glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
Mar. 16-31, 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

I know you all look forward to this time of year, the snow drops are blooming, the temperatures are warming, Spring is on the horizon.  And I know you also look forward to our annual pledge drive! Okay, well maybe you don't, but it is an important time for us.  I wish I had David Letterman's wit and could identify the top ten reasons to increase your pledge, but someone else will have to take a stab at that.  But I would like to tell you why I am increasing my pledge and hope you will as well.

As a member of MVUUF, this congregation is more to me than a place to go or where services are delivered to me.  I am a member.  The word has meaning to me.  It means I contribute of my time, talent and treasure and I find that - WOW - I get as much back as I give, if not more.  What a gift!  I feel a covenant with this community, with all of you, that we do important things in meaningful ways with each other.  We build beautiful relationships that create something powerful.

We create music that moves us, energizes us, or reflects a powerful emotion.  We create worship services that inspire us to connect our hearts and minds, connect with one another, or connect with the spirit.  We create a learning community for children and adults to explore our place as religious people in a consumer-driven society.  And we take our work into the world through social justice work as individuals and as collectives.  I am a better person because of this community and I think that together we live our religion.  There is a reason our hymnal is titled, Living the Tradition.  

Last year the board got the Long Range Planning Committee started to help develop our vision. That work is underway and will continue for a while.  But this year we need to focus on shoring up our foundation so that we can put our best foot forward in the future.  We have used up every bit of extra cash and our facility is requiring attention.  We have staffs who are working without raises and our benefits are modest.  Our leaders are tired and we need to develop newcomers.  So we have work to do, and I am doing my part by increasing my pledge by 10%.

I am increasing my pledge because I want our fellowship to thrive - not just survive.  I can do it this year, my savings losses have returned and I got a modest raise.  Of course I did it last year too, when I didn't have such a good financial picture.  When it boils down to it, a percentage of a small amount is still a small amount.  I'd rather invest my resources in this community than in other things where I get so much less.  

How do you look at your pledge?  Are you contributing to doing something great?  Are you shoring up the foundation of our community?  Are you living your religion by doing your part to provide fair wages and benefits?  Are you good stewards of our beautiful building?  Whatever it is, I hope you will look for that WOW!  It's Spring!  Give generously and help us put our best foot forward.

~ Alice Diebel, MVUUF Board President

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March 20 - Too Much, Too Little?  Rev. Amy Russell
~ How does our spiritual life affect us in the way we approach our finances?  Do we see our lives as abundant?  Do we see our lives as full of scarcity?  On this Stewardship Sunday, we'll look at our spiritual and financial health and how it affects our generosity.

March 27 - The Happiness Trap  Brad Kochunas
~ How is it that so many of us want happiness in our lives, yet so few of us say we have found it?  Let us proceed from the idea that it is in the very search for happiness that guarantees we won't find it.

Keeping Up With Our Members

Bruce Howorth's mother passed away - please keep Bruce and his entire family in your thoughts as they go 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

I just LOVE being a Director of Religious Education.  This job really helps uplift my strengths.  Being a DRE also creates a sense that I am truly giving back to the world as I help children realize their potential in becoming peace leaders.  However, one thing I miss about since I am the DRE is our services.  I, happily, spend my Sunday mornings whizzing around the RE hallway, helping new families, checking on volunteers, and say my "good mornings, how are you today?" to our children and youth.   


But then I discovered something that I am not sure how many people know about.  You can check out past services.  Did you know this?  In our library at MVUUF, when you first walk in on the back left side bookshelf, there are TONS of past services on CD.  These services date back to when the building was first built.  So now, if I hear buzz in the hallway that a service was really great, or if I read about a service that sounds wonderful, I will go check it out.  This is also great because each service is listed, so you can even check out a service because of the title...whatever service you can think of that has happened at MVUUF since the building was born.  It really is wonderful, not only for me, but for our YRE volunteers who sometimes miss services.  This can really give everyone another way to connect to yourself and the church.  So I am telling you, go check this out!  You too will be amazed!


Now onto volunteers in our YRE program.  We are still in need of workshop rotation leaders to volunteer in our K-5th grade classes.  Below is a list of workshops, with their dates, that are in great need of a leader.  Remember that you only lead for two Sundays, and it is the exact same workshop both times!

  • Feed your mind; videos about others through Heifer International & cheese making (3/13) This workshop is only one Sunday!!
  • 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)
  • 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!


A friendly reminder for those of you who have signed up, our 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 March :
Chalice Children class (Preschool):  
March 20 - Kindness curriculum
March 27 - Kindness curriculum


Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 

March 20 - Workshop rotation

                        ~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 2 - Mud huts

                        ~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 3 - Competitive vs. cooperative

March 27 - Workshop rotation

                        ~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 3 - Competitive vs. cooperative

                        ~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 2 - Mud huts


6th - 8th grade class:

March 20 - Class - Coming of age (mentor class after service)

March 27 - Class - Coming of age


9th - 12th grade class:

March 20 - Small group ministry

March 27 - Small group ministry

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
March 20 - "Finding Meaning in Life."  Moderator: Jim Faulconer
March 27 - "The Increasingly Unequal Distribution of Wealth in The U.S."  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.


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


Food Fanciers
We will meet on March 18 at 2 p.m. in the kitchen.  Come watch Lew Hann make his Egyptian Vegetable soup - taste the results, too!


St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
April 9 Menu:  lasagna, 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.  Sign up in the Gathering Space or call Evan James at 286-7512.


Smart Choices
Smart Choices will attend a tour at the Cox Media Center on April 1 at 4:15 p.m. 


Daytime Book Club Title*
March 23 - It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis
April 20 - Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard
May TBD - The Painted Veil, by Somerset Maughm
June TBD - Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel, by Tom Franklin
*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.
April 12 - Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
May 10 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot


Campaign Gala Dinner!
Join your fellow MVUUF friends and members as we kick off the 2011 pledge campaign.  We're hosting a dinner (it's free and includes entertainment - how can you say no?!) on Sat. March 26 at 6:30 p.m.  Please RSVP to Kristin at 436-3628 by March 18.


Humanitarian Giving Action Group Offering
During March, 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.  


Chicago - Here We Come!
"City of the Big Shoulders", the "Player with Railroads", "My Kind of Town", "The Windy City", and "Sweet Home"...the theme of the 2011 Service Auction is CHICAGO!  Join us on April 30 for thematic food, music, incredible auction items and "all that jazz."  Watch the "Forum" and bulletin for details, and start thinking about what you can offer to the auction...perhaps something "we can't refuse?"  Contact Pat Santucci  with questions. 

Women's Group
The Women's group will be discussing Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, by Geneen Roth 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.

Nonviolent Communication Group

There will be one new NVC study/practice group forming this March. We will meet Sundays at 12:30 p.m. in room 5 in the RE wing.  It will be open for drop-in, as well as having a core of "regulars".  Experienced NVC-ers are encouraged to come.  It helps reinforce prior experience by revisiting the concepts and practicing as well as helping newer people to learn from those who have some practice under their belt already.  The group will be facilitated by Ria Megnin, in collaboration with Genevieve Harvey.  The plan is to use the book/workbook to study for the 13 weeks, one chapter per week, and then see where we want to go from there.  We may schedule additional "practice" times during the next 3 months or after the book study is complete.  You can contact Genevieve at 436-3473 or Ria at 831-236-0361 with any questions.