Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  February 1-15, 2012

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"Feeding the Right Wolf"


Sometimes, at night when I'm trying to calm myself and give in to sleep, various issues will be tossing and turning around in my mind like a couple of angry wolves. There's a Native American story that Pema Chrodron tells in her book, Taking the Leap, about a grandfather telling his grandson about two wolves who are fighting in our minds. One of these wolves is angry and full of blame for others. This wolf is constantly telling us that we've been wronged and if only the other person would be different, everything would be okay. The other wolf is a peaceful and understanding wolf, kind and accepting. When the grandson asks his grandfather which one wins, the grandfather says, "The one who wins will be the one I choose to feed."


The wolf in my mind who keeps me awake is the confused, angry wolf that dwells on the silly idea that other people hold the key to my peace of mind. When I've meditated or walked or listened to music and my mind is at ease, that wolf doesn't get fed. When I'm taking care of myself with a good spiritual practice, then I don't dwell on what other people have said or done. But keeping up the discipline of having a spiritual practice is not easy. When we need a spiritual practice the most is when it's the hardest to maintain that discipline. That's why having some kind of regular spiritual practice is so important - to get us through the days when the wrong wolf is taking over our minds.


One day when I was struggling with an issue and I had not had a particularly good night's sleep, I found myself snapping at someone about something stupid. When this person looked at me in surprise, I apologized and explained I wasn't sleeping too well. "Oh," she said, "are you fighting battles with yourself at night?" I stopped and thought about it. I guess the image of myself fighting arm to arm with myself seemed an apt description. Why was I wrestling with myself? Why did I allow myself to hold onto things that were so obviously unimportant in the grand scheme of things?


I've been using my meditation/prayer to identify those things that I find myself struggling with- identify them and then let them go. Wave good-bye to things I couldn't control, things that were other people's issues not mine, and things that tried to tell me I was bad or wrong. Sometimes the serenity prayer helps me deal with these things:


God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference. 

Sermon Topics


February 5 - How We Stand on the Side of Love Rev. Amy Russell
~In the past few years, UUs have been talking about how we stand on the side of love. I think this slogan reminds us that whatever the issue is, we stand on the side of the inherent worth and dignity of every individual. How you stand on the side of love in your life? We'll have sharing from many different people.

February 12 - Embracing Our Failure Rev. Amy Russell & Trudy Krisher
~The old acorn about how when life brings us lemons, we should make lemonade has some truth to it. And when we look at our failures, we can often see the nugget of our next success. Amy and Trudy will share the experiences they've had in looking failure in the eye and what came out of it.

February 19 - My Mystery Is Your Wonder Rev. Amy Russell
~Sometimes when I share a piece of my spiritual journey with others, they look at me with a strange look on their face. In our open and accepting culture, my reality and yours are so different and yet all have great validity to each of us. How do we practice being open to everyone's search for truth and meaning?


February 26 - To Hold Fragile In Our Hands  Rev. Richard Venus

~We are asked to make decisions about right and wrong, good and evil, just and unjust when all the facts aren't in.  We make decisions, when, if allowed, history might give us more information that might convince us to do otherwise.  We have asked ourselves more than once, what could I have done differently?  Each of us has our list of regrets, of the wrongs we have done.  What do these regrets say about the problem of evil?

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.


Letter from the DRE


"Talking about Multi-Culturalism in our Congregation"


"Multiculturalism means nurturing a religious community where people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures see their cultural identities reflected and affirmed in every aspect of congregational life-worship, fellowship, leadership, governance, religious education, social justice, etc. Multiculturalism means that we create religious homes where encounters between people of different cultural identities intersect with Unitarian Universalism to create a fully inclusive community where, in the words of a vision statement adopted by the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Leadership Council, "all people are welcomed as blessings and the human family lives whole and reconciled."


This explanation was taken from the UUA website on Multiculturalism. If you have doubts about whether this dialogue is really relevant at MVUUF, I highly recommend taking a walk down our RE hallway on a Sunday morning. What you'll discover (if you weren't already aware) is that MVUUF is already more diverse and multi-cultured than is evidenced by our adult population alone.  


Families in UU churches all over the United States are becoming more and more diverse as the conventional lines of culture and ethnicity are blurred by mixed race marriages, cross-cultural adoptions and blended families. I believe this makes the work of becoming a truly multi-cultural community even more vital. Because this is not just about "representing" everyone's unique cultural heritage but accepting and affirming the right of our members and children to culturally and ethnically identify themselves on their own terms and not by the way society wants to categorize their appearance.


If you have not read the quoted article I highly recommend it along with the additional links about multicultural congregations. (


Around the Fellowship


St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
February 11 Menu: chicken & noodles, veggies, coleslaw, fruit 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*
February 5 - "The Moral Landscape."  Moderator: Ben Ramsey
February 12 -"How Do We Control the Harm Done by Drugs?"  Moderator: Gordon Taylor
February 19 - "Couples: Different Intelligences."  Moderator: Heather Schroeder
February 26 - "Rights: What Are They?"  Moderator: Roger Davis
*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.


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.
February 14 - American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
March 13 - Paris Wife, by Paula McLain


Daytime Book Club Title*
February 15 - Still Alice, by Lisa Genova
March 14 - 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!


Volunteer Needed
Gary Courts, our current volunteer, is stepping down as "bread runner" and we need to find a replacement.  If you're able, we need someone to pick up bread on Thursday mornings from the Dorothy Lane Market in Springboro and deliver it to the Wesley Center and St. Paul's.  Please contact Gary if you'd like this volunteer position.


Humanitarian Giving
During February, 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.


The New UU - A Course for New & Prospective Adult Members
If you are a new member of the Fellowship, or thinking seriously about becoming a member, and want to learn more about what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist, this course is for you. If you've been around for a few months, or maybe a year or two and are still trying to make sense out of being a UU, this course might be of help.


The course begins Sunday morning, February 5, 9:30-10:45 a.m. in Room #5 and continues for 7 weeks. It will be led by Bob Lewis with assistance from Rev. Amy Russell. Childcare will be provided. The course will focus on important themes in UU life: worship, UU theology and history, faith development, social justice, organization and governance, and a congregational perspective. Personal sharing and dialogue will be encouraged.


Please sign up with Kristin the church office by calling 436-3628 or emailing at You can also sign up with Bob at 350-7763 or using the sign up sheet in the Gathering Space. If you have questions, please call Bob.


Green Sanctuary Cookbook
As part of the Green Sanctuary project, the Environmental Concerns Action Committee will be making a cookbook of vegetarian and/or locally produced recipes. Whenever you bring a dish to the Fellowship for an event, and it is either vegetarian or made with locally produced foods*, please bring a copy of the recipe. Please annotate where your ingredients are from, if they are local. Not all ingredients need be local, but the majority should be. We will have a folder in the Gathering Space to collect the recipes. The cookbook will be published in September in time for our Harvest Celebration. If you have any questions, please contact Donna Wilson at

*Local means produced within 100 miles.


Chalice Light Gallery
During the month of February, our Gallery showcases the work of Kelly Joslin. Kelly is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Art Department at Sinclair Community College. She began teaching Art History and Art Appreciation courses at Sinclair in 1998. She holds a B.A. in Humanities - World Classics from Antioch University - McGregor, a M.Hum. in Art History/Philosophy from Wright State University and is currently a doctoral candidate in the University of Dayton's Educational Leadership - Higher Education Administration program.

Kelly is an exhibiting artist. Her most recent body of work focuses on experiments with Non-Silver/Alternative photographic processes - Cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown, Gum Print, and Palladium. These experiments have allowed her to create photographs that appear more expressive and painterly.


Chalice Night
Be sure to mark your calendar for our next Chalice Night on Fri., February 10 at 6:00 p.m. This event is for everyone! The MVUUF Environmental Action Group is hosting a chili dinner (both meat and vegetarian varieties), and will be followed by an informative program on "Resources for Recycling" presented by John Woodman of the Montgomery County Solid Waste District. For the kids in the crowd, Robin Farinet will lead an age-appropriate activity on recycling. Please plan to be with us for this evening of fun, food, fellowship, and facts! *Please note that Chalice Night for March will replaced with Mystery Friends*


Small Group Dinners
It's time to switch groups again for Small Group Dinners! There's a sign up sheet in the Gathering Space - this time will be for the March through June rotation. The sheet will be there through service on February 19. Any questions, please contact Dawn Bellinger.


Build Your Own Theology III - Ethics
In this course, we'll discuss the issues of ethics and morality. The course contains many interesting exercises and readings. We'll meet Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Joel Araujo will be leading the discussions. Sign up in the Gathering Space or by contacting Kristin in the office. The workbook for class is $13.00.


Theist Group
The Theist Group will continue to meet on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in Room #1. Over the next few weeks Joel Araujo will lead the discussion on the Old Testament.


Grief Kit
If you've lost someone close to you, you know how hard the first year of their absence can be. If you will be experiencing the first anniversary of a loved one's death, we have a kit to help you cope with, and honor, your grief. This kit contains readings, poems, a journal, and a special candle designed to burn for exactly 24 hours. If you are in need of this, please let Rev. Russell know.


Service Auction 2012 - Save the Date!
The 2012 Service Auction will be held Sat., April 21, 6-9 p.m. Watch this space (and the bulletin, and announcements, and anything else we can think of) for details. If you have any questions or would like to assist with the Auction itself, please contact Pat Santucci at


Volunteering at The Castle

The Castle on North Main St. in Centerville is a social club and activity center for adults with mental disabilities.  Several of us from MVUUF went to an open house there in October and learned about many of their great programs.  I, Rev. Russell, have been familiar with The Castle for many years as my nephew used to visit daily.  He called The Castle his second home.  He found friends and activities; he found a place where he was accepted for who he is.  A group of members are interested in working to support The Castle.  They'd like to provide a meal once a month, as well as volunteering to interact with and get to know the residents.  We already have several people who volunteer there.  If you're interested, please contact Mary Lou Heitkamp at 291-1831.

Brother Sun Concert
 Friday, February 17, 7:30 p.m.

Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee Street

Dayton OH 45459


For tickets and information call 937-436-3628 or visit


All are welcome; please pay what you can.  Suggested donation $15/person $30/family


Brother Sun is the dynamic new male trio formed by Pat Wictor, Greg Greenway, and Joe Jencks. Their harmonies, as much as their lyrics, tell what they are about - warm as a campfire, stirring as a gospel church, rousing as a call to arms. Calling upon contemporary songwriting, and informed by the deep roots of gospel, blues, and folk, the trio weaves a tapestry of harmony that is brilliantly fresh and yet familiar.


Nationally touring folk artists from three major points on the map - New York, Boston, and Chicago - Pat, Greg, and Joe celebrate the amazing power of singing together. Their combined musical skills make for an unforgettable evening - three rich voices blending on a well-crafted foundation of guitar, slide guitar, and piano.


Learn about Brother Sun at their website:

More on their solo work at:,,


Pat, Greg, and Joe have become favorites of MVUUF members who have attended the Southeast UU Summer Institute, where they have performed as a group and separately. Now all of us have a rare opportunity to enjoy an evening with these three fine entertainers. Individually, they are each among the country's best folk singers and songwriters. Together, they're inspiring. Don't miss your chance to be inspired!


Please call or email the Fellowship office for tickets and information. If you would like to help with the concert, contact Joe Zimmerman at 937-436-3473 or



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!