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May 2013


Spring Spruce-up Day on Saturday June 15th


On Saturday June 15th, we will be holding Spring Spruce-up Day to get both the church and Nielsen House ready for summer.  We'll be working in the morning and early afternoon and doing a variety of tasks both indoors and outdoors.  Please consider helping out on this day.  You could work for a few hours, half a day, or more... whatever works best for you.  Any help will be appreciated.  If June 15th doesn't fit your schedule, you can select a task and do it when you can.  Look for the sign up sheet and list of tasks posted in Fellowship Hall.  If you have any questions about this event, please contact a member of the Building & Grounds Committee (Bob Keith, Brad Dana, Barry Fagan, Roger Orwick, John Rodeheffer, or Gary Rusk). 


Creative Fellowship:
"Thank you to those who attended Creative Fellowship.
We will no longer be meeting monthly but I wanted to let you know I enjoyed our conversations and seeing what
creative endeavors you were working on. While we won't be meeting to create,
I look forward to chatting with you after services on Sundays"
 Teri Cornell
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Ways and Means


Save the Date!  Invite your Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and everyone you meet!  This event is sure to be a blast!  


Spaghetti Dinner, Jazz Concert, and Silent Auction

May 17, 4:30-8:30pm 


Spaghetti will be served from 4:30-6:30: Tickets to the dinner will be $8/adult (Age 16 and over) and $20/family.  Gluten free spaghetti and Garlic bread will be available, Spaghetti sauce will be vegetarian with meatballs on the side.  The Jazz Concert featuring dynamic duo Traci Aquara and Wade Jones will begin at 7:00: a goodwill offering will be collected during the concert.  We will also have a Silent Auction during the event.  


Ways and Means Volunteer Opportunities:


If you are itching to roll up your sleeves and contribute, here are some grand opportunities: 


Donate to the Silent Auction!  We are gathering donations such as gift certificates from local businesses as well as from anyone who would like to contribute.  Would you like to offer up a "Buckeye basket" of necessities for any avid OSU fan?  Bake a Cake?  We are accepting physical items only: winning bidders will take home their winnings that night.  

 Come work at the Spaghetti dinner! We can use some more volunteers to help wash dishes, run the cashier table(s), distribute Silent Auction Items, and clean up after the event. (Your dinner will be complimentary!)

 Join the Service Auction Task Force:  Help organize and run our Annual Service auction!  

 Cookbook Task Force:  We would love to do a cookbook fundraiser early next year, and need someone to run this Task force.  Will it be you?  

If you are interested in volunteering for these opportunities, or if you have other ideas for fundraising opportunities for our congregation, Please contact Becca Morse at  Thank you!


Sign up for the Kroger Community Rewards card
Do your regular grocery shopping, and earn money for NUUC at the same time!  If you need help signing up. someone will be available on the second sunday of each month to walk you through the process.  




Brown Bag Books

Meets at Noon the Third Tuesday of the month.  Get all the details byclicking here.
Mowing Season is here

Mowing at NUUC - We Need Some Help 

For this mowing season, the Building and Grounds Committee plans to handle the mowing using the same approach as last year, which will avoid us having to contract out the mowing and save about $2,400 in the budget. We plan to do the mowing on a rotating basis with a little help from the congregation. Building and Grounds members will mow 3 weeks in each month and we are asking for volunteers from the congregation to handle the mowing for a month's 4th week and the occasional 5th week. This plan will spread the work so each committee member will mow only once a month, and each congregational volunteer would mow just one time during the season.


The area to be mowed includes both the church yard (bounded by the driveway and the parking lot) and the yard around Nielsen House. The field at the rear of our property will be mowed by Gary Rusk, who has volunteered to mow that area for the season. We have a riding mower, which is used for almost all of the mowing. For a few small, tight areas, which the riding mower cannot handle, we use a push mower.


Therefore, we would like to get 1 or 2 volunteers from the congregation each month to mow one time in the season. The mowing season runs from mid-April through early November. But volunteers from the congregation will be needed only for the months of April through October, which is 7 months. Two of those months have 5 weeks, so we need a total of 9 volunteers.


Please consider volunteering to mow one time this season. If would like to help the church handle the mowing, you can sign up on the mowing sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall. Just pick a date that works for your schedule. If you have questions or would like more information, just contact Bob Keith at 740-369-1919 or . 




By popluar request, I am sharing here the letter I wrote to the congregation for the worship on April 21.



I have just returned home after attending the UUA Board meetings in Boston, and I thought you might appreciate a brief description of what it is was like to be in Boston during its crisis, along with an account of how Unitarian Universalism is doing in our capital city.  With the explosions at the Marathon and the shootings of police, the city is hurting, but recovering. It is inspiring and hopeful to concentrate our thoughts at this time towards how people have done an extraordinary job of helping each other.

We spent all Friday on lockdown as police searched for the second suspect in the bombings.  We on the UU Board were safe, tucked into our headquarters, which, with the statehouse for a neighbor on one side, and the mayor's official residence on the other, was heavily patrolled.  Even though we felt relatively safe, it was unspeakably eerie in the city.   All businesses were closed, with the exception of a single Dunkin Donuts which police allowed to remain open so that persons having nowhere else to take cover could have shelter.  Ordinarily Beacon Street is teeming with traffic and pedestrians.  Friday it was entirely quiet, except for the occasional police car, armored vehicle, or mysterious large van like vehicles with opaque windows-I was told they are used by bomb squads.  Numerous Blackhawk helicopters hung almost perfectly still over much of the downtown.   From our windows at the UUA we watched armored police with assault rifles combing the bushes around the statehouse and our property with high powered lights.   I have to say I have a new appreciation for all those persons who live in parts of the world where living in a militarized zone under threat is not so new.  It is sobering to think that we in America are getting more a taste of what it is like in most of the rest of the world in this regard.

We could see Boston Commons, too, from our windows--the lovely large public park, which especially in the spring, is always packed with people and dogs and children.  Boston Commons is much unchanged from the days when Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman would walk here together.  This is the place where the Unitarian Wendell Phillips held massive rallies against slavery, and it is also the place where the Unitarian Col. Robert Shaw, leading the first ever black regiment to be commissioned for active duty in the Civil War, received their official colors from the Unitarian governor of Massachusetts, with much of the city gathered to cheer them.    Starting early in the week, it became a National Guard encampment and police staging area-full of tents, tanks, and uniformed and heavily armed personnel.  Wednesday night, when it was still possible to be out in the city, I spent some time at our UU church called the Arlington Street Church, only a few blocks from where the first explosion went off at the finish line to the Boston Marathon.  From the police barricade, I was just able to see into the area damaged by the bomb.   It is impossible to describe what it was like seeing a section of the city block just missing, torn away. 

But I really wanted to tell you about the helpers.   The Arlington Street Church was open to the neighborhood as place where people could go either for conversation, or to just have a quiet place to go.  Tuesday night they held a service open and inclusive of people of all faiths.   Many of the people who were from out of town for the Marathon found it especially helpful to have an immediate community of comfort made available to them.   After the service the people walked into the park with candles, and stood on the edge of the famous pond there, where all their lights were reflected in the water.  There was a story Thursday in the Boston Globe about the solace that people have taken in the bells of the church, which have been playing spiritual and patriotic music for hours each and every day (when I watched NBC news coverage Tuesday night I heard the unmistakable sound of those church bells in the background).   The bells were played by the 85 year old UU Mary O'Kane, who has climbed the 199 foot steeple each day since the tragedy to ring them by hand.  I have been up into this steeple myself.  I can barely manage the climb, much of which is on a very steep and small ladder.  Mary said she imagined healing spreading with the sound.   The church made sidewalk chalk available to people, who wrote encouraging messages on the heavily travelled sidewalks.  While I was there, I watched a man in a three piece suit crawl on the sidewalk to write "Let us learn another way" and "We need each other." 

Sunday morning the board and staff including President Peter Morales all attended service together at Arlington Street.  The children made flower baskets to be delivered to the injured during religious education.  The sanctuary was fuller than I have ever seen it, and it was encouraging to think of the number of people who must have come either because they had been at the interfaith service or because they heard about it.  After the service, the worshippers were led by their official "songstress" to an interfaith vigil being held just a block away at the barricades around the bomb site.  You might have seen them on the Sunday NBC night news, or heard them singing "We Shall Overcome."  Sunday morning we also learned of an interfaith service the church would be joining to show solidarity for a Muslim woman in the area who was harassed as a "terrorist" for simply walking in the streets.

Of course not all of the helpers were UU!  I met on the barricades a ridiculously pretty and silly little dog who was a part of the "emotional trauma K-9 response team."    She was stationed with her Mom near the makeshift altar at the bomb site where people offered tributes of flowers and were very, very tender with each other.  At worship this morning we made a special remembrance of the anonymous runner who is shown in video turning around when he hears the blast to run back into flames to help.  And all here are celebrating the first responders to the tragedy, and the many strangers who just stepped in to help as they could. 

I would say the spiritual heart of the town is beating strong.  May we do all we can to be on the side of hope and help and love! 



To Life!





From our Music Director


Excitement is building for Music Sunday on May 5. Join us for a worship service overflowing with music performed by members of this talented congregation. The NUUC Recorder Ensemble will be playing as you enter the Sanctuary. Jason and Alex Burlison will delight your with trumpet and violin duets once the service begins. The NUUC Choir, the ever-hardworking group, will sing two favorites: Brazilian composer Ernesto Aguiar's "Salmo 150" and the etherial "O Magnum Mysterium" by American composer Morten Lauridsen. You won't want to miss the Morse twins playing solos on fife and piano. Molly Watson's version of "Summertime" on euphonium will make you smile during the Offertory. There's a flute and alto recorder duet on the program featuring Rebecca Morse and Darlene Tschudy, and of course there will be hymn singing for everyone. Back by popular demand, Elowen Conley's virtuosic violin will help close the program. Perhaps it sounds like an unusual combination of instruments and vocal selections, but I know that this collection is a joyful expression of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist. Join with me in celebrating the diversity of voices in music, all raising one song, forever inexpressible in words.


Beginning May 28, the choir will be on summer hiatus. Musicians are needed throughout the months of June, July, and August. All ages, abilities, and instruments welcome!

From the Music Director


Musically yours,

Marlene Hartzler



NUUC Selected to Be Threshold Congregation


Threshold Congregations are UU congregations identified by CERG (Central Eastern Regional Group) as healthy, growing and ready to develop into more effective churches. We are pleased to announce that NUUC has been accepted in the Threshold Congregation program.

NUUC is one of six congregations accepted from the four UU districts included in CERG. Those districts are Joseph Priestly, Metro NY, St. Lawrence and our district, Ohio-Meadville.

Participation in the program entails a three-year commitment, during which NUUC will have the opportunity to engage with regional staff and consultants from CERG, tapping into their expertise and experience for assistance with implementing our ideas and navigating toward a future that is uniquely ours. CERG's services and resources are provided to us with no additional cost.

Laura Howe, who spearheaded the submission of our application, is chairing the team for this work. The team is charged with taking NUUC to the next level through strategic planning for growth while maintaining the unique community and spiritual aspects of NUUC. Additional team members include: Bob Keith, Kim Poderys, John Rodeheffer, Cathy Rodeheffer, Sydney Schardt.


As the Threshold Congregation work progresses, periodic updates will be given to keep everyone apprised of the progress and to offer opportunities to participate as well. The hope and expectation is that through the Threshold program, NUUC will have the benefit of expert knowledge and experience as we chart our next steps.

SAC  From your Social Action Committee 



ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP GROUP:  Following our focus on climate change in February and March, many people expressed an interest in forming an ongoing group to learn more about environmental justice issues and legislative actions, share ideas, and support each other in our efforts to be better stewards of the planet. Ideas have included book/movie discussions, speakers, taking courses through UU Ministry for Earth or Northwest Earth Institute, learning how to compost, making green cleaners, recycling drives, buying locally, energy efficiency, and building a rain garden. If you are interested in further conversation or involvement in environmental justice issues, please join us for our first meeting on May 19th at 6:30pm.  We will be sharing ideas about topics/activities and setting up dates/times for future meetings.  Bring ideas and resources to share with the group.  Please email Pam Patsch if you are planning to attend.  The size of our group will determine whether we will meet in Nielsen House or Fellowship Hall.   If you are unable to attend the meeting, but are interested in joining the group, please contact Pam Patsch at


EQUALITY LOBBY DAY ON MAY 8th.  This is an annual event organized by Equality Ohio.  This year the focus is on securing basic rights for LGBTQ Ohioans including anti-discrimination legislation in housing and employment.  Lobby Day is held in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium and starts at 10:00 am.  For more information, see the SAC bulletin board or go to the Equality Ohio website.  You can register to attend at


GUEST AT YOUR TABLE (GAYT):  Once again, NUUC gave generously to GAYT with donations to date totaling $2365.  Most of the donations met the qualification for a matching gift, bringing our total to $4665.  Thanks to Ulrike Martin for coordinating GAYT this year, relating the UUSC themes to our justice work at NUUC, and for providing international snacks after the service.  If you would still like to make a donation, please get your checks in soon so that the money can be sent on to UUSC.  Checks should be made out to UUSC and can be placed in the collection basket or given to Ulrike Martin.  Thanks to everyone who supported the GAYT program.


BEHIND THE KITCHEN DOOR Potluck and Book Talk on May 5th after the service.  Your Social Action Committee is joining hundreds of UU's across the country in collaboration with UUSC's (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) and Guest at Your Table to bring awareness to the rights of workers in the food system.  The theme this year is "Justice is Choosing Compassionate Consumption", a call to protect the rights of workers in the food system.  The right to work in a safe environment, receive fair wages, and organize with dignity is regularly denied to restaurant workers' by their employers.  The book Behind the Kitchen Door brings awareness to the interconnection of ethical eating with the human rights of the workers in the food chain.  As UU's we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person and we have a duty to stand up for those whose worth and dignity are not being recognized.  Workers in the food system are no exception.  Please join us on May 5th for a potluck and book discussion facilitated by Rev. Susan Ritchie.  Sign-up for the potluck in Fellowship Hall.   Hope to see you there!


LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING:  In April, our congregation donated $131.33 to Freedom to Marry, an organization working across the country to win marriage equality in more states and educate the public about why marriage matters to same-sex couples and their families.

Our May loose change will go to support Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United), a national restaurant-workers' organization that seeks to build power for restaurant workers nationwide.   Although initially founded in New York City in support of restaurant workers displaced after September 11, 2001, ROC went national in 2008. ROC-United now organizes restaurant workers for improved working conditions and includes over 6,000 restaurant-worker members participating in nine affiliates nationwide.


UU JUSTICE OHIO (UUJO): UUJO is organizing Ohio justice activists into four advocacy groups to exchange information on local best practices and to coordinate statewide action on Immigration, Economic Rights, the Environment and LGBTQ Equality. Each group has a UUJO web page, and anyone registered can post on the UUJO google group topics related to their priority issue. In addition to advocacy groups on UUJO's top four



priorities, there are webpages and google group postings on four



You are cordially invited to join 600 or so Unitarian Universalists at the Ohio-Meadville District's Summer Institute, July 14-20, 2013 at Kenyon College, Gambier, OH.


Oh, how quickly Summer Institute approaches!

Welcome to you if you are perusing our program brochure for the first time, and Welcome Back if you have been eagerly waiting since last summer to hear information about this year's gathering! Your Planning Committee has been hard at work since early last August as we build another fantastic week of Summer Institute (SI) magic for 2013.

We are so thrilled to have Rev. Art McDonald returning to the Ohio-Meadville District to join us as our Theme Speaker for the week. We will explore Social Justice as a Spiritual Practice: "A Central UU Path" with him during his morning theme talks, and will carry the theme through the week in many different pieces of our programs.

As you explore this brochure, we hope you will begin to get even more excited about our rapidly approaching week together in the hills of Gambier on the beautiful Kenyon College Campus. We have worked to build a great slate of interesting seminars, workshops, and evening programs. You will find some intellectual opportunities, some creative activities and spaces, lots of music and performance opportunities as always, and plenty of physical activity. You may even wonder what's new this year, and you will find many new things - including kickball!

Our Youth and Young Adult program planners have been hard at work this year as well, bringing all of their energy and experiences to their monthly meetings. The Planning Committee has found that it gets easier and easier to get excited about the things we're working on as we touch base with our younger planners each month. They have put together some really great plans for SI youth and young adults.

We are very excited to share this year's gathering with you - and look forward to greeting everyone in a few short months so we can all kick off our SI magic together!

Alison Reed
SIPC 2013 Chair


For more information please visit the SI website at



You Can Adopt-a-Flowerbed


Again this year we will be doing an activity called Adopt-a-Flowerbed. For this activity, we will divide all the flowerbeds around the church and Nielsen House up into 4-foot wide plots, and people can select one or more plots. Then you can plant flowers in your plot(s) and care and tend them during the growing season. Participants are encouraged to make "catchy" signs for their plot(s). Some of the names already being discussed include "Jan's Jungle," "Grimshaw's Gardens," "Keith's Korner," etc. We think this activity will be popular for old and young alike. It will be a particularly fun project to do with your children.


A sign-up sheet is located on the bulletin board in Fellowship Hall. Just sign up and select your specific plot(s) from a drawing showing all the available flowerbed plots. You can sign up for as many plots as you want, with plots being available on a first-come basis. Plots are outlined by pink-colored strings and marked with a number tag.


Participants in the Adopt-a-Flowerbed activity are asked to abide by the following:

1)Only flowers should be planted, which can be either annuals or perennials.

But no bushes or trees (flowering or otherwise) should be planted.

2)No rocks or timbers should be placed on a plot.

3)Participants will be responsible to water, weed, and tend their flowerbed plot. 

4)Please leave the plot boundary strings between you and your neighbor so that you and your neighbor will know exactly whose plantings are whose. But if you have multiple, adjacent plots, you can remove the strings within your plots.


The Building and Grounds Committee is organizing and administering the project. If you have questions, please contact Bob Keith at 740-369-1919 or .