A Fond Farewell to Donna

On Friday, December 29, 2023, the Fellowship bid a fond (and sad) farewell to our valued, long-term office administrator, Donna Polat. 

Donna did not want to big to-do, so the party was a small and select group of Fellowship members who worked most closely with her. 

We wish Donna well  as she focuses on her health and happiness.

"Our Beloved Dead" Slideshow

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Music: "Gnoissiene No. 1 by Erik Satie, played by Duncan Duncan.  Click here for the video.

UUFP First Annual Trunk and Treat Event

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Music: "Funeral March of a Marionette" by Charles Gounod, played by Duncan Duncan.  Click here for the video!!!

June 21, 2020: Flower Communion

On June 21, 2020, Rev. Viola Abbitt led the Fellowship's Flower Communion via Zoom. The congregation was asked to  submit pictures of flowers and many beautiful pictures were received. All of the flowers were  used to create an image mosaic and video. The presentation was shown during the Flower Communion.

If you missed it, you can view the video below:


January 19th Sunday Service:

"At Risk"

Guest speaker David Garcia, Coordinator for the Dutchess County Task Force Against Human Trafficking

For an audio recording of the service, click here. A password is required to access the  page.

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Monica's Farewell Luncheon

Sunday, November 17, 2019

September 1: "The Letter and the Spirit"

We had a very lively service on Sunday.  Lots of wonderful participation from the congregation.  It was videoed by Nix. Click the image below  to see the vireo in Vimeo.

July 21st Sunday Service:

"How Fragile are You?"

July 14th Sunday Service

"Dance Your Creative Spirit"

June 30th Sunday Service: 

“Roots and Flowers of Our Faith”

The June 30th Sunday Service (“Roots and Flowers of Our Faith”) marked the end of UUFP’s "regular" program year.   The program took a “rainbow” tour of our 7 UU Principles, with the wording used with our children. The reflections, readings, and music for each Principle were highlighted, while  also acknowledging the many valuable subgroups at UUFP that are part of our “garden”.  Service concluded with UU’s traditional Flower Communion, followed by annual picnic/potluck, with music and dancing by Ron Kamen’s band, Sous Sol Du V. 

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Highlights of the UUFP’s June 2 Program Committee Sunday Service “Let Me Be Perfectly Queer”

by Joe Cosentino and Soyal Smalls

The June theme at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie is Unity/Diversity. This important theme was highlighted in a well-received Sunday service on June 2, led by Program Committee members Joe Cosentino and Soyal Smalls. The service was entitled “Let Me Be Perfectly Queer,” and it aptly reflected the vital themes of gender and sexual identity and diversity through the sharing of personal stories of LGBTQ UUFP members, inspiring songs, and dramatic readings. For anyone unfortunate enough to have missed it, below are some highlights of the service.

The service began with a recorded prelude: "I'm Coming Out" sung by Diana Ross with its strong message calling for LGBTQ liberation and equality.

Next, Joe delivered the Chalice Lighting words, "A Protest and a Party" by Rev. Hannah Roberts Villnave. At the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, this piece poetically and beautifully chronicles the spirit of LGBT people’s joys and disappointments from then until now. Yes, LGBTQ people and their advocates celebrate our accomplishments like marriage equality, but we also mourn our losses like anti-LGBT judges appointed by Republican administrations, so-called “religious freedom” laws and executive orders robbing LGBTQ people of the right to be served in public, and the escalating violence against LGBTQ people fueled by the hateful rhetoric of the right.

Soyal played a video for the Opening Words: "What it means to be genderqueer" by Jason Tobia. The speaker, who identifies as transgendered, made a powerful plea for all of us to encourage gender queer voices out from the margins to describe their world from their viewpoint from childhood to adulthood.

The Opening Song, "Standing on the Side of Love,” sung for the first time at the UUFP, is often sung by UUs at rallies or advocacy events in support of LGBTQ rights and access.

For the Words for all Ages, Joe read renowned children’s story Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B., Schiffer, a heartwarming story of a motherless girl struggling with whom to invite to her grade school’s Mother’s Day party. As brought to life by Joe, the little girl comes to the realization that her two dads do all the things a mother would do for her. By inviting her entire extended family to the party, Stella proves that families come in all shapes and sizes, and a family is not about gender. It’s about love. The children in attendance benefited from hearing this important, sometimes humorous (Would Uncle Joe have it any other way?), and always moving story from this little girl’s perspective.

Soyal led the Joys and Concerns from the fellowship. Jackaro McCaffrey gave us permission to quote the following, “My joy is that it’s Pride Month, and you guys are recognizing that. Also, there was a specific spot in the presentation for non-binary people, which is really heartening to see, because like trans people we are often forgotten in the LGBTQ community, and non-binary people are often forgotten in the trans community. So, it’s really heartening to see that change with such an older group of people”.

For the Meditation, Joe did a dramatic reading of an excerpt from the third novel in his popular Cozzi Cove series published by NineStar Press, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out. In the reading, a gay pastor, who has experienced numerous challenges in his life, vacations at the Cozzi Cove gay resort on the New Jersey Shore, where he spots two handsome young men he believes are his guardian angels. The reading was selected as an embodiment of the third UU principal. Joe then led a prayerful meditation, encouraging the fellowship members to seek the guardian angel in their our own lives. The angel could be a spiritual being or simply someone who has been there for us. Once the members envisioned their own angel, Joe asked everyone to fill the room with positive energy towards those in the LGBTQ community and their advocates.

During the Offering, the Helen Baldwin Singers performed a medley of three Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim songs: “America”, “One Hand, One Heart”, and “Somewhere” from West Side Story. Choir director MaryAnn Osgood explained the song were selected because the composer and lyricist were gay. The themes of the songs can also be transferred to LGBTQ people who must hide their relationships, since in half the states in the US it is still legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Joe introduced the panelists: Bobbi Halliday (identifying as part-time transgender), Andrew Evans and his husband James Pittman (identifying as gay), and Larry Decker and his husband Rick Foster (identifying as gay). Joe explained they were unable to find any lesbian participants for the panel.

Soyal asked each panelist about their experience discovering their own sexuality, gender, and spirituality, including any challenges and discoveries impacting each person’s journey. Most of the panelists spoke about their early childhood as a time of awareness of their identity without having the words to describe it at a young age. Most found no or little support from their families. The panelist who had support found it easier to be open and gain confidence in himself. Following are some excerpts from the panel discussion.

“I knew I was different when I was five. I was sensitive, and you weren’t allowed to have those qualities as a male in the South. I thought I was the only person in the world who was gay. I didn’t have the word for it. My dad paid for me to go to art school in the twelfth grade, and I’m amazed that I’m meeting all these gay people. I had found my group. Suddenly, you’re not alone” – James Pittman

“It’s like a cage. The internal, external, and institutional homophobia keeps us from breaking out. That big black hole inside of you that you can’t express engulfs you. When you hear friends and family members say anti-gay slurs around you, it makes you afraid to express who you are. I was also afraid that if I was gay, it meant I couldn’t like sports any more, but I learned that when you’re gay you can still be whoever you are. Just love yourself.” – Andrew Evans

“This is something I wouldn’t tell my family about, but I want them to see the changes in Bob that are taking place as a result of me being transgender. I got total acceptance and support from Rev. Walter, who told me to ‘go for it,’ and that was the impetus that really helped me a lot. I’m grateful to the Fellowship for their kind support and to the LGBTQ Center in Kingston. They have a wonderful trans-spectrum group. It is a risk to go out, but do it if you believe it, and if you love yourself.” – Bobbi Halliday

“I came from a very supportive family in general. My father was the most supportive, I guess, because maybe I was looking for support from him. It was little things like, I remember one Christmas I wanted a bake set, and I was afraid to ask. He convinced me to ask Santa for a bake set, and I got it. I had to make him a lot of cakes, but I got it. ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’: a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, and ‘Be Yourself, everyone else is taken’: a quote from Oscar Wilde.”

“I didn’t grow up in a religious family. I’ve always had a sense of spirituality, but it was more of a personal thing for me. I knew at an early age that I was different. I didn’t fit into the ‘boy’ mold that was handed out. I knew there was a part of me that was isolated because of that. I was born in the early fifties, and when I was growing up, I remember going to the library trying to find information about being gay, but there was very little, and it was very negative. There were no television shows, no characters, no positive images, and it took a while to find my community, but little by little I did, and it was amazing. Keep coming out. It is a never-ending process. The more you do it, the more people will understand.” – Rick Foster

For the Closing Words, reflecting on evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, and now Methodist declarations against same-sex civil marriage, Soyal read a response from many Methodists unhappy with their church leadership’s decision and refusing to follow it.

“In February 2019, the Traditional Plan was passed by the Special Session of General Conference. This means our current statements about homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and the ordination of LGBTQ persons have not fundamentally changed:

‘The blessing from the LGBTQ+ community of faith and spirit approaching the United Methodist Conference Special Session on human sexuality. Those who signed this blessing represent many traditions, faiths, and spiritual practices. It is a reminder of the interconnected relationships that we have with the LGBTQ community as many members serve as spiritual leaders in the roles of healers and song leaders, committee chairs and ordained clergy, counselors and prophets.’”

The recorded Closing Hymn was “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. The lyrics discuss needed self-empowerment of all minorities, including the LGBTQ community. The song was selected since Lady Gaga, identifying as bisexual and often on the forefront of marching and activism, uses her celebrity position to draw attention to LGBTQ rights.

The panelists continued to share their stories at the Fellowship Hour. A very special thank you to all who participated for sharing your love and light.

Easter Sunday: April 21, 2019

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UUFP Annual Retreat 2018: Sept. 21-23, 2018

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Thanksgiving Breakfast: Nov. 18, 2018

Coming Home Benefit Concert: Oct. 13, 2018

Featuring the Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet.

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  • Mark Wade, Bass

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Mardi Gras AUUction: February 24, 2018

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  • Joyce Marra

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  • Ron Kamen & Linda Curtis

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  • Gayle Garin

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Luminescence Celebration: Feb. 18, 2018

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UUFP Annual Retreat 2014