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Community News - December 21-28, 2014


Holiday Service

December 21                              Embracing the Whole World    11:00 a.m.

This morning we shall embrace the spirit of the holiday as we honor the Winter Solstice Hanukkah, and Christmas

Rev. Bruce Southworth


December 24                                      Candle-Lighting Service    4:30 p.m.

A service of readings, music and carols concluding with a candle-lighting ceremony followed by hot cider and holiday cookies. 


                                                 Christmas Eve Messiah Concert Service     7:30 p.m. 

Händel’s Messiah (Christmas portion) and Hallelujah Chorus 

Soloists, and Choir

Gerald A. Brown, Director of Music, and Rev. Bruce Southworth


December 25                                        Christmas Day Dinner     12:00 p.m.

Hosted by Rev. Bruce Southworth and Kay S. Xanthakos

Advance Tickets must be purchased by Sunday, December 21


December 28      Kwanzaa: Reflection, Thanksgiving, Celebration, Re-commitment      11:00 a.m.

Dr. Patricia Safijah Leonard

“Our fathers and mothers came here, lived, loved, struggled and built here. At this place, their love and labor rose like the sun and gave strength and meaning to the day. For them, then, who gave so much we give in return. On this same soil we will sow our seeds, and liberation and a higher level of human life. May our eyes be the eagle, our strength be the elephant, and the boldness of our life be like the lion. And may we remember and honor our ancestors and the legacy they left for as long as the sun shines and the waters flow.”                                                                                                                                                     Dr. Maulana Karenga, Creator of Kwanzaa


January 4                                              New Year's Resolutions of a UU Chaplain   11:00 a.m.

                                                                                         Rev. Dr. Heidi Swarts


Let’s Get Acquainted 

Pathways 1

Sun., Dec. 21, 12:45 pm


Yoga with Nafisa Degani

Tues., Dec. 23, 6:00 pm


Candle Lighting Service

Wed., Dec. 24,  4:30 pm

followed by

Refreshments, 5:00 pm


Händel’s Messiah Concert

Wed., Dec. 24, 7:30 pm


Christmas Day Dinner

Thrs., Dec. 25, 12:00 pm

Advance Purchase

Ticket required 


Yoga with Nafisa Degani

Sat., Dec. 27, 12:30 pm


Yoga with Nafisa Degani

Tues., Dec. 30, 6:00 pm


First Saturday Feeding

Sat., Jan 3, 10:45 am


Yoga with Nafisa Degani

Sat., Jan 3, 12:30 pm



We have been enjoying the season of sharing simple gifts – food and good company. Memories of the Crafts Fair come to mind. When we chose to fundraise for Helene’s and BJ’s Shelter by selling food, we were thrilled to have many people come forward to help.  And at the holiday celebration, I giggled when it was mentioned how each child seemed so delighted in their gifts. Santa had many elves that provided wise council is all I have to say. And of course there was the 

music, and I want to thank Joel Mandelbaum, and Spencer Hale for accompanying him on the trombone. Many thanks to Jon Dietrich and Evelen Hough for the joy, vitality and can-do-spirit they have. Special thanks to Michele and David Ascencio, Emily Roman, Juanita Gilmore, Nancy Jennings, Maureen Holder, Linda Novenski and Marjorie Vai who gave support to the events. I am indebted to my faithful RE/FM conspirators: Jil Novenski, Carla Ogden, Sheila Kaminski and Khalilah Arrington who are unflappable and provide such a welcoming embrace to our children and families. These are the gifts for which I am grateful.     

Paz, Esther



SUNDAY–December 21

9:30 am Choir Rehearsal

11:00 am              Worship Service

11:00 am              Sunday School

12:15 pm              Fellowship Hour

12:45 pm              Messiah Rehearsal

MONDAY–December 22

6:30 pm                 Messiah Mandatory Rehearsal

WEDNESDAY–December 24

Church Office Closes Noon

Christmas Eve

THURSDAY–December 25

Christmas Day, Office Closed

FRIDAY––December 26

Building/Church Office Closed

SUNDAY– December 28

9:30 am                 Choir Rehearsal

11:00 am              Kwanzaa Worship Service

11:00 am              Sunday School

12:15 pm              Fellowship Hour

WEDNESDAY– December 31

News Year’s Eve

Building Closes Noon

THURSDAY–January 1

New Year’s Day

Building/Church Office Closed

FRIDAY–January 2

Building/Church Office Closed


Minister’s Corner ~ Wonder And Gratitude – Growing Our Souls


This season of many holidays (holy days) responds to elemental human impulses of wonder and gratitude. Our deepest longings for a world at peace, healing community, and spiritual renewal surround us in symbol, stories, and generosity.  Each tradition offers particular insights to help us in growing our souls.

Amid a sometimes too busy season with much that may distract rather than bless, I hope you find times of centering, and we offer much.  

On December 21, we shall enjoy the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, as I return to the Pierre Van Paassen reading that describes an organist’s reaction to a Calvinist Christmas sermon. We shall also kindle the Hanukkah candles of our Menorah as part of our celebration of Universal Religion.

Christmas Eve includes our 4:30 p. m. Candle-Lighting Service followed by the “Messiah” concert service at 7:30 – each powerful with their distinct moods and joy.

We then shall celebrate Kwanzaa on the 28th with its wisdom and power. 

Most of us have our own particular holiday traditions, rituals and routines, and I hope that our gatherings, which are so richly varied in nurturing the spirit, are part of your plans.

This is also a time when many without a congregation of their own look for a place for worship, renewal, and grounding. I encourage you to invite a friend (or two) to join with us as we celebrate the season and our shared lives of spiritual growth and wider service. 

In addition, in your year-end giving to the many good organizations and causes that you support, I also encourage you to consider a special gift to the church, or perhaps increasing your pledge. (Or both, if you can!)

The holiday season is one of many moods and emotions, joys and frustrations, loneliness and celebrations with the city’s beauty and poverty piercingly juxtaposed.  

Surrounded by so much that may be challenging, may you find moments of delight, fancy and imagination, and of renewal with a quickening sense of gratitude resting upon you. 

May the season grant you its healing grace and peace, along with the knowledge that new beginnings and New Life await us each day.        Faithfully, Bruce


Teach us, O God, in this season 

of approaching holidays that we

who are so used to receiving

the bounty of others are missing

the most of life, if we do not

learn the Joy of giving. We make

our friends happier by giving,

and happy friends are themselves

the best of God’s gifts.

                We make the world better by

the gift of our service and our

selves, and it is a better world

that we ourselves need. So in

some mystic way does God

bring realization through sacrifice

and this is the greatest lesson...

[we] may learn. Amen.

                W. E. B. Du Bois



the invisible sun burning

beyond the white cold sky,

giving us

light and the chimney’s



god or the gods, the unknown,

that which...

gives us


in the shadow of death,

our daily life,

and the dream still

of goodwill, of peace on earth.


flow and change, night and

the pulse of day.

                Denise Levertov



We, without apology, assert our  

dignity and right to be.

We, without malice, demand 

                justice and equality.

We, without hatred, extend our                   

                love to humanity.

We, without anger, pledge our                     

                lives to this struggle.

We, without prejudice enter                          

                into this new age of deliverance.

We declare [relief] from hate,                       

                despair, chains – our


Rodney Coates


“Rage and Love:  No Justice! No Peace!”

Sermon Brief – Sunday, December 7, 2014 

Thursday evening, I joined thousands of fellow New Yorkers downtown at Foley Square.… We were there in response to the Staten Island grand jury’s failure to indict any of the police officers involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner last August… so many of us in dismay, shock, grief, and anger for so many reasons: 

1.    That no charges were brought against the officer who used the choke hold;

2.    That another police killing was going unpunished – one that had been videotaped and in which Police Commissioner Bratton had acknowledged that it was an illegal choke hold;

3.    That our criminal justice system and elements of the grand jury procedures seemed to having failed once again.

We were also there with hope and faith that things not only must change, but also can change. The ugly legacy and imprints of white supremacy across our country – white privilege, systemic racism, and racial fear, discriminations, and divisions – these remain, and the challenges we face to be one people must continue to be addressed….

I return to that young white couple shouting with everyone else, “No Justice! No Peace!”  with the sign that said, “White Silence = White Consent.”

I think of a post by Baratunde Thurston:

"It is the season for gifts and gratitude and so I am grateful for this Public Display of Apathy and Indifference by The State because it triggers the auto-immune response of The People who react with equal parts rage and love. The Systemic Indifference is a feature, not a bug. But here's the thing about systems: they are designed and can be undone, rebooted, 

re-wired… let us be filled with Rage and Love. For they are both equal and essential antidotes to that which ails us and fails us." (quoted by J. Gathright)

… Rage and Love will sustain us and guide us.   Rage and Love….        Rev. Bruce Southworth

[Full text – Rage and Love)