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 Minister
Keeping Up with Our Members
Letter from the DRE
YRE Information
Around the Fellowship
Letter from the Minister 

Breathing In, Breathing Out

When we are faced with unspeakable tragedy, such as the earthquake and its aftermath in Japan, or the death of a young man in an unforeseen accident, we don't know how we can deal with it.  What resources do we have that can help us cope?  We feel undeniably lost.

There is no theology, no philosophy, no self-help book that can possibly resolve these issues for us.  These are times when we simply sit down and cry.  We just give in to our feelings as we should.  We feel the loss, the pain, and the immense helplessness of being human.  As humans, it is our vulnerability that inevitably makes us alike.  It is our universally shared sense of loss in the wake of such tragedy that gives us a common language.  The language of suffering.

In the Buddhist story about the woman who has lost her child, she comes to the Buddha in her pain and asks him to bring her son back to life. The Buddha asks her to go to each household in the town and gather mustard seeds from four families who have not lost a loved one and to bring these seeds back to him.  She goes from house to house seeking just a few families who have not lost someone.  She cannot find any families who have not experienced grief and loss.  She comes back empty-handed.  She then understood that grief is a part of life for everyone, something that is universal.  And unavoidable.

One of my favorite new hymns that we sing is "When I breathe in, I breathe in peace, when I breathe out, I breathe out love."   When I feel utterly sad, I try to sit with my grief and breathe in peace.  I try to know that my soul will be healed eventually with the love from the universe, the love from the people who surround me, with even the healing love that is in my own bruised and aching spirit.  I try to feel the pulse of the universe that contains love, even when everything seems absolutely wrong. 

Breathing in peace and love does not mean that I will ever be the same in my life.  The losses we experience change us forever.  We will always carry within us the things we have lost.  That is the one way that we know that we can never lose them.  We carry that memory within us. The people we loved are a part of us.  It's not enough.  But it's what we have. 

And we have each other.  We have each other to help bear the pain and witness the loss.  We have each other to help us remember.  We have each other to help us to breathe in peace and breathe out love.

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April 3 - Sacred Aliveness: A Buddhist Perspective  Buddhist Group & Rev. Amy Russell  ~ "There is a sacred aliveness in having more contact with my life," writes Margaret Michal, one of our Buddhist group members.  Each moment of life offers itself as a time to be fully present.  Our Buddhist group members will share personal experience, readings and meditations on this subject.

April 10 - Addiction: The Path to Recovery  Rev. Amy Russell & Others

~ Addictions of all kinds can strike any one of us or a member of our family.  None of us are immune.  Members of our Fellowship will share stories of their own recovery, or stories of family members' addictions, and how it impacted their lives.

April 17 - Wandering in the Desert  Rev. Amy Russell

~ The story of the Jewish people setting out in search of their freedom is the story of many peoples.  We see that story being re-written in the African nations that are now actively fighting for their freedom after many years of oppression.  Freedom is a spiritual need that we all continually seek.

April 24 - From Good Friday to Hallelujah!  Rev. Amy Russell

~ On this Easter Sunday we'll remember our Good Fridays and how they can sometimes lead to our resurrections.  Our choir will be offering two special presentations, including the Hallelujah chorus.


Keeping Up With Our Members

Connie Gilhooly's son, Ryan Gilhooly, passed away unexpectedly on March 24.  Please keep Connie and her family in your hearts as they go through this difficult time.


Clare Zimmerman is recovering from surgery.  Get well soon, Clare!


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

Spring is peaking its head out and I keep encouraging it to come on out and play, because I am ready!  Spring is also that time of year where we are starting to wrap up our YRE church year.  We have so much going it's that time for me to update you all!


First, we are starting a UU parent covenant group on the second and forth Sundays of each month, starting on April 10.  Our UU parent covenant group will meet on these Sunday mornings beginning at 9:30am until 10:45am.  This covenant group will meet through the second Sunday in June (June 12).  Free childcare is offered during this time too!  All parents are welcome to join in this covenant group.  Please see me, or email me if you are interested in joining this covenant group.


Also, we have our annual egg hunt on April 24, the day of Easter.  This just happens to be my favorite egg hung in our area.  One year, when my daughter was young, I took her to a local egg hunt.  In the frantic search of eggs, was elbowed by another adult who was determined to get to the eggs (with their child) before my daughter did.  It was then that I decided egg hunts were a little too competitive for my taste.  Then, when I came to MVUUF, I thought it would be a wonderful atmosphere to have a cooperative egg hunt.  So the YRE committee and I came up with just that.  Children, of all ages, work together in finding puzzle piece filled plastic eggs.  Then, when they have collected all the eggs, they work together to put the puzzles together (each puzzle is one of our principles).  Finally, the carry the puzzle to the prize room and choose a few prizes to take home.  Fun for all and no one is elbowed in the face!


We also have our Chalice Night, which fall on the second Friday of each month.  This month we will hold a multigenerational Seder.  Chalice Nights are a wonderful way to gather in community and get to know one another.  They really have become a popular event at MVUUF, averaging 60 people.  Childcare for little ones is always available, and children & youth hang out with everyone else.  Sometimes there are special activities for the children too.   Chalice Nights begin at 6:30 and always include dinner!  

Finally, just to get you thinking ahead, the YRE committee will be hosting a family camp out Memorial Day weekend.  It is FREE to join in the primitive camping fun!!  We have reserved a site in Englewood Metro Park starting Friday May 27 through Monday May 30.  All families are welcome to primitive tent camp one or all nights.  Please look for the signup sheet in the gathering space at some point this month (April).  Camping is really a wonderful way for families to build community. Again, this is FREE.

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 April :
Chalice Children class (Preschool):
April 3
- Kindness curriculum
April 10 - Kindness curriculum
April 17 - Kindness curriculum
April 24 - Kindness curriculum


Kindergarten - 5th grade class: 

April 3 - Children's worship

April 10 - Workshop rotation

~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 1 - What do you really need?

~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 2 - Caring for Mother Earth                                                

April 17 - Workshop rotation

~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 2 - Caring for Mother Earth

~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 3 - Making the world a better place                                                

April 24 - Workshop rotation

~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 3 - Making the world a better place

~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 1 - What do you really need?


6th - 8th grade class:

April 3 - Youth worship

April 10 - Class: Coming of Age

April 17 - Class: Coming of Age (mentor class after service)

April 24 - Class: Coming of Age


9th - 12th grade class:

April 3 - Youth worship

April 10 - Small group ministry

April 17 - Small group ministry

April 24 - Small group ministry

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
April 3 - "Favorite American Indian Stories."  Moderator: Don Ferguson
April 10 - "The Cheapskate Lifestyle."  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.


Service Auction  The 2011 "Chicago" Service Auction will be held Sat., April 30, 6-9 p.m.  Come and bid on fabulous items/events/outings - and to enjoy thematic refreshments.  Have an event, service, specialty food, or craft to donate?  Donation forms are available via email to Pat Sanctucci or in the Gathering Space.  If you have any questions or would like to assist with the Auction itself, please contact Pat Sanctucci. Suggested opening bid: 25 or 6 to 4.


Guest at Your Table
Thank you to all those who contributed so generously to the 2010-2011 GAYT program.  On March 12, MVUUF sent $1397.58 from 22 individuals or households to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to support their work for human rights, both in the U.S. and abroad.  $900 of those contributions qualify for matching funds from the Shelter Rock Congregation of Manhasset.


Food Fanciers
We will meet on April 22 at 2 p.m. in the kitchen.  Robin Farinet will make cream puffs and �clairs from her grandmother's recipe - YUM!


Memorial Day
During our May 29 service, we'll remember our loved ones who've passed away this year.  If you have a name you'd like to include in the service, please contact Kristin at 436-3628 no later than May 23.


Cooperative Egg Hunt
The tradition continues!  There will again be a cooperative egg hunt for the children of MVUUF.  We will organize search parties following the service on April 24.  The egg hunt will include fun activities and snacks.  Please plan to attend with your child.  The YRE Committee requests a donation of a canned food item for this event.  We hope you can attend!


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 meet at the Cox Media Center at 4 p.m. on April 1 for a tour of the facility.  The tour itself will start at 4:15 p.m.


Chalice Night  Please join us for an intergenerational celebration of the traditional Jewish Passover Seder on Fri., April 8 at 6:30 p.m.  The celebration will help educate us about what Passover is all about,  Our family friendly Seder will include all the traditional elements like matzah, the unleavened bread that the Jews created in their haste to leave Egypt to escape slavery.  Nursery care will be available for small children.  RSVP on the sign-up sheet in the Gathering Space.


Daytime Book Club Title*
April 20 - Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard
May 18 - The Painted Veil, by Somerset Maughm
June 15 - 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


Juline Renfro Award Nominations
The YRE Committee is once again seeking nominations for the Juline Renfro Award for outstanding service to Youth Religious Education.  This award is presented in honor of a former RE Assistant who showed dedication and service beyond her call of duty.  The recipient should be someone who has devoted significant service to our young people through the YRE program, anywhere from the nursery through Senior High.  Along with your nomination please submit a paragraph or two explaining why we should choose that person.  Anyone can nominate, so please discuss this with your children and/or classes.  Some of our most heartfelt submissions come from our children.   


All nominations will be carefully considered by our YRE Committee and the award will be presented at our May 22 service.  Thank you for taking time to help honor those people that really make a difference in YRE.  We have so many worthy volunteers please help us recognize them!  Please submit nominations to Shannon Harper in person or by e-mail.  Nominations can also be left in the LRE Representative's mailbox in the YRE Hallway.  Deadline for submissions is May 14.  For questions call Shannon at 681-6496.


Humanitarian Giving Action Group Offering
During April, 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.  


Chalicelight Gallery  Carol Vincent has always had an interest in and the ability to draw and paint.  As a child on a farm in Illinois, she won a newspaper contest for children with a drawing she submitted and won a box of watercolors.  While living and working in Chicago, she took evening classes in oil painting at the Art Institute.  Later, after moving to Centerville, she took evening classes in acrylics at Centerville High School Adult School.  After she retired, she started watercolor painting classes at Hithergreen Senior Center, instructed by Dayton artist, Diane Coyle.  Her favorite subjects are landscapes and flowers and for most of her paintings, she uses her own photographs for reference.   


Spring in Our MVUUF Wetland - There's A Lot Happening!  During our winter travels along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, we saw, literally, tens of thousands of acres of prime coastal wetlands.  We saw most of North America's wintering population of Red Head Ducks in the bays around Corpus Christi, TX. A large variety of shorebirds and long legged wading birds spend the cold months in warm, southern, salt water and fresh water marshes until the migration urge pushes them back north for the nesting season.  Not a bad routine to follow, especially with winters like the one just past.We enjoyed it!   


Our first Sunday back at the Fellowship, I spent a short time in the neat little two acre wetland east of the church.  The water level maintained a perfect depth throughout the winter and the wetland plants will benefit as a result. Our Mallard pair was gathering nest material, as were a pair of Mourning Doves.  Robins were busy scratching around for morsels while Turkey Vultures soared overhead - the cleanup crew for any dead animals around. The rabbits made it through the arctic-like winter and Song Sparrows were belting out their spring song.   


There is more to come - maybe you'll be the first to hear/see our visiting Woodcock do his courtship dance. Give it a few minutes, you might be surprised.

~ Dane Mutter