Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  November 1-15, 2011

Quick Links


Occupy the Voting Booth


Peter Morales, our UUA president, wrote this statement about the Occupy Wall Street movement sweeping across our country and the world:


"The Occupy Wall Street movement that has now spread to other cities across the country is a public outcry of frustration and anger. The protestors have taken to the streets to draw attention to the fact that our economic system has not only failed to protect the most vulnerable among us, it has preyed on the majority for the benefit of very few. The Occupy protests are a wake-up call that the American people are in great peril, and we have been for some time.


It is not surprising that Americans have had to take to the streets to get the attention of our leaders. For too long, we have seen attention paid to banks that are 'too big to fail' while the plight of the poor and the working class goes unaddressed. For too long, we have been pitted against each other by those in power, by a corrupt economic system that pushed us to consume more and to 'get ours' at any cost. Now we know: The cost is too great, and is ultimately without satisfaction."


Certainly we see frustration and anger around us as people whose lives were dependent upon a model of living that expected a job to always be available, that our houses would increase in value, that our children would have opportunities even better than we had. All of these assumptions are now false. How can we feel optimistic about the future? What can we do about the current situation? Does it call for "revolution" against the current economic system?


I cannot answer these questions and I struggle to understand it. Sometimes it feels like the political-economic system we live under is totally weighted toward the rich. With the millions of dollars it takes for someone to run for office, it seems impossible for a person without wealth to actually rise to the top politically. Without an education, people who were born poor have an almost impossible task of being able to climb out of the economic circumstances they were born into.


However, we live in a democracy. We live in a capitalist system, but one that is a democracy. That democracy ensures one person, one vote. We do have some power and that is the power of our vote and the power of our voice. We can vote for campaign reform. We can vote for representatives who stand for issues around economic reform. We can work toward gaining more and better education for all. We can work in our communities on issues that affect jobs.


During this election, we can vote on two issues that affect jobs and health care. Voting "No" on Issue 2 is a vote against the SB 5 bill that takes away the right of collective bargaining for public employees.   I personally have been working to fight against this bill because I think that public employees have the right to have a say in their employment circumstances.


A "No" vote on Issue 3 is a vote to maintain the health care initiatives that were passed by Congress last year. Issue 3 is an effort to prevent Ohio from participating in any of the health care mandates that President Obama signed into law. In particular, the current law will stop insurance companies from excluding people, including children, with pre-existing conditions, from getting covered by health insurance. It allows working parents to cover their adult children up to age 26 under their employer's health care plan. It's just the beginning of health care reform.


These are my opinions about how to vote on these issues. You may not agree with me. But the important thing for me is that we all vote. We all exercise our democratic right to have a say about how our state is run. As Unitarian Universalists, exercising the democratic process is a part of our faith. We are fortunate to have these rights. Let's use them to occupy the voting booths.


We live in a difficult time. As we watch the protestors march on Wall Street, we feel what they are feeling. Frustration. Anger. Disappointment. Let us use these emotions to fuel our motivation to work toward a society we can believe in.


~Rev. Amy Russell

Sermon Topics


November 6 - Equality in Society Rev. Amy Russell
~Is equality in society a pipe dream? What do the uprisings in the African countries tell us about the desire for more equality and desire for representation in today's world? How are present, local issues affecting the equality of all in society?


November 13 - Whose Are We? Rev. Amy Russell
~A question that might help us delve deeper into our understanding of our place in the world is the question "Whose are we?" This question was asked to UU ministers in retreats throughout the UUA last year. We pondered not only what we believe but to what do we belong. To the universe, to the world, to our communities, our congregations? Do we belo
ng to our parents, our children, our dogs, our friends, our fellow UUs? To what do you belong?


November 20 - Thanksgiving - Intergenerational Rev. Amy Russell

~We are grateful for our community and we support one another. We'll enjoy a multi-generational play about how we learn to get along better with one another. Then we'll enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner together.


November 27 - Thoughts on Giving Thanks Joel Araujo
~Since the middle of the 19th century, the last Thursday in November has been designated a day of National Thanksgiving. However, the true significance of this day is usually lost in national myth and nostalgia. Your new Student Minister, Joel Araujo, reflects upon the various meanings of the holiday, both historical and contemporary, and expresses the intention of Thanksgiving in his own life.


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.




We've been hearing the words "multigenerational" and "intergenerational" a lot lately. They actually mean the same thing in context to Unitarian Universalism. Intergenerational is a term our church has traditionally used to refer to services that include children. Multigenerational is a more recent term used, in my opinion, to put a fresh label on something that evokes mixed feelings, not all of which are positive. Kind of like "multi-level marketing". They can call it what they want but I still want to run away when I hear the word Amway.


But let's not get hung up on monikers. Instead, consider the definition of the terms. If multi/inter-generational means that many generations are involved, doesn't that make almost everything we do in our church community multi-generational? Do we ever have services where only the baby boomers are welcome? Does the choir only allow people born between 1925-1945 to join? Even the Young Adult group, whose membership is limited by age, spans two generations (18-35 year olds).


So let's face it, we're not nearly as concerned with the mixing of generations as we are with crossing the ominous and rigid line between Adult and Children. In our community multi-generational simply means we pull back the curtain; we force people to mingle with the "other side". Adults and kids - together, for better or worse. To some this means "family entertainment, dumbed down for the lowest common denominator and not intellectually or spiritually stimulating enough for an adult with no children to attend." And to others it means "Painfully uncomfortable time spent holding one's breath, hoping that their child will not a) lose all wits and run yelling around the sanctuary or b) come away complaining that they never want to go to that 'boring church' again." Let's not beat around the bush here people. If you have ever had close to either one of these thoughts, you are not alone. Not in our church and not in our denomination.  


 At this point I could go into an enthusiastic lecture spouting the benefits of including children in congregation life and how important our young people are to the future of our religion. But I hope we're all on the same page in this respect. I think what's getting us tangled up is that silly line that we expect our Youth to be ready to cross when they graduate from High School.

In our own families our children don't just cross a line into adulthood. Preferably it's something we gradually ease them into. It starts with making their own beds and taking care of their pets, and moves on from there. We let them try out this new world of decision making and responsibility while they still have the security of childhood to fall back on. So that when the time comes for them to leave our homes, they are not untested or completely unprepared. And once they leave we know that they will come back from time to time. We offer them a free place to do laundry, a stocked refrigerator, hugs and pep talks, advice and shoulders to cry on. Because sometimes it's hard in the beginning to find their place in the great big world, and adulthood does not usually come with its own built in support network.


Similarly, I hope to help ease our Youth into the life of our congregation. It starts when they are very young, with Words for All Ages and Multigenerational Service and goes on from there. In their years in YRE they will come into contact with dozens of adult teachers and mentors that will welcome them into the adult congregation when the time comes. They will be given opportunities to question and examine others beliefs and begin to consider their own so that they have a foundation to build on. They will have opportunities to volunteer, attend and lead worship services and serve on adult committees and projects. And when they leave YRE they will be comforted in knowing they can always come back for hugs and pep talks, advice and shoulders to cry on. Because it should never be hard to find your place when you are at home. Because no matter what generation each one of us fits into, we can always show love and support for one another.

~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*
November 6 - "Integral Relationships." Moderator: Don Heidorn
November 13 - "Medical Malpractice." Moderator: Roger Davis, et al
November 20 - Thanksgiving Sunday - NO CLASS
November 27 - "Paranormal Experiences." Moderator: Diane Bohlander
*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.


Thank you, thank you, thank you!
And thank you! Thanks to YOUR support, we exceeded our fundraising goal for the bazaar - $1517.00! An extra big thank you to the following MVUUF members and friends who donated their time and/or funds to make this year's bazaar so successful: Trena & Les Swanke, Priscilla Mutter, Catherine Queener, Shirley Gezinski, Allie Petersen, Shannon Harper, Nola Ferguson, Jo Anna Szymborski, Carol Vincent, Sara Davis, Anne Weber, Adina Reeve, Rita Reeve, Jenny Oest, Jennie Hardy, Jenny Yingling, Lori Damron, Lynn Haven, Gary Courts, Maureen O'Meara & John Bierman, Pat Whitney, Ruby Powell, Kathleen Pennington, Bill Ross, Sharon Harmer, Claudia Bailey, Dee Penmetsa, Kim Redick-Mortenson, Ruth Scott & Jerry Jenkins, Kristin Freeman, MVUUF Board, MVUUF P.C., and MVUUF Environmental Action Group.  In addition, we had 29 fabulous vendors and scores of people who came out and spent, spent, spent!  The following businesses donated raffle prizes, so if you're in their establishment, throw a thank you their way! Earth Fare Grocery (insulated lunch bags with $5 off coupons), Marion's Pizza (2 free meals), Meadowlark Restaurant ($30 gift certificate), and The Golf Club at Yankee Trace (2 free Sunday brunches).


Lunch with Amy Update
During November, we'll go back to our usual haunt, Panera by the Dayton Mall. All are invited! Join Amy on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.


Humanitarian Giving Action Group
The next meeting of the HGAG will be on Wed., November 16 at 7 p.m. in the Founders room. All are welcome and invited to attend!


Chalice Night
Our next Chalice Night is Fri., November 11 at 6:30 p.m. We'll be showcasing member talent with an open mic night (if you're interested in presenting, contact Duane Ferguson! Join us for dinner and enjoy the musings of your fellow Fellowshippers!


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.


Socrates Café
MVUUF is collaborating with the Wright State Retiree Association in sponsoring Socrates Café. It starts on Tue., November 8 at 1 p.m. with a brown bag lunch (coffee provided), following by the choice of a topic of interest and then a lively, respectful discussion. This is a good opportunity to meet interesting people and explore the world of ideas. For planning purposes, please RSVP to Jim Faulconer.


Membership Joining Session
A membership Joining Session will be held on Sun., November 13 at 12:30 p.m. in the Founders room. This 45-minute session is for people who have been friends or visitors of MVUUF for awhile and are ready to join as official members. We'll talk about the MVUUF leadership organization structure, member expectations and stewardship. We will also talk about the induction service we'll have on Sun., December 4. Finally, we will fill in some forms to put you on the official membership roster. Please let Kristin Freeman (Fellowship Administrator) know if you can attend. She can be reached at 436-3628 or  Kristin or Scott Leonard can answer questions you may have. If you are ready to join but cannot attend the Nov. 13 meeting, please contact Kristin and we'll see if we can make different arrangements.


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


Daytime Book Club Title*
November 16 - A Singular Woman - The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, by Janny Scott
December 7 - Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham **Potluck at the home of Carol Vincent**
January TBA - Dreamers of the Day, by Mary Doria Russell
February TBA - Still Alice, by Lisa Genova
March TBA - What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, by Thomas Frank
*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!


Welcome to Joel Araujo!
Hi everybody! My name's Joel Araujo and I'm really excited about being your Student Minister for the following church year. I'm entering MVUUF with a lot of enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm has been reflected back to me by those of you who I've had the pleasure of talking to so far.


I'm an anomaly amongst ministers in that I was born Unitarian Universalist. During high school, when I wasn't involved in school and community theater, I was a Youth Leader and served on the district Youth/Adult Committee. After graduation I took a few years off school and helped cultivate a Young Adult group in Cincinnati (my hometown). I enrolled at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and received my Associate of Arts.


During this time I became very involved with local and national politics. I worked for Draft Clark and later Clark for President, as well as Hardenbrook for US congress. I also worked for the Campaign to Repeal Article XII, a discriminatory amendment to the Cincinnati city charter denying the city's GLBTQ citizens fair housing and employment.


During 2005 I realized both my theater and political experiences were a mere shadow to my true calling of Unitarian Universalist ministry. Since then I have graduated cum laude from the College of Mount St. Joseph with a B.A. in Religious Studies and have been studying at Meadville Lombard Theological School pursuing my M.Div.


My family really keeps me grounded. I met my wife, Jeannie, on MySpace (I know, MySpace of all places!) and we married each other December of 2009. In doing so I took the responsibility of being a stepfather to a young lady, Savannah, who entered Middle School this fall.


When I introduced myself to you I quoted W.E.B. Dubois by saying "Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime." To continue with the metaphor I would like to become something of a 'seed collector' during my initial time here at MVUUF. I'd like to talk to as many people as possible and learn what 'harvest' you would like to see at our Fellowship; what goals you would like to see accomplished, where you would like to see our congregation, what dreams do you hold for your religious home. So if you see me around, don't hesitate to chat me up! 

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!