Our ministerial legacy: Many pastors nurtured at UUS:E!

Honoring the Past, Envisioning the Future

Rev. Andrew Moeller, who discovered his ministerial calling here at UUS:E, will return to his “UU home” to help us celebrate our 50th Anniversary on June 2. Drew now serves the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor, Maine.

A remarkable number of Unitarian Universalist pastors have been nurtured at UUS:E over the decades, and have brought a bit of our spirit to congregations across the U.S. As we welcome Drew, we celebrate the work of the Reverands Tom Bozeman, Michelle LaGrave, Jeanne Lloyd, Paul Mueller, Carol Rosine and her son David Egan, Gretchen Thomas, Jean Wahlstrom and Mary Wellemeyer. Who will be next on this Path to the Pulpit?

June Milestones ~ This Month in UUS:E History:

June 1969: Our first annual summer picnic is held in Center Springs Park, directly behind the Main Street building where we held services.

UUS:E votes to call an interim minister, with salary paid by the UUA. The Rev. Arthur Olsen arrived October 1.

June 1984: Arnold Westwood preaches his last sermon as our first settled minister. He had been called in November 1970, and helped lead the society through four locations to a home of our own.

Looking forward to other 50th Anniversary commemorations, including:

  • Phenomenal 50th Fun Fair on June 8 ~ Sylvia Ounpuu, coordinator (see article in this newsletter)
  • WUUdstock concert on July 27 ~ Deena Steinberg, coordinator
  • Celebration Gala on October 4 (note the new date) ~ Lesley Schurmann, coordinator
  • Looking back, looking forward. A legacy service on November 3
  • Multimedia timeline created by Carol Marion (to the right of the stage) and photos of each of our congregational homes (hallway near office entrance.) Ongoing

 Questions? Ideas? Want to volunteer for anything?? Contact Anne Carr: acarr06040@yahoo.com

Fantastic Fiftieth Frolic – Carnival Fun for All Ages!

June 8, 11 AM – 3 PM

Celebrate our 50th Anniversary at our first-ever multi-generational carnival featuring games, arts and special activities PLUS a delicious picnic! Mark your calendar!! (Rain date June 15).

Click here for more information.

Some of the highlights:

  • Activities for all ages ~ Bounce house, “dunk the pastor,” scavenger hunt, cake walk, community art project, bubbles!
  • Games ~ Bingo, human tic-tac-toe, relay races, corn hole!
  • Barbecue for all ~ Vegetarian, vegan and meat options. Sign up to bring salad or dessert.

Now it’s your turn!

  • RSVP at UUSE (upper and garden levels) or contact church office, so we can plan the food!
  • Volunteer to help with a booth or game, set up or clean up. What can you do??
  • Do you like to bake? Sign up to make a cake or pie for the “cake walk”

Any questions? Suggestions? Contact Sylvia Ounpuu at: ounpuu.adams@comcast.net.

May Milestones ~ This Month in UUS:E History:

May 1969: First-ever child dedication at UUS:E, as little Cynthia Barlow is welcomed into the community.

First Annual Meeting. A Pulpit Committee is elected “to explore ways and means of getting some professional leadership for the Society.”

May 1989: Congregation calls Connie Sternberg as our third settled minister. She serves from September 1989 until her retirement in 2001, and was honored with the title ‘Minister Emerita.’

Looking forward to other 50th Anniversary events, including:

  • Drew Moeller, who discovered his ministerial calling while at UUS:E, returns to preach on June 2
  • WUUdstock concert on July 27
  • Celebration Gala on September 28
  • Looking back, looking forward. A legacy service on November 3

25th Anniversary Interview Project

Unitarian Universalist flaming chalice

Listen to audio interviews from members during 1993-1999. How have things changed and how are they the same?

Click here to listen!

And So Our Journey Began – The First Decade

And So Our Journey Began – The First Decade

April 7 Service ~ Postponed from March 10

We will honor our Charter Members and hear stories from the “founding generation” who saw the possibility of a loving and inclusive home for liberal religion in Manchester. How did those early years shape who we are today? What legacy did our founders leave us, and how are we handling that responsibility today? Come to the April 7 service to consider this and much more!

April Milestones ~ This Month in UUS:E History:

April 1969: One month after opening our doors, an organizing meeting for Liberal Religious Youth (LRY) draws more than a dozen teens. Public Forums are scheduled two evenings each month on topics such as inner-city schools, prison reform and more. The Board votes to join Manchester Interfaith Social Action Committee (MISAC), which is completing 194 units of affordable housing in North Manchester.

April 1977: Surveying, clearing and planning begins at the newly-purchased wooded lot on West Vernon St., Manchester. There is also much fundraising that must be done before we can have a home of our own!!

Looking forward to other 50th Anniversary events, including:

  • Rev. Drew Moeller, who discovered his ministerial calling while at UUS:E, returns to preach on June 2
  • All-generations carnival on June 8 (rain date June 15)
  • WUUdstock concert on July 27
  • Celebration Gala on September 28
  • Looking back, looking forward. A legacy service on November 3

Questions? Ideas? Want to volunteer?? Contact Anne Carr: acarr06040@yahoo.com

Show Your  UUS:E Swag!5oth T shirt

Have you seen these great-looking black and gold 50th Anniversary tee shirts? Look for the display after each service or email Anne Carr: acarr06040@yahoo.com. $20 for Small-XL, and $25 for XXL and up. Many thanks to Sandy Karosi for design and ordering.

50th Anniversary – February 2019 Events and News

Passing the Flame, One Generation to Another

50th anniversary chalice

Roland Chirico, one of the early members of our society, and Gina Lucchetti from the RE program, light a beautiful new chalice during the 50th Anniversary kick-off on January 13. Rev. Josh, RE Director Gina Campellone and charter member Naomi Zima told stories from each decade of our history during the intergenerational service. More than 70 people stayed for a good old fashioned Soup Social, followed by a slide show and program!

Dedicating 50th anniversary chalice

This Month in UUS:E History

In February 1969, the dedicated people who were creating a UU congregation in Manchester began cleaning up their newly-rented property at 466 Main Street. Originally the Church of the Nazarene, it had been a karate school when we took it over. Volunteers patched holes and painted the walls, replaced doors, hung blankets to “define” RE classrooms in the basement and cleaned everything! (This building is now home base for the Manchester Area Conference of Churches.) Meantime, there were Sunday morning “programs” in homes and school rooms, as well as pot luck dinners where people got to know each other, and considered what kind of a fellowship we wanted to be.

50th Anniversary Events This MonthUUSE 50th New Chalice Gold

  • On February 10, Rev. Josh will speak about our denomination’s challenges in responding to racism, in 1969 and today. Postponed from Jan. 20 due to the ice storm.
  • On February 17, Rev. Josh will explore what it means to be a “covenanted” faith – without mandatory dogma, we are joined by our commitment to values and intentions.
  • After the second service on the 17th, Rev. Josh hosts the Valentine’s Day Chocolate Auction.
  • AND the first-decade members continue to share their recollections with our in-house historians: Nancy and Joe Madar and Susan Barlow. Watch for their service in March!

Golden Anniversary Kick-Off

We’re Kicking Off Our Golden Anniversary
on January 13, 2019!

Save the date … You’ll want to be there when we:

  • Dedicate a new chalice for the next half-century
  • Time-travel through our past in stories and music
  • View an inspirational slideshow
  • Savor brunch food (after 1st service)
  • Celebrate the return of the Soup Social (after 2nd service) followed by a brief, multi-gen program!

This Month in UUS:E History:

On January 16, 1969, 49 determined UU’s signed the incorporation papers to create the Unitarian Universalist Society East, a progressive and welcoming spiritual home east of the Connecticut River. These legal steps followed just four months after the initial meeting at Buckley Elementary School, held to gauge local interest in establishing a UU church in Manchester. Malcolm Barlow recalls that 78 people signed their names on the clipboard that first evening, and a committee was formed to pursue this goal. Talk with Malcolm or Susan Barlow, Naomi Zima, Roland Chirico, Mary Ann Handley, or Dave Sherman to hear more about those first few exciting months!

Other 50th Anniversary events this month:

  • January 20 Rev. Josh will preach about the Unitarian Universalist Association’s challenges in responding to racism, in 1969 and today (see Sunday Services Schedule).
  • On January 26 be part of the “50 Donors Challenge” at the UUS:E Auction & Chili Cook-off.

Questions? Want to help plan these and other exciting events, including a carnival, a gala and many more? Please contact Anne Carr at acarr06040@yahoo.com

A Brief History of Unitarian Universalist Society:East

In 1968, the Unitarian Universalist Connecticut Valley District sent out a call to all those in the Manchester area interested in forming a new UU congregation – a liberally oriented religious faith. There were articles in local media inviting people to participate. Months of study and organizational meetings followed, and on January 19, 1969, forty-nine persons signed as charter members and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Manchester was born. In 1973, the name of the fellowship was changed to Unitarian Universalist Society: East, to reflect the location of members’ homes in several eastern Connecticut towns besides Manchester, including East Hartford, Glastonbury, South Windsor, Tolland, and Vernon.

During its first years, the Society held services in rented properties with a part-time minister. The Rev. Arnold Westwood was called as full-time minister in October 1970.

First Sunday Service on Main Street

President Bud Godreau and the Rev. Arnold Westwood

Membership grew, and in March 1977, the congregation bought a four-acre parcel on West Vernon Street. Building began the following year, and UUS:E moved to its new home in September 1979. Membership continued to grow, and, after much study, a schedule of two Sunday services began. In ten years, the congregation expanded again, with a large two-story addition to the north.

The Rev. Connie Sternberg began her ministry at UUS:E in 1989. She inaugurated several popular programs such as Build Your Own Theology and Introduction to UUism. During Connie’s ministry, the congregation affirmed that they liked an even split of responsibilities between the minister and members of the congregation. This concept of “shared ministry” and “lay-led services” continues today.

The Pastoral Friends group formed in 1996 to help the minister provide care and support to Society members in special need.

In April 1999, the congregation voted to become a “Welcoming Congregation,” formally affirming through a UUA program a long-standing commitment to acceptance of gays and lesbians. UUS:E began working regionally on combating racism, joining with other area churches, including the other two UU churches in the Hartford area. Connie Sternberg retired in 2001 and was voted Minister Emerita. The Rev. Joshua Pawelek joined us in August 2003 as our settled minister.

Five years later, the congregation again needed more space, and undertook a large study and congregational survey on the topic of growth, after which a capital campaign began to create the lovely building and grounds we enjoy today.

In 2011, the congregation has 288 members, and a paid staff of one full-time and five part-time people. The Religious Education program is strong and well-received by parents and children. Sunday services are well attended, and the congregation especially enjoys the music program. The society maintains its traditional warmth and caring and takes pride in its commitment to liberal religious ideals and social justice, working with other local congregations on issues such as anti-racism, universal healthcare and gender equity.

Trumpeters bring music to the congregation

Music provided by trumpeters during a Sunday service

Did You Know?

William Carlos Williams, the famous poet, was a lifelong member of the Unitarian Church of Rutherford,
New Jersey, a community founded with the help of his parents. His money-making career, however, was
as a pediatric physician. He was close friends with fellow poet Ezra Pound and in his later years, a mentor to
beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

Did you know?

UU social justice activist, writer and poet, Lydia Maria Child, wrote the famous song, A Boy’s Thanksgiving
Day which begins with “Over the river and through the wood, to grandfather’s house we go….” This
song originally appeared as a poem in 1844 in Child’s book, Flowers for Children.

Did you know?

Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol dur­ing his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had conno­tations of sacrifice and love. To learn more about the history of our Unitarian Universalist symbol, “The Flaming Chalice.”