glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
Feb. 1-14, 2011
~  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 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 Minister

When I was growing up, my family moved three times to different cities.   Moving as a child is really hard.  I'm not sure it gets any easier as an adult.  Coming into a new community, a new school, or a new church, meeting all new people and figuring out who you are in this new environment is life altering.  It can be life altering in a good way, or it can be life altering in a really traumatic way.  When I remember my experience with being new, I remember people who stand out in my mind because they went out of their way to help me find my way.  Like the senior girl, Nancy, at Oakwood High School who invited me to come attend an International Club meeting after school because she thought I might be interested.  I later became the President of that club having become a real part of the group.

When new people come in our doors, I think we are welcoming and friendly to them.  At least this is what new people tell me.  I see our visitors usually surrounded by members talking with them.

What I wonder though, is how hard it is to really become a part of us in a meaningful way?  Once a person has become a member, do they find it hard to find their way through our myriad of interest groups, committees, events, and informal groups to figure out where they belong here?  Are they asked to participate or volunteer in things that interest them?  Do we find ways to mentor new people toward leadership?  How long does it take before they feel at home?

So, how do we figure out how to be welcoming not just when people walk in the door, but two months later when we may know their names, but may not know much about them.  What do you say to people after you say, "How are you?" to really connect?

I think this is something that we as a community must struggle with together.  I think it's a cultural change that we're seeking, not necessarily a programmatic change.  However, there certainly may be some programs for integrating new members that could be helpful in this area.  But if a cultural change is required, it means that we all may need to examine our actions to see if we are inclusive.  Do we go out of our way to invite someone to come to an activity with us, like the Chalice Night dinner?  Do we tell newer people about the activities that we are involved in like helping with the St. Vincent's lunch or coming to Community Class?  When we need extra help with something, do we think about new members to help or lead an activity?

As a community, I hope we'll keep struggling with programmatic ways to integrate new members.  As individuals, I hope we'll all keep struggling with how to be more radically welcoming. 

Join Us!
Join your fellow congregants as have a congregational discussion on membership, after service on February 13.  After our service on Radical Hospitality, we'll hold an informal
discussion about ways we can be more welcoming and more inclusive of new members. 
Join us in the Sanctuary!

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February 6 - Power, Privilege & Nonviolence  Bob Lewis
~ We often look on power as something bad that we don't embrace, and look on privilege as something special, and nonviolence as something unique - something a few heroic people have demonstrated.  Are there other ways to look at power, privilege and nonviolence that capture our attention and engage us personally and collectively in meaningful and responsible ways?

February 13 - Radical Hospitality  Rev. Amy Russell
~ Radical hospitality is the spiritual practice in which we are challenged to welcome diverse people into our lives, into our fellowship.  How do we develop this kind of welcoming attitude so that we learn to overcome our own fears and initiate new relationships with others?

February 20 - Happy Are They Who Do Good  Rev. Amy Russell
~ So begins the interpreted Psalm 1, rewritten by UU minister Christine Robinson.  Our first UU principle tells us about the inherent worth and dignity of each person.  Is this our human nature, or is our nature a blank slate, as Rousseau believed?  What pulls us toward the "good" and what is "good"?


February 27 - Embracing Your Inner Demon: Possession Is Nine-Tenths of the Soul  Rev. Todd Ekloff
~ Nowadays, the word "demon" is understood to mean something malevolent and sinister, but it is actually very similar in meaning to words like "genius" and "originality".  Could it be that our literal demonization of it represents our cultural fear of individual distinctness and of our own authenticity?  And if so, how can we truly express ourselves, who we are truly meant to be, if we exorcise originality and authenticity from our lives?  In this sermon, Rev. Ekloff explores these questions and more by citing the help of thinkers as rich as Alice Miller, John Bradshaw, James Hillman, Erich Fromm and many others.

Keeping Up With Our Members

Ruby Powell fell and broke her hip.  She is recuperating at Heartland of Centerville and expects to be there for around 2 weeks.  Please call before visiting.  We're sending her lots of get well wishes!

Beryl Schicker is at home recovering from gall bladder surgery.  We're thinking of her as she's on the mend!

Tom Cruse, former member of MVUUF, had back surgery at the beginning of January and is rehabilitating at his home in Colorado - best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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

It has been, it has been frigid outside these past few weeks.  Snow day after snow day, it makes a person just want to curl up with a good book and some hot tea.  However, somehow, the days do not stop and wait for us to unthaw.  This is true for our Youth Religious Education program too.  Some Sunday mornings when I get out of bed, it is a whopping 10 degrees outside, but I press on.  Our families here at MVUUF press on too.  Bundled up in thick coats, hats, scarves, and those keep your toes warm winter boots.  Children and youth still fill our classrooms. 

This is where our volunteers come into play.  We have wonderful dedicated volunteers, who just like our bundled up children and youth, make it to MVUUF the Sundays they have dedicated their time for.  We are still in need though.  We still have workshops that need leaders, bundled up, ready to lead a workshop.


What is really wonderful about workshop rotations is that you only need to bundle up two Sundays in one month.  That is it.  What is also really wonderful about leading a workshop is you only plan for one workshop, leaving you more time to snuggle on the couch with that good book and hot cup of tea.  Once you plan for your one workshop, you lead it two times, that it is, and then you are done.  Both of these times are in the same month.  Each month has a theme the workshop rotations fall under.  Most of the workshops are already planned, with a lesson.  Easy peesy...just when you need it most!  Also, you are not alone in your workshop.  First of all, you can lead the workshop with a partner.  Second, there is a guide in the workshop with you.  The guide works with the children every Sunday, so they know the children well.  The guide is there to help you during your workshop too! 

Finally, you may be asking yourself, "What's in it for me?"  Well let me tell you, it will make your soul feel good.  No lie here.  In our winter months in Ohio, some of us get the winter blahs.  Leading a workshop will help you smile and warm your heart, so much so, that the Sunday after you lead a workshop, you may find yourself drinking a glass of iced tea instead of hot tea.

So, have piqued your interests yet?  Here is a list of workshops that are in great need of a leader:

  • Faith in Action; what is petitioning & how to start on (2/13 & 2/27)
  • Watchdogs for justice; unfair snack activity (2/20 & 2/27)
  • Feed your mind; videos about others through Heifer International & cheese making (3/13 & 3/27)
  • What do you really need; from Gandi, what can we do with broken crayon pieces? (4/10 & 4/24)
  • Caring for mother earth: from Black Elk, children brain storm ideas on what they do to the earth and how they can balance it out...ending with a class project such as a composting worm bin (4/10 & 4/17)
  • Making the world a better place: from Thich Nhat Hahn, make plum or date cookies and do a mindful eating meditation (4/17 & 4/24)
  • Our church MVUUF; belonging to a bigger community by looking at past MVUUF scrapbooks and then creating a page for YRE (5/8 & 5/28)
  • Who we are; discuss who we are and how children can articulate their UU faith and beliefs to others via drama workshop (5/8 & 5/15)
  • UU Principles matching game (5/15 & 5/29)

If you are interested in leading any of these workshops, please contact me.  If you have questions before committing to teaching any of these workshops, please contact me.  I cannot stress enough how easy and wonderful leading workshop rotations are.  Thank you for considering!


Now for our Mystery Friends update: Everyone is signed up now and the month of February your child (if they signed up) should be receiving letters, one per each week of February, four letters total.   If you are an adult Mystery Friend (already signed up), then you should be sending a letter to your mystery friend child, again one per week of February, totaling four letters.  Each letter should have some clues about you and feel free to send along small items that fit in an envelope such as stickers, pictures, etc.  The Mystery Friends dinner will take place on Saturday, March 5.  Remember to bring your assigned non-perishable food item (to be matched with your Mystery Friend) and a small gift (homemade gifts are the best!) to give to your mystery friend.  Any questions about Mystery Friends, please contact Lori Damron at

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 February :

Chalice Children class (Preschool):
February 6 - Kindness curriculum
February 13 - Kindness curriculum
February 20 - Kindness curriculum
February 27 -  Kindness curriculum


Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 

February 6 - Children's worship

February 13 - Workshop rotation
                        ~ K, 1st & 2nd grades - Workshop 1:  Fair Trade chocolate sale

~ 3rd, 4th & 5th grades - Workshop 2:  Faith in action

February 20 - Workshop rotation
                        ~ K, 1st & 2nd grades - Workshop 3:  Watchdogs for justice

~ 3rd, 4th & 5th grades - Workshop 1:  Fair Trade chocolate sale

February 27 - Workshop rotation
                        ~ K, 1st & 2nd grades - Workshop 2:  Faith in action

~ 3rd, 4th & 5th grades - Workshop 3:  Watchdogs for justice


6th - 8th grade class:

February 6 - Youth worship
February 13 - Class: Coming of Age
February 20 - Class: Coming of Age

February 27 -  Class: Coming of Age


9th - 12th grade class:

February 6 - Youth worship
February 13 - Small group ministry
February 20 - Small group ministry

February 27 - Small group ministry

Around the Fellowship

Update on the YRE Social Action Grant Project
We have heard that the January 9 proposal deadline, coming just after the holidays, made it difficult for people to participate. Thus we decided to postpone the announcement of recipients and to accept additional proposals.   Stay tuned for the new submission date and other details!  

 Community Discussion Group Topics
February 6 - "The Marijuana Issue Is Not Dead."  Moderator:  Gordon Taylor
February 13 - "The Poetry In Our Lives."  Moderator:  John Gormley
*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.

And We Want Your Ideas, Too!
The Humanitarian Giving Action Group will be placing a suggestion box in the Gathering Space starting in January.  They are soliciting your suggestions on ideas for giving for 2011.

Food Fanciers
We will meet on February 18 at 2 p.m. in the kitchen.  Get ready to indulge, as Shirley Gezinski will be preparing eggplant parmesan!

St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
February 12 Menu:  beef stew, green salad, fruit salad, 2% milk
*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 at 286-7512.

Daytime Book Club Title*
February 16 - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer
March TBD - It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis
*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.
February 8 - Oil On the Brain, by Lisa Margonelli
March 8 - Lush Life, by Richard Price
April 12 - Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
May 10 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Humanitarian Giving Action Group Offering
During February, the Humanitarian Giving Action Group will be accepting non-pledge donations for the Wesley Center.  The Wesley Center is a faith-based organization that responds to the needs of families and individuals in crisis.  The Center offers classes on financial management, computer literacy, offers hot meals, and support services. 

Women's Group
The Women's group will be discussing Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, by Geneen Roth beginning February 6 through the month of March.  This book will help us examine that how we eat is related to our core beliefs and way we live.  Please join us as we discover a book by a celebrated author which has changed lives.  Please contact Sarah Hewitt or Alice Diebel for more information.


Covenant Groups Start in March
Covenant groups are small groups that meet bi-monthly to deepen relationships and a sense of spirituality.  If you're interested, come to an information meeting on February 20 at 12:30 in Amy's office.


Small Group Dinner
[UU - Colloq.] - n. 1. Good food  2.  Good conversation  3. Good company

It's time to switch up the dinner groups!  Enjoy conversation, good food, and fun while getting to know others in the Fellowship.  Groups of 8 to 10 gather in each others' homes once a month, October through June, for dinner, and everyone brings a part of the meal.  The year is divided in two cycles - we're winding down the first cycle.  The second cycle starts in March and continues in June.  All are invited to join, Fellowship members and friends alike.

There will be two sign up sheets - one for adults only and one for families.  I will coordinate the adult groups but not the family groups, but I will pass on the contact information to all the families.  EVEN IF YOU SIGNED UP FOR THE FIRST CYCLE IN SEPTEMBER, YOU NEED TO SIGN UP AGAIN FOR THE SECOND CYCLE.  Look for sign up sheets in the Gathering Space.  February 20 is the last day to sign up.  Contact Dawn Bellinger at 427-1980 for more information.


The New UU - A Course for New & Prospective Adult Members
If you are a new member of the Fellowship, or thinking seriously about becoming a member, and want to learn more about what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist, this course is for you.  If you've been around for a few months, or maybe a year or two and are still trying to make sense out of being a UU, this course might be of help.

The course begins Sunday morning, February 13, 9:30-10:45 a.m. in the Fellowship library and continues for 7 weeks.  It will be led by Bob Lewis with assistance from Rev. Amy Russell.  Childcare will be provided.  The course will focus on important themes in UU life: worship, UU theology and history, faith development, social justice, organization and governance, and a congregational perspective.  Personal sharing and dialogue will be encouraged.

Please sign up with Kristin the church office by calling 436-3628.You can also sign up with Bob at 350-7763 or using the sign up sheet in the Gathering Space.  If you have questions, please call Bob.