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 email@example.com. Send us your UU stories, poems and photos.
Navigating this 4-page newsletter: Link onto the desired page at the top or bottom of each page.
Editor's Note: Welcome to the holiday edition of the Tucsonitarian. In these times of challenge to the inherent dignity of many peoples, it is difficult to only include stories of joy and celebration, no matter the season. This edition offers us good news and cheer as the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson recovers from financial difficulties and expands its volunteer work both inside the Church and outside in the community. It also offers news on how to get involved in issues regarding immigration justice, indigenous rights to a decent water supply and protection of their holy grounds, and other social justice issues.
Page 1 - Updates from Reverend Lyn Oglesby and UUCT President Frank Valdes and a feature story by Carrie Cooper on the UU holiday week, Chalica (Chalicetide), starting December 5. Announcements.
Page 2 - Announcements about Toys for Tots, Young Adults Meet-up and more, Reports from the Finance Committee and the Transition Team.
Page 3 - News on the Womens March on Washington and the Climate Change Lobby, Info on the Immigration Justice class, Update from Standing Rock, Appeal from UU Refugee and Immigrant Services, and wise words and a YouTube reading from Jack Kornfield.
Page 4 - Civil Rights Photos (Questions and Answers) and an Appeal from No More Deaths.
News from the President
by Frank Valdes
I feel enormous gratitude for the financial work the Congregation has done this year. This includes the development of a budgeting road map to balance income and spending. It also includes empowering a Finance Committee, passing a fall budget with a successful Balance the Budget match campaign, catching up on our unpaid bills, making progress on our debts, and, most recently, the Holiday Balanced Budget Gift for the Spring budget. We have succeeded! Our fall budget is on track and we have raised our giving to the level needed to maintain a workable, though austere, spending plan for both the fall and the spring. Please attend the Congregational Meeting on Dec. 11th to consider UUCT support for "Move to Amend" and to adopt a budget for the next six months. There will be an Informational Town Hall Dec. 4 to learn about the contents of the motions to be considered.
The New Year is fast approaching. This month the Board will be working on clarifying the goals for our interim period, and next month we will be meeting with everyone to discuss the goals and start the process of acting on them to insure we continue the transition process we began this fall.
It looks like we will have a new neighbor. UUCT and the other property owners of the Aldea Linda Subdivision approved the use of vacant land east of our church, at 4961 E. 22nd Street, for another religious organization -- the Center for Spiritual Living. There is an undeveloped buffer lot between us so there is no significant impact on our property. Let's welcome a new religious neighbor and a little less desert scrub.
Have a wonderful and joyous holiday season with your loved ones and your UU friends.
Sunday, December 18, Holiday Pageant during Sunday service. A wonderful new pageant written by our very own Randy Springer!
Wednesday, December 21, Winter Solstice on the patio. Please join us for fire and merriment as we settle in the dark season. We will gather at 6:00 pm. Children are welcome. Dress for the weather.
Saturday, December 24, Christmas Eve. Please join us in the church sanctuary for music and candlelight.
Sunday December 25, Christmas Day, at 10:30 am. Rev. Lyn will be in the pulpit on Christmas and there will be a potluck after the service.
Wednesday Coffee with the Minister.
Come join Rev. Lyn for coffee anytime from 10-1 at the Big Heart Coffee shop across the street from the church in the strip mall on 22nd street. Bring a bag lunch if you like.
Membership Committee Meeting, December 7
There will be a Membership Committee meeting in the Minister's Office on Wednesday, December 7, at 4:30 pm. If you would like to be part of this very important team, please feel free to join us.
Give a Holiday Balanced Budget Gift!
On December 11 there will be a Congregational Meeting to set UUCT's budget for January through to June. Please plan to attend. The proposed budget, which will be distributed and discussed in the coming weeks, requires $12,500 to balance anticipated expenses and income as well as providing small raises to our longest serving staff. The Finance Committee and Board of Trustees is asking every member and friend to consider small pledge increases (or a donation) of $100-$200 or an 18% "tip" on your pledge for the Spring period. To give a balanced budget gift you can fill out a form available at church, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Whatever is not accounted for by pledges and expected income by the time of the Congregational Meeting will determine the amount of additional cuts to be made by your financial leaders to the proposed budget in order to balance spending. The budget starting in January will not include unbalanced expenditures.
Our Own UU Winter Holidays: “When Our Spirits Unite, Our Light Shines Bright”
By Carrie Cooper
As we make our way to the end of the calendar year, the deepest dark of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, many religious traditions have a holiday to celebrate the return of the light. For many of us, though, Christmas is a stressful time. “Don't let the dominant culture drive you crazy during the holidays. Take a Sacred Pause!” says author and artist Joanna Powell Colbert. Many UUs have been seeking a way to create that Sacred Pause and have created our own religious holidays for wintertime: Chalica, Luminescence, and illumination. This article will focus on Chalica, also called Chalicetide.Chalicetide is a UU holiday that was created in 2005 to celebrate our Seven Principles. The holiday begins on the first Monday in December and lasts seven days. “On each of the seven nights, a different principle of Unitarian Universalism is celebrated,” says Wikipedia. The holiday “is not widely celebrated. In fact, it’s a little hard to find congregations that are being observant,” writes the UU World magazine. However, there’s a lot to like about this new holiday. It’s great that it emphasizes a deep dive into our Seven Principles and behavior over beliefs.
Some critics, however, feel that Chalica is too similar to Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday that celebrates their families, cultural heritage, and community values. Some people also dislike the name, which could be interpreted as mocking Hanukah, “a minor holiday, but it is still a sacred festival and it and Judaism deserve our respect,” says the Sermon in Stones blog. Calling the holiday “Chalicetide” instead of “Chalica” emphasizes the chalice, our primary religious symbol, and it removes the “just kidding” aspect of the name.
“One reason we are grateful to be Unitarian Universalists is the encouragement to take the conjunctive path of ‘both/and’ religion, instead of limiting options to either one tradition or the other,” says Carl Gregg, who s in an interfaith marriage.
To celebrate Chalicetide 2016, practice one principle during the day. Then light a candle each night and share what you learned with your family and friends. Think quietly of all this candle and the day’s Principle represents to you. Give thanks in whatever ways your heart speaks to you. The gifts of Chalicetide “are not usually things you can wrap up with paper and ribbons. They’re things like forgiveness, understanding, joy and belonging,” says Lisa Schwartz.
Monday Dec 5: Each person is important. We light our chalice for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Possible activities: Give something to someone who cannot pay you back. Bake cookies, brownies, or bread to share. Give money to a family, friend, charity, or someone in need. Perform a random act of kindness. Give a compliment. Write a thank you letter or offer a sincere apology to someone you wronged.
Tuesday Dec 6: Be kind in all you do. We light our chalice for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Possible activities: Spend time in a soup kitchen, or donate gently used clothing and household goods to a charity. Pay a visit or write to someone that is homebound, at a nursing home, in jail, or at a hospital. Do chores for a neighbor: Rake leaves, shovel snow, wash another’s car, or mow their lawn (with given permission). Make a trip to the grocery store solely to get needed items for a local food pantry. Go out to eat, and leave a double tip.
Wednesday Dec 7: We’re free to learn together. We light our chalice for acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth. Possible activities: Schedule a visit to another congregation in a different faith tradition. Volunteer to teach a class or Sunday school lesson at your church. Let your minister know you are willing to help out with readings, research, music, or chalice words during future services. Engage in a conversation with a friend who has different beliefs than yours about how their beliefs help improve their lives. Cook a new recipe. Attend a lecture or visit a museum.
Thursday Dec 8: Search for what is true and right in life. We light our chalice for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Possible activities: Write down answers to each of the following questions: what you are most sure of in life, what are your biggest questions about life, and what topics you have felt yourself giving up on discovering? Take part in an event that celebrates another religion or tradition. Give a book / read a book. Meditate.
Friday Dec 9: All people need a voice. We light our chalice for the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in society at large. Possible activities: Get registered to vote. Write a representative about a cause you care deeply about. Join a committee at church; we’d love to have you help out! Read about Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Call a family meeting and ask the kids for their input — be sure to listen carefully.
Saturday Dec 10: Build a fair and peaceful world. We light our chalice for the goal of world peace, liberty and justice for all. Possible activities: Learn about some of the top issues facing the world. Vote on a charity as a family and donate. Write a letter for Amnesty International. Help your social justice committee host an event or fundraiser. Donate to cause such as Doctors Without Borders, ACLU, or UNICEF. Find a group or committee to volunteer with.
Sunday Dec 11: We care for Earth’s lifeboat. We light our chalice for respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Possible activities: Make a compost pile. Recycle bottles and cans. Hold an outdoor worship service. Donate to or volunteer at a local animal shelter. Pick up trash in a local park. Clean out your closet. Bring a plate and fork to the office, instead of using plastic forks and paper plates. Shop at a local farmer’s market. Cook a vegetarian meal.
Chalicetide practice is aligned with our UUCT mission statement: “We transform ourselves, our community, and our world by intentionally living our Unitarian-Universalist principles.”
The following prayer is adapted from the writings of Joanna Powell Colbert and would be an appropriate closing as you extinguish the Chalicetide candle:
May we be seeds of light in the darkness.
May we join together to illuminate and bless our world.
Together we are vowed to the Love that encircles and blesses all.
May our love shine forth forevermore.