Honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 20, 2020 at 7 – 9 PM

(snow date January 27, 7 – 9)

“The Arc of the Universe Bends toward Justice.”

From the Rev.Theodore Parker to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The nineteenth-century Unitarian minister Theodore Parker believed that the main function of a democratic government was to promote and assure fairness and justice for all people. He influenced the thinking and writing of Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In this class, we will focus on the ways these three extraordinary men created our modern understanding of the nature of justice through the beauty and power of their sermons and speeches.
Led by UUS:E member Carol Lacoss, retired high school English and American Studies teacher

Ministers Column December 2019

Dear Ones:
When I explain Unitarian Universalism to people who have no familiarity with our faith, it is predictable that those who have at least some exposure to Christianity will ask some version of this question: If you do not believe Jesus is the son of God, why do you celebrate Christmas? It might also be this question: If you do not believe in the virgin birth (or the star, or the wise men, etc.,) why do you celebrate Christmas? A corollary question, which is even more difficult to answer: If you do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, why do you celebrate Easter?

I am not sure why, but this year, I am finding these kinds of questions frustrating. It is not the people who ask them—they are usually genuinely curious. What is frustrating is the uncritical assumption that a full-on, heartfelt embrace of Christmas requires a very specific set of beliefs. I am frustrated at having to explain (or at anticipating having to explain) that belief is only one pathway into Christmas. So much of what happens at Christmas has nothing to do with belief. It has to do with culture, family traditions, and the survival of ancient pre-Christian rituals. And it has to do with hope. The earth begins tilting its northern latitudes back toward the sun on the winter solstice. For millennia that phenomenon inspired hope in human hearts. Christianity came along relatively recently in the grand scheme of human history and grafted its stories and beliefs onto a more ancient and diffuse set of celebrations.

I do not read the Biblical stories about the birth of Jesus through the lens of belief. I read them as stories of hope—hope for peace on our planet. And that is all I am going to say when people ask me this year. I am a hopeful person. Moreover, our Unitarian Universalist faith is a hopeful faith. We celebrate Christmas—we worship on Christmas Eve—because we are hopeful people. And like everyone else, we hunger for hopeful messages, hopeful stories, hopeful visions. Like everyone else, we need that reminder that love keeps breaking into the world, repeatedly, bringing healing, transformation, and peace.

Yes, that is what I am going to say this year. We are hopeful people. We celebrate Christmas as, among other things, a way to affirm hope, to instill hope in our hearts, and to spread hope into a hurting world.


On another note: A friend of UUS:E is looking for housing, preferably an apartment with one bedroom that can accommodate two twin beds in the Manchester, Vernon or Rockville area, and preferably on or near a bus line. She can afford a maximum of $700. If you know of any leads, please let me know, and I will forward the info.


Friends: I wish you the very best holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and a very happy new year.

With love,

—Rev. Josh


Yule Ritual

Yule Ritual Flyer

Join the UUS:E Pagan Study Group for a multigenerational ritual of Yule Sunday, December 22nd, 2 – 4 PM  Unitarian Universalist Society: East Main Room

All are Welcome!

Yule is the pagan festival also called the Winter Solstice and celebrates the rebirth of the Sun and the Sun God. On Yule, we experience the longest night of the year. Although much of the winter’s harshest weather is still ahead of us, we celebrate the coming light and thank the Gods & Goddesses for seeing us through the longest night.  Join us to welcome the return of the sun!

Please bring either a light snack or a favorite holiday dish to share after the ritual, when we can share experiences and ideas.  We hope you can join us in the celebration.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to uuseoffice@uuse.org pr 860.646.5151 to make sure we have enough supplies for all.

Honoring the Past, Envisioning the Future

Affirmation Reunion December 1

Mark your calendars for the Affirmation Reunion on Sunday, December 1 (Thanksgiving weekend)! We’d love to see as many Affirmation Alums, Mentors and Advisors as possible—going all the way back to the first class in 1982! Stay for coffee hour to reconnect with “old” friends.
We are looking for alums from all decades to be greeters, chalice lighters, etc. at both services. Contact our office at uuseoffice@uuse.org if interested. And can you help build our contact list? Spread the word – the more “affirmammals” the merrier!

Jazz Concert Benefits UUS:E 50th Anniversary

The Amuse Blues Jazz Trio—our own Steve Dauphinais, Paul Shumsky, and Ryan Ford – returns with a relaxing afternoon of jazz on Sunday, November 3 at 4 PM. The trio brings an eclectic mix ranging from Cole Porter and Kurt Weill to Henry Mancini and Gabriel Faure. Suggested donation $15 for this 50th anniversary benefit concert, no one turned away.

What Legacy Will We Leave?

As we near the end of our 50th Anniversary year, what legacy are we leaving for those who will follow us – here and in the larger world? How does each of us give to our beloved community: our time, our treasure, our deep attention and so much more. These questions are the focus of the November 3 service, titled Looking Back, Looking Forward. We will honor the generosity of those who are no longer with us, and face the challenges of our future. Presented by Jean Labutis and the Legacy Giving Committee.

November Milestones ~ This Month in UUS:E History:

November 1970: Arnold Westwood installed as the first settled minister of Unitarian Universalist Society of Manchester.

November 1971: Our first holiday fair is held at Center Congregational Church. Two years later, it has become a very successful fundraiser and a focus of members’ energy, with workshops offered almost weekly.

Our Anniversary Twin Scarecrows on Main Street2019 UUSE Carecrow

Have you seen our happy pair of “care crows” in front of Bui Restaurant on Main Street in Manchester? Thanks to Carol Marion of the Growth Strategy Team, we’re bringing our celebration out into the community. Watch for the twins to make another appearance near the meetinghouse front door in November! UPDATE! The twins are now watching UUers arrive at the meeting house. Wave if you see them.

Holiday Worship with the Larger Manchester Community

Manchester Interfaith Thanksgiving ServiceManchester Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Featuring Keynote Speaker, Diane Clare-Kearney of Manchester Adult Education

Sunday afternoon, November 24, 4:00 PM

At Temple Beth Sholom B’Nai Israel
400 East Middle Turnpike, Manchester, CT

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of RemembranceWednesday evening, November 20, 7:00 PM

Metropolitan Community Church
155 Whyllys St., Hartford

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance conducted in communities around the world to remember transgender people who’ve been murdered because of their gender identity or expression. It is a solemn occasion, yet one filled with hope for a more just and humane future.


Ministers Column November 2019

Dear Ones:

Our ministry theme for November is attention. Paying attention is, at its most basic level, a spiritual practice: paying attention to your body, your feelings, your thoughts as they arise and recede; paying attention to whatever is right in front of you, whatever is happening in the present moment; paying attention to the blessings in your life; playing attention to the ugliness and pain in your life; paying attention to beauty; paying attention to evil. Paying attention in any of these ways connects us to something that matters. That’s why I say paying attention, at its most basic level, is a spiritual practice.

In her poem, “Gratitude,” Mary Oliver asks a series of questions that invite us to pay attention. She asks:

What did you notice?

What did you hear?

When did you admire?

What astonished you?

What would you like to see again?

What was most tender?

What was most wonderful?

What did you think was happening?

(By the way, this poem appears online on a number of websites. It’s worth reading. I found it here: http://www.findingsolace.org/gratitude-by-mary-oliver/.)

I offer these questions for your contemplation during the month of November. Keep a record of your answers—Daily? Weekly? After a Thanksgiving meal? After the UUS:E holiday fair? After a Sunday service at UUS:E? What do you notice when you pay attention? I’m curious. Feel free to share your answers with me.


There are some events I’m really excited about coming up this month. These are all worth paying attention to! First, on Tuesday the 5th at 7:00 PM, Pamela and Bishop John Selders of Moral Monday, CT will be at UUS:E to talk about the state of the

  • Black Lives Matter movement. UUS:E has made a congregational commitment to BLM—please come out for this informative event.
  • On Sunday the 10th in the afternoon, the CT Council for Interreligious Understanding will host an event at UUS:E, “To Love Your Neighbor, Get to Know Your Neighbor.” We will have guests from a variety of local faith communities speaking to us about their traditions.
  • On Wednesday the 20th, the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford will host Transgender Day of Remembrance. (See the announcement in this newsletter). This is a very important event for demonstrating our love and support for our transgender and non-binary siblings.
  • Finally, on Sunday the 24th at 4:00 pm at Temple Beth Shalom B’Nai Israel in Manchester, we will participate in an interfaith Thanksgiving Service featuring our good friend Diane Clare-Kearney as keynote speaker. (See announcement in this newsletter.)

I hope you can participate in some of these events, and the many other events happening at UUS:E in November.Rev. Joshua Pawelek

With love,

—Rev. Josh

Women’s Suffrage

Thursday, November 7, 7 – 9 PMWomen's Suffrage
Chapel, Garden Level

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment — votes for women. Historian, former state senator, and Unitarian Universalist Society: East member Mary Ann Handley will present an informative talk. Bill Ludwig, Manchester Town Troubadour, will present music of the period. Thursday, November 7, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Chapel. All are invited. 

To Love Your Neighbor, Know Your Neighbor Event

Sunday, November, 10th at 2 PM

The CT Council for Interreligious Understanding and Unitarian Universalist Society: East presents a moderated question and answer session designed to increase understanding of the varied religious beliefs and practices of our CT neighbors. Panelists will include members of the Jain, Hindu and Sikh faiths. Bring your questions and meet new friends on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at 2 PM at Unitarian Universalist Society: East.

Come Celebrate Samhain

Samhain RitualJoin the UUS:E Pagan Study Group for a Multigenerational Ritual of Samhain

Saturday, November 2nd, 1 PM, Unitarian Universalist Society: East Main Room

All are Welcome!

Samhain is the Neo-Pagan celebration of saying a temporary farewell to the harvest God, until he is reborn to the Goddess at Yule. It is also a time of remembering those who have passed, both ancestors and other loved ones. Because it is a time when the veil between the worlds is thinner, divination is popular at this time. In keeping with this, part of the ritual will be learning divination using a pendulum. If you have a necklace or any weight or stone on a string or chain, please bring it. If you don’t have one, we will have extras you can use.

Please bring a light snack to share after the ritual, when we can share experiences and ideas. We hope you can join us in the celebration.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to Peggy Gagne at pgagne15@att.net or (860) 646-6828 to make sure we have enough supplies for all.