Garden News — November 2023

Fall is upon us and the garden committee is working to close down for the season.

We had a very successful season this year with a bountiful harvest of strawberries, garlic, snap peas, kale, arugula, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a final fall harvest of 18 pounds of peppers.

Many thanks to Mary and Sam who were instrumental in the success of the garden, sharing the work and keeping everything organized.

The last planting of the season is garlic; the cloves were put in the ground in late October. We will soon be collecting seeds from the Hyacinth beans and saving them for planting again next year.

Our next project is to trim down the garden rows, cover them with garden fabric and top it all off with a thick layer of mulch. This will help to keep the rows neat and will not have to weedwhack so often.

If interested in helping in our UUFP gardens, please contact Kay. She will gladly put you to work!

Thank you, the UUFP Garden Committee

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Goddess Gatherings:

All women in mind, body, and spirit are welcome to attend our Goddess Gathering meet-up where we share, laugh, and learn together in the sisterhood of the female experience. Please join us!

SEPTEMBER 2023:

8 SEPTEMBER (FRI)- 12-1:00 PM.  
22 SEPTEMBER (FRI)- 12-1:00 PM.  

JULY 2023:

7 JULY (FRI)- 12-1:00 PM.  
13 JULY (TH)- 7:30-8:30 PM.  
21 JULY (FRI)- 12-1:00 PM.  
27 JULY (TH)- 7:30-8:30 PM.  
Join us!

AprilL 2023:

UUFP Goddess Gatherings in April: Thursday, April 6, 7:30-8:30 PM; Frida, April 14, 12:00-1:00 PM; Thursday, April 20, 7:30-8:30 PM; Friday, April 28, 12:00-1:00 PM

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Sunday Services

Services are held in our sanctuary. Masks are optional. All services can be accessed via Zoom and on YouTube through our website. See links on opening page. Nursery care for little ones is available!

Music is a language of the soul. If you love singing, playing an instrument, or experiencing music as part of your spiritual practice, consider joining the choir at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pottstown. With the direction of our new choir director, Anna Swansun, the sky is the limit! We meet every Sunday from 9:30-10:30 AM, before our Sunday service. Nursery care for little ones is available!

Note: At the time of publishing the newsletter, services are in person (with optional masks), broadcast on Zoom and published on YouTube. We will be having coffee hour following the services and a Third Sunday Potluck. This is subject to change. Look for email from us, or check our website, for more info.

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Pottstown Cluster Donations

I am happy to announce that on Christmas Eve the Members and Friends of UUFP donated a total of $308.00 to the Pottstown Area Cluster of Relgious Communities. The cluster offers basic needs assistance, spiritual guidance, and self-sufficiency programs to improve people’s socio-economic stability in the Greater Pottstown Area. On a monthly basis we also donate housekeeping items to promote housing stability for those in need. We also provide fresh organic produce from our garden to their food bank during the growing season.

For the month of February we’ll collect new rubber cleaning gloves to support their housing program. Donations of rubber gloves can be placed in the large basket to the right of the kitchen door in our building’s foyer. Many thanks for your generous donations! They make small and large differences in peoples’ lives.

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Intrepid Weeders

The UUFP gardens are getting a much needed  facelift. Kim and Mary are clearing out much of the overgrowth that clings to our garden fence. Now you can actually see into the garden without entering through the gate! Many thanks to these championship weeders for their hard work and positive energy!

You’re invited to join the Wednesday Weeders! During the growing season a hardy group of weeders/gardeners have been meeting Wednesday mornings to weed, water, plant and harvest in our fellowship gardens. So far Allan, Mary and Kim have been showing up and working hard during some of the hottest days of summer to take care of our vegetable gardens, and the Monarch Sanctuary.

If you would like to join our happy band please text/call Kay at 610-659-4802. Or, take a chance and show up between 9:30 and 11:30 any Wednesday morning.

Produce is donated to the Pottstown Cluster.

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Monarch Butterfly Garden

After much determination and effort, the Monarch Butterly Garden is now planted and thriving. It may not look very exciting as the plants are still small, but if all goes well we will have Monarchs (and other pollinators) flying and buzzing around the peace pole by late summer. Featured are swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed, bee balm, aromatic asters, purple coneflower, swamp sunflower and zinnias. The milkweed is crucial for Monarch survival as it serves as the only food source for the Monarch caterpillar. The flowers are needed for their nectar and pollination. All are native plants.

What a job it was to prepare the soil for this project! Thank you so much to Matt K for operating his rototiller to till up the wet clay soil, often getting bogged down with clogged tines. Kim dug in to peel away the weed fabric that surrounded the peace pole, finding old, decayed bricks, which are now at the North, South, West and East points of the Peace Pole. Several days later the second crew came in to hoe the soil and amend it with sand and compost. Thank you to Jon, Mary and Judy for working through the rain, heat and humidity to make it happen!
 
 
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From the Minister’s Desk — June 2021

Emergence!

It looks like we are finally beginning to emerge from the depths of the pandemic. The White House announced that 50% of adults have been vaccinated. Case numbers  are down. What has your life been like these last fifteen months? Has it felt like 17 years buried in your cave, alone, dependent on others – family, friends, a huge infrastructure of helpers to keep you supplied with necessities? Have you felt isolated, disconnected, needing those same family and friends, a huge infrastructure of technology to keep you connected? And for entertainment, learning, information about the world around us? It’s been odd, disorienting, a struggle for some, and also something of a relief for those of us who are introverts.

What sort of changes are you experiencing now? Are you fully vaccinated and feeling somewhat safer? Are relaxed masking mandates changing your behavior? Here at White Horse Village, over 90% of the residents are vaccinated and we are allowed to gather in small to medium groups, unmasked. Meal delivery is ending as we return to the dining room. But in public situations – which for me means grocery stores and my pottery class – I am still masked, for the sake of the unvaccinated and unknown passers-by. I feel like I am finally emerging.

Meanwhile, another emergence is beginning. Brood X of the 17 year cicadas have spent most of a lifetime as underground  larvae and nymph forms, eating and growing and shedding old forms to begin coming out in their millions, ready to make a lot of noise so as to ensure the next generation the 17 year cycle. I learned recently that they are not only harmless (assuming you don’t panic when one gets into your car while you are driving) but actually beneficial. My old friend Carol Wagner (with whom I connected again via Facebook, after many years) posted these facts from the Love Our Land website:

  • • They prune mature trees.
  • • They aerate the soil.
  • • Bird populations will increase.
  • • They provide a food source to nearly everything with an insect diet.
  • • They leave plants healthier.
  • • They are an awesome natural fertilizer.
  • • They are a symbol of rebirth, spiritual realization and ecstasy, and immortality.

There’s a challenge! The UUFP board points out that we have never been “closed” but we have been connecting virtually all these months, shedding old forms and preparing to emerge again to in-person meeting for worship and celebration, learning and helping. (See our website for more details on the decision process on how and when we hope to meet.)

But, as we look forward to emergence, let’s think about more than “getting back to normal.” For the cicadas, “normal” is 17 years underground followed by a brief but glorious symphony of mating calls and commitment to the next generation. How do we want to celebrate our return to the above ground world? What have we learned from our time apart? What new energy can we bring? How shall we bless the world?

With love and hope, Kerry

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President’s Message — June 2021

“The world is closed for renovations, Grand Reopening soon.” ~ Anonymous

A lot has changed over the past month as it relates to the pandemic. Case rates of COVID-19 are down, number of people immunized are up and the strict rules on how we can safely interact with each other are easing up. This is great news so I am sure that everyone is wondering  when UUFP will reopen. I will answer this honestly by stating that we never closed.

While the building was closed, we continued to offer Sunday Services and coffee hours via technology. So, the real question becomes when will we be able to conduct these activities in person? I am pleased to share that the current plan is to hold outdoor services (weather permitting) starting in late June and continuing throughout the summer months. And as long as all factors indicate that it is still safe to meet indoors, we will hold our first indoor Sunday Service on September 12, which is the Sunday after Labor Day weekend. It is also important to note that we will still continue  to offer Sunday Services via technology for those who choose not to attend in person. And, thanks to the Membership Committee, there will be numerous social events held at the fellowship throughout  the summer. So, there will be many upcoming opportunities to meet in-person.

On a different note, I want to remind everyone that we will be holding our Annual Congregational Meeting on June 13 after Sunday Services, starting at approximately 11:45 AM. We will conduct  this meeting via Zoom. While everyone is welcome, only members  will be able to vote on the motions set forth. For those without internet capability, you may participate live via teleconference.  If you are unable to participate in this meeting, you may still vote on the motions via written proxy. Please submit your written proxy either directly to a board member or send it in to the fellowship prior to the meeting. Every voting member should have received a copy of the Notice of Meeting which outlined the motions to be voted on as well as a copy of the proposed budget. If you have not received this, please let a Board member know. I would like to encourage everyone to participate in this important meeting.

Lastly, I want to put in a plug for purchasing Giant Grocery Cards through the fellowship. The fellowship gets 5% back on the amount that is purchased (if you purchase a $100 grocery card, the fellowship receives $5). Now while 5% may not sound like a lot, I will let you know that through-out the course of the past year, only three individuals have routinely purchased cards. However, since they primarily shop at Giant, the fellowship has earned on average $80/month from their purchases which means the fellowship earned $960 for the entire year from just those three individuals. There have been others who have also purchased cards sporadically though out the year, so the Fellowship earned over $1,000 simply through members shopping at Giant. If you do any shopping at Giant, I would like to encourage you to purchase Grocery Cards through the fellowship. If you would like to purchase cards, you may reach out directly to me through the contact information in the UUFP directory.

I look forward to seeing everyone very soon! ~ Linda K.

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UUFP YouTube Channel

Subscribe to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Pottstown YouTube Channel!
All of our recent Sunday Services are posted to the channel. Check it out!
Let Rick D. know if you have any questions.

Vespers

Please view our previous Vespers services offered weekly April through July 2020. They are available at this link on the Message from our Ministers and Presidents tab, found under the Meet UUFP tab.

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A Message from the Committee Council

No one person or committee here at UUFP is responsible for the activities that go on here. What we mean by this is that ANYONE who has an idea for a fun Fellowship activity, whether it be a book club, a game night, a movie night, a support group, a fundraiser, a pancake breakfast, or anything else that interests you, that can make use of the UUFP facilities, you can plan it!

The event can be a one-time thing, or a regularly scheduled event. The only rule is that you should take your plan to the Committee Council for support from other Committees and also Board approval, if necessary. If you need help with the event, ask for help during Sunday morning announcements, and people will step in to help.

Committee Council needs to know so it can be put on the calendar, and so we don’t have two events at the same time that need to use the same UUFP resource, for instance the kitchen or the social hall.

In short, you can enrich the lives of people at UUFP by bringing us together with activities we like to do together! Thank you!

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UUFP Annual Spring Clean-Up

Join fellow members and friends on Saturday, May 18, for our annual spring cleanup. Bring gloves, wear old clothes and bring any tools needed for weeding and outdoor tasks. We will begin around 10:00 AM and wrap up by 1:00 PM. Please bring a bag lunch.

Among the jobs to be tackled: Weeding, Mulching, Washing windows, Power washing siding, Indoor cleanup (organize and declutter closets, files, etc.)

All are welcome to help out!

~ UUFP Building and Grounds Committee

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President’s Message — May 2024

In last month’s column, the feedback from the fellowship survey was presented. As was stated, the feedback from the survey was taken very seriously by the Board of Directors at UUFP and we attempted to incorporate the feedback into the goals that we set for the upcoming fiscal year. These goals help to ensure that the Board makes decisions, including financial decisions, that help us to deliver on our mission: nurturing spiritual journeys, embracing diversity, celebrating community, turning values into action.

The following are the goals that the UUFP Board of Directors have set for the new fiscal year that starts July 1:

  1. Ensure that UUFP remains a viable religious community.
    a. Manage finances responsibly.
    b. Continue to invest in updating our building.
    c. Create long-term plan for major improvements.
    • Roof maintenance
    • Sanctuary ceiling
    • Sanctuary floor
    • Sanctuary wall tiles
    • Replace flooring in other areas (kitchen, entrance, minister’s office, etc.)
  1. Ensure that technologic capabilities continue to support and enhance the entire
    UUFP experience.
    a. Conduct needs assessment of our technologic capabilities. Needs assessment should include input
    from UUFP Committee Chairpersons.
    b. Create a short-term and long-term investment plan.
  1. Deliver Sunday Services that are in alignment with the UU Principles and the
    UUFP Covenant
    a. Increase Worship Committee budget.
    b. Identify speakers whose talks are well received by the fellowship and book them out as often as they are willing to come to our fellowship.
    c. Continue to get feedback on speakers and presentations.
    d. Ensure there is a clear link to UU Principles for every Sunday Service.
  1. Invest in Religious Education
    a. Children’s RE
    • Roof maintenance
    • Hire a Nursery teacher
    • Provide budget for RE teacher
    • RE Committee to work with teachers to develop a Parental Agreement
      b. Continue to build out and fund Adult RE programs.
      c. Continue to build out and fund RE program for teens.
  1. Enhance Community Awareness of UUFP
    a. Continue to hold and advertise events that can include the surrounding community.
    b. Provide budget for communications.
    c. Communications to always include wording that states that we welcome people of
    all races, religions, genders, sexual orientation, etc.

These goals are the next step of our journey, based on our progress towards this year’s goals. At
the upcoming Annual Congregational Meeting (scheduled for Sunday, June 2, after services), we will review our accomplishments for the year as well as vote on the leadership team and budget that will keep us moving forward. Please plan to attend this important meeting.

With Gratitude, Linda

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Sunday Service — May 5, 2024

Celebrate the Interval ~ Guest Speaker: Rev. Kim Wilson

“Life is a brief interval between birth and death,” writes Richard S. Gilbert. And he asks us to consider the question: “What shall we do with that interval of time?” This morning, we explore the wisdom shared by people at the end of life’s interval. What common themes are expressed by those who have the opportunity to look back and reflect on how they spent their lives? What matters most? And what, as it turns out, doesn’t?

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Sunday Service — May 12, 2024

Grand Design: Aging, Alloparenting, and Evolution ~ Guest Speaker: JD Stillwater

What evolutionary purpose is served by living so long after our reproductive years are done? This service explores the spiritual and social fertility of every life stage in a beloved community, an inclusive fertility especially enhanced in our later years. Not likely to be a grandparent himself, JD Stillwater takes the opportunity to scrutinize the grandparenting role, with an eye towards broadening and deepening its power and promise for every life stage and relationship.

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Sunday Service — May 19, 2024

Life Lessons from My Little Pony ~ Speaker: Emily Quarles-Mowrer

This is the next installment of a sermon series inspired by our Unitarian Universalist Principles, as viewed through the lens of the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The six main ponies from the popular kids show each embody different qualities and display different talents. We will explore our second principle, “Justice, equity and compassion in human relations,” with the help of Fluttershy’s patience and kindness.

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Sunday Service — May 26, 2024

UU Games! ~ Speaker: Miranda Van Horn

This will be a special event. Join us in the sanctuary where we’ll combine our usual Sunday Service and Coffee Hour into one hour of UU fun remembering famous Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists. We’ll play the ever-popular game, Name that UU, and a brand new game, “What Did UUs Do?” You’ll learn about some extremely innovative, inventive, gifted, and just plain quirky UUs who did some amazing things that we bet you didn’t know. Join us for the UU games with coffee, tea, and celebratory refreshments!

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President’s Message — April 2024

“Receiving feedback. does not mean that I am the worst person that ever lived. It only means that someone cares enough to tell me how to improve.” ~ Joseph Folkman

The Board of Directors of the UUFP asked members and friends to complete a brief survey to help us think about what areas to focus on as we continue to strategize about how keep our fellowship thriving. I want to thank everyone (all 27 of you) who filled out a survey. The written feedback was especially helpful in determining what action steps to take. I want to share the top line results. Please keep in mind that the Board used this to assess the feelings of the entire congregation. While the congregation is made up individuals, each with unique perspectives and points of view, the board needed to step back and look at the overall input and trends. That does not mean that any negative feedback is disregarded. We will use this feedback as a filter to ask ourselves how to be more improve on a specific topic.

As a reminder, people we asked to score the following statements with Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither Agree or Disagree, Disagree and Strongly Disagree:

  • I feel a sense of belonging at UUFP
  • I feel like I have a voice at UUFP
  • I feel that I can be my true self at UUFP
  • I feel appreciated at UUFP
  • I have confidence in the governing structure of UUFP

Approximately 80-85 percent of respondents scored Strongly Agree or Agree for all statements. However, there were individuals who responded with Strongly Disagree or Disagree for all statements. These scores, along with the written feedback, enabled the board to identity the following areas to focus on:

  • Create more opportunities to express and demonstrate appreciation.
  • “Building Bridges” across the gaps that are created by each of us being our own unique person. Often our differences create strong divides. We as a fellowship can learn to bridge those gaps while remaining unique ourselves.
  • Strong desire to have more alignment with the UUA and UU principles (including hosting/participating more community and social action events).
  • Continue with the evolution of the UUFP as it relates to adding new members, strengthening our CYRE and doing more Adult RE programming.
  • Add new members to the Board (please let us know if you have interest).

Thank you to all who responded. Thank you for caring enough about UUFP to provide the feedback. Please keep the input coming–don’t wait for a formal survey. If you have any suggestions, please discuss them with a member of the Board.

“Be the change you want to see.”

With Gratitude, Linda

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Sunday Service — April 7, 2024

Compassionate Listening. Guest Speaker: Rev. Kim Wilson

Compassionate listening is a way of being with others that can empower us to transform conflict and create peace and healing. It includes a commitment to listen and speak from the heart. We will be introduced to the work of the Compassionate Listening Project, which cultivates practices that bring people together across differences. Following the service, we’re invited to join Rev. Kim during coffee hour, when she will lead us in an experiential workshop on Compassionate Listening and Communication.

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Sunday Service — April 14, 2024

Healing. Guest Speaker: Janet Hoffman

Healing is a journey. Many different modalities are used in this journey. One key component is the use of Energy. This energy is called different with each system: Chi/Qi in Chinese medicine, Prana in yoga, the Divine Energy in Reiki. This talk will focus on Shiatsu which follows the principles of Acupuncture and Reiki, and works with the chakra system. Once energy is balanced and moving freely, the body is capable of healing itself.

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