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Legacy Builders' Corner


An active member of our congregation since 2017, Carol Ulmer recently updated her long-term planning documents to include becoming a UUSP Legacy Builder.

Carol named our UU St. Pete permanent Endowment Fund to receive a percentage of her Individual Retirement Account (IRA) after she’s gone.

She commented, “This congregation means much to me. I love knowing that future generations will benefit from my legacy gift.”

“Few things survive after we’re gone. I know this gift for the Endowment Fund will continue giving every year. It will express my values long after I die,” Carol emphasized.

An IRA gift may work for you, too

This long-term plan is easy to set up. You control the transfer of your IRA assets at death without changing your will or living trust. Simply complete a beneficiary designation form with your IRA plan administrator. Also note that this gift will be 100% tax-free from your estate.

For more information, contact Barbara Archibald or Kathleen Rehl.

Sponsored by UUSP Legacy Builders

Posted on May 22, 2020, at 2:03pm

Pastor's Weekly Wonder - May 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

The annual General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association is entirely online this year, from Wednesday 6/24 to Sunday 6/28.  The General Assembly brings together members from most of the continent’s UU congregations – some coming on their own, some as voting delegates – to learn, share, and make some decisions about how the Association should serve its foundational congregations.

 

I hope you will go immediately to the UUA website for GA (uua.org/ga and also uua.org/ga/programs) to see what this year’s Assembly is focusing on and offering.  A considerable part of the focus seems to be our Unitarian Universalist and American heritage from the Pilgrims who arrived here 400 years ago with such vast impact on this continent and its peoples.

 

You can attend a number of the events in June just by clicking in.  But to have access to the full range of amazing speakers, programs and interchanges for all ages, you’ll have to register ($150).

 

I’d particularly like to suggest that on Sunday June 28th we all join thousands of UUs from around the country and world for the Sunday Worship Service at 10:00 a..m.   I believe that the GA Sunday Service will be accessible through the UUA.org website – but we’ll make sure you know.  Based on past experience, I expect it will be a magnificent experience.  And in subsequent weeks (including that Sunday afternoon), I hope we will arrange a good number of follow-up discussions about GA and its explorations and decisions.  I think every group we have within UUSP will find topics of special interest.

 

 In the meantime:   Stay caring.  Stay in touch.  Blessings for the week,

Posted on May 22, 2020, at 1:39pm

UUA Recommendations of Church Closures


Dear Friends and Congregants of UUSP,

The UUA has posted some suggested guidelines for all of the UU churches.  The UUSP Board has decided that we will not be opening in the immediate future (summer or fall) and will continue to review the reports of the experts for guidance and for our own program planning. 

 

Guidance from the Unitarian Universalist Association:
UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray writes "based on advice from experts, we continue to recommend that congregations not gather in person. We also recommend that congregations begin planning for virtual operations for the next year (through May 2021)."  Click here for details.

Stay Well!

From your UUSP Board of Trustees

Posted on May 17, 2020, at 9:12am

UUA Virtual General Assembly


June 24 -28, 2020

Have you ever attended a UU General Assembly? This year, for the first time, General Assembly is 100% virtual. You can learn more about the this year's theme here. Registration is $150 - quite the bargain, with no travel expenses! You can register here. Several UUSP members are already registered.

 

We can't think of a better time to be Rooted, Inspired, & Ready!

 

 — Michael Killoren.

Posted on May 15, 2020, at 6:38pm

Pastor's Weekly Wonder - May 15, 2020

Dear Friends,

Today, May 15th, is National Endangered Species Day.  And guess who is the endangered species?  Never saw that coming.

I took a course once on ritual, studied from an anthropologist’s point of view.  The essential lesson was that a ritual is to help a person transition through an intermediary (liminal, threshold) time, moving in that time from an established way of being to an unknown way of being.    Communion, Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation, Weddings, the Blessing of the Sick or Threatened, and Funerals are such rituals. 

When you enter community or adulthood or marriage, when you leave school and parents for enter employment and “independence,” when you must say farewell to a loved one, you really have no idea what’s coming.   If you are lucky, your family and community provide some education as to what to expect.  Recognizing your responsibility for that knowledge is to happen during the liminal time.

We are in a large liminal moment.  To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, how are we threatened?  Let me count the ways.  O, well – I won’t bother.  It’s in the headlines.

The important thing, I think, is that this liminal moment comes with its own knowledge and instructions.  We will still be human when we find the medical and public health way through pandemics.  We will still be human when we work our way through environmental struggles.  We will still be human when the politics of the future are determined by the strength of our drive for peace, justice, liberty, equity, compassion.  Our role will still be to survive and thrive – and we know that we must do that in communities of individuals who know how to get along.

In time we will understand, I think, if we don’t already, how expansive must be the dimensions of our relationships of caring.   Our own UU tradition proclaims that to really secure a future of safety and happiness, our ways of relating must care well for every dimension of our world.  Lots to learn. 

Being endangered does not mean doomed.  It means there’s lots to do, starting now with educating and encouraging and assisting one another.  We are at a threshold where we have lots of knowledge from science and psychology and history and humanity’s religious response to it all.  And you and I have the great luxury of getting to learn about it and put it into transformational practice – what I think we could even call, ritual practice  - as new wisdom.

See you soon, I hope, on Zoom (speaking of new rituals to learn).   Stay caring.  Stay in touch. 

Blessings for the week,

Posted on May 14, 2020, at 10:26pm

Pastor's Weekly Wonder - May 8, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Happy Mother’s Day!  May this Sunday mark the beginning of a new era, when every mother feels lighter and more at ease with new hope for her children’s future.  As this past Thursday’s meditation from Julia Ward Howe pleaded, may a newly awakened era realize the blessings of “charity, mercy and patience” in every heart.

On Easter Sunday just past, the Tampa Bay Times gave us a lovely “Perspectives” section, offering thoughts - from area clergy, philosophers past and present, and local “thoughtful writers”- on responding to the pandemic.   From the twelve clergy, reliance was mainly put on traditional faith and practice, with the resonant reminders for me being to care for the marginalized and, like Mary Magdalene at the Easter tomb, to respond with hope in the midst of despair.  Thank you, clergy.

The seven philosophers’ advice ranged from “stagger on” to live the virtues (wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice – oddly, compassion was not included unless you presume that compassion is the heart of wisdom).  But my simple favorite was, “foster the spirit of social connection and cooperation – nothing could give our lives more meaning.”  Thank you, philosophers.

I think our nine local “thoughtful thinkers” as a whole were for me the most on point and helpful.  They suggested: 1) Imagine (and plan and soon work for) the balance and beauty in nature; 2) Hope - believe that what you do matters, even though the future outcomes are unknown; 3) Remember historical and family stories of resilience – let anecdotes be antidotes;  4) Re-learn to cherish the elemental things of nature; 5) Learn how to be anxious in the right way, the empowering way.  Thank you, local thoughtful writers.

Each of these is probably worth a sermon.  But lucky you – my COVID-19 mini-sermon schedule is already filled.  But wait till next year!

See you soon on Zoom, I hope.  Stay caring.  Stay in touch.  Blessings for the week,

 

Posted on May 8, 2020, at 5:12pm

FAST Update: May 2020


This week, the Pinellas County Commission Approved the Pinellas CARES financial assistance program. This program provides up to $4000 per individual for relief with past due rent and utility payments. There are certain guidelines, such as not having liquid assets of more than $4000 and you must be below 200% of the federal poverty level for income (around $50,000 for a family of four). There is $135 million total available for this program and it is only open through June 1st. They also approved a $35 million program for small business grants. Information on the individual assistance program can be found HERE and information on the small business grants can be found HERE

 

The county is unclear how long the money will last so people should apply soon! We've heard from some who have accessed the program already that the county might be flexible on some of the application requirements, so we encourage anyone who needs help to apply regardless of whether or not they meet all the qualifications. To access the program, residents should call 2-1-1- or text COVIDCARES to 898211.

 

Thank you,

Pat Fling

Posted on May 3, 2020, at 9:11am

Save the Date: May 31, 2020


Time: 11am

Where:  Zoom - Virtual Meeting

Our Annual Congregational Meeting will focus on the 2020-2021 Budget and nominations for new Board Members, Endowment Board Members, and church officers. A Zoom meeting will be set up, and invitations will be sent out via email the week before the meeting.  All members will receive a mailing with information about the proposed budget and nominees.

Posted on May 2, 2020, at 10:16am

Pastor's Weekly Wonder - May 2, 2020


Dear Friends,

I came across a new and useful word this week: Karunavirus. 

Karuna means “compassion” in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India and its religions. So a karunavirus would be “contagious or infectious compassion.” Its symptoms would be the decease of suffering and the spread of well-being.

Humans are known carriers of this virus. But it’s weak at first. It must be cultured to grow within one. It also requires being connected somehow with others in order to take effect and to spread.

People who have karunavirus find it much less necessary to wear masques. They seem to have immunity to negative energies. People who have it seem never to wash their hands of it.

What an easier, more joyful way to live! May I suggest we enculture going karunaviral?

See you soon, zooming at least.  Stay caring. Stay in touch.

Blessings for the week,

Posted on May 2, 2020, at 10:13am

Kitchen Rehab Project Virtual Town Hall

Sunday, June 7, 2020 - 11:15am - 12:15pm

Join project manager Cal Fox, general contractor Reggie Craig and Sharon Winters to learn about our kitchen rehab project, budget and timelines.  There will be opportunity for discussion and Q&A.
Contact swinters3455@gmail.com for a Zoom invitation.

Contact: Sharon Winters
Posted on May 2, 2020, at 8:24am

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