chalice with rainbow flame
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County

Calendar Archive 2009-10

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, September 13th, 2009, 10:00 AM -- Ingathering and Water Ceremony: Living Water -- Rev. Darrell Berger

10 AM: Ingathering. We will have our traditional cookies and lemonade, out doors with weather permitting, then process into the sanctuary.

We will welcome the new church year with our traditional Water Ceremony. Everyone is invited to bring a small quantity of water from their summer travels.

"Living Water" is a famous term used by Jesus to indicate the spiritual opportunities he opened for those who believed in him. It is also a literal truth: water is living and our lives depend on it.

tiny rainbow chalice Saturday, September 19th, 8:00 p.m. -- Black Maria Film Festival

Festival Director and Founder, John Columbus will present a selection of beguiling and powerful films. Among the works to be screened is "Nora" a film shot on location in Mozambique featuring the life story in dance of the gifted African American choreographer Nora Chipaumire. Admission $10.00 at the door, $8.00 if reserved in advance. For further information contact Frank Barszcz at (201)303-1810 or

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, September 20th, 10:30 AM -- Successful Living in Blended Families -- Rev. Darrell Berger

Every family of human beings is a blend of different ages and personalities, of course. But some families have members from more divergent directions than others. There are "steps" and "halves" of all kinds. There are "fosters" and "grands."

There may be different races or ethnicities. Parents may be straight or gay or bi. UU, I believe, does a good job of ministering to blended families. So good, in fact, I have decided to offer this aspect of UU ministry to our larger community. This worship will explain what I have in mind and how you can help.

tiny rainbow chalice Saturday, October 3rd, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Board Retreat, Barszcz Residence

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, October 4th, 10:30 AM -- We Live By Connections -- Rev. Darrell Berger

We live by the connections between persons, institutions, communities, nations, eco-systems. In the past, these connections were either part of the natural order or developed by our forebears long ago, and we simply lived our lives within them. No more. Today connections have to be constantly recreated, and new ones made.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, October 11th, 10:30 AM -- Association Sunday -- Jim Nelson

Association Sundays are a request by the Unitarian Universalist Association for all congregations to recognize and support the national work of the Association. We envision a day where thousands of Unitarian Universalists across the nation simultaneously celebrate our shared commitment to Unitarian Universalism. These Sundays are an opportunity for us to come together to grow our faith and our influence in the world. Special donation envelopes will be handed out and collected at this Sunday service. We ask for an average of $50 per member. Some will need to give more because some will need to give less. The national goal is $1 million. The theme of this year's Association Sunday is Growing Our Diversity. Over 1,000 Unitarian Universalists shared their opinions on what projects should be funded by Association Sunday 2009 through an electronic survey. Using this collaborative feedback, the programs which your generous contributions will benefit have been selected. The following initiatives represent the top choices:

tiny rainbow chalice Friday & Saturday, October 16th & 17th -- Unitarian Universalist Revival at UU Congregation of Queens

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, October 18th, 10:30 AM -- Defending the Rainbow of Steel: A Narrative Analysis of the Anti-Racist Struggle at UUA GA 2009 -- Rev. Dr. Finley C. Campbell

Rev. Dr. Finley C. Campbell serves as the Chicago contact for the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship and is Program Chair of the Racial Justice Task Force of the Social Justice Council of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. He is a graduate of Morehouse College, Atlanta University, and the University of Chicago. Presently, he is a co-chair of the the Unitarian Universalist Multiracial Unity Action Caucus. Ordained Baptist minister, he has been a social justice activist since 1968. He will be a guest speaker at the special 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Harper's Ferry raid being sponsored by the John Brown /Harriet Tubman Historical Society.

tiny rainbow chalice Wednesday, October 21st, 7:30 PM, Celebrations & Music Committee, Sonen Room

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, October 25th, 10:30 AM -- What Good Is Evil? -- Rev. Darrell Berger

Every ten or fifteen years or so, some UU theologian makes the announcement that what is wrong with UU is that we have no articulated doctrine of evil. I say that is one of our strengths. This Sunday I will explain why.

tiny rainbow chalice Saturday, October 31st, 10:30 A.M. at First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn -- Samhain Service For details click here..

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, November 1st, 10:30 AM -- Masks -- Rev. Darrell Berger

Halloween is a time for masks. The Italian word persona means mask or the character one plays. This is where our word personality comes from. This Sunday we will look into some of the masks we wear on days other than Halloween.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, November 8th, 10:30 AM -- Hope Rises From The Ashes Of My Lai -- Mike Boehm

Mike Boehm served during the American involvement in Vietnam in 1968/69. Since 1992 he has returned to Vietnam 23 times to facilitate humanitarian projects on behalf of the Madison Quakers. These projects include micro-credit for poor women in sixteen villages including My Lai, funding new schools for My Lai, Compassion Houses and the My Lai Peace Park. He will give a slide presentation about these projects.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, November 15th, 10:30 AM -- The Perennial Philosophy -- Rev. Darrell Berger

The Perennial Philosophy is the title of a 1945 book by Aldous Huxley. He describes it as "the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being; the thing is immemorial and universal. Rudiments of the perennial philosophy may be found among the traditional lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions"

It is as close to "my religion" as anything gets. I believe it is the religion of a lot of UU's, though they may not know it has a name.

tiny rainbow chalice Monday, November 16th, 7:00 PM - Memorial Service for Jessie Turk.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, November 22nd, 10:30 AM -- Homecoming: Me or We? -- Rev. Darrell Berger

At last year's district meeting, Rev. Tony Johnson co-led an excellent workshop on class, a reality often ignored in UU. The workshop posited that working class people focus on family, middle class people on personal fulfillment. This distinction not only motivated most of American theatre in the last century, it is also the theme of our Homecoming worship, as we reflect on the who's and how's of family.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, November 29th, 10:30 AM -- Charity or Solidarity? -- Rev. Darrell Berger

How ought we respond to issues of equality and social justice?

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, December 6th, 10:30 AM -- Common Ground: Rebuilding the Bridges between Islam & the Judeo-Christian West -- Courtney Roberts, M.A.

It's easy to lose sight of the fact that the three great monotheisms actually have a lot more in common than not. While each tradition celebrates a separate origin in divine revelation, the historical and sociological contexts reveal a much more inclusive story, and a shared set of core beliefs, all stemming from the influence of the Persian religion of the prophet Zoroaster. But who was Zoroaster? What did he teach?

Courtney Roberts, MA, is a writer, teacher, and consultant, originally from Miami, FL. Her work reflects a unique perspective: a real passion for the 'big picture' that combines cosmology, religious studies and history with a lifetime of observing the dynamic interaction of spirit and cosmos. She received an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from Bath Spa University in England in 1978.

tiny rainbow chalice Thursday, December 10th, 7:30 PM, Board of Trustees Meeting, Sonen Room

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, December 13th, 10:30 AM -- Wintertide Pageant: Songs and Poems for Bright Days and Dark Nights -- Darcy Hall

In darkest winter, we seek the warmth, comfort and inspiration of light; the church community and their family and friends are invited to "Songs and Poems for Bright Days and Dark Nights", a celebration of the holiday season written, in part, by the children of our Sunday School. The program will feature poems written for the occasion by the children, plus performances of poetry, stories, songs and music by church members and guest artists. The children have been working with Holly Scalera, a poet and poetry teacher, creating unique work for this very special program.

tiny rainbow chalice Tuesday, December 15th, 7:30 PM, Celebration & Music Committee, Sonen Room

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, December 20th, 2009, SERVICE CANCELLED ON ACCOUNT OF SNOWSTORM

tiny rainbow chalice Thursday, December 24th, 2009, 7 PM, Candlelight Worship -- Rev. Darrell Berger

Our candlelight worship will include traditional Christmas hymns, a somewhat briefer order of service, and a concluding ritual of candle lighting.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, December 27th , 10:30 AM -- Kwanzaa -- Flore Dorcely

Come celebrate our annual Kwanzaa service honoring the principles of the holiday! Excerpts from Founder, Dr. Karenga's special message will be delivered. ALL ARE WELCOME as we observe this uniquely African-American tradition.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, January 3rd, 2010, 10:30 AM -- Quaker-style service

We will follow our annual tradition of gathering for worship somewhat in the style of a Friends meeting. We will sit together in silence, and be in a spirit of receptiveness to the spirit. We will try to "come with heart and mind prepared" and to bring "neither a determination to speak nor a determination to remain silent." We will mark the beginning and end of the worship by lighting and extinguishing the chalice.

tiny rainbow chalice Saturday, January 9th, 6:00 PM -- Maggie Thompson's 90th Birthday -- Dinner and Movie

For more than 40 years, Maggie Thompson and Ben Jones worked together to make Orange a just and beautiful city. On the occasion of Maggie Thompson's 90th birthday, please join the University of Orange at the First UU Church for dinner and movie to support the Ben Jones Film Project. $20 donation. RSVP to 973-678-3110, ext.35.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, January 10th, 10:30 AM -- A Thousand Weddings -- Rev. Darrell Berger

January is the biggest month for wedding planning, or, at least, for getting the planning underway. I have performed about one thousand weddings, from 1974 through 2009. Today I will share some of the more unusual weddings I have performed, what I have learned over the years, and why the government ought to get out of the wedding business.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, January 17th, 10:30 AM -- How Martin Luther King Influenced My Life

Members Jacqué Diggs, Flore Dorcely, Cindy Long and Ben Rosenberg will share how Dr. King influenced why they became Unitarian Universalists.

tiny rainbow chalice Wednesday, January 20th, 7:30 PM -- Board of Trustees Meeting, Sonen Room.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, January 24th, 10:30 AM -- No Church Is An Island - Rev. Darrell Berger

The ministers of the biggest UU churches often get high status from serving these congregations. Everybody always wants to know what did they do to grow their churches. I found that one of the main things they did was to serve churches in areas where a lot of UU's were moving. In the 1970's it was Atlanta, then San Diego, Seattle and Colorado.

Jesus told us that the kind of ground a seed falls on has a lot to do with how and if it grows. Our seed was planted in Orange over a century ago. Our roots are deep here. How healthy are our trunk, branches and leaves? How much can I torture this metaphor? Find out this Sunday!

The January 24th service will be followed by a Special Congregational Planning Meeting at 12 noon in the Parish Hall. Doug Zelinski, Program Consultant from the Metro NY UU District, will lead what we are calling a planning session. (See further in Darrell's Desk.)

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, January 31st, 10:30 AM -- The Ideal In The West -- David Beardsley

The influence of Idealism has so penetrated our language and our thinking that we don't recognize it as perhaps the oldest continuously-operating philosophical system in the West. The Golden Age of Greece, the Florentine Renaissance, Nineteenth-century America; these are just some of the eras we will examine that were defined by what Plato called "the form of the Good." This is not good as opposed to evil, but the absolute source of all beneficence, beauty, and justice.

David Beardsley wrote and directed the first video biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson: The Ideal in America. He is currently developing a video series on The Ideal in the West.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, February 7th, 10:30 AM -- The Coach Who Changed the World -- Rev. Darrell Berger

As part of Black History Month, I'd like to share the research I've begun on a book about George Powles, a white man who coached in Oakland High Schools from 1946 to 1975. Among his young athletes were Bill Russell, who became the first Black coach in any major league team sport, Frank Robinson, who became the first Black major league baseball manager, and Curt Flood, who challenged baseball's reserve clause, which required players to perform only for the team that "owned" them, all the way to the Supreme Court.

I have long thought that one coach having these three remarkable athletes could not have been coincidence. I was right.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, February 14th, 10:30 AM -- Be My Valentine -- -- Rev. Darrell Berger

This is our annual jazz service, featuring David Braham, Raymond Johnston, Santi Debriano, and Diego Lopez. We will take a light-hearted look at the role of music in romance and other emotions.

tiny rainbow chalice Saturday, February 20th, 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM-- Game Night

Bring your favorite board games. All ages welcome. Some games will be provided and tables will be set up for play. We will be rotating play so no one gets stuck with playing one game all night. Coffee and soft drinks will also be provided. Deserts will be pot luck so, bring a pie or some fruit or cookies or whatever you like. Beer and wine will be permitted but please keep in mind that children will be socializing with us.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, February 21st, 2010, 10:30 AM -- It's A Brand New Day -- Olympia's Daughters

Welcome to a brand new day, a chance to start things anew. Olympia's Daughters has a new director and the country has a new President. This service is about changes Olympia's Daughters, the world. How everyday is a chance to start a new day.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, February 28th, 10:30 AM -- The UUA Black Empowerment Struggle of 1967-1970 -- Rev. Phil Passantino

Unitarian Universalists played out a very important drama in the Black Empowerment movement. Here is the saga of some intense events, worthy of a movie, whose legacy continues to both bless and haunt us as a faith community.

Phil Passantino is an ordained minister who has spoken in UU Fellowships from the Poconos to Ireland. He officiates unique and meaningful weddings, baptisms and funerals for people of all faith backgrounds. He's also a singer who writes UU hymns. His website is

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, February 28th -- 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM -- Banded Together for Haiti - a Benefit Concert.

Rock, Blues, Jazz, featuring Jane Getter, Dave Stryker, Al Gold & the Mighty Rhythm Kings, Dawn Botti, Vibe Merchants, A.K., Sam Sherwin Band & more. Admission: $12. Proceeds to the Haitian Pastors Association of New Jersey and Partners in Health.

tiny rainbow chalice Thursday, March 4th, 7:30 PM, Celebrations & Music Committee, Sonen Room

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, March 7th, 10:30 AM -- Coming of Age

Our three teenagers will speak to the congregation about their spiritual journeys, their beliefs and their service work at the church and elsewhere. Your attendance and support is important in acknowledging this milestone and welcoming them into this new stage of the Unitarian-Universalist journey. There will be a special festive coffee hour afterwards.

tiny rainbow chalice Thursday, March 11th, 7:30 PM, Board of Trustees Meeting, Sonen Room

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, March 14th, 2010, 10:30 AM -- The Lost Shepherd: A Universalist Unitarian Parable for Our Times -- Barnaby Feder

Luke Garner was the Universalist minister at our only church in Newark during the 1930's, one of the only outspoken voices outside the Jewish community warning of the threat of Nazism and a leader in the battle for civil rights. Eventually, the congregation fired him. Not long afterward, the church ceased to matter in the life of Newark and eventually closed. Could a revived form of Universalism lead us back in the city?

Barnaby Feder is a second-year student at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison. Prior to pursuing his longtime interest in ministry, he was a journalist, including more than 27 years at the New York Times in New York, Chicago and London. A native of San Mateo, Cal., Barnaby is a lifelong U.U.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, March 21st, 10:30 AM -- Confessions of a Promiscuous Syncretist -- Rev. Darrel Berger.

In the 1990's I was a member of an ecumenical clergy group in New York City. During a discussion someone used the term "promiscuous syncretist" to disparage someone who tries to see too many similarities among religions. I decided, for the first time in my life, I'd heard a theological term that accurately described me! Please attend this worship service. You may discover that you, too, are a promiscuous syncretist.

tiny rainbow chalice Saturday, March 27th, 6:30 PM -- Service Auction.

Come walk the Red Carpet at the 2010 Service Auction. Join us for an glamorous evening inspired by Classic Hollywood! Wear your fun formal and pose for the paparazzi! Brush up on your movie trivia! Bring your friends and your checkbook!

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, March 28th, 10:30 AM -- The Religions of Our Forebears: The Religions of Our Lives -- Rev. Charles Blustein Ortman

We are the recipients of all the religious thought that has preceded us on this planet. Some of that thought has gotten humanity into considerable trouble over the aeons. Some of it though, some of it has stood us very, very well. We are the heirs of all the religions of our forebears. And now it is up to us to fashion, to mold and to claim the religion of our lives.

Rev. Charlie Ortman is serving in his 15th year as the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair. He previously served congregations in Fitchberg, MA, and Burlington, IA. He is a graduate of the Meadville/Lombard Theological Seminary, and a former member of the UUA Board of Trustees, where he served as the Metro New York Representative.

The March 28th service will be followed by a Special Congregational Meeting, to consider bylaws amendments and the renewal of our Minister's contract.

tiny rainbow chalice Friday, April 2nd, 6:30 PM -- Church Seder & Potluck.

Please join us for good company, good food, and music as we come together to observe the Jewish Holiday of Passover, and the freedom for all peoples that it celebrates. Paul & Melanie Axel-Lute will conduct the ritual portion. Bring friends. Families and children especially welcome. If you wish to bring a dish, please contact Melanie Axel-Lute at 973-762-4947 or or Rickey Slezak at 973-731-9838 or . RSVP by Wednesday, March 31st. Doors open at 5:30 PM for set up with the service starting at 6:30 PM.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, April 4th, 10:30 a.m. -- Easter Sunday: Letting Go Of the Pain -- Rev. Darrell Berger

If Jesus is God, then trying to follow his example is impossible. If he is a man, then his life and the way he faced his death is an example to which we might aspire. We need not be martyrs to do so, but we must be willing to let go of our pain.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, April 11th, 10:30 AM -- Live Without ID -- Rev. Allen Wells

It's easy to trap ourselves by thinking we are who we were, who we should be and/or who we might become According to The Buddha, we trap ourselves into thinking we are even a self. We also trap ourselves into believing we are a country, religion, sex, race, etc. Most of our fighting occurs around protecting such imagined identities. In truth we are much more than any of these. What if we could escape our identities and enjoy unbounded living? This being Holocaust Remembrance Day, I would like imagine what this possibility might mean especially for Israelis and Palestinians.

Rev. Allen Wells is currently Director of Allen Wells Counseling in Morristown, N.J. a holistic mind/body, spirit counseling center that specializes in Contemplative or Mindfulness Psychotherapy. He has served as minister of UU congregations in Weymouth, Mass., Hollis Queens and at The First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn as well as Director of Religious Education for the UU Congregation of Monmouth County and the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. Most recently he completed a four year term as Consultant Minister of The First Unitarian Society of Rockland County, N.Y. Born in Charlottesville, Va., near Monticello, he graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in counseling, and went on to earn a postgraduate degree in counseling from the Institute of Religion and Health in NYC. He was formerly a therapist of the DiMele Center for Counseling & Psychotherapy in Manhattan, and is currently among a select number of students in an intensive year long Integrated Study Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, April 18th, 10:30 AM -- Canvass Sunday: The Sermon on the Amount -- Rev. Darrell Berger

If Jesus is God, then feeding multitudes with a few loaves and fishes is not impressive. If he is a man, then this portion of the Sermon on the Mount is about unlocking human empathy and generosity. This is a miracle.

tiny rainbow chalice Wednesday April 21st, 7:30 PM, Sonen Room - Board of Trustees meeting

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, April 25th, 10:30 AM -- Arts Unbound -- Rev. Darrell Berger

Darrell will devote this worship service to Arts Unbound, located in the Valley in Orange, a non-profit organization dedicated to unleashing the artistic expression of persons living with developmental disabilities, mental illness and physical challenges. Artists, staff and their families are invited. An exhibit of their art will be in the Parish Hall following worship. This will be an excellent Sunday to invite members of the community to visit. To find out more, go to

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, May 2nd, 10:30 A.M. -- Celebration of May -- led by Melanie Axel-Lute

We will welcome in the summer season in the age-old way with story, song, and dance, finishing with our traditional Maypole. The service will take place in the Parish Hall. Maypole Dance will take place on the front lawn, weather permitting.

tiny rainbow chaliceThursday, May 6th, 7:30 PM - Celebrations & Music Committee meeting, Sonen Room.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, May 9th, 10:30 A.M. -- Lanbi -- Martial Bonhomme

Our friend, Martial Bonhomme, will speak on his effort to create The Lanbi Center. "Lanbi" means conch shell in Haitian Creole. During the Haitian Revolution, the lanbi was used as an instrument to rally and galvanize the people in support of ending slavery and achieving independence. Today, through the creation of the Lanbi Center for Humanities and Civics, the conch shell will serve as a trumpet to awaken disenfranchised constituents in Northern New Jersey.

Martial Bonhomme is Director of the Lanbi Center for Humanities and Civics, an organization that serves the Haitian community in the Oranges.

tiny rainbow chalice Wednesday, May 12th, 7:30 PM -- Board of Trustees Meeting, Sonen Room.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, May 16th, 10:30 A.M. -- Homosapienism: Being Human 101 -- Pandora Scooter

This poetic presentation will be a heartfelt and humorous exploration of inclusivity and personal responsibility to oneself and to others.

Pandora Scooter is a spoken word and performance artist who speaks on behalf of misfits and "fits" of all walks and talks. Her anti-prejudice poem "Other" won first place in the 2008 Spokenknowledge DNC contest. She performs and teaches people ages 10 to 100 wherever they'll welcome her. Power to the Peaceful and Love to All.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, May 23rd, 10:30 A.M. -- The Patron Saint of Step-fathers -- Rev. Darrell Berger

St. Joseph’s Aspirin for Children is an inspired name because St. Joseph, husband of Mary, is a protector of children. This sermon is about how I came to know Joseph, what a fine guy he is, and how his spiritual example is sorely needed in the world today, and in the church which declared him a saint.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, May 30th, 10:30 A.M. -- Earth Day and Then Some -- Harold Mills, Donna Blaine, and Darcy Hall

This service will examine the roots and history of Earth Day and what is going on - and can be done - here and now.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, June 6th, 10:30 A.M. -- Celebrate RE: The Sounds of Sunday School -- RE Committee

Every Sunday School class begins with the ringing of bells and the recitation of a short prayer. Come and ring bells with us, and join us in speaking a simple yet profound prayer as we celebrate the RE program. The children and RE leaders of our church will share and reflect on a year of fun, learning, growth, art and U-U values education.

tiny rainbow chalice Wednesday, June 9th, 7:30 PM -- Board of Trustees Meeting, Sonen Room.

tiny rainbow chalice Sunday, June 13th, 2010, 10:30 A.M. -- A Natural Communion -- Rev. Darrell Berger

This is our Flower Communion Sunday, created by our former member, the Rev. Norbert Čapek. It was created to symbolize the connections among people and of the people to nature. We invite everyone who will be attending to bring a flower or two to share. Though our community honors these connections, they don't happen "naturally." As a preface to our annual meeting, our worship will honor the intention and devotion that sustains community.

The June 13th service will be followed at 12 noon by the Annual Congregational Meeting. In addition to the regular business of the annual meeting set forth in Bylaws Article 5, this meeting will consider a proposed bylaw amendment regarding expenditures, and a proposed Reserve Fund Resolution. For the text of both proposals in Rich Text Format, click here.