unitarian society of hartford

50 Bloomfield Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
Tel: (860) 233-9897 / FAX 233-1333
Email: firstunitarian@ushartford.com
Reverend Barbara Jamestone, PhD

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Shadow or not, have a happy and hopeful Groundhog Day!

The USH-Enews is a weekly email newsletter produced for members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Hartford. The USH web address is:  http://www.ushartford.com/ Check at the end of this USH-Enews for information on submissions, subscriptions and escape from the mailing list. And, to read the monthly Meetinghouse Messenger (newsletter) on the web or to find past issues of the weekly USH-Enews click here.

Office hours: Rev. Jamestone: Phone: 860 233-9897; Email: RevBJ@USHartford.com - Rev. BJ office hours by appointment.

2009 Pledge Drive Goal Set

The USH Board of Directors has set the goal for 2009 Pledge Drive at $381,000.  This amount represents a nine percent increase over last year’s goal and is driven largely by higher costs due to inflation and various contractual obligations.  Operationally, the $381,000 constitutes level programmatic funding for the budget year that will begin on July 1, 2009.  While no new programs are anticipated in the 2009-2010 USH budget, President Heather Ferguson-Hull stated that the Board will be reviewing the budget carefully in order to identify potential cost savings.  She noted that the Board is very sensitive to the recession and need to make sacrifices at USH.  However, the recession will also result in an increased demand for services and assistance from within the USH membership and from the community at large.  The Board’s goal is to ensure that USH is in a position to continue all essential services and to respond appropriately and responsibly to pleas for assistance.  
With the overall goal now set, the USH Stewardship Sub-council is busily planning for the 2009 Pledge Drive.  Sub-Council Chair, Charles Huntington, indicated that the theme of progressivity will be stressed throughout the Pledge Drive.  Because the economic downturn has not affected everyone equally, members will be asked to consider the relative impact that the economic downturn has had on them and for those who have fared relatively well to consider pledging more than the standard request of two percent of gross income. The theme of progressivity recognizes that some have been severely impacted by the economic downturn and will have a hard time maintaining their full pledge from last year.  

see also related articles here and there.

More news about the 2009 Pledge Drive will appear in subsequent issues of the E-News

Worshipping Together Since 1830
9:45 AM and 11:15 AM

Sunday -1 February  - Is it “Slaves” or  “Enslaved People? - We begin our February recognition of Black History Month with the question, What’s in a name? How does our sense of self evolve, and how is it impacted by how others identify us? What is an "identity based conflict" Where might racism find fertile ground in such questions?

BTW MLK Service and sermon has been placed on the web

Music - Duke Ellington was recognized during his life as one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music.  Ellington called his style and sound "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category."  He composed  "Come Sunday" early in his career and returned to it many times, setting it as a solo, a piano piece, as part of an orchestral suite ("Black, Brown and Beige") and as a choral anthem.  The choir joins our alto soloist Lindsey Grebeldinger for this piece.

Our baritone soloist Miguel Vasquez sings "Ol' Man River" (music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II).  This is a song from the 1927 musical Show Boat, that tells a melancholy story of African American hardship and struggles of the time, related to the endless flow of the Mississippi River, from the view of a dock worker on a showboat.  It is the most famous song from the show.   The music for February 1st is chosen to honor Black History Month.

REflections on Children's Programming -

Gail M. Syring, DRE

What Else is Happening  & Announcements

Art show continues in the ambulatory.

Save February 1 at 1:00 PM to watch "For Everyone, Everywhere - Good News! - For those planning to attend, soup will be available for your lunch. Our High School Group has planned ahead and made enough for this event so please patronize their soup table before this extraordinary documentary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

" This is the film mentioned by Charlie Clements on UUSC Sunday. It was made by the UN on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Do you forget or misplace your name tag?
We encourage everyone to wear their name tag! If you find you sometimes forget yours, there are blanks now available for temporary use at the upstairs Welcome Table. If you have lost your tag, there is a sign-up sheet for new tags there, as well. Let's see if we can all keep ourselves "tagged"! - Anne Bailey

Rock the Meeting House - Master vocalist and keyboard artist John Jesensky (sometimes appearing in the guise of our mild-mannered Music Associate) will bring his sizzling song stylings to the music of Billy Joel and Elton John on Saturday, February 28th, 8:00 PM, at the Unitarian Society of Hartford's Meeting House. More, PDF Flyer

Adult Programs - The Programs Fair was a big success! Thanks to all of you who participated and attended. Registrations will continue on Sundays in Fellowship Hall during coffee time. You may also register by phoning the office (860 233-9897) and paying with a charge card. Be sure to pick up your copy of the  Programs Catalog at the Welcome Table in the lobby or at the Registration Table in Fellowship Hall. The catalog is now available on the web.  
This Sunday, Feb. 1,  the film "For Everyone, Everywhere", will be shown at 1:00 pm. This is the film mentioned by Charlie Clements on UUSC Sunday. It was made by the UN on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For those planning to attend, soup will be available for lunch.   
 Programs in February that require registration:

Tai Chi, eight Wednesdays starting Feb. 4, 6:30 - 7:30 PM. For anyone regardless of age or physical ability, Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that medical studies have shown to be a complete healing art consisting of slow, relaxed movements for total self development.

The folks of the Artist’s Way are bringing some engaging art classes to the Unitarian Society of Hartford this winter.  You can learn to make a gorgeous spiral beaded necklace, paint fabric, make a collage, and more!  Take a look!
SPIRAL BEADED NECKLACE—First class is February 7th, so act fast if you want to learn to make a beaded necklace like those below:
beadedSpiral Beaded Necklace Workshop, Saturday, Feb. 7 and 14, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Experienced beader, Irene Dizes, will teach participants the spiral stitch technique using a selection of different beads to create a necklace. The fee is $55, which includes a $10 prepaid deposit for materials.  For more information, see the USH Adult Programs catalog.

Great Decisions, eight Sundays, beginning Feb. 8, 9:30 - 11:00 AM. Earl Costenoble will facilitate this popular discussion series on foreign affairs based on readings provided by the Foreign Policy Association. Two of the topics will be Energy and the Global Economy, and Universal Human Rights.
Choices for Sustainable Living, seven Tuesdays, starting Feb. 10, 4:30 - 6:00 PM. Using the Northwest Earth Institute Curriculum, Bev Prager and participants will explore and discuss the meaning of sustainable living and the ties between lifestyle choices and their impact on the earth.
Family Potluck Supper and Games Night, Friday, Feb. 20, 6:00 - 9:00 PM.Come share an evening of good food and fun. For all ages!
Paper Collage, two Saturdays, Feb. 21, 28, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Returning guest Hannah Libman will teach the creation of collage from torn paper during the first session and the second how to use tissue paper and found objects in a collage.

Improv of Integrity - Explore your unique creative spirit, spontaneity and individual wisdom through exciting and fun drama-based activities and improv exercises. Nurture self-awareness and attain self-empowerment to guide you through life's challenges while remaining true to your core integrity. Join us on Saturday, February 28th, for this day-long workshop from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. Open to ages 12 years and up. Bring a bag lunch - Fee $25.

Romantic Movie for Feb. 13 USH Dinner & Movie Series more, Please reserve by Monday, Feb. 9.

New Group in Spring Small Group Ministry -After heartfelt tributes to SGM on Sunday in both the sermon by Greg Berg and the testimonials by Charles Huntington, David Principe, and Hugh Schweitzer, USH members showed their enthusiasm for SGM by signing up for spring groups and calling for a new group.

We are excited to announce an affinity SGM for LGBT folks. This group will meet on Monday evenings in Simsbury starting March 2, facilitated by Fran Carnevale and hosted by Ann Carnevale.  The family-friendly SGM is now full, but we will accept more registrants on a waiting list and try to create a second group.  This SGM will meet on Friday evenings at the Meeting House starting March 6, facilitated by Bill Shoemaker.   This group will accommodate families by meeting only six times (from 5:30 to 8:00 PM) and providing dinner (cost shared by participants) and childcare.
New this spring is a Mini-SGM consisting of four sessions. The shorter program is a good way for newcomers to SGM to try it out, or for those with busy schedules to get their “SGM fix.”  This group (7 openings left) will convene at the USH Meeting House on Wednesday evenings starting March 11, and is facilitated by DRE Gail Syring.  You may also choose a Monday evening group (only 1 opening) in Farmington starting February 23, facilitated by Fred Louis and hosted by Janice and David Newton, or a Thursday evening group (5 openings) in Hartford starting March 5, facilitated by Carol Davidson and hosted by Bruce Robbins.  An afternoon group will meet on Mondays (3 openings) in East Hartford starting March 23, facilitated by Barbara Fraher and hosted by Dick Edwards.  Each group at the first meeting sets the future meeting dates.
Interested persons are encouraged to identify accessibility concerns (including assisted listening devices or allergies) to Mike Roy so we can address these concerns to the best of our ability. You may consult the upcoming Adult Programs Catalogue for more information.  Please sign up at the Adult Programs table on Sunday, February 1, or by contacting the church office. - Mike Roy

On the Calendar

Italicized entries are non-USH events.
Please notify Brian Mullen of all additions or changes to the calendar. Follow this Link to all our scheduled events!

Caring Network - Native American Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)
published in Native American Prayers - by the Episcopal Church.

If you know of any member experiencing some difficulty, please contact Diana Heymann, Chair of the Caring Network (heydiana(at symbol)comcast.net) 860.461.0908 or call the office so we can provide some assistance. A wide range of community services is also available to those in need by calling InfoLine at 211. Please contact Diana if you are able to volunteer your services.

A Music Review and Search Team is being formed. February 8 deadline. More


From the Editor: Last week as the USH-Enews was on its way to press, I found myself engaged in a three way edit via email of a document for the current USH-Enews due at the website around 7PM that very evening. Recognizing the insanity of the well meaning activity, I recognized it was time to tell contributors how they can help the process through relatively simple steps in preparation of submissions; thus, the origin of, Suggestions for Contributors.

This Week’s Feature Articles

Pledge Drive Goal set for 2009
March 7th Stewardshiip Event Set
Silent Auction Set for Donated Services
A Pre-Service Reflection
Recap of Board Meetings, in Brief
Joyfuul Noise
Suggestions to USH-Enews Contributors

March 7 Stewardship Event Set - Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 7, when USH will host its annual Stewardship Event, “The Greening of the Meetinghouse.”  The Stewardship Sub-Council promises another enjoyable evening of fellowship, food, and fun.  The festivities will run from 7:00 to 10:00 PM in Fellowship Hall.  Child care will be available, and transportation will be arranged for everyone preferring not to drive.  
In addition to the usual raucous entertainment, the theme of this year’s event is designed to educate and celebrate the efforts of Green Sanctuary Sub-council to achieve Green Sanctuary designation for the USH.  In keeping with the Green Sanctuary theme, all food and beverage items will be secured from local producers.  Beverages will include beer from local breweries, wine from local vineyards, and a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks from local bottlers. Desserts and hors d'oeuvre will feature locally produced ingredients.  
While the March 7 “Greening of the Sanctuary” event constitutes the formal kickoff of the 2009 USH Pledge Drive, the evening is more about celebrating USH together.  Every member and friend of USH is cordially invited, regardless of pledge amount.  Look for your invitation to “The Greening of the Meeting House,” which will arrive soon in the mail. Please join the members and friends of USH as we celebrate the stewardship of our beloved religious community and the stewardship of our planet.

Stewardship Sub-council Announces Silent Auction for Donated Services - In conjunction with the 2009 USH Pledge Drive, the Stewardship Sub-Council will sponsor a silent auction, which will conclude at the Stewardship Event on Saturday, March 7.  The silent auction will be limited to services rather than material items.  

If you have a professional skill, a talent, or simply a desire to do something for someone else, the silent auction may be the perfect opportunity to contribute to the 2009 Pledge Drive.  Examples of donations to the silent auction include legal services, child care, yard work, cooking a fancy meal, a vacation condo, anything other service limited only by your abilities and imagination. And, as an option this year, the proceeds from the sale of a donated service may be counted toward the donor’s 2009 annual pledge.

Forms for donations to the silent auction will be available soon. Donated services will be open for bidding at the Stewardship table in Fellowship Hall as soon as the appropriate form is completed. Bidding on all donated services will close at the March 7 Stewardship event.

Joyfuul Noise:  Hear that Good Old Gospel Music! - On Sunday February 15, Joyfuul Noise will sing at both services, and then caravan to Rev BJ's house for dinner on the ground...oops, I guess lunch indoors suits February in New England better!

 Please consider trying  JN during February, for one or all  of our three gatherings, along with Rev BJ and John Jessensky (Contact revbj@ushartford.com with questions or to sign on!)

Our featured musical piece for this virgin voyage will be from the gospel tradition, and highly singable by everyone. Our JN gatherings  this Spring will quickly become a place for you to make new friends,  to broaden your exposure to and experience of several kinds of music, and to create another "touch point" that strengthens both you and our congregation, in soul and body!

For February our schedule will be:

2/5 – Thursday 7:30 - 9:00 PM -
At our  first get-together we'll dive right into the Gospel music genre, after sharing a cup of something hot and introductions all around.

Surrounding ourselves in a Gospel singing environment, there will be some history, an interactive vocal demonstration to help us dive into the spirit of creative singing, and finally, a chance to sing out a few wonderful songs, one of which we'll share with the congregation at both services on 2/15.
2/12 – Thursday 7:30-8:30 - Edith Savage will be guiding our second voyage into Gospel/Traditional music, as we once again"'warm up" with hot drinks and vocal exercise, then sing-along the pieces from the previous Thursday.
2/15--Sunday--Making a Joyfuul Noise All Day! - Please be in the choir stall by 9:20 for  warm up and practice, and after both services, take five minutes to drive to BJs for some well deserved leisure and lunch.

A Pre-Service Reflection for this Sunday’s sermon on challenging racism:

“Nature places a simple constraint on those who leave the flock to go their own way.  They get eaten!

In society it’s a bit more complicated, but the admonition stands: avoiding the unknown has considerable survival value.  Society and nature tend to produce guarded creatures.  The upshot is that we often end up trading our authenticity for what we perceive as survival, terrified to swap security for our heart’s deep desires that is the imperative of all callings and one of the dominant fears in responding to them.

Gregg Levoy, “Callings”  (Email RevBJ@ushartford.com to be added to the list of those who hope to attend the seminar offered by Mr Levoy at USH on June 7.)

Suggestions for USH-Enews Contributors

1. Please be reminded that 4:30 PM Wednesday is the normal deadline for submitting articles for the USH-Enews for publication the following day. Contributions should be sent by email to dcnewton@ushartford.com. Note, efforts to submit material earlier whenever possible is very helpful to the editor.

2. One thing a majority of USH-Enews readers agree upon is their enjoyment of photographs of USH activities, or scenes from nature. Any issue many only have a few, but if you send along a picture as an attachment to an email it will be considered for publication. A horizontal pixel size of 360 or 725 at resolution 72 is excellent. If you wonder what all that means, just send along what you have and it will be adjusted by the editor.

3. We use links to articles so people can decide among various choices choosing to read full details of what interests them. Conciseness is a virtue if you are interested in attracting busy readers.

4. Articles and announcements will usually run in full text just once. If they appear in a subsequent issue, it will be via a link to the previously published item. Two weeks prior to an event appears to be about as much lead time as is desirable in terms of reader attention. Submissions should arrive the week they are to be published.

5. When you submit something for publication, please be sure you have resolved internal discussions about the content before sending the proposed article to the editor as an email. Also, it is very helpful if the top line or email subject says something like, please publish in the USH-Enews this week. When the request for publication is somewhere down among various comments mostly directed elsewhere, the editor may never see it.

6. For technical reasons, tables do not properly translate into code for web pages. Thus, if there is a choice, regular text in either an email or Word attachment is best for web publication. Otherwise, the document will most likely need to be published as a PDF because that will retain the table structure without a hassle. All authors are urged to set your email programs to produce html or web text in outgoing email. This works best for almost everyone in today's world. There is a setting for composing email somewhere in your preferences. Just check the box or equivalent for html or web code. This will also help you by permitting use of color as well as the normal underscoring, bold, font size, and other stylistic choices.

7. Hard carriage returns at the end of lines are a difficult problem as they are invisible. Submitting copy in Word attachments avoids this issue. In the alternative, regular email in html code will avoid the problem of hard carriage returns. Either way, it becomes much easier for the editor to cut and paste into the USH-Enews copy prior to editing.

There you have it. Keep submitting your articles and announcements for our USH-Enews. Our goal remains, produce the best UU newsletter on the planet! - DCN

Board in Brief - Minutes from the Board of Directors meetings are posted on the website.  If you haven’t had a chance to read them, here is a very brief summary of some of the topics discussed in December and January.

The December 9th BOD meeting included a discussion about USH’s public position statement policy, and it was voted that public signage is to be encompassed by this policy as well.  We expect that this change will provide additional opportunities for the Council on Social Justice to inform and educate the congregation on important issues.  

The BOD also examined its relationships to outside organizations (apart from the UUA and CBD) and voted to require a minimum of five congregants for something to be considered a congregational commitment.  In addition, it was voted that there will be no line items in the budget for outside organizations.  Also of note, the Council on Spiritual Life was charged with beginning the process for finding a new Music Associate, and a group was formed to work on creating a congregational conflict resolution mechanism.  The minutes in their entirety can be read here.

At the BOD meeting on January 13, we reviewed discussions held with representatives of B&G about building repairs relating to structural integrity and safety. The BOD moved to request that B&G engage engineers to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the condition of the building structure, including the roof and cable supports.  

The Council on Spiritual Life presented its well-documented report on the 2002 Strategic Plan Update as it pertains to worship, music, and religious education.  You can read the minutes of the January Board meeting in their entirety here. - Mike Roy and Heather Ferguson-Hull

A Day of “Callings” - Author Gregg Levoy will speak during worship on June 7, on the topic of  "callings" and will offer a workshop at 1 PM on the same topic.  More

External Events and Educational Notes

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of North Bay WINE COUNTRY HOLIDAY

“Napa was as delightful as I had expected.  What was equally important and somewhat unexpected was the profound connections I felt with my hosts and hostesses.”

Carol Lim, Los Angeles

The UU’s of Napa, California
proudly announce an addition to our successful Wine Country Excursion program which we have offered the past three years.
In a year when overseas vacations are harder on the budget, why not plan a trip here in America? There is so much to see and do in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, e.g. wine education and tasting, art, history of the regions, gourmet dining, bicycling and hiking to explore the natural beauty of our hills and valleys and only an hour to San Francisco!  
Sites of particular interest include Jack London’s home; renowned and boutique wineries; numerous fine restaurants including the Culinary Institute of America; the diRosa Art and Nature Preserve; many museums and galleries; miles of bicycling and hiking trails, etc.
We offer two choices:  Comfortable lodging in members’ homes with full breakfast (up to 3 nights), or lodging plus our renowned Wine Country Excursion 2-day tour package.
In 2009 our program will run from April through October.  Our fees for lodging are at least 25% below market rate (and include a scrumptious breakfast!) and tours are about 50% below commercial rates. All proceeds go to our small fellowship.  We have limited openings, so contact us now for details.  Tom Wilson (707.254-7443) or 2wilsons1dog@comcast.net We look forward to sharing our lovely “home” with you!

Further Down The Road (About 30 Days)

A Matter of Opinion:

logoDid You Know? - Green Sanctuary Sub-Council -

Do you drink Tropicana orange juice? If you do, did you know that every time you buy one of the specially marked packages of Tropicana Pure Premium® products shown below*, you can protect 100 square feet of rainforest?
As you know, rainforest is disappearing fast and contributing to climate change. Together with Cool Earth, Tropicana aims to save thousands of acres of endangered rainforest to help protect our future. To save your own patch of rainforest, register, and enter the unique 11 character code printed at the top of the carton.

Nuts and Bolts: The member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association covenant to affirm and promote: the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth in our congregations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process, within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.

Generally, USH-Enews will be posted on Thursday.  Send email related to the USH-Enews to dcnewton at ushartford.com  If you have announcements or articles you wish to be published, send them along  with the subject line USH-Enews by 4:30 PM Wednesday evening. Comments are always welcome. If you wish to have your name removed from the distribution list or have learned of the electronic publication and wish to have your email address added, just ask. © Unitarian Society of Hartford

Let us know of any comments, errors and corrections - thanks (revised 01/28/09 9:30 PM)