glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Monthly Newsletter of MVUUF
April 2008
Volume LV, No. 8
MVUUF Building by Lew Hann
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Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee Street
Dayton, OH  45458
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                               By Rev. Amy Russell

     He drew a circle that shut me out -

     Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
     But Love and I had the wit to win:
     We drew a circle that took him in!
          "Outwitted" by Edwin Markham

Rev. Amy RussellI've always loved this poem because I think it describes what our faith attempts to do in so many ways. We try to draw circles to draw more people in, not to draw circles to keep people out.


We are an open, welcoming, and accepting faith tradition. We welcome people from every faith tradition and every world viewpoint. We welcome people of every race, age, gender, and ethnicity. This congregation is a "welcoming congregation" accepting and welcoming gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people. This is not a marketing statement about who we are. I believe it is our faith.


We are in the middle of an election season. More and more people are talking about and getting involved in campaigning for the candidate of their choice. I'm so glad that so many of us are committed to the political process that they give their time and energy to it.


In our fervor, we sometimes forget that we are not a political organization who all agree on candidates or issues. Talking about our political process and sharing our thoughts is a wonderful part of the ebb and flow of conversation around MVUUF. But we have to remember our welcoming faith asks us not to make any person feel excluded because of their political views. We want a wide variety of views to be able to be freely expressed here.


With our love and acceptance, I hope we will draw wider and wider circles to invite more and more diverse people to come in and become a part of MVUUF.



April 6 at 11:00 AM

Loving Yourself

Rev. Amy Russell and Deb Miyake

While we practice loving others, we often find it difficult to love and appreciate ourselves. So many hidden messages from our families and those around us, often prevent us from finding this acceptance of ourselves. We'll explore what makes this journey so difficult.


April 13 at 11:00 AM

Give Peace a Chance

Rev. Amy Russell and Social Concerns Committee

Peace is something we must find within ourselves, within our families, and our communities. At MVUUF, we are seeking peace in our own community as we share our desire for peace with the wider community. On this day, we'll have a meaningful ceremony to commemorate the peace flags that have been a living testament to our commitment for peace. As we take them down, we will carry them in our hearts as we continue to search for peace at home and in the world.


April 20 at 11:00 AM

Seventh Principle Celebration

Amy Russell and many others

In this intergenerational service, children and adults will help act out a Native American creation story with themes of caring for the earth.


April 27 at 11:00 AM

The Wisdom of Generosity

Rev. Amy Russell and Scott Leonard

When we commit ourselves to a relationship, we start to take risks. Taking risks is scary and our relationship to our church community is no different. As we give of ourselves in many ways, we are transformed. And our Beloved Community is transformed as well.


                                                                            By Scott Leonard
Scott LeonardHave you noticed the positive energy around MVUUF lately? I have. And it's not just our imagination. While pulling together our application for a Chalice Lighter's Grant for a new audio-visual system, I found some very encouraging statistics:
  • 30 new members joined us in 2007, compared to just 17 and 19 in the two prior years. With the new membership building processes now in place, I believe we will do even better in 2008.
  • Sunday plate collections increased by 60% since we started giving part of them to social justice charities. As a result, our gifts to those charities are increased by 80% compared to last year.
  • YRE attendance is up 40% from a year ago.
  • Participation in the choir is up about 30%, and the choir is sounding great. Thank you, Jeanette! 
  • Worship attendance is up about 15% since mid 2007.
  • A new annual fundraiser was born: Men Who Cook raised over $1,900 in one night.

Thanks to all of you for making these good things happen. Now is the time to build on this positive momentum. Let's continue to find ways to be more welcoming to our visitors. Let's continue building our community around social justice, religious education, music, worship, and all of our great programs. Let's further embrace our responsibilities to provide stewardship to the Fellowship, and to be in good relationships with each other. We are all a part of the positive energy building at MVUUF. Let's keep building.

We send healing thoughts to Antonia Harter as she recovers from her hip surgery. We are happy to report that she is doing very well.
We keep Iris Carter in our thoughts as she tends to her ailing son.
We send our thoughts and prayers to Kathleen Turner for the recent death of her father.

We send comforting thoughts to Alysoun Taylor, as her aunt is quite ill and her uncle recently passed away.


We give our love and support to John Bierman and Maureen O'Meara who are tending to a seriously ill friend.


We hold Amy Russell's family in our hearts as her stepdaughter was sent home from Iraq due to illness.


We remember Claudia Bailey whose father suffered a spinal fracture during a recent fall at his nursing home.


We send healing thoughts to Heather Holland who is recovering at home after a recent hospitalization.
Cards and notes of support would surely be appreciated. Call the office if you need an updated address directory.
                                                                               By Judy Rengel

UU TreasuresWhere would we be without you? How many members does it take to keep MVUUF active? In elected positions we have approximately 26. There is no count for the number of unelected volunteers. What would a Sunday morning be like without them or do you even think about how many people it takes to provide a pleasant Sunday morning experience for you?


David Cobb organizes a group of greeters that give the first smile and welcoming hello to a perplexed guest. From there, Jennifer Henry has assembled a great group of ushers. All with friendly faces that guide the member or guest into the worship experience.


During the service I see the worship associate, choir members and sound technicians. After the Postlude, we find the coffee pot full due to the organizational efforts of John and Kim Bohley. Not only do they get people to make coffee, but then there is a clean up crew. All this is for just one Sunday morning. I have not mentioned the myriad of programs, both one time events or ongoing, that depend on our people. No matter how many we currently have, there is always a need for you. For as little as one day, one week or one month you may join in and become an integral part of the beloved community.


The answer to my initial question of where would we be without you? Empty. Without you, we have a chest with no treasure. Email me at


March 2008 membership count:  Voting 161, Associate 51, Total 212.

A Brief History Continues
                                                                  By Don Ferguson

Rev. Amy RussellAfter obtaining Articles of Incorporation, creating Regulations and Bylaws, a small group of Unitarians began meeting in the auditorium of the Young Women's League. Their first annual picnic was held on July 13, 1910. On November 27, 1910, Dr. Troward H. Marshall was installed as the first minister. Mr. Marshall had a Ph.D from Harvard and Mrs. Marshall had a Ph.D from Radcliffe. They were both well qualified and worked to build a strong and influential congregation.


As described in a local newspaper article: "Along with the American Unitarian Association, Rev. Troward Marshall made a church walk: a walk into a fine building which was erected on one of the most desirable lots on busy Salem Avenue, ground donated by two English sisters who lived in a house of their own design, resembling a castle. Troward Marshall is a remarkable preacher and will fill the newspapers with a fresh emphasis on religion which a thriving industrial community has not heard."


Dr. Marshall and his wife became very active in civic affairs and welfare issues. The American Unitarian Association sent several thousand dollars to be used by Dr. Marshall and the Unitarians, to distribute to survivors of the 1913 flood. The beautiful white stucco church at the corner of Salem and Neal Avenues, with stained glass windows all around, was dedicated on November 22, 1914.


At that time, in the Salem and Neal Avenue area, there were large, beautiful homes, occupied by people with money and position. Salem Avenue was paved with brick, and horses still roamed the streets. The cost of the church building was listed at $24,000 and the value of the land was listed at $3,400.


On our tour of the church, we start at the Salem Avenue entrance, through the double doors to the Narthex. The church office is on the right and the coat and book racks are on the left. Through swinging double doors into the sanctuary, we notice its enormous size and the beams sweeping up and up to the ceiling. Hanging light fixtures, with bulbs as large as your head, put out enough light for the entire sanctuary. There's a raised stage with a large pulpit in the center and a place on the right for the church choir. Above the stage is a large round stained glass window (now in our church on Yankee Street). The pulpit is also now at Yankee Street. I installed wheels on the pulpit when the Rev. Chuck Thomas was minister, and I told him, "Rev. Thomas, you can now advertise, 'Have Pulpit - Will Travel'."


Left to the social room is a large fireplace, painted black. The kitchen is beyond the social room, with restrooms and two rear exits. Down the stairs to the RE rooms on the lower level are two large rooms that can be divided and three small rooms. Behind a locked door is the crawl space under the sanctuary. Members had dug out a walkway completely around the four foot crawl space. This was an ideal place to store junk and to take the children and adults on a scary Halloween trip through the catacombs, dark except for black lights, complete with scary music, and real spider webs. It was a thrill to all who attended the annual Halloween Party.

                                                       By Natalie Spriggs
Natalie Spriggs

After our last huge snow, I have decided that I am definitely ready for spring. Spring seems to awaken my spirit. I am always happy to see things in my backyard come back to life. Along with this renewal of spring life, comes the continuous upkeep. Dusting off our push lawnmower, pulling out the gardening gloves that never seem to stay on my hands too long, as well as bringing out the bug spray to keep the mosquitoes off; it gives me a chance to be in touch with nature again. This fills my spirit and puts a smile on my face.

I can use this example as a metaphor for our Youth Religious Education Program. Though there has been plenty of life buzzing around in our YRE program all year long, I continuously need to make sure everything is in its place. Every week, I check on the classrooms to make sure all is running smoothly, I send letters out to new families, and I send out weekly newsletters to the teachers. These are just a few of the things I do for the upkeep in our program. Just like being in touch with nature, being a part of YRE fills my spirit as well.

YRE is has been a lively place lately. We hosted a Jr. High Con in mid March. There was a turn out of around 50 Jr. High youth from all over. The youth camped out in our classrooms, attended worship and workshops, ate together, hung out together, and had a great time. We got BIG thumbs up from everyone who attended. We had many of our MVUUF members volunteer to help make this happen. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to lead workshops, stayed with our youth the entire weekend, provided first aid, and came out at 2:00 AM to be the night watch adult!  This Con could not have happened without your generosity.

We also had an Easter Egg Hunt, which was great fun. An annual YRE tradition, this year the teens helped fill over 300 eggs that all the children got to hunt.

April YRE Events

April 6: Grocery Bag Earth Day project in Children's & Youth Worship

April 13: Class

April 20: Intergenerational service, YRE will be helping with service

April 27: Age of Reason for 2nd & 3rd graders. This is a 7 week program ending in an intergenerational service. All other classes continue as normal.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me at or call 436-3628. Thank you everyone for all of your support to our YRE program!


Are you between the ages of 18 and 35? Wondering where all of the young people are at the Fellowship? They are in the MVUUF young adult group, of course! The young adult group will meet on April 27 at 12:30 PM at the Fellowship; topic to be announced on the young adult listserve. The group also has several social activities coming up that will be announced on the listserve. For more information see Marisa Head or Jennifer Henry, or send an email to:

The Community Discussion Group is an adult group that meets every Sunday morning at 9:30 to 10:45 AM in the Founders' Room for fellowship and thought provoking discussion. A chance to let your hair down, speak your mind or say nothing at all, without criticism. Up close and personal. Please join us!


Sunday, April 6
Favorite Quotations

Winston Churchill said, "It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations." Well, we are educated, but we can still learn from the pithy sayings of others. As a verse in Proverbs says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Let's share some of our favorite quotes. Moderator:  Jim Faulconer


Sunday, April 13
Creativity and Its Many Forms

Webster's Dictionary describes creativity as "the ability or power to create, to bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make or bring into existence something new."  It can occur in many forms and situations from art to science to the family garage. We'll explore the phenomenon and share our own creative achievements. Moderator: Carol Vincent


Sunday, April 20
How Does Childhood Determine Adulthood?

Are we programmed by our early life? How much change is possible? Using transactional analysis we will look at childhood scripting. Learn what an electronic lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base learned about Joe Casto's brain. Moderator:  Joe Casto


Sunday, April 27
Overpopulation: Reality or Hype? (rescheduled for snowstorm)

In a 1967 magazine article, Paul Ehrlich (author of 1968's famous book The Population Explosion and currently the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University) predicted that the world would experience famines sometime between 1970 and 1985 due to population growth outstripping resources. Is Ehrlich completely off base in his overpopulation concerns, or was it just the timeline that he got wrong? Is population always a drain on limited resources or, as some suggest, can population itself comprise an important resource? Moderator: Ralf Grisard


The Women's Group is studying topics from The Spirit of Life UU curriculum through April 13. The Spirit of Life study is the adult part of the UUA's new Tapestry of Life series of courses on spirituality for all ages. The group explores a different aspect of spirituality each week, prompted by the lines of the familiar song. There are discussions and activities each Sunday at 9:30 AM, and all women are invited to attend.

Beginning April 20 through the summer, the women will take turns presenting a biography of UU women in history. You'll recognize many of these trailblazers! Feel free to drop in for individual topics. If you have any questions, contact Barb Weber or Shirley Forrest.


Upcoming discussions


April 6 

Wings Set Me Free: Hopes, Dreams and Expanding Vision


April 13
Come to Us: Closing and Continuing in the Future
April 20
Begin study of famous UU women in history



UUMen is coordinating collection and delivery of household goods to Catholic Social Services (CSS), which is finding housing and settling refugees from around the world, including an increasing number of Iraqi families. 


For a list of the items needed and for information about pickup and delivery, contact Richard Donnelly at

UUMen also will be volunteering to help clean and fix up houses into which these families will be moving. Clean up/fix up dates and times might be on short notice as CSS sometimes doesn't secure housing until a day or two before the family arrives. If you are interested in volunteering, let Richard know and he will put you on the email/phone call notification list.

MVUUF will use a third of the March and April 2008 basket collections (donations that are not designated as "pledges") to purchase beds for refugee families currently being settled in Dayton. This  dovetails with the efforts of the UUMen's Group which is organizing donations of labor and goods to help these families (see article above). Many  have several children, and there is a great need for twin beds, available for ninety five dollars to the lead agency, Catholic Social Services (CSS). Our goal is five beds!


Many of the refugees are Iraqis who worked with the U.S. in Iraq at great risk to themselves and their families. Others are from a variety of African countries. In December and January, ninety six families were settled in our area! You can learn more about the CSS refugee program on their website.

The Other Place logo

April 12 Menu

Mashed or Roasted Potatoes
Warm Mixed Vegetables
Desserts (thank you Dorothy Lane Market)
2% Milk and 100% Juices
To provide a dish, send an email to

Join us for "Midnight at the Oasis"!!


WE WILL NOT BE SNOWED OUT! The Real 2008 MVUUF Service Auction is happening Saturday, April 19 from 6:00 to 9:30 PM. It will be bigger and better now that we got the practice run out of the way. It is our favorite social event of the year, and our biggest fund raiser too, so we need everyone's help to make it a success. Plan to come for the scrumptious exotic foods and the magnificent treasures. Wear your middle eastern garb if you wish. Don't miss this annual festivity!

Your donations and volunteer help are still welcome! And it's not too late to get involved! Contact Scott Leonard at
Rev. Amy Russell
2008 Service Auction
Midnight at the Oasis
Saturday, April 19
6:00 to 9:30 PM
At the Fellowship
On Sunday, May 4, we will frolic around the May Pole in a celebration of the fertility of the earth manifesting this spring. This is for children, families, and individuals of all ages. Please bring a potluck item for lunch, a blanket, and wear your spring finest.  (We'll have tables if you don't want to sit on the ground.) There will be dancing, eating, fun for all, rain or shine! For more information or to help, see Natalie Spriggs or Jennie Hardy.
To celebrate Earth Day, the need for recycling and the ability of art to inspire, the Chalicelight Art Gallery presents a very special exhibition during the month of April. Beautiful artwork made entirely from materials that would have ended up in a landfill have been created by our talented members. Cindi Remm and Linda Yoder conceived the idea, led a workshop to create the art and hung the exhibit. After viewing these creative works of art, you'll see your "trash" in a whole new light!
The Fellowship Gourmets will be experiencing the cuisine of Thailand this month. All members and friends of MVUUF are welcome! 
April 26
6:00 PM
11 Brown Street
RSVP to Cyndi Reeves at

Sunday, April 20
If you're wild about films, join Cinemaniacs the third Sunday every month at The Neon movie theater for the 4:30 to 5:30ish showing.  The title and time will be sent by email late in the week just prior to the Sunday event. Everyone is welcome! After the movie, we meet in the lobby for fellowship and discussion. Send questions or requests to be added to the Cinemaniacs email list to Pete Hering at


THE SMART CHOICES is a women's group that meets at the Fellowship, the first and third Monday evenings each month at 7:30 PM until 9:00 PM. Our main purpose is to have an enjoyable evening out together. Sometimes we learn something new, sometimes we share a talent, sometimes we even go someplace special. It is a good way for the MVUUF women to get to know each other better. Many of us car pool, which is fun, in itself. Come and join us. There is no need to RSVP, just drop in and see what we are about.


April 7:  Come prepared to talk about a book that impacted your life.


April 21:  Sylvia Wince will teach us the American Manual Alphabet (with handout). Yes, you will really learn it in about an hour! With so many of us beginning to lose our hearing, it is an important communication tool to know.


The MVUUF Daytime Book Club meets on a Wednesday each month to discuss the chosen book of the month. We are not a serious book review group. Come even if you have not read the book we discuss. It is fun, we learn new things, and we go to lunch together afterwards, in a local restaurant. We like to go to restaurants that are not "chains". We are in the process of choosing books for this year's reading list. The books chosen must be currently available in local libraries, and they must have been read by the person who suggests the book. We meet at the Fellowship at 10:30 to 11:30 AM. Anyone is welcome!


April 9

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner)
May 7
For One More Day by Mitch Albom (author of Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
June (TBA)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The Evening Book Discussion Group will meet at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 8 at Alice Diebel's house to discuss Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. On May 13 the meeting will be at 7:00 PM at Cassie Rogers' house for a discussion of Funny in Farsi: a Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas.


New participants are welcome.  Contact Ann Snively if you would like more information about the group.


MVUUF Plant/Garage Sale

Saturday        May 17      9 AM to 4 PM


Garage Sale PhotoDo you remember the fun we had last year at the 2007 Plant/Garage Sale?


Then you know why we are excited about the one in 2008.  If not, come join us, see why we had so much fun!


Rejuvenate your landscape with the beautiful plants donated by our members, find the unique item you were searching for to put in your living room, then munch on the delicious baked goods prepared by loving hands.


We accept the following donations:

Plants, baked goods, household items,

 furniture, tools, electronics,

baby furniture, toys, baby items, baby clothes

books, CDs, DVDs, videos

If in doubt, just ask

(no clothes, baby clothes only)

Have truck, will pick up


We need helpers to set up, pricers, cashiers, tear down, etc., etc.  Flexible hours.

Contact Trena Swanke  434-8846


To donate plants or items, or to volunteer to help, please fill out the enclosed form by clicking on this link:




Dayton for Darfur