glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
May 1-15, 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 the Minister
Keeping Up with Our Members
Printable Events Calendar
Proposed By Law Changes
Letter from the DRE
YRE Information
Around the Fellowship
Letter from the Minister

Over the past week through all the mists and fog we've experienced at the end of April, I've been looking out at my lawn.  It's certainly green.  There's no mistaking that.  There's plenty of beautiful green grass.  But there's also many clumps of bright, yellow dandelions.  Now when I squint and look at my lawn out of one eye, I see green grass with pretty yellow flowers.  But when I squint and look out of my other eye, I see these yellow spiteful weeds that are growing there just to make me look bad to my neighbors. 


I live in a neighborhood where most lawns are cut by a lawn service.  And most lawns are also sprayed regularly with chemicals by a lawn service.  Except my lawn.  We do put some fertilizer on it in the spring and fall.  But then we don't do anything to it, except cut it.  Once in a weak moment, I did go out and spray some of those dandelions with a weed-killer.  Yes, I admit it.  And sometimes I'll get the energy to go dig up a lot of dandelions.  But mostly, I've given up.


I cannot see having chemicals sprayed regularly on my lawn knowing how bad that is for the environment and ultimately for me.  It's me who will eventually end up drinking those chemicals in some karmic way. 


The other day, I was walking my dog and came upon a neighbor who was out digging up some dandelions from her lawn.  I mentioned what a chore it was and that I should be joining her soon.  She said that when she saw my lawn that she felt better.  Ha! Then she apologized and said that she felt better that someone else in the neighborhood was also opting not to spray.  We had some kind of bonding experience being the ones who choose to not keep up with the Jones'.  But I could tell she was hoping that some kind of magic would come and kill all her dandelions in the night like I've been thinking.


Our lawn at the Fellowship has more dandelions than I think I've ever seen anywhere.  We choose just to see them as pretty flowers.  That is comforting to me.  I go to a church where what we do intentionally is do what is good for the environment instead of what might make our facility more acceptable or pretty in a "House Beautiful" way.  It's a statement about who we are.  Who knows, maybe somebody driving by might get that and decide to stop in to see who all these people are who love dandelions!


Anybody know how to make dandelion wine?

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Quick Links

May 1 - A Walt Whitman Sampler  Joe Law & Others

~ In 1885 Ralph Waldo Emerson greeted Leaves of Grass as "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed," and 150 years later Harold Bloom characterized it as the secular scripture of America.  This service features readings and musical settings of Whitman, whose wit and wisdom still speak to us today.


May 8 - Olympia Brown: Opening New Doors  Rev. Amy Russell

~ Rev. Olympia Brown was the first woman ordained in a Christian denomination.  She was ordained in 1863 as a Universalist minister.  An activist in the women's suffrage movement, she was one of the only surviving early activists to live to cast a vote in the 1920 election.  She opened the doors for women in many ways.


May 15 - The Most Difficult Love - Love for Ourselves, with original poetry by Laura Solomon, Ria Megnin & Carol Narigon.  Led by Rev. Amy Russell.

~ The first commandment asks us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  And there's the rub - how to love ourselves first.  We'll hear original poetry and reflections from some of our own.


May 22 - Coming of Age  RE classes, parents & teachers
~ Our Coming of Age class will share their belief statements with us as we celebrate their growing faith journey.  We will also honor our graduates and award the Juline Renfro Award.  After service, we'll have a farewell party for our DRE, Natalie Spriggs-Trobridge.


May 29 - On Keepsakes, Cigar Boxes & Other Memories  Trudy Krisher

~ This is our traditional Memorial Day service in which we honor those whom we have lost over the past year.  Please join us as we celebrate the lives of loved ones and share about our own treasured keepsakes that memorialize them.

Keeping Up With Our Members

Elfi Purkey, long-time member and vibrant participant in the Community Discussion Group, passed away on April 21.  No funeral or memorial is planned.  We are keeping Elfi's family in our hearts as they go through this difficult time.


Elsie Fenic is recovering from back surgery.  She's still in a lot of pain, but the surgery went well.  Cards are always appreciated, but she's not yet up to having visitors.  Her address is 224 E. Schantz Ave.  Dayton, OH  45409.

Alice Diebel's mother passed away on April 26 after complications from a heart attack.  Services will be held in Michigan.  Please keep Alice in your thoughts as she goes through this hard time.


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

Proposed Changes to the By-Laws

Policy requires that the Congregation receive at least 30 days notice in regards to any proposed changes the by-laws.


Suggested By-laws Revisions for the Congregational Meeting scheduled for Sunday, June 12 at 12:20pm.


The Program Council recommends the congregation combine the communication representative and public relations representative roles. To accomplish this change, the following bylaws revision is recommended to Article VII, Section B, Part 4, Items D and I.


Current Bylaw:


D. The fellowship communications representative shall:

            Keep a record of business conducted at all program council meetings. Maintain an archive of the records, and make copies of such records readily accessible to members.

            Act as a liaison with the board secretary.

            Coordinate and facilitate all internal communications intended for a general audience of MVUUF members.


I.  The public relations representative shall:

            Lead and facilitate public relations programs that create a positive awareness of MVUUF and its programs in the Miami Valley.

            Facilitate communications with audiences external to MVUUF.


Recommended Change:

D. The fellowship communications representative shall:

            Act as a liaison with the board secretary.

            Coordinate and facilitate all internal communications intended for a general audience of MVUUF members.

            Lead and facilitate public relations programs that create a positive awareness of MVUUF and its programs in the Miami Valley.

            Facilitate communications with audiences external to MVUUF.


The Program Council recommends the title of the Social Concerns Representative be changed to Social Action Representative as indicated in Article VII, Section B, Part 4, Item J.

Current bylaw:

J. The social concerns representative shall lead and facilitate social concerns programs that are aligned with the purpose, principles, vision, and mission of MVUUF.


Recommended Change:


J. The social action representative shall lead and facilitate social action programs that are aligned with the purpose, principles, vision, and mission of MVUUF.


A Letter from the DRE

I have been tossing and turning, trying to figure out how exactly to say good-bye in my forum article.  I could start off with something like... it is spring time, time for new beginnings.  Or something doors close, new doors open.  But now just does not seem the time for me to be cliché.  The bottom line is, for those of you who did not know, I am moving.  I was offered a full time Director of Religious Education position at the Unitarian Universalist church of Indianapolis.  It is a wonderful opportunity for me and my family; however it comes with the obvious having to leave MVUUF.  I have been the DRE at MVUUF for almost four years, and this has been an eye opening experience for me.  I began my adult career as a teacher for preschool children, and then moved to Stivers school for the arts working with junior and senior high youth.  I seemed to always be searching for something more in my past career positions.  I knew that I wanted to work with children of all ages, but I wanted to really focus on helping children follow the path of peacemakers/keepers, acceptance of all people, and being loving and kind human beings.  Then I found MVUUF, and their position of DRE.  I fell quickly in love with being a Director of Religious Education.  I knew I had found the career that was meant for me.  Working at MVUUF was a perfect fit as, at the time,  I needed at part time position so that I could home school my daughter. 

I have put so much of my heart and soul into the Youth Religious Education program.  I have grown attached to the children, youth and families too.  One of my favorite things in working with children and youth is watching them have their "ah-ha" moments, as well as watching them grow up into amazing people.  If you did not already know this, we have AMAZING youth and children here at MVUUF.  If you do not know our children and youth, you should really take the time to get to know them.  As I am always quick to point out, our children & youth are our future.  Never forget that.  What we teach them; how we show them to treat others, will guide them on what type of adults they will be.  One day they will lead us, so now is the time to start them on that journey.

So now it is time for me to say good-bye and hope that I have left you all feeling uplifted as well as leaving everyone with a feeling of how utterly important working with our children and youth at MVUUF is.  They NEED you! 

This will be my last forum article.  My last Sunday is May 29, and my last day of work at MVUUF is May 31.  Then I am off to Indianapolis to begin another chapter of my life, and my family's life.  This is also an opportunity and another chapter in MVUUF's life.  THANK YOU to everyone at MVUUF, all the children, all the youth, all the families, all the people...thank you.  You all are truly amazing, and you all will always have a place in my heart.

I would also like to say good-bye to Laura Solomon, our current youth advisor.  She is also leaving MVUUF.  Her last day is June 5.  She has done amazing work for our YRE program!  Please take a moment to say good-bye and good-luck to her as she moves across the country.  Laura, you will be missed by all!

So, I guess I should give you a few last reminders:

We have our Chalice Night, which fall on the second Friday of each month, May 13.  Back by popular demand, this month we will host another game night.  There will be plenty of pizza, salad, chips, and desserts, along with some beer and wine for the adults!  Please bring your favorite game (or two, or three, etc...) to play and share with others.  Chalice Nights are a wonderful way to gather in community and get to know one another.  They are a popular event at MVUUF, averaging 60 people (not to mention this will be my last Chalice Night before I move to Indianapolis).  Childcare for little ones is always available, and children & youth hang out with everyone else.  We will have an art area for children to participate in as well!  Chalice Nights begin at 6:30! 

Summer is almost here, and we are beginning summer YRE volunteer sign-ups.  PLEASE consider volunteering this summer.  Now is the time that our YRE program needs you.  Please check out the YRE sign up table in the gathering space to sign up today.  Our "regular" YRE volunteers need a break, and you all are the ones to help fill in the gaps.  Without YRE volunteers, there will be no summer programming, so please sign up!

Finally, the YRE committee will be hosting our first annual family camp out Memorial Day weekend.  It is FREE to join in the primitive tent 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 up to all nights, or just come out for a day.  We will also have a pot luck on Saturday evening beginning at 6:00pm.  Please bring (pack) a dish to share.  All families are welcome to join us, even if you are not camping overnight.  We will also have casual gatherings for those who are interested in: geo-cashing, letter boxing, arts/crafts, hiking, and games.  All events are informal & for anyone who is interested. Please look for the signup sheet in the gathering space or contact me for more information.  Camping is really a wonderful way for families to build community. Again, this is FREE.


Thank you very much everyone.  Words cannot describe how much I will miss you all!   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 May:

Chalice Children class (Preschool):  

May 1 - Kindness curriculum

May 8 - Kindness curriculum

May 15 - Kindness curriculum

May 22 - NO CLASS: Intergenerational service

May 29 - Kindness curriculum


Kindergarten - 5th grade class:                                              

May 1 - Children's worship

May 8 - Workshop rotation

~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 1 - Our church MVUUF

~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 2 - Who We Are                                              

May 15 - Workshop rotation

~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 2 - Who We Are

~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 3 - UU Principles Matching Game

May 22 - NO CLASS: Intergenerational service

May 29 - Workshop rotation

~ K - 2nd grades: Workshop 3 - UU Principles Matching Game

~ 3rd - 5th grades: Workshop 1 - Our chrch MVUUF


6th - 8th grade class:

May 1 - Class: Coming of Age

May 8 - Youth Worship 

May 15 - Class: Coming of Age (NO mentoring)

May 22 - NO CLASS: Intergenerational service

May 29 - Class: Coming of Age  FINAL CLASS CELEBRATION!


9th - 12th grade class:

May 1 - Senior High CON - NO CLASS

May 8- Youth worship

May 15 - Small group ministry

May 22 - NO CLASS: Intergenerational service

May 29 - Small group ministry

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
May 1 - "Atlas Shrugged & the Philosophy of Ayn Rand."  Moderator: Don Heidorn
May 8 - "Mother's Day Memories."  Moderator: Diane Bohlander
May 15 - "If I Won 100 Million Dollars, How Would I Spend It & Why?"  Moderator: Kathy Brown
*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.

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.

Bon Voyage to Natalie!
Natalie, our fantastic DRE, is moving to Indianapolis to head up the R.E. department at the UUI.  Let's send her off in style!  Join us after service on May 22 for refreshments and fellowship.  If you'd like to contribute to a going away gift, please contact Kristin at 436-3628.  You can also put donations in the box in the Gathering Space.  We need donations of snacks, too, so contact Kristin if you can help out.  Thanks!

YRE Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
Please mark your calendars for our YRE Teacher Appreciation Breakfast on May 22 before service.  We need volunteers to sign up to donate food or work the breakfast, so please sign up in the Gathering Space.  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
June 14 - Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin
July 12 - A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah
August 9 - The Irresistible Henry House, by Lisa Grunwald
September 13 - March, by Geraldine Brooks
October 11 - Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

Lunch with Amy
Lunch with Amy is switching locations!  For the months of May & June, the lunch will be held at 2nd Street Market in Downtown Dayton.  Meet at the tables at the far end of the market (away from Webster Street).  Lunch is on hiatus during July and will resume at Panera in August.

Smart Choices
Join Smart Choices in the kitchen on May 12 at 2 p.m. as we have a tea party!  Fancy hats encouraged!

Food Fanciers
Join us in the kitchen on May 13 at 2 p.m. when Iris Carter will prepare broccoli and cheese soup - can't wait to taste it!


Daytime Book Club Title*
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!

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 May, the Humanitarian Giving Action Group welcomes donations for Homefull.  Your support is critical as Homefull strives to fulfill its mission: "to work to end homelessness by providing housing, services, advocacy and education."  Homefull was formerly called The Other Place.

Women's Retreat
There will be a Women's Restorative Retreat on May 21, 1-8 p.m., for the purpose of refilling our proverbial cups with the goodness of being together and sharing ways of nurturing ourselves.  We'll enjoy creating art, interesting presentations, making music, meditating, participating in ritual, eating, dancing, drumming...All Fellowship women are invited to come.  For more information, see Genevieve Harvey.  Please let us know you are coming!

Thank You!
Gary Smith, head of Gar Drolma which hosted a Buddhist talk at the Fellowship on April 19, wanted to extend his sincerest thanks for allowing his group to use the building.  He was so appreciative and thought our building was beautiful.