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

I am so fortunate to have this space every month to share what's on my mind.  And this month, I want to share just how grateful I am for all of you.  


Many of you have been following my mother's illness since she had complications from a "simple" surgery back in November.  You asked how she was; and you asked how I was.  Then when she died two weeks ago, your outpouring of love and support was (is) overwhelming. Thank you for all of your expressions of sympathy, your help filling in for commitments I couldn't keep, and even for mowing my lawn!  (You know who you are.)  Some of you gave to the Endowment Fund in my mother's name.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.


I'm also grateful for our faith and our treatment of death.  My mother was a Lutheran, and we had the funeral in the small town she lived in, officiated by her Pastor.  My siblings and I had a fairly traditional service at my mother's request.  But we had the strength and wisdom to put some UU into it.  First, we took out the Apostle's Creed.  And, despite the minister's reservations, we encouraged sharing by friends.  And at the end, at my mother's request, we sang "When the Saints Go Marching In" much to the consternation of the minister.  It was rousing! Good for mom!  


We wanted this service to be a celebration of mom's life and an expression of gratitude to the town that treated her so well.  My mom contributed a lot to her community, wherever she lived. And she was as active as she could be right up to her death at 87.  I hope her community appreciated these words from May Sarton I used to close her eulogy:


"I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seeds every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life.  It is the tree's way of being. Strongly rooted, perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind."


~ Alice Diebel

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Quick Links

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

Jesse Minnefield, our longtime custodian, lost both his aunt and cousin in the second week of May.  Please keep Jesse and his family in your thoughts as they deal with this doubly difficult time.  If you'd like to send a card, Jesse's address is 1121 Graystone Dr.  Dayton  45427.


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 15 - Kindness curriculum

May 22 - NO CLASS: Intergenerational service

May 29 - Kindness curriculum


Kindergarten - 5th grade class:                                                                           

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 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 15 - Small group ministry

May 22 - NO CLASS: Intergenerational service

May 29 - Small group ministry

Around the Fellowship

Community Discussion Group Topics*
May 15 - "If I Won 100 Million Dollars, How Would I Spend It & Why?"  Moderator: Kathy Brown   

May 22 - "Marriage & Other Relationships."  Moderator: Jim Faulconer
May 29 - "How the World Says Goodbye to Their Dead."  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.


Coffee Hour
Who doesn't love to finish service with a cup of java and some good conversation?!  But coffee, despite rumors you may have heard, doesn't grow on please be mindful when purchasing an after service snack and cup o' joe.  Our new pricing sheet lists a cup for just .50 and a snack for even less.  If your kiddos are hungry, don't forget to send them with change!  Thank you!


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!


Congrats to Our Youth!
Somaya Bernard-Harper and Jon Lord were elected to the Heartland District Youth Steering Committee (DYSC)!  Somaya's the Advisor for Spiritual Support and Jon's the Congregational Outreach Rep.  Shannon Harper was also appointed to DYSC as an adult advisor.  DYSC plans youth conventions, trainings and other events, in addition to being a voice of the youth at the district and national level.  CONGRATS!


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*
June 11 Menu:  hearty sandwiches (turkey/ham with cheese), potato/pasta salad, 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.
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.


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!


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!


A/V System Upgrade Update
Bob Lewis and our donors have raised enough money to proceed with the sort of system we need.  After additional consultation and prioritization, I have decided to ask vendors for a different system design which should save money on the audio side and give us more to play with on the video side.  We won't, of course, tolerate a cheaper design that wouldn't meet our needs as well.  I plan to have the revised requests available to the congregation and vendors in early June.  With luck, we'll be able to settle on a vendor or vendors and final design over the summer and install in the fall.  I'll keep everyone posted as progress.  Thanks for your ongoing support!
~ Pat Santucci, Chair, A/V Committee


Chalice Light Gallery
Our gallery is currently displaying artwork by Michael Bockoven.  A native of south Dayton, Michael has developed skills in many areas such as drawing and graphic design.  He spends much of his free time volunteering at the Dayton Art Institute.  Take a moment to check out his work!