Lessons Learned from People with Severe Disabilities

A Presentation and Discussion with Alec Gewirtz, Fulbright Research Scholar

Thursday, October 29 at 6:30 p.m. (Watch regular eblasts for login info)

Co-Sponsored by All Souls UU Congregation of New London, CT and the UU Society: East of Manchester, CT.

 Those who feel rejected by society have lessons to teach us about helplessness and uncertainty.

Alec will share his experience of being transformed while living and working as a caretaker at an interfaith community for people with intellectual disabilities.

Whether struggling with helplessness caused by their physical and intellectual limitations or abandonment from families and difficulty trusting in the constancy of people’s love, these housemates came to peace with it all and taught profound lessons.

GHIAA Virtual Public Action — November 12th, 7:00 PM

The Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance (GHIAA) will hold a large, virtual public action on Thursday evening, November 12th 7:00 PM.  We are committed to registering at least 75 UUS:E members to attend this event.  Registration is required. For registration information, please see our Wednesday eblast, or contact the UUS:E office at uuseoffice@uuse.org or (860) 646-5151. 

The purpose of this action is to reignite and secure more specific commitments from legislators and Governor Lamont on GHIAA’s legislative agenda following last season’s mid-session covid-19 shut down of the legislature. Our agenda for Nov. 12 will include:

  1. Repealing welfare liens
  2. Passing Clean Slate legislation
  3. Declaring racism a public health crisis

Turnout is Critical!

Power comes in two forms – Organized Money and Organized People!  On November 12th,  We need organized people. Please watch our UUS:E eblasts for registration information.

Questions: Contact Rev. Josh Pawelek at minister@uuse.org or (860)-652-8961. Or visit GHIAA at the Center for Leadership and Justice website, http://cljct.org/, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2882577878422392.

Post-Election Vigils — November 5th, 1:00 and 7:00

National elections take place on November 3rd.  No matter the outcome–or even if we don’t yet know the outcome–let’s plan to spend time in community on November 5th. UUS:E will hold two vigils, the first at 1:00 PM, the second at 7:00 PM. All are welcome. Watch our regular eblasts for login information. Or contact our office at (860) 646-5151.

UU The VOTE CT Phonebanking Opportunity

All-Connecticut UUtheVote Phonebank with Pennsylvania Stands Up Sunday, October 25, 2020 4:00 PM –  6:30 PM EST.
SIGN UP AND GET MORE INFO HERE: http://bit.ly/CTGetOutTheVote

The times are dire, and our democracy is at risk — especially for people of color, poor people, trans people, immigrants, and others on the margins.  Together, we can move out of our comfort zones to not just vote, but also organize!  We’ll train you to talk to Pennsylvania voters to make sure they have what they need to vote  — all you need is a computer with Chrome or Safari, a phone, and a smile.

Testimony from the Rev. Cathy Rion Starr:

I experience phone-banking as an act of faith — of that sacred connection between human beings in service of our values.  It is a place to treat people who I don’t know and will never meet or talk to again with dignity and respect — whether they don’t want to talk, or they’re the widow of the person who I’m trying to find who died 2 years ago, or they’re a Trump supporter, or those few precious conversations where someone really wants to engage and be listened to about their life and this country and this election. Each conversation and connection is a chance to practice the sacred covenant of connection and relationship that extends far beyond our congregational communities. Please join us on October 25th. 


Ancestor Day: Who Are You Remembering?

Dear Ones:

It has become our UUS:E custom to take time during the Sunday service on the last weekend of October to remember loved ones who have died, and to honor our ancestors. If you would like to offer a remembrance of someone dear to you at our Ancestor Day service on  October 25th, we encourage you to make a short video and forward it to Rev. Josh at minister@uuse.org (using Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.). Not sure how to make a video? Let Rev. Josh know and he’ll connect you to someone who can help.


Info Sessions: Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance

UUS:E Members and Friends:

Derrick Alan Everett, GHIAA Organizer

At our October 25th congregational meeting, UUS:E voting members will be asked to vote in response to the following question:

Shall the Unitarian Universalist Society: East become an official member of the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance (GHIAA)?

UUS:E will host two informational sessions on what institutional membership in GHIAA entails:

Friday, October 16th at 1:00 PM
Monday, October 19th at 7:00 PM.

Watch our regular UUS:E eblasts for login information, or contact our office at (860) 646-5151.

We will be joined by GHIAA organizer, Derrick A. Everett, along with other GHIAA staff and members of UUS:E who’ve been working with GHIAA since its organizational launch last October.

For more information on GHIAA, visit the Center for Leadership and Justice Website.

Public Witness: 6-month anniversary of the shooting of Jose ‘Jay’ Soto

UUS:E members and friends are warmly invited to participate in a march and rally to observe the six-month anniversary of the police shooting of Jose “Jay” Soto in Manchester. 

Friday, October 2nd

6:00 PM — Gather at the corner of Main St. (Rt. 83) and Hartford Road

6:30 PM — March up Main St. to Manchester Town Hall

7:00 PM — Action and Rally, vicinity of Manchester Town Hall

Co-Sponsored by Power Up, Moral Monday CT and UUS:E


Support for First Unitarian Church, Louisville

Dear Ones:

All are invited to provide financial support to the First Unitarian Church of Louisville, KY’s protest sanctuary program. In particular First U is providing sanctuary to Black Lives Matter activists who are protesting the failure of a grand jury to indict the officers responsible for the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Send checks in any amount to:

First Unitarian Church
809 South  4th St.
Louisville, KY 40203

Write “Sanctuary Special Collection” in the memo line.

For more information on what is happening at the church, watch/read local news here and here.

Visit First UC’s website here.

This Land is Your Land: A UUS:E Virtual Community Conversation

Tuesday, October 13, 7:00 PM

(For Zoom login and call-in information, watch the congregational eblasts, or contact the UUS:E office.)

What? All are welcome to participate in a community conversation about the place of the beloved Woody Guthrie song, “This Land is Your Land” in our congregational life.

Why? Rev. Josh Pawelek discussed why he feels this conversation is necessary in his September 20th homily, “This Land is Your Land?” You can read the text to his sermon here. In that homily, Rev. Josh asked: “What happens when the institutional practice of centering Black, Indigenous and other People of Color comes into conflict with our favorite traditions, rituals, music?” In the case  of “This Land is Your Land,” we know Woody Guthrie’s intent was good, and we know his commitment to fighting racism and classism was indisputable. Nevertheless the lyrics, specifically, “this land was made for you and me,” unfortunately reflect a settler colonialist mindset and simply don’t ring true for many people, especially people of color.

What For? The purpose of this community dialogue is for members and friends of UUS:E to express their views about and their hopes for “This Land is Your Land” in the ongoing life of our congregation. Our goal is not to make any decisions, but simply to listen to each other. Given that similar questions and controversies may attach themselves to many other beloved songs and readings, holding these kinds of community conversations is an important congregational skill for us to develop.

Get Ready! If you plan to participate in this discussion, we respectfully ask that you review the following resources in advance:

1)      Read or listen to Nick Spitzer’s Feb., 2012 NPR story, “The Story of ‘This Land is Your Land.’”

2)      Read indigenous folk singer Mali Obomsawin’s June, 2019 (Smithsonian) Folkways Magazine article, “This Land Is Whose Land? Indian Country and the Shortcomings of Settler Protest.”

3)      Read the (un-attributed) August, 2019 commentary on Obomsawin ‘s Folkways article, “The misguided attacks on ‘This Land Is Your Land’” in The Conversation.

4)      Read this excerpt from the introduction to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’ Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States where she specifically comments on Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

Get Even More Ready (optional background reading):

While Obomsawin’s article offers excellent historical background on United States settler colonial history and its impact on Native Americans, we also highly recommend taking the time to read Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s Indigenous People’s History of the United States in its entirety. You can purchase this book through the Unitarian Universalist Association’s bookstore, InSpirit, here.

If you do not have time to read Dunbar-Ortiz’ award-winning work, we suggest exploring the resources on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s website, especially the 14 minute video about the Doctrine of Discovery.

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

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United Statesby Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Mondays, September 14 and 28 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. Two discussion sessions have been scheduled for Monday evenings, September 14th and 28th at 7:00 PM using Zoom. For login information, watch the regular UUS:E eblasts, or contact the UUS:E office at (860) 646-5151.

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 https://www.uuabookstore.org/An-Indigenous-Peoples-History-of-the-United-States-P17699.aspx. If you require financial assistance in making this purchase, please contact Rev. Josh at minister@uuse.org.