Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458





MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  June 1-15, 2012

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"Living and Acting with our Principles"


Every spring, I am asked to visit several high schools and college classrooms studying comparative religion. I usually speak about Unitarian Universalism with these usually junior and seniors who are learning about all the major world religions. I think it's really a wonderful opportunity to introduce young people to our faith.


First I ask them to tell me what the words "doctrine" and "creed" mean. And then I tell them that Unitarian Universalism has no doctrine and we don't profess any creed. I explain that being creedless doesn't mean that we don't believe anything. It means that each of us is on a spiritual journey and individually have different ways of viewing the universe and how it operates. After I tell them a little about our history, I tell them that we are a community of shared principles that help us to know how to live and act in the world. When I tell them about our principles, I describe how we live our principles by finding ways of acting on them.


Students have mixed reactions to learning about our openness to all the world's religions. They are puzzled about how we "worship" together. And they wonder why we don't fight all the time.


I get a question like this in almost every class, "If each of you has a different set of beliefs, how can you get along with each other?" They are amazed that we don't spend more time arguing about religion. When I tell them that since the basic premise of our faith is religious respect, that people coming in our doors usual honor that, they are surprised.


You know it is an amazing thing in this world where we hear about so much religious intolerance that within our community we regard religious respect as a spiritual practice. But then, we have so many other interesting things to disagree about.


The discussion that has been going on for several years now about what process we should use to "speak as a Fellowship" is now ramped up with the current discussion about the possible hanging of the Marriage Equality banner. But what strikes me is how respectful we are in this discussion. Each person who has written about their views on the discussion list recently has been framing their views with respectful and calm language. What a delight it is to be a part of a community where we finally can care about the outcome, but care even more about the relationships.


I am proud to tell students about our "covenant of right relations" as a testament to how we live and act our principles. I tell them that being a UU is more about how we act than what we believe. I appreciate all who are demonstrating this on a daily basis.


~Rev. Amy Russell

Sermon Topics



June 3 - Everything Possible  Rev. Amy Russell & the Living the Welcoming Congregation Class
~June is Gay Pride Month. Celebrate MVUUF's GLBT members and friends and how much closer "everything possible" has become over the years, partly because of the work done by the UUA and MVUUF.



June 10 - Singin' the Blues  Rev. Amy Russell & poets in the congregation

~When we are experiencing a difficult time, but we find a way to express ourselves in poetry and music, we are "singin' the blues." Come hear some talented members of our congregation share with us their blues in poetry.



June 17 - Detour Spotting Journey Toward Wholeness Group



June 24 - TBA




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.






When I was younger and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, "Religious Educator" was probably the farthest from my mind. Well not as far as Mathematician or Nuclear Scientist, but still, I probably would have laughed at you if you suggested I might one day be the Director of Religious Education at [shutter] a church. However if you had told me that one day I would be working with young people of all ages, helping their budding minds explore ancient and new concepts about spirituality, morality, social responsibility, ecology, and multiculturalism, my ears would have perked up. If you had gone on to tell me that I'd get to use stories, music, games and art to teach traditions and wisdom from all the world's religions as well as philosophers and scientists, my eyes would have brightened. And if you had told me that I would one day feel that I was making a difference, that I had a part in planting the seeds of love, compassion, equality and worth that our children will carry into our future, I would have been sold.


I came to Unitarian Universalism 10 years ago, and like others, my search for a liberal faith community was initially driven by my oldest child's desire to go to "church" like her friends and my need to find a "church" where she was encouraged to think for herself; where no belief or idea was held above another. Basically, I wanted to take my children to church for the same reason I homeschooled them (at the time) - because I wanted them to learn and grow more than what a typical institution could accommodate. I was fortunate to have an on-line friend who, although not Unitarian Universalist herself, knew enough about it to recognize what a perfect fit it could. As many a converted UU will say, "I was a Unitarian Universalist all along and I just didn't know it!"


When I talk to visiting families on Sunday mornings I hear similar reasons for "checking out" Unitarian Universalism. It often starts with a need to supply something to our children that we don't feel we can completely do justice to all on our own. They say "it takes a village", and for me that's what joining the Unitarian Universalist congregation offered - a village of eclectic, open-minded, intellectual and caring individuals, who don't claim to have all the answers but are willing to help one another in their search for them.


As our school year comes to an end and we start planning for summer fun, I'd like to thank all the YRE volunteers who helped make our village amazing! Our YRE Committee members, Sunday morning teachers and assistants, prep room helpers, worship leaders, OWL facilitators, youth group leaders, mentors, chaperons, parents and of course kids, all make me so happy that I "get" to be MVUUF's Director of Religious Education. 


~Shannon Harper

Around the Fellowship


Daytime Book Club Title*
June 20 - Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks
*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!


Community Discussion Group*
June 3 - "Ask the Doctor." Moderator: Tom Starr & others

June 10 - "When Should I Ignore the Doctor?" Moderator: Gordon Taylor
June 17 - "Readings from Robert Ingersoll." Moderator: Jim Faulconer

June 24 - "Cat Who Sat on A Hot Stove." Moderator: Mike Coalson

*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.



Environmental Action Book Club

Our book club will meet on June 18 at 7 p.m. in the Founders room. We'll be discussing Daniel G. Kozlovsky's book, An Ecological Evolutionary Ethic.



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.
June 12 - Excellent Women, 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



Dayton Pride Parade
Every year, MVUUF supports the Dayton Pride Parade. We turn out in large numbers. This year the parade is on Sat., June 2 at noon. We will be meeting on St. Clair between 11:30 a.m. and noon. The parade starts across from Cooper Park, goes through downtown and ends in

Courthouse Square. Wear your Standing on the Side of Love t-shirt, if you have one. If you have questions, contact Margaret at  



Social Justice Film Series

Please join us in the Founders room on Fri., June 29 at 7 p.m. for a viewing of "Gaslight."
The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey
uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."  Originally an HBO movie.



Humanitarian Giving
During June, the Humanitarian Giving donation will be Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region. For nearly 82 years, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region (PPSWO) is the leading reproductive health care provider, educator and advocate for Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky communities. Our 9 health centers provide a wide range of reproductive health care services to tens of thousands of women and men who rely upon our services and our people. Our unique position as a vital part of the community has earned us the trust of our patients and more than 20,000 donors, supporters and advocates. As the region's most trusted reproductive health care provider and an integral part of the Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky health care safety net, PPSWO tirelessly advocates on behalf of our patients and also the thousands who unfortunately go without needed health care services. We believe publicly supported reproductive health care is critical to the health of our shared communities, therefore PPSWO strives to form partnerships with fellow health care providers, government and non-profit organizations.



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.



Columbus Pride Parade
The Columbus Pride Parade draws 30,000 people. MVUUF is signed up to march in the parade. We will be carrying both our banners. The parade is June 16. Marching in the Columbus Pride Parade is a way to show our support for MVUUF and LGBT rights. The parade has a party atmosphere. It is one of the biggest in the country. Our registration was paid for by Interweave donations. We are carpooling. If you are interested in coming out for the parade, please contact Margaret 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!