Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          March 1-31, 2014

A View From the 'Rim



So what's up with the March 9th service at MVUUF???  Well, we're going to be doing a number of special things on that morning, all of them centered around the idea of Ministry in Service to Mission at MVUUF.


We are going to honor the professional leadership of Rev. Chuck Thomas, who was minister of the UU congregation in Dayton which merged with MVUUF 15 years ago, and contributed the grand piano and the stained glass window to MVUUF. As Rev. Thomas is moving away to California, this service (and the reception in the Gathering Space following it) will be a chance for folks to thank him for his past ministry and wish him farewell.


We'll also be lifting up the ministry of Governance and the ministry to the Program Ministries of this congregation as we recognize Board members and Program Council members for their past and future service.


A quartet from Yellow Springs will provide special music on this day, reminding us of the excellent ministry of Music, both compensated and volunteer, at MVUUF.


The ministry of Stewardship, of Time, Talent and Treasure, in service to the mission of MVUUF-we'll also be taking a look at this on this Sunday at the start of MVUUF's annual budget drive. It is a very important time for MVUUF; for the amount raised in THIS budget drive will be the amount which potential settled minister applicants will look at to see how well MVUUF folks are willing to give in support of the vision and mission of this congregation.


May such minister applicants see a spirit of generosity at MVUUF-as people pledge to fund its ministries (which serve the mission and vision of what MVUUF needs to do and be) both within the walls of its meeting house and in the larger world.


With my warmest regards, as always,

Your interim minister,



Sermon Topics


Mar. 2---Survival in the Wilderness:  Finding the Path of Resilience---Ann Snively.   Why are some people more resilient than others when faced with devastating, or even just ordinary difficult situations? MVUUF member Ann Snively will reflect in her sermon on the sources of human resilience and will explore whether those qualities can also be applied to groups, such as a congregation.


Mar. 9---COMMITMENT SUNDAY Celebrating Mutual Ministry in Service to Mission---Rev. Mary Moore.   On this celebration morning, we will be honoring Rev. Chuck Thomas who was minister of the UU congregation in Dayton which merged with MVUUF 15 years ago-as he moves away to California. We'll also thank retiring members of the Board and Program Council and formally install new members. There will be special music by a quartet from Yellow Springs, a covenant with our Visiting Stewards, and a brief exploration of what stewardship in service to mission might look like. A reception to honor Rev. Chuck Thomas' ministry in Dayton will take place in the gathering Space following the service-an opportunity to thank him and wish him farewell. Don't miss this memorable morning at MVUUF!


Mar. 16---Find a Stillness---Rev. Mary Moore. "From all the fret and fever of the day, let there be moments when we turn away." So begins a hymn in a UU hymnal. On this morning, we'll be taking a look at the importance of having such moments in our lives.


Mar. 23---What Is Your Spiritual Daily Dozen?---Rev. Mary Moore.  On this Sunday, we'll explore the role that having a personal spiritual discipline (or two!) might play in enhancing and nurturing our lives. For you, what might the "Pause that Refreshes" look like?


Mar. 30-Rev. Richard Venus.  Rev. Venus, former minister at MVUUF, will be preaching on this Sunday.   


Around the Fellowship...



"We are a caring community linked together by love and need and our search for truth," we here at MVUUF frequently say. And I believe it's true; we do care about each other. We often offer each other kindness and support.


So it should be in a church community. Figuring out what that support might look like, however, can be a little tricky. It can involve a listening ear, meals during a medical crisis, a note of encouragement or many other things.


Such support is known in church parlance as "pastoral care," even though the pastor isn't necessarily the one to provide the care. Sometimes the minister is directly involved, and sometimes s/he may act as the support for a caring team or committee that provides much of the pastoral care in a church community.


The Fellowship has not in recent years had well-defined structures or procedures for providing pastoral care. We have largely relied on the minister to take care of this for us. While we can still anticipate that our minister, whether it be Mary or our future settled minister, will be involved in pastoral care, we are in the process of developing other resources that can help fill this need. Covenant Groups have launched this winter. Pastoral Associates who can help with hospital visits and similar roles will begin training in a few weeks.


We are currently looking for people who would be willing to do a concrete task to help someone out now and then. This could be making a meal, giving a ride or sending a note. There are sign-up sheets in the Gathering Space if you can help in any of these ways.


Please note that each of those tasks was listed as "a" meal, ride, or note. We are not expecting anyone to devote many hours to these ways of helping. Rather, the idea is that we at the Fellowship can help fill an occasional, finite need when other resources are not available. We cannot take on the role of a social service agency or hospital discharge planner. We can reach out to each other in a pinch. Many hands will make light work. Please consider signing up if you are able.


One goal of developing our caring structures is to be clear about how to seek help as well as what is a reasonable, manageable request and what may exceed our capabilities as a community. Some people are very comfortable asking for help, while others find it very difficult to let their own needs be known. We want to be sure that no one falls through the cracks, while we also make sure we do not burn out our volunteers.


We do not have all the answers yet, but we are trying to move toward a more organized, dependable pastoral care program. We want to hear your thoughts. The Transition Team will hold an open discussion after service on Sunday, March 23, to provide a chance to talk about these changes and any other ideas about Pastoral Care you may have. Please come. It is part of how we are, indeed, linked into community. 


With faith in our future,

Barb Weber,

Transition Team Chair





We have probably all been in the office space at MVUUF at least once, and many of us are in there every week. When you enter that space, chances are, you think of it as "the office." For most of us, that's how we've always thought of it.


Throughout my time as a member of MVUUF, we have always had a professional administrator, except during times of transition from one administrator to another. In the old building, the administrator had a separate office, and maybe we thought of it as "her" office. But when we built the current building, we put in an open office. The administrator is often the only person in the building, and her open office makes it easier for her to see whether someone has entered the building.


But it also makes it easy for us to forget that "the office" is really Jennie Freiberger's office. Jennie is our professional administrator. Since she works during regular business hours, many of you may have not met her, but we couldn't run the Fellowship without her. Jennie's tasks run the gamut from maintaining our church directory to scheduling the building to making sure the bills get paid. It was Jennie who called in the cavalry when the pipes broke in January. She does excellent work, and we are lucky to have her.


Jennie has a lot of energy and a lot of responsibilities. What she doesn't have is a private office. She shares her workspace with...well, pretty much all of us. We traipse through on Sunday mornings, and if we need a pen or a post-it note, we tend to root through "the" desk to find what we need. But of course, "the" desk is really Jennie's desk.


I know this is a shift in thinking. Over the years, we've had gaps when we needed help covering the office, and many of you have graciously volunteered. And when you've given of your time in that way, you've worked from the desk in the office. Once you get comfortable, it's natural for some of that sense of comfort to linger. Even for the rest of us, the open design of the office just makes it so, well, convenient to sit down and make ourselves at home.


In a larger sense, our comfort in thinking of "the" office as belonging to all of us reflects our history as a pastoral-size church. Those of us in leadership often talk about our transition from a pastoral-size church to a larger program-size church. A full discussion of this transition is beyond the scope of this article, but I just want to lift up that while change can be difficult, this transition is a necessary step on our shared journey.


When I listen to people talk about their hopes and dreams for the Fellowship, it's clear that the ideas we have for our future are consistent with the way a program church functions. We want to have lots of ways for people to get involved, and we have lots of ideas about how we can engage with and serve the larger community. For all these hopes and dreams to come to fruition, we need a critical mass of actively engaged members. But to get there, we have to find ways to let go of habits of a pastoral-size church, even as we seek to preserve those ties we feel to one another.


A program-size church needs a professional staff. Staff members work together under the supervision of the paid minister to keep the church running. It's up to us as members to determine our priorities, and then the paid staff provides basic support so that as volunteers, we can put our energy into implementing our vision for MVUUF. As we continue to grow, one day we may be able to hire additional staff, such as a paid membership coordinator, or perhaps additional music staff.


If we want our staff to take care of us, then we need to take good care of our staff. I don't know about you, but if I came into work on Monday morning and all my things had been moved around, I don't think I'd be a very happy camper. In my office, I have pictures of my family. If we stop and think about it, I think we all want Jennie to feel like she can decorate her office with pictures of her family. Whatever she chooses to put in her space, she shouldn't have to worry about whether it will be disturbed.


Of course, there are certain office functions that must be performed on Sundays and at other times when Jennie is not around. So if we want to give Jennie her space, then we need to provide an alternative workspace for all us volunteers. To that end, we have plans to create a workstation in the Library, and we're also looking at creating a separate finance workstation in the music office. If you have any office equipment you would like to donate to this effort, especially a used computer, please contact Laura Vondenhuevel, who is spearheading this project. You can reach her by email at


In the meantime, if you must visit Jennie's workspace when she's not there, please tread lightly. If you need a pen or a post-it note, please see whether you can find what you need on the counter across form Jennie's desk. If you must disturb something on her desk, be sure you put it back. Avoid opening her drawers and going through her things.


To be very specific, Jennie's workspace encompasses her desk and the credenza behind her desk. Please join me in my effort to regard these areas as "her" workspace, and to respect her boundaries accordingly.


I personally am very pleased that Jennie came to work for us. I would encourage each and every one of us to reach out and let her know how much we appreciate her and all that she does for us.



Alysoun Taylor-Hall

Board President




Come and join Chalice of the Willow (CUUPS) for our March activities here at MVUUF! Network, socialize, and get to know our wonderful community in CUUPS.


Our monthly meeting will be held at MVUUF in Room #1 on Sunday, March 9, from 12:30-2:00 p.m. Our lovely members will be having the monthly discussion and socializing. New, old, and curious members are always welcome!


Coming up on Saturday, March 22, we will be having a Sabbat ritual and celebration. We will have early bird socializing beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Fellowship. Ritual will begin at 7:00 p.m., with a potluck and social afterwards. Come along and take part in celebrating the coming season! 


All Chalice of the Willow events are open to the entire MVUUF community and community at large. You do not have to be a Pagan to come! We welcome all who are interested in listening and discussing any of our topics. Contact us at:

and follow us at:




The Social Action Committee is sponsoring an all-congregation retreat on Saturday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., at the Fellowship. This energizing, inspiring gathering is intended to encourage members of the congregation to think together about where we've been and where we're going in our social justice efforts. What has been meaningful social justice work for you? Do you think something is missing in the congregation's work-or in your own commitments related to social justice? We need your ideas and experience! Watch for interactive displays and materials in the Gathering Space prior to the retreat. You can participate in many different ways!


Please sign up in the Gathering Space, or contact our Administrator, Jennie Freiberger, at (937) 436-3628 or We need to know how many are coming to prepare food and materials. Indicate if you will need childcare, which will be provided. Afternoon childcare for all but the youngest is likely to include a social action themed art project organized by MVUUF youth! Donations will be requested for lunch, prepared by MVUUF youth as part of their fundraising efforts for their New Orleans service trip. We will also hear from the youth about social justice! You do not want to miss it!




It's time once again to think about Small Group Dinners. Enjoy conversation, good food, and fun while getting to know others in the Fellowship. Groups of about 8 adults gather in each others' homes once a month, March through June, for dinner. Everyone brings part of the meal.


New members are highly encouraged to participate, as it provides a great opportunity to become better integrated into the Fellowship, and also provides established members and opportunity to get to know new members.


All are invited to join, Fellowship members and friends alike. Look for the sign up sheets in the Gathering Space; Sunday, March 9 is the last day to sign up. Contact Alice Diebel at (937) 350-7763 or for more information.




Host families are needed for four Israeli-Arab 8-10th graders, two girls and two boys, from Monday, April 7 through Friday, April 19. The students are delegates as an award for an English Essay competition. Their visit is part of a Dayton-based English education project for young Israeli-Arabs from the Galilee area. MVUUF recently became a partner with this ongoing project.   The students are curious, fun and looking forward to improving their English. About 20% of Israeli citizens are native Arab speakers and speaking English is the key to success for them. They learn some English in school but rarely hear native speakers. You can see photos from previous visits and of the English summer camp that takes place in Israel at

The students will stay at your house and be part of your family. Their weekdays will be busy with programmed activities (Sunwatch, Carillon Park, the AF Museum, in school visits, etc.) but their weekends are free for them to be with you. Having children approximately the same age as the visiting student is a plus, but not required.


MVUUF member Mike Fanelli is a project participant. Please contact him at (937) 4533-7672 or for additional information.




March 2: It is said that when one door closes another opens. What is your experience? With moderator Helena Gerrard.    

March 9The power of "habit." With moderator Tom Starr.    

March 16Omega 3 and 6 ratio revisited. With moderator Joe Lawrence.  

March 23Telling your story-the value of writing your memoir. With moderator Ken Schory.  

March 31The future of the Fellowship. With moderator Bob Lewis.




The MVUUF Religious Fiction Book Club will meet at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, at the fellowship, to discuss the novel Go Tell It On The Mountain, by James Baldwin. This 1953 semi-autobiographical novel looks at the role of the Black Church, for good and for ill, in the lives of African-Americans. It is called one of the best English-language novels of the 20th century. All MVUUF members and friends are welcome to attend. For more information, contact John Bierman, (937) 438-0211 or






The next monthly meeting of our Environmental Learning Forum Book Club will take place in the Founders Room on Monday, March 17, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Our reading/discussion selection is one that is currently receiving a lot of attention:  The Sixth Extinction:  An Unnatural History. Its author, Elizabeth Kolbert, is a writer for The New Yorker and a two-time winner of the National Magazine Award. Earth has witnessed five major extinctions, and in The Sixth Extinction, Kolbert cites the work of numerous scientists that indicates that another one is unfolding before our eyes.


We have ordered a few copies from at a discounted price of $20.37 (list price is $28.00). If you would like to reserve one of these copies, contact Environmental Action chairman, Gary Courts, at (937) 436-1094 or All MVUUF members and friends are invited to be with us on March 17 to discuss this major compelling book about the future world of life.




March 19 - Behind the Kitchen Door, by Saru Jayaraman.

April TBA - Wild:  From Lost To Found on the Pacific Rim Trail, by Cheryl Strayed (Dayton Big Read)

May TBA - And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

June TBA - The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis

July TBA - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford.


We meet one Wednesday a month, at 10:30 a.m., in the Fellowship Library. Those who want to go out for lunch together. All are welcome! Contact Janice Beers, ( 937) 836-7166.





The Evening Book Discussion Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at Christopher's Restaurant on East Dorothy Lane. New participants are welcome; contact Ann Snively if you would like more information. Titles have been selected for the rest of 2014. Please note that we will discuss the UUA Common Read title, Behind the Kitchen Door, by Saru Jayaraman, in June, and for that gathering we will meet in the Sanctuary of the Fellowship.


March 11 - The Happiness Project:  Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, by Gretchen Rubin.

April 8 - My Beloved World:  A Memoir, by Sonia Sotomayor

May 13 - Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Rim Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

June 10 - Behind the Kitchen Door, by Saru Jayaraman

July 8 - (we will skip our July meeting to have more time to read the book for August, which has 600 pages!)

August 12 - The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

September 9 - Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris

October 14 - My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead

November 11 - The Circle, by Dave Eggers

December 9 - The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd




Smart Choices will hold their next monthly birthday luncheon on Thursday, March 27, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at MCL Cafeteria in Kettering (Far Hills and David Road). All are invited to help us celebrate! You can RSVP to Allie Peterson at


Please join us in our longstanding 2nd Saturday ministry serving lunch to homeless and/or low income women and families. If you are thinking of helping at St. Vincent's but would like a bit more information, please pick up one of the information half-sheets from the table near the windows in the Gathering Space. March 8th Menu: lasagna/meat noodle dish, green salad,  fresh fruit or fruit salad, and 100% juice (we will also use stock in the St. Vincent pantry for milk and bread). We need four to five donations of each item, with each donation serving 15 to 20. Please bring all items, heated if applicable, to 120 W. Apple St. in Dayton (St. Vincent de Paul Hotel) by 10:30 a.m. Sign up to serve or donate menu items in the Gathering Space. Feel free to call Lynn Buffington at (937)657-0426 if you have any 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!