glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
Dec. 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
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

It is finally feeling like the holidays to me.  Chanukah has come and gone, Solstice is right around the corner and Christmas will be here before we know it.  The Fellowship is decked out with greenery and bows, and the giving tree offers an amazing display of generosity.  It seems we UUs get Christmas right.  What is it about the holidays, and especially Christmas, that draws us in - especially the Humanists among us?

I'm kind of fickle about this season.  I decorate, I listen to the music, I love singing the "real" words to the carols - including all the Hallelujahs I can muster.  But I do not like the assumptions that people who do not know me make when they wish me a Merry Christmas at the check-out or play Christmas music in my health club.  What is it that I want?  It's not that I'm missing "the true meaning" of the holiday because the story of Jesus' birth is myth to me.

I guess I want Christmas on my terms.  I want the emotion and not the commercialism.  I want the ritual and not the assumptions.  I want the hope and light but not the demands to be something I'm not.  I can go to a Christmas Eve service at a UU fellowship and find the kind of meaning I seek.  We have beautiful music, candles, and warm community.  We usually have stories from the Bible and stories from other sources.  And most of all, we sing Silent Night by candlelight. It gives me goose bumps every time.

Somehow it feels right.  If we're going to have a Christmas Eve service in a UU fellowship, then let's make it about Christmas and all that it represents.  I can hear the Bible stories and interpret them for our time.  Joseph Campbell says that myth helps harmonize our lives with the order of nature.  In other words, we tell stories to explain the world, especially when it comes to the things we can't explain in our lives.  At Christmas there is the hope that even a lowly birth can lead to a prophetic life.  Imagine the potential in our world!  That's something that UUs can get behind, isn't it?  Hope?  A better future through our works?

 It has been a rough month leading up to the holidays when my mother developed critical complications following surgery.  Thankfully she is on the mend.  Others have suffered losses at this time of year as well, and it makes for a difficult season for some.  You have all offered such love and support that I am reminded that even in the most difficult times, no especially in the most difficult times, the fellowship offers sanctuary.  I wish for anyone who faces difficult times at this season to find the hope in there somewhere.  May you find your way through this season with our love and hope for brighter times.

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December 19 - Solstice Celebration  Rev. Amy Russell & Carol Narigon
~ With the beginning of the darkness of winter, the Solstice is the source of many religions' celebrations.  We'll celebrate Solstice and getting through the darkness.

December 24 - Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m.  Deb Miyake
~ Our Christmas Eve service will be filled with candles and carols and holiday memories.

December 26 - What to Do with Holiday Leftovers  Deb Miyake, Phil Wise & Joe Law
~ Readings, reflections, and maybe even some recipes!

Keeping Up With Our Members
If you are experiencing a rough time in your life, please know that your fellowship community is here to support you.
A Letter from the DRE

Ahhh, the holidays are upon us.  So, this question comes to my mind; "What would Jesus buy?"  Is this a strange question for a Unitarian Universalist to ponder?  As my daughter comes to me with lists of "I want...." And "I REALLY want..." I rack my brain on trying to balance her wants, her lists, etc. with me telling her about "not all children get..." and "the holidays are not about..."   So what is a parent to do?  Well don't look at me for the answers, but I do have some ideas that we are trying out this year.

This year, our family took a pledge to not buy from big box companies.  We are; hand making gifts, buying from local artist, and/or buying from local "mom & pop" shops.  So what are we doing if we can't find that latest toy that is on the top of "the list"?  Does buying it from Amazon through MVUUF or WYSO count (where a portion of the money goes towards them)? 

After watching the documentary, "What Would Jesus Buy?" it really helped me figure out what type of consumer I want to be during the holidays (what type of consumer I want to encourage my child and family to be too).  Have I sparked your curiosity about the film?  Well you can see it yourself, you know.   MVUUF is holding its first Chalice Night on Friday, December 10, at 6:30.  The night begins with a yummy dinner, followed by the movie "What Would Jesus Buy?"  This is an event for all ages (childcare included).  Come see for yourself, what Jesus would buy...and see if you can spot what UU church "the Church of Stop Shopping" visits! 

Good luck to you and your family as you navigate your way through this buying season.   Happy Holidays to you all!!

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 December :
Chalice Children class (Preschool):

            December 5 - Kindness curriculum
            December 12 - Kindness curriculum
  Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 

            December 19 - Workshop rotation 

                                    ~ K, 1st & 2nd grades - Workshop 2:  Zen garden

                                    ~ 3rd, 4th & 5th grades - Workshop 3:  Illustrating pages

December 26 - Workshop rotation

                                    ~ K, 1st & 2nd grades - Workshop 3:  Illustrating pages

                                    ~ 3rd, 4th & 5th grades - Workshop 1:  Winter solstice celebration

6th - 8th grade class:

            December 19 - Class: Coming of Age
            December 26 - Class: Coming of Age


9th - 12th grade class:

            December 19 - Small group ministry
            December 26 - Small group ministry

How Would You Spend $100?

Attention all children, youth, and families in our MVUUF YRE program!  Here is a wonderful opportunity to you to make a difference. 

Here's the deal!  You write down what you would do with $100 if we gave it to you to make the world a better place.  A committee will read you idea and decide who will be granted the $100. 

Deadline for grant applications is January 9.  The grant money will be awarded on Sunday, January 23 during our intergenerational service.  Individual children and youth, groups of children and/or youth, and families with children/youth are encouraged to apply for the grant. 

Here are the conditions for getting the money.

1.       You can't spend it on yourself or your family.

2.       In May of 2011, we want you to tell us how you spent the money and what good it did.

Special consideration will be given to ideas that 'grow' the money in giving back to help make the world a better place.  How can you make the $100 go the farthest?

Please click HERE for the official form, or see Natalie Spriggs-Trobrige; DRE or Shannon Harper; LRE rep. for more information/questions. 

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
December 19 - "My Best and Worst Christmases and Other Holidays."  Moderator: Carol Vincent
December 26 - "Thirty Ways the World Could End."  Moderator: Lindy McDonough
*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.

St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
January 8 Menu:  hamburger buns, green salad, fruit salad, baked beans, 2% milk
(Pulled pork will be generously donated by Adina & Rita Reeve)
*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.  Contact Kristin at 436-3628, sign up in the Gathering Space or call Evan James.

Decorate Our MVUUF Holiday Tree with Kindness!
From November 28 - December 31, we will be collecting unwrapped baby items for the St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter.  Needed items include:  baby bottles, baby wipes, bottle brushes, diaper bags, diaper ointment, diapers, formula (milk or soy based), Pack-N-Plays, Pedialyte, play yards, shower shoes, socks, sturdy strollers, children's underwear and thermometers.  You can place your items under the tree in the Gathering Space - thanks for your kindness and generosity!

New Study Group
A new course of study will be offered beginning on January 9.  The study, "Spirit Awakening", will explore several channeled books which describe the human experience from the perspective of the soul and spiritual reality.  For more information, contact Bill Hill.

Daytime Book Club Title*
January 19 - Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery & Alison Anderson
February 16 - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer
*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.
January 11 - Oil on the Brain, by Lisa Margonelli
February 8 - Lush Life, by Richard Price

Humanitarian Giving Action Group Collection
During December, 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.

Joining a Covenant Group
A covenant group is a small group (4-10) of people who meet regularly with the purpose of deepening relationships, spirituality, and a sense of community in an intimate setting.  We have two such groups currently meeting.  They have been meeting for about 7 months.  These groups will be meeting for another three-four months.  They have room for a few new people.  One group meets every Monday night and one group meets twice a month on Sunday nights.  If you would like to join one of these groups, please see Amy.  New covenant groups will form in March.

Harvest the Power - Leadership Curriculum
Join us for a four-week adult religious education program titled, Harvest the Power. This is the second in a 3-part series, but you need not have participated in the first part to join us. The topic is "Purpose: What ends do we serve?" This workshop will help leaders explore several aspects of the experiences, challenges and responsibilities of their role. New and existing leaders are encouraged to participate. The class will be held from Tue., January 11 through Tue., March 1 from 7-9 p.m. Please contact Alice Diebel with questions, or sign up in the Gathering Space or with Kristin Freeman in the office.

Congregational Meeting
The next congregational meeting will be Sun., January 9 at approximately 12:20 p.m. following the service. Childcare will be provided.  The agenda items include: election of all Board members and half the Program Council members. We will also award the Unsung UU award. Finally, we will decide whether the Draft Statement of Conscience, Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice, should be placed on the final agenda for the General Assembly in 2011.

Christmas Eve 2010
Our Christmas Eve service will be held December 24 at 7 p.m.  Rev. Amy Russell will not be leading the service this year, as she will be with her family, this the first Christmas without her father.  Please come and celebrate the season with candles and carols.

Wassail (Let's Try This Again!)
Since we were snowed out last week, Wassail will be held Sun., December 19 at 6:30 p.m.  Bring a holiday treat to share and we'll enjoy carols and fellowship!

Slate of Candidates
The Nominating Committee will be presenting the following slate of candidates for election at the January 9 Congregational meeting. 

Board members:

Alice Diebel - President                                                         Alysoun Taylor - Vice President

Catherine Queener - Secretary                                               Joe Law - Trustee A              

TBD - Trustee B                                                                     Kate Halpin - Prog. Council Chair

*All Board positions have a one year term, March 1 - February 28.

Program Council members:

Dawn Bellinger - Membership (completing second year of two year term)

Bob Lewis - Social Justice                                                     Rita Schindel - Activities

Sean Halpin - Operations

*All P.C. positions have a two year term beginning on March 1.

Open positions:

Public Relations                      Music              Worship                       Internal Communications

Guest at Your Table
The Guest at Your Table program will begin on December 12 and end January 30.  This program serves as the annual fundraiser for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee founded in 1939.   Since 1975, the Guest at your Table program has been putting UU faith in action, by raising funds to help people struggling for basic human rights both in the U.S. and around the world. The UUSC partners with self-help groups to fund the projects these groups have developed for their communities. 

Through December and January, there will be a table in the Gathering Space with information on the UUSC's activities, as well as envelopes and boxes for contributions.  Guest at Your Table boxes encourage families and individuals to reflect on others' human rights and needs and to make an appropriate daily contribution to sponsor an imaginary international visitor at their table.  If you can total the coins and bills in your box, enter the requested information on the box, and write out a check for the corresponding amount made out to UUSC by January 30, it cuts down the delay in submitting all our contributions.    However, you can also just bring your box to church marked with your name and I'll total your donation.  Many of us opt to bypass the box and simply submit a check made out to the UUSC. 

Stop by the Guest at Your Table table for an envelope.  Please return your contribution to me or to the office on or before January 30, so I can report our total contributions back to the congregation.  Guest at Your Table is an ideal time to become a UUSC member or to renew your membership.  I have a list of current UUSC members, if you wish to check the status of your membership.   Basic UUSC Membership rates are:  $40.00 -regular, $75 dual regular (2 adults),  $20 Seniors (65 and over), $10 for Students and Youth.,  If you are able, please consider making your contribution go twice as far.  Donations of $100 or more from a family or individual are matched by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock.

~ Maureen O'Meara

Adult Sexuality Education: Our Whole Lives

Your sexuality is a major part of your identity. It grows and changes-it's part of your health and relationships and your age and your self-image. But our Western culture trivializes sexuality and often has an underlying current suggesting that sexuality is only for the young and beautiful.

The Our Whole Lives program for Adults allows people to have adult conversations about an adult subject. Using values, communication skills and spirituality as starting points, OWL explores sexuality issues for adults of all ages inviting adults to strengthen connections between their sexuality and spirituality, between their values and their behavior, and between themselves and their religious community.  Besides, why should the kids have all the fun of learning (or relearning) about sex!  OWL for Adults affirms diversity and helps participants accept and affirm their own sexuality throughout their lives.

Our Whole Lives for Adults, led by Leslie and Chris Woodward on Sun. evenings, January 23-March 27 from 7:30-9:30 p.m., first come first served with a maximum of 12 participants.  A donation for materials and curriculum will be appreciated from participants who are able to contribute.  Contact Kristin Freeman at 436-3628 or to register.

Lunch with Amy at Panera
Lunch with Amy at Panera by the Dayton Mall is cancelled for December 23 and 30, as she will be spending the holidays with her family.  It will resume in January. 

Job Opening in the Nursery
Beginning January 2, the Nursery has an opening for a childcare staff member.  Hours vary, but most Sundays it's 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. with some Sundays needing staff until 2 p.m.  There are possibilities for more hours on different days.  Childcare/nursery staff work with children 10 years old and younger.  Applicants must have taken the Red Cross Babysitting Course or be certified in CPR and First Aid.  Applicants must also be at least 16 years old.  For a job description or for any questions, please contact Natalie, our DRE at or Shannon Harper, LRE Rep.  Application deadline is December 26!