Charlotte Lehmann, Janet Landow, Lynn Garman, Small Group Ministry, Carol Finch, business plan, growing movement, investment portfolios, IRA assets, fuel companies, growing season, Craig Zayre, Small Group Ministries, Social Hall, Lynn Acquafondata, Indian Art market, UUA, fossil fuel, Vicky Gordon Organist, Binghamton, Lynn Garman Music Director, Shawn Steketee Moderator-Elect, Douglas Taylor, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, individuality, Minister, fruitful conversations, Raking leaves, Parker Palmer, Karen Armstrong, Faith Development, compost bin
Congregation of Binghamton Newsletter
October 23, 2013
Minister: Rev. Douglas Taylor Ministerial Intern: Charlotte Lehmann
Upcoming Services: October 27, 2013
Moderator: Shawn Steketee Moderator-Elect: Debby Herman Director of Lifespan faith development
: Lynn Garman music director
: Vicky Gordon Organist: Gail Elyse Schmick Office Administrator/Beacon Editor and Lifespan Faith Development Assistant: Karen Armstrong Office Hours
: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. SUNDAY SERVICES: 9:30 and 11:15am HOW TO CONTACT US: 183 Riverside Drive Binghamton, NY 13905 Phone: 607.729.1641 Fax: 607.729.1899 Email: [email protected]
Web: www.uubinghamton.org TO SUBMIT AN ARTICLE: Please e-mail to the office address, or a leave a hard copy on the office desk by the deadline printed below. Please include your name & phone number. THE NEXT BEACON 1DEADLINE IS November 1
"In the Shadow of Lost Liberty" Rev. Douglas Taylor Ben Franklin
quipped, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." In the face of the political climate of extremism and fear, it is helpful to consider the true goal of this experiment in self governance in which we now partake. Nov 3, 2013 "Finding Pennies in the Dark: Meeting the Shadow with Joy" Charlotte Lehmann I have a talent for spotting coins hidden in the soil or the darkness of night which is suggestive of the paradox of finding the silver lining in challenging situations. As Parker Palmer
says in a meditation on "Autumn," our preference for either-or thinking makes difficult holding opposites together in the complexities of paradox. What is more, it denies the opportunity for growth and change. During this service we will explore how healing it can be to bring opposites together into wholeness. SPOOK-TACULAR HAUNTED HOUSE AND HALLOWEEN PARTY We will be holding our annual Halloween event Saturday, October 26, 6- 8 pm The Youth group will transform the classroom wing into a Haunted House, and we will have light refreshments and games in the Social Hall. Costumes are encouraged. If you are interested in helping with this event, please contact Lynn Garman.
A Word from Our Minister
I have spoken before of the tension between individuality and community in Unitarian Universalism. There is much said in UU circles about the need to step away from our focus on individuality and embrace the future of community. The core of Unitarianism (historically and theologically) is in the individual. Universalism leans in this direction as well, though to a lesser degree. We hold close to the freedom of conscience that every person can and must determine what is ultimate meaningful and true in terms of faith.
This commitment is distinctive in the religious world. The way we gather as a community of faith is fairly remarkable in comparison to how most other faith communities
gather. We don't share a common belief about the nature of the holy we don't agree on the name, number or nature of divinity. Our distinctive feature is not what we are together. That's not our centering point.
But there needs to be something as a centering point lest we function merely as a collection of random people in a multipurpose building for no particular reason. To be gathered as a congregation of faith there must be something at our center. And that centering point must honor the individuality affirmed in our history and theology.
So the question really becomes, how do we find an interdependent community that
will accept, encourage, and faithfully challenge our independence and individuality?
We are doing it, it is happening. The question is not can we do it, but how are we doing
it? We gather in mutual trust and support to challenge and encourage each other on
our journeys. We gather in covenant. Our distinc-
Reverend Douglas Taylor
tive feature, our centering point, is how we are together.
can be reached at 607-729-1641 or emailed at [email protected]
The argument that we should either focus on the individual or on community as the true center of Unitarian Universalism is not a true choice. The
Rev Taylor is generally in the office Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, but his position has many off-site responsibilities, so it is recommended that you give a call or email before stopping in to see him.
way into the reality we are living is that we need a community that honors each individual's liberty and conscience. To allow our individuality, we need covenant. We need to be a covenanting community where each of us offers our support and care to the whole so this congregation is carried forward. We each offer our support and care so that the next generation of seekers can walk through our doors to discover here their spiritual home. -douglas
"The Spiritual is Nothing Without the Physical"
How ironic it is that after Rev. Dr. Lynn Acquafondata's sermon last week deal-
ing with how our communication has changed with the Age of the Internet Computer, I find myself adjusting backwards because my own laptop is freaking out and quite pos-
sibly giving up the ghost of ethereal communication and virtual connection.
This experience certainly keeps Lynn's "Five `W's and the Big `H'" in front of me.
I know that many of you wished to have a copy of her "app" reflection questions in
writing (until the "app" is actually created) and you will find them elsewhere in this
newsletter. I'm curious where you place yourselves on her spiritual practice
from UU Seeker to UU Guru?
One of the benefits to me of not having a functional computer this past week is
that I dug through the postcards and greeting cards that I keep on hand for mailing to
parishioners, friends and family
. Now that in itself was not unheard of, but in the proc-
ess I have revisited a cache of correspondence from my mother, which, in the extreme
busyness and over-worked months of my first year at Meadville Lombard Theological
School, had been set aside to attend to more deeply: rereading the letters and notes,
reading the copious clippings that are often enclosed, and finally replying with
thoughtfulness and loving words.
I certainly communicated with my parents and would have answered any ques-
tions that were posed in those letters during the months in 2009 and 2010 represented
by the bundle of envelopes. I was even able to visit them in Minneapolis twice that first
semester; so the relationships were cared for.
But for me Letter Writing
has always been a very deeply creative and satisfying
process and I have missed that felt experience as my communication has slowly shifted
to phone calls and electronic communication
. Regardless of how much of my writing
style gets retained in an e-mail, there is something that happens when I am moving my
pen across the piece of paper, which cannot be duplicated with keyboard and screen.
It felt so good therefore to sit down with those dozen envelopes and go through
them one by one, reading and then weaving a response into a long epistle that connects
our lives now with what was happening three to four years ago. There were threads
running from the past into the present and memories rose to the surface.
The spiritual is nothing without the
physical, live by your values, go out into the
world and put your faith into action. The act of letter-writing is one way that my deepest thoughts and feelings
are given form. Expressing what is in our hearts through song or dance or visual arts
are still more ways that
Charlotte Lehmann, Intern Minister can be reached at 607.729.1641 or emailed at [email protected]
the spiritual becomes embodied. Raking leaves and preparing the garden for winter's
Charlotte is generally in the
rest or cooking for yourself and-or others are also satisfying to our souls. How do you make your spirituality physical?
office Tuesdays through Friday with office hours on Wednesday and Thursday from 2-
Blessings on our journeys, Charlotte Lehmann 3
4pm. You are encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance.
This week, after much acrimonious national debate that I sometimes see infiltrating
our personal conversations and feel creeping into my very being, I offer these words
from Parker Palmer, a Quaker and author of Healing the Heart of Democracy:
"At the heart of this post is a simple but challenging idea: Democracy has more
to do with being in right relationship than with being right...
For some years, I've been trying to learn how to hold difficult political conversa-
tions in a more fruitful way. Among other things, I've learned that when I talk with
someone whose views differ markedly from mine, it's important to ask myself, "Why
am I here? To win a debate? Or to create a container that can hold an ongoing 'dialogue
History teaches that the weaker our communal fabric is, the more vulnerable we
are to despotism, which thrives on making people distrustful and dismissive of one an-
other... But the stronger our communal fabric is, the more likely it is that "We the Peo-
ple" can reach a rough consensus on the common good ...
Yes, we often differ on what ought to be done. But when we begin by sharing our
loves and doubts instead of arguing about solutions--about "the places where we are
right"--our ...conversations become more productive. Sometimes they even lead to sur-
prising agreements about solutions.
This approach to ...conflict demands time and patience. But if we care about de-
mocracy, it's well-worth the effort. It creates the kind of civil discourse that allows "We
the People" to reclaim our rightful place..."
Director of Lifespan Education
As people of faith who uphold in our
Lynn Garman can be reached at
principles a free and responsible search and the use of the democratic process
, who covenant to strive for relationships of kindness, re-
607.729.1641 and [email protected]
spect and honesty, I find these words from Palmer to be a timely reminder of the value
of our UUCB community. We can practice strengthening the communal fabric through
creating a container to hold a "dialogue of differences" through fruitful conversations,
and then carry our experience out into the world. Let us be ever mindful of finding
ways to be in right relationship, rather than simply being right.
~in joy, Lynn
Preschool Assistants Needed We have an especially large and young group of children aged 3 4 in our Preschool group this Fall. They are joyful, energetic, curious children. We would like a couple ofassistants to help in the classroom on Sunday mornings. For more information, please see Lynn Garman, DLFDyoung adult
Gathering, Friday, October 25 All young adults
(ages 18 to 30) are invited to come for an evening of Fall Fun and camaraderie. For more information, contact Heidi Melzer.
Planned Giving News from
Your Endowment Committee and the
IRA Charitable Rollover Extended Through 2013
IRA gifts now can be accomplished simply and without
tax complications. The recent tax bill has extended the
IRA Charitable Rollover through 2013. Individuals
over the age of 70Ѕ can make annual tax-free deduc-
tions in 2013 of up to $100,000 from their IRAs di-
rectly to their congregation, the UUA or other UU en-
tity. Donations made directly from your IRA count to-
wards your minimum required distribution.
You may contribute from your IRA if:
Gifts from the IRA are not over $100,000 per per-
son ($200,000 for a couple) in the given year
You are age 70Ѕ or older
You transfer funds directly from an IRA or Roll-
You transfer the gift directly to your congregation,
the UUA or other UU entities
No goods or services are given in exchange
You make the gift on or before December 31, 2013
The Church Mouse Knows..... That Jim Bryden and his team have been up on the roof looking for leakS. Mary
Wahl has been brought lots of food for social hour and has also folded the order of service on Sundays. Carol Finch has been giving rides and visiting folks who need it. Herb and Janet Landow and Darlyne Mitchell have been helping out with The Beacon. Ruth Schrager, Craig Zayre, Kate Thorpe, Gail Schmick, Warren Thomas, and Vicky Gordon have helped with Sunday set-up and clean-up. Linda Niles took the video of the service to Time Warner for broadcast..
You can contact the UUA's Office of Legacy Gifts at (888) 792-5885 or [email protected]
for more information about direct contributions of qualified IRA assets or about other planned gifts. Their website is www.uua.org/giftplanning
The UUW will meet on Tuesday, November 5 at 11:30am at the Rose Garden Tea Room, 111 West Main Street, in Endicott.. All UU Women are invited to join us!
Save the Date! estate planning
presentation by John Normile Sunday, November 17th, 1 PM, Social Hall If you would like more information about UUCB's Endowment Fund you can contact Endowment Committee email [email protected]
or contact the committee via the church office, 607-729-1641. 5
The Book discussion group
has picked "Laws of Gravity" a novel by Liz Rosenberg for their next meeting - Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Library. Join us!
Thinking About Joining a Small Group Ministry? This might be the perfect time for you. SGMs welcome new members throughout the year, and there are openings in 2 groups right now. 2nd & 4th Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00, Stan Masters (770-1961) and Janet Landow (722-4945) co-facilitate. 2nd & 4th Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30, Roberto Barbosa (279-0196). Call the facilitators directly, or Carol Finch (724-8779 or [email protected]
) if the Wednesday times don't work for you or for additional information.
Holiday Art and Gift Sale November 2-3 It's that time of year again folks! Our Holiday Art and Gift Sale is coming up in one month! Do you have a handcrafted item or items you would like to sell? Would you like to donate some baked goods to our bake sale? Can you donate a couple of hours on a Saturday to be our cashier? Please contact Christine Smith at [email protected]
if you are interested in participating. Many hands make light work!
UUCB Mittens, Hats and Gloves Drive The social justice
Committee and the Children's and Youth Program are sponsoring a collection of children's winter hats and mittens/gloves. These items, along with the blankets we make on October 13 in our children's program, will be donated to the Open Door Mission in Owego whose goal is to collect hats and mittens for 300 children this winter. Please bring your donations to the box in the coat room. For more information, please see Lynne Theophanis or Julie Boyd.
Small Group Ministry's Potluck Dinner Sunday, November 17, 5-9pm in the Social Hall at UUCB All Members of Small Group Ministries are invited ! Bring a dish to share and your own table service. We will gather at 5 pm. Dinner begins at 5:30. "JUST A LITTLE FUN" led by "Douglas & Friends" will entertain. Facilitators send GROUP reservation number to: Patty Parsons [email protected]
BY 11/12/13 Childcare: Reserve by 11/12/13 to: Jo Ann Freer [email protected]
, 242-3561 6
Leaf Raking Parties! Join us October 24, 2-5pm & November 9 10-12am to spend some time enjoying the beautiful Fall leaves. Cider and donuts and piles of leaves to jump in will be provided. Call Scott Clarke or Wes Ernsberger if you would like to help out.
5 W's and the BIG H" Reprisefossil fuel
Divestment There is a growing movement by organizations that care about our future to eliminate fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolio
s. The basic rationale for divestment is simple enough: The business plan
of the fossil fuel companies is to sell all their fossil fuel reserves to be burned. It seems morally wrong to invest in companies whose business plan, if successful, would wreak the planet! Find out more, including how you can get involved, by clicking over to etmsolar.com/gsuu/gs/divestment.htm. Turning the Compost One activity that marks the coming of fall is our annual turning of the compost here at UUCB. Steve Kresge and Wes Ernsberger did the honors this year. We empty the compost bin to make room for next year's kitchen scraps, leaves, and plant material
. We heap this year's compost into a pile right next to the bin, where it finishes composting until we are ready to use it during the next growing season
. Green Tip When we cultivate simplicity in our lives, the benefits go way beyond being kind to the environment. Indeed, the primary benefit of simplicity is improved quality of life. How do you simplify your life? The basic idea is simple enough: Identify what's most important to you and eliminate everything else. Would you like to explore this further? Here's one resource: tinyurl.com/simple72 Green Quote "Simplicity is the peak of civilization." Jessie Sampter 7
On October 13th, our pulpit guest Rev. Dr. Lynn Acquafondata preached her sermon "Five 'W's and the Big 'H'." Many people have asked for the questions that her proposed Unitarian Universalist Spiritual app would ask UU devotees to reflect on a regular basis. Lynn gave us her permission to print the questions until a computer developer teams up with Lynn, we'll have to rely on older forms of communication
- feel free to clip and post on your refrigerator next to the UUCB Behavioral Covenant and then refer to them at the level appropriate to your practice: Seeker up to Guru. Who am I? Who matters to me? What matters to me? What does not matter to me? What options do I have? Where am I right here, right now? Where would I like to be? When is the right time? When will I live out my values? Why am I listening to this? Why did I choose to live life the way I did over the past week? Why is the world like it is? How do I contribute to the way the world is? How can I live out my values right here and now? How would I like to live and act in the week to come? American Indian art
Market Saturday, November 9, 2013 10am-5pm The first Indian Art market ever held in the area will be at UUCB! Admission is free and the market will feature Indian art such as baskets, beadwork, pottery, jewelry, dolls, totem poles and more. There will also be a special performance by flutist and storyteller Dan Hill. For more information call Dolores Elliott at 607.729.0016
The BEACON UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION OF BINGHAMTON 183 Riverside Drive Binghamton, New York 13905 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED "We offer a spiritual home where we explore, celebrate and cherish our interconnectedness, encourage growth and transcendence, and act with justice and compassion." Holiday Art and Gift Sale Saturday & Sunday November 2-3 ( details inside!) 8