50 Bloomfield Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
Tel: (860) 233-9897 / FAX 233-1333
Rev. Katie Lee Crane, Consulting Minister
USH-Enews March 1, 2012
Rev. Katie Lee Crane's Office Hours
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 or to find past issues of the weekly USH-Enews click here.
Need We Say More?
March 4, 2012 – Our Defining Moment, Rev. Katie Lee Crane Preaching, with special guests - This is Stewardship Sunday, a day when we – individually and collectively – pledge our commitment to each other and to the future of this congregation. It is our defining moment. This year, more than many, is the year to boldly pledge our commitment to this particular congregation. Listen to our personal stories about why it matters.
We are laying the groundwork for the future. We dare dream big on behalf of this Unitarian Universalist congregation that has deep roots in Hartford and has served more than eight generations with its liberal religious perspective. This is our defining moment; we are poised to both shape a vision for and respond to the needs of future generations.
Make your pledge during the worship service. No, you will not be asked to jump up and shout out the dollar amount you pledge to support the congregation in the coming fiscal year. But all who wish to do so WILL be invited to come forward as a literal expression of your pledge of commitment to the congregation by placing their pledges (already in sealed envelopes) in a basket on the chancel table. Like our weekly offering we are acknowledging that we elect this faith and support it freely.
Post Service Brunch, plan to attend - This Sunday, in Fellowship Hall, directly after our March 4 worship service, USH will roll out a bagel buffet and invite members of the congregation to round out the meal with fruit salad, baked goods, breakfast casseroles, quiches — whatever makes a bountiful morning meal.
But even if you can’t contribute something for the meal, come celebrate with us!
This is our annual opportunity to make a tangible gift of support that will enable our community to continue to give back to us. Please come ready to open your heart and make your pledge for the upcoming fiscal year.
If you’re making a food contribution, please bring it to the kitchen before the worship service.
Looking for a Little Help for the March 11, 2012 Service –
Show ‘n Tell – a worship for ALL ages - Rev . Katie Lee Crane Preaching - Sometimes at worship we greet one another with a handshake. We almost always sing together and light candles. We listen to inspiring words and music. But how often do we have the chance to put our principles into practice right then and there. I’m thinking of our third principle: the one that says we accept one another and encourage each other in our spiritual growth. Our children say it this way: Learn about ourselves, others and mystery.
That’s what we’re going to do this particular Sunday. We want to make time to talk about what matters to us and learn something new about each other. The idea is that each of us will discover things for ourselves in the company of one another. Here’s how it works.
Bring something for Show n’ Tell Everybody – kids, teens, grown-ups – will bring something that is very special, something you’d like to share with others. (If your something is too big, too small or too fragile, don’t worry. Bring a photo or draw a picture or just bring it in your heart and plan to tell us about it.
Like to help? We need a few planners, some doers, some music-makers and dancers (and/or teachers of dances we can all learn). If you can do one or several of these things and wish to help, please contact our minister. Children and teens are especially encouraged to get involved with or without parents.
Does it sound too crazy? It really isn’t. Join us. Get to know someone better. Enjoy being a part of a community like ours. It’ll be different. It’ll be fun. It’ll also be profoundly meaningful.
Reflections on Children's Programming
Classes for February 26th
Nursery care is available downstairs after the start of the service..
This Week’s Links
Stewardship "not so strong" Appeal for Support It's Working! We Made a Difference Board Members Discussed Finances You Are the One The Janitors to Speak at USH USH Congregational Brainstorming Feedback From This We Live Burned & Destroyed UU Church Seeks Help Interim Task Force Offers Video Information Movie - The Fighter Adult Programs Listed
From This We Live - Jan Carlsson-Bull's service of last week has been placed on the web.
Inspiring Congregational Growth - A program planned for March 3, 2012: 9 - 2:30 PM First Parish Church in Weston, MA - More information here.
It’s Working! We made a difference - by Rev. Katie Lee Crane - Remember a few weeks ago when our worship service talked about the UUA initiative called “Standing on the Side of Love.” If you were there, you’ll remember Carolyn Cartland’s moving letter to me about how the title – with the word standing – seems to forget that not everybody can stand. After the service, some of us wrote to the folks at the UUA to share our sentiments. Well, not only did we receive a response saying they will start (immediately!) to feature stories about the ways people are sidelined, marginalized, mistreated or ignored simply because of ability (or perceived ability).
So check it out. Here are two links, one to the Standing on the Side of Love website, the other to the EqUUal Access website. We’re making a difference. One letter, one sermon, one email, one a-ha! at a time.
Link to Standing/Living on the Side of Love website: (scroll down to “Worshipping on the Side of Love” for Hartford stories).
Link to EqUUal Access story.
Two Chances to Meet other UUs: District Assembly & General Assembly - When Unitarian Universalists gather, it’s always a good time! Count on the colorful banner parade, fabulous worship, amazing music, delicious conversations (organized and serendipitous) and plenty of opportunities to advocate, witness and serve. There is also the reason we assemble: to vote on the important issues of the day. Learn more. Consider going – for the first time or the fiftieth. And if you’re going, represent USH as one of our delegates (see Katie Lee for details).
Clara Barton District Assembly, April 29, 2012 in Worcester Follow this link for detail.
UUA General Assembly, June 24-28, 2012 in Phoenix, AZ This is the first-ever Justice GA. Registration opens March 1. USH has X delegates – will you be one of them? Learn more. - Katie Lee
You Are the One - Our member, Tom Reed, recently sent me a brief note about welcoming visitors. As you know, we have signs saying we are the friendly congregation and, in fact, our welcoming group and many others seek to make it so with some success. However, no matter what the organized effort, every one of us needs to remember, as Tom pointed out, what it is like to walk into a strange building and be surrounded by people totally unknown, and wonder if this is a place and a society where we might find a religious home. Here is a link to an article on the subject, and let us all renew our efforts to be the most welcoming congregation in Greater Hartford, or the world. Why not? After all, we can do this! - David Newton
Interim Task Force Offers Video- The Interim Task Force (ITF) is the group charged with bringing an interim minister to lead our USH congregation for the next two years. ITF encourages friends and members to view this video developed by the UUA to support congregations as they engage the process of transition with an interim. The UUA website offers other information on Interim Ministry which may also be of interest. - Laurie Kelliher
Meet The Board - Discussed Finances - Board Notes 2/29 - Last Sunday, several USH members ventured beneath the stairs to get Treasurer Liz Garmise’ take on our finances, current and projected, and to ask a few pointed questions. Since we haven’t done a formal Economic Summit for a year, this gathering offered an opportunity to look at the numbers with Liz guiding the narrative.
Liz walked us through the most recent budget review, which you can find here. Through very mindful attention to spending, among other things, we are operating within our budget allocations despite the loss of some significant pledging. True, a number of individuals and families have upgraded their pledges, countering the losses. And quite a few have prepaid a good portion of their pledges; this serves to front-load our cash flow.
Thus, our apparent economic well-being prompted the big question: if we’re doing okay, why are we looking for 25% pledge increases during the stewardship campaign? The answer encompasses a variety of factors, but two of the chief elements are (1) income for 2011/12 includes a one-time, non-renewable gift of $30,000; this will not be available in the future, and while it’s been extraordinarily helpful this year, we need to replace this generous gift with other funds, and (2) we have been without a DRE since September, and the dollars allocated to this position have been diverted to alternate uses. If we wish to engage someone dedicated to expanding and enriching our DRE program, as indeed we do, we need to support this action with appropriate financing. Plus, we will be bringing in a new Interim Minister, with some attendant expenses, and will also begin a search for a future settled minister.
The Board wants to note that the amount and quality of work done by both Treasurer Liz and Business Manager Brian Mullen make our accounts clear and comprehensible where they could, without such attention and care, be quite baffling indeed. We extend thanks to both these people for their fine work and dedication. And, speaking of Liz, we note she will be completing her term as USH Treasurer in June. We need someone to step into this position, and while enthusiasm and willingness are certainly excellent qualifications for any Board position, a strong financial background is also needed here. You don’t have to be the next Warren Buffett, but you should know your way around a balance sheet. And Liz has offered to provide indoctrination to the incoming Treasurer — this prospect of a guided tour of USH finances should allay concerns about undertaking this task. If you are interested, please get in touch with Carolyn Cartland and check out the application package here. - Tina Davies, Secretary
USH Congregational Brainstorming Feedback Two Weekends Left! In December, the Committee on Shared Ministry (COSM) conducted two brainstorming sessions at the Meeting House to gather ideas on what we should do next as a congregation. About 30 congregants attended the two meetings, and notes on the ideas were taken.
Now, we are looking to obtain feedback on these ideas, and for you to add your own ideas. Once the final results are tallied, the feedback will be provided to the Interim Task Force to inform the process of finding an interim minister. The feedback will also be provided to the interim minister and the settled minister to help them get to know the congregation.
Your input will be accepted after church service on March 4th and 11th. Instructions on how to provide feedback, plus the items themselves, can be found here in a PDF file.
Easy-to-follow video instructions can also be found here. (Editor's note - Folks, you must really look at this one! We have local talent!!)
You have two more Sundays on which to provide your feedback, so we encourage you to read the items ahead of time and give them some thought, and then come ready to make your voice heard!
Peter Olguin, Peter Meny, Laurie Kelliher, Edith Savage, Committee on Shared Ministry
Stewardship – A "Not So Strong" Appeal For Our Support - This Sunday, March 4th, is Stewardship Sunday. Katie Lee will once again lead a masterful service, where a number of us will have an opportunity to express what they value in our congregation, and why it is they support the congregation with their generous gifts. Following the service there will be a potluck brunch for everyone in Fellowship Hall. As always there will be plenty of good food and conversation.
I have been asked to give a strong appeal for our support of our congregation. It is difficult for me to do so, not because I don’t value this congregation, and not because I don’t think that all of us value this congregation. It is difficult because it is in my nature to allow individuals to make these decisions on their own based on the facts of the situation and their own feelings. I feel any undue prodding on my part might sway them from making a decision that is true to themselves. Consequently, I’m not going to make a strong appeal.
However, what I will do is state facts as I see them:
1. Many of us value this congregation for the tremendous emotional, moral, and spiritual support that it provides.
2. Many of us are the ones who provide this support through our volunteer efforts and financial gifts. This is greatly appreciated.
3. Presently for our congregation to continue to provide what it has in the past significant increases (a bit above 25%) over last year’s base level contributions are needed.
4. Some of us both value USH and can comfortably increase their contribution by 25% or more. In a number of cases by raising the contribution to the suggested 2 to 4% of gross effective income the increase would be significantly more.
Based on these four items that I’ve listed above, this is what I would like us to do: If we value the congregation, and we can comfortably provide a significantly increased contribution, please let us do so. The future of our congregation depends on it. - Zean Gassmann
Hartford Chorale Chamber Singers Singing Our American Heritage Performance on February 25, 2012, a fund raiser for USH and another quality performance arranged by the USH Performing Arts Group.
The Kingswood Oxford Janitors Speak! The Unitarian Society of Hartford is pleased to host a forum and dinner at the Meeting House (Sunday, March 11 at 6:00PM) to support worker and immigrant rights at the Kingswood Oxford School and in the Greater Hartford Area. Nine cleaning workers at Kingswood Oxford School (under contract with ServiceMaster of Hartford) were recently fired from their positions under discriminatory conditions. Workers were told that they could not speak Spanish on the job. They often worked overtime without pay. They also earned minimum wage with no increases for seniority or experience - even after 10 years on the job.
The workers have asked for a sit-down meeting with Kingswood Oxford representatives. They are asking ServiceMaster to pay all back-wages and unpaid workers compensation for injuries sustained on the job. They are asking Kingswood Oxford to directly rehire them and provide a living wage with health benefits. Thus far, Kingswood Oxford's Director of Communications has issued a public statement indicating that it "is now in the process of deciding which janitorial contract we will use going forward."
Come hear the workers' story in their own words and why this struggle matters to every working person and every immigrant in Connecticut. - Mike Winterfield
From This We Live - Sophie Elizabeth, born last week, is the third grandchild (and first granddaughter) of Reverend Jan Carlsson-Bull, guest preacher for the February 25 service at the Meeting House. Sophie, was, of course, warmly welcomed by her family. She also served as a symbol of what she — and all of us — need to survive in this “intricate and amazing web of life,” said her proud grandmother.
In her opening words, Reverend Carlsson-Bull asked, “How do we get our energy that fuels the faith we share and protect?” Her answer, developed during the service, was that “We celebrate the living tissue that connects us all, and we open our hearts in gratitude for the miracle in which we find ourselves.”
During the Time for All Ages, volunteers Diane Cadrain and Maddie (daughter of John Brancato and Tom Richardson, who did her best to hurry things along) helped our guest fill a backpack with what she considered essentials for a long trip. These items included:
A picture of the night sky and the moon.
A book of poems by Mary Oliver.
Writings by Forrest Church, religious historian who has been described as the leading UU theologian of our time.
A Bible, for Judaic and Christian teaching.
A book on ancient Zen teaching.
A Tibetan book on living and dying.
A copy of Natural History magazine.
Dr. Seuss’ “The Loran” (coming soon to a theater near you).
A carved chalice depicting ancient people sitting around a fire.
A flag “to remind us we’re all on this planet together.”
A stone shaped like a heart.
“and a golden thread to tie it all together.”
We hear such meaningful poetry at the Meeting House. An example was our guest minister’s reading of Steven F. Smith’s “A Little Piece of Our Souls.” Following is just a few lines from a much longer poem:
Everywhere we go we take our souls with us.
And every time we meet someone we wrap a little piece of our souls
around them and pass it through them.
All our lives, we weave our souls around and through everyone we meet,
tying a complex, tangled web to the earth…”
In her sermon, “From This We Live,” Reverend Carlsson-Bull said our lives are woven by necessity and intention. “We are all in a covenant of membership and hope…We promise to live the faith we share, but we also promise we can never fully keep that promise.”
She said our Unitarian Universalist principles are in the form of a covenant. “They are not the ten commandments. They are not even the ten suggestions…They are not a creed. They are a statement of belief…we choose to honor freedom of choice.” Our principles are simply guidelines for the course we have chosen. We have no supreme council.
Our principles have been changed and modified over time and will continue to be revised. References to the Deity were in the early ones. Women fought to have them become non-sexist. “We are in a constant dialog and a never-ending discussion regarding our principles and practices” Reverend Carlsson-Bull said, “The content of our faith is not belief, but love,” she said.
At this point in her sermon, she unpacked the backpack she had filled earlier, explaining again the necessity of having wisdom from the world’s religions. The emphasis on the golden rule is found in various forms in all religions. As UUs, Reverend Carlsson-Bull reminded us, we embrace reason, science and earth-centered traditions. Our journey of mind, body and soul “is possible, but is not easy.”
It was so good to have the choir with us as they performed the beautiful and moving “The Gift of Love.” Decorating the chancel was a huge bunch of red and yellow virtual tulips, reminding us of a favorite season not too far away. - Kayla Costenoble - Editor's note: the sermon has been posted on the web.
Leadership Development/ Nominating Committee Needs You! - More
Water Series to Continue March 18 and April 22 (More)
Adult Programs - There will not be a Programs Table, Sunday, March 4. If you’ve been meaning to sign up for either the Sunday or Tuesday series, UU Ideas and Ideals, you can still do so by noon, Thursday, March 1st! For those of you planning to attend the Friday Pizza and Movie Night on March 9, please register by Wednesday, March 7. To register for either of these programs you may call Janice Newton (860.677.1121) or email her at dcnewton(at sign)snet.net
The winter/spring programs information is now available on the web.
Friday $10 Pizza and Movie Night, March 9 featuring “The Fighter.” More
UU Ideas and Ideals: Sign up by noon March 1. More
Sunday Series, March 11, 18, and April 1, 12:15 to 1:30 PM.
Tuesday Series, March 20, 27, and April 3, 7:00 to 8:30 PM.
Dinner with the Buddha, Friday, April 20, beginning at 5:30 PM. More
USH Meditation and Dharma Gathering, Wednesdays, 5:45 – 7:00 PM.
Nonviolent Communication Practice Group, Wednesdays, 7:15 – 9:00 PM.
Buddah's Corner - USH offers Meditation and Dharma Gathering every Wednesday night on a drop in basis. Come join us to learn or hone your meditation process!
On Friday, March 9, we will hold another of our popular $10 pizza Dinner and Movie evenings, featuring the 2010 film, The Fighter ~ an “inspirational docudrama exploring the remarkable rise of Massachusetts-born, junior welterweight title winner ‘Irish’ Micky Ward. A determined pugilist whose career in the ring was shepherded by his loyal half-brother, Dicky -- a hard-living boxer-turned-trainer whose own career in the ring was nearly sent down for the count due to drugs and crime -- perennial underdog Irish Micky rebounded from a disheartening series of defeats to win both the WBU Intercontinental Lightweight title and the WBU Light Welterweight title thanks to a fierce combination of determination and hard work.”*
You can reserve at the Programs Table during Sunday coffee hours or call and leave a message for Janice at 860-677-1121 by Wednesday, March 7. Be sure to indicate either vegetable or meat pizza and beer or soda when you reserve. You can pay ($10 each for pizza) at the Programs Table with credit card, check, or cash; you can pay by check or cash at the movie. Snacks and drinks are complementary.
We will gather on Friday, March 9, for popcorn and drinks at 5:30, eat at 6, with movie at 7, followed by optional discussion led by Brian Harvey. If you have any extra time before 5:00, your help with set-up will be welcomed.
Movie-goers have enjoyed the coffee/tea and sweets (including a scoop of ice cream) available at the last two pizza movies, but, unfortunately, they are not covered by the original cost set at $10. So we don’t lose money, there’ll be a basket on the table for a $1 donation if you serve yourself dessert.
Call 860-693-4269 if you have any questions. - Nita
*Thanks to Rotten Tomatoes for these quotations; you can learn more about the movie at the RT website.
Social Justice Journeys (From the UUA)
SJ Quarterly Reports Available for Your Study - Various councils make quarterly reports to the Board. SJ has two available for reading now.
UUA Annual Meeting is in Phoenix this Year - Applications for the UUA General Assembly delegation will be available shortly. For more information.
Jean Petty and Steve Shepard Memorial Fund for Social Responsibility - Request Forms and Associated Information for Project Funding are now available. You may download the application form and associated information as a Microsoft Word document.
Urban and Community Studies Opportunity - One of the goals of the Urban and Community Studies program at UConn is to help facilitate the bringing together of scholars, practitioners, students, and the interested community from across the area to learn from and share with one another. We are planning our first big event for early March: “The 99% Fight Back! A Week of Film and Conversation to Educate and Empower.” The series of events will begin with a showing of the film “I Am: The Documentary" at Real Art Ways, on March 4.
On March 7 (7-8:30 PM), we will host a multidisciplinary panel of scholars to discuss economic inequality and social activism (on the Great Hartford Campus).
On March 8 (7-8:30 PM), community organizers and activists will be on the Greater Hartford campus to share their insights and offer instructions to attendees. All events will be open to the public.
Three FREE Panel Discussions - Poverty, Peace, Planet Earth and the Prophetic Voice
Green Topics - Did you Know? Even though we have enough water (most of the time) in CT we should still conserve BECAUSE it uses A LOT of energy to pump that water to your house and to clean the water in water treatment plants. Let's save energy when we can - it's a finite resource! - Bev Prager
Water Series to Continue March 18 and April 22 (More)
On the Calendar - Please notify Brian Mullen of all additions or changes to the calendar. Follow this link to all our scheduled events.
If you know of any member experiencing some difficulty, please contact Janice Newton or call the office so we can provide some assistance. - before 10:30 on Sunday. A wide range of community services is also available to those in need by calling InfoLine at 211. Please contact Janice if you are able to volunteer your services.
Transitions - Transitions - The Transitions group meets the first Thursday of every month at 11 AM in David’s Den. Our next meeting is Thursday, March 1. Any and all friends and members of USH undergoing life transitions and challenges (moving, care giving, loss and grief of any kind) are welcome. If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn Cartland at crcartland1 at Comcast.net or Diana Heyman at heydiana42 at gmail.com
Burned UU Church Seeks Help - Last summer, the UU church in Brunswick, Maine, lost their church building to a fire They are working to raise the funds necessary to rebuild and are asking congregations across the country to participated in their onlinne auction. Please make an announcement in your March 4th and 11th services about the auction and encourage folks to participate. I am attaching a flyer that gives more details and that you might post in your building. Thanks so much!!! - Meck Groot
The speaker for the Lunch Bunch - meeting at noon,Tuesday, March 20, at Carmen Anthony's Fishhouse in Avon will be Fred Louis who will discuss "The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912". Attendees order independently from the lunch menu. Newcomers are welcome!
Dinner with Buddha Planned for April 20th. Mark you calendars now. Register by April 13th More
From the Editor: Suggestions for Contributors.
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 3/1/12 8:20 PM)