UUSC Emergency Response Fund

UUSC LogoDonating to UUSC’s Emergency Response Fund ensures UUSC is always ready to provide relief, including their developing work to protect the rights of refugees fleeing Ukraine.

In response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, UUSC’s first step is to send emergency relief funding to groups who are working on the ground in Eastern Europe. This will happen quickly as UUSC has existing partners in the area from their Syrian Refugee work. This includes partners such as the Hungarian Helsinki Committee who are already responding to the current crisis by providing free legal assistance, counseling, and representation so that Ukrainian asylum seekers receive temporary protection immediately. Following the relief grants, UUSC’s team will develop a strategy for longer-term recovery alongside these same partners.UUSC Donate Button

Diet for a Small Planet 50th Anniversary Edition

Book Discussion
Diet for a Small Planet 50th Anniversary Edition

Sunday, December 11, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Join the Sustainable Living Committee for a lively discussion of Frances Moore Lappe’s groundbreaking book which sparked the vegetarian movement in 1971. But it’s more than a diet! Lappe, who is also a Unitarian Universalist, shows us how “plant-centered eating can help restore our damaged ecology, address the climate crisis, and move us toward real democracy.” Contact Mary Lawrence ([email protected]) to register. Info: https://www.dietforasmallplanet.org

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 Event!

Lara Herscovitch

Returns for Virtual Benefit Concert at UUS:E

December 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM

Join UUS:E on Zoom to enjoy a live benefit by Lara Herscovitch, former Connecticut State Troubadour. Revel in meaningful and uplifting music by Lara , while you lift Manchester’s youth through donations to Power Up CTs youth program, Empower U.

Lara Herscovitch, singer-songwriter-poet-performer, leads with authenticity, integrity, humor and heart. Acoustic Live in NYC says, “She possesses not only a huge reservoir of musical talent and a voice with a bell-like clarity, but a keen sense of global concern and a fierce intellect… It might seem too good to be true, but true it is.” Her decades-long connection with social justice and the needs of disenfranchised youth match perfectly with Empower U. (http://laraherscovitch.com/)

Proceeds will be donated to Power UP CTs program for Black and Brown Youth in Manchester, Empower U, offering our youth a variety of resources and activities as they recover from the pandemic and systemic racism. Power UP CT amplifies voices within marginalized communities, fosters positive health outcomes and civic engagement, and advocates for social change in Manchester and Connecticut.

To donate and receive your ticket with Zoom link go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lara-herscovitch-in-concert-a-fundraiser-for-empower-u-manchester-tickets-191746487907

Suggested donation: $10.00

For any questions about the concert or Eventbrite, email [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