Tucsonitarian Home Page

January 2019

The monthly newsletter of the

Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson

4831 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711, 520-748-1551, www.uuctucson.org.

To view previous editions of the newsletter, click here.

Newsletter editor: Craig Rock at newsletter@uuctucson.org.

Send us your editorials, stories, poems and photos.

Próspero Año Nuevo!

by Frank Valdes, President UUCT

Próspero Año Nuevo! This wish typically translates to Happy New Year. But literally it also means have a prosperous new year. I wish all of us at UUCT both meanings. We will start our happy new year with the installation of Rev. Bethany on January 19th. I hope many of you can be part of this important occasion.

The next several months include the two most important activities for a prosperous UUCT new year. These are the fun and exciting annual auction, whose proceeds are the second largest income from our members and friends, and the annual stewardship pledge campaign, which is our largest. The auction in February has the theme of Rodeo, a classic western time of fun. I encourage everyone to come to this event. There are always many inexpensive things in the silent auction, and the food is awesome! Our pledge drive has the theme of "Let It Bloom." And we are indeed blooming with a steady growth of new friends. But, like water for our wonderful desert cacti, we need generous pledges to make our congregation flourish.

So take a little time to recuperate from the mid-winter time of giving to family and friends and then start thinking how you will be generous to UUCT to make this a prosperous new year at church.

So, Próspero Año Nuevo to everyone from your Board of Trustees.

Worship Schedule - January 2019

Jan. 6 -- Rev.Bethany "Ruah...the Breath of Life" At this time of the New Year, come explore

how breath can re-center us, prepare us for the work ahead.

Jan.13 -- Rev.Bethany "Be-loved" When we read the word "beloved" as "be-loved," there is a stronger personal pull. What does it take to be loved?

Jan.19 -- Installation ceremony of Rev.Bethany Russell Lowe as UUCT's settled minister.

Jan.20 -- Rev. Bethany and Jamili Omar "Building the Beloved Community"

This Sunday, we look back at the 20th century civil rights movements and learn about the lesser known leaders who surrounded the leaders we know well. And we will also dedicate our new chalice! And there may be a bonfire...come and find out.

Jan. 27 -- Rev. Molly Johnson, Community Minister (Topic to be announced)

A Benefit Performance in support of

Asylum Seekers passing through

the Tucson Area

Music Crosses Borders

A Benefit Performance in support of

Asylum Seekers passing through

the Tucson Area

Thursday, January 31, 7 PM

at UUCT's Holland Sanctuary

presented by the Seattle Peace Chorus

(More details to follow in UUCT's weekly mailings.)

As the border crisis deepened for Central American refugees, the Seattle Peace Chorus made a collective decision to take its Music Crosses Borders concert to where it seemed to be needed most: the US/Mexico border. From San Antonio to San Diego — with a Tucson stop from January 29th to February 1st - the chorus will perform joint benefit concerts and engage in various acts of compassion to raise awareness of the crisis.

For both singers and listeners, the Seattle Peace Chorus provides a unique choral experience. Their commitment to peace and social justice creates a special bond among members and audience. Their repertoire, reflecting our multi-cultural, multi-national focus, ranges from spirituals and gospel to Mozart and Beethoven, from South African freedom songs to original works. (Check out their website by clicking here.)

We are working to facilitate homestays for 3 nights with UUCT and MVUU members for 27 choral members. All are mobile. The chorus is renting vans to transport members. Please contact chorus member Martha Baskin at mobaskin@earthlink.net if you can provide a bed or couch. If you have questions, please contact Jan Mulder at janmulder@cox.net.

Volunteers Still Needed at Local Shelters

Asylum Seekers Rest Up in Tucson

On Way to Families & Friends in the U.S.

If you are a UU member in the Tucson area and wish to volunteer,

contact Craig Rock at newsletter@uuctuson.org.

More Information can found on pages 1 and 4 in last month's newsletter,

click here.

Newsletter Contents

Page 1 - Worship Schedule ; Messages from Reverend Bethany and Frank Valdes; Hope is Currency; Fundraiser Performance by the Seattle Peace Chorus; Volunteers Still Needed to Help Asylum Seekers.

Page 2 - Finance Reports; Budgeting for 2019-20; News and Events from the Membership Committee, Migrant Lunch Fundraiser, LGBTQA, Balkan Peace Group, and Pacific Southwest District Assembly.

Page 3 - What and Who is Owl at UUCT; District Assembly Workshop on "Sunday School."

Page 4 - Share the Plate for Clinica Amistad; Trials of No More Death Volunteers; ICE/Bellingham UU; Bosnia Trip Info; Borderlands Fair in Sahaurita.

Page 5 - Poster for Seattle Peace Chorus Event

Experiments with Sunday Service

by Reverend Bethany Russell-Lowe

As you may have noticed, we are frequently very full in worship on Sunday mornings! A good problem to have. Your Board and I have been in conversation about how to creatively respond to this fullness. We listened to many of you, heard your ideas, and weighed many options. As a result of this two-month-long conversation, we will start two experiments this spring.

The first experiment will be a once-a-month alternative worship service. This service will happen in the evening. We will try having this service on different days and at different times as part of this experiment. These alternative worship services will be geared towards families. We are imagining an evening gathering that includes a shared, simple meal, a shorter (30- to 40- minute) worship service, and time for socializing. Keep your ears and eyes open for more information about when these worships will happen this winter and spring!

The second experiment is aimed at addressing the crowds of Sunday morning. We will be experimenting with livestreaming video and audio from worship into Goddard on Sunday mornings. This will make worship more accessible to our Kitchen Ministry and other folks who hang out in Goddard on Sunday mornings. We are also looking into what it would take to livestream on Facebook or another platform so folks who cannot make it to worship can join us from wherever they are.

I am personally excited by both of these experiments! Both have the potential to alleviate some space on Sunday mornings. And, I think both have great potential for us to reach more people who have diverse spiritual and religious needs, and also folks who cannot always join us for worship in Holland on Sunday mornings.

And…both of these experiments will take both staff and volunteer time! We will be testing both of these new ways of worshipping with our current staffing, which means we will need some volunteer support to make these experiments successful. If either alternative worship services or livestreaming technology are areas where your skills could meet our need, please get in touch. It will take many hands to do this work.

In processing what we might do to address the fullness of Holland on Sunday mornings, your board began to wonder how and whether our current worship space fills our current needs. This will be a larger conversation that will unfold over the next few months. Stay tuned!

I continue to be grateful to be in this ministry with all of you!

Installation of Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe on Saturday,

January 19th at 2 PM

This important event will take place on Saturday, January 19th at 2 PM in Holland. UU clergy and laity from Tucson and across Arizona will come and celebrate this occasion. In congregations, an installation is a worship service which happens near the beginning of a new settled ministry to mark that new relationship between minister and congregation, and to celebrate the potential for the shared ministry. Rev. Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe, who was a member and on staff at UUCT 15 years ago, and whom Rev. Bethany worked with in Syracuse, will be preaching. Please RSVP to Mary (office@uuctucson.org) if you plan to attend and if you need childcare. We hope everyone can join us for this event!



Nancy McKean has offered to coordinate weekly flowers for the Worship Committee. The idea is to have many different folks volunteer to provide flowers for Sunday mornings. Each week we will acknowledge that day's volunteer. You may bring flowers in honor or memory of someone if you like, and either take the flowers home, or give them to someone else, after the service. Arrangements can be as simple as flowers from your garden or the supermarket in a church vase, or as elaborate as a professional arrangement. Please volunteer for one or more dates by contacting Nancy at cottagegardens2911@gmail.com, or 301-802-4683.

From the UUA Website (www.uua.org)

Hope is Currency


“It's the season of possible miracle cures

Where hope is currency and death is not the last unknown

Where time begins to fade

And age is welcome home”

—“The Atheist Christmas Carol” by Vienna Teng

I grew up in Southern California, where December rarely gets below a crisp 45° and the outdoor malls put colored lights on the palm trees. While TV and movies would depict the holidays as a cozy time for families to snuggle up and watch the snow while decorating their homes, I usually found it hard to get in the Christmas spirit. Maybe that’s why my favorite Christmas songs are about how it feels to be out of sync with others.

When my friend introduced me to “The Atheist Christmas Carol” a few years ago, I rolled my eyes. But she urged me to listen to it… and I fell in love. The quiet piano, the beautiful lyrics, the simple message: it all makes me remember what I love about this time of the year without being saccharine.

After all, there's nothing simple about the holidays. As the year starts to wind down, things seem to move faster and faster, and it’s easy to let that rush get the best of you. Weekends can be booked with parties; evenings are often spent doing shopping or preparing. When the sun has already set by the time you get off of work, it can be disheartening. The emphasis on being with friends and family can be challenging emotionally and spiritually. Joy can feel empty when it is compulsory. The promise of liberation is hard fought and well earned.

In this time of lights in the darkness, warmth in the cold, and music in the silence, let us also remember to appreciate the dark, the cold, and the quiet; to celebrate by doing simple acts of kindness for one another; to recall that the sun will come again.

In the meantime, we can be together in the complexity of it all. If you're struggling in this holiday season, you are not alone. Please reach out to someone for connection (it’s possible they're struggling, too). And don’t forget we love you. Joy can be fleeting, but love is real.


In this time of endings and beginnings, may we find ways to bring more love and joy into the world. May we rest in the complexity of the world and find comfort in the mystery. May our lives be filled with gratitude and grace. And may we know that none of it has to be done alone.

About the Author: Alex Haider-Winnett is a lifelong UU and a seminarian serving as the ministerial intern at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, California. He's a full-time dad and spouse and he enjoys comic books, bean and cheese burritos, and Universalist theology.

If you are a UU member in the Tucson area and wish to volunteer,

contact Craig Rock at newsletter@uuctuson.org.

More Information can found on pages 1 and 4 in last month's newsletter, click here.