Social Action


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Submission form and guidelines for WISE’s “Unedited Voices”

Click here: submission-form-uv-18


“Blessing of the Devices: Technology and Turmoil”

“Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens.

“In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.

In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.

“What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.”

By Professor Jean Twenge, Psychology Department, San Diego State University.

“A former Facebook executive has said he feels “tremendous guilt” over his work on “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”, joining a growing chorus of critics of the social media giant.

“Chamath Palihapitiya, who was vice-president for user growth at Facebook before he left the company in 2011, said: “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.”

“The remarks, which were made at a Stanford Business School event in November, were just surfaced by tech website the Verge on Monday.

“This is not about Russian ads,” he added. “This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”

Palihapitiya’s comments last month were made a day after Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, criticized the way that the company “exploit[s] a vulnerability in human psychology” by creating a “social-validation feedback loop” during an interview at an Axios event.

“Parker had said that he was “something of a conscientious objector” to using social media, a stance echoed by Palihapitiya who said that he was now hoping to use the money he made at Facebook to do good in the world.

“I can’t control them,” Palihapitiya said of his former employer. “I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that shit. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that shit.”

“He also called on his audience to “soul-search” about their own relationship to social media. “Your behaviors, you don’t realize it, but you are being programmed,” he said. “It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you’re going to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.” Chamath Palihapitiya, Former Facebook Exec On Social Media,

Pledge from the Blessing of the Devices service: devicepledgeblessing-2


Funds raised for the World Food Program at our Solstice Candlelight Service with the help of “St. Nick”


At our annual Solstice Candlelight Service the Springfield UU Church had a visit from “St. Nick,” played by Jeff Taft-Dick. “Nick” explained how in his younger days (1700 years ago), he started with giving to just a few children locally in what is now know as Turkey.  He recognized that there were children in need everywhere, and in time his operation spread worldwide.

Besides the Christmas Charity work, “Nick” actually has another occupation that we haven’t heard much about.  “The Christmas gig is only a few months of the year,” he explained.. “I was getting bored up at the North Pole in the slow season. And I really like to help out, to make a difference in the world. So, I got another job for the rest of the year working for the World Food Program. (WFP)” [In real life Jeff Taft-Dick worked for World Food Program for 30 years.]

Read the Dialogue for Visit with Saint Nick:  stnicksyriadialogue

Researchers find the real face of Father Christmas:


Thai Dinner Raises $700 for Planned Parenthood’s Claremont Health Center


Pad Thai, Galanga Coconut Curry Soup, Vegan Curry, Coconut Custard on Sticky Rice, and Chai Tea were on the menu for a fundraising dinner Saturday evening, Nov. 11th, here at the church. Members, including two who have lived in Thailand, made authentic Thai dishes and decorated with items from that country. Over 40 people joined the festivities, including folks from as far away as Enfield Center, NH.

The church raised $700 for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Claremont Health Center.

Planned Parenthood provides essential health services tocare-provider-1-640x360 both women and men. General health care as well as reproductive health care and referrals are available. The Claremont health center also offers the New Hampshire Family Planning Program for income-eligible individuals and families.



Thank you to all who attended and helped, especially our cooks Libbet Downs, Greg Supernovich and Julie Lannen. Special thanks to Julie Lannen for the vision of holding this dinner and making it a reality!