Committee Reports and Things to Know Summer 21

Call for Poems

Friends, this is the time of year when I ordinarily begin to actively collect poems that I think I might want to include in the annual poetry service that closes out our summer service schedule on Labor Day Weekend. Usually I begin by choosing a theme that feels important or timely to me, and then I start looking for it everywhere and gathering up every poem that intrigues me. By August I may have 100 poems or more, and I have to begin the painful process of selection. Some poems are too long to read, or too difficult to take in in a single hearing. Some don’t contribute to the arc of the service. There is time to read only about 20, depending on length.

This year I’d like to do something different. I’d like to invite you all to send me poems that are important to you, perhaps especially during this past year. Poems you often think of or can quote from, that reside in your heart. They might be famous or unknown. Harold Bloom, selecting poems for a syllabus or anthology, said he looked for “aesthetic splendor, cognitive power, wisdom, and strangeness.” But we all have our own criteria.

Would you be willing to send me your personal inhabitant poems? I would like to make a service this year that casts a net wider than my own reading. Many thanks.

Sarah Metcalf, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Summer Wednesday Gatherings - June 30 through September 8, 5 - 6 PM, via Zoom.

We’re pleased to offer brief weekly Zoom gatherings this summer, and you may join as many or as few as you wish. The intention of these gatherings is to give people in our congregation a way to check in, stay engaged, and support each other over the summer, as well as offering an opportunity for reflection and inspiration. Each gathering is hosted by one of our volunteer facilitators, and the format will be less formal than small group circles and connection circles. People may just drop in on one or more meetings, without registering in advance, though we do request that folks join the gathering by 5 PM. Zoom link:

Unwanted Books Wanted

The annual Haiti Book Sale returns September 19th (Rain date: September 24th) to the USNF front lawn. Please donate your unwanted books (no ex-library books, textbooks or dictionaries please) by depositing them near the side door elevator or calling Rich West (413-527-1900) for pick up. FMI: Rich West, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Renewed book discussion: Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out by Ruth King

Save the dates and consider joining our eight-week discussion of Mindful of Race and alternate-week practice of meditation, Wednesday evenings at 7 PM starting October 13. Explore how Buddhist-inspired mindfulness helps us understand the harmful habits of racism and cultivate a culture of care and healing. We’ll read and discuss the book and encourage meditation practice as we awaken to, and engage with the challenging experiences arising from racism. We’ll meet in the parlor and perhaps also on Zoom.

Going Forward But Differently

Small Group Circles, held all virtually this year, showed us that being together on screens is still being together. We delved into thoughtful topics, connected in meaningful ways, and got to meet each other's pets. While we are going to take the summer off, we'll be back in the fall for year #20. Watch for the brochure to show up online later in the summer, and if you are longing for connecting via Zoom groups right now, we have informal drop in groups on Wednesdays at 5 PM via Zoom - contact Katie Olmstead for the link. 

When we resume in October, we'll be playing around with Zoom and in-person options. Zoom has served many people well. Others would prefer to sit with hot tea in someone's living room. We'll try to make all of that possible.

If you have immediate questions, please contact Katie Olmstead at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.