glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
April 16-30, 2009
~  A Welcoming Congregation  ~
MVUUF Building by Lew Hann
Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
8690 Yankee Street, Dayton, OH  45458
Words from Rev. Amy & Board President, Alice Diebel
Please take a few minutes to read the letter from Rev. Amy here, Letter from Rev. Amy
Below is a letter from Board President, Alice Diebel:

Dear friends,


It is for today, and for times we shall never see. Those are the words I used to close my first board meeting last week.[1] The words reflect the important work we all do in this church to take care of the things we care about and to build a future we cannot predict. Some of us get caught up in the moment, needing to take care of business, others work hard to plan ahead, think through the consequences of our work and the kind of church we should be. We all do both from time to time, and sometimes our work raises the concerns of others. Questions are often raised when change is proposed, even when that change is just that - proposed. "What are they doing?"


In my new role as president, I have begun to share a vision that considers four pillars of church life: worship, religious education, fellowship and caring, and social justice. The concept is not original. The Reverend Richard Gilbert, a UU, writes about four dimensions of the religious life in the church: 1) the church as a worshipping community, 2) the church as a caring community in which a mutual ministry operates to meet personal needs, 3) the church as a community for life-span religious education, and 4) the church as a community of moral discourse and action. I proposed during our pledge drive that our stewardship needs to encompass all of these dimensions.


Stewardship is financial, but it is also more than financial. It implies that we are responsible for things we do not own, that we need to care for these things for future generations. For example, environmentalists often talk about stewardship of the planet so it is protected for future generations. Our stewardship calls on us to preserve our values and our place in Dayton so that future generations will have a religious home that provides a thinking religion. But how do we preserve our values and our future?


Part of stewardship is participating in the life of the congregation as it looks ahead. Looking ahead may imply change and it is important that we all carefully consider changes that are being proposed. In our church much change comes from the committees of the church that create ideas and want to bring them to the larger congregation for consideration. Several ideas have come from the Social Concerns Committee that require attention by the congregation. They are creating a plan to engage the congregation in discussion about enlarging the social action mission. This discussion is a stewardship question that we all need to consider.


One of my goals as president is to encourage greater deliberation in the congregation, on the board and among all the leaders and congregants. Some have expressed concern about what the Social Concerns Committee is considering. These concerns need to be heard. While some in the congregation do have great passion for social justice, it is not all we do in this fellowship. But in reflecting on church life and on church growth, it is likely to be an important area to define and make more explicit. I think the best way to do that is through public conversations, especially in small groups where real listening can occur and then in congregational meetings. Even the UUA General Assembly meeting of congregations held every year spends most of its agenda on social action issues. In that large setting, the ideas come to the floor of the assembly out of small groups, first. 


I welcome the discussion and hope you will be part of it. I also hope that all the ideas and values that people have can be revealed through dialogue and that positions do not become entrenched before the dialogue occurs - on any of the many sides of the issue. Our stewardship of our church as a place for the future depends on our full and open deliberation and work. Isn't that what we are stewards of - a place to foster thoughtful, caring people of action?


It is for today

            And for times we shall never see

            So let us be about the task

            The materials are very precious

            And they are very perishable

            May it be so.


[1] Former MVUUF President Kriss Gang also used these words. We got them from different sources, connected through our past UU churches. Serendipity is a beautiful thing.

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Keeping Up with Our Members
Around the Fellowship
YRE Information
Don't Forget!
Save the Date!
April 19 - Eating Ethically  Rev. Amy Russell
~ On this Earth Day, we'll examine the concept of developing habits of food buying that help our local communities and the environment.  At last year's UU General Assembly this issue was chosen as the Study Action Issue for the next few years. 
April 26 - Do UUs Practice Secular Dogma?  Jack Fenic
~ As UUs, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the right of conscience when it comes to religious belief, but do we have this same open-mindedness in secular matters?  Does liberal religion imply liberal politics?  Jack Fenic, longtime MVUUF member, explores these issues.
May 3 - Radical Hospitality: Greeting Our Neighbors Everywhere  Rev. Amy Russell
~ Every Sunday, we greet new people in our services.  Everyday, we see strangers in our lives.  Rev. Marilyn Sewell says, "We are not separate; we are one.  No strangers, really, just part of our lost selves reclaimed."  How do we practice "radical hospitality"?
May 10 - Social Justice Mission  Rev. Amy Russell & the Social Concerns Committee
~ What is our social justice mission as a congregation?  Our second principle calls us to "justice, equity, and compassion in human relations".  Does this mean we should be working on social justice as a whole congregation, as individual groups, or as individuals in our own lives?  Should we be working on issue advocacy, community action, and global systemic justice?  We'll hear from people with different views.
Keeping Up With Our Members
Kristin, the Office Administrator, would like to thank the congregation for her very generous wedding gift, and all the warm wishes & congratulations!

Deb Miyake is recovering after gall bladder surgery.

Please welcome our newest additions to the congregation: Cyra Crooms-Cobb, Daria Crooms-Cobb, Heath Irish, & Gunnar Frederick!  These four children were dedicated at the April 12 service.

Please welcome our new members to the MVUUF community!  Drew Collins, Lori Damron, Pete Davis, Mickey Gould-Oldt, Julie Harpest, D.J. Henry, Nate Hobson, Deborah Hobson, B.J. O'Brien, Ed Oldt, & Bobbye Sylva. 
YRE Schedules
YRE Calendar for April:
Chalice Children class (Preschool and Kindergarten): Pre-K/K begin in class at 11:00 a.m.
April 19 - Class: Curriculum - Chalice Children
April 26 - Class: Curriculum - Chalice Children
Grades 1st through 8th:
Workshop Rotation, April's theme: World Religions: Purpose of Life
1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade class:
April 19 - Workshop 2: Buddhism; purpose of life
April 26 - Workshop 3: Islam; purpose of life

4th and 5th grade class: 
April 19 -
Workshop 3: Islam; purpose of life
April 26 - Workshop 1: Neo-paganism; purpose of life

6th and 8th grade class: 
April 19 -
Workshop 1: Neo-paganism; purpose of life
April 26 - Workshop 2: Buddhism; purpose of life

Senior High Class (Grades 9th-12th):
April 19
- "Popcorn Theology"
April 26 - Planning period for Youth Worship/service projects

You can view the DRE's letter here: Letter from Natalie
**For more detailed information about the YRE program, as well as YRE events and schedules, please go to our web site at and click on "Religious Education."
Around the Fellowship
Service Auction is Finally Here!
No longer will you be forced to listen to Kate Halpin beg you for donations, because the MVUUF Service Auction is here!!  Don't forget:  Sat. April 18 at MVUUF.  Silent Auction starts at 6:30 p.m. and the Live Auction starts at 7:30 p.m.  Bring your calendars, checkbooks, and dancing shoes!  This is going to be a great event - see you there!

Community Discussion Group Topics*
April 19
- What We Eat  Moderator: Carol Vincent
April 26 - Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life  Moderator: Lindy McDonough
*This adult group meets every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in the Founders' Room for fellowship and thought-provoking discussions led by member volunteers.  For a more detailed listing of topics, please see the Sunday bulletin.

Greg Greenway Concert
On Sat. April 25 at 8:00 p.m., the Fellowship will host a return concert by folk singer/songwriter Greg Greenway.  The last time Greg was here, he rocked the house; so this is a show you won't want to miss!  Suggested donation is $12 in advance and $14 at the door.  Learn more about Greg and hear some of his music at  For details, contact Joe Zimmerman at or 436-3473.

Daytime Book Club Titles
April 22 - Water for Elephants, by Stephanie Gruen
May 20 - Flight of the Falcon, by Daphne DuMaurier
June 17 - The Wayward Bus, by John Steinbeck
We meet one Wednesday a month, at 10:30 a.m., in the Fellowship Library.  All are welcome!

ChaliceLight Gallery Features Maury Wyckoff
April 5 - April 30
, Maury Wyckoff will be exhibiting his collection of visually captivating photographs, "Colors of the Night/Dreams of the Day."  Come join us for a reception, Sun. April 26, 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Fellowship.  For more information, Maury can be contacted at 335-3363 or

Prayer Breakfast for GLBT Rights
Woven Branches, an interfaith GLBT advocacy group, is holding a Prayer Breakfast on Fri. May 1, 7-9 a.m. at the Women's Club.  A group from MVUUF will be attending.  Rev. Rod Kennedy from First Baptist will be speaking.  For tickets, which are $20 each, please see Joe Law.
New Group:  Mind, Body & Spirit
Due to the positive response to the Spirit in Practice classes, Mind, Body & Spirit group has been formed.  This group will meet the 4th Friday of every month at 7 p.m., running for about an hour.  Our first meeting will be an informal gathering on April 24.  The meetings will be primarily experiential in nature and will explore such topics as ritual, prayer, yoga, art, etc.  Everyone is welcome and we encourage you to join us to develop a worship experience that will inspire you & help you make changes in your life.  If you would like more information, please contact Alice Diebel, Deb Miyake, Amanda Herbe or Toni Duron in the Gathering Space after Sunday service.

YRE Committee Seeking New Members
The YRE Committee is a core group of people who work as a team to provide support to the DRE, make decisions and contribute to the Great End in RE.  They also help the DRE build and support children and youth education through events and programs.  There are six members on the committee and each commits to a three year term.  Committee members are needed to contribute in meetings, bring energy and ideas, and fill a committee role, such as chairing one event during the church year.  Parents and all interested parties are welcome to attend the YRE meetings, every third Sunday at 12:30 p.m.  If you are interested in becoming a member of the YRE committee, please see Natalie Spriggs-Trobridge, Genevieve Harvey or Shannon Harper. 

Honoring Our Loved Ones
On our May 31 service, we'll be honoring all those loved ones who died in the past year.  This is a long held tradition at MVUUF.  Please send Kristin all names you would like read at the service.  She can be reached at or 436-3628.

Offering for April
The Social Concerns Committee invites plate offerings for Reach Out Montgomery County, a provider of healthcare services for the underserved/uninsured.  Healthcare professionals volunteer their time, so the greatest financial need is for medicine, with the most urgent need for inhalers and diabetes medication.  In 2006, the State of Ohio awarded Reach Out the first Charitable Pharmacy License in the state, and the average cost per prescription is $9.00.  30% of non-pledge donations each Sunday in April will go to Reach Out for medicines.  For more information, please visit

Need an Updated MVUUF Directory?
If you would like a current MVUUF directory, please contact Kristin via email at or phone at 436-3628.  She can send you a hard copy in the mail or email you an electronic version.

Personnel Committee Members Needed
If you work in HR or have other experience working with personnel issues, the Fellowship Personnel Committee may be a good volunteer opportunity for you.  Ann Snively, chair of the committee, would like to recruit two additional committee members.  It's a one-year-at-a-time commitment, and meetings are on an "as needed" basis.  Contact Ann Snively if you would be willing to serve in this capacity.
Don't Forget!
**Cinemaniacs will meet April 19 at the Neon Theater.  Please call Pete Hering at 974-0360 for more information.
**Smart Choices will meet Thur., April 16 at 2 p.m. at Laurel Herminghausen's house.  Her address is 5613 Kirkstone Dr., off Paddington Rd. in Centerville.  We will watch the movie, Billy Eliott.  Popcorn will be served.  Contact Laurel at for directions.  See you there!  Smart Choices is an informal group open to all women who are MVUUF members or Friends.  Contact Sylvia Wince at for more information.
**Evening Book Group will meet at the Java Street Café (2056 E. Dorothy Ln.) on Tues., April 14 to discuss Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult.  May's selection is Pagan Christ, by Tom Harpur.  Contact Ann Snively.  New participants are always welcome!
Save the Date!
**The next meeting of Smart Choices is May 21.  Carpool at 11:45 to Springfield.  We'll eat lunch & visit a pawn shop.
 **The next Saturday lunch at St. Vincent de Paul Hotel is May 9.  Sign up in the Gathering Space to work/donate food.