12-20-2018 UU Church of Utica Weekly Newsletter
Secretary's office hours: Tuesday 8-12 p.m. & and Thursday 8:30-11:30 a.m. 
Please email her your enews information by early Tuesday morning,
Highlights this week:
  • Plan to bring cookies or other holiday snacks for Christmas Eve, 6:30PM service
  • Don't forget to fill our Sanctuary Basket with holidays treats and goodies!
  • Collecting warm jackets, hats, scarves, etc. for local children
December Services 
10:30 AM

**No choir for the remainder of December. We will return to practice January 6th.

December 23, 2018 “Welcoming the Light” Worship Committee
It’s the dark moon, Yuletide, the year’s midnight. The Winter Solstice. Now we’re facing the dark but the dark is good. Remember, it’s dark inside a seed, it’s dark inside an egg, it’s dark inside the cave where the bear’s hibernating and under the mud where the frog is asleep. But the light will return. Please join us as we celebrate the dark time of the year and look with hope to the return of the sun.
Music Coordinator, Bob Ford

December 24, 2018 Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - 6:30 pm
"With Hope" Rev. Erin Dajka Holley

Join us to meet the mystery of the season with hope and light.  We will sing carols, tell the old story, and light candles to welcome a sense of hope.
Music Coordinator, Bob Ford
Please bring cookies or other sweet holiday niblets for the social time following the Service!!

December 30, 2018 "Without Words" Rev. Erin Dajka Holley    How does one address a mystery? There are no words that can describe an experience of the Holy. Who knows what expressions will come forth in this multi-generational service.
Music Coordinator, Bob Ford


January 2019 Services 
10:30 AM

Choir meets at 9:30AM - Join any time!
Coffee and Refreshments 11:30AM

January 6, 2019 “Transmogrified” Rev. Kimberley Debus
Sometimes, when our ideas, beliefs, and perspectives seem stuck, it’s helpful to take them apart, mix them up, and see what is possible.  What happens when we do this with our Unitarian Universalist Principles?

January 13, 2019 Celia Bogan Bogan, operations director for Hope House, will talk about the organization's mission to feed the hungry in Utica and its move to a new location this year to serve a growing population in need. Hope House has been serving meals to the needy for 26 years, and averages nearly 100,000 meals a year.

January 20, 2019 “Leap” Rev. Erin Dajka Holley
The most frightening thing a person can do is to make a choice, especially when that choice leads into the realm of the unsure or unknown.  What happens if you take the leap anyway?

January 27, 2019 Mowhawk Valley Cluster Service “Our Shared Voice”
Unitarian Universalists from multiple congregations in and around the Mohawk Valley gather for a shared service at the UU Church of Utica.  We will consider the possibilities inherent in working together.

December Hospitality and Greeters
December 23rd:
Hospitality, Tammy & Paul Tenerowicz
Greeters, Nolan Family
December 30th:
Hospitality, Allan & Ro Hall
Greeters, Malcolm Buffington ( Barbara Linsley
January 2019
6th - Hospitality - NEED 2 volunteers
        Greeters - Glenn Coin & Linda Mackos

Here we are, at the end of a calendar year. So much has happened since I first met you in May.  You called me to be your settled minister. My spouse, Neil, and I moved 1200 miles with our cat and hedgehog in tow, because we believe in this church. We have seen the love you share with one another and your tireless efforts in being religious community. Just since late August, our church community has ventured into a new era of Children’s Religious Education; the Social Action/Green Sanctuary Committee has chosen to focus its efforts for the year on Immigration; a baby has been born into our community; we have begun the process to develop a Church Covenant; and plans are starting to leave the ground to develop a new church website. And, all of this is only here at the church.  I can only imagine what changes you are facing at this time in your life.

So much is happening, and it can feel overwhelming at times. The cliche states: “The only constant is change.” And, that constant of change is challenging. I find that I begin to question on what I can rely when everything around me is changing. How can I feel secure when the ground on which I stand seems to have become unstable? Can’t everything simply be what I need it to be? To stay the same so that I can feel that something in my life might remain the comfort it has always been? The uncertainty and anxiety are real, and I will not dismiss them. 

At the cusp of a new year, I encourage you to sit with the uncertainty and anxiety you feel, to take a moment to befriend them, to ask them why they are there, how they came to be, and what they may indicate that you need. Listen to what uncertainty and anxiety tell you about who you are. They come from your place of wisdom. And, once you have heard their voices and listened for the truth between their words, thank them for their gift, and send them on their way.

Many congregations have a tradition at the turn of the year of ritually burning that which can remain in the past, and grasping that which will best lead into the future. We will not be partaking in this ritual this year, but take that moment to reflect on what it is you would give to the flames. And, what is it you would keep?

Out of the flames of fear
We rise with courage of our deepest convictions
to stand for justice, inclusion and peace

Out of the flames of scrutiny
We rise to proclaim our faith
With hope to heal a fractured and hurting world

Out of the flames of doubt
We rise to embrace the mystery, wonder and awe
of all there is and all that is yet to be

Out of the flames of hate
We rise with the force of love
Love that celebrates our shared humanity

Out of the flames we rise

           - Sara Eileen LaWall


January 1st, 1:00PM, All are welcome to get together for a New Year's Day lunch at SUMO Japanese Steakhouse in New Hartford, Please call Doreen Markson at 315- 272-9160 if you plan to come. There is NO December Lunch Bunch.


The 2019 Hospitality-Greeter sign-up sheets are now on the bulletin board by the sanctuary. Please start filling out the January one and any other months you wish to fill in.

2018 Holiday Tree Collection “Sharing the Warmth of Community"
UUU will collect winter hats, gloves, scarves and warm socks, to be donated to Dr. MLK Jr. Elementary School, beginning December 9th through January 13th. These donations will allow staff to provide children who arrive at school, without warm winter accessories, these items in a caring and discrete manner. While many organizations work diligently to provide, coats, boots, and toys for children, items such as these are harder to come by. Please share the warmth this holiday with children who brave the cold winter as they walk to school in their neighborhood. 

Guest At Your Table Boxes
You can begin returning the GAYT Boxes now through December 30th. You may leave them on the counter in the office or, if you are able, we prefer you put the money in an envelope marked GAYT with the amount and put them in the safe. If you don't know how to deposit it in the safe please don't hesitate to ask for help. We will send all the money collected and earned at our Bread Sale to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to support their work around the world including at the Mexican Border.

Sanctuary Basket
This month we hope to fill the Sanctuary Basket with all those wonderful Holiday Treats we look forward to all year. We are going share these goodies with the local homeless shelter for women and children. If our collection is bountiful we will be able to include families residing in the YWCA Domestic Violence Transitional Housing apartments. Hot cocoa, popcorn, cookies, nuts and candies are a few of the items these families find out of reach. Let's make this season bright for our neighbors who need to know they are remembered. Together we make a difference!

4th Annual Interfaith Peace Carol
Closing our evening were Members of the Proctor High School Choirs under the direction of Patty Scaramella. After several songs Patty turned to the audience of sixty plus and asked if they should continue. Her question was met with resounding applause. A fitting end to a program that brought smiles, nods, and expressions of gratitude to people's faces throughout the evening.

The final song was “Silent Night Holy Night” in both German and English. The words to this carol were printed in the program and the audience was invited to participate.

Our own UUU Choir, directed by Melissa Barlett, kicked off the Peace Carol, followed by a welcoming hospitality, provided by the members of the Social Action/Green Sanctuary Committee. 

The Proctor High School JROTC reconvened our program with a Posting Of The Colors and led us all in the Pledge Of Allegiance.

Rev. Erin  brought us back to the reason for the evening as she related the story of the World War 1, 1914,  Christmas Peace Truce and the strength of the human spirit in overcoming fear of the other, even under the most dire of circumstances. She concluded her message with the hope that we all carry on in the spirit of the peace truce by looking with love into each others eyes in recognition of our shared humanity, and with wishes for peace between neighbors and throughout our community.
Brian Howard, Executive Director, Oneida County History Center, told us about the impact of World  War 1 on the Mohawk Valley, and the truth about war and of the pain and sacrifices made by many when called to serve our country during these trying times.

The RSVP Readers' Theater then brought us the words of soldiers to loved ones back home through letters and their fears and hopes written in their diaries, all  published in writings by Aaron Shepard.

The bringing together of young and old and the diversity of race, religion and ethnicity, at the Oneida County History Center, shinned bright in honoring those who have come before us and met the challenges of  overcoming differences and celebrating in love the beautiful mosaic which is the human race.

- Debra Hagenbuch

December we have been collecting Seasonal sweets/candies, healthy non-alcoholic beverages, hot chocolate mixes, nut mixes, etc. The goal is 50 items.

January our collection will be for Winter Blues and Itches! Bath & body washes/oils, soaps, hand and body lotions, body scrunchies etc. Our goal is to fill the basket.

We always collect non-perishable foods in the kitchen.

See our current items collected here! 

Rev. Erin's Office hours are 1-4PM, Tuesdays. Rev. Erin is off on Fridays.
Rev. Erin's week off will be December 31-January 6

Have a question about a business or procedural issue? Check the FAQ here!

oard Minutes
Committee Minutes 
Our Greater UU World
Click here for holiday greetings from your Central East Region (CER) staff!
Restorative Practices Training - January 19

Saturday January 19th, 10am to 4pm at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings on Hudson NY
This training gives access to lay leaders, youth, and religious professionals to an introduction to restorative practices to better our communities’ abilities to respond to tension, conflict, hurt and disagreement. Restorative practices, which involve the skilled use of Circles, provide an opportunity to identify and address harms, restore relationships and mend community. Grounded in tools of healthy communication, this training will give an overview of restorative practices, skills and will include hands-on Circle exercises to use what you’ve learned. We especially encourage Youth Leaders, Committees on Ministry and Church Boards to attend.
Restorative Practices are grounded in familiar practices: Youth Touch Groups, Covenant Groups, Chalice Circles, and respectful, direct, honest communication.
See more at:

UU Buddhist Fellowship Convocation 2019
"Making the Invisible, Visible: A Multi-medial Exploration of Race & Racism in the
U.S. through a Buddhist Lens'. April 25-28, 2019 at Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY.
Featuring Dr. Jan Willis Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Wesleyan University, CT and author of several books on Tibetan Buddhism including "Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist-One Woman's Spiritual Journey"
For more information and registration visit the UU Buddhist Fellowship at: or
Discounted registration before January 1!!!!!
The annual Seaway Gathering will be held on May 3-4, 2019 in Ithaca, NY. Our theme is Drawing the Circle Wide and our keynote speaker is CB Beal on the topic of Preemptive Radical Inclusion..
But we need your help with workshops! We want the workshop offerings to fill the needs you have as congregational leaders!

If you have a topic area you would like to see offered as a workshop - something you have found that you need in your work with your congregation please tell us about it here
And if you have a program or skills to share with others, please propose a workshop here
Each year we work with a small committee of volunteers—religious professionals and congregational leaders—to work on the overall event including giving feedback on schedule, selecting workshops, and planning the day. Please send an email to Evin Carvill Ziemer or Renee Ruchotzke if you’re interested in being part of the planning.
And stay tuned for more details - registration will open by the end of February.
Have you heard about FAITHIFY, the UU crowdfunding platform? This program is designed to match UU based programs and UU funders with each other, making it easier for you to find projects that reflect your values and interests and programs to find the funding they need.

Find projects that you want to support, learn more about how FAITHIFY works, and how to use it in your congregation at their website,

Registration is Open for Spring Online Leadership Courses
Deeper than a single webinar or workshop, the UU Leadership Institute offers core leadership courses online with on-demand materials.  They are perfect for the congregation who wants to learn together at an affordable cost—only $30 per course per semester. Courses open on January 25, 2019.
From Black Lives of UU

The BLUU #HolidayHealing Box is available and proceeds will be going to our December #BLUUSupports designee, Soul Fire Farm. Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. They raise life-giving food and act in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid.

Find out more about this amazing organization and how to support it at
You can also financially support this organization by ordering a BLUU Holiday Healing Box here:


From Our Community
Feel free to submit community announcements for local non-profit events or events members are involved in here!
Community Events

TONIGHT, December 20th, 6:00PM - A Service of Remembrance, Healing, and Hope
Too often, feelings of sadness have no place during the holiday season.  Join InterFaith Matters for a service that notes this, the darkest season of the year, and the presence of grief, despair, and loneliness in our hearts. The service will be held at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, 13 Park Place, Utica

Habitat ReStore - 50% off all Christmas decorating needs! Holiday Tins, Nutcrackers, Candles, Bows, Garland, Trees, Lights and so much more. Now accepting donations of hammers, screw drivers, paint, nuts & bolts, screws/nails, drills, wrenches, tool boxes etc. for the new The Tool Bin.
ReStore Hours:  
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - 12pm-4pm
Wednesday - 10am-4pm
Thursday - 10am-4pm
Friday - 10am-4pm
Saturday - 10am-3pm
Sunday – Closed

See Church Calendar Here 
Double click on Worship to see service details

Rev Erin's Office Hours are now Tuesdays 1-4 PM
Ongoing Church Usage:

  • 1st week, House Committee meets after service (P) 
  • 2nd week, Social Action/Green Sanctuary 12 PM (P) 
  • 3rd week
    • Small Spiritual Group 12-2 PM (P)
    • Mohawk Valley Lyme Support Group* 2-4 PM (P)                           
  • 4th week, Climate Action Sub Committee 11:45 AM (P) 
  • 1st week, Worship Committee, 6:30 PM (P)                 
  • 3rd week, Finance Meeting 5 PM (P)                                       
  • Board Meeting 6:15 PM (P) 
  • Last week, Lunch Bunch 1 PM at different locations                         
Wednesday - All weeks, Buddhist Meditation 6-9 pm (S)

  • All weeks, (not if 5th wk), A Course in Miracles 7-8:30 p.m. (P)
  • All, Heart Rhythm Meditation 8:30 AM with Jack Pendrak
  • 1st & 3rd weeks, IONS 10-11:30 PM (P) 
  • 2nd week
    • MV Bonsai Club* 1-3 PM (RE) 
    • SAGE* 5-9 PM (S)
  • 3rd week, Caps 4 Cancer* 10:30 AM-12 PM (S) 
S – Sanctuary
P – Parlor
RE – Religious Ed Room
* - Not church affiliated
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