glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
June 16-30, 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 President
Keeping Up with Our Members
Around the Fellowship
Letter from the DRE
YRE Information
Don't Forget!
Save the Date!
Letter from the President
What we covenant to is a direct reflection of what we care about - or as Universalist Historian Alice Blair Wesley described it - our worthiest loves. When we covenant to live in right relationship with one another, we demonstrate our promise to strive to put our values into practice. None of us is perfect, but a covenant is our promise to try our darndest to live up to what is right and good. Isn't that what church is all about?

We developed the covenant of right relations during the time of our interim ministry. This was a difficult time. There was still tension and concern in the air and the uncertainty of not having a settled minister put us on edge. (Not that life is ever certain. But these were difficult times.) The challenging conflicts had passed and we were moving forward, but still with uncertainty and some fear. We wanted to try to develop a culture that was better at dealing with conflict. A behavioral covenant seemed a good place to start. Alysoun Taylor was on the board at the time and she headed up this merry little band that included Greg Reese, Barbara Moreda, Genevieve Harvey and me. After the congregation called Rev. Amy, we shared our thinking with her, even though she hadn't yet started her ministry with us.

To put this statement and document together, we analyzed hundred of covenants from other UU congregations around the country. We picked out the statements that seemed to resonate with us, and described to one another what was important about them. We then wrote our own words that reflected these items of importance; they were the basis for the preamble statement we recited together at the beginning of the service.[i]
We wanted people to be at their best in this fellowship, recognizing that entering this space meant something. We wanted to be clear that we were trying to be our best selves while here. We recognized that our spiritual differences was strength, and wanted to respect the search for meaning. We also recognized that people needed to learn and work to address their conflicts directly, all the while being open to the possibility that no one of us holds a complete understanding of a situation. Entering into dialogue with someone is a time when uncertainty is actually a benefit. Let's not be too certain that we know what was behind someone else's words or deeds. And finally, we saw that being in relationship with one another as a way to learn how to be in relationship with the world. The practice of love, openness, dialogue and justice are important and this fellowship is where those practices are cultivated, nurtured, and developed for work in the world.

We widely circulated the draft version to the members and received feedback. We considered it all and incorporated much of it. The board approved the covenant and added it to the policy manual along with a brochure that gives ideas on how to put the practices into play. This doesn't mean that we are swearing allegiance to some creed, but it does mean that we try to live right with one another.

In the three years since it was developed, I have seen it used more frequently. I used it as an orientation to the Board. Some committees use it to open their meetings. We have held services about it and discussed it in regular groups like the community class. The right relations committee created a very popular workshop on Nonviolent Communication, and many of you are learning to use those skills. We sometimes need to remind ourselves of it as with the recent tension over the work of the social concerns committee. Reminding ourselves in this way that we want to stay in right relations with one another - a covenant that is best practiced through dialogue - helped us weather a potentially divisive issue. I think we have grown. I am proud to continue my own personal development in the company of this fellowship. May we continue to put into practice our most cherished ideals, our worthiest loves.

*These remarks were delivered during the service on June 13, 2010.
~ Alice Diebel

[i]As I enter this sacred space, I will do my part to create a loving, welcoming environment. I promise to respect and nurture others in their spiritual journeys. I will speak with directness and empathy, especially in times of disagreement. I will strive to understand other points of view, focusing on the goal of building the beloved community within these walls and in the wider world.
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Quick Links
June 20 - What is Prayer?  Rev. Amy Russell
~ Prayer is often one of those misunderstood ideas that often has UUs shaking their heads.  Can prayer be seen as something other than a petition to a divine entity outside ourselves?  Are there other forms of prayer and what do they look like?
June 27
- The Ant and the Grasshopper  Rev. Annie Foerster
~ New research has given us a broader understanding of what this old story is all about.  It's not about working hard or storing up food for the winter.  It's about covenanting within community and building larger communities that make the covenants go better.  I will just have come back from GA and I may be able to tell you the latest stories from the Ant Family and the Grasshopper Family.
Keeping Up With Our Members
Mary Coonrod fell and broke two bones in her right foot.  She had also recently suffered an injury to her left foot, which is still swollen and sore.  She is in a cast and has a walker and will not be able to drive for a few weeks.  If you're able, please give her a call to offer to drive her to a meal or doctor's appointment.  Cards are always welcome!  Her address is 30 Woodcroft Trl. #209, Beavercreek 45430.

Suzanne Hudson, longtime MVUUF member, passed away peacefully on June 13.  Condolences can be sent to her husband Jim, at 2116 Settlers Trail, Vandalia OH  45377.  A memorial service will be held on Thur., June 17 at 5 p.m. at the Fellowship.  All are welcome.  Our hearts go out to Jim during this difficult time.

Bev and Sylvia Wince are settling into their new Florida digs! 
Kristin and Michael Freeman want to say THANK YOU to the entire congregation for the beautiful baby shower on June 6!  They were overwhelmed with your generosity and had lots of fun talking and visiting with everyone.

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
I am genuinely amazed by all of our children and youth here at MVUUF!  Our children and youth make me proud to be a Director of Religious Education.  From the courage of our young children who share their belief statements in front of the entire congregation, to our youth who dream and fulfill their dream of having an art show to help raise money for our MVUUF backyard.  And have I even mentioned the art hanging in the sanctuary....all created from OUR children and youth!  Again, I am just awestruck by their energy and passion. 

I find myself being inspired by our kids!  If you have not yet seen the children and youth art show, please take a moment before or after service to look at their wonderful pieces, for sale, in the Sanctuary.  All the money raised from art sales will go directly to help rebuild our YRE backyard area.  We are hoping for some playground equipment, some updated playground play structures, as well as parent and child friendly picnic tables with shade.  This will give parents a place to sit as they watch their children play outside as well as give a home to an outside classroom. 

So again, check out the art in the Sanctuary.  Their work will be on display during the month of June.  Please help support our children and youth by taking a moment to look at their natured themed pieces.  You may find yourself inspired by our children and youth as well! 

I wanted to add that our theme for this summer's programming is PEACE.  Our summer programs start on June 6.  Our preschool class will be working on an edible garden as well as other projects centered on peace.  The kindergarten through fifth grade class will be in class together having classes on cooperative games, signs of peace where they will create peace through art, and singing for peace where they will learn some songs about peace.  The junior high class, grades 6th-8th, will be using popcorn theology as a guide to watch movies and have discussions about peace.  The senior high class, grades 9th-12th, will be using the model of small group ministry to discuss issues around peace.   Both children and youth worship will focus on inner-peace.  All children will remain in their same grade they just finished for this school year.  All children will move up a grade in September.  Please check out our summer calendar in the Forum or on our website for more information about summer programming.

Smile, Natalie; Director of Religious Education
YRE Calendar for June:
Chalice Children class (Preschool):
June 20 - Gardening and peace activities
June 27 - Gardening and peace activities
Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 
June 20 - Cooperative games              
June 27 - Singing for peace

6th - 8th grade class:
June 20 - Class: Popcorn Theology
June 27 - Class: Popcorn Theology
9th - 12th grade class:
June 20 - Small group ministry
June 27 - Small group ministry
**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*
June 20
June 27 - "History Lost!"  Moderator:  Don Ferguson
*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.

Women's Group on Summer Hiatus
The women's group is taking a short break.  They will not be meeting during the summer, but plan to return in the fall.  Watch the bulletin and Forum heralding their return!

Daytime Book Club Title*
June 16
- Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, by Al Gore or Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis (Young Reader Edition), by Al Gore.
July 21 - The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, by Anne Fadiman
August TBA - Fallout, by Trudy Krisher
*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
Please join us at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month in the Fellowship library.  Our July 13 title is Half Broke Horses, by Jeanette Walls.  New participants are welcome.  Contact Ann Snively if you'd like more information. 

Food Fanciers
We will meet Fri., June 18 at 2 p.m. in the Fellowship kitchen to watch Iris Carter demonstrate how to make vegetarian cheese meatballs.  On Fri., July 16 at 2 p.m. we'll watch Janice Beers how to make Pennsylvania Dutch corn pie.  Join us for fun, conversation and lots of sampling our finished products!

Pledge Reminder
As the fiscal year comes to a close, please remember to include a note in the memo line of your check regarding which fiscal year you want credited.  This is very important in making sure your money goes where you want it to!  Otherwise, checks are simply credited to the fiscal year in which they are received.  Need to know where you stand on your current pledge status?  Our current fiscal year ends on June 30 - that's in just two short weeks!  If you want to know what your outstanding pledge amount is, call or email Kristin and she'll get it to you ASAP!  She can be reached at 436-3628.

Smart Choices
On June 24, we'll be having a pool/potluck party at the home of Laurel Herminghausen at 12:30 p.m.  Come join us for the summer fun!
St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
July 10 Menu:
Hearty sandwiches (ham or turkey with cheese), potato or pasta salad, fruit salad, 2 % milk or 100% juice
*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 June
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  
Chalicelight Gallery
Our Gallery is currently displaying artwork made by the youth of our congregation.  Take a look around and if something catches your eye, you can buy it!  All proceeds from the sale of the artwork will go towards the purchase of new playground equipment and picnic tables.  There are paintings, jewelry and sculptures - these items would make great gifts, so come out and admire all the talent our young people have on display!
MVUUF Coffeehouse
The MVUUF Coffee House will be Sat., June 26, 7 - 9:30 p.m. with Special Guest Dave Santucci!  Enjoy a relaxing evening of music, coffee, and your MVUUF friends.  Music will be provided by special guest musician Dave Santucci, as well as our own Joe and Clare Zimmerman with Kurt Zimmerman, and Ann Rismiller and David Nolin with Catherine Queener.  Dave Santucci has been fiddling with music since he was a little boy.  He has contributed piano, keyboard and various other tidbits for acts such as Aunt Beanies 1st Prize Beets, Irish Leo, and Artist's  Playlist.  With a brand new fire lit beneath him, he is focusing his attention on his on-again off-again romance with the piano. Happy to have his eyes on the future, he likes to think he is only getting started.  There is no admission fee for this fun event, but we do request a donation at the door.  There will be coffee, tea and snacks available for purchase.  Please join us - even if you prefer tea!
Forum in July and August
Just to let you know, the Forum will only be published once a month for July and August.  So don't panic if you don't receive two mailings or emails!  In September we'll be back to two issues a month. 
Don't Forget!
**Cinemaniacs is changing it up this week!  We will meet Thur., June 17 at the Neon for a special showing of "Patrick 1.5".  Tickets are already on sale for $6.00 and the show is expected to sell-out, so buying early is prudent.  Showings are at 7 p.m. and 9:40 p.m.  Please contact Pete Hering at 974-0360.
Save the Date!
**Our ice cream social will be after service on July 11!