Worship Team Update: Poetry as Worship

Worship Team Update: Poetry as Worship

Pamela Denchfield, Meriaten Long & Donna Johnson

Poetry is so important because it helps us understand and appreciate the world around us. Poetry’s strength lies in its ability to shed a “sideways” light on the world, so the truth sneaks up on you. No question about it. Poetry teaches us how to live.” — Alice Osborn

Poets like inaugural poet Amanda Gorman speak truth, power hope, and fuel activism. Poets like Lin-Manuel Miranda excel at storytelling bringing History to life. 

All poets benefit by expressing themselves in a unique and authentic way.

Did you know that the WUUC community has its own Poetry Group? Meriaten Long and Pamela Denchfield facilitate the WUUC Poetry Group. We meet on fourth Sundays, from 4-6 p.m.

All are welcome! We usually have a mix of WUUC members and the public. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84161717606?pwd=aXowc3FrbHRJRHVTVjNvTmVYNVF3Zz09

What happens at the WUUC Poetry Group? In each session, you have the opportunity to:

  • Share work with a supportive audience (it could be yours or someone else’s)
  • Generate new work by following group exercises

New to poetry? So are we! While we have been haunting readings for some time and sharing poems on occasion, we are learning the forms, too. We take turns bringing the exercises. We have been working through the alphabet in finding forms. Our next meeting is March 28. Pamela will explore a poetry form that begins with R.

For more information about the WUUC Poetry Group, contact Pamela at pdenchfield@yahoo.com

Poetry enhances the experience of worship. Like the visual art and music that is provided for our services by our friends and members, poetry can give voice to a variety of people and perspectives that reflect the rich differences in our congregation’s demographics. This spring we welcome poetry contributions on the monthly worship themes of Commitment, Becoming, Story, and Play.  Poems that address these themes can help to unify the service as they are included as a Call to Worship, Chalice Lighting, Reading, or Benediction. 

Please send poems to Donna Johnson at djohnyh@yahoo.com. Poems and artwork will be used in worship if they are a good fit with the service being planned.

Finally, Some Good News on Climate Change

Finally, Some Good News on Climate Change

By John Hartman

After more than four years of waking up almost every morning to news that Trump had signed another Executive Order negatively impacting the environment or reading about another species about to go extinct, I thought you were ready for some good news on climate change.  So here it is.

  • Most people believe that climate change is happening.   
  • More governmental entities realize that the health and economic costs of doing nothing regarding the climate far outweigh the cost of climate change mitigation.
  • Biden was elected — a President committed to doing something about climate change — Yea!
  • Democrats took the Senate — meaning there is a chance climate change legislation will get enacted.
  • Biden’s Executive Orders (13990 & 14008) on Climate were significant on many levels. From stopping the XL pipeline, to rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, to establishing a Civilian Climate Corps, to laying out a government-wide approach to climate issues.
  • Industry is ahead of the curve on climate issues in many areas because they realize sustainable energy will be cheaper and cleaner than energy from fossil fuels.
  • General Motors, Ford and other auto makers have made a commitment to transition to electric vehicles.  Automakers are also trending away from small EVs to EVs of all sizes (Passenger Sedans, Sports Cars, SUVs, Pickups).  They understand that providing a broad array of desirable EVs is the key to consumer acceptance and demand.
  • Every day, we are seeing technological advances which will help us reach our climate change goals. Battery technology, battery recharging systems, vehicle recharging stations, plus much more.  The scientists have been busy during the last four-plus years!

Reducing greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030 will be extremely difficult. Even if we achieve that goal, the chance of keeping the increase in the earth’s atmospheric temperature below 2 degrees Centigrade will be even more difficult.  No matter what we do, the planet will not be the same. So much will be lost. Many people will suffer and most of those people will not be the ones who caused the problem.

So, there is much to do on a political, technological, and human level. However, I am encouraged that 2021 is a key year in this effort.  A year we finally get serious about the task ahead, commit the necessary resources and start seeing real change.

Nonfiction Book Club — Spring 2021

Nonfiction Book Club — Spring 2021

­­­­­­­­­­Join us on Saturday, May 1 at 7 p.m. for a meeting of the WUUC Nonfiction Book Club, hosted by Alaine Davis and Lindsay Rogers. We will discuss “How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain” by Lisa Feldman Barrett.

Depending on what the world looks like then, we may meet on Zoom or in person. RSVP to Alaine, alaine.davis@yahoo.com

The internal battle between emotion and reason is one of the great narratives of Western civilization. It helps define [us] as human.-Lisa Feldman Barrett, Ph.D.

Lisa Feldman Barrett says we need to revamp our thinking on emotions. She’s a professor of psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, where she applies psychology and neuroscience research to explore how emotions arise in the brain.

In her book How Emotions are Made, she challenges the classical view, which holds that emotions are hard-wired into our brains and generated automatically by distinct regions, making them universally recognizable across all humans. Feldman Barrett argues instead for a more holistic view: the theory of constructed emotion, which she coined. With it, she explores the evidence that emotions are instead created spontaneously, by several brain regions in tandem, and shaped by factors like an individual’s previous experiences.


Four times a year, the WUUC Book Discussion Group gathers to read and talk about a nonfiction book. You only attend the meetings about books that interest you, so we end up with a different group of participants every time. We meet to connect and talk about a book in depth. Anyone is welcome to suggest a book and/or lead a discussion. Contact Alaine to RSVP, suggest a book, or offer to host a future discussion.

Notes4Earth: Drop the Knife! Let’s go Plant-based!

Notes4Earth: Drop the Knife! Let’s go Plant-based!

An Innovative Plan for a healthier diet and a greener earth. 

By Wendy Condrat
Most of us are aware of how a better diet influences our mental, physical,and emotional well-being — providing more energy and eliminating sources of disease-causing foods. 

Forks Over Knives (forksoverknives.com) has presented a great website with all the sound information on how to begin switching from a meat- and dairy-based diet to a fresh wholesome one.

When we begin eating whole unprocessed foods and fruits and vegetables, we will experience an unexpected amount of vitality avoiding those cancer-causing, diabetic inducing and heart-damaging substances which are some of the main contributors to our health crisis. 

Take the first step by reading over why this diet makes sense. Look at some of the tasty recipes and try a few out. You will be amazed at how you feel after a meal!

When titling this “Drop the Knife!,” I meant only when at the table but use the knife to help chop up all the goodness and freshness in preparation. 

Aim to begin incorporating more and more of these recipes into your weekly meals and see whether you are less interested in the old burgers and fries and more into a tasty plant-based Shepherd’s Pie.

And since this column is about environmental issues, note that this concept is great for reducing carbon emissions from the agricultural sectors and improving soils as well. 

 We need to honor our commitment to our family’s health and the greening of our Earth.


Worship Team Update:  Creating Slides for Use During a Service

Worship Team Update: Creating Slides for Use During a Service

By Donna Johnson
Worship Team Chair
One of the silver linings of our current Zoom services is that we can add a visual component to our announcements by showing slides before and during the services. The Worship Team and Lori Varosh are happy to work with you to create slides to promote WUUC-related events if we have enough lead time. If you want to create your own slides either in PowerPoint or Google Slides, please submit them to Lori Varosh, office@wuuc.org, at least a week before they will be shown.  They may be edited for brevity and accuracy.

Here are some things to consider for slides for Zoom services.

First, consider your goal.  What do you want people to do as a result of seeing your slide? Then, aim for maximum impact.  Consider that the slide may be shown at a time when people are just settling in for the service.  You want to grab attention AND make it easy for people to understand quickly.

  1. Keep it Simple – Complicated slides are hard to follow during a service. Less is more.
  2. Use a maximum of 7 lines on the slide.
  3. Use at least a 24-size font for main copy, 36-44 for titles.    
  4. Ask yourself if each word is necessary or just “nice to include.”  Be clear about the purpose of the slide.  You don’t need complete sentences.
  5. Avoid busyness.  Limit use of multiple backgrounds, graphics, and fonts.  Don’t use more than two different fonts, avoid all caps, and make sure the font you use is very legible and easy to read.
  6. Choose images carefully.  Make sure that they serve the purpose of the slide.  Avoid complicated or detailed images that are difficult to understand at a glance.