Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458



MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  February 16-29, 2012

Quick Links


This is my last letter to you as President, and while I've been joking about this being a leap year I must say I will miss the honor and opportunity you have given me to develop my ministry and leadership in this congregation. Thank you so much for your support. (Consider this note a plug to get involved!) In closing my tenure I want to highlight two important board initiatives.


One of the significant charges to the board is to keep an eye on the mission and vision of the Fellowship and enable opportunities for the congregation to struggle with who we are and who we want to be. The board has created two significant opportunities for us to consider these larger questions. The first opportunity was the creation of the Long-Range Planning committee. That group is moving into its second phase and is now called Strategic Planning. Just as you participated in Appreciative Inquiry discussions in 2010 and 2011, the committee is now planning how to engage you in evaluating and shaping our mission and vision. It is not just about writing an inspiring statement. It is about working through our challenges and hopes to act with intent. The committee members are Bob Lewis (acting chair), Denny Smith, Joe Zimmerman, Bonnie Thompson, Lew Hann, Nola Ferguson, and Sarah Hewitt.


The second opportunity has just begun with an initiative called The Journey Toward Wholeness (JTW). The board formed a leadership team that is exploring how to engage the congregation in understanding anti-racism and anti-oppression work. The name of this initiative is based on the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) effort that began in 1997 when the General Assembly voted to approve a resolution to create a vision that would move the UUA to become an anti-oppression and anti-racist organization. This vision embraced our principles and urged the association to be an institution that understood and acted to change racism and oppression. (You can read some of this history and the resolution the assembly approved here:  It isn't solely about welcoming diversity into our congregation - though that is vitally important - it is about living our religion by learning to be allies to the oppressed wherever they are.


The resolution honors our history as UUs in working to end injustice, but it also points out that the "inequitable distribution of power and resources" imperil us all. We did not directly create these systems, but we benefit from them. The assembly urged the association and its congregations in 1997, " develop an ongoing process for the comprehensive institutionalization of anti-racism and multi-culturalism, understanding that whether or not a group becomes multi-racial, there is always the opportunity to become anti-racist. Early steps toward anti-racism might include using curricula, ... forming racial justice committees, and conducting anti-racism workshops."

The work starts at home. In order to rise to our higher selves we have much to learn. Here we are, many of us, born into a system we did not create, but when we really look we know things aren't right. Our economic benefits are built first on systems of slavery and now on cheap, immigrant labor. We are just beginning the journey, and it is intended to make us whole - to stand in solidarity with oppressed people everywhere. If you have ever asked yourself where you would stand when push comes to shove on an issue of oppression - then this is the work for you. Let us learn together, how to truly stand on the side of love.


The MVUUF JTW team is co-chaired by Felicia Hall and Gail Cyan. Members include Yolanda Crooms, Karen Evans, Bill Dugger, Rich Robinson, Akil Sharif, Joel Araujo, Margaret Michal and Debra Alexander. The board is looking for your support for their leadership and involvement in the curricula and workshops they sponsor. It will be through the efforts of us all that we can make a difference in this community. May it be so. Ashé.


~Alice Diebel


PS: You haven't gotten rid of me. I'll be around and involved, now as Membership Representative.

Sermon Topics


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*
March 10 Menu: beef stew, green salad, fruit salad, cornbread, 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 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.
March 13 - Paris Wife, by Paula McLain


Daytime Book Club Title*
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!


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.


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.


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.


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


We Throw One Heckuva Party!

What an incredible turn out we had celebrating Jesse's 75th birthday! The food was incredible (thanks to Kate Santucci and her sister Maggie), the cake was stunning (again, thanks Kate & Maggie!), the service lovely (Rev. Amy & Rev. Richard - well done!) and the congratulations abundant (all you wonderful people!) Another big thank you to everyone who donated time and finances to throw this bash! The day after the party, Jesse told me that he had an amazing time and that his family was overwhelmed by all the love for him. Mission accomplished!

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!