Metro NY Minute – February 2014
News from the DistrictWinifred Latimer Norman, in whose honor the District’s Winifred Latimer Norman Award was named, passed away on February 4 at the age of 99. Winnie, as she was affectionately called, was a long-time and distinguished UU, serving in many capacities at the District and national level, including her service as District UUA Trustee from 1983-1991. Born in 1914 to Gerald and Jeannette Norman, she spent her career as a social worker and activist, particularly involved in issues of religious freedom and the challenges of aging. She was the granddaughter of Lewis H. Latimer, a pioneering African-American inventor who worked with Thomas Edison to perfect the electric light. Latimer was one of the founders of the UU Congregation of Queens (Flushing NY). Winnie spent many years preserving and advancing the legacy of her grandfather, including saving his Queens home from demolition and helping to convert it into both a museum and a New York City Landmark. A longtime member of the Fourth Universalist Society (Manhattan), Winnie was the recipient of many awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School, and the dedication of the District award, given to an individual “who best represents the ideals and values exemplified by her in the areas of social action and racial concerns.” A memorial service in honor of Winnie will be held later this spring. Read more.
The District is now accepting applications for the 2014 District Scholarship Awards. Up to three awards of $500 each will be presented at the 2014 District Annual Meeting May 2-3 in Morristown NJ. Encourage deserving youth to apply for a scholarship. The criteria for the scholarships are service through leadership or participation in a local congregation and/or the denomination, or through these to the local community, and scholarship as indicated by academic achievement. For a scholarship application, click here . For more information, contact Carson Jones.
What is the Youth Adult Collective (YAC)? YAC is a group of committed youth and adults who organize events such as cons for youth and their advisors in the District. YAC is a cooperative effort between active, eager, and aware young people and adults. The common operative goal shared within YAC is the maintenance of a healthy and sustainable environment in which young UUs and adult advisors feel safe, happy, and stimulated. Read more .
The Rev. Susan Karlson, CERG Disaster Response Coordinator, was featured in a uuworldWeekly article on January 20 about recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. “We had a number of congregations in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa who sent youth groups and multigenerational groups, but we’ve not had many inquiries from the rest of the country,” said Karlson. “We’re not getting media coverage of the continuing needs for survivors of Sandy and so many people think that the recovery is complete. But it will take years to restore these areas,” said the Rev. Karlson. Read more.
Upcoming scheduled webinars from the Central East Regional Group include:
February 20: Meaningful Multigenerational Worship
February 25: Happiness as a Spiritual Practice
March 13 and March 14: Ministry to Families: Supporting Families in Good Times and Bad
March 26: Raising the Bar: Designing a UU Introductory Course for Prospective Members
April 9: Volunteer Recruitment and Enrichment
May 8 and May 9: Making the Most of Technology in Religious Education
Membership 104: Please to Meet You - Training Greeters
Committees 201: Developing a Healthy RE Committee
News from the UUA
UUA President the Rev. Peter Morales announced on February 14 a new logo for the UUA. Said the Rev. Morales, "The dramatic shifts in today’s religious landscape demanded that UUA leadership take an in-depth look at our strategic communications and how effectively our voice is breaking through the competing noise of our high-tech society . . . Today, I am excited to share with you one of the tools in an ongoing process of improved communication strategies, the UUA’s new logo." Read more.
Nominations are now being accepted for these social justice awards: Bennett Award for Congregational Action on Human Justice and Social Action (deadline March 15), Holmes-Weatherly Award (deadline March 1), Skinner Sermon Award (deadline March 1), Social Witness Sermon Contest (deadline March 1), and Wilton Peace Prize (deadline March 1). Individuals may nominate themselves and/or their congregations.
At General Assembly 2014 in Providence RI June 25-29, delegates will elect four members of the board of trustees and the Financial Advisor. The Nominating Committee has nominated five people for these elective offices. Nominated for trustee (three-year term) are the Rev. Andy Burnette, the Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs, Christina Rivera, and Susan Weaver. Nominated for Financial Advisor remaining two years of a three-year term is Lawrence Ladd.
Registration and housing reservations for General Assembly 2014 open March 3. A selection of hotels, dormitories, and UU home hospitality will be available to choose from, at a range of prices. Congregational presidents will receive a $100 registration discount. Volunteers receive free GA registration in return for 24 hours of volunteer service at GA for adults, 14 hours for youth. The application will be posted on March 1. Volunteers need to apply by March 31. Scholarships are available as well, including those for youth and young adults.
The Annual Program Fund Fair Share giving rates for 2014-15 will remain the same as giving rates for 2013-14: $60 per certified member; congregations with 550 or more members have the option of contributing at 4.3% of operating expenses.
The UUA Board of Trustees approved the sale of three of the UUA’s four Beacon Hill properties, meeting in executive session in San Diego on January 25, The UUA headquarters building in Boston, 25 Beacon Street, and its bed and breakfast operation, Eliot and Pickett House, at 6 and 7 Mount Vernon Place, are under contract for a sale that will close in March. Read more. On February 21 at 5:00 pm, the UUA will live-stream a special Beacon Benediction service to honor our history and celebrate our future. To access the live-stream, visit www.uua.org/beaconbenediction on February 21 for instructions. Limited space is available for those who would like to attend the event in person; go to www.uuabeacon.eventzilla.net for more information. The hour-long service will highlight some key moments from the past and will also include some items from the 1926 time capsule recently unearthed from the cornerstone. The time capsule and its contents will become part of the new Heritage and Vision Center at the new UUA headquarters at 24 Farnsworth in Boston.
Has your congregation submitted comments on the 2012-2016 Congregational Study/Action Issue "Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling"? All congregations that have engaged in this study/action issue, or who plan to, are strongly encouraged to submit feedback on the importance of this issue, how the congregation has engaged with it, and more. Among other things, your comments will help draft the Statement of Conscience next year. The deadline for comments and feedback is March 3. Click here for instructions on how to submit comments and access a comment form worksheet to help you gather your congregation’s feedback.
On February 8, 1,500 UUs from across the country joined UUA president, the Rev. Peter Morales, at the Moral March on Raleigh in Raleigh NC. They marched with thousands of others to raise awareness for voting rights, livable wages, health care, and other issues of equality and justice in North Carolina and elsewhere. The North Carolina NAACP and a local coalition called Historic Thousands on Jones Street People's Assembly coordinated the march and rally to protest recent legislation that they say is aimed at repressing voter turnout, cutting education and health care funding, and curtailing unemployment benefits. Read more.
News from Congregations
Milestones and Transitions
The Rev. Jennifer Kelleher was installed as Minister by the UU Congregation of Somerset Hills (Somerville NJ) on January 12.
The Rev. Lara Campbell was ordained by the UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester (Mount Kisco NY) and the Church of the Larger Fellowship on January 26.
The Rev. Sarah Lenzi will be installed as Minister by the UU Fellowship of Briarcliff, Croton, and Ossining (Croton-on-Hudson NY) on March 2 at 5:00 pm at the Temple Israel of Northern Westchester in Croton-on-Hudson NY. Note: Previously scheduled for December 8.
The Rev. Galen Guengerich, senior minister at the Unitarian Church of All Souls (Manhattan), wrote about how the growing “selfie” culture in the Washington Post. “The problem with selfie culture isn’t only what we look at; it’s also how we love and how we live. In a culture defined by the selfie, nothing has lasting value but the self. Which means everyone and everything can be disposed of whenever something better shows up.” Read more.
The Rev. Barbara Fast, minister at the UU Congregation of Danbury (CT), shared in newstimes.com the powerful experience she had earlier this year when she joined the Living Legacy Pilgrimage through the Deep South visiting historic sites and meeting with veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. Read more.
The Unitarian Church of Staten Island (NY) held a Sunday service on February 2 in connection with February’s African American History Month that highlights the important role that abolitionists played in founding their church and as an antislavery voice in the region during the 19th century. Read more.
The UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY) is celebrating ten years of support for young musicians. Since 2004, 13 high school students have been awarded scholarships to assist them in music education through the congregations Edward Miller Memorial Scholarship program. The scholarship was founded in 2004 to honor the memory of Edward Miller, a teacher at East Rockaway High School and Music Director of the congregation. Funds are raised directly from members and friends of the congregation at its annual event "The Cabaret at Shelter Rock," which features scheduled and impromptu acts by amateur and professional musicians. This past November, the event raised over $1,700 for prospective 2014 scholarship recipients. Read more .
The Rev. Jude Geiger, Minister at the UU Fellowship of Huntington (NY), shares his thoughts in his latest piece in the Huffington Post titled “Blocking Votes, Selling Guns.” Read the article.
Other Noteworthy Items
UU Religious Education History and Heritage at Murray Grovewill be held March 3-6 the at Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center in Lanoka Harbor NJ. Workshops will be conducted by the Rev. Dr Elizabeth Strong and Mr. Barb Greve on Universalist, Unitarian, and UU Religious Education History. The Rev. Natalie Fenimore will be Minister in Residence. For a flyer, click here . For a brochure with registration, click here .
Camping in the Grove at the Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center in Lanoka Harbor NJ is scheduled for August 10-14 for children entering fourth through seventh grade in September 2014. An overnight camp, Camping in the Grove offers all participants a camping experience on a beautiful 20-acre campus that is the traditional birthplace of Universalism in America. The camp will utilize the acclaimed Chalice Camp curriculum written by Laila Ibrahim and Rev. Sheri Prud’homme. Morning worship, led by Rev. Carol Haag, Minister of Religious Education, will be held outside under the trees. Morning and after noon activities will include swimming, drumming, playing sports, arts and crafts, drama, hiking, scavenger hunt, games, UU identity workshops, and more. Evening activities will include a talent show, a game night, a movie night, and campfires complete with guitars, drums, s’mores, and sing-alongs. For more information, click here .
The MidAmerica Region has prepared 32 short (two-five minute) videos explaining particular aspects of ministerial transitions. Topics include helping ministers decide when it’s time to leave, telling the congregation, negotiating terminations, the interim process, creating a search committee, whittling down the lists, and searching for part-time ministers.
On behalf of the UU Congregation in Charleston in Charleston WV, the Ohio-Meadville District board and staff request congregations to take up a special offering, Share the Plate, or announce the need for donations to assist in supporting those affected by the Freedom Industries Chemical Spill in Charleston, first detected January 9. While the initial spill was thought to be cleaned up, it has now been discovered that a second chemical was involved, and further testing and clean up will be necessary for that chemical. The impact of the spill is ongoing. It is uncertain when the water will be deemed safe to drink and use again. Checks should be made out to the UU Congregation of Charleston with the notation "Water Relief" and mailed to UU Congregation of Charleston, 520 Kanawha Blvd W, Charleston WV 25302. Read more.
Allies for Racial Equality (ARE) will hold their 2014 Annual Conference at the West Shore UU Church in Rocky Ohio March 14-16. The annual conference offers UUs who identify as white the opportunity to develop their anti-racist and anti-oppressive analysis and practice. In conjunction with the Annual Conference, ARE is sponsoring a Regional Gathering for People of Color. The theme is “Why Do People of Color Want to Be UUs?” The registration fee is $25 for young adults and adults, and $15 for youth 13-17. Childcare is offered free of charge. A donation is requested for each meal.
Upcoming Meetings and Workshops
Long Island Leadership Institute Session 5: March 22, First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, Brooklyn NY. For more information, contact Chris Morris.
Long Island Leadership Institute Session 6: April 26, UU Society of South Suffolk, Bay Shore NY. For more information, contact Chris Morris.
2014 District Annual Meeting: May 1-2, Hyatt Morristown Hotel, Morristown NJ. Complete information to come.
The Golden Rule? A New Model for Intercultural Competency: May 17, Community Unitarian Church at White Plains, White Plains NY. To register, click here. For more information, contact the Rev. Peggy Clarke.