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The Chalice

November 2016
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Upcoming Sunday Services

All Sunday Services are held at 10 a.m. at 4 Palmer St. unless otherwise noted. 

Nov. 6 UU at Heart. A service to honor those who make a difference in our communities and embody the Unitarian Universalist principles.

Nov. 13 Another Perspective on the Practice of Meditation: Dr. Anita Bodrogi brings insight from her own experience and practice.

Nov. 20  Remembering the Past, Not by Repeating It”:  Nov. 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Our guest in the pulpit is Kelly Metzgar, a member of Adirondack UU Community in Saranac Lake.

Nov. 27 Kathy Sajor will lead us through a service about gratitude, what it means and how we experience it.

Family Ministry and Children's Religious Education: November Curriculum

3-6 year-olds will be led by Tina Welch, using the UUA curriculum, “Love Surrounds Us.” This program concentrates on the communities that are most recognizable to kindergarteners and first graders—their Beloved Communities of family/home, school, neighborhood. Participants engage in activities that emphasize the love they feel in community.

A multi-age group of 7-12 year-olds, led by Kris Lutters, will prepare for a performance of “The Christmas Carol.”  Elaine Ostry will join us on Nov. 13 to lead a discussion on the life and work of Charles Dickens and, specifically, “The Christmas Carol.”

A multi-age group of 7-12 year-olds will be led by Kris Lutters, Meg Morrissey and others using the UUA curriculum, “Miracles.”  We will explore different kinds of miracles, from the awesome, ordered beauty of Earth and all life on it to the class members’ own capacity to transform themselves and others in order to bring forth love and justice.

7 - 9 grade students will continue with Our Whole Lives (OWL).

10-12 grade students are serving as child care assistants and helping with Sunday services.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no programming for children on Nov. 27.


All events are at 4 Palmer St., unless otherwise noted. View the full listing at or find district events on the St. Lawrence District calendar
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2:15 p.m.  Faith Examined.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m. Search for Meaning Adult Discussion Group.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2, 1:30 p.m. Memoirs Group. (please note the new time)
  • Thursday, Nov. 3, 12:15 p.m. First Thursday UU Ladies Luncheon.  Pasquale’s in Peru.  Contact Mary Jane Miranda at 518-561­5124.
  • Friday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m.  Palmer Street Coffeehouse. Roy Hurd with Skip Smithson and Tim Hartnett.
  • Sunday, Nov. 6, after service. Sounding board.
  • Sunday, Nov. 6, 11:30 a.m. Religious Life Cluster meeting. 11:30
  • Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2:15 p.m. Faith Examined.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m. Search for Meaning Adult Discussion Group.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 9, 1:30 p.m. UU Book Club:  “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Maggie Smith. 
  • Thursday, Nov. 10, 6:45 p.m. Board of Trustees meeting.
  • Monday, Nov. 14, 6:45 p.m. Council on Shared Ministry meeting.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2:15 p.m. Faith Examined.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m. Search for Meaning Adult Discussion Group.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16, 3:00 p.m. Community Meal.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. A Course in Miracles.
  • Friday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m.  Author’s Theater: Laura Palkovic.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2:15 p.m.  Faith Examined.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 22, 7 p.m.   Search for Meaning Adult Discussion Group.
  • Monday, Nov. 28, noon.  Forget Me Nots.  Bring a brown bag lunch. 
  • Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2:15 p.m. Faith Examined.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 29, 7 p.m. Search for Meaning Adult Discussion Group.
  • Sunday, Nov. 27, 3 p.m. Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at Plattsburgh UMC, 127 Beekman St.
  • Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, after services.  Pathway to Membership.
  • Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, after services.  Pathway to Membership.

President’s Message

This month the board will be studying the minutes of last month’s congregational meeting.  At the meeting we had discussions regarding our values, what inspires us, what programs are most important to us and to the community, and how a ministerial presence would affect those programs.  We also introduced a short survey that we hope everyone will complete, asking for your opinion on building/searching for a new home and seeking professional ministry.  Reviewing this material will help the board make decisions that are aligned with our values. If you have more to contribute or have a question, please feel free to speak with any board member. We are searching for solutions that are fiscally responsible, appropriate for our space requirements, parking capabilities and that acknowledge our desire to have professional ministry. Everyone’s input is valuable.

Ursula, President, UUFP Board of Directors

October 2016 Annual Meeting: Report and Summary

The congregation held its annual fall meeting on Oct. 17.  A total of 37 voting members voted unanimously to:
1. submit our application to the Unitarian Universalist Association to be recognized as a Welcoming Congregation and 2. hang the rainbow flag outside every Sunday morning.
Our UUA district Congregational Life Consultant Rev. Joan VanBecelaere led us in a series of small-group discussions identifying our passions as UUFP members and the ministries and programs that matter the most to us as members and in the broader community.  Sunday morning services and Religious Education were most frequently mentioned but many other important aspects of our mission here and beyond our church walls—social justice, religious freedom, and fostering spiritual growth—were recognized as well.
The rest of our discussion focused on the UUFP Five Year Plan and two of our long-range goals:
1. Hiring a Part-Time Minister
In discussions we identified both the possible advantages as well as the potential challenges of hiring and employing a part-time minister.  Hiring a part-time minister remains an important goal.  It should be noted that the goal of employing a part time-minister could be reached more quickly, depending on our decisions regarding our meeting space.
2. A Larger and Fully Accessible Church Building
The UUFP remains committed to fulfilling our mission and providing for a growing membership.  However, the UUFP “Request for Proposal” to the architects we hired to plan an approximate $600,000 building came back with a surprising $831,000 price tag.  The Board and Fund Development Committee concluded that that plan was beyond our projected and currently available means.  Specifically:
  • We’ve learned that a 3,000 square foot building, even using the most basic construction, costs at minimum $200 per square foot, plus a site preparation fee, a 15% contingency fee, and the architects’ fee.  The Board is currently looking into whether this building design could be built for less but research into general building costs has confirmed that the architects’ estimates of cost per foot are most likely in keeping with standard building practices.   
  • An investigation into a residential property on 9 University Place that recently became available for sale concluded that the space would require at least $700,000 in structural, accessibility, and parking renovations, plus the cost of installing a sprinkler system.  This cost eliminates it as a possibility for us.  
  • In recognition of our need to find a more affordable solution, the board has continued to be open to other solutions and properties that may serve us.  It may be a temporary one until sufficient funds are raised to build our dream on spacious property that we already own.  To that end, the congregation discussed the possibility of holding Sunday morning services and religious education classes at a larger meeting space that would be accessible to all (unlike our current meeting space).  The Board has begun to explore this possibility with Temple Beth Israel by renting their building for our use on Sunday mornings.  The Synagogue board will consider our inquiry.  The Board will keep the UUFP congregation informed so we can continue to discuss and explore this transitional strategy. 
Members expressed completely understandable disappointment that our goal of building a new church home is not financially possible at the present moment or in the near future. But a definite spirit of optimism about the future, and passionate energy for meeting this next challenge emerged during our meeting!  We seem to be ready to begin exploring creative transitional strategies for growing our membership and for worshiping on Sunday morning in a space that’s accessible to all.
The Board and the Fund Development Committee emphasize that no final decisions have been made and will not be made without the input of the congregation and much further discussion.  The Board requested our input in a short questionnaire that was distributed at the meeting, was emailed to everyone and was also available at the Fellowship.  Everyone is encouraged to fill it out and return it to any Board member.
Rev. VanBecelaere told me after the meeting that she was very impressed by our passion and our goals for the future.  She said that “there’s an amazing energy here!”  Her home church in Columbus, Ohio, is very similar to ours in that it has outgrown its current meeting space but does not currently have enough members to build or purchase a new church home. She agrees with the UUFP Board and the Fund Development Committee’s assessment that breaking ground for a new building is not currently possible but that creative transitional strategies are the key to continuing towards achieving our dreams. 
Questions or concerns?  Contact any Board member (
Respectfully submitted,
Jessamyn Neuhaus

Beefing Up Our Modes of Communication

We're looking to hear how you would  prefer for the UUFP  to communicate with you--especially when we want to reach you quickly. Would you like a phone call? Would you prefer a text? an e-Blast? or a combination of those?  If you haven't completed your preference form, please write to or speak with her on a Sunday morning.


Pathway to Membership

Perhaps you have been attending services, thinking that this fellowship is a good match for you—that you have found your spiritual home.  To become a member of UUFP, you must complete the “Pathway to Membership” classes.  The “Pathway” classes allow you to learn about Unitarian Universalism and our fellowship.  These classes will be held on Jan. 8 and 29, 2017, after services. A light lunch will be provided.  If you are a UU already, you need only to attend the second session (on Jan. 29).  Throughout the fall there will be a sign-up sheet available. Sessions are casual and will last about an hour.  Please see Mary Ward or Tina Welch if you have any questions. In the meantime, we encourage you to get involved in the life of the fellowship.  See one of us to discuss ways you can do that. The UUFP welcomes you!  Enjoy!
   Mary Ward & Tina Welch

Community Meal

Wednesday, Nov. 16, between 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Trinity Church in Plattsburgh.  Please contact Mary Dufort at to volunteer your time and assistance.


Faith Examined

Faith Examined Group will meet every other Tuesday, starting on Nov. 1 and including Nov. 15 and Nov. 29.  We gather at 2:15 p.m. for a “meet and greet,” with discussion of the book from 2:30-3:30 p.m.  We are reading “Struggling in Good Faith: LGBTQI Inclusion from 13 American Religious Perspectives.”  Contact Cindy Bentley ( for more information.  All are welcome.

Compassionate Choices in End-of-Life Care

People diagnosed with a terminal illness, such as ALS, want to have some choice in their time of death. Several states have passed laws allowing a mentally competent person with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of 6 months to request an end-of-life prescription from their doctor. They are in charge of taking this prescription, at the time of their own choosing, or may never take it. Several states have enacted such a law, but New York has not yet acted on such a law.
Compassion & Choices is a nonprofit organization in the United States working to improve patient rights and individual choice at the end of life, including access to medical aid in dying. It is not suicide; the person is dying from their illness. This aid may give them release from unrelenting pain and extended suffering. If you'd like a presentation or panel discussion on this topic, contact Mary Dufort at  For more information on this topic or to support this cause, go to:    

Show Up for Racial Justice – SURJ

Racial injustice is increasing exponentially, from traffic stops, to shootings, to massive numbers of incarcerations. As white people, our numbers are needed in support of more fair and equitable treatment to turn this around. A new group — SURJ — is forming in Plattsburgh. UUFP needs to consider taking action with them to support our interracial community whenever we can.  Suggested reading: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  If you are interested in a group discussion of the book, contact Mary Dufort at

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

The Interfaith Thanksgiving service will be held Sunday, Nov.  27, at 3 p.m.    The service will be held at Plattsburgh United Methodist Church. 

Author's Theater for November

The Adult Education Group at Fellowship is putting together a series called “Author's Theater.”  On Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m., Laura Palkovic will bring to life a delightful tale. Here are a few words from the author:

"Are you in the mood for a tale, a darkish tale to go with the early dark of a November night? A supernatural tale of the godly ungodly, of the knowing and unknowing? Are you good for it? Are you? Well then, park yourself over there and listen up.

"The time: a bit long ago.  The place: A little fishing village, Petey Pawes, nestled on the coast of Newfoundland, where the shore holds discourse with the wild, eternal sea.  The conceit: A dark stranger arrives, and stays, a dark stranger with a strange gift. Who is he? Why has he come? And why does everyone, except little Lizzie Gilhooley, herself a mystery, accept him so readily? 

I'll tell you no more, not here, not now, anyway. Come to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Friday November 18th to get the whole story, and a warm drink and some sweets to boot; the story of Roanie Dall and his most worthy adversary, Lizzie Gilhooley, as told by her old aunty to young Lizzie Leigh.”

Laura Palkovic first fell in love with Newfoundland over twenty years ago on a trip the island's west coast. Last year she fulfilled her dream of returning, this time to St. John's on the Atlantic edge. This story is the result of that trip. Laura has only a few regrets in her time in this world. One is that she wasn't born in Newfoundland. Oh well, maybe next life. 

This event is free and open to the public and will be held at 4 Palmer St.   Light refreshments will be served.


Roy Hurd to Play Palmer Street Coffeehouse's Second Show

Folk legend and Adirondack native Roy Hurd will perform with Skip Smithson and Tim Hartnett at the Palmer Street Coffeehouse, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4.

Hurd has developed an unparalleled following in the Adirondack Mountains, where he is best known for his hit single “Adirondack Blue.” His recent CD, “Broken Heart Tattoo,” his 17th recording, brims with his distinctive mountain-grown sounds.

Until 2001, Hurd held a staff songwriting position in Nashville, where he wrote for SONY Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music. He has been recorded by Paul Brandt, on his gold Warner/Reprise Records release, “Calm Before the Storm,” and by Jo Dee Messina, on her platinum Curb Records release, “Burn,” as well as by David Kersh,  Sonya Isaacs, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Duane Steele.
The Gibson Brothers, the top bluegrass band in the country, recorded two of Hurd’s songs, “Callie’s Reel” on their “Long Way Home” CD, and “I Will Always Cross Your Mind” on their newest CD, “They Called It Music.”

"Like all good things up here in the North Country, Roy's music is a winning mix of beauty and good-times,” said Sarah Craig, manager of Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. “He makes everyone around him proud to be part of the musical and cultural traditions of the Adirondacks.”

When he’s not on stage, Hurd offers two separate Arts in Education programs in local elementary schools.  His “Walk on the Mountain” program has run for over 20 years and combines storytelling, music and woodland skills in a program in which he teaches children the concept of earth morals. His “Rhyme Without Reason” program provides young people firsthand experience in the songwriting process.

“Roy is a perennial audience favorite. We are proud to have him, Skip and Tim — two other fine musicians in their own right — return to Palmer Street,” said Coffeehouse Coordinator Hap Wheeler.

Smithson has made a name for himself playing mandolin and guitar in the North Country since 1979 with various artists and bands, including Zip City Blues and Delta Blues artist Joan Crane. He has served as an accompanist for festival award-winning bluegrass bands and opened for national touring bands, including George Thorogood and Roomful of Blues.

A beloved North Country musician, Hartnett began singing and playing the guitar and piano as a teen, later picking up the electric bass. He has performed with a number of local bands including PureBlue, Zip City Blues Band and Oh!Betty.
This is the 29th season for the coffeehouse, known for its acoustic music. It operates on the first Friday of each month, October through June, in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 4 Palmer St. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the event begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10.


Interfaith Council

Chaplain Bob Basom reported that October is Pastor Appreciation month and the week of Oct. 16 through 22 is Spiritual Care Week.  Discussion forums will be held on three days, Oct. 18, 19 and 20, from 11:30-12:30 p.m.  The Interfaith Thanksgiving service will be held Sunday, Nov. 27, at 3 p.m.  The service will be held at Plattsburgh United Methodist Church. 


UU at Heart Nominations Now Open

Do you know someone who is not a UU but embodies our values? Submit a nomination and let our fellowship celebrate them.  Forms will be available under the nametag rack at the back of the sanctuary and online at Make sure to include a few words about why you have nominated the individual. This will help us craft a message to be delivered when we honor them. 

Search for Meaning

The Search for Meaning group continues its study and discussion of J. Krishnamurti's book, “Commentaries on Living, First Series.” From the official website, "Krishnamurti (1885 to 1986) is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time. He belonged to no religious organization, sect or country, nor did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. On the contrary, he maintained that these are the very factors that divide human beings and bring about conflict and war. He reminded his listeners again and again that we are all human beings first and not Hindus, Muslims or Christians, that we are like the rest of humanity and are not different from one another. He asked that we tread lightly on this earth without destroying ourselves or the environment. He communicated to his listeners a deep sense of respect for nature. His teachings transcend man-made belief systems, nationalistic sentiment and sectarianism. At the same time, they give new meaning and direction to mankind's search for truth. His teaching, besides being relevant to the modern age, is timeless and universal."
The Search for Meaning Group meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m at 4 Palmer Street.  Please join us!

UUFP Book Club Reads Maggie Smith

The next meeting of the UU Book Club will be at 4 Palmer St. at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov.  9. For the month of November we will be reading the classic American novel, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” written in 1943 by Maggie Smith.  We’re always looking for more participants. Come join the discussion and bring your reading suggestions.



Interfaith Food Shelf

The Plattsburgh Interfaith Food Shelf served 523 households in September 2016; there were  537 children, 1034 adults, and 123 seniors for a total of 1826 persons served.
For any information about the Food Shelf please contact Lori Neuhaus or any other member who currently volunteers or is familiar with the Food Shelf  (Mary Dufort, Keitha Farney, Kris Lutters, Mary Jane Miranda, Dorothy Latta,).


Memoirs Group Meets Nov. 2

“Memoirs” is a group  of men and women interested in writing short stories about their past and sharing these stories with each other and, perhaps, writing their personal histories for family and relatives.  There is NO UU requirement.  We meet once a month on the first Wednesday from 2:30 until 4 p.m.  Come and try us out.


Organic and Free-range Eggs Still Available Sunday Mornings

Many of us at UUFP have become accustomed to buying our eggs at UUFP on Sunday mornings.  Margaret and Richard Schwartz transport these eggs from Ken Parker.  Ken is now selling many of his chickens.  However, Shady Grove Farm on 22B in Schuyler Falls will now supply us with 6 dozen eggs each week.  His hens are organic and free range.  The cost is $3 per dozen.  We will try to increase the number if we can.  They have passed our taste-testers trials!



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