The Messenger F I R S T U N I T A R I A N December 2014 AlbuquerqueCarlsbadEast MountainsSocorro More Praise for Messy Lives A swirling, silty, partly salty, cloudy, fertile river delta. That’s the image in my mind’s eye this month. Like a river spilling into the ocean, holidays and milestones pour us into the future. Fall turns to winter, first semester classes end and students sign up for the next round, Thanksgiving turns to Christmas (sometimes before the turkeys hit store shelves—too early!), and 2014 turns to 2015. Friends and family visit and depart. It’s beautiful chaos. And within it: the fertile chaos of our lives! Holiday ads may be filled with smiling perfect “families” (or phamilies?), but we know the real fun happens when you get raucous Aunt Lois together with conservative Uncle Joe, and watch him taste her jellied cranberry pimento dish, while she gets a taste of his politics. Who wants dessert? Every family has its quirks, whether that family consists of twenty people, or one person and a cat. Of course, sometimes those “quirks” are significant— they may involve painful family histories, new losses, or conflict. They may be disheartening or hilarious, minor or maddening, or all of the above. ly: the peace of healing where healing is needed and possible, of forgiveness where forgiveness is needed and possible, and of acceptance where a more perfect peace cannot be attained. Most of all, may you have peace in your heart. There is one other kind of transition that takes place at First Unitarian at this time: the turnover of fiscal years. This too is an important and sometimes unpredictable time as we compare what we expected to happen, moneywise, with what really happened. This year, our expenses came in higher than expected, while our income came in lower. The result is a $46,000 gap that we must close in order to finish the year with balanced books. This is crucial. At stake is the expanded mortgage the congregation voted for, that would pay for a new roof on our dear old (leaky!) social hall and some outstanding debts from building the new sanctuary. If we don’t close the gap, the bank may decide not to give us the larger amount, putting us in a very tough spot. Can you help by sending a tax deductible gift before December 31? Your gift will be a huge help! Contact our bookkeeper, Alan, by phone (884-1801) or email (email@example.com), or send your gift by mail 3701 Carlisle NE, Albuquerque NM, 87110. The essayist Katie Roiphe writes, “There are things that can’t be measured and quantified in studies, and I imagine the multitudinous varieties of family peace are among them.” May you have peace in your fami- Celebrate our Environmental Stewardship! Join us in the Social Hall on Sunday, December 14 after services (10:30 am and 12 pm) to celebrate our Sanctuary’s Platinum LEED Certification and to bless the new array of solar panels installed on the Sanctuary roof. Our architects, the Board, and Earth Web members will explain what was involved in attaining the rigorous LEED designation. Also take a look at the solar energy monitoring display installed in the Social Hall, based on the generosity of Premium Power Energy (from whom we lease the solar panels) and a Social Justice Council grant to Earth Web. Sundays & Holidays Explorations, 9:30 Light and Dark in this Season. Angela Merkert, facilitator. season. The service will include a candle-lighting. The Rev. Angela Herrera December 21 “Letting Go and Beginning Again” The poet William Stafford used to rise early in the winter to run before dawn, in moments he called "little gems of darkness." A sermon on the spiritual wisdom of darkness, whether it is the darkness of the season or a dark night the soul. The first in a two part series. Worship The Rev. Christine Robinson In this activity-based service for everybody school aged and over, we’ll celebrate the post-Christmas season and look ahead to the new year, using some of the indoor and outdoor spaces on our campus. What shall we leave behind? What shall we carry forward? What shall we celebrate? What values does our family want to celebrate next year? Bring your smart devices for a group tweet! Toss old stuff into the fire! Make resolutions as individuals and families! Child care provided for little UUs. Plenty of peace-and-quiet for those who just want to sit, think, and listen! December 7 Worship “Darkness” Music: Wojciech Milewski Explorations, 9:30 Is There an Afterlife? UU Views. Ron Friederich, facilitator. Forum, 11:00 Title I APS Homeless Project. (Change for the Future recipient for December 2014-February 2015.) Homelessness is a harsh reality for thousands of APS children and youth. The Title I Homeless Project helps these amazing students stay in school and achieve their educational goals. December 14 Worship “Light” The Rev. Angela Herrera On the day of First Unitarian's green energy celebration, the second in a two part sermon series on darkness and light. What does light represent in religion and spirituality? How does it relate to darkness? Music: Wojciech Milewski “A Season of Stories” The Rev. Christine Robinson and James Galasinski December 21 is the Winter Solstice, the fifth day of Hanukkah, and the Sunday before Christmas. We’ll celebrate all these holidays in song and story. Music: The Chalice Singers Explorations, 9:30 The Iowa Sisterhood: Pioneering Female Ministers. James Galasinski. December 24 4:30 pm: Christmas Eve for Families A shorter service aimed at families with children, featuring the puppets’ favorite Christmas story…the one where the animals come to see the baby Jesus in the manger. Children are invited to come dressed as animals or angels and join in the story. Carols and candles will round out our celebration. 7:30 pm: Christmas Eve for All People This longer and quieter service will include carols, seasonal music, stories, and commentary by Christine and James on the UU and Universal values of the December 28 Music: Sue Spaven Caroling December 20! Join us from 3:30-5 pm for an informal party in the Social Hall. Come and sing some carols, eat some cookies, and light a candle to start off your Christmas week. Bring a treat to share. News & Programs New RE Director We Light a Candle We light a candle for church members Bob Baker and Micky Stensrude, who died earlier this fall. We mourn with Karen Smith, whose mother died, and with Socorro members Ruth Hamilton and Micheal Joniken. Ruth’s son Brendan died unexpectedly in Austin. We also hold Steve and Rodene Phillips in our hearts, as Steve’s mother is dying. Our thoughts are with those coping with health problems: Sue Redfern Campbell, who had back surgery; Margaret Lang and Dani Delaney, who fell ill; Al Switendick, who is recovering from a stroke; Kathy Wallhagen and David Bleakly, who are living with untreatable cancer; Margaret Rickert, who had a bad fall; Maureen Bannon, who had quadruple bypass surgery; Heather Gram, who is recovering from surgery; and Richard Brown and his son Chris, who recently had surgery and faces ongoing treatment for his illness. We send blessings to Kristen Kennedy Sadek, who is dealing with difficult issues; and to Carmen Samora and Steve Moffat, who have just set out on an adventure abroad. We are pleased to announce that Mia Noren will be our new Director of Religious Education. Mia is a church member who began work with us at the RE Administrator, and then became the Church Administrator (after a brief stint as our communications specialist). We know her to be a supremely well organized, people-focused person who will help us build the teams of volunteers who run the RE program. She will be enrolling in the UUA’s program to train and credential religious educators so that she can round out the education and experience she has with the educational and theological sides of the job. In the meantime, Christine and Angela will be working with her and in the program in new ways. We have begun our search for a 25 hour a week Church Administrator. Check the church website if you might be interested, and please pass the link on to qualified and interested friends. First U Christmas Feast Yes, the year has rolled around again and, yes, we will be having our traditional Christmas feast in the Memorial Hall this year. We will gather in the RE Foyer beginning at 4:00 pm on Christmas day, Thursday, December 25. This has become one the most festive gatherings in our community, so don’t miss out! Look for the signup table on the stage in the Social Hall each Sunday, or contact Don or Sally New at 8844327 or firstname.lastname@example.org. SJC Funds in Action Do you ever wonder what happened to the proceeds of last year’s social justice auction and fair trade coffee/chocolate sales? Last month the Social Justice Council (SJC) awarded $6,300 in grants to support justice work in our church and community: ABQ Health Care for the Home- less/Art Street: Studio and therapists for the homeless Animal Advocates: Food and medicine for pets of the homeless First U’s Adult ESL Program: iPads to aid instruction First U’s Sister Church in Kenya: School fees and scholarships NM Faith Coalition for Immi- grant Justice: Support for border immersion trips ABQ Interfaith: Leadership training seminar fees First U Food Pantry: Fruit for holiday distribution Transgender Resource Center: Partial funding for support groups for teens First U After School Tutoring Program: iPads and instructional apps First U Economic Reform and Advocacy Group: Support for Public Banking symposium Earth Web: Support for installa- tion of a solar energy monitoring display News & Programs The SJC also allocated funds to support the Habitat for Humanity Interfaith build initiative, paid full tuition for two mid-high youth to attend the UUSC College of Social Justice in New Orleans, supported Albuquerque Interfaith, partially subsidized the MidHi Gay Pride Parade float, and extended the church’s membership in the ABQ Peace and Justice Center. Thank you for your support of these important initiatives! Board Notes The Board met on November 18 and limited discussion to financial issues related to the 2014 income shortfall and planning for the 2015 budget. Expenses are on target, but our 2014 budget was based on a projected pledge number that we did not reach during the year leaving us with a $46,000 income shortfall. The Board followed the recommendation of the Finance Committee that we make a year-end request to the congregation to cover the shortfall. A letter request will go out before December 1 and a pulpit editorial was made on November 23. The 2015 Stewardship Campaign is continuing with 87% of our goal raised. A reminder mailed in early November has stimulated more returns. The Board discussed direction to staff for developing the 2015 budget and adjusted the projected pledge contribution to the budget to ensure we don’t experience a similar shortfall next year. The Board meets the third Tuesday of every month and welcomes attendance by any interested members of the congregation. Please feel free to contact Board members if you have questions about activities of the Board. Let’s Build a House! First Unitarian is a co-sponsor of Habitat for Humanity Interfaith House. We are joining Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, and other churches to build a house for a family. Our minimum commitment to be a sponsor is 30 volunteer hours, 2 lunches, and $5,000. We are raising the $5,000 exclusively through donations. “Let’s Build a House” is a symbolic house on display every Sunday in the Social Hall between and after services. For a donation of varying amounts, someone can “buy” a component of the house (window, siding, roof etc.) and add that piece to the display. We will watch our house being built week by week until it is complete and we reach our $5,000 goal. Please come visit our display and help a family realize their dream. A Gift That Has No End As the end of the tax year and the holidays approach, consider dealing with both issues by making a gift to the First Unitarian Church Endowment. You’ll reduce your tax liability and help build the permanent assets of the institution that has meant so much to you. Sanctuary Flowers Needed Help brighten our Sanctuary this winter by donating flowers. We need people to sign up for January 4; February 1, 8, and 15; and other Sundays in 2015. Please call Maryjean Bailey at 296-2130, or look for Maryjean and her sign-up book in the Social Hall after church services on December 28. Patio Fair Update Winter is approaching and our weather is unpredictable. Nevertheless, as we are continuing to hold our Patio Fair on the second Sunday of the month, it’s just likely to be in Memorial Hall rather than on the patio! The next one will occur on Sunday, December 14, and you can be sure there will be lots of items to help you out with that holiday shopping list. There will be a hiatus for January, and we will resume on February 8. Sellers donate 30% of their proceeds to the church, and so far this year the Patio Fair has raised $969.61! Theology on Tap Check out this new ministry led by our Ministerial Resident, James Galasinski, and explore various spiritual and theological topics while enjoying a beverage. Past topics have included calling, religion vs. spirituality, and sacred space. We will meet December 7 and 14 at 7:00 pm at Q Burger, 301 Central NW. Religious Education From the DRE Greetings! I am very excited about my new role as your Director of Religious Education, and look forward to working with the ministers and with all of you to build a vital and exciting RE program for our kids. While my new position won’t officially start until we have found a new Church Administrator, I am interested in talking with anyone who has an interest in the program. Meanwhile, the program will continue to run through the holidays in the very capable hands of RE Administrative Assistant Alana Rodgriguez, and RE Aide Meladee Montoya, along with all our current wonderful volunteers and child care personnel. -Mia Noren, Director of Religious Education RE 4th-5th Grade Class Has Moved! We’ve moved! Attendance is growing, and so are the kids! To allow more room to comfortably participate in the curriculum, and have fewer distractions, we have moved our 4th-5th graders to Room 1. MelaDee, our RE Aide, did a fantastic job rearranging and decorating to make the room look nice for our kids. Take a look below! This Month in RE December 7 All classes start in the sanctuary Children’s and youth choirs rehearse 12:30-1:15, RE Rooms 1 and 3. December 21 TBD—watch the eBroadsheet and our Facebook page for seasonal activities! Children’s and youth choirs rehearse 12:30-1:15, RE Rooms 1 and 3. December 28 Intergenerational service—all classes in the sanctuary. Safe Congregation Policy 1. Always sign your child in and out of RE! 2. After signing your child in, please be sure that two teachers are in the class room before you leave, in accordance with our safe congregation policy. Please do not leave your child in the classroom with only one teacher—wait until another teacher arrives. CLASS SCHEDULE Nursery RE Room 5 Pre-K and K RE Room 4 Spirit Play 1st-3rd Grades RE Room 3 Tapestry of Faith: Faithful Journeys 4th-5th Grades RE Room 1 Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith 6th-8th Grades Arnold Room Dr. WhUU and Other Adventures! 9th-12th Grades La Amikoj Room Self-Directed Topic(s) Forthcoming Justice Earth Web Green Corner Interactive Lighting Display When: Sunday, December 7, 10:30-11 am and 12-12:20 pm. Where: Sustainability Table in the Social Hall. What: Push buttons in an interactive display and learn the benefits of energy-efficient electric lights. How many more LED Christmas lights will fit on single string? Fun for kids, too! Monthly Earth Web Meeting When: Sunday, December 14, 12:30-1:45 pm, following LEED celebration (see front page!) Where: Wesson Room What: Help plan Earth Web activities for 2015, when Barbara Leonard becomes Chair and Linda Doherty assumes the role of co-chair. Everyone welcome! Bring your own plate and cutlery, and a dish to share. Fundraiser for Animal Kind International Join Animal Advocates Saturday, December 13, at 5:30 pm in the Memorial Hall for a vegetarian potluck fundraiser. Animal Kind International supports animal welfare and humane education efforts in impoverished areas of Africa, Europe, and the Carribean. A suggested donation of $10 (or pay as you’re able) will support these efforts. The organization’s founder, Karen Menczer will give a brief presentation. Check them out at www.animal-kind.org. Get Some Holiday-Season Exercise! Ten years ago the Church’s Earth Web group adopted ten acres of the Rio Grande Bosque that had been severely damaged by a wild fire. On Saturday, December 13, from 9:00 to 11:00 am, we will be continuing our restoration work along the banks of the Rio Grande. Care to join us? Contact Ed Wallhagen at 293-3981 or email@example.com. December Spotlight: Homelessness The topic of December’s Spotlight is Homelessness. In 2013, Albuquerque Heading Home identified 1,170 homeless adults in our community one deep winter weekend; and the NM Coalition to End Homelessness estimates 17,000 individuals are homeless at least part of the time in our state. As its focus, SJC is working to promote our congregation’s awareness of issues and resources, improve policy, and provide services. There are many avenues for education and involvement. First U hosts meals for Project Share; we collect personal hygiene items; members re-established our Habitat for Humanity group; and the Food Pantry distributes donated food to an average of 85 families each Wednesday. There will be a school supply drive in January 2015. Forums through May 2015 include presentations by the NM Coalition to End Homelessness, Veteran’s Program/ Emergency Shelter, St. Martins, New Day Shelter, and HealthCare for the Homeless. Come to the SJC table and bulletin board throughout December for more information! Save the Date! Social Justice Council Auction February 21 Thanks to your involvement, the $4,442 raised from last year’s auction has helped to provide food for those in need, after-school tutoring for local children, adult ESL instruction with free childcare, and much more. Help us make this year’s total even higher! We need your ideas for enticing services to auction: Sewing classes, meditation workshops, exotic dinners, handy-person help, urban chicken raising, reflexology, and more. You can also lend us your talents to plan the event—we’ll have teams working on publicity, sales, set up, entertainment, and a cook-off. Please contact Nancy Kilpatrick, firstname.lastname@example.org or Pat Diem, email@example.com or for more information. Ongoing Groups—Newcomers Always Welcome! Animal Advocates 12:10 pm, fourth Sunday of the month Wesson Room Sacha Bush, firstname.lastname@example.org Beginning Yoga Bring a mat and a donation of cash or canned food for the food pantry. 12 pm every Saturday RE Foyer Ann Walton, 265-4675 or email@example.com Bread, Wine, and Book Club Holiday Get-Together, No Book 7 pm, second Friday of the month 12100 St. Mary’s NE Connie Molecke, firstname.lastname@example.org Covenant of UU Pagans 7 pm, second Friday of the month Arnold/Wesson Rooms Michelle Burns, email@example.com Drum Circle 7 pm, second Friday of the month Memorial Hall Theresa Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org Earth Web Healing the Earth. Bring your own plate, cutlery, and a dish to share. 12:15 pm, second Sunday of Wesson Room the Month Valerie Smith, email@example.com Humanist Discussion Group 7 pm, second Tuesday of the month Roy Ellis Moody, 344-8930 or firstname.lastname@example.org Integral Meditation and Discussion Group 7 pm, first and third Friday of Arnold Room the month Jac Estes, 255-4191 or email@example.com Monday Afternoon Book Club Bring your favorite poems! 2 pm Monday, December 15 68 Piñon Hill Place NE Linda Bairstow, 828-1944 Nature & Spirituality Discussion Group 7 pm, first and third Tuesday Wesson Room of the month Kathryn Haase, 255-4191 or firstname.lastname@example.org Nonfiction Book Discussion Group Wednesdays, 2:00 pm Wesson Room Bob Wood, 352-0212 Project Linus Making blankets for children in need. Tuesdays at 1:30 pm RE Room 3 Terry Gutierrez, email@example.com Public Banking Group Studying how to start a regional or local public bank. 10 am, third Saturday of the month Wesson Room Sally Jacobsen, 971-570-2922 Secular Buddhism Study Group 7 pm, second Monday of the Wesson Room month Roy Ellis Moody, 344-8930 or firstname.lastname@example.org Tao Te Ching Study Group 6:30 pm, second and fourth Thursday of the month Wesson Room Torre Near, email@example.com UU Buddhist Fellowship 7:00 pm, fourth Monday of the month Wesson Room Roy Ellis Moody, 344-8930 or firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday Afternoon Book Club 2 pm, every Wed. Arnold Room Joan Meyering, email@example.com Wisdom Circle Potluck breakfast and explorations of a new model of aging. Memorial Hall Gary Carlson, firstname.lastname@example.org or 897-1850 9:30 am, every third Saturday Memorial Hall First Unitarian Church 3701 Carlisle Boulevard NE Albuquerque, NM 87110 www.uuabq.org phone (505) 884-1801 Non-Profit Organization US POSTAGE PAID Albuquerque, NM Permit No. 80 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED – DATED MATERIAL – Sunday Worship Services Albuquerque 9:30 and 11:00 AM In the Sanctuary Carlsbad 4:00 PM First Presbyterian Church 309 W. Shaw East Mountains 10:00 AM UU Congregation, E. Mtns. 1 Deanna Ln. (off Dinkle Road) Socorro 4:00 PM Epiphany Episcopal Church, 908 Leroy Place UU Congregation, East Mountains: Nancy Leski (left) and Jim Zacharias (right) present a check to Sue Marsh, of Walk N’ Circles Horse Rescue, the recipient of UUCEM’s Change for Change collection of coins. We have a mobile giving page. Scan the QR code to the left to access our mobile giving page. Thank you for your generosity!