Coronavirus Protocols: Call Before You Visit

Dear UUS:E Members and Friends: This is just a reminder that at this time, we have closed the meeting house to all visitors except essential staff. If you have a reason to visit the meeting house, ie, to drop off or pick up certain paperwork, please contact Annie Gentile to let her know when you are coming so that she and Jane Osborn can prepare social distancing protocols for your visit. Email or call (860) 646-5151.
–Rev. Josh

Special Message: Building Usage 3-17-2020

Dear UUS:E Members and Friends:

After listening to the Federal Coronavirus Taskforce’s Monday afternoon press conference (, and in light of their new advice to cease all gatherings of more than ten people, the UUS:E Policy Board and I feel it is wise and prudent at this time simply to end all small group use of the meeting house.

We will keep the building accessible to our staff so they can continue to do their jobs, as well as to individual members who need to pick up or drop off paperwork. Our staff will observe strict social distancing protocols while in the building.

We recognize there may be emergency requests for the use of our building, such as Red Cross requests to hold blood drives. The Policy Board will consider all such requests if/when we receive them.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at or (860) 652-8961.

In care,

Rev. Josh Pawelek

UUS:E Virtual Sunday Service — March 15, 10:00 AM

Unitarian Universalist ChaliceDear UUS:E Members and Friends:

I warmly invite you to join us for a virtual worship service, Sunday morning, March 15th at 10:00 AM.

We will use Zoom as our platform. Some of you are familiar with Zoom and some aren’t. Here’s what you need to know:

First, if you would like to join by video on any device, you can do so by clicking on this link a few minutes before 10:00 AM:

However, your device must be properly enabled. If you have not used Zoom video conferencing before, go to Downloading Zoom is free and quick. I recommend that you do the download as soon as possible to make sure you are all set for 10:00 am.

Second, you can also join the virtual service by phone. Call 1 (646) 876-9923 a few minutes before 10:00 AM. You will be prompted to provide a Meeting ID. That ID is 157 706 597#. You may be prompted then to provide a participant ID. If so, ignore that prompt and just hit # again.

Regarding the Service, we will be lifting up your joys and concerns during the service. If you have a joy or concern you wish me to name during the service, please send it to me by 9:00 AM on the 15th at

Please note, Zoom is a fabulous resource, but it is not always reliable. Sometimes the connection is glitchy. Sometimes there’s a lag between the speaker and the audio on your computer. This may not work for everyone. For that, we apologize in advance. This is the first time we’ve ever done this, so we expect there will be glitches, especially technical glitches. If we have problems on our end, we’ll do our best to fix them in real-time. If you have problems on your end, please let me know afterward at We have folks who can troubleshoot with you during the coming week. In short, we will learn from whatever problems arise, so that we can make the experience better for everyone on future Sundays during our suspension of regular programming.

Also, please note that when you arrive in what we expect will be a big online group, your computer or phone will be muted. We respectfully ask that everyone remain muted for the service. One unmuted computer or phone with a dog barking or a siren whirring in the background—or even just shuffling papers–can make it difficult for everyone else to hear.

We anticipate that the service will last between 30 and 45 minutes. It will feel similar to our regular minister-led services. The sermon will be shorter. There will be no hymns, though Mary Bopp will be providing beautiful piano music. If we have our act together, we will record the service and post it to the UUS:E website afterward.

Obviously we don’t know how long this shutdown will last. We hope these virtual Sunday services will serve as a meaningful way UUS:E members and friends to stay connected to each other during a very challenging time.

With love,

Rev. Josh

Note: I will post the sermon text on the website soon after the service. Click here to read the latest sermon. And don’t forget to sign up for Dialogue From Your Home—Join The Discussion. Contact the Church office at or call 860-646-5151. We will do our best to get you connected.

And watch for the recording on our YouTube Channel. Be patient, it may take us a bit of time to post.   


UUS:E Special Message — Coronavirus

Dear UUS:E Members, Friends, and Visitors:

With sadness and an abundance of caution in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, I write to inform you that the UUS:E Policy Board and staff have made the decision to suspend all large-group programming at UUS:E until further notice. This suspension includes Sunday morning services and religious education. For now, we are postponing or canceling any events or meetings with more than ten people, including the Annual Appeal pot luck meals. However, the meeting house will be accessible. If you have a small event or meeting planned at UUS:E and you would still like to hold it, you may do so. Even so, we urge you to consider using online meeting tools like Zoom, Facebook, Skype, etc. We can offer support in setting up online meetings. We have made this decision not out of fear or panic, but out of care, concern, and love for our community.

Given the strong advice from Governor Lamont, state health officials, the Centers for Disease Control, and our own Unitarian Universalist Association, we feel not only that this is the right decision, but that we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to help reduce avenues for transmission of the coronavirus.

As UUA President, Susan Frederick-Gray, wrote on March 12, “we believe it is our moral obligation to follow the guidance of health professionals who recommend early action even before cases have been confirmed in an area because it is most important to protect public health and the most vulnerable people in our communities. This moment indeed reminds us of the interconnected web of which we are all a part. It also reminds us of our responsibility as religious communities to be mindful of our need to care for our whole community.”

This is a heartbreaking — but necessary — decision. It’s important to remember that it is only for the time being. This crisis will pass and in time we will be together in person in our beloved meeting house on Elm Hill in Manchester, east of the Connecticut River. And we will be proud that we made this decision to care for each other, our families, our neighbors, and our communities.

We are currently exploring how to hold a virtual worship service on Sunday mornings. Our best guess at this time is that we will hold one service at 10:00 a.m. We will use the Eblast to send information about how to login or call into the service.

We are also exploring how to continue offering religious education programming for children online. Families with children can expect to hear more from our Director of Religious Education, Gina Campellone.

Finally, we want to keep you connected to each other as best we can. The UUS:E Pastoral Friends Committee members will be reaching out to many of you in the coming weeks to check-in. We also urge you to reach out to each other. Make calls, send texts and emails, write letters. And if you have ideas for how our congregation can stay connected during this challenging time, we want to hear them. Please feel free to contact me at or (860) 652-8961. And if you are not receiving the weekly eBlast, please click below to sign up.

With love and care,

Rev. Josh

Weekly Email Blast

More information on how you and your loved ones can stay safe.

Emergency Preparedness #1: Evacuation

Emergency Preparedness #1

Our newly created 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.


In several annexes, an evacuation of the building may be required. When an evacuation is ordered, fire and police responders will be on the way. Did you know that many fire trucks cannot come to the building using the entrance driveway? The slope at the top is too great for many trucks. For this reason, fire apparatus will come to us using the exit driveway! The exit driveway must be kept clear! Once you reach your car in the parking lot, do not drive off the property until directed by responding fire and police officials.


The following procedures are to be followed:

IF NOT during Sunday services:

  1. All occupants are to exit the building and go to their cars. Then see second paragraph (c), below b.

IF DURING Sunday services:

  1. Children and staff on the lower level will leave the building at the nearest exit.
  2. That group will assemble together a safe distance away from the exit.
  3. Adult leaders will take separate small groups of children at intervals up to the front of the building.
  4. Adults upstairs will use the main exits to leave the building.
  5. Parents of children who are in RE classes will assemble as a group a safe distance near the front exits until their children are brought to them.


  1. Parents with children and all adults will go to their cars in the parking lot and remain there until all the fire apparatus arrive. Many of the larger trucks will enter the property down the exit driveway and must not find cars backed up blocking their way.


Mind Your T’s and Q’s Workshop

CB BealJoin us on Sunday, April 5, from 1 – 4 PM for a workshop with CB Beal of Justice & Peace Consulting.

Mind Your T’s and Q’s: An Introduction to Radical Welcome of Trans, NonBinary, Genderqueer, and Gender Non-Conforming People.

This workshop is for anyone who wants to learn more about gender diversity and support people whose gender is not what our society has taught us to expect typically. Participants should be willing to explore the ways our own experience of gender isn’t the only experience of gender. This workshop is especially for people who might not even be sure we know what all those words in the title mean! CB will create a space in which people can be curious and brave to ask questions and explore gender and gender identity in new ways so that we can better be the Beloved Community, an open community of justice, equity, and love, for all.

This workshop is open to youth (grade 8+) and adults (18-98).

To maximize accessibility, please do not wear scents or perfumes.

CB Beal, M.Div. (they, them, theirs) specializes in the facilitation of learning experiences that involve issues of marginalization, oppression, and privilege; to help participants hold the complexities of our lives in perspective, and co-create a safe[r] brave[r] space where people are challenged to learn and grow.

They are a nationally known presenter and consultant for congregations, schools, social service agencies. Their focus is in the intersections of Preemptive Radical Inclusion, safer communities/congregations, supporting gender creative and trans/non-binary children and youth in youth-serving organizations, and sexuality/consent education. They are an Our Whole Lives Trainer and Trainer of Trainers and teach sexuality and consent education classes to elementary and middle school students around Massachusetts.

Previous to doing their work at Justice and Peace Consulting full time, they were the Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence for 16 years after holding several different educational and training positions in adjacent fields. CB received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1991 and is the Unitarian Universalist Association’s 2019 Angus H. MacLean Award for Excellence in Religious Education.

CB is a white, non-binary/genderqueer, mostly able-bodied fat person of sturdy farmer stock.

For a taste of what CB is like in person, you can view their acceptance of the Angus H. MacLean Award at this year’s General Assembly here.

Women in Film: A Celebration

Sunday Afternoon at the Movies

Women in Film: A Celebration, 4 PM in Room 2

Join Mary Ann Handley and David Garnes at our spring film series. This time we are honoring the women’s suffrage movement (American and international) with wildly different depictions of women, real and fictional, who stood up and made a difference. All showings at 4 PM in Room 2, free admission (popcorn, too!) with pre- and post-film commentary and discussion. See you at the movies!

March 15: “Suffragette” (director Sarah Gavron). In 1912 London, an eclectic group of women is galvanized into radical political action as they work to affect women’s suffrage. (2015) Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep.

April 19: “Hidden Figures” (director Theodore Melfi). A team of female African-American mathematicians serves a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. (2016). Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae.

May 24: “Nine to Five” (director Colin Higgins) Three female employees of a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot find a way to turn the tables on him. A comedy with something to say. (1980) Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda.

Spring Equinox Ritual

Spring Equinox

Join the UUS:E Pagan Study Group
For a special Druidic ritual presented by the
Charter Oak Grove, A.D.F.

Friday, March 20th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Unitarian Universalist Society: East 
All are Welcome!

The name for the festival of the Spring Equinox in Druidry is Alban Eilir, which means ‘The Light of the Earth’. As the Sun grows warmer, so life begins to show through the soil. Join us and our special guests as they show us how they celebrate this time of year as the Wheel of the Year turns.

Please bring a dish or light snack to share after the ritual, when we can exchange experiences and ideas

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP at or 860.646.5151

Click here for the flyer.

Rhythms of Life – Film and Drum Circle

Rhythm of LifeSunday afternoon, March 8, 2-3:30 PM

Unitarian Universalist Society: East (UUS:E),153 Vernon Street West, Manchester, CT, Meeting Room

We are all born with rhythm – our heartbeats! No wonder drumming has universal appeal.

Come watch this award-winning film capturing the ancient and modern practices of drumming to heal, celebrate and transform, with producer/director Craig Norton. Afterward, experience the joy and community yourself as Craig leads us in a drum circle. Bring your own drum/rhythm instrument or use one of Craig’s. Dancing will be allowed and encouraged!

Children can enjoy the film with parents or play in daycare and join us after the film for the drum circle. Daycare spots must be reserved ahead and is provided at no cost.

Click here for the Poster!

Suggested donation $10 per adult but no one is turned away;

Please RSVP at 860-646-5151 or so we know how many drums we will need and to reserve daycare spots.

Check out the film trailer: See the drumming dog!

Book Discussion: Braiding Sweetgrass

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerle

April 21 and 28 at 4 pm-5:30
at Unitarian Universalist Society: East

Author Robin Wall Kimmerer has accomplished the difficult task of transcending science and spiritually in her book “Braiding Sweetgrass.”  She is both a Native American and a professor of ecology whose thoughtful observations extend our ability to understand the world around us. She gives us a deeper understanding of how to live in a community with our fellow human beings as well as with plants and animals.  Join Beth Hudson-Hankins for a discussion of her book and interviews she has given.  Reading the book in advance is helpful.