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April 22, 2023
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” 
—  Albert Camus

UU Meriden Weekly Newsletter

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

🌎 🌍 🌏  Happy Earth Day 🌎 🌍 🌏 
You're invited to worship with us in-person or online this Sunday, April 23rd at 10:30 a.m. Gather in our Sanctuary at UU Meriden; or participate by joining our Zoom meeting, link below.

●     ●     ●
Join Worship via Zoom
Get Directions to UUCM

Join Worship Associate Jeff May for "Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!" an exploration of ourselves... When the tornadoes deposit us in the midst of Oz, shall we be Dorothy, the scarecrow, the tin man, the lion . . . or shall we be Toto? Accompaniment by Kevin Wyman. Followed by our Budget Hearing & Coffee Hour. 
Gardening Mondays at UU Meriden! Details below.
📸 Photos from Diane

News, Events, & More

Budget Hearing — April 23 at noon, in-person & Zoom
Click the above image to access the FY 23-24 Budget

  On Sunday 4/23 after worship service, we will meet to review the budget. This Budget Hearing is an opportunity for members of UU Meriden to give their input on the Fiscal Year 23-24 Budget. The Finance Committee will consider our input with the Board of Trustees and present the final draft of the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget for a vote at the Congregation’s Annual Meeting (the following Sunday 5/21).

The Finance Committee has been focused on the following: (1) Keeping UUCM’s basic operating costs down. (2) Being realistic about the change in our income as we grow. 

Click on the following link to review the FY 23-24 budget:

Please join us after worship service on Sunday, April 23th at noon in-person or via Zoom to share your perspective, stay up-to-date, and have your voice heard. 
Thank you,
   Trish Schneider, Treasurer

Your feedback is essential! Check out the options at the link below ⬇ 

See our website here: to learn about our new name and logo options and give us your feedback. 

Thank you!
🌷  Monday Garden Club 🌷
 Gardening Monday, April 24 anytime 10 to noon  

Last Monday a few of us worked on the front garden. We didn’t get to finish because of the rain. Anyone interested in getting their hands into the dirt can join us this Monday at 10am to finish the front gardens and to also do a little weeding (already) in the Spiral Garden. The outside circle of the Spiral needs a lot of weeding. 

 If you have any questions talk to Diane Szymaszek this Sunday at church or email her at or text at 203-589-1480.

Soul Matters Small Group Ministry* Registration

  Soul Matters Small group ministry registration is now open!  There are five groups currently forming or seeking new members. For meeting days and times see the registration form. To register and sign up for a small group click HERE.  Belonging to a small group is a powerful way to reflect deeply on spiritual and philosophical themes, deepen relationships with other members of the congregation, and listen deeply to your own heart.
 Our small groups meet once a month. The meetings will consist of 8-12 people gathering for a time of reflection and sharing.  Each gathering will include chalice lighting, a time to check in and share joys and concerns, a time for reflecting on questions and resources related to our monthly theme, closing words, and extinguishing the chalice.  The reflection material will come from Soul Matters and be available at the beginning of each month on our website and via email directly to participants.

 For more on the details of small groups, see our website at:  If you have questions or have trouble accessing the website or registration form, contact Rev. Tony. 

* Please Note: UUCM is proud to have multiple options for Small Group Ministries, the groups described here are not connected to the Saturday Small Group Ministry which meets monthly and does not require registration, see their announcement also in the News section. 
🌟 Read Aloud Book Group 🌠
Tuesday, May 2 @ 7 p.m. - On Zoom 

  You're invited to the Read Aloud Book Group's next meeting on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. via Zoom!  We'll read the first chapter of "Starry Messenger" by Neil de Grasse TysonWe'll be reading out loud together and we'll discuss what we read. Reading ahead of time is optional (we’re reading together anyway!) and so is reading aloud - so don't worry it won't be you - unless you request to read out loud! 📖 

Contact Liz Hall by texting or call to get the Zoom Link

⭐  ⭐  ⭐  ⭐  ⭐  ⭐  ⭐ 
Thanks to our Rock Painters 

  Did you know? UUCM's Social Justice Council will have a booth at the Middletown Pride Festival & Parade on June 3rd, 2023! Today we painted rocks which we will sell at our booth. If you are interested in helping with the booth, please contact SJC at
Small Group Ministry ⛪ Open Invitation
Third Saturdays, 10am, monthly at UU Meriden 

  In May, Small Group Ministry will meet on Saturday, May 20 at 10am in the Sanctuary of the church at 328 Paddock Avenue, Meriden. The Group meets on the third Saturday of every month from 10am until noon. No reservation needed. The leader picks a topic of discussion for the meeting. All are welcome. A reminder email will go out the week of the meeting. If you would like to be added to the reminder list, please contact Ann Rustici.  

For further information, please call Ann Rustici at 203-559-5771.

Schedule Change: Next BOT Meeting May 10 via Zoom 
The Board of Trustees meeting of April 26 has been canceled because of scheduling conflicts. The next regular Board meeting will take place Wednesday, May 10 at 6:30pm via Zoom. Any UUCM member may attend and speak but not vote. If you’d like to attend, please email Trish Schneider for the Zoom link:


Update on our Bylaws

  Please see the email sent out earlier this week for the proposed changes and recap of our conversation last Sunday. The email was sent on the evening of April 18, subject line "Bylaws Revision Update / Details" from "UU Meriden Board of Trustees" 

  If you did not receive this email or have further questions, please contact the Board of Trustees, (Nancy, Janet, Trish, and Tony) at  

Here are the links that were included in that email:





In the spirit of Community,

   The Board of Trustees
It isn't always easy to face injustice & tragedy, carelessness & hatefulness with the spirit of Love and Resistance.
But we don't have to do it alone!

Side with Love connects UU's in the pursuit of justice, equity, compassion, and a brighter future with resources to organize, act, and stay informed. Subscribe to their updates, take advantage of their Skill Up opportunities, explore the tools they offer to take action.

Look for resources on both sites regarding Trans Rights, Gun Control, reproductive justice, climate action, immigration, Black Lives Matter, healthcare access, voting rights, and more.

Visit the UUA for more organizations like Side with Love, such as UU the Vote, that empower us to fight for justice and inclusion, as well as how all that ties into Unitarian Universalism (select a topic from the menu of key issue areas on the UUA Justice & Inclusion page to get started). 

Worship this Month 

  Note: Sunday worship services at UU Meriden begin at 10:30 A.M.  We are located at 328 Paddock Ave. Unless otherwise indicated, our Sundays worship will also be offered via Zoom aka "Hybrid." You can check if a service is in-person, online, or hybrid on the schedule below: 
  •  April 23 at 10:30 a.m. . . .  "Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!"  –  Join Worship Associate Jeff May for … When the tornadoes deposit us in the midst of Oz, shall we be Dorothy, the scarecrow, the tin man, the lion . . . or shall we be Toto? Accompaniment by Kevin Wyman. In-person at UUCM & online via Zoom. Join us virtually by clicking here.  Followed by our 23-24 Budget Hearing.
  • April 30 at 10:30 a.m. . . .  "Swords to Ploughshares"  –  We are joined for the first time by guest preacher Rev. Deacon Felix Rivera of the Episcopal Church for a change in perspective as he reflects on a gun buyback program called Swords to Ploughshares and his vision of bringing that program to Meriden — and how we can help. In-person at UUCM & online via Zoom. Join us virtually by clicking here
  •  May 07 at 10:30 a.m. . . .  "I'll Be There for You"  –  Rev. Tony Lorenzen leads us into May, and the theme of "Creativity." We reflect on creating ways to better support and take care of each others in a growing, changing congregation. Accompaniment by Kevin Wyman. In-person at UUCM & online via Zoom. Join us virtually by clicking here
  • May 14 at 10:30 a.m. . . .  "Starry Eyed: Taking a Cosmic Perspective"  –  Special guest preacher Rev. Dr. Kelly M. Mason reflects on taking our responsibility as global citizens seriously and what changes when we make fundamental commitments to having Earth be our shared home. In-person at UUCM & online via Zoom. Join us virtually by clicking here
  • May 21 at 10:30 a.m. . . .  "On Creativity & Change"  –   Worship Associate Anita Sanders reflects on the ways creativity requires changing that which already is and considers how we react to creative change as individuals and a community. In-person at UUCM & online via Zoom. Join us virtually by clicking here.
  • Find out a bit about our May 28 worship service in the message from Rev. Tony about Intercultural Development below.
  • Attending via Zoom: Our hybrid services are simultaneously live online via Zoom and in-person at UUCMThe UU Meriden Zoom meeting access link is always Unless otherwise indicated, worship services will continue to be hybrid.
  • Please see our current COVID Policy on our website HERE, effective 10/2022

   Our April Worship Theme is  Resistance  —  For recommendations, inspirations, and free resources relating to our Monthly Worship Themes visit our website. You can read the Minister's Monthly Message and try Rev. Tony's Spiritual Challenge below!
From Rev. Tony Lorenzen

  Rev. Tony will present our congregational Intercultural Development Inventory assessment results to the board and then will discuss them with the congregation during our Sunday service on May 28, 2023.  

 If you took the Intercultural Development Inventory and requested a meeting with Rev. Tony to go over your own personal assessment results, now is the time to make an appointment. Everyone who took the IDI will receive an email from Rev. Tony with two documents attached – your personal IDI Profile (assessment results) and suggestions for an Individual Development Plan (IDP) along with a link to schedule a 30-minute appointment with Rev. Tony to discuss these results and recommendations. If you have not yet received an email with your results, please contact Rev. Tony.   

  PLEASE REMEMBER – the Assessment does NOT measure how Anti-Racist or Racist you are. It doesn’t make judgements about whether or not you are a good person or if you are well-intentioned. The IDI provides in-depth insights on how individuals and groups make sense of cultural differences and also how they respond to cultural differences. The IDI measures both one’s mindset and skillset. This is assessment is an opportunity to learn and grow personally and as a community; we all benefit from each of us who takes the time to share their perspective. Thank you to those who have done so!

  If you have NOT taken the IDI assessment but would like to do so now, please contact Rev. Tony. We will make another opportunity to do this available soon.  

  Thanks once again for taking the Intercultural Development Inventory as part of our congregation’s efforts to further the congregation’s cross-cultural awareness and skill

The Reverend Tony Lorenzen 

Call or text  508-344-3668
Support UU Meriden with a Secure Online Donation
 It only takes a few clicks to support UU Meriden and the causes that matter most to you — online!  The drop down menu on our PayPal allows you to select whether you are contributing to your pledge, adding to our weekly offering, donating to Social Justice Council, fulfilling your commitment to the Challenge Fund, or supporting our Pastoral Care Ministries. Thank you to everyone who contributed to our fundraisers last year and to everyone who participated in our Challenge Fund this winter! 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 & contributions through these years of change and challenges. Please continue to support the congregation financially. Click the PayPal icon to donate online now! 
*and we believe you deserve rest!

Rev. Tony's Spiritual Challenge
Resistance Requires Rest

  My spiritual challenge for you this month is to develop a practice of Sabbath because practicing Sabbath is a form of resistance to late-stage capitalism, constantly being “on,” and viewing self-worth in terms of production. 

  In Jewish tradition the Sabbath is an entire 24 hours of rest from work devoted to family, mealtime, study, and contemplation. If an entire day is too much to start with, mark out a few hours once each week this month. Your practice may differ from traditional Jewish practice, obviously. Many people I work with in spiritual direction think practicing Sabbath means praying, studying the Bible or being “religious” in some way. It doesn’t need to be. I think the most important thing for a Sabbath practice is to disengage from the world of production, commerce, work, and its attendant stresses. Do something that enriches you instead – read, walk in the woods, have a meal with family or friends, host a game night, meet someone for coffee, make art, play music – you get the idea. Step off the treadmill of must, have to, should, ought to. Don’t answer or send email or text messages. Unplug, perhaps just take a well-deserved nap! What does this have to do with resistance? Much!

  In his book Sabbath as Resistance, Walter Brueggemann says rest on the sabbath is an act of revolution and resistance against the economics of exploitation, which is basically what our practice of capitalism has become. The Sabbath is not only a spiritual discipline, but a form of resistance to everything the Pharaohs of the world stand for - greed, acquisition, power and control, anxiety, fear of want, self-centeredness, only the strong survive, some people are better than others. Rest on the Sabbath is an act of resistance against a political/economic/cultural system based on a hierarchy of wealth and power that view the individual not as a human being, not as a citizen but both an economic commodity and a depersonalized consumer of goods and services. There is no inherent human dignity and worth in this system. 

  Practicing Sabbath is part of meaning making and justice-doing. We all deserve rest – not just the wealthy, not just the privileged. We need to remember what we’re fighting and resisting for – for the right of everyone to enjoy life, live in peace, and become all they can be.

 For more on Sabbath as Resistance, see my sermon from September 20, 2021 on YouTube Here  (sermon begins at 24:45).

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences with this challenge. Call or text me at 508-344-3668 or send me an email at
The Minister's Monthly Message   
“Nazi Resister – The Rev. Dr. Norbert Capek
Dear Beloveds,

  This month as we dive into the theme of resistance, I invite you to learn about Rev. Capek in preparation for celebrating the Flower Ceremony he created during one of our June Sunday services. 

  The flower ritual was created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Čapek of Prague, Czechoslovakia, who was the minister of – at that time – the largest Unitarian congregation in the world,
with over 5000 members. A former Catholic and Baptist, he became increasingly liberal in his theology and eventually became Unitarian. He was looking for a ritual to bring the community together in common faith and values. Because he had many ex-Catholics in the congregation, he didn’t want to use the Christian bread and wine communion, so he came up with the idea of sharing flowers.

  His congregation celebrated the flower ritual until Capek was arrested by Gestapo in 1942. He later died in the concentration camp at Dachau. Shortly before his death
he celebrated the Flower ceremony with other prisoners, using weeds and grasses they found in the camp and hid from the guards.

  The Flower Ceremony was brought to the United States by Rev. Mája Čapek, Norbert's widow.
She had escaped to the US with the help of the Unitarian Service Committee, but Rev. Capek felt called to remain with his people in Prague and resist the Nazis. Maja taught the Flower Ceremony to the Unitarian Congregation in Cambridge, MA in 1940 and from there it spread to Unitarian congregations across the country and later to Unitarian Universalist congregations, too.

  As my colleagues the Reverends Teresa and David Schartz explain the ritual, the flower ceremony,
“Is not a historical reenactment of something over and done, but an affirmation of our continuity with the generations of struggle for ever-widening liberty. This flower ceremony, lovely though it is, isn’t a diversion from ugly reality, but a gentle fierceness which proclaims that in the midst of sinister days there is always the light of beauty. We are here not to recall something that happened, but to remember something that is happening: to re-member—to put it back together again—and in that remembering, may we put ourselves back together again, each as a part of the body of this community: out of many, one.”

  I invite you to Google Rev. Capek and to search for videos about him on YouTube. You’ll find many from Unitarian Universalist congregations. This June when we exchange flowers we are not just celebrating spring, not just engaging in a nice spring pageant, but connecting our work of resisting evil to that of Rev. Norbert Capek, nazi resister.

I leave you with his words,
  It is worthwhile to live and fight courageously for sacred ideals. Oh blow ye evil winds into my body's fire; my soul you'll never unravel. Even though disappointed a thousand times or fallen in the fight and everything would seem worthless, I have lived amidst eternity.
Be grateful, my soul, my life was worth living. He [referring to himself] who was pressed from all sides but remained victorious in spirit is welcomed into the choir of heroes. He who overcame the fetters giving wing to the mind is entering into the golden age of the victorious.


In faith,
Rev. Tony

 April's worship theme is Resistance. You can get started on Rev Tony's Spiritual Challenge for April above.
Minister's Schedule

   Rev. Tony is generally available 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday and at any time in an emergency. The quickest way to reach Rev. Tony is to call or text him at (508) 344-3668. You can also reach him via email at If you contact Rev. Tony via email, and do not receive a response for more than 1 business day, please call or text him at the number above for a faster response.

Credits, Thanks, & Attributions
  1. Chalice Logo: UUA
  2. Side with Love -- Love Resists image
  3. Diane for her garden photos
  4. Rev. Tony - logo
  5. UUA.ORG/IMAGES - We Believe... image
  6. Future Newsletter Volunteers - and those who've already stepped up - If you wish this newsletter came out earlier, you can make that happen! Volunteer! Email 

Announcements for the Weekly Update, Social Media

Announcements are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday for that week's publication. Send your news to the below email address, say what it's for in the subject line, and if there is an attachment please write 'see attachment' in the email. Tips: be brief; pictures and links encouraged where appropriate; include a contact person and specific dates; no formatting is necessary. Announcements are subject to editing and approval; submissions will run in the Weekly Update each Friday, or Saturday – other email blasts should be explicitly requested. 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:

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