“Ancestor Day” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, October 31, 2021

 

Gathering Music (Mary Bopp) (begins at 9:50)

Welcome (Gina Campellone)

Announcements (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Centering (Gina Campellone)

Prelude 

“We Are”
by Dr. Ysaÿe Barnwell
performed by Dr. Ysaÿe Barnwell and the UUA General Assembly 2020 virtual choir
produced and directed by Benjie Messer
video editing and motion graphics by Izzy Hyman
audio editing by Sam Plattner
photos by Clint McKoy, Christopher L. Walton, Paul Becker, Janine Gelsinger, and contributed by members of the choir
all audio and videos were captured by musicians in their own homes

Chalice Lighting and Casting the Circle

“To the Four Directions”
by Joan Goodwin
spoken by Madeleine Breault
accompanied by various, noisy people waking up the ancestors

Quarter Dance”
music by Mary Bopp, words by Rev. Josh Pawelek
Jenn Richard, vocals
Mary Bopp, water jug

Opening Hymn

“I Know This Rose Will Open”
by Mary Grigolia
#396 in Singing the Living Tradition
sung by Jeannette LeSure

 

I know this rose will open.
I know my fear will burn away.
I know my soul will unfurl its wings.
I know this rose will open.

Meditation

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

Offering

October’s community outreach offering is dedicated to UCONN’s Native American Cultural Program, NACP. NACP provides resources, services and community for Native and Indigenous students and faculty, helps foster relationships with local tribal nations, and works towards building good relations between UConn and the land.

Offering Music

“Entering the Forbidden Forest”
by Mary Bopp and Rev. Josh Pawelek

An Interview With the Grim Reaper
Gianna DiMaiolo, Gina Campellone, Rev. Josh Pawelek

Musical Interlude (Mary Bopp)

Remembrances

Closing Hymn

“For All the Saints”
words by William Walsham How; music by Ralph Vaughan Williams
#103 in Singing the Living Tradition
Sung by Jeannette LeSure

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name most holy be forever blest. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou wast their rock, their shelter, and their might;
their strength and solace in the well-fought fight;
thou, in the darkness deep their one true light. Alleluia! Alleluia!

O blest communion of the saints divine!
We live in struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. Alleluia! Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the conflict long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph-song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come

Postlude

Virtual Coffee Hour / Zoom Breakout Rooms

 

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — October 27, 2021

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

391. Six out of seven Covid-19 cases in Africa go undetected, per the W.H.O.

         Q:  Are accurate records of the number of Covid-19 cases being kept everywhere?

         A:  It has been often stated that the Covid-19 pandemic anywhere won’t end until it has ended everywhere.  This means that every nation needs to maintain accurate records of how many cases that exist to implement mitigation steps.  The statistics in African countries that were recently reviewed at first indicated that Africa has avoided the worst of this disease.  But the World Health Organization has recently estimated this is not the case.  Matshidiso Moeti, MD, the Africa director at the WHO has recently estimated that about 59 million people in Africa have actually been infected with the coronavirus through mid-October.  The actual number of reported cases that have been reported is only about 15% of this number.  Many nations in Africa do not keep records of deaths or serious illnesses.  This highlights the difficulty ahead as work continues to eliminate this disease.

392. Two reasons for an increase in the number of vaccinated Black Americans

         Q: Are Black Americans still lagging behind Caucasians in becoming vaccinated?

         A:  Actually, recent research found that more Black Americans are now getting their vaccinations for two significant reasons.  First, the gap has been narrowed by the wave of pro-vaccine campaigns and the surge of hospitalizations and deaths this summer, mostly among the unvaccinated and caused by the emergence of the delta variant.  Secondly, the steadfast resistance to vaccines by many in white communities is slowing that group’s progress in becoming vaccinated.  Lucenia Williams Dunn, the former mayor of Tuskegee at first was hesitant about getting vaccinated, but she has since become a leader among the Black population promoting this important preventive measure.  “What people need to understand is some of the hesitancy is rooted in a horrible history.” she said recently.  “And for some, it’s truly a process of asking the right questions to get to a place of getting the vaccine.”  What appears to remain is solving the problem of getting the white anti-vaxxers to follow that same process.

393. An Alaska lawmaker barred from flying over masking rules has Covid.

         Q:  Are any of the state lawmakers against mandates being held accountable?

         A:  In several cases, people who are making it difficult to protect the public health find themselves unprotected because of their actions.  Lora Reinbold, a Republican state senator who has been a local critic of vaccine mandates, was barred from Alaska Airlines after she defied a federal mandate requiring passengers to wear masks.  She disclosed last week that she has tested positive for Covid-19.  Her revelation came as Alaska has been grappling with its worst coronavirus surge of the pandemic.  Ms. Reinbold, 57, argued with employees at Juneau Airport about the mask rule.  She normally uses air travel to reach her district, which otherwise takes more than 19 hours by car and ferry each way to the state capitol in Juneau.  She appealed the ban but it was later upheld “for as long as the federal ban exists.”  As a result, she will not be able to fly until January 18, 2022, even longer if the ban is later extended.  For treatment of her illness, Ms. Reinbold is reportedly taking Ivermectin, and “lots of vitamins.”  She added, “My Vicks Vapo-Rub steamer has been a godsend!”  Later, she added, “I plan to keep my promise to stay OUT of the hospital.  Some of them seem like scary places to me.”

394. Utah’s new cases are dropping, but hospitals remain overwhelmed.

         Q:  If a state’s cases drop, does this relieve the stress on hospitals??

         A:  Part of the stress on hospitals is the diminishing number of human resources – physicians, nurses and other health care workers than were available with previous surges.  This is the case in Utah.  A week ago, Utah had 570 patients hospitalized with Covid-19.  Hospitalizations have been increasing even as the number of new cases has been falling.  The previously infected people who need care remain to stress the hospital system in the state.  Many nurses have removed themselves from caring for Covid patients out of frustration that so many were not vaccinated and need not have fallen ill.  In many instances, health care workers have themselves become ill and died or remain disabled from long-haul Covid effects.  The rate of fully vaccinated people in Utah is below 55%, lower than the national average.  Yet even then, their rate is ahead of its neighbors including Idaho and Wyoming.  (Last week, Connecticut’s rate of fully vaccinated people rose above 70%)

395. There has been an increase in tuberculosis in 2020.

         Q:  There was a reduction in flu cases last year; how have other respiratory cases fared?

         A:  Deaths from tuberculosis, the world’s largest infectious disease killer until the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, have increased for the first time in more than a decade, totaling more than 1.5 million people in 2020.  The W.H.O. estimates this will increase even more in 2021 and again in 2022.  Malaria and HIV are among the other diseases the World Health Organization predicts will also increase.  The cause for this is the current emphasis directing manpower and testing activities toward this new disease – Covid-19.  “This is alarming news that must serve as a global wake-up call for the urgent need for investments and innovation to close the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected by this ancient but preventable and treatable disease,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, MD, the W.H.O.’s director general, said in a statement.  One of many hopes for the future rests on the progress made in the development of mRNA vaccines and other therapeutics.  Just last week, a vaccine for malaria was announced, and research is well along for a vaccine for HIV.  Maybe also of TB as well, somewhere down the line.

 

 

 

“We’ll Build a Land: Cultivating Relationships Towards the 8th Principle” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, October 24, 2021

Gathering Music (Begins at 9:50)

Welcome and Announcements   (Sheila Foran, Sunday Services Committee)

Centering   (Sheila Foran)

Prelude

“The Leaves are Falling”
by Mary Bopp

Cultivating Relationships and the Eighth Principle (Sheila Foran)

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association,
covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by
working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions
that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and
our institutions

Chalice Lighting & Opening Words  (Rev. Christopher Long)
Words by The Rev. Barbara Wells       

O Spinner, Weaver of our lives
Your loom is love.
May we who are gathered here
be empowered by that love
to weave new patterns of Truth
and Justice into a web of life that is strong,
beautiful and everlasting.

Opening Hymn

“We’ll Build a Land”
#121 in Singing the Living Tradition
Words by Barbara Zanotti, Music by Carolyn McDade
Performed by Sandy Johnson

We’ll build a land where we bind up the broken.
We’ll build a land where the captives go free,
where the oil of gladness dissolves all mourning.
Oh, we’ll build a promised land that can be.

(Chorus) Come build a land where sisters and brothers,
anointed by God, may then create peace:
where justice shall roll down like waters,
and peace like an ever-flowing stream

We’ll build a land where we bring the good tidings
to all the afflicted and all those who mourn.
And we’ll give them garlands instead of ashes.
Oh, we’ll build a land where peace is born.

(Chorus) Come build a land where sisters and brothers,
anointed by God, may then create peace:
where justice shall roll down like waters,
and peace like an ever-flowing stream.

We’ll be a land building up ancient cities,
raising up devastations from old;
restoring ruins of generations.
Oh, we’ll build a land of people so bold.

(Chorus) Come build a land where sisters and brothers,
anointed by God, may then create peace:
where justice shall roll down like waters,
and peace like an ever-flowing stream.

Come, build a land where the mantles of praises
resound from spirits once faint and once weak;
where like oaks of righteousness stand her people.
Oh, come build the land, my people we seek.

(Chorus) Come build a land where sisters and brothers,
anointed by God, may then create peace:
where justice shall roll down like waters,
and peace like an ever-flowing stream.

Meditation  (Rev. Christopher Long)

Joys & Concerns  (Sheila Foran)

Offering  (Sheila Foran)

For the month of October, the recipient of our community outreach offering is the University of Connecticut Native American Cultural Programs.

Offering Music    

“We’ll Build a Land ”
(Original composition by Mary Bopp)

Sermon:  “We’ll Build a Land”  (Rev. Christopher Long)

Closing Hymn

“Building a New Way”
#1017 in Singing the Journey
Words and Music by Martha Sandefer
Performed by Sandy Johnson

We are building a new way.
We are building a new way.
We are building a new way,
feeling stronger ev’ry day,
We are building a new way.

We are working to be free.
We are working to be free.
We are working to be free,
hate and greed and jealousy.
We are working to be free.

We can feed our every need.
We can feed our every need.
We can feed our every need,
Start with love, that is the seed.
We can feed our every need.

Peace and freedom is our cry.
Peace and freedom is our cry.
Peace and freedom is our cry
Without these, this world will die
Peache and freedom is our cry.

Extinguishing the Chalice and Closing Words (Rev. Christopher Long)
Words by Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz

This is the mission of our faith:
To teach the fragile art of hospitality;
To revere both the critical mind
and the generous heart;
To prove that diversity need not
mean divisiveness;
And to witness to all that we
Must hold the world in
our hands

Closing Circle    (Sheila Foran)
May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

Postlude  (Mary Bopp)

Virtual Coffee Hour and Zoom Breakout Rooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — October 20, 2021

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

386. One should understand statistics before leaping to conclusions.

         Q:  I read that Connecticut has reached 80% vaccinations.  Are we at herd immunity?

         A:  No.  Newspapers reported last week that 80% of the people eligible for vaccinations have been vaccinated.  This looks great and reassuring, as it was intended when it was published.  But it is of little value to demonstrate the progress of the disease.  With children under the age of 12 not yet eligible for vaccinations, they were not considered in that metric.  That 80% of the people does not include an estimated 380,000 kids.   Herd immunity is when enough people who can pass the virus on to others reach a critical level, perhaps as low as 80%.  Children under age 12 can pass the disease on to others, and they would have to be included in a statistic that tracks the progress in containing the pandemic.  One official estimate for how many are fully vaccinated in Connecticut is about 70%.  The current caseload of about 12 newly infected people every day for every 100,000 population illustrates we have a way to go before we will reach herd immunity.

387. It is alleged that Moderna is prioritizing its vaccine for profits by limiting its distribution to the poor.

         Q: How do pharmaceutical companies recover their costs for developing their vaccines??

         A:  In the current push for Covid-19 vaccines, the federal government provided millions of dollars to several companies to develop and test their vaccine products.  Normally, pharmaceutical companies recover their research and development costs by charging for the drugs they develop.  Protective patents on new drugs prevent their formulas from being copied by others, which allows them to be offered as lower-cost generic medications.  The retail costs of pharmaceuticals and the profits of drug companies have always been controversial.  Last week, the New York Times published an article that Moderna’s mRNA Covid vaccine is being supplied to wealthy countries, making billions of dollars while keeping poorer countries waiting.  Moderna has shipped a greater share of its doses to wealthy countries than any other vaccine manufacturer according to Airfinity, a data firm that tracks vaccine shipments.  “They are behaving as if they have no responsibility beyond maximizing their return on investment,” said Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC.  Moderna executives have said they are doing all they can to manufacture more of their doses, but have limited capacity.  Unlike other pharmaceutical companies, Moderna does not sell other medications in other countries, and they are heavily reliant on income from their vaccine to sustain their continued existence.   The controversy has reached a high point over the past few weeks with President Biden publicly demanding that all vaccine manufacturers, especially Moderna, need to invest in expanding their production capacity for manufacturing more Covid-19 vaccine doses.

388. The NBA is showing it is serious about players getting vaccinated.

         Q:  Why are some sports figures not getting vaccinations?

         A:  Kyle Irving is an important member of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team.  When he was asked by the NBA if he had already been vaccinated against Covid, he became evasive.  The problem initially was that New York had passed a requirement that everyone entering facilities such as sports arenas be at least partially vaccinated.  Kyle refused to show proof of his vaccination and was initially told he could only play in games away from home.  He would not be able to be present at the 41 scheduled home games.  The NBA has since given Kyle a choice to get vaccinated or take the entire 2021-2022 season off.  Kyle has a reputation of being a contrarian and not always following all the rules.  But if he sits out the season, it could hurt the Nets’ chances of gathering another NBA championship, and diminish his future chances to play professionally.  Time will tell what his future will be.

389. Anchorage is in turmoil over passing a mask mandate.

         Q:  What is going on in Anchorage, Alaska?  I hear that they can’t even pass a mask mandate locally?

         A:  The Associated Press has been reporting on the political repercussions in Anchorage over requiring masks to be worn indoors.  Alaska has been reporting the highest prevalence of Covid-19 in the United States.  The surge of patients more than a week ago caused the major medical center, Providence Alaska Medical Center, to revert to “crisis standards of care.”   As this is the primary tertiary care hospital in the state, receiving patients from other state hospitals, all the feeder hospitals have, of necessity, also shifted to their “crisis standards of care.”  This has affected more than Covid-19 patients.  Heart surgeries have been canceled to preserve resources for those “more likely to survive.”  Specific instances have been reported.  One patient who needed emergency surgery was not attended to.  A second was taken off dialysis because someone else needed it.  In both cases, the patients who were denied care died.

Anchorage has about 40% of the state’s population.  The state’s governor and local mayor are both against mask mandates, reflecting the vocal minority who are aggressively and vocally opposed to such measures.  But the local governing Assembly, starting in September, held hearings proposing to pass a local ordinance mandating all adults to wear masks indoors.  The proposed ordinance did provide for religious and medical exemptions.  During these hearings, several disruptions occurred.  Police arrested one armed person.  Protesters appeared wearing Stars of David comparing mask requirements to the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust.  Many who offered testimony issued bold threats to the Assembly members, individually threatening physical violence and property destruction for proposing this mandate.  Last Tuesday, the Assembly voted 9 to 1 to adopt the mandate.  The Mayor, Dave Bronson, vetoed this ordinance the next day, but the Assembly immediately scheduled a meeting to vote to turn down this veto.  Polling shows that a majority of the public supports this mask-wearing mandate.  On Thursday last week, the Assembly voted 9-2 to override the mayor’s veto.  That public meeting was attended by many advocates as well as opponents and was much less anger-ridden.  Many showing signs that stated, “Thank You!”  The now-approved mandate will be due to expire in just 60 days, and also contains a provision the if two of the three hospitals in Anchorage return to normal standards of care for 14 days, the restriction will end earlier.  The vicious anger displayed by the minority is causing great concern over how well this mandate will be followed.

390. Texas ban on any vaccination mandates is challenged by big business.

         Q:  How will corporations who are for vaccination mandates handle Texas’ ban on them?

         A:  Texas governor, Greg Abbott, a strong opponent of vaccine mandates, issued a state order last Monday saying that inoculations against coronavirus should always be voluntary.  His order mandates that no “entity” (business, organization, or group) in Texas can mandate vaccinations for their employees or for people who attend or engage in any offerings provided by these groups.  No requiring service employees to be vaccinated.  No restricting of attendance at sports events, no requiring a vaccination to eat in restaurants or do shopping in stores.   This pitted businesses against the ruling when nationally, employees who hire more than 100 people must conform to OSHA requirements to provide a safe workplace by mandating vaccinations. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, based in Texas, stated last Tuesday they would not comply with an order from the governor of Texas barring private employers from requiring vaccines.  The Greater Houston Partnership, a business group that includes Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and JP Morgan as members, also came out against the governor’s order saying it “does not support Texas business’ ability and duty to create a safe workplace.”

“Texas has just set itself up for a grand political show, but not a potentially legally sound initiative to stop all vaccine mandates,” said James Hodge, the director of the Center for Public Health Law and Policy at Arizona State University.  “It boils down to a lot more politics than law.”  He reflected, “Courts in the US have a long history of upholding vaccine mandates, and of ruling that protecting public health takes precedence over personal choice.”

 

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — October 13, 2021

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

381. Experts warn it’s that time of year to get a flu shot

         QWill it be like last year when few people came down with the flu?

         A:  Probably not.  Last year, as the pandemic was surging and before vaccines were available, the public was getting used to mitigation measures including lockdowns, wearing masks, hand washing and social distancing.  An unexpected benefit of these measures was that the seasonal flu was also constrained.  The number of flu cases in the 2020-2021 season was the lowest in the last 23 years.  Like Covid-19, influenza is a respiratory infection transmitted through the air.  This year, with many states loosening their mitigation measures for Covid, the flu is easier to pass along.  “This year we are guaranteed to have the flu, and we are going to have some version of a ‘twindemic,’” said William Schaffner, MD, the medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.  “It could really further strain an already extraordinarily stretched, tired-to-the-bone health care system.”

Clarification of several concerns about flu have been offered by infection control experts:

  • Everyone over the age of 6 months, with a few exceptions, should get the flu shot.
  • The flu runs from October through May. Now is the time to be vaccinated.
  • It takes about 2 weeks after getting a flu shot before immunity is established.
  • Both the Covid-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine are needed to avoid this “twindemic.”
  • You can get both vaccines at the same time.
  • Children and pregnant women should get the flu vaccine.
  • Immunity is transferred through the placenta to the unborn child.
  • Antibiotics are not effective against either Covid-19 or seasonal influenza.

Dr. Schaffner stated the coronavirus and influenza viruses causing illness have one thing in common: “We can’t shut it off like a light switch.  But we can dim it.”

382. More than 120,000 American children lost a parent or caregiver to Covid-19

         Q: How many American children have lost a parent due to the pandemic?

         A:  Last Thursday, the medical journal Pediatrics published a study that found the number of U.S. children orphaned may be larger than previously estimated, and that the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans.  One of the study’s authors, Alexandra Blenkinsop, MD, of Imperial College London said in a recent statement, “These findings really highlight those children who have been left most vulnerable by the pandemic.”  During 15 months of the nearly 19-month Covid-19 pandemic, more than 120,000 U.S. children lost a parent or grandparent who was a primary provider of financial support and care, the study found.  Another 22,000 children experienced the death of a secondary caregiver.  Researchers estimate the Covid-19 drove a 15% increase in orphaned children, many requiring foster care.  About 32% of all kids who lost a primary caregiver were Hispanic, and 26% were Black.  Hispanic and Black Americans make up much smaller percentages of the population than that.  White children accounted for 35% of kids who lost primary caregivers, even though more than half of the population is white.

383. Other nations are dealing with vaccine mandates in similar ways.

         Q:  Are other countries mandating Covid-19 vaccines like we are?

         A:  Reuters News Service last week published a summary of how several other countries are requiring their citizens to be vaccinated.  In the past, nearly everyone accepted the premise of public health – that the inconvenience for some taking mitigation steps against infectious disease was valued as a protection of the community – the public health.  The Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. saw an emerging counter to that premise by large numbers of people agitating, demonstrating, even taking violent action to “preserve their personal freedom,” and refusing getting their shots.  It turns out that many other nations are facing similar opposition, requiring alternative steps to achieve an effective level of immunity in the population.

Countries that have mandated vaccinations:

  • For everyone (over age 18) – Indonesia, Micronesia, Turkmenistan.
  • For all workers, or workers in companies over an identified number of employees – Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United States.
  • For all healthcare workers – Britain, France, Greece, Hungary.
  • For all nationally/federally employed persons – Canada, Costa Rica, Fiji, United States.
  • For workers and passengers on planes, trains and marine transportation – Canada, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkey.
  • For those caring for the elderly – Australia, Tasmania.
  • For patrons entering restaurants, cinemas and other venues – Britain. Canada, Greece, Lebanon, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland.
  • For school teachers, staff and/or students – Turkey.

For some of these categories, the United States is encouraging state and local jurisdictions, such as school boards corporations and community officials to create the mandates.  The diversity of effort internationally requires anyone traveling to a foreign country to check ahead of time to determine the current requirements for visitors.

384. Over 5,000 college students in Connecticut do not have to be vaccinated.

        Q:  How many Connecticut college students have been granted non-medical exemptions?

        A:  The Hartford Courant published an article this last Sunday that reported that 15% of the 37,116 students currently enrolled at Connecticut community colleges have received non-medical exemptions from being vaccinated.  These 5,479 students are all eligible for receiving a vaccination and have no medical condition preventing this.  But they do not have to get their shots.  The form the students were required to fill out before registering asked simply if they preferred to receive a medical or non-medical exemption.  No explanation was given as to limitations or definitions of a non-medical exemption.  Those not wanting a vaccine, or just not wanting to exert the effort to get one, were thus able to be excused.  Of course, this reduces the number of vaccinated people in the state and increases the risk to others who aren’t vaccinated, and for “breakout” infections to those who are.  Leadership is working to educate the non-medically exempt people to encourage them to get vaccinated anyway.  A review of this process may lead to a revision this winter as the second-semester registrations begin.

385. Iranians turn to Black Market for vaccines as Covid-19 deaths spiral upward.

         Q:  Are there countries that are not getting enough vaccine doses to meet their demand?

         A:  One interesting case study is worth reviewing.  In January, 2021, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suddenly announced that foreign-made Covid-19 vaccines were “forbidden” as they were “completely untrustworthy.”  Nine months later, the country is suffering its greatest surge and a record number of deaths per day.  The nation’s healthcare system is near collapse.  Patients are told to stay home if they became ill. And “do what they can to not get exposed,” said one hospital physician in Tehran.  The scale of the crisis is such that doctors feel they have no choice but to speak out about it openly.  This is a regime that ordinarily does not tolerate dissent.

Since the early days of the pandemic, Iranian officials have declined to cooperate with the World Health Organization.  Added to this are the crippling sanctions levied against Iran that have starved the nation’s healthcare system of resources.  As a result, foreign transactions with Europe and other countries are hampered.  With less than 5% of its 80 million population fully vaccinated, Covid-19 has been surging rapidly out of control.  In August, Khamenei partly reversed his mandate, although he still forbids vaccines produced by the United States and the United Kingdom.  This opened up a lucrative and corrupt black market for vaccines that are only affordable to the well-off.  The drugs can cost the equivalent of $400 – $1,200 per dose (when the average monthly salary is between $150 – $250).

A “corrupt medical mafia” has emerged as the country is dealing with a “scarcity of everything.”  Many lay blame at the foot of the repressive national government, but with its aggressive reaction to dissent, there is little that can be done as the pandemic rages out of control.

“Flipping on the Hive Switch” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, October 17, 2021

Gathering Music (Mary Bopp) (Begins at 9:50)

Welcome and Announcements (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Centering

Prelude

Chalice Lighting

Opening Words and Chant

 “Turn Scarlet, Leaves!”
words by Raymond J. Baughan
#485 in Singing the Living Tradition
music by Mary Bopp
led by Rev. Josh Pawelek

Turn scarlet, leaves! Spin earth!
Tumble the shadows into dawn
Tumble the shadows into dawn

Opening Hymn 

“There is More Love Somewhere”
African American Hymn
#95 in Singing the Living Tradition
led by Rev. Josh Pawelek

There is more love somewhere.
There is more love somewhere.
I’m gonna keep on ‘til I find it.
There is more love somewhere.

There is more hope somewhere…

There is more peace somewhere…

There is more joy somewhere…

Meditation

“In Gatherings”
by Rev. Marta Valentín
from Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood, ed. by Kayla Parker

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Offering

The recipient of our community outreach offering is the University of Connecticut’s Native American Cultural Program or NACP. NACP provides resources, services and community for UCONN’s Native and Indigenous students and faculty, helps foster relationships with local tribal nations, and works towards building good relations between UCONN and the land.

Offering Music

“Get Together”
by the Youngbloods
performed by Pat Eaton-Robb

Reading
excerpt from The Extended Mind
by Annie Murphy Paul

Sermon “Flipping on the Hive Switch” (Rev. Josh Pawelek)

Closing Hymn

“Come Sing a Song With Me”
words and music by Carolyn McDade
led by Rev. Josh Pawelek

Come, sing a song with me,
come, sing a song with me,
come, sing a song with me,
that I might know your mind.

Chorus:
And I’ll bring you hope
when hope is hard to find,
and I’ll bring a song of love
and a rose in the wintertime.

Come, dream a dream with me,
come, dream a dream with me,
come, dream a dream with me,
that I might know your mind.

(Chorus)

Come, walk in rain with me,
come, walk in rain with me,
come, walk in rain with me,
that I might know your mind.

(Chorus)

Come, share a rose with me,
come, share a rose with me,
come, share a rose with me,
that I might know your mind.

(Chorus)

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come.

Postlude

Virtual Coffee Hour and Zoom Breakout Rooms

“The Art of Self-Compassion” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, October 10, 2021

 

Gathering Music – Mary Bopp, Director of Music

Welcome & Announcements – Stacey Musulin, Member, Sunday Services Committee

Centering – Martha Larson, Co-Chair, Sunday Services Committee

Prelude Music – Sung by the Manchester Women’s Sacred Singing Circle

“Gentle Chant”
by Karen Drucker

“I Am”
by Linda J. Smith

Chalice Lighting & Opening Words – Martha Larson

#448 in Singing the Living Tradition
by Christine Robinson

We gather this hour as people of faith
With joys and sorrows, gifts and needs.

We light this beacon of hope,
sign of our quest for truth and meaning,
in celebration of the life we share together

Opening Hymn

“How Could Anyone”
Words and Music by Libby Roderick
#1053 in Singing the Journey
Led by Jeannette LeSure

How could anyone ever tell you
you were anything less than beautiful?

How could anyone ever tell you
you were less than whole?

How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle?
How deeply you’re connected to my soul.
(repeat)

Reading 1: What is Self-Compassion?

Excerpts from This Difficult Thing of Being HumanThe Art of Self Compassion by Bodhipaksa
Compiled and read by Stacey Musulin

Musical Meditation – Mary Bopp

Reading 2:

Excerpt from The Beauty of the Mosaic
by Rosalind Chai
Read by Martha Larson
Mosaics by Nancy Madar

Musical Meditation – Mary Bopp

Introductions, Joys, and Concerns – Stacey Musulin

Musical Response – Mary Bopp

Offering – Martha Larson

Offering Music

Empathy
Written by Alanis Morrisette and Guy Sigsworth
Performed by Sandy Johnson (vocals) and Dan Thompson (keyboards & video)

Introduction to Speakers – Martha Larson

Speaker 1Reflections on Mosaics by Nancy Madar

Speaker 2One Journey to Self-Compassion by Stacey Musulin

Closing Hymn

“Filled with Loving Kindness”
Adapted by Mark W. Hayes/Music by Ian W. Riddell
#1031 in Singing the Journey
Led by Jeannette LeSure

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be whole.

May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well.
May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be whole.

May we be filled with loving kindness.
May we be well.
May we be filled with loving kindness.
May we be well.
May we be peaceful and at ease.
May we be whole.

Closing Words & Extinguishing the Chalice – Martha Larson

#686 in Singing the Living Tradition (first and last paragraphs)
by Mark L. Belletini

Go in peace. Live simply, gently, at home in yourselves.
Act justly.
Speak justly.
Remember the depth of your own compassion.
Forget not your power in the days of your powerlessness.

Crave peace for all people in the world, beginning with yourselves,
And go, as you go, with the dream of that peace alive in your heart.

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
and hope for the community of Earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come. 

Postlude (Mary Bopp)

Virtual Coffee Hour / Breakout Rooms

Service Co-Coordinators: Stacey Musulin and Martha Larson

Technical Operations & Contributions: Jane Osborn, Stan McMillen, and Jessey Ina-Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — October 6, 2021

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

376. “Merck says it has the first antiviral pill found to be effective against Covid.”

         Q:  Is it true there’s a pill out now that can cure Covid-19?

         A:   The headlines loudly proclaimed the “first antiviral pill found to be effective against Covid.”  This took place even before Merck, the pharmaceutical company that developed the drug, has even submitted their data to the scientists at the FDA to begin the process for gaining authorization for its use.  One of the reasons drug companies declare their products effective “by press release” is to create demand for their products, even if they can’t yet be used, even before the unbiased FDA scientists have had the chance to determine their risks and effectiveness.  This new drug gets its name from Norwegian folklore.  Thor was the god associated with storms and thunder and was seen as a protector of humanity.  He is known for carrying a potent weapon – symbol of his mighty power – a war hammer.  In the old-Norse language, this hammer was known as the Mjolnir.  One can sense the marketing discussions behind naming this new pharmaceutical “mulnupiravir” even if it is difficult to pronounce.  Strength.  Protector of mankind.  And, it is worth noting, several other companies are well along in developing and conducting clinical trials of similar oral drugs that can reduce the disease’s ability to become life-threatening.  Hence the need to publicize it early, before the others have the chance.

In Merck’s reports on the initial clinical trial, 775 people in America and overseas had volunteered who were recently infected with Covid-19.  They were divided into two groups.  Half was given the mulnupiravir, and the other half was given a placebo.  Seven percent in the treatment group were hospitalized, but none died.  So, it isn’t “ a cure.”  In the placebo group, there were 8 deaths.  The clinical trial was stopped early because the benefits to those being treated were so significant, it was deemed unethical to deny those in the placebo group its benefits.

The drug was designed to stop the coronavirus from replicating in the infected host by inserting errors in its genetic code. When approved, physicians can prescribe this drug and patients can pick it up at the local drugstore.  The proposed dosage would be taking 4 capsules twice a day for five days. The cost is expected to be $700 per patient.   In anticipation of final approval, the federal government has contracted to purchase 1.7 million courses of therapy to make this drug available   Because it has not yet applied for authority to distribute and use this drug, it is estimated it won’t be available for sick patients until the end of this year – if not later.

377. California mandates vaccinations for all school staff and children statewide.

         Q: Is the decision to require vaccinations in schools always left to local officials?

         A:  Governor Gavin Newsom of California said last Friday that the state would phase in a statewide requirement that all staff including teachers, paraprofessionals, and bus drivers, and all students in all schools must be vaccinated.  Recognizing that vaccinations have yet to be approved for students ages 5 to 12, the state will phase in its mandate for the start of the next school term (January 1 or July 1).  Other states and districts including Washington State, Oregon, and New York City have announced similar rules, but California is the first to create a state-wide mandate for Covid vaccinations.

378. America’s death rate leads all other countries with ample supplies of vaccine.

         Q:  Is our death rate higher or lower than in other countries?

         A:  Last week on Friday, the U.S. reached a total of 700,000 deaths from Covid-19.  Other countries have exceeded this number of deaths.  But when measuring the number of deaths per 100,000 of their citizens, America has the highest death rate.  This is seen to be the result of two factors: the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant last spring, and the politicization of vaccination making large numbers of people in the U.S. unwilling to be vaccinated.   An overwhelming number of U.S. deaths in the last few months have been unvaccinated people, in spite of an abundance of vaccine doses being available at no cost throughout the country.  Out of every 100,000 people who died of Covid since last June, only an estimated 2,900 people were vaccinated. The Covid-19 pandemic has now killed more Americans than died in the influenza pandemic of 1918 and 1919 (about 6675,000 people).   Most of the deaths in the last three-and-half months were concentrated in the south in states with low vaccination rates.

379. Summer sleep-over camps this summer were mostly free of Covid-19.

         Q:  How many summer camps had to close because of COVID this past summer?

         A:  The CDC released a report on camping this past Friday.  It reported that camps that maintained a high vaccination rate for staff and eligible children and did continuous testing for everyone largely stamped out the spread of coronavirus this summer.  But the CDC continued that those summer camps in the less vaccinated Southern states and in the Mountain West that failed to mandate shots for staff or require masks for indoor gatherings remained vulnerable to outbreaks.

Two studies were used by the CDC to contrast the effectiveness of different mitigation levels.  One study looked at 9 camps that mandated vaccines and mask-wearing indoors, A total of 93% of the eligible campers and staff had received their shots.  Only 9 Covid cases were found among the 7,000 campers and staff.  Several of these cases were related to staff visiting sites away from camp on their days off.  The second study examined outbreaks at 28 camps in Louisiana.  Half were sleep-over and half-day camps.  Of all the camps, only one camp mandated vaccinations and one required masks to be worn indoors.  On average, each of these outbreaks involved 12 cases, all attributed to the Delta variant.  Of the 135 infected campers eligible to be vaccinated, 133 had not taken their shots.  All the staff members who became sick had not been vaccinated.

380. Broadway opens its theaters, and then Covid surfaced.

         Q:  We were disappointed when a reopened Broadway production was canceled.  What is going on?

         A.  Last week, several Broadway plays and productions opened in New York City.  All actors, crew members, as well as audiences, are required to be fully vaccinated, and be tested.  One show, Disney’s production of Aladdin, illustrates the complexity of managing risk on Broadway during this pandemic.  Aladdin’s last show was in March 2020.  Rehearsals and planning for a reopening started early.  Its first show in the New Amsterdam Theater opened last week Tuesday.  After that show, several people tested positive for Covid-19.  All those who tested positive had been previously vaccinated and these new cases were “breakthrough” illnesses.  An epidemiologist who was working on the show ordered the show closed after a single day of reopening.  This will allow those testing positive to remain in isolation for the minimum 12 days.  Its second performance is scheduled for October 12.  Disney said it was refunding purchased tickets.

Some other productions have had cast and crew members testing positive, but by using understudies and substitute crew members have been able to maintain continuous performances.

The Broadway League announced last Friday an extension of their vaccine and masking requirements through the end of 2021.  This will apply to all 41 Broadway theaters.  Patrons over the age of 12 must be vaccinated, while testing is required for those 12 and under, and all attendees must wear masks.

“Cultivating Relationship” — UUS:E Virtual Worship, October 3, 2021

Gathering Music  (Mary Bopp) (Begins at 9:50)

Welcome (Gina Campellone, UUS:E Director of Religious Education)

Announcements (Rev. Josh Pawelek, UUS:E Minister)

Centering (Gina Campellone)

Prelude 

Chalice Lighting and Opening Words

“A Harvest of People”
by the Rev. Max Coots
spoken by Mary Heaney and Gina Campellone

Opening Hymn

“Enter, Rejoice, and Come In
by Louise Ruspini
#361 in Singing the Living Tradition
led by Rev. Josh Pawelek

Enter, rejoice, and come in.
Enter, rejoice, and come in.
Today will be a joyful day;
enter, rejoice, and come in.

Open your ears to the song…

Open your hearts ev’ryone…

Don’t be afraid of some change…

Enter, rejoice, and come in…

Story

The Rabbit Listened
by Cori Doerrfeld
read by Gina Campellone

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Joys and Concerns

Musical Meditation (Mary Bopp)

Offering

Fifth Sunday collection: For this morning’s Community Outreach offering, we will be donating the entire collection to disaster relief.  Half will go to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund which allows the UUA to respond flexibly to current disaster needs as well as to new emergency situations as they arise. The other half will go to the UUSC whose relief program seeks to remove barriers to federal aid for communities most impacted by the climate crisis. Both organizations work with local partners to provide fair and equitable access to assistance.

Offering Music

Reflections on Cultivating Relationship

Featuring: Maverick, Elliot, Mazzy, Valentina, Bill, Louisa, Mary, Gina and Josh

Closing Hymn

“Break Not the Circle”
words by Fred Kaan, music by Thomas Benjamin
#323 in Singing the Living Tradition
led by Rev. Josh Pawelek

Break not the circle of enabling love
where people grow, forgiven and forgiving;
break not that circle, make it wider still,
till it includes, embraces all the living.

Come, wonder at this love that comes to life,
where words of freedom are with humor spoken,
and people keep no score of wrong and guilt,
but will that human bonds remain unbroken.

Join then the movement of the love that frees,
till people of whatever race or nation
will truly be themselves, stand on their feet,
see eye to eye with laughter and elation.

Extinguishing the Chalice

Closing Circle

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope for the community of earth
And love of the light in each other
Be ours now, and in all the days to come. 

Postlude

Virtual Coffee Hour / Breakout Rooms

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — September 29, 2021

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

371. Authentic pandemic forms and accountability for forgeries

         Q:  I heard that someone bought a forged CDC vaccine card.  Is this legal?

         A:   The lack of a national data system documenting records of vaccine shots being given prevents the creation of a national “vaccine passport.”  The CDC has printed 3” x 4” copies of its “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.” Quantities were given to each group of vaccinators to hand out to people receiving their shots.  This is the only federally issued form one can use to prove they are vaccinated.  It has no photograph to identify the person showing the card is the person who received the vaccine.  It is easy to make a forgery.

Initially, the FBI warned the public against making and selling blank cards.  In April 2021, 40 state attorneys general warned online shopping platforms and social media against selling blank or fraudulently completed forms.  It has since been determined that making or using fake CDC vaccinated cards is a violation of the law prohibiting the wrongful use of government seals.  The cards have the CDC and DHHS government seals on them.  The penalty is up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine.  Arrests and prosecutions have followed and effective accountability has been established.

What about the falsely documented medical or religious exemption forms?  In a similar manner, as above, completion of the required forms can lead to legal consequences.  On February 16, 2021, the Medical Board of California revoked the medical license of Ken Stoller, MD for writing medical exemptions from school vaccinations for 10 students without first examining the students – and charging each $100.  Just last week in Connecticut, the State Medical Examining Board suspended the medical license of retired doctor Sue McIntosh of Durham.  The Department of Public Health said McIntosh signed and mailed out blank vaccine and mask exemption forms without examining the patient.  The statement of charges goes on to say in some cases, McIntosh didn’t even know the patients.

The issue of religious exemptions is more difficult.  The problem is differentiating between the use of the exception based on formal teachings from an established faith leader and that caused by an ad hoc blend of online conspiracies and misinformation, conservative media, and conversations with like-minded other people.  The conflict is between preserving the well-established “freedom of religion” against “maintaining the public good.”  There are no national standards for individuals to follow to claim this exemption.  Many conservative groups are posting their services to appeal any religious exemptions that are issued.  Many court cases are expected to adjudicate this matter.  Meanwhile, many groups mandating vaccinations are not accepting religious exemptions.  United Airlines recently told workers that those who state a religious exemption will be placed on unpaid leave until Covid safety and testing procedures can be developed.

372. The pandemic is morphing into a new disease: “Post-Vax Covid.”

         Q: How are the new variants and increasing vaccinations changing the pandemic?

         A:  Katherine J. Wu, Ph.D., co-authored an electronically published article last week Tuesday that recognizes that the current vaccine diminishes the seriousness and fatality of new cases that are currently identified as “breakout” cases.  “If this virus becomes as inescapable as the culprits behind the common colds and flu,” Katherine states. “we would all have to grapple with one of these infections.”  As Covid-19 continues as an endemic – constantly present but briefer, milder, and less contagious as the pandemic has been for the past 18 months, it will be like the current flu – requiring annual vaccinations but only making people feel ill for few days of sick leave and, except for a small percentage who become hospitalized and may die, recovering without lasting after-effects.  A new situation she refers to as “post-vax covid.”

373. Central Massachusetts is running out of ICU beds

         Q:  Are the only hospitals considering crisis standards of care in Alaska and Idaho?

         A:  One nearby example emerged last week.  The largest hospital network in Central Massachusetts is the UMass Memorial Health Care System.  Last Wednesday, the multiple hospital mid-state group ran out of ICU beds.  “The situation is dire,” said Eric Dickson, MD, president and chief executive of the system.  “I’ve been an emergency physician in (Worcester) for three decades, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” he said.

374. A new CDC report verifies that wearing masks in schools reduces outbreaks.

         Q:  Masks work, people say.  Where’s the scientific proof?

         A:  On September 24, the CDC released a formal report.  In the first month of schools universally reopening, 1,800 schools had to close and go back to remote learning because of the increased number of students who had to stay home because of contact with other(s) who were tested positive.  But this new study also showed that schools that required universal masking were much less likely to see the widespread infection.  Researchers examined two separate studies analyzing overall coronavirus infections in 520 counties with different school masking policies, as well as specific outbreaks in schools in the two largest Arizona districts.  These closures reduced in-person learning hours for more than 933,000          K through 12 students.  Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas each had more than 259 schools closed in August due to outbreaks.  Tennessee closed more than 250 schools.  Both Tennessee and Texas ban school districts from wearing masks, while Georgia and Kentucky allow school districts to decide on their own mask mandates.  In Pima and Maricopa counties in Arizona, Megan John of Arizona State University examined schools that required masks from the first day of school compared to those where mandates were put in place late or not at all.  Of about 1,000 schools in the study, about 48% never required masks, 21% required masks from day one, and 32% required masks after a few days.  The schools requiring everyone (regardless of being vaccinated or not) to wear masks from the first day of school were 3.5 times less likely to have an outbreak than the other schools.  The superintendent of public education in the Arizona Board of Education, Kathy Hoffman said, “It is irresponsible for the state government to stand in the way of local leaders making decisions that protect the health and safety of their students and staff.    …universal masking will continue to be a critical tool in limiting the spread of the virus in our schools.”

375. Updates on Russia’s management of Covid-19

         Q:  How well is Putin managing this disease in Russia?

         ALast week Monday, Russian president, Vladimir Putin attended several in-person meetings including one with president Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a close ally of Russia.  After consultations with medical experts following knowledge that several people at these meetings were infected with coronavirus-19, Putin was advised and he agreed to remain in isolation for a period of time.  The pandemic in Russia is continuing in its severity.  Many citizens are hesitant to take the Russian vaccine, named “Sputnik V.”  This vaccine is recognized as being less effective than any of the approved vaccines used in America.  Russia’s official reported mortality from the coronavirus has been essentially flat at just below 800 deaths per day since July.  The “remarkable stability” of this metric has led to many speculations it is a manufactured number, though officials insist it is accurate.