Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  October 1-15, 2011

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What is Worship?

The Worship Committee has decided to spend time examining this question, "What is worship?" In our UU congregations there are as many different answers to this question as people in our congregation.   The word "worship" comes from the root "worth" or honoring what has meaning in our lives. Since we each have unique experiences and beliefs about the universe, that gives us different views of what meaningful to us.


Since everyone has different needs and ways of considering what "worship" means to them, we try to vary our services for these different needs. We follow a traditional Protestant form of liturgy with these elements: gathering, centering, reflection, and parting. Within our services there are some "sacred cow" elements that we repeat every week as a part of our "ritual" so that there is some consistency which is comforting to some in worship. Rituals are repeated actions that hold symbolic meaning. Sometimes, we experiment with our services and mix things up a little to make our worship more energetic.


The purpose of our worship together is to be reminded of what is of meaning in our lives, what we hold as sacred, and of the mystery of life that we cannot describe. While these things are different for each person, there are intersections of holiness that we can share either in words, in music, in silence, in movement, and in the gestures and facial expressions that we exchange. Sometimes, it's that empathetic smile, or the pat on the shoulder when we greet each other that warms us and carries us through the week.  


Frank Schulman, longtime UU minister, says that worship is "an encounter with a spiritual reality." He suggests that worship services provide these three spiritual dimensions:

-the vertical dimension, our relation to God and the Universe

-the horizontal dimension, our relation to our neighbor and the world

-the inner dimension, looking within ourselves


What is worship to you? What do you come seeking? When do you feel connected or uplifted? When do you feel able to express yourself more fully? When do you feel comforted and refreshed? When do you feel challenged to change something in your life?


During November, we'll be holding a Sunday service in which we'll be exploring these questions and asking you to share your reflections on them. We want to know more about what you think. If you would like, write us a letter describing what worship is to you. You can send them to Kristin, our administrator, at

Sermon Topics


October 2 - Association Sunday: Why Be a UU? Rev. Amy Russell
~Association Sunday is a time to remember that we are part of a larger Unitarian Universalist movement. What does being UU mean? Is it a religion or a social movement or a community of people?


October 9 - Coming Out Sunday Rev. Amy Russell & Gail Cyan
~We'll discuss way that we all find ourselves in situations where we reveal ourselves in new ways, or "come out." What does that feel like? How can we help others with "coming out?"


October 16 - Celebrating Yom Kippur: Forgiving Ourselves and Others Rev. Amy Russell


October 23 - Free and Responsible Search for Truth & Meaning Joe Zimmerman & Others


October 30 - Samhaim Celebration Rev. Amy Russell & Carol Narigon
~The pagan celebration of Samhaim is a time when the veil between life and beyond is thin and we feel the presence of those who have passed. We honor those who have gone before for what they have left us and how we still feel their presence in our lives.

Keeping Up with Our Members


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




In Grateful Appreciation

It will probably come as no surprise to you, that one of the hardest parts of being a DRE is volunteer recruitment. And I do mean recruitment. This is not just a willy-nilly campaign to collect names on a clip board. You don't just reach your hand into a bag and come out with a dozen eager teachers. It's actually a well thought out, complicated, tactical maneuver that takes skill and ease to pull off. Over the past month I have lurked behind corners. I have pulled surprise attacks. I have contacted people by phone, text, email, even Facebook. I have made announcements, recited poetry and told stupid jokes. I have used casual conversation, coercion and even pity. I have instigated field spies ("Hey, do you think you could ask so and so if he would like to . . .") and planted phone taps. Okay that last part is not true, but I think you get the picture. A DRE needs special ops training. If I thought camouflaging myself and crawling through the Sanctuary on my belly would work, I would have done it.


I mean as recruiters go, I don't have much going for me. Volunteering in YRE is not flashy, you don't get to see the world; there is no scholarship fund or free healthcare. And let me tell you, what we pay volunteers around here - well nothing, that's what we pay volunteers! The benefits are subtle and mostly happen in your heart. Sometimes they are expressed in an upturned face or an appreciative smile. And sometimes it's just knowing that you helped where help was truly needed.  


So it's not exactly prestigious and certainly not lucrative, but that didn't stop people from volunteering anyway. I asked (and sometimes asked again, and again), and my pleas were answered, slowly, one by one. But on the first day of YRE classes I was a bundle of nerves. I didn't know what to expect. Did I have all the areas covered? Would everyone show up? What if someone flaked out? I even had back-ups waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in should I need them. But then a miraculous thing happened. Something that an experienced DRE would just know was going to happen, but for me, seeing it for the first time, it was no less than a miracle. At 10:15, they started arriving. All those brave souls, seasoned and unseasoned, they came in and they TOOK OVER. I watched in awe as they set immediately to work, organizing, planning and scheduling. They were experts, every one of them, and they have humbled me. Because as important as I'd like to think my job is, what our YRE teachers proved to me that Sunday is that I merely book the gig. They run the show. And I am grateful for every last one of them!


~Shannon Harper, DRE


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*
October 2 - "Family Mementos." Moderator: Diane Bohlander
October 9 - "Lessons Learned from the Dying." Moderator: Lindy McDonough
October 16 - "Is There a Better Way to Reduce the Harm Done by Drugs?" Moderator: Gordon Taylor
October 23 - "Why Do People Kill People?" Moderator: Don Ferguson
October 30 - "If Only Moments in My Life." Moderator: Open Forum
*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.

Come Out and Dance!
On Sat., October 22 we invite LGBT folks, their friends and their allies to get their groove on! MVUUF is hosting a dance party from 8 p.m. - midnight and the requested donation is only $5 (cheaper than a cover at any club!). We'll have a coffee bar and refreshments to purchase. Professional D.J. Drew Baker will be spinning the tunes - all we need is you! For more information, contact Margaret Michal at

Lunch with Amy Update
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.

Candlelit Labyrinth
Join us on Sat., October 29 for a candlelit labyrinth in the Sanctuary. The labyrinth starts at 7 p.m. Drinks and refreshments will be provided, but donations of food or money are appreciated. Please contact Shannon Heather at with any questions.

Fall Bazaar
Our annual Bazaar is almost here - October 15, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.! We need your help to make it successful! You can sign up in the Gathering Space to donate a raffle prize, help on the day of the Bazaar, etc. Or, you can show up on the 15th and spend, spend, spend! Have any questions? Call Kristin at 436-3628. Mark you calendar and bring your pocketbook - let's make this event the best yet!

Keys to the Fellowship
If you're like most people, you have a "mystery key" on your keychain. You know, a key you don't remember getting, and doesn't open anything you can think of. Well, it is entirely possible that it's a key to MVUUF.

Currently, there are many keys to the Fellowship unaccounted for, including some keys that unlock the church office. Some keys have been misplaced, while others were never returned after an event or activity. The Fellowship had a system for signing out keys that was confusing, and allowed a few keys to "slip through the cracks."


In the next month, we're going to reboot the key program at the Fellowship. Sean Halpin is delegating the distribution of keys to Kristin Freeman (who is also responsible for collecting the keys afterward). A brand-new "Key Log" will be used to help Kristin see where the keys are, and when they should be returned. And finally the building will be getting new locks.


We will be using the current key policy as our guide as to who is issued new keys. This means that some people who currently have keys will not get a new one, and some people will get a key for the first time. We will do our best to make the transition short and smooth.

Thanks for your cooperation!


MVUUF Safety Committee: David Cobb, Sean Halpin, Denny Smith


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
November 18 - The Bells, by Richard Harvell
December 13 - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
January 10 - The Elephant and the Dragon, by Robyn Meredith
February 14 - American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
March 13 - Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

Daytime Book Club Title*
October 19 - In The Time of Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez
November TBA - A Singular Woman - The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, by Janny Scott
*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!

Build Your Own Theology
Please join Rev. Amy Russell and Joel Araujo as they hold a Build Your Own Theology seminar held on Thursdays, October 18 - December 20, 7-8:30 p.m. in the Founders room. During this 10 week series, participants will explore truth and authority, unity in diversity, nature of spirituality, sin and salvation, eschatology, justice and Beloved Community, role of church, suffering and meaning, and death and immortality. If you're interested, please sign up in the Gathering Space.

Walking to Defeat Issue 2
Many of you are aware that Lift Greater Dayton is working to defeat Issue 2 (Senate Bill 5) in this election.  Our community action organizing group is deeply involved in this work.  We will be hosting a Community Walk where we go out in pairs to selected neighborhoods to knock on doors and ask people to vote against Issue 2.  The walk will take place on Sat. October 22, 12:00-4:00, from the Fellowship.  The session will start with training on how to do this.  Lunch will be available.  Call Bill Ross for more information.


Humanitarian Giving Action Group Offering
During October, 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.

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!