Backpack Project with Community Partners in Action

backpackThe UUS:E Social Justice/Anti-Oppression committee is again collecting needed items for recently released prisoners during the month of November.  This program is a UUS:E partnership with Community Partners in Action, an agency which helps recently released prisoners begin their lives again with the best possible start in many areas of living.  Visit our table in the UUS:E lobby following Sunday services in November. A list of needed items can be found here

School Building Renovation Plan Information Session


 2025 Manchester Public Schools 
Building Renovation Plan
Information Session

 Presentation by Matt Geary, Superintendent of Schools

Sunday, October 26, 3:30 P.M.

Unitarian Universalist Society East, 153 West Vernon St

2025 Manchester School Plan2025 Manchester School Plan2025 Manchester School Plan

UUS:E to Run Food Drive for MACC Food Pantry

MACC Community Food Pantry after a food drive

MACC Community Food Pantry after a food drive

The Manchester Area Conference of Churches (MACC) Community Pantry needs food and nonfood items (listed below) that cannot be purchased with SNAP (foodstamps) on a weekly basis.  The shelves are clear after every pantry session as more and more people are in need of extra help to feed their families.

UUS:E will hold a food drive for MACC from Sunday, October 12th to Sunday, October 19th. Please bring items on the list below to the meeting house and place them in the bins in the lobby.

Questions? Contact UUS:E at (860) 646-5151.

Food Items

Peanut butter and jelly

Pasta – sauce and parmesan cheese

Canned pasta (like Chef Boyardee)

Beef stew

Canned protein (like tuna and chicken)

Condiments (mayo – mustard, ketchup – salad dressings etc.)

Canned veggies and fruits (corn – green beans – carrots are the favorites)

Canned soups (not tomato – chicken noodle is favorite – chunky soups are popular too)


Snacks & juice boxes

Salt –pepper – sugar


Juice (not grapefruit)

Nonfood items

Shampoo & conditioner

Toilet tissue

Paper towels

Toothpaste & brushes

Laundry detergent

Dish soap

Household Cleaning supplies

Thank you so much.

Register for the Fall Religious Education Classes Now!

Register for the 2014-15 Religious Education classes by filling out the online registration form below. We will see you in September!

Register for 2014-15 Religious Education Classes Here

Working to Address Mass Incarceration

For the 2013-2014 congregational year, the UUS:E Social Justice / Antiracism Committee has been focusing its energies on addressing the problem of mass incarceration. We are working on two projects and hope you’ll want to get involved:

SERVICE: Creating backpacks to help recently released inmates make a successful transition

ADVOCACY: Supporting efforts to pass Senate Bill 259 to reduce the size of drug free zones from 1500 to 200 feet

On 4-16, SJAR meber, Nancy Parker, along with Rev. Josh Pawelek, LaResse Harvery of A Better Way Foundation and Brian Albert of the New Britain NAACP met with Senate President Don Williams and urged him to bring SB 259 up for debate.

On 4-16, SJAR meber, Nancy Parker, along with Rev. Josh Pawelek, LaResse Harvery of A Better Way Foundation and Brian Albert of the New Britain NAACP met with Senate President Don Williams and urged him to bring SB 259 up for debate.

Health Care Reform in Connecticut and You!

Announcing a Special Presentation on the Affordable Care Act and the Connecticut Health Insurance Marketplace!

Where: UUS:E, main meeting room, 153 West Vernon St., Manchester, CT

When: Tuesday Evening, February 11, 7:00 to 8:30

Presented by Rhona Cohen

Sponsored by the UUS:E Social Justice / Antiracism Committee

12-10 Prezi

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the CT health insurance marketplace or “Access Health CT” are helping us move toward affordable and quality care. This presentation will cover: 

  • Who can apply for insurance through Access Health CT and how much will it cost?
  • How are we benefiting from the ACA ?
  • How will people and small businesses be able to access the state’s market place, which is called Access Health CT?

Get answers to these and other questions.

For more information contact Rev. Josh Pawelek at or 860-652-8961 or Rhona Cohen at 860-805-3926 or   

Interim DRE Search Committee Ready to Roll!

The UUS:E Policy Board has created a search committee to locate an interim Director of Religious Education to follow retiring DRE Vicki Merriam. The search committee held a ‘start-up’ meeting on January 23rd with Karen Bellevance-Grace, Director of Faith Formation for the Clara Barton and Mass Bay Districts of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Members of UUS:E’s Interim DRE Search Committee are Clare DiMaiolo, Andrew Clokey, Jennie Bernstein, Walt Willett, Kristal Kallenberg, Monica Van Beusekom, Peter Marotto and Diana Sherman. UUS:E Vice President, Polly Painter, is serving as liaison to the Policy Board. Rev. Josh serves ex officio. 

Thank you Interim DRE Search Committee members!

UUS:E Interim DRE Search Committee

UUS:E Interim DRE Search Committee

The Interim DRE Search Committee expects to post the job in mid-February, interview candidates in mid- to late-March, and make a final recommendation to the Policy Board in mid-April.

ISSUES Forum with Manchester Legislators – Jan. 12th 1:00 PM

State Rep. Geoff Luxenberg

State Rep. Geoff Luxenberg


The UUS:E Social Justice / Antiracism Committee is holding an issues forum with the members of Man­chester’s legislative delegation on Sunday, January 12 at 1:00 P.M. in the meeting room. All are welcome!

The idea for holding this forum emerged from a workshop last May conducted at UUS:E by leaders from A Better Way Foundation, who urged us to meet with our delegation to talk about how to address the is­sue of mass incarceration of people of color. On January 12th we will be asking our legislators to support ef­forts to reform our criminal justice system and to reduce the number of non-violent offenders serving long prison sentences.

Of course, there are many other issues that concern UUS:E members and friends: health care, economic justice, aid in dying, climate change, education and much more. If you have a question you would like to

State Rep. Jason Rojas

State Rep. Jason Rojas

ask a member of Manchester’s legislative delegation, please get it to Rev. Josh by January 11th at



State Sen. Steve Cassano

State Sen. Steve Cassano


State Rep. Tim Larson

State Rep. Tim Larson


State Rep.Joe Diminico

State Rep.Joe Diminico


Rev. Josh Pawelek’s Appearance on “On Point”

Tom AshbrookUUS:E’s minister, Rev. Josh Pawelek, appeared on National Public Radio’s “On Point” with host, Tom Ashbrook, on Thursday, December 12th, at 10:00 AM. The show focused on the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. 

Listen to the show here.


A Rainbow Flag at UUS:E

Pride - Rainbow FlagThe UUS:E Welcoming Congregation Steering Group (WCSG) would like to hang a rainbow flag on the main level of UUS:E. WSCG members feel strongly that hanging a rainbow flag is a powerful way to communicate to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer visitors that they are welcome at UUS:E—and not only welcome, but safe and free to bring their full selves into our community.

We’d like to get your feedback on hanging a flag.  We’ll be holding a congregation-wide conversation on January 5th at 1:00. What do you think? Can you support this gesture? Why or why not? What are your questions? If you can’t make it to the conversation, Rev. Josh is collecting feedback. Please feel free to email him at or call 860-646-5151.

In the interest of educating UUS:E members and friends (and anyone visiting this website) about the origins of the rainbow flag as the symbol of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community, identity and struggle, we offer this brief history: 

It was Harvey Milk – activist, visionary, trailblazer, and the first openly gay person to win a high public office in a major American Harvey Milkcity – as City Supervisor from the Castro District on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors – who challenged fellow activist Gilbert Baker to create a positivesymbol of hope and pride for the gay community. 

Empowered by Milk’s challenge, Baker, an artist and drag queen who sewed his own dresses, used eight colors to create the original Rainbow Flags raised at San Francisco Pride on June 25, 1978. According to Baker, the eight colors reflected the diversity of values in the LGBT community: pink represented sexuality; red, life; orange, healing; yellow, the sun; green, nature; blue, art; indigo, harmony; and violet, human spirit. 

Baker and his band of volunteers hand-dyed and hand-stitched the materials for the first Rainbow Flags, but the commercial unavailability of hot pink led Baker to an act of artistic compromise which resulted in a seven-striped logo suitable for mass production.       

The six-striped version of today’s Rainbow Flag evolved in the wake of Harvey Milk’s November, 1978 assassination, when San Francisco’s LGBT community decided to use Baker’s flag to demonstrate their solidarity and political strength at the 1979 Pride Parade. To enable the equal division of the flag’s colors along the parade route – three colors on one side of the street and three colors on the other, the 1979 Pride Parade Committee eliminated the indigo stripe, leaving the widely available remaining colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. 

While tradition dictates flying the Rainbow Flag horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow, Gilbert Baker has said: “This flag has no rules. It has no protocol that governs its display. It is the community’s for the taking.”

 However it is displayed, the Rainbow Flag, the most visible icon of LGBTQ pride, inspires hope. It is a symbol of hope for unity in inclusiveness, hope for strength in diversity, hope for an end to relentless threats of violence and hate, hope for love, liberation, and equality. “The flag is an action – it’s more than just the cloth and the stripes. When a person puts the Rainbow Flag on [his] car or [his] house, they’re not just flying a flag. They’re taking action.”  Action which affirms the inherent worth and dignity of all people, through its enduring symbol of pride, in celebration of hope, love, support, personal safety and welcome to the LGBTQ community.

If “a true flag is not something you can really design . . . [but] is torn from the soul of the people,” then the soul of the people can be mended through love and hope. Choosing to prominently display the Rainbow Flag at UUS:E, we put our faith into action by standing on the side of love and healing with hope.