The Drummer – Weekly Beats – October 27, 2017

The Drummer
Weekly Beats
October 27, 2017


·         Small Group Ministry Begins Again

Small Group Ministry, as it is described and practiced in UU faith communities, is the intentional gathering of eight to 10 individuals led by trained facilitators in structured, two-hour discussions twice a month over a period of six to eight months. Its purpose includes fostering closer connections of friendship and caring between members and/or friends not always made possible by regular attendance at Sunday services, deepening a sense of individual spirituality, and strengthening the fabric of the faith community. Last year UUCGB offered the SGM experience here for the first time in many years and it was well received by participants who conducted a Sunday service in the spring to sing its praises. 

The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that SGM will be offered again in this church year, beginning in November and continuing through May.  The model will be the same as it was last year:  there will be a brief “check-in” from participants, selected readings on the assigned topic, and questions for meaningful dialogue.

This year’s session are planned for either the first and third Thursday evening, 7 to 9, or the second and fourth Thursday of the month, same time, with adjustments for holidays or inclement weather.  If there is sufficient numbers for each group, two groups may be accommodated.  A Saturday morning group, 9:30 to 11:30, may be possible if there is enough interest.   

Participation in SGM requires a serious and dedicated commitment.  Once a group is formed, it is expected that each participant will participate in every session unless he or she is ill or out of town.  It is also expected that each participant will respect the group’s behavioral covenant and process guidelines.  

If you have questions or are interested in registering for one of the times listed above, please contact one of the trained facilitators: Al Post, Anita Sanders, Virginia Smith, or Jennifer Winschel. 

For impressions of the SGM programs, you may also wish to speak to one of last year’s SGM participants: Marty Rising, Myra Healy, Debby Parsons, Carolyn Monachelli, Jim Torriani, Susan Lautier, or Charles Lautier.  


·         Religious Education for Children
Last week (22 October) our lesson focused on inclusion using The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss.   This Sunday (29 October) we will be using a lesson from Signs of Our Faith Being UU Everyday (Tapestry of Faith, the UUA online curricula) to explore direct experience on of the .messages of Martin Luther that UUs lift up.   

Taking It Home/Find Out More Each week parents of children in the congregation (whether the children attended RE or not) will receive an email that details what we did in RE that day (Taking It Home), and a piece (Find Out More) to extend the learning.

New Time  Karen Bellavance-Grace (UUA regional staff for Small Congregation Support and Congregational Collaboration for the New England Region) was the first person to introduce  the term “experilearn” in the New England Region.  Religious Education for Children or Faith Formation will be “experilearning” from 22 October through the end of 2017 with a different schedule.  We will continue to worship all together at 10 AM each Sunday, after our refreshment break, children and teachers will gather for religious education in the “Second Hour”.  As much as possible we will extend the messages of our worship into faith formation.  Other groups that meet on Sunday after worship will also meet during the “Second Hour”.  Moving to this sort of format opens up the possibility of Adult RE classes and other sorts of meetings with the children of those participants actively engaged in faith formation.  We’ll see how this works and evaluate at the beginning of the year to decide if we continue with this schedule.  The Faith Formation Team is Karen Pirhala and Molly Nolan.  The team would benefit with one more core member and a roster of volunteers willing to assist with class.  Ideally, two adults are with the children at all times.  Could that person be you?  Please contact Karen or Molly at


·         Harvest Festival: Do We Want To Do It Again?
Results of our (fairly) recent Harvest Festival on Paradise Green may be viewed from two perspectives:  

Financially: The 2017 HF raised a total of $4,798 before expenses and has helped fulfill the “ways and means” projection in UUCGB’s annual operating budget for 2017-18. Contributing to this total were: Vendor fees of $3,130; Baked goods at $326; Attic treasures at $305; Books at $291; Bounce house at $248; Cheesecake at $220; Food at $202; and quilt raffle at $76. Expenses are estimated to total no more than $1,300 leaving a net profit of about $3,500. 
Building Community: Both within our membership and in the town, the absence of Harvest Festival next year and thereafter would probably be missed as much as the $3,500 in our budgeted income.  In addition, it is probably safe to say that every UUCGB member/friend who was able to contribute of their time, talent and treasure enjoyed the day despite their sore feet and back. 

Still, we must decide soon if we want to plan for the 41st annual Harvest Festival next September because applications to crafters should be going out before January 30th. There will be a meeting at 11:30 am after services on Sunday, November 12th, to which all interested members/friends are invited to contribute their thoughts to the discussion and decision regarding the fate of this 40-year UUCGB tradition in Stratford.  If you are unable to attend this meeting, please convey any thoughts or suggestions you may have to either myself or Sarah Miller. 

Virginia Smith


·         UUA Disaster Relief Fund

Our UU friends and neighbors in Florida and the Caribbean—including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands—have experienced extraordinary devastation following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. UU friends in California have experienced devastating damage due to wildfires.  We invite you to contribute to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund (formerly the Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund) so the UUA can provide financial assistance to UU congregations impacted by these and other natural disasters. In addition to facilitating their own disaster recovery, congregations receiving disaster relief funds will have discretion to provide financial assistance to their members, as well as to support local partner organizations serving the community at large. For more information, including suggestions for how to contribute beyond the UU sphere, visit our website


·         Volunteer to Help with Hurricane Disaster Relief

The Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) is keeping a close eye on updates regarding the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, particularly those who are most vulnerable. In partnership with RAICES and other UUSC grassroots partners in Texas and Florida, UUCSJ is exploring where and how volunteers can be most useful once the worst flooding has receded. More detailed information will be shared as it becomes available in the coming weeks. If you are available to travel to Texas, Florida or the Caribbean to support relief efforts, please sign up to join the volunteer list.  The link can be found under the header on this page, UUCSJ will notify you when volunteer placements that fit your skills are available.


·         UUCGB Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

A new year of books and discussions is ahead!  The first book for the new year is “Strangers In Their Own Land.”  We are postponing the first meeting until October due to the preparation activities for the Harvest Festival.  If we stay with the 4th Saturday our first meeting will be Saturday October 28 at 10 AM in the church library. 


·         Seeking New Worship Weavers

If you are interested in becoming more involved in worship experiences at UUCGB, please join us, new team members are always welcome!


Our responsibilities include:

-planning and delivering Sunday services

-working with guest ministers and speakers

-assisting other lay led leaders in creating worship services.


If you think you might like to join our team, or if you have any questions, please email Sarah Miller. We look forward to another worshipful year at UUCGB!

The Worship Weavers


·         Tuesday Evening Taize Prayer Service

Are you looking for some time for quiet contemplation?   Are you looking for a worshipful experience in which there is no sermon and no one telling you what to believe before you are sure you believe it?  Then the Service of Taize Evening Prayer may be for you. 

This 30-minute service is inspired by the worship of the international ecumenical monastic community of Taize, France.  The service consists of simple, modern chants sung repetitively or in a round, a brief reading of Scripture, a long period of peaceful silence and some time for intercessory prayer.

There is no preaching, no monetary collection, no attempt at recruiting church members; it is simply a time to come together in song and prayer.  People who have attended often comment on the rich spiritual atmosphere of the service.  Its serenity and simplicity provide a wonderful midweek opportunity to feed one’s soul. 

Every Tuesday at 7:00


·         Worship with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden on November 5
There will be no worship service at UUCGB on Sunday November 5.  We will be worshipping with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden at 10:30 AM.


·         Save the Date

Thanksgiving Potluck Sunday November 19.  More details to follow.


·         This Week in UU History

10/28/1858 – Charles Francis Potter was born in Marlboro, Massachusetts.  Although he began his career as a Baptist minister, Potter converted to Unitarianism in 1914.  He served churches in Canada, Massachusetts, and New York and was professor of comparative religions at Antioch College, Ohio and founder and leader of the First Humanist Society of New York.  Potter served on the defense team with Clarence Darrow in the Scopes trial concerning evolution, which pitted religious fundamentalists against religious liberals in Tennessee.  In 1929, Potter founded the Euthanasia Society of America.  He died October 4, 1962.  10/31/1866 – Sylvanus Cobb died at the age of 68.  He was a Universalist and founder and editor of Christian Freeman and Family Visitor. 11/2/1823 – Lydia Louisa Ann Very was born in Salem, Massachusetts.  She was a sister of the Transcendentalist poet Jones Very, and a poet herself.  She wrote several Unitarian hymns.


UUCGB Building Schedule for this week:   

  • Saturday 10/28, 10:00 am UUCGB Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Sunday 10/29, 10:00 am, Sunday Service:  500th Anniversary of The Reformation and Martin Luther’s Achievement with Worship Leader:  Jim Torriani  and Worship Weaver:  Virginia Smith
  • Tuesday 10/31, 7:00 pm Taize Service
  • Wednesday 11/1, 7:00 pm Choir Practice
  • Sunday 11/5, WORSHIP WITH UUCM in Meriden at 10:30 am.  NO Sunday Service at UUCGB on 5 November


Upcoming Services:

11/5 Sunday Service at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden at 10:30 AM

11/12 Sunday Service:  “Hide and Seek with God” with Worship Leader Sarah Miller


Please send any items you would like listed in next week’s Weekly Drummer Beats to by Wednesday at 9 am!  The weekly email is sent every Thursday evening!


Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Bridgeport
275 Huntington Road
Stratford, CT 06614