Minister’s Column July 2019

Dear Ones:

These words from my annual report to the congregation feel appropriate for this final column of the 2018-2019 congregational year: I begin with a heartfelt THANK YOU to the members and friends of UUS:E for your continued support and enthusiasm for my ministry. It is a continuing source of satisfaction for me to know that you genuinely appreciate my work at UUS:E and in the wider community. I want to extend deep gratitude to Rob Stolzman (president) and Kevin Holian-Borgnis (vice president) who have provided excellent leadership to the Policy Board and Program Council. I want to offer a special “thank you” to all the elected and appointed leaders with whom I have the opportunity to imagine, develop and implement the various ministries of our congregation. Finally, I want to thank our wonderful staff for the great job they do. To Gina, Mary, Jane, Annie, Emmy, Jerry and Audrey (our nursery staff person): You work with grace, dignity and a powerful commitment to UUS:E. Thanks for all you do!

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In honor of UUS:E’s 50th anniversary, I’d like to propose a common “summer read” for our congregation. UU minister and historian of the African American UU experience, the Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed, has written a new book on significant events in the Unitarian Universalist Association that took place 50 years ago. The book is called Revisiting the Black Empowerment Controversy: Black Power and Unitarian Universalism. It is available from inSpirit, our denominational bookstore. To purchase the book at a 10% discount, we will be placing a bulk order from the UUS:E office. Please contact Annie Gentile at 860-646-5151 before July 17 to be included in the bulk order. If you’d like to order the book sooner, call 800-215-9076 or order online at https://www.uuabookstore.org/Revisiting-the-Empowerment-Controversy-P18363.aspx. If you need financial assistance in purchasing the book, please contact me at revpawelek@gmail.com. Book discussions will take place in the UUS:E chapel on Thursday, September 19. Attend either at 3:00 PM or 7:00 PM.

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In early June we held a powerful conversation on Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. There were many people who wanted to participate but couldn’t due to schedule conflicts. Watch for more opportunities this fall to deepen the conversation.

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I am very excited to announce that UUS:E has been invited to develop a partnership with Manchester’s Verplanck Elementary School. Members of UUS:E’s Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee and I have assessed our capacity to participate in such a partnership. After meeting with a staff person from the school’s Family Resource Center, we feel we definitely have the capacity. Further, this is a great opportunity in UUS:E’s 50th anniversary year to make a new commitment to the Manchester community. The partnership will support low-income children and their families, many of whom are immigrants. Support includes a holiday gift drive, preparation of Thanksgiving baskets, mentoring, homework help, etc. We can start slowly and adapt to needs in the school community as they emerge. Look for more information in the article in this newsletter.

Have a great summer!

With love,

—Rev. Josh