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"We Are Going", Adult RE, Meals on Wheels, Theme Circles

September 1, 2016
Latest News
Theme Circles Returns
Adult Religious Education
NEW newsletter for RE Families!
RE has a NEW Double-Wide Room!
FUUSB Book Group: "The Girl in the Green Sweater".
Member Parking Passes
September 4- "200 Years and Counting"
Families' RE Registration Helps Us Plan!
Teachers: RSVP for Training & Orientation events
September Start Up at the UU
Meals on Wheels Volunteers Needed

"Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going." - Mary Oliver

Breath of Fresh Air

Upcoming Services
September Spiritual Theme: "Connection"

September 4- "200 Years and Counting" 

10:00 a.m.
Worship Associate: Woody Fulton

Join us this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. as we discover more about our celebration of the 200th anniversary of the dedication of our wonderful, historic building on January 9, 1817.  Several events are planned leading up to the celebration, which will happen on Sunday, January 8, 2017.  Tours, a special organ concert, and other events are being planned.  See you Sunday!

September 11- 
Ingathering Sunday - "A Place Called Heaven" -

One ALL-AGES Service at 10:00 a.m.

Come, join in our annual celebratory Ingathering service! Through a blending of story, homily, interactive ritual, and song, we will consider our spiritual call to help create "Heaven on Earth" through honoring and growing connections between us. Our service will begin at 10, but we will open the Sanctuary starting at 9am for quiet reflection, meditation, prayer and candle-lighting to mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11. After the service, a UU contingent will depart to partake in the Pride Parade.

Important Dates
Sept 11 
Is a multigen worship service at 10 AM!

September 13
12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

FUUSB Book Group: "The Girl in the Green Sweater"

Sept 18 
Big Blue Trunk will be here for lots of fun before, during and after the service. There will also be quiet crafts and indoor games for children who prefer that.

Sept 25
After children are sung from the sanctuary, we'll gather in the Community Room for a special Welcome to RE morning of creating a covenant, connecting and reconnecting with one another, and learning about our year ahead with some fun activities!


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In Case You Missed It
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Dear Ones,
Late summer greetings to you! For the past month, your staff and lay leaders have been revving up behind the scenes to prepare for the launch of the 2016-17 program year. There is already much in the works for September to help us live out our mission, including:
  • UU contingents to the Pride Parade, RUN for JUMP, and NAMI Walk
  • New training opportunities for RE Stewards and RE Classroom Open House 
  • Sign-ups for fall Theme Circles
  • A "Connect with UU" Ministry Fair 
  • A "Just Economy" public form hosted by our Economic Justice Task Force and partner organizations
You'll find details on these, including dates and times, below and/or in forthcoming editions of eNews.  And we are SO looking forward to being together for Ingathering Sunday on September 11. We will worship that morning as a community of all ages, and have a chance to officially welcome both our Ministerial Intern, Andre Mol, and our new Music Director, Jennifer Carpenter. A First UU contingent will also be heading off to the Pride Parade after the service. (**Per last week's eNews, we will be continuing with one service at 10am through September). 

In the meantime, this Sunday's worship, led by the fabulous Woody Fulton, will be devoted to our Meeting House Bicentennial, which we kicked off at the Annual Meeting last June, and which culminate in a Community Celebration on Sunday January 8, 2017. Stay tuned for a handful of great Bicentennial activities being planned this fall!

As we begin a new program year, here's a quick reminder of the Minister's weekly schedule and how and when to reach me: 

My office days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. "Office days" are when I schedule appointments, make pastoral visits, have meetings and respond to emails and voicemails; these are the best days to reach me. I am also in the Meeting House on Sundays for Worship (of course! :). But if you need to speak with me about a program, ministry or Society business matter, best to follow up with me on an office day. 

Thursdays are my "Writing Day," a sacred time set aside for worship and sermon preparation. On those days, I work out of the office and do my best to stay off of email :).  I also go off the radar from Sunday afternoon through Monday (which is my weekly personal Sabbath day). 

Saturdays are a "Wild Card Day" for weddings, memorial services, regional UU events, overflow worship preparation, and/or when my schedule allows, time with my family.

In general, the best ways to reach me are via email ( and my office line (862-5620, ex 24). I'm also reachable via Facebook Messenger, which like email, I check on office days. (On a side note, I'm happy to accept Friend requests from First UU members and love staying connected with UU's that way!) If you need to reach me on an urgent pastoral care matter or emergency on a non-office day, you are always welcome to call or text my cell phone at 802-505-1248. While I generally am "off the radar" on my Sabbath and Writing Days, I remain reachable for pastoral emergencies via cell.

It was so wonderful to reconnect with many of you on my first Sunday back after summer a few weeks ago, and look forward to the 11th with joy.

Much heart,
Rev. Mara

Theme Circles Returns - Still Seeking Facilitators!
by Rev. Mara

Last year, about 100 First UU folks participated in our inaugural year of Theme Circles, a new small group spiritual growth opportunity connected to our monthly spiritual themes. Theme Circles is based on the Soul Matters program developed by Rev. Scott Taylor, when we was co-minister at the Rochester, NY UU congregation. Today, dozens of other UU congregations are part of the Soul Matters Collective, which gives us access to a bank of monthly theme materials.

In Theme Circles, you meet once per month with a small circle of other First UU folks to explore that month's spiritual theme. Like our existing Small Group Ministry program, Theme Circles allow each group member an uninterrupted time of deep sharing and listening, but the group topic is always linked to the monthly theme (and related The Path newsletter) and the commitment is time-limited. Since circles form and dissolve each year, they're a great way to meet new folks and widen your circle of connection at the UU. 

This fall, Theme Circles will be returning, with a few programmatic tweaks based on feedback from last year's participants. Stay tuned for information about fall registration coming soon! Also, we are still seeking a handful of folks to be circle facilitators. Facilitators receive training and meet monthly with the minister for mutual support and development. If you think facilitating might be a good fit for your skills and passion, please contact Rev. Mara directly ( And if you have any questions about the program in general, please email us at or call the church office at 802-862-5630Thanks, and hope you'll consider participating in this shared ministry!

Adult Religious Education
by Nancy Hellen

We know that as Unitarian Universalists, the learning and discovery in life never stops no matter our age! Are you interested in adult faith development programming in our congregation?

We are planning for next year and want those interested to join us and get involved! We're looking for planners/ hosters/ organizers as well as those willing to share their wisdom,talents, and leadership skills with the congregation. The programs and content are ready; it just awaits folks to bring it to life!

Some possibilities:

Set of six DVDs detailing the history of Unitarian and
 Universalist thought from the beginning of the Christian era to what we know today as Unitarian Universalism. There is a
UUA discussion guide for each video. (1 hr. each)

Tapestry of Faith Programs for Adults
such as, "What Moves Us: Unitarian Universalist Theology" (10 90-minute workshops available) Explores life experiences of historic and contemporary Unitarian Universalist theologians, inviting consideration of theological questions that moved each of them.

Please email Nancy Hellen, Lay Lead for Spiritual Growth and Learning or Martha Dallas, DRE at .

Longtime UU member Kathy Bonilla was recently diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. 

Please help out Kathy and the girls navigate this challenging time by signing up for a MealTrain! 

Subscribe to our NEW newsletter for RE Families!
by Martha Dallas

If you'd like to receive "We Are Going!", a monthly email of "Reflections and Connections for UU Families." You can sign up for the newsletter here!

Tiffany Tillman and I look forward to filling it with reflections, parenting resources, and programmatic highlights of where we've been and where we're going - everyone from the littlest hatchlings to those flying the nest! 

In faith,
RE has a NEW Double-Wide Room!
by Martha Dallas

Children in Spirit Play I (preschool - 1st grade) are in for a TREAT! This summer, the wall between the Jordan and Latimer rooms was removed, resulting in a wondrously spacious classroom with space for more children, and varied activities during children's "work time." We are excited! 

FUUSB Book Group: "The Girl in the Green Sweater"
by Gerry Quinn

Please join us on Tuesday, September 13 at 12 o'clock as we discuss The Girl in the Green Sweater, by Krystyna Chigor and Daniel Paisner.

In 1943, with 150.000 Jews having been killed, exiled, or forced into ghettos and waiting extermination, a group of the city's Polish Jews sought refuge in the city's sewer system. The Girl in the Green Sweater is Chigor's first person account of the fourteen months spent with her family in the fetid sewers of Lvov. An ultimately triumphant tale of survival during the Holocaust.

Meetings are held upstairs in the Susan B Anthony room. Newcomers most welcome.
Member Parking Passes
by Bob Furrer

Hello All,

It's that time of year again! Parking passes for the Meeting 
House oval are now available for the year October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. Sales will be limited to 36 this year due to increased staffing and usage. Passes allowing members to park for up to three hours per day, during the week on an "as available" basis, can be obtained by completing and submitting to me the attached form which is also available in the main office. Passes cost $35 for one vehicle and $60 for two.


Please read the following information carefully before applying

During weekday business hours (8:00AM - 5:00PM), the following rules apply:
1. If you have a valid and current parking sticker displayed in your vehicle, you may park in the oval on the east side of the building only, whether you are attending Society related  activities or unrelated activities off site.
2. There is no parking in any other spot on site whether or not you have purchased a pass. The only exception to this rule is for people who have a valid access tag displayed in their vehicle. In this case, there is an accessible parking spot available adjacent to the north door of the Meeting House.

3. Members without a valid pass must find parking off site during weekday business hours whether or not they are involved with Society activities.

The above regulations need to be adhered to so that spaces are available (on a first come, first served basis) to those who have purchased parking passes. Violators risk being towed!

During all other hours, the following guidelines must be adhered to:

1. On site parking is available to members on a first come, first served basis, regardless of whether they are involved in Society activities or not.

2. Egress/Ingress points from Elmwood Ave. and Clarke St. as well as those locations serving doors, ramps and walkways cannot be blocked by vehicles.

3. There is no parking allowed on the lawns, regardless of the season.

4. There is no overnight parking allowed, unless a request is made to, and approved by the facilities manager prior.

Your understanding of, and cooperation with the above is greatly appreciated.

Thank You!

Bob Furrer
September 4- "200 Years and Counting"
by Woody Fulton

Join us this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. as we discover more about our celebration of the 200th anniversary of the dedication of our wonderful, historic building on January 9, 1817.  Several events are planned leading up to the celebration, which will happen on Sunday, January 8, 2017.  Tours, a special organ concert, and other events are being planned.  See you Sunday!
Families' RE Registration Helps Us Plan!
by Martha Dallas

The more folks tell us where and how they plan to be part of our RE Program, the better we can build class groups which serve kids well!

Thanks for taking a few minutes to complete our 2016-17 RE Registration form. 
Teachers: RSVP for Training & Orientation events
by Martha Dallas

I'm so grateful to everyone who's signed up to help teach our kids this year!

Please, if you have a role in Children's RE as a Teacher, Assistant, Storyteller, or Doorkeeper, and haven't yet RSVP'd for the September events we're preparing for you, take a moment to do so! Here's the link.Your response helps us plan materials, food, and childcare. Thank you so much!

September Start Up at the UU
by Rev. Mara

**Note: One-Service Sundays will continue through September**

Like many faith and educational communities, September marks the start of a new "program year" at First UU. Nowadays, with worship continuing through July and August, September doesn't quite have the same feeling of "re-opening" that it used to in the days when worship stopped and Society operations largely quieted over the summer. Still, the first Sunday after Labor Day marks a new beginning in the cycle of our shared life together, and with September comes the resumption of many of our ministry programs and activities. We often call the Sunday after Labor Day "Ingathering," marking it as a sacred threshold to a new season in the unfolding journey of First UU.

In recent years, Ingathering Sunday has also marked the return to our program year "Two Service Sundays," with worship services and religious education at 9 and 11amHowever, this year, we're going to try something a bit differentFor three more Sundays after Labor Day (9/11, 9/18, and 9/25), we are going to continue our one service schedule with worship at 10am. This calendar change will allow us to start the new year as we end it in June - with the feeling of being together as one large congregation. On a more practical note, continuing the one-service schedule for a few more Sundays will open up crucial blocks both before and after the service for RE start-up activities (such as teacher trainings and a classroom open house) as well, sending a UU contingent to the Pride Parade (9/11), an all-congregation "Connect with UU Activity Fair" (9/18) and launching the fall Theme Circle session (9/25). You can read more about RE happenings and September plans for children's Sunday activities in Martha Dallas' related article. And we'll be sharing more about Pride, the Activity Fair and Theme Circles in upcoming editions of eNews, so stay tuned! 

On Sunday October 2, we will revert to "Two Service Sundays," which will continue through the weekend prior to Memorial Day. 

Your staff and lay leaders are viewing this as an experiment, so we will be welcoming your feedback about your experience! We will be sharing ways for you to provide that feedback in the weeks aheadAlso, we want to be clear that this change is for September only and is not part of a larger consideration of returning to a one-service model throughout the year. (Our congregation is just too large at this point for a year-round one-service model!). If this experiment goes well and we find it enhances our ministry and start-up, we may continue this revised calendar in future years. 

So to summarize:

September 11, 18 and 25, 2016 - Worship and RE Programming at 10am
October 2, 2016 through May 21, 2017 - Worship and RE Programming at 9am and 11am

If you have any immediate questions, please feel free to speak with Rev. Mara! And we look forward to seeing you at Ingathering!

Meals on Wheels Volunteers Needed
by Susan Alden

Our First UU Society is responsible for supplying 8 drivers and 8 "runners" to deliver meals to the homebound each month, on the 1st and 5th Wednesdays, if there is a 5th.

We need help between 9:50 am and ~ 11:45 am.  Please call Susan Alden with questions and to volunteer, at 863 - 6585 or   

Our next dates for delivery are Sept 7, Oct 5, Nov 2 + 30.
 You as a regular volunteer or sub, will be paired with someone who knows the route in BTV and vicinity.  We start and end from the Meals kitchen at 3 Cathedral Square, off Cherry St. 
Students and neighbors who want to do some volunteer work are welcome. Please let me know.
Continued gratitude to our 'regulars', Jan Abbott, Barbie Alsop, Deanna Anderson, Adam Bortz, Rita Bortz, Chris Bullard, Mary Gade, Sue Golden, Barbara Heeter, Harriet Long, , Jeanne Lynch, Keith Morgan, Nick Nixon, Peg Twitchell, and former longtime volunteers,  Barbie Alsop, Pam MacPherson, Betty VanBuren, and the late Sara Mikell.

Thanks also to our "subs", Harris Abbott, Joanna Cole, Eva Diner, Phyllis Farrell, Stewart Graves, Linda Gross, Janice Lange, Christina Long, Bruce MacPherson, Suzie McCoy, Shirley McLane,  Aaron Schlossberg and Jonathan Stevens.