The Rev. Dr. Craig Rubano

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

As summer begins, it is certainly my wish to have at least a few days to contemplate a grasshopper, or to stroll through the fields. No matter how many times I tell myself to create time for those things all year ’round, I find that my days get cluttered up with “to-do” lists (and even those don’t all get done!). Making time for yourself is both a form of prayer or meditation and a modality of self-health, and I pray that you, like I, will find and make the time this summer really to experience life—for, as Mary Oliver notes, “doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?”

I do hope you will take advantage of a fantastic series of speakers and musicians that the Worship and Music Committees and I have lined up for the summer Sundays: some familiar UU clergy faces—the Revs. Allen Wells, Julie Newhall, and Rosemarie Newberry—will share with us on humor, UUism, Afghanistan, and milking goats; Music Director Emerita Elaine Held and friends will apply the arts to “8th Principle” antiracist/anti-oppression work; congregants Dr. Liz DeBeer, Jan Boyarin, and Dr. John Calvin Chatlos will enchant us with the intersections among poetry, psychology, and spirituality; and the Rev. Elaine Silver will present a musical service devoted to the 7th Principle on the interdependent web of which we are all a part. In July, I will speak to the power of the lotus as a metaphor for determined transformation (July 9th) and join congregants (on July 23rd) to offer poetry as a modality of storytelling and care. I will round out the summer on September 3rd on a weekend when we rest from Labor to discuss Rest as Resistance.

Musically, we will also be capable, talented hands, with (in addition to Elaine, Joel, and Rev. Silver), Brian Gilmore (piano), Helen Benham (piano), Richard Grossman (clarinet), Helen Kho (piano), Evan Schwartzman (piano), James Lubrano (piano), Betsy (vocals) and Craig (cello) Sunada, and, towards the end of summer, the return of our beloved Dr. Louise Chernosky.

With the pace of things a bit slower these next weeks, I hope I will have occasion to visit with some of you one on one; it would be lovely to have the chance to get to know you better. Even though, counting the two years I spent as your Ministerial Intern (plus two as Co-Minister, and two as Contract Minister), I will be starting my seventh year serving UUCMC (!), there are many of you with whom I have never sat down and really talked. Shoot me an email and let’s set up a time to do that. Perhaps together we can figure out, in Mary Oliver’s words, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life…or contemplate a grasshopper together.

As ever, all of us on your staff are grateful for some time off during the summer months. Please see the schedule below for when each of us is out.

Have a beautiful summer, UUCMC.

Rev. Craig

Summer Schedules for UUCMC Staff

We really appreciate the opportunity to recover from an especially challenging year! We will keep the following schedule updated for our times away this summer.

Rev. Craig

Away July 10–17 (study leave)
           July 24–31 (vacation)
                   Emergency pastoral care coverage: Michelle McKenzie-Creech (
          August 13–21 (study leave)


Away June 29–July 24
           August 4–14
           August 27–September 4


Off June 15–August 15 (employed for 10 months only)

UUCMC Summer Services (July 2–September 3, 2023)

July 2             The Buddha’s Smile                                          Rev. Allen Wells

A peek into the role of humor in religion, philosophy, and life.

Music: Brian Gilmore

Rev. Allen Wells is a Buddhist Unitarian Universalist serving as Affiliated Community Minister of The Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. He maintains a mindfulness based psychotherapy practice in Morristown, N.J., and teaches meditation at Buddhist sanghas. Allen likes to cross disciplines and is particularly interested in the interplay between neuroscience and classical Buddhism. He strives to bridge our internal world of personal, spiritual aspiration with activist oriented work for social justice and environmental sustainability. You can find him both on a safu and on a picket line. For two decades, Allen directed The Allen Wells Center for Psychotherapy and Healing in Morristown, and he previously served as psychotherapist at the DiMele Center for Psychotherapy in NYC. Allen has served as minister of UU congregations in Weymouth, MA., Hollis Queens, and The First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn; he served as Director of Religious Education at the Morristown UU fellowship, as well as for two years at UUCMC in the 1970s! Most recently, he served as minister of the First Unitarian Society of Rockland County, NY. He loves poetry and dance and presents at the UU Fellowship of St. John, USVI each winter. He acknowledges that he hasn’t written any books because he says he would rather spend the time ballroom dancing!

July 9       Beautiful Survivor: The Story of the Lotus        Rev. Dr. Craig Rubano

Many commented on the lotus imagery that accompanied my Installation service, including on the beautiful stole that was the congregation’s gift to me that evening. This morning, we will look to lotus wisdom for the journey of our lives together. We are joined by the exquisite talents of Richard Grossman and Helen Benham, who will share the music of Mozart and Robert Schumann’s “Three Romances.”

Music: Richard Grossman, clarinet; Helen Benham, piano; Rev. Craig

July 16     Moving in and out of Faiths                                   Rev. Julie Newhall

Unitarian Universalists value an ongoing search for truth and meaning. Some call ours an agnostic faith. What do you think? Have you acknowledged your path into Unitarian Universalism?

Music: Helen Kho and Elaine Held (Music Director Emerita)

July 23    Everyday Miracles in Poetry and Music            Rev. Dr. Craig Rubano, Dr. Liz DeBeer, Jan Boyarin, and Friends 

The miraculous way that poetry and music transport us to places we’ve never been, captivate us with storytelling, as well as express our innermost feelings, hopes, joys, and sorrows, will be on full display this morning as we hear from several congregants, as well as from superb pianist Evan Schwartzman.

Music: Evan Schwartzman and Rev. Craig

July 30    Addition for a Spiritual Community:  Awaken An Untapped Power of UU    Dr. Calvin Chatlos

Our UU commitment to the worth and dignity of every person has an untapped power for spiritual transformative experience beyond the general spirituality of our UUCMC community. Psychological exploration of an unseen order of human experience awakens mystical powers of certitude, agape love, creativity, clarity of thought, universal morality, unshakeable faith, and cosmic purpose. Come, explore, and enjoy this opportunity for personal transformation.

Music: James Lubrano

Calvin Chatlos is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Rutgers- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a child & adolescent and addiction psychiatrist. His beginnings with Ethical Culture and training as a lay leader in the Humanist Institute, NYC have led to being a formal member of UUCMC since 2013. His religious and professional interests combine in his exploration of spiritual and other non-ordinary experience. A surprising discovery of its relationship to UU will be the topic of his “Reflections.”

James Lubrano is a Collaborative Pianist and Vocal Coach in the US and abroad. His local work includes performances and rehearsals with the Eastern Wind Symphony, Encore Orchestra of New Jersey, Grammy-nominated Rutgers Wind Ensemble & Symphonic  Winds, Rutgers Symphony Orchestra and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra; as well as Ridge High School Choirs, The College of New Jersey Chorale, Celebration Singers Adult Chorus, and Rise Up Adult Chorus. He is also the Music  Director at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Providence, NJ

August 6        On the Road to Afghanistan… and what happened after that    Rev. Julie Newhall

In 1971, a road trip from Antwerp ended in Kabul. There were surprises along the way, surprises there, and 30 years later, the biggest surprise of all. And then a lot of grief.

Music by Betsy and Craig Sunada.

August 13       The Interdependent Web: UU 7th Principle through Song         Rev. Elaine Silver

We are One Human Family and “there is only One of us.” Rev. Elaine discusses the UU 7th Principle and demonstrates through song, using different angles of the Interdependent Web.

“Rev. Faerie” Elaine Silver is a highly acclaimed musician, performing and recording artist (22 CDs and counting) with a thriving Music Ministry. She is a transdenominational minister and Divinity Priestess who has garnered much attention in progressive churches and centers due to her unique method of delivering music-inspired lessons. Also a Licensed Science of Mind Practitioner, she shares Truth Principles and Universal Law using lecture, songs, and audience participation, which bring about connectedness and a sense of ONENESS in many. She has worked with wonderful authors and speakers including Deepak Chopra, don Miguel Ruiz, Neale Donald Walsch, Marianne Williamson, Brené Brown, Alan Cohen, Wayne Dyer, and more. Elaine is originally from NJ and was well known in the 80s and 90s as The New Jersey Folk Music Queen. She is delighted to be making her debut at UUCMC.

August 20      The Spiritual Practice of Milking Goats            Rev. Rosemarie Newberry

Rev. Dr. Kendyl L. R. Gibbons developed an initial list of 5 spiritual practices for Unitarian Universalists. They provide a great framework for our faith. Rev. Newberry started training as a goat milker in June. She will share how daily activities can be used to grow our souls.

Music by Dr. Louise Chernosky.

Rosemarie has been a member of the congregation for over 30 years. She has now started her second retirement this year, after serving as a chaplain and a UU congregational minister in NJ, NYC, Long Island and Ohio.

August 27      Celebrating the 8th Principle…                             Elaine Held, Music Director Emerita

…through music, words, dance, and introspection for living more dynamically into the practice of dismantling racism and other oppressions.

Music by Elaine Held, Joel DeWitt, PJ Casbar, Craig Sunada, and more!

September 3   Rest Is Resistance                                                     Rev. Dr. Craig Rubano

On this weekend set aside to honor and recognize the contributions of American Labor to our country’s development, we dive into Tricia Hersey’s Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto to examine rest as, itself, part of the same kind of resistance that gave rise to the workers’ rights movements.

Music by Helen Benham, piano.