Water for Flint — UUS:E Fifth Sunday Collection

1-31 Flint Water CrisisBy now, many of us are familiar with the water crisis in Flint, MI. At last Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration at Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Rev. Steve Camp launched a campaign to collect water and water filters for the people of Flint. Many UUS:E members in attendance felt strongly that our congregation ought to participate. Since then, the campaign has been adopted by United Church of Christ congregations throughout southern New England. UUS:E members and friends are invited to participate in this effort in two ways:

First, Faith Congregational Church, now in partnership with a consortium Hartford north-end churches, is arranging for actual water to be delivered from Hartford to Flint. Anyone who would like to donate water, preferably in large containers, is welcome to bring it to the UUS:E meeting house between now and Tuesday, January 26th. Members of the UUS:E Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee will deliver the water to Faith Church.

Second, our ‘fifth Sunday; community outreach offering on January 31st will be donated to the United Church of Christ’s Disaster Ministries collection for water filters and replacement cartridges. 

If you have any questions about this effort or wish to be more involved, please contact Rev. Josh at revpawelek@sbcglobal.net or (860) 652-8961. 
If you are unable to bring water to the meeting house, or plan not to be present on the 31st but wish to donate, you can also donate to the United Way of Genesee County’s effort to raise money for filters and cartridges here.
Rev. Camp says: Friends, I know that this remains a very fluid situation at best. I only ask that you do what you deem appropriate and right by the people of Flint. I intend to keep my eye on the ball, not on who will get credit for doing a good thing. I know that your decision making will make a difference for the people we seek to help and know that I stand ready to be helpful to you in ways I can. Be blessed. Steve.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your generosity!
–Rev. Josh

Amazing Coffeehouse/Open Mic on Jan 2nd

Unitarian Universalist Society: East opened the first Coffeehouse/Open Mic of 2016 with a full roster of talent. Acts included a pianist, solos on guitar and vocals, groups, spoken word, poetry and prose. Several debut acts wowed the audience with a guitar solo and a vocal perfomance.

The audience included friends, members, family, acquaintances, and visitors, filling the meeting room with laughter, cheers, applause, and even a few tears.

Coffeehouse Open Mic  1-2-16

Our next Coffeehouse/Open Mic is February 6th at the Meetinghouse

We hope you will come down and entertain us with song, music, acts or readings. Or, simply enjoy the entertainment and cheer on the entertainers. We have amazing talent right here in our own community and are always treated to friends who show up to entertain for the show as well.

  • Doors open at 6:00 for Happy Hour
  • Bring your own food and beverages
  • Sign -up is from 6:00 – 6:45
  • Entertainment begins promptly at 7:00

Please invite anyone you know who may be interested in performing or enjoying the show.
Contact our office at 860-646-5151 or send an email to uuse153@sbcglobal.net

Join us the first Saturday of every month!

Excellent Tax News

Excellent Tax News That Can Benefit You and Unitarian Universalist Society: East in Tax Year 2015 (Time is of the essence)

In year-end legislation passed just last weekend, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 finally made permanent charitable distributions (QCDs), also known as Charitable IRA Rollovers, from individual retirement accounts from individuals who are at least 70 1/2 years of age. There is still time to take advantage of this change for 2015 tax purposes, but the transfer must be made properly by Thursday, December 31.

Because QCDs are finally permanent, now’s a good time to review the rules.


  • Only individuals who’ve attained age 70½ may make QCDs.
  • The charitable donee must be an organization, such as UUSE, that qualifies for a charitable income tax deduction of an individual other than a private (grant-making) foundation, a donor-advised fund or a supporting organization under Internal Revenue Section Section 509(a)(3).
  • The charity that receives the donation must provide the same contribution acknowledgment needed to claim a charitable income tax deduction. Failure to obtain the acknowledgment will quash the QCD, but UUSE will definitely give you the proper acknowledgment in a timely manner for all your tax filings.
  • QCDs may be made from any IRA, but not from a 401k, 403b, simplified employee pension, a simple retirement account or an inherited IRA. Total such contributions cannot total more than $100,000 in any one tax year.

Some Benefits

  • This will allow you to essentially deduct your QCD charitable contributions on your Connecticut income tax, which is not currently allowed otherwise.
  • If you don’t itemize your tax deductions, QCDs can allow you to make charitable contributions that in effect have the tax benefits of deductions.
  • There are other advantages, too!

Making The Contribution

To make a contribution, contact UUSE or your intended charity to determine the exact payee name for the check (in UUSE’s case it’s Unitarian Universalist Society: East). Then, using that name, instruct your IRA trustee, administrator or custodian to make a transfer from the IRA directly to the charity. Many trustees and custodians already have forms and procedures in place to make this transfer. It won’t qualify if the trustee or custodian makes the mistake of putting IRA money in a non-IRA account of yours as an intermediate step. It won’t qualify if the check is made out to you. The law doesn’t provide a way to correct mistakes. The Internal Revenue Service hasn’t said whether the check may be made payable to the charity but mailed to you so that you may deliver it to the charity yourself. For the transfer to qualify for 2015, it must be out of your IRA account and on its way to the organization on or before Thursday, December 31, 2015.

For more information, please contact the church office or Hal Reed, of the Finance and Stewardship Committees, at 860-648-0898 or 860-967-9408 (cell).

Thank you for considering this excellent, now permanent, giving possibility – and Happy Holidays!


Unitarian Universalist Society: East is buying its Christmas tree this year from the Steele farm on Vernon street in Manchester. Lynn and Arthor Steele started the farm in 1985. But because her husband died this year, Lynn who has multiple sclerosis, was unable to sell the trees. So the Manchester police department stepped in and is selling the trees for her.Tree farm sign

The story can be viewed here:


Please consider helping our neighbor by purchasing your Christmas tree from Steel farm this year. The police department will be selling the trees for $50 from 10 AM to 4 PM, Saturday, November 12 and 19, at Steele Farms on 683 Vernon St, Manchester, CT 06042.

You will get a great tree, help a local business, help our neighborhood stay strong, and help a grieving member of our Manchester community.

Unitarian Universalists Support 350.org

On Sunday, Nov. 29, over 50 people gathered at a special CAT* Event at Unitarian Universalist Society: East in support of the efforts of 350.org and other environmental, religious, labor, and social justice groups to pressure world leaders to take serious action on climate change at the Paris negotiations this December. We took a group picture with the UUS:E solar panels as a backdrop.



Coffeehouse/Open Mic Night at Unitarian Universalist Society: East

November’s Coffeehouse/Open Mic night at Unitarian Universalist Society: East opened the season with a line up of wonderful performances! Music, sing alongs and good stories were on the perfomance list. Come join in Saturday, December 5th at Unitarian, 7 PM. Signups and Happy Hour start at 6. Bring your dinner and beverage, chat with friends and enjoy the show.

Unitarian Universalist Society: East CoffeehouseUnitarian Universalist Society: East Coffeehouse

Unitarian Universalist Society: East Coffeehouse

UUS:E Members Stand on the Hartford City Line for the Black Lives Matter


Photo by Rev. Heather Rion Starr

Photo by Rev. Heather Rion Starr

On Monday, October 5th, several members of UUSE joined a hundred others at a Moral Monday CT rally for racial  and economic justice.  The rally began at the Unitarian Society of Hartford. Unitarian Universalist Association staff from Boston were in attendance.  Particiapants marched out to the corner of Bloomfield and Albany Avenues under the banner “Black Lives Matter”, where about 30 of us moved into the intersection and stopped traffic for approximately 20 minutes.  Four members of UUS:E were among the City Line Dozen arrested: Al Benford, Sue McMillen, Joan Macomber and Christine Joyner.

In addition, Rhona Cohen and Lisa P. Sementilli, Co-Chairs of the UUS:E Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee were there along with Rev. Pawelek, Polly Painter, Nancy Parker, Gene Sestero, Bob Hewey, Carol Simpson and many others.

Why the Hartford City Line? We were there to dramatize the stark economic difference between Hartford and the surrounding suburbs. Hartford is Connecticut’s capital city—the insurance city—and yet one of the poorest cities in the nation.  Hartford is 84% black and Latino.  Per capita income is less than $17,000/year and about half of the city’s children live in poverty. The corner of Prospect and Albany is the dividing line between wealth and poverty, a potent symbol of racial and economic injustice in Hartford. That’s why we stood there for this particular action.

If you didn’t make it but want to help:

There is more to come. Moral Monday CT leader, Bishop John Selders said, “we will continue to carry the gospel of justice beyond the City Line.”

More coverage: 





Interment of Carol Shapiro’s Ashes on 10/25 at 1:00 PM

Carol ShapiroThe Rev. Josh Pawelek will officiate at the interment of Carol Shapiro’s ashes on Sunday, October 25th at 1:00 PM in the UUS:E Memorial Garden. All are welcome. Carol was a beloved, long-time member of UUS:E. She is fondly remembered for her tender heart, her poetry, her creativity, her love of cats and her friendship.

Carol disappeared from her apartment in Manchester on August 31, 2007. In June of this year, police were finally able to confirm by DNA analysis that human remains discovered in Vernon, CT in March of 2013 were Carol’s remains.

At the time of her disappearance, police were fairly confident that she had ended her own life. While suicide is still the most widely accepted explanation for Carol’s death, there is not yet conclusive evidence that she took her own life.  Even without full confirmation of the cause of death, Carol’s family and the members and friends of UUS:E are greatly relieved that she has finally been found, and that she will finally ‘come home’ to a congregation and to land that was very special to her. 


Meeting CT’s Health Care Challenges

Tuesday, October 6th, 6:00 to 9:00 PM

St. Monica’s Episcopal Church

3575 Main St., Hartford


Remember Sustinet? Remember the Affordable Care Act? There’s been enormous progress in the work of bringing affordable, accessible health care to all CT residents, but despite that progress, more work remains. Join the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care and members of local Christian, UU, Muslim and Jewish congregations for an interfaith evening of learning and strategizing. This event takes place at St. Monica’s Episcopal Church, 3575 Main St. in North Hartford. Dinner will be provided. What progress has been made? What work still remains? What role can we play in improving and expanding access to quality, affordable health care in our state? This event is sponsored by the UUS:E Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee. Questions? Want to car pool? Contact Rev. Josh at (860) 652-8961 or revpawelek@sbclglobal.net

Rev. Pawelek Featured on NPR’s “On Point”

UUS:E’s minister, Rev. Josh Pawelek, had the privilege of being a panelist on National Public Radio’s “On Point” program, Monday morning July 6th. Listen to the podcast here. The show was entitled, “Politics, Tragedy and Religion in the Public Sphere.” It was guest-hosted by Michel Martin.

President Barack Obama speaks during services honoring the life of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., at the College of Charleston TD Arena. Pinckney was one of the nine people killed in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church last week in Charleston.  (AP)