glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
March 16-31, 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
Letter from the DRE
YRE Information
Don't Forget!
Save the Date!
Letter from the President

On Sunday, March 14 the board facilitated a congregational discussion, which reminds me of why I love to be a UU. Despite our differences, we love to engage in thoughtful discussions and bring our different understandings to the table. What a gift to the board to have the congregation work together to learn more about the perspectives of everyone affected by the decisions we need to make. We are a smart bunch, compelling in our arguments, and thoughtful. As I looked around the room, I saw a lot of attentive listening. We are very good together.
These discussions help us as leaders better understand how the congregation thinks - when it thinks together. Thinking out loud and together provides the space for new ideas, for shifts in understanding, and the opportunity for clearer judgment. When I attend gatherings of UUs, where important issues are discussed, I can always count on some things.

People will speak passionately about how they see the problem.
People will speak from different perspectives. But those perspectives share something in common: they care about this place and this faith.
People will hear one another with open minds and in a loving way.
People will use reason and emotion in how they see the issue.
People will express what they hold valuable.
The board brought everyone together to address the question: Under what conditions can a committee do public work using the MVUUF name? The issue that sparked the discussion was stimulated by concerns about the work the Social Concerns Committee was doing with a congregation based community organizing (CBCO) effort in Dayton. This work is different than most social concerns work the fellowship has done because it could involve membership and dues in an interfaith, outside organization. It was apparent at the meeting that we have a lot to learn about the CBCO and what it might mean to our fellowship and its place in the community. Expect more discussions!
The board needs to make some hard choices about the committee's work, and help shape policy that will reflect what we care about collectively. Whenever hard choices have to be made, we need to think together, and talk with one another about the implications of making a change. The call and response of competing interests often overshadows alternative frames of looking at a problem. Most problems like this do not have simple either-or answers; there are consequences to the choices we make. As I said in my introductory remarks on Sunday, board decisions like this require that we make a judgment that considers the tensions among things we hold valuable. Judgments are provisional and shifting as we gain more wisdom. You have helped us to make a wiser one.
It is gratifying to know that we are in a place that works to build its self-understanding. It is work, and I thank you for joining the task. We are in this together. And together, we make our best judgments.
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Quick Links

March 21 - Bringing UU Values to Life  Rev. Amy Russell
~ Living in fellowship with one another, we struggle to learn about how to live our UU values.  To launch our stewardship campaign, we'll talk about how our daily life here teaches us about living our values.
March 28 - The Spirituality of Self-Love  Julie Collins
~ Many spiritual practices discuss how important it is to be loving and accepting of others.  However, sometimes we neglect to honor ourselves with that same loving kindness.  In this week's service, you will be invited to look at the relationship you have with yourself as we dare to practice self-love.

Keeping Up With Our Members

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 Calendar!
Click HERE for a printable PDF version of the MVUUF calendar.  Please note, this calendar does NOT include outside events (ie: private parties, etc.), so for the most up-to-date information, you will need to access the MVUUF web site calendar or call/email Kristin in the Fellowship office.  She can be reached at 436-3628.
A Letter from the DRE

This semester our workshop rotation theme is Social Justice & Action.  Social Justice and Action is so embedded in who we are as Unitarian Universalist.  Just looking at our seven principles, you can see how social justice and action is such a part of us.  Looking at our UU principles from a child's perspective we have:

1. Each person is important.
2. Be kind in all you do.
3. We're free to learn together.
4. We search for what is true.
5. All people need a voice.
6. Build a fair and peaceful world.
7. We care for Earth's lifeboat.

So how do we help our children hold these values as they grow and eventually move out into the world?  Holly Case from the "How to Make a Family" website writes; Making the world a better place becomes even more imperative when you have kids. Of course, you want to do everything you can to improve the state of the world. But even more important than that is how you raise your kids. It's not enough to assume that if your kids never see you acting in a prejudiced manner, that they will grow up to be socially conscious, concerned adults. Ensuring that your children are prepared to make the world a better place begins in childhood.

Our UU churches are definitely a great place to start!  However, teaching social justice and action needs to happen in a child's home life as well.  There are some wonderful books as well as web sites out there to give you and your family ideas on how to help the world.  Most families have the basics: reduce-reuse-recycle, be kind to your neighbors & friends, putting change in the collection boxes on counters.  Yet, does your child know why we do these things. 

What about beyond the basics?   There are so many organizations and people in need, sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin.  So, I say, start with your child!  Ask what is important to her/him.  You may be surprised...from the mouths of babes....sometimes children really have a grasp of what is going on around them.  Then go with it.  This is what we did in our home.  We used to live in the city of Dayton.  It was common for us to walk and bike everywhere.  It was also common to get stopped by someone asking for money.  My daughter took great notice to this, and started asking questions.  Then she wanted to know what she could do to help people in the situation where they had to ask for money.  With some thinking & brainstorming, she came up with the idea to hold an ice cream social in a local park to raise money to donate to The Other Place.  A few hundred dollars later, she learned a great deal on how she can make a difference.  Now, when some of her friends talk about being rich and famous some day, she tells them that they will need to make sure they donate some of that money to help others...and she still holds her ground on wanting to be a first grade teacher!  My point is, it begins by talking with your child(ren).  They will have ideas on what is important to them.  Then, encourage them to take steps to helping, whatever that means to them.

We make change in our world by helping our children pave a path.  For me, this is the foundation of social justice and action.  If we do not work with our children about these ideas, then our ideas will die when we do. 

If you would like to check out some books on social justice and action for families, children & teens, please stop by the RE Prep room; we have plenty of books to borrow and take home!  Also, to read more of Holly Case's article on teaching social justice to kids, please check out this website:    

As always, if you have any questions, I am happy to answer!  You can call me at 436-3628. 

Smile, Natalie; Director of Religious Education

YRE Calendar for March:

Chalice Children class (Preschool):
March 21 - Class: Me and My World - My world has darkness (Genevieve & Sean)
March 28 - Class: Me and My World - My world has light (Ed & Genevieve)
Kindergarten - 5th grade class:
March 21 - Workshop Rotation
                        ~ K & 1st grade:  Workshop 2 - Pre-judging & equality 
                        ~ 2nd & 3rd grades:  Workshop 3 - Families in all shapes & sizes
                        ~ 4th and 5th grades:  Workshop 1 - Sing out for diversity
March 28 - Workshop Rotation
                        ~ K & 1st grade:  Workshop 3 - Families in all shapes & sizes 
                        ~ 2nd & 3rd grades:  Workshop 1 - Sing out for diversity
                        ~ 4th and 5th grades:  Workshop 2 - Pre-judging & equality
6th - 12th grade class: 
March 21 
- Class: Neighboring Faiths (tentative fieldtrip day)
March 28 - Class: Neighboring Faiths
**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*
March 21
- "Most Unforgettable UUs - Miami Valley and Beyond."  Moderator: Don Ferguson
March 28 - "Restarting Civility to Political Discourse."  Moderator: Lucy Anne McKosky
*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*
March 19 - Spite Fences, by Trudy Krisher  *This will be held on a Friday so the author can join us!
April 14 - Women of Brewster Place, by Gloria Naylor
May TBA - Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan
*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!

Evening Book Club
The Evening Book Club will meet at 7 p.m. on Tues., April 13 to discuss The Birth of Venus, by Sarah Dunant.  Our May 11 selection is Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan.  We are now meeting in the Fellowship library!  New participants are welcome.  Contact Ann Snively if you'd like more information.

Food Fanciers
Iris Carter will demonstrate how to make yummy corn bread muffins on April 23 at 2 p.m. in the Fellowship kitchen.  All are invited!  Please note, Food Fanciers will not be meeting in March.
St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
April 10 Menu: Lasagna, green salad, fruit salad
*All items must be delivered heated and ready to serve 15-20 people.  Donations should be taken to 120 W. Apple St. by 10:30 a.m.  Sign up in the Gathering Space.

Stewardship Campaign Kickoff
The Stewardship Campaign Kickoff Dinner Gala will be March 27 at 7 p.m.  The food and entertainment will be fantastic, so mark your calendars!  For more information, contact Mike O'Brien.

MVUUF Coffee House
Enjoy a relaxing evening of music, coffee and your MVUUF friends at the MVUUF Coffee House!  On Sat., April 3, 7-9:30 p.m. music will be provided by special guest jazz pianist Charlie Parker, as well as our own Chris Gooley, Kate Santucci, and Carol Narigon.  Charlie Parker began playing piano at eight years old.  He played keyboards for much of the late 70s and early 80s, playing many styles of pop music, but always harboring a passion for jazz.  His recent projects include theatrical scores for the Town Hall Theater in Centerville, where he served as Resident Sound Director.  There is no admission for this fun event, but we do request a donation at the door.  Join us (even if tea's more your thing...)!
Easter Egg Hunt!
Join us for an Easter egg hunt after service on April 4.  We will also be collecting canned goods and non-perishable items for an Easter basket to deliver to a local food pantry. 
Emily Upham Award
The Social Concerns Committee is inviting nominations for the 2009 Emily Upham Social Justice Award. This award is given by the Fellowship to a member(s) of the congregation who, in the spirit of MVUUF member Emily Upham, exemplifies commitment and service for world peace and social justice and is involved in on-going activities that support a vision of a better world. Recent awardees include Joe Law (2008), Lynn Buffington (2007), Diane Dover (2006), Gail Cyan (2005), Kate Santucci (2003-04), and Bev and Sylvia Wince (2002).  The Selection Committee consists of the President, Vice President, and Social Concerns Representative. If the President or Vice President is unable to serve, the Board will select an alternate Board member.   
Please send your nominations to the church administrator, Kristin Freeman, no later than March 31, 2010. Include in your nominating letter your rationale for making the award to your nominee: tell us about the person and why you think he or she should be selected.  The award will be presented at the Fellowship's Congregational Meeting in June.
Long Range Planning Seeks New Members
The Long Range Planning Committee is looking for a couple of new members.  Tom Cruse and Chris Gooley have had to resign from the Committee because of changes in their personal lives.  We will miss their insights and perspectives.  We are therefore looking for a couple of new Committee members.  Vital qualities include dedication to the Fellowship and to listen openly.   We would like to find another Young Adult member and would also value knowledge and experience with different UU congregations.  We will generally be meeting on Sunday mornings at 9:30, once a month.  There will be work to be done between meetings and we will occasionally need to meet more often, depending on the flow of our work.  Our goal is to help the Fellowship define where it wants to go in the next years, and how it wants to get there.  We see this as a sacred trust given us by the congregation, with far-reaching impact.  If you know someone you think might be helpful to this work, or for more information, please contact Barb Weber.
Service Auction - April 17
The 2010 MVUUF Service Circus Auction will be held April 17 from 6 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. (ish).  Don't forget to mark your calendars and bring your checkbooks!  Amazing and wonderful items and services will be up for auction and fantastic food and drink will be available for imbibing!  We will have helper clowns to entertain and serve you during the auction and a wonderful, profitable time will be had by all!  Please contact Kate Halpin if you have any questions.  See you under the big top!
Don't Forget!
**Cinemaniacs will meet March 21 at Neon Theater around 5.  Please contact Pete Hering at
Save the Date!
**Smart Choices will meet April 15!
**Service Auction is April 17!