By popular demand!

The following is the service presented Nov. 29 by Joan Spengler. Enjoy.

Gratitude Schmattitude!

Chalice Lighting   Apart but Together  Cynthia Landrum

Apart but Together

By Cynthia Landrum

Spirit of life and love,
We gather together in different ways this morning,
From computer screens, from telephones, from car radios,
We gather, reaching out across the wires, waving from a safe distance,
To come together in religious community.
From living room to front porch to car seat,
We gather as we are able,
Ready to be of service to each other, to the world,
Ready to build the community of hope and of love,
As we face this bright morning. 
We are apart, but we are together.
Offering our love, our commitment,
Our hope, and our prayers,
In service to one another and this world.
It is a new way, but an old way, that we come together in worship today.

Opening Words

In Praise of Technology & Social Media

By Karen Bellavance-Grace

In praise of computers and routers and servers and all the hardware and software that can help us build our connectedness;

in praise of all the gremlins that live in the machines and bug our programs and help us to practice patience;

in praise of the trolls who dwell in the internet and push us to live out our first principle in real time;

in praise of power surges that eat our data and devour our final draft, for giving us the opportunity to rebuild and remember that our work is as much transient as it is transcendent;

in praise of the Error: Page Not Found, which reminds us that with some people we need to find new paths to make connections, because not everyone uses the same keywords;

in praise of servers that drop our connections which reminds us that all who serve have built-in limits to their capacity;

in praise of communication and connection, whether it is face-to-face or facebook-to-facebook,

We always risk errors, hurt feelings and misunderstanding,

But it is also, always, worth the risk.

Amen.

Joys and Concerns – Do not leave you cares at the door. Do not leave there your pain, your sorrow or your joys. Bring them with you  into this place of acceptance and forgiveness. Place them on the common altar of life and offer them to the possibility of you worship.  Norman V. Naylor

Collection – The offering is a sacrament of the Free Church. It is supported by the voluntary generosity of all who join with us. The offering will now be given and received in grateful appreciation of shared hopes and values.

Gratitude Schmatitude

This talk had changed so much since its inception. Basically it was going to be a pity party; along the lines of “I am grateful that I woke up this morning, but I am stressed because I have so much to do;  or I’m grateful  for my wonderful kitty cats, but I really hate cleaning the litter box.” You get the idea. For every good thing that we are grateful for there is an opposing thing that goes along with it that isn’t that wonderful. Like after you get serious about your diet and then realize that now you need to get new clothes. For some people this would be a wonderful thing, for others, the thought of going out and trying on clothes just doesn’t float their boat.

First I want to say that there is nothing wrong with a pity party.  Sometimes things just overwhelm us and we need to put down the smile balloons and take our shoes off and sit and mope.  This is healthy. We can’t be Pollyanna all the time. Except if you are Elly. I’ve often said that Elly makes Pollyanna look like a Debbie Downer. 

  But a recitation of all the things that are wrong with the world, the country, or the community today, and a resignation that they will still be wrong tomorrow isn’t quite the right way to be grateful. So I started doing some research into the concept of gratitude and I’ve learned quite a bit.

Gratitude is an interesting philosophy.  Yes, it is the Thanksgiving season, and we are forcibly reminded to be grateful and give thanks.  According to All About Gratefulness With Robert A. Emmons, PhD Bradley Cannon (and I will be quoting from this article often)

. The word “thanksgiving” literally means, giving of thanks. Thanksgiving is an action word. Gratitude requires action. There is the action tendency of paying back the goodness that we have received. Gratitude will not strengthen relationships if it remains silent.

We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving in Massachusetts.  But according to an excerpt from Scott Alexander in his Thanksgiving Sermon:

It is spiritually important that we not romanticize that first American Thanksgiving as some carefree festival of reckless joy. With apologies to Hallmark and my well-meaning fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Daley, the Pilgrims seated at that first Thanksgiving table were haggard survivors—exhausted men and women still thin and weak, wearing little more than rags. Yes, they were grateful to have endured, to be sure, but looming over whatever happy feelings they mustered must have lingered incredibly deep measures of grief and fear.

It’s a miracle of the heart that those pilgrims could even think of giving thanks to God, or celebrating life’s bounty with their Wampanoag neighbors. No one could have really blamed them if, as the first anniversary of their arrival in America approached, they had decided to hold a service of mourning for the dead and withdrawn into their own sadness in the gathering autumnal darkness.

It seems to me that what makes the real Thanksgiving story so remarkable is not the joy which the Pilgrims and Wampanoags shared on that day, but rather that their painful backdrop of grief was not allowed to block out their celebration. What makes that first American harvest festival so nobly instructive is our remembering the profound depths of misery which preceded the Pilgrim’s decision to celebrate and share. Somehow they were able to choose gratitude over bitterness, generosity over greed, thanksgiving over self-pity.

 When things are difficult it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s really bad when that light turns out to be an oncoming train. That’s what those first pilgrims went through. They left their homes to come to a new world to build a better place for themselves and their families. And there was hope. But then hunger and disease hit, like that oncoming train. But those that made it through didn’t have a massive pity party, they had a feast to celebrate the mere fact that they were still alive.  This is an example of true gratitude.

If your family is like mine, on Thanksgiving Day we sit around the table and hold hands. We go around and one by one we state something we are thankful/grateful for.  I admit it was more fun when there were lots of people around the table. It was interesting to learn about what the others were thankful for. An aunt and uncle mentioned their bumper crop (they had a huge garden), a cousin was grateful for a high number in the draft lottery, another cousin was happy for good grades in college, and you get the picture.  In a way it became a competition. Who was the MOST grateful. And this is the negative aspect of gratitude.

According to the article mentioned above (All about Gratefulness) there can be a negative effect with this sort of gratitude.

Does gratitude have any negative characteristics or effects?

One of the more interesting aspects about gratitude is that trying too hard to be grateful can backfire. We turn gratitude into a self-focused personal project. The focus becomes how I am doing, instead of what others are doing for me. A preoccupation with our performance actually hinders our performance. This is the single most important thing that I’ve learned about gratitude. It’s not about us!

Let me explain. Gratitude, by its very nature, is an external focus. It’s about receiving a gift or benefit from a source out there. It’s about other people doing things for us that we could never do for ourselves; it’s about noticing the good, taking in the good, and giving back the good. Self-forgetfulness promotes gratefulness and is the primary reason that gratitude produced benefits. This turns gratitude inside out.

Making gratitude a competition, trying to outdo someone else’s gratitude  “Well I am more grateful than you for whatever” becomes self-focused, it becomes all about us rather than about gratitude.

So it seems an integral part of gratitude is honesty.  Blathering on about things that you think you should be grateful for, but honestly you couldn’t care less about, is a lie.  It diminishes the whole idea of gratitude. It becomes schmatitude. Sham/gratitude = schmatitude

Buddha is quoted as saying

  • “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha

At least we didn’t die…That’s an interesting statement. And with the way things are going in the world today, I guess it’s a valid point. But there must be more to be thankful for than that.  I don’t think we should just settle for that, we need to do more, be more to be grateful. 

It would be horrible if what the old song said is really true – If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.  If we are grateful for something, we should be happy but maybe not satisfied with just that. But, you say, you are grateful for what you have, why should you want more?

According to Dr. Emmons this is a myth about gratitude

What are some myths about gratitude?

One of the myths about gratitude is that it leads to complacency. I’ve often heard the claim that, if you’re grateful, you’re not going to be motivated to challenge the status quo or improve your lot in life. You’ll just be satisfied, complacent, lazy and lethargic, perhaps passively resigned to an injustice or bad situation. You’ll give up trying to change something. But studies suggest that the opposite is true: Gratitude not only doesn’t lead to complacency, it drives a sense of purpose and a desire to do more.

There are more. Here’s an article I wrote on the myths: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_myths_about_gratitude

This is positive reinforcement.  When a someone does something well, we tell them that we are grateful for what they did. That person is grateful for the praise and now wants to do more to receive more praise. 

Yet sometimes we can get caught up in the cycle that we forget what we were grateful for in the first place. I’ve heard of people keeping a gratitude journal.  Right now, it seems to be a thing on facebook. People post one thing a day that they are thankful for.  It’s a great idea but I’ve noticed that when they get to day 18 or so, the things they are grateful for are starting to seem forced. 

But let’s go back and examine the idea of complacency.  As Unitarian Universalists we are reminded every day of our need to make things better in the world.  Our fifth principle The right to conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregation and in society at large;  and the sixth principle  The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all. All point to the work that still needs to be done.  And there’s a lot of work for us out there.

But I think it’s important to remember all the good that has been done. We shouldn’t get disheartened when we look at society and see what needs our help, instead it’s a good idea once in a while to sit back and think of all we have accomplished and be grateful for what we have done.

As this essay states, sometimes it is difficult to see what we have accomplished because we are so busy looking at what still needs to be done.

Good Intentions and Incomplete Efforts

By Sean Parker Dennison

I preached recently in a building that was a beautiful old chapel in the country. Because it was old, it was one of those buildings where accessibility was a challenge. The congregation had just finished (I think the paint was still wet!) installing an accessible entrance and bathroom. They’d installed a small elevator before that. They were understandably and appropriately proud and I was enthusiastic in my gratitude as they showed me the improvements.

Then they took me upstairs to the worship space and showed me the pulpit, which was up four steps on the chancel. Those steps are not a barrier for me, but they would be for others. And we’d just been celebrating their good work in making the rest of the building accessible. And I choked. I stammered out something like “too bad those stairs are there…” which was neither very polite nor very helpful in reminding them there was still work to be done. And then I preached from their pulpit, even though it was inaccessible and even though I have a commitment to preach only from an accessible place in the room. (In this case, that just would have meant preaching from the floor rather than going up the steps to the pulpit.)

The hardest times to hold ourselves and each other accountable compassionately is when the work has begun but there’s more to be done. We want to acknowledge the effort, and it feels a little awkward to say “What a great start! You did something great, but you’re not quite there.” And sometimes, when we’re the ones who have begun to change, it’s hard to hear, “I’m still going to preach from the floor since not everyone can access your pulpit.”

I really didn’t want to get into politics but it was the first and best example I could think of.  I am grateful that I was able to vote in this past election.  But a lot of work had to be done for that happen. As a woman I am incredibly grateful for the Suffragettes who fought long and hard for this privilege. But we are not quite at that point where we can say this is a true democracy because so many roadblocks are there for others. So on the one hand I can be grateful for what I have but I can also see that there is so much more than needs to be done. And this dispels the myth about gratitude and complacency. We are grateful but we see we cannot rest on our past work for too long as there is more work to do.

And true gratitude can help in many ways other than improving our society as a whole.  According to Dr. Emmons there are side benefits for living a grateful life.

What discoveries have surprised you about gratitude?

It would have to be the finding, now replicated in other labs, that gratitude improves sleep. This includes better sleep quality, shorter falling asleep latency, longer sleep duration, less need for sleep medicine, and less daytime dysfunction caused by lack of sleep. Given how sleep-deprived we collectively are, and how vital sleep is for healthy functioning, this is HUGE.

Gratitude also strengthens self-control. It makes people more patient. Not that this is super surprising, but rather it was an unexpected or nonobvious discovery.

So what could possibly be bad about gratitude?  You didn’t think I could be so positive without mentioning the negatives, did you?

 I did research on this too. According to Courtney W. Ackerman, MSc. Gratitude can backfire.

For example it is possible to overdose on gratitude.

When it comes to keeping track of your gratitude, the adage “more is better” doesn’t necessarily apply. If you set too high of a goal for your gratitude, you may find yourself falling short, which paradoxically could leave you feeling less grateful and happy than if you hadn’t tracked your gratitude at all.

2. Feeling grateful for someone or something who isn’t worthy.

If you are in a bad relationship with someone who is emotionally or physically abusing you, or who just can’t make you happy, focusing on gratitude may be the wrong choice. This could be a romantic partner, a boss, or a roommate, or some other living situation more generally. By focusing on all the ways you appreciate your partner/boss/roommate you may choose to stay where you are when you should be focusing on finding a way to get out of an unhealthy situation.

3. Using gratitude to avoid a serious problem.                         Gratitude helps you focus on what is important instead of getting caught up in the little annoyances of everyday life; however, not all problems are little annoyances, and focusing your attention on things you appreciate may provide you with relief from serious problems, but the relief will only be temporary.

4. Downplaying your own successes through excessive gratitude.                                                                                            After something good happens to you, you will only benefit from thinking about and thanking the people who helped make it possible. But of equal importance is acknowledging your own role in the process.

5. Mistaking gratitude for indebtedness.                                    Gratitude is the positive emotion you feel when someone else helps you out. Indebtedness, on the other hand, generally leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth – someone helped you and now you owe them.

So you can see that gratitude can be abused just like anything else.  And sometimes we just have to speak the truth.

  In 1931 in NYC the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism decided to not only speak the truth but they went so far as to call for a national holiday of Blamesgiving.  While others are expressing their gratefulness for the good things of the past year, there can be no harm in making a list of things that were not so good. This was meant to counteract all the religious thanks that were being bandied about at this time of year.  They even had a hymn re-written for the occasion.

Blame God from whom all cyclones blow,
Blame him when rivers overflow,
Blame him who swirls down house and steeple,
Who sinks the ship and drowns the people.

Blame God when fell tornadoes spread
Disaster, leaving maimed and dead;
When dread volcanoes vomit death,
Destroying towns with liquid breath.

For clergy who with hood and bell
Demand your cash or threaten hell.
Blame God for earthquake shocks; and then,
Let all men cry aloud, “Amen!”

Admittedly this is more anti-god than anti-gratitude. I guess they were tired of everyone being grateful to god for situations where god had little if anything to do with.

Everyone is entitled to be grateful for whatever they want. Gratitude can lead to a happier life and better sleep. Just don’t over do it and don’t use gratitude as a means of escaping negative situations.

And since Thursday was Thanksgiving I would just like to say

“The thing I’m  most grateful for right now is elastic waistbands.” Unknown

  Closing words –

For What Shall We Give Thanks?

By Laura Horton-Ludwig

The wheel of the year has turned again.
Once more the Thanksgiving season has arrived.
How shall we sing our song of gratitude now?
For what shall we give thanks?

For this moment;
for friends near and far;
for our breath;

for love;
for courage and clarity;
for strength;
for delight;
for laughter;
for beauty;

for the tables round which we gather;
for the food we enjoy with friends,
seasoned with love and memory;

for the sun and moon and stars in the sky;
for the trees who have seen so much
and still stand proud, stretching themselves to the sky;

for the bright voices of children;
for the wisdom of elders;
for actions that bless the world;
for hard work that makes a difference;

for music and art and celebration;
for generosity;
for compassion;
for endurance;
for joy;
for hope.

For all these things, we give thanks
as we worship together.

Extinguish Chalice – We extinguish this flame but not the light of light of truth, the warmth of community, of the fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts until we are together again.

Postlude – Blessed be the sky, blessed be the air we breathe; Blessed be the earth, blessed be the trees. Blessed be the falling rain and the vast blue ocean. Blessed be the hearth fire; blessed be the sunshine.

Blessed be our lives, blessed be our deaths. Blessed be the mystery, wonder in every breath. We only have a moment here to love; beauty all around us, below and above.

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Share a poem!

Our 10 a.m. service on Sunday, Oct. 4, Christina Sturgis will lead a discussion about poetry so bring a poem you love, a poem you hate or a poem you wrote. Song lyrics and raps, count too. Scroll down for the link to join us on Zoom.

To get your thoughts flowing, here is a list of poets. Mary Oliver, Emma Lazarus, Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, Ogden Nash, Doctor Suess, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Joy Harjo, Ted Hughes, Robert Graves.

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Update: Congregational Mtg.

The congregational meeting will be held from noon to 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 23, by Zoom teleconferencing. The meeting ID is 892-5579-7618 and the password is church.

According to the DDUUC bylaws, in order to conduct business, we must have a quorum of 50 percent of membership, in attendance at the Zoom meeting. The Board of Trustees has been informed that ballots already cast by members should be discarded if the members who cast them do not attend the Zoom meeting.

The Board of Trustees understands the Corona Virus Pandemic is putting extra strain on everyone and hopes to resolve these issues in the fairest, less stressful way while observing state requirements for social distancing.

Thank you for your participation.

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Annual meeting Aug. 23

                        

Due to Covid-19 we are having the election and annual congregational meeting differently. As a congregation, we vote yes or no on two things, the slate of candidates for the board of trustees and the budget.

Here is the slate of candidates: President Christina Sturgis; Vice President Mary Watterson; Secretary Jennifer Steffee; Treasurer John DeMasi; Joan Spengler Chair of the Sunday Service Committee; Chair of Religious Education Patricia Concannon; and Chair of Social Action Kara DeRose.

The proposed $23,770 budget is enclosed. It is a “bare bones” spending plan that reflects reduced revenue due to Covid-19 and other issues. To meet our obligations, the Board of Trustees has decided not to pay ministers and other speakers to preach during the 2020-21 church year.

We will continue to have Sunday services as follows: the first Sunday of each month will be an informal Zoom video conference, perhaps a talkback session or a virtual coffee hour.  The Rev. Larry Smith, our community minister, has agreed to present a sermon on the second Sunday of each month, except May. The third and fourth Sundays will be programmed by the Sunday Service Committee.

A hearing on the budget and candidates will be held over Zoom video conferencing from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23.  Please fill out the enclosed ballot and mail it back in the enclosed envelope to be postmarked no later than Sept. 1, 2020.

If you have questions, you may leave them on the church voice mail at (609) 444-9349 or church email at DDUUC@yahoo.com.

Sincerely, DDUUC Board of Trustees

Aug. 2, 2020

Thank you! Thank you!


As this church year comes to a close, I would like to thank the congregation for allowing me to serve as the president of the Board of Trustees. It has been an honor and a privilege.
We are a very small congregation that accomplishes a great deal. I thank the board of trustees for bringing their best selves to the table in person and on Zoom.
We started the year with Vice President Mary Watterson, Secretary Mary Ann Kiefer, Chairwoman of Sunday Services Joan Spengler, Treasurer Jennifer Chaiken, Chairwoman of Social Action Kara DeRose and Chairwoman Religious Education Patricia Concannon.
Mary Ann Kiefer had to drop out due to health problems. Mary Watterson stepped up to take the meeting minutes, and agreed to represent us at the annual UUA General Assembly. She will have some insights to share with us about that.
We need to give a big shout out to Patricia Concannon for purchasing – at her own expense — a subscription to Zoom video conferencing. Thanks Trish.
Thanks go to Cathy Ann Vandegrift for sending out group emails and handling the church phone and for sending out cards via the Caring Committee. She is going to continue as such, even though we know she has had a challenging year.
Thanks to Warren and Joan Spengler for starting the coffee on Sundays and greeting everyone. Thanks to Ish Chawla for initiating post-service cleanup and dish washing. Thanks also to Joan for coordinating our Spirit Circle. I particularly enjoyed our solstice and our harvest gatherings this past year.
Thanks to all the folks who provided coffee hour snacks!
In September, Joan Spengler and I attended a workshop about shootings at houses of worship, a terrible thing. I appreciate Joan and Roger Long for arranging for the Bordentown police to tour building, a first step toward greater security. We will do more.
Heartfelt thanks to Warren for coordinating our Interfaith Dialog in October, which brought out meaningful engagement on the topic: how should faith communities respond to the rise of intolerance?
Also in the fall, we said goodbye to Ruth Cristy, who returned to her native Virginia to be close to family. Joan and Bea Chawla coordinated a beautiful tribute to Ruth who gave so much to this community. Ruth’s dear friend, Elly Leonard, was well enough to attend.
We also said good-bye to Tom Reilly who passed away Oct. 17. We had a nice memorial service back when we could meet in person. During the summer, I had visited Tom and Prim Reeves and they gave me a gavel for my presidency along with words of encouragement.
Thanks goes to Pete Costanza for doing a beautiful job on the pulse. The monthly newsletter of DDUUC goes out by email, but if you missed one, they are posted on our website, DDUUC.ORG. I would like to thank Gail Costanza for serving on the Sunday Service Committee and doing a lovely flower communion service, despite a year filled with challenges.
My deepest appreciation goes to Trish Concannon, Betsy Young and Kara DeRose for running our children’s religious education program. The religious education students put UU values into practice by pitching in on the motel meals program. Raquel Parker’s Girl Scouts have contributed generously as well.
I wish to thank Kelly Hansen for coordinating another edition of “Building Your Own Theology,” a religious education program for adults. I have taken it twice. Kelly does a wonderful job.
I would like to thank Kara for keeping the motel meals program alive despite Covid-19 lockdown. She very compassionately told the senior members of the crew they could stay home since they were at greatest risk from the virus. The program has continued to distribute prepackaged foods to minimize contamination.
The motel meals crew included Roger, Betsy, Mary Watterson, Sandra Lebeau and Christine Wright and the whole DeRose family.
I would also like to thank the board members who have agreed to serve in the same roles next year, pending the outcome of the annual election. New to the slate of candidates will be Jennifer Steffee as secretary and John DeMasi as treasurer. Thanks to the board and the nominating committee of Mae Carter, Mike Skelly and John DeMasi for getting the slate of candidates together.
Thanks also to our finance committee of Cathy Ann Vandegrift and Gail Costanza for working on the budget and the auction. Perhaps a new fund raiser can be created around fashion face coverings, adorable latex gloves and designer fragrance hand sanitizer.
I also wish thank Lois Long for playing the piano way back when. Thanks also to John DeMasi for his musical contributions, some of which he composed.
On a very different musical note, I must thank to Barbara Kotch for hosting our karaoke sessions. She hosted in costume as Lola the showgirl in the Barry Manilow song, Copacabana. Every church needs comic relief, and we have ours from Lola. Barbara also coordinates the cookie exchange, a favorite of mine. Also thanks to Gail Costanza and Joan Spengler for keeping the mitten tree tradition alive.
Thanks to Roger Long and Walter Kaden for their work on the buildings and grounds committee. I visited the church recently and found Walter trimming the gardens and mowing the lawn. Thanks also to roger for coordinating the book sale.
I would like to thank Andy Maskell for coordinating our chalice circle meetings, which I have continued on Zoom. I would like to thank all of the committee members, including the committee to restructure the committees and the bylaws committee.
I would also like to thank someone for a fine presentation on Fairvote.org, an organization that works for election reform, with ranked- choice voting. Someone wanted to do an evening information program on this, but the pandemic intervened. (The person asked to remain anonymous and I have complied with this request.)
The annual election will take place when the budget is complete, so please send in your pledge forms – an email to Jen Chaiken will suffice. You can a paper pledge to Jen or to the church, 39 Park St., Bordentown, NJ 08505. Contributions may be made with the PayPal button at DDUUC.ORG.

Sincerely, Christina L. Sturgis,

President Board of Trustees, DDUUC

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Be a candidate!

Due to the global pandemic of Covid-19, the annual election is going to be different this year. The duties of secretary are posted for those who have inquired. More information will be provided. To download a .pdf of job descriptions at DDUUC, click on the button below.

The secretary is posted here because the duties have been amended out of necessity and the changes are noted at #11 below.

SECRETARY

Purpose:

The Secretary ensures effective communication is maintained among the Board, minister, and congregation by recording and keeping an accurate record of all official Board and congregational meetings. The Secretary maintains and ensures the security of the historical and legal records of DDUUC. The Secretary serves as an executive member of the Board as defined by the Bylaws of DDUUC.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Record and maintain the minutes of all meetings of the congregation, the Board of Trustees, and other official meetings.

2. Maintain a record of policies and procedures adopted by the Board and ensure a copy of the current Bylaws is available at each meeting.

3. Act in the official capacity of Board member when attending any function authorized by the Board.

4. Serve as the Board liaison to the Public Relations Committee and represent their concerns to the Board if requested. May attend committee meetings in a non-voting, advisory capacity.

5. Attend DDUUC Board and congregational meetings.

6. Ensure the minutes of the previous Board meetings are available at the next Board meeting. Forward a summary of monthly Board meetings to the editor of the newsletter for inclusion.

7. Maintain a list of all Members and Friends. Work with the Membership Chairperson to ensure that the list is updated as required by the Bylaws of DDUUC. Submit the membership numbers to the UUA as required.

8. Provide DDUUC members with written notice of congregational meetings in accordance with the Bylaws.

9. Review and distribute incoming mail. Note: This can be delegated to someone else, but the Secretary is responsible for ensuring that it is done.

10. Sign, along with the President, all legal documents. Be the signatory on DDUUC checks in the absence of, or conflict of interest with, the Treasurer.

11. Send out official correspondence for the Board. Cathy Ann Vandegrift is not the elected secretary, but she has been assisting the secretary as follows: # 7. She has been keeping a general roster, checking messages left on the DDUUC cell telephone, and returning calls. She notes that the secretary is supposed to keep an inventory of who has keys to the building. She has been running the DDUUC email account as well.

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Welcome to a small and supportive congregation!

We practice the principles of Unitarian Universalism first with each other. We cheer each other on as we face the joys and disappointments of life.

We excel in what the Unitarian Universalist Association calls Small Group Ministry. We have Spirit Circle to explore pagan traditions. We have a Humanist Forum for folks inclined that way. We deliver hot food to homeless people living in emergency shelter at local motels. We socialize together on Movie Nights, Storytelling Events, Karaoke Parties, and Game Nights.

We eat together and write together and make art together. We raise money and write letters together about the issues of the day. We share our concerns for social justice and the environment. We host Girl Scout meetings and welcome the community into our Meeting Hall on historical days, yard sales and whenever the people of Bordentown are out and about.

Check out the tabs on this website for more specifics, but more importantly, check us out! We hold services 10 a.m. Sundays from September through June. We would love to welcome you!

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Upcoming at DDUUC

Church Services, 10 a.m.

Jan. 19 – The Rev. Carol Haag – No matter what you call it – sestercentennial, semiquincentennial, bicentennial, bicenquinquagenary, quatrimillennium or just plain 250th – 202 is a big year for Universalism. It will be the 250th anniversary of John Murray’s famous 1770 sermon in Thomas Potter’s chapel in Good Luck Jan. 30, New Jersey. John Murray’s preaching of God is Love has been evolving over the decades – from personal salvation to social salvation – from afterlife to here and now – from love of persons to love of planet and the Web of Life. Let’s explore its meaning to us now.

Jan. 26 – Joan Spengler, Roger Long, Pete Costanza and Jen Chaiken will be tackling the concept of Spirituality: what it is, where it can be found, and why we look for it.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 20 – Spirit Circle 7 p.m.

Jan. 30 – Board of Trustees Meeting 6:30 p.m.

Chalice Circles – Beginning in January we will be hosting Chalice Circles as a joint ministry with member of the UU Congregation of Princeton. Chalice Circles are small groups of six to twelve people who meet regularly to share life experiences and thoughts around a spiritual theme. The expectation is that Chalice Circle members will commit to regular monthly participation for a full year. We will hold two sessions as trial runs on Jan. 13 and Feb. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. and will continue with a committed group on the second Monday of the month thereafter.

All events are at DDUUC, 39 Park St. Bordentown, NJ, 08505, unless otherwise noted.

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Coming soon!

Chalice Circles and Fundraising Auction! The January 2020 edition of The Pulse is available at the Newsletter Page. Enjoy.

Save the date!

DDUUC will be staffing an informational table at the Bordentown Green Fair, 10 a.m. 3 p.m. Saturday, June 13, 2020. The event is at the Carslake Community Center, 207 Crosswicks St. Bordentown, N.J. 08505.

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Autumn at DDUUC

Our congregation is gearing up for a fall filled with meaningful experiences and plenty of fun. Instead of having a settled minister, we schedule services individually to be lead by Unitarian Universalist ministers, other speakers and members of our own congregation. Our Sunday services begin at 10 a.m

On Sunday, Sept. 1 — There will be no service, just a thorough cleaning of the building! Starts at 9:30 a.m.

Sunday, Sept. 8 — Our traditional Water Communion with a new ripple, a musical performance by Elaine Silver, who has studied the works of John, Paul, George and Ringo so seriously she considers herself a “Certified Beatle-Ologist.”

Sunday, Sept. 15 –The Rev. Flo Gelo will give the sermon.  Coffee hour chit chat may include the story of her chance meeting with a member of DDUUC – in of all places – Dingle, Ireland.

Saturday, Sept. 21 – DDUUC will be a way station for folks on the Bordentown Historical Society Fall House Tour from 1 to 5 p.m. 

Sunday, Sept. 22 — The Rev. Dr. Edward Frost will return to our pulpit for our morning service, then at 7 p.m., we will meet outside our building for Drumming by the Fire to mark the waning of the summer sunlight. Participants are invited to bring drums and snacks to share. For more information, contact Joan Spengler at captain.joan@hotmail.com.

 Sunday, Sept. 29 Michele Mazakas will give us her perspective as a member of Princeton PFLAG, Parents of Lesbians and Gays. This is part of DDUUC’s ongoing commitment to be a welcoming congregation.

October services are still being planned, but we know will hear from the Rev. Dr. Frost on Sunday, Oct. 13, and from the Rev. Flo Gelo on Oct. 20, a service that will be followed by a Bread and Soup Lunch.

On Saturday, Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 6, we plan to staff and informational booth at Cranberry Fest.

On Sunday, October 13, DDUUC will host “Meet the Artists,” a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. showcasing artists from the A-Team organization, a separate non-profit organization that is headquartered at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. A light lunch will be served. Suggested donation $5.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, DDUUC will host the Interfaith Dialogue, where leaders and adherents of different faiths discuss a topic together in the spirit of mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence. Topic: How Should Faith Communities Respond to the Rise of Intolerance?

On Oct. 27, DDUUC is planning to “haunt” the Bordentown Halloween Parade.

On Sunday, Nov. 3 — DDUUC’s Spirit Circle will present a service called, “Remembering.” This will be a look at the ancient underpinnings of Halloween with a healthy dose of congregation participation. November’s services are being planned as of this writing.

December: On Sunday, Dec. 1 – DDUUC will celebrate Chalica, the uniquely Unitarian Universalist winter festival. Watch this space for more information about services and events.

Nov. 15 service

Chris Sturgis is doing this week’s service on Henry David Thoreau who penned the beautiful words, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Upcoming services

Nov. 8 Rev. Larry Smith The Democratic Process: Though tired of our four-year national obsession, it is important to reflect on how this relates to our faith. Why are UUs so taken with Democracy?

Nov. 15 Christina Sturgis In his book On Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau said, “Simplify!” but I suspect it is a little more complicated.

Nov. 19 7 p.m. DDUUC hosted its first-ever Interfaith Dialog over Zoom. Warren Spengler coordinates this event. DDUUC thanks all the presenters and participants for a very enlightening session.

Nov. 22 Gail Costanza Martyrs: When we think of martyrs, we think of people like Joan of Arc and Socrates. Who are our Unitarian Universalist martyrs?

Nov. 25 is the deadline for submitting articles to DDUUC’s monthly newsletter, The Pulse.

Nov. 29 Joan Spengler Gratitude / Schmatitude: We have so much to be grateful for, but there is still a lot of work to do.

Upcoming services

Oct. 11 Rev. Larry Smith will give the sermon: A Few Lessons from the Trees.

Oct 18 Rev. Flo Gelo will give the sermon: A Cheerful Faith, a look at what comes First, a Healthy Outlook or a Buoyant Faith.

Oct. 25 Joan Spengler will present: Our Annual Day of Remembering. Please have paper and a pen or pencil handy.

Nov. 1 Join us on Zoom for a discussion as is planned for the first Sunday of each month now that Covid-19 has DDUUC on a bare bones budget. Think of it as starting with Coffee Hour.

Our services are on Zoom on Sundays at 10 a.m. Click HERE to join us.

To join using the codes, they are: 819-313-1486 and password uuchurch

Caution!

A donor to DDUUC has had a negative experience with the PayPal button on the Give to DDUUC page. She intended to send $20 but somehow it registered as $2,400. An examination of this mechanism has shown other large amounts beside the shopping cart icon, but the user was able to cancel the transaction and start over and successfully send $20. The situation is being reviewed, thank you for your patience.