Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  December 16-31, 2011

Quick Links



When Winter Solstice approaches I sense the truly sacred in this time of year. The wheel turns and we know that as the days grow shorter that they will also grow long again. A growing season will be upon us before we know it with green new life poking through the departing snow. But first, the cold. A woman from Argentina told me how much she noticed the smell of the cold here in the North. How often do we notice that?


This interdependent web of life of ours is quite a miracle. I see it in the leaves that fall and predictably bud out in subtle pale greens again. I see it in the juncos arriving and departing. I see it in those hardy birds that stay all winter: red cardinal ornaments on a snow covered pine bough. We count on such miracles and we take them for granted.


But perhaps we should pay more attention. Our Environmental Action Group, part of the Social Action Committee, is in the process of applying for "Green Sanctuary" status from the UUA. (Thank you Gary Courts for taking the lead on this effort.) Oh, oh, will that mean we will start to have recycling police who are constantly "on us" for using a paper napkin? Well, I hope not. But I also hope we'll take greater care. Some easy things we can do at the Fellowship and at home are to change our temperatures on our thermostats: one degree cooler in the winter and one degree warmer in the summer. We can use compact fluorescent bulbs when our incandescents burn out. We can reduce our use of disposables and increase the amount we reuse, recycle, and compost.


Wait a minute. We do all this, right? Well, okay, we do these things much of the time. But some environmental efforts at the Fellowship are hard, and making it easy to do is a big part of the answer to doing more. I urge those of us who want to do the right thing to work with those of us who are in a hurry to find easy ways to make reusing and recycling happen. Part of that work means helping clean-up in the kitchen so the work is not left to a couple of people. Sharing the load will make it easier to do the right thing.


And in the meantime, please enjoy this season that promises longer days. In the cold winter days ahead, know that warmth returns. Take some of the chill off by being with one another in peace and fellowship. And do a little something for our planet. To help warm your hearts, I offer you this earth prayer by Nancy Wood. [1]



It is our quiet time.

We do not speak, because the voices are within us.

It is our quiet time.

We do not walk, because the earth is all within us.

It is our quiet time.

We do not dance, because the music has lifted us to a place where the spirit is.

It is our quiet time.

We rest with all of nature. We wake when the seven sisters wake.

We greet them in the sky over the opening of the kiva.


~Alice Diebel, Board President

[1] Wood, Nancy (1991). Earth Prayers From Around the World. Edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon. San Francisco: Harper: p 324.

Sermon Topics

December 18 - What Is the Miracle of Christmas? Rev. Amy Russell
~What do we as UUs celebrate about Christmas? The tinsel and the mistletoe? Or the story of a babe born long ago and far away? What is the miracle of this story? What is the miracle of Christmas for you? We'll share stories of what's most meaningful to us.

December 24 - Christmas Eve: Stories & Candles at 7 p.m. Rev. Amy Russell
~With the notes of hope and joy that strike a chord on Christmas Eve, stories and carols will be shared.

December 25 - Christmas Day Service Joel Araujo


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.




Homemade Holiday


I grew up in a house that didn't celebrate Christmas. In fact we didn't celebrate any holidays. It wasn't all bad. You know what they say about not knowing what you're missing. My parents did a great job of working "around" the holidays. But despite my parent's efforts on the home-front, we could not ignore what the rest of the world was doing during the holidays. Christmas was everywhere. And so I began to construct an elaborate dream of what it would be like to celebrate this alluring and unattainable holiday. I combined memories of my grandparents' house at Christmas time, stolen moments watching Christmas specials on television, and what my friend's at school told me about their own experiences.   What I came up with was a mismatched, idealistic jubilee, complete with artificial Christmas trees and lots of alcohol and friends, Macy's Santa Claus and John Denver singing about Christmas in Montana, and excessive amounts of presents and ham.


When it came time for me to finally concoct my own family festivities, it's no wonder our first few Christmases were like crazy bonanzas of elaborate planning and experimentation. We, of course, have settled into our own traditions over the years, but without childhood memories of my own, I still find myself floundering each year to create not only an authentic experience for my children, but for myself as well. Like a person who goes to Disney World for the first time as an adult, I was faced with the mechanics (and cost) of Christmas before I ever experienced the pure magic and wonder.


December's Chalice Night has sparked yet another holiday dream of mine: to have a truly simple, homemade holiday; where it's not about buying presents but making beautiful things with our own hands; where we don't have to pay someone to entertain us, but we make the fun ourselves; and where we aren't just rushing around being hosts and hostesses, but sitting back and enjoying our time together. No matter what your family looks like - whether you have kids and a significant other or no kids and no significant other, or like me, you consider the lovely people you've come to know at our fellowship, an extension of family - I hope that everyone will feel welcome to join us for this special time on Friday December 9th.


~Shannon Harper, DRE


Around the Fellowship


Christmas Day Dinner

Phil Wise, Joe Law, John Bierman and others are reviving an old MVUUF tradition of hosting a small dinner on Christmas Day.  If you are like us, we don't have lots of family around at this time of year and would love to spend this day with you.  The event is potluck.  Please sign up in the Gathering Space and bring a dish to share.  Turkey and ham are provided.  We also need help from participants with clean-up. 



St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*

January 14 Menu: pork & sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, fried/baked apples, 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*

December 18 - "Guardians for the Legally Incompetent." Moderator: Heather Schroeder
December 25 - NO CLASS
*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.


Congregational Meeting
Our next Congregational Meeting will be immediately following service on Sun., January 22.


Slate of Candidates
In preparation for the January Congregational meeting, the Nominating Committee is working to fill a slate of candidates. The following names will be presented:
Alysoun Taylor-Hall - President
TBA - V.P.
Catherine Queener - Secretary
Pat Whitney - Treasurer
Jim Hudson - Trustee A
Duane Ferguson - Trustee B
Kate Halpin - P.C. Chair
TBA - Communications Rep.
Alice Diebel - Membership Rep.
Joe Law - Music Rep.
Carolyn Leman - R.E. Rep.
Dan Enterline - Endowment

Holiday Giving TreeOur holiday giving tree is in its usual holiday place, the Gathering Space! This year, we'll be gathering donations for St. Vincent de Paul. Currently, their greatest desire is for baby items. Next to the tree you'll find a list of items they need. Let's help make the holidays of local families in need a little bit brighter! Please bring all donations to the Fellowship no later than December 28.


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.
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*
January 18 - 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!


Humanitarian Giving
During December, the Humanitarian Giving donation will be to the Minister's Discretionary Fund. The economy has taken its toll on many people, including those in our own church community. The Minister's Discretionary Fund allows Rev. Amy to provide assistance to our members in their time of need.


Chalice Light Gallery
During December, the Gallery will be displaying the photography of member Maury Wyckoff. Through Maury's lens, see revealed the majesty of our world, capturing ordinary, extraordinary, and humorous moments, and presenting them in a way that draws you in as if you are there. Or could have been there. Or wish you were there.


Mark Your Calendars - We're Having a Party!
Jesse Minnefield, our custodian of oh, well, 30+ years is turning 75 - and if that doesn't warrant a party, I don't know what does! So mark your calendars now for after service on January 29. If you'd like to contribute to a gift for Jesse, there will is a box in the Gathering Space to put your donation. You can also send a check to Kristin in the Fellowship office. Checks should be made out to MVUUF and indicate Party in the memo line. Please plan on helping us celebrate the birthday of such a wonderful staff member! 


Socrates Café
The next meeting of Socrates Café will be January 10!  We'll start with a brown bag lunch (coffee provided), followed by a lively, respectful discussion. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet interesting people and explore new ideas. Please RSVP to Jim Faulconer at if you'll be attending.


Which witch is witch?  I mean, which?

If you're ever wondered what that called Paganism is, I would like to invite you to join me, Shannon Heather, after services for a Pagan 101 class.  Look for specific dates and times to be announced soon.  I will be covering the basics of common Pagan beliefs, practices, holidays, celebrations, the major pantheons, and hopefully be able to answer any questions you may have.  This is an academic class, not a worship or convenant group.  If you have any questions, please contact me at



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!