Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains, NY
Spirituality   ·   Compassion   ·   Service
From the Minister, Fri Jan 11 - HERE
On the Journey: Simplicity (2019 Jan) - HERE
Practice of the Week: Simplify /Our lives are complicated. E-mails, phone calls, working long hours. Carrying the kids to music lessons, soccer practice, play dates or scouts - church. It's a fast culture and just trying to match the velocity of others makes life hectic. Can we make our life simpler? READ MORE.
Religious Education  At last Sunday's Children's Worship. the monthly message of Simplicity was articulately expressed by a number of children. As UUs we seek to not let the trappings of materialism and power suffocate our basic goodness and compassion. In this, the congregation has taught these children well. RE This Sunday: Grades K-5 start in Fellowship Hall; Grades 6-12 start in classes . READ MORE.
From the Music Director  CUUC Choir pianist Georgianna Pappas provides music from classical and popular traditions, treating us to her vocal accomplishments as well during the Interlude. Kim Force also offers a moving selection by Joni Mitchell.  READ MORE.
Upcoming Worship Services

Sun Jan 13, 10:00 AM
"Question Box"
Rev. Meredith Garmon
The popular Question Box service makes its annual return. Bring your questions -- the ones that Google can't answer, and see if Meredith can. (Some years Meredith gets to them all, some years he doesn't.)  
Sun Jan 20, 10:00 AM
Rev. Meredith Garmon
We've learned a lot since 1968. And still have a lot to learn.  
Cooperative Coffee Hour 
Cooperative Coffee Hour, Sun Jan 13, 11:15, Fireside
We invite all attending this Sunday to bring along a treat to help fill the our Cooperative Coffee Hour table. Then please plan to pitch in to set up, serve, and clean up together. Many hands make light work!
Gun Safety   
Gun Safety Social Justice Team, Sun Jan 13, 9:00am, Room 22  
Please join us for the next team meeting - there is much to catch up on! You'll find an encouraging article about changes at Dick Sporting Goods and gun sales HERE.

Author Presentation  
Bubby's Stories, Sun Jan 13, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall
Bubby's Stories: Belarus to the Bronx is the history of seven generations of a Jewish immigrant family, from a medieval shtetl in rural war-torn Belarus, Russia, to 20th-century NYC. Author Roz Rothstein's mother and aunt were brought to the US by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which is the same organization that helped bring over the Afghan refugee family that CUUC is supporting. Presentation sponsored by the Refugee Resettlement Social Justice Team. 
Cooking for HOPE  
Meal Prep for HOPE Community Center, 11:30am, Sun Jan 13, Kitchen
Support members of the Hunger and Homelessness social justice team as we prepare a hot meal for the 100 clients of the HOPE Community Center Soup Kitchen in New Rochelle. We are looking for cooking assistants and volunteers to food shop beforehand. Contact: Nicole Turygin (  
Backpack Drive
The Brighter Futures After-School Mentoring Program  needs large strong backpacks. "Sponsor" a backpack and we will shop for you! $45 = backpack + supplies; $30 = backpack; smaller amounts = supplies. Or purchase notebooks or pens/pencil packs to donate. We collect throughout January. Flyer HERE. Contact: Amy Swiss (
LGBTQIA Breaking News 
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), authored by our own Joann Prinzivalli, Esq., may be coming up for a vote in the NY State Senate quicker than we expected. After being blocked for over 10 years, the new Democratic-controlled State Senate has fast tracked the bill, number A747 (Gottfried) / S1047 (Hoylman), for the 2019-20 legislative calendar. The bill may even come up for a vote as soon as Tue Jan 15, in which case our team members will be carpooling up to Albany. If you would like to come with us for the vote, or for future LGBTQIA advocacy trips, contact Tony Arrien (
Special Friends Sign Up 
Join our pen pal program that anonymously matches students in Religious Ed and adults in the congregation so we get to know one another better. Exchange six letters over nine weeks, then meet at the Canvass Community Meal on Sun Mar 31. Letter exchanges begin Sun Jan 27. Sign up:  
Wise Aging Group 
The Wise Aging Group, first meeting Tue Jan 22, 3:00pm, Parsonage
We invite you to join a new discussion group where we explore aging as a personal and spiritual practice, and support one another in our journeys. We will follow the book, Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit. Meetings planned on Tuesdays Jan 22, Jan 29, Feb 5, Feb 19, Mar 5, and Mar 19. Please RSVP by Mon Jan 14 to help us plan. Contact: Rev. LoraKim Joyner (, 914.948.1696). 
Chili Community Meal 
Chili Community Meal, Sun Jan 27, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall 
The heat of chili and the warmth of community. Hosted by the 6th-7th grade class to support their social justice projects. Please email if you would like to bring a pot of chili to support the class. Cost: $5 per Adult, $3 per child, $15 max per family.  
Save the Date 
Energy Forum: Power of Choice, Sun Feb 3, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall
Energy expert Karl Rábago will talk about today's energy markets and the electric grid, at our second annual Environmental Practices Forum. An executive at government and academic energy and climate programs, Mr. Rábago will introduce a film set in a critically warmer world, and will give a presentation about the best sources of renewable electricity. Coffee and a light lunch will be served. 
A big, heartfelt thank you from the Opportunities for Giving team. Because of your generosity this holiday season, we provided a trunk-load of new gifts (plus a few extra) to the Hour Children Annual Holiday Program at the Bedford Correctional Center; we donated 210 gift cards to children at the Coachman Family Center and over $1500 to Coachman from our December plate share collection; we brought 9 big bags of warmth and toiletries to local shelter residents from our overflowing mitten tree; and we supported the Ecumenical Food Pantry with over $1000 from our November plate share, plus individual monetary donations of over $2700, and many deliveries of gently used books, toys, and stuffed animals for their client families to use as gifts. We are so grateful for our longtime volunteers as well as our talented new ones who kept us energized, effective, and organized. Thank you for helping CUUC make a difference in the lives of those in need. 
Outside Events at CUUC  
Save the Date: Film Screening: A Better Life, Fri Feb 1, 7:30 pm, Fellowship Hall
In light of the challenges currently facing undocumented immigrants in our country, the Diversity Committee of the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (WCSPP), partnering with Neighbors Link, will host a screening of A Better Life , a film that follows an illegal immigrant gardener trying to make a better life for his teenage son. Join us for the viewing and conversation. RSVP: Irene Studwell ( , 914-714-5880). 
MLK Events in the Community  
Interfaith Community Concert in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Sun Jan 13, 4:00pm, Congregation Kol Ami, 252 Soundview Avenue, White Plains
Featuring singers and musicians from many faiths and communities, including the "Adhan" Muslim call to prayer, the Calvary Baptist Church Inspirational Choir, The LOFT LGBT Community Center's Pride Chorus, and the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Temple Ceremonial Taiko Drums & Choir. Free event. Refreshments. Contact:, 914-949-6555.   
" The Dream Is Still Alive," Jim Scott in Concert, Fri Jan 18, 7:30pm, UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester, 236 S Bedford Rd, Mt Kisco 
Jim Scott, composer of "Gather the Spirit" and other UU hymns, leads a participatory songfest of new and historic music celebrating the ideals that Dr. Martin Luther King championed. Sliding Scale Admission $12-20. Purchase tickets HERE.  
Bookfair to Benefit the MLK Freedom Library, Mon Jan 21, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Barnes & Noble, 230 Main Street, City Center, White Plains
Come to Barnes & Noble for a day of activities - OR - order items online from Jan 19 to Jan 24 at and enter ID #12464053 at checkout. Purchases benefit the MLK Freedom Library .    
2018-19 UUA Common Read 
Our "Common Read" this year is Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment. This anthology presents a powerful and penetrating look at environmental justice by key UU thinkers and activists. Discount copies are available to purchase for $15 after worship.
Social Justice Opportunities
 Women's March NYC, Sat Jan 19, Lineup 10:00am, Rally 11:00am, Columbus Circle, NYC
The third annual Women's March is coming! We invite CUUCers to again attend as a group and support continued protections for women's rights. All genders and ages welcome! Reply to the CUUC Facebook Forum post, or email Julie Gans ( or Karen Schmitt (
). Register HERE.  
Find more local social justice opportunities HERE.
District Happenings

Restorative Practices Training for Faith Communities, Sat Jan 19, 10:00am - 4:00pm, First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings
This training for youth and adults introduces restorative practices that improve our faith communities' abilities to respond to tension, conflict, hurt, and disagreement. Childcare available. Register by Mon Jan 15 HERE.
Find more district news in the January " Opportunities for Connection-CERUUA Update" HERE.
UU Fundraiser: San Diego Tour 2019

Looking to escape the cold? Consider visiting San Diego with the First Unitarian Universalists of San Diego! Click HERE to see the details of our exclusive and all-inclusive tour. Funds raised support social justice projects near the border. Hope to see you in San Diego! 
Share the Plate for January: Interfaith Council for New Americans (ICNA)
For the past year, CUUC has been actively supporting an Afghan refugee family as part of the Interfaith Council for New Americans (ICNA), a coalition of several Westchester congregations that provides welcome and support to refugees being resettled in our area. The ICNA is preparing for new endeavors in 2019, including the possible arrival of another family. To learn more or to join the CUUC Refugee Resettlement team, contact Robin Rocchi ( or Jane Dixon (
Caring & Sharing Circle

If anyone knows of another among us who is in need of a caregiver, please contact Anita Mann (914-819-7751, or her backup Barbara Mair (914-769-7186, 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,
Fri Jan 11 - 11:00am Journey Group_Garmon; 6:15pm Faith Development Friday
Sat Jan 12 - 10:00am Zen
Sun Jan 13 - 8:15am RE Council; 9:00am Gun Safety; 9:00am Environmental Practices; 9:30am Nursery Care; 10:00am Worship; 10:00am Religious Ed; 11:15am Coffee Hour; 11:30am Presentation: "Bubby's Stories"; 11:40am
Building Committee; 12:00pm Meal Prep for HOPE; 7:30pm LGBTQIA Team - Zoom Mtng
Mon Jan 14 - 6:30pm T'ai-ch'i
Tue Jan 15 - 7:00pm Rental: WCSPP; 7:30pm Choir Rehearsal;
Thu Jan 17 - 7:00pm Journey Group-Van Hoomissen; 7:30pm Worship Committee
Sat Jan 19 - 10:00am Zen; 2:30pm Rental: WCHJ
Sun Jan 20 - 8:45am Choir Rehearsal; 9:30am Nursery Care; 10:00am Worship; 10:00am  Religious Ed: MLK Justice Sunday; 10:00am Worship; 11:15am Coffee Hour; 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: Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE. Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE
This week I'm reflecting on Adam Robersmith's essay, "Cherishing Our World: Avoiding Despair in Environmental Justice Work" -- Chapter 5 of the 2018-19 UUA Common Read, Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class and the Environment.

The situation is dire, Robersmith reminds us:
"We are affecting our climate and ecosystem in ways that are detrimental to life on the planet and to how we live....We should have changed as a nation long ago, yet we have not....Research shows that our acts disproportionately affect the poor and oppressed all over the world, yet we continue to use harmful technologies and resources."
Trying to scare people into changing behaviors and policies hasn't worked terribly well. Robersmith is reminded of our Universalist ancestors. When the predominant theology used fear (of hell) to induce righteousness, our ancestors pointed out:
"The preaching of future rewards and punishments, for the purpose of inducing people to love God and moral virtue, is not only useless, but pernicious." (Hosea Ballou, 1834)
Rather than extrinsic punishments or rewards, argued Ballou, we ought to preach that God and moral virtue are intrinsically worthy and lovely.

Along similar lines, Robersmith urges that the value of the environment lies not in financial measures or apocalypse prevention. Rather, it is intrinsically worthy and lovely.
"If we, as a nation, a people, or a species, loved this planet as our Universalist ancestors understood loving God, we would have already made so many different choices about how we live on this Earth and with each other."
In particular, by turning away from fear-based arguments about economies and catastrophes threatening all humanity, we can, instead, attend to localized effects on marginalized populations: mountaintop removal and strip mining degrade environments of poor communities; water poisoned with pollutants flows disproportionately into poorer communities of color; for example.

What Robersmith doesn't mention is nonattachment to results. Of course, we should as lovingly and as rationally as possible discern strategies most likely to succeed, but sometimes we'll guess wrong, and other times, even when our strategy has the best odds of success, we will still fail. Plan carefully for success, then let go of attachment to whether success happens. "The victory is in the doing," as Gandhi said - not in the outcome.

"Turning off the water while brushing our teeth," says Robersmith, "makes a difference and is a necessary next act." But this is either hyperbole or fantasy. If it's necessary, then one person failing to turn off the water one time means the planet is doomed. In fact, one person saving one quart of water per brush does not, in itself, make any measurable difference to the Earth - especially here in New York where water is plentiful. But it makes a difference to the one who does it. Practices of care change us even if they don't change the planet. And if we are changed, we are more likely to influence others and do things that do make a difference. The victory, to repeat, is in the doing.

In leaving out the role of nonattachment to results, the risk is that we may disavow fear-mongering only to find ourselves mongering shame.

For my reflections 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"
Yours in faith,
Your Moment of Zen: The Essence / One evening Owl asked, "I've heard that Jackrabbit Roshi said that the mind has no qualities and its essence is compassion. What do you think of that?" Raven said, "The mind is compassion and its essence has no qualities." READ MORE
Zen at CUUC, Sat Jan 12: HERE
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