glowing chaliceThe FORUM
Newsletter of MVUUF
June 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 

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have lots of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

"We've got father, and mother, and each other, anyhow," said Beth, contentedly, from her corner.

- Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

Wow, schmaltz was very popular when this novel was written!  This excerpt from Little Women, one of my favorite books when I was a young girl, describes the family of four sisters as they thought about their next Christmas during the Civil War.  Being from a family of four girls, I sometimes felt like I could imagine being one of them.  I loved that one of the girls was named Amy.  I didn't like being compared to the character Amy, though, because she was silly and more concerned with how to keep herself looking feminine with buttons and bows than with how to help her family.  I wanted to be like Jo, the protagonist, who was the epitome of a free spirit being unconcerned with society's expectations for her as a woman.  She decided that she would become a writer, writing flamboyant adventure stories and selling them for a few dollars in order to support her family during this hard time.

All of us who read this book felt in sympathy for this wonderful, close family who during Christmas, while their father was away fighting in the Civil War, used the one dollar they had each been given to buy gifts for their mother instead of for themselves.  It's very schmaltzy.  But I think the heart of schmaltz is that feeling of identifying with someone else's problems and wishing you could be as heroic as the superhero described.

During these difficult economic times, we are like a family gathered around the hearth during a very cold winter with not quite enough money to pay for the wood to heat the house.  We gather around warming each other by our presence, thinking of ways we can help support our Fellowship and each other through this time.  Sometimes, it feels scary like we might not make it; we might be really cold or hungry. 

While most of us can't be superheroes and sweep in with thousands of dollars to wipe away our budget problems, we all can help in our own ways.  Some of us as staff will be receiving less in benefits or compensation.  Some of our committees will get creative, once more, in figuring out how to do more with less.  Some of us will up our pledge even if it feels like too much.  Some of us will find a way to give a one-time gift.  We all will help.  What I have learned about this congregation is that you value this Fellowship so much that you will figure out how to make it happen.  We've been doing it for fifty years, and we'll do it again. 

We value an open, liberal religious home where we are nourished spiritually and loved.  Together, we will figure out how we can make our budget for next year.  Together, we'll take responsibility for making that happen.  And together, we'll huddle around the fire and keep each other warm.

You are receiving this newsletter because you are a member or friend of MVUUF. If you don't wish to receive our newsletters, let us know by replying to this email or using "safe unsubscribe" at the bottom of this email.

June 5 - Civil Discourse  Rev. Amy Russell & Don Heidorn
~ In our polarized political environment, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold respectful conversations with people whose values and world view differ from our own.  John Paul Lederach talks about having "moral imagination" around peace-building, using the disciplines of relationship, paradoxical curiosity, creativity, and taking risks.  Amy Russell & Don Heidorn will both speak about how people with varied world views and moral development approach civil discourse differently.

June 12 - Worshiping Together: What Does It Mean?  Rev. Amy Russell
~ We call our time together on Sunday morning our "worship" service.  What does that mean?  What are we worshiping?  What meaning do UUs give to the meaning of "worship"?

June 19 - Flower Communion: Celebrating What We Give Each Other  Rev. Amy Russell

~ We will celebrate our traditional flower communion with each of us bringing flowers to share communally.  In relationship with each other, we each bring gifts and needs that we share.  Jim McCutcheon will grace us with some of his wonderful music as well.

June 26 - Free the Bounty: Theologies of Agriculture, Justice & Pleasure  Dr. Garrett Graddy
~ For this service we welcome Dr. Garrett Graddy, Professor at American University in Ethical Land Use.  This talk addresses the complex interplay of food, agriculture, hunger and health by drawing on ethical teachings from a variety of world religious/spiritual traditions.  There are bountiful insights we can harvest from these metaphysical and theological wisdoms in our work toward cultivating a more ecologically sustainable, economically-just agri-food system.  What is the role of community and justice?  Pleasure and labor?  Feasting and fasting?

Quick Links
Keeping Up With Our Members

Elsie Fenic has been transferred to the rehab unit at Bethany Lutheran Village following back surgery.  Please contact Jack first if you want to visit.  Cards are always appreciated and can be sent to their home address at 224 E. Schantz Ave.  Dayton  45409.


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! 

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!

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

Smile, Natalie; Director of Religious Education


YRE Calendar for June:

Kindergarten - 5th grade class:                                                                           

June 5 - Children's worship
June 12 - Gardening
June 19 - Games/movement
June 26 - Arts/crafts


6th - 12th grade class:
June 5 - Youth worship
June 12 - Class: Popcorn Theology
June 19 - Class: Popcorn Theology
June 26 - Class: Popcorn Theology
Around the Fellowship

Congregational Meeting & Budget Discussion
Our next Congregational meeting will be after service on June 12.  Please plan on attending, as our agenda includes the proposed budget.  Voting members, remember that your attendance at this meeting is both a requirement and responsibility of membership.  On June 5, there will be a discussion regarding the budget after service.  All are welcome to attend.

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!


Congrats to Erin!
Erin Halpin was elected to the Heartland District Youth Steering Committee (DYSC)!  Erin is the Transitional Age Range Representative.  DYSC plans youth conventions, trainings and other events, in addition to being a voice of the youth at the district and national level.  CONGRATS!


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.


Experienced Meditator Wanted
Experienced meditator wanted to volunteer to give instruction to inmates on Monday afternoons, at Lebanon Correctional Institution.  Contact Brad Kochunas at 513-422-1270.


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


Women's Group Takes a Break
The Women's group is on hiatus for the summer.


Lunch with Amy
Lunch with Amy is switching locations!  For the month of 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 St.) at 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays; they have a reserved sign on them.  Lunch is on hiatus during July and will resume at Panera in August.


Daytime Book Club Title*
June 15 - Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel, by Tom Franklin
July 20 - Bess and Harry: An American Love Story, by Jhan Robbins
August TBA - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
*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!


Legal Notice
All members, friends and visitors of the Miami Valley UU Fellowship are hereby summoned for Jury Duty on Sunday, July 10, 2011 to render a verdict in the case of "Mother Earth vs. World's People - Perhaps the Most Important Trial in the History of Civilization".  To be held in the courtroom of His Honor the Judge located at 8690 Yankee St.  Failure to comply with this summons will result in tiresome whining by the Producer, Director, and members of the hardworking cast of this serious, but amusing, play.

There will be a labyrinth on June 10, beginning at 7 p.m.  This one is extra-special with a twist!  Come and find out what walking a labyrinth is all about.  Want to help create an amazing space?  Come help create the labyrinth and see it from a different perspective.  If you have any questions or want to volunteer, contact Shannon Hansen at 397-6517.


Humanitarian Giving Action Group Offering  During June, 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.


Rev. Amy's Study Break
During the month of July, Amy will be on study break.  She will be available for pastoral emergencies.  Call Kristin to reach Amy.


Water Communion

Don't forget to collect a little water from whatever mountain stream or city fountain you visit this summer.  We'll use it for our ingathering worship service on September 11.  During that traditional water ceremony, we all pour water together into a communal bowl, symbolizing what we've learned over the summer and bring it back to share with our beloved community.


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 we progress.  Thanks for your ongoing support!
~ Pat Santucci, Chair, A/V Committee  


DRE Position Open
We are seeking a Director of Religious Education to work 25 hours/week at $14-$17/hour based on experience.  Apply by June 10 to Kristin at or call her at 436-3628 with questions. 


Harold Francis Barrett, Jr. Is Coming Home
Hal Barrett's son, Paul, is moving back to the states and bringing Hal's ashes with him.  He has requested a memorial service for Hal in August (exact date TBA in service and in the "Forum").  A committee consisting of Don Ferguson, Rev. Chuck Thomas and Jeanette Eakins will be meeting after church on June 5 and invite anyone to join them as they make plans for the service.  They also invite anyone who knew Hal to bring forward any items you might have relating to Hal and you are invited to share your stories about him at the service.  Hal was very involved in the First UU Church, married over 40 couples and was a wonderful family man.  For more information, contact Don Ferguson.   


Dayton Pride Parade
Join fellow MVUUF friends and members as we march in support of equal rights for the LGBTQQ community.  We will meet on June 4 at 11 a.m. at Cooper Park, behind the Dayton Metro Library.


Senate Bill 5
Are you concerned about SB 5 and the impact this legislation could have on the voice of public employees?  A repeal effort is underway, and if the effort is successful a referendum will be on the ballot in November.  Have you had a chance to think about the issue or talk with others to help decide your position?  We invite you to a discussion on Fri., June 20 at 7 p.m. at the Fellowship where we will summarize what's in the referendum and listen to your concerns.  LIFT Greater Dayton has invited congregations to hold listening campaigns so LIFT can better decide whether or not to support the referendum to repeal the bill.  Please come and share with us.  The evening is sponsored by the MVUUF Community Organizing Action Group.