Minister’s Column July 2018

Dear Ones:

As I prepare for my summer vacation and study leave, there’s a part of me that’s already very excited for the next congregational year. As many of you are aware, January 2019 marks UUS:E’s 50th anniversary. The Policy Board, the Sunday Services Committee, the Endowment Committee, the Memorial Garden Trustees, and many others are beginning to think about how we can turn this anniversary into a meaningful, yearlong celebration. To that end, we need a team of people who can oversee work on the details. Who is interested in being part of the 50th Anniversary Team? It will be fun. Please let me or our President, Rob Stolzman, or our incoming Vice President, Kevin Holian-Borgnis, know if you would like to be part of this effort.

While it is always helpful to review the past, a milestone anniversary year really calls us to pause and look back, to honor our founders, to celebrate the generations. Thus, in the coming year, we will tells stories about what UUS:E was like in the different decades. We will definitely hold a big, multigenerational party. I am sure we will do some special fundraising. However, the most important thing we can reflect on is the nature of the impact UUS:E has had on us and on the larger community. What difference have we made in people’s lives? What would we be like—and what would Manchester and Greater Hartford be like—if that dedicated group of individuals had not come together in the late 1960s to found a Unitarian Universalist congregation east of the Connecticut River?

If we can put words to the difference UUS:E has made in our lives and in the life of the larger community, then perhaps we can also imagine having an even greater impact over the next fifty years!

At the very least, you can expect to be asked, in any number of ways, these kinds of questions: What has been the impact of UUS:E on your life? What do you remember most from the time you first started attending Sunday services at UUS:E, whether at 153 W. Vernon St. or one of the earlier locations? What do you wish for the future of UUS:E?

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Now, believe it or not, there is another milestone we may need to celebrate next year. April 2019 is the 20th anniversary of my ordination into the Unitarian Universalist Ministry. Thus, I expect I’ll be doing a significant amount of reflecting on where I’ve been, how I’ve grown, and the impact I believe I have had on UUS:E, on our region, and on Unitarian Universalism. I look forward to this period of historical review.

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For now, summer is beginning. Please know I will be traveling with my family and my in-laws to Italy for two weeks in early July. I will continue my vacation and study leave when I return. I will be back at UUS:E to preach on August 5th. Then, as always, I will start slowly returning to regular ministry in mid-August. I wish for you a wonderful summer. I wish for you summer rest and relaxation. I wish for you quality time with family and friends. I wish for you adventures—whatever adventures you need to have. And I cannot wait to hear about them in September!

With love,

–Rev. Josh

Emergency Preparedness #8

Emergency Preparedness #8

Temporary Sheltering of Members

Our newly authorized Emergency Operations Plan defines actions to be taken when a critical situation occurs on the property. This “all hazards plan” identifies twelve situations that could risk personal safety or property damage. Each emergency situation is designated as an annex with specific instructions. Let’s look at Annex F: Temporary Sheltering of Members.

DID YOU KNOW…

…members without power or fuel are able to stay in the building during business hours for cooling in summer or warming in winter?

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN A MEMBER SEEKS SHELTER?

The following procedures are to be followed:

  1. It is requested a call be made to the office in advance.
  2. It is understood there are no generators, cots, blankets, food or medical supplies available,
  3. Sheltering is possible only as the building has electricity and water supply available.
  4. The kitchen may be used if personal food is brought in.
  5. Before leaving to go home, the individuals will sign out at the administrative office.

Flights of Fancy” A Mixed Media Imaginings by Jeannette LeSure

Saturday, June 9, from 6:30 to 9:00 PMFlights of Fancy - Jeanette LeSure

An opening reception for the art show “Flights of Fancy: Mixed Media Imaginings” by Jeannette LeSure will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Society: East (UUS:E) on Saturday, June 9th, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.  Jeannette’s watercolor collages are inspired by nature, but filtered through dreams and imagination–a celebration of nature in New England. Her muses? Her sister, Jean Ellen, was an artist and taught her to draw, Eric Carle sparked her decision to collage with her painted papers, and the Impressionists in general spoke to her soul.  Jeannette’s mother, however, is the one who launched her spirit and instilled the conviction that magic and miracles lie under every leaf, in every tree, and just over the hill.

Click here for a printable version.

The event is free and refreshments will be served. UUS:E is located at 153 Vernon Street West, Manchester, CT.

 

Emergency Preparedness: Fire & Smoke Workshop

What Should You Do in the case of FIRE or SMOKE?

Join the Emergency Preparedness Team on Thursday, June 7 at 1:00 PM in the Meeting Room where the team will welcome members of the Manchester Fire Department to discuss fire and smoke training, emergency medical situations, and six of the twelve annexes in the Emergency Preparedness Plan. There will be time to ask questions and to learn more about our important plan.

Know Your Rights

Workshop

Thursday, June 14 at 3 PM and 5 PM

A “Know Your Rights” workshop led by Cressy Goodwin will be held at Unitarian Universalist Society: East on Thursday, June 14 at 3:00 PM and again at 5:00 PM.

This workshop explores rights and their limitations for immigrants who may be confronted with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. It is intended for anyone who has an interest in the subject including immigrants, members and friends of UUS:E now that we are officially a Sanctuary Congregation, and any other members of the community who are concerned about immigration i

June Minister’s Column

Dear Ones:

Our ministry theme for June is restlessness. I’d like to offer an excerpt from one of my meditations in Hear the Earth Call entitled, “Beyond the Safety of Our Well-worn Paths.” I think it speaks to an inherent restlessness in each of us—a restlessness that often surfaces in summer.

In this summer season / may we journey beyond the safety of our well-worn paths, / beyond our customs and habits, / beyond the comfort of our regular lives.

In this summer season / may we discover new creativity, new fervor, new insight; / may we discover in ourselves the spirit of the child that knows no limits and no boundaries, / the child who, every day, imagines the impossible / and sets off to achieve it.

In this summer season, /may we explore the borders of our lives, / the edges and the unformed spaces, / the wildernesses / the still wild places.

In this summer season, / may we establish new patterns where we have been longing for different ways of being, / new paths to go places our old paths will not take us.

In this summer season / may we discard old customs and habits if they have dulled our senses, / silenced our voice, / hidden our truth, / cooled our passions.

In this summer season / may we challenge ourselves to overcome any unnecessary limits we’ve set for ourselves, / to break through any unnecessary lines we have drawn around ourselves, to transgress any boundaries we’ve set for ourselves.

In this summer season / May we explore the borders or our lives, / where difference is welcome, / where tension and conflict are welcome, / where even a small dose of chaos is welcome, / where, in the midst of all of it, wisdom grows / and creativity thrives.

In this summer season, / may we explore the borders of our lives, / where nothing is quite as fixed as we’d assumed, / where old orthodoxies fail, / where order is tentative, / where simple dualisms just don’t work, / where pointless rigidities are the butt of jokes, / where mixing and merging and morphing take place, / where old selves give way and new selves emerge. / where we are compelled to find common ground with our neighbors, / where we build, however we can, the beloved community, where we remember—because sometimes we forget—that we are related to the whole of life.

In this summer season / May we / journey, / discover, / create, / practice, / discard, / break through. / transgress, / challenge, / explore, / and remember.

Amen and blessed be.

I know there is much to worry about in the world these days. I know there is much that weighs on all our hearts. It is my fondest hope that in this coming summer season, you find time to feed your restlessness—to be the person you feel called to be.

With love,

–Rev. Josh

Emergency Preparedness #7

Emergency Preparedness #7

Storm Damage

Our newly authorized Emergency Operations Plan defines actions to be taken when a critical situation occurs on the property. This “all hazards plan” identifies twelve situations that could risk personal safety or property damage. Each emergency situation is designated as an annex with specific instructions. Let’s now look at Annex E: Storm Damage.

DID YOU KNOW…

… procedures have been in place for years to learn of impending storms and alert members when the facilities are going to be closed? Do you know where to go to learn this information?

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO IF THERE IS STORM DAMAGE?

The following procedures are to be followed:

  1. Learn of the cancellation of services or meetings held at the building, and stay away during any storm.
  2. After the storm is over, and if damage is found, contact the sexton if not already aware of this.
  3. Early decisions will be made and announced to repair any damage.
  4. Members will be notified when the building is again available for use.

That was easy! Use the time saved by staying home to review the Emergency Response Plan for other, more complicate actions for different hazards!

May Minister’s Column

Dear Ones:

At the UUS:E annual meeting on May 20 at 1:00, the Policy Board will ask the congregation to approve the following vision statement:

Unitarian Universalist Society: East will be home to a spiritually alive, richly diverse and growing congregation. We will send forth energy, spirit and strength into our beloved communities. We will love, be present to suffering, comfort, heal, bear witness to oppression, and boldly work toward social and environmental justice.

I want to express my gratitude to Anne Carr, Tammy Stolzman, Rhona Cohen and David Garnes who crafted the original drafts of this statement. Moreover, I want to express my gratitude to our UUS:E leadership team, who met in September for a day of visioning with UUA consultant, Jacki Shanti.

I also want to remind all of us that at the heart of our visioning process was a commitment to countering white supremacy within Unitarian Universalism. For a brief reminder of the way white supremacy operates within Unitarian Universalism, please see my sermon from May 7, 2017, “White Supremacy Teach-In” at http://uuse.org/white-supremacy-teach-in/. That sermon pointed out how the voices of People of Color remain largely on the margins of Unitarian Universalist institutional life. After I preached that sermon, someone asked about our visioning process. “If a group of mostly white people crafts a vision for the future of our mostly white congregation, and if the voices of People of Color remain on the margins of, or are absent from, that process, then what prevents our vision statement from perpetuating white supremacy?” It was a fabulous question.

In response, we invited five People of Color leaders from Hartford and Manchester to speak to our UUS:E leadership team about their vision for the region, and the role they feel UUS:E can play in achieving that vision. We crafted our proposed vision statement in response to the voices of People of Color leaders. We “centered” People of Color voices.

I love the finished product. I love it not only because we used an explicitly anti-racist process to create it; but also because it says “we will love.” This language came from Pamela Moore Selders, a founder of Moral Monday CT and a Black Lives Matter leader. On the evening before our visioning session, she challenged us to first and foremost love ourselves—to take pride in ourselves, to care about each other, to celebrate each other. She’s right. If we envision ourselves bringing love into the wider community, we need to begin by cultivating a deep and profound love among ourselves. That’s a vision that makes my heart sing!

Spiritually alive, richly diverse and growing? That, too, is a vision that makes my heart sing! There are actions we can take to achieve this vision.

Sending forth energy, spirit and strength into our beloved communities? That’s a vision that makes my heart sing! There are actions we can take to achieve this vision.

We will love, be present to suffering, comfort, heal, bear witness to oppression, and boldly work toward social and environmental justice. That’s a vision that makes my heart sing! There are actions we can take to achieve this vision.

I hope your heart sings too!Rev. Joshua Pawelek

With love,

–Rev. Josh

Emergency Preparedness #6

Emergency Preparedness #6

Disturbed Person with a Weapon

Our newly authorized Emergency Operations Plan defines actions to be taken when a critical situation occurs on the property. This “all hazards plan” identifies twelve situations that could risk personal safety or property damage. Each emergency situation is designated as a separate annex with specific instructions. Let’s next look at Annex D: Disturbed Person with a Weapon.

DID YOU KNOW?

The average time an incident with an armed shooter lasts is only 7 minutes? Did you know that most fatalities from this situation are people lying still trying to hide?

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO IF THERE IS AN ARMED PERSON WHO IS DISTURBED?

Do you remember when you first learned to drive a car? No one would think of taking a driver’s test after just reading an instruction manual. You first take driving lessons. And practice driving.

The following procedures are to be followed (Follow A.L.I.C.E. = Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate):

  1. Alert others throughout the building that a shooter is present.
  2. Lockdown by barricading the room you are in, staying out of view and remaining quiet.
  3. Inform authorities by calling 911
  4. Counter if the shooter is present by throwing hymnals, chairs and other objects, and by creating a lot of noise to distract and confuse the shooter. Close in if possible to disarm the person.
  5. Evacuate when safe to do so.
  6. Follow instructions of identified police officers directing you where to go as you leave the building.

The tabletop exercise reenactment held on January 28, 2018, demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach. Future exercises will be held to properly train staff, leaders, members, and visitors. It will only work if most people know how to act quickly.

Surcari Concert

Sucari

Photo Copyright 2017 Lorena Garay

Sunday, April 29 at 4 PM

at Unitarian Universalist Society: East

Surcari is a performance group originally from Chile and Puerto Rico, under the direction of guitarist Lorena Garay. They perform a blend of traditional and original Latin American music on a wide variety of musical instruments.

Tickets will go on sale starting on April 8 after church services and will also be available at the door.

Prices are $20 adults, $18 seniors and youth, $10 ages 10-18 and under 10 free. Please notify Sue McMillen if child care is needed by April 22.

http://www.lorenagaray.com/surcari.html