Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  September 16-30, 2011

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It always feels good to have the Fellowship year begin. There is a renewed energy when people are returning from summer breaks and a joyful anticipation of good work and events to come fills the air. This fall we can look forward to the return of Chalice Nights, a new religious education semester, a craft bazaar, a dance, social justice work on childhood development in Dayton, and efforts around Issue 2 and House Bill 194 on voting rights. (Really, we still have to fight for voting rights in 2011?) There is plenty to do and be involved in, and we could use your help. Watch for opportunities to contribute or to learn in the bulletin, the newsletter Forum, and in the ever popular Sunday morning announcements.


And of course we welcome the return of our minister, Amy Russell from her vacation and study leave. Amy only takes four weeks off during the summer, and she is never really away. While she may not be in the pulpit, she responds to crises (and yes, there were some this summer) and she uses her time away to read and develop ideas and material for upcoming worship services. I tend to worry that she may not get enough time off for recuperation!


I imagine that if you are not deeply involved in the fellowship you may wonder what our minister does. It seems like preaching three times a month shouldn't be so hard, right? She not only puts together the sermon, but has to collaborate on every aspect of the service: music, readings, and stories, to name a few. Further, MVUUF has close to 190 voting members and another 45 associate members; all whom she responds to and supports when we need her. Members and friends count on her being there for them, and should feel comfortable calling on her any time they are having a personal difficulty. She also welcomes newcomers and visitors and supports their understanding of this faith.


Amy is also responsible for supervising our staff, working closely with the administrator, the director of religious education, and the choir director. She supports our member volunteers in worship, music, membership, religious education, social justice and activities. Amy also works closely with the board, attending every meeting and helping plan our work. Her leadership role in the community is impressive. She is an active leader on the Centerville Washington Township Diversity Council and for Lift Greater Dayton. She brings an important interfaith voice to Lift, modeling for them how to be more inclusive of women and how to be truly interfaith. I'm sure I missed something, such as having a husband, grown children, an aging mother and a dog! To add to it all, this year Amy will supervise a ministerial intern from one of the two UU seminaries, Meadville Lombard. Joel Araujo will add a new voice to our work while Amy and our fellowship participate in developing new UU ministers.


When things run smoothly, we seldom notice. But behind the scenes we have numerous volunteers and our minister working together to make it all happen in meaningful ways. We all contribute in some way to our covenant to affirm and promote liberal, religious values in our community. I thank all who step-up to the work at hand. After all, it is for today, and for times we shall never see. So let us be about the task.


~Alice Diebel, MVUUF Board President


Sermon Topics

September 18 - Families: Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them Rev. Amy Russell
~Our families are often our deepest connection to this earth. Sometimes our families are supportive and loving. Other times, we experience conflict and hurt and some become estranged from their families. How do we heal this? Can we? Do we need to?


September 25 - Why We Can't Wait Bob Lewis
~Putting our UU principles to work in our lives, in our congregation, and in the larger world, is central to our faith, and to our helping heal our world. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Why We Can't Wait! as the title of memoir about the 1963 Birmingham lunch counter sit-ins. He was serious about the need for justice; serious about the moral imperative of not waiting to overcome oppression; serious about the moral courage needed to meet the challenges of injustice and to heal our world. What can we learn from those who embodied moral courage to fight injustice?


Keeping Up with Our Members


Sam Kramer's wife, Linda, passed away on September 7 after a lengthy battle with cancer.  Her memorial service will be at the Fellowship at 12 p.m. on Sat., September 24.  We are keeping Sam and his family in our hearts during this very difficult time.


Julie Bragg is at home recovering from a battle with meningitis - yuck!  We're wishing Julie a speedy recovery!


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



Did you feel it?  It was almost indiscernible to the untrained.  One has to pay close attention to the shifting of light, the lilt of the breeze and the colors in the forest.  Fall is coming.  Sure, I know it won't be official here until September 23rd, but you can't deny the signs of autumn.   It sneaks in, slowly and deliberately at the end of August and then picks up speed until it explodes in colors and smells and tastes that are all so familiar, so comforting.  Like Mother Nature's last warm cuddling before she beds down for the winter and falls into gray, dreamless sleep.


The seasons have always marked transitions and here at MVUUF we have our own transitions to navigate.  I am so happy to be writing you as the new Director of Religious Education.  MVUUF has been my spiritual home for almost 10 years and this transition from member and volunteer to employee and leader has been exciting and scary, empowering and humbling.   Over the years I have had the opportunity to teach almost every age group in YRE, I have lead Children's and Youth Worship, been a youth group advisor, chaired many events like Halloween parties, May Day Festivals, and fundraisers, and served as chair of the YRE committee and Representative of Lifespan Religious Education.  It has been incredibly satisfying work and I know the rewards will continue in this new phase.  I can truly say that I get paid to do what I love.


Like fall, YRE here at MVUUF starts out slowly, imperceptibly at first.  Getting back to a routine after a summer of fun is never easy.  But we'll build momentum as we go until, before you know it, our program will be in full swing with all the color, diversity and enthusiasm that our children and volunteers bring.  And unlike Mother Nature, I have no intention of bedding down for the winter.  We're going to keep this energy going all school year!


~Shannon Harper 


Around the Fellowship

St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
October 8 Menu:  Pulled pork & buns, mac & cheese, broccoli, baked beans, 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.  Contact or sign up in the Gathering Space.


Community Discussion Group*
September 18 - "Emotive-Rational Therapy."  Moderator: Anne Weber MSW
September 25 - "Integral Relationships Part 2."  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.


Lunch with Amy Update
Lunch with Amy will continue at 2nd Street Market through September.  During October we'll meet at the Panera at the Greene.  And in November, we'll go back to our usual haunt, Panera by the Dayton Mall.  All are invited!  Join Amy Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.


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.
October 11 - Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand


Fall Bazaar
Our annual Bazaar is almost here - October 15, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.!  We need your help to make it successful!  There are lots of jobs to do such as setting up, being a food cashier, etc.  Please sign up in the Gathering Space or email Rita Schindel at  If you'd like to be a vendor, contact Trena Swanke at  Have any questions?  Call Kristin at 436-3628.  Mark you calendar and bring your pocketbook - let's make this event the best yet!


Chalice Night September 30
Come join in the community-building tradition that we began last year by participating in our first Chalice Night of the year, on September 30.  We'll enjoy dinner at 6 p.m. and then at 7 p.m., we'll enjoy a Soulful Sundown Service led by our young adults and youth.  A donation for dinner is appreciated.


Fellowship Retreat
The annual fall retreat will be held on Sat., October 1 at the Fellowship, 3 - 9 p.m.  We'll have a bonfire and fun activities for all!  Sign up in the Gathering Space.


Daytime Book Club Title*
October TBA - In The Time of Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez
*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!


Coffee Volunteers Needed
Volunteering to prepare and/or clean up for coffee hour is a great, easy, quick way to give back to the Fellowship community...and have quick access to caffiene!  If you can help with any of the below dates, please contact Katherine or Eric Freeman at  Thank you!

Dates needed for preparation and/or clean-up:  10/2, 10/9, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/27



Mental Illness Awareness Week
Please join the Humanitarian Giving Action Group as they sponsor Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 2-8.  On Wed., October 5 at 5:30 p.m. you are invited to attend a community gathering, prayer vigil and picnic at the Castle, 133 N. Main St. in Centerville.  Click HERE for more information.  Contact Shirley Gezinski, Chair of Humanitarian Giving with any questions. 


Humanitarian Giving Action Group Offering

During September, the Humanitarian Giving Action Group welcomes donations for Reach Out of Montgomery County.  Reach Out's mission is to provide access to health care services for the underserved/uninsured population of Montgomery County, without restraints, utilizing the professional skills of volunteer physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.  Eligibility for patients living outside of Montgomery County is determined on a case-by-case basis.  Clinic visits are at no cost to the patient.  Ancillary services such as labs and x-rays are limited based on current contracts.


The New UU: A Course for New & Prospective Adult Members
If you are a new or prospective member of the Fellowship and want to learn more about what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist, this course is for you.  The New UU is a series of seven 75-minute workshops addressing important themes in Unitarian Universalist congregational life, including worship and theology, history, covenant and polity, spiritual growth and faith development, social justice and membership.  Led by Bob Lewis, and assisted by Rev. Amy Russell, the course begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sun., October 2.  Each class session will last from 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.  The class will be held in one of the classrooms in the RE wing of the Fellowship.  Childcare is available.  Please let us know if you need childcare.


Each workshop provides an opportunity for you to interact and share with others your own experiences.  There will be lots of time to raise questions, dialogue with others, and explore more deeply.  This course is intended to:

  • introduce newcomers to Unitarian Universalism
  • equip participants to make a decision about membership in a Unitarian Universalist congregation
  • provide information related to Unitarian Universalist worship, theology, history, social justice, religious education, and governance
  • provide resources within and outside the congregation for participants to explore topics independently.
You may sign up for the course by contacting Kristin Freeman, our church administrator, at 436-3628 or, Bob Lewis at 350-7763 or, or signing up on the sheet in the Gathering Space.

LIFT Greater Dayton Forum on Early Childhood Learning
LIFT Greater Dayton is hosting a forum on early childhood learning on September 26 at Fairview United Methodist Church.  If you're interested in attending, please view the flyer by clicking HERE

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!