Connect With Us 9/2/21

Read our latest announcement.

Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek
We are a community that invites you to awaken to love.
Sunday Livestream Worship
September 5th, 2021

Join us this Sunday when Rev. Greg shares his message,

Connect with us: check your inbox on Sunday morning for the link!
(NOTE: the Zoom link remains the same from week to week)

Click on any topic of interest to jump to that particular announcement. Or, continue scrolling so you don’t miss anything!

Editor’s Note: if you do not see ‘Opportunities for Connection: Central East Region Update’ as the very last section of this email (look for the little purple map), you’re not seeing the whole email. You may need to click on ‘view entire message’ ‘view in browser’ or something similar, depending on your device.

** Congregational Life

** Upcoming events, meetings and news to know

** Changes to Joys & Sorrows Format


For our Joys and Sorrows ritual going forward, we are asking that you submit your Joy or Sorrow in writing beforehand. Rev. Greg will read them aloud during the ritual. You can submit your Joy or Sorrow via email: ( – or use the button below.

Submissions need to be received by 10:00 am on Sunday to be shared that morning. Submissions received after 10:00 am may be shared the following week. Please note that we will not be responding to emails sent to this address. If you need to talk to someone, please call the church (302) 369-2712 or email ( – or use the button below.

As we become more adept at managing the technology, we anticipate having both spoken and written joys and sorrows. Please be patient as we work to make that happen.
SUBMIT Joys and Sorrows here (
CONNECT with Pastoral Care here (

** How about a Labor Day Weekend Campfire?
We continue to hold a campfire in the Memorial Grove every Saturday evening (unless otherwise noted, and weather permitting), and that includes this Saturday evening, Sept. 4th over Labor Day Weekend. We gather around 7:30-ish. Bring all your comforts (lawn or camp chair, blanket, refreshment, etc.) and feel free to bring along your family, friends, and neighbors of all ages!

All of our campfire events are open to everyone!! The Memorial Grove is to the left of the main (back) parking lot as you drive in. (Note: there is a slight incline on a grassy area leading up to the area.) Please note that the church building will be closed except for restroom use (by one person or family at a time). Contact Jamie Kegerise ( or the church office ( (302-369-2712) with questions.

Most of us have seen the Viking Cruise adds about long, cold Norwegian winters – and the joys of coming out into the warmth of spring with the earth reawakening – well, we have had our own long, cold time apart and the time has come for our reawakening, beginning with our Ingathering Service on September 12!


Held Outdoors – Ingathering Service, Sunday, September 12, will be held outdoors. In case of inclement weather, the service will be postponed to the following Sunday.

Start Time – the service will begin at 10:00 am and last approximately one hour. It will also be livestreamed. Please refer to the Sunday morning email for the Zoom link.

Location – the service will be held on the south lawn. The “pulpit” will be on the west end of the lawn, near the oak tree. Live music is planned, however there will be no community singing.

Water Communion – this annual ritual, traditionally held at Ingathering each year, will take place. Feel free to bring a small amount of water from a place or time special to you. When approaching the common bowl, please observe distancing from others.

Bring a Lawn Chair – if you need a chair, please ask one of the ushers; otherwise, we ask that everyone bring their own lawn or camp chair. Social distancing of 6 feet between households is required.

Masks Required – everyone 2 years of age or older will be required to wear a mask. Due to the COVID level, N-95 masks are required. If you do not have one, or the one you brought is not N-95, the usher will provide one.

Refreshments – unfortunately at this time we are unable to provide refreshments at the service.

Restroom Use – the restrooms will be open and the double doors to the parking lot will remain unlocked. Masks must be worn when inside the building at all times. Only one person at a time in each restroom. A doorstop will be used to keep the door open when restrooms are unoccupied.

Socializing – is encouraged while practicing social distancing.

Outdoor services will continue, weather permitting, until the COVID level allows us to use the sanctuary. If you have questions or comments, please contact Rev. Greg ( .

** A word about mask requirements…
Masks and Distancing Make a Difference

Our ability to have in person services depends on wearing masks and distancing. We know that the new, more transmissible, variants are making vaccinations less effective and that you can spread the virus even if you are vaccinated. The vast majority of new infections come from contact with the unvaccinated. The current surge of new cases is predominantly among the unvaccinated.

The kind of masks make a big difference. Homemade cloth masks are 20% effective. The surgical masks, which seem to be the most common, are 40% effective. N-95 masks are 95% effective. Wearing N-95 masks allows us to have in person activities at higher new case rates. But they are not 100% effective. That is why distancing is still important. So, when one of our church activities call for an N-95 mask, please wear one. If you need an N-95 mask, just ask, they are available at church.
The UUA has recently updated their COVID guidance for the Delta Variant, and Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray has issued a press release, “Ingathering in Complicated Times.” Scroll down to the ‘News from the UUA’ block for more information and a links to both of these communications.

** Mill Creek Meadow & Grounds Spotlight:
A Meadow a Day Keeps the Doctor Away – Pt. 2

In our previous article we focused on the many health benefits of working in a garden, yard, or meadow: exposure to vitamin D, decreased risk of dementia, opportunity for plentiful exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, more restful sleep, reducing stress, and avoiding loneliness. But there is one more benefit we didn’t include…

Did you know that gardening or yard work can help to manage feelings of eco-anxiety?

Eco-anxiety, climate anxiety or climate grief, are terms used to describe the feelings of distress, hopelessness, despair, or even fear when confronting the very real effects of climate change and global warming.

There is growing recognition in the field of psychology that an increasing number of people are experiencing varying levels of distress over climate change, known as eco-anxiety. A difficult aspect of eco-anxiety is the feeling that you are powerless to do anything about it. This presents a rising threat to mental health, spawning a subspecialty of eco-therapy where therapists are trained specifically to integrate environmental awareness into their work with clients. It is a well-accepted fact that gardening can help combat the negative health effects of eco-anxiety because you can do some hands-on work with the aim of mitigating climate change.

Consider the following actions which can reduce carbon on your own:
* Use manual tools instead of gas-powered
* Install drip lines and rain barrels and use mulch or other natural ground cover to cut water consumption
* Compost to reduce waste and decrease methane production
* Turn your yard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat and encourage your neighbors to do the same
* Plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide
* Join us on the weekend of Oct. 23 & 24 when we plant 25 trees in and around our meadows

Consider these lifestyle changes which may help to reduce your environmental anxiety:
* Shop secondhand
* Rethink your commute
* Cut back on social media as a news source
* Educate yourself on environmental issues from credible sources
* Join volunteer or environmental groups (for example, local state parks have “Friends of…” groups)

Here at Mill Creek, we welcome everyone to take advantage of our natural resources by including our meadows and grounds as part of your own eco-therapy – free of charge!
As highlighted previously, in addition to dealing with eco-anxiety, working in our meadows can also benefit your physical strength, heart health, weight, sleep, and immune systems; and can cultivate feelings of empowerment, connection, and creative calm. Getting dirty is good for you!

Our Natural Lands Stewards meet every Wednesday around 5:30 pm (weather permitting) to work on pulling weeds and invasive plants, and general yard chores. All are welcome to join in or simply observe. Feel free to contact Jamie Kegerise ( or Amy White ( with any questions you have about the 6+ acres we maintain.

** Your pledge dollars at work!


Our building liability insurance coverage has increased over $700 from last year. This is due to the rise in building materials and related replacement costs. Our total premium amount is $5018 for 12 months.

** Ways You Can Celebrate Labor Day At Home
Labor Day, considered by many the official end of summer, has its origins going back to the late 1800’s when America’s trade union and labor movement grew, eventually becoming a federal holiday in 1894 as a national tribute dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Observed on the first Monday in September, early celebrations of Labor Day began with street parades and speeches on the day, and have evolved into weekend-long beach trips and back-to-school sales promotions. For some, it means parties to attend and other exciting plans, while for others it’s a stay-at-home event.

If the upcoming Labor Day Weekend finds you staying put, we’ve come up with some fun ways to enjoy it! Consider one or more of the following:
* Plan some backyard games for the kids…get creative and set up a tournament for your family or neighbors
* Attend the Saturday evening campfire at Mill Creek (Sept. 4th)
* Complete a DIY project or a chore you’ve procrastinated about (yes, we mean THAT closet)
* Make those online charitable donations you’ve been meaning to get to
* Visit a local attraction you’ve never been to before (plan your trip before you go)
* Make a special meal or elaborate dessert
* Pull out all of your fall decorations and get your front door looking autumn festive
* Hike a local state park or botanical garden
* Upgrade your happy hour with that sangria recipe you’ve wanted to try
* Volunteer an hour working in the Mill Creek meadows

In whatever way you decide to spend the day or the whole weekend, take a moment to remember the hard-fought battles by those who believed in fair labor practices and good working conditions for all and the legislation they inspired for the prosperity and well-being of our country.

** Share Our Plate: September & October

We regularly donate a portion of our undesignated plate collection to a local charity or non-profit organization. Although we aren’t meeting in person for Sunday services for the time being, contributions are still being received to support this fund and are donated entirely to the selected recipient.

For the months of September and October, we have selected Bellevue Art Lab. Located in the Bellevue Community Center in North Wilmington, Bellevue Art Lab is a place for growing artists of many ages and skill levels. It is an open studio setting which allows for exploration rather than strict instruction. The Lab is stocked with drawing, painting, and sculpting supplies as well as digital art, and is set up for jewelry making and metalworks. The Art Lab is a free open studio for youth ages 13-19 during after school hours, Monday-Friday, 3-6 pm. They offer private paint parties, host professional workshops and artist talks, design community art installations, and participate in the Wilmington Art Loop on the First Friday of every month. The Arts is an important way to engage the youth as well as foster bonds between artists and community members.

Use the links below to learn more, and to donate.
LEARN MORE about Bellevue Art Lab (
DONATE to Share Our Plate (
**Be sure to select ‘Share Our Plate’ as the giving fund**

For the months of July & August, we donated $795 to ILYA.
ILYA (Independent Living for Young Adults) is a social justice program serving young adults who are transitioning from the foster care system into independent living and is led by members of First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, in partnership with the Delaware Division of Family Services (DDFS). The ILYA program offers a wide array of services to support these young adults, such as Student Care Packages, New Apartment Kits and Furnishings, Holiday Giving, Educational Support, Emergency Grants, and more. ILYA provides resources and support to underserved and vulnerable young adults to increase their chances for future success. $795 was donated in support of this program.

** Book Group: New Schedule & Meeting Topics

The Mill Creek Book Group will be meeting virtually every other month on first Tuesday evenings at 7 pm, beginning September 7th.

Here’s what we have planned for our upcoming meetings in September and November:

Tuesday, September 7th – this is an open discussion about the books we have read during the pandemic, and recommendations for new selections.

Tuesday, November 2nd – we will discuss Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell ( .
Everyone is welcome to join our discussions!
Zoom link: can be found below, or on the church calendar ( . (Note: the link remains the same for each meeting.) Feel free to contact Deanna Koepck ( e ( with any questions you have about the Book Group.
JOIN the meeting here (

** Adult Religious Exploration Classes Begin Soon!
Begins Sunday, September 12:
Shared Pulpit Workshop

You have a story. Each of our stories is part of a larger narrative of being human in this world, in this time. One of the most powerful spiritual practices we have is in the sharing of our stories and reflecting on the ways those stories awaken us to love, illuminate our humanity, connect us to the holy and ineffable – and common – experience of life.

We invite you to join Rev. Greg for a Shared Pulpit Workshop, which will guide you in developing your story into a sermon and worship experience that you may share with the congregation.

Using a series of small group meetings, this program aims to deepen connection and trust among you — the seeking minds and caring hearts of Mill Creek. The workshop contains advice, tools, and a process designed to equip you to be even more skilled, confident leaders (because anyone brave and curious enough to share their journey publicly with a congregation is, in fact, a leader). Along the way, you’ll discover your authentic voice by writing a sermon to deliver to the congregation.

This program is pulpit-and-pew tested, producing dozens of graduates who report that it transformed their relationship to their congregation and to Unitarian Universalism. As a participant, you don’t need to think of yourself as a writer. You don’t have to know what you want to say. You don’t even need to be a visible leader in your congregation. As you and five to seven others navigate your way through the eight sessions — under the guidance of Rev. Greg – you are invited to do three things:
* commit your time and energy to the program – including doing the required writing between sessions
* create and uphold a group covenant so that those in your group can risk being vulnerable
* trust that the first two steps will reveal your voice and truth

The workshop will meet on Sundays from 2:30-4:30 or 5:30, depending on size of the class:
September 12, 19, 26
October 17, 31
November 21
December 5
**December 12
**(if needed — depending on the number of participants)

Note that this class will meet virtually with the hope that we will eventually be able to meet in person.

Use the links below if you have questions about this class or would like to register:
Questions : Ask Rev. Greg (
Register Here: Shared Pulpit Workshop (
Use the link below to view the entire Adult Religious Exploration Catalog:
Adult RE Catalog – 2021-22 (

** August Board Meeting Minutes Available
Click here to view Board of Trustees meeting minutes: August 18, 2021 (

** Mill Creek Tree Planting Days

Saturday & Sunday, October 23 and 24 – mark your calendar and join us!

Earlier this year, through the efforts of Jamie Kegerise and Amy White, a grant was applied for and awarded from the State of Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The $1500 grant is for the purchase of 25 native trees of a variety of species. While the grant covers the cost of the trees and materials, the labor involved with planting the trees is our responsibility.

We have selected October 23^rd and 24^th as tree planting days. We plan to begin on both days at 8:00 am and work until 2:00 pm. We will be inviting folks involved with the National Wildlife Federation’s “Sacred Grounds” program, as well as people from other local churches, and we hope to offer some Mill Creek hospitality by means of outdoor refreshments.

How you can help:
* Join us any Wednesday at 5:30 pm in September or early October to dig holes for the trees (25!)
* Join us on either planting day – even for just an hour or two would be a great help

Contact Jamie Kegerise ( or Amy White ( with any questions you have about this project.

** Chalice Circles Have Openings!
Chalice Circles at Mill Creek are small groups that provide a supportive environment for people to meet and discuss topics relevant to our lives as well as share our stories, our experiences and our ideas. Circles are an opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level and develop a rich spirituality. During COVID, some Circles meet virtually, some in person; some meet during the day and some in the evenings. We have five Circles comprised of women and a men’s Circle. If you’re interested or would like more information, contact Helen Springer at 484-732-8641, or by email using the link below; or call the church office, 302-369-2712.

Here’s what people are saying about Chalice Circles at Mill Creek:

“During the pandemic, the circle has been a wonderful means of keeping in close touch with these members of our church. And in ordinary times, the circle meetings provide friendship as well as an opportunity to think more deeply about what our church means to us.”

“Joining a Chalice Circle was the most significant thing I did once I joined this church community several years ago. It is my main source for support.”

“The sisterhood of my chalice circle has been a lifeline for me. We ZOOM every week, sharing our own stories and deeply listening to the stories of others. Such a gift.”

“I have been participating in the men’s chalice circle for over two years now. It has been a wonderful way for me to connect with other members of the church on a deeper and more personal level. It has shown me additional view points and brought me a different set of tools for living my spiritual life. It has also brought me a lot of laughter and a place of emotional support in times of need.”

“The women in my Circle mean so much to me, we care for and about each other in a way I find difficult to achieve away from church.”
Questions about Chalice Circles (

** Complicated Grief
Part of a series shared by Rev. Bob Broesler

Heart not Head:
Companioning a congregant or friend is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.

Our scientific and analytical culture, while effective when we seek effective functionality, can deceive us into approaching grief with our head: to assess, diagnose and treat, which by default distances us from the heart. Yet our language constantly refers to the heart, giving testimony to our instinctual understanding of this part of our divinity and humanity:” take heart”; “the heart of the matter”; “take it to heart.” Authentic mourning is a quest for the healing our broken hearts and this path of the heart.
As an outgrowth of the loss of my son Justin, I believe I have been called to provide counsel to people who are experiencing “difficult grief”, particularly but not exclusively the loss of a child. This also includes those unable to be physically present with their loved one while they died. Below is another in a series of insights which I believe will provide you with the language to be present for a friend in such situations. I hope they are helpful.
-The Rev. Robert (Bob) Broesler
Rev. Broesler is a Grief Counselor and a member of Mill Creek. Connect with him using any of the following methods:
Email (
Facebook (
LinkedIn (

to access your Realm profile!

We encourage you to continue your financial support of Mill Creek during the closure by using one of the following methods:

1. Mail a check: 579 Polly Drummond Hill Road, Newark DE 19711 (staff is present in the office and the mailbox is checked daily). Please indicate on the subject line if this is a pledge payment, a general contribution, or a contribution to a specific giving fund.
2. Give electronically through REALM: or use the link below (remember to select a giving fund).
3. Text-to-Give: text MillCreek and the amount [e.g. MillCreek 50] to 73256.

We sincerely appreciate your support of Mill Creek, especially now while we are unable to gather together for the time being. But the work of the church continues! We gratefully acknowledge that there would be no Mill Creek without YOU. Thank you.
**Click here to GIVE NOW** (

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Mill Creek Staff office hours & contact information

Rev. Gregory S. Pelley (
Hours by appointment – use the link below to schedule:
– Click here to schedule time with Rev. Greg – (
Debra Damiani, Congregational Administrator
Monday 8 am to 1 pm, Monday-Thursday (

Rachel Sabella, Music Director
Hours by Appointment (

** Upcoming events in our local community

** Newark Fall Activity Guide
Newark Parks & Recreation has put together a Fall Activity Guide including information about hundreds of activities, like music, fitness, dance, sports, and more. There’s something for everyone. Access the Guide by clicking the button below.
Fall Activity Guide (

** Summer Concerts at White Clay Creek
Sponsored in part by Friends of White Clay Creek State Park

There is one remaining date for the Summer Concerts at White Clay Creek: a Labor Day concert on Monday, September 6th. FREE with paid admission to the park! Friends of White Clay will be at each concert with a food truck, beer garden, and a 50/50 fundraiser. For more information call the concert hotline at 302-368-6560 or click the button below.
Concert Info (

** News from the UUA, the Central East Region, and the Delmarva Cluster

** Communications from the UUA President
In light of the changing COVID virus and the Delta variant, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) offers important updates to its guidance on gathering in UU congregations and communities. In addition, UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray has issued a press release, “Ingathering in Complicated Times.” Use the links below to read both of these communications in full.

The Delta variant setback has many of us, especially leaders, feeling frustrated, heartbroken and exhausted. We are not where we hoped to be. As vaccine inequity and disparity continues, with only 15% of people across the globe vaccinated, we are all coming to terms with the reality that the pandemic will be with us in various forms for some time. -Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray
Read ‘Updated COVID Guidance for the Delta Variant’ HERE (
Read ‘Ingathering in Complicated Times’ HERE (

Opportunities for Connection: Central East Region Update


Opportunities for Connection – click here to learn more (

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