glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Monthly Newsletter of MVUUF
August 2008       Volume LV 12
MVUUF Building by Lew Hann
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Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee Street
Dayton, OH  45458
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American Values - Amy Russell
2008 Garage SaleIn July I took my summer study leave.  Among the wonderful things I did during my break was to visit Chautuaqua Institution in New York.  Chautauqua, for those of you who haven't heard of it, is a gated community on a lake in upstate New York that hosts a summer study program with intellectual, spiritual, and artistic programs.  My visit this summer was during their week of study of foreign policy.  Among the speakers I heard were a UU minister from Arlington, VA, Michael McGee, Sashi Tharoor, a former undersecretary general of the UN, and a professor of American foreign policy from UVA.  While each speaker spoke from their experience and their unique point of view, each one emphasized the common American values that underlie who we are.  These fundamental values must become a part of our foreign policy.

They spoke about our American Dream and what it used to mean in the world.  The American Dream stood for opportunity for every individual to pursue their own dream of happiness.  It stood for liberty, democracy, and individual freedom.  Many of these speakers echoed the feeling that the international community has become disenchanted with the new public face of the U.S.  They say that with the Iraq war, and with the disregard for human rights as demonstrated in Guantanamo and Abu Graib, the view of the United States is one of a bullying Goliath.  

The professor talked about our history as a nation that perceived the threats of the world as military threats.  Over the years of the Cold War, our nation built up our military to become stronger than all other nations combined.  Sashi Thoroor spoke about "soft power" as opposed to "hard power".  Our soft power includes the attraction that other countries have for our basic way of life.  Not just our consumerism, or just our wealth, but our values for freedom, democracy and human rights.

One of the speakers said that we have a choice in the future to present the face of Goliath, or the face of liberty and democracy.  He said that the actions that are taken after we choose our next President will determine the shape of the international opinion of the U.S.  We can choose to continue using our fear to drive the ratcheting up of military might and imperialistic aggression.  Or we can choose to use education and diplomacy to carry the best of our American values to other countries.  We can choose to see ourselves as the rulers of the world; we can choose to see our own viewpoint as the only valid viewpoint; or we can choose to open ourselves to our neighbors in the world and respect their values and viewpoints.

As Unitarian Universalists, we have long voiced our views that the values of liberty, freedom, and tolerance for others is at the heart of who we are.  We have been practicing in our congregations how to make these values work in community.  I hope that in this election year, we will join others in voicing these values as the foundation of foreign policy for any President that we elect.  As UU's, I'm sure we will continue to instill these values in the way we live with one another.
August 3 - Rev. Amy Russell
Our Ministry vs. Our Programs
At our last congregational meeting a question was asked about the difference between our ministry and our programs.  During GA this year, I pondered this question as I attended several workshops on different topics that shed some light for me on this question.  We'll explore the difference and ask those who wish to share their opinion.

August 10 - Rev. Amy Russell
A Look at Transcendentalism
Our Unitarian heritage was re-defined when several philosophers and writers met in Boston to talk about the nature of God.  Emerson, Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott all contributed to this idea of divinity being inherent in all things.

August 17 - Rev. Amy Russell
Eco-Justice: What is it and what can we do about it?
Eco-justice is known as the search for social equality and environmental sustainability.  At GA this year, Van Jones, an eco-justice activist who has created The Green Job Corps, spoke about the need in this country to look at the larger picture including our economic, environmental, and social justice issues.

August 24 - Rev. Amy Russell
In Her Image, In His Image
In Judaic-Christian traditions, the image of God has historically been a male one.  According to the Bible, humans were made in God's image.  How has this traditional image of God as a male patriarch affected many of us in terms of our relationship to religion itself and what does it mean or doesn't mean to us?

August 31 - Bob Lewis, MVUUF Member
The Dynamics of Spirituality
Finding your way as a "spiritual" person in the world involves a tension between going in and going out, withdrawal and engagement, centering and giving, reflection and action, contemplation and social justice.  Come and learn about the "blue heart."

The next Worship Committee meeting will be held on Monday, August 25, at 7:00 p.m. at the Fellowship.  All are welcome. Contact Mike O'Brien

A BRIEF HISTORY   -   By Don Ferguson
First Unitarian Church

Ministers at the First Unitarian Church (continued from last month)  Rev. Harold LeVesconte (1960 - 65) was installed as the new minister in September 1960.  He began a series of seminars entitled "What Unitarians Believe."  Discussions centered around what has been called "The Unitarian Trinity - Truth, Goodness, Beauty." 

In 1963 Rev. LeVesconte organized a debate between a theist and an atheist.  Dr. Thomas Holyoke, from the mathematics department of Antioch College, took the atheist approach.  Griscom Morgan, of Yellow Springs, countered with scientific evidence to support the theist position that there is a God. 

In 1964, the First Unitarian Church celebrated its 50th anniversary.  In 1965, Rev. LeVesconte led 700 marchers to city hall to protest the killing of James Reeb, a Unitarian minister killed in Alabama, and to protest the delay of Dayton's fair housing ordinance.  Rev. LaVesconte wanted to sell the church and move to another location.  One of the members said "Before I would let him sell the church, I would roll the stained glass window down Salem Avenue." 

Before his resignation in 1965, LeVesconte invited Stokely Carmichael to speak at First Unitarian Church.  The church was packed and received one of the largest plate collections ever recorded.  The church was without a minister for several years.  In 1968 the Rev. Edwin H. Wilson returned as minister for one year and became Minister Emeritus of First Church.

Rev. Gene Reeves (1969 - 1978), Associate Academic Dean at Wilberforce College, became our next minister. His sermons were given in world encompassing themes and were educational as well as spiritual.  Rev. Reeves and his wife, Joan, served the church in a grand fashion. Rev. Reeves earned a doctorate in philosophy while serving as minister. 

Rev. Sylvia Ford-Howe (1980 - 1981) served as minister for two years followed by Rev. Chuck Thomas (1984 - 1998).  Rev. Thomas was ordained at First Church.  He and his wife Nancy served the church until October 12, 1997, when we voted to sell the church and merge with the Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  We also voted to extend the contract of Rev. Thomas as interim minister to the end of March 1998.  In January 25, 1998, when MVUUF voted to accept the merger agreement with the First Unitarian Church, Judy Pickett said, "It is like we are children who have lived by ourselves for a long time now.  Suddenly, Momma is coming to live with us, and she has money!"
NatalieIt is funny how I embrace some change and trust that it will carry me to a new and wonderful place.  On the other hand, with some change I find myself digging my heels into the ground and fighting it all the way.  Regardless of how I take it, change usually leaves me in a wonderful place.  I look back on the journey and ponder how I got from point A to B.  Sometimes, I make this journey with style and grace, and other times like a bumbling idiot.  But I get there nonetheless.

I am sure you have heard or caught wind of the change that is about to happen in the Youth Religious Education program.  I am happy to report we are making this change with style and grace.  Some of our YRE children and youth, grades one through eight are about to embark on a wonderful journey of workshop rotation. This rotation is based on Howard Gardner's theory of people possessing multiple intelligences.  Instead of teaching children using only one of these intelligences (i.e. verbal, logical, etc.), workshop rotation uses more than just one.  One theme will be explored in a variety of ways using music, art, science, games, and more.  In the end, children will have many deep experiences on one topic.  Workshop rotation will support children in having more of their "ah-ha" moments.  That is truly what sold me!

Would you still like to learn more about workshop rotation and how it works?  Are you interested in volunteering in YRE this fall, but you are not sure where you fit in?  Do you have children that will partake in workshop rotation and would like to experience it for yourself?  Well, you are in luck!  We will be holding a workshop rotation orientation to help answer all your questions on Sunday, August 10 beginning at 12:30pm.  This will be a 2-hour workshop, lunch included, where participants get a chance to experience an actual workshop rotation.  All are welcome to join in on the fun - children and adults!  We hope to see you there!

Here is a schedule of our summer programming:

Preschool class
The preschool class will be participating in age-appropriate mother earth themed activities including gardening and learning what it means to recycle.  

Kindergarten through 8th grade
July 27:         Global Warming
August 3:      Children's/Youth Worship
August 10:    Recycled Art Workshop
August 17:    Recycling Charts
August 24:    Recycled Bags Workshop
August 31:    End of the Summer Earth Party

9th through 12th grade
Teachers for this class will help guide the teens in teen chosen activities that are based around the mother earth theme.  

YRE Scheduled Events:
August 3:       Picnic at the Park for all families at Cox Arboretum
August 10:     Workshop Rotation Orientation for all beginning at 12:30pm
August 17:     YRE Committee meeting at 12:30pm, all welcome
August 31:     *Last Day of Summer Programming
                      *Final day of the YRE Adopt-a-Book program (Thank you to all who donated!)
September 7: *First day of YRE Fall semester programming
                      *First day of YRE child and youth registration
As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.  Just a few reminders of how to contact me or stay connected with the YRE program:
DRE email:
DRE phone:  436-3628
YRE Parent Yahoo Group (get the latest information on the YRE program):
YRE Committee Yahoo Group (for anyone volunteer in the YRE program):

Smile, Natalie Spriggs-Trobridge; Director of Religious Education
The Sunday Morning Buddhist Meditation Group meets at 9:30 a.m. on every Sunday in the teen class room.  We have sharing, discussions, and meditations.  All are invited to attend.  Bring your questions or select readings for possible further discussion.  Or let us know if you'd like to lead a future Sunday morning meeting.  For further information contact Bruce Howorth (299-8517 or

The Wednesday Evening Buddhist Meditation Group meets at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month in the Women's group room classroom.  August dates are the 13th & 27th.  All are invited to attend.  We have sharing, discussions, and meditations.  Bring your questions or select readings for possible further discussion.  Or let us know if you'd like to lead a future Wednesday meeting.  For further information, contact Ron Rink ( or Bruce Howorth (
The Community Discussion Group for adults meets every Sunday morning at 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. in the Founders' Room for fellowship and thought provoking discussions led by member volunteers.  Topics include nearly everything under the sun.  Don't miss this chance to let your hair down, speak your mind or say nothing at all, without criticism. Up close and personal. Open to all. Please join us!
Sunday, August 3
Psychic Experiences.  Many people report examples of psychic experience: premonitions, telepathy, visions of ghosts, etc. Are these delusions, or are these for real?  What experiences have you had?  This we will explore.  Moderator: Jim Faulconer
Sunday, August 10
Small Towns That Have Disappeared. Our moderator interviewed 12 people who grew up in Alexandersville, a small town in the area where Woody's Super Market was later located.  He'll also talk about other small communities in the Miami Valley like Woodbourne, Johnsville, Dodson, Pyrmont and Dryer, that have disappeared over the years.  A 1869 Montgomery County map will be available to see the location of these former towns.  Tell us about a town that has disappeared in either your lifetime or before.  Moderator: Don Ferguson
Sunday, August 17
How To Waste Time and How Not To. Often we fritter away time on things such as hunting for lost keys, lost addresses and phone numbers. Let's talk about ways to cut down on unnecessary lost time so we have more time to waste on fun, relaxing, creative and rejuvenating activities.  Moderator: Sam Kramer
Sunday, August 24
Day-tripping.  In this age of soaring gas prices and busy lives with limited free time, we'll look at ways to explore the world closer to home. Tell us about favorite day or weekend trips you have taken that others may enjoy.  Bring photos, brochures or web site printouts to share.  Moderator: Lindy McDonough
Sunday, August 31
Our Working Lives. In observance of this Labor Day weekend, we'll talk about the importance of work in our lives.  Come prepared to share your varied work experiences, from you first childhood jobs, to careers, jobs from heaven and hell, and post-retirement jobs.
Moderator: Joe Casto

Do you consider yourself to be between the ages of 18-35? 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 be meeting on August 24th at 12:30 at the Fellowship; discussion topic will be announced on the young adult list-serve. The group also has several social activities coming up including a field trip to Cincinnati and a game night. For more information see Marisa Head or Jennifer Henry, or send an email to
Although the Evening Book Discussion Group is on summer vacation, we will have a social get-together at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 7 at Java Street Cafe on East Dorothy Lane to  talk about books and what we've been up to this summer.
The next book discussion will be at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 9 at Katherine Cruse's home to talk about Church of the Dog by Kaya McLaren.

New participants are welcome.  Contact Ann Snively if you would like more information about this group.
The Smart Choices Group
The Smart Choices Group is a women's interest group, open to members and friends of MVUUF.  It is a night out twice a month to enjoy each other's company and to do something together to enrich our lives in some way.  Contact person is Sylvia Wince.  There are no dues.  It is a drop-in activity.
August 11, 7:30 p.m.   Meet at the Fellowship to read, round-Robin style, a short story by Maeve Binchy.

August 25, 5:30 p.m.  Meet at Laurel Herminghausen's house for a pot luck dinner and swim in her pool.  RSVP Laurel.
The MVUUF Daytime Book Club meets on 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.  We learn new things and it is fun!  Afterwards, we go to lunch at a local restaurant.  We meet at the Fellowship from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.  Anyone is welcome!
August 6 - Funny in Farsi by Faroozeh Dumas
September 17 - The Return Journey by Maeve Bincy
The October book is Protect and Defend, by Richard North Patterson
November book is Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler
THE OTHER PLACE - 2nd Saturday of the Month

The Other Place logo

The menu for August 9th:
Fried or barbecued chicken, green beans, corn, fruit, juice (desserts are covered by DLM)
Contact Lucy Kazyak if you will help by contributing food or coming to serve.
The Friday Film Series Continues; Hosted by Social Concerns Committee

On August 1st we'll be screening Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars.  This stunning documentary captures the triumphant story of six musicians who escaped the horrific violence of Sierra Leone's civil war, landed in a West African refugee camp and formed a band that would go on to travel the world. An unbelievable testament to the human spirit, the refugees' journey exemplifies the power of music. Directed by Zach Niles and Banker White, this film was honored by the American Film Institute in 2005.

MoviesOn August 15th we'll watch No End in Sight, This in-depth, Oscar-nominated documentary from filmmaker (and former Brookings Institution fellow) Charles Ferguson examines the decisions that led to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the handling of the subsequent occupation by President George W. Bush and his administration. Featuring exclusive interviews with central players and detailed analysis, the film pulls no punches as it chronicles the twists and turns America took on the path to war.

Both films will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Founders' Room. Bring a Snack to share if you can.  The discussion afterwards is always enlightening plus it's a cheap date!

Coyote Run AND Mother Grove (featuring MVUUF's "own" Brad Sprauer!)
Thursday, September 11 will be the date of an amazing Celtic Rock dual concert with Coyote Run AND Mother Grove in our own fellowship.  The rafters will be shaking, and you won't be able to sit still.  Put this on your calendar and come join us for this "Funktabluous" opportunity coming right to our own sanctuary.
Plan to bring your favorite people with you to enjoy this energetic, fun and diverse concert experience.
Tickets will be available for $12-- a great *weeknight deal*-- starting August 16 ($15 at the door).  Mark your calendar for September 11, 7 p.m. concert!
If you are able to help promote, set up, or provide home hospitality for band members, please contact Genevieve Harvey at
2008 Garage SaleCoyote Run -
Known as "the thinking person's Celtic Rock band," this highly literate group out of Williamsburg, Virginia cuts their own path; their exploding popularity is a testament to the success of this plan. The band headlines and performs in major Celtic festivals, clubs, pubs and concert halls throughout the United States. They also tour Ireland and Scotland.
Coyote Run has released six CDs to date and is currently working on their seventh which
will be released Summer of 2008. Their albums are unusual, rich compilations of mostly
original music, interwoven with traditional melodies and either original lyrics or lyrics
drawn from literary giants such as Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Robert Louis
Stevenson, etc. Gene Shay of Philadelphia's WXPN commented after hearing Coyote
Run that the band represented the "take no prisoners approach to Celtic music," while Art
Ketchen of the magazine Celtic Beat, writes that "Listening to Coyote Run makes me
think of a large...library, where every book you open gives you a view of something

2008 Garage SaleMother Grove -

Mother Grove has enjoyed great success and critical acclaim with their self-proclaimed "Kilt Rock" sounds. Mother Grove has performed all over the country and has been chosen to perform with such Celtic rock  powerhouses as Seven Nations, Black 47 and Young Dubliners as well as mainstream groups such as the Violent Femmes, Blue Oyster Cult and Berlin. They have released 5 CDs; their debut disc, "Listen to Your Mother", "Mother May I" (which contains 6 live tracks), "TRÍ", "Live At The Dublin Pub" and "Mother Grove's Fifth."

Mother Grove blends original rock music with traditional and not-so traditional Celtic instruments to create a sound that is unique, fresh yet timeless.

Mother Grove is influenced by such Celtic Rock style bands as Flogging Molly, Seven Nations, Bad Haggis and The Pogues to name a few, as well as classic, alternative and progressive rock artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Jethro Tull, Ben Harper and others.

Mother Grove truly shines live. With unstoppable grooves and multi-layered rhythms, the music dares you stand still. The band has a professionalism indicative of their many collective years as musicians. They interact with the crowd to such an extent, by the end of the evening you feel as if you are a part of the band. Lyrically, Mother Grove draws from many sources; historical, traditional, spiritual and personal. The words are then entwined with memorable melodies and beautiful harmonies. The band stops short of calling themselves a "Celtic Rock" band, for they are much, much more.
CineManiacs - Sunday, August 17th
If you're wild about films, join Cinemaniacs the third Sunday every month at The Neon movie theater for the 4:30-5:30ish 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 ( or 974-0360)
Thank you all who have made your financial commitment for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. As of July 14, we have received over $202,000. We have a goal of $217,000, so need about $15,000 more. We have heard from 142 of you so far (pledge units) and need to hear from about 40 more of you. Remember - we don't want to have to close the gap at the end of the year, so please let us know what you can commit. For those of you who can afford to give more - thank you for helping those facing financial difficulty.
On another note - the 2007-2008 fiscal year ended June 30. If you have not met your pledge for last year - please do so soon.
To all of you who give so generously - whatever your means - we all thank you. You are what keeps a strong, liberal religious presence in the Dayton area. Keep the flame alive! 
MUSIC AT THE FELLOWSHIP: Jeanette Eakins, Choir Director
Looking for a place to release your inner voice?  Some place to let loose the range of emotions only Bach or Greg Gilpin or Handel or Mary Lynn Lightfoot can help you express?  (All should recognize at least two of those names.)  
Come to Choir and discover the delight of singing and sharing with other U-U amateur musicians.  You don't have to know anything about music to be in Choir.  The only requirements are that you like to sing and would like to be part of a vital element of services at MVUUF.
Rehearsals are held each Wednesday evening from 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m..  We will begin our new year of singing on August 20 with a carry-in dinner at 6:30 p.m.; rehearsal will follow at 7:30.
Come join us and feel the joy of camaraderie through singing.  You will discover talent you were unaware of, in yourself and others, and also appreciate contributing to the overall experience of a service.  If you have any questions, contact Jeanette Eakins at or 937-750-4073.
1.  Why is it a wetland?

Wetlands aren't always wet!  But they must have enough water during the growing season to support wetland loving plants.  Typical wetland love plants like Swamp Milkweed. Red-footed Spike-Rush, and Green Ash trees thrive in our MVUUF wetland; in fact, 63% of the plants in our wetlands are significant wetland species.  This year, with all the rain, maybe the botanists among us will discover even more and bring the percentage up.  The current score is 75 different species of plants, 47 of which have adapted to growing in oxygen starved, soggy soil.  (See the wonderful booklet the Women's Group put together last summer, with photos and the wetland classification of each plant.)

So it takes water, plants adaptable for growth in wet conditions, soil.  Our wetland exists because the back half of our beautiful 5 acre suburban lot is comprised of Brookston Silty Clay loam.  We used to farm this type of soil up in my childhood home in Union County, Ohio.  During a wet spring, like this one, you could row a boat over the cornfield.

Brookston soil has a hard layer of clay about 2 - 3 feet down that is almost waterproof.  So during winter and early spring the upper part of the soil saturates and is very slow to dry.  During these periods of standing water, you may see Canada Geese and Mallards and even an occasional Wood Duck as you scan the wetland from the Gathering Space.

2.  How do we take care of it?

Our wetland virtually takes care of itself. I would offer as proof a 1956 aerial photo from the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Montgomery County.  On the photo you can make out the lovely old farm house across Yankee Street from our entrance.  The 2 acre parallelogram that is our property looks very much as it does today - add a building and a parking lot

3.  What needs to be done and when should we do it?
A.  Fix the "leak."  The storm drain directly east of the children's play center has eroded so
      that storm water, the water source for the wetland, is running out  4" to 6" inches below
      the surveyed outlet.  Filling with some good clay would solve this and provide another
      4 inches of standing water during wet periods.
       Neat Note:
  All of the rainwater from the   church roof is piped into the wetlands.
B.  Some trees invading the north end--Silver Maple, Callery Pearl, some Cottonwood --
      should be removed.  Too much shade will limit the plant diversity.  The absence of
       large trees indicates a history of low-growing herbaceous plants.
C.  Monitor and remove invasive species.  Canada Thistle, Amur Honeysuckle,
      Callery Pear, Purple Loosestrife and Reed Canary Grass are culprits.

Joe Zimmerman, although no longer Grounds Chairman, is still interested in the wetland.  He has promised to organize a Wetlands Work Day some time in Octobe.  (And we have Dave Rengel's blessing.)

Another FAQ is the spiritual and educational value of the wetlands. There are many ideas worth discussing - later.

- Dane Mutter




All members and friends of the Fellowship are invited to participate in a nonpartisan voter registration drive on Saturday morning, August 16 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.  There are many different ways in which you can participate: going door-to-door registering people, positioning yourself at a strategic location (supermarket, post office, shopping center [we'll have specific places worked out]), writing postcards to remind people to vote, bringing food for our end-of-drive lunch, helping to set up and take down lunch, donating cash to defray costs.  There is a role in this drive to suit each one's capacities and disposition.  So please plan to participate.  Please sign up at the church office or contact Bob Lewis (937.350.7763) or to find out location.
Claudia Bailey's mom is in ICU in Cleveland. Claudia appreciates your care and support. 

Thoughts of love go out to Kathleen Pennington whose niece was killed in automobile accident. 

Ben Olive is now residing at Hillspring of Springboro Health Care Center, 325 E. Central Ave.  Springboro, OH  45066.  Cards will be appreciated.

Alice Diebel is sadden by the death of a couple of her friends.

Kriss Gang received tragic news about the death of his cousin.

We will be saying goodbye to Jim Poltrone. Jim has a new job in Columbus and is preparing to move.
2008 Garage SaleI have been fascinated by photography since age 12, when I received my first Kodak Baby Brownie camera. Over the years, I have tried all the various film formats, including 35mm, 60mm, 4x5 inch sheet film, and more recently, digital. When shooting film, I always did my own developing and enlarging. In these digital times I have become proficient using the computer to process and print my images.  
I hope to continue developing my ability to "see" the picture and to refine my photographic vision, in a way which gives pleasure to me, as well as to those who view my work.

   - Lew Hann
Photographs by Lew Hann will be featured in the Chalicelight Art Gallery through the month of August.