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  • "CYM Sunday" -- UUSE Virtual Worship, June 16, 2024

    Gathering Music (Mary Bopp) Welcome (Emmy Galbraith) Announcements (Rev. Josh Pawelek) Centering Prelude "My Heart is Open" by Mary Bopp Chalice Lighting (The Gilbert Family) Opening Hymn #346 "Come Sing a Song With Me" by Carolyn McDade Come, sing a song with me, come, sing a song with me, come, sing a song with me, that I might know your mind. (Chorus) And I'll bring you hope when hope is hard to find, and I'll bring a song of love and a rose in the wintertime. Come, dream a dream with me, come, dream a dream with me, come, dream a dream with me, that I might know your mind. (Chorus) Come, walk in rain with me, come, walk in rain with me, come, walk in rain with me, that I might know your mind. (Chorus) Come, share a rose with me, come, share a rose with me, come, share a rose with me, that I might know your mind. (Chorus) Reflection: "Gifts" Slideshow Music "You Are My Sunshine" Lucy Diamond, piano Joys and Concerns Musical Interlude Offering During the month of June--Pride Month in the United States--the recipient of our community outreach offering will be Trans Voice and Visibility-365. Managed by our friends at the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford, TV-365 is a ministry dedicated to uplifting and supporting the wellbeing of transgender individuals in Connecticut by providing basic human needs, information and referral, service coordination and support to individuals. Their emphasis is on those most under-served, neglected, victimized and oppressed. This includes, but is not limited to, transgender women and men of color, those with disabilities, youth and elderly, immigrants (documented and undocumented), low income and victims of crime. Offering Music "Awaken Me" by Abigail McBride "Amazed" by Linda Hirschorn "Gratitude" by Ina Medley performed by members of The Manchester Women's Sacred Singing Circle Recognition and Gratitude Musical Interlude Bridging Incoming 6th graders: Simone Ford, Kaidee Holian-Borgnis, Eliot Garcia, Maverick Schlechtweg Incoming 9th graders: Genevieve Bender, Margeaux Ford, Cedric Garcia, Charlotte Gonzalez, Claude Gonzalez, Cole Holian-Borgnis, Olivia O'Brien-Cohen, London Fludd Graduating 12th graders: Graham Bornhost, Max Pawelek Words from the Minister Closing Hymn #123 "Spirit of Life" by Carolyn McDade Spirit of Life, come unto me. Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion. Blow in the wind, rise in the sea; move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice. Roots hold me close; wings set me free; Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me. Extinguishing the Chalice Closing Circle May faith in the spirit of life, and hope for the community of Earth, and love of the light in each other, be ours now and in all the days to come.

  • May the River Renew Us, June 9, 2024

    Friends: this piece Dorothy has just played, “Deep River,” from the late 19th-/early 20th-century British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, is based on the African American spiritual of the same name. Taylor, who was the mixed-race child of a Sierra Leonean father and a British mother, was fascinated by the music of the African diaspora. One notable experience was his attendance at a London performance of the Fiske Jubilee Singers, a world-renowned African American a capella group from the historically black Fiske University in Nashville, TN.[1] Taylor was particularly moved by their rendition of “Deep River.” He became well-known in European classical music circles for his compositions based on both African-American spirituals and traditional African-continent music. This piece, "Deep River," is part of a larger collection he published in 1905.[2] “Deep River,” which like so many black spirituals emerged out of the crucible of American slavery, is a powerfully hopeful song—hope for freedom, deliverance, justice, acceptance and peace in this life and in the life to come: Deep River, my home is over Jordan; / Deep River, my home is over Jordan; / O don’t you want to go to that Gospel Feast / That Promised Land where all is Peace? / Deep River, I want to cross over into camp ground. I have only a cursory understanding of the place “Deep River” holds in African American culture. It has worked its way into books and book titles. It has worked its way into jazz. It has worked its way into poetry, perhaps most famously echoing through Langston Hughes’ poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” which he wrote in 1920 at age seventeen, and which launched his career as a towering American poet. You can find it in our hymnal as “I’ve Known Rivers.” I’ve known rivers ancient as the / world and older than the flow of / human blood in human veins. / My soul has grown deep like the rivers. [3] In his 1945 commentary on the spirituals (later published under the title Deep River) the Christian mystic, Howard Thurman, said this in reference to the song: “The fascination of the flowing stream is a constant source of wonder and beauty to the sensitive mind. It was ever thus. The restless movement, the hurrying, ever-changing stream has ever been the bearer of the longings and yearnings of [humanity] for land beyond the horizon where dreams are fulfilled and deepest desires satisfied.”[4] Thurman understood the spirituals as emerging out of the unique experience of black people in America, but the goal of his commentaries on the spirituals was not to name what is uniquely black about them, but to name what is uniquely human about them, to find universal truths within them. Our ministry theme for June is ‘renewal.’ This is my sermon on renewal. I initially titled it “The Renewal Imperative,” thinking that with so much happening in the world that creates stress, anxiety, fear and despair—so much happening that keeps us up at night, tires us out, wears us down, divides us even from each other—renewal seems, well, imperative. Let’s take time to renew ourselves. Let’s take time for regeneration, for restoration. But the more I studied Howard Thurman’s commentary on “Deep River,” the more the word “imperative” didn’t sound right. It sounded like a mandate, an order: “Thou shalt renew Thyself!” Yet another task to add to the list, and thus another source of stress and anxiety. 10:00 meet with Mary. 11:00 meet with Emmy. 12:00, eat lunch. 12:30, renewal. 1:00, Emergency Preparedness Team. After reading Thurman, I decided to give the sermon a more prayerful title: “May the River Renew Us.” Thurman counsels us “to think of life as being like a river.” He calls this “a full and creative analogy.”[5] A river flows from a source to a destination. Ask yourself: what is your source? What is your destination? These are spiritual questions with spiritual answers. For Thurman, as a Christian mystic, the source and the destination are, paradoxically, the same: God, which for the river is the sea. He says, “All the waters of all the earth come from the sea. Paradox of paradoxes: that out of which the river comes is that into which the river goes. The goal and the source of the river are the same! From gurgling spring to giant waterfall; from the morning dew to the torrential down-pour; from simple creeks to mighty river—the source and the goal are the same: the sea. Life is like that! The goal of life is God. The source of life is God.”[6] That’s his theological language, which I find to be wonderfully aligned with our Universalist heritage. I invite you to translate his language into whatever language speaks to you; and I’ll offer this translation which speaks to me: All life, if we go back far enough, has a common source, which is sacred, holy, beautiful, powerful, awesome and, though increasingly knowable through scientific theory, experimentation and discovery, remains mysterious. And all life flows toward a common destination, which is sacred, holy, beautiful, powerful, awesome and, though also increasingly knowable through scientific theory, experimentation and discovery, also remains mysterious. Between the source and the destination, our small yet sacred, holy, beautiful, powerful, awesome lives flow. May the River Renew Us. The analogy deepens. Thurman reminds us there are times when the river floods—times when we become overwhelmed, when we may face imminent danger, when our survival may be at stake, when we need to get to higher ground. Our reptilian, limbic system takes over—fight, flight, freeze. In such moments we’re not resting in thoughts of our sacred, holy, beautiful source; we’re not contemplating our sacred, holy, beautiful destination. This is part of life, part of the human condition. There are also times when the river runs dry—our energy is low, we struggle in our relationships, we’re in a rut, our sense of purpose goes missing, we forget our sacred, holy, beautiful source, we forget our sacred, holy, beautiful destination. This, too, is part of life, part of the human condition. “The time of drought may be seasonal,” writes Thurman, “or it may be specially circumstanced. It is therefore of greatest importance,” he continues, “to understand its cause, and to discover … what special reserves must be tapped so as to bring flowing fully and freshly the refreshing, life-giving currents. There is perhaps no greater revelation of character than what is revealed by the things to which one appeals for regeneration and restoration!”[7] And I would add renewal. In the wake of a flood, or when your river runs dry, to what do you appeal for renewal? What puts you back in touch with your sacred, holy, beautiful source? What puts you back in touch with your sacred, holy, beautiful destination?” What allows you to re-enter the river, to flow with its life-giving currents, to remember your source and your destination. *** In May I attended a three-day gathering of my Unitarian Universalist clergy study group, the Greenfield Group. Our gathering focused on bringing joy, play and fun more deeply into our lives and our ministries. In preparation we read The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Pleasure Activism, by the progressive thought leader, writer and facilitator, adrienne marie brown: and a collection of poems from the 14th century Sufi poet Hafiz called I Heard God Laughing. We listened to joyful music. We watched TED Talks from researchers who study play in children and adults. We each shared a short reflection on our theology of play. But instead of presenting academic papers—our normal mode of interacting—we used the bulk of our time to play together. It was not easy for a group of 25 clergy to let down a guard we didn’t fully realize was up, and sink into play. But we did it. I had a blast. I left feeling renewed. A concept that repeatedly shows up in the psychological literature on play is “flow.” If I have my facts correct, the term was first coined by the Hungarian psychologist, Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi in the early 1990s. In people of all ages, play induces flow, a state in which one is completely immersed in the activity, loses track of time, and is not easily distracted. Of course, this also describes the state achieved through spiritual practice. Meditation, prayer, singing, stretching, journaling, labyrinth-walking, sacred dance, ritual all have the capacity to induce flow. It’s the same with physical activity. It’s the same with creative activity. Further, a significant body of research concludes flow is good for us. It correlates with good physical and mental health, emotional well-being and spiritual aliveness. Flow renews us. This makes me wonder: perhaps the greatest resource we have for deepening our spiritual foundations in adulthood—for getting in touch with our source and our destination—isn’t what we learned as children from the priest, the rabbi, the imam or the minister, isn’t what we learn from church, synagogue, masjid or temple today, but is rather our childhood experience of play, of fun, of joy—all the things that induce flow. Not the rules, the right or wrong answers—certainly not the doctrines and the dogmas—but those experiences of surrendering to the moment, getting lost in a task we enjoy, losing track of time—though I prefer to think of it as entering into a state of timelessness—letting the river take us or, to reference our opening words from the Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti, letting the currents hold us and guide us. [8] *** When the flood has receded and it is safe to venture out, may we surrender once again to the river. May the river renew us. In the midst of drought, when our souls feel parched, let us tap our reserves, so that the refreshing waters flow once again. May the river renew us. In times of stress, anxiety, fear and despair, may we learn to move with the currents of the river of life, to trust them. May the river renew us. In challenging times, may we remember the river’s source—the sacred, holy, beautiful powerful, awesome, knowable yet mysterious source. May the river renew us. In difficult times, may we remember the river’s destination—the sacred, holy, beautiful, powerful, awesome knowable yet mysterious destination. May the river renew us. May the arrival of summer—the season of play, fun and joy—renew us. May the words of the poet whose soul has grown deep like the rivers be a gift to us, a gift to all people, a source of renewal. May the deep river music of once enslaved people yearning to be free, yearning for that great gospel feast, for the peace of the promised land be a gift to us, a gift to all people, a source of renewal. May our lives flow. May our lives flow. May our lives flow. May the river renew us. Amen and blessed be. [1] For the history and the current-day activities of the Fiske Jubilee Singers, visit their website at https://fiskjubileesingers.org/. [2] Elkins, Stephanie, “Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s ‘24 Negro Melodies’, January 16, 2024. See: https://www.wpr.org/music/classical-music/samuel-coleridge-taylor. [3] Hughes, Langston, “I’ve Known Rivers” in Singing the Living Tradition (Boston: Beacon Press and the UUA, 1993) #528. [4] Thurman, Howard, Deep River and The Negro Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1975) p. 66. [5] Thurman, Howard, Deep River and The Negro Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1975) p. 66. [6] Thurman, ibid., p. 74. [7] Thurman, ibid., p. 72. [8] Mishra-Marzetti, Manish, “River Call,” in Voices from the Margins (Boston: Skinner House Books, 2012) p. 9.

  • Looking for Help?

    IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS Mental Health, Health, Suicide Prevention and Addiction Resources 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 9-8-8 - call text or chat if you or someone you know has thoughts about suicide Mobile Crisis 2-1-1 is a statewide, community based and family supportive clinical intervention service for children & adolescents experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis. Mobile Crisis provides rapid emergency crisis stabilization for children and their families as well as short-term follow-up care and connection to other services. Call 2-1-1 and ask for mobile crisis. A child can receive Mobile Crisis services in: Their home At school At their doctor’s office In the Emergency Department (ED) Any other community setting Arrive within 45 minutes or less Convenient Hours: Mobile hours are 6am-10pm M-F; 1pm-10pm weekends/holidays. Available by phone all other hours https://www.TurningPointCT.org -  Mental Wellness Website for and by CT youth who want to chat, text, talk about young people in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. "We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help." Planned Parenthood of CT https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-southern-new-england (birth control, STDs, HIV/AIDs testing, reproductive care, abortion https://www.plannedparenthood.org/online-tools/chat 1-800-230-PLAN Toivo - Center for Holistic Healing Hartford, CT Anti-Violence and Safety Resources CT Alliance to End Sexual Violence 24 Hour Hotline: 1-888-999-5545 ENGLISH (Call or Text) 1-888-568-8332 ESPAÑOL CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence (intimate partner violence, family violence) https://www.ctsafeconnect.org/ Help with Basic Needs United Way health and human services hotline 2-1-1 (help with food, child care, housing, fuel, other basic needs) https://www.211ct.org/

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Other Pages (292)

  • Happenings | UUSE

    Featured Events Crys Matthews Concert June 13, 2024 Crys Matthews Concert June 13th at 7:00 P.M. at UUSE A powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls... CYM Sunday. June 16, 2024 Please join us for a celebration of this year's accomplishments within the Children & Youth Ministry program at UUSE! Rejoice with CYM staff, committee members, volunteers, children... Happenings There’s Always Something Good Going On Affinity Groups Birds of a feather Read More ROMEOS 2nd Tuesdays Read More Yoga Wednesdays 10:00AM Read More Coffeehouse 1st Saturdays Read More Easter Choir Rehearsals Wednesday Nights Read More Women's Sacred Singing Circle Thursdays Read More Ladies At Lunch Alternating Thu/Fri Read More UU SpiritLife Conversations 3rd Saturdays Read More Upcoming Events Calendar Contact the office for details - email: info@uuse.org phone: 860.646.5151 Refresh Thursday 6/13/24 Read More Women's Sacred Singing Circle. This group was started in 2010 keeps growing. We meet weekly and on any given night we might have 8 to 20 women singing. You do not need to be a trained or fabulous singer; we are a... Thursday 6/13/24 Read More Ladies At Lunch Ladies At Lunch meets at different locations every month, and alternate between Thursdays and Fridays. Check the newsletter or eBlast for details. Thursday 6/13/24 Read More Crys Matthews Concert Crys Matthews Concert June 13th at 7:00 P.M. at UUSE A powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls... Monday 6/17/24 Read More AA - Mondays at Noon . AA meets in the sanctuary every Monday at Noon. Tuesday 6/18/24 Read More Humanist Group This ongoing group explores Religious Humanism and its applications to life, both historically and today. All welcome. Zoom Only. Wednesday 6/19/24 Read More Yoga . All welcome to these gentle-to-moderate yoga classes in the UUS:E Meetinghouse, Wednesdays at 10:00 AM. $5 drop-in fee. Bring a yoga mat or towel and wear comfortable clothes. All w... Thursday 6/20/24 Read More Women's Sacred Singing Circle . This group was started in 2010 keeps growing. We meet weekly and on any given night we might have 8 to 20 women singing. You do not need to be a trained or fabulous singer; we are a... Saturday 6/22/24 Read More No Game Night Game nights are on hold until further notice Monday 6/24/24 Read More AA - Mondays at Noon! AA meets in the sanctuary every Monday at Noon. Tuesday 6/25/24 Read More God Talk A discussion group for UU theists. This ongoing group explores how UUs can name and experience God in meaningful, useful ways. All are welcome. Zoom Only. Wednesday 6/26/24 Read More Yoga! All welcome to these gentle-to-moderate yoga classes in the UUS:E Meetinghouse, Wednesdays at 10:00 AM. $5 drop-in fee. Bring a yoga mat or towel and wear comfortable clothes. All w... Thursday 6/27/24 Read More Women's Sacred Singing Circle! This group was started in 2010 keeps growing. We meet weekly and on any given night we might have 8 to 20 women singing. You do not need to be a trained or fabulous singer; we are a... More...

  • CYM Sunday.

    < To Upcoming Services Jun 16, 2024 CYM Sunday. Please join us for a celebration of this year's accomplishments within the Children & Youth Ministry program at UUSE! Rejoice with CYM staff, committee members, volunteers, children, youth, and families as we reflect on all the gifts both given and received this year. Coordinators: Emmy Galbraith, CYM Committee #eBlast-06-12 OOS Sermon

  • Past Services | UUSE

    Past Services This is a list of past services. Upcoming services can be found here . 6/9/24 OOS Sermon YouTube May the River Renew Us Our ministry theme for June is renewal. Given all the trends in the wider world that wear us down these days, finding avenues for renewal seems essential. When you feel down, what renews your spirit? We will also be welcoming new members into our congregation this morning. Coordinator: Rev. Josh Pawelek #eBlast-06-05 6/2/24 OOS Sermon YouTube Free at Last! This morning, we welcome back the Free At Last Players, a community-based theater troop that educates audiences on mental illness and mental wellness. Coordinator: Rev. Josh Pawelek #eBlast-05-29 5/26/24 OOS Sermon YouTube Aging - Whats Next?. This is the second service we have had this year on aging. As we get older, we may find ourselves making decisions about numerous things including where we will live. Today we will hear from three members who have chosen different options. Coordinators: Nancy Madar and David Klotz #eBlast-05-22 5/19/24 OOS Sermon YouTube Flower Communion. All-Congregational Worship. Through wonderful music and our annual flower communion, we celebrate our beloved multigenerational community. Please bring a flower or flowers to share! We also revisit some important moments in 20th-century UU history. Coordinators: Emmy Galbraith, Mary Bopp, #eBlast-05-15 Show More

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