December 2016 Connection

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Issue No. 1912

Venice, FL

December 2016

 

Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: 9:30 or 11:00, Dec 25 10:00am

December 4, 2016: “A Land Remembered”

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. In days gone by, we used to celebrate the ‘discovery’ of America by Columbus. Postmodern sensibility now dictates that we pay homage to the ones who were here long before the Euros came and tortured the land’s previous tenants.

December 11, 2016: “Angels of Light”

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. The approach of the solstice takes us deeper into darkness, and yet we choose this time of year for a celebration of new life. There are messengers of light and life among us: come hear three birth stories that may help illuminate the season.

December 18, 2016: “Living Fully Through Our Inner Heart”

Mark A. Libowitz, M.A., MSW. Living Life through our Inner Heart creates better health, longevity, ability to be fully present, wise, loving, joyful and deeper relationships, a more fulfilled, on-purpose life. These practices will manifest in daily life experiences.

December 24, 2016: Christmas Eve "O Holy Night"

Service begins at 6:00pm. Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. As Religious Education pioneer Sophia Lyon Fahs said, “Any night a child is born is a holy night.” On this holy night, we’ll read the traditional birth stories, sing the old hymns, and light a few candles while looking for ways to connect anew to ancient myths.

December 25, 2016: "Our Favorite Christmas Stories"

Christmas day - single service at 10:00am. Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. This morning, bring your favorite story about your own experience of the holidays and be ready to share in celebrating together. Pot Luck to follow the service.

 

Adult RE: Asta Linder House Rm. A

December 4, 2016, 09:30am: "Skeptics and Believers: Secular and Post Modern Theologies"

Increasing secularization has also challenged religious thought in recent past. We’ll hear about the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the impact of philosophers such as Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Derrida on the work of contemporary thinkers like Mark C. Taylor and Gianni Vattimo.

December 4, 2016, 11:00am: "Science and Religion: Faith and Reason - Scripture and Nature"

What are the legitimate means of acquiring sure knowledge and where can we obtain such knowledge? Learn about approaches to means and sources in the Christian tradition, in St. Augustine’s 5th-century writings, and more recently in the important 1998 papal encyclical Fides et ratio.

December 11, 2016, 09:30am: "Skeptics and Believers: Post Modernism and Tradition"

For many, postmodernism offers a way to recover traditional elements of religion. Explore the ways in which this opportunity has been seized by different thinkers, including philosophers Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Luc Marion, and theologians who use a “narrative” approach to understand God’s revelation as the primary shaping force of life.

December 11, 2016, 11:00am: "Science and Religion: God and Nature-Miracles and Demons"

Views of the state of the spiritual world influence and inform one’s views of the natural world and science.

December 18, 2016, 09:30am: "Skeptics and Believers: Fundamentalism and Islamism"

A focus on two examples of the contemporary resurgence of fundamentalist religion around the world – Christianity in the U.S. and Islam in the Middle East – exploring the history of each and the way each manifests itself in the modern world.

December 18, 2016, 11:00am: "Science and Religion: Church, Copernicus and Galileo"

The “Galileo affair” brings up a host of important philosophical, scientific, and other issues that must be understood in context.

December 25, 2016: NO Adult RE today

Special Offering

December 11, 2016: Season of Sharing

Season of Sharing helps individuals and families who are on the verge of homelessness. The program, created by the Herald - Tribune Media Group and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, provides funds for rental assistance, utility bills, child care, transportation, food vouchers and other expenses associated with helping families get back on their feet. The need is great and your generosity will be much appreciated. Please make checks out to UUCOV with "Season of Sharing" on the memo line.

Minister's Corner

Truly Sharing

HeartPeopleIf you’ve been to church lately, you might have noticed that immediately following Celebrations and Sorrows, I often say something like this:

“May the gratitude and celebrations among us this day become a blessing to us all, and may the concerns and sorrows of each be carried in all our hearts, a burden shared become a load lightened.”

You might find this language a little stilted and more formal than you usually hear in everyday life. And I’d agree. Perhaps we’d say it’s more ritualistic than plain-spoken, which I would then say is right in keeping with the ritual moment it is designed to punctuate.

Celebrations and Sorrows, or Joys and Concerns, or whatever a community decides to call it, is a part of the larger ritual of worship (or the service or the meeting or whatever word one wants to use). And as part of a larger program in the community’s ritual space, it is naturally a bit different and apart from your usual conversation in the aisle at the grocery.

One reason for including something like Joys and Concerns in a worship service in the first place is to allow the important milestones of our individual lives to be spoken aloud and shared with the entire community.

For instance, sometimes we experience such overwhelming joy that we feel compelled to shout it to the rafters so that it can become a blessing to everybody.

Other times, we as individuals suffer such losses that it can be easeful to speak openly about our pain - easeful to get it off our chests, yes, but also helpful in allowing others to share the weight of it all (which is helpful to them and to us).

Both the joy and the pain, if great enough, cry out to be shared. The speaking of both celebrations and sorrows allows the community a deeper role in the life of an individual and vice versa. After all, what is the meaning of ‘community’ if not a set of shared values, including the sharing of experiences both good and bad?

With all this riding on the outcome, we can sometimes approach the Celebrations and Sorrows element of our worship services a bit lightly, as if it’s no big deal, as if it’s only a time for some jokes and a few more announcements.

But I hope it’s more than that. I myself strive to take it seriously, as a time for the bonds among us to be made truly explicit, for the burdens we bear to be truly shared, for our hearts to truly feel the blessings afforded us in our gathering.

If you don’t mind, try it for yourself, see how it goes, and then let me and somebody else know what you think.

See you in church,

Khleber

How to Contact Us

Mailing Address: UUCOV
1971 Pinebrook Road
Venice, Fl 34292-1563

Website: www.uucov.org

Minister: Rev. Khleber Van Zandt V
Phone: 314-223-0551
Email:
Office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-1:00pm
Email or phone anytime to meet at a different time.

Office Administration: Nan Kritzler
Phone: 941-485-2105
Email:  
Office hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am -Noon

Music Director: Steve Hanson
Phone: 630-346-1842
Email:

From the Board

President's Message

LyonDave150This month Linda Underwood and I thought we would together share with you some exciting news. After hearing from many of you and listening to many suggestions, the Board has given the Campus Team approval to go forward with two badly needed projects.

First, sound absorbent panels have been ordered for the lanai and will be installed soon. We heard you when you expressed your unhappiness with the noise level in the lanai. (Prior to the panels being installed, the lanai will be painted.)

Second, we will make the front patio more inviting. We will expand the front walkway to create a large semicircular patio in the front of our sanctuary for people to gather before and after services. We envision this patio surrounded by several curved benches and gardens and our Garden/Grounds Group has already started on a plan. In addition, options are being explored to provide shade to this patio.

In addition to those projects, our UUCOV signs on Pinebrook and Edmonson will be totally refurbished: to accomplish this, they will be removed from our property for a couple of weeks. This effort is being led by our Communications Team.

These projects would not be possible without the stewardship and nurturing that you provide. Many volunteer hours have gone into and will go into actualizing the above ventures. The funding for these projects will come from both our annual giving and our endowment funds. The Board wishes that those who have been so generous to the endowment should reap some of the benefit, so a small percentage of the endowment will be used for these projects.

So as we continue to grow in numbers, we also grow our physical plant. This is stewardship in action – volunteers giving their time and energy, in love, to support our congregation: donated funds utilized to improve the sanctuary for all.

Congregational Life

Would You Take Two Minutes to Help UUCOV?

likeYou can, very simply, help get the word out about the many ways UUCOV assists and is ready to assist our community.

Here’s the idea: UUCOV has its own Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/uucov, which (unlike InTouch-UUCOV) is open to anybody and everybody. Our Facebook page is currently an underused tool to reach others in our neighborhood and community, who may need a safe place to turn to.

Here’s why: The simple act of hitting the ‘like’ button or commenting on a post or sharing the post increases our reach to others. This will boost it to your Facebook page, increasing the reach to your friends. If they have notifications turned on, they get notified: “Hey, see what your friend just liked or commented on.” Then, if they ‘like’ it or comment or ask a question, it ripples out to their friends and news about UUCOV spreads and spreads.

likeHere’s how: When you ‘like’ a page, a little down arrow appears next to the “liked” button. If you click on that, and click on “See First”, in future anything you ‘like’ or comment on on UUCOV’s page will show up at the beginning of your own Facebook page – and all your friends will get to know something new about UUCOV.

So: The more we ‘click’ or ‘comment’ or ‘question’, the more information about UUCOV reaches new people in the community. Who knows whom we could attract? Maybe someone who needs us, maybe someone who can help take UUCOV to levels we’ve not yet imagined.

Take 2 minutes. Try it. And perhaps, tomorrow, you’ll find something else on UUCOV’s Facebook you want to ‘like’.

2017 Revolving Dinners, Lunches, or Brunches

foodThis is the time for UUCOV members who want to get to know others in the congregation in small group settings to sign up for the 2017 UUCOV Revolving Dinners...

You will be assigned in groups of 5-7, a different group each month. Each member/couple will take one turn as host and will choose to organize a brunch, lunch or dinner – either as a potluck in a home, a gathering at a local restaurant, or another creative option of their choice. The program runs from mid-January through April.

The deadline for signing up is December 28, 2016. Please note that there will be no signup at church. The only way to sign up is to e-mail Anne Utschig at . Please include your name, e-mail address, and telephone number. Anne will confirm by e-mail. Lists will be e-mailed to all participants after the holidays. If you don’t have e-mail or have any questions, please call Anne at 715-523-1231.

Holiday Pot Luck

Christmas ball iconOur UUCOV holiday potluck celebration will be held on Sunday, December 25th in the Sanctuary, directly after the 10am service. Please bring your favorite potluck dish, along with a serving spoon and your tableware. Coffee, water and iced tea will be provided.

On Stewardship

What is stewardship? And how is it practiced at UUCOV?

Recently, a new Stewardship Committee was formed at UUCOV to address these issues. Many of us might think of stewardship as fund raising through pledging or a capital campaign. And that would be partially true. But at UUCOV, stewardship is much more than that.

When the committee met for the first time, we decided we had to have a clear mission. After some discussion, we came up with a simple and compelling mission statement:

blue-greenchalice-smStewardship Mission: To nurture a culture of generosity.

This is a great mission statement. Just six words. It’s way more than fundraising.

Nurture: to care for, to look after.
Culture: a shared set of beliefs and practices that bind a group together.
Generosity: freely giving to others to enhance their wellbeing.

What does this mission mean in practice for UUCOV members and friends?

We strive to create and recognize opportunities for all of us to contribute to the congregation our time, talents and treasure that bring value to our lives and to the larger world.

We are all stewards of this community, this congregation. We are not consumers. Every day we nurture this vital culture with our participation in Sunday services, attending educational programs that help us explore vital moral and social questions, volunteering our time and talents on committees and in our community, singing in the choir, facilitating discussions on important spiritual and current affairs, caring for parishioners in need and generously sharing our treasure to sustain our chosen religious community and support local non-profits. And yes, even when we share our joys and concerns.

We are surrounded by a consumer-oriented culture that views money as the means to the “good life”. As active stewards of UUCOV we encourage a culture of generosity here and in the wider world. When we share the riches we have received in life within UUCOV and among all who live on this planet, life is better for us and for everyone.

We are all stewards.

Why Am I a Legacy Friend?

FeatherPenLegacy Friends help secure a strong financial presence for UUCOV with present gifts or future bequests in their Estate Plans. Leie Carmody says: “ UUCOV helps take care of me, so I want to help take care of it. Right now, I do that with my yearly pledge and my time and energy and skills. But being mortal, I’ll have to quit with the time, energy, and skills – so I’m leaving some cash.”

Legacy friends are dining together on December 2nd. If you’ve forgotten the details for the evening, contact Nancy Ryder,  

Team Highlights – What is Going On

Lifespan RE: Many months of planning, in conjunction with the Caring and Remembrance Team, culminated in November being filled with events and learning opportunities for our congregation and community on End of Life Issues.

In partnership with Tidewell , the Palliative End-of-Life Decisions Documentary Consider the Conversation, followed by a panel discussion, drew about 80 people - the public as well as members and friends.

Ruth Boysworth has volunteered to chair the library group and Marilyn Amich is thanked for her years of service.

Socrates Café at UUCOV celebrated its ninth anniversary with a powerful discussion in November on “What is Integrity”. Participants experimented with a technique called Socrates Dialogue and all felt it was a success.

Social Justice: Community Outreach presented completed plastic mats to the congregation on Sunday in November before distributing them to the homeless.

Social Activities: Dia de los Muertos was held October 30th and 60 people celebrated together with dinner and a service to remember those who have passed.

Game Night was held and three groups enjoyed cards, Mexican Train and Sequence. Next Game Night will be held December 6th.

First Social Activities: Dia de los Muertos was held October 30th and 60 people celebrated together with dinner and a service to remember those who have passed.

Thanksgiving dinner was celebrated with over 80 people joining together for food and fellowship at the Bird Bay Community Center for a catered dinner.

Fiscal Team: Legacy Friends has a new coordinator John Spitzer and Nancy Ryder is thanked for her leadership in this group.

Stewardship has recommended a trial period of changing our Sunday donations from a passed basket to donation boxes. This trial period has been supported by both the Coordinating Council and the Board of Trustees and was presented to the congregation on Sunday, November 13th.

Countdown to Sicily #9

SicilySicily’s architecture is Greek, Byzantine, Arab-Norman, and Baroque. Visit Sicily with UUCOV in September 16 to 27, 2017 to see it all. For trip information contact Nancy Ryder,  

Here comes 2017

GavelSet aside Saturday January 28th for the fun-filled fabulous annual UUCOV Auction!

Beginning Dec. 1st the Auction team will be accepting notice of services and/or tangibles services you want to donate for the Auction. Pick up a blank form from on the lanai after Sunday services. To volunteer to help or to have questions answered, email  

Leadership Experience Weekend

HurtoKennConnie GoodbreadIn January, UUCOV will be honored to host a Leadership Experience Weekend sponsored by the Southern Region of the UUA and hosted by the Rev. Kenn Hurto and Connie Goodbread two of our most dynamic denominational leaders. This weekend will offer participants many of the experiences currently included in the week-long Leadership schools offered by the Southern Regions and UUA in Texas and North Carolina and out of reach to most due to distance, time or money. We are so fortunate to have this unique opportunity on our own campus! Intended for those individuals who aspire to deepen their understanding of leadership and service in the context of UU theology and systems thinking and apply that knowledge to work within their own congregations, this promises to be an exciting and fulfilling two days.

On Friday, Jan 20, 2017 Kenn and Connie will host an evening session intended solely for UUCOV and open to all members and friends of the congregation. During the session we will explore the deepest values of our congregation and consider the question: Why are we here for ourselves, for our congregation and for the outside world?

The full-day session on Saturday Jan 21, 2017 is open to teams from participating congregations and will provide an opportunity for those teams to work on issues pertinent to their congregations. UUCOV will be identifying individuals to form our team. If you currently consider yourself a congregational leader, aspire to serve in a deeper role or are interested in learning more about serving within the context of a congregational setting please consider volunteering for our team. This day will be an experiential workshop and offer opportunity to network with other congregations and strengthen ties to members of your own team.

Please save the dates and plan to attend the Friday session! It promises to be very insightful. If you are interested in serving UUCOV as a member of our team on Saturday, please contact Bonnie Norton at  

Interested in Joining the Choir?

choir-clipartChoir rehearsals meet every Thursday 7:30 - 9:00 pm Sept - May. If you would like to join the choir or have other musical talents you would like to share, contact our Music Director, Steve Hanson at or 630-346-1842.

Lifespan Education

Message from our Director of Religious Education - I Stand With You

Jaye WilliamsIt is a an unusually chilly November morning. I love these "cold" FL days and having an opportunity to put on a few layers of clothing early in the day. The sun will warm things up by afternoon and layers will find their way to my passenger seat or the back of a chair at my home.

When the election results became known, the term "schooled" came to mind. This was a term frequently used by the high school students in my previous position. Here's one definition, "to get defeated miserably-to lose with humiliation". The term felt right, along with layers of anger, sadness, and resentment. Much like the layers I am wearing this morning, I've blanketed myself in these feelings and emotions for a couple of weeks now and they are getting a bit heavy.

I don't wish to cast aside these layers through denial, cheery affirmations or continuous viewing of The Animal Planet. I want to learn. Through education, yes, the academic kind, but also the human journey kind.

In the past two weeks, I've heard the voices of our congregants relaying their history with the marches, the protests, the letters written and the petitions circulated. I've watched our kids waving rainbow colored ribbon wands as they learn through their Love Surrounds Us curriculum. I heard people lay bare their head and heart concerns about the fact that they will die and, based on actuarial statistics, fairly soon.

The opportunity to learn, to share, to inspire and get to the gut of what is most important to each of us, allows us to willingly set aside the weight of emotions recently brought to bear and act with conviction and authenticity.

I stand with you.

Youth Religious Education News

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."-Albert Camus

Jelks10-30-16

Our children enjoyed a fun first feel of Fall with a field trip to Jelks Preserve, led by Karen Griffin

Open Discussion

death cafeWhether you have attended one, all, or none of the other programming related to the topic of death, join us on Tuesday, Dec.6th. 1-2:30pm, in a group discussion to determine where we at UUCOV go from here in terms of programming and support around this topic. For example, what about a Death Café at UUCOV?

Planning Ahead

Our Lives: A Work in Progress

StepOutBookThere’s December work to be done for this January workshop. Using the book “Step Out of Your Story: Writing Exercises to Reframe and Transform Your Life” by Kim Schneiderman, learn ways to reflect on your life, including your choices and values, to find clues to plan your future. This innovative way to channel writing into a powerful ally for a richer, more satisfying life is useful at any stage in life.

You are encouraged to purchase and begin reading the first five chapters of the book and complete the writing exercises before the first session. There will be opportunity to share your responses to the exercises in the group if you wish but no pressure to do so.

Led by Sylvia Hancock and Mary Helen Braceland, the group will meet for three sessions: Jan. 19, Feb. 16, and Mar. 1 from 1-3pm, Waters Hall. Call Sylvia Hancock 941- 497-1237 if you are interested in participating.

UUA Denominational Read for 2017

Moral MondaysEach year the Unitarian Universalist Association selects one book as a "Denominational Read" and encourages all congregations to develop programming and engage in conversations surrounding the chosen work. This year, the denominational read is The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear. Written by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II in conjunction with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, the book recounts Rev. Barber's current experiences to overcome racism and build the movement now called "Moral Mondays" which is influential in many parts of the country.

Particularly relevant in a period of post-election uncertainty and anxiety, he calls on all of us to build diverse coalitions that cross the boundaries of race, religion, and singular causes to work toward public policy that is morally defensible, constitutionally consistent, and economically sane.

UUCOV will be focusing on this work during the period Jan 15-29, 2017 with a variety of programming including discussions of the book, video presentation of Dr. Barber addressing the UUA General Assembly and the Democratic National Convention and a panel discussion.

The book is widely available through major book vendors in hardback, paper and e-formats. A limited number of copies are available for lending from UUCOV. They will be available on the lanai on Dec 4 and 11. You may also contact Ruth Boysworth at to obtain a copy. Please plan now to read the book and participate in these thought-provoking conversations.

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club
Meetings of the 2016-2017 season will be held on the second Thursday of the month, 1:30pm. Please bring your friends. December’s selection is “The Boys in the Boat”, the ‘One Book, One Community’ selection of the Sarasota County Library for 2017. Author Daniel James Brown will speak at the Venice Performing Arts Center on Thursday, January 26, 7pm.The event is free but reservations are essential; they can be made online at http://veniceperformingartscenter.com/events-page.

The book list decided thus far is:
January 12 – “Third Reconstruction - Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement” Dr. William J. Barber (This is UUCOV's current "Community Read".)
February 9 – “Thirteen Ways of Looking”, Colum McCann

BuddhaMindfulness Meditation
Guided meditation and a look at early Buddhist teachings on living a more peaceful life will resume. Weekly Wednesdays 6-7:30pm. 

platoPlato's Circle
Plato's Circle, an open discussion group, meets 1-3pm the first Wednesday of each month in Asta Linder House. This month, Dec 7, the topic, “Election is Over”...but, how could so many people possibly vote the way they did? The topic at Plato’s Circle will be on our voting behavior as less of a rational process and more as an expression of our unconscious moral psychology, which can be deeply emotional, intuitive, and selfish in nature. The meeting will discuss the latter and how it, perhaps, not only influences other people's political persuasions but also our own.

socratesSocrates Cafe
Socrates Cafe are gatherings around the world where people from different backgrounds get together and exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences while embracing the central theme of Socratizing, the idea that we learn more when we question and question with others. UUCOV’s Café meets every third Wednesday of the month in Waters Hall at 1:00pm.

Last month, on the 9th anniversary of Socrates Cafe at UUCOV, we tried an experiment utilizing a technique called Socrates Dialogue. This is a process that uses personal experience to find a universal definition that is both explicit and accurate. The question was "what is integrity"? The discussion was electric and we offer our definition: "Integrity is the willingness to evaluate the right or wrong of a situation and to act in accord with one's own values."

All UUCOV members, friends, and neighbors who enjoy lively discussions are invited to participate on Dec. 21.

ThreeOClockThree O'Clock Poets
Dawn Spitz meets with the Three O'clock Poets on the third Thursday of the month in Waters Hall, 3:00 – 4:30pm. All poets and poetry lovers are welcome.

Social Justice

Homelessness and Hunger in Our Community

HomelessThe Social Justice Team will host a meeting in the Sanctuary on December 14th at 2pm with John Thaxton, Senior Vice President for Community Investment of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and former Sarasota County Commissioner. He will talk about homelessness and hunger in our community. The entire congregation is urged to attend: this is our opportunity to identify needs in our local community that we can respond to as a congregation.

Family Promise Update

FamilyPromiseThanks to all our who volunteered for another successful week hosting 2 families concurrently in the Family Promise (FP) program! We had 5 children aged 8 to 2; it was lively (to say the least)and very rewarding! The total hours worked by volunteers at Asta Linder (not including hours preparing meals, shopping, meetings, orientation with families, etc) was 245!

A special thanks to the FP Steering Committee: Georgia Blotzer, Steve and Sue Barry, Ruth Toms, Peg Witek, Rick Williams and Sandra McHenry (UCC on Shamrock). And especially to Barbara Griffin for her assistance and for, along with Georgia, bringing FP to UUCOV

The Family Promise program will use Asta Linder House starting Christmas Eve through January 1st, staffed with non-UUCOV volunteers. Our next host week is January 1-8 and that means the families will not have to move from one church to another on Christmas Day and can stay in one place for two weeks!

Looking ahead , please mark your calendars for UUCOV’s host weeks for 2017!

January 1-8
March 5-12
April 2-9
October 15-22
December 24-31

And to those of you who have not yet been a part of the volunteer crew, consider getting involved. To find out more about participating, contact .

Happy Holidays

book...from the Common Good Committee http://uucov.org/home/social-justice/common-good!

Two books for holiday gifts: for those who want to know more about why the shocking results of the November elections happened, what we are facing now, and what we need to do going forward to save UU values in public policy and democracy in this country, you can buy these two excellent books on Amazon:

The Crash of 2016, by Thom Hartmann (2013) This is a steal at $8.98. Very readable. Great historical perspective!

America, The Owner’s Manual: You Can Fight City Hall and Win, by Bob Graham and Chris Hand. This is brand new, and will be in stock November 26 at the price of $30.07. The older (2010) version could also be helpful: America, The Owner’s Manual: Making Government Work for You, $22.22 used.

Both of these are excellent preparation for our Common Read in January:
The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement, by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Beacon Press, 2016. $24.95

Remember the advice of the British government in WWII: “Keep calm and carry on”.

Denominational Affairs

UUSC and Guest at Your Table

UUSCGuest at Your Table (GAYT) is Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s annual intergenerational program, Nov. 27 – Dec. 25, to raise support for and awareness about their work to advance human rights.

Check out UUSC’s website, http://www.uusc.org, to learn about their grassroots partnerships to confront hate and bigotry and support human rights; help them meet their fundraising goal to support these groundbreaking human rights programs and so contribute toward positive change in the world.

This year’s program theme is Defying Hate, based on the recent showing of the Ken Burns documentary about UUSC founders Martha and Waitstill Sharp, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War (on PBS). The Sharps defied hate by helping Jews and dissidents escape Nazi Germany using brave, creative methods, many of which could have caused them to be imprisoned, tortured, or worse.

UUSC carries forward the Sharps’ legacy by continuing to defy hate and protect the lives and rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and other marginalized groups, both here in the United States and throughout the world.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Comments, kudos, questions, concerns, musings - all welcome. 325 word maximum. Send yours to or to our Connection editor, Leie Carmody at .

Publication Deadlines

Connection: Articles and announcements for the Connection are due on the 20th of each month for the next month's edition. Please email your submissions to .

UUCOV Happenings: Events submissions are due at Thursday 9:00am for inclusion in UUCOV Happenings. Please email your submissions to .

UUCOV Mission and Covenant

Our mission is to build a welcoming and diverse community which encourages growth of the human spirit, the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and active participation in social and community issues.

In a climate of joy, goodwill and trust this congregation covenants

  • to treat one another with kindness and respect,
  • to listen with openness and acceptance,
  • to support and protect the environment of which we are all a part,
  • to solve problems responsibly as we grow and change,
  • to encourage learning and nurture the growth of diverse human spirits, and
  • to dedicate time, talent and re- sources in an effort to make a difference in local and world communities.

In the spirit of our free religious heritage, we promise these to one another.

UU Principles

We, 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 to 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.

UU Sources

The Living Tradition we share draws from many sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
  • Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.

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