glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
Oct. 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 President
Keeping Up with Our Members
Letter from the DRE
YRE Information
Around the Fellowship
Don't Forget!
Printable Fellowship Calendar
Click HERE for a printable Fellowship calendar.  Please note that this calendar does NOT include outside events and the most up-to-date calendar can be found on our web site at
Letter from the President

Last month, Amy and I wrote about plans for a new UU congregation through an effort being led by former MVUUF member Dan Narigon. Dan has met with the board, and after that meeting the board invited our MVUUF congregation to a discussion on Sunday, September 19 on the status of the start-up. We used that opportunity to share what we know and hear your thoughts and concerns. It was good to hear from so many of you. I want to take a few minutes to share what I heard from the conversation. 

The most encouraging words I heard from you are that you want UU growth in Dayton! Many of you think UUism is a good thing and the more UUs we have the better the world will be. One of you had the vision to proclaim that Dayton could be known as a UU City - second only to Boston! May it be so!

Many of you have experience in other UU congregations, and some with a small fellowship that used to be north of town for 20 years: Stillwater. Some of you have helped start new UU congregations elsewhere. We have a wealth of experience and wisdom here to offer and share. Others were concerned about the religiously conservative nature of Dayton and wondered if the more rural communities north of town would have sufficient membership potential. These sorts of concerns will be evaluated by the new group before they get too far down the road. We are interested observers.

Some of you were concerned about the direction of the people involved in the new start-up, but most seemed to want to be in right relationship with them. I interpret that as meaning we want to grow the faith, but we do not want to start something new at the expense of MVUUF. That wouldn't be growth. However, a new congregation in close proximity to us may attract new UUs that we could not. One way UUism can grow is by meeting the needs of people who can't get them met at MVUUF because we are too far away, our spiritual practices don't fit quite right, or we don't feel comfortable to them for some reason. A new congregation may be able to meet some of the needs of those folks. Reaching an unserved geographic area that is growing in population is an ideal growth strategy.

The board will remain in close contact with Dan and continue to offer our support. Lisa Presley, the Heartland District Executive is working with Dan. She is bright, experienced and direct. One easy way to support the new congregation is to support the efforts of the district. (Thanks Phil Wise for that suggestion!) Please consider supporting the Chalice Lighters or the Friends of the Heartland District by visiting:

It seems that following Rev. Richard Venus's departure from MVUUF five years ago, most of you have found a way to heal and grow from the experience - and move on. Richard is advising this group and his involvement may raise past feelings for you. If you are still hurting, I encourage you to let Amy or the board know. We will look for ways to remain whole and healthy throughout the many changes that life continues to throw our way; this is but just one. I welcome any suggestions on how to mend any remaining wounds.

We will keep you posted on the efforts as we know more. Please come to the board or Amy with your concerns and questions.

~ Alice Diebel, Board President

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Quick Links
October 17 - No Regrets?  Rev. Amy Russell

~ Once we choose one path in life over another, we have left behind us an alternate life.  What do we do with our regrets about some life options not chosen?


October 24 - Association Sunday: Our Legacies   

Kriss Gang

~ The UU legacy and its impact throughout our American history is an amazing story and one that far exceeds what one would expect given the size of our demonination.  On this Sunday, when we will celebrate the Unitarian Universalist Association by exploring the UU legacy on a national, congregational and local level through inspirational stories about what we have accomplished and readings from UU ministers over the past 200 years.

October 31 - Day of the Dead  Rev. Amy Russell & Mike O'Brien
~ Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican celebration honoring All Souls' Day and the memories of our loved ones.  We'll celebrate this tradition with an ofrenda, an altar created with pictures and mementos of our lost relatives and friends.  Please bring a picture or memento that helps you honor them and be ready to share.

Keeping Up With Our Members
Joan Albrecht sends a thank you for all the many expressions of caring that she's received.  She is still recuperating from her bout with pneumonia.

For all those members who are experiencing difficult times in their lives, please know that your Fellowship community is here to support you.
A Letter from the DRE

During the month of October, YRE will be holding a food drive.  The children in our workshop rotation classes will use these goods to donate to our local food pantry.   We will be also asking for a few volunteer families to take the bags of food to the pantry, making it a family event, extending the idea of our second principle; be kind in all you do. 

When I originally came up with this idea of collecting food, which the children will sort out and bag up, it got me thinking of food drives in general.  I read an interesting article called "Eating Nutritiously a Struggle When Money is Scarce," by Pam Fessler.  This article is about families in need, and how it can be cheaper to buy empty calories.   Fessler uses an example of how buying a 2 liter bottle of soda is cheaper than buying a gallon of milk.  After reading this article, my brain started churning.  Why is it, when I grocery shop for my family, I try to buy natural, organic food, however, when I buy food to be donated to others, I opt for the cheap stuff loaded with sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and no fiber.  I mean well, I really do.  I think my thought is that if I use my money to buy food for others, then buying the cheap stuff stretches my dollar.  This way, I can help feed more people.  Is my thought doing more harm than good?  Is it more just to buy one box of healthy, high fiber organic cereal as opposed to 2 or 3 boxes of the other stuff?  I don't know, but it's something to think about.

In the article, Elaine Livas, who runs Project SHARE (food pantry) she discusses this issue.  Kessler writes, "As the nation becomes more health conscious, she's (Livas) noticing less healthy food coming to her pantry. She's getting more sugar-coated cereals, for example, than the high-fiber ones she used to receive." Livas  says, "We can't really complain that the poor are heavier, when what we're donating is our kind of castaways."

I just love articles that make you think!

To read this article, please go to:

Back to the food drive...again, all of October YRE will be collecting food!  So please donate if you are willing and able!

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 October:

Chalice Children class (Preschool):

            October 17 - UU Alphabet
            October 24 - UU Alphabet
            October 31 - YRE multigenerational Fall celebration


Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 

October 17 - Workshop rotation
            ~K, 1st & 2nd grades:  Workshop 2 - Shrines

            ~3rd, 4th & 5th grades:  Workshop 3 - World meals

            October 24 - Workshop rotation
                        ~K, 1st & 2nd grades: Workshop 3 - World meals

                        ~3rd, 4th & 5th grades: Workshop 1 - What's in a name?

            October 31 - YRE multigenerational Fall celebration


6th - 8th grade class:

            October 17 - Class: Coming of Age (mentor class following regular class time)

            October 24 - Class: Coming of Age
            October 31 - YRE multigenerational Fall celebration


9th - 12th grade class:

            October 17 - Small group ministry

            October 24 - Small group ministry

            October 31 - YRE multigenerational Fall celebration


Hello!  For those of you who don't know me, I am Laura, the new youth coordinator at MVUUF.  I am so excited to be working with the youth this year, and we are already off to a wonderful start.  A little bit about me: I moved to Ohio four years ago from Maryland for graduate school.  I am currently a fourth year doctoral student in Wright State University's School of Professional Psychology program.  I love working with children and youth, and plan to work with children with developmental disabilities in the future.  I was raised Unitarian Universalist, and love being a UU.  I consider it an important and wonderful piece of my identity, and love sharing this with UU youth!   The junior high youth group is entering its third year and is a fantastic and fun group.  This group meets the first Friday of every month from 7:30-9:30 for games, discussion, and time to hang-out and be cool UU junior high youth together.  The senior high youth group is just starting this year, and will meet the fourth Sunday of the month after service.  We plan to have lots of field trips and community building time.  

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
October 17 - "Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me."  Moderator: Carol Vincent
October 24 - "Does Your World View Include a Supreme Being?  If so, what are it's attributes?  If not, why?"  Moderator:  Gordon Taylor
*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*
October 20 - Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts, by Carol Tarvis & Elliot Aronson
November 17 - Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout
December 15 - Seven Stories of Christmas Love, by Leo Buscaglia & Tom Newsom
--This our holiday potluck meeting at Carol's house!
January TBD - Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery & Alison Anderson
*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 7:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at Christopher's Restaurant (2318 Dorothy Ln., Kettering).  For more information, contact Ann Snively.
November 9 - The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, by Heidi W. Durrow
December 14 - The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks
January 11 - Oil on the Brain, by Lisa Margonelli
February 8 - Lush Life, by Richard Price


St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
November 13 Menu: Beef stew, 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.


Food Fanciers
Join us in the Fellowship kitchen at 2 p.m. on October 22 to watch Lew Hann demonstrate how to make easy tomato soup.  It's suitable for people on Weight Watchers, so you won't want to miss it!

Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee is charged with providing a slate of candidates to fill the positions on the MVUUF Board and Program Council.  The slate of candidates is voted on by the congregation at the semi-annual Congregational meeting held in January.  We are in the process of reviewing all positions and are soliciting your comments, interest and recommendations for leadership positions.  Please contact any of the members of the committee with your suggestions by November 5.
~ Members of the Nominating Committee: Kriss Gang, Genevieve Harvey, Jim Faulconer, Priscilla Mutter & Jamie McQuinn

Congregational Discussion on Endowment Fund
At the June Congregational meeting, four recommendations were proposed regarding the MVUUF Endowment Fund.  After a period of insightful discussion, the decision was made by the Congregation not to accept three of the recommendations.  The consensus was that we needed to have more broader discussions about the MVUUF Endowment Fund-why we have it, how we can grow it, and for what purpose.  On Sun. October 24, we will have that discussion immediately following the service in the Sanctuary. This meeting will be facilitated by Kriss Gang (who has worked with other congregations on endowment funds and other stewardship issues) along with MVUUF Endowment committee members, John Bierman, Dan Enterline and Antonia Harter.  If you want to know more about the MVUUF Endowment Fund and participate in a discussion about how and why we should work to grow and manage the use of the funds, please join us on October 24.


Planned Parenthood Book Loft
The P.P. book loft is in desperate need of volunteers.  If you can donate a few hours to help price books, sort books, etc., please contact Lynn Haven.

Congregational Retreat & Campout
Don't miss this year's retreat!  It's being held on October 23 at 12:30 p.m. at the scenic John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs.  The cost is $5.00/adult and a donation to go towards pizza.  Please bring a snack to share, or a salad or dessert to share with our pizza dinner.  Beer and wine are allowed inside the lodge only.  You can also stay overnight if you wish.  Call John Bryan at 866-644-6727 to rent a campsite.  Rates are $17/night for non-electric and $21/night for an electric site.  Please sign up in the Gathering Space - we'll have lots of fun roasting marshmallows, singing songs & enjoying the woods!


Women's Group Series
To our friends with feminine energy - we are going to begin our year with a series on body image.  Join us!  During this series, we will create a life-size woman on paper.  Bring magazines with pictures to cut out and add to the collage.
October 17 - Maureen O'Meara will lead the discussion based on the classic, Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Children's Halloween Party
Join us on Sun. October 31 for our Halloween party!  We encourage all children and youth to don their costumes to help celebrate Halloween, All Hallows Eve and Dia de los Muertos (additional costumes and masks will be available through YRE.)  The costumery will be paraded through the Fellowship hall during service.  We ask parents and adults to donate treats for the trick-or-treating tour following service.  There will be activities and games for children of all ages!  Treats can be delivered to the YRE prep room anytime before service on October 31.  If you have questions, please contact Jesse Gaither.

Smart Choices
Smart Choices will be touring the Greater Cincinnati Mosque on I-75 and carpooling from MVUUF on October 18 at 10:30 a.m.  We will be eating lunch afterwards.


YRE Food Drive
During October, YRE will be holding a food drive.  The children in our workshop rotations will collect the food in bins marked "Food Donations" in the Gathering Space.  We'll also ask families to deliver the food to a local pantry, extending the idea of our second principle, "Be kind in all you do."  Please bring your non-perishables and support our youth and our greater community.

Blessing of the Animals
Rev. Amy Russell will hold a blessing of the animals on October 16, 11 a.m. at Indian Riffle Park, Shelter #3.  This event is part of the Howl-O-Ween Walk fundraiser held by the Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association.  It's lots of fun and people and pets alike are costumed!  If you want to register for the fundraiser, go to or contact Iris Carter.

Where We Stand - Our Best Foot Forward: Long Range Planning Needs You

Many people have wondered when they would get to have input into the Fellowship's Long Range Planning discussion.  The time has come!  Please come to the Fellowship either on Sat. Oct. 16 9:30-11:30 a.m. or Sun., November 7, from 1:00-3:00.  Each of these gatherings will be a chance for you to take part in the Appreciative Inquiry process.  This is the process we described in the service on August 15. 


We want to hear stories about what excites and nurtures you here at the Fellowship.  As we share our stories, we will all be reminded of our best selves and how the Fellowship calls each of us to be part of that best.  We will be exploring several major areas of Fellowship life - our Worship and other spiritual experiences, Religious Education (for all ages), our Internal Community or how we relate to each other, and External Community or how we relate to the larger world. 


Our goal with these meetings is twofold.  First, we want to excite discussion among participants that we hope will be continued in many venues in coming weeks and months.  Sharing these stories is a way for all of us to know each other in deeper ways.  Second, we will be gathering information about the stories you tell so we can build from our strengths moving forward.

In order to keep these gatherings to a two-hour limit, we will break the planning process into several parts.  After these initial gatherings, we will be working to collate the stories we hear and will hold further meetings to pull themes and insights from them.  These meetings will be open to all who are interested, and those involved in specific areas will be particularly invited to the discussions of those sections.


Once these themes are collated, we will be developing specific recommendations to lead us into the future.  We will be incorporating information gleaned from other research, such as demographic studies and best practices from other churches.  We will again be looking for your suggestions at this "getting practical" stage of the process.  Obviously, this is a large assignment and one that will still take several months to complete.  The next important step is for you to come on either October 16 or November 7 to have your voice heard.  For planning purposes, we are asking people to sign up in the Gathering Space or by letting Kristin know when you will attend.  There will be childcare available if requested by the week before each meeting, and food will be available between service and our gathering on November 7.


Membership in MVUUF is a participatory sport - speaking our deep truths with each other is both our privilege and our responsibility.   We hope you will come and be part of our next steps.  We need and want to hear your story. 


Humanitarian Giving Action Group Collection
During October, the Humanitarian Action Group welcomes plate offerings for Daybreak.  Daybreak is an emergency shelter for runaway and homeless teens.  They operate the area's only 24 hour crisis hotline and have branched into outreach, prevention, transitional housing, life-skills training and other services.

Spiritual Awakening Study Group
Bill Hill will lead a study group that focuses on Conversations with God and other channeled materials.  If you're interested, meetings will be held 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Sun. in the library, starting October 24.
Don't Forget!
**Cinemaniacs will meet October 17 at the Neon Theater.  Contact Pete Hering for more information.