November 2022 Vol. IV Issue 5
Reaping What We Sow. A Time of Thanksgiving
This is the season of Thanksgiving (although all of life is a season of gratitude if we make it so). This is what our calendar tells us and what the culture reminds us of. This is no doubt true. Another way of looking at the season is that it is the season of gathering in, the season of the harvest in nature. Many things that began in the spring and early summer have grown to fruition and are now ready for reaping. Great and significant is the harvest in nature. The Universal Law of life that is so difficult to grasp for many is that we do reap what we sow. Consciously or unconsciously.
This insight suggests that life consists of planting and harvesting, of sowing and reaping. We are always in the midst of the harvest and always in the midst of planting. The words that we use in communication, the profound stirrings of the mind out of which our thoughts arise, the ebb and flow of desires out of which our simple or complex deeds develop, are all caught in the process of reaping and sowing, of planting and harvesting. Living is a shared process. Even as I am conscious of things growing in me planted by others, and these things are always ripening, it is also true that others are conscious of things growing in them planted by me, which are always ripening.
No person is an island and it is the essence of wisdom to be aware of this fact. Not only to be aware of it, but to give thanks for it. Harvest time has arrived. Let us be thankful.
On another note, the autumn colors were truly beautiful this year and I sadly begin to notice those colors fade. It is true, at least to my mind, that autumn is the season that shows us how beautiful it is to let things go. Now it seems we are in the "in between season." Fall is leaving and winter has not yet arrived. And it is here that I will leave you with the eloquence of the words of author Max Coots:
"... Now, late Autumn or early Winter or whatever its name may be, is a time to see farther than we could when leaves cut the view. Now the world reveals itself in more dimensions. And neither things nor human beings, nor issues can hide in the leafless woods. We may say it looks all stark and bare, and I suppose it does, but it also looks clean and clear, for those who dare to look without the screen of leaves and grass that covered so much before the frost came on.
A clear view is one thing this time of year allows.
Right now, between two seasons, I'd make a holiday of solitude, with that clear view the loss of leaves allows, and with a faith that in its time my life, like that of the earth, is balanced out. If I have patience enough to see, and if I make a time to touch the earth again and see the sense it makes of seasons and of me."
After those beautiful words and insights, all I need do is wish you all A Wonderful and a Happy Thanksgiving!
Rev. Michael J. S. Carter
|Music Schedule for November 2022|
November 6 - Sue Stone, piano: Prelude, postlude, offertory and 3 hymns
November 13 - Second Sundays, Andy Reed and Eileen Kennedy, duets; Linda Metzner, piano: Prelude, postlude, and 2 hymns
November 20 - Linda Metzner, piano: Prelude, postlude, offertory and 3 hymns
November 27 - UUCSV Choir, Linda Metzner, director: 2 anthems. Sue Stone, piano: Prelude, postlude, and 2 hymns
The UU Women's Group got in the spirit of the season at their October gathering. Eileen Kennedy, Anna Marcel de Hermanas and Jackie Franklin had fun with their costumes. The Women's Group is open to all women, members and friends. It's a safe, supportive, loving environment in which to express ourselves, and we have a lot of fun!
A Prayer for Myself at 75
Given the task to write a prayer for my life, I immediately think of a prayer of entreaty to be blessed with what I lack: patience, unconditional love, peace.
Then, as often is my practice, I flip to gratitude for all that I have: Love, Friends, Health, Purpose, Home, ...and recognition that the list is endless.
Endless like the morning sunshine in the mountains, like the night sky over the ocean,
Like life itself that stretches back and forward, weaving itself of that which we lack and
that which we are thankful for.
Let me be, like the recovering alcoholic, grateful for the hardship and failures which have led me here to this blessed day, in this cursed and blessed land of hardships and glories, of wars and achievements. Let me not shrink from my place here, and excuse myself with the explanations of those privileged enough to live a long and complicated life.
Let me have no need to have a named deity to receive my prayer, but let me send it out into the boundless universe, and recognize both my very small part and my very important part in the universe and its continuation.
Let me open myself again and again, letting go of the fear that rises in me when I remember the pain that can come of every opening. Let me smile when I remember the losses as well as the gifts that preceded and followed them. Let me mourn deeply my sisters, friends, and family, and acknowledge the great gift they were not only to my life, but to Life itself. And most of all, let me continue to put one foot in front of the other, making my singular and ordinary way through this complicated and miraculous life.
Life that is mine and everyone’s. Life that, though it may continue with or without my earthly presence, is forever changed because I was. Let me be grateful that I am until I no longer have need of prayer, purpose, or gratitude, until I am not. Amen
By Anna Marcel de Hermanas
On the Cliff Face
I look to heaven
from this lofty perch traveling
far to reach this spot
before I arrived, many
challenges en route
This view more stunning
than even I had hoped for –
more than worth the climb.
I’ll stay here awhile
to soak in all this offers,
to let it change me
Later I’ll return
to share this precious moment,
its meanings with you
Jim Carillon, October 2022
Tourists buying postcards on Craggy Mountain never suspect me.
It’s always, “Time to get back in the car!”
just before my long, wild winds come up the hollow.
My winds always precede me.
Folks who have lived here long
look for haints and boogers when they feel me coming near.
But few have seen me. Maybe it’s my hair!
The chokecherry vines that form sort of a bouffant...
I love it when the berries ripen in autumn!
But few have seen me when I creep through rhododendron,
chokecherry and laurel for ornament.
I breathe the dark bass tones of the rhododendron thicket,
my skin like her bark, ancient, enduring.
My breath is in sync with her, unfathomable, unconquerable.
When you step into the dark places of the thicket,
your breath stops.
You’re whirled back to your own birthplace, before time began.
All over my hands are tiny red mushrooms,
rising from moss like a Mardi Gras village!
When you see my hands, you feel as though
you have swum up the bank of a rushing creek,
holding your breath until you emerge.
When you gaze into my eyes, my pupils fade into trillium,
blood-red blooms dangling at the rims, speaking in tongues.
My eyebrows are slow-creeping woolly worms, orange and black.
I float over the hills in a cape of Appalachian flowers:
Jack-in-the-pulpit, butterfly weed, flame azalea, bloodroot,
Indian pipe, chicory, pokeberry, cohosh.
My scent is of millennia of these green beings,
composting, seeding, bursting forth, decaying once more.
When you inhale my scent, you will remember your family.
Generations will array before you
in the distinct garb of your ancestors.
When you breathe my essence, you will fall and weep
at the millennia of lives willing to help you,
sponsor you, give you life.
I carry a staff of mountain ash. Don’t be afraid!
I won’t harm you! though my laughter alone
could squash you into the earth, mere compost,
cousin to the road kills, just another woolly worm.
My staff speaks of power, and that is what you fear,
citizens, tourists, quick-leavers, loud-builders, e-mail talkers.
In the landfills where I wander are your rusted bodies:
freezers, microwaves, last year’s computer.
Decades they require to rust or fade,
the plastic, the alloys, the silicon chips.
And I float to your door. I beckon you and your children’s children
when they wander too far from the flickering screen.
I speak of spice bush, yarrow, ginseng, jewelweed,
sassafras, Solomon’s Seal.
I pull you to the dark where you speak with your soul,
where life takes your breath away.
I make you pine for life, reach for it, scream for it.
I hold a mirror to this desire until all else is forgotten,
until you reach for life, until you’ll never give up,
until there on the forest floor we cry, together,
tears of joy.
In 2017 I went with a couple of friends to New York City to attend the Paul Winter Consort Winter Solstice Concert held annually in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
During the concert, I paused from howling at the moon along with the sold out audience, leaned over to my friend and proclaimed, “I want to be a pagan when I grow up. This is so much fun.”
As a child, Rebecca Williams was intuitively drawn to seasonal changes and the feminine aspects of the Divine. Back in the 1980’s Rebecca found her soul space in the rituals and goddesses from ancient times. Long before Carolyn’s trip to NYC, Rebecca knew that there was more to paganism than howling at the moon. She learned that the practice of celebrating seasonal changes gives Rebecca an opportunity to reflect upon the changes she sees in herself when the season changes.
As UU’s we live out our 8 Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, learning from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience. Our congregations extrapolate teachings from 6 sources for inspiration. The sixth source from which we draw our wisdom is “from the spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.” (uua.org)
In addition to having served on our Board of Trustees and as a Sunday Service Associate, UUCSV volunteer Rebecca Williams has co-planned with Annelinde Metzner multiple Winter Solstice themed Sunday Services. The duo also collaborates to host (typically 4) pagan/goddess rituals each year at our church, holding the name of Inanna’s Daughters. Women from our congregation make up about half of the participants at a gathering. The remaining participants come to celebrate with us from the greater community.
Keep your eyes open for announcements in our weekly publication, The Current, for the date and time of an upcoming pagan/goddess seasonal ritual. Or, for more information about the divine feminine and seasonal rituals, simply ask volunteers Annelinde or Rebecca. I can almost guarantee, their eyes will light up and a smile will spread across their faces!
By Carolyn Shorkey
Samhain is one of the Celtic Holy Days, the end of the ancient calendar year and the day to Honor the Ancestors.
Some of the participants in Inanna's Daughter's ritual Oct. 30 afternoon (photographer also took part!) Yes that's the grandmother puppet Cailleagh, seated wearing a new lei of fresh marigolds. We found the empty chair useful in welcoming ancestors in spirit to our circle. The puppet was used in our Sunday morning service at UUCSV while we listened to Annelinde Metzner's poem, "Appalachian Cailleach" (included above in full.)
Our altar to the ancestors included photos and memorabilia which reminded us of cherished ones. We didn't forget to share about the heras of Mount Olympus (goddesses all) and sing a little, and play with a balloon and autumn leaves a bit.
We wish you a blessed Samhain/Halloween...and may your new year in the turning of the seasons be full of abundance and joy!
To be listed in your birth month, just let the Tidings editor know by sending your info at any time to email@example.com
|Making and Strengthening Connections |
As more and more of us become comfortable (or at least marginally less afraid) getting together in person again I’d like to invite you to seek out opportunities to interact with UU friends old and new… and young and old together. To that end may I draw your attention to some upcoming events...
Saturday, November 5th from 5:30-8:30 an evening of Fall Fun for all-ages with apple cider, snacks, and (fingers crossed) a fire-bowl to help keep us toasty on the last night before Daylight Saving Time ends! BYO camp chair if you have one and any refreshments you’d like to contribute (optional) and spend a cozy evening with your fellow UUs.
Mondays, November 7th, and 21st & beyond. We’ve scheduled the next few sessions of our Adult RE Ethics discussion group. Michael Sandel presents the core concepts of famous philosophers (Kant, Mill, Locke etc) next to modern questions of ethics/morality & law and challenges us to consider our own take on the topics put forth.
Our first meeting had a small group but we had a very lively chat. To get the most out of these discussions you can read Michael Sandel’s book Justice , but you can very easily participate and gain much to think about by watching lectures posted online before each discussion.
Here are the topics and links to our next few sessions:
And of course there are our monthly potlucks facilitated by Alice and Dave Wells and this year’s live Auction Evening.
So many opportunities to enjoy each other’s company! I hope you’ll join us.
By Susan Enwright-Hicks, RE Director
A photo (less Michael Carter) from our first Justice discussion group.
|Climate change conversation|
A meeting of interested individuals discussed what each of us is doing for climate change. How have we each changed our lives to adapt, to prepare for climate changes? We start by sharing the actions which have brought us happiness. We go home with new ideas shared between us. A hopeful step into the future. A new column will be added to Tidings to list some of our practical ideas, "Walking This Earth."
Next meeting for conversation will be on Nov. 26, 10:30 am at UUCSV. This group is open to any who wish to participate. Contact Suzanne Ziglar beforehand so that she can send you the agenda and documentaries that we are watching for November. Thanks.
Ways we are changing our lives to adapt to climate changes! Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tooth Powder from Margery Wildcraft
4 T food grade Bentonite Clay
2 t non-aluminum baking soda
3/4 t activated charcoal
1 t herbs (such as cloves) and flavor enhancer
Mix all in clean glass jar.
By Suzanne Ziglar
Hand-wipes to go
During COVID I wanted to have hand wipes in the car but didn’t want to buy plastic containers with wipes in them.
So I used a glass jelly jar with metal lid and cut paper towels (the kind that are perforated to be torn in half) and then cut the halves into thirds and curled them in a circle to fit into the jar, poured some 70% alcohol in to make them damp and we’ve been using these for several years now in the car. They smell really strong but I don’t mind since I want to be sure they’re killing germs. But you could put a couple drops of essential oil in the jar too. Also Suzanne Ziglar suggested that maybe using strong vodka :) might be less drying but I guess it would take
some research to know for sure what ‘proof' would kill the germs. This small, no-plastic hack is a work in progress and
suggestions are very much welcome!
PS we can get vodka in glass, but not 70% alcohol as far as I know, so that’s an advantage of vodka plus it
might smell better.
By Bette Bates
Brush with bamboo toothbrushes:
By Bette Bates
UUCSV Board Meeting Abbreviated Minutes
Thursday, October 27, 2022
(See copy of full reports and minutes on bulletin board in hall at church.)
-Treasurer’s Report: To date in the 2022-23 fiscal year, plate collection is about half of expected, but pledge payments are running high.
-The Building and Grounds Committee (BAG) has updated our building rental policy which is being reviewed by the Board. The BAG Committee will handle all building rental scheduling, contracts and functions.
-Communications Committee: The Board will try to recruit a new chairperson.
-Membership Committee: Rose reported that four new members have joined the church but Michael pointed out that one of them is moving out of town. Another "New Member Sunday" is being planned after the 1st of the year.
-Personnel Committee: No meeting this month.
-Religious Education (RE): Susan summarized the attached report and answered a question about the approximately $3,165 remaining in the budget for playground improvements. She talked about some possibilities but indicated that there are no concrete plans to purchase and install anything at this time. (See bulletin board)
-Safety Committee: Marti reported that the first aid kit in the administrative office closet has been updated.
-Social Action Committee (SAC): Report attached. Rochelle raised the issue for the need for a plan for the Afghan family’s and the congregation’s responsibility. Rose will follow up with the SAC. (See bulletin board)
-Sunday Service Associates (SSA): There is a need for new committee members to replace ones ready to rotate off.
-Stewardship: Dan reported that they are nearing the date for the auction. Dan wondered about the effectiveness of time and effort spent to solicit donations from businesses compared to the return.
- Attached are reports from the Memorial Garden Committee,
the Congregational Care Committee, and the Board Retreat notes. (See bulletin board)
The newly designed UUCSV Organizational Chart for governance was approved.
The Board will discuss Marti’s proposal for improving the sound on our weekly recording of the Sunday Service at a future meeting. This request might be best coming from the Communications Committee.
The Board approved the forms and retreat report which is attached at the end of the minutes (See copy of full reports and minutes on bulletin board in hall at church.) Rochelle plans to create an instructional video about these forms to teach committees how to communicate effectively with the Board.
Respectfully submitted by Milton Warden, Board Secretary
Next Regular Board meeting: December 1st @ 6:00 p.m. on Zoom. There will be no other Board Meetings in December. The next Board meeting will be in person (weather permitting) January 26, 2023 at 6: p.m.
Many of us who attend groups and Sunday services these days are wearing masks...to protect others as well as ourselves since COVID and flu are still around. We do have better ventilation in the building, and most of us have been vaxed and boosted, yet as we stand and talk, or sit side by side, I prefer to remain masked. I love seeing old friends and making new ones. One old friend had to ask who I was, with mask covering my face! I just gave her my name and received a big hug. Oh how I've missed these UU hugs! For some photos, I asked people to take down their masks and hold their breaths, so hopefully we stayed protected. Of course some of them may have turned a bit blue while smiling at the camera.
Thanks for the entries to Tidings
submitted this month! Next month, December, has a suggested topic of "Neighbors." Please submit any poems, photos, or articles by Nov. 25 to email@example.com.
Happy Thanksgiving all!
By Barbara Rogers
Board of Trustees:
Rochelle Broome - President
Sally Smith - Vice-President
Larry Pearlman - Treasurer
Milt Warden – Secretary
Building & Grounds - Deb Evenchik
Social Action - Jane Carroll (rotating)
Finance - Lee Reading
Nominating - Evan Yanik
Congregational Care - Carolyn Shorkey
Membership - Heidi Blozan
Personnel – Linda Tatsapaugh
Communications - open
Governance – Evan Yanik
Religious Education - Contact RE Director Susan Enright Hicks
Coffee Hour Hosts Coordinator - Carolyn Shorkey
Sunday Service Associates - Diane Graham (rotating)
Strategic Planning Task Force - open
Memorial Garden - Dawn Wilson
Safety Committee - Marti Saltzman
Stewardship - Dan Hadley
Sunday Service Production:
AV producer/editor - Evan Yanik and Deb Evenchik
Music director and piano - Annelinde Metzner
Sue Stone, piano