December 17, 2021
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"The bright star in the night sky is
the sudden clarity of your instinct for joy."

 ~  Rebecca Parker, 'You Have to Know Your Body as the Home of God'

UU Meriden Weekly Newsletter

What's happening at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden?

Celebrate the Solstice, Sunday with Rev. Tony or Tuesday with a fireside outdoor gathering to embrace new light & the coming new year! 
You're welcome to worship with us in-person at UU Meriden this Sunday, December 19th at 11:00 a.m. in our Sanctuary with masks on & seats safely distanced, followed by Coffee Hour. Thank you for your cooperation!
Get Directions to UU Meriden

This Sunday, Rev. Tony and Members of the Sunday Service Team lead "The Longest Night," a celebration of the Winter Solstice for all ages, noting how throughout history the return of light has been a cause for joy.

News, Events, & More

Fireside Solstice Celebration 

You're Invited to a Winter Solstice Celebration around the Fire Pit this Tuesday 4:30-5:30PM at UU Meriden

   Come join us on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 4:30-5:30pm in the backyard of UUCM to farewell the dark days of winter and welcome the light of the new year. Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice and the spirit of the season with an adaptation of a burning bowl ritual and share the joy of favorite Christmas Carols and more

   To celebrate and embrace the new year: We will let go of what no longer serves us by writing these thoughts of the past year on a slip of paper and tossing the paper into the fire. We will also send our hopeful thoughts and wishes that we would like to see manifested in the coming year by writing them down and adding them into the fire. 

  Our songs on Tuesday will include holiday tunes, songs from the Women’s Song Circle, and any other song you may like to sing, so bring along your song ideas.

   *We suggest you spend some quiet time to reflect about what you want to let go of and what you want manifested, and bring those with you written down on two separate pieces of paper*. We will have papers to write on if you forget, but it will be easier to have this done at home.

   Please *bring your own chair* (and blanket if you like.) Dress warmly in layers, hats, and gloves…better to be warm than chilly!


WhaleCoast Alaska 2022   

   Have you ever wanted to visit Alaska? If so, WhaleCoast Alaska 2022 is for you! Four Alaska UU congregations invite you to experience our unique environmental and spiritual tour program next summer. See Alaska through the eyes of local UUs, with friendly homestays and awe-inspiring tour activities. See wildlife, including moose, bears, caribou, whales, bald eagles, sea lions, etc. Visit Denali National Park. Experience Native Alaskan culture. WhaleCoast Alaska is an inspirational way to visit our beautiful state. Complete info at: Proof of Covid-19 vaccinations required. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss!

Tis the Season: Thank You for your contributions to the Men's Shelter and for Afghan Refugees
   The UU Meriden Social Justice Council and other volunteers had an enjoyable wrapping party this past Sunday afternoon.

   For Men's Shelter Meriden, we continued our annual Christmas collection, and were able to collect enough gifts of underwear (short and long), gloves, and hats for 16 men this year. 

   We also supplied 24 kits for Afghan refugees, including, welcome gifts, toiletries, rainwear, cold weather wear, etc which go to CIRI in Bridgeport to deliver. 

   Finally, we supplied many gifts of housewares, blankets, kitchenware, a lamp, and similar items for several of those who live in the Women and Children's Center WYSH House and Robyn's House in Meriden, which provide both temporary and permanent housing at no cost or low cost along with numerous services for young adults who are at risk for homelessness.

   Thanks to the dozens of folks who donated to the cause and those who stayed on the 12th to assemble and wrap the gifts! 

Guest at Your Table: Loose Change for Social Change

Guest at Your Table (GAYT) is the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s annual intergenerational program to raise support for and awareness about key human rights issues. Each December, congregations are encouraged to invite four “Guests” to their table, metaphorically; these Guests are real individuals who represent four of UUSC’s grassroots partners who we can support as they work to effect change in their own communities. In the new year, we will share video introductions with our Guests and learn about the incredible work they are doing in their community, exemplifying this year’s theme: Now is the Time for Courageous Change. How much loose change could you set aside for UUSC? Set a goal, collect in your GAYT Box (or anywhere), and on Sunday, February 13, 2022 bring or send a check to UUCM for that amount (memo line: GAYT). 
To see exactly what each dollar raised for GAYT can do around the world click here. To meet this year’s Guests now, read a bit about Axel, Myra, Cristian, and Maina right here. To find out more about the UUSC’s mission and this year’s theme, watch their video on their website here

Start today, use the GAYT collection box (available at church or you can download & DIY with this link) to collect money and join others in bringing your offering to the church on Sunday, February 13, 2022  (or simply mail a check to church at any time with “GAYT” in the memo line.) Thank you for participating in this vital ministry!

Pictured above: the 2021-2022 pamphlets featuring this year's Guests, alongside the assembled boxes.
Read with Rev. Tony will now meet via Zoom only
   The New York Times Book Review wrote of January's read, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, "A thoughtful, fearlessly low-key novel about the role of our species on the planet...laid out for us with an originality and a clarity that few would deny."
Read with Rev. Tony: Wed, Jan. 5th at noon on Zoom

   The Minister's Zoom Book Group will meet virtually on Wednesday, January 5th at noon via Zoom to discuss the BLANK novel Ishmael by Daniel Quinn! Read with Rev. Tony is returning to a virtual format, and will meet only via Zoom on the first Wednesday of each month at noon; there will not be an in person meeting for this or any of the upcoming months. Group is open to all! No registration required. To learn more, email Rev. Tony at
Thank You All for visiting, donating, promoting, volunteering, baking, and more at the Holiday Fair on Dec. 4th, 2021!

    Together we made UUCM’s Holiday Fair a great success! Because of your generosity, we earned $2,668 as of December 7, 2021. Thank you to all who donated items, baked cookies & publicized the event! Thank you for your hard work on setting up on Friday. Thank you to our staff throughout the day and those who stayed to clean up after the Holiday Fair on Saturday!  A very special thank you to the incredibly dedicated Holiday Fair organizers: Diane Szymaszek and Trish Schneider.

   You can still buy craft items from the Holiday Fair. We have set up a small display at UU Meriden so take a look while you're at church! We are reaching beyond the church as well, hoping to sell some of the craft items with a display at Meriden's Gallery 53, click for their website. We hope to raise even more for UUCM. Thank you!

Church News 

Updated: Policy for Winter Closures 
   Please see our updated policy for determination and notification in cases of closure due to inclement weather or other significant issues: available here

Coffee Hour Needs You! ☕
   We finally have our beloved Coffee Hour back, but no one to host! An easy way to ensure community in these distanced times, this tradition is a shared effort. If we want to continue, we need Coffee Hour Hosts. A Coffee Hour Host has a simple mission on their Sunday: make coffee and tea, provide a few basic snacks, and clean up afterwards. If we all take a couple of turns during the church year, we can all enjoy refreshments and camaraderie after services. Let's all take our turn to keep this tradition going and strengthen our bonds as a community over a warm cup of coffee. Please add your name to sign up sheet at church. Thank you in advance for stepping up.

Member of the Month: December is Diane Szymaszek month!
   Diane does so much for the church it is difficult to capture it all. Diane has been one of the main organizers for most of our fundraisers for several years; she is the force behind our spiral garden; an active SJC member; you will usually find Diane in the kitchen helping clean up after an event. We can't thank Diane and her partner Chet enough for all they do for us.
  To nominate someone for Member of the Month, contact the minister or any member of the Leadership Team, Nancy Burton, Janet Hiller, Trish Schneider individually or at

Pastoral Care
   Do you or a loved one need a helping hand?  Our Lay Pastoral Care team is ready to help with visits, phone calls, meals, errands, or transportation. Please contact our chair, Kathleen Lindberg, at (203) 269-9169 or or team member Jane Dioguardi at (203) 213-1228 or


Worship this Month 

All Sunday services start at 11:00 A.M.  Worship services are now in-person and indoors at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden, 328 Paddock Avenue. We will gather in the Sanctuary with masks on, windows open, & seats safely distanced, please plan accordingly. Please note: services are now in-person only, and will not be livestreamed. Select services will be recorded and posted online during the week. To view past sermons, visit our service archive on YouTube
  • Dec. 19 . . . at UUCM   "The Longest Night"  Rev. Tony and Members of the Sunday Service team lead a celebration of the Winter Solstice for all ages noting how throughout the ages the return of light has been a cause for joy.  In-person at UU Meriden.  
  • Friday, Dec. 24 . . . at UUCM   "Joy to the World"  Celebrate Christmas Eve with traditions new and old at UU Meriden with Rev. Tony Lorenzen at 6:00pm on Friday, Dec. 24th. Merry Christmas! In-person at UU Meriden.  
  • Dec. 26 . . . There will be no service at UU Meriden on Sunday, Dec. 26th. We’ll see you on January 2nd, 2022 to kick off the new year! Happy Holidays! 
  • Jan. 02 . . . at UUCM   "Finding Our Way: Living with Intentionality through Meditation"  Join us for a Gong Meditation Service with Worship Associate Anita Sanders and member Denis Picard who leads the weekly gong meditation at UUCM, Mondays at 6:30 p.m. You’re welcome to bring a mat or blanket for the meditation. In-person at UU Meriden. 
  • Jan. 09 . . . at UUCM   "Intention, Practice, and Mastery"  Rev. Tony Lorenzen discusses the importance of intentionality for the acquisition of mastery.  We celebrate an all-ages burning bowl ritual and set personal and congregational intentions for the new year. In-person at UU Meriden. 
  • Jan. 16 . . . at UUCM   "Intentional Radical"  An MLK Sunday Celebration: Rev. Tony Lorenzen reflects on how MLK has been intentionally whitewashed and watered down, and what a holiday intentionally based on the authentic MLK might be like. We welcome our sister church, The Mattatuck UU Society (MUUS) on this special Sunday. In-person at UU Meriden. 
  • Jan. 23 . . . at UUCM   "Intention and Prayer"  Join Worship Associate Peg Kirkpatrick as we explore the relationship between intentional living, prayer, and becoming attuned to our inner voice and who we truly are. In-person at UU Meriden. 

   December's Worship Theme is Opening to Joy. For recommendations, inspirations, and free resources relating to our Monthly Worship Themes visit our website. There you'll find Rev. Tony's new Monthly Spiritual Challenge "Find Some Good News—And Share It with Others!"  You might find Joy where you least expect it (like the news!) Challenge yourself to add your findings to Tony's shared list (via this Google Form)!
Direct your Online Donation!
 We've made it even easier to support UUMeriden and the causes that matter most to you -- online!  We added a drop down menu to our PayPal which allows you to select whether you are contributing to your pledge, adding to our weekly Offering, donating to Social Justice Council, or supporting our Pastoral Care efforts. To check it out, click the PayPal icon below or follow this link:

Thank you for your Generosity!
THANK YOU for all your generous donations and contributions during this difficult time. Please continue to support the congregation financially. Click the PayPal icon to donate online now! 
Minister's Schedule

   Rev. Tony Lorenzen is available Wednesday in Meriden by appointment; or other days by phone or video conference. Monday is Rev. Tony's day off. Friday is his sermon prep day. You can reach Rev. Tony at (508) 344-3668 and his new email address:  *Please note that the monthly event 'Lunch with the Minister' has been discontinued. The Minister's Monthly Book Group, Read with Rev. Tony will meet via Zoom instead of in-person.

Credits, Thanks, & Attributions
  1. Chalice Logo: the Unitarian Universalist Association  
  2. Thematic Content: Soul Matters Sharing Circle LLC
  3. For their GAYT wording, UU Church of Minnetonka; Pocatello UU Fellowship; the UUSC
  4. Ishmael Cover Image: Bantam (May 1, 1995)

Announcements for the Weekly Update, Social Media

Announcements are due no later than 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday for that week's publication. Note: please be brief; pictures and links encouraged where appropriate; no formatting is necessary; announcements are subject to editing and approval. Announcements will run in the Weekly Update each Friday; other posts or email blasts should be explicitly requested as such.  Items are prioritized for timeliness.  Send your news to:

How to Contact UU Meriden

Church Office:
Phone: (203) 237-9297  

Rev. Tony Lorenzen:
Phone: (508) 344-3668

Address (mailing & location):
328 Paddock Avenue, Meriden, CT 06450

Contact Form:

Stay Connected With Us!
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