Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
8690 Yankee St. Dayton, OH 45458
MVUUF Forum June 16-30 , 2013
Letter from the Minister
Good-byes are hard.
I remember the day we drove my son to his college dorm when he was first beginning college. We carried all the boxes and suitcases into the dorm, passing other parents and their children coming down the hall looking a little grim around the gills as they tried to negotiate saying good-bye. I looked around his room, at the stacks of CDs, boxes of books, his drum pad and sticks that were a constant companion, the desktop computer, and his one battered suitcase of clothes, mostly T-shirts and jeans. These were the things that would surround him, give him comfort, and remind him of home. I handed him a small package that contained a picture of me and his dad, hoping that this reminder would be placed somewhere within sight after I left. Or that at least it wouldn't be thrown away.
But I knew that while I would talk with him, email him, and that he would be home for visits, that his life now was his own to shape and mold in his own way. Not much I would say for here on out would change very much in his future. But I also knew that our relationship, how we talked to each other, how I touched his arm and smiled at his jokes, how I was there when he was sad, but also there with a cautious word when he screwed up- that all the small things that we had done together had contributed something to make him who he was. That he would carry that with him wherever he went.
Likewise, my relationship with all of you at the Fellowship has changed me in many ways, ways that will stay with me wherever I go.
From the ways that this congregation impacted my life during my difficult times when I was first a member here, to the past six wonderful years as your minister, Miami Valley UU Fellowship has changed my life. Here's just some of those ways:
- When someone has given me a hug when I've had tears in my eyes, I've learned that sometimes presence is more important than what you say.
- When we do our check-ins during meetings, I learn that there's often much more going on with someone than we would guess.
- When someone comes to me to suggest that maybe I could call so and so because they've been sounding a little down, I've learned the importance of paying attention.
- From our Social Action committee members, I've learned that social justice isn't just talk, it's the way we live our lives every day.
- When the Covenant of Right Relations was written and circulated, I learned about being intentional in what we say and how we act in community.
- When we gather at a memorial service to celebrate a life well lived, I learn how important community can be in the grieving process.
- From all the Service Auctions, Men Who Cook Dinners, and Pledge drives, I've seen the example of generosity.
- From our children, I learn joy and spontaneity, and from our youth, I learn irreverence and being in the moment.
- From being in this community for these many years, I've learned the value of persistent caring.
We have had times we didn't all agree. There have been days when I've been sad and upset at how things seemed to be going. Times when I felt at a loss at how to help us hear one another. Discussions when I might have hurt someone's feelings or they hurt mine. As we figured out slowly how to be together, we listened to each other, we shed some tears, we agreed to move ahead and try again. And we have time after time. That is what has made my time here so meaningful. That despite how difficult it is to build Beloved Community,that we kept trying.
Thank you for all you've taught me and given me over the years. I will cherish our time together as precious memories.
~Rev. Amy Russell
Letter from the Board President
Thank You, Reverend Amy Russell
This month, we will bid a fond farewell to our beloved minister, Rev. Amy Russell. On behalf of the Board of MVUUF, I would like to sincerely thank Amy for her six years of faithful service. In her years with us, Amy has touched countless lives, including my own. She leaves us in a much healthier place than she found us six years ago.
Of course, when she arrived in 2007, it was not her first encounter with MVUUF. Amy has spoken many times of her earlier experience as a member of the Fellowship when we were located in Oakwood. She has spoken of the support her family received from our community when her husband was stricken with cancer, an experience that ultimately played a role in her call to the ministry.
We often hear of the concept of "paying it forward." Many of us, myself included, have been on the receiving end of loving support from our community in our hour of need. Rarely do we ever get the chance to repay directly those who have helped us. So instead, we look for ways to do our own good works, to thank our benefactors by passing the love and support forward.
In one sense, Amy is that rare individual who had the chance to go back to the same community that helped her and help us in return. But of course, we are not the same community we were back then. Some people have passed away or moved on, while new people have come to take their place. Amy left the area shortly before I joined the Fellowship in 1998. Now I feel like a relative old-timer. So even as she came back home to MVUUF, her ministry still exemplified paying it forward.
As we work to achieve the goal of the Beloved Community, each of us leaves a legacy that is woven into the whole. The legacy of Amy's ministry will remain, binding us together for years to come. Many of us will remember her for her devoted pastoral care, others for her gentle but persistent leadership. As we think of her in years to come, let us draw inspiration from her example and pay it forward. I cannot think of a better way to honor her ministry than by continuing the work of building the Beloved Community.
We wish Amy and her family all the best as she resettles in Virginia with her husband, Bill. We are sorry to see her go, but she and Bill deserve to enjoy more time together with less travel.
Amy's farewell service will be held on Sunday, June 16. Please look for further information about plans for this event elsewhere in this issue of the Forum.
Also in this issue, please look for information on our new Interim Minister, Rev. Mary Moore. Rev. Moore will be joining us on August 1.
~Alysoun Taylor-Hall, MVUUF Board President
Meet Rev. Mary Moore
The MVUUF Board is pleased to announce the selection of Rev. Mary Moore to be our Interim Minister for the next two years, beginning August 1, 2013. She is currently completing a two year interim ministry at the UU Church of Muncie, Indiana. Mary, who is 63 years of age, has 39 years of experience as a minister, including a long tenure as a settled minister as well as holding previous interim appointments. She is a trained and certified Accredited Interim Minister and wants to continue her focus on providing interim ministry. The hiring of an interim minister is done by the board of trustees. The Board selected a sub-committee (Bob Lewis, Genevieve Harvey, and Ralf Grisard) to work with the UUA Transition Office in the selection of a candidate. The Board entrusted the naming of an initial candidate to the Transition Office and after they selected Mary Moore, the sub-committee reviewed Mary's credentials, conducted a Skype interview with her, and contacted her references. The sub-committee then recommended her to the Board, and the Board gave its approval. At the same time, the sub-committee posted information about the Fellowship for Mary to review. As it turned out, MVUUF was her first choice. Since our original contact with her, a contract has been prepared and approved by both the Board and Rev. Moore. According to Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, District Executive of the Ohio-Meadville District of the UUA, "Rev. Mary Moore is one of the most effective interims I've ever had the joy to work with. She is both creative and pastoral in her approach, with a strong understanding of complex and often contradictory congregational dynamics. I wish there were a way to clone her so she could serve all of my district's congregations in transition."
From the perspective of the sub-committee, Rev. Mary Moore is mature, warm, intelligent, and passionate about her work in congregations to grow Unitarian Universalism. She presents herself as a caring and supportive person, fully engaged and available, and ready to assist in whatever way she can. She clearly understands the responsibilities of interim ministry and sees her role as helping to prepare our congregation to be in the best position to attract a top-notch settled minister. Also she sees the work we do with her in the next two years as a "gift" to that new minister who will be coming into a better equipped and healthier congregation than we are now. About coming to Dayton, Mary says, "I have heard some wonderful things about your congregation and I look forward to when we will meet each other in August. It will be good to walk with you as you travel through your Interim Period and to address the tasks of this time together. In the meantime, I will be helping the UU Church of Muncie, IN as they bring their Interim Period to a successful conclusion and prepare for the arrival of their great new settledMinister, and I hope that MVUUF folks will be celebrating and honoring Rev. Amy Russell and the excellent years of ministry you had together."
Interim ministry is more than filling a vacant pulpit. In addition to carrying out the normal responsibilities of congregational ministry, including worship and pastoral care, interim ministers possess specific skills in assisting a congregation in: 1. claiming and honoring its past and engaging and honoring its griefs and conflicts 2. recognizing its unique identity and its strengths, needs, and challenges 3. clarifying the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), church staff, and lay leaders and navigating the shifts in leadership that may accompany times of transition 5. making appropriate use of District, UUA, and other outside resources 6. proudly coming into possession of a renewed vision and strong stewardship, prepared for new growth and new professional leadership, ready to embrace the future with anticipation and zest. You can learn about Mary at her website, www.revmarymoore.com.
June 16 - Walking The Path Together: This Beloved Community Rev. Amy Russell's last sermon
~On this last Sunday of Rev. Russell's ministry with us, she will share stories of her ministry here, the joys, the sadness, and the ridiculous. Join us in this farewell celebration.
June 23 - Trust Carol Narigon
~What do you mean when you say you trust someone? Or when you believe you can't? In this service, we'll peel open the word "trust" and examine its fuzzy, gray insides.
June 30 - I Wish I Knew How Heather Holland-Schroeder
Meet Our Members
Hello! My name is Iris Mirelez. I was drawn to Unitarian Universalism and MVUUF as I was searching for a spiritual home that respected and celebrated each individual yet recognized the interconnectedness of each being and creature. I certainly found that at MVUUF! I embrace the concept that we are all on a journey and that our views can evolve and change over time. I value immensely that throughout the natural evolution of individual beliefs, the support of a loving community remains at MVUUF. I have truly enjoyed my interactions with the members at MVUUF thus far and look forward to shared experiences and making memories. I currently live in the Kettering area with my two cats, Origami and Moby, and work at Wright State University (of which I am a proud alumnus.) My interests are many but include coffee, animals, jam bands, live music/shows, yoga, gardening, running, trail running, hiking, sand volleyball, and anything outdoors. My favorite quote is, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle," by Plato. Please stop and say "hi" and keep me in mind if you'd ever like to do any of the above activities!
Around the Fellowship
Community Discussion Group
June 16 - "ACE: Adverse Child Experiences." Moderator: Bob Lewis
June 23 - "What We Can Do to Develop Mentally." Moderator: Don Heidorn
June 30 - "Best Kept Secrets - Vacation Destinations." Moderator: Diane Bohlander
*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*
July 17 - Sharp and Dangerous Virtues, by Martha Moody
*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.
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
During June, the Humanitarian Giving Action Group welcomes non-pledge donations to benefit the Reach Out Free Clinic. Located close to the Miami Valley Hospital, this clinic provides basic care to those in need. Our Committee recognizes there is a huge need in our area for health care to those who can least afford it and Reach Out Free Clinic is providing that care.
Baby Shower for Wesley Center
The Humanitarian Giving Committee is hosting a "baby shower" for Wesley Center attendees. Starting June 1, there will be a large box in the Gathering Space for those who wish to donate any baby item.
MVUUF Social Action Summer Film Series
The MVUUF Social Action Summer Film series kicks off on Fri., June 28 at 7:00 p.m. with the documentary "The House I Live In." Please join us for this important film starting with snacks and ending with informal discussion. From PBS.org: "The drug war in America has helped establish the largest prison-industrial system in the world, contributing to the incarceration of 2.3 million men and women and is responsible for untold collateral damage to the lives of countlessindividuals and families, with a particularly destructive impact on black America.... the film promotes public awareness of the problem while encouraging new and innovative pathways to domestic drug policy reform." Save The Dates: Film series' showings are on alternate Fridays: June 28, July 12, July 26, August 9 and possibly August 23.
Everyone is invited to join Smart Choices for lunch on Thu., June 27 at 11:30 a.m. We are meeting in the private room of MCL Cafeteria (Far Hills and David Rd. in Kettering). Stop by and introduce yourself! RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Book Club
The next meeting of our MVUUF Environmental Book Club will take place in the Founders Room at 7:00 p.m. on Mon., June 24. Our reading/discussion selection will be Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters, by Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard. As a nature writer, Dillard has been compared to Henry David Thoreau. In Teaching, she uses fourteen personal essays to question spirituality, religion and meaning. In its review of this work, the Boston Globe states, "The natural world is ignited by her prose and we see the world as an incandescent metaphor of the spirit..." We have obtained a few copies from Amazon.com at a discounted price of $11.21 (list price is $13.99). If you wish to reserve one of these copies, contact Gary Courts at 436-1094 or email@example.com. A Kindle edition is also available from Amazon for $8.89. All MVUUF members and friends who have an interest in environmental and conservation issues are encouraged to be with us on June 24 for what should be a provocative discussion.
Mark your calendars now for Sun., June 30 at 12:15 p.m. for our semi-annual Congregational Meeting. All are invited to attend, but Voting members are reminded that attendance is both a right and responsibility of your status. There are several items on the agenda, including our budget.
Have you been attending MVUUF for a while and are considering membership? Please attend a "Joining Session" to explore the rights and responsibilities of membership in this beloved community. The session will be held on Sun., July 7, at 12:30 pm. For more information, contact Alice Diebel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-350-7763.
A Congregational Decision: UU Justice Ohio
In October of last year, UUs from all around Ohio met in Columbus to consider joining one another in statewide social justice efforts. Those present were in overwhelming support of such an initiative given the number of issues that affect us at the state and local level. The group selected four key issues as a starting point: immigration, LGBTQ rights, economic justice, and environmental concerns (fracking). The Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio (UUJO) was launched in Columbus and the push was on to encourage UUs across the state to join in making the organization a success. UUJO is one of 15 UU State Advocacy Networks in the US. Some, such as the Michigan network, have been in operation for ten years or more. In order to be viable, the network needs UUs to join and participate. In this way, we can share information with one another on issue of importance to us. To grow as a network, UUs can join the network as individuals. However, the UUJO also recognizes and encourages congregations to join. The MVUUF board has discussed whether or not we should join, and is supportive of our membership in UUJO. To encourage congregational understanding of this membership, Maureen O'Meara and I led a discussion after the service on May 5.
In order to decide whether or not to join, the board will put the issue up for a congregational vote. Here are some things you need to consider prior to the congregational vote:
1. Members of UUJO can be individuals, groups within a congregation, or the congregation as a whole. UUJO is especially seeking congregational memberships.
2. The organization is new and the dues structure is not yet decided. There will bedifferent dues for individual, group, and congregational members. Dues will be low, estimated at $100/year/congregation. UUJO is also seeking grant funds.
3. There are no bylaws yet. They are being developed and will include rules for how UUJO makes public stands. It is likely such stands will be infrequent.
4. MVUUF can join now to help shape the dues structure and the bylaws. If we sit it out we have no voice. We can always drop out if we are not satisfied.
5. As UUs, getting involved in state-level issues can be very affirming of our principles.
A network like this helps spread the work required to keep up on social justice issues and gives MVUUF access to key leaders on important topics. For more information - or to join UUJO - go to http://ohiomeadville.org/uujo/
~ By Alice Diebel, UUJO Steering Committee
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!