Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains, NY
Spirituality   ·   Compassion   ·   Service
From the Minister, Thu Jan 3 - HERE
On the Journey: Simplicity (2019 Jan) - HERE
Practice of the Week: Maintain Joy and Humor This is a slogan for assessment. Working with it is not a matter of pressuring ourselves to feel joy all the time. When we're depressed or bitter, we need to know that we feel that way, not cover it up with a veneer of fake spiritual joy. Still, with skill, we can work with our mind in these down moods and adjust toward joy. READ MORE.
Religious Education  Resolve to make this new year and the years that follow a gift, not one year older, not another year of failure, but instead a miraculous second chance to hug your children, be kind to your spouse, to sit down and break bread as a family. Most of all resolve to love with all your being so that love spills over to the community of humankind. This Sunday in RE: Grades K-5 start in Fellowship Hall; Grades 6-12 start in classrooms . READ MORE.
From the Music Director The New Year and January's theme, Simplicity, are inaugurated in music as Flamenco artist Fernando Barros makes a return appearance. Barros and I explore the metamorphosis by combining Leonard Cohen's timelessly simple melodies with the haunting carnality of Federico Garcia Lorca's poetry and interjections from Classical music... READ MORE.
Upcoming Worship Services

Sun Jan 6, 10:00 AM
" Simplicity"
Rev. Meredith Garmon 
Can we live more simply? Why might we want to? Why might we not?
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.)
Backpack Drive  
Hunger & Homelessness is sponsoring a Backpack Drive to support the Brighter Futures After-School Mentoring Program . The program has 150 teens in need of large strong backpacks. "Sponsor" a backpack and we will shop for you! $45 buys a backpack plus supplies; $30 buys a backpack; smaller amounts buy supplies. Or you may purchase 3- or 5-subject notebooks and/or multi-packs of pens or pencils to donate. We collect every Sunday in January. Flyer HERE. Contact: Amy Swiss (
Poinsettia Update   
The twelve days of Christmas have passed, and our remaining poinsettia plants will be removed for composting after the Sun Jan 6 worship. You are welcome to take a plant home with you if you like!  
Special Friends Sign Up 
We invite you to join our pen pal program that anonymously matches students in Religious Education and adults in the congregation so we get to know one another better. After exchanging six letters over nine weeks, the pen pals get to meet at the Canvass Community Meal on Sun Mar 31. Letter exchanges begin on Sun Jan 27. Email to sign up. 
Science & Spirituality 
Science & Spirituality, Thu Jan 10, 11:30am, Fireside
We meet the second and fourth Thursday to discuss books and articles on the intersection of spirituality and science. Join us! Contact: Barbara Mair ( 
Faith Development Friday  
Faith Development Friday, Fri Jan 11, CUUC
Our evening of learning, spiritual growth, and community. 6:15pm Pizza & Salad Community Dinner; 7:00pm Programs; 8:30pm Coffee. Programs include Adult Religious Exploration and Family Journey Group. Adults may also just come for a slice and unstructured social time. All are welcome to stay after to share coffee and chat. RSVP to
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 New York City. Author Roz Rothstein uses her family history to give a fascinating talk about the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe. Rothstein's mother and aunt were brought to the US by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the same organization that helped bring over the Afghan refugee family that CUUC is supporting. Presentation sponsored by the Refugee Resettlement Social Justice Team. 
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 a few weeks away. We invite CUUCers to once again attend as a group and support continued protections for women's rights. Click HERE for a full summary of issues we support by being a presence at the event. All genders and ages welcome! Please reply to the CUUC Facebook Forum post, or email Julie Gans ( or Karen Schmitt ( ). Register HERE. (Be aware of an increase in "spam" marches; Women's March Alliance is host of the official NYC march.)
Find more local social justice opportunities HERE.
District Happenings

Restorative Practices Training, Sat Jan 19, 10:00am - 4:00pm, First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings
This training introduces restorative practices that improve our faith communities' abilities to respond to tension, conflict, hurt, and disagreement. We especially encourage youth leaders, committees on ministry, and congregation boards to attend. Childcare available. Attendance capped at 40. Contact Amy Kent ( Register by Mon Jan 15 HERE.
Find more district news in the January " Opportunities for Connection-CERUUA Update" HERE.
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 planning 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 Ci rcle

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,
Letter to the Congregation : The Visual Display Committee

For two years the Black Lives Matter banner has graced the front of our building and has more recently been joined by the Welcoming Congregations banner.

The Visual Display Committee formed by the Board of Trustees feels that a total of four banners can be displayed at the entrance to the building, banners that reflect the most deeply held convictions of our UU faith.

Our committee recommends relocating the current and future banners to a new and more appropriate home, affixed to the concrete block wall directly to the left of the front windows.

This move would clear the windows in the front of our building, would allow more light into the hallway, and would improve the aesthetics of the entrance.

To accompany this change, the large rhododendron bush that currently blocks a view of the back concrete block wall will be removed and replaced with an attractive ground covering. We have been advised, regrettably, that the bush is diseased and has a life expectancy of only 1 to 3 years.

A professional landscaper will be chosen to draw up plans for the removal of the rhododendron bush and the design of an attractive, low, ground covering that will not block the view of the banners.

Respectfully submitted, CUUC Visual Display Committee,
Adine Usher, Joann Prinzivalli, Lori Saccardi, & Joe Majsak
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 Jan 5 - 10:00am Zen; 12:30pm Journey Group Facilitators

Sun Jan 6 - 9:30am Nursery Care; 10:00am Worship; 10:00am Religious Ed; 11:15am Coffee Hour; 11:40am Racial Justice / In the Spirit of Truth

Mon Jan 7 - 6:00am Film Rental: H&S; 6:30pm T'ai-ch'i; 7:00pm Rental: Straight Spouse Network; 8:00pm Rental: Amnesty International; 8:00pm DRE Search Comm;

Tue Jan 8 - 7:00pm Rental: WCSPP

Wed Jan 9 - 7:30pm Board of Trustees

Thu Jan 10 - 9:30am Rental: League of Women Voters; 11:30am Science & Spirituality; 7:30pm Journey Group-Montrose/Manetta/McGahren-Clemens

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

Sat Jan 12 - 10:00am Zen

Sun Jan 13 - 8:15am RE Council; 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: Belarus to the Bronx"; 12:00pm Meal Preparation for HOPE 

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 Sofia Betancourt's essay, "Ethical Implications of Environmental Justice" -- Chapter 4 of the 2018-19 UUA Common Read, Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class and the Environment.

Betancourt got me thinking about the whiteness of the American environmental movement. Searching around, I learned that a survey released 2018 Oct
"found that about one-third of African-Americans, half of whites, and two-thirds of Latinos and Asians consider themselves to be environmentalists." ( Anthropocene, 2018 Oct 30)
OK, so environmentalism is not just a white people's thing. But it is perceived that way. The survey also found that
"across racial and ethnic groups, people tended to underestimate how concerned people of color are about the environment, and overestimate how concerned white people are." ( Anthropocene, 2018 Oct 30)
Indeed, mainstream environmentalist organizations -- groups like the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Nature Conservancy -- have, through their long history, consisted largely of upper- and middle-class whites focused on protecting wilderness areas. These groups have made the face of US environmentalism disproportionately white. More to the point, their focus -- protecting wilderness areas -- has racial justice implications.

Consider the question of where to put waste facilities, landfills, dumps, and the most polluting industries. We clearly aren't going to put them in wealthy, white neighborhoods. So (until we find a way to eliminate such pollution sources), that leaves two options: put them in poorer and darker-skinned neighborhoods, or put them out in an area away from human habitation. The historically predominantly-white environmental organizations (Sierra Club, NRDC, etc) work to keep industries, landfills, etc. from encroaching on our uninhabited areas -- thereby unwittingly pushing toxic pollution into poorer, black or Latino neighborhoods.

Betancourt cautions against
"a perilous tendency to sacrifice entire populations of our human family in the name of acting quickly."
Black and brown folks'
"experiences of environmental racism and injustice are erased by a movement born out of an imagined pristine wilderness empty of humanity."
She cites Aldo Leopold's ethic -
"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
This influential principle, however, says nothing about environmental justice. It tends to treat "humanity" as a monolith -- something to rein in for the sake of the planet. Instead -- or, rather, in addition -- we must attend to how consequences and risks of environmental destruction are unequally distributed within the human population.

  • Our first principle commits us to the worth and dignity of all -- and thus to combat racism. Our seventh principle commits us respect the interdependent web -- and thus to combat environmental harm. How do you balance and honor both of these imperatives in your spiritual life?
  • American individualism weakens the ethic of mutual care and engagement necessary for honoring the dignity of all. What are your relationships with communities of color? How might you reach out and deepen those relationships, from an ethic of care and mutuality?
Yours in faith,
Your Moment of Zen: The Self Badger came to Raven privately and asked, "What is the self?" Raven said, "Passion." Badger asked, "Why are we told to forget it?" Raven said, "Forget it!" Badger said, "That's scary." Raven croaked. Badger sat back on his haunches and was silent. Raven said, "Now I'm tired." READ MORE
Zen at CUUC, Sat Jan 5: HERE
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