Caring Network

Our Caring Network provides support, such as calls, visits, meals, and rides, to those in need. Please contact Kathryn Schloff (802-352-4246), Lynne Balman, Dale Birdsall, Michele Lowy,  Ginny Ashenfelter, Morris Earle, or Ted Scheu for assistance. They can put out requests. Let them know if you would like to provide assistance. We thank all the faithful folk who have participated in our efforts to support our members – providing lots of meals and myriad rides to doctor’s offices, doing errands and paying visits. We encourage members of the congregation to call on us. We have an extensive network of willing helpers standing by.
The Caring Network surveyed the congregation in May 2023 to find out how to better meet its needs. Deep thanks to those who completed the survey. Read the results here: Caring Network Survey Report (July 2023)
Look for Caring Network pink cards on the sanctuary lobby welcome table explaining what they provide and smaller cards to enter your requests into a collection envelope to be checked regularly.

Pastoral Care

CVUUS is blessed with many wise and well-trained individuals beyond our ministers capable of providing temporary counseling support to members and friends in various kinds of distress, including Tom Morgan (communityminister@cvuus.org).

Yellow Card Milestones & Passages

Let us know of your joys and concerns, which we share during Sunday worship.

Library of Things

This is a listing of useful items, owned by congregants, that they are willing to lend to other community members. As contributions have come in, it’s become clearer to us which categories might be the most useful:

  • baby equipment (portable cribs, booster seats, infant baskets),
  • medical equipment (cast covers, walkers, canes, shower seats),
  • furniture (folding tables and chairs, lawn chairs),
  • kitchen equipment (pressure canner, percolator, hot plate),
  • craft or hobby equipment (hot glue gun, sewing machine), and
  • tools of all kinds.

It will be important that items be lent and returned in good condition, and especially for baby and medical equipment, be clean and sanitary.

We have not yet finalized the system for publicizing the list and lending the items, but we will let you know as soon as those procedures are set.  For now, continue to let Artley Wolfson know what items you are willing to lend. And visit https://www.cvuus.org/connection/library-of-things/ to view what’s listed so far.

Let’s Eat Together

Caring Network gathers with guests on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 12 pm at Eastview in their dining room to share lunch and fellowship, including several Eastview elders who are CVUUS congregants. The idea is to bring your own lunch while the Caring Network provides drinks and seating. Let Dale Birdsall 989-7660 know if you need a ride.

UU Cingles

This group gathered for those aged 60+ to provide company and conversation and aimed to meet every other Saturday at 1 pm often at a coffee shop (Little Seed Coffee). It is on a pause. For more, contact Monty Montgomery or Revell Allen.

“FUUDIES”

Caring Network “FUUDIES” prepare meals in our lower level kitchen and their homes for later distribution to those in need. Find Michele Lowy with others providing soups, dishes, and cookies for not only community meals and pies for our Rhubarb festival, but also her CVUUS family and BIPOC neighbors. She led an effort in 2019 to pre-stock soups.

Death & Dying

Caring Network hosted events revolving around the issue of death and the things one might get in order before one dies. These three events were offered to the wider community of Addison County.

Final Gifts: What to Do Before We Die (Jan 10, 2024) The panel included knowledgeable people covering issues such as simplifying the stuff in your life, getting important paperwork in place, information about Hospice & green burials, and Death with Dignity.  Included was a time for questions & answers after each presentation.  Resource sheets (below) and a display were offered. See Do’s and Don’ts Before You Die Resources 1.10.24

Community Remembrance Ceremony (Jan 12, 2024) Rev. Christina and leaders of CVUUS gathered us for a contemplative service of honoring and remembering loved ones we have lost, including Rev Martin Luther King Jr.  Through photos, naming, music, candle lighting, and silence we honored family, friends and loved ones who have died.

Worship Service: Practicing Death (Jan 14, 2014) We know that there’s one thing we can count on in this life: that it will end! How can we prepare for this, and know that we’re not alone in the journey? Through looking at religious and cultural perceptions of death and our personal relationship with death we will explore what it means to practice dying so we can truly live.  Led by Rev. Christina with Abi Sessions. See a recording here.

Medical Aid in Dying (Death Café) (Feb 20, 2024) A conversation hosted by Porter Medical Center’s Palliative Care Department led by Dr. Diana Barnard. Watch the extremely valuable and informing session here.

Words from Rev. Christina (Jan 2024)

When I was serving First Parish in Portland, the Stewardship Team was struggling to make the campaign different and interesting.  We decided on a sermon series for stewardship month that included services on death, sex, and money.  We thought that even though most people did not like talking about these things, the topics were intriguing enough that people would show up on Sundays out of mere curiosity.  It worked, we had a very good pledge drive that year, and congregants talked about the sermon series for years.

The service on death generated the most feedback and questions. So much so that I decided to teach a six-week class on death which helped people explore their relationship with death and prepare for their own death.   I offered it on Wednesday afternoons wondering if anyone would sign up. Twenty-six people attended the series.  It was powerful.

Death is challenging; both thinking about our own death and losing people we love.   Our faith tradition does not have any answers about death.  Unlike most religious traditions, we have no clear theology or eschatology about death, no roadmap of the afterlife.  This can make the topic of death a bit scarier, but a lot more interesting.

During my time with you this month, in collaboration with the Caring Network and the Worship Team, we are offering three opportunities for you to explore death.  These events are described in this newsletter.  I hope you will attend at least one of them, even if you feel apprehensive.

I love what bell hooks said about death: “Love empowers us to live fully and die well. Death becomes, then, not an end to life but a part of living.”  When we dive into death we dive into life and come face to face with our hearts.   The beautiful thing about congregational life and our faith is that we have the privilege of exploring challenging subjects together, in community with love and acceptance and curiosity.

If any of this is bringing up difficult thoughts or feelings for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.  It is an honor to serve you and partake in your journey.

Bright blessings and lots of love to each one of you in this New Year!

Rev. Christina

Green Burial

Caring Network offered a Green Burial presentation and discussion on May 11, 2017. The short video, Dying Green, was shown, followed by a brief talk by Michelle Acciavatti, a home funeral, green burial and advance care planning guide, and death midwife from Montpelier. Green burial is a return to the way we have cared for our dead for thousands of years. A green burial does not embalm the body, uses a simple biodegradable shroud or coffin, no concrete or steel vault, and a grave of only three and a half feet deep. For more information, visit Green Burial Resources 1.10.24 and https://vermontgreenburial.wordpress.com/

Bereavement Group

Addison County Home Health and Hospice hosts 8-week sessions that meet weekly from 3 to 4:30 in the Blue Room. They take off for the summer. Call 802-388-7259 and ask to speak with Stephanie Corliss or Stephen Payne who lead the group for more information. They prefer to know in advance if you’re coming so they have adequate supplies (and snacks), but you could just drop in to explore it.