The UUCWC church building will be closed until further notice;
essential staff and Sunday service leaders only.
Although the church building is closed, we are still doing church, continuing to seek to Create Community, Celebrate Life, Change the World. Staff are working from home but they are in to check on the building and provide Sunday service as needed. They are keeping a watchful eye on our building and grounds, including making minor repairs, scheduling regular inspects, etc., to ensure that everything will be in good condition for our return.
Guidelines Put in Place to Open Church Grounds
In response to a number of requests, the UUCWC Board of Trustees asked our Task Force on Reopening to recommend how we might safely permit groups of members and friends to meet on church grounds. This would not include meetings in the church building, as we are not yet ready to consider that possibility.
The task force reviewed New Jersey and Pennsylvania requirements and CDC guidelines and decided it would be safe to open the grounds only, including the Memorial Garden and Meditation Trail, as long as we adhere to the current published standards. The Board has approved these requirements for use of the church grounds.
Punishment and Universalism
Rev. Kim Wildszewski
I’ve heard from many of you that the sermon from August 16, on Punishment & Universalism, was especially timely and meaningful. Below are excerpts from that sermon. As always, you can listen to it in full on our website under worship and archives. I look forward to your continued reflections.
“I used to think that I was an Ultra Universalist; I used to say that we UUs are Ultra Universalists – because, I’ve always said, we don’t believe in Hell. But I think the questions that have been coming up at these new member classes force us to admit — that’s just not true, is it?
Nature takes, our own wounds turn against us, other people’s actions or inactions bring Hell to this life and this world in every form every day. As Sartre said, Hell is other people. (Now, so is Heaven, but that’s another sermon.) But it’s true that we could quickly name the actors, absences, illnesses, and so much more that bring about turmoil and strife. And guess what, our very own names are likely on someone else’s list!
So the theological statement is wrong: It’s not that we don’t believe in Hell. Because that’s not about belief; that’s about being in the world and living in it with eyes wide open.
What’s so much harder is that God as Love, or Right Behavior Without Fear of Damnation, those are actually statements about punishment. That we don’t believe in punishment — Exclusion, separation, shaming, shredding, calling out for the game of taking down. Our faith tells us we shouldn’t want for punishment.
Sounds right, doesn’t it? Read more…
Robin Pugh, Director of Lifespan Religious Education
I am thinking of all of you as you live in the uncertainty of what the school year brings. Please know that UUCWC is here to help you through this challenging time with support, intention and grace.
Whatever happens in the coming months, we are facing it together with the love and support of everyone in our community. As Kim says, when we worship together virtually, we are both creating a sanctuary and we are a sanctuary. Together we will mourn and ritualize our losses both large and small and offer gratitude where we can. Knowing that we are not alone in this pandemic and that we are with people ready to help if we need, is a comfort and a gift that UUCWC offers us.
The Family Ministry team, Kim and I are considering many options for families to engage with UUCWC in the fall. We will have a 3-month pilot program designed to support parents in bringing Unitarian Universalism in to their homes together with other families. More information about this new program will be available in September. Read more…
Robin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Adult Religious Education Classes
Adult Religious Education classes will resume in September. All classes will be virtual. We are still finalizing some class dates as this article goes to print. For the most up to date information about upcoming classes, see UUCWC’s Wednesday’s Announcements email or https://www.uucwc.org/learning/adult-learning-classes/.
Joinnig UUCWC’s Board of Trustees
Michael Howe-Smith, Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees
As I newbie I can’t speak for other board members, new or old. This is a personal account of my join-up and immersion in the work of the board.
It all began with an e-mail message, asking me if I was willing to accept a nomination to serve on our church board. I thought long and hard about how my skill set might fit with the needs of the board. I looked at our web site and reminded myself of our mission. I downloaded and read our bylaws and I looked up TRUSTEE in my dictionary. There, wedged between pictures explaining the difference between a trumpet and a tuba I found that a trustee is “Each of a body of people, often elective, managing the affairs of an institution such as, for example, a college.” I consulted with a friend whom I trust to give me honest and candid feedback and he encouraged me to accept. So here I am, one of the new kids on the block and, for the first time, reporting back to you, our congregants. Read more…
UU the Vote Update: Relational Organizing and Other Ways to Get Involved
Jamie Evanini, Faith Action Ministry
“Are you registered to vote?”
“Have you requested your vote-by-mail ballot yet?”
These are questions that every UUCWC member and friend will be hearing in the near future — and perhaps you’ve already been asked. As with the CensUUs Texting Team this past May, 30 volunteers are helping the Faith Action Ministry contact every member and friend of our congregation to remind them to register to vote and request a vote-by-mail ballot. (A huge thank you to Michele Ruopp for coordinating this effort!)
You might not be expecting the next question they’ll ask you, though:
“We’re asking everyone to reach out to three friends and family about registering to vote and requesting a vote-by-mail ballot. Can we count on your help?”
As we head into the homestretch of our UU the Vote activities, we urge everyone to not only register and vote, but to take it one step further: get your own friends and family registered to vote, and ready to vote by mail. This is a strategy called relational organizing. Read more…
Capital Project Update
Jayme Trott and Susan Vigilante, Co-Chairs, Capital Campaign/Project
We have little to provide in the way of an update this month, as we continue to WAIT for a number of things.
First, we are waiting for the municipal township to sign off on the UUCWC site plan resolution compliance submission. Unfortunately, there is no “clock” for compliance review. Second, PSE&G acknowledged receipt of our application for service upgrade; we expect a reply in about two weeks.
Finally, we have been repeatedly disappointed with lack of responsiveness and inadequate plans from the mechanical engineer, causing a lot of back-and-forth, weeks and months of waiting for responses and drawings, and substandard work when we receive it. This has been the primary reason we have been unable to reach out to contractors for bids. We are grateful for Lee Schofer’s expert review and recommendations, which will inform our decisions going forward.
On the bright side, we have hired a talented commercial interior designer to advise on exterior and interior finishes. True to our 8th principle, we are very happy that SG23 Design, LLC in Riverton, NJ, is a minority-owned business.
We hope to have timelines for the phases of construction by October. Our optimism in this regard has been sorely challenged, but we persevere.
Thank you so very much to all who have pledged and are continuing to pay their Capital Campaign pledges!
Information on joining Sunday’s 10:00am virtual service will be emailed to you on Saturday.
8th Prniciple Update: Where Are UUs in Adoping Across the Faith?
Holly Bussey, Denominational Affairs
Two years ago, UUCWC voted by a supermajority to adopt the 8th Principle. This vote is an important step in our congregation’s racial justice journey which began back in the 1960’s.
Our faith movement allows congregations to adopt a principle when they are ready, while the discussion of officially changing the Principles as an Association continue.
At this most recent General Assembly (GA), 17 UUCWC-ers attended. The GA Sunday service that all of UUCWC was invited to attend was followed by our “ask me about GA” session. Both attendees and members who joined this discussion asked the question, ”Where is the UUA in adopting this principle?” Read more…
Article II Study Commission
UUA Commission on Institutional Change: Widening the Circle of Concern
UU the Vote, Side With Love, and UUSC invite you to participate in Taking A Collective Breath: Deepening our alignment with the Movement for Black Lives, a five-session webinar series built around the elements of the BREATHE Act and utilize its structure as a way to focus our energies to effectively support ongoing racial justice work.The BREATHE Act seeks to reform federal laws and eliminate funding for federal programs that criminalize Black, Muslim, and immigrant communities, reinvesting our resources in community solutions for education, health, and the environment. Upcoming webinars are on Aug 25, Sept 8, Sept 22, and Oct 13. The first session is available to view. More information here.
Bodo Baltycki, with support of Earth Ministry, is collecting bicycles, including bicycle parts, such as wheels and tires (in decent condition) for donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs Bike Exchange; adult bikes especially needed. Now through September, anyone interested in donating a bike should contact Bodo to make arrangements for drop off/pick-up. (No collections at church.)
COVID-19 has disrupted the programs at HomeFront just as it has the rest of society. They still need volunteer help as they reimagine their programs to be safe for everyone. Read more about how to help.
Please buy local products whenever possible. If you do shop at Amazon, please start your purchase by clicking on the Amazon button at the bottom left of our website (and check out within 24 hours), so UUCWC can receive up to a 4% commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you.
Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing
268 Washington Crossing Pennington Road, Titusville NJ 08560
609-737-0515 | email@example.com | www.uucwc.org