UUCH Chalice
The Overlook
Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville  
September 4th, 2014
Vol. 14 Issue 39
In This Issue
Sharing Sunday
Calendar Notes
Coffee Orders
Upcoming Services
This Sunday in RE
From Your Minister
Southern UU Con!
We Share the Plate
Care List
Article Headline
STP logo
This Sunday, Sept. 7th, is a Sharing Sunday
On the first Sunday of each month, we
Share the Plate* during the offering,
Share our Lunch with each other during Potluck, and
Share our Bounty by filling the Food Basket!
Please don't forget to bring non-perishable food and hygiene items for the food basket, to be donated to the Huntsville Assistance Program.
This Sunday's Potluck: Bring Your Own Plate
In a move to a more environmentally sustainable world, our Social Justice committee has suggested that we bring our own non-disposable plates, cups, etc. to our monthly Sunday Potlucks. We'll continue to provide disposables for those who need them. In addition to being "green," bringing your own plates also saves the church money to help fulfill other goals. You may also want to remember to bring a bag for transporting home your dirty items!

canned goods  

We Can Do It!

The food & hygiene items you bring to fill the basket at the church are donated to the Huntsville Assistance Program (HAP). Our goal is 100 items per month--and for the past few months, we've been exceeding our goal! 

All donations are welcome and appreciated!

Here are some ideas for supplies that HAP needs: macaroni and cheese, pasta and sauce, dry beans and rice, boxes of cereal,

bars of soap, canned meat, peanut butter!

Thanks in advance!

To read more about the Huntsville Assistance Program, please visit their website.

Calendar Notes

 Music Committee will be meeting the 1st Wednesday of every month, at 5:30 p.m., at the Panera restaurant on Airport Rd.


Choir Practice is each Wednesday night beginning at 7:15 p.m., here at the church.


Interweave Potluck & Game Nights will be held the 3rd Friday of each month, here at the church, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Coffee Orders for the Summer Months

Fair Trade coffee is available during the summer months by order only. If you would like to purchase Kaffeeklatsch coffee to benefit the Social Justice program, place your order on Sunday, and the coffee will be available the next Sunday. Please write your order on the notebook at the back of the sanctuary, specifying regular or decaf and indicating whether you want your coffee in whole bean or ground for drip, French Press, or espresso. Please see Kathy Heath or Tonia Betts if you have any questions.

With Fair Trade products, everyone wins!

UUA Moves
The Unitarian Universalist Assoc. has moved from their long-time address on Beacon Street. The new address is
24 Farnsworth St.
Boston MA

Quick Links...
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Upcoming Services

UUCH Chalice
Sunday, September 7th, 2014

"Blending of the Waters Ceremony"

The Reverend Alice Syltie  


Have the summer months allowed time or space for you to refresh your spirit?  Those moments seem harder and harder to find, as our world grows increasingly more complex. As is our tradition, we will gather on this first Sunday after Labor Day to blend the waters from our separate Summer Sojourns.  Each person is invited to bring a small bit of water, representing a special place you visited this summer.  As we pour the water into our common bowl, we may share a sentence or two as to the spiritual significance of the place, or the water.  This is a service for all ages.  Families, or individuals, are invited to come forward during the sharing time.  Following the service, the water is purified for use, as it was last year, in a blessing for our Child Dedication services.  We will have a pitcher of water available for first time visitors, or those who forget their water, and still wish to share....


This Sunday, we Share the Plate with Habitat for Humanity. Please see the article below for more information. 

This Sunday in RE

This week our children will stay upstairs with their families to share in the Annual Water Communion. 


Nursery care (ages 0-3) will be provided as usual. For more information, contact Erin Reid, our Director of Religious Education (DRE) (256.694.6786 or eereid@hotmail.com).  

From Your Minister

A word about Themes. 


In February of 2013, I attended the Unitarian Universalist Ministry Association's Institute for Excellency in Ministry. Theme-Based Ministry was the week long seminar that I signed up for.  The promise of the seminar was that we would learn how to accomplish more and reach more people, without piling on extra work for our volunteers and staff.  Theme-Based Ministry is about much more than choosing a theme for each month. It's about organizing a congregation around its deepest values, around its mission. The theme is simply a vehicle for focusing our attention on who we want to be in the world. Rather than limit our perspective, it offers opportunities for a wider view.


For the last year, our Chalice Circles, groups of people who sign up to participate in a sharing circle with a trained facilitator once or twice a month, have been invited to use the themes as guides for their sessions. The Worship Committee found the material invaluable for coordinating with the Choir Director, and other people involved in helping to plan meaningful and cohesive worship. Occasionally Adult Religious Education finds ways to collaborate, so that we are able to dig more deeply into the theological or philosophical ideas presented by the themes. 


The seminar on Theme-Based Ministry was led by the Reverend Scott Tayler, who developed the system, along with the staff team of his 1000 member congregation, First Unitarian Church of Rochester NY. A group of colleagues who attended the seminar formed a Sharing Circle, and agreed to pay a certain amount of money to participate in the planning process and the distribution of materials based on the monthly them. With Rev.Tayler's help, and help from his staff, we have collaborated on producing a packet of materials each month related to the theme. Since the time of the seminar, word has spread and the group of clergy members and congregations involved has grown to 50.  Rev. Tayler has since moved to become the Director of Congregational Life at the Unitarian Universalist Association. This is a new department that you can read about at the UUA web site. Rev.Tayler is still helping with this project, as it continues to grow and include more of our congregations across the US and Canada. 

The Theme for September is Promise. And the question we are asked to ponder is "What does it mean to be a people of Promise?"

With all that UUCH is about to undertake, I think contemplating Promise is a great way to start our new church year. 

Here are some thoughts on Promise for your consideration. To me, they follow well from Denise Gyauch's words to us last Sunday. 

There is power in a promise. Maybe the greatest power of all. This is arguably the most foundational claim of our faith.

It is common for UUs to say we were born inherently good and powerful rather than inherently weak and depraved. What is not so common is remembering that this capacity for strength and goodness is rooted in our ability to make promises. Whereas other religious traditions focus on confession or right belief, we've always placed our hope in the act of making and keeping commitments. This is what is at stake in proclaiming that we are covenantal rather than creedal faith. If a new day is to come, it will arrive not when we all think alike, but when we all follow through on our commitments to love our neighbor as ourselves.  If salvation is possible, it will be realized not from us noticing our need to be cleansed, but from waking up to our need to be connected. If divinity is real, we will know it not in the form of a supernatural moment, but in those everyday miracles when we look into each other's eyes and say, "You can count on me to..." Grace is not a reward for good behavior, it is the sacred and creative power that arises when two or more entwine their lives in mutual commitment.  Again, there is power in a promise.

And what about the promise that life itself makes to us?  This too is central to our faith. From our beginnings, we have declared life to be full of promise and potential, even when darkness seems to dominate our days. So we commit to keeping our eyes open. Trust in life and others, and life and others will prove themselves trustworthy.  Shift your gaze from what you want to what you have and suddenly life is generous rather than a threat. To paraphrase Brian Andreas, say yes and life will start to dance.   

So who needs a promise from you this month? What commitment is it time for you to renew? What power is waiting to be released by the simple phrase, "You can count on me to..."?  And maybe most important of all, are you ready to say yes and watch life dance?
I hope you enjoy reflecting and sharing your thoughts with one another.

In Hope and Love,
Rev. Alice
What Do You Say After You Say
"I'm a Unitarian Universalist"?


Talking about our empowering, noncreedal religion can be complicated.  Can you speak clearly and concisely about your chosen faith when asked?  Have you taken time recently to illuminate for yourself the complex elements of your personal beliefs?  As we become more visible in our community, more people may be asking you about Unitarian Universalism.  Join Adult RE for a three-part series which provides resources to guide us in our "Articulation of Faith."  Through a series of easy and engaging exercises and personal reflection, this course can equip us to communicate about Unitarian Universalism and our specific place in it.  Great for BOTH long-time UUs and for newcomers.


This series begins on September 14th, and continues on the 21st & 28th. In order to accommodate more people, the class time has been changed from morning to Sunday evenings, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.    


The goal of this series is not only to learn to express our ideas about Unitarian Universalism to others, but to also help each of us explore more deeply our individual thoughts and beliefs. Many times when we learn to articulate our values, we are able to live them more completely and deepen our own path. Don't miss this opportunity to have meaningful conversations with fellow UUs. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.


Meet for coffee or tea at 6:15 p.m.; discussion starts promptly at 6:30. Nancy Finley and Denise Runnels will facilitate the discussion. No registration is required for this class, but if you think you'll be attending, please call or email Nancy Finley--she'd like to know how many to expect. Contact Nancy Finley (finleyn@uah.edu) for further info.  And please let Nancy know at least a week ahead of time if you will be needing childcare for these classes.

Broadmor Briefing


Work continues on the north hall bathroom renovation, RE Wing window replacement, HVAC installation, and supply water line installation. The majority of the work is complete in those areas with the finishing details in process now. The next big task will be the installation of the vinyl composite floor tiles in the RE Wing. That will occur once the RE Wing windows have been trimmed out and painted in the next week or two.


At the same time, the volunteer efforts continue with a number of small tasks in work throughout the building. If you are interested in participating in some of these smaller tasks being done during the week and on the weekends, please contact Brad Korb at bradkorb@mindspring.com or Nancy Finley at finleyn@uah.edu.

--Brad Korb, Renovations Chair

UUA Southern Region
Fall Multi-Track Training! 


October 10-12th, 2014

(5:30 p.m. on the 10th-11:30 a.m on the 12th)

Sumatanga Camp & Conference Center!  

in Gallant, AL

Take advantage of this great opportunity to meet and learn with other UUs from our Southern Region! 


Available tracks:

* Time, Talent, and Treasure: A Stewardship Primer with Rev. Susan Smith!

* Tools of UU Faith Development with Jessica York!

* Re-imagining Worship for the 21st Century with Rev.Carlton Smith!

* Sharing Personal Journeys Across the Media Spectrumwith Hareth Andrade!

* Faith Development in Film with Connie Goodbread!

* Gathering in Gaia's Garden (ages 6-14) with Sarah Osborne!

* Toddler Camp


Additional Event Details:  www.uuasouthernregion.org/events.html

Event Registration: events.uuasouthernregion.org

We Share the Plate*
with Habitat for Humanity


STP logo

Habitat has more than 1,500 local affiliates in the United States and more than 70 national organizations around the world. Together, they have helped to build or repair more than 800,000 houses and serve more than 4 million people worldwide. 


Habitat for Humanity houses are simple, decent, and affordable to low-income families. Whenever possible, we build energy-efficient, sustainable housing. In the U.S., Habitat for Humanity lends no-profit no-interest mortgage loans to its beneficiary families. On a global scale, Habitat's traditional model is not always possible. Our international housing finance programs consist of innovative housing finance practices and/or partnerships with micro-finance organizations.STPHFH


Headquarters for Huntsville/Madison County's local Habitat group are at 400 Pratt Ave NW, Huntsville, AL 35801.  To learn more about this local group and what they contribute to our area, please go to: www.habitatmadisonco.org.


*When we "Share the Plate," all cash collected on the first Sunday of each month in the quarter (July, August, and September), along with any checks noted as "Share the Plate," will be halved with Habitat for Humanity.
Care List  


At our Circle of Candles on Sunday, August 31st, candles were lit for: 


Kathy Fisher: A candle in honor of her Mother's birthday this past Wednesday. She would have been 92. Kathy says, "Her life informs my own, every day.  Thank you, Janice Bowen Fisher."

Cheri Smith: "My brother Jeff, who is waiting for a liver transplant, is in the hospital with a viral infection.  I will be leaving this week to go to Illinois to see him."

Eleanor and John Schweinsberg are "happy to announce the marriage of their daughter Susan to Graham Hopkins in Portland, Maine earlier this month."   

Amanda Schuber: "So very proud of the work being done in Montgomery by the Reverend Fred Hammond of UU Congregation of Tuscaloosa, who has preached here at UUCH. Fred was arrested, along with several others, for peaceful protest highlighting the issues around the governors refusal to expand Medicaid in Alabama."  


If you have pastoral care needs, please contact the Reverend Alice Syltie at revaluu@aol.comBarbara Hitt is Chair of the Care Committee, and may be reached at home, (256) 881.2531; on her cell, (256) 348.5845; or by email at bghitt1@comcast.net.

UUCH 14-15 Board Members


President:  Denise Hunter-Gilbert

Vice-President: Angel Hundley 

Secretary: Bobby Hall           

Treasurer: Jerome Belcher   

Trustees: Becky Ellingwood, John Fox, & Laurel Bollinger  

Do you have an Agenda Item for the Board?  
The Board respectfully requests that all agenda items for the meeting be submitted to Board President Denise Hunter-Gilbert, no later than one week prior to the meeting, i.e. the Tuesday before. You may leave a copy of your request in her Mailbox at the church office, or contact her at UUCHBoardPresident@uuch.org.

Notice: Next UUCH Board Meeting will be on
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Thanks for your cooperation!

From the Overlook is a publication of

The Unitarian Universalist Church,

2222 Governor's Dr. Huntsville, AL 35801

Minister: The Reverend Alice Syltie

Board President: Denise Hunter-Gilbert 

Editorial Board: Laurel Bollinger, Kathy Heath 


Newsletter deadlines are each Monday at midnight!
Please send submissions to news collator Deedee Moore at


Admin. Office Hours: Monday 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.; Thursday 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.; Friday 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.   


Office phone: 256.534-0508, email: uuch@uuch.org.

Minister's Phone: 256.539-9607, email: revaluu@aol.com.

Web: www.uuch.org 


Sunday Services are held 10:45 a.m. to 12:00 noon;  

Children's Religious Education held concurrently.   

Nursery available for age 3 years and under.

For further info on any event, call the church office:
256. 534-0508.