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: Explore Desire Through Rununciation Lent begins Wed Mar 6. It's a tradition that invites us into the spiritual practice of renunciation and self-denial. This week's practice honors that tradition -- but with a twist. For this practice, there's as much over-indulgence as there is self-denial. READ MORE.
Religious Education  Last Sunday the exciting Variety Show vote, facilitated by Liz Suvanto, selected an organization to benefit from our May 4 fundraiser. We await the final count! Our teachers enjoyed the afternoon Enrichment Lunch and requested more workshops, which Perry and I will be planning. This Sunday our kids start in room 24 for Fun Sunday...  READ MORE.
From the Music Director  Thoughts of deepest desire prompt this morning's musical selections: two songs by African-American composer Jeraldine Saunders Herbison, performed by our own Mary Lane Cobb. The Centering Music has excerpts from Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana , expressing frustrated yearning for his fiancée Clara Wieck...  READ MORE.
Upcoming Worship Services

Sun Feb 17, 10:00 AM
"The Madness of Love"  
Rev. Peggy Clarke
Our pulpit swap Sunday with the minister of First Unitarian Society in Hastings-on-Hudson.
Sun Feb 24, 10:00 AM
"What Anger Does" 
Rev. Meredith Garmon
It's a helpful, powerful -- if also sometimes destructive or embarassing -- emotion.  
Community Meal
Winter Community Meal, Sun Feb 17, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall 
Warm food and warm company to beat the winter chill. Suggested donation: $4 Adults; $3 Seniors/Students; $15 Max/Family. If you would like to join our volunteers helping the Kitchen Crew, contact Scott Damashek ( or Steve Miller (
Wise Aging   

Wise Aging Group, Tue Feb 19, 3:00pm, Fireside
Join our discussion group where we explore aging as a personal and spiritual practice, and support one another in our journeys. We follow the book Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit . Contact: Rev. LoraKim Joyner (, 914-948-1696). 
Book Discussion 

Common Read Book Discussion, Fri Mar 8, 7:00pm, Fireside
Join us 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 . 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 Volunteers  

Help us prepare for this year's Passover Seder worship service scheduled for Sun Apr 28. Sign up to participate in worship, setup, or cooking. Contact: Perry Montrose ( 
From the Environmental Practices Group 
Do you wonder how and where your home is wasting energy? Click HERE to find tips for do-it-yourselfers to get started with energy conservation at home, from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). You may even be eligible for a professional, free home energy assessment. To find out, fill out the brief application from NYSERDA HERE.
Are You Connected?     

The CUUC online directory is a great way to stay in touch with other members and friends, but less than half of us have "opted in." Don't be left out! Contact Pam at the office (, 914-946-1660) to be sent your invitation email so you too can register for our online community!  
Did you know...    

The Board of Trustees reminds you that you will find the monthly meeting minutes, as well as the names and contact information of current BOT members, on the lobby bulletin board next to the office door. Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns.

Save the Date & Help Wanted
2019 Variety Show, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
SAVE THE DATE: Our annual Variety Show is always one of the most FUN fundraisers at CUUC. So sign up in the RE lobby now and work on your act! HELP WANTED : The 2019 Variety Show requires all hands on deck . Won't you volunteer to be our Bake Sale Director, or Head of Donations, or Pizza Dinner Coordinator? Learn more HERE . When the big jobs are filled, the smaller details fall into place and the fun can begin! Contact Liz Suvanto ( ).  
Social Justice Opportunities
"Lift the Lamp: Immigrant Stories," Friday, Feb 22, 7:30pm, Irvington Town Hall
Five panelists share their experience of becoming New Americans, including Reshad Ahmadi of Westchester Refugee Initiative (WRI). Evening moderated by Rev. Peggy Clarke, minister of FUSW Hastings. Free. Donations accepted, a portion of which will support Hearts and Homes for Refugees and WRI
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 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.
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,
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: Winter; 11:40am Sunday Journey Groups; 5:00pm Journey Group - Leahy

Mon Feb 18 - Office Closed; 8:00pm Finance Committee
Tue Feb 19 - 3:00pm Wise Aging Group; 7:00pm Rental: WCSPP; 7:30pm Choir Rehearsal

Thu Feb 21 - 7:00pm Journey Group - Van Hoomissen; 7:30pm Worship Committee

Sat Feb 23 - 10:00am Zen

Sun Feb 24 - 8:45am Choir Rehearsal; 9:30am Nursery Care; 10:00am Religious Ed: Alvin Ailey Dance Sunday; 10:00am Worship; 11:15am Coffee Hour; 11:20am Newcomers' Conversation; 11:30am Economic Social Justice; 2:30pm Journey Group - Rev. Joyner      

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 9:
Kathleen McTigue, "Learning to Change: Immersion Learning and Climate Justice."

McTigue spent 6 months in the 1980s in Nicaragua as a volunteer host for visiting US citizens encountering the realities of Contra violence. For many, the experience "completely changed their understanding, perspective, and actions - and in some cases, their lives" (97).

Experiential journeys aren't always done well, but when they are, participants "see more vividly the ways our political and economic systems leave entire populations in the margins, both within our nation and around the world, and we begin to learn what it can mean to become effective allies to their struggles" (98).

Approaching climate change with a "justice lens" means learning about and accepting the leadership of the "voices, choices, and needs of these frontline communities most affected." McTigue offers four guidelines:

1. Always work with a partner organization made up of the people who are directly affected. "They are in a position to tell us what they actually need from us, and though that sometimes feels incongruent with our expectations, we are far more likely to be of genuine use" (100).

2. Focus on justice rather than service. Service "helps people with an immediate and chronic need," while justice involves seeking "to challenge and change the systems that give rise to that need in the first place." Both are important, but the needs of justice are likely to be less tangible and satisfying than service labor. The people need us to hear their stories, "bear witness to their struggles and victories," "honor the solutions they choose for themselves," "look unflinchingly at the historic, systemic injustices that may continue to benefit us today," and "go home prepared to roll up our sleeves and tackle those systems" (102).

3. Use a study framework before, during, and after the program. Before you leave, study up about the community you'll be visiting and the background of your partner organization. During the encounter experience, study yourself - observe with curiosity the reactions you're having. Continued study after you get home helps integrate your experience.

4. Ground the program and participants in reflection and spiritual practices. Group reflection helps collective wisdom emerge. Prayer or meditation quiets our inner noise and helps us be less reactive, more open - and able to set aside the urge to "fix it." "We come up with a great idea that will surely make things better, like a scholarship program or a solar lamp project. As well-meaning as these ideas may be, if they spring from our own need to be of use and are not rooted in the wisdom of the host community, they are likely to have unintended negative results" (105).

1. Would you be interested in taking an immersion justice learning trip? (The UU College of Social Justice has a number of options: see
2. What "immersion" experience with a frontline community might be available to you right here in Westchester?

For my reflection/summary on previous chapters, click the title:
  1. Jennifer Nordstrom, "Intersectionality, Faith, and Environmental Justice"
  2. Paula Cole Jones, "The Formation of the Environmental Justice Movement"
  3. Sheri Prud'homme, "Ecotheology"
  4. Sofia Betancourt, "Ethical Implications of Environmental Justice"
  5. Adam Robersmith, "Cherishing Our World: Avoiding Despair in Environmental Justice Work"
  6. Peggy Clarke, Matthew McHale, "Becoming Resilient: Community Life for a New Age"
  7. Kathleen McTigue, "Drawing on the Deep Waters: Contemplative Practice in Justice-Making"
  8. Pamela Sparr, "Transforming Unitarian Universalist Culture: Stepping Out of Our Silos and Selves"
Yours in faith,
Your Moment of Zen: Blasphemy
One evening Woodpecker asked, "What is blasphemy?"
Raven said, "The Buddha Macaw was perfectly enlightened."

Zen at CUUC, Sat Feb 16: SEE HERE
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