Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann
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MVUUF Forum  August 16-31, 2011


I wear a little rainbow button on my nametag that has "ally" printed on it. Many of you wear them too, or maybe you wear rainbow ribbons. I am proud to be part of a Welcoming Congregation and I recognize that being Welcoming means that MVUUF encourages people who are GLBT to be part of our Fellowship, fully participating in all aspects of congregational life. But doesn't being "Welcoming" mean so much more than being friendly within the safety and sanctuary of our beloved congregation? What does it mean to be an ally to people who face injustice and oppression "out there"?


I got a few clues in some recent interactions in the Fellowship, as well as from a book I have been reading, "Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story", by Martin Luther King, Jr. (By the way, the UUA's Beacon Press has earned the right from the King family to reissue King's books, and to publish new compilations of his papers.)


King wrote about the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, which lasted for over a year. King was a new minister at the time, working at his first church after he graduated from seminary. He was asked to be the leader of a group that wanted to address the problems of the bus system, and he advocated using a nonviolent approach, inspired by his study of Ghandi. This book recounts the challenges and successes of the bus boycott that got underway in 1955. The bus boycott was far more than a problem of segregated seating. It wasn't only that African Americans had to sit in the back or suffer indignities on the bus, it was that African Americans had been mistreated, physically harmed, and even murdered - mistreatments that were sanctioned by the system. 


One compelling part of the story to me, was how white people were in the movement, but how few there seemed to be. King points out how clumsy whites were in stating their case for desegregation against a hateful opposition. He wrote, "Why is it, I asked myself, that the whites who believe in integration are so often, less eloquent, less positive, in their testimony than the segregationists?" His words made me wonder why it is, that too often UUs, known for our intellectual gifts, seem to struggle to use our individual or collective voice as allies? 


Most of us who are in the dominant group (white, middle class, heterosexual) are unaware of the systematic and personal impacts of oppression. We have been  born in a place and time that affords us privileges we fail to recognize or use to benefit those whom we want to welcome. I know for myself, I want to do the right thing, but I don't always know how. My understanding of injustice is often vague, and because I do not experience the daily slurs, I sometimes fail to act. I imagine many of you share my experience. How can we be better allies all of the time?


After the social justice movie last Friday, "Tying the Knot", the small group that was present talked about the battle for rights and equity among GLBT persons. Imagine being in a domestic partnership for twenty years only to lose your home, retirement, or any shared assets because the law did not recognize your relationship? One member said that it is painful to listen to those of us with privilege debate whether or not we should stand up collectively for those human rights, failing to recognize what it must mean to live a life without them, every day.


At MVUUF, we do not yet have a good process for collective expression or taking a stand. Until we can figure out how to have a collective voice, at least we can learn to be better allies as individuals. Frances Kendall gives us some hints at this website:  


Note that many of Kendall's ideas have to do with recognizing that those of us who are in the dominant group will make mistakes, be uncomfortable, and not always know what to do. But part of being an ally is to work with someone closely enough, and for a common cause, that they know they are not alone, that they do not always have to be the ones to stand up for themselves, that someone has "got their back."


Have you ever been in a position where you felt put down but did not know what to say? Magnify that feeling for people of color or who are GLBT to be an every day occurrence throughout your life. Then sanction the injustice by laws that are difficult to fight. What a gift to have someone stand with you, to not always have to fight alone, or to feel that your rights are indeed worth fighting for. This act of standing with, is the least we can do.


The MVUUF leadership is going to examine ways we might better equip ourselves to be allies. I hope you will take part so that we are at least as articulate as the segregationist, and more comfortable finding our voice and conscience in these challenging circumstances. Let us be Welcoming within our walls and in the greater community.


~ Alice Diebel

Sermon Topics

August 21 - Stretching into Our Discomfort Zone  Rev. Amy Russell & others

~ Moving out of our "comfort zone," by stretching ourselves into new and uncharted territory can be terrifying and exhilarating.  We'll hear stories from several people about how they stretched themselves in new, unexpected ways.


August 28 - The Ethics of Work  Rev. Amy Russell
~ In anticipation of Labor Day, we'll discuss the ethics of labor relations and practices.  Are there moral issues surrounding the way that public employees are treated?  Should religious groups be discussing and taking action around these issues?

Keeping Up with Our Members


Joe Law's sister, Julia Ann Ayers, passed away on July 31. Our hearts and thoughts are with Joe during this time.

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



Around the Fellowship

 St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
September 10 Menu: Hearty turkey/ham sandwiches with cheese, cut up vegetables with ranch dip, applesauce, potato/pasta salad, 100% juice, 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.


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.
September 13 - March, by Geraldine Brooks
October 11 - Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

Community Discussion Group*

August 21 - "Habits - Keeping Good Ones, Breaking Bad Ones." Moderator: Carol Vincent
August 28 - "Integral Relationships."  Moderator: Don Heidorn

*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.


Daytime Book Club Title*
August 17 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
September 15 - The Iron Heel, by Jack London
*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 August, the Humanitarian Giving Action Group welcomes donations for Homefull. Homefull managers work one-on-one with clients in the gateway shelters with the primary goal of moving them into appropriate permanent housing, and out of the shelter system. They also provide educational classes, including basic life skills and employability courses.

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.

Social Justice Film Series
Our next Social Justice Film is August 19 at 7 p.m.!
"A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World."  The film shows how religious responses can make a major difference in the world, and why a shift toward plant-based diets is an essential part of efforts to reduce global climate change and other environmental threats.  It talks about the many ways in which eating a plant-based diet is in line with Jewish values and religious teachings.  It shows what's happening to the environment in the Holy Land, with Jews and Arabs working together for environmental sustainability.


Coffee Hour Reminder
Although coffee does indeed grow on trees, the journey from vine to Fellowship mug does involve the exchange of money (which, according to our mothers, does not, in fact, grow on trees.)  So when you reach for that cup o' caffeine on Sunday mornings, please remember to check the menu board and check our pricing.  And if your offspring are begging for a cookie, don't forget their moolah as well.  Everything on our menu is less than .50 - where else can you get a deal like that?!



Cinemaniacs meet the first and third Sunday of the month at a local theater. Movies, times and locations are announced on the MVUUF Discussion list.

August 21 Service
Our August 21 service is titled "Stretching Into Our Discomfort Zone." Have you ever allowed yourself to stay in a place that was outside of your comfort zone long enough to be really stretched by the experience? Would you like to share that experience? Let Amy know if you'd like to briefly share your stretching story during service.

Tired of singing along with only your favorite stored tunes? Totally bored with always singing by yourself in the shower? Looking for that satisfied contentment that makes you feel whole? We have just the place for you: Choir! While we won't be singing with you in the shower, we will provide a place to release that inner voice of yours in a variety of music offerings. Come join us and experience the fellowship, camaraderie and fun that Choir members have, all while adding to the essence of Sunday service. There are no auditions, you need only to show up at a rehearsal and say "Yes! I want to sing!" Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:00 and we sing two Sundays each month (usually the first and third). Our first rehearsal for the coming year will be August 24 and our first performance will be September 11. Anyone considering Choir is welcome to join us for a potluck on August 24 at 6:30 p.m. where we all catch up on our summer activities and then stay for our first rehearsal. If you have any questions, please contact the Choir Director, Jeanette Filbrun Eakins.

Bowling Fundraiser
Ryan Gilhooly, son of MVUUF friend Connie Gilhooly, passed away in March.  To honor his memory, there will be bowling and a silent auction to benefit WPAFB Airmen Against Drunk Driving.  For more information, please click HERE for the flyer/registration form.

We are a liberal religious community that embraces diversity and respects the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  ALL are welcome here, no matter their race, sex, sexual/affectional orientation, gender expression, or ability.

Please visit us on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. for our worship service - we'd love to see you!