Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains, NY
Spirituality   ·   Compassion   ·   Service
This week's From the Minister - HERE
On the Journey: Desire (2019 Feb) - HERE
Practice of the Week: Claim Desire This week -- for each of the seven days of the week -- take 10 minutes at the beginning of your day (or at bedtime the night before), to identify one thing you want out of the coming (or next) day. In the midst of all the obligations ahead of you, what one desire do you want to make room for in the day ahead? READ MORE.
Religious Education  Last Sunday was a remarkable demonstration of the commitment and dedication of this congregation. The Hunger and Homelessness team came to Children's Worship for the "stuffing" of backpacks. Thanks to Amy Swiss and the many adult volunteers who guided the children. This Sunday all kids will cast ballots for which charity will win our Variety Show donation! READ MORE.
From the Music Director  In keeping with Sunday's sermon on Grief and Denial and their connection to the Babylonian Captivity, a musical depiction of the 137th Psalm - "By the Rivers of Babylon" - is featured in the Centering Music. The CUUC Choir is also on hand with a favorite American folk song and a Valentine message attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca: "If you want to be loved... love!" READ MORE.
Upcoming Worship Services

Sun Feb 10, 10:00 AM
"Grief Amid Denial"  
Rev. Meredith Garmon
The Dec 23 sermon was "Reality Amid Ideology." Here we return for the second part in this series inspired by the work of Walter Brueggemann. The full commitment to reality requires that we turn away from denial and take up the work of grieving.   
Sun Feb 17, 10:00 AM
"Deepest Desire" 
Rev. Peggy Clarke
Our pulpit swap Sunday with the minister of First Unitarian Society in Hastings-on-Hudson.  
Faith Development Friday

Faith Development Friday, Fri Feb 8, CUUC
An evening of learning, spiritual growth, and community. 6:15pm Pizza & Salad Community Dinner; 7:00pm Programs; 8:30pm Coffee. Programs include Adult RE and Family Journey Group. Adults may also just come for a slice and unstructured social time together. All are welcome to stay to share coffee and a chat. RSVP . 
Adult Religious Exploration

"Faith Like a River" Adult RE, Fri Feb 8, 7:00pm, Fireside Area
Join us as we trace the unique history of theological and institutional Unitarianism, highlighting important people and events. RSVP to If you can't make it in person, you may join remotely via Zoom videoconferencing (online at, by phone at 646-876-9923). Check out this month's discussion handout HERE . 
Variety Show Vote

Variety Show Vote during RE Children's Worship, Sun Feb 10, 10:00am, Fellowship Hall
What organization will win this year's Variety Show donation? This Sunday we decide! All Religious Education students vote during Children's Worship (8th-9th grade OWL will vote in their classroom). So parents, be sure to bring your children to CUUC so they can cast their ballots! Contact: Liz Suvanto (
Meal Volunteers Needed!

Winter Community Meal, Sun Feb 17, 11:30am
The Kitchen Crew needs people to work on our Winter Meal happening next Sunday. We need Shoppers to buy vegetables and groceries, Crew to cook on Sat Feb 16 (11:00-3:00), Crew to cook on Sun Feb 17 (8:30-11:30), also Cleanup Crew on Sunday, and Setup Crew on Sunday. Please sign up during coffee hour or contact Scott Damashek ( ) or Steve Miller (
Seeking Adult Pen Pals  

Our Religious Ed students are waiting for a few more adults to sign up to be their secret pen pals for our Special Friends program. We match students in RE with adults in the congregation to exchange six letters over nine weeks (we have topic guidelines to make it easy). Won't you help? Email
Book Discussion 

Common Read Book Discussion, Fri Mar 8, 7:00pm, Fireside
Join us at next month's Faith Development Friday gathering for a discussion of this year's UUA Common Read Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment . Come at 6:15 to share a pizza and salad community dinner. To see Rev. Meredith's weekly reflections on several of the book chapters, visit "From the Minister" posts HERE. If you still need a copy, we have a few left for purchase after worship; see Ann Norum and Joe Majsak. 
Passover Service Leadership Needed

If you participated in our Passover Seder worship service last year, you know what a unique and memorable experience it was. Help us make it happen again by stepping up to chair the event this year on Sun Apr 28. We have veterans to guide you and volunteers ready to help! Contact: Perry Montrose ( 
Science & Spirituality

Science & Spirituality, Thu Feb 14, 11:30am, Fireside
We meet the second and fourth Thursday and discuss books and articles on the intersection of spirituality and science. Join us! Contact: Barbara Mair ( ). 
From the Environmental Practices Group 
If you live in one of these Westchester towns you might not be enjoying the reduction in cost and freedom from carbon emissions for your electricity that 25 other Westchester towns do:  

1. Cortlandt; 2. Buchanan; 3. Briarcliff Manor; 4. Yonkers; 5. Mount Pleasant; 6. Bronxville; 7. Tuckahoe; 8. Eastchester; 9. Scarsdale; 10. Harrison; 11. Port Chester; 12. North Castle

Please call your town superintendent/mayor's office and tell them you want Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in your town. CCA is run by a not-for-profit, Westchester Power, to purchase secure, low-cost, fixed rates for green power. Westchester Power vets the energy purveyors for you and your town. The feedback is good from those 25 Westchester town that are in CCA. In seven US states there are over 5 million customers in a CCA.
Save the Date & Help Wanted
2019 Variety Show, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
SAVE THE DATE: This year will be our 7th Annual Variety Show (WOW!), always one of the most FUN fundraisers at CUUC. So work on your act and kids get ready to vote on Sun Feb 10 for which charity we will support. HELP WANTED : It takes a village to run this event, and the 2019 Variety Show requires all hands on deck . PLEASE help by signing up to be our Bake Sale Director, or Head of Donations, or Pizza Dinner Coordinator. Learn more HERE . Contact Liz Suvanto ( ). When the big jobs are filled, the smaller details fall into place and the fun can begin! 
Nominations Wanted - Last Sunday!
Board of Trustees Nominations, Deadline Sun Feb 10
The Nominating and Leadership Development Committee will be identifying nominees for election to the Board at the Annual Meeting in June, and invite you to participate! Instructions HERE. Application forms in the lobby or HERE. Self-nominations encouraged! Deadline Sun Feb 10. Contact: David Bowen (
Congregational Survey
We invite everyone to take the survey of our Social Justice Team Program. We want to hear from those who do not participate in the SJTs as well as those who do. Pick up a survey Sunday or download HERE. Return to any COM member or the CUUC office. Or take the online survey HERE . Deadline is Fri Feb 15. Contact: Randy Marshall (
Thank you everyone! Our backpack drive was a huge success! The RE kids - and many adults - were incredibly engaged in the project this morning and had a blast stuffing the backpacks and writing notes of encouragement to the recipients. We "stuffed" over 70 backpacks and also collected a large additional box of supplies to donate. We delivered everything last Sunday afternoon to be distributed to the Brighter Futures After School Mentor Programs around Westchester. The first recipients will be ten families in Yonkers who recently lost their homes and all their belonging to fire. The program was extremely grateful for our generosity, and I'm personally so grateful to be a part of such a caring and generous community ~ Amy Swiss 
District Happenings - February  
To see this month's " Opportunities for Connection" newsletter for our region, with articles and the calendar of Central East Region events and webinars, click HERE.

Social Justice Opportunities
Fair Elections for New York - Day of Action , Tue Feb 12, Albany
You are invited to join Westchester for Change at the Fair Elections Day of Action in Albany. Text the word FAIR to 83224 for information on the bus leaving from White Plains. Sign and share the petition HERE. Learn more at 
Find more local social justice opportunities HERE.
Share the Plate for February: MLK Institute for Nonviolence
We share half our non-pledge collection this month with the Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence, which has promoted nonviolent activism for social justice since 1987. Their mission is to advance racial equity for all our communities by: educating and empowering youth and adults; supporting inclusiveness, courage, and peace; and collaborating to advocate for justice, equity, and shared power for all. Learn more at
Caring & Sharing Circle

If anyone knows of another among us who is in need of a caregiver, please contact Ingrid Hartmann (914-946-2026, or Johanna Bauer (914-636-1047, Or 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,
Thu Feb 7 - 9:30am Rental: League of Women Voters; 7:30pm Journey Group Facilitators

Fri Feb 8 - 11:00am Journey Group-Garmon; Faith Development Friday - 6:15 Pizza, 7:00 Programs, 8:30 Coffee; 8:00pm Rental: WCSPP

Sat Feb 9 - 9:00am Building Committee; 10:00am Zen; 1:00pm Rental: WCBNY

Sun Feb 10 - 8:15am RE Council; 8:45am Choir Rehearsal; 9:30am Nursery Care; 10:00am Worship; 10:00am Religious Ed: Variety Show Vote; 11:15am Coffee Hour; 11:30am Environmental Practices; 11:40am Racial Justice / In the Spirit of Truth; 11:45am Teacher Enrichment Lunch; 1:30pm  Rental: MLK Retreat; 7:30pm LGBTQIA Team - Zoom Mtng

Mon Feb 11 - 6:30pm T'ai-ch'i

Tue Feb 12 - 7:00pm Rental: WCSPP; 7:30pm Choir Rehearsal

Wed Feb 13 - 7:30pm Board of Trustees

Thu Feb 14 - 11:30am Science & Spirituality Group; 7:30pm Journey Group-Manetta/McGahren-Clemens

Sat Feb 16 - 10:00am Food Prep for Community Meal; 10:00am Zen

Sun Feb 17 - 9:30am Nursery Care; 10:00am Religious Ed: Fun Sunday; 10:00am Worship; 11:30am Community Meal; 11:40am Sunday Journey Groups; 5:00pm Journey Group-Leahy 

Minister: Rev. Meredith Garmon,, 914-946-1660 x3
Director of Faith Development: Perry Montrose,, 914-946-1660 x4
Coordinator of Religious Education: Michele Rinaldi,, 914-946-1660 x4
Community Minister: Rev. Deb Morra,, 914-830-1509
Community Minister: Rev. LoraKim Joyner,
Youth Program Coordinator: Chandeerah Davis,  
Music Director: Adam Kent,, 212-595-7280
Choir Director: Lisa Meyer,
Congregational & Communications Administrator: Pamela Parker,, 914-946-1660 x2
Bookkeeper: Diane Pearson,, 914-946-1660 x5
Board of Trustees
Board Chair: Dean Silverberg,
Vice Chair: Al Rocchi,
Treasurer: Chris Kortlandt,
Social Justice Coordinators
Jeff Tomlinson,
Mary Cavallero,
Rev. Meredith Garmon,
Quick Links

On The Journey (current and past issues)
Social Justice Teams
Practice of the Week (current and all past)
The Quarterly Communitarian
CUUC Main Web Site
Liberal Pulpit Index
The Liberal Pulpit Video
Boundless Way Zen of Westchester
The Liberal Pulpit New: See the video HERE
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE
The 2018-19 UUA Common Read is:
This week, I'm looking at Chapter 8: Pamela Sparr's essay, "Transforming Unitarian Universalist Culture: Stepping Out of Our Silos and Selves." Sparr relates that when she taught about climate justice at a summer institute, she had been warned that participants didn't want to be "bummed out." Anyone who speaks about environmental issues faces that question: how to be inspiring rather than paralyzing or depressing. This is what I have said and firmly believe: reality is never depressing. Depression comes from attempts to block out reality. When those attempts fail and awareness seeps in, mixing and conflicting with our desire for denial, depression is the result. Embrace of reality - with no desire to deny any of it - is many things: fascinating, challenging, invigorating, even oddly peaceful. Reality may be beautiful, dangerous, or both. But reality can never be depressing.

Still, embracing reality is no easy thing. I'm not always great at that myself. But when I'm bummed out or just bored, I ask myself, "what is the reality here that I'm resisting rather than embracing?"

Sparr's approach is to call for:

(1) a bolder prophetic imagination. We need to speak, among ourselves and to others, in visionary ways, showing humanity a better version of itself, offering moral clarity, and an unflinching insistence on justice.

(2) the courage and capacity to talk religiously. UUs are disproportionately involved in environmental organizations, yet when we show up for this work, our UUism is often invisible. "Our challenge is to move out of our secular skin and to wear our UU skin all the time" (83) - to claim our identity and authority as religious persons. Grounded in our faith, a moral language of hope and justice takes the center - and proposed technical solutions move to the periphery. This means UUs must get comfortable and articulate in about our profound sense of the sacredness of all life, the dignity and worth of every person and every threatened species, our wonder and awe and the interconnected mystery of existence. Faith-rooted solidarity is based on knowing that "my well-being is totally and irrevocably tied up with yours. My liberation is dependent on yours" (84). Acting religiously means that the opposition is never demonized, never "othered," always loved.

(3) getting out of our silos. Racial injustice, climate change, sexual harassment and abuse, LGBTQ discrimination, environmental degradation and species extinction are all interconnected and all have the same solution: building a world of justice and equality. We can't let ourselves get into a "single issue" silo.

(4) radical relationship building. "We are going to have to stretch ourselves to befriend and collaborate with many different types of people and movements, including those with whom some of us may feel theologically uncomfortable" (90).

(5) becoming more countercultural. Current culture is characterized by a disconnect from nature and a casual acceptance of power hierarchies (and thus of the injustice and inequality that necessarily inheres in institutionalized hierarchy). Our denomination must transform itself into one that is thoroughly counter to these characteristics.

Sounds to me like a five-fold approach for embracing reality.

Do you know how to go about doing any of these five? Which ones? How?

Yours in faith,
Your Moment of Zen: Method Porcupine began special consultations with Raven. One day he asked, "What is your method?" Raven said, "Evident." Porcupine said, "You purvey the obvious?" Raven said, "Stick kernels in every cranny."
Zen at CUUC, Sat Feb 9: SEE HERE
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