In this continuing time of Covid, the church is open as we continue to seek 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 require vaccinations/boosters; masking is optional.
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In this issue:
Our Commitment to Family Ministry is Sacred, by Rev. Kim Wildszewski
Our Whole Lives – Lifespan Sexuality Education, by Robin Pugh, Director of Congregational Life
Reflecting, Envisioning and Planning for the New Church Year, by Michael Waas,
Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees
Capital Campaign Good News!, by Jayme Trott, Co-chair, Capital Campaign
Reparations – Moving Toward Saying the Word, by Regina Podhorin Zilinski, Racial Justice Ministry
Join General Assembly FUUN With Other UUCWC-ers, by Holly Bussey, Liaison, Denominational Affairs
Amazon Smile Program Ends But We Have RaiseRight, by Holly Bussey
and Wendy Stasolla, for Fundraising
Welcome to the JULIETs, by Bonnie Ruekgauer, Fellowship
Our Commitment to Family Ministry is Sacred
Rev. Kim Wildszewski
As you know, this month we’ve had a transition in our Family Ministry program and are currently utilizing the long term skills and presence of Robin Pugh and the ongoing generosity of time and commitment from a small but mighty lay teacher team to fill in the gaps. As I said in my letter announcing this transition, the children, youth and families of UUCWC remain a high priority. I am excited about this next season for our congregation generally, and specifically for our Family Ministry.
Here are some things I want you to know and consider as we continue to navigate this transition:
Because we chose not to run religious education via Zoom during the pandemic, our program is about half the size that it was in 2019-2020. This means that we’ve been able to serve our families in only three classrooms for the last seven months: Pre-K/K, 1st-6th grades, and the 7th-8th grade Our Whole Lives. Our Youth Group meets off-site in a collaborative ministry with three other UU congregations.
Beginning in February all grades, except Pre-K/K, will begin their age appropriate Our Whole Lives curriculum. Even the parents are taking OWL in a monthly evening offering! This means we will go from hosting three classrooms to five each Sunday. It also means that a handful of volunteer teachers are taking on a huge responsibility through the spring. It is important to recognize their commitment to our children, and that they will be giving up their time in the sanctuary during these months.
Read more here…
Here’s to the next season of learning and growing together!
Our Whole Lives – Lifespan Sexuality Education
Robin Pugh, Director of Congregational Life
Who taught you about sex? If you were lucky, a kind and understanding parent or relative told you about sex and answered all of your questions as you came of age. Some people learned about it in health class. Many found out about sex from older siblings or peers. Still others learned through hands-on experience.
As Unitarian Universalists, sexuality education is part of our ministry. We have a long and proud history of leadership in promoting comprehensive sexuality education for people of all ages and have offered human sexuality education in our churches for over 50 years. The curriculum series we use is called Our Whole Lives or OWL, as it is affectionately called. It was co-developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.
OWL offers values-based lifelong sexuality education. Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, and improves decision making. OWL classes help children and youth clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional and social aspects of sexuality.
Starting February 12th, our grades 1 to 3, 4 to 6, 7 to 8 and 9 to 11 classes will all be using OWL curriculum. In class, OWL welcomes participants with differing levels of knowledge and differing viewpoints. It engages participants of all ages in critical thinking, values building, and role-playing exercises. It nurtures a trusting, respectful community in which all participants’ questions are taken seriously and many voices can be heard.
OWL truly puts our faith into action and is a ministry that has an impact that goes far beyond our own congregations. For more information about the “Our Whole Lives” curriculum, I encourage you to visit http://www.uua.org/re/owl/. I am here to answer your questions anytime.
Reflecting, Envisioning and Planning for the New Church Year
Michael Waas, Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees
According to the calendar, January and February are the depths of winter. This is typically the season for snow shovels and snow boots though, according to the weather, raincoats and umbrellas are more appropriate this year.
This is also the season to begin planning the next church year, which runs from July 2023 to June2024, and for the UUCWC Board of Trustees to hold a half-day winter retreat. We used the retreat as an opportunity to step away from the day-to-day agenda items and step into a space of reflection, envisioning, and re-connection. It was also an opportunity to share some conversation over delicious homemade vegan chili (thank you, Maria!).
This year’s retreat was engaging and invigorating, as there is much to be excited about at UUCWC. From moving into the final phase (and hopefully, soon, construction!) for the Capital Campaign, to the ongoing engagement of our virtual and in-person members, and UUCWC’s ongoing community and racial justice work – there are so many signs that ours is a vital and healthy community. Read more here…
Capital Campaign Good News!
Jayme Trott, Co-chair, Capital Campaign
We have great news this month! First, after several delays, we are finally on the Hopewell Township Planning Board agenda for February 23. Since the “larger footprint” plans we presented were already approved, we don’t anticipate any problem receiving approval for the project changes.
Following zoning approval, Hopewell Township will review the architectural plans for building permits, a process that should take about 6 weeks.
Our most exciting news is that our Chalice Lighter grant proposal to help cover the cost of the elevator has been approved for $40,000! We received notice of the approval this week and will receive the official award letter soon with instructions for next steps. Read more here…
Reparations – Moving Toward Saying the Word
Regina Podhorin Zilinski, Racial Justice Ministry
The Racial Justice Ministry (RJM) and Adult Faith Engagement will jointly present a three session training and deep discussion forum on reparations starting in late February and ending in April (specific dates to be announced). The issue of reparations was chosen as a strategic issue area by RJM for this next year in collaboration with the UUFaithActionNJ Ministry. Very briefly, reparations is the system of repair for the egregious injustice inflicted upon Black Americans through slavery.
Session 1: Understanding Reparations (February 23 at 7 p.m.), will require advanced reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article “The Case for Reparations” (The Atlantic, June 2014). The evening will be spent in deep group discussion about our hopes, fears and understanding of the topic of reparations. If you have difficulty accessing the article, contact Regina Zilinski through the UUCWC Directory.
Read more and register here…
Join General Assembly FUUN With Other UUCWC-ers
Holly Bussey, Liaison, Denominational Affairs
The 2023 General Assembly (GA) will be a multiplatform event taking place both in person and online. This year’s in-person location is in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; an easy drive. If enough of us go, we could carpool or rent a van!
Join us from June 21 – 25, 2023 online or in-person. In-person registration includes access to events scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh, as well as everything available to online registrants. Full online registration includes access to the GA app, as well as all on-demand programming, live webinars, and live-streamed events. Watch this video for another look at GA.
Read more here…
Amazon Smile Program Ends But We Have RaiseRight
Holly Bussey and Wendy Stasolla, for Fundraising
For years, non-profits have raised monies when supporters designate the non-profits in their Amazon purchases to receive a small but helpful contribution from Amazon through the Smile Program. UUCWC is no exception. However, it appears that the Smile Program will end as of February, 2023.
We encourage members to participate in the more robust fundraising program called RaiseRight. RaiseRight allows each of us to raise money by using gift cards instead of cash or credit to pay for everyday purchases like groceries, gas, dining out, that morning coffee addiction, even your family’s summer vacation. There are no meetings, no setup, no cleanup. It costs nothing, and depending on what company you use, UUCWC can earn LARGE percentages from the purchases. No selling. No extra time. No extra money. There’s a reason RaiseRight has been a top fundraiser for schools, churches, bands, sports teams, scouts, and others for more than 25 years.
Read more here…
Putting our UU Faith into action through Our Whole Lives (OWL) Lifespan Sexuality Education.
Welcome to the JULIETs
Bonnie Ruekgauer, Fellowship
DID YOU KNOW that UUCWC has a monthly lunch group called JULIETs? The name is an acronym for “Just Us Ladies Into Eating and Talking.” Going back to the early 2000s, the lunches were held at the church, with three rotating hosts preparing the meal each month. After a few years, the group decided to change the venue and dine at local restaurants. When the COVID pandemic struck, JULIETs met virtually, so as not to miss out on the lively conversation which always takes place during lunches. The group is now back to enjoying lunch together at local restaurants on both sides of the Delaware River on the third Tuesday of each month.
Lunches have been announced through a monthly group email; getting on the group email has primarily happened through word of mouth. THIS IS ABOUT TO CHANGE – dates and locales of the lunches will be shared in the weekly church email announcements. Additionally, while the acronym includes the word “ladies,” the JULIETs want everyone to know that the group is open to all cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers around the experiences of women.
If you’re interested in attending a JULIETs luncheon, watch for information in the weekly email announcements.
Read UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Connect with 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
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