glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
January 1-15, 2010
~  A Welcoming Congregation  ~
MVUUF Building by Lew Hann
Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
8690 Yankee Street, Dayton, OH  45458
Click on the headings below to navigate directly to these topics!
Letter from the Minister
Keeping Up with Our Members
Around the Fellowship
Printable MVUUF Calendar!
Letter from the DRE
YRE Information
Slate of Candidates & Bios
Don't Forget!
Save the Date!
Letter from the Minister

When to Call Your Minister


Sometimes people will call me, saying apprehensively, "I really don't want to bother you, and I'm not sure if this is something I should bother you with...".  Many people in our UU settings didn't grow up in a church or religious community and aren't sure what a minister's job is or when they should call me.  Others tell me that they had a preconceived idea of a minister as an authority figure, and didn't feel comfortable calling me for that reason.


While there are many good reasons to call me, here's a few:


-          Someone you love has died

-          You've lost a job or you're considering a career change

-          You're considering a major change like a move or a divorce

-          You're feeling down and want to talk about it

-          You're looking for help in your spiritual journey, considering various spiritual practices

-          Some situation has called up a moral question in your mind

-          You'd like to get more active in the Fellowship

-          You hear a sermon and it stirs some questions for you

-          You have questions about what's going on in the Fellowship


A minister's job is many things.  But one of them is to be a presence in the life of the members.  I like to be a part of your lives.  I like to know what's going on with you.  So, if you don't have a specific reason for calling me, but you'd just like to know me better, call anyway.  Or come to lunch on Thursdays at Panera Bread.  I'll look forward to knowing you better.


~ Rev. Amy Russell

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Quick Links

January 3 - Meditation on the New Year  Rev. Amy Russell
~ With meditations and readings, we'll bring in the new year, in a quieter but celebratory mood.  We'll also welcome some new members!

January 10 - Soul, Spirit, Mind?  Rev. Amy Russell
~ Thomas Moore sees differences between the earthy, centered soul and the outward-reaching spirit.  Some people might call this mind/body and spirit.   What's the difference and who cares?

January 17 - What is Your Dream?  Honoring MLK, Jr.  Intergenerational  Rev. Amy Russell and Natalie Spriggs-Trobridge
~ In honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, we'll dream some dreams of our own with our youth members helping us out!
January 24 - Women of Peace  Rev. Amy Russell
~ We'll open our Season of Non-Violence by honoring women of peace.  Jane Addams, a Unitarian woman and Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese political activist, have both been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  We'll look at how these women dedicated themselves to a more peaceful world.  
January 31 - Our Sacred Mountains  Jim Farinet
~ Virtually every religion of the world has a sacred mountain or mountains.  We will look at how mountains reflect and inform religions and how mountains connect many cultures and faiths.
Keeping Up With Our Members
Bill Feeman's Parkinson's disease has taken a turn for the worse, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  If you'd like to send him a card, his address is:
6445 Far Hills Ave.  Apt. # 418
Centerville, OH  45459
For all those members who are experiencing difficult times in their lives, please know that your Fellowship community is here to support you.
Printable MVUUF Events Calendar!
Click HERE for a printable version of the MVUUF calendar!  This calendar is only for the upcoming two week period, but it will be updated for every Forum.  It doesn't include outside group events, so always check with Kristin or on the web site for the most up-to-date, expanded calendar.
A Letter from the DRE

Growing up, I never really went to church.  I would "try" churches through friends' churches; going to Sunday school, lock-ins (over nights) and church Bible schools.  However, nothing really ever stuck.  I was one of those children who asked the questions that most children may be discouraged to ask.  I remember visiting one of my friend's churches and asking her reverend, "So when you die and if nothing happens, will you feel like you have wasted all your life believing in something that wasn't the truth."   I guess I have been UU all along!

At times, you may ask yourself, "Why should my child go to a UU Sunday school (or as we call it Religious Education)?"  Well the first thing that comes to my mind, is that UU Religious Education programs provide a safe place for children and youth to ask those questions they may not be able to in other places in their lives.  Our YRE programs provide a place for your child to be around peers whose families have somewhat of the same beliefs your family does.  It also supports families whose beliefs are NOT the same as ours, and that is wonderful as well.  Tolerance, acceptance, diversity, peace, love....all of these values are strongly supported and taught in UU YRE programs across the globe. 

Here is another thought may cross a parent's mind, "I am perfectly capable of teaching my child what they need to know for their religious education."  I have no doubt in my mind that is true.  However, what about camaraderie?  Our UU children in today's world are surrounded by, well not very many UU's.  So why not provide a place for your child where he/she can be around other UU children.  Where other children may ask the same questions your child has.  No doubt in my mind that children here in our YRE program build STRONG friendships that they carry with them throughout their lives.  I see it every Sunday!

"Well good then, we will go to church every once in a while."  Is that enough?  Can your child build those relationships with other children just by going to church every once in a while.  Can you?  Would your child feel uplifted and in a safe enough environment to ask those questions he/she may have if they do not know their UU peers very well?  These are questions I cannot answer for you, just something to think about.  I guess it comes down to your family's life style.  Will church be a part of your family's life?  When families are so busy today, church may easily be the first thing to go.   So it takes commitment and family understanding that going to church more times than not is part of your family's lifestyle, if this is what you so choose.

I recently read a wonderful article by Tony Larsen titled, "Should My Child Go to Sunday School."  Larsen writes, "Religion is like sexuality. If you don't teach your children about it, they'll learn about it in the street. And what they learn there will not necessarily be healthy." I encourage you to read Larsen's article in its entirety.  To do so, go to:

All of this Sunday school talk leads me to an event that we would love all parents and guardians (and anyone else who has interest in our YRE program here at MVUUF) to attend.  The YRE committee is hosting a parent round table discussion on Sunday, January 3, directly after service in the sanctuary.  This will be a short 30 minute discussion and childcare is included.  We will use this time to listen to your thoughts on the importance (or not importance) of YRE in your family's life, how the YRE program is fitting your needs, what we can do to better fit your family's needs, as well as answer any questions you may have about the YRE program.  Please join us!  If you are unable to participate in the parent round table discussion but have thoughts or questions about the YRE program, please contact me (contact information below). 

On another note to serve as a reminder, YRE has begun a new Nursery Care and Child Care check in system where families who use these services will be required to sign in and out their children.  This will be up and running at some point in December.  This is just one more procedure in place to help keep our children safe while at MVUUF.

Finally, I would like to also let families know that the family dinner sign ups are now taking place.  The sign-up sheet is located in the gathering space.  This year, it was decided that families would be grouped together in groups of 3 or 4 and have dinner together once a month for three months (taking turns hosting).  This is a wonderful opportunity for your family to get to know another family outside of Sunday mornings.  This is one way that we build community here at MVUUF!  If you have more questions about this, please let me know. 

As always, if you have any questions please let me know.  You can call me at 436-3628.  Thank you everyone and have a wonderful & blessed New Year!

Smile, Natalie; Director of Religious Education
YRE Calendar for January:

Chalice Children class (Preschool) 
January 3- Class: Me and My World - I can help
January 10- Class: Me and My World - I can listen

Kindergarten - 5th grade class:
January 3
 - Cbildren's Worship
January 10 - Workshop Rotation
                        ~ K & 1st grade:  Workshop 1 - An Afghan Tale of Fear
                        ~ 2nd & 3rd grades:  Workshop 2 - An Iroquois Tale of Peacemaking
                        ~ 4th and 5th grades:  Workshop 3 - An Appalachian Tale of Building Bridges

6th - 12th grade class: 
January 3 - Youth Worship
January 10- Class: Neighboring Faiths
Family Dinners
Want to get to know other families with children in the YRE program?  Sign up for family dinners!  Sign ups end January 10, so sign up in the Gathering Space today!!  Sharing dinner with others is a time-honored way to build relationships.  The Family Dinners program groups 3 families together for a monthly dinner.  This is a 3 month commitment:  you will host one month and be a guest the other two months with the same group of families.  We will have two "sessions" of family dinners, one each in winter and spring.  Sign up for one or both to get to know more YRE families!  
**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

Community Discussion Group Topics*
January 3 - "Our Personal Highs and Lows of 2009"  Moderator: Helena Gerrard
January 10 - "Favorite Books of 2009"  Moderator: Carol Vincent
*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.

Daytime Book Club Title*
January 20
- Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
February 17 - Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
March TBA - Spite Fences, by Trudy Krisher
April TBA - Women of Brewster Place, by Gloria Naylor
*We meet one Wednesday a month, at 10:30 a.m., in the Fellowship Library.  We then go out for lunch together.  All are welcome!

Men Who Cook 3.0
The third annual Men Who Cook is scheduled for the evening of Sat., January 16, 2010. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the men of MVUUF will share their culinary skills with those fortunate enough to have a ticket to the event.  Tickets are $30, and all proceeds will go to the general fund of MVUUF.  Space is limited, so be sure to get your tickets right away.  You can purchase tickets on Sunday mornings in the Gathering Space after service, or you can reserve tickets by contacting Bill Dugger, Joe Law, Bob Lewis, Jim Poltrone, or Denny Smith.  Men of MVUUF: You should have received an email inviting you to participate.  If you didn't receive the message but would like to take part, just get in touch with one of the men listed above.  There's no such thing as too many cooks!


Food Fanciers
Gary Courts will demonstrate how to make Edamame Hummus Dip with Pita Chips on January 22 at 2 p.m. in the Fellowship kitchen.  All are invited - and it's deliciously fun!


Evening Book Club
The Evening Book Club will meet at 7 p.m. on Tues., January 12 at Boston Stoker (behind the DLM at Far Hills and Whipp) to discuss The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  New participants are welcome.  Contact Ann Snively for more information.


What Moves Us
"What Moves Us" is a UU curriculum dealing with UU theology and its meaning in our lives.  This seminar provides a framework for deep and longtime UUs to engage in theological reflection, not as an intellectual exercise, but as a process of meaning-making that equips one for living in the world as a UU person of faith.  This program explores the life experiences of both historic and contemporary UU theologians, highlighting that which caused in them a change of heart, a new direction, new hope, and a deeper understanding of their own liberal faith.  This course will be offered Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m., January 26-March 30.  It will be led by Amy Russell.  Sign up in the Gathering Space.


Chalicelight Gallery
Beginning January 13, the Chalicelight Gallery will be showcasing the work of Cathy Jeffers.  Cathy is an artist and a teacher.  She works for Dayton Public Schools teaching art to emotionally disturbed children and at Wright State where she is an adjunct professor working with future elementary school teachers to give them the basics of art education philosophy and techniques.  Cathy made her first quilt in 2003 and after many years of experimenting and layering, has discovered her unique style.  Her work has been shown in Ohio, Hawaii, Oregon, Nebraska, and many other states as well.  Her quilt, The Artist and the Mermaid, is now on tour until 2011 with the Quilt National, an international quilt show.  The focus of her show is about the many people she's met, imagined, or would like to know.  For more information on Cathy, please visit

Martin Luther King Memorial March
Participate with others from the Fellowship in participating in the MLK, Jr. march on Mon., January 18.  The Dayton march from the four corners of the city to the Courthouse will begin around 11 a.m.  If you are interested in carpooling from the Fellowship, please meet in the parking lot at 10:30 a.m.  If you live closer to Dayton, meet us at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.  Please let Bill Ross know if you're planning to attend.  Also contact him with any questions at 520-2481.  See you there!

Offering for January
The Social Concerns Committee invites plate offerings for the Wesley Community Center of Dayton.  The Wesley CC was founded in 1966 during the Dayton race riots and is located on Dayton's West Side.  The Center's mission is "helping others through God-centered principles."  Although the Center is faith-based, it serves all persons without regard to race, religion, sex, age, or sexual orientation and maintains a non-proselytizing stance.  Center programs include after school childcare, scouting, youth leadership development and senior nutrition and transportation programs.  The Center also offers self-sufficiency classes, motivational counseling, job preparation, and computer literacy.  An important and primary principle of the Center is to enable families and individuals to become self-sufficient and to be able to give back to the community.  The generosity exhibited by MVUUF in becoming a supporter of the Wesley Center is most appreciated.

Guest at Your Table
Guest at Your Table is the UU Service Committee annual fundraiser that puts UU faith in action, by raising funds to help people struggling for basic human rights.  The fundraiser ends January 9.  Please make your check out to UUSC, and return it to Maureen O'Meara or Kristin Freeman (Fellowship Administrator) before January 9. 

Congregational Meeting
The Congregational Meeting will be on Sun., January 17 at 12:15 p.m. in the MVUUF Sanctuary.  Agenda items will include the election of Board members, Program Council representatives, and the Nominating Committee.  We will also give the Unsung UU Award.  Please plan to attend.

Slate of Candidates
For biographies on the following candidates, please CLICK HERE.

The Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the following slate of candidates to be voted on at the Congregational Meeting on January 17, 2010.


BOARD                                                                            PROGRAM COUNCIL
President - Alice Diebel                                                      Activities - Rita Schindel
Vice President - Karen Evans                                             Communications - Lindy McDonough
Secretary - Joe Law                                                           LRE - TBA
Treasurer - Mike O'Brien                                                   Membership - Tom Cruse
P.C. Chair - Kate Halpin                                                    Music - TBA
Trustee at Large - Antonia Harter
Trustee at Large - David Cobb

Endowment - Dan Enterline
Nominating - TBA
Nominating - TBA
Nominating - TBA

Don't Forget!
**Cinemaniacs will meet January 3 at Danbarry South around 5.  Please contact Pete Hering at 974-0360.
**The Environmental Awareness Group is now forming.  An organizational meeting will be held on January 12, 2010 at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Library.  Contact Donna Wilson for more information.
Save the Date!
** "Bowls of Hope Soup Supper" will be February 27 at 6 p.m.