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Metro NY Minute -- December 2010

News From the District
Worth Repeating

What kind of workshop are your interested in attending at the 2011 District Annual Meeting May 6-7 at the Hyatt Morristown in Morristown NJ? Planners for the meeting would like to hear your ideas. To fill in a very brief questionnaire, click here. Are you interested in facilitating a workshop? To submit a proposal, click here.
Presentation of the 2011 District Awards and the 2011 District Scholarships will be a highlight of the 2011 District Annual Meeting. You are invited to submit a nomination for one or more of four awards, and to encourage youth to apply for a scholarship. The nomination and application deadline is March 1, 2011.

Looking for holiday gift-giving ideas? Beacon Press  offers a 20% discount for orders placed online through December 15. Or consider a gift subscription to UU World . For ordering information, click here. The Church of the Larger Fellowship Gift Shop offers a variety of holiday note cards , as well as holiday orders of service and jewelry.

More Good Stuff to Check Out!
Worship Service Providers available to District congregations
RE-Sources for religious education leaders
Job opportunities around the District
InterConnections for lay leaders
Social Action Center of the UUA

Congregational Bulletin, UUA monthly email, the UUA online magazine

UU Service Committee news

Small Talk newsletter for UU congregations

The UU Women’s Association (UUWA) Margaret Fuller 2010 Bicentennial delegates presented a commemorative plaque to the Hotel Roma as one of innumerable memorable events during the October “Follow the Footsteps of Margaret Fuller to Rome, Rieti, and Florence” tour. Pictured are: First row: Reena Kondo, Community Church of New York UU (Manhattan), and Lynn James Gross, South Nassau UU Congregation (Freeport NY); Back row:  Virginia Brody, Community Church of New York UU; Cicely Sullivan, Atkinson Memorial Church in Oregon City, Oregon; Mario Banonni, from Rome, Italian Representative; Laurie James, Community Church of New York UU; Bonny Levinsen, South Nassau UU Congregation. Read more .
District congregations in Connecticut and Northern New York State (does not include Long Island and New York City) are invited to participate in a Growing Together: A Day of Learning and Sharing  on January 22, 2011, hosted by the UU Congregation of Danbury (CT). Mark Bernstein, Regional Growth Development Consultant, will facilitate the workshop designed for networking and collaborative discussion about best practices and working together in spreading the word of Unitarian Universalism. There is no fee, and child care will be available. Registration is required so that materials and lunch can be planned.
Young adult UUs are invited to spend Presidents Day Weekend  -- February 18-21, 2011 -- at Frost Valley YMCA Camp in Claryville NY for the 2011 Young Adult Winter Retreat. Stay three nights (meals included) in a beautiful, 40-person, environmentally friendly lodge with a wood-burning fireplace. Meet new friends, re-connect with old ones, and just relax in the Catskill mountains and enjoy a striking view of the stars. Participate in making arts and crafts, hiking, or snow tubing  -- to name a few -- or take some time for personal reflection, followed by a nightly worship service. The cost of the retreat will start at $225 for early registrations, and will increase to $285 in mid-December.
Does your congregation have a young adult group? Is your congregation connected with a UU campus ministry? Don't forget to add or update your information at ConnectUU! ConnectUU is an online database of UU young adult individuals, groups, and events. It is a great resource for newcomers to our congregations, our district, and colleges/universities in the area to find out what is happening.
The Fall 2010 Chalice Lighters Call supports three congregations: the UU Congregation of Monmouth County (Lincroft NJ), the UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester (Mount Kisco NY), and the Unitarian Society, A UU Congregation (East Brunswick NJ). Lincroft and East Brunswick will use the funds to engage professional assistance in creating programs on gratitude and generosity. Mount Kisco will use the funds to help achieve sustainable growth, including updating their physical space and developing community outreach for sustainable food programs. Twelve congregations have contributed $4,371 as of December 5. Read more .

Webinars offered by staff of the Central East Regional Group (CERG) are open to all UUs in the Metro NY District. Consider these upcoming webinars:

bullet From Nominating Committees to Leadership Development Teams by Rev. Renee Ruchotzke on December 13 at 7 pm.
bullet Youth Ministry 102 by Andrew Mertz on December 15 at 7:30 pm.
bullet Basic Safety Policies and Tips by Beth Casebolt on January 6, 2011, at 7:00 pm.
bullet Youth Ministry 102  by Andrew Mertz on January 19, 2011, at 7:30 pm.
bullet To Dwell Together in Peace: Behavioral Covenants by Rev. Renee Ruchotzke on January 27, 2011, at 7:00 pm.
bullet Youth Ministry 102 by Andrew Mertz on February 16, 2011, at 7:30 pm.
bullet Basic Safety with Children and Youth by Pat Infante on February 17, 2011, at 7:00 pm.

Other events offered by CERG districts are also open to all Metro NY District UUs. For the CERG calendar, click here.  

Winter Play: Scripts to Inspire Seasonal Celebrations are now available in the District library. “The play scripts contained in Winter Play are based on a broad understanding of the human need to celebrate the time of winter. They offer a centerpiece for such celebrations, and their variety allows congregations to choose those texts that best fit their needs. Each play is created to allow easy participation by even very young children, but roles of varied complexity offer opportunities that span the ages, allowing for multiage religious education experiences or intergenerational productions.” Contact Andrea Lerner to borrow a copy, or to download, click here.
News From the UUA 
The 2011 Congregational Certification of Membership has now begun. Each year, congregations certify their membership number and submit other statistical information to the UUA. Doing so allows a congregation to send delegates to General Assembly and to the District Annual Meeting. Membership numbers are used to calculate the coming fiscal year's Fair Share and Full Share amounts. Through the certification process, congregations can vote on whether the Draft Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating will appear on the final agenda for General Assembly 2011. The deadline for certifying is February 1, 2011, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time.
A Six-Week Introductory Curriculum on Immigration as a Moral Issue, the Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) for 2010-14 chosen by delegates to the 2010 General Assembly, is now available. Topics include understanding the causes of migration, the history of immigration in the U.S., the economics of immigration, security and enforcement, and building a theology of migrant justice. Also available are a collection of additional resources for further study and worship materials on immigration. Read the text of the CSAI.
In recognition of the 12th Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, President Rev. Peter Morales issued a statement in which he said, “As long as anyone is harassed or ridiculed, we must demand an end to the bullying. As long as anyone is judged because of their gender identification or presentation, we must insist on a higher moral standard. And if, God forbid, anyone is ever again physically harmed or murdered because of his or her gender identity or expression, we must rise up and seek justice. Read more.
The UUA board of trustees voted in November to launch a two-year Appreciative Inquiry Linkage Project to engage congregations and other “stakeholders” in developing a shared vision for the UUA. The goals of the project are to deepen the UUA’s understanding of congregations’ values and aspirations and to develop a “compelling shared vision for the denomination’s future, which will shape and direct strategic and operation decisions going forward,” according to a proposal submitted by Amanda Trosten-Bloom, a consultant from the Corporation for Positive Change, an expert on Appreciative Inquiry, and a member of the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden CO. Read more.

New episodes in the video series A Religion For Our Time are now available. Episode Eleven titled Connect, Respect, Protect features the outdoor education program for 9-12-year-olds at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado. View the video. Episode Twelve titled Worship That Rocks! explains how First Unitarian in Albuquerque, New Mexico, attracts a diverse group of worshippers through a contemporary service on Sunday afternoons. View the video.
Heading the Call: Qualities of a Justicemaker  , a new Tapestry of Faith program for junior high-aged youth, is ready for congregations to field test in spring 2011. Heeding the Call offers 12 sessions to complete between January and June 2011, including introductory material to prepare and support leaders effectively; core stories that teach UU values, principles, and religious concepts; clear goals and learning objectives; activities based on a variety of learning styles, alternate activity choices to help tailor each session to individual needs; activities and resources to share with families and friends; and activities to engage youth in living their faith in or outside the congregation. The format is online, free, searchable, and adaptable. For more information or to apply, contact Alicia LeBlanc.
The Fair Share per member rate for Fiscal Year 2011-12, which begins July 1, 2011, and ends June 30, 2012, will be $58, compared with the current rate of $56. This is the first rate increase in three years. In a letter to congregations, UUA President Peter Morales wrote “Our Association does essential work that can only be done when all our congregations join forces. None of this critical work is possible without your support. The economic crisis has affected us all. The staff of the Association is doing all its work with fewer people. After several years of holding the line, we are asking for a modest $2 per member increase in the suggested Fair Share contribution.” Read more .
The Annual Program Fund Quarterly Newsletter fall issue   is now available. Included are a story about radical hospitality and generosity for all ages; resources for establishing Stewardship Development Teams; an announcement of the 2011 Stewardship Sermon Award; and articles by Laurel Amabile, Annual Program Fund Director, and Jim Sanders, Annual Program Fund Committee Chair and member of the UU Church at Washington Crossing (Titusville NJ).
Teams of youth/adults are invited to apply for free training in interfaith youth leadership on February 18-21, 2011 in Atlanta GA. This training will be similar to the training in January 2010. Both trainings are made possible through a grant from the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY). Transportation, room and board, and conference costs will be paid for all participants. Teams of one adult with one or two high school youth will receive preference, but individual youth may also apply. People with disabilities, people of color, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, and B/G/L/T/I/Q/Q candidates are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is December 20. Participants will be notified by January 15. For a flyer, click here . For more information, contact Jessica York, Youth Programs Director.
The Office of Congregational Stewardship Services has developed a new suggested fair-share giving guide . The new guide replaces the 1997 version found in Fundraising with a Vision. As in the old guide, the financial commitment levels are still suggestions, but the new guide is different in several respects. The new suggested fair-share giving guide reflects higher expectations. It suggests a minimum financial commitment of 2 percent of income for congregants earning up to $10,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the guide suggests a full tithe of 10 percent of income, regardless of a congregant’s income level. Read more.
Skinner House Books assembles free resource materials, such as bonus chapters, discussion questions, small group sessions, and webinars to help readers and congregations get more out of Skinner House publications and books. For a listing of the resources by topic, click here.

News From Congregations
Milestones and Transitions

The Rev. Matt Tittle was installed by the Central Unitarian Church (Paramus NJ) on November 14. The ParamusPatch has posted a video report of the installation.
Central Unitarian Church (Paramus NJ) raised more than $41,000 on November 13 at the church’s Outreach Auction, benefiting nine Bergen County charities. The church’s youth group donated $500 to match another donation to Holley Childcare and Development Center. More than 200 people attended the auction, an annual event first held in 2000. Pictured are members of the church’s Outreach Auction Committee. Read more on Facebook.
The UU Fellowship at Stony Brook (NY) (UUFSB) participates in Welcome INN, an interfaith, nonprofit, nonsectarian, volunteer-based organization addressing the problem of hunger in the local area by providing meals in a safe, clean, caring environment with no questions asked. UUFSB members run the program on the second Sunday of each month at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Port Jefferson, preparing, serving, and providing cleanup. Read more .
The UU Fellowship of Poughkeepsie (NY) has a new website, thanks to the congregation’s Interim Minister, the Rev. Orlanda Brugnola, and the website service Cloversites which creates website templates. No technical expertise is required. Contact Rev. Brugnola if you have questions about the service.
The UU Church at Washington Crossing (Titusville NJ) held its first transgender remembrance service on November 21 following the regular service. About 35 people gathered to read the names of those who had died, ringing a chime for every name and lighting a candle for every ten names. “We felt that this was an important thing to do,” said the Rev. Charles Stephens. “It was unbelievably powerful to hear the names.” Read more.

The First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County (FUUFHC) (Baptistown NJ) hosted the annual interfaith Thanksgiving service of the Delaware Valley Interfaith Fellowship (DVIF) on November 24 with nearly 80 people in attendance. The goal of the service was to share in giving thanks for the past year and to build connections among faith communities. Participants included Imam Yaser ElMenshawy from the Islamic Center of Hunterdon County, Methodist minister the Rev. Doris Haley, Presbyterian minister and DVIF President the Rev. John Potter, Methodist minister the Rev. Christine Day, United Church of Christ minister the Rev. Dale Sattizahn, the Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon, minister at FUUFHC, and others. There was a combined choir with voices from area congregations and a performance by Olympia's Daughters. “Thanksgiving began as an interfaith ceremony all those years ago. What a wonderful opportunity this holiday is for us to come together, celebrate our common humanity and be grateful for our blessings,” said Rev. Janis-Dillon.

The UU Congregation of Princeton (NJ) (UUCP) began four years ago a fledgling partnership with the Trenton Area Habitat for Humanity with a desire was to build community as much as to build houses. With that goal, the congregation organized a Halloween party for residents of East Trenton. The first year, attendance was light, but gradually over the next few years, the event grew into a truly anticipated event for the community. This year 15 to 20 youth and adult volunteers from UUCP threw a party for over 50 community members in costumes and high spirits. One of the highlights was the "Harry Potter Haunted House" created by members of the congregation’s youth group. In one section, they taught children to work with wands and “cast spells.” Said Nancy Garden, UUCP board member, “The look of awe and glee on their faces was priceless when their ‘wands’ caused items across the room to rise (with the help of some unseen fishing line). It was a joy to see this friendship and community building dream come true.”

UU Congregation at Montclair (NJ) minister the Rev. Charles Ortman was interviewed recently by the Montclair Patch. When asked “How is this congregation different from others in Montclair, Rev. Ortman replied, “Theologically this is a very different congregation . . . We do not have a creed but a covenant . . . If there are 400 members there are 600 definitions of spirituality.” Read more

The Central Unitarian Church (Paramus NJ) and the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood (NJ) are featured in a article describing their work hosting political asylum seekers as part of the Bergen County Sanctuary Committee, an interfaith group that offers housing and humanitarian aid. “All of them were dazed by the time they came to me,” said Mary Fran Raynault, a member of the Central Unitarian Church, who has hosted five clients. Read more.

Other Noteworthy Items
The newly formed Metro NY UU Christian Fellowship (MNY-UUCF), a local chapter of the national UU Christian Fellowship (UUFC), will hold its first meeting on February 2, 2011. Led by the Rev. Kelly Murphy Mason (pictured), a community minister and former Vice-President of the UUCF, the chapter will meet the first Wednesday of every month at the Community Church of New York UU (Manhattan) for fellowship and discussion, religious education, and spiritual deepening. All UUs in the District are invited to participate. Read more .
Building Small Group Ministries that Work, a four-part online training with Peter Bowden, is now open for registration. Sessions will be from 7:30-9:00pm on January 4, 11, 18, and 25, 2011. Peter Bowden is a parish consultant specializing in congregational growth, outreach, and media. Peter was one of the founders of the UU Small Group Ministry Network, now a non-profit dedicated to supporting small group ministries within the UUA. He has been consulting with congregations on group based ministry for nearly ten years. For complete details or to register, click here. For further information, contact Peter Bowden.

The UU Historical Society is accepting submissions for the UU Heritage and History Prizes to be presented in 2011-13: The Youth Heritage Prize, Seminarian History Prize, Religious Education Prize, Heritage Project Prize, and Congregational History Prize. Each prize is $500. The deadline for submissions is June 1. For more information, contact Dan McKanan.
Unirondack, a UU camp and conference center located in the Adirondack Mountains, is accepting applications to be part of the summer staff of counselors, kitchen staff, and maintenance crew. “If you are eager to work in a close-knit community whose mission is to broaden and enrich the lives of young people, Unirondack might be the place for you. Staff members must be at least 18 years old to be counselors. We consider responsible and experiences people who are 16 or older to be on kitchen or maintenance crew.” Read more .
UUs for Jewish Awareness (UUJA) is sponsoring the fourth annual Jerry Davidoff Sermon Award for the sermon delivered in 2010 that best illustrates or exemplifies the contributions of Jewish theology, thought, or culture to UU tradition. The first place award is a $500 honorarium and an opportunity to present the sermon at the 2011 General Assembly. Sermons are to submitted in Word or compatible word processing format, together with the date and location they were delivered, to Arthur Thexton, UUJA Vice President. Submissions will be accepted until March 15, 2011.
Upcoming Workshops and Meeting
Visit the District Calendar and the District Events page for these and other events. You may also want to visit the CERG Events page.
bullet Youth Spirituality Development Con: January 7-9, 2011, Fourth Universalist Society, Manhattan. For a flyer, click here . To register, click here. For more information, contact Sara Neiss.
Growing Together: A Day of Learning and Sharing: January 22, 2011, UU Congregation of Danbury (CT). For congregations in Connecticut and northern New York State (does not include Long Island and New York City). For a flyer, click here . To register, click here. For more information, contact Mark Bernstein
bullet Long Island Leadership Institute Session 1: January 22, 2011, UU Fellowship at Stony Brook (NY). For more information, contact Andrea Lerner.
bullet LREDA District Chapter Retreat: January 30-February 2, 2011, Murray Grove Retreat and Conference Center, Lanoka Harbor NJ. For more information, contact Merrin Clough.
bullet Youth Social Con: Obi-Wan CONobi: February 4-6, 2011, First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (NJ). For more information, contact Sara Neiss. 5
bullet Long Island Leadership Institute Session 2: February 12, 2011, South Nassau UU Congregation (Freeport NY). For more information, contact Andrea Lerner.
Young Adult Winter Retreat: February 18-21, 2011, Frost Valley YMCA Camp, Claryville NY.
Youth Social Con: March 4-6, 2011, Unitarian Church in Summit (NJ). For more information, contact Sara Neiss.
Long Island Leadership Institute Session 3: March 5, 2011, UU Fellowship of Huntington (NY). For more information, contact Andrea Lerner.
Long Island Leadership Institute Session 4: March 26, 2011, UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY). For more information, contact Andrea Lerner.

Guided by our living faith, the Unitarian Universalist District of Metropolitan New York exists to be a source of connection and transformation for our congregations and our larger world.