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 are keeping a watchful eye on our building and grounds to ensure that everything will be in good condition for our return. The Board has approved these requirements for use of the church grounds.

Welcome to CrossCurrents!  Your comments are welcome at

In this issue:

We Go With Love and Welcoming Hearts, by All of Us at UUCWC

Honoring My Time On the Board, by Nathalie Edmond, President, UUCWC Board of Trustees

UUCWC Racial Justice Ministry Reflects on the Derek Chauvin Conviction, by Regina Podhorin Zilinski, Chair, Racial Justice Ministry

Hands-On for the Beauty of the Earth, by Barbara Drew, Co-Chair, Earth Ministry

Policies on When We Call the Police Under Review, by Michelle Hunt, Right Relations Committee

Welcoming Thoughts for the Next Few Months, by Scott Cullen

Pastoral Care Ministry Grows, by Denny Rodgers, Pastoral Care Team Member

UUCWC Day at Snipes Farm and Education Center, by Susan Vigilante

Recapping Loaves and Fishes 2021 With Gratitude, by Ed & Ronnie Dobrowolski

We Go With Love and Welcoming Hearts

Our UUCWC community extends our love and congratulations to parents Rev. Kim and Tara Wildszewski as they welcomed Otis Robin Wildszewski into the world on May 3, 2021. Rev. Kim will be spending time with her family on parental leave until July 18th. During her time away, UUCWC welcomes Rev. yadenee hailu to our online pulpit.

rev. yadenee hailu (she/her) is the community minister of blk earth, a Black centered spiritual wellness project in Tulsa, OK, USA. rev. yadenee has served Hope Unitarian Church and All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK and was ordained by the three UU churches of Tulsa, including Church of the Restoration, in 2019. rev. yadenee’s ministry is to be an oracle for ease, liberation, and healing; the pathways to wholeness—to life. Life’s nature is to flourish and yadenee works, speaks, organizes, rests and plays so that we all may remember this truth and become co-conspirators in the liberation of our life force and all others’. rev. yadenee identifies as bi-cultural, Ethiopian-American, cis, Black and a woman these identities as well as the privliges she moves through the world with shape her perspective and insight on a theology rooted in healing and wholeness. To learn more about rev. yadenee, visit​

rev. yadenee’s ministry with us during Rev. Kim’s parental leave includes Sunday worship and some limited hours for pastoral care; she can be reached at  Please be sure to utilize our fabulous Pastoral Care Ministry, who can be reached at

The Joy of Chalice Circles

Robin Pugh, Director of Lifespan Faith Engagement

THIS MONTH WE ARE STARTING OUR ninth chalice circle. A silver lining of our closed church building is that so many people have connected through a small group. Small groups are a profound way of “doing church” that nurtures spiritual growth and a different way of being together. Whether it’s Wellspring, chalice circles, the UUCWC parenting class, an ARE class, or another sacred circle, small groups allow people to explore their spiritual lives in a caring environment.

As Unitarian Universalists, we recognize that each of us has learned some share of truth and has gained some hard-won wisdom. Sharing our personal stories is a form of ministry. And, giving our full attention to another’s life experience is also a form of ministry. In doing so, we bear witness to each other’s worth and dignity. Small groups are a way to help us think about our lives spiritually through the process of sharing with others our thoughts and experiences.

As UU theologian, Thandeka, says:

As a spiritual practice, Small Group Ministry focuses on process, not problems. It aims to treat all content of a person’s life in the same way: as a moment worthy of one’s full, undivided attention. It does not aim to offer advice, guidance, and direction or to resolve personal problems. It simply stops time so that the full presence of each person is acknowledged and appreciated in that moment. The idea is not to work on problems. The idea is to share experiences…. As people pay active attention to the details of each other’s lives, this gathered community can extend a moment of time until it is filled to overflowing with the thoughts and feelings that turn time into an experience that is not fleeting, but abiding, because we are now fully present. Sacred time begins here.

I love the structure of the chalice circles because its simplicity creates a safe and caring space. The process is a container that holds participants by not allowing discussion and by encouraging participants to listen with their heart without judgment. Each Chalice Circle offers a place to explore (sometimes slowly) what is going on in your deepest self, what is most important to you, what are you called to do. The configuration of who is in the group doesn’t matter. Everyone shares about their life. What we hear is our common humanity in the sharing. As we hear about others’ shared experiences, we grow connected. As we hear ourselves speak aloud our deep thoughts, we are transformed. We are given the courage to bring our gifts to the world and we are called deeper into our faith. It is beautiful.

Over 70 people are involved in chalice circles at UUCWC. Please let me know if you are interested in joining one.



Honoring My Time On the Board

Nathalie Edmond, President, UUCWC Board of Trustees


I am ending my term on the Board of Trustees. I spent one year as a trustee, one year as vice president, and two years as president. Thank you for an amazing and supportive four years. I often associate four years with high school, and college, and some leadership positions. So much can change and yet so little can change. So much has changed in my own life during that time. My mother died of cancer unexpectedly within my first few months of joining the board. We bought and sold a house. I became fully self-employed and grew a thriving group practice as well as an antiracism consultant business. I felt supported by UUCWC throughout all of these major life changes and feel privileged to have served with so many amazing members of the congregation, deepening my commitment to UUCWC.

During those four years I saw the culture of UUCWC change, starting with the adoption of the 8th principle in 2018. That conversation around whether to adopt the 8th principle as it was written was hard and necessary. Who knew that in 2020 we would be in the middle of civil rights movements around racial justice. We had new bylaws go into effect in 2019 that reflect who we are now and our desire to be more inclusive and flexible with changing times. The Board experimented with letting go of Roberts Rules of Order and trying consensus building and pulse checks. The Board let go of a timed agenda in their meetings to promote spending time where it needed to. This helped the meeting feel less like a business meeting and more like the coming together of different perspectives. We kept reminding each other to be strategic and mission based and support the amazing committees and ministries when we affirmed the use of the seven board practices. The seven board practices centers the 8th principle and invites us to build the Beloved Community and move away from the hierarchical paradigm most boards and organizations are used to. We moved towards more shared leadership and thinking about how to support leaders moving into and out of leadership roles.

We weathered a pandemic and the loss of life. We celebrated sabbaticals. We got to experience different ministers and interns. We planned for an expansion with the capital project. We did things we couldn’t have imagined such as going virtual for services, meetings, and everything else. Our health allows us to evolve while maintaining our core values.

I want to thank you for all being part of this community and for all the ways you show up to make UUCWC a sacred space where I and so many others feel nourished. As a black woman, I have felt safe, respected and cared for, which is often hard to do in predominantly white spaces. It speaks to the work so many of you have done around white body supremacy and racial justice. I look forward to what comes next.

Thank you. May you be well. May we all have enough to thrive.


UUCWC Racial Justice Ministry Reflects

on Derek Chauvin Conviction

Regina Podhorin Zilinski, Chair, Racial Justice Ministry 

The members of the Racial Justice Ministry (RJM) met within two hours of the verdict being announced in the George Floyd murder case. We had planned a few days prior to meet and prepare to support the congregation through any outcome. We started our meeting by checking in on how people were feeling after hearing that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all counts. Our reactions mirrored that of many:

  1. We were relieved that he had been unanimously found guilty – no equivocation, no disagreement on the jury. We felt the arc bending toward justice again. While this was not yet justice, which requires restoration, it was clearly a statement of accountability.
  2. We were saddened by the fact that there was significant doubt about the verdict. The case seemed so clear cut but too many were not sure based on historical precedent.
  3. We were angry that the problem of police misconduct against people of color continues, is systematic and is not just about one bad apple. It is too easy to buy into the existing system and justify behaviors that can’t be tolerated. We are all capable of backsliding.
  4. We were amazed by the amount of courage it took for bystanders and police officials to take the stand.

• Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the widely seen bystander video that brought global attention to Mr. Floyd’s death showed courage well beyond her years. She and other bystanders testified that they are still haunted by witnessing Mr. Floyd’s death.

• Police officials and experts were refreshingly and surprisingly clear that Chauvin’s actions violated police standards and directly contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. The “thin blue line” did not protect Chauvin’s misconduct, as it had protected other officers in the past. His conduct was too egregious even for his department, but it took courage for them to step forward and say it publicly.

What does this all mean for us at UUCWC? Our neighbors and friends of color are still terrified. Most cases of police misconduct aren’t videotaped, and the circumstances may not be as clear. The work is not done but we have reached an important inflection point.  Read more…

Hands-On for the Beauty of the Earth

Barbara Drew, Co-Chair, Earth Ministry

On Saturday April 17th, a crisp and sunny spring day, many UUCWC members and friends came to play in the dirt and help take care of and enjoy our grounds in recognition of Earth Day. Thanks to all who came out, we were able to clean up many fallen branches from the lawn by the entrance and better delineate the Meditation Trail. The highlight was the distribution and planting of 150 native saplings purchased from the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks and Forestry.

The volunteers planted 26 shrubs and trees on UUCWC grounds, including some of each of the 6 varieties of the Earth Day give-away: Silky dogwood and Arrowwood viburnum shrubs, and Eastern Red Cedar, Red Maple, Sycamore and White-flowering Dogwood tree saplings. With Al Johnson’s expertise, great care was taken to protect the young plantings: collars were placed just below the surface of the soil to protect the tree and shrub roots from voles and wire fencing cages were constructed and secured with stakes to protect them from deer browse and lawn mowing equipment.

Combined with the fall 2020 plantings in the parking berms, a total of 51 new native shrubs have been planted at UUCWC, coinciding with the 51st anniversary of Earth Day! Native plantings enhance the wildlife habitat of the property by providing, food, shelter and nesting places for wildlife. By contrast, non-native species can become invasive by overtaking and crowding out the natives while offering little or no food sources for wildlife.  Read more…

Policies On When We Call the Police Under Review

Michelle Hunt, Right Relations Committee

In June of 2018, our congregation approved the 8th UU Principle:

“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

This principle reflects our congregation’s commitment to racial justice and to dismantling racism. Earlier in the church year, the Board asked the Racial Justice Ministry (RJM) and the Right Relations Committee (RRC) to review church documents for references to calling the police because instances of policing seem to be influenced by systemic racism and, in some cases, there may be more appropriate resources.

RJM and RRC formed a task force to develop and implement the changes. This task force has found references to calling the police in the Disruptive Behavior Procedures and in the church’s Safety Manual. Language to mitigate that first instinct to call the police has been developed. We are scheduling Listening Circles to ask for input from the congregation, and specific ministries and committees. The task force benefited from the questions and suggestions we got from the Caring Ministry and the Safety Committee, members of which were the first to participate in a listening circle.  Read more…

RJM/RRC Task Force: Maria Barrata, Denny Rogers, Loren McAlister, Dave Thomas, and Michelle Hunt.

Important Reminders:

Information on joining the virtual services will be emailed to you the day prior to the service.

Coming in June:  UUCWC’s Annual Congregational Meeting

Welcome back to the staff of UUCWC, Rachel Hansen! Contact Rachel at You can send announcements for weekly emails directly to her. 

Welcoming Thoughts for the Next Few Months

Parental Leave Search and Support Team member and Worship Associate Chair

Scott Cullen offers these words to all of us:

This is an exciting time at UUCWC as rev. yadenee hailu begins her 12 weeks as UUCWC’s parental leave minister, and as our first Minister of Color. As we take this journey together, we respectfully ask that you reflect on the insights from our social justice work as it relates to blackness and cultural differences. Some of you may have questions, such as why does rev. yadenee lowercase her name? We encourage you to consider appropriate places of inquiry rather than approach rev. yadenee or other People of Color for answers. There are many helpful online resources as well as our Racial Justice Ministry,,  who can help educate us. Navigating the many resources on the internet can be challenging and we urge you to seek multiple voices, perspectives, and historical overviews for a more balanced understanding. The following online resources are a good start:

Beginning a relationship with a new minister can be awkward, and the Parental Leave Search Committee is here to act as a support team for rev. yadenee, and the congregation if needed. This is an opportunity for us to learn and grow together, and another step on our congregation’s spiritual and social justice journey.


Scott Cullen

The Support Team includes Scott Drew, Denny Rodgers and Sue Saddlemire.

Pastoral Care Ministry Grows

The Pastoral and Caring Ministry is thrilled to announce the recent addition of new members. They are: Linda Vogt, Connie Schofer, Lori Rahn, Dave Thelen and Lynda Benedetto.

The new members are joining Pat Czerwonka, Denny Rodgers, Ronnie Dobrowolski, Bonnie Kubicka, Bay Waltman, Michael Howe-Smith and Penny Rodgers in ministering to the needs of the UUCWC community.

We enthusiastically welcome rev. yadenee hailu, who will be handling pastoral concerns above our pay grade during Rev. Kim’s Family Leave.

HELP RELIEVE FOOD INSECURITY by spending a ½ day (safely) outside on the farm!  Join fellow UUCWC-ers for a UUCWC Day at Snipes Farm and Education Center, May 15, 9am-12pm; (rain date May 16, 1-4pm). Location: 890 W. Bridge Street, Morrisville, PA 19067. Over 70% of the food grown at Snipes goes to feed local people in need, particularly in Trenton and Morrisville.

Lori Hoppmann and Susan Vigilante are leading this volunteer opportunity for Snipes, and UUCWC members and friends of all ages are welcome to assist Snipes Farm and Education Center in their cause with readying the new children’s garden, planting or weeding, painting, and other tasks as needed; tour of the farm included!  Meet at the Big Red Barn parking lot. Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. Bring gloves and your favorite garden tools. Masking and physical distancing rules will be observed.

Email Susan Vigilante to rsvp or with questions:

Recapping Loaves and Fishes 2021 With Gratitude

One out of eight people in New Jersey is food insecure, which means they lack an adequate, consistent supply of food. It is worse in Trenton, and the Covid-19 crisis has caused even more people to be food insecure.

Loaves and Fishes and other UUCWC programs provide the food needed to sustain the lives of these individuals, while we work to change the systems that allow hunger to exist in a 21st century United States.

For over 30 years, UUCWC and the UU Congregation of Princeton (UUCP) have joined together to provide meals to the homeless, working poor and families in Trenton. Since other sources of sustenance are closed over the weekend, Loaves and Fishes provides meals donated by area congregations. We have served these meals on one weekend each year.

In 2020, UUCWC and UUCP cobbled together last-minute meal plans as the stay-at-home order was just implemented. We were able to provide 250 boxed lunches from Subway, juice boxes, fruit and UUCWC home-made brownies.  Read more…

There is still time to register for this year’s General Assembly.  With so many enriching programs, worship services and discussions offered, you can add your voice to the important work of the UUA. UUCWC needs delegates.  Need more information?  Email Holly Bussey at: To register, go to:

Read UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Learn more about the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the central organization for UU churches, here.

Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing

268 Washington Crossing Pennington Road, Titusville NJ  08560

609-737-0515  |  |