|Newsletter of MVUUF
April 16-30, 2010
|~ A Welcoming Congregation ~|
|Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
8690 Yankee Street, Dayton, OH 45458
|Letter from the President|
My understanding and appreciation for being Unitarian Universalist has deepened over the years, in large part as a result of my participation in the events held by the association: district meetings and general assembly. It is at these gatherings of many congregations' members and ministers, and association leaders that I have come to appreciate a greater sense of our potential to "Nurture the Spirit and Heal the World." There is something about being among so many people you don't know and yet feeling so very connected.
Five of us from MVUUF went to the Heartland Unitarian Universalist District Annual meeting this past weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our congregation was connected to the event in several ways. First, Barb Weber received recognition for serving as a District Consultant for Transition Planning. Then, Kriss Gang, who serves on the UUA Annual Program Fund, delivered the reading during the installation service of our new District Executive, Lisa Presley. And finally, former MVUUF minister, Richard Venus won the Heartland UU Minister's Association award and delivered it on Saturday morning. Four of us served as delegates to the assembly with voting privileges.
During assemblies like this, members of other congregations provide workshops so we can learn from one another and connect with each other. We also have the opportunity to learn from district consultants who have the benefit of experience with many congregations. I want to share a particularly useful workshop that I participated in based on the book, The Growing Church: Keys to Congregational Vitality, edited by Thom Belote. (So many books on church life are written by non-UUs through the Alban Institute. This little book is a gem published by Skinner House Books. It is an edited volume with chapters by UU ministers in growing churches. I recommend it.)
The workshop invited us - using a method called Appreciative Inquiry - to identify experiences within our own congregations that reflect the keys to vitality. Some of the keys include creating a buzzaround multicultural gatherings, innovationto find new ways to fulfill the congregation's mission, willingness to start something new, the transformative powerof love within the congregation, using power in positive ways outside the congregation, having clear missions, supporting and encouraging spiritual seekers, and religious hospitality. Our appreciative discussion yielded these clever ideas from the many congregations around the circle.
Power:One congregation learned that an anti-gay speaker was going to be in town. Within only a week's notice they organized an interfaith group to attend the meeting, gained a platform to speak, and received press coverage about our principles related to gay rights.
Buzz:An older country church had a cooking contest and gave UU bucks as prizes. Ethnic dishes encouraged cross-cultural sharing. One of the categories for the contest was Jello!
Innovation:A UU congregation created a trinity! They use the past president, president, and president-elect to develop the wisdom and decisions among the leaders.
Hospitality:At one congregation, they used greeters, ushers, and good-byers! Someone stood at the door thanking people for coming and inviting them back. They gave newcomers little bags of popcorn that said, "Thanks for popping in!"
I loved these stories, gained through Appreciative Inquiry. They lighten the heart and help me think outside the box. What positive story of our congregation's success would you share?
I came away from this gathering with a sense of hope and possibility. I hope in your journey you will find the time to attend one of these events in the future. Thom Belote closes his book with these words (pp 108-109):
With all my colleagues, I share a fundamental faith in the transformative power of Unitarian Universalism in the lives of individuals, families, and the larger world. Each new person who walks through the doors of one of our churches is a blessing and an opportunity for us to share our gifts of ministry. Ours is a faith with the power to save and transform lives, to help people grow in their capacity to love and in their commitment to serve the causes of goodness and healing in this world. It is too sacred an opportunity for us to miss.
~ Alice Diebel, MVUUF Board President
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April 18 - The Dream of Walden Rev. Amy Russell
~ Henry David Thoreau demonstrated the idea of living simply in natural surroundings. Many UUs find it is a spiritual practice to find ways of lessening their impact on the environment and appreciating what nature gives us.
April 25 - "Unpacking" Compassion - Musings on the Meaning
~ Most of us assume we know the meaning of compassion, but when pressed to try to define it, we may find that it's not an easy task. What is compassion? Is it a thought, emotion or behavior? What makes it different from empathy or charity? We'll examine these questions and more.
|Keeping Up With Our Members|
Carol Vincent's son, Ross LaGue, passed away unexpectedly on April 8. Our hearts go out to Carol and her family during this difficult time.
Don Ferguson's brother, Dan, passed away in early April. We send Don and his family our condolences.
Ellen Beck would like to thank all her thoughtful Fellowship friends for their kindness over the past few months. It has touched her heart.
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 Kristin in the Fellowship office. She can be reached at 436-3628.|
|A Letter from the DRE|
|So I am reading No Impact Man by Colin Beavan, just in time for Earth Day. If you get a chance to read it, I highly recommend it. It really makes you think about the earth, and what our role is in taking care of it. For me, I try to set a good example for my daughter. I am far from saving the earth, but I figure little steps will help my family achieve the "green" medal of earth saving!
So what have has my family done so far, you may be asking yourself with dire curiosity? Well, we've done things like: used reusable cloth grocery bags (we keep plenty of them on hand in the car), switched to wheat cat litter; disposing of it in the toilet, use cloth napkins, use "green" toilet paper, metal water bottles, joined a farm share, make more food from scratch....etc. Looking forward, we plan on: creating a worm compost bin (since we live in apartment complex with no yard), got a plot of land to grow our own food (again, no yard), set a goal by June to get down to one biodegradable trash bag a week, can our own food...etc. Then there are the "pipe dream", one day I would love to do that, goals of: eating only locally grown food, buying no processed foods, creating no trash, bike/walk everywhere....ummm well this comes from reading the book!
Really, I think the bottom line in trying to take steps everyday to help our planet is that our children are watching us. We are at the point now where some of the damage done can be reversed, or stopped. So talk to your children, you know I encourage that. Ask them if they have ideas...they may even know more about being green than you do! Try sometime to save energy, turn off the electronics like the computers-TV-video games, and dare I say it cell phones and spend some time together as a family. Play old fashion board games, bake some bread from scratch, take a bike ride....you can figure it out! Connect with each other while being green, in a time where so many of us are so disconnected because we are always connected (to our stuff).
Our youth have come up with a wonderful idea in support of Earth Day. They will lead art workshops on Saturday, April 24 for all of our children and youth here at MVUUF. The youth will have several workshops where the children and youth can create art pieces to be hung in the sanctuary's gallery in May. The theme for the art is "Nature and the Earth". The art (...pieces that children choose) will be on sale. The money made from art sold will be used towards new playground equipment in our own MVUUF backyard. Some of our best ideas come from the mouths of babes! I love it!
Another YRE event coming up is our cooperative Egg Hunt, on Easter Sunday, April 4, beginning after class (around 12:15). All children are welcome to participate. Our MVUUF egg hunt is a bit different than your average egg hunt. We split the children up into groups, with different ages in each group. That group of children is responsible for working together in finding the same color of egg. Inside each plastic egg is a piece to a puzzle. Once all their colors are found, they work together again to put their puzzle pieces together. When they are done, they get to go to the prize room to choose their own prizes to take home! And yes, the famous "What would a UU do?" pencils are back!
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 April:
Chalice Children class (Preschool):
April 18- Class: Me & My World - My world has flowers (Sean & Genevieve)
April 25- Class: Me & My World - People love me (Ed & Genevieve)
Kindergarten - 5th grade class:
April 18 - Workshop Rotation
~K & 1st grade: Workshop 2 - Pollution and how trees help
~2nd & 3rd grades: Workshop 3 - Endangered animals
~4th and 5th grades: Workshop 1 - Wealth and power vs. economic fairness
April 25 - Workshop Rotation
~K & 1st grade: Workshop 3 - Endangered animals
~2nd & 3rd grades: Workshop 1 - Wealth and power vs. economic fairness
~4th and 5th grades: Workshop 2 - Pollution and how trees help
6th - 12th grade class:
April 18- Class: Neighboring Faiths (tentative fieldtrip day)
April 25- Class: Neighboring Faiths
Youth Art Workshops
The Youth Leadership Committee is hosing art workshops on Sat. April 24, 1-4 p.m. This will be an open house style, where families can come anytime during the workshops, create art, and leave when they are finished. Please note, parent(s) must stay with children 10 years old or younger. There will be 5 workshops children can try! From the artwork created that day, pieces will be selected and hung in the Chalice Light Gallery. The pieces will be for sale and the proceeds will go towards purchasing new playground equipment! For more information, contact Natalie.
**For more detailed information about the YRE program, as well as YRE events and schedules, please go to our web site at http://mvuuf.org
and click on "Religious Education."
|Around the Fellowship|
Community Discussion Group Topics*
April 18- "The Future of America - Are We Going Downhill?" Moderator:Jim Faulconer
April 25- "Our Personal Journeys to Unitarian Universalism and MVUUF." No specific moderator.
*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*
May 19- Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan
June TBA- Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, by Al Gore
July TBA- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, by Anne Fadiman
*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
Our May 11 selection is Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan. We are now meeting in the Fellowship library! Join us at 7 p.m. New participants are welcome. Contact Ann Snively if you'd like more information.
Office Closed April 16
Kristin will be on vacation on April 16and will not be accessing voicemail or email. She will return Monday, April 19.
Service Auction - April 17
The 2010 MVUUF Service Circus Auction will be held April 17from 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!
Bon Voyage Bev & Sylvia!
Bev & Sylvia Wince, longtime MVUUF members, are heading south to warmer pastures. Please join us for a reception following Sunday service on May 9as we say good bye, best wishes and thank you to two devoted members. In addition, we are putting together a surprise for them! So if you have any pictures of Bev & Sylvia over the years, please email them to Kristin in the office or put them in the administrator mailbox in the back hallway. All pictures must be to Kristin no later than April 26.
Iris Carter will demonstrate how to make yummy corn bread muffins on April 23at 2 p.m. in the Fellowship kitchen. All are invited!
Smart Choices will meet at the Fellowship on May 13 to caravan to Cincinnati and shop at Jungle Jim's!
St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
May 8 Menu: fruit salad, 100% orange juice
~ Natalie Spriggs-Trobridge's home school group will be providing most of the food and will be serving & cleaning up.
*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.
Offering for April
The Social Concerns Committee invites plate offerings for Planned Parenthood of Dayton
. The mission of Planned Parenthood is to prevent unplanned pregnancies and protect the health of low income women. Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. For more information about Planned Parenthood, the services offered, as well as their educational programs, please visit www.plannedparenthood.org
. 100th Anniversary of First Unitarian Church
Come celebrate the 100th anniversary of First Unitarian Church on Sun. May 16
after service. The service will be dedicated to a century of liberal religion in the Dayton community and commemorate the founding of First Unitarian Church on Salem Ave. in 1910, from which MVUUF later emerged. Come learn our history, share memories, and meet old friends. Reception with refreshments will follow the service. Chalicelight Gallery
Our artist for April 4 through mid-May is Nancy Fisher
. Nancy says "art has always been a part of me. It is a way of thinking, feeling, observing and perceiving." While many of her oil paintings take on a realistic quality, it is the study of light, shadow and color reminiscent of Impressionism that is her true forte. Nancy says "the work I create is the response to whatever stimuli I may see; a reaction to a beautiful sight, observations of human emotion or simply the sun's transformation of an everyday object into a thing of beauty. My art is an extension of myself." Her art has been recently exhibited at the Centerville Police Headquarters and the Annual Art at the Trace at Yankee Trace Golf Club. Diane Dover Art Exhibit
Diane Dover, MVUUF member and fiber artist, has a new show, "Intertwined", at the Visceral Gallery! The exhibit opens on April 16 with a reception that evening 5-9 p.m. The show will run from April 16 through May 19. Visceral Gallery is located at 65 W. Franklin St. in Centerville. Congrats Diane!
**Cinemaniacs will meet April 18 at Neon Theater around 5. Please contact Pete Hering at
|Save the Date!|
**Bev & Sylvia's Bon Voyage party is May 9 after Sunday service!
**100th Anniversary celebration of First Unitarian Church will be after service on May 16!