Weaving the Web – Rev. Amy Zucker-Morgenstern

  • 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 ...
  • Weaving the Web

    December 30, 2017
    The season of light is behind us as the light itself grows longer and stronger. It’s beautiful the way so many festivals of light converge upon November and December: Diwali, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Solstice. People have responded to the turning of the year in so many forms, calling forth light to balance the dark. I ...
  • Midweek Meditation: The “Little Drummer Boy” Challenge

    December 21, 2017
    Every year a bunch of friends of mine all over the country and beyond play the “Little Drummer Boy” challenge: who can go the longest, maybe even get to Christmas, without hearing that song? With stores, streets, and the radio a minefield, at least one person posts daily, “I’m out.” I’m still in. I did ...
  • Weaving the Web

    December 3, 2017
    For anyone who’s seen the inside of my house and office, it is not a surprise to hear that I love books. And I’m in good company here at UUCPA. I’ve written before about how our church is bursting with book-lovers and books. We have Brown Bag Books discus- sion group as well as other ...
  • Weaving the Web

    November 18, 2017
    —Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern For anyone who’s seen the inside of my house and office, it is not a surprise to hear that I love books. And I’m in good company here at UUCPA. I’ve written before about how our church is bursting with book-lovers and books. We have Brown Bag Books discussion group as well ...
  • Midweek meditation

    November 10, 2017
    I can’t wait to see the new Murder on the Orient Express. Some might find that surprising. I’ve seen the Sidney Lumet version with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot at least once or twice, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read the book. The twists hold no surprises for me, nor for ...
  • Midweek Meditation: When it’s all too much

    October 14, 2017
    Dear ones, it’s overwhelming, isn’t it? It seems like every time we tune in to news, we receive another blow. The risk of burning out, shutting down or stressing out is real. Like Dorothy Day, one of my heroes, I keep thinking of this verse from Ezekiel: “A new heart I will give you, and ...
  • Midweek meditation

    September 28, 2017
    Several months ago I was rehearsing with the choir, which generously welcomes sporadic participants like me, when we turned to a piece I knew I’d sung before. It turned out that the choir had sung it at my installation here, 13 years earlier, and then it came back to me: I had been a choir ...
  • Weaving the Web

    September 24, 2017
    It’s really exciting to be getting ready for the arrival of our Sabbatical Religious Educator, Mr. Barb Greve. Barb and I have not worked together, but we’ve met frequently: not surprising, since Barb has seemingly been everywhere and done everything in Unitarian Universalism. I’ve enjoyed every interaction. He has such knowledge, expertise, and love for ...
  • Midweek Meditation

    September 21, 2017
    Midweek Meditation
  • Midweek meditation

    September 13, 2017
    There are lots of hymns that express my religion. And there are lots of popular-genre songs that express my thoughts on various and sundry secular matters. But what’s rare is a song that sings like a pop song while also getting right to the heart of religious questions. Jessica Martin, with what she calls “an ...
  • Midweek meditation

    September 1, 2017
    The eclipse, which made an appearance in last week’s midweek meditation and Sunday service, made me think of one other thing that’s particularly relevant to this week’s service. It had to do with giving. I came prepared with a pinhole viewer, which is to say that I didn’t come all that prepared. I’ve made them before, ...
  • Midweek Meditation

    August 25, 2017
    Dear UUCPA folks, There was such a nice neighborly feeling on Monday. I left my dance class in a rush the moment it ended, 15 minutes before the eclipse’s peak, having stretched to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” (We all cracked up when it came on. “I couldn’t resist,” the teacher said.) A cluster of people ...
  • Weaving the Web

    August 10, 2017
    I was in New Orleans for the annual General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association, where the Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray became our first elected female president (not the first to serve–keep reading for details). All three candidates were women, and they created a covenant of behavior among them when the race began. It made ...
  • Weaving the Web

    June 10, 2017
    You know those situations when someone says something that insults or stereotypes a group, and you don’t figure out what you should say about it until hours later? That’s so often how it goes for me – more often than not. In fact, sometimes I’m not even fully cognizant that they’ve said something problematic until ...
  • Weaving the Web

    April 16, 2017
    Two separate and painful events in the wider world of Unitarian Universalism occurred on the same day, March 30. The Rev. Ron Robinson, a UU minister and founder of the Third Place Community in Turley, Oklahoma , was arrested on child pornography charges, and admitted guilt. This was a shock and a source of great sor- ...
  • Weaving the Web

    April 2, 2017
    You may have heard the grim statistics on how many transgender teenagers have attempted suicide or  died by suicide: 40%. Here’s another statistic: when transgender teenagers have supportive family and community, that rate plummets. If their families are supportive, it is no different than in non-trans kids. A community that accepts and supports transgender people ...
  • Weaving the Web

    January 4, 2017
    It is good to be back with you! As I write this I am not yet caught up with all that has happened at UUCPA during the past six months. However, Mary is leaving me lots of information from her busy time here, and by the time you read this, I will have met with ...
  • Weaving the Web

    June 5, 2016
    Dear ones, you have all the information about the who and what and how long about sabbatical, and more is in the sabbatical guide that is posted online and in the Main Hall pamphlet rack, so I won’t belabor the point. I just want you to know that I will miss you during these months away. ...
  • Weaving the Web

    May 22, 2016
      It’s hard to believe, but I will be leaving for Mexico in just six weeks. My six-month sabbatical begins July 1, and I’ll be taking my annual study leave from June 4 to 30. So what will that time look like? Here at UUCPA, very much as usual. We have a terrific lineup of services from ...
  • Weaving the Web

    February 14, 2016
    Last Sunday, as we lit our chalice, Jane Glauz spoke about her lifetime in our congregations. One snippet she shared was the founding of East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Ohio. Synchronicity struck like the chime of a clock: later that day, I learned that East Shore had marked their 60th anniversary that same morning. Their ...
  • Weaving the Web

    December 20, 2015
    It’s hard to believe, but I have been the parish minister here for over twelve years, and it’s been over five years since I returned from my first sabbatical. Our ministers, like those of most UU congregations, accumulate a month of paid sabbatical leave for every year, and are expected to take it when 4-6 months ...
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