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

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jan 6 meeting about bridges N@

BRIDGE BUILDING PROCESS

Kick Off Meeting Sunday January 6th at 6:30pm

Building bridges between our divisions

I reach out to you won't you reach out to me?

With all of our voices and all of our visions

Friends we could make such sweet harmony.

From Hymn #1023 in the Singing the Living Tradition, Supplement



FAQs : Before Building Bridges: from the Sunnyhill Board



1. What is the Bridgebuilder process and why are we doing it?

Anxiety and conflict exist in all systems, and of course churches are no exception. The Bridgebuilder process was created by Peter Steinke, a well-known church consultant and author of several books on church conflict. After working with hundreds of churches experiencing the effects of conflict, Steinke created a process for assisting churches in working through their anxiety and moving in the directions they want, toward health and growth. The process was recommended to our church by Rev. Joan VanBecelaere, the District Executive (DE) of the Ohio Meadville District of the UUA, after meeting with our board of trustees and staff.

The process may look familiar at first. It begins with a congregational meeting and a dialogue led by Richard Speck, the consultant we will be working with. He is the DE for the Joseph Priestley District and has been trained in conducting the Bridgebuilding Program. Interviews and written surveys are part of the process as well. However, unlike Sunnyhill's previous experience, this process is on-going and will continue to involve the congregation in meaningful and essential ways over several months. It will also include an action plan, written by members of the congregation and presented to the entire congregation for implementation.

2. Didn’t we just go through a process like this with Tom Chulak and Jean Crane? I’ve given my comments on our situation several times over the past few years. Why should I do it again
if nothing seems to change?

The issues we are grappling with have developed over time. Levels of awareness of these issues have also changed over time. At different stages, the board, the staff, and the congregation have taken various action steps in response to these issues.

The Bridgebuilding process is the next phase, a phase that will empower the congregation to identify and to address critical issues so that we can become a healthy congregation with a healthy ministry.

The BB process will build on input, comments and perceptions that have emerged at earlier stages.

These will inform the Bridge Building process at all steps.

We sincerely hope that everyone in the congregation will engage fully in the BB process in the spirit of love and hope.

3. Why shouldn’t we call a congregational meeting to vote on whether or not to retain the minister before we embark on a new process?

The board carefully considered this option. We concluded that in the long run, regardless of the outcome, such a vote taken at this time would be more disruptive to the fabric of the congregation. No matter how the vote turned out, the congregation would need to go through a healing process such as that offered through the BB program. Embarking on the BB will enable the congregation to address the question of retaining the minister, to deal with any other issues we as a congregation identify, and to begin the critical process of healing.

4. Why can’t we facilitate the BB or some other healing process amongst ourselves?

It is true that within our congregation we have talented, experienced people with strong facilitation skills. As members of the congregation, some of these people may have already developed strong feelings and opinions about our current situation, while others may not have. However, it is very likely that no one is truly perceived by all others as being completely neutral. The benefit of the BB process is that it brings in an outside neutral facilitator to act as a non-anxious presence within a very anxious congregation.

5. As a representative of the UUA, won’t the facilitator be biased toward the minister?

The facilitator is clear on his role of serving the congregation, with the goal of having a healthy congregation with a healthy ministry.

6. What will this cost Sunnyhill?

Sunnyhill’s cost for the BB program will be $1,000. All other costs, including the balance of the facilitator's fee ($2,000) and his travel and lodging expenses,will be covered by the OMD and the UUA. In addition, the OMD District Executive will be involved in this process with no cost to the congregation. This demonstrates the OMD’s and the UUA’s support of and commitment to our congregation during these difficult times.

The UUCSH Board of Trustees hopes to see ALL Sunnyhill Members and Friends at the Kick Off Meeting Sunday January 6th at 6:30 pm

Childcare will be Provided.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Open Letter to the Sunnyhill Community

(From John H):
I am writing this letter to the entire Sunnyhill Community as both an expression of personal frustration and as a plea for action which I believe must taken to resolve the crisis now dividing and embittering this community. It is only one person's opinion – I make no claim to speak for anyone else. But I can no longer, in good conscience, remain silent. I have chosen to do this by letter in order to avoid unnecessary emotion and allow for timely reflection.

When I first came Sunnyhill a little over two years ago I was fascinated and amazed by the delightful diversity, intensity and collective brilliance of this relatively modest grouping of people. It was an experience which had heretofore been missing from my life. I was at once amazed and totally reenergized to have found all of you. And, perhaps even more important to me, to have been so readily and quickly accepted as a fellow in your company – a relationship about which I feel as strongly as ever, and one which I want to endure.

Unfortunately, the ongoing discontent concerning the relationship of the minister to the congregation and congregation to the minister is casting a grey pall over all of us, to the point where it threatens to destroy the very institution of community that is Sunnyhill. At the time I joined the church, I was unaware of the roiling discontent within the congregation. Since then, the atmosphere has darkened considerably and it saddens me immeasurably to see this cancer continuing to spread through the community. The recent status letter concerning this year's pledge canvass makes it clear that the conflict is beginning to impact the capacity of the organization to function in some very real and soon to be painful ways. Along with the missing pledges, the many empty seats at services in recent weeks is a tell-tale sign of the crisis – and the problem of activity space is no longer the burning issue it was as recently as a year ago.

Problems of this nature are not altogether uncommon in churches. What is uncommon is that we have permitted it to persist at Sunnyhill for such a long time – to fester without any serious or effective effort to bring it to a head. It is never easy to confront such demons and I know, as a liberal congregation, we don't want to injure anyone's feelings; but, in the process of avoiding difficulty and injured feelings, we risk imminent self-destruction.

Last spring's "Conversations", coming as they did on the heels of an apparently poor evaluation of the minister, clearly identified that we are a church in "extreme crisis", with, at that time, fully 25% of the congregation identifying the minister as the source of discontent. Considering that 7% discontented membership constitutes a "problem church", it should then have been crystal clear to the Board that something serious and tangible needed to be done immediately. Yet, still, the Board elected to sit on it for almost another year – until the blow-up following the " Power and Authority" sermon forced them to look up from their visioning to once again confront the persistent reality confusion and discontent in their midst.

As far as I can determine, the entirety of the current distress revolves around the minister and her job performance over the past four years. The congregation is confused, confounded and frustrated because the Board has consistently refused to provide it with the information necessary to fully understand and respond to the problem – insisting that confidentiality and secrecy took precedence over congregational awareness and understanding. Instead of acting forcefully and decisively to address the situation, the Board has chosen to "punt" – delegating its responsibility to UUA third-parties in search of what can only be described as soft-core feel-good solutions. The results to date: increasing angst and anger among the congregation; fewer members; three new Board members; substantially reduced pledges; and the promise of more of the same to come. This is not being responsible, it is being cowardly.

The Bylaws state that the Board is responsible for performing an annual evaluation of the minister and is responsible for "creating and enforcing the employment contract with the minister" and, further, that the minister can only be dismissed, upon motion, by a two-thirds vote of the congregation present at an Annual or Special Meeting of the Congregation. Thus, the Board can and, in my opinion, must apprise the congregation in a timely fashion of the results and the contents of its annual evaluation of the minister – prior to the Annual Meeting – particularly if the evaluation is marginal or unsatisfactory. While the Board is charged with performing the evaluation and managing the employment contract, it is solely the responsibility of the congregation, when asked, to determine whether the minister should stay or go. This congregational responsibility can not be exercised responsibly without specific knowledge of the issues involved, and this can only be provided by the Board of Directors.

Why is the Board afraid to bring the matter to a head and trust the congregation to act in the best interest of the church? Why are we being subjected to another soft-headed feel-good approach – bridge-building – when what we need is to address the problem directly and specifically? Why has the Board failed and refused to perform the required annual evaluation in 2007? And why is the Board unwilling to share the information it has concerning the specific issues and the results of the 2006 evaluation with the congregation? The congregation has an absolute right to this information – and the Board a duty to provide it. The congregation is, after all, the actual employer. These issues should be confronted, discussed and debated openly, not in hallway whispers, furtive phone calls and e-mail rumors. There is no need to include personal information, confidentially provided; but specific types of complaints and instances of behavior and performance can and should be formally aired to the congregation – not during or following Sunday services, but at one or more special congregational meetings called by the Board.

I strongly suspect the answer to the above questions is that the Board is afraid that if it brings this information and these issues directly to the congregation and requests a congregational vote to retain or dismiss the minister, the congregation will vote to retain. And if it be so, so be it – the congregation will have spoken. But whether the congregation decides to retain or to dismiss, the issue will be, at least for the moment, settled. Everyone will know the facts and just where one another stands on the matter – then we can begin to move forward together again. It is at this juncture, and only at this juncture, that something like bridge-building might be beneficial.

I fully appreciate the difficult position the current Board of Directors finds itself – three new members thrown into the breach and escalating internal strife in the community – but more delay and delegation will not settle anything. I do not, by this criticism, mean to in any way denigrate the efforts and sacrifice each and every Board member has made during this extended process, nor minimize the personal pain and toil each has put into her or his duties as Board members. I am certain that what was or was not done by the Boards (present and past) was in good faith and belief that it was in the best interest of the church – it's just that they appear to have been in conflict avoidance mode, not problem solving mode. In order to get back on track again the Board must recognize that, given the proper information, the congregation can be trusted to do what is in the best interest of itself. It must, in good faith, share the information it possesses relating to the job performance of the minister – good as well as bad. Finally, it must allow the congregation to be the final judge – not the UUA or the Ohio-Meadville District or some other third-party consultant.

Should the Board elect to change its current course, the task ahead will most certainly not be easy or painless, but it is an essential part of the process if the community is to survive as a vital organization retaining the wonderful blend of diversity, intellectual ferment and caring concern I have come to know and love since discovering Sunnyhill. Writing this letter has been a sad and painful task, but I can't sit back and see the community tear itself apart because too many of us are unwilling to step up and say enough is enough – it's time to move on. More importantly, I don't want Sunnyhill, and you, to stop being a part of my life.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read and contemplate these thoughts.

John Hemington


Then comes the first reply:
John,
I believe your statement as follows summarizes the problem as it now stands:
This congregational responsibility can not be exercised responsibly without specific knowledge of the issues involved, and this can only be provided by the Board of Directors.
My suspicion regarding bridge building is that we are repeating the Pittsburgh history of building bridges to nowhere.
Having no complaint about Lynn myself (I do have some problems with the position of minister existing at all, but that is a separate issue), I have been extremely frustrated at trying to determine the specifics of discontent. What I have heard, if true, warrants dismissal. However, I have heard what I have heard from third parties, not from the grievants themselves.
Ordinarily, the lack of any specifics to contribute to an informed determination slants me toward ignoring a subject. However, the real world effects cannot be ignored if we wish Sunnyhill to survive. The Board, in seeking third-party intervention, is providing the proverbial straw to a drowning person. The Board has not even provided the minimum action of an annual ministerial evaluation, which is its duty. The neglect or refusal to complete the ministerial evaluation is anywhere from an abdication of responsibility to outright manipulation of the situation. In any case, I now see the Board itself as an obstacle, not a resource, regarding any solution to the current problems.
My question is, lacking an effective Board, what are our options . One, of course, is individual resignation, which more people seem to be exercising. I care nothing about Sunnyhill as a corporate entity, but I absolutely do not wish to sever myself from Sunnyhill as a community. I feel that the Board, in its failure to effectively deal with the situation, has caused the loss of this community to those who have left, and the loss of them to those of us remaining. I suspect there are others who simply stop coming without the formality of announcing it, which are opportunity losses to both them and us.
Another option is to request the Board resign en masse, and call for immediate elections. This would provide members who feel they have a solution to present it to the congregation. I don't see this as a positive action only because, even if it could be done, we need a Board because Sunnyhill is a business that requires management authority. Leadership in the current situation, if it comes, will come from the congregation, not the Board.
Another option is to repeat the founding of Sunnyhill, and form a separate church/society, with or without the blessing of corporate Unitarianism. This is not as outlandish as it seems, as we seem to have distinct groups notwithstanding the issue of the minister, and the talent for organization certainly exists. I have heard several people state they have no to little need of a minister, and would be open to separating with a group of like-minded individuals. Are there at least 10 (or more) people open to discussing this?
I myself feel that a congregational meeting not chaired by the Board or third-party representatives is the next best step before looking at other options. As the distribution list for your email is hidden, I am copying everybody in my list that I can identify with Sunnyhill. Is there any interest in this?
Note-I accept responsibility for any anger this email and its general distribution may cause, but accept no credit for any positive responses, as these things are merely what someone needs to say.
Herb Caponi


Lynn was thought to have posted in email in response:
Herb and all,

I urge you to trust the board (for at least the next month). Take the time to show up and see what this Bridge Building process is about and what it actual brings us before criticizing it. If the process is a total failure you can act at that point. However the board has been working very, very hard. For months they have been taking the things they know about the situation at Sunnyhill and combining that with their learnings about the possible ways to help the congregation through this crisis. I trust the board. True, they aren't perfect. None of us are. However, I urge all of you to trust that their combined wisdom will lead us somewhere worthwhile. At very least please give them a chance for the next few weeks.

Thank you,

Lynn



Jay P, President of the UUCSH Board wrote:

Wow, I must say I am struggling with how much of this to respond to. I think there is a lack of understanding as to what Bridge-building is. I take responsibility for that. We have perhaps not been effective at getting the message out. What it is NOT is the board getting someone else to do our job. An outside facilitator leads us to both describe all our problems (of which not having a written evaluation of the minister I submit is only a very small part) and then also assists us in leading our own dialogue among members to create an action plan to deal with all of our problems. I submit that if an internal person (of which we have many very talented people who could do this) would not be considered by all as unbiased. Unfortunately the current climate to me indicates that we MUST have an outside party facilitate our working through this. If an action plan includes voting to release our minister, so be it. I would remind you that last spring Tom Chulak reported that in his conversations with over half our congregation, he concluded that 25% of us had serious issues/problems/complaints with the minister. While that is an extremely high percentage, if a vote had been taken then to dismiss the minister, it would have failed. Our bylaws require a 2/3 majority present at a congregational meeting to dismiss. Do you suggest that if we hold a vote now to dismiss the minister, either way the vote goes, all our problems go away? I suggest that is extremely na├»ve and shallow thinking. Maybe then the “losers” of that vote would then voluntarily leave. Is that what we want? Are we not capable of working through our disagreements? Or maybe it isn’t worth the trouble. Am I reading of a suggestion to dismantle Sunnyhill and start all over? I suggest that we are all still here because we do NOT want that to happen. Do you suggest that if we evaluate the minister, our problems go away? Please.

The suggestion is being made that we begin making the minister’s evaluations public. That is a strong argument. Personally I disagree, but it is certainly worth talking about. Let me remind everyone of the communication I sent through a letter last spring as well as an article in the drummer recently. John, I also talked to you personally on November 3rd regarding many of the issues you have spoken about. As I told you then, and through public communication, the board has been working on shoring up some organizational weaknesses that we have been living with for quite a while. A clear and structured process for evaluating our staff is only a very small part. Making both the minister and DRE evaluations public should be part of that discussion. There is clearly a lot of support for that. This was one piece of the work that THIS board took on last spring. Unfortunately it had to be put on hold because the uproar caused by the “Power and Authority” sermon in October necessitated the board change its focus.

There seems to be an implication that this board loves secrecy and is working in the dark to further its own, shadowed agenda. Please. We have neither the desire, nor the energy that would take. Sunnyhill is facing some unprecedented challenges and we are trying to figure out how to deal with them. You present arguments concerning minister evaluations as if we have been purposely keeping information from the congregation. Last year, to my knowledge was the FIRST time a minister from Sunnyhill has had a formal evaluation. I’m not sure how it worked when Kirk was here so I can’t really speak to that. I also know that something was written for Lynn to be considered “settled”. Sunnyhill has been in existence for over 40 years! This was never a problem until a couple of months ago. Do you want us to change something like that on a dime simply because you write a letter? We have also received criticism concerning putting people on to the board agenda. In the past, this has not been a problem, and frankly I love to have people share their concerns with the board in person. But we are not working in the same environment as we have in the past. In the past, the board did not routinely have 10-15 people show up at its meetings to observe. There is much more tension, less understanding and compassion, and more formality. That is ok. We will work under the conditions that we have to. That’s why we were elected.

I would encourage everyone to participate in the Bridgebuilding process beginning on January 6th. If after that initial meeting you feel your concerns will not be addressed, then you of course will not be forced to participate. If you want to drive your own process, then you are certainly within your rights to do so adhering to our by-laws. I would hope though that everyone be engaged in the same process, because unless we as a whole congregation are working together to achieve the same goals—a strong loving, supportive community, then we are going to continue to bleed members, and foster anger and resentment. And that will be a very sad legacy to the many remaining founding members who started this organization we call Sunnyhill.

Jay Pullen
President, UUCSH board of trustees



Then comes the final letter via email in this chain. Others are free to post in the comment area. The blogmaster scrubbed the idenity of this person who sent in the letter as he was not interested in following along in the conversation. Hint: He is a former board member and ex-president of the board.

Jay:

... blog posting removed...
NAME NUKED
If you wish, you can chime in with the comments on this blog. But, there is little insurance that anyone will read the postings as this blog gets few viewers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Budget Preview

Sunnyhill's 2008 Budget Preview is slated for 11:30 on December 30 (following the one service) and at 10:15 on January 6, 2008 (between the two services). These meeting happen in the Main Room to discuss the 2008 budget with interested members of the congregation.

It will be an opportunity for members to offer suggestions for which appears to be a financially difficult year. Before this meeting members will have the draft budget proposed by the Board available which will be distributed before the end of 2007. To create this draft budget, the Board has had to make some difficult choices in the face of what is anticipated to be significantly lower pledge income in 2008. It is hoped that as a result of this meeting, the congregation and Board will be in agreement regarding the choices that need to be made and why they need to be made ahead of the budget approval meeting two weeks later on January 20.

The initial proposed budget will be made available by this weekend. There will be copies available in the Dining room Sunday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Earth Day vendors and speakers wanted

Sunnyhill's Earth Day Committee is looking to locate speakers, vendors, exhibitors and/or workshops about or related to the positivity of the earth for Sunnyhill's Earth Day Celebration on Saturday April 26th, 2008 from 10 am - 5 pm. Information or questions should be directed to Victoria Dym at vicdym -at- hotmail -dot- com.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Unitarian Universalist Humour

Unitarian Universalist Humour: "HOW MANY (xxxxxx) DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A LIGHT BULB?"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Randy Bellamy, Facilitator, Current Events Discussion Group writes:

Well, we'll be sandwiched in between the two services once again, which is our usual scheduled meeting time following Labor Day and prior to Memorial Day. We'll meet twice monthly and USUALLY we'll meet in room #25. And so, life begins again with our having a chance to review, thrash out, rant and thoughtfully compare and contrast our concerns and views within a friendly framework which you'll find both challenging and congenial.

These times are complex and challenging, and demand our becoming more clearly focused and better informed. Please join us as we attempt to reach informed conclusions of what we will and will not tolerate, of what matters and what we will or may dismiss. During each of our biweekly considerations of events, which are certainly among Pittsburgh's liveliest, we will attempt, through discussion and debate, to gather perspectives and resolve needed to face the demands made upon each of us. I hope you'll come and make your own contribution to the continuing discussion.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Open Letter to Unitarian Universalists

There is no "if" about the President's abuse of the First Amendment. As a 14 year Marine veteran I've seen the results when one religion is favored over another.

Take a look at reaction and information about recent actions by the Supreme Court.

http://www.lawmemo.com/sct/06/Freedom/
http://www.religionandsocialpolicy.org/homepage/article.cfm?id=6106
http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/fdocs/docs.fwx?caseno=05-1130&submit=showdkt
http://ffrf.org/legal/legal2.php
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/06-157.ZS.html

My letter is meant to be a wake up call.

To date Unitarian Universalists and the UUA have not joined in any coordinated action against the ecclesiastical administration of the United States on Faith Based initiatives.

The UUA came out opposing the nomination of Samuel Alito to the supreme court in December of 2005 and we went as far as a letter of opposition.

http://www.uua.org/pressroom/pressreleases/14622.shtml

What can we do now besides say, "We told you so."

So far I've not been able to find any Church groups or bodies that are joining this fight.

http://www.secular.org/

The closest on their web site is the society for Humanistic Judaism
http://www.shj.org/.

We Unitarian Universalists have democracy at the very core of our belief system. We respect the inherent worth and dignity of every individual in their search for spiritual fulfillment. If we stand on the sidelines we are not only accepting whatever theocracy the current or future administration has or have but are allowing an alliance of two branches of the government to over rule the third.

What do you all think of the actions of the President and the Supreme Court?

If we can't beat them should we Joining them to get our "fair share"? (Yes that is meant as Sarcasm.)

Or do we band together to return the separation of church and state to the first secular government in the world?

If we chose the latter as the high ground how do fund the fight?

I know our church could not afford a battle independently. But is this something that we pay UUA dues for?

Bob Lee
UUCSH (AKA Sunnyhill)
Pittsburgh, PA

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First Friday meeting covers the movie, Sicko

First Friday will meet at 7:30 pm on September 7, 2007 at Sunnyhill.

The topic will be Sicko, the new film by Michael Moore. Some have hailed it as his best and most professional film, others have labeled it as only a showpiece for his biased views.

Previous to the film's showing 33% of Lion's Gate (the distributor) stock was sold to a doctor. The number of theaters showing the film was cut from 1600 to 400 one week
before the release. Could this have been a coincidence? We will discuss the related
health care issues. Whether or not you have seen the film, come and give us your opinion. The meeting will start at 7:30 pm with recommendations regarding movies, plays, concerts, books, restaurants, etc. that you believe the group would enjoy. As usual, bring a snack and beverage to share.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

UU Church sign draws attention

Kerry may have to ketchup - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
SIGNAGE. Members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ligonier Valley didn't realize they'd gain nationwide notoriety when they put up a banner on their church, nestled along Route 30 in Ligonier Township, to attract new members.

The sign has drawn the curious attention from one of television evangelist Pat Robertson's disciples, Lee Webb, an anchor at Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.

In an opinion column posted last week on the channel's Web site, Webb posted a photograph of the banner.

"My family and I passed a Unitarian Universalist Church while we were vacationing in Western Pennsylvania last week. Displayed on the front of the building was a banner that read, "A Beacon of Liberal Religion," Webb wrote.

"I've driven by a lot of churches over the years, but never one so proud of its liberalism," Webb added.

Webb reports he was so "intrigued" by the banner's declaration, he visited the church's Web site and was surprised that its pride "in its unorthodoxy runs deep."

"Sad, isn't it? Is it any wonder, then, that liberal Protestant denominations are losing members in droves?" Webb asks.

The church pastor, the Rev. Dr. Renee Waun, said last week that Webb's lumping the local congregation into a liberal Protestant denomination "is like comparing apples and oranges."

"Basically, we're a new church -- only 3 years old -- and the sign is to show people what we are offering. The comments are almost absurd. ... We have a lot of members in our congregation who remain strong to the Christian faith," she said.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dean's Diner

Cheers is where everybody knows your name, but at Dean’s Diner, they know your name, your financial status, and they don’t care. Join us on June 22, 2007 at 8 pm, or June 23 at 2 pm and 8 pm, and you’ll see what we mean. Dean and Vicky will be there, along with the Senator, a musician who can’t sing, a pregnant woman who can, and other assorted strange people. There’ll be pie, too.

Of course, everything is bartered.

Admission is free, in exchange for a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The pie is free, in exchange for 5 dollars. Laughs are free, in exchange for telling us how good we are.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sign-Up for Sunnyhill Conversations

Please take part in Sunnyhill Conversations that will be held at Sunnyhill May 13, 14, 15, & 16. There is a sign-up sheet posted in the dining room and all members and friends are invited to take part. If you can’t make it to Sunnyhill to sign-up, you may phone Elizabeth during her office hours at church 412-561-6277 to schedule a time. Please DO NOT leave her a voice mail. Feel free to speak to a Board member or COM member if you have any questions and don’t forget to attend the Congregational Meeting on Wed, May 16 at 8:00!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Docs for annual meeting and candidates for board

In preparation for our Annual Meeting on Sunday, April 15, I have prepared the Annual Report 2006-2007 for your review. Bio’s of the candidates running for the Board of Trustees is also available. Click the headline.

Hard copies, if needed, will be available in the dining room this Sunday.

If you are a member of UUCSH we hope to see you at our Annual Meeting where we will be voting for President, Treasurer, At-Large Board of Trustees members, and Nominating Committee members.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Help Review our UU Principles and Purposes

Gather from 7-9:30 p.m. Wed. March 28th at Sunnyhill, room 25. Be part of the national review process of our current UU Principles and Purposes. What works? What’s missing? What could be changed to more accurately reflect Unitarian Universalism today? Your input will be forwarded to the UUA Commission on Appraisal. RSVP isn’t necessary, but would be helpful. Contact Lynn.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cato Unbound: Splendid article

Cato Unbound - Blog Archive - Libertarianism: Past and ProspectsRecognize that the principles of free minds and free markets are most suited to making a rich and varied and lovable world, and thus are likely to triumph in the long term.
Many of these concepts can be spun into being U.U. Do take the time to read the article or book mark it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Legislating Violations of the Constitution - washingtonpost.com

Legislating Violations of the Constitution - washingtonpost.com conservatives in the House of Representatives have now passed an insidious bill to try and limit enforcement of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, by denying attorneys fees to lawyers who successfully challenge government actions as violating this key constitutional provision. For instance, a lawyer who successfully challenged unconstitutional prayers in schools or unconstitutional symbols on religious property or impermissible aid to religious groups would -- under the bill -- not be entitled to recover attorneys' fees.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Social Justice Meeting

March 4, 10:15-11:15 Main Room

Please mark your calendars for the 1st full justice meeting. We will be putting 2007 projects together. These will include, a committee for the Designated Plate. A presentation on a potential Sunnyhill service weekend or greater in New Orleans to help the Katrina victims who are still just that. Contact people for Single payer Health issues and the Legislative advocacy network that Barry Tepperman discussed last month. A possible multi-church initiative in the South Hills and a partnering with AUUC for an urban outreach program. I would also encourage anyone who is in the Peak Oil group or any of the other green programs we have to join us. Oh yeah and we will get a name before the end of the meeting. WALK THE TALK.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Models of Thinking

Usually people focus on what is believed by themselves and others. Over the past
fifty years some researchers and psychologists have tracked the history of what is
more important – how we think and the models of thinking that have been devel-
oped and adopted by succeeding cultures.

From this has developed the concept of memes which we should understand and incorporate into our vocabulary as we each continue our journey into the future. The
Forum on March 25th will be an introduction to this subject and be followed by two
more sessions at times other than LifeCraft.

One source of the information is the book, Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Lead-
ership and Change by Beck & Cowan.

Come and join in the discussion at 10:15 on March 25. Handouts will be available for
the session.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pop City - A Bow to Zen

Pop City - A Bow to Zen

Interesting article. Perhaps someone should contact the POP City editors or even Robert Isenberg and get an article about activities at Sunnyhill along the same lines. Furthermore, there might be some who go there who might be interested in knowing more about Sunnyhill.

Friday, February 16, 2007

SHIM (South Hills Interfaith Ministries) is more than a food pantry

SHIM offers after school homework clubs, early childhood programs, religious diversity education, clothing, and utility assistance. While regular assistance is based on income and number of members in the family, anyone asking for help will receive an emergency supply of food. They serve seniors on fixed incomes and many single mothers with children.

The have families they have helped for years and families that only need assistance for a few months. Sunnyhill has been a member of SHIM for many years.

This Sunday’s plate collection will go to SHIM (last week’s Tidbits mistakenly said Feb. 11). If you would like to write a check to go to SHIM, please write it out to UUCSH and write “plate collection/SHIM” in the memo. If you would like your check to go towards your pledge, please write “pledge” in the memo. And please feel free to contact Judy Kelly for additional information on SHIM.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

Movie, 7 pm on Monday, Feb 19, 2007.

Until 1990, Cuba got much of its oil and food from the USSR, but that ended with the superpower's collapse. Cuba's GDP dropped by more than one-third. Transportation nearly stopped. Food bacame scares. But Cuba survived. Find out how by seeing this documentary.

Concerned about future energy scarcity. Watch these films.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Spork in the Drawer: SuperBowl Party Snafu

A Spork in the Drawer Farmland Friends on Friday joined churches nationwide in abruptly canceling its Super Bowl party for fear of violating a federal copyright law that prohibits public venues from showing NFL games on big-screen TVs.
Unreal.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sunnyhill Boxes for Books

The Thursday Chalice Circle group will be collecting gently used books for boys ages 8 - 18 in Februrary. Pick up an empty box this Sunday or next, and return it on Sunday, Feb. 18 or 25. The books will be donated to the Ohiopyle Wilderness Program of Pressley Ridge, which houses challenged boys but has very few books for them to read. Especially welcome will be sports and adventure books, classics, biographies, educational books and current encyclopedias, which will be incorporated into the therapeutic program. Questions may be directed to Dorothy Burns.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sunnyhill's Partner Church in Europe

Click on an image below and see it in a larger size.













Partner Church.








Thursday, January 04, 2007

Special musical guest for Sunday, Jan 7 -- Joe Jencks

On Sunday morning, Joe Jencks is playing for our Chapel and for the opening music of the main service (led by Sue Richmond).

The Chapel is a once per month family-centered kids friendly gathering at both 9 am and again at 11:30. We've got two services. This week's theme is "Listening and Hearing. You Hear with the ears. You Listen with your brain." Plus, with Joe's music, it can even move your heart with strong feelings.

Hope to see you Sunday!



Joe Jencks, a friend from SUUSI, a singer and songwritter, is going to be in Pittsburgh to perform at a house concert at 4 pm on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh's Friendship neighborhood. The video above is from a house concert on the South Side in 2006.