Please join us on Sundays at UUCWC as we strive to Create Community, Celebrate Life, Change the World. Our multi-platform Sunday services may be attended in person or online. If joining us in person, we continue to strongly recommend vaccination against Covid, including booster shots for all persons, but do not require vaccination; masking is optional.
Welcome to CrossCurrents! Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this issue:
The Importance of Having Fun at Church, by Julie Rigano, Director of Family Ministry
Keeping Vigil on Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience,
by Lisa Schilansky, Ministerial Intern
The Gifts of Our Faith, by Colleen McCourt, Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees
We Cherish Your Generosity, by Anne Godlasky, Stewardship Committee
Share Your Fundraising Ideas, by Nick Mellis, Fundraising Committee
Capital Campaign Project News, by Jayme Trott, Capital Campaign
A Good Season of Bike Riding, by Michael Howe-Smith
The Importance of Having Fun at Church
Julie Rigano, Director of Family Ministry
I grew up at church. We went every Sunday. If I had a sleepover at a friend’s house on Saturday night, I was picked up early on Sunday for church. I resented it a little when I was young, but I cherish those memories now. Some of my earliest memories are of swinging on the monkey bars behind the sanctuary or getting a hug from the elders of the church sitting on the porch as we walked in before the service. Before I knew anything about what I believed, I knew two things about church—the people there cared about me, and we had fun together.
This sense of community only solidified for me as I got older—and playing dress up for the Christmas pageant, going to Saturday night folk concerts, or even just playing in childcare with my peers during annual meetings. I deeply felt the community of the church before I could articulate how crucial that community was for my spirituality. It’s why sometimes my heart breaks for our middle school and high school youth who lost these foundational times at church during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Recently, I have been hearing from my colleagues that having friends at church is one of the biggest factors in keeping youth attending church after they have completed Our Whole Lives and Coming of Age classes. The time to build these connections and friendships before eighth grade is the exact time that our middle school and high school youth were forced into Zoom school and online socialization. This is one of the reasons we are morphing our middle school programming into a Junior Youth Group and prioritizing community building. Neighboring Faiths, a program missed by many of our high school youth, will be a part of our high school programming in upcoming years. Before we can delve deeper, we need to first remember that we are a community that cares for one another and has fun together.
When I think about creating a sustainable youth group, I am not only thinking of our middle school and high school youth. Of course, I want to create a good experience for them; I am having a blast getting to know them. Our high school youth feel a deep connection to this church, are eager to assist in this year’s Christmas pageant and to lead a Super Sunday activity for the younger kids. And our middle school youth are eager to learn and explore. They ask questions so thoughtfully; they exude gratitude for your presence to their curiosity.
When I am thinking about creating a sustainable youth group, I am also thinking about the elementary school kids. Are they making connections outside of Sunday morning? Do they like playing together before and after worship? Do we have opportunities for our families to be social together outside of Sunday morning? How are we building a multigenerational community in our congregation that learns from the wisdom in each of us?
So, to finish this article, I share a few pictures of the children and youth in our program having fun this year.
Keeping Vigil on Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience
Lisa Schilansky, Ministerial Intern
On Sunday November 19th, UUCWC came together to observe the International Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience. As Unitarian Universalists, our faith calls us to love, to love with our whole bodies, to love all people and to honor the beautiful individuality of all beings on this earth. When there are people in this world who do not love all people, who do harm to people for being different than themselves, we as a faith community are called to respond, to show up. On that Sunday, we showed up. Over forty people attended the vigil where community members shared their stories. We read aloud the twenty-eight names of the transgender people who died this past year and lit a corresponding candle in their honor. We also sang a meditative hymn and lifted up a prayer by Rev. Sean Parker Dennison.
Together we lived into two of our Unitarian Universalist principles—to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and to live into this interdependent web of which we are a part. This vigil was an important moment in the life of our community, and it was also just the start. We came together to do the holiest thing of all by remembering and witnessing. May we continue to love the truth that lives within all of us, even if it’s not always visible on the outside.
The Gifts of Our Faith
Colleen McCourt, Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees
As we end another year together at UUCWC, I have been reflecting on all the gifts my family and I have received from our church – from the staff, the tech team, committees, and small group ministries – and all of you in our beloved community.
In the past few months alone, I have been particularly aware of the gifts UUCWC provides. I continue to experience a deep connection with my Chalice Circle. My husband, Mike, started a new spiritual journey with Wellspring. On any given Sunday, our kids, Lucy and Elliot, feel at home whether in the service, with their peers and volunteers in youth group, or with all the kids on Super Sunday. As an offshoot of our involvement with the Racial Justice Ministry, we have started attending Freedom Friday open mic nights at the Trenton Museum, to get to know the communities beyond our neighborhood better.
At UUCWC, we recently attended a sobering, powerful, and beautiful vigil for the Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience. We also attended a festive Welcome Table Wednesday potluck and decorated the church to the sounds of a carol sing-along. On both occasions, in both sorrow and joy, the love was palpable.
We have also received the gifts of Sunday services – where our acorns and pumpkin seeds have us thinking about connections to the world around us, where we are gifted with original songs from our talented minister and music director, where we feel a deep sense of connection in the sanctuary or online. These gifts feel unique and specific to UUCWC, bringing us closer together and empowering us to carry the feelings and messages beyond Sunday morning and hold them with us all week (literally – I can’t stop singing those songs or seeing Earth Teachers everywhere!).
When all these elements come together, it can feel like magic. Or, as with December’s monthly theme, like Mystery. And there is probably some truth to that – some magic spark. It’s tempting to see it that way. But on a deeper level, I know that the gifts we receive from UUCWC come from a deeper place than magic, and it’s no mystery. Rather, it’s the result of collective talent, artistry, vision, hard work, intentionality, and collaboration, from our dedicated staff, church leaders and volunteers.
Read more here…
We Cherish Your Generosity
Anne Godlasky, Stewardship Committee
I probably get more emails on Giving Tuesday than any other day of the year. Many include a faux signature from the leader of whatever nonprofit is imploring me. Someone I’ve never met. Inundated with both needs and wants, choosing where to put your resources can be difficult. It’s a lot like parenting. Or, some might say, stewardship – the art and business of caring for something larger than yourself.
When I get a message from UUCWC, I know the person who signed it. And that would likely be true no matter what committee they serve or whether they speak from the pulpit or the Zoom chat. I bet it’s the same for you. You’d know them and know their goal is to make the world more fair and caring. You could count on them to use your contribution wisely, to put it toward our shared values.
Could they count on you?
We hope the answer is a big, joyous YES!
In the spirit of reflection, we invite you to recall the moments of peace, love, and spiritual exploration UUCWC has provided this year. In the spirit of gratitude, we invite you to join us in our Year-End Giving Campaign.
This is an opportunity to support UUCWC’s talented and tireless staff, religious education and enrichment programs, food ministry and other community outreach, and more of the ways in which our church serves as a haven and inspiration.
We cherish your generosity. If you can contribute, please donate via PayPal, Venmo @UUCWC or find instructions for mailing a check or transferring funds in whatever way is most convenient for you at this link.
We are fortunate that many at UUCWC – our dear Rev. Kim included – approach this as a “13th month” and match their usual monthly contribution. As always, every donation – no matter the size – is greatly appreciated.
Wishing you a peaceful holiday season and a New Year filled with hope.
Share Your Fundraising Ideas
Nick Mellis, Fundraising Committee
Nick Mellis has recently taken on the role as chair of the Fundraising Committee. Nick has been one of the three co-organizers of the Cosmic Crossings concert series (along with Mark Pokryska) which has raised $5000 over the years of the concert series. Nick would like to organize other music events with different styles that will draw even more people to the UUCWC community. Send fundraising ideas to Nick at email@example.com.
There is much to be thankful for at UUCWC. As we approach the end of 2023, please give generously to our year-end appeal. We are just under half-way to reaching our goal of $25,000. Read more about the annual appeal and ways to give here.
Capital Campaign Project News
Jayme Trott, Capital Campaign
Our UUCWC family has stepped up for Phase 3 of our Capital Campaign! As of December 1, the total pledged and/or donated is almost $195,000! This amount is two-thirds of the way toward our goal of $300,000. Thank you to everyone for generous one-time donations and for multiple-year pledges. Although our target date for pledges has passed, it’s not too late to contribute to the legacy of UUCWC!
We have been unable to reconcile contractual disagreements with BuildPro and have notified them that we are terminating the contract. We have received bids from two contractors to begin the first phase of construction and are developing a contract for signing shortly.
The demolition phase, which includes excavation and related concrete work, will begin as soon as permits are approved. The second phase will include the rest of the construction; bids are due December 15. Read more here…
Candles were lit and name cards read during the November 19th vigil in honor of transgender people who died by violence in 2023.
UUCWC member Donna Miller has organized the annual holiday plant sale for more than twenty years! We owe Donna a big thank you for her tireless fundraising efforts that add seasonal beauty to our homes.
A Good Season of Bike Riding
We formed our group of UU bicyclists a few months ago. Already we have twenty-six members and have completed five group rides. A typical ride starts somewhere where parking is convenient and rides, at a moderate pace, along safe roads and trails, with a stop for lunch. Recently, Regina Zilinski led a ride along the Delaware Heritage Trail, from Trenton through Bordentown to Roebling. She also shared her knowledge of local history as we rode. Linda Vogt has led rides on the New Jersey Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath.
If you would like to join us, send me an email using the address in the church directory. We all look forward to enjoying exercise and UU companionship with you.
November’s Welcome Table Wednesday brought UUCWC together for a wonderful potluck meal, a chance to decorate the sanctuary, and to listen to and sing beautiful songs played on the piano by Music Ministry Director, Dr. Erin Busch.
Please participate in the RaiseRight fundraising program. Purchase gift cards for use at many of your usual shopping venues and receive the full card value, while UUCWC receives a donation of anywhere from 4% to 12% of the card’s value. Look here to review the details.
Read UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Read about UU Faith Action, New Jersey’s issues and social justice advocacy voice, connecting New Jersey UU congregations. Pennsylvania’s counterpart is UUJusticePA.
Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing
268 Washington Crossing Pennington Road, Titusville NJ 08560
609-737-0515 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.uucwc.org