11-29-2018 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:
  • TONIGHT at 6:30pm Come help decorate our sanctuary and hang the greens!
  • Sunday after the service the children will decorate our tree
  • Rev. Erin shares her thoughts on our December topic of Mystery
Choir meets at 9:30AM - Join any time!
December Services 10:30 AM
Coffee and Refreshments 11:30AM
December 2 "With Caution" Rev. Erin Dajka Holley
How does one address a mystery? If we are to pursue the unknown, we must take caution and tread lightly. The unknown is a danger in of itself.

December 9 “Sustainability: It's About People” Denise Szarek
Denise, a local farmer from Three Goat Farm in Westmoreland, will speak about sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture is about the environmental integrity, about the economic viability and about social responsibility, but ultimately, it's about people.  The fundamental purpose of agriculture is to meet the needs of people, to tip the ecological balance in favor of humans relative to other species.

December 16 "With Reverence" Rev. Erin Dajka Holley
How does one address a mystery?  Bring a sense of awe, that feeling that something is both wondrous and terrible at the same time.
*The UUUtica Choir will perform*

December 23 “A Yuletide Celebration”
In this service we will celebrate Yule or the Winter Solstice. This pagan holiday marks the shortest day of the year and welcomes the rebirth of the light. Circle round for stories, songs, and rituals of midwinter.

December 24 6:30pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
"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.

December 30 "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.
Please sign up for Hospitality/Greeters for December
We need hospitality and greeters for Sunday December 23rd & Christmas Eve. We also need Greeters for Sunday December 30th. New folks should sign up with someone who's done it before. Remember you don't have to spend much and if you can't help set-up/clean-up you can donate money for others to Jackie in an envelope marked "for hospitality" during collection. Questions? Talk to Jackie Leisos (315) 404-2203. 
From the Minister's Desk:

The world is darkening, as it darkens every year at this time  I lift my head from work and see that the sun has already begun to set. I know that this happens every year, as it has happened every year of my life, as it has happened every year for earth’s own eternity. With the darkness, I sense a shift in myself. Not the increased lethargy and sadness that doctors treat with Vitamin D and prescriptions for light boxes. No, a deeper shift, a shift toward expectation. In the dark, you cannot see what is coming; it is masked within the unknown.

It is the time of the year to reach into the darkness and unknown, to plumb its depths and try to touch the light that we know is there, somewhere.  The unknown, maybe even the unknowable. For the month of December, we will ask ourselves what Rev. Gordon McKeeman has asked in his reflection:

“How does one address a mystery?
  • Cautiously—let us go cautiously, then, to the end of our certainty, to the boundary of all we know, to the rim of uncertainty, to the perimeter of the unknown which surrounds us.
  • Reverently—let us go with a sense of awe, a feeling of approaching the powerful holy whose lightning slashes the sky, whose persistence splits concrete with green sprouts, whose miracles are present in every place and moment.
  • Hopefully—out of our need for wholeness in our own lives, the reconciliation of mind and heart, the conjunction of reason and passion, the intersection of the timeless with time.
  • Quietly—for no words will explain the inarticulate or summon the presence that is always present even in our absence.
But what shall I say?
  • Anything—any anger, any hope, any fear, any joy, any request, any word that comes from the depth of being addressed to Being itself—or, perhaps, nothing, no complaint, no request, no entreaty, no thanksgiving, no praise, no blame, no pretense of knowing or of not knowing.
Simply be in the intimate presence of mystery, unashamed—unadorned—unafraid.
And at the end say—Amen.”

And so, I base the four services I will present this month on these four ways of approaching a mystery. I invite you to engage with me in this exploration. Maybe take that time in the darkness of the early morning or the darkness of the evening to cautiously, reverently, hopefully, and quietly reach out to the eternal mystery. May what all of us find in our explorations bring us insight and closer to the coming light.

In love,
Rev. Erin

Thursday Nov. 29, 6:30 PM Decorating the Sanctuary for the Holidays 
The Membership Committee is looking for volunteers to help in decorating the sanctuary in preparation for the holidays. Join us for hot cider and good company as we make the church look festive. All who come are welcome to bring their favorite holiday snacks to share.

Sunday, December 2, 12:00 Noon Decorating the Christmas Tree with the Children The young and young at heart are invited to stay after the coffee hour to decorate the church Christmas tree together. Everyone's help and participation is welcome as we get ready to celebrate
Unfortunately not enough people signed up

for our cookie/candy sale planned for December 15th.  We THANK everyone who did sign up.
Next year if interest spikes perhaps we will try again.

4th Annual UUU Peace Carol Commemorating the WWI 1914 Christmas Eve Peace Truce

Every now and then we look to our past and come across a story of the human spirit rising up against what seems to be conditions under which our connection to the other and our shared humanity has been all but lost. The 1914  Christmas  Eve Peace Truce is such a story. That quiet evening, as men huddled in their cold, wet trenches on the World War I Western Front, a group of enemy soldiers who were moved by their belief in the holiness of that night came together in peace and camaraderie. The enemies that dark, bleak evening, were the German Troops against the French and British Allies, who were staving off the invasion of France. It started, as these things do, with a small act in which each recognized the other as a man just like oneself. First it was the quiet singing.

While the words were unrecognizable to the other the tune was unmistakable. It was a Christmas Carol with the wish of peace, love and joy for all of mankind. Then came small displays of  Christmas Trees, followed by men crawling out of their trenches, and reaching out across  no man's land to share coffee, food, whiskey and stories of home and family. Each man knew that in the morning light they would be called back to their roles as soldiers. Required to follow the orders of their individual county's leaders, but for that evening, they would share what they had with each other in the spirit of brotherhood and understanding.

Sometimes we can feel as though the challenges we face in aspiring to peace and justice in our community, our country and in the world are insurmountable and more complicated and unachievable than ever before. But as we look to history, to remind ourselves of the great sacrifices made by those who came before us and all that has been accomplished, we are lifted up in our shared willingness to reach out and welcome the stranger, as our neighbor and friend,as deserving of the opportunity, to live in peace and with justice for all, as we are.

This year we join together with Proctor High School members of the choir and the JROTC, the Oneida County History Center (OCHC), and the RSVP Readers Theater to celebrate this season of joy by coming together in the spirit of those soldiers 104 years ago in no man's land. 

The Peace Carol will begin at 4:30pm on Tuesday, December 11th, on the steps of the OCHC. Followed by a reception inside and a shared program in the warmth of our wider community.

UUSC Bread Sale & GAYT Kickoff                     
Our bread sale brought in 34 loaves of donated bread raising $106.75 plus $25.00 in donations toward the GAYT fund drive. There was chocolate bread, pumpkin, cranberry and nut breads. There was beer batter bread and muffins; along with more traditional breads like wheat and multi – grain.                      
Jay's Honey Wheat bread, which has become a traditional mainstay for this event, didn't make it to the table as it was spoken for ahead of time. GAYT boxes were taken home by children and adults to be returned after the holidays. Thank you to everyone and enjoy your bread!

Thank you from Mother Marianne's Kitchen
A nice note came in saying "Thanks for your generous donations this Holiday Season and throughout the year. Ed Morgan."

December we will be collecting Seasonal sweets and candies, healthy non-alcoholic beverages, hot chocolate mixes, nut mixes, etc. The goal is 50 items.
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.

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

oard Minutes
Committee Minutes 
Our Greater UU World
From Black Lives of UU

#BLUUMicro30 is looking to create Action Teams that help to foster connections between Black UUs and generate deliberate, concerted organizing efforts to create authentic linking between Unitarian Universalist resources with Black Liberation Movement spaces using small, local, direct, clear efforts.
Learn more about it here.

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

United Nations Association (UNA)
  • Read more about the UNA below!
  • December 6th is our Holiday Dinner at Symeon’s Restaurant at 6 PM. Cost is $25/person. Please read above article under Our Greater UU World.

Mohawk Valley Choral Society is presenting Handel's MESSIAH, Sunday December 9, 2018 at 2 PM at Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, read more information here. Tickets can be purchased at Center Stage Pianos, Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts, Weisser's Jewelers, or by calling 315-826-3092.

Come to the Habitat ReStore for all of your Christmas decorating needs! Holiday Tins, Nutcrackers, Candles, Bows, Garland, Trees, Lights and so much more. They are also looking for donations of Christmas decorations and are accepting donations of hammers, screw drivers, paint, nuts & bolts, screws/nails, drills, wrenches, tool boxes etc. for the new The Tool Bin.
                                          UNA-USA  of the Upper Mohawk Valley

The United Nations Association of the USA was founded in 1946, one year after the United Nations came into being. Its purpose was and is to strengthen and support the values of the United Nations as stated in the UN Charter. There are currently 20,000 active members and 150 chapters across the nation.  Our chapter, the Upper Mohawk Valley UNAUSA, was established in 1974, largely due to the efforts of Esther Doyle, a longtime member of this church. We have approximately 30 members, but many people attend our programs and are supportive of its mission.                                                         

We celebrate UN Day, present the Great Decisions Lecture series, and sponsor the Mohawk Valley Model UN Conference annually. The Unitarian Universalist Church has long been a supporter of the United Nations and has an office across the street from the UN in NYC.  Joann Jacobson was our church's liaison with the UU-UNO for many years.  To find out more about our programs and Great Decision topics that we will be covering, go to  Everyone is welcome to attend these programs and most events are held right here in our church.

Our next event is the Holiday Dinner at Symeon's Thursday, December 6th, at 6 PM.  The cost is $25 per person, with a choice of five entrees and salad, and reservations must be made by Thursday, Nov. 29th. Contact Diane Stebbins at The speaker is Dr. Ted Orlin, an international human rights lawyer and the Harold T. Clark Jr. Professor Emeritus of Human Rights Scholarship and Advocacy at Utica College. He will speak on human rights as part of the global celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  A summary of the topic follows:

Topic Overview: Thanks to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world have been laid. While its promise is yet to be fulfilled, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is testament to the enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice and human dignity.
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) meeting 11/17 in November                                            Board Meeting 6:15 PM (P) 
  • Last week, Lunch Bunch 1 PM at different locations                                                                     Committee on Ministry meeting 11-27 at 5 PM (P)
  • All weeks, Buddhist Zen Meditation* 6 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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