River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

To grow and deepen in Community, Spirit, and Service


September 22-29, 2022

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Sunday's Worship Service

Fighting that Feeling: The Perils of Belonging

Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd, Senior Minister

One service, in-person and virtual:

Sun., Sept. 25, 10am: Hybrid Service, also on YouTube

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

11:30am: Rev. Nancy's 10-year celebration, 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.

Sometimes it’s good to flip our themes and assumptions right around and look at them from a different angle. After exploring belonging and community all month, this week we’ll think about the perils of belonging – the ways in which that deep and foundational need to be a part of something larger than oneself can be used or manipulated to no good end. Let’s get together and think about how getting together is a little risky! Sunday service is broadcast live, and may include wide shots of the crowd in the sanctuary.

Rev. Nancy's 10-year Celebration

Join us after the service this Sunday to celebrate the 10 years that Rev. Nancy has been Senior Minister at RRUUC. Festivities will include food, drink, musical entertainment, and the chance to add a personal note to a tribute to Rev. Nancy. We hope that you can join us!

Extend the Offering is THIS SUNDAY: RRUUC College Access Fund

The College Access Fund has provided scholarships to local public high school graduates with financial needs for almost 20 years. Four-year scholarships go to qualified students selected by the Racial Justice Task Force’s Supporting Educational Access Pathway (SEAP) from applications submitted by Mentors, Inc. and College Bound. Through the College Access Fund program, 12 students are currently receiving scholarships and two to four students are added each year based on available funds.

You can support the College Access Fund throughout the month of September by making online contributions (select "Extend the Offering"), or by making check donations to RRUUC (designate College Access Fund). Extend the Offering Sunday is this Sun., Sept. 25, and you may place your contribution in the box at the rear of the Sanctuary.

Notices & Online Ministry Offerings

Virtual College Access Fundraiser, THIS Sat., Sept. 24, 7-8:30pm

This year's virtual College Access Fundraiser will feature Lea Morris presenting Lift Every Voice: Songs of the Civil Rights Movement - a review of how music plays a role in the journey towards greater civil rights for all, including some of Lea’s original music. Lea’s sound seamlessly blends gospel, jazz, country, and R&B into her own style: SoulFolk. Register to receive a link to watch online in the safety & comfort of your home. Donate anytime to the College Access Fund (our monthly Extend the Offering partner) on our giving portal.

Note that this event is Saturday the 24th, and the link to attend will be a YouTube link that you'll receive after registering.

Faith Formation Conversations

This fall, as part of the overall Board visioning work, Rev. Amanda, Beth Irikura, and Laura Piervincenzi  are working to assess what is missing from our current offerings and what an array of dynamic programming around Faith Formation for members of all ages, and in all stages of life, can look like at RRUUC. 

We are leading conversations on several Sundays this fall in the Sanctuary after worship service where we will discuss what Faith Formation means and ask members to consider what they’d like to see offered to help them explore and deepen their own spirituality. The dates are October, 2, 9, 23, and November 6. Come be a part of the conversation!

Make your 3 Easy Actions pledge; join our Climate Reset Workshop!

It's not too late to give give the gift of action. At this time 58 households have completed our 3 Easy Actions form, but we want to hear from everyone about the beginner-level emissions reduction you're pledging to make at home - and if you are beyond beginner, we want to know that too! Our intermediate-level Climate Reset Workshop will run for 4 weeks in October (many sections available - sign up here) and will support you in taking your next steps. Read more at the Earth Ministry blog It's (Not) Easy Being Green, and you can always email us with questions or comments at RRUUCEarthMinistry@gmail.com

Compost your veggie scraps at RRUUC!

We have two composter drums at RRUUC next to the veggie garden beyond the Fellowship Hall. When you come every Sunday all year, please bring us your kitchen veggie scraps and add them to the composters. We do not like bread, meat, eggs, or oils as they can smell. Coffee grounds with filters and tea bags are fine. Transport your scraps in a tupperware with a lid. Your scraps turn into compost which the RE kids will spread in the garden!

GenOUT, the DC area's only vocal ensemble for LGBTQ+ and allied youth, is accepting new singers for the 2022-23 season! The choir, founded in 2015, is open to all youth, ages 13-18, who love to sing, who want to raise their voice to support social justice, and who enjoy working cooperatively with others.

GenOUT has been invited to sing at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association, this will take place in Cincinnati, OH, in late February 2023.  GenOUT will also sing at the December and June shows of Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, the DC HS Choir Festival at the National Cathedral, and at a dozen other performance venues around the DC area.

Interested youth are encouraged to visit www.gmcw.org to learn more and to pre-register via the Sign-Up form. There are no auditions to join, and scholarships up to 100% are available. The first rehearsal for new singers is Sat., Sept. 24, 10:00am-12:30pm at St. Thomas' Parish Episcopal Church (18th & Church Sts., NW - Dupont Circle Metro station). Thank you to St. Thomas for being one of our Partners in Harmony!

We are offering the rite of passage of Child Dedication on Nov. 6 during worship. At RRUUC, the ceremony introduces the children to the congregation and the congregation commits to love and support them as they learn and grow in their spiritual lives. Children of all ages can be dedicated. If you'd like to participate, please contact Beth Irikura, Director of Religious Education.

Family Ministry

2022–23 Religious Education

Elementary and middle school students begin in the Sanctuary for the Prophetic Voices then head to class. Spirit Play, OWL, and High School start in class.

Childcare - room 13

Spirit Play - room 20

Elementary - room 23/25

Middle School - Fiatfalva

OWL - room 31

High School - room 32

Volunteer in the RE Program!

More volunteers are needed to make the program run smoothly, especially for Spirit Play (PreK) and Elementary RE (K–5th.) The commitment is generally once per month. Only enthusiasm and curiosity required! Training is provided and new volunteers will be paired with more experienced volunteers. Consider joining us! Contact Beth or Laura with questions.

Upcoming Happenings

Tour Our Wildflower Gardens This Month  

Join the Grounds Committee for a walking tour of our wildflower gardens after Sunday services in September. Tours will leave the front plaza approximately ten minutes after the end of service, and will include a tour of Springsview Garden in the rear of our property. We should expect goldenrods, sunflowers, snakeroot, wingstem, jewelweed, asters, coneflowers, and more!

Third Information Session: Pilgrimage to India 2023

Wed., Sept. 28, 7:00pm, online; register here

Rev. Abhi Janamanchi and his wife Lalitha will lead a group from Cedar Lane, River Road UU, and UU Fairfax on a pilgrimage to India in January 2023. If you are interested in joining the pilgrimage, please attend an online information session on Wed., Sept. 28, at 7:00pm. Rev. Abhi will do a brief presentation, followed by Q&A. Trip reservations with deposit due by Nov. 1. More information - including expected dates, itinerary, and cost - is available on the Cedar Lane website.  

Save the date: 30th Annual Partnerfest, Sat., Oct. 15, 6-8pm

RRUUC's Partner Church Committee invites you to join a special in-person and streaming celebration of our partner congregations in Fiatfalva, Transylvania and Mawblang, N.E. India on Oct. 15, 2022 at 6:00pm. The evening will feature a special performance by Dr. Shuai Wang and accomplished violinist Anto Meliksetian, as well as an hors d'oeuvres and wine reception. Stay tuned for more information in the weeks to come!

Join a Storytelling class!

Learn to combine personal narratives with universal spiritual or other themes in a safe, confidential, and challenging atmosphere. Modeled after “The Moth” radio and podcast stories, students respond to an optional storytelling prompt, share stories from their lives aloud with the group, and receive individualized, compassionate feedback from the group and instructor. Stories are of various lengths but under 10 minutes and can be read or simply told. The class meets monthly October to June. Stories are hoped for but not required from each person each month. Even a 100 word story is very interesting.

Storytelling classes meet monthly Saturday mornings at RRUUC, 9:30am-12:00pm. We will switch to Zoom if the COVID situation worsens. Masks are required at RRUUC but a microphone will be available. Two classes are offered at the same level with all experience levels welcome. Storytelling 2 is now full, but you can still sign up for Storytelling 1. Limited to 10 per class. The cost for this year-long class is $350.

Storytelling 1 dates: 10/8, 11/5, 12/3, 1/14, 2/11, 3/11, 4/8, 5/20, 6/10 (make-up class if needed)

Kim Schraf, a professional actor and experienced writing teacher, provides very insightful suggestions on both the content and presentation style so that people’s confidence rapidly grows!

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 and socialize before the discussion begins at 10am. In the coming months we will be discussing the following books:

October 21: The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

November 18: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

We will not meet in December.

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

Social Justice

Wondering how you can engage with RRUUC's social justice activities?

Come to the in-person Social Justice Fair at 11:00am on Sun., Oct. 16 on the front plaza. Meet activists involved in many of RRUUC’s activities, who will tell you more about what you can do to join in the fun!

Earth Ministry Announces a Special Program on Decarbonization

Earth Ministry at River Road will be sponsoring a presentation on Bill 13-22, now pending before the Montgomery County Council. This bill provides for an all-electric mandate for new buildings, as well as major building renovations and additions in Montgomery County. Bill 13-22 requires the County Executive to set standards for this mandate by January 1, 2024. The bill has exemptions, and it is controversial. If enacted, it will help meet the goal of a zero greenhouse emissions future.   

The lead sponsor for Bill 13-22 is Councilmember Hans Riemer, and the bill is endorsed by County Executive Marc Elrich.         

If Bill 13-22 is enacted by the County Council, Montgomery County will join numerous other jurisdictions in the country that have enacted similar decarbonization requirements.     

This presentation by Earth Ministry is scheduled for Oct. 2 at 12pm in the Fireside Room.  We are happy to announce that David Goodrich, Board Chair of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network will be a speaker at this event. He is a firm supporter of Bill 13-22, and will be sharing his views. Opposing points of view will also be presented at this program.        

Please plan to attend.

Voices From the Holy Land Film Salon

On Sun., Oct. 9, at 4pm, join Peter Beinart in a  discussion about the documentary BOYCOTT. This is a time-limited viewing opportunity. Register at tinyurl.com/VFHL-October2022, view the film for free at your convenience for 4 days, then join the Zoom on Sunday.


When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona, and a speech therapist in Texas are told they must choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech across 33 states in America. BOYCOTT is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation designed to penalize companies and individuals that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record.

Panelists & Moderator:

Peter Beinart: Editor-at-Large, Jewish Currents; MSNBC Contributor; Professor of Journalism; Political Science, Newmark School of Journalism, CUNY; Fellow, Foundation for Middle East Peace; Publisher, The Beinart Newsletter

Jen Marlowe: author, filmmaker, playwright, journalist, and human rights activist

Bahia Amawi: speech pathologist, free-speech plaintiff vs. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Pflugerville ISD

Mnar Adley (moderator): Editor-in-Chief, MintPress News


Sponsored by Voices from the Holy Land, co-sponsored by United Methodist Kairos Response and Methodist Foundation for Social Action.

Save the dates Oct. 13-16: Immigration Film Fest

This year's Immigration Film Fest explores the nature of home. Is it a place, a safe space, a feeling, a memory, a person, or something more?

The 2022 World Migration Report estimates that in 2020 there were over 281 million people living outside of their country of birth, whether because of forced displacement, climate change, or moving to seek better opportunities. Of that number, the UN estimates that 89.3 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes due to persecution, conflict, and human rights violations. They estimate that nearly half of these forced migrants are children.

Join online and in person to see their stories, their hopes, and their yearning to settle and to be at home in the world. Watch IFF 2022 selections at home with family or join us in Washington DC and Arlington for a weekend of festival screenings Oct. 13-16.

More information can be found on IFF's website and tickets will be announced soon!

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 over the past two weeks. These lives continue to matter:

Baltimore: Jessica Johnson, Lawrence Green III, Turrell Davis, and Delanie McCloud. District of Columbia: Stephon Jenkins. Harwood: Anthony Hopkins Sr. Temple Hills: Robert Stewart-Pixley. 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.

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.

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River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

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

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