MARCH 2017 Newsletter


From the Minister…


I am not a pink sort of person.  That isn’t to say I don’t wear it, but rather that I object to its assumption that it is a shorthand code for woman-ness.  I grit my teeth when I see a pink yogurt lid, or cute t-shirt, or even that brief and weird period where football players were wearing pink cleats.  Breast cancer awareness is important, but wrapping the whole thing up in the color that is used to gender us as babies just feels uncomfortable.  It feels like a narrowing of what it is to be a woman in a way that I have always rejected.  So when I heard about the pink hats that were to be a symbol of the women’s march, a part of me groaned.  Really?  Pink?

I remained ambivalent even as my fellow marcher went on to make me a hat.  I remained ambivalent as I sat on a train down to Washington amidst a sea of women in pink hats.  I remained ambivalent as we squeezed onto the metro amidst a throng of pink hats and funny signs and exhilarated people.  I remained ambivalent throughout the day as I wondered, who do these hats exclude?  I remained ambivalent until I sat down in front of television and saw an aerial view of the march, of a sea of pink, and I started to cry.

Yes, the cult of pink can be used to reduce women, to limit their options.  Yes, the embrace of a certain version femininity leaves most of us out.  Yes, I wondered what our trans sisters thought, being told that our parts are what make us.  And yet.  We were there protesting a cultural shift which would reduce us all to our parts.  A movement toward an country that accepts one version of woman-ness – the pink kind, the vulnerable kind.  A culture where powerful men assume they have access to our parts.  To take that vision back, to see pink hats on women who who never wear pink anything else, on men, on folks of gender expression, felt powerful.  We didn’t choose what we would be defined by, but we could take it back; we could define it for ourselves.  And that felt powerful.

I didn’t end up wearing a pink hat, not because it clashed with my clerical collar (though it did) but because of a knitting mishap.  But I would have.  Because symbols have power–and, but we choose what power we give them.  The clerical collar is mine just as much as it is a priest’s, and a pink hat can belong to the least girly among us.  We get to decide.  And we get to do it together.

In Faith,

Rev. Aija


March Worship Theme is “World Community”

March 5  “Finding Our Gifts”  We are all born with gifts and responsibilities. How do our responsibilities call us to use our gifts? How do our gifts call us to responsibilities?  Rev. Aija Simpson preaching with worship associate Dick Poland.

March 12  “Seeking Balance” – Dot Everhart preaching with worship associate Michele Burton.

March 19  “Finding Treasure” –  Join us as we go on a treasure hunt. Will we follow the clues? Does X mark the spot?  Rev. Aija Simpson preaching.

March 26  “A Different Life” – Imagine a different life. Different food, different customs, different family, different everything. Would you want it? Would you be different if you had it?  Rev. Aija Simpson preaching with worship associate Gisela Roethke.



Change for the World – The Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is a non-profit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.  They “litigate on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials were marked by racial bias or prosecution misconduct.”

EJI is a powerful and successful voice fighting for much needed fairness, especially with children in prison, mass incarceration, and the death penalty.  They get results in fighting racial and class injustice in the criminal justice system.


It’s Annual Budget Drive Time and We Need Each Other

“We need each other more than we know.” These words are spoken almost every Sunday, and every Sunday, whether they are spoken or not, we hold hands to remind ourselves of this. Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley is growing. Look around Sunday as we are all holding hands. Chances are you will be holding the hand of a stranger and new friend. I am amazed at how much UUCV has grown in the 5 years I have been attending. It has definitely grown since the election. More people are seeking sanctuary inside our walls and with us because we need each other.

We are growing in spirit and action and numbers. What we aren’t doing is increasing our giving to keep up with the rest of our growth.  We have a new Director of Lifespan Faith Development and along with that a revitalized religious education program. More friends and members are joining us in our mission to transform lives and care for the world. Do you remember why you sought out UUCV in the first place? What made you come back a second time? Why do you come back Sunday after Sunday? What does UUCV mean to you? How would you like to see UUCV grow? We need each other to help UUCV grow.

We reach out to our friends at UUCV when we need them, whether it is for support during our sorrows or for sharing our excitement during our joys. I am reaching to you to say “I need you, friends. Our beloved church and community need you.” I ask you to join me in increasing your pledge by $25/month/individual ($300/year/individual). You did this last year when we asked you to give to furnace drive which was held during the Annual Budget Drive. We need you to add that same amount to this year’s pledge to make the 2017-18 Annual Budget Drive a success.

The coming years are going to be filled with uncertainty.  The principles that we hold dear are under attack in a way that they haven’t been in my lifetime.   We need each other. We need each other during these uncertain times. We need each other to fight, protest, call, represent, and stand up for justice. We need each other to hold up our covenant of respect, advocacy, and celebration. Join me after the service on Sunday, March 19th as we celebrate the gifts we can give to the Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley. Please bring your favorite party dish to share.


Small Groups at UUCV

I recently read an interview with Yuval Harari, the author of a new book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.  Harari says, “We’re shifting authority to algorithms—and losing the ability to find our own way.”  We trust Google Maps and in the process don’t know where we are.  We take pictures of our food and post them to Facebook looking for “likes” to validate our experience in the digital world. We ask Siri or Google or Alexa for answers and guidance.  Are we giving up our own personal search for truth and meaning? While there may be no way to stop the digital wave and unplug, there is a way to find truth and meaning through our sharing and deep listening in our small groups.

I believe and have believed for a long time that we all need to listen to each other more closely and practice articulating what it is that we believe.  The important questions of our life cannot be answered by others, particularly the “digital” others.  We have to do the work ourselves and I am convinced that our small group ministry program can provide the opportunity. Our program is based on the notion that thinking, feeling and speaking about our experiences are essential elements for spiritual growth.

Our small groups are open to members and friends of UUCV. If you are not currently a member of our small group ministry program and are interested in more information about the program, please check the UUCV website and contact me Richard Bronakoski or Reverend Aija


Church Parking

UUCV has very limited parking spaces in our church lot.  We encourage people to leave these spots for those who attend with mobility issues, parents with small children and our visitors.  The school parking lot is now open as well as the gas station across the street (park on the side spots only) There are also a few parking spots across the street at Gerald Putt’s studio.   Please refrain from parking along the side streets, along Forge Road, or in our neighbor’s parking spots in front of their homes.   Thank you for your help.


UUCV Book Group 

Join us on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Board Room to discuss Nicholas Hénin’s book, Jihad Academy: The Misperceptions of Islamic State and Their Consequences.  Hénin, a French journalist covering the Middle East, was captured by ISIS and spent 10 months in captivity.  He deliberately chooses not to write about his captivity, but instead presents ISIS as a political entity and not just a terrorist organization as presented in the western media.  Understanding the wider context of events in the Middle East, particularly Iraq and Syria, is a necessary condition for framing any response to this crisis.  This will be a very interesting and informative discussion.  Questions: Contact Rich at




Empty Bowl Event

ProjectSHARE, the Carlisle Arts Learning Center, and Dickinson College will host the 26th Annual Empty Bowls Event on March 20, 6:00 p.m. at Dickinson College, in the College HUB. The evening includes selecting a handmade ceramic bowl, live music, a selection of soups, breads, and beverage. Tickets can be purchased online:, directly from Project SHARE, or at the Carlisle Arts Learning Center (38 W. Pomfret St).  Ticket price is $20.00. All proceeds go to Project SHARE.  This is a night of good food, fun and fellowship and an opportunity to support a great cause.


Carlisle CARES – thanks for YOUR generosity

Heartfelt thanks to the 33 donors whose generous support garnered $1665 to ready UUCV for hosting the shelter in May. This outpouring reflects the love of our beloved community. The original fundraising goal of $1000 was increased to $1500, due to some changes in the security estimates. While we surpassed that goal, it is not quite enough. During the run-through with our contractor, we upgraded the security system to one with better functionality and simpler operation. We also are standardizing multiple locks throughout the building, thereby eliminating the need for multiple sets of keys. These changes create permanent improvement for all of UUCV. The new – and final! – goal is $2000. We’re almost there. For your donation of $25 or more, you’ll receive a magnetic name badge holder. Don’t poke holes in your clothes each Sunday; give generously. Make checks payable to UUCV, with CARES in the memo line. Thank you!


Carlisle CARES – Being a UUCV host

Each night in May, while UUCV hosts the shelter, someone from the UUCV community must be a host. The host unlocks the doors around 8:15 pm and greets the overnight volunteer. The host then orients the overnight volunteer to the UUCV building. The host will put out water for the guests (no food) and ensure adequate bathroom supplies. As the guests arrive between 8:30 – 9:00 pm, the overnight volunteer will check them in; the host does not have responsibility for the guests. Guests are allowed to go outside to smoke until 10:00 pm, at which time the host leaves and locks all outside doors. No guests may enter the shelter after 10:00 pm, unless preapproved because of work schedule. The overnight volunteer will handle late arrivals. Don’t worry about remembering all of this activity; a check list will be provided. Please consider being a host for one or several nights.  It’s not a lot of time and a great opportunity to meet members of our Carlisle community. Interested? Contact June Hoch, 241-3034.

Save the date: Sunday, April 23, noon, Ray Shaull, Carlisle CARES Shelter Program Coordinator, will come to UUCV to meet with the hosts and any interested person. Pizza will be provided. Yum!




Can you tell the difference between a banana and a tomato?

The Farm Stand, located at 123 Lincoln Street, Carlisle, provides a supplement to Project SHARE’s monthly food distribution. Here a team of dedicated neighbors and recipients hand out fresh produce, perishable products, and bread two to three days a week.  The Farm Stand is open to anyone in the community who is in need.

Every Thursday morning, from 9:15 am until about noon, volunteers are needed to sort the fruits and produce donated by Wegman’s and the Commissary.

Help us make March 9th and March 23rd UUCV day at the Farm Stand.  Please add your name to the list of UUCV volunteers willing to SHOW UP at 9:15 am to sort fruits and produce.

It’s not hard work.  If you can tell the difference between a banana and a tomato…YOU CAN DO IT!

Please SIGN UP on the Social Justice Table to help out on March 9th and/or March 23. 



The World of Alice in Wonderland Auction Events Still Available

You still have a chance to be part of the fun.  Open Auction events are posted here: click here.

ALL scheduled events can be found on our UUCV Calendar

Contact the office at or the event host if you are interested in attending one of them.

For those of you who are new to UUCV, our annual auction is a highlight of our church year.  Not only is it our biggest fundraiser, it’s also a fun-filled evening! Stay tuned for news about next year’s auction (already in the planning stages).

For further information, please see our list of Auction FAQs, or contact Rita van Alkemade at or 480.620.6921.



Paint Night Open Auction Event

Join the UUCV Artists Friday, March 10 at 7:00 PM in the UUCV Dining Room.  Canvas, paints, brushes, snacks, wine and soft drinks provided.

Looking for a way to find your creative side? How about trying Paint Night with adult friends and family. No experience required!  You don’t have to be an expert painter before you arrive: we’ll teach you what you need to know.

This fun and creative evening is led by Deb Stille and hosted by UUCV artists.   Deb will walk you through creating a beautiful piece of artwork step-by-step, and you’ll end the evening with a painting you will be proud to display!

Enjoy a night out while turning a blank canvas into a masterpiece!  Contact Deb Stille  Rita van Alkemade or Pam Martin for more details or to sign up for this event.  Cost is $45/pp


RE Childcare Change

The RE Program is happy to provide childcare for scheduled church events as needed.  In order to do so, we require adequate notice of at least one week prior to the event that child care is needed.  We will not arrange for child care without a request to do so.  Contact Mark Harris at  Thanks for your understanding.


UUCV Grocery Cards – Charge Cards Now Accepted

Remember to stop by the Grocery Card table after the service and purchase cards to Karns, Giant and Weis. We have $50 and $100 cards available for Giant and Weis and $100.00 for Karns. Beginning February 5, you will be able to pay for your Giant Cards with your personal credit card.  UUCV receives 10% of the face value of each Giant card and 5% of the face value of each Karns or Weis card. This is an amazing fundraising opportunity for UUCV! You can also purchase cards at the office Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm and on Wednesdays from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

UUCV Snow Policy

It appears we’ve reached that time of year again….and we want to make it as simple as possible for everyone to find out about event cancellations at UUCV.

During the week, we follow the schedule of the South Middleton School District.  If they are closed, UUCV is closed and all events to be held at UUCV are cancelled.  If you have an off-site meeting, check with your chair to see if your group will still meet.  If South Middleton School District has a 2 hour delay, our church office will open at 10:30 am.  The chairs of any scheduled meetings will make the determination if your group will meet that day whether at UUCV or off site.  We will send an email out to let you know of any cancellations and check our website at which will be updated immediately.

On Sundays, We will send an email out to let you know if church is cancelled and check our website at which will be updated immediately with service cancellations.  If Worship is cancelled, all events scheduled at UUCV that day will also be cancelled.

TV Notifications  You can also watch channels ABC, CBS and NBC for worship cancellations on Sundays although this would be the slowest place to find out about worship and last year we had a few problems getting the notifications on, so again….your best place to go is our website 

Adult RE Class Schedule

March 6 – 6:00 PM – First Mondays Drum Circle (RE Classrooms) The first Monday of the month join your community in rhythm! Monday, March 6, we’re hosting a free, all levels, community Drum Circle facilitated by Dani Fiore. A limited number of drums and percussion will be provided but please bring your own if you are able. Didgeridoo? Flute? Bring those, too! All acoustic instruments welcome! We will gather in the main RE classroom on the lower level of the church beginning at 6:00 PM.  Reduce stress, improve health and focus, learn something new, connect with others, breathe, relax, laugh, HAVE FUN!  Participation is FREE but a love offering will be gratefully accepted; a portion of which will be donated to the UUCV.

March 7 – Parents as Social Justice Educators 6:30 pm  (Childcare Provided upon request)  As we live in a world that seems to be increasingly engulfed in violence, we ask ourselves, how do we talk to our children.  How do we give them the information and tools that will allow them to feel empowered to work for change without overwhelming them with the sheer amount of work there is to be done?  Join Rev. Aija and other parents as we discuss tools to help us be the social justice educators our kids need.

March 14 – Hindsight, Humor & Hope: Who, Me, An elder?  3:00 pm TIME CHANGE (Childcare provided upon request)  A Work in Progress – Join us as we explore the idea of elderhood as a creative and important time of life, a time to search inside, integrate experiences, and cultivate wisdom. Rituals and activities for the program, such as journaling, sharing blessings, and allowing for silence between speakers, will be established. Participants will begin to get to know one another and to create a community of elders learning together.

March 28 – Spirit of Life 6:30 pm (Childcare provided upon request)  Spirit of Life workshops offer participants space, time, and community to explore their Unitarian Universalist spirituality. Each focuses on a different aspect of the spiritual life, framed by the lyrics of Carolyn McDade’s song “Spirit of Life.” Like the song, the workshops are designed to be welcoming to Unitarian Universalists of many spiritual and theological persuasions. Participants are invited to claim an inclusive definition of spirituality and recognize the spiritual aspects of their lives. Reflecting, speaking, and listening are core activities in each workshop.


Adult Re Topics of Interest Agenda February – May 2017

All classes will be held beginning at 9:00 am in the Board Room

March 12  – Spirituality With or Without God I  We will review and discuss some of the traditional Christian practices of prayer and meditation and then transition to what this may mean for us as members of the UU faith tradition, particularly for those of us who can no longer accept a theist view of a divine being. Rich Bronakoski will lead the discussion.

March 26  – Spirituality With or Without God II  We will continue the discussion, begun in the previous session, of how one might adopt or develop spiritual practices that do not necessarily depend on a theist viewpoint. Change is never easy and sometimes we need an opportunity to articulate what we believe and to discuss how our views have evolved. Rich Bronakoski will lead the discussion.

April 9  – Swedenborg, Emerson, and the Deep Dimension  We will explore how some of the profound metaphysical concepts of Emanuel Swedenborg, an eighteenth century European philosopher, inventor, and mystic compare with the metaphysical ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson an nineteenth century American transcendental philosopher. Prepare to “go deep” for this one. Don Hoffman will lead the discussion.

April 23  – The Story of Christ: What is Myth and what is Reality?  We will focus on the myths of various religious groups that existed during the time frame that Christians believe a man called Jesus lived in the area of the world some call the Holy Lands, and compare the myths of these religious groups with the story of Jesus that appears in the New Testament as Gospel. Don Hoffman will lead the discussion.

May 7  – Process Theology: Christ as a Vedantist   We will take a look at Process Theology, a theology developed from Alfred North Whitehead’s Process Philosophy, and see how it relates to Christianity. This theology takes as its starting point the refusal to accept any supernatural events. This single rule has a dramatic effect on how to interpret the Bible and New Testament. We will compare a process theology view of Christ to Vedanta philosophy. Brian McPherson will be leading the discussion.

May 21 – Be Here Now   We will take as a starting point the book Be Here Now,the seminal work of Ram Das, aka Richard Alpert. We will explore the impact of Ram Das and his ideas on our culture and manner in which mindfulness has moved from a counter-culture “far out” idea to become the zeitgeist of much of the academic world today. Brian McPherson will be leading the discussion.




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