Weaving the Web – Rev. Amy Zucker-Morgenstern

  • Weaving the Web: Top Ten List

    November 5, 2022Weaving the Web: Top Ten List
    Ten things to love about the UUCPA Auction: 10. Grooving to live music by The Outer Half 9. Fabulous finger food 8. That moment when the ticket number is called and the raffle winner jumps up with a big, incredulous grin 7. Bringing home something beautiful that someone made with their own hands 6. Filling your social calendar for the ...
  • Weaving the Web: Real conversation

    October 29, 2022Weaving the Web: Real conversation
    Dear UUCPA folks, Can I confess something? I think about 20% of my motivation in becoming a UU minister was to recreate a peak experience of my teenage years. Experiences, since it wasn’t one time but something that happened most Fridays during the school year. That’s when several of us would gather around a table in ...
  • Weaving the Web: One service, at your service?

    October 22, 2022
    Two Town Halls have been held to gather people’s thoughts about switching to one Sunday service year round. About 20 people have weighed in, either by attending one of the Town Halls or by sending me an email, and the strong feeling is for one service (at some time earlier than 11). If you also ...
  • Weaving the Web: Find your gladness (at the Volunteer Fair Oct 2)

    October 1, 2022Weaving the Web: Find your gladness (at the Volunteer Fair  Oct 2)
    It’s here! One part of UUCPA’s mission is to help you transform yourself by doing whatever gives you deep gladness. Another part is to help transform the world by feeding its deep hungers. The Volunteer Fair this Sunday, October 2, from 10:30 to 1, brings them together. At the Volunteer Fair, you can: Find out the ...
  • Weaving the Web: Our moment

    September 10, 2022Weaving the Web: Our moment
    Public comments on Juristac invited until September 26 Dear UUCPA folks, Our congregation UUCPA is a Green Sanctuary congregation, and we are also dedicated to reversing the effects of white supremacy. The proposed pit mine for Juristac (pronounced YUR-ih-stack), the Sargent Ranch Quarry, calls on us to act upon both of these commitments. We have ...
  • Weaving the Web

    August 6, 2022Weaving the Web
    Dear UUCPA folks, The web of our communities has gotten a bit frayed in the past two and a half years, hasn’t it? Having had to adjust to isolation, we may have lost the habit of gathering together. And it is a habit: a matter of momentum. When we’re in the habit of meeting a friend ...
  • Weaving the Web: my schedule this summer

    June 11, 2022Weaving the Web: my schedule this summer
    Dear UUCPA folks, It was such a pleasure last week to see Cat on our campus and how warmly she was greeted. In keeping with the theme of tomorrow’s service, joy and sorrow are intermixed. I’m excited to get to know this new colleague better and to help her develop what I know will soon be ...
  • Weaving the Web: a Burst of June

    May 28, 2022Weaving the Web: a Burst of June
    Dear UUCPA folks, June is usually a time of winding-down, when the church goes into its quieter season of summer. We’re a year-round church, no question, but in summer, a lot of activities take a month or two off, the ministers take a chunk of their study leave and vacation, attendance dips as folks are traveling ...
  • Weaving the Web: With Care

    April 30, 2022Weaving the Web: With Care
    Dear UUCPA folks, This week has brought so many reminders of how delicately we balance as we create community. Since COVID began, we have sought to balance safety and connection. And to make things more nuanced still, safety means not only protection from the virus, but sufficient connection to stave off isolation and its accompanying mental health ...
  • Tomorrow is the day!

    March 5, 2022Tomorrow is the day!
    Dear UUCPA folks, It’s the day we’ve been waiting for: two in-person services, right in the spaces we know and love. I’m going to make this a list because I don’t want you to miss a thing. 1. To attend online at 11 a.m., just do as we have been doing and go to our Zoom ...
  • Weaving the Web: See you in person this Sunday!

    January 29, 2022Weaving the Web: See you in person this Sunday!
    Dear UUCPA folks, Sunday promises to be a lovely day, and we’re ready to add our 9:30 outdoor service back to Sunday mornings. Hooray! It is so good to be together, in person. If it is safe for you and your loved ones, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to be with your beloved UUCPA community ...
  • Weaving the Web: A New Coat of Paint

    January 22, 2022Weaving the Web: A New Coat of Paint
    Dear UUCPA folks, We divide our budget up into two parts: the operating budget, which we raise each year and from which we pay staff, buy supplies, pay utilities, and so on; and the capital budget, largely funded by bequests over many years, from which we fund the care of our beautiful buildings and gardens. The ...
  • Weaving the Web

    January 15, 2022Weaving the Web
    Remember that service from last month when Jane and I talked about giving, and money, and talking about giving and money? You might recall that we both found it a complicated business at best. And now it’s time to make sure we have our budget for the coming year, aka the Stewardship campaign, so money ...
  • Welcome back to the Main Hall – Dec 12 @ 9:30 am!

    December 11, 2021Welcome back to the Main Hall - Dec 12 @ 9:30 am!
    Dear UUCPA folks, We will be holding our first indoor, in-person Sunday service in almost two years this Sunday, December 12! What a tremendous event. We have sidled our way towards this moment with a couple of memorials and with the outdoor 9:30 services we’ve held all fall. Previously, though, when rain fell on a Sunday ...
  • Come sing a song with me / What’s a sacred text?

    October 16, 2021Come sing a song with me / What's a sacred text?
    Dear UUCPA folks, For many of us, singing together is one of the great pleasures of Sunday services. If you’re one of those folks, this Sunday is the day you’ve been waiting for. Thanks to a rising vaccination rate, a dropping infection rate, and my growing comfort with creating outdoor services, the Hybrid Services Task Force ...
  • The principles: growing as we do

    October 9, 2021The principles: growing as we do
    Like many Unitarian Universalists who grew up outside the tradition, I found our seven principles to be a powerful attractor. When I read them, I nodded along: here were the principles by which I actually tried to live, articulated by an actual religious community! I had never known such a close match between my own ...
  • Weaving the Web: Going to the source

    April 18, 2021Weaving the Web: Going to the source
    I have been talking to advocates for housing and the homeless in preparation for the service on April 25. And in the middle of my researches comes this wonderful news: that the California legislature is considering the Ballot DISCLOSE Act, and our Action Council has taken swift action to endorse it. My question to the housing ...
  • Weaving the Web: Priceless Neighbors

    February 19, 2021Weaving the Web: Priceless Neighbors
    Dear UUCPA folks, Today is an infamous anniversary, reminding us that the impulse to scapegoat the momentarily vulnerable is not new. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 imprisoning Americans of Japanese descent. There was no more logic in the idea that Japanese-Americans were agents of the Japanese army than that ...
  • Weaving the Web: ‘Tis the Season

    December 19, 2020
    Clearly, the giving spirit is underway at UUCPA. Our annual Undie Sunday moved successfully online. Thanks to your making over $1700 in donations, we were able to give 20 sleeping bags and a couple of large boxes of underwear, socks, hats, and other essential items to the folks being helped at the Opportunity Center, as well ...
  • Visiting safely

    November 14, 2020
    In-person visits at UUCPA are now possible within these careful health guidelines
  • Waiting

    November 7, 2020
    How are you doing? Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash This period of waiting is reminding me of a couple of times that I was waiting very impatiently for something that I cared about passionately and that was completely beyond my control. At moments, I literally paced my apartment, gritting my teeth and muttering, “Waiting is a ...
  • Weaving the Web

    July 10, 2020Weaving the Web
    One of the biggest challenges about online church, for me, is the loss of casual contact. I am used to seeing about 200 of our folks each Sunday. It’s a chance to see how people are doing: using a cane for the first time? looking sad? sitting with a new friend? If someone brings something ...
  • Flower meditation 6

    June 27, 2020Flower meditation 6
    “How can black people write about flowers at a time like this?” So whispered a woman (white) at a poetry reading, where a poet (black) was reading poems about flowers. The query inspired this poem by Hanif Abdurraqib, who also writes, on the same webpage, about the experience of overhearing it. Artists must follow their calling, ...
  • Flower meditation 5

    June 26, 2020Flower meditation 5
    Today’s meditation makes another reference to poetry, sent by Brian Weller: Black earth turned into yellow crocus in undiluted hocus-pocus. --Piet Hein We don’t have a lot of crocus around here, but the magic is the same. Plants turn earth into flowers. This delicate blossom that Geoff Ivison sent was made out of sunshine, water, ...
  • Flower meditation 4

    June 25, 2020Flower meditation 4
    My friend’s grandparents, all four of them, came to Boston from County Cork, Ireland. They started their families there, raised their children and saw grandchildren born, and grew old in this country. They were homesick at times, of course, and one grandfather talked about how seeing his toddler grandson play reminded him of his own ...
  • Flower meditation 3

    June 24, 2020Flower meditation 3
    Confession: I am not a fan of hydrangeas. I first encountered them by my grandmother’s front door, where there were a couple of pretty scraggly specimens, an inauspicious start. The big snowballs of flowers seem more comical than lovely. The foliage doesn’t add much . . . Oh, I don’t really know my reasons, and ...
  • Flower meditation 2

    June 23, 2020Flower meditation 2
    The poem “The Orchid Flower,” by Sam Hamill, is longer than these three lines, but on their own they are a haiku, and, in my view, a poem unto themselves. Just as I wonderwhether it's going to die,the orchid blossoms You can read the entire poem here. The beautiful photo is by Jo English, of an ...
  • Flower meditation 1

    June 22, 2020Flower meditation 1
    My system for collecting flower photos via e-mail had one little hole in it, through which several people’s beautiful offerings fell. I apologize most profusely. It must have been so upsetting to attend the service and not see your flowers. I hope I can make something worthwhile out of this error by posting a brief meditation ...
  • Weaving the Web – June 7, 2020

    June 12, 2020Weaving the Web - June 7, 2020
    Here are a few things that happened at UUCPA in the week leading up to the June 7 service. Naturally, I changed the topic to address the surge of protests and demands for racial justice taking place around the country. (The originally-planned service, on creating community at a distance, will take place in July, if the ...
  • Weaving the Web: Together, apart, together

    March 27, 2020Weaving the Web: Together, apart, together
    Pat LandmanHerriot, a member of our choir, shared this offering from the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra this morning, and I’m passing it along to you in hopes that it will mean as much to you as it does to me. Ode to Joy It’s not just the music that moves me. It’s seeing each person playing, ...
  • Weaving the Web: Lessons from The Tonight Show

    March 21, 2020
    Dear UUCPA folks, I am loving Jimmy Fallon for his “home edition” of The Tonight Show, proving that the production values that really matter are presence, humor, honesty, and integrity. Our production tomorrow won’t be extremely polished (though more polished than his!), but I can guarantee you it will have: beautiful music from Veronika, Bruce, and your ...
  • Weaving the Web

    December 29, 2019
    I’m so excited. A small and mighty group of UUCPA members – Kristi Iverson, Anne Frahn, and Elsa Schafer – has put together a January packed full of voter empowerment events. This project is nonpartisan, as our political actions should be, and it’s an initiative that everyone can support, wherever they are on the political ...
  • Midweek meditation: From fear to fulfillment

    October 11, 2019Midweek meditation: From fear to fulfillment
    Midweek meditation: from fear to fulfillment Thanks to the creativity and drive of UUCPA member Randy Helmonds, we will be hosting the Blood Donation Olympics on Saturday, October 26. I want to share my story with you. In my family, donating blood has always been one of those no-brainer acts of mercy, like giving clothes we  didn’t ...
  • Weaving the Web: What I did on my summer vacation 

    August 10, 2019
    — Rev Amy Zucker Morgenstern Near the end of June, a year into the new “zero tolerance” policy of deterring immigration by separating families and locking up children, I learned that July 12 would be a day of nationwide protest (“Lights for Liberty”): against the camps in particular and for humane immigration and asylum policies in ...
  • Weaving the Web: The Thespians’ Final Bow

    June 16, 2019
    We start a lot of new groups at UUCPA, which, ideally, means a flurry of publicity and how-to-get-involved information. And sometimes groups end, and we should mark that as well. Decades ago, several (as it was then called) Palo Alto Unitarian Church members who loved music and drama organized an arts-in- worship group. They created dramas ...
  • Weaving the Web

    May 18, 2019Weaving the Web
    More beauty and more layers of meaning are coming our way in the form of a permanent projection screen that will be installed in the Main Hall, near the ceiling above the piano. The AV Committee has been hard at work exploring all the options and issues, and has made a first-round proposal to the ...
  • Midweek meditation: What celebration belongs on your calendar?

    May 2, 2019
    In last Sunday’s sermon, “Lima Bean Respect Day and Other Neglected Celebrations,” I asked about something you value and wish to honor with your attention that doesn’t show up in the civic or religious calendar. Animated conversations followed, as people paired up and talked about what is important to them Two of the things that are ...
  • Weaving the Web

    February 23, 2019
    Attendance is up, and there’s lots going on at UUCPA on Sundays! This has created a parking challenge: we have had several Sundays recently when there were few parking spots left during the second service. And a chair challenge: while the Main Hall is not actually full, the empty chairs can be scattered in ones and twos that make ...
  • Weaving the Web: Faith, trust, and oleanders

    February 9, 2019Weaving the Web: Faith, trust, and oleanders
    I’ve been pondering the relationship between trust and faith. Remember last year when the oleanders along the UUCPA entrance driveway were cut way back? Nothing remained but bare stubs. Our gardeners, paid (James Nelson) and volunteer (Nancy Neff, Glenda Jones), assured us that this was the way to make them healthier. ...
  • Weaving the Web — Rev Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    January 27, 2019Weaving the Web — Rev Amy Zucker Morgenstern
    Our service on December 16 originated with the question, Since people with a typical Unitarian Universalist profile – those who respond to polls about religious affiliation with “spiritual but not religious” or “none of the above” – are increasing in number, why doesn’t our church grow? There are many answers to why churches do or ...
  • How we got our benediction

    January 15, 2019How we got our benediction
    I wrote about our then-new benediction on my blog about a month after we adopted it. This past Sunday, I alluded to the line about beauty, and promised to fill you in on the background. Here it is. We began ending our services with a benediction in the fall of 2012. To be precise, we already ...
  • Weaving the Web

    November 4, 2018
    As we all go to the polls this Tuesday, we know how high the stakes are. (If you’ve only realized that recently and aren’t registered, you can register right up to and including Election Day — please do!) UUCPA is also a democracy and we vote at least once a year at our annual meeting ...
  • Weaving the Web — Rev Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    October 6, 2018
    Further reflections inspired by the most recent Town Hall meeting I was able to attend (“Shall We Change Our Name?” on September 2). Last month I wrote about the challenges of being a Christian at UUCPA. Something else I realized as I listened to the open-hearted sharing is that something I take for granted, something ...
  • Weaving the Web — Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    September 9, 2018
    The Town Hall meeting on Sunday, September 2 (“Shall We Change Our Name?”), was a high point of my 15 years at UUCPA. I have witnessed some deep conversations here, but never such tender sharing in such a large group. I hope everyone felt that their vulnerability was welcomed and supported. If not, please do ...
  • Weaving the Web

    June 16, 2018
    This spring has brought many losses to our congregation. In fact, going back to last summer, there have been ten deaths of members or others closely associated with UUCPA. It’s a lot. One of our leaders, showing wisdom as well as kindness, asked how I deal with it. It’s a really good question because ministers ...
  • Midweek meditation: Helping each other to be better

    May 31, 2018
    As some of you heard me say at Fred Buelow’s memorial service two weeks ago, one of the many memorable things Fred said to me in our 15 years working together was “I see my job”–he was president or treasurer at the time–“as helping you be the best minister you can be.” Or maybe he ...
  • Weaving the Web – Crowdfunding our Dreams

    April 23, 2018
    The squares that Kathy Swartz is stitching into a quilt are painted with people holding hands, trees that bend gently to shelter us, words like “loving community” and “peace.” We put the words and pictures there in February as we envisioned the future we hope to create together. A quilt is like a crowd fund: ...
  • Midweek Meditation: Dreaming Together

    February 8, 2018
    I want to share a poem I love, by Francisco X. Alarcon: Dreaming together a dream we dream alone reality we dream together Sonando juntos un sueno lo sonamos solos la realidad la sonamos juntos   We each have dreams, things we hope for in the hearts of our hearts–and sometimes barely dare to ...
  • Midweek Meditation: Wisdom from Ursula K. LeGuin

    February 1, 2018
    You might be hearing a lot of Ursula K. Le Guin from me in the months to come. I never go long without reading something she wrote, but I’ve read an unusual amount since last Monday, when she died at the age of 88. There is so much in her books that has shaped who ...
  • Weaving the Web

    January 27, 2018
    For the past several years, I’ve had a three-part practice each Lent: give to a charitable or social-change organization, give something up, and add something creative or positive. My contribution this year will go to Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. (Later this year we’ll have a second Promise and the Practice service – our first ...
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