River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

To grow and deepen in Community, Spirit, and Service


March 16-23, 2023

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Youtube  

Upcoming Worship Services

Back to the Start - The Sacred Cycle of Failure

Rev. Amanda Weatherspoon, Associate Minister

One service, in-person and virtual:

Sun., March 19, 10am: Hybrid Service, also on YouTube

11am: Coffee Hour, both over Zoom and in-person

Watch for two links in the Saturday email: a YouTube link for the service and a Zoom link for the virtual Coffee Hour after the service. Recording will be posted on our YouTube channelYou can find our Order of Service online; if you are not watching in real time the Order of Service may not be available.

Sanctuary Hybrid, Online and In-Person: Service will be available via YouTube.

Join us online or in person for worship at 10am. By attending an in-person service, you are giving RRUUC permission to use your likeness in videos and photographs. Sunday service is broadcast live, and may include wide shots of the crowd in the sanctuary.

Failure is one of the most vulnerable experiences that we have, and none of us are exempt. And while a one-time mishap is enough to make anyone cringe, many failures over time seem to stack up and the weight can be crushing. But perhaps failure doesn’t have to stand alone or apart – perhaps failure belongs to the sacred cycle of our lives.

Notices & Online Ministry Offerings

Strands of Compassion Benefit Concert

Sunday, March 19


RRUUC Sanctuary

The RRUUC Animal Ministry will present internationally-acclaimed concert artists Christoph Wagner, cellist, and Joanne Kong, pianist, in “Strands of Compassion” to benefit the Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-being (MCPAW) for the development of the no-cost Montgomery County Spay Neuter initiative Program. Suggested donation of $15 (more or less is welcome) can be made at the door or online at mcpaw.org.

These activist virtuosos will weave together music, reflection, and imagery in an inspiring event that will illuminate how embracing the connections we have to the natural world and all beings can bring about transformative spiritual growth, positive change, and planetary healing. We invite all to savor this brief respite to enjoy connections and inspiration for mind, body, and spirit. The program will be followed by a reception with our guest artists and delicious plant-based snacks.

In addition to being live in the Sanctuary, the program will be live-streamed on YouTube.

Rev. Amanda on Sabbatical

Rev. Amanda Weatherspoon, our Associate Minister, will soon be going on sabbatical. She will be gone from April 2 - August 1, 2023. Read her letter to the congregation here and wish her well on her journey of rest and renewal!

The 2023-2024 Stewardship Campaign officially ends next Sun., Feb. 26, and we still have a long way to go. Many of our wonderful members and friends haven’t made their pledge yet. If that’s you, please use our online pledge form to make your promise of financial support for our next congregational year that starts July 1. Questions can be directed to stewardship@rruuc.org.

Oh dear! RRUUC’s Shelter Week (March 19-24) starts this Sunday but we still need:

* A vegetarian dinner entree for 15 (Thursday)

* A driver to transport food from RRUUC to the Shelter on Friday at 5pm

Please sign up here to help the Interfaith Works Women’s Shelter in Rockville. Many thanks to the 52 volunteers who have already enlisted.

Questions? Contact Mary Beth Bowen & Judi Croft at shelterweek@rruuc.org.

Meet the UUA Presidential Candidate at UU Arlington

The first of the series of four presidential candidate forums will be held at the UU Church of Arlington, VA, on Sat., March 18 at 1pm. You may attend live or online. Get more information and register here.

The forums are being held to allow delegates and members to learn more about Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt. Planned in concert with the Election Campaign Practices Committee with support from UUA staff, each forum will offer both on-site and virtual participation. There will also be an additional forum during General Assembly in June.

All Unitarian Universalists are welcomed and encouraged to engage with the presidential candidate forums and the process as a whole, to ensure our next UUA President may establish the foundation for their leadership with broad participation. Member congregations of the UUA, through their delegates, elect the UUA President. The campaign for President will take place throughout the first half of 2023 and conclude with an election at our multiplatform General Assembly, online and in Pittsburgh, PA, June 21-25. Voting will open in early June.

One candidate for election was announced by the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) on November 15, 2022: the Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt. Read the PSC announcement and the UUA Board of Trustees' statement on the nomination. No additional candidates were nominated by petition. Read UUA Secretary Bill Young's statement announcing the 2023 UUA Presidential election with a single candidate. You can learn about the entire UUA election process for all positions on the UUA website.

UU Wellspring Reads Braiding Sweetgrass

Sacred Earth is the first program in “UU Wellspring Reads,” six-session programs that provide foundational experience that are dear to Unitarian Universalists’ hearts. Sacred Earth combines the wisdom of indigenous understandings of reciprocity with the sacred earth, and with spiritual practices that connect our spirit to nature. The experiences, reflections, and discussions strive to engage participants deeply in the web of life and your Unitarian Universalist faith. We'll read from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and The Sustainable Soul: Reflections and Practices by Rebecca James Hecking. Led by Beth Irikura, Director of Religious Education. 

Six Tues./Thurs. evenings, 7:30-9pm: Mar. 21 (Equinox), Apr. 13, 27, May 9, 23, June 6, via Zoom. Register here. No cost.

Spring into Auction Action! 

Hi from Marcia Leonard!

I LOVE the Auction – whether we return to a service-style Spring Auction or stay with an “anything goes” type of Auction, I know I’ll be a donor and a bidder again. Every auction since 2018, Betty Wilson and I have offered “Soup of the Month” to two families. We’re finishing up this year’s offerings with our sixth soup for the Kirkman/Whitmans and Chopras. We. Have. So. Much. Fun when we get together to cook. And, unless they are all just being gracious, all our families have loved every soup we’ve made. Win-win!

I bid on – and won: books, a jewelry box, the 19th annual wine tasting, Yoga classes, a stunning fused glass plate by Doris Ross, and a recital at RR by Shuai. Everything I won was also a winner.

This year, for the first time, I offered plant care. Chris Hager was one of my winning bidders and I went to her house in July and helped her with a 200-year-old Cleopatra begonia that came to this country from Sweden. We spent about two hours together and discovered many similarities in our heritages. Who knew?

I also offered appetizers again and made tasty treats for Charlotte Jones Carroll for Tom’s 103rd birthday party, Dan Glor and Sue Schneider’s cocktail-making party (another repeat auction offering) and for the WoW group’s birthday gathering in August. For me, food = love. And I love making food for people!

So, even though we are still being careful getting together – I have been so fortunate to have had these connections over the past year. I LOVE the Auction!

Do you have an Auction story? Share it!

Interested in working with friends, meeting new people, creative event planning? Then join the Auction Team! We are looking for volunteers who are interested in helping shepherd this important legacy event, which will happen in late spring. Please contact Ana Lim for more info.

Let’s Recognize a Leader!

We are looking for individuals with the exceptional ability to find and implement creative solutions to the specific needs of the RRUUC community and who inspire others to work together as an effective team. Do you know someone at RRUUC who has contributed to the community in the last year or years?? Feel free to self-nominate. Send a note to L&N Committee with a short statement of how this person has exhibited exceptional leadership, addressed to: rrlncommittee@gmail.com.

Clif Hardin's Requiem At Carnegie Hall, May 29

RRUUC road trip! Would you like to go to NYC and hear our own Clif Hardin's "Requiem" performed in Carnegie Hall? 

The New England Symphonic Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Jennifer Rodgers (formerly Director of Music at UU Congregation of Rockville), will perform the Requiem with a chorus of singers from across the country, including members of The River Road Choir.

We'll take a morning bus to New York on Mon., May 29 (Memorial Day), attend the performance at 7pm, spend the night at a nearby hotel, and return to Bethesda on Tues., May 30.

Once we have a sense of the size of the group, we'll let you know about ticket prices and room rates. 

Are you in? Please let us know no later than Mon., March 20.

Contemporary Issues Forum

Sun., March 26, 12-1pm, via Zoom

“Having Trouble Using a Website? It’s Not You; It’s the Design!” from Elizabeth Buie, PhD

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires digital services to provide equal access to people with impairments, whether sensory, motor, or cognitive. Many designers are unaware of the full extent of the requirements, and tend to overlook some if not many of them. This makes the services harder and harder to use as we grow older. This talk will explain what you should expect from digital services and what you can do when one fails to meet your expectations.

Elizabeth Buie, MS, MA, PhD, is a digital user experience consultant and user researcher for Nexer Digital Ltd (UK). One of her areas of specialization is design for older adults. She always contacts the organization when a website fails to meet accessibility standards.

Register to attend this forum at 

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpf-GorTkjE9cGDirXQdhIUBLvIUm2LWC1. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Family Ministry

This Sunday

Regular RE classes. Except for those in Spirit Play and OWL, children begin in the sanctuary.

Classroom assignments:

Childcare (under 3 y.o.): Room 14

Spirit Play (3–5 y.o.): room 20 (start time: 10:00)

Elementary (grades K–2): room 25

Elementary (grades 3–5): room 22

Middle School: Fiatfalva

OWL: room 31 (start time: 9:45)

Youth Group: room 32

Parents/caregivers of PreK–5th grade students: please pick up your kids in their classrooms after service. 

Upcoming Happenings

De-escalation Training for Drag Story Hours

The de-escalation training focuses on ways to keep each other safe in tense situations. Andrew, the trainer, has over 20 years experience with nonviolent direct action, including intensive experience with de-escalation and protests countering hate groups. We will look at techniques around de-escalation, physical safety, centering in a crisis, and working as a team. This training has helped people feel confident at protests and able to intervene against threat and harassment. 

When: Fri., March 17, 7-8pm

Where: Christ Church Kensington - 4001 Franklin St, Kensington, MD 20895

Friday Morning Book Group

The book group meets on the third Friday of the month beginning at 10am (via Zoom) to discuss a book selected by the group. Participants are invited to sign in as early as 9:45am to chat before the discussion begins at 10am. In the coming month we will be discussing the following book:

March 17: Between Freedom and Equality: The History of an African American Family in Washington, DC by Barbara Boyle Torrey and Clara Myrick Green. Note: We are expecting the authors to join us for this discussion.

April 21: Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

May 19: Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power by Susan Page

Contact the River Road office to be put on the email list for the Zoom link.

Vernal Equinox Fire Pit

Sat., March 18, 6:30-8:30pm

Fun and fellowship! Join your Family Ministry Team around the fire to celebrate the arrival of spring. S'mores & beverages available as always!

We hope to see you there!

Earth Ministry's next meeting will be on Sun.,, March 19 on Zoom and in Room 22 at 11:30. We'll start with a short presentation on the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Bill 25-22 by Stuart Silverman (see below for action opportunities) followed by business items including our programs at the RRUUC Retreat on April 22-23, and planning for our role as hosts for the Capital Area UU Climate Convocation at RRUUC on Sat., May 6. Read more and register here!

Now is also the time to make your voice heard on environment bills now being heard in the MD General Assembly. Here are a few that need your support - let your representatives hear from you on climate-friendly environmental justice legislation! Click the links to go to action pages.

Proposed Article II: 4-Session Program

Join an Online Cohort Facilitated by UU Wellspring! GA Delegates can deeply prepare for their Article II vote. Open to all interested Unitarian Universalists.

4 sessions, 90 minutes each. Explore, rather than react to, the proposed Article II.

Take it online:

Wed., March 22, 29 and April 5, 12

90 minutes beginning at 7pm

with Linnea Nelson


Tues., April 11, 18, 25, May 2

90 minutes beginning at 7:30pm

with Beth Irikura


Fri., April 28, May 5, 12, and 19

90 minutes beginning at 2pm

with Rev. Sara Goodman

Cost is $100 per person for online participation. No prerequisite in UU Wellspring needed.

Info session on Wed., March 15, at 7pm via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7035990877. No RSVP needed.

Women in Folk Concert

Join us for Cedar Lane's next Women in Folk concert featuring Crys Matthews and Caroline Cotter on Sat., March 25 at 7pm, in the River Road Sanctuary. Cedar Lane is grateful to River Road for hosting this event during our accessibility renovation. 

Crys Matthews is among the brightest stars of this generation's social justice music makers. As a classically trained clarinetist turned folk singer and former drum major, Matthews is using her voice to answer Dr. Martin Luther King's call to be a "drum major for justice." She is a powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls "the poster-child for intersectionality."

Caroline Cotter is a singer/songwriter, traveler, artist, teacher, and eternal student based in Portland, Maine. Having travelled all over the world, Cotter brings collected stories home with her in the form of songs. She performs original material in the folk tradition with influences of americana, blue-grass, jazz, and world music.

West Virginia Service Trip

The WV Multigenerational Service Learning trip will be Aug 5-11. This will be our 9th trip working with the people of Big Creek People in Action to repair and improve homes in the southernmost part of WV. We also spend time learning about the rich culture of the area. Participants incoming high school and older (yes, even adults, even parents) are welcome. No experience necessary. Cost is $500 with scholarship available. If you're ready to sign up, here's the link.

Questions? Contact Beth Irikura.

Social Justice

Land and Labor Acknowledgment

The Land and Labor Acknowledgment Task Force has been working on how our congregation can tangibly acknowledge and memorialize the land for Indigenous Peoples who traveled through and stayed here and for the enslaved African Americans who likely lived on and labored here.

The Task Force proposes both a bronze plaque, placed in the front lobby area, and an outdoor wayside that can serve both as a memorial and an educational medium. Examples of both the plaque and wayside are posted on the bulletin board above the water filling station just outside the sanctuary. The Task Force will provide recommendations on moving forward on these two projects to the Board of Trustees later in the spring.

The Task Force welcomes your input! You can leave a note on the board or send your thoughts to land@rruuc.org.

Voices from the Holy Land Film Salon

On Sun., March 19, join an online discussion about “The Law and The Prophets” at 3pm. The documentary explains the mechanisms that Israel deploys to control Palestinians. Register, watch the film for free at your convenience, then join the Q&A, hosted by Voices From the Holy Land Online Film Salon.


Joshua Vis: Filmmaker, writer, activist, and tour organizer

Muhanad Al Qaisy: General Coordinator, Olive Tree Campaign; Project Officer, Joint Advocacy Initiative

Chase Carter: Communications Director, Center for Jewish Nonviolence; community organizer

Mercy Aiken (moderator): Author, Relationship Manager, Network of Evangelicals for the Middle East


In Israel, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, the law is whatever Israel deems to be in the best interest of Jewish Israelis, to the detriment of Palestinians. In this, Israel violates the civil and human rights of Palestinians as a matter of standard, accepted policy. However, there are brave, determined individuals — prophets —who are trying to expose the destructive, unjust, and sometimes invisible ways in which Israel exploits and oppresses Palestinians. "The Law and The Prophets" explains the mechanisms of control that Israel deploys to control Palestinians. These mechanisms, some violent and some nonviolent, have been perfected through decades of civil and military rule of Palestinians both within Israel, and in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Co-Sponsors of this event: 

United Church of Christ-Palestine Israel Network and Pax Christi USA

Jubilee Three Anti-Racism Training March 2023

Fri., March 24, 6:00pm - Sun., March 26, 6:30pm, via Zoom

You are invited to participate in Jubilee Three Anti-Racism Training: Learning Together About Systemic Racism; acclaimed program, experienced trainers.

Do you wish to deepen your understanding of how race and ethnicity play out in our institutions and our daily lives? Are you ready to take a leading role to nurture a multicultural future in the face of opposing cultural currents? Come join us for this life-changing weekend! All are welcome.

  • Fri., March 24 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm
  • Sat., March 25 - 9:00am to 8:30pm
  • Sun., March 26 - 12:00pm to 6:30 pm


Weekend Activities: The training includes presentations, discussions, videos, exercises, and small group work. This 2½ day workshop is open to anyone who wants to journey toward making a stand against racism. Church members and church leaders of any faith, as well as non-church members are all welcome!

Training costs $170 and partial scholarships are available. Please contact black-lives-matter@ucwc.org if you are interested in children’s programming during the workshop, a partial scholarship, or have any questions.

Register at uua.org/central-east/calendar/jubilee-3-323. Deadline is March 21.

Save the Date: Scotland Community Juneteenth Heritage Festival

June 17-19, 2023, the Scotland Community will host a Heritage Festival, including social justice and faith presentations, a 5K run, and a classic car show. All proceeds will benefit the 2nd Century Project, Scotland AME Zion's capital campaign to repair their building.

Read more about the festival here.

Lost to Gun Violence

As part of our ongoing commitment to the activists who are interrupting gun violence on the streets of our cities, we are saddened yet honored to memorialize the names of those in our area lost to gun violence recently. These lives continue to matter: Baltimore: Delmyn Javier Lopez Ortiz, Izaiah Parker, Tavone Cotten. District of Columbia: Dana Faulkner, Abdul Fuller. Hyattsville: Walter Woods, Jarrell Thompson. Mardella Springs: Keiford Lee Copper III. Silver Spring: Deandre Keith Ellis. Every life lost to gun violence shatters the world for each of us, and every life saved by those who interrupt the violence helps knit us back together.

Extend the Offering is THIS SUNDAY: Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-Being

The mission of the Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-being (MCPAW) is to end pet homelessness and suffering in our community. To that end, MCPAW runs a weekly petfood bank for underserved residents so they can keep their pets at home; MCPAW runs a spay/neuter foster/adoption program for community and stray cats so they can find their forever homes; and MCPAW’s KALM medical fund provides the funds necessary for pets who need special veterinary care that are beyond the resources of their owners.

You may donate to MCPAW this Sun., March 19, by contributing to the offering or all month long by making online contributions (select "Extend the Offering") or by making check donations to RRUUC (designate MCPAW).

RRUUC Land Acknowledgement

Acknowledging and remembering that we are situated on the traditional land of the Nacotchtank and Piscataway people, and on the land on which enslaved African people and their descendants labored and lived, we gather together in worship. May the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts and the actions of our hands point the way toward a more just future. May the memory of those whose love and labor went before inspire us to create a path of greater joy and justice for all who will follow.  

If you would like to learn more about our land's history, please watch the service from June 13, 2021.

View Sermon Video

Listen to The Progressive Spirit Podcast

Send news to the Publications

Deadline is Tuesday, midnight, for that week.

News is edited for clarity, brevity, and style.

Check the Congregation Calendar

Contact the Office

Meet Our Ministers

and Staff

Was this newsletter forwarded to you? Click here to subscribe and receive River Road's eWeekly in your inbox.

We'd hate to see you go, but if you wish, you can click here to unsubscribe from the eWeekly.

River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

6301 River Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 | 301-229-0400 news@rruuc.org | www.rruuc.org

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Youtube