Events and Updates from South Church.

NUUSflash - September 15, 2019
News you can use, from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Portsmouth

Sunday Services - We have one service on Sunday mornings at 10am
October 6 – “The Days of Awe and Restorative Justice”; Arthur Eves will lead worship today as we approach Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
October 13 – “Oversoul of Singing”; On this Music Sunday, Joanne Connolly will lead worship (and the choir!) with her sermon based on Emerson’s idea of The Over-Soul.
October 20th- “Coming Home” Using the monthly theme, belonging is coming home. Robert Frost’s great poem, “The Death of the Hired Man” and Jesus's story of the Prodigal son form the essence of the coming home theme.
October 27 “Animal Dedication” We invite you to bring your pets or pictures of your pets to the sanctuary. Dogs should be on leads, cat and chickens in carriers. Horse, goats will stay outside to be blessed after. Rattle snakes should stay home. If at anytime you feel your pet would be better outside feel free to leave the sanctuary.

Shared Plate - During the month of October, we will be sharing our Sunday collection with Seacoast Outright. Seacoast Outright is a local organization that supports and advocates for LGBTQ+ youth. Outright hosts weekly youth meetings at South Church and organizes Portsmouth's Pride Parade. FOr more information, check out their website at


A Note From CJ
Our community is resilient.  Over the past year and a half we have weathered many challenges and changes but it’s never been about the flooded fellowship hall and the roof, the ministers and sabbaticals or about the endowment and fundraising.  The South Church community has always been about one thing…. people like you and I who make up this family. 
As many of you know, I have been going through many new and exciting transitions over the last several months.  After running my store for 40 years, I decided to retire on September 1st and follow a dream that has been 25 years in the making.  On November 2nd Michael and I will be married here at South Church before I leave for my new life in Canada. 
As happy as I am over the new direction my life has taken, I’m equally saddened that I will be leaving the Seacoast and my church.  This old building and all of you have been my family for many years now.  We have shared joy and sorrow yet always managed to stay in covenant with each other as our faith teaches.
Over the last six weeks Michael and I have been traveling a lot, and as you read this, we are in Europe.  With the various challenges the church has had recently, it has become difficult to perform my duties as Chair of the Board from afar.  For that reason, I have informed the board that I will be resigning immediately from my position.  
A number of years ago, I decided to stop being a ‘back bencher’ at church and get involved.  I went from the Auction and Pocket Garden Tour to the Building and Grounds Committee where I found my niche.  It was through my committee involvement at South Church, that I discovered how much community really matters.  
My time as the Chair of your Board of Trustees has been both trying and rewarding.  With the unexpected resignation of our last ministers last December,  everyone had to pull together to keep this lovely place moving in the right direction.  The members of the board, who I had the pleasure to work with, are an amazing team of folks who love this place as much as I do.  I can’t thank them enough for the time they put into South Church.  I especially want to applaud the work of the Executive Committee:  Stephen, Lucy and Chris, who have always answered the call and have gave untold hours to this place in ways that can’t be measured.  There are also many of you who have held various committee and associate positions that have helped keep our faith moving in the right direction for the betterment of our community.  Too many of you to list, but please know how much each of you have been appreciated for the work you do.  South Church is a strong organization because of the love you give to this place.
Thank you all, for the privilege of both serving on the Board of Trustees and for the vote of confidence as your Chair.  So many memories of this past year will continue to warm my heart while I am in the cold North!
Yours in faith,
CJ Cogswell

From Your Board of Trustees and Committee on Ministry
We, your Board of Trustees and Committee on Ministry, are here to serve and to ensure the integrity of the congregation, especially in this time of transitions.  Our settled ministers have moved on to new opportunities.  We have called a minister to serve us in the interim.  A Ministerial Search Committee has been appointed.  It’s a lot to process and all in less than a year. We recognize the need to come together as a community to hear concerns and to affirm our path to a settled ministry in 2021.
We have procedures and processes in place for addressing any thoughts and concerns that you may have. Our system may feel slow and that is intentional to avoid hasty actions that will surely produce unintended consequences. Most importantly, we live by our first principle and hold all our congregation and our minister with respect for our inherent worth and dignity.  Living by our fourth principle we engage in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.  Let us be mindful of that as we work through our differences. 
Breathe with us.  In this time of transition it is more important than ever that we as individuals and as a congregation commit ourselves to our Covenant of Right Relations (printed below).  In all our actions and words we will be measured and evaluated by those who might be interested in making South Church their ministry. In the same spirit, we owe that courtesy to our interim minister and to each other as we work through the complex process of healing and releasing the past, of coming together, of going forward.
In faith,
Board of Trustees
Committee on Ministry
South Church Covenant of Right Relations
At South Church:
  • We cultivate attentive listening, speaking with care and compassionate honesty
  • We engage one another thoughtfully, recognizing that different thoughts and opinions are intrinsic to human beings
  • We are responsible for ourselves and speak from our own experiences. We do not rely on second-hand information. 
  • We trust in one another's good intentions and recognize that our actions have an impact, regardless of intentions. 
  • When we hurt another or are hurt by another, we community our discomfort directly. 
  • We resolve conflicts through compromise and collaboration and, when necessary, request meditation through committee chairs, group facilitators, our minister(s) or others. 
Through these actions, we build trust and create a loving and safe community. 

Andrew Scease, Co-chair,
Janis Wolak, Co-chair,
Stephen Laroche, Vice Chair
Lucy Salyer, Secretary
Chris Redmond, Treasurer
Martha Amman
Donna Bethke-Borg
CJ Cogswell
Judy Colavecchio
David Drucker
Eric Lipsitt
Tom Roberts



October Book Discussion: Lucky Boy
On October 9, the South Church Spiritual Book Group will discuss "Lucky Boy" by Sekaran Shanthi. Book discussions are on the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm in the Emerson Sitting Room. All are welcome. For more information, contact Nancy Lambert at 

Widow/Widower Social Group Meeting
On Sunday, October 6 at 1:00pm, Temple Israel will be hosting a social group for people who have lost their partners within the past 5 years. (Open to all!). This group will meet to socialize and develop friendships. If you are interested, please reach out to Elissa Kaplan Senter via email at or by phone at 516-450-5171

South Church Fall Retreat - Oct 11-14
Share a fall retreat weekend with your South Church community at Geneva Point Retreat Center on beautiful Lake Winnepesaukee. This annual gathering offers the opportunity to make new friends, reaffirm old ones, and enjoy yourself through workshops, activities and leisure time. Each year welcomes a well-rounded mix of veterans and newcomers. Children are welcome and encouraged to attend and there is a significant discount for families. Look for our registration table at coffee hour or register on the South Church Website. 

Small Group Ministry Sign-Ups!
Starting in mid-October, there will be 8 small groups meeting within our congregation. Registration is now closed but we can still add group members in four groups: Kittery Point on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30pm, Portsmouth on Wednesdays from 1-3pm, Portsmouth on Wednesdays from 6-8pm, and Kittery Point on Thursdays from 6:30-8:30pm. Please email Rita Weathersby at for information. Small Group Ministry is a nationwide UU program that involve lay-led groups that meet twice a month to build community and provide opportunities for deeper relationships - intimacy - and opportunities for deeper spiritual exploration and search for meaning - ultimacy. 
Fall Circle Suppers
It's time for Fall Circle Suppers! These potluck meals hosted by church folk provide wonderful opportunities to get to know people better in a small group setting of 5 to 10 people. Hosts provide the main course and guests provide side dishes. If interested in being a host, contact Mary Banach via email at . Please give your name, date and time, location and number of guests. After we have hosts, the Fellowship Associates will be at coffee hour with sign up sheets. 

Journey to Membership Class
If you are interested in becoming a member of South Church, or exploring that possibility, our upcoming 3 session Journey to Membership classes are a wonderful way to learn more about our South Church congregation, Unitarian Universalism in general, and what it means to make a deeper commitment to this community - as well as an opportunity to get to know some great people! Classes are held downstairs on Sunday Nov 3, 10 and 17 from 12-1:30pm. Please see your Order of Worship for who to contact if you would like to attend. Childcare will be available. 

South Church Meditation Group
The South Church Meditation Group meets twice monthly; at 10am on the 1st Wednesday of the month and at 6:30pm on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Join us as we explore and practice meditation together for an hour, which begins with a brief discussion of a section of a selected book, and includes silent, walking and guided meditation. For more information, contact Betty Olivolo at All are welcome! Our current book is Pema Chodren's "Start Where You Are."


Make History as a South Church Trustee: Our Next Minister is Waiting! 
Lay leadership is one of South Church’s great strengths and legacies. Be a part of that legacy by joining the Board of Trustees in 2020. The next BoT will play a vital role in shaping our next ministry. The Nominating Committee is looking for candidates who will work with the Interim Minister and search committee to determine that kind of ministry South Church needs to build on our progress of the last 10 years.
The only qualification for serving on the Board of Trustees is the desire to contribute. Skills in finance, communications, management and strategic planning are always helpful, but ultimately, it’s your desire to make a positive mark on South Church that matters.
We are also seeking candidates for the Personnel Committee, so if the Board isn’t your think but you’d like to get involved by supporting out dedicated church staff, we’d like to hear from you!
Contact Sheila Shea at or Mike McGrail at for more information and to put your name into consideration. You can also reach out to any member of the nominating committee: Randy Lynch (Convener), Stephen Blakney or Dot Mason.

Immediate Donations Needed
The UU church of Greenfield, MA needs help to re-open its doors after the health department's immediate closure because of asbestos. They are an active social justice congregation with a small membership. In addition to Sunday services; they host a weekly meal, feeding lunch to 90 – 150 guests and serve 700 – 1,000 people at an annual Supper. They have been a major force for local community change. The inability to access their church is creating difficulty for many in need. For more info and link to donate:

Social Hour Hosts Needed!
On Sunday, September 8, we move indoors for the fall and winter version of our Sunday social hour. We are in need of a couple of people to help host this weekly event. The training and work are easy and the time commitment is about 3 hours on a Sunday once per month or less. Supplies are provided and volunteers are recruited for you. Just show up and do it! A great way to help the South Church community by simply donating a few hours of your time. To find out more, get in touch with Kevin Leahy in person or by emailing him at 

Join In Helping Portland Refugees
The First Parish in Portland is fundraising for the refugees seeking asylum in Portland. Fund will go to local immigration attorneys supporting the refugee community pro bono in POrtland, ILAP, and the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition (MIRC). If you want to donate directly to these groups, visit and click on their donate button. 
Donate by check to the First Parish Church in Portland, 425 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04010, putting "Asylum Seekers" in the memo line. The South Church Social Justice Associates will continue to keep us informed of ways to get involved. 

Seacoast Family Promise
South Church will be hosting families through Seacoast Family Promise November 10-17. We need volunteers to provide cooking and/or serving dinners and staying overnight at the church. A training/orientation for those new to volunteering will be on Nov 3 from 12:30-2pm at the Bethany Church in Greenland. Lunch will be provided. RSVP to 
The SFP Committee is looking for 2 members to help facilitate our hosting weekend. Please see our table downstairs after the service or look for information on the SFP bulletin board. 

NUUS from Religious Education 

Religious Education for Children, Youth and Families: Please take some time to catch up on everything that is happening by clicking HERE for the RE Monthly News.

RE Program for the 2019-2020 year:
The Religious Education program at South Church is a community supported program to support and engage children in a religious community in which they develop a spiritual sense of themselves, their connection to others and to the world as a whole. We provide values-based religious education classes on Sundays for ages 3-18 years. CLICK HERE for Program Details 

RE Program for Summer of 2019!

Nursery - For children up to age 4, open from 9:45am-11:15am

Religious Education continues through the summer for children of all ages! Our nursery is open, as usual, from 9:45-11:15 each morning. For children aged 4 and up we will have an all-ages program that is based on our school-year workshop model. This summer we will revisit the themes from this past year with hands-on exploration, incorporating outdoor time as much as possible





From Your Interim Minister

On 22 September are visiting Rev. Jean Wahlstrom mentioned that her father was brought to Unitarianism while serving in the military during the war in Washington DC by Rev.A. Powell Davies. Davies in turn was converted from Methodism while serving a Methodist Church in Maine by the Unitarian Minister and Hymn writer Rev. Vincent Silliman. When he died, the memorial was held at All Souls and was attended by three sitting Supreme Court Justices—Hugo Black, Harold Burton, and William O. Douglas. Our UU History is rich for ministers like these.
We need some help in the office. If you would like to be an office angel and help Jen expand our capability, please call her in the office or email 
Alone or without significant family on Thanksgiving? How about a potluck, bring your favorite dish/dessert or appetizer? The church will supply the bird. We’ll set up and clean up together like our pilgrim ancestors. Contact Len, if we can get a quorum, we will do it.
As I mentioned in my sermon last week, a good Canvas drive has to be based on the dream of a good budget that reflects what you want for South Church. Board Trustees approved in principle the following changes that should be reflected in the budget that we are canvassing.
  1. Change of job description for Kristen Hunter to Director of Life Span Education so she will easier liaise with our new Learning Associates.
  2. Change of job description and increase in hours to full-time for Jen Leyden becoming Congregational Administrator and supervising our janitor force.
  3. An increase in resources for Joanne Connolly for the music program particularly for a child’s choir director and for additional instrumental music.
  4. The initial Salary for a Ministerial intern. (Sep-Dec 2020). To be fellowshipped as a UU parish minister one must serve and learn in a UU church. This congregation has not been a teaching church for many years. The intern learns as much from you members as from your minister.   While learning and serving the intern would be able to practice preaching and perform pastoral care thus add to the services to the congregation. Additionally, we would like our intern to become our summer minister and allow the settled minister some opportunity for holiday.
I hope you will give these dreams some thought as you contemplate your annual pledge.
Yours in faith and love,



South Church Unitarian Universalist
73 Court Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801

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Rev. Dr. Len DeRoche

Kirsten Hunter
Director of Religious Education

Joanne Connolly
Director of Music

Jennifer Leyden
Office Administrator

Sarah Terrenzio
Finance Administrator

Denise Croteau
Finance Assitant

Cat Lyons
RE Assistant

Jen Del Deo
RE Assistant 

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Sunday Services and Religious Education are held at 10am on Sunday mornings. We are handicap accessible and have assisted listening devices.

Tuesday - Friday, 9 - 2



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