When I was in college, there was “Feb Club,” a movement that produced a party every night of the month to counteract the scary winter stretch into the midterms and the uncertain future. It was thought that February was a month in which one was particularly susceptible to doldrums. So, while our congregational themes for the month are weighty, we’ll balance them with hope and joy and love. Justice and equity are—or can be, optimally—interrelated for, while “equity” (with word roots in “equal”) represents solutions for addressing imbalanced social systems, “justice” (with word roots in “law”) takes equity further by fixing those systems sustainably. Both are needed to even the playing fields of life so that all might flourish. Of course, for those of us who have profited by the unevenness of those fields over generations, equity and justice can feel a bit threatening, so education, courage, determination, and follow-through are needed, along with a large dose of hope.
Our opening quotations for the month address the need for hope in hard times. And, if the newspaper headlines in January were any barometer for our world, and for a U.S. election year, some active, aggressive hope will be required. Not empty, pie-in-the-sky hope, but, as Zinn reminds us above, hope based in the history-based reality that, time and time again, humans have demonstrated an ability for “sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.” We need to have the determination to remember that ordinary people (Hawken) are working tirelessly “to restore this earth and the lives of the poor.” We need to have the courage (Gorman) to be the light in the eradication of racism in ourselves and our institutions, in the establishment of equity to right myriad oppression-related wrongs, and in the creation of innovative solutions amid the growing desperation of a climate crisis. Even someone as clear-eyed about crisis as Greta Thunberg can declare, with an exclamation point, that “hope is contagious!”
Our worship services this month offer some roadmaps on how to continue living into our vowed 8th Principle mindset (Feb 4), how to put Love at the center of our values (Feb 11), and ways to implement kindness (Feb 18) in our relationships with others—those known to us and otherwise randomly selected. I hope that our programming in February will enliven hope in us all. I will try to do my part by offering, as a benefit for UUCMC’s operating fund, the concert that I will premiere in NYC beginning in March, my first concertizing in the City in more than a decade. I hope you will join us the night of Friday, February 23rd for Take the Moment, a collection of songs handpicked to tell the story of those pivotal moments of change in my life that have made all the difference. Joined onstage by Music Director Beth Ertz at the piano and bassist Marc Schmied, and drawing from my experiences as Broadway actor, scholar, pastoral theologian, cabaret artist, minister, and goat owner (!), we’ll tap into music and lyrics by Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Jerry Herman, and more. I hope you will come to support ($20 minimum suggested donation, $10 for students) the work of UUCMC and celebrate the unique way music and great lyrics help sustain the stories of our lives.
Together, we’ll get through February… and, if an extra day added to the end of the month seems daunting, remember, at Yale, a leap year just means one more Feb Club party!
February Worship Services
February 4 Continuing to Live Our 8th Principle Rev. Dr. Craig Rubano
As we begin Black History month and open exploration of our monthly congregational theme of Justice and Equity, we know that there always is antiracist work to do. This Sunday we’ll garner some insights from some recent publications to see how we might take next steps in living into our vowed 8th Principle of dismantling oppressions within ourselves and our institutions.
Music: Dr. Louise Chernosky
February 11 Love at the Center of our Values Rev. Dr. Craig Rubano
At this year’s General Assembly of UU Congregations, a vote will be taken to approve a new conceptualization of what have been, in past years, our six, seven, and then eight Principles: the graphic for the proposal frames six overarching values as petals with Love at the center of the flower—for, in the language of the proposal, “we live our shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love.” As Valentine’s Day approaches, let us strive to understand Love as that powerful force that holds us tight and will not let us go.
Music: Dr. Louise Chernosky, UU Singers
Following the worship service, there will be a Fundraising Mac ’n’ Cheese and Chili Luncheon in the Community Room.
February 18 Random Acts of Kindness Day: A Multigenerational Service Michelle McKenzie-Creech, CDFM and Rev. Dr. Craig Rubano
Begun in New Zealand in 2004, Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrated in the United States on February 17th, urging people to “pay it forward” in random acts that demonstrate six concepts related to kindness: respect, caring, inclusiveness, integrity, responsibility, and courage. In this service, all ages will explore how kindness embodies Unitarian Universalist values and brings us closer to a Beloved Community with justice and equity for all.
Music: Dr. Louise Chernosky
February 25 Love Is the Key Guest Minister
How do we respond to the divine love flowing through us and all creation, which calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves? Join us as we explore ways to tap into this river of love and help it transform us and the world.
Music: Dr. Louise Chernosky