Celebrating Life,
Empowering People,
Caring for One Another,
Helping to Build a Better World
UUCSR Newsletter
December 2023
In This Issue
Click “View Entire Message” if Sections Are Missing
  • Services in December
  • Message from Your Minister
  • Message from Your Board President
  • Message from Your Treasurer
  • Religious Education
  • News from Lay Chaplains
  • From Stewardship
  • Taize
  • CUUPs
  • Adult Education
  • Circle Dinners
  • Social Groups & Events
  • Committees & Working Groups
  • Soul Matters
  • Share the Basket Collection
  • Calendar of Events
  • Glaser Center
  • UUCSR Covid Policy updated 2/2023
Please Consider Visiting the
Thank You for Your Support!
Services in December: "Mystery"

Sundays, 10:30-11:45 am PST
Festival of Lights: The Various Celebrations of the Season
December 3rd
As Unitarian Universalists, we embrace the diversity of traditions that grace this time of year, recognizing the beauty in the tapestry of beliefs that weave us together. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or find solace in the quiet reflection of winter's embrace, our collective spirit radiates a message of love, compassion, and unity. As we embark on this journey through the holiday season, may our hearts be open to the shared humanity that unites us, and may the light of understanding guide us through these days of celebration and reflection. We invite you to join us as we share with you about these holiday beliefs.

Stay for the Cake Auction!

Service Leader: Rev Dave Clements
Worship Associates: Mark Sowers
Music: Gage Purdy & Ron Hennessey
Pianist: Louise Bettner
The Basket: Our Own Saturday Breakfast for Our Neighbors

Embracing the Mystery and Joy: A spiritual Exploration of the Holiday Season
December 10th
The holiday season unfolds as a rich mosaic of mystery and joy. Let's approach this season with open hearts and minds, celebrating the diversity of beliefs and practices that are woven together in our community. You are invited to embark on a spiritual exploration, delving into the mystery that surrounds this time of year, and to discover the joy that lies within it.
Service Leader: Rev Dave Clements
Worship Associate: Susan Thollaug & Joe Gabaeff
Music: Gage Purdy & The Choir
Pianist: Roger Corman
Share The Basket: World Central Kitchen

Stories of Light & Magic
December 17th
Come join us for our annual children's holiday celebration! During these cold and rainy months, there always seems to be a bit of extra magic in the air. Where does this magic come from, and what does it mean? This Sunday, we turn to stories, hearing and telling them together as we explore what makes this time of year so special.

Worship Leader: Era Capone
Worship Associate: Cathie Wiese
Music: Gage Purdy & The Choir
Pianist: Roger Corman
The Basket is highlighting : Our Own Religious Education
Winter Solstice
6:30PM Service & 5:30PM Potluck
December 22nd
Since ancient time people all over the world have recognized the important astronomical
occurrence called Winter Solstice. Earliest humans must have watched with fear, the apparent death of the light and the danger that meant. But from that fear, in the darkest hour, came hope. Please join CUUPS as we welcome Yule’s return of light with story, song, ritual and meditation. Join us for this special evening to honor the darkest night and find our way back to hope for our future. Potluck dinner before the service, desserts after.

Service Leaders: Rev Dave Clements & CUUPs
Music: Crystal McDougall-Purdy & Mark Green

Intimate Christmas Celebration: Embracing Joy and Inclusion
December 24th 10:30 AM Service
Join us for a heartwarming and inclusive Christmas Eve Day service led by me, your Interim Minister. The service will be an intimate affair, fostering a sense of connection and warmth as we reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Whether you've been part of our congregation for years or are joining us for the first time, all are welcome to share in the joy of this special Christmas Eve Day gathering. Come as you are, and let's celebrate the season together with love, understanding, and a commitment to building a more inclusive community. No RE on Christmas Eve.
(Please note: there is also a PM service)

Service Leader: Rev Dave Clements
Share the Basket: The Minister's Discretionary Fund
Holding the Light: A Christmas Eve Expression of Hope, Unity, and Shared Blessings.
December 24th
Evening Service~ 5pm Potluck ~ 6:30pm Service
On Christmas Eve, we gather to celebrate the birth and tonight to celebrate the common threads that weave us into the fabric of humanity. Christmas is more than a Season, its a invitation to embrace the light within and around us. I invite you to embrace tonight not just the glow of festive decorations but to be open to the light of understanding, compassion and love that transcends boundaries. It is that light that guides us through the darkness, reminding us that even in the most challenging times, we are not alone..

Service Leader: Rev Dave Clements
Worship Associate: Veronica Jordan
Music: Gage Purdy & the Choir
Pianist: Roger Corman
Share the Basket: The Minister's Discretionary Fund
Celebrating the Old, Looking Forward to the New; in The Middle of Things
December 31st
In the frantic rush of modern life, we claw our way from one milestone to the next, often forgetting that it is in the journey that we spend most of our time. It isn’t as if the area of our travels is empty, we know logically that something is there. What is in that silence, that sacred space, that middle of things? What is this space and what could it mean for our lives if we give that space room to breathe and inform other areas of our lives?

Melinda McGucken, MA, MBA, is a fourth-year UU seminarian and Candidate to the UU Ministry. She currently serves as a Youth Ministry Coordinator, teaching the Coming of Age program and OWL.

Service Leader: Rev Melinda McGucken
Worship Associate: Eric Fischer
Music: Sally Jones
Pianist: Roger Corman
Share the Basket: YWCA Confidential Safe House
From the Minister's Desk
Reverend Dave Clements
Wishing You Joyful Celebrations and Peaceful Reflections

Dear Members and Friends of UUCSR,

As we approach the holiday season, I am filled with gratitude for this past year and the warmth and unity that you have shown to me and my partner. I have always loved this time of year and the opportunity to bask in the joy of the moment, savor the reflection of the season, and celebrate with our friends and families.

Here at UUCSR may the spirit of love and compassion guide each of you as you celebrate this season. In the midst of your festivities may you remember to embrace the true essence of this season – the joy of giving, the warmth of community and the profound sense of gratitude for the blessings you have. I invite you to look for ways to make a positive impact in the lives of those around you. May you embody the principles of kindness and generosity and may the light of hope shine brightly in your hearts, illuminating the path toward a brighter and more harmonious future.

As you gather with friends and families may that love that you share continue to strengthen and uplift you. Let this Holiday season be a time of renewal, inspiration, and the creation of lasting memories with your loved ones. I invite you to join us on Sunday the 24th. We will be holding a service at 10:30 am which will be a quiet time for reflection, or join us at 6:30pm for our traditional Christmas Eve service. A potluck is being organized for 5pm which all are invited to participate in.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season filled with love, laughter, and moments of profound reflection. May the coming year bring you peace, prosperity, and abundant blessings.

With warmest regards,
Rev. Dave
President's Message
Leslie Norinsky
My, are we busy these days! So many events are happening at UUCSR that it is difficult to keep up! It’s a regular smorgasbord!

The board has been pretty busy. As you know, we had our Town Hall on November 5th. It was actually fun (at least that’s what I was told)! And the board has more work to do because of the input and feedback we received from the group discussions. One thing that was requested was for the timeline and process that will take place to call a settled minister. In January, the President (that’s me) calls the Transitions Office at UUA in Boston to let them know that we are on the list to call a Minister. They actually already know, but I have to make it official. There will be discussion in our congregation involving the characteristics we would like to see in a new minister. UUCSR members will be asked to submit the names of other members that they would like to see on the Selection Committee. That Committee will have lots of work to do, including involving the Congregation in further discussions with the membership as we continue to define who we are and would like to be. It is a democratic process. The Committee will start this work early in the summer of 2024. They will also review the Minister Candidates, watch sermons, and interact with Minister Candidates. In the end, which will take around three quarters of a year, they will select one candidate who will be presented to the Congregation for a vote. It is a lengthy process, and I suspect there will be challenges along the way. Ministers are looking at several other Congregations, and (of course!), all will want to be here in Santa Rosa in this amazing spiritual community! Our new Minister will arrive in July or August of 2025.

We’ve had our share of difficult moments in these last several years, and many of us have been working hard to overcome the PTSD of three years of fires, a year or more of almost total isolation, the difficult leaving of two Ministers, and general loss or crisis in our private lives. It is almost hard to think about, hard to write those words, because it brings up so much pain. Yet, we have to continue to put one foot in front of the other, to keep going. Because things are so troubling in the world right now, we need one another, and we have one another. And it is necessary to remember that we are all imperfect human beings. I am clearer now than I have ever been, that I want to act intentionally with love, not hate. And as a board, we all aim to lead with love. That’s the spiritual part.

It has taken a long time to get to the point where we are able to look forward to selecting a new Minister to help guide us, always working in democracy and with love.

Message from the Treasurer
Jan Hess

Pledges are higher at $2200 over budget for October. This is an improvement over last month but still under budget by $17K for the period to date (July-Oct.). This improvement was expected and usual for this time of year. They are projected to increase as the FY continues and large pledges come in.

Donations are still under budget for year-to-date but expected to increase with Giving Tuesday and Holiday Appeal.

Glaser Center, our other major source of income, was $4600 over budget cumulate YTD but booked events are down for the rest of the FY. Fixed costs are low so the bottom line may be close to OK. The GC Committee is working on improving social media presence and website sizzle and trying to find some new members.

Available cash – Liquid assets continue to increase for YTD and if this continues, we will move closer to our guidelines. We are OK on available cash to cover our expenses.

Expenses are lower as employee expenses are down $6500 and other expenditures are $8800 under budget, for a total of $15K below budget to date. Some expenditures have not kicked in yet, such as increased winter utility costs.

Net Income – Many of us are optimistic that with the pending fundraisers and work on GC, we will break even for the FY. Net Income is $8K under budget.
To continue increasing revenue, UU Members are needed to volunteer to help with GC work and fundraising.

Thanks to various members who assisted with gathering information for this report.
Questions can be sent to Jan Hess, Treasurer
Religious Education
Era Capone
Hello all,

The holidays are here, and we'll be celebrating in RE with our Children and Youth Cake Auction and Holiday Pageant! After Christmas, RE will be on a bit of break as our families and staff take some time to enjoy the holidays, but we'll be returning in full force on January 7th. 2024 has lots in store for UUCSR's kids and families, and I am so excited to be jumping into it with all of you!

Feel free to email me with any questions about upcoming programs, our calendar, or special events. There's a little something for everyone in RE, and we can't wait for you to join us!

In love and gratitude,
On Sunday December 3rd, children and youth are invited to join us for the return of our cake auction!

"Blank" cakes, donated by congregants and families, will be decorated by children and youth during RE that day. After service, cakes will be auctioned off and everyone will get to share in eating these delicious and beautiful creations.

If you would like to donate a cake, frosting, sprinkles, or other edible goodies for the auction, please contact Era at dre@uusantarosa.org.
Sunday, December 3rd - Cake Decorating
This Sunday, the kids of RE are decorating cakes for our cake auction! Donated cakes will be decorated by children during RE. After service, cakes will be auctioned off and shared!

Sunday, December 10th - Holiday Preparation & Decorations
This Sunday, the kids of RE are preparing for next week's insta-pageant! They'll be singing Feliz Navidad and Oh Christmas Tree with Mac Freeman, and making props and decorations to adorn the sanctuary the following Sunday.

Sunday, December 17th - Children's Holiday Service
This Sunday, the kids of RE are invited to join us in the sanctuary to help us put on service! While we won't be doing a traditional pageant like years past, we will certainly need help from kids to sing songs and tell stories with this year's insta-pageant!

Sunday, December 24th - No RE (Christmas Eve)
This Sunday, children are invited to join us for our evening service at 6:30pm. Kids will get the chance to sing songs practiced earlier in the month and be a part of this extra special Christmas Eve service.

Sunday, December 31st - No RE (New Years' Eve)
No RE this Sunday as we take time off to observe the new year. RE will return on January 7th!
Upcoming Programs & Events
Youth Group
Thursday, December 7th, 6:00-7:30 pm

Anime and Game Night (Zoom)
Thursday, December 14th, 7:00-8:30 pm
Dungeons & Dragons
Sunday, December 10th, 12:00-3:00 pm
News From The Lay Chaplains
January 7, 2024, Milestones Service

Please mark your calendars for the January 7th Milestone’s Sunday Service. There will be readings, music and ritual to help each of us let go of what no longer serves us in the New Year and to focus on what we would like to bring into our lives in the year ahead. 
The service is brought to you by the Lay Chaplains and Worship Associates and we hope you will join us in this meaningful experience.

From Stewardship

It’s the holiday season! No doubt you are getting all kinds of appeals from non-profits to support their important work. UUCSR joins the list with one exception: our mission is rooted in your spiritual life. From now until the end of the year, we invite you to make a special contribution to our Holiday Appeal. This gift is in addition to your generous pledges.

Your extra year-end tax-deductible contribution will help us offer a place to renew the spirit, lift our hearts in music, teach our kids UU values and knowledge, and continue to strengthen and sustain our beloved community.

All of us are appreciative of your support. Your donation will make our community better. Right here. Right now. Thank you so much for your help. Wishing you warmth and light this holiday season.

To give online click on the Give Now button on the website (under “Fund” please select “Holiday Appeal 2023”). Or send a check to UUCSR, 547 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa 95401 (please be sure to put “Holiday Appeal 2023” in the memo line).

Rev. Dave and your UUCSR Stewardship Team

Taize at UUCSR

The first Thursday of every month from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. UUCSR offers an hour-long contemplative service in the spirit of the French monastic Taize tradition. Each service begins as one enters the quiet candlelit sanctuary with Tibetan chanting in the background. After an opening reading, we alternate between short periods of silent meditation and Gage Purdy singing hymns and chants. During the service everyone has the opportunity to light a candle to mark a joy, or sorrow. The service ends with a benediction.

UUCSR’s Taize services are non-denominational, free of charge and open to the entire Sonoma County community. Coming service will be on Thursday December 7th. For questions, please contact Judy Withee at jlwpia@sonic.net.

Join us for an island of tranquility in a challenging world.
From CUUPs Winter Solstice
by Cris Frick

(click on flyer to view information about the Solstice Service)
The December Solstice is used by astronomers and scientists to mark the start of winter, but the Celts used Samhain as that marker. Solstice was the time when the sun appeared to stop moving. The modern Irish word for solstice is grianstad, meaning sun stop.

Our more modern word for this is Yule, which may be related to the Old Norse word jol, a time of feasting that was possibly at the full moon in the month following the solstice. Many modern winter traditions seem to have come from the Ancient Celts, such as gift giving, spending time with loved ones, using holly and mistletoe for decoration.

The Ancient Celts had Neolithic monuments that marked this solstice event, such as Newgrange. The sunrise on the morning of the solstice aligned with these monuments, giving a living experience of the stopping of the sun in its movement across the sky. The dark nights would now grow shorter, and the sunlight longer, important for survival in ancient times.

The fire festival, Alban Arthan, was celebrated by the Ancient Celts at the solstice, to mark the shortest day, and the return of the sun. As you light your candles or put a fire in the fireplace at Christmas, or use garlands of holly, or hang mistletoe, remember the Druids, who likely were the originators of these traditions

From Adult Education
The Adult Education Committee offers a wide variety of courses and programs in such areas as film, science, current social and political issues, skill development, personal growth, and forms of religious understanding. We always welcome suggestions from anyone who would like to present or participate in a program. Our members are Steve Sweaney (chair), Nadene Carroll, Carol Daeley, Linda Lambert, and Clare Whitfield.

Detective Fiction and Religion
Carol Daeley
Four Fall Sessions, Four Spring Sessions
Last Fall Session Wednesday December 6
Board Room, 2-3:30

We will discuss three novels in the fall and four in spring 2024. Religions central to the selected novels include various forms of Christianity, Islam, Navajo, Hopi, Crow, and Cheyenne religions, and Shinto. The novel to be discussed on December 6 is Deborah Crombie’s A Finer End.

If you would like to be on the course mailing list for the spring, email Carol at cdaeley@austincollege.edu
Carol Daeley is a Congregation member and a retired professor of literature, though professors of literature never actually retire. She developed several kinds of courses in detective fiction because she wanted, once in a while, to talk in the classroom about literature that students read when nobody made them do it. Presenting this material is even more fun through Adult Education, because there are no tests or papers to grade.

UUCSR Circle Dinners
Are Coming Back!
A beloved UUCSR tradition laid low by the pandemic is ready to rise again this spring.
Organizers: Sandy Brewer scbrewer@sonic.net and Cathie Wiese cathie@sonic.net

WHAT are Circle Dinners??? Circle Dinners are informal social gatherings over a pot-luck meal. They are opportunities to enjoy getting to know folks you might never have met otherwise. As participants, we have had some wonderful times visiting other members' homes (large and small---it doesn't matter!) and always look forward to great food and conversation.

HOW do they work??? Members and Friends (interested in membership) of UUCSR let the Circle Dinner organizers know they want to be on the list. We then take all the names and shuffle them into groups of 7 or 8 (singles and couples) which becomes a "Circle Dinner Group" for the 4 months of the Circle Dinner period.

WHEN? In the February Newsletter we will post the Spring Circle Dinner Lists. The groups then contact each other, decide on a date, time and place to gather and who will bring what. The rest takes care of itself! Before the fun is over, the group decides the who, what , where and when for the next month's gathering. You don't need dinner service for 8, a family sized dining room, linen napkins, or even a room with a view! All you need is an enjoyment of meeting new friends, connecting with old friends, and the love of a good meal and conversation. Some groups meet for lunch and some even decide to meet at a restaurant.

WHERE? We will be taking sign ups in THE SOCIAL HALL. Look for the sign up table. Also we will do sign-ups via email. We will need your name and phone number to post on the list so that your Circle can connect!

Watch for more information in the weekly Newsblasts. Sign ups will begin Sunday, January 7th through Sunday, January 21.
Social and Spiritual Groups Ongoing
In this month's newsletter:
  • Adult Education
  • Book Group
  • Women's Group
  • Men's Groups
  • Older and Bolder Women's Group
  • Caring Connections Committee
  • Lay Chaplains
  • Grief Group
Committees &
Working Groups
In this month's newsletter:
  • Volunteer Stewardship Opportunities
  • Human Resources
  • Membership Committee
  • Ushers & Greeters
  • Caring Connections Committee
  • Flower Committee
  • Lending Library
  • Aesthetics Committee
  • Saturday Breakfast
  • Memorial Committee-TBD
Soul Matters: 

Soul Matter's September theme is The Gift of Mystery
(Click on the photo for more information)

Soul Matters is a deeper spiritual version of Small Group Ministries where we meet monthly or twice monthly in small groups to dive into our own spirituality and get to know each other in a more personal sharing.
Groups with Openings:
  • Zoom group, on the 4th Wednesday, 6:30 pm. Our members are Jan Ogren, Mary Wolfe, and Heather Smith. Contact Heather: heatherhsmith69@gmail.com. 
  •  Zoom group from 4:30pm on the third Wednesday of each month Facilitator is Louise Bettner: smallgroupministry@uusantarosa.org
Katie Trieller: ktrieller@icloud.com 707-329-5083. 707-291-2666.
Share the Basket Donations:
"To the work of creating beloved community within and beyond our walls, we dedicate these offerings and ourselves"

Share the Basket offerings from Sundays and direct Donations for the month of October 2023

  • Religious Education: $ 284.54
  • Jewish Free Clinic: $ 353.00
  • Project Avary: $ 155.00
  • North Bay Jobs with Justice: $ 254.00
  • Saturday Breakfast Share: $ 244.50
  • Saturday Breakfast Direct Giving: $ 507.00

To make a suggestion for a non-profit for our Share the Basket, please contact Mary Louise Jaffray; email mljaffray@jaffray.us or 707 695-9348.
UUCSR Event Calendar
Check Out the Calendar for Important Event Dates and watch for the weekly Newsblast for upcoming dates.

Glaser Center

Are you a proficient social media user? Do you like working on creative projects? Are you interested in helping us grow our rental business with your creative ideas to help sustain our beloved community? Do you want to help but not join another committee?  

If so, the Glaser Center Committee could really use your help on a temporary basis to help us target some new markets and brainstorm some ideas for attracting new renters. We need help learning how to effectively use social media to advertise our wonderful building. And we need some creative ideas for making our home stand out to renters in various markets. We would like to attract weddings as well as other events to our beautiful venue and need some help jazzing up our glasercenter.com website.  

Rather than manage these areas long-term we would be happy for you to pass your knowledge on to us or others and don’t expect you to continue as a regular committee member. Of course, we would also welcome you as a member of the committee if you desire. Just know that we value your contributions in these areas to help us increase our rental income and don’t expect you to deal with the less creative details of our rental business unless you want to. We don’t anticipate a large or regular time commitment.
Please contact Aphrodite or Linda Balabanian for more info.

From H.A.T.
Do not enter if you have
any COVID symptoms
If you feel you are at higher risk,
wear a high quality mask,
N95 or KN95.
Being current on vaccinations
lowers risk for all.
Respect the choices of others!
Be aware that we continue to have congregants who contract COVID. Please take appropriate precautions, such as masking, based on your personal situation. If you test positive and had any close or prolonged contact with other congregants we encourage you to notify them yourself.
Due to specific medical needs of our staff, we require all visitors to wear effective masks during their interactions with staff or while in the office space.

547 Mendocino Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Phone: (707) 568-5381