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October 14, 2016
Latest News
Safety Concern
200th Bicentennial: Poster
Nicaragua Cultural Exchange Pot Luck
Upcoming Sundays for Children
Get Your Fair Trade Chocolates
New UU Class Oct 15th
Early American Organ Music: Gentlemen Amateurs, Immigrant Professionals, and Ornery Yankees
RJTF Meeting
Discussion: White Privilege
Safety News: Second Lockdown Drill
Lockdown Drill Tips & Info for Children & Parents
"Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going." - Mary Oliver

Breath of Fresh Air

 A new newsletter from
RE for UU families!
Upcoming Services
October 16-"When Silence Speaks"
9:00 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. 
Preacher: Rev. Mara

Other Worship Leaders: Andre Mol, Ministerial Intern; Kristin Kany, Worship Associate; Martha Dallas, Director of Religious Education
Music: Matt Wright (9 and 11); Adult Choir (11 only)

*A brief lockdown exercise will take place during both services (see related eNews article for more info.)
Silence is at the center of many ancient spiritual practices, and modern science tells us its good for our brains. In silence, we can listen for the still, small, voice of inner wisdom and guidance, which is often difficult to hear in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Drawing from her own early experience with Quakerism, Rev. Mara's sermon will help us explore this practice and its potential power.

Important Dates
October 15
9:00 a.m.
New UU Class

200th Bicentennial Meeting House Tours (public welcome)

Cider and donuts and volunteers will provide historic information in period costume!

October 16 
**Lockdown Drill**

12:15- Meeting House Tours (Congregation Members Only)

Meet in vestibule by 12:15.

5:00 -7:00
Nicaragua Cultural Exchange Potluck-Community Room

October 20
RJTF Meeting
5:00 to 6:30 in the Parlors.

November 10
Writing With Spirit begins!

2nd and 4th Thursdays, starting Oct 27th, 6 - 7:30 PM


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In Case You Missed It
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Dear First UU Friends,

As I go about the course of my ministerial week, you are always in my heart and on my mind--but especially so this one, as our north-central Vermont community mourns the teens who died in last weekend's car accident on 89. As we grieve this terrible tragedy, I know our hearts go out to the families who have each suffered an unspeakable loss, and the entire the Waterbury community, whose heart has been broken. I also hold in the light anyone in our own community who feels especially close to this tragedy. Moments like this recall us all to the fragility of human life, and I hold that truth gently, along with prayers for those affected. 

It has also been an astonishing and anguishing week in our American public life, hasn't it? This election season, and the racism, xenophobia, ableism and misogyny it has exposed, enabled, and increased is at once heartbreaking, outrageous and frightening. Many of us feel, as Michelle Obama described herself yesterday, "shaken to [our] core." 

On a pastoral level, I am deeply aware that this public conversation about sexual assault and the egregious treatment of women by a presidential candidate affects all of us and may be especially triggering for survivors in our community. If you are feeling particularly tender this week, know that I am holding you in the light, and that your UU community is here for you. Please be in touch if you are feeling in need of pastoral care and we can figure out how to best support you ( or 802-862-5630 x 24).

As the volume of this campaign season increases, we will gather Sunday, a bit paradoxically and also, I think, serendipitously, to consider the value of silence and stillness in our spiritual lives. Continuing with our theme of "Deep Listening," we'll explore how and why we might listen to "the still small voice" inside each of us. We'll have special music, too! Our own Matt Wright, with his friend Steve Blair on guitar, will serenade us with some Simon and Garfunkel (can you guess what it might be?). 

Also this Sunday, as part of implementing our congregation-wide Safety Policies, we will be engaging in a Meeting House Lockdown Drill. Some of you may remember we planned to do this in May, but had to postpone it due to illness. While kids and RE teachers are running the drill in their classrooms, in the sanctuary I'll be briefly talking us through our lockdown procedures, then we will observe silence for the remainder of the drill. Parents who prefer to be with their kids during the drill are welcome to do so, and return to the sanctuary later in the service, and the labyrinth and lawns will be available for anyone who prefers to take a short break during the exercise for self-care purposes. Staff and safety team folk will be available both in the Sanctuary and Community Room after each service if you have any questions. And Andre Mol, our ministerial intern, will likewise be in the Sanctuary after the service to offer a pastoral presence and listening ear to anyone needing it. 

This week, alongside the heartbreaking and distressing news, I have been taking heart from many examples of courageous witness-among them Dakota Pipeline solidarity protesters and so many women and girls speaking out publicly about their experiences - as well as everyday acts of kindness and moments of beauty. In times such as these, it is critical that we find ways to feed our spirits, to remember our own inherent worth and dignity, and to connect with the source of life and love.

Until we meet again, I am sending you love, light, and "deep peace of the running wave."

Rev. Mara

p.s. Due to varied tugs on my ministerial time, we have been trying out running eNews without my "Dear Ones" introduction - at least not on a weekly basis. "Dear Ones" started a couple years ago, and was based on a similar weekly communication I discovered at Middle Collegiate Church, a vibrant multicultural faith community, whose annual justice conference a handful of First UU folks have attended and whose Senior Minister, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, has led many workshops for UU ministers. Our approach this year is to run it intermittently (though we welcome your feedback if you've been missing its weekly appearance). 

Safety Concern
by Bob Furrer

I've noticed on many Sunday mornings the potential for traffic accidents on our grounds involving both vehicles and pedestrians. I've especially noticed the potential for accidents just prior to the start of worship services due to the high volume of vehicles and pedestrians navigating our parking lot and drives at that time.

Though I fully understand the rush to be in the Meeting House prior to the start of the service, I plead with you to please slow down and use caution while driving or walking. Please don't assume that pedestrians will always be attentive to vehicles, or that those driving vehicles will be attentive to pedestrians. We are a diverse demographic in numerous ways, and attention spans vary from individual to individual. Please let's strive to be a safe and welcoming congregation in every way!

Many, many thanks!!

200th Bicentennial: Poster 

Our 200th Bicentennial Poster listing celebration events, including the rededication of our Meeting House, is now available to view! 

Click here to view the poster and save the dates! 
Nicaragua Cultural Exchange Pot Luck - SUNDAY OCT 16, 5-7pm
by Pam Laser

Interested in:
  • Social Justice? 
  • Travelling to Nicaragua on a community-based volunteer trip?  
  • Meeting other UUs? 
Join UU friends to welcome Nicaraguans to Burlington with a Cultural-Exchange Pot Luck and Community Festival at First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington.  
Come learn about a 2018 Youth/Family/Multi-generational service-learning opportunity in Nicaragua via Planting Hope, the Montpelier non-profit providing education and community-based learning and cultural exchange in the central mountains of Nicaragua.    Share food, music, dance and community with six Nicaraguan staff-members visiting Vermont this fall in a Nicaragua to Vermont Cultural Arts and Education Exchange.   Learn about their work to improve Nicaragua's education system and the cultural immersion, service opportunities they coordinate with U.S. volunteers.   Hear from Burlington and Montpelier UUs about their experiences on Planting Hope community-based volunteer trips.
When:  Sunday, October 16,  5:00-7:00pm
Where:  UU Burlington Community Room
Who:  Anyone interested in learning about Planting Hope and a UU service-learning trip to Nicaragua.
How:  RSVPs helpful for food planning purposes:  email or call 802-324-2091.  

All ages welcome! Potluck side dishes appreciated

Upcoming Sundays for Children
by Martha Dallas 

Oct 16 at 9 & 11 AM... Classroom Sunday
Oct 23 at 9 & 11 AM... Classroom Sunday
Oct 30 at 9 & 11 AM... Multigen Worship
Nov 6 at 9 & 11... Classroom Sunday 
Get Your Fair Trade Chocolates in Time for Halloween! Oct. 16 & Oct. 23
by Cheryl Herrick

As part of their fund raising for their trip to Boston to explore the roots of Unitarian-Universalism in spring 2017, the 6th grade RE class is selling delicious Equal Exchange fair trade chocolates on Sunday 10/16 and Sunday 10/23 following both services.  Look for our families in the parlor and in the community room, selling bags of 25 mini-chocolates for $7 each.  (Where does your chocolate come from? Click here for a great infographic!)
New UU Class Oct 15th
by Nina Buss

Would you like to learn more about Unitarian Universalism?  Find out more about our own Burlington UU Congregation?  Meet other newcomers?  If so, please sign up for the New UU Class!  The class will be held October 15th from 9am -12:30 here at the Meeting House.  There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board outside the parlor or you may e-mail Nina Dahlstedt Buss at
"Early American Organ Music: Gentlemen Amateurs, Immigrant Professionals, and Ornery Yankees."

Wayne Schneider, organist at the First Unitarian Universalist Society in Burlington, will present an organ concert on Sunday, 23 October 2016, 2 p. m., at the First UU Society
Church. The program, entitled "Early American Organ Music: Gentlemen Amateurs, Immigrant Professionals, and Ornery Yankees" will feature music by William Selby,Lucien Southard, Oliver Shaw, Manuel Emilio, Samuel Whitney, Thomas Ryder, and John Zundel. The First UU Choir, conducted by Jennifer Carpenter, will assist with performances of music by Justin Morgan and William Billings. The concert is part of a
bicentennial celebration of the dedication of the 1816 Meeting House at the top of Church Street in Burlington.

Mr. Schneider is an Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Vermont, where he teaches music history. He studied organ with Yuko Hayashi, Lewis Zayre, Everett J.
Hilty, and Miriam Aurand.
RJTF Meeting 
by Zoe Hart

The Racial Justice Task Force will meet next Thursday 10/20 from 5:00 to 6:30 in the Parlors. We'll be finalizing plans for our White Privilege event, discussing our process for identifying the work we want to do/impact we want to have, and exploring our relationship to the Black Lives Matter movement.
RJTF Presents: "Discussion: White Privilege"
by Zoe Hart

As a follow on to our White Fragility discussion this summer, on Sunday, October 23 the Racial Justice Task Force will host the second of our discussion series, this one on the topic ofWhite Privilege. We've identified a set of articles and videos for participants to read/view in advance and some questions to think about and to spark discussion. The discussion will take place after each service at 10:15 and 11:15.

The following articles and videos were selected by the FUUSB Racial Justice Task Force. We encourage all participants to read the Peggy McIntosh article,  White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. 

If you want to go a little further, you can also read the Lori Larkin article and view one or both of the videos. Members of the Racial Justice Task Force will be in the parlors on 10/9 and 10/16 and will have printed copies of the articles for those who would prefer that to the online versions.  

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
by Peggy McIntosh

This piece by a white woman discovering her own privilege remains a seminal work on the topic of White Privilege and is no less relevant today than when it was written in 1989.

What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege
by Lori Larkin

This article provides a powerful look at White Privilege from the perspective of a black woman who has experienced the lack of that privilege.

White Boy Privilege
This short video (under 5 minutes in length) provides a moving look at White Privilege from a 14-year old boy.  

A Trip to the Grocery Store
Rather than providing general look at White Privilege, this short video (also under 5 minutes) looks at an example of using privilege "to educate and make right a situation that was wrong".

Questions to think about for discussion:

1. What "white privilege" have you experienced or benefitted from in your life?
2. What "white privilege" would you be willing to give up to help "level the playing field", or to make recompense?
3. Can you think of ways you could use your privilege to help "level the playing field"?

Safety News: Second Lockdown Drill Sunday, October 16
by Martha Dallas

During the past two years, the FUUSB Facilities Manager, Bob Furrer, and Safety Team (Rev. Mara, Martha Dallas (Director of Religious Education), Suzy Comerford and Becca Grimm) have done substantial work to prepare for a lockdown situation prompted by an emergency at, or in the area of, the Meetinghouse. In January, we ran a partial drill encompassing our RE classes.

On Sunday, October 16, we will hold our second drill during our Sunday morning programming, this time involving the whole Meetinghouse. About half-way through the hour during each service, there will be a message broadcast throughout the Meetinghouse advising that a lockdown has been initiated. Simultaneously, blue lights will flash in the Sanctuary, Community, Whitney Young and Susan B. Anthony Rooms.

In the Sanctuary, since this is our first run, we will do a "talk-through" version of the drill, which we expect to take about ten minutes. All present in the Sanctuary and Parlors should remain quiet, still and in place, as described in our lockdown procedures. Reverend Mara will speak from the pulpit about the drill, explaining our procedures for emergencies in and out of the sanctuary. While there will not be time to ask questions during the drill itself, after each service, FUUSB staff and Safety Team members, as well as a member of the Burlington Police Department, will be in the Sanctuary for an informal Q&A time. BPD officers will be present for the drills to observe and be able to offer suggestions for improvements in the future.

For RE stewards, Martha Dallas, our Director of Religious Education, will provide training to stewards at 8:30 and at 10:30 on both Oct. 9 and 16. This will involve a brief walk-through, and a time for questions.

Children will be guided by RE stewards to conduct the drill in their classrooms. They will follow our lockdown response procedures, including drawing shades, turning out lights, locking the door, and sitting quietly on the floor until it is announced that the drill is over. Parents who wish to be with their children during the drill are welcome to do so, but should plan to join the group when it leaves the Sanctuary at the usual time. Once the drill has begun, we ask parents in the Sanctuary to remain there and reunite with their children at the close of worship as usual, as our procedures outline should happen in the event of an actual lockdown.

At the completion of the drill, the blue lights will be turned off and there will be a second message broadcast throughout the Meetinghouse advising that the drill has been completed. Though these drills will certainly cause a brief, though emphatic, interruption in the normal flow of worship and RE programming, we ask for your understanding of, and attentiveness to, proceedings involving the drill. While we know this type of drill may seem strange and even scary to some adults, school children are quite familiar with them. We believe that conducting them is an important part of our First UU safety practice. At the same time, we understand that the drills may be especially challenging or triggering for some of us, based on personal history or experience. Accordingly, we will have a few designated folks on hand in the Sanctuary after each service/RE hour should you find yourself in need of a pastoral listening ear. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Bob Furrer, our Facilities Manager ( For questions specifically about children during the drill, contact Martha Dallas (

Oct 16 Lockdown Drill Tips & Info for Children & Parents
by Martha Dallas

General information about lockdown protocol is found elsewhere in this eNews. Some specifics that affect children and parents: 

There will be written and verbal announcements about the drill in the sanctuary on Oct. 16

Children will be sung from the sanctuary to go to their classes. Parents who wish to be with children during the drill need to accompany them at that time. Otherwise, parents should stay in the sanctuary. 

For the drill, the classes will follow the protocol with teacher guidance. The drill will last 5-10 minutes, after which time classes will return to scheduled activities. 

Talking points for children:
Sometimes there may be an emergency, such as an ill or injured wild animal - or a person - who is not behaving right, on church property.

We are practicing how we need to be so that the helpers can best do their work to help right the situation. 

Any questions or concerns about our lockdown drills as they pertain to children and youth, please contact Martha Dallas ( or Safety Team members Suzy Comerford-Joyce ( or Becka Grimm (