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 If you require financial assistance in making this purchase, please contact Rev. Josh at

New UUS:E “Closing Circle” Tee Shirts for Sale!

We have new UUS:E tee shirts for sale, featuring our weekly closing circle words!

$15 each, with no touch delivery if you’re fairly close to Manchester. $20 each mailed.

Both colors are available in adult sizes small through XXXL. Limited quantities available! First come, first serve.

To order – please email David G Luchetti at  Include your name, phone #, address, mail or delivery preference and size/color preferences.

UU Wellspring, Deep Questions 

UU Wellspring, Deep Questions 

UU Wellspring, Deep Questions 

Please note that registration is now full

The Universalist Church of West Hartford offers this program, based on small group connections, daily spiritual practices, spiritual direction, deep inquiry, and embodying/ engaging our spirituality in life.

Info: UU Wellspring. Group will meet via Zoom on first and third Thursdays, September 17 through June 17 at 7:00 p.m.,  facilitated by David Gonci.

Register by August 14: David Gonci.



Small Group Spiritual Deepening Programs offered for members of the Hartford area UU congregations


Please Note: Registration for this program is now closed

UUSpiritLife, a new 10-month long adult program created for the three Hartford-area Unitarian Universalist churches, invites UUs to form and deepen a meaningful spiritual life.

When we pause first for the inward action of spiritual renewal, we become more confident and impactful in our outward actions whether they involve our personal lives, social action or the many engaging tasks of congregational life.

Using a contemplative model, we will come together in a safe, nonjudgmental environment that reaches beyond discussion of heady topics to connect with mystery and awe – the intrinsic power, beauty and goodness of being human. The program includes many experiential opportunities to discover our own personal spirituality and to get in touch with the still, small inner voice that is our internal guidance system.

UUSpiritLife is open to members of all three area churches. A daytime group facilitated by Judy Robbins and Rick Tsukada will meet Tuesday mornings 10:00-noon, starting September 15, 2020. An evening group, facilitated by Tom Gervais will run on Tuesday evenings 7:00-9:00 PM. The groups meet on the first and third Tuesdays starting Sept 15, 2020 and running through June 1, 2021. All groups will be on the Zoom format, transitioning to in-person meetings if possible.

Spaces are very limited in these groups and registration closes August 14, but to insure your best chance at a place, do not to wait until the last minute. To express an interest, ask questions or to register, email Judy Robbins (day group) or Tom Gervais (evening)

UU Wellspring – Deep Questions

Please Note: This Class Has Been Postponed

The Universalist Church of West Hartford is offering a UUWellspring module: Deep Questions, open to members of all three area UU churches. The UU Wellspring program is based on small group connections, daily spiritual practices, spiritual direction, deep inquiry, and embodying/engaging our spirituality in life. The Deep Questions program focuses on deep questions of our lives, including human nature, forgiveness/acceptance, prayer, death and dying, accountability, sacred activism, and our relationship to the planet. It explores these and other themes in conjunction with the seven UU principles. For more information, please visit

The Wellspring Deep Questions program shares UUSpiritLife’s focus on inward experience and spiritual connection/renewal. A committed group will meet twice monthly on the first and third Thursdays at 7pm and will be facilitated by David Gonci. The program will begin on September 17, 2020 and conclude on June 17, 2021. Group size will be limited, and will initially be conducted on Zoom. As with the SpiritLife program, registration closes on Aug 14 and spaces are limited, so please act quickly to insure a place. For further information, questions or to register, please contact David by emailing to or calling 413-281-1973.

Lughnasadh Ritual

Lughnasadh Ritual

Join the UUS:E Pagan Study Group Saturday, August 1st, 6:00 PM via Zoom
All are Welcome!

Please join the UUS:E Pagan Study Group as we celebrate Lughnasadh, the first food harvest of the season, via Zoom. Peggy Gagne will host by casting a circle at her own altar and include in her circle all who wish to join the celebration as the Wheel of the Year turns. We will have a little history, along with a look at what we have harvested this year and what we have to be thankful for.

Please plan on having a small snack and drink of some kind on hand so we can all share in cakes and ale. Also, plan on having on available – 2-3 squares of paper (about notecard size) and a pen or pencil in order to participate in the ritual.

To join our Zoom Meeting please watch for the link in the weekly E-Blast or contact the UUS: E office for the Zoom link @ 860-646-5151 or

Letter to the JI

The following letter to the editor of the Journal Inquirer was published in edited form on June 16, 2020.

Dear Editor:

I was one of the many hundreds marching Saturday, June 6 from the Manchester Town Hall to the Police Station a mile away. At least half of the people gathered were white, and all mostly young and passionate. The most common chant was “Black Lives Matter.”

We marched by the Nazarene Church building at 466 Main Street that has had many uses. It is now part of the MACC (Manchester Area Conference of Churches) complex. It was the first religious home of Manchester’s Unitarian Universalist Society: East, now located at 153 West Vernon Street. The building reminded me that a young girl named Elizabeth Anderson attended the Society’s Sunday school in the 1970s. She has since become one of the world’s most renowned philosophers and is on the faculty of the University of Michigan. Her books have earned her an international reputation as a practical thinker.

The New Yorker a year ago termed Professor Anderson “…a champion of the view that equality and freedom are mutually dependent.” In one of her books, The Imperative of Integration with copyright in 2010 by Princeton University Press, she explains in great detail how she came to this view. One line stands out:

“It is necessary to block and dismantle the mechanisms that perpetuate unjust social inequality, and to realize the promise of a democratic state that is equally responsive and accountable to citizens of all identities.” From page 180 of her book.

After Saturday’s march across Manchester, I am now more convinced that Professor Anderson, this wonderful product of our town, is right. Equality and freedom are mutually dependent. For all of us. Saturday was a refreshing proof of her view. Very truly yours,

Malcolm F. Barlow

Essential Reading for Unitarian Universalists

From Rev. Josh:

Rev. Leslie Takahashi and members of the UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change

Dear Ones:
I have been spending the last few days at (online) Ministry Days, the gathering for UU clergy in advance of the General Assembly. One of the most significant milestones we are celebrating is the publication of the final report from the UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change (CoIC), entitled “Widening the Circle of Concern.” CoIC was formed in the wake of the UUA’s hiring controversy in 2017. Under the leadership of my colleague, the Rev. Leslie Takahashi, CoIC has completed a comprehensive review of a variety of UUA and UU structures and practices with the goal of transforming our own white supremacy culture. The report makes numerous recommendations, many of them for congregations. The CoIC report is essential reading for all Unitarian Universalists. We need to take these recommendations to heart. I urge all UUS:E members and friends to take time this summer to read the report in its entirety. I look forward to a robust UUS:E dialogue later in 2020 about how our congregation can begin implementing the recommendations.

Here it is:

With love and abiding faith, 

–Rev. Josh