glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
Feb. 15-28, 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 President 

"And for times we shall never see."  By Alice Diebel


On February 5 we had our second daylong non-violent communication (NVC) class, organized by Adult Religious Education chair, Genevieve Harvey.  The fellowship began NVC training around the time we developed our covenant of right relations.  It was one more step toward learning how to be in right relationship with one another as well as in our personal and work lives.  The work we have all done has made a big difference in our relationships.  NVC helps us deal with our conflicts by learning to identify our needs and respectfully make requests of others when our needs are not being met.  It is hard work, but it is a healthy approach to relationships.


Another step we are taking in our relationships is to learn to be welcoming and inviting to newcomers.  We don't really seem to have a problem warmly welcoming visitors and newcomers, so this is not a call for more greeters, though we do need some!!  And the blue mugs seem to work well.  Where we need to work a little harder is in helping people who are in that in-between stage. People who don't think they should use a blue mug because they're no longer brand new to the fellowship.  They have come a few times but they don't know where they fit for sure.  They may or may not yet have a plastic nametag, or their shiny, wooden member nametag has no gadgets hanging from it or coffee stains on it. 


Many people come to MVUUF because they are seeking connections in a world that seems increasingly disconnected.  They are seeking community, values, guidance, and growth, but they won't get what they need simply by sitting in the service on Sunday.  They will only get it through relationships.   Those of us who have found what we are seeking have probably tried on some things, put our toe in the water, and eventually grew into the place.  But how many have not?  I wonder about those people who seem to like us but don't find their fit.  Is it because they don't fit or because they didn't connect or find those key relationships?  I doubt we'll ever really know, but I would hate for them to make a mistake and leave when they really do belong. 


Or perhaps the mistake is ours.  What can we do in our communication with others to build deep connections and relationships with newcomers?  Just like we can learn NVC, we can learn how to connect with strangers in a way that is radically hospitable.  It means that we pay attention to the person in front of us, honestly try to get to know them, and spend genuine time, one-on one. If you're shy, or busy, or don't know what to say, we can help build those skills.  And like NVC, they are useful skills outside our walls as well.  "Tell me about yourself."  "What brought you here?"  "Where did you come from?"  "What are you looking for?"  And in return, share these things about yourself. Let's not be strangers with one another.  

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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 is at home recuperating after a fall - she's doing well in rehabilitation, and in true Ruby style, surprising her health care workers with her vigor and positive attitude!  If you would like to visit her, please call first, as she's still tired.  We look forward to seeing her on Sundays.


Joe Zimmerman's mother passed away on February 13.  We are holding him in our hearts as he goes through this difficult time. 


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.  

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 20 - Kindness curriculum
February 27 -  Kindness curriculum


Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 

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 20 - Class: Coming of Age

February 27 -  Class: Coming of Age


9th - 12th grade class:

February 20 - Small group ministry

February 27 - Small group ministry

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
February 20 - "Alternative Healing."  Moderator: Cynthia Brooks
February 27 - "Dealing with Adversity."  Moderator: Carol Vincent
*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*
March 12 Menu:  BBQ or fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, 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 Freeman, sign up in the Gathering Space or call Evan James at 286-7512.


Daytime Book Club Title*
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.
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.


Mark Your Calendars!
The Service Auction will be here before you know it!  April 30 is the date and the Fellowship is the place to be.  Watch the "Forum" and the Sunday bulletin for more information...


Season for Nonviolence
The season for nonviolence bridges the memorial deaths of Mohandas Gandhi who was assassinated on January 30, 1948 at the age of 78 and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39.  So the sixty-four days from January 30 to April 4 have been set aside as a time for all of us to focus on the power and meaning of their message and their lives and the collective nonviolent action that they promoted on behalf of human rights.  Accompanying their posters are also two posters honoring several women who have been a part of the human rights struggle.  Harriet Tubman born in 1820 or 21 was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the Civil War. After escaping from slavery, into which she was born, she made thirteen missions to rescue more than 70 slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Later on in her life she joined the struggle for women's suffrage.  She died in Auburn NY in 1913 at the age of 93.  The other poster honors Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony - suffragists who fought for the women's right to vote.  Stanton who lived from 1815 to 1902 was an American social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early woman's movement. She died at the age of 86.  Susan B Anthony (1820-1906) was a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women's rights movement to introduce women's suffrage into the United States.  She was co-founder of the first Women's Temperance Movement with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  She also co-founded the women's rights journal, The Revolution. She was raised as a Quaker but later attended the Unitarian church in Rochester NY.  She also died at the age of 86.


So, how do we as 21st century Unitarian Universalists honor them?   


We begin by not only remembering them, but also by identifying with them and joining with them in the continuing struggles for justice.  We must understand that each of these historic figures in their day were forced to stand over against unilateral power which was de-humanizing for large segments of the population.  Each of them created and became leaders of movements that sought to turn aside established views, established privilege and established structures that imposed limits on the freedom of people to exercise their rights as citizens.  Each of them was a change agent standing against the status quo, taking great risks to their own well-being, making it possible for others to join in a shared struggle to achieve a more just society - bending the moral arc of the universe toward justice.  They were activists - nonviolent activists-who struggled against the reality of dehumanizing power and privilege.  They were not "passivists."  They were not like those St. Augustine referred to as tender turtles -- those that sit at rest, while others take pains, and buy their quiet with disgrace.

I think that honoring them means that we try to understand them and their work as best we can; that we show our respect for them and for those who worked with them; that we learn to care along with them about the deeply troubling issues of our own time; and that we take individual and institutional responsibility for continuing their work of humanizing our civilization with as much zest, enthusiasm, risk and rising above narrow self interest as they showed in their own life journeys.    The Fellowship will observe the Season for Nonviolence January 30 - April 4.  Honoring the memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the 64 days focus on the use of nonviolent principles and practice as a way to heal, transform and empower our lives and communities.  During this time, the Season will be highlighted through sermons, films, RE activities, workshops on compassionate communication, and Forum, listserve, and bulletin reminders.