glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
April 15-30, 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
Events Calendar
Letter from the DRE
Around the Fellowship
Letter from the President

Several of us from the Fellowship had the rare treat of hearing the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Moderator, Gini Courter, speak for three hours! Gini was the keynote speaker at the annual Heartland UU District meeting the first week of April. I would imagine that sounds a little dull. What the heck is a moderator, and how could you listen to anyone for three hours! The moderator of the UUA is the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association and is the presiding officer at the General Assembly . It is a position traditionally held by a layperson - not a minister.  (For Gini's bio, visit:

Well, Gini is no ordinary person, and spending the morning with her was very inspirational.Rather than a typical keynote address during lunch, Gini spent the morning asking us to think about the UUA's next 50 years. After all, 2011 happens to be the 50th anniversary of the UUA; Unitarians and Universalists merged their associations in 1961. So Gini wanted to know, what about the past 50 years are we most proud of that we want to carry forward?

The things that people said we were proud of include our action during the civil rights movement, the Viet Nam war, and our work for the rights of LGBTQ persons, to name just three. I was thinking of the many things I'm proud of: our seven principles, our anti-oppression work, and our efforts at right relations. I'm also proud of our democratic polity reflected at the annual General Assembly meetings.

In terms of our own congregations, Gini challenged us to go ahead and make big, important choices. She urged us not to tamp down our energy and commitment to our work in the world out of fear. Instead she encourages us to examine what matters to us in our congregations and then engage in the practices that hold us together. She wants us to decide together what matters and then turn our enterprise to do great good in the world.

What are you most proud of in MVUUF's past 50 years? I've only been here five years, but I'm proud that we saved a wetland, that we're trying to become a green sanctuary, and that we use cloth napkins (rather than disposables). I'm proud that we are a Welcoming Congregation, and that we have marched in the Pride Parade every year since its inception in Dayton. I'm proud that we're working across boundaries with other congregations to make Dayton stronger through Lift Greater Dayton. I'm proud that we're learning how to talk about our differences, whether they are personal or congregational.  So what do we want to do in the next 50 years? And what should our future look like?

We have two significant efforts to help us look ahead in ways that would make Gini proud. The Long Range Planning committee has finished its first phase of work with appreciative inquiry. They are planning ways to share what they have learned and are mapping out their next steps. And the Ad-Hoc committee on speaking for the fellowship is working toward processes to make tough, meaningful decisions. So, when we chart our future, we will know how to do that great good in the world. Stay tuned, join in, and turn your energy toward the future.
~ Alice Diebel, MVUUF Board President

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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

Congrats to Yolanda Crooms and David Cobb on the birth of their son, David Anthony!  David was born on April 7 and arrived at 6 lbs., 12 oz., and 20 in.  He joins big sisters Daria and Cyra at home.  Can't wait to meet him!  


Jennie Hardy will undergo surgery on April 15 to repair a break to her wrist that she suffered on vacation.  Get well soon, Jennie!


Elsie Fenic is at home laid up with back problems and heart issues.  We wish Elsie a speedy recovery and send her our love! 


If you are experiencing a rough time in your life, please know that your Fellowship community is here to support you.

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
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 17 - Kindness curriculum
April 24 - Kindness curriculum


Kindergarten - 5th grade class:                                              

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

April 24 - Class: Coming of Age


9th - 12th grade class:

April 17 - Small group ministry

April 24 - Small group ministry

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
April 17 - "Ask the Doctor Your Medical Questions."  Moderator: Tom Starr   

April 24 - "The Interesting Lives of Our Ancestors."  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.


Bon Voyage Natalie!

Natalie Spriggs-Trobridge, our DRE, is moving to Indianapolis to head up their RE department.  She will be sorely missed!  We are having a bon voyage party for her after service on May 22.  If you'd like to help out and/or donate money for a going away present, please contact Kristin at 436-3628.  


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.  If you have any questions or would like to assist with the Auction itself, please contact Pat Santucci.  Suggested opening bid: 25 or 6 to 4.


Food Fanciers
We will meet on April 22 at 2 p.m. in the kitchen.  Robin Farinet will make cream puffs and éclairs 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!


Pride Parade Shirts
The Dayton Pride Parade is June 4 and the Social Concerns Committee is requesting that MVUUFers wear Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts.  If you'd like to purchase a shirt for $18, please sign up in the Gathering Space by May 15.  For more information, please contact Alice Diebel.   


YRE Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
Please mark your calendars for our YRE Teacher Appreciation Breakfast on May 22 before service.  If you have served in YRE this year, you will be receiving an invitation at the end of April with more details and an opportunity to RSVP.  Also, we will again be asking volunteers to bring in breakfast food to show all our appreciation to our dedicated teachers.  For more information, contact Carolyn Leman.      


St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
May 14 Menu:  meat loaf, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies, fruit salad, 2% milk, 100% juice
*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.


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.
May 10 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot


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!


May Day!
Our May Day celebration will be May 1.  Please bring a potluck dish to share after service, as we celebrate this wonderful day.  We need volunteers to watch the kids as they run around the May Pole.  Can you help?  Contact Shannon Hansen at 397-6517.  


Rummage Sale 

The Fellowship will be holding a rummage sale on Sat. May 7.  We're raising money for the OWL program!  Have clothes, shoes or coats you want to move out of your house?!  Then give them to us!  Please, only donate those items - no toys, books, etc. We need volunteers to set up the night before and to help work that day.  If you can help, please contact Shannon Hansen at 397-6517. 


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.  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.