
Industrial civilization is killing the planet. Civilization itself may fall; the Earth may be uninhabitable for our great-grandchildren. Let that sink in. We are consuming resources faster than the Earth can renew them, and poisoning the planet. The "Fertile Crescent" is now mostly desert. Ocean "dead zones" are vast, glaciers are melting, forests are clear-cut. READ MORE
Holiday Pageant this Sunday! There are roles and fun for everyone in the holiday pageant! We are celebrating Solstice, Hanukkah, and Christmas. And there will be a special surprise, not to be missed! No RE classes or Youth Group. *We need to borrow lightsabers for the pageant.* Contact Tracy ( READ MORE 
Arrangements of popular Christmas tunes from around the world are included in this Sunday's musical selections. Tchaikovsky's evocation of the holiday is the last in his set of pieces for each month, written for a Russian musical journal... Our own Rev. Kimberley and Kim and Christian Force form an inspired vocal trio for Stephen Schwartz's special Chanukah Song "We Are Lights"... READ MORE
Upcoming Worship Services

Sun Dec 22, 10:00am
"Holiday Pageant"
Rev. Kimberley Debus, Tracy Breneman & Friends      
Join in the celebration as we look back in time to explore the connections between the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, and Christmas in our no-rehearse pageant. All are welcome to participate!  
S un Dec 24, 5:30am
"Christmas Eve in Word and Song"
Rev. Kimberley Debus
An evening of music, story, and of course candlelight. Service begins at 5:30pm.  
Sun Dec 29, 10:00am
"The Grace of Beauty and Tragedy"
Rev. LoraKim Joyner
We will reflect on how we deal with overwhelming beauty and tragedy in our lives. We open our hearts to both, what we might call grace, so that we can be liberated and liberate others. Rev. Dr. LoraKim Joyner is a CUUC community minister, wildlife veterinarian, and co-director of One Earth Conservation.  
Our YouTube Channel has videos of many past services. Check it out HERE!
Opening in Gmail? Be sure to click "View entire message" at the bottom.
Bring a Treat this Sunday 
Cooperative Coffee Hour, Sun Dec 22, 11:15am
We invite everyone to bring along a holiday treat to help fill our table for this Sunday's Cooperative Coffee Hour. Then pitch in to help us set up, serve, and clean up together. Many hands make light work!  
Team Meetings Sun Dec 22 
Social Justice Coordinators, 9:00am, Rm 13
Contact: Jeff Tomlinson (, Mary Cavallero (, Emily Economou ( Anyone interested is welcome to attend the meeting.
Newcomers' Conversations, 11:20am, Rm 12
Learn more about Unitarian Universalism, and help us learn more about you. Visitors are invited to pick up a cup of coffee and then meet in the lobby with Jane Dixon who will lead the conversation this month.
Sunday Journey Groups, 11:45am 
Our monthly meeting for the Sunday groups. Printed reading packets are available in the lobby or online HERE. Facilitators: Rhonda & Steve Miller - Rm 13; Gary Freiberger - Rm 31; Rev. Deb Morra - Rm 43 
Opportunities for Giving
Gift Cards for Coachman Family Center: Help a family at the Coachman by purchasing a $25 gift card for their school-age children. Please box and wrap your gift cards, tag with the child's name and room number, and bring in by Sun Dec 22. Contact: Ray Messing (
Personal Items for Shelter Residents: We collect new men's and women's socks, underwear, and toiletries throughout December for residents of local shelters. Posters by our RE kids help spread the word. Contact: Ray Messing (
Share the gift of warmth! Help us decorate our Mitten Tree by donating mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves for all ages and sizes. We will be collecting until Sun Dec 29. 
Holiday Office Hours
The CUUC office will be closed and staff will be on vacation from Wed Dec 25 through Wed Jan 1. Happy Holidays!   
In the Community 
Kwanzaa Celebration, Fri Dec 27, 2:00pm, Thomas H. Slater Center, 2 Fisher Court, White Plains
The annual celebration, sponsored by CUUC and others. Come enjoy music, dance, and food while supporting our community outreach. See flyer HERE. Contact: Barbara Mair ( 
From the Refugee Resettlement Team 
Please thank Mayor Tom Roach for submitting a letter to the Trump administration stating that White Plains will continue to accept refugees. The letter is in response to Executive Order 13888 issued in Sept that requires state and local leaders to affirm in writing that they are willing to accept refugees into their states. Call Mayor Roach's office at 914-422-1411, or submit an email HERE. Also thank Mayor Noam Bramson of New Rochelle, who has sent a similar letter. Call his office at 914-654-2150, or email
Environmental News 
If you have any questions or feedback from the brunch regarding our recycling or food scrapping at CUUC, please contact Janet Bear ( or Cynthia Roberts (

1 - Used paper napkins should be placed in the COMPOST bin and NOT in the Paper Recycling bin.

2 - Paper cups are NOT recyclable and should be placed in TRASH.

3 - Soiled plastic wrapping belongs in the TRASH.  Clean plastic bags and wrap belongs in the blue plastic bag bin on the window sill in the kitchen, or in the trash.

4 - All recyclables: Plastic/Glass/Cartons/Metal containers should be RINSED clean first.   
District Happenings  
For upcoming events and opportunities in our region in 2020, see the recent Central East Region newsletter announcements flyer HERE.
Share the Plate for December: Coachman Family Center   
The recipient of half our non-pledge collection this month is the Coachman Family Center. Located in downtown White Plains, the Coachman is a 100-room shelter that provides housing, healthcare, and services to local families in need. The center is affiliated with Westhab, a nonprofit organization serving Westchester County.  
Caring & Sharing Circle
If anyone knows of another among us who is in need of a caregiver, please contact Julie Gans (914-937-7899, or Joan Traber (914-617-9622, Or you may contact the CUUC office (914-946-1660 x2,
This Week at CUUC
The full calendar can be found HERE. Room numbers subject to change; please check the board on Sunday morning. To reserve a room or Zoom online meeting, contact the CUUC office (914-946-1660 x2,
Thursday, December 19 - 10:00am Journey Group - Kung (Off-Site)

Saturday, December 21 - 9:00am Rental: Exercise (Fireside); 10:00am Zen (43); 10:15am Overeaters Anonymous (21)

Sunday, December 22 - 9:00am Social Justice Team Coordinators (13); 
9:30am Nursery Care (32); 10:00am Worship (Sanctuary); 11:15am Coffee Hour (Fireside); 11:20am Newcomers' Conversations (12); 11:40am Sunday Journey Groups (13, 31, 43)

Monday, December 23 - 5:00pm Rental: Exercise (Fireside); 6:30pm T'ai-ch'i (Fireside)

Tuesday, December 24 - Office Closed; 10:00am Rental: Exercise (Fireside); 4:00pm Choir Rehearsal (Sanctuary); 5:30pm Christmas Eve Service (Sanctuary)

Wednesday, December 25 - Office Closed
Thursday, December 26 - Office Closed 
Friday, December 27 - Office Closed 

Saturday, December 28 - 9:00am Rental: Exercise (Fireside); 10:00am Zen (43); 10:15am Overeaters Anonymous (21)

Sunday, December 29 - 9:30am Nursery Care (32); 10:00am Worship (Sanctuary); 11:15am Coffee Hour (Fireside)

Minister: Rev. Meredith Garmon,, 914-946-1660 x3
Sabbatical Minister: Rev. Kimberley Debus,
Dir of Lifespan Religious Education and Faith Development: Tracy Breneman,, 914-946-1660 x4
Community Minister: Rev. Deb Morra,, 914-830-1509
Community Minister: Rev. LoraKim Joyner,
Music Director: Adam Kent,, 212-595-7280
Choir Director: Lisa Meyer,
Choir Pianist: Georgianna Pappas,
Children's Music Director: Lyra Harada,
Congregation & Communications Administrator: Pamela Parker,, 914-946-1660 x2
Bookkeeper: Diane Pearson,, 946-1660 x5
Board of Trustees
Board Chair: Al Rocchi,
Vice Chair: Joann Prinzivalli,
Treasurer: Chris Kortlandt,
Social Justice Coordinators
Mary Cavallero,
Emily Economou,
Jeff Tomlinson,
Rev. Meredith Garmon,
Quick Links

On The Journey (current and past issues)
Social Justice Teams
Practice of the Week (current and all past)
The Communitarian Magazine
CUUC Main Web Site
Liberal Pulpit Index
The Liberal Pulpit Video
Boundless Way Zen of Westchester

In the Christian tradition, December 1-24 is the season of Advent - understood as a time for considering the coming - and the second coming - of the Christ; it ends on Christmas Day, with the words from the Book of Revelation, "joy to the world, the Lord is come."

But in the meantime - the month is filled with waiting: waiting for joy, waiting for hope, waiting for peace, waiting for love, waiting for the child, waiting for grace.

It is in this time of Advent that we take time - and fortunately, we have music libraries filled with holiday songs to make the waiting less difficult (sometimes filling us with nostalgia, sometimes bringing us cheer, and sometimes annoying us - I'm looking at you, "Little Drummer Boy"). Over the next four weeks, I'll be exploring the themes of Advent  through the lens of some of my most beloved and cherished holiday songs.

"Winter Wonderland"

What do Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Kenny Rogers, Radiohead, Air Supply, Merle Haggard, Aimee Mann, Selena Gomez, and the Polyphonic Spree all have in common?

Of course, they're just a few of the over one thousand performing artists who have covered the 1934 classic "Winter Wonderland" - written by Felix Bernard and Richard Bernhard Smith. It's a classic, to be sure. And while it's not specifically a Christmas song, it does get a fair amount of air play this time of year.

The song is about a couple enjoying the sights and sounds of a beautiful winter day, and they let their imaginations run away with them as a snowman turns into a minister and we learn of their love for one another.

It's really a song about love.

Which, of course, is one of the themes of Advent - love. As we sing in Mark Belletini's translation of O Come Emmanuel, "Emmanuel shall come within as Love to dwell." We've talked a lot about waiting this month, and I think that when we wait in love, we wait with a hopefulness, a gentleness, a kind of grace. This song clearly highlights young love - two people who found themselves and have their own future together:

Later on we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid the plans that we've made

As we wind down to the end of 2019, I expect many of us have ideas and plans for 2020; do they bring you anxiety or curiosity? Are you waiting in frustration, in fear, in anger? Or in love? When we wait in love, we can see the "beautiful sight" of the snow glistening as we pause. And we see not loss but newness:

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song as we go along

Advent invites us to hopefulness, to a loving perspective. May your waiting be blessed with love.

(And while you wait, listen to one of my favorite versions of this song by the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.)

Winter Wonderland - Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Collection - (Remastered High Quality )
Winter Wonderland - Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Collection - (Remastered High Quality)

~ Rev. Kimberley Debus
Your Moment of Zen: Early Students
Raven took Brown Bear's instruction, "Try camping out for a while," to heart. She wandered a long time, from forests to upland meadows to icy lakes. Finally, with pinfeathers under her beak getting sparse, she found an abandoned place in a tall spruce tree. She fixed it up, and students began to gather, including Porcupine, who had studied with Coyote Roshi. Other early students...READ MORE
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