Metro NY Minute

Metro NY Minute – 
August 2014

News from the District

In a CERGing Forward blog piece, Dennis Wellnitz, Vice President, Joseph Priestley District Board of Directors, shares his thoughts about the importance of congregational connections, which he calls "a prime reason for the existence of the Unitarian Universalist Association: to do the work which is difficult or impossible for individual congregations to do on their own." Read the blog.  

With September start-up looming for many congregations, what better time than now to examine the ways your congregation can be more multi-generational in its ministries. Chris Buja, District Growth and Vitality consultant, shares some insights from the book Generations Together on how to do that. Read more  .

The CERG Regional Youth Con is scheduled for October 10-13 at the UU Fellowship of Centre County, State College PA, bringing together youth leaders from the four districts of CERG: Ohio-Meadville, Joseph Priestley, Metro NY, and St. Lawrence. Weekend Activities include worship, speakers, games, and workshops. Youth must apply by September 2, adults by September 28.

The Rev. Peggy Clarke, District Racial and Social Justice Consultant, invites your participation in the People's Climate March, September 21, part of an international mobilization in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit. "We are asking every UU planning to go or who wants to be part of this mobilization in any way to join our Meet-Up at, says Rev. Clarke. Read more .

The Rev. LoraKim Joyner, District Right Relations Consultant, offers workshops on how to build restorative practices in your congregation and how to engage one another with compassionate communication. Read more  to find out more about restorative practices and upcoming workshops.

 The July 2014 edition of the CERG Superstorm Sandy Volunteer News is now available, featuring UUs continuing to help in the recovery efforts organized by the Rev. Susan Karlson, CERG Disaster Response Coordinator.

New scheduled webinars from CERG include Being Awake: Living Abundantly on Septemer 23 at 8:00 pm and Membership Myopia on on November 6 at 8:00 pm. A variety of on-demand webinars are also available from CERG.

News from the UUA 

Delegates to General Assembly 2014 In Providence RI approved divesting the UUA of most of its investments in companies that produce or process fossil fuels, including oil, natural gas, and coal. The vote was held after 30 minutes of debate, but the resolution had overwhelming support. Read more. "Escalating Inequality” was chosen by delegates as the Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) for congregations to examine in-depth over the next four years. This CSAI calls on UUs to challenge extreme inequality -- now pervasive in society -- just as prior generations led movements fighting for the abolition of slavery and seeking fully inclusive civil rights for all. Other highlights of General Assembly 2014 included a successful fundraising event called Brave Souls: UUs Pledge Over the Edge that raised half a million dollars for Unitarian Universalism. UUs from across the movement, including UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, rappelled from the top of the Rhode Island Convention Center. A public witness event at WaterFire (pictured), Providence's downtown community arts festival, drew thousands of participants. The annual Ware Lecture given by Sister Simone Campbell, received a rousing response from the audience to her advice to "walk towards trouble."

The UUA Office of Church Staff Finances has awarded grants to three District ministers. The Rev. Frances Sink, Developmental Minister at the UU Congregation (Stamford CT), and the Rev. Walter LeFlore, Minister at the UU Fellowship of Poughkeepsie (NY), each received a $3,000 Betty and Ray Goodman Ministerial Aid Fund grant, established by Betty and Ray Goodman to help supplement newly settled ministers, particularly those whose churches are poorly funded, at some point during their first three years of ministry. The Rev. Dr. Michael Tino, Minister at the UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester (Mount Kisco NY), received a $2,500 Westwood Ministerial Aid Fund grant, established by the Westwood Family and given to ministers with five or more years of experience who have brought an entrepreneurial spirit toward spreading the UU faith and nurturing congregations.

UU World, the UUA's quarterly print magazine, is now available in a digital edition that can be read on your iPad or Android tablet, in any web browser, or downloaded to your computer desktop. Read more.

The UUA Faith Development Office now offers the Military Ministry Toolkit for Congregations online (PDF, 54 pages) at no charge to congregations. The toolkit provides six one-hour workshops for adults in UU faith communities that seek to become more intentionally open and inviting to military service people, veterans, and their families.

Does your congregation have a new Director of Religious Education (DRE) with up to three years of experience? Encourage them to attend "The New DRE," a one-hour webinar on August 26 at 1:00 pm or August 27 at 9:00 pm, and gather with UUA Faith Development Office staff and guests to discuss best practices and welcome newcomers to the UU religious education leadership community. To register, send an email to

News from Congregations

Milestones and Transitions


Daniel Gregoire will be ordained by the Community Church of New York UU (Manhattan) on November 9 at 4:00 pm.

The Rev. Galen Guengerich, Senior Minister at the All Souls Unitarian Church (Manhattan), was recently interviewed by the Religion News Service about his new book, God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age. "In the modern world, science and reason must take precedence when it comes to establishing the facts. But knowing the facts won’t necessarily tell you how to live a life of meaning and purpose in light of what you know. I wanted to speak up for people who are caught in the middle -- those of us who believe deeply in science and reason, but who seek a source of meaning and purpose as well.” Read more.

Original Blessing (Brooklyn NY) was welcomed at General Assembly 2014 in Providence RI in June as the newest member congregation of the UUA. Mia Morse, District President, spoke on behalf of the District in welcoming Original Blessing and the Rev. Ian White Maher, Minister at Original Blessing. Watch the video (beginning at time 13:48).

Morristown (NJ) Unitarian Fellowship received the 2013-14 Dana Greely Sermon Award from the UU United Nations Office, presented at General Assembly 2014 with a prize of $500, honoring a sermon or address that speaks to building a more just international community. Winning for the Fellowship were congregants George Hays, Gabor Kiss, Shari Loe, Sarah Matsushima, and James McCormack.

Members of the Central Unitarian Church (CUC) (Paramus NJ) assembled 1,000 weekend snack packs as part of their ongoing support of the Center for Food Action's (CFA) work to end local hunger. More than 60 CUC adults and children stayed after their Sunday service to prepare the snack packs for distribution to local kids who are at risk of hunger during the summer months. Pictured is David, as he filled the 1,000th snack pack. Read more .

The UU Congregation of Somerset Hills (Somerville NJ) recently presented the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County with a donation of $956 to help fund preschool education for children served by network. The donation was the cumulative offering from half of the congregation’s Sunday service collections over a two-month period. Read more.

The UU Congregation of Monmouth County (Lincroft NJ) is growing, expanding its Sunday services and religious education programs starting September 7. The new times are 9:00 am and 11:00 am. With diverse, vibrant music and inspirational messages, the community, led by the Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst, grows in love and spirit. Children and youth are invited to attend the religious education program, available at both services.

The Summer 2014 issue of Crossings magazine from the UU Church at Washington Crossing (Titusville NJ) is now available.

The Rev. Jude Geiger, Minister at the UU Fellowship of Huntington (NY) and District trustee, shares his thoughts in his latest piece in the Huffington Post titled “Corporations as Sovereign.” Read the article

Other Noteworthy Items

The Metro NY chapter of the UU Christian Fellowship (UUCF) will resume monthly meetings on September 18. Led by the Rev. Dr. Kelly Murphy Mason, a Metro NY community minister and former Vice-President of the national UUCF, this chapter gathers each month for evenings of fellowship and discussion, ongoing religious education, and spiritual deepening, all throughout the church programming year. The Metro NY UU Christian Fellowship will continue holding its 2014-2015 meetings at the Community Church of New York UU in Manhattan on the third Thursday of every month, from 7:30-9:00 pm. The year's theme is Desert Spirituality: Contemplation in the Christian Wisdom Tradition. Read more .

The Third Annual Pennsylvania State Atheist/Humanist Conference will be held in Pittsburgh PA on August 29-31. Speakers include Annie Laurie Gaylor, Chris Johnson, Luis Granados, Sarah Haider, Lauri Lebo, Jerry Coyne, Harry De Witt, Vyckie Garrison, and more. For a complete speaker list, conference details, and registration information visit

Upcoming Meetings and Workshops

Visit the District Calendar and the District Events page for these and other events. You may also want to visit the CERG Events page.

Goldmine Youth Leadership School East: August 17-23, Unitarian Church of Staten Island, Staten Island NY. For complete information, click here.

Junior Youth Retreat: September 13-14, Camp Herlich, Patterson NY. For a flyer, click here . To register, click here.

CERG Regional Youth Con: October 10-13, UU Fellowship of Centre County, State College PA.

Compassion Communication Workshop: Nurturing Ourselves: October 25, UU Congregation at Shetler Rock, Manhasset NY. For more information, click here .

Colleague Conversations: October 29. Community Church of New York UU, Manhattan. For minister and religious educator teams. For a flyer, click here . To register, click here.

Ninth Annual Leadership Day: Defying Gravity: November 15, UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, Manhasset NY. Details to come.

Compassion Communication Workshop: Nurturing One Another: November 22, UU Congregation at Shetler Rock, Manhasset NY. For more information, click here