Small Celebrations – UUS:E Virtual Worship, August 15, 2021

Gathering Music Dorothy Bognar (Scott Joplin: Solace – A Mexican Serenade)

Welcome & Introduction (David Klotz)


Centering (David Klotz)

Prelude Dorothy Bognar (Astor Piazzolla: Dúo 1 from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Opening Words and Chalice Lighting (David Klotz)

Opening Hymn

“Wake Now My Senses” – #298 (gray hymnal)

Led byJeannine Westerbrook.

Wake, now, my senses, and hear the earth call;
feel the deep power of being in all;
keep, with the web of creation your vow,
giving, receiving as love shows us how.

Wake, now, my reason, reach out to the new;
join with each pilgrim who quests for the true;
honor the beauty and wisdom of time;
suffer thy limit, and praise the sublime.

Wake, now, compassion, give heed to the cry;
voices of suffering fill the wide sky;
take as your neighbor both stranger and friend,
praying and striving their hardship to end.

Reading (Beth Hudson-Hankins)

Joys and Concerns (David Klotz)


For the month of August, 2021, our weekly community outreach offering will be split between the MACC food pantry, the Hockanum Valley Food Pantry, and the East of the River Mutual Aid Society.

Offering Music Dorothy Bognar (Astor Piazzolla: Milonga from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

First Speaker: Beth Hudson-Hankins

Second Speaker: Leslie Green

Third Speaker: David Klotz

Closing Hymn

“We laugh, we cry…” – #354 (grey hymnal)

Led by Jeannine Westbrtook

We laugh, we cry, we live, we die; we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here to which we can belong.
We need to feel the freedom just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends we can call our very own.
And we believe in life, and in the strength of love;
and we have found a need to be together.
We have our hearts to give, we have our thoughts to receive;
and we believe that sharing is an answer.

A child is born among us and we feel a special glow.
We see time’s endless journey as we watch the baby grow.
We thrill to hear imagination freely running wild.
We dedicate our minds and heart to the spirit of this child.
And we believe in life, and in the strength of love;
and we have found a time to be together.
And with the grace of age, we share the wonder of youth,
and we believe that growing is an answer.

We seek elusive answers to the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to all the waste of human strife.
We search for truth, equality, and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here, to make sense of what we find.
And we believe in life, and in the strength of love,
and we have found a joy being together.
And in our search for peace, maybe we’ll finally see:
even to question, truly is an answer.

Closing Words & Extinguishing the Chalice (David Klotz)

#681 in the hymnal, adapted from Gaelic runes.

Deep peace of the running wave to you.

Deep peace of the flowing air to you.

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.

Deep peace of the shining stars to you.

Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

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 – Dorothy Bognar (Astor Piazzolla: El Viaje – The Voyage)

Breakout Rooms


A Special Virtual Musical Theater Event!

Kareem's COVID Café CabaretKareem’s COVID Café Cabaret

Friday, July 30th at 7 PM

Kareem’s COVID Café Cabaret (Kareem’s CCC) is a night at the virtual theater, paying homage to musical theatre’s overall inclusive nature. Join Unitarian Universalist Society: East (UUS:E) for a special showing of this Virtual Musical Event!

Kareem Mack previously presented and performed the wonderful concert, “Black Music in Motion” at UUS:E. He now returns with a virtual program he produced and directed.  He and his team have created an hour-long program of solo, small ensemble, large ensemble, and dance numbers from musicals such as Rent, West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors, Once Upon This Island, and more! The cast and executive team of diverse, young artists aim to express the essentiality of music, helping the world to maneuver through trying circumstances like COVID-19.

This broadcast is free of charge, though donations are encouraged to help fund Kareem as he heads to Temple University in Philadelphia to pursue a Master of Music degree in Vocal Arts.

RSVP here to receive your Zoom link:

To view a preview and donate visit:

Questions? Email Kareem at [email protected]

Minister’s Column June 2021

Dear Ones,
Our “Soul Matters” ministry theme for June is play. Although we likely won’t talk about play on a Sunday morning this month, I nevertheless want to commend play to you as a potent spiritual practice. Like prayer, like meditation, like singing, like yoga, like worship, play in its purest form pulls us into the present, focuses our attention, moves us out of our rational minds, moves us into our bodies, and often fills us with joy. Play requires that we set our inhibitions aside, submerge ourselves in the moment, let go of our worries for a time, connect with the child-like aspects of our personality. Play invites us to imagine, to create, to enter worlds of fantasy, to try on different personas, to strategize, to cooperate, to be silly and, again, to be present. As such it is relaxing, rejuvenating, invigorating, uplifting, healing.

I like a quote from the early 20th-century Dutch historian, Johan Huizinga, who said “In play we move below the level of the serious, as the child does; but we can also move above it—in the realm of the beautiful and the sacred.”

How often do you set time aside for play? My own answer is “not enough.” I really do not play enough. My wife and children tell me this quite frequently. “I try to exercise every day,” I often respond. But according to them, exercise doesn’t count. I agree. Exercise is important to health and well-being, and it certainly has a spiritual dimension. But it’s not play.

Our family plays board games or card games every once in a while. We take a trip to the Adventure Park at Storrs a few times a year. We occasionally play bocce in our yard or basketball in our driveway. We occasionally play Dungeons and Dragons. This past Christmas Santa brought us a couple cases of indoor snowballs—very light, very soft, stuffed pieces of white, fluffy fabric. It’s impossible to hurt someone with them, even when throwing very hard at very close range. So now we have indoor snowball fights. I get annoyed when a snowball hits me from out of the blue (especially when I’m trying to work); and I get annoyed when I find snowballs all over the house. But when our lives devolve into full-scale, every-room-in-the-house snowball battles, it’s really fun. We laugh the whole time. We lose ourselves in the moment. That’s when I realize I need more play.

How about you? How do you play? What role does play serve in your life? With whom do you play? When I identify play as a spiritual practice, does that ring true to you? I’d like to know your answers to these questions. Please feel free to share by email at [email protected], or on my home office phone at 860-652-8961.
As a spiritual season, summer offers many opportunities—exploration, growth, relaxation, light, the first harvest. But certainly, summer is a season for play. As summer arrives, I wish for you many, many opportunities to play. May you be pulled into the present, into your body, into your imagination, into your creativity, into new worlds of fantasy, into profound silliness, and even into indoor snowball battles! Amen and blessed be.

With love,
—Rev. Josh

Outdoor Tag Sale

Unitarian Universalist Society: East Tag SaleUnitarian Universalist Society: East
Outdoor Tag Sale

Saturday, September 18, 9 AM – 2 PM (Rain date September 25)

Come find your new treasures!

153 Vernon Street West, Manchester, CT * 860.646.5151

Click here to download the poster and post it around your neighborhood or work. 

Outdoor Tag Sale is fast approaching and we need your help!

  • Set-up day of sale – PLEASE! Starting at 7 AM Saturday
  • Work at the sale on 9/18 – one hour shifts or more
  • Break-down day of sale
  • Take leftover items to donate

Contact Marcie Brown & Sandy Karosi

UU Connect with You

Members of the Pastoral Friends Committee would like to invite you to join us on June 18 (Friday) at 9 AM for a gathering for any members or friends just to chat. This meeting will be in person outside at UUS:E or by Zoom. If the weather is bad, we’ll be all virtual. There is no specific topic; we just wanted to reach out. Please join us.

Pet Paw-ty and “Paws” & Reflect – Two Pet Perfect Events

Pet Paw-ty

Two Pet Perfect Events

We are celebrating our un-fur-gettable friends with two online gatherings We will introduce our pets and share what we love about them.

All area Unitartian Universalist’s are welcome to Come, Sit, and Stay!

Pet Paw-ty – for Kids and Pets, Friday, March 26 at 7 PM

“Paws” and Reflect – Fellowship for Adults & Pets, Saturday, March 27 at 9:30 AM

Register by March 20th to receive the Zoom link. Contact [email protected].

Minister’s Column March 2021

Dear Ones,

Our ministry theme for March is commitment, a very appropriate theme for the month in which we conduct our Annual Appeal. Due to the pandemic, we’ll be conducting the appeal differently this year. Everyone will receive a small packet in the mail with the annual appeal materials. As always, we ask you to consider the value UUS:E holds in your life and your family’s life. In particular, what has it meant to you to be connected to UUS:E over the past year of pandemic and civil unrest? You are always welcome to share your answer to that question with me directly at [email protected] or 860-652-8961. Even if you’ve felt more disconnected during our move to online church, I am always interested to hear from you.

And as always, we ask that you return your pledge form in as timely a manner as possible so the Stewardship Committee can do its work on behalf of the congregation.

The Policy Board’s goals for this year’s appeal are modest. One goal is to insure that we pay our staff in accordance with the UUA’s guidance for our geographic area. A second, stretch goal is to hire, once again, a part-time Membership Coordinator (once we’ve returned to in-person church). While our first attempt with this staff position did not work out, we still feel strongly that a Membership Coordinator can help UUS:E continue to grow—in numbers, in spiritual depth, in participation, in connection. If you have any questions about these goals, please feel free to contact me or any UUS:E board member (listed in the directory.)

It is typical for me to preach an Annual Appeal sermon on the first Sunday in March. This year I will play around with the idea that our faith doesn’t claim to have secret knowledge. We don’t claim to possess some spiritual truth the rest of society doesn’t know. We don’t believe we are favored by God because we confess a certain set of beliefs. We aren’t conspiracy-minded people. Instead, we strive to know and address the world as it is. In an era where fake news, “alternative facts,” opinion masquerading as reporting, and multiple conspiracies abound, a religion that strives to know and address the world as it is holds very high value in my life. I hope and trust it holds such value in your life.

This year, the UUA has created a Stewardship service which we will experiences as a congregation on Sunday morning, March 14. I am very excited for this as one of the service leaders, the Rev. Chris Long, is a dear friend and former mentee of mine. Another service leader, the Rev. Mariela Pérez-Simons, is a former student of mine. Both are fantastic ministers. I can’t wait for all of you to experience their worship ministry.

Once again, please feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk about the value UUS:E holds in your life. Thank you for your continued commitment to UUS:E and your generosity toward this year’s annual appeal. We can’t do what we do without you!!


With love,

—Rev. JoshRev. Joshua Pawelek

Minister’s Column February 2021

Dear Ones,

Our ministry theme for February is beloved community. Upon realizing this, and mindful that February is Black History Month, I found and re-familiarized myself with a book I’d read for a class in seminary, bell hooks’ 1995 Killing Rage: Ending Racism. In the final chapter, called “Beloved Community,” hooks critiques Martin Luther King’s vision of beloved community. King argued that the United States would become a beloved community only when race had been transcended, forgotten, when no one “saw” color anymore. Hooks disagreed. She argued instead that:

Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world. To form beloved community we do not surrender ties to precious origins…. The notion that differences of skin color, class background, and cultural heritage must be erased for justice and equality to prevail is a brand of popular false consciousness that helps keep racist thinking and action intact.

Still powerful words.

I think it’s important for us as a congregation to ask, always, whether our UU church culture tends to erase differences or emphasize and celebrate them. If we tend to erase our differences (for the sake of always getting along, reducing conflict, being “like-minded”) then it’s possible that some of us are keeping important pieces of ourselves out of our community. Is it really safe to talk about one’s mental illness? Or about one’s hidden (or visible) disability? Or about what it’s really like to be an elder (or a youth) in U.S. society? Or about what it’s really like to be a person of color (or a white person) in U.S. society? Or about growing up poor (or wealthy)? Or about coming from a conservative political family? Or from a conservative religious family? Obviously, if there are aspects of ourselves we can’t bring fully into congregational life, that’s not good. It may enable us to avoid conflict and difficult conversations, but I think bell hooks is right: it’s not beloved community.

We are not beginners when it comes to being a beloved community. I can think of many Sunday services, programs, committee meetings and small group meetings over the years when we’ve dug deeply into our differences; when we’ve tried to emphasize and celebrate different perspectives, different cultural backgrounds, different racial identities, different understandings of gender and sexuality, different life experiences. And, of course, we can and must continue to grow in this critical aspect of congregational life. I want UUS:E to be a place where no part of ourselves is left out. Furthermore, I hope we can learn to anticipate the kinds of human differences (different languages, for example) that aren’t currently present at UUS:E. How can we prepare to welcome people whose differences may be keeping them away? (That’s the topic of our February 28 Sunday service with C.B. Beal: “Preemptive Radical Inclusion.”)

No, we’re not beginners when it comes to being a beloved community. But we don’t want to become complacent either. Let’s not underestimate the power of our differences to deepen and strengthen our community. Thanks for the reminder bell hooks!

With love,

—Rev. JoshRev. Joshua Pawelek

Minister’s Column January 2021

Dear Ones,

Our January ministry theme is imagination. From late December to late January, we will have the opportunity to imagine what it means to be one among many Unitarian Universalist congregations in Connecticut. As we did this past August, we’ll be visiting the services of other congregations (Hartford on 12/27, Hamden on 1/3, New London on 1/10, and West Hartford on 1/31.), and they will all be visiting us on 1/24. Not only will this sharing of services provide a wonderful opportunity for us to hear other ministers preach and to experience how other congregations conduct online worship; it will also provide the staff in each of the congregations a much-needed, post-holiday break.

All services will be at 10:00 AM. Login information will be provided in our regular eblasts. On some Sundays we will be logging into our regular UUS:E Virtual Sunday Service Zoom room and watching from there. On other Sundays we will join the host congregation in their Zoom room. We will attempt to be as clear as possible with instructions.


Speaking of imagination… As we enter into 2021, I’m wondering how you imagine life will be different as the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic begin to subside. Of course, we can’t say with complete certainty that things will improve. However, with the arrival of multiple vaccines, and a new administration in Washington, DC that will be much more unified with public health experts in its approach to fighting the virus, it is reasonable to assume that the worst impacts of the virus will be behind us by late spring or early summer. (Geez, that still feels so far away!)

So I’m curious: how will life be different for you? We’ve said many times that “we can’t go back to the old normal.” For me, that statement refers primarily to social, economic and racial conditions in the larger society. The new normal must address fundamental, systemic injustice. Too many lives are at stake. But for the purposes of this column, I’m wondering what you imagine will be different for you specifically? For example, are there new life patterns or rituals you’ve developed during the pandemic that you plan to continue as it subsides? Are there insights you’ve had over the last nine

months—about yourself, your family, your work, your down-time, your spiritual life—that suggest new ways of living once the pandemic winds down? The pressure to return to life as it was will surely be intense. How do we resist that pressure and live our best new normal?

When I say I’m curious, I really mean it. I am inviting each of you to share with me your imagining of how life will be different for you because of something you’ve realized during the pandemic. Send me an email at [email protected]. Or leave a message on my home office phone, 860-652-8961. I look forward to hearing from you.

And lest I forget to say it, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Given how awful 2020 was, I think it’s safe to imagine that 2021 will be better on all fronts! Or here’s another way to look at it: If the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine data are accurate, then 2021 will be at least 94.5% better than 2020! I like those odds.

Amen and blessed be.

With love,

—Rev. JoshRev. Joshua Pawelek

A Virtual Tour of the Bahá’í House of Worship

Bahai House of WorshipThe Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding is pleased to present…

A Virtual Tour of the Bahá’í House of Worship

Steve Sarowitz will guide us on a 40-minute exploration of the Bahá’í Temple and Faith.


JOIN US ON Monday, February 8, 2021 at 5:00-6:30 P.M. EST.

REGISTER AT: The Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding
WWW.CCFIU.ORG by February 5, 2020.