Book Discussion: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United Statesby Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Introductory session, Tuesday, June 16th at 7 PM

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’ 2014 Beacon Press title, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, was selected as the 2019-2020 Unitarian Universalist Association “Common Read.” As such, the UUS:E Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee is hosting a multi-session book discussion. The introductory session is scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 16th at 7:00 PM by Zoom. The expectation is that participants will read the entire book during the summer months, and we will reconvene for more in-depth discussion in the fall. (For login information, contact Rev. Josh Pawelek at or watch for announcements in the regular UUS:E eblasts.)

In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

Purchase An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States through the UUA’s bookstore, InSpirit at If you require financial assistance in making this purchase, please contact Rev. Josh at

Awakening the Heart: Compassion Practices for Challenging Times

Spring flowers

Friday, June 5 at 10:00 AM, with Penny Field

Join Penny Field for a free 1-hour Zoom workshop on how to bring compassion practices into your life. Penny will share some of the teachings of several spiritual and scientific leaders in the field of compassion and the workshop will be highly experiential. Please make sure you have updated to Zoom 5.0 and please pre-register for the workshop. 

Penny Field LPC, NCC is a long time UUSE memeber and a licensed psychotherapist with 30 years of experience creating safe containers to hold the human experience. She trained in Mindful Self-Compassion with Kristen Neff, the founder of the Center for Self-Compassion, and has a decades long personal mindfulness and compassion practice, as well as many years of experience teaching mindfulness and self-compassion practices.

Registration information will be in the regular Wednesday and Saturday UUS:E eblasts. You can also contact Annie Gentile in the UUS:E office for registration information.

Mindfulness and Metta: Staying Grounded in the Midst of Pandemic

Spring Wildflowers

Monday, June 15 at 10:30 AM, with Peter Oliver and Stefanie Toise

Covid-19 has profoundly affected day-to-day life as we know it. Furthermore, we now continue into an uncertain future. In this experiential, one-hour workshop led by Peter Oliver and Stefanie Toise, participants will be introduced to two interrelated concepts and practices that support wellness: Mindfulness and Metta (or loving-kindness) meditation. Mindfulness has been defined as a purposeful moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experiences not with judgment, but with an attitude of curiosity and affection. Metta is a form of meditation that expresses positive, loving energy and compassion toward self and others. No prior experience with meditation is required. Participants are encouraged to join the workshop from a quiet and peaceful setting. The workshop should last approximately 1 hour.

Peter Oliver is a member of UUSE along with his wife, Laura Dunleavy, and their son, Kyle. A devout student of yoga, meditation, and the healing arts, Peter received foundational training in mindfulness-based stress reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical Center. Peter has also been teaching full time for over 30 years as a university professor.

Dr. Stefanie C.F. Toise, a healthcare consultant for over three decades, has designed and evaluated Integrative Medicine programs both nationally and internationally. Her research and clinical work have been instrumental in establishing Integrative Medicine modalities that result in sustainable health behavioral change. Dr. Toise has been a practicing yoga therapist for over twenty years and practicing meditator for over 45 years. She comes to UUS:E through her connection with the Rev. Drew Moeller.

Registration information will be in the regular Wednesday and Saturday UUS:E eblasts. You can also contact Annie Gentile in the UUS:E office for registration information.

Late May 2020 Community Outreach Offering for CT’s Service Plaza Workers

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned bad working conditions at McDonalds and other corporations at the Connecticut Interstate Service Plazas into a health emergency for the entire East Coast, as travelers use the plazas and then return to their communities.

Connecticut service plaza workers have been raising the alarm about poor working conditions at the service plazas since last August. Since the coronavirus outbreak in Fairfield County, they’ve been demanding that McDonalds and all the corporations operating at the rest stops protect their employees’ health and economic survival during the crisis. Because these workers have been designated as essential employees, and because they work on property owned by the State of Connecticut, they are asking state officials to support their demand that McDonalds, other fast food corporations, and the service plaza operator, Project Services, meet workers’ needs or face the termination of their contract with the state.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned longstanding worker abuses–including paid sick-leave violations, by McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Subway at the CT Service Plazas–into a health emergency for communities throughout Connecticut and the East Coast. As the Coronavirus outbreak escalated, unresolved workplace issues at the service plazas risked widespread transmission between workers, consumers, and travelers along CT’s busy I-95 corridor.  Worker abuses include:

  • Paid sick day violations, including failing to inform workers of their rights, denying workers paid sick leave, and retaliating against workers who use their leave create an environment in which workers feel forced to choose between taking a day off and making ends meet.
  • Wage theft: The Standard Wage requires that employers provide health insurance or pay an extra 30% of wages to enable employees to buy health insurance. In August 2019, service plaza workers along with SEIU Local 32BJ filed a complaint with the State Department of Labor over widespread violations of the State’s Standard Wage Law.
  • Abrupt schedule changes and managerial mistreatment.
  • A lack of personal protective equipment, resources, and training to deal with the Coronavirus crisis.
  • Hours reductions without official lay-offs, making it difficult or impossible for workers to collect unemployment benefits.

Now, two months into the pandemic, many of the workers who had tried to call attention to workplace abuses have been laid off. Some have become sick with Covid 19. Some have died, or have had family members die of  Covid-19. UUS:E is raising money through our regular community outreach offering to support the families of rest stop workers impacted directly by the pandemic. Thank you for your generosity. Donate here. 

We Can Make Face Masks #4 (For Crestfield)


UUS:E has successfully delivered 150 homemade face masks to Hartford Hospital (as well as to many UUS:E members and friends).  Thanks to everyone who has sewn masks. Thanks to Pamela Johnson who has been delivering the masks to Hartford Hospital. A nurse at HH recently wrote to Pamela: “This is such a great mask! I purchased another one locally after getting this from your church. It is not nearly as nice….I wanted to have one to wear and one to be in the wash! Please extend my fond thanks to your church.”

For the next few weeks, we are going to deliver homemade face masks to Crestfield Rehabilitation Center. Crestfield is just down the road from the UUS:E meeting house, about a 1/2 mile. UUS:E member Robina Rines lives there, as does Annie Gentile’s father. Mindful that there are diagnosed Covid-19 cases at Crestfield, the UUS:E Emergency Management Team has recommended that we  begin delivering masks for the Crestfield staff as a “good neighbor” gesture. (The EM Team is also arranging for UUS:E to deliver a pizza lunch for the Crestfield staff — if you’d like to contribute $$ to that effort, please contact the UUS:E office at 860-646-5151.)

If you are sewing masks and would like to contribute to our collection for Crestfield, please know you can drop them in the plastic bin outside the entrance to the UUS:E office at any time during the week.  Questions? Contact the UUS:E office at (860) 646-5151.

Thank you!!


Moral Monday CT “Justice for Jay” Public Witness

In partnership with Moral Monday CT, UUS:E’s Rev. Josh Pawelek helped organize the online “Justice for Jay” public witness in support of the family of Jose “Jay” Soto who was shot and killed by Manchester police on April 2nd.

Articles about the public witness appeared in the Manchester Journal Inquirer and the Hartford Courant.

View a portion of the witness on YouTube at JusticeforJay.



Trinity Solar Webinar

Trinity Solar Flyer 4-2020

Tuesday, April 21, 1-2 PM

Are you wasting sunlight? If you haven’t looked into solar or want to go solar but haven’t found the time or the right “fit”, give Trinity the opportunity to make this a win-win-win!
In keeping with safe social distancing practices, Trinity is now providing its customers with consultations over the phone and the internet. They are able to determine if a home qualifies for a no-cost solar installation remotely and free of charge.
If you choose to advance and take advantage of the no-cost installation Trinity between now and May 31st, UUSE receives a $1500 contribution AND $1500 to the homeowner (see details in flyer). LINK TO FLYER.
David Luchetti will be hosting a webinar to highlight the partnership and program. Attendees will have the opportunity for Q&A at the end of the presentation.
Tuesday, April 14, 1-2 PM

We Can Make Face Masks #3

Hartford Hospital staff-person, Melissa Tranberg, writes:

On behalf of Carol Garlick, Vice President, Philanthropy and all of us at Hartford Hospital, I would like to extend warm thanks for your thoughtful gift of gloves, wipes, dressing trays, and homemade masks. As our staff battles the COVID-19 outbreak, your gift will help them care not only for the safety of our patients and our caregivers, but of the greater community. We could not be more grateful.

Stay safe and be well,


For all of you who are sewing face masks, here are some tutorials you may not have seen yet….

Best way to make bias ties for mask…no tools needed.

How to make adjustable ear straps if you don’t have elastic… (You can use t-shirts, paracord, etc.)

As always, if you are making face masks and you’d like to donate them to Hartford Hospital, please know you can drop them during the week in the bin outside the entrance to the UUS:E office.  They will be picked up at 3:00 on Sunday afternoons. Furthermore, if you yourself are in need of a homemade face mask, some of the UUS:E sewers are willing to send one or two to you. Contact Rev. Josh at his home office (listed in the UUS:E Directory) and we can get a face mask to you!


We Can Make Face Masks #2

Last weekend a number of UUS:E members dropped off homemade face masks in the bin outside the entrance to the UUS:E office. On Monday, UUS:E member Pamela Johnson brought the face masks to Hartford Hospital where she works. She reported back:
They were HUGELY appreciated!!  There is already a shortage in some areas and they went like hot cakes.  I work next to the Covid 19 testing center and delivered them directly to the manager there…. These masks are soooooooooooo appreciated!  Please, if you have it in you, continue to make them.  I will continue to deliver as I have to work in the hospital about 1 day a week.  I’m trying to stay away but it’s a busy time for research. Thank you again so very much! — Pamela
(Pamela also sent along these photos of Hartford Hospital staff  wearing our donated face masks.)
If you are making face masks and you’d like to donate them to Hartford Hospital, please know you can drop them during the week in the bin outside the entrance to the UUS:E office.  They will be picked up at 3:00 on Sunday afternoons.
Furthermore, if you yourself are in need of a homemade face mask, some of the UUS:E sewers are willing to send one or two to you. Contact Rev. Josh at his home office (listed in the UUS:E Directory) and we can get a face mask to you!

Emergency Preparedness #2


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
If the power goes out while people are in the building, it might be caused by our circuit breakers. Did
you know where the two main circuit breakers are located so you can check? One is inside the
storage room off the back of the sanctuary where the chairs and tables are stored. The other is in the
Mechanical Room, opposite the downstairs kitchen. Before entering these areas, check first if there is
smoke coming from behind the doors. An electrical fire could result from a short circuit. Check for
smoke and feel the door to see if it is hot before entering.
The following procedures are to be followed:
1. If the building is occupied, check to see if the cause is internal and may pose a risk. Check the
circuit breakers to see if there is a short circuit or an electrical fire. Reset the breakers if they
have tripped.
2. If there is an internal safety hazard, call 911.
3. Do not run water (faucets or toilets) to maintain remaining water pressure. The water pump
does not function without power. Check the plan, Annex K: Loss of Water Supply for more
4. If an electrical fire is discovered, fire extinguishers can be used by a person trained in their
5. If smoke or fire is found evacuate the building after pulling the fire alarm.
6. Close all doors and windows.
7. If the outage is throughout the neighborhood or community, notify the power company, and
then the sexton.