Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458





MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  April 1-15, 2013

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Letter from the Minister


Interfaith or Misappropriation?


In March, I had the opportunity to attend a lobby day event sponsored by the Ohio Council of Churches and UCHAN (Universal Care Health Action Network) to urge our state legislators to pass legislation expanding Medicaid in the next budget. The group of about 50 people who gathered to do this important work included many religious and health care professionals from different faith traditions including several Christian ministers and lay people, a rabbi, and at least a few of us UU's. We met in an Episcopal church.


The story that the Episcopal minister shared with us was from the New Testament about the "loaves and fishes." You remember the story about Jesus insisting to his disciples that even though they only had 2 loaves and 5 fish that they should go ahead and distribute the food to the people and when they did there was plenty. The theme of creating abundance by sharing was appropriate to apply to this political situation. The hosting churches had created 99 baskets containing small loaves of bread and paper fish that we were instructed to take over to our legislators to remind them of this story.


So, okay, while that seemed a little silly, I could see that they were trying to create a religious underpinning to our advocacy. That's fine. But then in order to make this story fit an interfaith audience, the well-meaning Christian group had added pieces of Matzoh to the basket. I kid you not. Pieces of matzoh were intermingled in these baskets with the small loaves of leavened bread. I looked over at the rabbi to see his reaction. He shrugged. I guess he was used to this kind of well-meaning, but somewhat inappropriate use of the symbol of Judaism. The Christians had wanted to make their offering have an interfaith flavor so they added some Jewish spice into the soup of Christian symbolism.


As any of you who are familiar with where Matzoh comes from, it is the form of unleavened "bread" that is used during the Passover Seder celebrations. It honors the time during the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, when they didn't have time to let the dough rise and took it with them unrisen. Matzoh is one of the ritual elements used as a part of a family dinner at Passover to remind the Jews that God was with them as they escaped slavery in Egypt. The symbolism has nothing to do with abundance or non-abundance as the fishes and the loaves story does. However, it was tossed into this "salad" of religious symbols as an effort to be interfaith. In fact, during Passover, each family is asked to remove all leavened bread from the house as a cleansing. Leavened bread is not supposed to be mixed in with matzoh.


As Unitarian Universalists, I understand that we are often the ones who are accused of appropriation of religious symbols and rituals. I think that we must walk a fine line in attempting to discover the way to honor the underlying metaphors of religious significance without appropriating them for our own purposes. In other words, as a religious people who honor all faith traditions and attempt to capture the deeper metaphoric meanings that religious symbols and rituals evoke, we need to use them in the closest way that they were meant to be used. I don't mean that we shouldn't create new ways to apply the metaphors in new situations. But I don't think we should use the symbols lightly as an attempt to create our own religious stories.


Often during Easter in UU churches, we practice some type of "communion" that uses the symbols of bread and wine. In Christianity, these symbols are used to represent Christ's body and Christ's blood. However, many would say that the deeper underlying symbolism is about the love and hope that is shared in a community coming from that Ultimate Source of life. In communion, we are creating religious community founded on that love, and hope that is shared. But if we used a communion to mean something far from the metaphor of the sharing of love, like maybe as a metaphor for equality or for justice or something that doesn't relate deeply to the original religious story, then I think we are appropriating the religious ritual for our own purposes.


The loaves and fishes story is a wonderful story for creating a feeling of how we can share abundance in our society by each giving our meager share. I honor that. And I honor the difficulty with trying to be appropriately interfaith when we are grounded deeply in our own religious traditions. But I hope this experience taught me to watch carefully when I am tempted to toss matzoh, or dreidels, or crosses, or any religious symbol into a religious "salad."


~Rev. Amy Russell

Sermon Topics


April 7 - Is Spiritual, But Not Religious Enough? Rev. Amy Russell

~In our hallowed halls, we are often heard discussing topics that would be viewed by others as "spiritual, but not religious." Since we are non-creedal, we take pride in not defining ourselves with religious doctrine, but instead explore the underlying spiritual nature of many facets of life. In Rev. Lillian Daniel's new book, When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough, she decries what she considers "lazy" religious people; people who cannot profess what they believe or cannot admit to being atheist. Is "spiritual but not religious" enough for you? Or is it too much?


April 14 - What Is Prayer for You? Rev. Amy Russell and Trudy Krisher
~In Anne Lamott's book, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, she talks about the simplicity of these human prayers that she inserts into her daily activities. As UUs, when we pray, we each may have a different purpose of prayer. Is it asking for something? And to whom? Is it making intentional our own deep longings? Is it sending out into the universe a sacred cry for being heard? In this participatory service, you'll be asked to write your own prayer if you wish.


April 21 - Sustainability in Our Fellowship and in Our Lives Rev. Amy Russell and the Environmental Concerns Action Committee


April 28 - TBA

                                                   Meet Our Members


My name is Paulette Strolia-Davis and I am a new member at MVUUF. I am a mother of one 16 year old (17 creeping up on us) son who is the light of my life. I will be married for 18 years this July. I have three dogs. I have also lived in IN, AZ, TX, OR, and CA. I am an American Sign Language interpreter (in mostly educational settings). I love to watch movies, hockey, UFC, and to swim. I have always been spiritual and sensitive. Religiously I've been all over. I now identify with being religiously "undefined" and lean toward, if not completely fit in, a Pagan path. I am so grateful to be here.

Around the Fellowship


Community Discussion Group

April 7 - "Spiritual Journeys." Moderator: Ken Schory

April 14 - "Secular Foundation of Morality." Moderator: Daniel Begley

April 21 - "Meditation: When, Where, How, and Why." Moderator: Ralf Grisard

April 28 -TBA Moderator: Tom Starr

*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.


Daytime Book Club Title*
April 24 - Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum
May 22 - Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver

 *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!


Evening Book Club
Please join us at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at Christopher's Restaurant (2318 Dorothy Ln., Kettering). For more information, contact Ann Snively.

April 9 - Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
May 14 - Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
June 11 - 35 Dumb Things Well-Intentioned People Say, by Maura Cullen
July 9 - The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Diversity, by Michelle Alexander
August 13 - Making Rounds with Oscar, by David Dosa
September 10 - Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
October 8 - Elsewhere, by Richard Russo
November 12 - The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis
December 10 - Marmee and Louisa, by Eva LaPlante


Humanitarian Giving
During April, the Humanitarian Giving Action Group welcomes non-pledge donations to benefit the Wesley Center.

Young Adult Group
The young adults - ages 18-35 - will meet for a pizza party on Sun., April 7 at 12:30 p.m. in Room #1. Food and drink will be provided. For more details, contact Sky Stewart at 286-2205.

St. Vincent de Paul lunch
Menu for April 13: Lasagna, green veggies/salad, 100% juice or 2% milk
Please bring all items, heated if applicable, to 120 W. Apple St. (St. Vincent de Paul Hotel in Dayton) by 10:30 a.m. Sign up in the Gathering Space.

May Day
Join the festivities on April 28 as we celebrate the coming of May Day. There will be music, dancing around the May Pole, crafts, games, and even some surprises! This is a potluck, so please bring a contribution of local fare. Contact Shannon Heather at for more information or with any questions.

Service Auction
It is Time for our 2013 Service Auction-- Mujer Caliente' (Hot Woman)! Don't worry Sexy Men, the women will also want to appreciate your beauty. However as I am the mujer caliente' coordinating the event, I am taking certain liberties! On April 27 at 6 p.m. , expect to feel Afro-Latino roots envelope you. Margaritas, tapas, merengue, Afro-Cubano musica - WE HAVE IT ALL. Everyone is encouraged to shake a hip, wink and flirt! Just please, no broken hips, I don't have a prayer, root, or insurance for that!


Not to worry, any children (above nursery age) will busily be involved in their own auction. We will have childcare for those too young to enjoy the children's auction.


So what are your talents? Interests? Resources? Can you grocery shop for someone? Private chef a dinner party? Get a musician, like Byron Crews to play at someone's private party? Have a husband who is offering tennis lessons and/or personal training? A $400+ gift certificate for Botox/lastic Surgery that you will never use? How are you at massage, metaphysical healing, Tarot or extremely "brief" counseling? Do you have a really cool air hockey table for the

chance auction? I'm looking for auction items (live, silent and chance). Auction forms are in the Gathering Space, Kristin can mail or email you one, or you can print one out at home by clicking HERE.


Also, I am scouring for volunteers. Needed roles include:


1) Someone to Coordinate Set-up (I'm hoping to have the furniture arranged the Friday before the event). You will need to recruit some sturdy folks to maneuver some very heavy and bulky items.

2) Someone to Coordinate Clean-up. Find help and help them know where things go and be placed.

3) Someone to Coordinate the Youth Auction. Getting members to donate items for children of all ages. They will use monopoly money to bid.


I hope everyone will step forward and add to our Celebration. I truly expect this to be an amazing event!

~Heather Schroeder, 751-3265

Our April 14 discussion group will be "Gardening Magic: How do you plant with the cycles?" at 12:30 p.m. after service in Classroom 1. For many years, farmers have planted with the moon and the planet cycles, we will be discussion how/if you use these techniques and how they are working for your gardening practices. This session will be moderated by Shannon



Our Saturday workshop, on April 20, will be led by Shannon Heather and is "Herbals, Medicinal & Magical" at 7:00 p.m. Shannon will be talking to us about uses for herbals as medicine and in magical applications. Bring snacks/drinks to share if you are able.


All Chalice of the Willow events are open to the entire MVUUF community. You do not have to be a Pagan to come, we have many members that are Pagan, some are Pagan interested, and others just want to come and support us. We welcome all! For more information contact us at


Emily Upham Award
The Social Action Committee invites nominations for the 2012 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 Maureen O'Meara (2011), 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 Maureen O'Meara, at or give to our church administrator, Kristin Freeman, no later than May 1, 2013. 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.


Environmental Learning Forum Book Club
The next meeting of our MVUUF Environmental Learning Book Club will take place in the Founder's Room at 7:00 p.m. on Mon., April 15. Our reading/discussion selection for April is Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the UrbanWilderness, by award winning writer, speaker, and naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Haupt has noted that there are now more crows than ever, and she posits that their abundance is a sign of ecological imbalance. Her hometown newspaper, The Seattle Times, praises Crow Planet as "A personal book, one that uses her fondness for crows to cast its interests toward large concepts such as conservation, the environment, and learning to live more thoughtfully." Copies of Crow Planet may be available at area libraries, and your Environmental Action Group has ordered a few copies from at a discounted price of $10.19 (list price is $14.99). To reserve one of these copies, contact Gary Courts at 436-1094 or A Kindle edition is also available from Amazon for $8.89. All MVUUF members and friends interested in environmental and conservation issues are invited to be with us on April 15 to discuss a unique work of environmental literature.  


Celebrate Earth Day - Volunteer Opportunity

One requirement we must meet as we carry out our Green Sanctuary program, is to work with other congregations or other local organizations on environmental projects. You may recall that last year, 11 of us from MVUUF joined volunteers from other organizations by planting tree seedlings on Five Rivers MetroParks Seedling Saturday. We have an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day again this year by volunteering for another seedling planting on MetroParks Adopt-A-Park Day Sat., April 20. On that day, a planting is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Medlar Conservation Area on 4528 Medlar Road, near Miamisburg. No experience is required to participate, and all ages are welcome. The planting will take place until 11:30 a.m. and then all participants are invited to a complimentary lunch at River Scape MetroPark. A major goal of this massive reforestation project is to replace ash trees that are vulnerable to the devastating emerald ash borer with resistant species, as well as to convert former farmland to forest. Participants must register in advance, and to register as a team member from MVUUF, contact Environmental Action Group chairman Gary Courts by phone at 436-1094, by e-mail at, or at the Sunday service. Let's celebrate Earth Day and do our part for the environment by sending a team from MVUUF to Medlar on Adopt-A-Park Day. You are invited to make a difference for Mother Earth!


Gardens and Grounds at MVUUF

Would you like to be involved in planning the sustainable future of our MVUUF lawn and garden beds? Are you passionate about flowers and plants and know a few things about taking care of them? Do you want to be filled with joy and appreciation of natural beauty as you look around while you walk up to the Fellowship? Do you want to help maintain our wetland in good health? If you have interest in any of these things, we would love to hear from you! The MVUUF Garden Committee will meet at MVUUF's Library at 4:30 p.m. on Wed., April 17. If you would like to join the group for this meeting or you are interested in spending a little bit of time in the garden with us, please come or let us know! The Garden Committee: Genevieve Harvey, John Bierman, Iris Carter, Dori Dick, and Steve Thompson, Operations Chair.


Immigrant and Refugee Justice

The Immigrant and Refugee Justice Action Group meets on the first Sundayevery month, at 12:30 p.m. in the Founder's Room. Its next meeting will be April 7. At our March meeting we identified future actions of three different types: a Tree of Knowledge, for collecting school supplies, to be introduced in the late summer; an Educational Event and Dinner on May 24 focusing on the refugee experience in Dayton; continuing advocacy actions regarding Immigration Reform, the Dream Act, and Detention.


Please join us as we continue developing our plans for these projects. Help make Greater Dayton really welcome its immigrant and refugee residents.


NOTE: The Immigration and Refugee Justice Action Group will not meet on May 5; instead, there will be a discussion that day of the new UU State Advocacy Group, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, and of MVUUF joining this group as a congregational member.


Grocery Cards

Grocery Fundraising has suffered a great decline in 2012-2013. We have approximately the proceeds of past years, so we need twice as many members participating in the Kroger Community Program as we now have to regain our previous level.


If you shop at Kroger, have not already signed up, please consider doing so.   Contact Maureen O'Meara for a copy of step-by-step instructions or pick them up in the Gathering Space. You will need an e-mail address, the Internet, and your Kroger Plus Card to register.


If you are already registered for the program (37 households were according to my last report), thank you! The bad news: You will need to re-enroll for the program during the month of April, designating MVUUF as your sponsored organization for May 2013-April 2014. The good news: This should be quite easy, since you are already set up on Don't forget, so that your purchases after May 1 will continue to benefit the Fellowship.


If you want Dorothy Lane cards, please contact Maureen O'Meara with the amount you are prepared to purchase. Once I have $800 in pre-orders, I will purchase $1000 worth of cards. I often have a few $20 cards available for purchase without an order.


Chalice Night
On Fri., April 12 at 6 p.m., we'll hold our Chalice Night Passover Seder dinner. We'll have a traditional Passover meal with the reading of the "Haggadah," which tells the story of the Israelites escaping Egypt and slavery. If you'll be attending, please sign up in the Gathering Space. Also, we need help with cooking, clean up and set up. Those sign ups sheets are in the Gathering Space as well. Please contact Robin Farinet with questions.

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!