Our Church Circular / Nuestro Periódico de la Iglesia / January 7, 2009 / 7 de Enero 2009

Our Church Circular

Send us your photos!
The Circular is always on the lookout for your photos of church-related events. If you have taken photos during any recent services, please e-mail them to uusanjose@gmail.com. We maintain an archive of church member and event photos, so please send us what you’ve got, especially if you have a favorite photo of yourself that you would like us to use next time you appear in Circling Around or another newsletter feature.

Christmas Eve service photos courtesy of Dani Hope.

Inside This Issue:


Sunday Services


Save the Dates


Religious Education


As we build the beloved community…


Our New Wayside Pulpit Installed


January Is Open Enrollment Month for Small Group Ministry!


Our New Wayside Pulpit Installed


Welcome New Members


Volunteer Opportunities


Circling Around


Shelter Sock Drive a Success


Starr King Student Needs Local Lodging


Spotlight on Social Justice

  • Social Justice Council email Is Alive and Well
  • Time to Collect your Guest at Your Table Boxes!
  • Fireside Gift Fair a Success!
    • Follow-Up to The World Parliament of Religions
    • From PCD: First Unitarian Church of Honolulu Hosts Obama Family Memorial Service--Secret Service at Honolulu Church
    • The 2009 Earl Lectures at the Pacific School of Religion
0107-14 Re-Visioning Social Justice Ministries at FUCSJ
0107-15 Upcoming Events
  • Women’s Alliance
  • Happy Birthday to You!
  • Humanist Group Meeting
  • Church Tour
  • New Beginnings: Building a Community of Hope—Eve-of-the-Inauguration Event!
  • Partner Church News: Reverend Jozsef reports that they are still waiting for snow in our partner village of Homoródszentmárton.
  • Junior High Backpacking Trip for 2009
  • Dances of Universal Peace on Sabbatical until Summer
  • Are You Looking for UUthful Spirits?
  • Women & Religion PCD Weekend Retreat
  • UU Hikers & Friends

The Ministers Are In! / Board and Staff Contact Information

En Español

Servicios de Domingo


Mientras construimos nuestra querida comunidad…


¿Listo para ser un Nuevo Miembro de la Primera Iglesia Unitaria de San José?


Aquí estan los Ministros!


9:30 a.m.
Servicios en español/Translation into English

11 de Enero -- 9:30 am & 11:00 a.m.

Afirmación III: El servicio es nuestra oración
Domingo del Ministerio de Pequeños Grupos

Continuando con nuestra serie de servicios a través del año en la afirmación de nuestra congregación, esta semana nos sumergiremos en la tercera línea: ¿Como puede el servicio ser nuestra “oración”? ¿De que clase de servicio estamos hablando —y de que clase de oración? ¿Qué clase de vida nuestra afirmación nos llama a iniciar una y otra vez? Introduciendo rituales de nuestro programa del ministerio de Pequeños Grupos, consideraremos todo esto en nuestros corazones y encontraremos las maneras de aprender y crecer juntos.

Dirige: la Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones; Asociados de Culto: Miembros de SSM y del Ministerio de Pequeños Grupos

11:00 a.m.
Services in English

January 11-- 9:30 am & 11:00 a.m.

Affirmation III: Service Is Our Prayer
Small-Group Ministry Sunday and New-Member Ingathering

Continuing our yearlong worship series on the Affirmation of our congregation, this week we dive into the third line: How can “service” be our “prayer”? What kinds of service are we talking about—and what kinds of prayer? What kind of life does our Affirmation call us to begin, again and again? Introducing rituals from our Small-Group Ministry program, we will ponder all this in our hearts, and find ways to learn and grow together. We will welcome new members who are ready to join our community, too!

Worship Leader: the Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones; Worship Associates: Carolyn Bowman and Members of our Small-Group Ministries

18 de Enero — 9:30 am

Pasado, presente y futuro
En este servicio revisaremos brevemente el pasado de los ministerios en español, como esta nuestro presente y cual será nuestro futuro.

Dirige: Roberto Padillo; Asociados/as de Culto: Miembros de nuestros Ministerios en Español.

Past, Present, and Future
In this service we will briefly review the past of the Spanish Speaking Ministries, what it is in the present, and what it will be in our future.

Worship Leader: Roberto Padillo; Worship Associates: Members of the Spanish-Speaking Ministries.

January 18 — 11:00 am

To Whom are We Morally Accountable

“Too often, the privileged person doesn’t see his or her own experience as one among many but as normative, as that against which everything else should be measured. We must work to educate ourselves about the systems of injustice that keep us from recognizing the realities of others’ lives—we must cross the breach between ourselves and others. We cannot loosen the chains of injustice from others until we understand the chains around our own hearts and minds, the chains that keep us from recognizing others as people to whom we are morally accountable.” -Nancy Nienhuis, Dean of Students and Community Life, Andover Newton Theological School.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Weekend let us reaffirm our commitment to establishing justice for all—a justice that requires us to acknowledge our responsibility to those who do not enjoy the full measure of freedoms many of us enjoy. 

Worship Leader: the Rev. Geoff Rimositis; Worship Associates: TBA

Para quienes nosotros somos moralmente responsables
“Demasiado a menudo, la persona privilegiada no ve su propia experiencia como una entre muchas como la regla, contra lo cual todo debe ser medido. Debemos trabajar para educarnos a nosotros mismos sobre los sistemas de la injusticia que mantenemos al reconocer las realidades de las vidas de otros—debemos cruzar la brecha entre nosotros mismos y los otros. No podemos aflojar las cadenas de la injusticia de otros hasta que sepamos de las cadenas que hay alrededor de nuestros propios corazones y mentes, las cadenas que nos impiden reconocer a otros como gente ante quien somos moral responsables.” - Nancy Nienhuis, Decano de los Estudiantes y de la Vida de la Comunidad, Escuela Teológica de Andover Newton. 

En este fin de semana del cumpleaños de Martin Luther King, Jr. nos permite reafirmar nuestro compromiso de crear la justicia para todos—una justicia que nos exige reconocer nuestra responsabilidad para aquellos que no gozan de la medida completa de libertad que muchos de nosotros gozamos. 
Dirige: el Rev. Geoff Rimositis; Asociado del Servicio: ASA.

Enero 25 — 9:30 am & 11:00 am

Afirmación IV: Habitar Juntos en Paz
Continuando con nuestra serie de servicios a través del año en la afirmación de nuestra congregación, esta semana tomamos la cuarta línea: ¿Qué se necesita para habitar juntos en paz? Vemos a vecinos cerca y lejos en la guerra de los unos con los otros. ¿Dentro de nuestra propia comunidad, que prácticas nos conducen hacia la coexistencia pacífica, y cuales nos conducen hacia la discordia? "¿habitar juntos en paz" significa que nunca experimentamos conflictos? ¿Qué prácticas pacíficas estamos prometiendo a seguir el uno con el otro cuando recitamos nuestra afirmación cada semana?

Dirige: la Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones; Asociados de Culto: Miembros de nuestros Ministerios en Español.

January 25 -- 9:30 am & 11:00 am

Affirmation IV: To Dwell Together in Peace
Continuing our yearlong worship series on the Affirmation of our congregation, this week we take up the fourth line: What does it take to “dwell together in peace”? We see neighbors near and far at war with each other. Within our own community, which practices lead us toward peaceful coexistence, and which ones lead us toward disharmony? Does “dwelling together in peace” mean that we never experience conflict? What peaceful practices are we promising to pursue with one another when we recite our Affirmation each week?

Worship Leader: the Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones; Worship Associate: TBA.


Save the Dates

  • January 8, Thursday, Women’s Alliance Meeting at Jean vonKaenel’s home, for information, contact Nancy Coleman at nbcoleman@gmail.com
  • January 9, Friday, 6:00 pm, Hattie Porter Hall, Birthday Party for All!
  • January 11, Sunday, after 11:00 am services, dedication of new Wayside Pulpit and Tour of Church
  • January 13, Tuesday, HUUmanist Group meeting, 7:00 pm, Fireside Room
  • January 19, Monday, Santa Clara University, “New Beginnings: Building a Community of Hope” celebration of Inauguration Eve and Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • January 25, Sunday, 1:00 pm, Sanctuary, Re-Visioning Social Justice Ministries at FUCSJ
  • January 31, Saturday, 1:00–4:00 pm, Tea for Partner Church, Hattie Porter Hall
  • February 1, Sunday, 12:20, UU Band of Writers, Youth Room
  • March 6-8, PCD Women & Religion retreat at Whispering Hills (near Napa); for information, contact Jean Embree at jaembree@aol.com

Religious Education

Sunday Morning Class Calendar

Nusery -- Birth through 4 Years
Nursery, Lower Level]

We provide a safe, clean environment in which to support each child in initiating play activities at the developmental level they manifest. Child Care Workers: Jessica Nunez and Maria Elena Olvera.

K-Second Grades
Church’s lower level, Rooms 2-3

Special Times

January 11
A Time When Each Person Is Special: Everybody’s Birthday

January 18
A Time For Giving Gifts: Epiphany

January 25
A Time for Wondering About God 

Third-Fifth Grades
Church’s lower level, Rooms 4-6

A stepping stone year

January 11
Buddha’s Birthday Story And Yours

January 18
Sophia Fahs, The Story Collector

January 25
Beatrix Potter, The Girl Who Used Her Imagination 

Sixth-Eighth Grades;
Church’s lower level, Conference Room

Building Assets Together

Each week teachers bring alive The Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets with exercises and discussion.  http://www2.search-institute.org/assets/

9th-12th Grades; Youth Room
(Balcony level above Hattie Porter Hall)

Senior High Youth Group
The youth group meets every Sunday after the first part of the service. The youth group provides a safe place for personal sharing and discussion of diverse issues effecting society and youth today. The group will be using the curriculum Real Stories by teens making choices and keeping it real.

8th-10th Grades
Church’s lower level, Room 4-6

Coming of age

January 18
Mentor/Youth Gathering after service (12:45-2:00 pm)

January 23-25
PCD-COA “Social Justice” Retreat- San Francisco

Youth Group Activities

JUNIOR HIGH (6th-7th-8th Grades)
Advisor: Pam Pell

Advisors: Mike Williamson, Cordelia Willis, V Kingsley, Dani Hope

To participate in junior or senior high youth group activities, contact the Rev. Geoff Rimositis, GRimositis@sanjoseuu.org, 292-3858, 25.

Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU)
The youth groups are designed to empower youth in leadership positions within the group to plan and lead activities that include: conducting service projects in the church and community, participating in Young Religious Unitarian Universalists’ Youth Conferences in the San Francisco Bay Area, and organizing social events such as wilderness experiences, overnights, ski weekends, and movie outings.

If you are interested in participating in junior or senior high youth group activities, please contact the Rev. Geoff Rimositis, GRimositis@sanjoseuu.org, 292-3858, 25.

Religious Education Registration On Line
To register for children and youth programs at http://sanjoseuu.org/RE/br.html, just click the button that says registration. All information is sent only to the Rev. Geoff Rimositis.


As we build the beloved community…

by the Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

Mientras construimos nuestra querida comunidad…

por la Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones

An Ever-Evolving Vision

The Greek philosopher and poet Seneca said, “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

In the fall of 2007, we here in San José were chosen to pilot-test a new curriculum for adult religious education, called “Building the World We Dream About,” with the subtitle “A ‘Welcoming Congregation’ Curriculum on Race and Ethnicity.” Participants in this class set off on a daring adventure: to learn and to share on a topic that is hard for most of us to talk about directly. But the participants, alongside co-facilitators Marla Scharf and me, believed that we really could get closer to “building the world we dream about” if we got together to listen and to understand ourselves and each other and the systems of privilege and oppression that affect us all. For whether we see these systems or not—and even in this new day, when we await the inauguration of the first biracial president of the United States—we still have a long way to go to counter oppression.

The conversations that we had, the movies that we watched, the exercises we tried, the essays we read were often hard. But we stayed together; we worked through the uncomfortable feelings, and by about September of 2008, Marla and I began to notice something remarkable. We had all been deeply changed. We were helping each other; we were in this together. There was—there is so much hope!

The hard work in this class has now laid a foundation for the next phase of the “building project” we all share: the project of building the congregation we dream about. We can’t know exactly what this will look like—will we continue to worship separately or join together? What will we give our combined energies to?

Here is my current vision, which is always evolving: that we here at the First Unitarian Church of San José purposefully gather together, juntos, many colors, many ages, many abilities, many beliefs—a place unlike almost any other in our world. We gather together to nurture our spirits, to deepen our lives, to help to change our world. If we really listen to each other, if we really gather together, what will we learn? I am convinced that we will discover truths about life that we can’t find any other way! As different as we may be, what unites us? I am convinced that the joy of discovering what we share and of loving how we are different is like no other joy we can know! How do our shared joys and sorrows, our hungers and needs help us to know where we are called to serve—each other and the world? I am convinced that when we serve in this way—together, juntos—we can be a beacon for justice and an effective agent for change, for improving the lives of peoples throughout this community of San José.

Are we in this together? Do we share this dream of a congregation of many colors, cultures, ages, abilities, beliefs? We have already begun to build it, but if we are really to succeed, it will mean more change for all of us, and you already know that change is hard. Are you ready? Are you willing? We need to know. Come, let us share our fears and hopes together, as we build, brick by brick, the world we dream about.

Yours in hope and faith,  


Una Visión que Está Siempre Evolucionando

El filósofo y poeta griego Séneca dijo, “no es porque las cosas sean difíciles que no nos atrevemos; sino porque no nos atrevemos es que las cosas son difíciles.”

En el otoño del 2007, nosotros aquí en San José fuimos escogidos para hacer una prueba piloto de un nuevo programa de estudios para educación religiosa para adultos, llamado “Construyendo el Mundo Que Soñamos”, con el subtítulo ‘Una Congregación Aceptante Programa de Estudios sobre Razas y Etnias.’ Los participantes en esta clase comenzaron una aventura atrevida: para aprender y compartir sobre un tema que es difícil de abordar de manera directa para la mayoría de nosotros. Pero los participantes, junto con las moderadoras del curso Marla Scharf y yo, creíamos que podíamos realmente acercarnos a “construir el mundo que soñamos” si nos uniéramos para escuchar, a entendernos a nosotros mismos y el uno al otro, y a los sistemas de privilegio y opresión que nos afectan a todos. Porque ya sea que veamos esos sistemas o no—e incluso en este nuevo día, mientras esperamos la inauguración del primer presidente bi-racial de los Estados Unidos—todavía tenemos un largo camino por recorrer para contrarrestar la opresión.

Las conversaciones que tuvimos, las películas que miramos,  los ejercicios que hicimos, los ensayos que leímos fueron muchas veces difíciles. Pero permanecimos juntos; trabajamos por encima de los sentimientos incómodos, y como para septiembre del 2008, Marla y yo comenzamos a notar algo especial. Todos habíamos sido transformados profundamente. Nos estábamos ayudando unos a otros. Estábamos unidos en esto. Había—hay tanta esperanza.

Este trabajo duro en la clase ha establecido ahora una base para la siguiente fase de nuestro propio “proyecto de construcción” que todos nosotros compartimos—el proyecto de construir la congregación que soñamos. No podemos saber exactamente ¿como se verá esto—si continuaremos teniendo servicios separados o juntos todos? ¿A qué dedicaremos nuestras energías combinadas? Esta es mi visión actual, la cual está siempre evolucionando: que nosotros aquí en la Primera Iglesia Unitaria de San José hacemos el propósito de reunimos juntos, gente de muchos colores,  muchas edades, muchas habilidades, muchas creencias—un lugar diferente a casi cualquier otro en nuestro mundo. Nos reunimos juntos para nutrir nuestros espíritus, para profundizar nuestras vidas, para ayudar a cambiar nuestro mundo. Si realmente nos escuchamos uno al otro, si realmente nos reunimos juntos, ¿qué aprendremos? Estoy convencida que ¡descubriremos verdades sobre la vida que no podemos descubrir de otra manera! A pesar de ser tan diferentes, ¿qué es lo que nos une? Estoy convencida que el gozo de descubrir lo que compartimos y de amar nuestra formas de ser diferentes es ¡como ningún otra alegría que podamos conocer! ¿Cómo nos ayudan nuestras alegría y penas compartidas, nuestra hambre y necesidades,  a descubrir adónde estamos llamados a servir—unos a otros y al mundo? Estoy convencida que cuando servimos de esta manera—juntos/together—que podemos ser un faro de justicia y un agente efectivo para el cambio, para mejorar las vidas de las personas en toda esta comunidad de San José.

¿Estamos unidos en esto? ¿Compartimos este sueño de una congregación de muchos colores, culturas, habilidades, y creencias? Ya hemos comenzado a construirla, pero si realmente queremos tener éxito, eso significará más cambios para todos nosotros, y ustedes ya saben que el cambio es duro. ¿Están listos? ¿Están dispuestos? Necesitamos saberlo. Vengan, y compartamos nuestras esperanzas juntos, mientras construimos, tabique por tabique, el mundo que soñamos. 

A Ustedes en esperanza y fe,



Our New Wayside Pulpit Installed

By Steve Saunders, Building Committee

Maybe you have noticed something ... first the message sign in front of a church disappeared ... then a large, tightly wrapped “object” appeared in the Ramsden Fireside Room covered with dire warnings of danger and breaking glass ... then a rose bush and some other plants disappeared ... then the ground was stripped bare and this funny wooden thing appeared sitting on what looked like a couple of concrete circles. Well, on Saturday December 20, the mystery was revealed. Our fine new Wayside Pulpit really complements the new front step railings that we had installed earlier in 2008, and was installed in time for “Happy Holidays” to appear as our first message to travelers on Third Street. We do have a few more tasks to complete, such as connecting the Wayside Pulpit to power so that it can illuminate our messages at night and prettying up around the footings.

Reverend Nancy has plans to bless our new Wayside Pulpit after the 11:00 am service on Sunday, January 11. Thanks go out to all the folks who provided the volunteer (sometimes heavy) labor: Edgar Cruz, Lloyd Eater, Rick Morris, Bob Howd, Alec MacLean, Gene Martin, Michael Payne-Alex, Catherine Pelizzari, Julia Rodriguez, Steve Saunders, and Jeff White.

Sorry if I missed someone; and this list of “laborers” does not include all the folks who worked to make the sign arrive in the first place.


Open Enrollment for Small Group Ministry

Our Small Group Ministries (SGM) program is an exciting opportunity to meet other people who are interested in Unitarian Universalism, to get to know people in this congregation in a deep and meaningful way, and to discuss and learn more about our own and one another’s personal spiritual paths. “Intimacy and ultimacy,” some folks say when they try to sum up what participation in Small Group Ministry offers; “walking with each other through all of life’s journeys” is another way to put it. Participation in Small-Group Ministry offers a sense of belonging and a chance to grow. It encourages skills of “deep listening” to each other and gives us a chance to be heard. Through Small Group Ministry, we create a deeper connection to our own best self as well as to others in our congregation. Check out the SGM portion of our website for more information: www.sanjoseuu.org/FUCSJ_SGM/index.html

During the month of January, we welcome everyone who would like to enroll in our small groups. If you are not currently active in a small group, you can sign up at the SGM table during Social Hour following the 11:00 am service any Sunday in January.

Here are the groups that currently have openings, with their meeting times, locations, and leaders, and the number of openings available in each, so that you can be thinking about which group best fits with your life:

Time Location Leaders
2nd & 4th Mon. mornings Bascom & Hamilton Mary Martin
2nd & 4th Monday evenings Almaden Valley Rick Morris, Robin Beresford
1st & 3rd Monday evenings Downtown San José Alice Lynch, Matt Trask
1st & 3rd Monday evenings Saratoga Madeline Morrow
1st & 3rd Monday evenings Bascom & Hamilton Catherine Leeson
needs co-leader
2nd & 4th Tues. afternoons Los Gatos Leaders emerging
1st & 3rd Tues. evenings Los Gatos, off Lark Frank Bosche
1st & 3rd Tues. evenings Downtown San Jose Rob Strong, Frank Farris
1st & 3rd Sat. mornings Downtown San Jose Frey Leigh, Bob Miess

If none of these times works for you but you would like to join a group, please sign up at the Small-Group Ministry table in January, and we will try to find a group for you!

Some of these groups are looking for co-leaders. SGM leaders and co-leaders are fully participating members of their group. They share responsibilities for letting their group know about upcoming session topics and ensure that members receive the Preparation sheet. They make sure that the Order of Service for each session gets printed; and they help facilitate the listening and sharing during the group sessions. They receive training with Rev. Nancy and other leaders; and they (or another representative of their group) come to the monthly Small Group Ministry Leader Gathering, an evening with Rev. Nancy that is designed to nourish and support the leaders and keep our groups interconnected. If you are interested in becoming a Small Group Ministry leader, please write Rev. Nancy at revnpj@yahoo.com.


Meet Our New RE Assistant!

Hello all. My name is Angelina Perez and I am the new Religious Education Assistant. I am really excited to work with all the children since I myself have two boys. Etienne, my oldest, is almost 4 and just started Pre-K. He has made a lot of friends and has learned his ABC’s and a few nursery rhymes. His favorite is “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Alex Jr. or AJ is my youngest. He is almost 2. He loves to dance and to watch Kung Fu Panda. He has been talking up a storm. His 4 favorite words are, “No,” “Apple Jacks,” “I Love You” and “I Love Apple Jacks.”

We’re still new to San Jose, having just moved here in July from Berkeley. I like living here a lot. There is so much to do and everyone has been really nice. I work in the Financial Market in Willow Glen and am getting my Bachelors degree online for Business. I really hope to meet all of you and to get to know each of you better.


Ready to Become a New Member of the First Unitarian Church of San José?

Membership means you have found your spiritual home in Unitarian Universalism and here at FUCSJ; it means you feel called to offer your time, talent, and treasure to help build this Beloved Community. We welcome you!

Please set up a meeting with Rev. Nancy, revnpj@yahoo.com, and then plan to participate in the next New-Member In-gathering!

¿Listo para ser un Nuevo Miembro de la Primera Iglesia Unitaria de San José?

Membresía significa que tú has encontrado tu hogar espiritual en el Unitario Universalismo y aquí en la FUCSJ; significa que tú has sentido el llamado de ofrecer tu tiempo, talento y tesoro para ayudar a construir a esta amada comunidad. ¡Le damos la bienvenida!

Por favor, tenga una reunión con la Rev. Nancy revnpj@yahoo.com y entonces planee participar en el siguiente Reunión de Nuevos Miembros.

Ways to share your time and talent

These are the volunteer positions most urgently in need of filling. Please take a moment to see if any of these service opportunities are right for you.

  • COFFEE HOUR HOST: set out snacks, drinks before service; clean up after; 1 Sun. a mo.; 1 yr. term
  • LABYRINTH HOST: set up table & music and be present, 11:30-1:00; serve according to availability; 1 yr. term
  • WORSHIP HOST: greet & welcome people coming to Sun. service, collect offering; 1 Sun. a mo.; 1 yr. term
  • SOUND SYSTEM OPERATOR: operate sound system during 9:30 & 11:00 services;1 Sun. a mo.; 1 yr. term
  • TAPE DUPLICATOR: make & provide tapes of services in HPH after church for 1 ½ hrs.; 1 yr. term
  • NEWCOMER TABLE HOST: welcome newcomers, ask to fill out card, give info.;1 Sun. a mo.; 1 yr. term


Call Liz Owen at 408-257-2237or
Bob Miess
at (408) 781-7073.


Circling Around
The all-new all-different Circling Around by Torchy Hunter

As the new editor for Circling Around, I will be accosting people in Hattie Porter Hall wearing my “Tell Me Everything” sign, or, if you’d rather actually think about what you want in here, e-mail me at dzu@aol.com. I want to be up to date with you, so here’s what we need: birthdays (especially those with zeros), parties of any kind, promotions, college destinations, anything that you diverse groups are doing is interesting to everyone else. For example, in this issue:

What upcoming event will be attended by everybody who’s anybody? Who is writing letters to editors, and getting them published? Who does not fit in with his own family?

Read on!

Steve Madden is the only member of his family who is NOT appearing in “The Music Man.” Dan Zulevic is in it, and it’s directed by our own Diane Saichek. Production dates: January 31, February 1, February 7, and February 8. For tickets, call the box office of the Heritage Theater in Campbell at (408) 866-2700. It might sell out because it has so many kids in it. So if you don’t want to be making up lame excuses to Inez, Dan, and Di, call now.

But they are only little kids department: Julia Rodriguez and Steve Saunders‘ daughter Audrey, a college senior (!) is going to Uruguay on a research project, studying microfinance on blueberry farms. Says proud mom, “I told her to study Spanish.”

Creative problem solving: suppose you had 7 kids. Stop laughing, or shrieking, as the case may be, because Henry Ruddle does. When I asked how they sorted out Christmas presents for that gang, seeing that some of them are too young to read, his wife Michelle said they use different wrapping paper for each kid. Brilliant!

The sprawling Ruddle clan includes (back row) Mariah, Mercediez and Kristina; (middle row) Michael, Michelle and Henry; (front row) Lily, Jefferson and Zach.

Cordelia Willis (whose mother is a very famous sci-fi writer), who wrote, directed, and produced the kids’ Christmas play, tried to explain to me without a voice (yelling at the kids) that she held 3 rehearsals and 1 dress rehearsal for the Christmas play. That’s all. That’s a miracle. But then, the occasion....

Our Santa, Ed Massey, just back from a work trip to China, says what most impressed him was the Summer Palace, built for the last monarchy. And the amount of electronics, everybody carrying ipods, wii, game boys....

Genie Bernardini just translated my notes for me because I couldn’t read my own handwriting: her grandson, Mason Kelly, resident of Davenport, appeared in Shakespeare Santa Cruz’ “Wind in the Willows”, and contributed his entire savings account ($60!) to help save SSC from closing....

Patricia Ohanian-Coffey had a letter published in The Advocate recently, which had published a photo of 2 ministers marrying same sex couples in Arizona. She noticed that one of them was wearing a chalice, and pointed out that the editors should have identified the churches represented. If anyone has a copy of The Advocate with this letter, she would love to copy it.

And now, this is the year we have all been waiting for. No, not the year we will clean out our closets, or sort the junk drawer, or get to the garage, or resolve to be organized. A better year, actually full of hope. At last.


Shelter Sock Drive a Success

By Matt Trask (Julian Street Coordinator #4)

Thank you to all those who donated cash and socks to the annual sock drive for the Julian Street Shelter. We distributed 130 pairs of socks, mostly wool blend, to the clients at Julian Street Inn on December 14th. Each pair was dressed up with a ribbon and a candy cane. The clients were very grateful. We also served a candle-lit Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings thanks to our dedicated volunteer chefs and servers.


Starr King Student Needs Local Lodging

A Starr King student is looking for a place to stay while she does her Clinical Pastoral Education studies at Kaiser in Santa Clara. Carole Czujko will be an extended CPE student here beginning January 2nd. She would be grateful to be able to stay in the area from time to time throughout the semester. She will need a place to stay starting January 2nd.

Carole is a second career student. She has had responsible positions in her career, and was active for many years at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Manhattan. She would be an interesting and gracious house guest. If you are interested in providing housing for Carole, please contact her at carolec@hivue.com or 707-490-4367.

Spotlight on Social Justice

by Lucy Proulx, Social Justice Council Communications Volunteer

Social Justice Council email Is Alive and Well
Following the sad loss of Carol Stephenson as Social Justice Coordinator for our church, I’d like to introduce myself, Lucy Proulx, as the person currently handling communications for the Social Justice Council. Although I’ve worn many, many hats in service to you since becoming a member in the early 1980’s, I’m new to this role, and want to remind you that socialjustice@sanjoseuu.org is still up and running. Any communication you may have for the church that is Social Justice Council-related emailed to me at the above address will get to me. I’ll re-route it to the proper person or answer your questions to the best of my ability. I look forward to serving you in this capacity as it has become my “Service is our Prayer.” Watch for this column in the next issue of the newsletter to see what your “Service is our Prayer” might be!

Time to Collect your Guest at Your Table Boxes!
We’ll be closing our Guest at Your Table program on Sunday, January 4th and 11th, and ask that you bring back your “Guest At Your Table” boxes that day. Over the recent weeks, our Guest at Your Table boxes and Stories of Hope have taught us of real struggles for justice in the USA and around the world, as well as our power to change the world when we support our Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee and the many amazing people they partner with.

Before bringing back your Guest at Your Table box, be sure to complete the form on the box. And please convert your cash and coins to a check.

We’ll announce the results of our Guest at Your Table program as soon as we are able. On behalf of UUSC, we thank and commend every person who has chosen to share their blessings with the Guest at Your Table. If you miss bringing back your Guest at Your Table box, you can pass it to Rev. Geoff Rimositis, our UUSC local representative, at any time.

Fireside Gift Fair a Success!
Musicians played lively holiday music, shoppers strolled Hattie Porter Hall, and visitors complimented us on the warm, welcoming feeling our church exudes. Thank you to all of you who helped make the Fireside Gift Faire a success this year. Under the skillful direction of Cecilia Deck, we raised over $1,000 for the church, while the tamale sale raised funds for the Spanish Speaking Ministries and the bake sale helped fund Junior High group activities.

Craft Faire photos courtesy of Dani Hope.


Youth Ministries Newsletter

The very first issue of the new Youth Ministries Newsletter, which can be found at http://www.uua.org/ documents/ youthoffice/ 081101_news.pdf, is now online! This is an easy way to keep up-to-date with all the latest information on the evolving Youth Ministry Implementation Process, along with lots of other news of interest to UU youth.

Follow-Up to The World Parliament of Religions

A wonderful gathering of people from many faiths in our valley happened at Santa Clara University on Dec. 13th for the World Parliament of Religions. According to Rev. Geoff Rimositis, “It got me so excited, that I am even contemplating trying to go to Melbourne, Australia in November of 2009 when the World Parliament of Religions will be held. It would be great to have people from our congregation study other faiths and engage in interfaith activities leading to the Parliament.”

Rev. Geoff went on to say that, “three of us from the church attended: Bill Baldwin, Sherry Howd, and myself. Nancy had a computer crash with her sermon and had to cancel her participation. I attended a workshop on possibly partnering up with another city in another county doing interfaith work and also participating in the World Parliament of Religions as San Jose is doing.”

The Rev. Dr. William Lesher, who chairs the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the oldest and largest global interreligious organization, spoke to the crowd. The keynote speaker was Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, an inspiring internationally recognized speaker and leader currently serving as the Population Director of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, Dr. Kanyoro is a member of the Ethical Globalization initiative with Mary Robinson and Bishop Desmond Tutu. And the music of Dominion A Cappella Ensemble was fantastic!

To learn more about this event, contact either one of the attendees (Rev. Geoff Rimositis, Bill Baldwin, or Sherry Howd) or the website at: http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/.

From PCD: First Unitarian Church of Honolulu Hosts Obama Family Memorial Service--Secret Service at Honolulu Church

by the Rev. Mike Young

As you have, no doubt, heard by now, President-elect Barack Obama and his family held the memorial for his grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham, in our First Unitarian Church of Honolulu. I asked their minister, the Reverend Mike Young, if he would write something about this for all of us, and he most graciously agreed –Cilla Raughley, PCD Currents.

Many years ago Madelyn Dunham brought a small boy to the First Unitarian Church for Sunday School. On December 23rd, he came back to celebrate her memorial service. She had died two days before he was elected President of the United States.

This time he came with his family, his sister’s family and a few close friends; and a huge contingent of Secret Service Agents, bomb sniffing dogs, and snipers. The whole property was locked down. Every nook and cranny of the church was searched. The event was successfully kept a secret for two weeks ahead of time to protect the privacy of the family.

The service was a simple one, with music by Dion Hangtree. Barack and his sister, Maya, spoke warmly remembering their grandmother, “Toot,” (The Hawaiian word for grandmother is Tutu.) She had been a local bank executive. The president mentioned that she was the sort of bright, strong woman who, if she had been born 20 years later, would have been president of the bank. Her ashes were later scattered in the ocean off Lanai Point, South Oahu. This is from the opening I wrote for the service:

“Madelyn Dunham chose this land of gentle and violent beauty for her final resting place. We stand now in the leeward shadow of the majestic Ko’olaus, in the distance the rich and fecund Pacific. Along this coast, Punchbowl, Diamond Head, Koko, Hanauma, craters of the ancient birthing of this land in fire. Wrapped in moist trade winds scented and spiced with pikaki and ginger. Mauka, the verdant mist washed valleys watering a fertile garden of the human spirit. From the most ancient Kanaka Maoli to today’s rich diversity of peoples whose spirits are rooted in this land, here have you come. Here will her ashes and the good wishes of those who loved her be joined with the elements of this place. We come here today to seek the blessings of this land upon her repose. Once, she admired this beauty as she moved through its spaces. Now she will be a part of it; greeting the dawn and the sunset, storm and calm, from within the very heart of that beauty.”

I was honored to have shared this moment with the family of President-elect Barack Obama. There is a video clip to the KITV Report at this site: http://www.kitv.com/video/18350671/index.html

The 2009 Earl Lectures at the Pacific School of Religion

There is something new emerging inside, alongside, and even outside the familiar institutions and expressions of Christianity in North America. What will this new thing be, and how will it affect the traditional church? The 2009 Earl Lectures, to be held January 27-29 at the Pacific School of Religion (PCR) in Berkeley, will provide an opportunity to experience and reflect critically on new forms of spirituality and worship associated with the emerging church.

The program includes three days of public lectures and workshops open to all, including the general public. It will be led by three emerging church figures: Jay Bakker, author of Son of a Preacher Man, the story of his parents Jim and Tammy Faye; Bruce Reyes-Chow, Pastor of the Mission Bay Community Church, winner of the 2007 award for outstanding new church development; and Karen Ward, abbess and founding pastor of an emerging monastic, incarnational Christian community of the Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church. Joining them will be scholars Gerardo Marti and PSR’s Boyung Lee. They will guide an exploration of popular culture, generational change, and religious innovation in North America. There will also be a screening of the new film, The Ordinary Radicals, a feature-length documentary about “a conspiracy of faith in the margins of empire.”

The Earl Lectures began with an endowment gift made in 1901 by Edwin T. Earl for the purpose of bringing eminent scholars to Berkeley to speak on themes important to Christian thought and life. Past Earl Lecturers include Theodore Roosevelt, Paul Tillich, Elie Wiesel, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Gustavo Gutierrez. Since 1921, the Earl Lectures have been accompanied by a Pastoral Conference for clergy and lay people, now called a Leadership Conference. The lectures are free and open to the public. Registration for the conference is $99 before January 15, and $125 afterwards. See the PSR web site at http://www.psr.edu/2009-behold%E2%80%A6-new-thing-emerging-expressions-faithfulness for more information, or call (800) 999-0528, ext. 8218.

Re-Visioning Social Justice Ministries at FUCSJ

Sponsored by our congregational leadership, this conversation, on Sunday, January 25, at 1:00 pm in the Sanctuary, provides a key opportunity for all congregants to offer input, insights, and direction for our Social Justice Ministries.

Questions include: Should we focus on certain social-justice issues each year, and shall we vote to determine which ones? Should we put our energies into responding ad hoc to urgent or timely matters, as we have done with Proposition 8 and its aftermath? How can we be more fully engaged in our PACT LOC, and are there other community-organizing issues we have the energy to pursue? Since Social Justice relates to our mission to become a multicultural, multigenerational, anti-oppressive congregation, then what does this mission call us to focus on as agents for change? How can our Social Justice Ministries and our Religious Education Ministries for all ages be better woven together?

Bring your own questions, suggestions, and energies, as we celebrate and enliven our Social Justice Ministries!


Upcoming Events

Thursday, January 8
Women’s Alliance
All are welcome to join us at the next meeting of the Women’s Alliance, which will take place on Thursday, January 8 from 7:15 to 9:15 P.M. at the home of Jean von Kaenel. We are continuing Part 2 of the revised Cakes for the Queen of Heaven curriculum, which looks at religious and cultural attitudes toward women. As we read about Sarah from the book of Genesis, we will address whether it is possible to find meaning for today’s women in the stories of the Old Testament. Please contact Nancy Coleman at nbcoleman@gmail.com for further information.

Friday, January 9
Happy Birthday to You!

Come one and all to our ‘’All-Church Birthday Party for Everyone” on Friday, January 9th, from 6:00-9:00 pm. We’ll provide pizza and salad, donations accepted, and you can bring a cake if you wish. Each month will have their own area, so you can sit with others who share your same birthday month, if you wish. This party brought to you by your Religious Education Council: Rev. Geoff Rimositis, Tamara Payne-Alex, and Jan Theiss-Guffey. Any questions or to RSVP, email Jan at jantg@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, January 13
Humanist Group Meeting

The next meeting of the HUUmanist Group is set for January 13th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Fireside Room. The group will begin a review of some humanist teachings as presented by Alain de Botton in the six-part miniseries titled Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness. Each segment is 30 minutes long. The ideas of the philosophers are presented, along with their cultural and historical context. We will start, as the series does, with Socrates. For those who wish to get a head start, read the first few pages of Botton’s Consolations of Philosophy, upon which the series is based. More information on Botton is at www.alaindebotton.com, which has some clips from the series.

Sunday, January 11
Church Tour

On Sunday January 11th, newcomers and old timers are welcome to join us for a tour of our church. A tour of the building, a discussion about church programs and a short talk about the history of Unitarian Universalism and our own congregation will be included. Even long-term members of the church have found this tour enjoyable and informative. You might be surprised to find out things about our church you didn’t know! For example, did you know that Abraham Lincoln credited Unitarian minister Rev. Thomas Starr King with bringing California into the Union? This and many other fun facts about FUCSJ and Unitarian Universalism are presented in a fast-paced, lively 50-minute tour, with a short question and answer period to follow. Please meet Lisa Hettler-Smith at the Newcomer’s Table 15 minutes after the end of the service and the dedication of the new Wayside Pulpit.

Monday, January 19
New Beginnings: Building a Community of Hope—Eve-of-the-Inauguration Event!

On Monday, January 19 at 7:00 pm at the Benson Student Center at Santa Clara University, join us for an interfaith citizens’ celebration on the eve of the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama and in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In this historic moment of change, we are called to rededicate ourselves to building a community of hope and peace. 

The Honorable LaDoris Cordell, retired Santa Clara Superior Court Judge, community leader, educator, and nationally known human rights advocate, offers the keynote address. Rev. Nancy is part of the interfaith group organizing the event. Gather with your neighbors and fellow citizens from Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area for an evening of inspiration and recommitment.

For more information, please contact Bruce Bramlett, of Silicon Valley FACES and Southbay Interfaith, at 408-286-9663, x328. Admission is Free, Parking Accessible.

Saturday, January 31
Partner Church News: Reverend Jozsef reports that they are still waiting for snow in our partner village of Homoródszentmárton.

Everyone is invited to Tea! The Partner Church Benefit Tea will take place Saturday, January 31, 1:00 to 4:00 pm in Hattie Porter Hall. Suggested donation: adults: $20, youth: $10. This event will raise funds for our villager visitors coming this summer. We will have music and dance performances for your entertainment. A variety of tasty treats will be served and of course...Tea.

This will be a great way to introduce friends to our church. Planning for the villager visit this summer is now in full swing. Reverend Jozsef says the passports should be complete before the new year. We will then submit the paper work for the visas for the villagers. If you would like to help with the Tea or for further information contact:

Monty Low at low.monty@gmail.com / 408-348-2778 or Connie Bloch at connie_bloch@yahoo.com / 408-266-6504

June 17-20, 2009
Junior High Backpacking Trip for 2009

“The mountains are calling and I must go!” (John Muir).

Although it may seem early, plans are being made now for our church’s Junior High Backpack Trip scheduled for June 17-20, 2009. This 4-day, 3-night trip is open to youth from our church entering the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in the fall of 2009. Our group will be hiking between 15-24 miles (maybe a bit more) on our annual High Sierra backpack trip. Please email or call Pam Pell no later than January 24 to let her know if you are interested in going on the trip. Registration will occur in February/March. Call or email Pam if you have any questions at 408-287-4453 johnpell@aol.com

Dances of Universal Peace on Sabbatical until Summer

While Marilynn Carstens, Patrick Smiley, and all Marilynn’s friends and community are caring for her health, Dances of Universal Peace will take a sabbatical until summer 2009. Please send your thoughts, prayers, and warm wishes to Marilynn and Patrick as we walk with them on this journey; please reach them by e-mail at marilynn.carstens@sbcglobal.net.

Are You Looking for UUthful Spirits?

UUthful Spirits is an inclusive group for fun and fellowship for young adults and the young at heart. Our activities include:

  • Game night, every 3rd Friday, monthly.
  • Sunday brunches, bimonthly on 2nd and 4th Sunday. Meet in Hattie Porter Hall about 12:45 p.m.
  • Happy hour, every 1st Friday of the month at Tied House at 5:30 p.m.

Come join the fun. For more information, contact John Burk at mus6@aceweb.com or group at uuthful_spirits-owner@yahoogroups.com.

Women & Religion PCD Weekend Retreat

This year’s Women & Religion Retreat will be held March 6-8, 2009 at Enchanted Hills (near Napa) and will feature workshops such as “Visualizing a World Religion Meaningful to Women (with the Rev. Shirley Ranck), “Introduction to Energy Medicine,” “The Divine Feminine: Embracing Creative Energy to Heal our Planet,” and “You, Too, Can Haiku,” with our own Jean Embree.

Early Bird registration cost is $230; registration after February 2 is $250. Registration includes delicious meals, linens, programs, a “No-Talent Talent Show,” mini-boutique, book swap, Yoga, Tai Chi, and a silent auction. You will love it!

To register, send a $50 deposit to Women & Religion, c/o Jeanne Orjas, 1408 California St. #408, San Francisco, CA 94109. For information, email Jeanne at nejaros@sbcglobal.net.

To apply for a partial scholarship, contact Clair Trujillo, 3006 Bonnie Lane, Stockton, CA 95204; (209) 943-6428.

To ride-share, contact Barbara Schonborn at (650) 967-6756 / bschonborn@sbcglobal.net or Meg Bowman at (408) 292-1172.

UU Hikers & Friends

By Joyce Miller

Here is the January hiking schedule. As usual, please call if you want to hike, so I will know to look for you at the car pool spot. If you are a regular (and you know who you are) you don’t need to call unless you are not coming, so we won’t wait for you if you are late. You can call me on my home phone from 6:30 until 7:30 am when I leave. After 7:30, call my cell phone. If you want to email me that you are coming, that is fine. I try to remember to check my email the morning of the hike.

My phone numbers are: 408 730-1052 (home) and 408 507-7052 (cell). In case of rain I frequently change the venue to the Stanford Dish, which is paved and solves the mud problem. I will cancel if we have a big wind and rain storm. If you wonder what decision has been made, give me a call the morning of the hike.

See you on the trails!

Wednesday, January 7
Purisima Redwoods, 6 miles. We will do the car shuttle hike. Meet at Page Mill/280 Park & Ride at 8:30 am.

Saturday, January 10
Santa Teresa County Park, 6 miles, moderate. Meet at Bed, Bath & Beyond at Almaden Plaza at 8:00 am.

Wednesday, January 14
This will be a long hike, about 10 miles. Let’s do Saratoga Gap to Grizzly Flat and back through Long Ridge. This is long loop. No car shuttle needed. It should take about 5 ½ hours. Meet at Downey Bank parking lot in Saratoga at 8:30 am.

Saturday, January 17
Joseph Grant County Park, 6 miles, moderate. Meet at VTA Park and Ride at Capitol and Alum Rock at 8:00 am.

Wednesday, January 21
Almaden Quicksilver Park, 6 miles, moderate. Meet at Bed, Bath & Beyond at Almaden Plaza at 8:30 am. North county folks can meet at my house at 8:30 am.

Saturday, January 24
Sunol Regional Park, McGuire Peaks trail, 6 miles, moderate. Meet at VTA Park & Ride at Capitol and Alum Rock at 8:00 am.

Wednesday, January 28
Shuttle hike from Grizzly Flat to Montebello, 6 miles, moderate. Meet at PageMill/280 Park and Ride at 8:30 am.

Saturday, January 31
Wunderlich County Park, 5-8 miles. This can be a short hike or a longer one up to Skyline. We can decide at the carpool spot so we know who will finish early. Meet at PageMill/280 Park and Ride at 8:00 am.


For Pastoral Care

Our community strives to offer compassion, companionship, healing, and joy to all its members. Our pastoral care coordinators can help you find the listening ear or helping hands that you may need in difficult times.

  • For pastoral care in English, please contact our lay Pastoral Associate Coordinator, Rev. Donna Lenahan: (home) 408-354-9024; (cell) 408-204-6565; e-mail: djlenahan@aol.com.
  • For pastoral care in Spanish, please contact our Spanish-Speaking Ministries Coordinator, Roberto Padilla: 408-292-3858 ext. 24; e-mail: paor69@yahoo.com.

Contacting the Ministers

Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones and Rev. Geoff Rimositis feel honored to serve this congregation, and we cherish your trust! Here is how reach us:

Cuidado Pastoral

Nuestra comunidad se esfuerza en ofrecer la compasión,el compañerismo curativo, y la alegría a todos susmiembros. Nuestros coordinadores en cuidado pastoral pueden ayudarle a encontrar un oído que escucha, o lasmanos que ayudan cuando ustedes lo pudieran necesitaren épocas difíciles. Para el cuidado pastoral en inglés, por favor, comuníquese con nuestro Coordinador Asociado Laico en Cuidado Pastoral, la Rev. Donna Lenahan: (casa) 408-354-9024; (celular) 408-204-6565; e-mail: djlenahan@aol.com. Para el cuidado pastoral en español, por favor comuníquese con nuestro Coordinador de los Ministeriosen Español, Roberto Padilla: 408-292-3858 ext. 24; e-mail: paor69@yahoo.com.

Contactando a los Ministros

La Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones y El Rev. Geoff Rimositis se sienten honrados por servir a esta congregación, y nosotros apreciamos su confianza! Aquí nosotros estamos a su alcance:


Tracy Avent, darkmuzik@yahoo.com

Bob Redfern, rredfern@charter.net

Bob Howd, BHowd@aol.com

Joyce Miller, j408miller@sbcglobal.net

Julia Rodriguez, quixoposto@ix.netcom.com

Christopher Frey, cjfrey@cjfrey@alum.berkeley.edu

Cheri Goodman, cheri.goodman@sbcglobal.net
Rick Merritt, rbmerrit@cmp.com
Michael Payne-Alex, michaelpaynealex@yahoo.com
Marla Scharf, marla.scharf@gmail.com

Church Staff

Senior Minister, Ext. 23
 The Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones, revnpj@yahoo.com

Assoc. Minister For Religious Education, Ext. 25
 The Rev.Geoff Rimositis, Grimositis@Sanjoseuu.org

Office Administrator, Ext. 10
 Iris Gonzalez, fucsj@sanjoseuu.org

Coordinator of Spanish Speaking Ministries, Ext. 24
 Roberto Padilla

Social Justice Coordinator, Ext. 27
 Carol Stephenson, socialjustice@sanjoseuu.org

Bookkeeper / TBD

Sexton / Edgar Cruz

R.E. Assistant / TBD

Nursery Staff / Jusica Nunez & Maria Elena Olvera

Church Office
: (408) 292-3858
Fax: (408) 292-4744
E-mail             fucsj@sanjoseuu.org
URL                http://www.sanjoseuu.org

Facilities Rental (408) 841-7542

Thank you to our volunteers!
Our Church Circular is published on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Circulation is about 500.

Editors: Catherine Leeson Pelizzari and Shirley Worth; Circular.Editors@gmail.com

Shirley will be editor for January 21 and February 18, 2009 issues. Catherine will be editor for the February 4 and March 4, 2009 issues.

Translator: Roberto Padilla

Layout: Henry Ruddle 408-234-3670 henry_L@ruddle.com (www.ruddle.com)

Assembly Coordinator: Gretchen Leavitt

Assembly Crew: Lloyd Eater and Genie Bernardini

Thanks for all the work you do and care you put into the newsletter.

Want to Receive the Newsletter?

To receive the newsletter on paper, fill out the form at this link:

or call (408) 292-3858, ext. 31.

To receive the newsletter via email, emessage steve.carr@earthlink.net

Next issue deadline: 3:00 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Next issue assembly: Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Next issue mailing: Wednesday, January 21, 2009