glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
August 1-31, 2010
~  A Welcoming Congregation  ~
MVUUF Building by Lew Hann
Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
8690 Yankee Street, Dayton, OH  45458
         937-436-3628            http://mvuuf.org   
Click on the headings below to navigate directly to these topics!
Letter from the President
Sermons
Keeping Up with Our Members
Around the Fellowship
Letter from the DRE
YRE Information
Letter from the President
I continue to be energized by my participation in Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) events such as the General Assembly (GA).  Such large gatherings of UUs take me beyond the warm and loving community I find at MVUUF and transport me into a movement.  There are thousands of UUs, behaving well, acting courteously, and speaking honestly and thoughtfully.  It helps me recognize that if we could bottle what we have we could have peace in the world!  Well, okay, I may exaggerate but we really do have something to celebrate.
 
One of the meaningful aspects of GA comes through the reflections of a group called the Right Relationship Team.  This group helps identify and speak of mistakes we may make with one another so they can be corrected.  Let me explain.
 
At an early session, the GA planning team put together an energizing skit that involved people from all different generations, most with limited experience as UU, describing what attracted them to the faith and ending with, "I am the UUA."  It showed some of our diverse backgrounds and our generational diversity but all of the speakers were white and able-bodied.  The Right Relations Team pointed this out to the entire assembly the next day because it was a painful exclusion of many of our members.  That helped all of us recognize that we may be behaving in ways that are hurtful - even though we have the very best of intentions.  At the end of the assembly, the planning team made it right by having a second skit with people of color and different abilities describe what attracted them to the faith and ending with, "I am the UUA."  (The best was a young person who self-identified as young, gender queer, economically poor, and a red neck.)
 
I know it sounds a bit like the politically-correct police, but having observed this team do its work for several years now, I have come to appreciate both the method and the message.  We really are diverse in many ways and need to make our best efforts to be inclusive of our diversity.  It helps us learn and grow when we are attentive and respectful to the experiences of others.  But aside from recognizing how our movement touches people of all sorts, GA also helps us learn how to struggle with difficult issues and arrive at workable approaches to them.
 
I would like to share two other examples that don't involve Right Relations, but reflect thoughtfulness in the face of conflict and difficult decisions.  First, the UUA Board of Trustees asked the assembly to consider a resolution about whether or not it should hold the 2012 GA in Phoenix in light of the state's immigration laws that allow the police to ask for citizenship papers if they suspect someone may be in the country illegally.  Many see this law as overreaching and as racial profiling and are calling for a boycott of Arizona.  The GA was scheduled there several years ago, so the question was whether or not we should keep our reservation.  Money was at stake, but was not the most important factor in the choice.  Instead, it was a choice between those who felt we should go stand with our Arizona congregations and make a statement against these policies and those who said we should boycott in order to have an economic impact.  Rather than become an either-or choice, the mini-assemblies re-worked the resolution to hold GA in Phoenix, but to minimize the ordinary business and workshops of the assembly and instead to work with Arizonans as part of a "justice GA" that will focus on justice work in the area of immigration.  This agreement passed by a very, large majority.
 
Another resolution, or Action of Immediate Witness (AIW), called on the US to condemn Israel for its Palestinian relations.  The language in this resolution revealed a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli tilt. Many of the UUs of Jewish heritage spoke against the resolution for its biased view.  They wanted to see a more honest appraisal of the situation there.  The AIW did not pass, I think in large part out of the wisdom of those calling for more accurate kinds of statements.  It reminds me of how we can try to do the right thing but inadvertently be exclusionary.  The issue is not dead, but the next iteration will be more balanced and reflective of diverse voices.
 
Finally, The UUA is trying to make the decision-making process of the GA more democratic. Right now the practice is "direct democracy."  The people who show up make the decisions. The UUA would like it to be more of a "representative democracy."  The assembly will be deciding on changes like this in the coming years in an attempt to make GA more affordable so that it can be representative of our congregations. I applaud efforts like these.  I hope you will find a way to go when it is in Charlotte next year to celebrate our 50th anniversary as an association bringing Unitarians and Universalists together. It's a reasonable drive!
 
~ Alice Diebel
Greetings!! 
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Quick Links
 
Sermons
August 1 - Sacred Naturalism  Brad Kochunas
~ Our seventh principle embodies respect for the interdependent web of which we are a part, but what is the motivation for this?  Today we'll explore this principle in terms of deepening our sense of the sacredness of the world.

August 8 - Out of Our Brokenness  Rev. Amy Russell
~ Out of our most difficult situations in life, sometimes grace emerges.  Like lotus flowers blooming in a swamp, our suffering can sometimes birth new possibilities.

August 15 - The 4G Network: Gifts, Grace, Gratitude and Giving Back  Rev. Amy Russell, Barb Weber and members of the Long Range Planning Committee
~ Albert Schweitzer said, "each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."  What would it mean if we focused on the good in our lives?  How would we live if appreciation became a habit in our personal and congregational life?

August 22 - Flowing Oil and Bleeding Hearts  Rev. Amy Russell
~ In July, as we watched the oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico in immeasurable amounts, it wasn't just bleeding heart liberals who started to question our nation's policy on drilling.  How do we keep our liberal optimism in the face of such devastation?  How do we act when it seems like an impossible dream to affect the realities of the world?

August 29 - Children's Choir service
Keeping Up With Our Members
Kristin and Michael Freeman want to thank the congregation for all the well wishes sent their way after the birth of their daughter, Sadie Grace, on June 27!

Nancy Moody would like to thank everyone for their calls and cards during her recovery from melanoma.  Your support buoyed her spirit and she looks forward to seeing everyone soon.
 
Gwen Crockford's fathe
r passed away after being ill for several months.  Please keep Gwen and John in your thoughts.

Bill Bogan, MVUUF member, passed away after battling cancer.  He will be greatly missed by the MVUUF community, especially the Buddhist meditation groups.
 
For all those members who are experiencing difficult times in their lives, please know that your Fellowship community is here to support you.
Around the Fellowship
Community Discussion Group Topics*
August 1
- "Life Musings - Reflecting on Life's Surprises."  Moderator:  Joe Casto
August 8 - "Dealing with Conflict."  Moderator:  Jim Faulconer
August 15 - "Various Religious Beliefs."  Moderator:  Carol Vincent
August 22 - "Recombined Families - Step-parenting and Step-grandparenting."  Moderator:  Open Forum
August 29 - "Modern Medical Breakthroughs."  Moderator:  Open Forum
*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*
August 25
- Fallout, by Trudy Krisher (who will be joining us in our discussion!)
September 22 - The Last Patriot: A Thriller, by Brad Thor
*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 6:30 p.m. on August 10 at Christopher's Restaurant (2318 Dorothy Ln., Kettering) for dinner.  We will discuss our summer reading and start putting together a list for the fall meetings.   New participants are welcome.  Contact Ann Snively for more information. 

Food Fanciers
We will meet Fri., August 27 at 2 p.m. to watch Cindi Remm present a program on "Eating from the Garden."  And mark your calendars for September 24 as Lew Hann is on the agenda - stay tuned for his topic!  Join us for fun, conversation and lots of sampling our finished products! 
 
Smart Choices
On August 19, we'll be meeting at Laurel Herminghausen's home at 12:30 p.m. for a pool party and potluck.  Please join us for all our summer fun!
 
St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
August 14 Menu:
Lasagna, green 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.

Rev. Amy on Summer Leave
Rev. Amy will be on summer leave July 9 - August 6.  She'll be available for emergencies.  Lunch with Amy on Thursdays at Panera by the Dayton Mall is on hiatus during that time as well.  Enjoy your summer!

Easy Money for MVUUF
You probably know about MVUUF's Amazon affiliate program* - now you can contribute to the Fellowship by shopping at over 1500 other online merchants!  With GoodShop, every time you make a purchase from a participating merchant, MVUUF gets a donation.  Plus, every time you search the web (called GoodSearch), MVUUF gets a donation!  All you need to do is download and install the GoodSearch toolbar or add a plug-in.  The toolbar can be hidden if desired and your purchases still count toward a donation.  The plug-in adds a GoodSearch search box to your browser.  Go to the link below to get started: 
http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/miami-valley-unitarian-universalist-fellowship-mvuuf
If you're going to search the web or buy online anyway, why not let MVUUF benefit?!
*Amazon is a GoodShop store, but MVUUF gets a larger donation when you go to our web page and click on Activities, Affiliates, and then click on the Amazon banner.

Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium
Recently, an Environmental Action group has been organized as a task force of the Social Concerns Committee.  On Sat., Aug. 21, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., the group will sponsor a symposium entitled "Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream".  Two presenters affiliated with the international Awakening the Dreamer Initiative will facilitate this event.  The initiative's mission is to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just presence on planet Earth.  The symposium will explore four questions:  1.  Where are we?  2.  How did we get here?  3.  What's possible for the future?      4.  Where do we go from here? 
The registration fee is $15 for adults and $5 for students under age 18.  Registration forms will be available after Sunday services and in the Gathering Space.  Checks should be made payable to MVUUF and marked Awakening the Dreamer in the memo line.  For more information, go to www.awakeningthedreamer.org.
 
Humanitarian Giving Action Group Collection
During August, the Humanitarian Action Group welcomes plate offerings for YWCA Battered Women's Shelter of Dayton, OH.  The YWCA of Dayton operates Montgomery County's only shelter for victims of domestic violence.  In addition, they co-sponsor and staff the 24 hour domestic violence hotline.  Their confidential services are available 24 hours/7 days a week, 365 days/year, free of charge to victims, their family members, friends, and other professionals.
 
MVUUF Youth Garage Sale
YRE is collecting items for a garage sale on August 14.  We are taking toys, games, household items, furniture, etc.  We are NOT taking clothing of any kind!  If you have items that you are willing to donate, please bring them to the library and mark them "YRE garage sale".  If you have any questions, please send Natalie an email.

A New Fellowship Photo Directory!
We haven't had a new photo directory of our members since 2006, so it's time to do it again!  This publication is completely free to the Fellowship - no cost for the photo shoot, proofs and every family gets a copy of the directory.  Additional photos can be purchased as well, and will be ready in time for the holidays.  Great gift idea!  Mark your calendars because photo sessions will be held at the Fellowship on September 13, 14 and 15.  In just one hour, you will check-in, be photographed, view the proofs, and select the image you want displayed in the directory.  You may invite other family members or loved ones to be photographed as well (even if they're not members) or include "props" that express your personality or hobbies, such as a musical instrument.  We can use volunteers to help out with various aspects of this project, like scheduling, etc., so if you're interested, please contact Lindy McDonough.
A Letter from the DRE
I recently taught the kindergarten through fifth grade class.  A few weeks ago I learned how to make my own hula hoop so I brought that knowledge to our children.  We spent our class time decorating hula hoops.  Of course, we didn't just decorate hoops.  I tied it into our summer peace theme.  We discussed peace and what that means.  We discussed issues that were not peaceful and then issues that were.  I even through in the word cooperation.  This was important part of the lesson because they did not get their own hula hoop to decorate.  The children were split up into groups of 2 or 3 and had to "cooperate" together to figure out how they were going to decorate their teams hoop.  They did a beautiful job, not only decorating the hoops, but really working together!  I love that our children are growing into such loving, understanding people.  So where are the wonderful hula hoops?  They stay at the fellowship for all children and youth (and adults) to play with.  This is one of our first steps in getting our playground back together...just in time for summer!
 
For those of you who don't know, this summer our children and youth will be well emerged in all that is PEACE.  Our preschool class will be working on an edible garden as well as other projects centered on our earth and 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 (www.mvuuf.org) for more information about summer programming.
 
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
Chalice Children class (Preschool):
August 1
- Gardening and peace activities
August 8 - Gardening and peace activities
August 15 - Gardening and peace activities
August 22 - Gardening and peace activities
August 29 - No class: Intergenerational service
 
Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 
August 1 - Children's worship               
August 8 - Signs of peace through art
August 15 - Cooperative games
August 22 - Singing for peace
August 29 - No class: Intergenerational service

6th - 8th grade class:
August 1 - Youth worship
August 8 - Class: Popcorn Theology
August 15 - Class: Popcorn Theology
August 22 - Class: Popcorn Theology
August 29 - No class: Intergenerational service
 
9th - 12th grade class:
August 1
- Youth worship
August 8 - Small group ministry
August 15 - Small group ministry
August 22 - Small group ministry
August 29 - No class: Intergenerational service

**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."