Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458





MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  April 1-15, 2012

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Our Ongoing Journey Toward Wholeness


We have all recoiled in horror at the news of the Trayvon Martin shooting. The fact that the man who shot this 17year old boy, who claims he shot him in self-defense, has not been arrested is troubling and puzzling to many. The investigation of the killing is on-going but the incident brings to the surface a bubbling pot of long held tensions in our American communities. Tensions about racism which many had thought were lessening have been brought to the surface for good reason. It's time that the conversations about race, long held under the breath, are out in the open.


The assumptions that we make about people different from ourselves often shape our daily interactions in ways that prevent us from truly seeing each other and who we are. We all do this. It's not something that is easily changed. But an awareness of how we use these assumptions to shape our interactions is something we can begin to work on.


As Unitarian Universalists, we carry in our tradition both a history of repression as well as a history of a deep commitment to anti-racism, anti-oppression work. For many years, African American clergy who sought a home with the American Unitarian Association, were rejected and black churches unsupported. During the civil rights movement, Unitarians and Universalists having just formed the Unitarian Universalist Association, joined in the marches in Selma when a young sawmill worker and church deacon, Jimmy Lee Jackson, was murdered in 1965 during voting rights demonstrations. Martin Luther King called for support from people from all over the country. More than 20 UU ministers and some lay persons responded and came to Selma.


On the evening of March 9, 1965, three of the UU ministers were attacked by a group of white racists as they left a restaurant, and Rev. James Reeb was so badly beaten that he died two days later. Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a Unitarian lay person was also murdered in Selma during these demonstrations.


A few years later, there was much dissension in our ranks when the Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus asked for a large sum of money to fund a Black Affairs Council at the 1968 General Assembly. The proposal was accepted but only part of the money was forth-coming. Later, the sum was reduced considerably. These issues led to a walk-out of the black caucus from the 1969 General Assembly, with many white supporters following. This rift led to many black UUs leaving our movement. During the intervening years, the association has been sponsoring a "Journey Toward Wholeness" program to provide education and action about anti-racism and anti-oppression.

We have an opportunity now to do what we can to educate ourselves about racism, about white privilege, about how our own attitudes affect our behavior with each other. The MVUUF Board commissioned a group called the "Journey Toward Wholeness" group who began work back in October. They participated in a Dayton Dialogue on Race Relations workshop and have been meeting regularly to plan education and awareness opportunities. The team is co-chaired by Gail Cyan and Ndidi Achebe. They will be offering us short attitudinal challenges during our Sunday services in coming months and later will offer educational programs.


Despite our best intentions, even at our Fellowship, racism is at work, within us and between us. We may not be aware of how it looks and feels to others. We have some hard work ahead of us as we look toward the Journey toward Wholeness team to facilitate us in this work. Sometimes it doesn't feel good to take a hard look at ourselves. But when we are honest with each other using love and thoughtful intention, we are doing the work of the Beloved Community.


Sermon Topics


April l - The Sabbath Joel Araujo
~ The Jewish day of rest is well known, even to those outside of Judaism. However, this concept and its practice has had less and less traction as our lives become more scheduled and complicated. Come hear Student Minister Joel Araujo talk about the spiritual necessity of intentional downtime.


April 8 - Easter: Death and Rebirth of Self Rev. Amy Russell
~ The ancient "mystery religions" including many pagan sects and even early Christianity, wove stories around the theme of death of the old self and the birth of the new self. The stories about god-like men who were born of virgin births, brought new hope to the world, and then died and after three days were reborn were woven around most of these early religions. We'll celebrate with a ritual that honors the death of our old selves and birth to our new selves.


April 15 - Native American Spirituality Rev. Amy Russell & Dr. Stephen Emmerick


April 22 - The Blue Green Hills of Earth  Intergenerational
~ In celebration of Earth Day, we give thanks for the amazing wonder of our earth and the universe. As everything in the universe is interconnected in a web of existence, we honor the place the earth holds in the solar system. Honoring the universe is sacred; we learn how to become stewards of the earth.


April 29 - Creation Stories Joe Zimmerman

Keeping Up with Our Members



On March 1, Lew Hann and his partner of 15 years, Steve Makovec, got married in New York City. Officiating was Judge Malcom Tingling of the New York Supreme Court. Steve's niece, Maggie Makovec, was a witness and took photos. The happy couple spent several days in New York, saw a couple of shows and made a side visit to friends in Newport, RI before returning to Dayton. Congrats to Lew and Steve!  And for photos of the special day, click HERE.


Jennie Hardy is a Grandma! Her daughter and son-in-law have officially adopted a baby girl named Nyla. Congratulations! 


If you are experiencing a rough time in your life, please know that your Fellowship community is here to support you.


Around the Fellowship



St. Vincent de Paul 2nd Saturday Lunch*
April 14 Menu: lasagna, garlic 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*
April 1 - "Story Telling - For A Change." Moderator: Jim Faulconer

April 8 - "My Bucket List." Moderator: Carol Vincent

April 15 - "Rights - What Are They?" Moderator: Roger Davis

April 22 - "What Good Friends Have Taught Us about Living, Death, and Coping with Both." Moderator: Diane Bohlander

April 29 - "How Did You Come to Your Beliefs Regarding Spirituality?" Moderator: Heather Schroeder

*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.
April 20 - Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier
May 8 - Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers
June 12 - A Glass of Blessings, by Barbara Pym
July 10 - Beloved, by Toni Morrison
August 14 - Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks
September 11 - The Human Stain, by Philip Roth
October 9 - Beneath the Lion's Gaze, by Maaza Mengiste


Service Auction 2012 - Save the Date!
The 2012 Service Auction will be held on Sat., April 21, 6-9 p.m. We go back to our roots with this year's theme - "Service Auction." Childcare is available! Snacks, drinks, fun, live auction, silent auction, raffle, new chance auction - all of these add up to a fine night out, so don't miss it! Donation forms are available in the Gathering Space or at our homepage,  If you have any questions or would like to help, please contact Pat Santucci at   


Lobby Day
Please join a group of us from MVUUF who attend Equality Ohio's Lobby Day in Columbus every year. Lobby Day is Wed. May 16. We drive down together at around 7:30 a.m. and stay in Columbus for a meeting with Equality Ohio, have lunch, and attend meetings with our legislators. Over the years we've developed good relationships with our legislators, both the ones who support us and those who are still learning.   If you'd like to attend, please contact Joe Law, Margaret Michal, or Amy Russell.   You can register at Equality Ohio's web site,


Lunch with Amy
Starting in April, lunch with Amy on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. will meet at the 2nd Street Market in Downtown Dayton. Hope to see you there!

OWL For Fifth and Sixth Grade

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education will be offered at MVUUF for fifth and sixth graders this spring. This curriculum includes the following topics. Each will be addressed in developmentally appropriate activities, conversation, and readings: Values and Sexuality, Family Relationships, Puberty: Physical and Emotional Changes, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, Lovemaking and Reproduction, Health and Safety, Communication, and Decision Making.


The class will be preceded by a parent/guardian meeting on April 15 from 12:30-2 p.m. The following week is the parent/guardian and child orientation from 12:30-3 p.m. Following the orientation, we will meet with the OWL participants for six to eight weeks. (We will iron out details at the parent meeting; this program is meant to have eight one-hour meetings, but we

will probably need to combine some content to finish before some children leave for summer destinations.) Participation in the Parent Meeting and Orientation and a commitment to the program are requirements to participate. If there is room in the class, children from outside the congregation will be able to participate. If you know of a family who may be interested, please let them know about the class and invite them to the Parent Meeting.


We, Joe Zimmerman and Geneveive Harvey will be facilitating this course. We have exactly one experience with facilitating OWL this year, but lots of teaching experience and good training to prepare us for leading this class. If you have questions, please contact one of us or Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education at MVUUF.  You can also learn more on the UUA's website by going to this link, 

Each child will need a copy of the book, It's Perfectly Normal; Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris. It can be located at several local libraries or we can order on Amazon. Please let us know if you would like for us to order your child a copy (about $7 if we get free shipping). We will place the order April 15, after our Parent Meeting.


Please let us know if you are planning to attend the parent meeting and are interested in the class for your child, in order to help us with planning and so we know whether we can invite youth from other area UU and UCC churches. You will need to bring a snack or packed lunch for our parent meeting, and we'll discuss how to handle food needs for the coming weeks. Child

Care/supervision will be available during the parent meeting.


Daytime Book Club Title*
April 18 - Blessings: A Novel, by Anna Quindlen
May 23 - Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers
*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 April, the Humanitarian Giving donation will be to the Wesley Community Center. Started in Dayton in the 1960s after race riots, the WCC seeks to enable families and individuals to become self-sufficient and be able to give back to the community. Although the center is faith-based, it serves all people and maintains a non-proselytizing stance.


Theist Group
The MVUUF Theist Group will continue our study of Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, & Religious Liberals, by UU minister Rev. John Buehrens, former president of the UUA. This book uses modern, historical, literary, political, and feminist readings to help us reclaim the Bible from fundamentalists. The book is available in bookstores, libraries, and on-line. The Theist Group meets every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in Room #4. We have no "right answers" and new members are welcome.


2nd Annual MVUUF Camp Out

Mark your calendars now for Memorial Day Weekend, May 25 - 28. We'll be camping at Possum Creek Metro Park in the Sugar Maple Shelter and Campsite. For more information, contact Shannon Harper or Stacey Stowers.


Chalice Light Gallery
During the month of April, our Gallery showcases the work of Robin Dakin. "I have been involved in artistic pursuits since high school when my art teachers at Stebbins High School in Riverside encouraged and allowed me to explore and express myself through a wide variety of art. I attended Wright State University where I received a degree in Fine Arts. I then began teaching elementary school art in the Toledo Public Schools. I also worked at the Toledo Museum of Art teaching ceramics, jewelry, and multi-media classes. After leaving Toledo and spending time in the Army, I came back to teaching at Stebbins High School for part of a year teaching painting, ceramics, and drawing.


The following year I was hired to teach Arts & Crafts, photoshop, and photography at Northmont High School. Over the 14 years I have been at Northmont, I have additionally taught painting, drawing, and ceramics. After receiving my Masters in Ceramics from Antioch University in 2001, I have taught more ceramics and as demand grew I have exclusively been teaching ceramics for a number of years. From 2001 to 2005 I was actively participating in galleries and art shows with my pottery. I also taught ceramics at Sinclair during the 2004-2005 school year.

After that year I took a break from everything except Northmont to raise my children. This also led me back to a summer camp in the northeast that allows my children to have an intense 8 week summer camp experience.   I have recently begun to work more extensively on my own artwork adding painting to my pottery. I am looking forward to sharing my art with the Dayton Community." 


CUUPS Development/Planning Meeting
Out of the Pagan 101 class that has been going on for the last several months there has been a desire to establish a pagan/earth centered spirituality group on a more permanent basis. CUUPS, the Covenant of Unitarian Universalists Pagans, is a national group that is a related group to the

UUA (but independent) that has chapters at various host congregations across the country. Their vision statement states they "exists for the purposes of promoting the practice and understanding of Pagan and Earth-centered spirituality within the Unitarian Universalist Association,

enabling networking among Pagan-identified Unitarian Universalists, (...) promoting interfaith dialogue, encouraging the development of theological and liturgical materials based on Pagan and Earth-centered religious and spiritual perspectives, (...) providing a place or places for gathering and for worship, and fostering healing relationships with the Earth and all of

the Earth's children." (to read the entire statement, visit


If this sounds like something you will be interested in or want to learn more about, first visit to read more about the organization. Second, join us at a CUUPS Development/Planning Meeting and Potluck on Sat., April 28, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. here at the fellowship. We are hoping to begin the dialog to develop the group. For more information, contact Shannon Heather at


A Better World Contest

We're asking children and youth to submit written proposals for how they would spend $100 if it were given to them to help better the world. Young people can submit their ideas individually or in groups, possibly in collaboration with their families or YRE classes. Collaboration means that adults are encouraged to help children and youth think about their ideas and that parents or teachers should give their consent to any ideas that would include the support, assistance or participation of the families or teachers.   In addition, parents or teachers can assist with writing, as appropriate for the age of the children. The money can be used to directly do good (i.e. buy blankets and pass out to homeless), be given to a charitable organization (i.e. Humane Society or Doctors Without Borders) or lent through a reputable organization (i.e. Kiva). The money can also be invested in order to create a higher return (i.e. purchase supplies to hold a car wash and all proceeds will go to a cause) but there should be a clear timeline and plan for what will be done with the investment and proceeds. The money cannot be spent directly on yourself, your family or close friends but can be used to support an organization that you or your family indirectly benefits (or has benefitted) from (i.e. Ronald McDonald house or Make a Wish Foundation). We'll display the entries on our YRE bulletin board for everyone to see. Two entries will be selected and awarded $100 each to implement their plans. Deadline is April 8 - click HERE for more details. 


Pledge Drive Update
Thank you everyone who has submitted your annual financial commitment - better known as your pledge. I kind of like the term financial commitment because it focuses on what we are actually trying to do when we ask you for money. We are asking you to commit to this place that means so much to all our lives. It is a time to let your light shine brightly to - as the UUA

says - nurture the spirit and help heal a hurting world. We each make that happen in our own ways, large and small. Please help our light grow brighter.


My job is the chair of the pledge drive. So I have a few process items: First, about a month ago you received a wonderful letter from Trudy Krisher and a set of Frequently Asked Questions. The FAQs included a giving guide and a sense of where our money comes from and where it goes. You'll note that all of our income comes from you through donations, pledges and

fundraisers. We get no grants or outside financial support. You'll also note that the budget projected for next year looks rather flat. Please don't let that discourage you from increasing your giving. Here is the real story. The budget for next year is not truly reflected in that document because it has not yet been created. That projected budget ONLY reflects a very small raise

for all of our staff - just 2%. Nothing else. There are no facility cost increases, no administrative, utility cost increases, or leaps of creative imagination about what more we can be! All of this work needs to be done. But we're going out on a limb hoping you'll far exceed what's on that piece of paper.


Second, there is a larger story you need to consider. Our staff have not had raises in at least three years. I know many of you have not either - but many of you have had raises. MVUUF weathered the financial downturn by living on reserve cash but that was gone last year. As a result we actually cut health reimbursement benefits for part-time staff, eliminated the youth

director position, cut professional expenses for the minister, and cut already-small-program budgets. We built the budget thanks to the generous one-time gifts of a few members that amounted to $17,000. We really, really need to increase the pledge amount to improve our stability. Please think hard, and with a generous heart, about how you might increase your pledge. If you have never pledged - please start. If you're low on the graph, please move up a level.


We need all pledge cards by April 8. Please don't make us track you down. It's a lot of work for volunteers and without the knowledge of what we can realistically expect to receive, we cannot budget with any degree of accuracy. Fill it in and leave it with Kristin Freeman in the fellowship

office. Thank you! And please give generously!


~Alice Diebel 


Living the Welcoming Congregation
Each Sunday we state that we are a 'Welcoming Congregation'. We worked hard to be designated as such. We made a commitment. In fact, there are twelve commitments. As a 'Welcoming Congregation', we agree to affirm LGBT folks. For example, we agree not to discriminate in all dimensions of congregational life. It includes outreach to the broaderLGBT community and actively supporting other LGBT groups. It includes nurturing an ongoing dialogue between people of different affectional/sexual orientations and gender identifications to create deeper trust and sharing. We agree to work to promote justice, freedom and equality in the larger society. Living the Welcoming Congregation is a class developed by the UUA. It is designed to help answer these questions. It is open to everyone. We will be offering the thirteen week class starting Thursday April 5 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. We will meet in the Founders room. This course will be taught by Rev. Amy Russell and Margaret Michal. If you wish to sign-up online or you have a question, please contact Margaret at  I would need your name, email address and phone number. Sign-up sheets will be in the Gathering Space before and after service each Sunday until the class begins. 


Emily Upham Award
The Social Action Committee invites nominations for the 2011 Emily Upham Social Justice Award. This award is given to a member of the congregation who exemplifies commitment and service for world peace and social justice and is involved in on-going activities that support a vision of a better world. Recent awardees include Bob Lewis (2010), Bill Ross (2009),  Joe Law (2008), Lynn Buffington (2007), Diane Dover (2006), Gail Cyan (2005), Kate Santucci (2003-04), and Bev and Sylvia Wince (2002).  Please send your nominations either by email to Bill Ross, at or give to our church administrator, Kristin Freeman,* no later than May 1, 2012. Please tell us about the person and why you think he or she should be selected.  The award will be presented at the Fellowship's Congregational Meeting in June. * Kristin Freeman, MVUUF, 8690 Yankee Street, Dayton, OH 45458

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!