We’re In This Together: The Season of Gratitude – Patti McCall Board President

“Let us rise up and be thankful…”  I’m thankful to my beloved community at WSUU for the kindness, support and love you consistently demonstrate to me, our membership and our new friends.  A special thank you to our staff for unfailingly giving more than your job description requires.  Alex, Shannon, Cynthia and Bert — a thousand thank yous.  Thanks, too, to our chaplain, Mark Newton—a source of strength and compassion we have all benefitted from.  Thank you to Viv Monahan for chairing our 2018 Auction.  Viv jumped in beyond the last minute with the creative enthusiasm we have come to

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November DRE Column: Spiritual Care in Times of Stress, Cynthia Westby

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes, for many of us, a lot of stress and challenge.  I encourage us to cultivate some form of compassion and/or self-love practice to support us as we move through this busy time of year.  In addition to offering yourself kindness and love, these practices will support extending your compassion and love out into your community. As part of our covenant with each other at Westside, we promise that we will dwell together in peace and love each other.  Believing the best of each other, listening attentively and speaking thoughtfully and

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Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains – Week of November 6

I write this column in Providence, Rhode Island as autumn deepens here in New England. Weather was a strong topic of conversation over too many helpings of fried clams. People agreed the weather was strange but no agreement on what it really meant. The same was true if the conversations wandered onto the thin ice of politics and turmoil in the world. We all know that last Sunday was another tragic day in America. 26 church-goers were killed and many others wounded when a mentally ill young man strolled through the church shooting people multiple times. I had the opportunity

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Religious Exploration – Cynthia Westby, DRE October Column

In the world of Religious Exploration we DREs are responsible for finding creative ways to encourage, inspire and support the work of faith exploration and formation at home and at church.  As Westside’s RE program evolves to keep pace with the evolution of the needs and availability of children, volunteers and parents, I am re-imagining the offerings of our RE Programs.  In addition to RE Classes this year, we are experimenting with offering more Chalice Chapels and a few more all generation services.  As I create these programs, I am conscious of asking myself, our parents, our children and our

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Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains – Week of October 16

“Holidays aren’t just about feasting and fun” Holidays are serious matters. The Jewish high holidays are underway this fall. Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) was on September 20-22. Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) took place on September 29-30; Sukkot (called the Time of Rejoicing) has run from October 4th to 11th. The quote I used at the top was spoken by a good friend of mine some years ago. They were tired of people around them looking forward eagerly to Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas gifts, and New Year’s Eve parties. They had a good point. America followed by other

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Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains – Week of October 9

“Teach-in – Wasn’t that a ‘60’s thing?” Yes, it was and still is a powerful way to learn and discern in community. It will be led by Eastshore UU DRE Aisha Hauser who is one of the many powerful voices in the emerging Unitarian Universalism of the 21st century. Granted, “Teach-in” reminds me of the ‘60’s – where admittedly guilt-tripping was raised to a fine art. What I recall of teach-ins was a lot of yelling, shouting, blaming whoever the other side was, and usually a new committee or two. I am sure many of them were valuable. I didn’t

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We’re In This Together – Board Retreat Summarized

A Message from Patti McCall, Board President As promised, my message this month is about the goals your Board of Trustees have set for themselves for our year together.  First, though I need to thank John Britt who expertly and compassionately wrangled, I mean, facilitated the Board and Rev. Alex at the August 26th Board Retreat helping us to wade through the multitude of wishes, passions and ideas that each of us brought to the day.  Sincerely, thank you John. You spent a lot of time preparing a structure for the retreat; then working with us; and finally summarizing which

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Welcome to the 2017-18 RE Year! -Cynthia Westby, DRE

The new RE year is upon us!!  Woohoo!  Several themes will run through this RE year: social justice, diversity, and inclusivity.  We are also working with an evolving reality for religious exploration, for both WSUU children and within the UU world.  Some of the evolutionary forces are discussed in a thought provoking article in the UUA Bulletin about the “Death of Sunday School and the Future of Faith Formation.” I don’t agree with everything in the article by any means but the article is an important contribution in a larger discussion about the ways religious exploration is evolving in UU

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Minister’s Musing Amoung the Mountains – Week of September 18

This week I am thinking with great sadness about Lewis Brancati and his family including the whole family of Westside UU Congregation. A life changes between one moment and the next and then we all must adapt to those new circumstances. It can happen to a 3-day old infant or someone who is 80. As we get older or become more aware of death and aging we may tend to obsess about it. I know I do. At one level, the progression of aging means we prepare documents ‘just in case’ we fall ill or suffer a sudden loss of

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