Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458





MVUUF Building by Lew Hann

MVUUF Forum  April 16-30, 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 21 - Sustainability in Our Fellowship and in Our Lives Rev. Amy Russell and the Environmental Concerns Action Committee

~Our Environmental Action Group will review the progress of our Fellowship's work on becoming a Green Sanctuary. Members will share personal lifestyle decisions that promote sustainable living.


April 28 -

~In this music fest, people of all ages will share songs that bring community together and boost our spirits. Come join in the singing!

Music Sunday Intergenerational

                                                   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 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.

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.

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/Lasic 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 or Kristin can mail or email you one.


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


~Heather Schroeder, 751-3265


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.


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. 


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!


Nominating Committee Members
The Program Council is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to the Nominating Committee. These three individuals will fill the open seats through February of 2014. This is a very important group of people who we entrust to be able to complete this awesome job. They will serve the congregation by carefully evaluating the qualifications of our members to serve as leaders for our fellowship and selecting a few choice people to ask to be members of our Board and Program Council. They then submit a slate of capable and willing candidates in December to be voted on in our January election. Additionally, this year they will

be naming candidates to serve on our Ministerial Search Committee. This is the body that will size up, check out, and select our next minister!


The individuals who the Program Council is appointing at this time are: Yolanda Crooms, Lynn Buffington, and Joe Zimmerman. These three will join the continuing members of the Nominating Committee: Joan Albrecht, Ruth Rowley, and Iris Carter. They will begin their work now, and the congregation will be asked to confirm their appointments at the Congregational Meeting this June.


For more information about how our fellowship operates, you can check the organizational chart, bylaws, and policies, on our new and improved website, under the governance tab at the left side of the home page. If you would like to be involved in leadership, please let your interest be known by contacting one of the members of the Nominating Committee.


In Faith~

Genevieve Harvey, Program Council Chair


Lyme Disease

What do fibromyalgia, flu-like symptoms, brain fog, and arthritis have in common? Lyme Disease! (Ticks are found in all 50 states!) Come and see the award-winning documentary "Under Our Skin" and join the discussion - bring your questions! Prevention is the best way to deal with Lyme Disease, so come and be informed. Show up at Mon., April 29 at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary - For additional information, contact Linda Smith or Linda Yoder.


Enroll Now for A New Adult Religious Education Class

HELP TO HEAL OUR WORLD: Social Ethics, Social Justice And Congregational Engagement


Can you find the words "social justice" on the MVUUF website? Did you know that Fox News personality Glenn Beck set out to convince his audience that "social justice," . . . is a "code word" for communism and Nazism. Beck urged Christians to discuss the term with their ministers and to leave their churches if leaders would not reconsider their emphasis on social justice. Beck said, "I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!" 


Instead, run as fast as you can to sign up for this new six-week adult course, led by Bob Lewis, to help set the record straight. The course is intended primarily for both our newer members who have expressed interest in social action and for longer time members who want to deepen their understanding and appreciation for social justice work. It will be offered at the Fellowship on Thursday evenings (7 - 9 p.m.), from May 2 to June 6. According to Bob, "We will look at some of the history, including the Social Gospel movement, some of the theology informing social ethics, and many of the specific expressions and challenges of social justice work in today's complex and broken world. We'll look realistically at how we can 'help to heal our world." The course will consist of presentations (lecture, video), readings and discussion, with lots of time for sharing together. You can sign up for the course by calling the church office (436-3628) or by using the sign-up form in the Gathering Space.


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!