Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  October 16-31, 2011

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The Fellowship's Long Range Planning (LRP) committee led the annual Board and Program Council retreat in August. The committee was spiritual, informative, and inspirational in helping the leadership see where we are and begin to think about where we want to go. While we still have a lot of work to do as a congregation to shape our vision, we are now beginning to see further ahead. We were inspired and came up with some great ideas in just a few hours. Imagine what might happen when you all join in!


The LRP committee is basing its work on two church-life authors, Alice Mann and Gil Rendle, who write about the kinds of planning that congregations typically undertake. The kind of planning that is needed varies by the situation facing us. All are right for some things, but all are not right for everything. For example, problem planning is very familiar to most of us. This is the kind of planning we use to solve problems all the time. We draw on our past or on others with particular information, weigh pros and cons and decide what to do. It is the right kind of planning needed to upgrade our sound system, for example. (Which, by the way, is getting underway!)


Developmental planning is common in long-range planning because it is work that helps us grow or develop into something somewhat new. This kind of planning builds on where we are now and invites us to see the trajectory ahead and work through the next steps forward. This kind of planning went on when we were trying to decide what to do about the lack of parking and handicap accessibility at our old building on Far Hills. It was a fairly clear problem that had several options. We chose to move to our current space as the best option to resolve those (and other) problems with the old building.


The Long-Range Planning committee and the Board have agreed that we should be working toward frame-bending planning. In this work, we still build on our strengths and on our past, but we re-examine the future altogether. Congregations consider frame bending when they recognize that trying the same things will not address the problems we face. We need to step off the straight trajectory forward and bend the path toward something new. It involves considering unexplored territory - at least in some areas. It means that we can't see ahead fully, but the excitement of learning what might be around the bend can be a wonderful journey of discovery and growth.


Several ideas prompted energy and excitement as we thought beyond the traditional to imagine something new. How might we think differently about worship, youth development, or member retention? Some call this kind of work creating a paradigm shift. A frame bending planner would likely look at where we have been, but also look outside the Fellowship at our local community, at other congregations, and help the congregation think through to a plan we might not see right now.


We are already thinking this way about social action, worship and youth development. Frame bending can energize us by taking on recurrent problems and turning them into prophetic, fresh and vibrant visions for the future. Join us in the journey.


~Alice Diebel, Board President

Sermon Topics


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*
November 12 Menu: Chili, oyster crackers, corn bread, green 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. Contact or sign up in the Gathering Space.


Community Discussion Group*
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.


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.
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


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


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!


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.


Planned Parenthood Book Sale
The Planned Parenthood Book Sale is scheduled for November 11 - 13 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. This is a huge event and an important fundraiser for our local P.P. For more information, contact Lynn Haven.


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!