What’s Happening in… WORSHIP
Sunday worship this year has had monthly themes from the UUCE Aspirations, created by the Dreamcatchers church-wide process. Past themes have come from our UUA Principles and Sources, from the Children’s Recessional, and from the UUCE Mission.
- Sundays enjoy the support of the Worship Associates who also offer a monthly Reflection.
- The Greeters and Ushers make it all go smoothly
- The Sunday Kitchen Crew!
- Summer services will continue as usual, organized by our Minister or Ministerial Intern and including special guest musicians.
The amazing Music Program has a new director, Camille Lively. Susanne Giordano is our devoted and talented pianist. There are 3 choirs, and some 90 people participate in this high quality Program.
- Each year, there are winter concerts and spring party concerts. Music Sunday presents a major work – last year the Beatitude Mass for the Homeless, and this year the Missa Pro Servetus.
- The Program hires a lead vocalist and assembles talented musicians from the community.
- Guest musicians also come from the congregation, including youth
- A new Interim Music Director will be with us in the new church year: Camille Lively, who also works with the Bach Music Festival as educational and development coordinator.
- The budget is anticipated to be roughly the same this year, since the Program will be just about the same.
The Contemplative Practice program
- Meditation at 5:00pm every Monday in the Chapel.
- Contemplative study & discussion once a month on Thursday.
- Special events like the travelling Tibetan Buddhist monks’ April visit, offering meditation instruction, a butter sculpture and a talk on world peace open to the larger community.
- Weekly meditations were started by Rev. Sydney and this expanded program is coordinated by Deb Huntley.
Passages of life celebrate the turning of the wheel of time, honoring the days of our lives with
- Celebration of Life services, the way we name our memorials for those who have died.
- Baby Dedications welcome new lives in our midst.
- We hold ceremonies which welcome new members and affirm our Pastoral Care Associates and RE teachers.
- We worship together as an intergenerational Religious Education Program at the beginning of every trimester.
- Marriage equality gives us the joy of officiating legally recognized ceremonies for all people.
CUUPS, the Covenant of UU Pagans, is one of the nationally-recognized networks of theologically diverse UUs (like UU Buddhists, UU Christians, UUs for Jewish Awareness and others). Ours
- Celebrates the seasons and the moons, and offers classes
- Offers the yearly Advent Labyrinth Walk
- Visits prisons around the state, leading pagan ritual circles (which also serve Native inmates).
What’s Happening in… CONNECT!
There are 130 kids and youth registered this church year. Director of Religious Education Katy Seipert tends our lifespan faith development, with her assistant Chandra and a host of RE teachers, assistants and event helpers. Energetic goodwilled and generous volunteers in the classrooms make this program dance!
The Religious Education Program for children offers
- Sunday morning classes
- Infant and toddler care
- Coming of Age
- Our Whole Lives
- Youth events and conferences
- Easter Eggstravaganza
- ALL church events offer childcare, to encourage participation. (Do let Katy know ahead!)
- It is anticipated that the budget for 2016/17 will be roughly the same as last year.
Adult Religious Education offers three trimesters of classes. This year they have included
- Arts as Spiritual Practice
- Leadership Development
- The 10 Commandments
- End of Life Planning
- Adult Our Whole Lives (OWL) – sexuality education
Support, Learning and Social Group
- Small Group Ministries, including one in the spring focused on death and dying
- Sister Circles
- Men’s groups
- Morning Doves Birding Group
- Poetry groups and publication
The Pastoral Care Program has two wings:
- Pastoral Care Associates provide companioning and spiritual care. They meet monthly.
- The Kindness folks offer support in the form of cards each week and rides to medical appointments; also providing hospitality at receptions for memorial and other services.
- There is a Pastoral Care training program in April, open to all; it will be held once a year.
And, of course, every Tuesday at 5:30pm there is Touchstone Tuesday Potluck – bring a dish or a kid! This program is facilitated by Lizzy Utterback and Owen Ott who took it on after Susan Verner and Rev. Sydney.
What’s Happening in… OUTREACH
UUCE is known in the community for its involvement in service and justice projects. Here where intersections meet, the vision is upheld: that arc of the universe, though long, bends toward justice. Alphabetically speaking,
- The Conestoga Hut Project a mission to “provide a safe, secure and stable environment for Contestoga Hut residents.” We currently have three residents in the three huts and provide electricity, porta-potties, the tent space and now free laundry facilities in the Riser Room. People are referred through a city-wide St. Vincent DePaul program which vets people and provides them with other services. There are other accomodations for the unhoused at Opportunity Village (tiny houses), safe space city-designated lots, administered by other programs. People in the latter program who live across 13th Street use our water and electricity.Currently, we have had to make sure that there are no other overnighters, since our tolerance for folks who adhere to one of our Residents’ guidance to “Be nice/Be Kind/Leave nothing behind” has been disrespected. UUCE is responsible to provide safe, secure and stable environment not only for Residents, but also the schoolkids next door who should not be harassed or exposed to drugs, alcohol, etc. It is anticipated that after an interval, we assess whether to again try to allow people limited use of the east portico porch.
- Service in Action provides an umbrella group for
~Interweave, the UU GLBTQ support and social group
And cooperative work with
~ UU Voices for Justice, the Oregon-wide coordinated justice project
~That’s My Farmer in Eugene
~CROP Walk against hunger
~Health Care for All
- Whole Church Justice Projects
The desire for whole-church justice endeavors was expressed in the Dreamcatchers process of church-wide conversation. These projects explicitly link environmental and human justice. A Panel receives applications, and recommends them to the Board.
~Earth EqUUity Food Project invites you to events throughout the spring. It is present every Sunday in the South Entry, and is enjoying the dozens of members and young people who are filling out the Passports to keep track of their participation. Anticipate a celebration in May!
~The Sanctuary Project, working with issues involving refugees, immigration and migrants, is on the verge of whole-church affirmation with a program of education and events throughout the spring.
What’s Happening in… ADMINISTRY
Faithful and steady volunteer groups keep communication flowing: the eBulletin/Edit/Calendar Team gathers, orders and disseminates the facts of our church activities every week, as does the Newsletter Team on a monthly basis. The Podcast Crew and Web Team give welcome as they interface with the digital door into the church.
The office has four committed and talented people:
*1/3 time Business Manager Wayne Parker also consults to companies nationally, and is involved with The Raptor Center and Lane County Historical Society. *Office Coordinator Phoebe Gildea is also a professional singer (she performs at the Shedd in May). She receptions, produces orders of service and manages the rental program in 15 hours a week. *Professional bookkeeper Dorna Bauman has re-vamped our financial systems and is here on Tuesdays. *Our new database person Stephanie Dahl begins the first Tuesday of April.* New Lead Custodian Bob Smith, who has run his own cleaning service, is getting oriented with his team of Matt and Patrick.
Updates include: *Our new webpage is up, and updates are in the works* The new database, ICON, a church-specific software is in use (the Corvallis UU Church, independently, decided to use this one as well!) Our use of its capabilities continues to expand. *A keypad system for the doors is being tested and implemented.
The Board of Trustees is living into its three main tasks: setting policy, linking in dialogue with the congregation and monitoring staff. It enjoyed the training from our UUA Moderator, Jim Key, who was happy to meet UUCE and folks from Corvallis and Salem UU congregations and talk about Governance as a Spiritual Practice. (This workshop will be offered again by Revs. Sydney and Jill on April 14th at 6PM.) Board members have attended UU Leadership School and the Intercultural Competency Initiative training.
The Board is excited to be speaking with all the different groups in the congregation over the spring. Ministry Gatherings occurred in the fall and winter and are evolving into sharing, feedback and affirmation events – complete with food and friendship. The next one will be in the late afternoon on April 24th.
An Operations Team of the Minister, Business Manager and Treasurer meet weekly to attempt to keep things flowing smoothly. The Program Staff meets to coordinate weekly – that’s the Directors of Music and RE, the Minister and Ministerial Intern, and the Business Manager.
The folks charged by the congregation to nominate members of the Board and of their own Committee for election at the Annual Meeting are exploring their role as Nominating and Leadership Development.
Board-appointed groups are Membership, Financial Oversight & Review (FOR) and Long Range Planning which is anticipated to be in motion throughout the next church year.
Membership welcomes people into a journey to belonging, and is moving into also tending to folks after they have joined to help them feel welcome and find their involvements. Over 30 people have joined so far this year.
- The Welcome Table
- Two or three times a year New to UU orientation classes
- Monthly meet ‘n greet gatherings to meet newcomers and answer questions
- Pancake Breakfasts
What’s Happening with… STEWARDSHIP
Stewardship describes the care-filled tending of both financial and physical resources.
The physical aspect of stewardship enjoys:
*The Buildings and Grounds group meeting every Tuesday morning for maintenance and finishing projects on the building. *The weekly Gardening crew makes the grounds beautiful every Wednesday morning, rain or shine. *The Landscaping Task Force looks at completing plans for the grounds through long range planning for signage, playground, memorial garden and other aspects. * The Community Art Wall changes monthly, and has brought many people into the building – it could be considered outreach, or connecting – making the point that all our work interweaves. It is part of Aesthetics, addressing the interior of the building. *Music Director Tom Sears, who was invited to dedicate the Community Offertory to the non-profit of his choice, chose UUCE. The April 17th offertory will go for the aesthetic and acoustic project of wood on the front Sanctuary wall. *The Safety Team is organizing and coordinating with others.
Financially speaking *Having underspent the annual budget by thousands of dollars every year for the last 4 years, this year’s budget looks as though it will come in very close to even. * Rentals are going very well, with the income already exceeding the anticipated budget. * * A new FunDraiser Team is emerging with Treasurer Dave DeCou for advance planning for next year. *An immense Rummage Sale is planned for July 16th, so SAVE YOUR STUFF!
What’s Happening with… MINISTERS
It is thought that the presence of a minister adds value to congregational life, and that ministry to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene can be rewarding and joyous.
There have been three periods of time of longer term relationships between UUCE and its ministers:
- The Universalist Church for 12 years – until 1896 (a co-ministry husband and wife team)
- The Unitarian Church in the 1930’s through the Depression
- The UU Church from 1962 to 2006
We are enjoying a period of stability with our Developmental Minister, Rev. Sydney, who will be with us for a fourth year. The Developmental Ministry Program offers a relationship of anywhere from 3 to 5 years (renewed annually) with an option to Call – that is, for the congregation to vote and issue a Call to that person to serve as their settled and permanent minister.
Our Ministerial Intern, Kimberly Wootan, has been a blessing to the congregation and has appreciated the work of UUCE as a Teaching Church.
A new Intern will be joining us in September of 2016.