Helpers among the community of Pittsburgh area UUs. Link to the main Sunnyhill site.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

That Dam Ride to Confluence

Saturday, September 11 to Sunday, September 12

That Dam Ride is a popular overnight bicycling event to be held this year September 11 &12 along the bucolic packed limestone Youghiogheny River Trail to the small town of Confluence Pa.. with an optional tour of the Confluence area. Last years That Dam Ride attracted over 400 visitors from 8 states and contributes recreation, tourism, and economic generation to Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Cyclists, from novice to expert, choose from three mileage options ranging from a 12 mile leisurely guided tour of the Confluence area, to 30 miles a day from Connellsville and back, or 70 miles a day from Boston and back. Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area coordinates That Dam Ride. Proceeds benefit the Mon Yough Trail Council, Steel Valley Trail Council and a number of other non-profit organizations providing volunteer support and services.
Cost: For  those starting in Boston or Connellsville, a $60.00 entry fee covers gear transport both ways, five rest stops including two lunches, dinner, camping with a light breakfast,  prize drawings including a grand prize bicycle, and an event T-shirt.. Or, enjoy the Tour de Confluence with rest stop, dinner, a T-shirt, and camping included for $35.00.

Contact:  Pre-registration is required and ends August 27.  Call 412-462-5328 for a brochure.

Spirit and Nature Conference Saturday, October 16                 

Perhaps the CUUPS folks should attend this event and see if others are interested:

The majesty of a mountain overlook, the mystery of a deserted beach, the quiet of an old growth forest, or the bright sparkle of a mountain streamWhat is it that draws you back to a place? What is it in us that responds to a particular favorite spot, that gives us a feeling of anticipation as we approach it, a feeling of satisfaction or re-creation as we take in its essence? These topics and more will be explored at the day-long Spirit and Nature Conference at Chatham College, Saturday, October 16, 2004.

The conference will feature keynote speaker Scott Russell Sanders, flutist Michael Pestel and a variety of other provocative and inspiring discussions, experiences and speakers. Join us as Native American ceremonies open and close this unique event.  The conference also features a discussion among knowledgeable panelists whose spiritual insights include a reverence for nature. The panelists will represent a diverse range of religious and philosophical backgrounds, from Eastern Orthodox to Muslim, from Catholicism to Judaism.  The capstone to the Conference will be the Saturday evening presentation (8:00 PM) by renowned British mountaineer and photographer, John Beatty. Prepare to be enthralled as Beatty presents his WILD: A Dialogue of Elements a spellbinding and dramatic multidimensional visual experience.

Location: The Chapel at Chatham College
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Conference, 8:00 PM John Beatty presents WILD: A Dialogue of Elements
Cost:  a. Conference - $45 ($30 seniors and students), includes lunch but does NOT include the John Beatty presentation.  b. John Beatty: $15 ($10 seniors and students). Combination tickets (full day conference and John Beattys presentation) $55 ($35 seniors and students)
Contact: Venture Outdoors, 412-255-0564, or

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Summer is passing and the grounds and gardens at Sunnyhill are reflecting the efforts of many people who have contributed to their nice appearance. A number of work parties were held in May and June. In May, the back patio and front and rear gardens were readied for our annual picnic. The gutters were also cleaned of the growing maple wings. In June, three work parties were held during which the many yews were trimmed, the trumpet vine shaped, and tree branches which interfered with cutting the grass were removed. In addition, general weeding and sweeping of the front patio and the gardens were performed.

You have probably noticed the results of considerable effort to remove six yews and the Thornwood bush at the entrance to the north parking lot. These were removed to provide another parking space and to improve the visibility of the lot making it unnecessary to enter and leave to see if there was a spot available. It also helps traffic flow on the Sunnyhill entrance driveway when there are a lot of people entering. The resulting tree branches and yews were reduced to mulch using a wood chipper.

All of the above work could not have been accomplished without the help of the following: Carl and Liz Bergmann, Vijay Chandhok, Charlie Cook, Larry Comden, Margaret Hamstead, Mike and Mary-Jo Hennessey, Joe Lodge, Margaret Lindquist, Andy Loverich Bernard, Keith McGough, Emily Marlier, Kimball Nedved, Steve and Angela Suarez, Pat Troell, Jerry Walsh, George and Patty Williams, and Robert Williams.

Our thanks to all who have helped maintain the Sunnyhill gardens and grounds. More work parties are planned to make Sunnyhill ready for the fall opening. So, it is not too late to provide your expertise to help. In addition to meeting fellow Sunnyhillers, you also become eligible to participate in the annual Garden Party party to celebrate our efforts during the year.

Sunnyhill Cooperative Babysitting

Get coverage for your kids from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm on the third Saturday of the month.

Sign up before September

This is a great way to get out while your children are safe having fun and playing with other children. Sign up for a four month period -- the third Saturday of September, October, November and December. Each parent gets three Saturdays free to go out and have fun, while agreeing to help, with other couples, baby sit the children at church one of the Saturdays. Families who baby sit provide snacks and videos. Your children get four nights of fun and you get three nights out. We ask that you commit to all four Saturdays, or it won't work. This time out, we've moved it up a half hour and we'd like the kids to bring a bag dinner. For more information or to sign up, contact Amy & Bruce Kent.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Ken wrote

This is copied from the 2004 SUUSI catalogue:

Ekstasis - A New Worship for Unitarian Universalists Ekstasis is an exciting and innovative worship service which celebrates being fully human, welcoming and taking pleasure in the whole body's amazing ability to sense and to feel and to think within the realm of worship.
Ekstasis invites participants into a physical and cerebral worship, encouraging everyone to enjoy their bodies‚ wondrous, natural responses and sensations, in primal human yearnings to engage ecstasy, as well as their rational sensibilities.

Ekstasis allows and promotes the Œhallowed use‚ of modern technology: computer generated art, visual slide shows, live video feeds, dynamic sound systems, and Œtechno‚ dance music.

Ekstasis offers worshippers a time of reunion with their ancient human impulses to sing and dance and move into the flow of sacred time and place and drama.

For over thirteen years, the Reverend Thomas G. Anastasi has been parish minister at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church near Seattle. Thomas‚ background is diverse and non-typical. He was reared as a Pentecostal Christian and later worked as a professional singer and musician. He brings this spirited energy to his ministry, continually exploring new and creative ways to engage and embody liberal religion in the world."

Out of curiosity I attended this "worship service" at SUUSI. Someone's report on this could not have been believed had it not been personally experienced. UU Pentecostalism has been marketed for some time by this relabeled pentecostal.

The initial observation was to say that "It was placed incorrectly in the schedule. It would have been great had it been in the entertainment portion of the evening NOT in the worship category." However, after some amount of reflection, the distinction is retracted since a worship service usually utilizes forms of entertainment. This "service" could easily been replaced with a round of liquor.

In pursuing that line of thought further, I get more authentic religion from some of the entertainers while at SUUSI than the clerics. The clerics use often issues in life to tell me how I should act and what organized activities I should support. Meanwhile, the entertainers, who act like the sages in past times, present the sometimes searing issues of life in the form of metaphors and narratives then allow me the wisdom and motivation to act in the manner of my choosing.

In analyzing the activities of clerics, I offer that a large number should leave the "ministry", undertake social work and leave religion to those who take religion seriously and are better equipped to teach serious religion.

Ken W

Sunday, July 25, 2004

New Blog is in Pre-Flight

This blog is a bit of a test case and preflight to see how others might be able to be recruited to be blog helpers.

Please post a comment to this and offer to help or offer some tips as to what you think we should be talking about in a discussion format.