This list of past services should give you some idea of the range of topics discussed.
Following the services we have coffee, tea and conversation.
Please join us.
July and August 2017 – Our Seven Principles continue to be deconstructed for meaning, depth and inspiration. This summer each Sunday will highlight one of the Seven Principles with members of our congregation leading the service. They will share essays and other worship materials compiled on each of the Principles while helping to reflect on their significance and the ways the inspire ethical action as well as deeper spirituality. Each of the presenters has an opportunity to add their own perspectives on the essays written by seven ministers who joined the ministry after the Principles were adapted into their current form.
Sunday, June 25, 2017 – All MUUS workday! Come ready to work either packing up at the meetinghouse or working on a project at our new Main Street location. There will be sign-up sheets available so you can choose your specific project. Be sure to read the weekly inserts and eblasts for more information.
Sunday, June 18, 2017 – “Raise Our Voices” Presented by Ann Quackenbos and the Choir. A worship service that explores our UU musical history, with lots of hymns and a little bit of talk. Come with voices, ears, and open hearts.
Sunday, June 11, 2017 – “Letting Go, Letting Come” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. We will Appreciate our Volunteers, Welcome New members, and Say Farewell to Our Minister for the summer. This sermon/reflection is prompted by the words of Judy Cannato: “At some point in our practice of meditation (as in life itself) we will move past the need to ‘let go’ and instead be open to the desire to ‘let come’… Our lives unfold in the direction of the vision that we hold… if I am guided by ‘let come,’ I find myself in the witness stance, attentive and open to what is emerging and therefore more able to participate in that which incomprehensible holy mystery is communicating.” Aha! In my study of Buddhism, I have been so focused on “letting go,” that I have missed “letting come.” Perhaps you have too? Let’s explore together.
Sunday, June 4, 2017 – “Coming Home” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. As we contemplate our move to Main Street, I want to explore the concept of home. What makes a house a home? Is “home” something we carry inside ourselves, or something external or both? I have said, “I sometimes feel denominationally homeless, not sure where I fit, and yet on a deeper level, I feel very at home in the universe.” What makes you feel “at home”?
Sunday, May 28, 2017 – “How do you want to be remembered?” Presented by Paula VanNess. During many Sunday Services we’ve considered leaving a legacy from our time on earth. Have you ever considered what the path might be toward being remembered fondly 100 years from now? MUUS member Paula Van Ness will explore this topic and share “Ten Ways to be Remembered” during this Memorial Day service. Following the service join us for a family friendly Pot Luck over at First Church and watch the Memorial Day Parade. Main Street closes to traffic at 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 21, 2017 – “Necessary Losses” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. The Buddha told us that the one constant in life is change. Change is necessary if we are to grow, as individuals, and as a congregation. As we approach Memorial Day, we will explore the losses of life, and the new growth that we can expect after loss.
Sunday, May 14, 2017 – “What Makes a Family? A Mother’s Day Sermon” Presented by Kevin Jennings. Kevin Brett Jennings is an American educator, author, and administrator. He was the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education. His book Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son weaves humor, drama, and insight into the story of the transformation of a determined Southern woman, the courage of her son in choosing to try to change our world, and the early history of a modern national movement for justice.
Sunday, May 7, 2017 – “Growing Up UU” Presented by Denise and Nathan Pedane. While many arrive at Unitarian Universalism as adults with a background in a different faith, some are fortunate enough to have grown up as UUs. What is that experience like? Denise and Nathan Pedane explore this topic and its implications. Denise is a long-time member at MUUS; she tutors kids and parents her own UU lifers. Nathan is a thirteen-year-old student at the Waterbury Arts Magnet School; he is a lifelong participant at MUUS.
Sunday, April 30, 2017 – “From White Privilege to Community of All Beloved” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. We have changed the focus of this service to join with 400 other UU congregations around the country in response to recent events at the Unitarian Universalist Association. Several administrators, including our president, have resigned in response to charges of racism, white privilege, and even white supremacy in hiring. The work of becoming conscious of racism, aware of our white privilege, and seeking to change, is arduous. Until we are conscious of them, we cannot change. Is it enough to say, “We don’t have any people of color here?” I urge us to go deeper, to ask, “Why don’t we have people of color in our congregation?”
Sunday, April 23, 2017 – “Self-Actualization and Our Unitarian Universalist Principles” Presented by Jack Lander. Abraham Maslow, the prominent psychologist, wrote of self-actualization as being our “biological destiny,” what we might think of as our “calling in life.” The service will explore the characteristics of the self-actualized person, and the effects of fulfillment or neglect of our biological destinies. Also, thoughts on how our seven UU principles relate to self-actualization.
Sunday, April 16, 2017 – “Will You Rise?” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. We celebrate Easter and spring through story and song. To symbolize our joy in new life, we will give each child a live plant to take home. The sermon will explore the story of Jesus as a parable for cycles of death and resurrection in the human psyche. What allows us to live again after loss? What empowers us to “practice resurrection” after despair?
Sunday, April 9, 2017 – “To Defend and Preserve” Presented by David McGuire. David McGuire is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works in the courts, at the capitol, and in Connecticut’s 169 communities. They defend, promote, and preserve individual rights and liberties under the U.S. and Connecticut constitutions. He will discuss the current state of civil liberties, and what’s next for civil liberties in the Constitution State
Sunday, April 2, 2017 – “In ______ We Trust” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. In a recent opinion piece in the Boston Globe, Jeffrey Sachs contends that immigration and social diversity reduce social trust. Stephen Covey says that “trust may well be as vital to our own well-being as water is to a fish.” He predicts that without it, society will “self-destruct.” So, what can we do about the lack of trust in our society? How can we rebuild it? And what does it have to do with our spiritual lives?
Sunday, March 26, 2017 – “In This Together” Presented by Sierra-Marie Gerfao. There is no breath we can take that is not shared with the world around us. What does it mean to be linked like that? And what if we’d rather not? Sierra-Marie Gerfao is a writer, a scholar, an activist, and a Candidate for Unitarian Universalist ministry. Sierra-Marie completed her Master of Social Work at Yeshiva University last summer and will complete her Master of Divinity at Yale Divinity School this May. She’s a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and a former professional religious educator.
Sunday, March 19, 2017 – “Spiritual Deepening” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. What does spiritual depth look like in Unitarian Universalism? Is it possible for us? What might it mean? Why would we care? Would anyone ever call you a “devout” UU? What does language have to do with it? Can we have spiritual depth without traditional religious language? Or, have we “thrown the baby out with the bath water?” These are questions with which I have been wrestling for the past few years. Let’s see what I discover.
Sunday, March 12, 2017 – “Love is the Spirit of this Society” Presented by Connie Cole Ingber and Mike Ingber. Do you sometimes feel as if you are speaking clearly but your loved one doesn’t hear it? Could the reverse be true? How often do we stop to examine the ways we communicate with one another and the way we react to what is said? Join us as we offer a thoughtful reflection on The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and use this as a springboard to examine the way we interact with all those around us. Love is the spirit of this society.
Sunday, March 5, 2017 – “Embracing Theological Diversity” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. There are many theological orientations among us. It interests me that 6-8 of you have told me you are atheists, but not many others have identified a theology which they embrace. What is the culture here? Are we welcoming of diverse theologies? Can we, as the third principle says, “accept one another” and “encourage one another to spiritual growth?”
Sunday, February 26, 2017 – “Multicultural BRIDGE” Presented by Gwendolyn Hampton-VanSant. This grassroots organization is dedicated to promoting cultural competence and integration of diverse groups in Western Massachusetts. Ms. Hampton-VanSant has established herself as an expert in diversity leadership and cultural competence. She has worked with corporations, schools, colleges and universities, law enforcement, hospitals, teaching and leadership institutes and more, She is the CEO and founding of Multicultural BRIDGE. Gwendolyn provides multicultural education curriculum for faculty, students, and parents of all ages and professional, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds rooted in cultural competence, diversity leadership and positive psychology.
Sunday, February 19, 2017 – “How Great Is Your Forgiveness?” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. Forgiveness is one of the most important spiritual issues we face in our lives. Being unable to forgive can doom us to a life of tension, if not cut-offs in our relationships. Tolstoy told us it is necessary to forgive if we are to live in peace. But it is not easy, and most religious traditions have practices to help us develop the ability to forgive.
Sunday, February 12, 2017 – CANCELLED due to weather.
Sunday, February 5, 2017 – “Parallel Sayings of Jesus and Buddha.” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. The longer I study religions, the more I realize that the really great ideas of religion are universal. The greatest teachers tend to say similar things. Today we’ll look at the teachings of the two great religions which can be traced to a single founder. I’ll be assisted in the this service by Christine Edelman, reading the sayings of Jesus, and Kate MacKinney, reading the sayings of Buddha. I’ll offer some commentary, and the choir will offer some musical interpretations of Buddhism as well as Christianity.
Sunday, January 29, 2017 – “Guest at Your Table” Presented by the Social Justice Committee. This is the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s annual intergenerational program about working to advance human rights. This year’s program theme is Defying Hate, based on the Ken Burns documentary about UUSC founders Martha and Waitstill Sharp, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War. The Sharps defied hate by helping Jews and dissidents escape Nazi Germany using brave, creative methods, many of which could have caused them to be imprisoned, tortured, or worse. UUSC is proud to carry forward the Sharps’ legacy by continuing to defy hate and protect the lives and rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and other marginalized groups, both here in the United States and throughout the world.
Sunday, January 22, 2017 – “My Spiritual Journey” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. It is important for you know where I am coming from when I design services and deliver sermons and reflections. To that end, I will share my journey from fundamentalist Christian to agnostic skeptic, to mystic, to ? Now, I’m most comfortable with the label coined by Karen Armstrong: “free-lance monotheist,” but where next? Who knows? It’s been a long and winding road, but never boring!
Sunday, January 15, 2017 – “The Future of Newspapers” Presented by Tracey O’Shaughnessy. Tracey O’Shaughnessy, the Associate Features Editor of the Waterbury Republican, is a versatile and popular writer. Her art criticism column has won her four first-place awards from the Society for Features Journalists. She has also won awards from the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the New England Newspaper Association. And she has twice received the Society of Professional Journalists award for her regular column, Sunday Reflections.
Sunday, January 8, 2017 – “Happiness” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. As we wish to one another “Happy New Year,” we’ll explore Buddhist Monk Matthiew Ricard’s contention that happiness is something that we can cultivate through our spiritual practices. He describes happiness as “life’s most important skill.”
Sunday, January 1, 2017 – NO SERVICE (Day of Rest and Reflection) Your Sunday Service Committee has dedicated some Sundays for members and friends to rest and reflect. On these special Sundays we will not be holding a Worship Service at MUUS. Please stay home, sleep in, visit with a friend or family, go for a walk in the woods or play with children who you love, or just be. We will keep these days posted as in the foyer of MUUS. Let us know what your special day included sometime in January.
Sunday, December 25, 2016 – NO SERVICE (Day of Rest and Reflection) Your Sunday Service Committee has dedicated some Sundays for members and friends to rest and reflect. On these special Sundays we will not be holding a Worship Service at MUUS. Please stay home, sleep in, visit with a friend or family, go for a walk in the woods or play with children who you love, or just be. We will keep these days posted as in the foyer of MUUS. Let us know what your special day included sometime in January.
*Saturday evening* December 24, 2016 – Winter Vespers: “A Child’s Holiday at MUUS” 6 p.m. at the meetinghouse. Your Sunday Service and Lifespan Religious Education Committees are planning this Winter Vespers Worship Service. Join us for the telling of our collective holiday story. We will take your favorite funny, unusual, touching, crazy holiday stories and weave them together to create our shared MUUS Holiday narrative. This will be a family friendly service held at 6 pm with refreshments afterwards. Please send/ give your story to Misty (email@example.com) or leave them in the box in the lobby by November 30. Join us on December 24, to hear how the story comes together.
December 18, 2016 – “In Celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. Christmas and Hanukkah come together this year, as Hanukkah begins on Christmas Eve. We’ll hear the ancient stories once again, and how an elderly Christian man and a Jewish child reach across their traditions to understand and celebrate one another’s faith. This the modern story of Elijah’s Angel.
December 11, 2016 – “The Paradoxes of Aging: Stories of Hope and Transformation” Presented by Brian Chapman. Gerontologists and other experts have developed theories, models, and nomenclature for perhaps every aspect of the aging process. The speaker will explore some of these prevailing concepts juxtaposed with personal examples of older adults in various situations including lifelong learning programs. The message is one of optimism, creativity, and the richness of life. Dr. Brian Chapman currently holds an appointment as an Instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at UConn where he teaches on various topics including Aging and Diversity. He served the Director of Outreach and Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Connecticut for the last 10 years, retiring from that role in January 2016.
December 4, 2016 – “Symbolic Sight” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. The language of religion is symbols. We miss much of the meaning and experience of religion if we do not learn to see symbolically, rather than literally. As we encounter the Holy Days of December, we can broaden the meanings of Solstice, Christmas and Hanukkah if we ask, what is being symbolized here? How might it relate to my life?
November 27, 2016 – “A Time to Give Thanks… Now and Forever” Presented by Ann Merriam Feinberg. Would you like to learn how you can thank organizations you care about for the work they do… now and for the future? Endowments, charitable gifts from required minimum distributions, annuities, bequests, trusts… and on… all this can make your head spin! Ann Merriam Feinberg, retired planned giving professional and estate and tax lawyer, will help sort through the concepts and discuss opportunities and examples available to everyone – no need to be a Rockefeller, Buffet or Gates!
November 20, 2016 – “A Cider and Cornbread Communion in Celebration of Thanksgiving” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. Breaking bread together is an important ritual in many of the world’s religions. Today, we’ll reflect on the blessings we have experienced during the past year, and share in giving thanks using apple cider and freshly baked cornbread. Donations of cornbread and apple cider are needed. If you would like to contribute, please sign up on the clipboard and bring them to the sanctuary by 10 a.m.
November 13, 2016 – “Mental Health First Aid” Presented by Valerie English-Cooper. One of every two Americans will experience at least one mental health disorder during their lifetime – and all of us are affected by mental illness through our own experiences or those of loved ones, friends and colleagues. Today’s presenter, Valerie English-Cooper, is an ADHD coach and a community educator with Mental Health Connecticut. Valerie is responsible for execution of a federal grant to saturate Litchfield County with nationally recognized Mental Health First Aid training.
November 6, 2016 – “To Speak Our Truth in Love” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. Nothing has been as distressing to me in the presidential election as the incivility displayed by the candidates. As the election looms, let’s explore the factors which contribute to civil dialog: deep listening, openness to new ideas, “acceptance of one another,” and humility – we may not have the whole truth. The Apostle Paul told us to “Speak the truth in love.” That phrase has been in every ordination service I’ve witnessed for UU ministers. I think it also applies to lay people.
October 30, 2016 – “Honoring our Ancestors” Presented by the Sunday Services Committee. Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a festive celebration in memory of those who have died. Its origins in Mesoamerica go back over 3,000 years, even though it was shaped by two Roman Catholic holidays: All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). We will share a simple ritual of remembrance to put us in touch with our place in time and our mortality, and remind us that to live is to create a legacy that endures for generations. Please bring photos or other mementos of those who have had meaning in your life. We will include them with ofrenda on our Dia de los Muertos alter.
October 23, 2016 – “What Are Your Touchstones?” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. Are there principles or sayings which guide your living? Or do you model your life after some wise person? What do you do when you have an ethical dilemma? What role does spirituality play in tough decisions? Let’s explore this together. ~ Today’s presenter, Rev. Linda Hoddy, joins us as our new minister. She organized the UU Congregation of Saratoga Springs. She served that congregation for 17 years. Prior to that she served congregations in Schenectady, Glens Falls, Little Falls and Plattsburgh, NY. In 2012, she moved with her husband, John Tracy, to Great Barrington, Ma. She continues to practice ministry as a spiritual director. After the service, join us for a pot luck with hot dogs (veggie dogs too); bring a side dish. Meet Rev. Hoddy and carve pumpkins.
October 16, 2016 – “Awaiting Mystery” Presented by Rev. Tracy Johnson. A reading of Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Living with a Wild God” left Tracy Johnson, member and newly ordained minister, wondering about the presence of mystery in our lives. Her seeker’s mind wants to know what lies beneath the surface; how we access it and what that means for us as a community of faith. ~ Todays’ presenter, Rev. Tracy Johnson, is a UU Community Minister affiliated with the First Parish Brewster, UU. She serves in Harwich Port, MA at WE CAN (Women’s Empowerment through Cape Area Networking) where her primary responsibility is coordinating the PathMakers Program, a 10-month mentoring program for women. She is a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School and Hartford Seminary. Tracy retired from State service in Connecticut 2012, and lives on Cape Cod with her husband, Chuck and their rescue pup Emma, where she enjoys walking near the ocean, gardening, weaving and cycling.
October 9, 2016 – “Indigenous Justice: Restitutive, Restorative and Real” Presented by Rev. Robert H. Werme Jr. The recent attempt by the Dakota Access Pipeline Company to construct a section of one of their crude oil pipelines through sacred Native American treaty land in North Dakota, and dangerously close to the Missouri River watershed, has met with unprecedented opposition and received some media attention. These events present us with an unusual opportunity, as we prepare to enjoy the federal “Columbus Day” holiday, to review American history with an eye toward acknowledging the historical reality and character of American imperial injustices toward indigenous people, and to consider our individual, congregational and national responsibilities in light of Unitarian Universalist Principles. ~ Today’s presenter, Rev. Robert H. Werme Jr., is an ordained United Church of Christ minister. He served as pastor of two Connecticut churches, then as Spiritual Care Coordinator (chaplain) for Masonicare hospice services. Robert was Music Director at MUUS from 2011 until 2015. He is currently making and selling scroll-saw wood art, co-operating Sage Center for Wholeness and Heartwood Gifts with his wife, Robin, and performing music most Friday nights.
October 2, 2016 – “An example of American Exceptionalism” Presented by Penny O’Connell. Our Religious freedom is one of the most important parts of the great American experiment under which we are still living. The immigrants who settled this country rejected the European political and religious systems of monarchy and authoritarian religious control. By contrast America is a democracy founded on the separation of church and state and guaranteeing religious freedom to everyone. These founding principles of our system of government were exceptional at the time and are even more important today in a county of religious diversity. ~ Today’s presenter, Penny O’Connell, is a retired high school teacher, has a BA degree in political science from Skidmore College. She has taught at OLLI, an adult education program associated with UConn in Waterbury, for the last eight years. She is a frequent lecturer at the Southbury Library and the Woodbury Senior Community Center where she is currently teaching a course on the Interwar Years 1919-1939. She has a lifelong passion to find the truth and when she finds it she loves to share what she has discovered with people who have inquiring minds.
September 25, 2016 – “Stepping Stones Amid a Search for Truth and Meaning: A Poetry Potpourri” A quick over-view of different ways of looking at poetry will open doors to possibilities. Members of the Poetry Reading Group will read poems that speak to them in significant ways. MUUS members and friends are invited to submit poems – found or original – to be read during this service. A submitted poem can be a favorite and/or a touch stone in daily living; serious or comic. All poems will be combined into a booklet to be distributed to everyone, with permission of congregational poets. Send poems to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 20. This service is a tribute to Rudy Bremser and Mary Lohmann, co-creators of the Poetry Reading Group.
September 18, 2016 – “Women and Islam: The Veil and Other Costumes and Customs” Presented by Rev. M’ellen Kennedy. Much controversy is stirring about the Muslim tradition of women’s wearing of a head scarf or veil. What is this about? How do we balance religious tolerance and women’s rights? What do we make of this as westerners? Let’s explore this charged topic together. You’re invited to bring a scarf or hat to the service if You choose. Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy is a Unitarian Universalist minister and also a Sufi minister. She is passionate about cultivating friendship and understanding among Muslims and non-Muslims. Five years ago she founded and serves as director of “Peace and Unity Bridge”, an organization dedicated to this purpose (www.peaceandunitybridge.org ). Rev. M’ellen lives in Lincoln, Vermont where she serves the UU congregations in Springfield and Washington. She is a member of the National Board of the Inayati Order: A Sufi Path of Spiritual Liberty. Rev. M’ellen is also co-founder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network.
September 11, 2016 – “The Sacred Nature of Water” Presented by Kate MacKinney. Water, the life-giving gift upon which we are so dependent yet may take for granted. In what ways do we think of water as sacred, as we are drawn to beaches, lakes, pools and fashionable water containers? Kate MacKinney will lead the congregation in our annual “in-gathering” as we return to a new church year. Part of our ritual is the communal sharing of water, honoring and appreciating our shared history and covenantal relationship. Please bring a sample of water from your sacred place, or be in community with symbolic water provided.
September 4, 2016 – NO SERVICE. Day of Rest and Reflection (see note below).
August 28, 2016 – “Sustainability and Spirituality” Presented by Susan Stephen & Michael Jensen. Sustainability is an overused word these days, but it remains an admirable concept, based on both science and ethics. As lifelong Unitarian Universalists, Susan and Michael committed to a sustainable, small-scale lifestyle, living on a mixed farm in rural Nova Scotia for 10 years. They will explore some of the seven principles as they intersect with sustainability ideas, and suggest further direction for action.
August 21, 2016 ** – “Ring the Bells that Still Can Ring” Presented by Susan Schefflein. Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem” will be explored as it relates to the struggles of our lives, especially focusing on the line “there is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” No matter how broken we are, we can achieve a life of meaning. Susan Schefflein shared a terrific presentation about Margaret Fuller just last summer. She hails from a UU church in Mohegan Lake, NY.
August 14, 2016 – “Where Do We Find Hope?” Presented by Rev. Linda Hoddy. It would be easy to despair. We are bombarded with mass shootings, rancorous political discourse, wars that drag on, increasing income inequality, and threats of new diseases (think Zika virus). What do the world’s religions offer us to counteract despair, to bring us to hope? Rev. Hoddy is a semi-retired UU minister who organized the UU Congregation of Saratoga Springs. She served that congregation for 17 years. Prior to that she served congregations in Schenectady, Glens Falls, Little Falls and Plattsburgh, NY. In 2012, she moved with her husband, John Tracy, to Great Barrington, Ma. She continues to practice ministry as a spiritual director.
August 7, 2016 – NO SERVICE. Day of Rest and Reflection.
July 31, 2016 – “Still Growing” Presented by Rob De Carli. Growing up is not a destination, but a process. Join us this Sunday to hear Rob De Carli share his thoughts about moving into adulthood. Rob, a Southbury resident, will be starting his sophomore year at George Washington University.
July 24, 2016 – “The Six Unfathomables” Science explains many mysteries, but certain phenomena simply don’t satisfy our longing for closure, for knowing why something works the way it does. We will explore six of those mysteries, unfathomables, in this service. Presented by Jack Lander.
July 17, 2016 – “The Fellowship of the Quake” On March 11, 2011 a severe natural disaster that occurred in northeastern Japan. The event began with a powerful earthquake off the northeastern coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island, which caused widespread damage on land and initiated a series of large tsunami waves that devastated many coastal areas of the country. Joshua Halsband will share his experience with fellowship as he made his way home.
July 10, 2016 – “The Danger of the Single Story” It seems that we are constantly being reminded of all the prejudice that exists in our world, and UU people are especially attuned to fighting biased perceptions and advocating for those who suffer from them. But how often do we really look inside ourselves to examine any biases that we may have and aren’t even aware of? Come join us this Sunday, to listen to a TED Talk on this subject and be part of small discussion groups to challenge our self-perceptions and, hopefully, open our hearts and minds even further. Our special guest speaker will be Lorraine Libby.
July 3, 2016 – NO SERVICE. Day of Rest and Reflection.
June 26, 2016 – “What’s it all About” Let us you on a brief tour of our General Assembly. Experience the excitement of being with thousands of other Unitarian Universalists as we worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process.
June 19, 2016 – “Becoming” Presented by Anna Bower Richardson As Anna moves from childhood to adult she will be making choices along her path. Some of the choices will be easier to make while others will require deeper thought and perhaps consultation with those who love her. Anna’s roots will continue to hold her close while her wings will set her free for this wonderful new adventure. She will attend NYU in the fall.
June 12, 2016 – “Summer’s Blooming” Join us for our eighth annual outdoor service where we celebrate the arrival of spring & summer, its warmth, its blossoming, and the opening of our souls to earth’s great beauty. We will have this service at Jackson Cove, at the end of Jackson Cove Road, Oxford, CT, rain or shine. Please arrive by 10:30 am to settle in and enjoy the summer season. The service will begin at 11:00 am.
May 29, 2016 – “Some Call It Prayer” Why do people pray? As Unitarian Universalists we are open to “new ideas” why are some of us squeamish about the idea of prayer. Join this thoughtful group who studied the book “Simply Pray” by Erik Walker Wikstom and decide how prayer might just become a spiritual practice to add meaning to your life.
May 15, 2016 – “Science and Spirituality” The relatively new science of epigenetics explains how many diseases, including heart disease and cancer, are produced when certain genes are silenced, and suppressor genes have failed to do their job. Current research is looking into how emotions and attitudes can change genetic expression. Spirituality in the form of altruism, for example, has a profound effect on gene expression. And meditation and prayer, heretofore put down, are being reevaluated for their positive effects.
May 8, 2016 – “The Ties That Bind” Dedication Sunday: On Sunday, May 8, we will explore the ties that bind us to one another, across the miles and generations, across life and death. What is the sinew that holds us together? In particular, on this day the congregation is invited to come together to dedicate itself to our children and rededicate itself to those among us (and beyond) who identify ourselves as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and/or queer.
May 1, 2016 – “Medical Ethics” Philip I. Kotch M.D., a Southbury resident, retired from practice as a General Surgeon in 1998. His 20-year avocation has been Medical Ethics serving on the Western Connecticut Health Network Ethics Committee since 2001. The principle of distributive justice will be the major subject of his presentation while focusing on the dilemma facing the medical ethicist.
April 24, 2016 – “My Life’s Journey” Darlene Stromstad, CEO of Waterbury Hospitals, will share reflections on her life’s journey – from her early years on a North Dakota farm, to her decision to pursue a career in hospital administration and subsequent ups and downs along the way as she creates a life filled with meaning and purpose.
April 10, 2016 – “The Spirit’s Way: Practicing Radical Hospitality” Join us as we celebrate the awakening of the season with flowers and new members. On this day, we will study the “ways” of the Spirit as we look at this year’s theme for our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly: “Where Faiths Connect,” an interfaith gathering seeking to create a new vision where faiths connect rather than divide. (Please bring two flowers to celebrate our Flower Communion with our new members.)
April 3, 2016 – “With Gratitude” presented by Rev. Tracy Johnson. A new ministry and yet another new email account have had me considering the idea of gratitude. Sometimes it is easy and natural. That’s not what I am interested in! Lately I have been exploring what it means when it is complicated or even messy! I invite you to join me on the journey.
March 20, 2016 – “Mom, Muffin & Me: A Journey of Love, Laughter and Loss. Kathie Nitz is a life and relationship coach, inspirational speaker, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®), creator of Caring Cards® and, most importantly to her, a daughter to a mom with dementia. When Kathie first became a caregiver to her mom in 2003, she never imagined the healing and growth that would occur for both her and her mom on their journey together. Kathie will shares stories and wisdom about how to live and care with your eyes and heart wide open to help you embrace the journey and find the many gifts hidden within the challenges.
March 6, 2016 – “Leaving Your Legacy” Presented by Ann Merriam Feinberg. How do we want to be remembered? What will your legacy be? Thinking about our legacy may remind us of death, but it is truly about life! It is about putting our life into perspective; making choices about the kind of life we want to live which, in turn, will define the legacy we leave behind. There is no “right” path but Ann will share herjourney and how her choices may sculpt my legacy.
February 14, 2016 – “Reflections on Life’s Journey” Brian G. Chapman, Ed. D. has long served as Director of Outreach and Director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UConn Waterbury. Thanks to his vision and diligent efforts, OLLI offers dozens of classes annually, geared toward those over 50, with a current enrollment of several hundred older adults in our community. Dr. Chapman will share some reflections on his life journey as a gay man in higher education and as a caregiver for loved ones fighting life-threatening illnesses.
January 24, 2016 – CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER AND DRIVING CONDITIONS
January 17, 2016 – “The Power of Love” Reverend Canon Ted Karpf will kick off our “30 Days of Love” campaign. Reverend Karpf was awarded Canon for Life for outstanding service to God, Humanity and the Diocese of Washington D.C. He retired from Boston University School of Theology as Director of Development and Alumni Relations. He was at the World Health Organization (WHO) where he served as Partnerships Officer for seven years (2004-2011).
January 10, 2016 – “Community over Code: Experiences in Global Collaboration” Justin Edelson is an architect, developer, writer, and technical manager at Adobe Systems. Justin, a life-long Unitarian Universalist will talk about his experiences in world-wide collaboration in software development and how those experiences have been informed by our shared principals.
December 27, 2015, 10:30 a.m. – Community Potluck. In lieu of our regular Sunday service, we will be having a potluck for all ages. Please bring a breakfast or brunch item to share. All are welcome. Note: there will be no Religious Education classes today.
December 20, 2015 – “The Spirit of Giving” Not every child has his or her own book or collection of books. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help give books to kids in need to SPARK the love for reading? Join Christopher McGilvery, Founder and Executive Director of Give More HUGS- Helping Unite Giving Soul, as he shares his experience from his most recent trip to Dominica. Please bring a gently used or new book for a child or young adult.
December 13, 2015 – “Is America is Still a Beacon for Huddled Masses Yearning to be Free” Ashley Makar from Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services will share the work they do to provide lifesaving support to refugees as they arrive at their new home here in the United States, including temporary housing, clothing, food and health care. Welcoming persecuted people from other countries is an ancient and universal custom. In the United States it is one of our most noble traditions.
November 29, 2015 – “You Can Define a Life You Love: Spirituality in the Face of Big Bumps in the Road” presented by Colleen Brunetti. Sometimes life throws us news we were never prepared to deal with. When that happens, it can become apparent that we must lean on a higher power to get through – and that path can take many forms. Come explore how to strengthen and re-awaken spiritual truth when facing a life-changing event. Colleen Brunetti is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who teaches clients to define a life they love – no matter what happens. She specializes in working with busy, stressed (but fabulous) educators and parents, and those living with chronic and critical illness.
November 15, 2015 – “Stalking the Wild Spirit” presented by Robert Werme. “Seek, and ye shall find.” Thank you, Jesus. Sure, but where do we begin our search? And what are the seeker’s tools, methods and necessary skills? Taking his cue from Euell Gibbons, Robert will share with us some of what he’s gleaned from his own spiritual pursuits.
November 8, 2015 – “Soaring Past 7 Billion: Population Challenges for a Crowded World” John Seagar, President and CEO of Population Connection, will address global population growth, its causes and impacts, and how we can meet those challenges. Founded in 1968 as Zero Population Growth (ZPG), Population Connection focuses on achieving global population stabilization through universal awareness and access to voluntary family planning together with the full empowerment of women.
October 25, 2015 – Join Tracy Johnson, who will soon be ordained, and the Social Justice Coordinating Team as we look back on the dreams that generated MUUS’s Social Justice Movement. We will celebrate what we are doing now and share our dreams for the future. A soup and bread lunch will follow the service.
October 11, 2015 – “Final Exit” Judy Snyderman, Board Member and Treasurer of Final Exit Network, will discuss the choices that are available to us to increase our chances of having a good death: pain free, peaceful, dignified, in a location of our choice and surrounded by those we love. Ms. Snyderman has cared about our right to “death with dignity” for as long as she can remember, joining the Hemlock Society sometime in the early 80’s. She has been trained as both a Caring Friend with Compassion and Choices and an Exit Guide with Final Exit Network. She’ll describe the differences between these two organizations as well as the current status of death with dignity laws in the US. (Note: Judy Snyderman will also speak at 4 p.m at the meetinghouse – see more at the Upcoming Activities link).
September 27, 2015 – “The Battle for Voting Rights” The right to vote is the most important right granted to a US citizen, yet our nation’s history has involved one discriminated group of Americans after another, having had to fight for their rightful place in our democracy. Paula Van Ness will discuss the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the massive blow to civil rights and democracy in 2013, when the US Supreme Court struck down what had been called “the heart” of the Voting Rights Act. As people concerned about disparities and the right of all Americans to have a say and participate in our democracy, we need to understand what is at risk and why voting rights are worth fighting for.
September 13, 2015 – “Beyond Welcome: Opening Our Hearts and Lives To People We Have Not Yet Met” Today’s presenter, Sierra-Marie Gerfao, is a Candidate for UU ministry and a part-time seminarian in her fifth of six years at Yale Divinity School.
August 30, 2015 – “Black Lives Matter.” Have our words become weapons or tools? Does our choice of words invite or shut down conversation? How do we discuss highly charged issues and maintain our sense of community while doing it? Join Bob Friedlander, Tom Oaks and Connie Cole Ingber in a dialog where we explore highly charged phrases like Black Lives Matter and examine its ability call us to action or shut down a conversation.
August 23, 2015 – “Singing for Social Justice.” When times are tough singing can bring people together for common purpose. From the original protest songs of the civil rights movement to the charity singles raising money for those in need, for decades musicians have inspired change through their songs. Join us as Willie Nininger and Jan Scrugs will share their gifts of song as we navigate the many themes of social justice.
August 16, 2015 – “What you give you keep forever. What you keep you lose.” Although Lorraine Libby is still researching the origin of this quote, it is one that always resonated with her. She will share her personal take on it as it relates to many of her life experiences, such as volunteering, working with disabled students and, most recently, teaching. She has found that sharing her personal resources, such as compassion and knowledge gained through study and earned through practice, has enriched her life emotionally and spiritually. Through these experiences she has come to understand very deeply her own sense of gratitude for so much that she enjoys in life. Lorraine understands these things as gifts that must be shared and passed on for to not do so, would end with a sense of loss. And she says “that is what I’d like to share with my beloved MUUS congregation.”
August 9, 2015 – “Citizen Science.” Citizen Science is participatory science. Ordinary citizens are able to get involved in a wide variety of science projects, from counting birds, to tracking fireflies, to categorizing galaxies. Getting involved is a wonderful way to appreciate and to help preserve the interconnected web of existence of which we are a part. During this service Mike Ingber will facilitate our exploration of Citizen Science and discuss ways to get involved.
August 2, 2015 – “Margaret Fuller.” Susan Schefflein, President of the Fourth Unitarian Society of Westchester, will speak about Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), a Unitarian and Transcendentalist. Fuller was friends with Emerson and Thoreau and an editor and writer who became the first female American foreign correspondent. Susan will address Margaret Fuller’s role in helping women break away from nineteenth century gender stereotypes. Fuller was an inspiration to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and provides inspiration for Unitarian Universalists today.
July 26, 2015 – “Transitions and the Age of Feeling In Between.” Presented by Lila Coddington. After attending a conference that focused on Emerging Adults (18-29) Lila discovered similarities for her own stage of development that Jane Fonda kindly refers to as “Life’s Third Act.” The five features of emerging adulthood include: Identity Exploration, Instability, Self-focus, Feeling in-between and Possibilities/optimism. Lila will translate these to where she finds herself today in “Life’s Third Act” and hopes her journey will impact your own, no matter what your life stage of development is, so we can all build bridges and not walls growing forward.
July 19, 2015 – “Food for the Body and Soul.” The Southbury Food Bank’s mission is to provide food assistance to our neighbors in need as they strive for a hunger-free community. Our guest speaker Anne Marie Galus, executive director of the Southbury Food Bank and a woman of faith, will share her experiences with stories about local families dealing with food insecurity. Members and friends are encouraged to bring boxes of cereal to fill the shelves.
July 12, 2015 – “Raising a Child with Autism.” Sid Halsband will introduce his son Joshua and granddaughter. Josh will share his family’s story and experience and discuss the challenges they face raising a child with autism, what the social and educational challenges are and how applied behavioral analysis is the only recognized treatment for the symptoms.
July 5, 2015 – “Evolution: Alive and Not Well.” Darwin characterized evolution as the gradual process of natural selection based on changes in the environment. And it may have been so in his day. But today evolution is responsible for rapid changes that already are having devastating consequences for us all. These changes are happening in parallel with global climate change, thus compounding the challenges we face. Attend and add your thoughts as to how we might respond to these challenges. presented by Jack Lander.
June 21, 2015 – “Summer Love Songs.” Join us for our seventh annual outdoor service where we celebrate the arrival of spring & summer, its warmth, its blossoming, the opening of our souls to earth’s great beauty.
June 14, 2015 – “Getting Involved… Why?” We all have many opportunities to get involved in our communities and many of us take the plunge to support causes we care about… as you open your mind and your heart, your journey of support can lead to much more than you might ever expect! Former MUUS member, Ann Merriam Feinberg will share her story of the people and places of “Simply Smiles,” a nonprofit dedicated to building bright futures while improving the daily lives of impoverished children.
June 7, 2015 – “Dynamic Pillars of Faith.” It is said, “those who [do] not remember the past… repeat it” (G. Santayana). This quote speaks to the value of knowing and acknowledging the traditions out of which one’s identity is shaped. Souls who came before us made their mark on this congregation, just as we will leave ours for the next generation. In the year of our 35th anniversary as a congregation of the UUA, today is a time of remembering our MUUS dynamic ancestors.
May 31, 2015 – “Higher Than Deity.¨ – Join UU Minister Mary Tiebout as we explore the writings of a now little-known Victorian naturalist humanist in Southwest England. This mystery man promoted idle thought, challenged the dominant culture’s “desperate struggle for advancement,” witnessed the beginnings of many problems that confront our world today, inspired Rachel Carson, and reminds us that there is always another idea.
May 24, 2015 – “Nurture Your Spirit with Music.” Singing in community is a worship tradition that engages our hearts more than our minds. It can bring us into a sacred time and place, help heal our sorrows, strengthen our resolve, remind us of our values and bring us joy. It joins us to each other as we raise a clear and unified voice. Join Beate Neblett, our guest pianist, as we blend our voices in song. If you’d like to suggest a hymn for this service, please send your hymn requests to SS@muusct.org before Sunday, May 10.
April 26, 2015 – “Our Covenant: What is it, where did it come from and what does it mean?” The Covenant Tenders will share their thoughts on the congregational covenant adopted by MUUS members in 2011. How did it come to be? Is this set of guidelines for how we behave with each other working or not? Does it need to be updated? The Covenant Tenders are Rod Ashby, Maryanne Boyen, Margrit Morley, Marj Needham and Tom Oakes.
April 12, 2015 – “What about Poetry?” Can poetry be a source of enjoyment and inspiration instead of aggravation and perspiration? Can poetry be a gateway to our 4th principle: a free and responsible search for truth and meaning? We’ll see. Some obstacles to poetry appreciation will be summarized. Opportunities for comic and thoughtful experiences will be offered during a poetry reading sampler/buffet that will include poetry by Lucille Clifton, Billy Collins, Marie Howe, Claudia Rankine, and UU ministers Ric Masten and Lynn Ungar. Barb Eler presenting.
March 29, 2015 – “Our Most Faithful Journey.” We will look at the life path—our most faithful journey—from a shamanic perspective. Our souls are comprised of archetypes that help fashion the life path, and the challenges and longings of those archetypes will be explored. Jane Burns became a shamanic practitioner in 2003 and a teacher of shamanic journeying in 2005. As a Celtic Reiki Master she brings over 20 years of experience in the fields of psychic and medical intuition, energy medicine and past-life regression therapy.
March 22, 2015 – “Souls Deep with Dreams.” There’s a beautiful gypsy proverb: “We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are filled with wonder and our souls are deep with dreams.” Dreams are our bridge to soul, our own organic spirituality. They function in myriad ways to assist us in walking our authentic life path with courage and with heart. They can even take us on journeys beyond our limited experience of space and time into worlds of wonder and new possibility. Adelita Chirino is a veteran educator and counselor, who has studied and taught dream work since 1976.
March 8, 2015 – “The Transformative Power of Music.” Forty years ago, Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu stumbled into music; he saw the effect music had on the students performing and the driving power behind it. He expanded this belief into not only creating great musicians, but also dramatically changing the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a country’s neediest children. CalidaJones from “Bravo Waterbury!” will be discussing the transformative power of change through music.
Sunday, February 22, 2015 – CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER AND DRIVING CONDITIONS
Sunday, February 15, 2015 – CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER AND DRIVING CONDITIONS
Sunday, February 8, 2015 – “Thoughts on a Healing Ministry.” The Reverend Karen Jodice, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, will tell us about her current experience as a physical therapist, and its spiritual aspects. Karen will emphasize stillness, and the one on one relationship with those whom she treats. Karen is the Director of Rehabilitation at the Lutheran Home of Southbury.
Sunday, January 25, 2015 – “Give More HUGS: Inspiring One Youth at a Time!” Join founder and President Christopher McGilvery to learn about how the Book Share program provides opportunities for individuals, classroom teachers, and organizations to unite to participate in a service-learning project to give back and help inspire students with a book that includes an inspirational message. Bring a gently used or new book for ages 12-18 to participate in a Book Share project.
Sunday, January 18, 2015 – CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER AND DRIVING CONDITIONS
Sunday, January 11, 2015 – “Standing on the Side of Love.” Standing on the Side of Love is an interfaith public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. It is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and all are welcome to join. Join Paula Van Ness as she shares some of the ways we can become involved either as individuals or as a congregation.
Sunday, December 28, 2014 – No Formal Service. Instead, we will gather this day after the winter holiday for informal pot luck. Come as you are and bring a dish and stories to share. All are welcome.
Sunday, December 21, 2014 – “The Winter Solstice is Upon Us.” The shortest day of the year has arrived. Frigid weather and the sun’s return is a paradox. What does this day tell us? How can we begin to honor nature’s rhythms to be more connected to our environment, communities and ourselves? Join us as Robin Werme, Licensed Massage Therapist and Educator from Sage Center for Wholeness shares her gifts with us.
Sunday, December 7, 2014 – “Transformation.” James Belden will speak from Sandy Hook Promise the national, non-profit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. Sandy Hook Promise is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible mental wellness, social development and gun safety/access non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. The intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning tragedy into a moment of transformation.
Sunday, November 30, 2014 – “’Tis a Gift to be Simple.” As we move from Thanksgiving to Christmas and Hanukkah, we move to holidays that involve gift-giving. Is materialism the driving force behind choosing and exchanging our gifts? If it is, we can choose to make our gift-giving more meaningful and less about “stuff.” Like those who live lives of voluntary simplicity, we can choose to leave materialism behind and create deeply meaningful holidays for ourselves and our families. We’ll explore ways to do that. Presented by Marj Needham.
Sunday, November 16, 2014 – “The Unexpected Road: Getting Lost and Finding Where I Belong.” Elisabeth Cronin’s career path has been anything but linear but every step she has taken has lead her to where she needs to be. Elizabeth Cronin is Director of the New York State Office of Victim Services. She was appointed in 2013 by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Sunday, November 9, 2014 – “Justice is the Human Right to Water.” Cassandra Ryan, of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, will present on UUSC’s innovative approach to promoting social justice and advancing human rights, with special focus on the human right to water and how we can work together to change the world.
Sunday, October 26, 2014 – “The Butterfly Effect.” Everything we do matters and changes the world. This is the essential message of the scientifically based notion of Butterfly Power. Mike Ingber will explore this empowering concept, and how relevant it is for us individually and as a community.
October 12, 2014 – “Surprising truths about how the English stole Turtle Island (a.k.a. America).” How the European mindset of the sixteenth century resulted in the colonialism of indigenous peoples east of the Mississippi River, and why this is presently a super-critical issue with regard to the teaching of history in our schools. Jack Lander presenting.
Sunday, September 28, 2014 – “Look what we’ve done! And what else we’ll be doing!” The Social Justice Coordinating Team will lead the congregation in celebrating the impact that our social justice work has made, and will look to the future of the social justice movement in MUUS.
Sunday, September 14, 2014 – “Escalating Inequality.” The delegates to UUA the 2014 General Assembly selected “Escalating Inequality” to be the Congregational Study/Action Issue for the next four years. The rationale for pursuing this topic is that concentration of wealth and power has skyrocketed. Dr. King’s dream of justice and equality could be diminished by economic conditions. Roger Senserrich, Policy Director Connecticut Association for Human Services will share his perspective.
Sunday, August 31, 2014 – “Is Community Enough?” The sense of community we get from being part of a congregation is precious and deeply meaningful. But is that enough, or do the UU principles require that we go beyond community and “walk toward trouble”? Maybe… or maybe not. Join Irene Conley in an exploration of this issue.
Sunday, August 24, 2014 – “Paradox of Choice.” Are we burdened by too many choices in every facet of our lives? What about the choices offered by our fourth principle? (The fourth principle is a free and responsible search for truth and meaning). Come to this presentation and discussion led by Mike Ingber to explore this topic.
Sunday, August 17, 2014 – “The Answer is Under Construction.” What does it mean to affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning? Sarah Edelson Baskin will share Sarah Skwire’s story “Answer Mountain” and reflect upon our shared calling to continue to explore and enrich in our lives, and the resources that may help us to do just that.
Sunday, August 10, 2014 – Cynthia Tun, recently returned from her trip to India, will be sharing her knowledge of the ancient Hindu holistic medical regiment called Ayurveda. In Hindi the term “ayur” means “life” and “veda” means “science or knowledge of.” Cynthia will be sharing her experiences with and knowledge of this model of healing.
Sunday, August 3, 2014 – “On the Separation of Church and State.” Jack Lander will present a historic perspective covering the influence of the early colonial settlers, through 161 years, culminating with the adoption of the First Amendment to our Constitution. A few current cases will be cited.
Sunday, July 27, 2014 – Julie Howell and Marj Needham present Essays from “This I Believe.” Since the 1950s National Public Radio has archived audio essays on individual’s beliefs. Marj and Julie will present four essays and you are invited to respond.
Sunday, July 20, 2014 – “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual.” How can a humanist or agnostic claim spirituality in a seemingly godless universe? Jack Lander will speak on this subject, being “spiritual” but not “religious.” It is purported to be the mantra of the NONES. (Loosely, it means an unaffiliated group of young people who, according to polls, share values similar to UU.)
Sunday, July 13, 2014 – “Darwin’s Natural Selection: Is Evolutionary Biology An Abyss or a Bridge of Hope?” Jack Gorman will discuss some implications of the theory of natural selection espoused by Charles Darwin in light of current scientific research. There will also be a discussion of the prevailing philosophical view of man prior to Darwin and the impact of Darwin’s theory upon that view. Is human existence devoid of meaning if we have evolved from apes? Can mankind find some hope in the implications of human evolution?
Sunday, July 6, 2014 – “Returning from General Assembly.” The General Assembly in Providence was inspiring, challenging, and profoundly moving. A panel of MUUS members who attended GA will share highlights and impressions of the events, and ask us to consider some new ideas as our congregation looks to the future.
Sunday, June 29, 2014 – ”Into the Beyond.” Presented by Marjorie Needham. Marj will base her homily on the article by The Rev. Dr. Terasa G. Cooley in the Summer 2014 UU World. Cooley says we must change the way we do church or face certain decline. What will future congregations be like? Do we need to broaden our definition of membership? In what ways will we do that?
Sunday, June 22, 2014 – “The Science and Spirit of Alzheimer’s.” Presented by Connie Cole Ingber. Come listen to Connie as she shares some of her thoughts about Alzheimer’s disease. Connie has been a critical care nurse for over two decades.
Sunday, June 8, 2014 – “Remembering Pete Seeger.” Unitarian Universalist Pete Seeger, who passed away in January, sang a cross-generational soundtrack; folk singer in the 40s and 50s, blacklisted in the 50s, re-emerging in the 60s and continuing into this century to lead songs of aspirations for peace, civil rights, and environmental responsibility. Join Willie Nininger and friends as they highlight some of Seeger’s most beloved music.
Sunday, May 25, 2014 – ”The Sweet Message of Universalism: A Maple Sugar Communion.” Presenter Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy. According to Kennedy, we are witnessing a Universalist Awakening.“ The sweet, loving message of our heritage is the balm for the agonies of our era. Let’s celebrate our New England Univer- salist roots and our contemporary myriad blossoms. How are You living this sweet message? How are You called to live it?”Rev. M’ellen has been given the honor of preaching at the annual Universalist Con- vocation which is May 16-18 in Cincinnati this year. The convocation is a gathering “… to explore and draw from the heritage of Universalist experience and faith to inform Unitarian Universalism today and help light its way toward the future.”
Sunday, May 11, 2014 – “The Feminine Divine.” Adelita Chirino discusses the Feminine Divine. To learn more about her work go to her blog, Lita Dream- ing, http://litadreaming.blogspot.com.
April 27 – “Pope Francis.” Presented by Tracey O’Shaughnessy
April 13, 2014 – “Seeds of Change in Bethlehem.” Presented by Matthew Woodhall.
William Butler Yeats wrote, “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” Matthew C. Woodhall, Head of School at The Woodhall School in Bethlehem, will explore education as an intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual process rooted in the values of compassion, integrity, and respect.
Sunday, March 30, 2014 – “Overbooking.” Putting enormous pressure on ourselves has become the “norm” in our society. Maureen Moreau shares the steps she took to stop living a life of stress and overwhelm which surprisingly helped her achieve a lifelong dream.
=Sunday, March 16, 2014 –” The Defining Moments in Our Lives.” Presented by Paula Van Ness. We are born in one moment. We will each die in one moment. Change is a constant in our lives. On any day you can step outside the door and your whole life can change in an instant. Paula will include reflections on how to make moments count and stories about the significance of the defining moments in our lives.
=Sunday, March 2, 2014 – “The Golden Record: What Would We Say Today?” What would you want to share about our lives on earth with extraterrestrial civilizations? Ed Edelson will share some of what was included on the record sent on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977.
Sunday, February 16, 2014 – “Standing on the Side of Love.” Kate MacKinney will bring this interfaith campaign of faith in action to its meaning in our own community. If you can’t act globally, you can act locally.
Sunday, February 9, 2014 – “Changing Role of the Public Library.” As we depend more and more on technology, what will libraries do to remain an important part of our lives? LoRusso will share her thoughts on how public libraries will remain relevant as technology continues to evolve. Presented by JoAnn LoRusso, Middlebury Public Library Director.
Sunday, January 26, 2014 – On The Wings of Song What is it that touches you about a piece of music? Are you especially moved by one particular composer, musician or instrument? Do you have a favorite song, style or genre of music? This service will be presented by MUUS’s Music Director, Robert Werme, and he’d like to include your responses to some of these question in the presentation. Please send your reflections to him at email@example.com no later than Monday, January 20.
Sunday, January 12, 2014 – Ann Dilorenzo-Mari will speak to us about her journey with her yoga practice, and the challenge of teaching yoga to public high school students.
Sunday, December 29, 2013 – Brunch Potluck 10:30 at the meetinghouse. Take time to reflect on the holiday season with members and friends. Sunday Service and Membership Committees will provide a sign-up sheet for the food and beverages on Sunday. This is a great informal way to get together in a relaxed atmosphere during this hectic time of year. All are welcome including guests.
Sunday, December 22, 2013 – “Christmas: A Unitarian Holiday.” The story about Ebenezer Scrooge has become central to our modern conception of what Christmas is about, so open your hearts to compassion and joy and while learning about our Unitarian past.
Sunday, December 8, 2013 – “The Interdependent Web Revisited.” The “interdependent web of all existence” is comprised of the Earth, a.k.a Gaia , the plant kingdom, and the animal kingdom, the latter of which we are a part. Is the order within these divisions merely evolutionary dependency, or is there also a hierarchy from which we may derive spiritual meaning? Presented by Jack Lander.
Sunday, December 1, 2013 – Louisa Printz of Save Haven Safe Haven offers a place for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing free, confidential services in a safe, caring environment, striving to raise awareness through community education and outreach.
Join us to learn how support, counseling and advocacy restores hope and helps people reclaim their lives.
November 24, 2013 – Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Bread Service
Please join us for an intergenerational service of thanksgiving, communion, and music. At this annual service of thanksgiving we pause to break bread and enjoy the gift of music together.
November 17, 2013 – “The Soundtrack of Our Lives.” How does the music of our lives inspire, nourish and comfort us? Come listen and share. Connie Cole Ingber and Irene Conley will lead us in the fascinating discussion.
November 10, 2013 – Sarira’s Journey Sarira Motaref has a Doctor of Philosophy in the area of Structural Engineering. She is currently teaching several engineering course at UConn’s Storrs campus. Learn about her journey from Iran to the US to pursue her graduate studies as she shares stories of her joys and hardships. She will talk about her definition of spirituality and happiness and how she got the power to overcome challenges. She will talk about values in her culture and how she has learned to share her happiness with others. She hopes to be able to encourage young girls who have strong ambitions for success.
November 3, 2013 – Day of the Dead, Multigenerational Service. This service we will honor the memories and spirit of our ancestors, who prepared the way for us just as we prepare the way for the next generation. Everyone is invited to bring pictures and tokens of loved ones, flowers, ribbons, or other decorative items to place on a special memorial altar we will create during the service. Older Children are welcome to stay is the service if they wish. Presented by Christine Edelson.
October 27, 2013 – “Our Commitment to Social Justice.” Hunger and food insufficiency are clearly on our mind at MUUS. We’ve had bountiful vegetable gardens this season; local food banks have been recipients of produce. We have had monthly peanut butter and jelly sandwich building sessions for the Greater Waterbury Interfaith ministry feeding program. And many of us will walk in the SWIM sponsored “Harvest Walk To End Hunger” in early November. How and why we participate in this Social Justice work depends on how passionate we are, on our own life circumstances, and personal experiences. Presented by Barbara Roberts.
October 13, 2013 – “Day of Indigenous People.” In celebration of the Day of Indigenous People, Drew Shuptar Rayvis will examine the relationship between the spiritual and the physical through local Indian lore. Drew Shuptar Rayvis is an Algonquian and a student of American Indian history.
September 29, 2013 – Cancer has touched everyone’s life in some way. That little bump atop Bob Heffernan’s scalp turned into a long ordeal thru stage four cancer (melanoma), spreading to the lymph nodes of his neck then to his lung, connecting him to some of the nation’s leading cancer scientists and doctors at Yale and the National Institutes of Health. Usually we think of cancer as an ugly, terrifying disease. But Bob’s amazing journey against all odds tells an uplifting story of perseverance, hope, and positivity that will inspire all cancer patients and their loved ones. He found that alongside fear and suffering, cancer provides numerous gifts that nourish the human soul. His new book, “Cancer’s Gifts With Love & Hope,” was released in May.
September 22, 2013 – “Breaking the Chain of Hate.” Join Rev. Jeanne and the pioneering MUUS students of Non-Violent Communication as they share their reflections on the meanings, difficulties and requirements of Non-Violent Communication.
September 15, 2013 – In September, Jews around the world will be entering the season of our most sacred holidays of the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. At this time of the year, we are mandated to stop: just stop; stop and breathe; stop and consider; stop and pay attention; stop and reflect; stop and then return. This is the time of year that the usual rhythms of our ritual observances are altered and greatly expanded to provide both direction and time for Jews to examine both our individual relationships as well as our community relationships. Speaker: Brian D. Karsif, MD.
September 1, 2013 – “You are loved… and so are they.” ~ Jon Muth, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth.
In our world where there is so much hatred and violence, could this message of love be our path to positive change? Lifelong Unitarian Universalist and MUUS member Sarah Edelson Baskin will share wisdom about our potential to spread love, hope, and joy in our own faith community and beyond.
August 25, 2013 – “Reproductive Justice.” Donna Pereira, Maryanne Boyen, Irene Conley and Tom Oakes will give their thoughts and reflections about reproductive justice. The four of them and Christine Edelson participated in a class, a CSAI, in the spring centering on reproductive justice. A Congregational Study/Action Issue is a subject voted on at General Assembly worthy of a four-year study and action agenda. Reproductive justice was voted on in 2012, so it is being studied now. The curriculum is on the UUA website.
August 18, 2013 – Rebecca Beilinson recently earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting meeting national standards set by Girl Scouts of the USA. She organized an awareness campaign at her synagogue that focused on educating girls in developing countries. She also collected over 300 books for a school that empowers girls in Afghanistan as well as for Girls, Inc. in Waterbury. She created a lesson plan for teachers at Pomperaug High School and the French Honor Society will make the book drive an annual event. She is studying biology at Yale University.
August 11, 2013 – Pomperaug High School’s Anna Bower Richardson will speak on her commitment to environmental causes including wildlife preservation and recycling efforts. She is the youngest recipient to receive the Liberty Bell Award, a national award given by the Bar Association, which acknowledged her community service.
August 4, 2013 – John Cummings and crew from the recent “7 Principles” Small Group Ministry will share impressions and experiences of their 8 sessions of in-depth discussions of our UU principles. This group met on Sundays after services in the spring. Small Group Ministry is an opportunity to get to know yourself and others in an impactful way. Participation in a SGM strengthens our beloved community, since how we are with one another matters at MUUS.
July 28, 2013 – Jack Gorman, MUUS member, will discuss one aspect of current U.S. immigration policy, the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visa program. The discussion will include two short stories of foreigners caught up in abuses that can occur when one enters our country in this visa program. Jack’s discussion is based upon information available on the UUA website under the link for Social Justice and he invites all members to access the various information regarding immigration at that site.
July 21, 2013 – “Honoring the Brave.” Ed Edelson, the First Selectman of Southbury will be talking about the making of the documentary “Home of the Brave: When Southbury Said ‘No!’ To the Nazis.” Mr. Edelson was a founding member of the commemoration committee that brought together religious leaders, historians, journalists and foundations to create this important documentary and related events on the 75th anniversary. He will be showing the recently released film documentary titled “Southbury Remembers and Honors the Brave.”
July 14, 2013 – “Face the Music.” Why is music so important to us? What does it say about our brains, our lives and our relationship to each other? Leif Bjaland will be our guest speaker.
For the past fifteen seasons, Leif Bjaland has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, where his engaging conducting style and artistic vision have heralded an era of musical excellence. Leif began his musical career as a Professor of Music at Yale University, where he served as music director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, leading that ensemble on a very successful tour of Europe in 1985.
July 7, 2013 – “Technology: Is its path convergent with UU principles?” Presented by Jack Lander, Mike Murphy and Everard Day, with piano illustration by Mary Lander.
June 30, 2013 – Jim Scott, UU Composer, Poet, Performer and Activist comes to MUUS Jim Scott has brought his contemporary and multicultural music to more than 500 UU Churches over nearly three decades. His much loved “Gather the Spirit” and a number of others are included in the UU hymnbooks. Co-chair of the UU Ministry for the Earth, Jim was involved in creating the “Green Sanctuary” program. He was awarded a grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism to compile and arrange the Earth and Spirit Songbook, a collection of over 100 songs of earth and peace that has been acclaimed as a great resource for worship and RE programs.
In concerts and Sunday services, Jim speaks with passion on ecology, justice and peace, and often works with choirs, inspiring singers to new levels of expression. Jim’s lyrical poetry and stories are calls to action, full of hope and gentle wit. He is often brought in as the “speaker,” and his services are always very musical. As a song-leader he lifts joyous participation from congregations.
As a member of the Paul Winter Consort, Jim co-wrote their celebrated “Missa Gaia/Earth Mass” and sang their signature song “Common Ground.” His eco-anthem “A Song for the Earth” was recorded at the United Nations. He has gone on to create an extensive body of work including PBS soundtracks, award winning choral works and seven CDs of original music. On his new CD “Gather the Spirit” Jim is featured leading choral arrangements of his songs from the UU hymnbooks and other new creations. He’s taught courses at such prestigious schools as Oberlin College and been an artist in residence in many schools and universities.
June 23, 2013 – “Cultivating Gratitude.” How does the lens of gratitude shape our daily lives? Join Connie Cole Ingber in a discussion and reflection on this practice in our daily lives
June 16, 2013 – “Nature’s Beauty”: Flower Communion Service, at Jackson Cove Park in Oxford – Join us for our fifth annual multigenerational outdoor service where we celebrate the arrival of spring and coming of summer with our flower communion, breathing in the beauty of the earth even as we honor it.
June 9, 2013 – “The Power of Giving.” This service will be presented by Paula Van Ness, president and CEO of Connecticut Community Foundation. As an expert in fund management, philanthropy, estate planning, grant-making and community issues, she will share some of what she has learned about giving and volunteering over the last 40 years in the non-profit sector.
May 26, 2013 – “Reflections of a UU on Memorial Day.” Memorial Day is not just a day of leisure but a day to remember all those Americans who died fighting for their country. How do we as UU’s honor the courage and sacrifice of soldiers while acknowledging the tragedy of war and affirming our commitment to peace? Donna Pereira will be presenting.
May 12, 2013 – “Living on the Earth.” For nearly 40 years, organic farmer, author, and environmental artist Bill Duessing has been working to promote organic agriculture and greater local food sufficiency in Connecticut and the northeast through lectures, writings, media and community work. He is currently the executive director of CT NOFA, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut and president of the NOFA Interstate Council.
April 28, 2013 – “From Personal Crisis to Personal Transformation ~ Ready or not, here it comes.” Shelley Albini will share thoughts and tools for facing the life challenges that seem to come out of nowhere. Be prepared to reflect on a life challenge and ways to continue to move through it with grace.
April 14, 2013 – “The Buddha In Each of Us.“ Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” ~ Dalai Lama
Member Cynthia Tun will explore compassion and love as a part of our everyday lives, our community, and our social justice work in hunger. How can each one of us find compassion and love within ourselves when facing issues that create frustration, anger and a sense of hopelessness?
March 31, 2013 – The Advocacy, Witness and Education (AWE) Task Group examines the topic of advocacy, one of the five main approaches to social justice work, and looks at how advocacy can be used to forward our congregation’s fight against hunger.
March 24, 2013 – “Living on SNAP.” Presenters: Peg Molina and Christine Thomas. During September 2012, “Hunger Action Month”, Peg and Christine participated in the “Snap Challenge.” SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the new name for the food stamps. The challenge was to live on a food stamp budget for a week (or more). Hear firsthand about food insecurity in our area, the nation, and, in particular, the challenges that they had for the week. Their insights and lessons gained will also be shared.
March 17, 2013 – “Stars.” Presenter: Mary Tiebout. A teacher, a poet and a student tell us of despair and wonder, of the demands of science and the soul’s questions, of the vast universe and our very small, brief yet significant lives, and of love’s possibilities.
March 3, 2013 – “Earth-based Religious Beliefs: Are We Coming Full Circle?” Fadwa Najamy, presenter: Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, the nineteenth-century anthropologist, believed that there was a functional basis for the development of society and religion, which he determined was universal. “The idea that human culture (broadly defined) evolves in much the same way biological species evolve – new cultural traits arise and may flourish or perish and as a result whole belief systems form and change. A new religious ritual or belief can appear and gain a following… new ideas about gods can arise…” As UU’s we have evolved in our principles to believe we are a part of the interdependent web of life. Other major mainly monotheistic religions have created a new moral code that includes stewardship of our planet. New Age beliefs tend to revolve around the same stewardship principle.
February 24, 2013 – “Faith Works to End Hunger.” Join Rev. Jeanne and Jayne Davis, along with Social Justice leaders at MUUS, to reflect on why our ministry to Stand Against Hunger matters to others, and to ourselves. After the service, there will be a soup and bread celebration for all. Then, the three Social Justice Hunger Task Groups will meet to reflect on and acknowledge our progress and goals on this issue. All are welcome to listen to the reflections.
February 17, 2013 – “Native American Beliefs and Religious Traditions.” Our music director, Bob Werme, will share the service with Mary and Jack Lander. The Native American flute and drums will provide authentic music.
February 3, 2013 – “The Powers of Brighid.” Presenter: Jane Burns. This service will honor and invoke the powers of Brighid, the Celtic goddess of healing, the hearth, poetry and smithcraft, and celebrate her feast day, Imbolc, which ushers in the promise of spring.Through the fire of Brighid, we will seek to cleanse away the darkness of winter and usher forth new life from within and without. The service will include a ritual to celebrate the pagan feast of Imbolc and a guided healing meditation.
January 27, 2013 – “Enchanted.” Presenter: Bob Werme. This service is dedicated to music and reflections thereupon. “Few escape the spell of the muse. Not many attempt such flight. The seductions stirred up by savory sounds are certainly among the most exquisite. Can you not recall personal moments of musical magic? Is there not a melody or harmony that repeats and resonates within your life story? Let us determine to be swept up, over and over again, by the sweet sway of a simple song, a sonata or a symphony! And let our souls sing when tear or word or gesture will not carry the fullness we hold.” ~ Bob Werme
January 20, 2013 – The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday – “Intervening in a Racist World.” Join Ken Wagner, a member of the executive steering committee of Allies for Racial Equity to reflect on how our perceptions of “reality & race” are shaped, thereby shaping society and our capacity for justice and compassion.
January 13, 2013 – What is it like to attend the General Assembly? Join Mary Lander, Jack Lander, Tom Oakes, Kate MacKinney and Maryanne Boyen as they discuss the General Assembly.
December 30, 2012 – Join with the MUUS community for the second annual post-holiday pot luck brunch. Bring a dish and holiday stories to share. We will sing a few hymns and say goodbye to 2012.
December 23, 2012 – “Magic Markers.” Join Denise Pedane at this multigenerational service as she looks at the various milestones different generations face and the common experiences we share in our lifetimes. Denise welcomes MUUS members and friends to contribute favorite journal entries or family photographs from milestones in your life; please share these with Denise by December 16 for inclusion in this service.
December 16, 2012 – “Reflecting on 12/14.” After the service there will be an opportunity for people to gather together to share their feelings.
December 2, 2012 – Presented by Michael Greene, who is part of the Interfaith Aids Ministry of Greater Danbury. The organization offers unconditional physical and emotional support for people and their families affected by HIV/AIDS. It also performs critical AIDS education in the Greater Danbury area.
November 25, 2012 – “A Matter of Intent.” We humans judge ourselves on relative terms, and others on absolutes. Should it be the other way around? Speaker: Seth Warner
November 18, 2012 – Intergenerational Annual Thanksgiving Bread Service. Please join us for an intergenerational service of thanksgiving, communion, and music. At this annual service of thanksgiving we pause to break bread and enjoy the gift of music together.
November 11, 2012 – Post-election thoughts by ACLU representative Andrew Schneider. Mr. Schneider is the CEO of the CT chapter of the ACLU; he will present a post-election discussion on voter suppression, separation of church and state and the Arizona “show me your papers” laws (SB 1070). A reflection and response period will follow. Mr. Schneider is past executive director of the West Virginia ACLU. During his six years in that position, he successfully campaigned to pass legislation to prevent racial profiling. For those efforts, he was honored with the NAACP’s Freedom Award.
October 21, 2012 – “Answering the Call.” Ed Edelson reflects on his life experiences that led him to run for First Selectman. Throughout these experiences he has been guided by the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association. His talk will show how the principles affected many of his decisions on the journey to becoming a politician.
October 7, 2012 – “Planting Trees Under Whose Shade You Do Not Expect to Sit.” The Social Justice Service Task Group will explain their guiding principles for choosing service opportunities for MUUS, the current opportunities available and plans for the future.
September 30, 2012 – “Intentionality.” The timing may seem perfect; the stars perfectly aligned, but what about our intentions in those moments? And what of our responsibility to turn those intentions into action? Our Unitarian Universalist tradition affirms both a free and a responsible search for truth and meaning. Join us as we explore the implications of a responsible search in our living. Presented by Tracy Johnson, Candidate for Ministry.
September 16, 2012 – Rosh Hashana: How Do We Start Anew?” The celebration of a new year traditionally offers us the opportunity to do better, to try harder, to heal old wounds, to forgive and be forgiven. But can we really do those things? How? Irene Conley will explore the difficulties and possibilities of making things better.
September 2, 2012 – In June, some 4,000 Unitarian Universalists, representing all 50 U.S. states, met in Arizona to become informed and bear witness to immigration injustice. Why is this issue important to us in Woodbury? GA delegate Mary Lander will share stories from the borderlands, gleaned from Margaret Regan’s “The Death of Josseline,” and invite you to consider, “Is this who we really are?”
August 26, 2012 – Mike Ingber, president of MUUS, will be speaking. He asks, “Do we sometimes make decisions in our lives or hold on to certain beliefs because they are considered safe?” He invites you to come to this presentation and discussion to delve into this topic.
August 19, 2012 – “Food Insecurity.” presented by the Social Justice Education Task Group. What is food insecurity? How is it impacted by global trends and what are its impacts here in Connecticut? Join us as we consider some of the causes and effects of food insecurity. What are we called to do in response to this issue as Unitarian Universalists and as a congregation?
August 12, 2012 – “Lifespan Sexuality Education.” Come hear about Our Whole Lives, the UUA and UCC authored lifespan sexuality and relationship education curriculum. The talk will be presented by Tom Oakes, Brian Althen and Serena Pedane.
August 5, 2012 – “Doctrine of Discovery.” Member Jack Gorman will discuss the Doctrine of Discovery. In June, he put the doctrine in historical context. Now, he will talk about its relevance today. In June, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, the premise that European Christian explorers who “discovered” other lands had the authority to claim those lands and subdue its inhabitants.