Although the church building is closed due to a very high risk of COVID in our area, we are still doing church, continuing to seek to Create Community, Celebrate Life, Change the World. Rev. Kim shares a video on reopening here, and the full guidelines as of 9-25-21 are here.
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In this issue:
Reflecting on My Thirty Years at UUCWC, by Caryl Tipton, Director of Music Ministry
Notes From the Board, by Joe Schenk, Treasurer, UUCWC Board of Trustees
Congregational Engagement: Inviting You Into the Work of the Church, by Marianne Alt,
Congregational Engagement Ministry
Resolving Conflict in a Covenantal Community, by Eileen Spedding, Right Relations Committee
UUCWC Sends $1,900 to the UU Disaster Relief Fund, by Holly Bussey,
Faith Expression and Funding Team Facilitator
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Garden of Weedin’, by Barbara Drew, Cochair, Earth Ministry
Annual Peace Conference, by Holly Bussey, Faith Expression and Funding Team Facilitator
A Message from Rev. Kim, by Rev. Kim Wildszewski
Treasurer’s Report to the Congregation, by Joe Schenk, Treasurer, UUCWC Board of Trustees
Halloween Food Drive Spins the Holiday a New Way, by the Food Ministry Team
Reflecting on My Thirty Years at UUCWC
Caryl Tipton, Director of Music Ministry
Caryl shares an excerpt of her homily from Sunday, October 24, 2021 where she reflected on the theme “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned at UUCWC.”
Thirty years is a long time. A time filled with questions and searching, beautiful music and “meatballs of wisdom,” as a conducting teacher of mine always said. Many of you have read or know about UU minister Robert Fulghum’s book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Well, I’m going to share through my looking glass and talk about “All That I Really Needed to Know I learned at UUCWC.” You see, Unitarian Universalism shined a light on all the hurtful and damaging dogma from my denominations from the past and shattered them with simple, true messages, especially the message of UUCWC’s mission to “Create Community, Celebrate Life and Change the World.” It sounds very simple….in theory.
Some of Fulghum’s points that fall under “Create Community” include: “Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody; Don’t take things that aren’t yours; and Wash your hands before you eat and…. FLUSH.”
I’ve always been a loner. I’m ok with solitude and having a few really good friends instead of a lot of acquaintances called friends. I’ve never been a “joiner.” Within the walls of UUCWC, I’ve been learning how to trust and to be trustworthy. I’ve risked and shown myself to many … and … have been hurt by a few over the years, too. That’s community … moving forward, pulling back, making a fool of yourself and rejoicing in life and love … all within the safety of a community of freedom, understanding and acceptance. Read more of Caryl’s UUCWC journey here …
Notes from the UUCWC Board
Joe Schenk, Treasurer, UUCWC Board of Trustees
It is hard to fathom that we’ve not been together in the UUCWC Sanctuary for 19 months. Some newer members have never entered the building. Yet, this community continues to defy national church membership trends even during the worst pandemic of our lifetimes. It is with this same persistence and commitment that your Board of Trustees continues to meet and work towards the eventual time when we will reconvene safely at 268 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road.
The Board met (virtually) for its fall retreat in late September and exited with a list of seven high level goals for this fiscal year. Summarily, they are:
1. Discerning the Congregation’s Mission and Vision
2. Holding the Fiduciary Responsibility
3. Capturing Institutional Wisdom by Generating Policy
4. Assessing the Health of the Congregation
5. Planning for the Congregation’s Future
6. Building and Maintaining Relationships
7. Transforming the Congregational Culture
These are still in “draft” form and being refined. I share them here to show the depth and breadth of thought that your Board is considering.
Many of us (congregants) have served on the Board of Trustees or in other leadership roles within the congregation. It has been many years since my prior Board service and much has changed. Read more …
Congregational Engagement: Inviting You Into the Work of the Church
Marianne Alt, Congregational Engagement Ministry
What is Congregational Engagement (CE), again?
Purpose: To further the sense of belonging begun in small groups, this committee invites and facilitates broader participation in the work of the church (service).
Last January, Rev. Kim asked all of us to be involved in the church in three ways; attend worship service (Celebrate Life), join a small group (Create Community) and serve (Change the World). This is the shape of church that CE continues to understand and support. It is our goal to see every congregant engaged in service in a way that is meaningful to them.
What we’re doing
With the guidance of Nathalie Edmond and Pam Shadzik, we discuss ways to achieve this goal at our monthly meetings:
1. Learn about congregants via interviews
2. Help congregants learn about committees and ministries
3. Support congregants in their service through trainings and respite-providing retreats.
What can I do?
Hey, thanks for asking! We hope that each of you will…
1. Participate in a CE interview every two to three years
2. Provide information about your committee/ministry to be shared with the congregation (even make a video!)
3. Reach out to CE for suggestions of people to invite into your committee/ministry
4. Reach out to CE with suggestions for people to interview OR people you know would be a good fit for a certain area of service
5. Participate in trainings and retreats when offered.
Resolving Conflict in a Covenantal Community
Eileen Spedding, Right Relations Committee
As UUs, we welcome, celebrate and honor diversity of people, beliefs and ideas. And yet, we often struggle with how to negotiate our differences when it comes to making decisions on behalf of our congregation. Important decisions around budgetary allocations, capital projects or even most recently pandemic policies can provoke wildly different, highly emotional and strongly held opinions and positions. These differences of viewpoint can and often do lead to entrenched conflict in which individuals try harder and harder to persuade others to their viewpoint through the strength of their logic or emotion. It is not surprising that this often leads to a deadlock in which everyone is frustrated and no one wins.
Conflict is a reality in our society and our world. Many of us are afraid of conflict, fearing it could dissolve our bonds with members of our community. Yet, conflict in itself is not necessarily a bad thing – If handled in a healthy way. Might we in fact embrace conflict if we believed it could lead us to more creative and inclusive approaches to our problems?
Read more …
UUCWC Sends $1,900 to the UU Disaster Relief Fund
Holly Bussey, Faith Expression and Funding Team Facilitator
In September, Rev. Kim reached out to the Council for Faith in Action (CFA) regarding the growing needs of so many, from those in Afghanistan to Louisiana, to our own people suffering from Hurricane Ida. The list was overwhelming. How could we provide aid in an effective manner?
CFA agreed that the 50% of each plate for the entire month of September would go to the UU Disaster Relief Fund (UU DRF). This fund supports congregations and communities in need after catastrophes by directing funds to specific groups with knowledge of and ability to address community needs quickly.
CFA is proud to announce that through generous contributions in September, we were able to send a check to the UU DRF for $1,900.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Garden of Weedin’
Barbara Drew, Cochair, Earth Ministry
Who among us has contemplated that axiom “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished,” perhaps like me with some puzzlement due to the double negative and the irony of it all? I certainly have since we, as UUs are taught to be of service to others and strive to change the world! The phrase has been on my mind this fall as I spent many mornings caring for the native plantings made possible by two grants while also digging up the beautiful purple, yellow and white Iris that had been transplanted from the front gardens by the entrance to the parking berms, for safe-keeping. Along with these Iris, little did we know that the highly aggressive weed “Mugwort” was hiding, embedded in the Iris rhizomes.
When transplanted to the loose, sandy soil of the parking berm two years ago, unimpeded by any other plantings, the Mugwort with its network of runner roots took off and spread – you might say it had a field day in the open soil! To rescue the Iris and attempt to eradicate the Mugwort in what I now call the “Garden of Weeden,” many hours were spent saving the Iris and disposing of the network of runner roots (roots that grow laterally as opposed to a long taproot like a carrot). Working in late summer and early fall, the Mugwort was cut back before it had a chance to go to seed and then the plants and roots were dug out and separated from the Iris rhizomes. Repeated weeding has been necessary to remove any remnants of the runner roots, which can look like a mass of spaghetti! Read more …
Annual Peace Conference
On Sunday, November 14, UUCWC co-sponsors the 41st Annual Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) Peace Conference, and all are invited to participate.
The Conference is preceded by a Multifaith Service for Peace featuring Sister Simone Campbell as the preacher. Sr. Simone is the long-time Director of Network, the advocacy arm of Catholic Nuns in the US, and is best known for the Nuns on the Bus project.
The in person service, free and open to the public, takes place at 11 AM at Princeton University Chapel, and a wide range of faith leaders will co-lead the liturgy. Attendees must attest that they are fully vaccinated; it will also be livestreamed for those who can’t attend in person. A free will offering to benefit CFPA will be received.
The afternoon Conference for Peace will take place virtually, by Zoom from 2:30-4:00 PM. Read more here…
A Message from Rev. Kim:
Not unlike all other clergy in this time, I want you to know that this fall has been full with rites of passage: weddings that were had on zoom a year ago, memorial services and committals that we weren’t able to gather for until now, new unions and new losses that we are celebrating and navigating in this ongoing pandemic time.
Because of this, I am not able to take on any non-member rites of passage until late winter or early spring of 2022. While I greatly appreciate your pride in your community and me as your minister, if a family member or friend is in need of an officiant, I will of course provide you or them with a list of capable and skilled colleagues who may be available.
Treasurer’s Report to the Congregation
Statements of Income and Expense as of the close of the month of September reflect continued financial strength in the UUCWC accounts:
• All financial indications are positive with a $16k positive variance to date
• Bank Account Balances total $1.29 million:
- $472k Operating combined balances
- $606k Capital Campaign
- $232k Endowment
- -$22k payables
Year to date finances in chart form here.
Joe Schenk, Treasurer
Halloween Food Drive Spins The Holiday A New Way
In early October, the Food Ministry put out another call for donations to enable it to provide meal bags and other supplies to HomeFront. Once again, the congregation responded with overwhelming generosity. The HomeFront Halloween Donation Drive brought in nearly 500 items, all of which were delivered to HomeFront this week. The pandemic has been a strain on the local community, but with your commitment, UUCWC’s Food Ministry has been able to continue its mission to chip away at food insecurity in our area. Thank you for your dedication to the good of our community!
Mike Muccioli and FM Team organized donations in the Crossings Room last weekend.
Read about the UUA’s Justice Work under the banner “Side With Love,” here.
Read UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Connect with UU Faith Action, New Jersey’s issues and social justice advocacy voice.
Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing
268 Washington Crossing Pennington Road, Titusville NJ 08560
609-737-0515 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.uucwc.org