Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          August 1-31, 2014

A View From the 'Rim


And now it's our turn! Over the past year and a half, we have watched as the barriers to Marriage Equality have been struck down in state after state in the U.S.


Now, on Wednesday, August 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit located in Cincinnati will hear oral arguments in the appeal of a court case in which U. S. District Court Judge Timothy Black ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex spouses for the purpose of issuing death certificates in December, 2013. There are two rallies being planned to support Judge Black's order, and also to support court cases from Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee also involving Marriage Equality.


        Cincinnati Rally for Marriage Equality

                      Lytle Park  501 5th Street

           Tuesday, August 5th  5:30-7:00 p.m.

          Carpooling from MVUUF parking lot,

                        leaving at 4:00 p.m.

(You still would be in time for part of the rally

     if you left Dayton at 5:00 p.m. after work.)


           Cincinnati Courtroom Rally for

                       Marriage Equality

         Federal Courthouse   100 East 5th Street

                Wednesday, August 6th   noon

           Carpooling from MVUUF parking lot,

                           leaving at 11:00 a.m.


There are sign-up sheets in the Gathering Space; please sign up soon! You can also contact Margaret Michal for more information at


I will be going to Cincinnati to attend both events, and I urge many MVUUF folks to join me.


It is about having the religious freedom for same gender marriages performed by UU clergy to be recognized by the state. It's about justice. It's about standing on the side of love. It's about time!!!


I hope to stand with many of you there.




With my warmest regards, as always,

Your interim minister,



Sermon Topics


August 3---How Dare We Change The Church---Suzanne W. Cole.   What does it mean when First Parish UU in Bedford, MA says, "The church has left the building"? Does that mean we have to do it, too? MVUUF member and Quaker minister Suzanne W. Cole will ask some probing questions and share some stories about how churches around the country are working with the "c" word:  change. New ministries, unique ideas, and how to go "into the beyond" will all be shared in a service to think about as MVUUF moves forward.


August 10---Rubbing Shoulders with UUs from Other Places---Rev. Mary Moore and MVUUF Members.    This summer, a number of MVUUF members have spent time with other UUs from other congregations. Come on this Sunday to learn what effect this had on their lives and might have for our congregation.


August 17---Celebrating Our Sense of Place---Rev. Mary Moore.  Following summertime travels for some-or perhaps folks finding a fresh appreciation of the natural world locally-on this morning we will be considering how our having a sense of place can be a spiritual practice, can help us to nurture our souls and become more centered. Are you among those for whom the concepts of bioregionalism or deep ecology contribute to your spirituality? Come find out on this Sunday!   


August 24---Telling Tales:  The Stories Which MVUUF's History Timeline Could Tell---Rev. Mary Moore and Members of the MVUUF Transition TeamAfter a congregation which is traveling through an Interim Period works on creating a History Timeline, oftentimes the Interim Minister and Transition Team members will share their thoughts about some of the things which the History Timeline shows. Join us on this morning when we'll be sharing with you discoveries and understandings as to what MVUUF people believe are some of the significant points along MVUUF's History Timeline. 


Around the Fellowship...



Seen any signs of spring lately? Yes, I recognize that this is the August Forum you are reading. But in terms of our transition and interim process, it is a little like the beginning of spring. We have been coming out of our winter doldrums and are beginning to see signs of a new life to come.


What signs are these, you might ask? Ah, the signs are many if only we will look. Things like how much better the building is starting to look, thanks to some hard-working folks who have taken on the tasks of cleaning up some of our accumulated mess (often a spring-time chore). Things like the talk of a number of new Adult Religious Education offerings to start in the fall. Things like the upcoming Youth Religious Education Retreat, when those who care about our youngsters will gather to plan a successful year ahead. And things like the greeting cards that we are signing after services to express caring to our members.


And, of course, the big one---the Ministerial Search Committee is really getting underway and will be seeking our input in multiple ways in the near future. I imagine there will be information elsewhere in this Forum. I also suspect we will be hearing from them often in the days to come. Please, please, please plan to participate and let your voice be heard about what YOU dream of for our congregation. If you don't speak up when asked, how will we become a place that meets your needs?


Why, just in writing about these positive things has lightened my mood and added a little excitement to my day. Give it a try yourself. You may have observed that our E-Blast has begun to include some positive notes each week. Try looking for positives and see whether what you find are the ones others are noticing as well.


Some people find that focusing on the good is an important spiritual practice. Here is a chance for us all to try it out. Let's see what we discover this "spring" and what develops as the summer progresses.



With faith in our future,

Barb Weber,

Transition Team Chair






We're moving forward in our search for a settled minister, and yoUUr part is critical! The Ministerial Search Committee is striving for 100% of MVUUF members AND friends to take part in the survey. Visit the website listed below to share your beliefs and opinions in the anonymous MVUUF Survey. We are asking that you complete the survey prior to Sunday, September 14. 


The survey results will provide our congregation with a greater understanding of current MVUUF perceptions and trends, in addition to shaping our congregation's vision for the future. The survey results will also be used to identify key discussion topics for our future "cottage meetings" which will be held in September and October. 


Mark your calendars for the following key event:


Sunday, September 14th:  

Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT) Service


As is customary and highly recommended in the ministerial search process, we will be having a BCT service and workshop. Please sign-up by September 7 (a sign-up sheet will be located in the Gathering Space.)


The purpose of the BCT is to move us thoughtfully through the next phase of the search process without bias. We will have experienced UU trainers meet with our Search Committee, lead the Sunday service, and facilitate a 3-hour workshop and conversation.


We as a congregation (not just the Search Committee) will learn how to avoid letting prejudice become part of the search process. Congregational commitment is key for a successful search-we need yoUU! 





As approved in our congregational budget for 2014-2015, we are currently seeking applicants for two new job positions in our fellowship. The first is an Assistant Religious Educator, who will be providing support for our DRE in the religious education program we have here at MVUUF. The second is for a Congregational Coordinator, who will coordinate members in various areas of congregation life here at MVUUF, be it RE classes, covenant groups, or events happening at the Fellowship. These are not positions we can fill with MVUUF members. If you know someone that would be a good fit for these positions, please encourage them to apply. Full job descriptions and application methods can be found on the following links:


Assistant Religious Educator HERE


Congregational Coordinator HERE


--Laura Vondenhuevel, MVUUF Communications Rep.




The MVUUF Board has a couple of important announcements to share with members and friends:


1.   The Board is committed to building leaders for our all-important stewardship efforts. If you are interested in learning about how you can help our congregation meet our stewardship challenges, please plan to attend the UU Stewardship Conference (Building a Culture of Generosity) on Saturday, September 20, 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., at First Unitarian Church (536 Linton Street, Cincinnati, 45219). Cost is $30 for the first team member, and $25 for each additional team member; lunch is included. Participants will learn how to explore generosity as a spiritual practice, examine obstacles to creating a culture of generosity in their congregation, and create new ways to enable members to experience the joys and rewards of being generous. Contact Board members Alysoun Taylor-Hall, Trudy Krisher, Peter Hewitt, or Bob Lewis about your interest. Scholarships may be available.


2.   The Board is also committed to building leadership skills among our congregation to carry on our important work. The Central East Region and the Columbus OH cluster are offering a new, flexible, streamlined leadership school this fall. It is called H-UULTI-The Hybrid/Online UU Leadership Team Institute. Participants will take part in on-demand webinars; live, web-based "process circles"; and three in-person Saturdays. The cost is $50 per participant. Learn more at:


Contact Board members Alysoun Taylor-Hall, Trudy Krisher, Peter Hewitt, or Bob Lewis about your interest. Scholarships may be available.





I had the great fortune of being your delegate to the UUA General Assembly in Providence, Rhode Island this summer. Delegates vote on the business of the assembly. Two highlights of our votes made me proud. First, the assembly voted to change the bylaws. Rather than having a section on non-discrimination we now have a section on "inclusion." It reads:  "Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons and commit to structuring congregational and association life in ways that empower and enhance everyone's participation." For me, this language is positive and forward-looking and I hope we will consider the assembly's move as direction for ourselves as well!


Further, a "rule" change made UUA non-discrimination policies more inclusive. The new rule reads:  "The Association declares and affirms its special responsibility, and that of its member congregations and organizations, to promote the full participation of persons in all of its and their activities and in the full range of human endeavor without regard to racialized identity, ethnicity, gender expression, gender identity, sex, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, family and relationship structures, age, language, citizenship status, economic status, or national origin and without requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any particular religious belief or creed." Wow! A most moving moment was when a transgender woman stated she felt held and loved by this faith. May it be so for everyone.

--Alice Diebel, Chairperson, Ministerial Search Committee





Join Chalice of the Willow (CUUPS) on Saturday, August 2, at 7:00 p.m. for our Lammas ritual! There will be preparation and fellowship at 6:30 p.m.  and more fellowship after the ritual. It is open to the community. We will have a potluck after the ritual, so please bring food to share. The focus of this year's ritual is Gathering Blessings. We hope to see you there!


Also, CUUPS will be holding their monthly discussion group on Sunday, August 10th, 12:30-2:00 p.m., in the Founders Room at the Fellowship. Come and chat with Chalice of the Willow and network with other locals. For any event updates or other happenings, please visit our Facebook group (Chalice of the Willow) for more information, at:






This new group will have its monthly meeting on Monday, August 18, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Library at the Fellowship. EVERYONE is invited to become a member of ART! We hope to see you there!




The MVUUF Board, at its meeting on Thursday, July 17, approved a request from the Social Action Committee to hang our People of Faith for Marriage Equality banner on the building for the next month.


This request came in part from the Committee's desire to show our visible support for gay marriage during the time when the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral arguments on August 6 in five marriage cases in four states, including Ohio. In addition to Ohio, the 6th Circuit Court-just one step below the U.S. Supreme Court-will also hear oral arguments in the historic marriage cases in Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky. Though the cases are unique, each deals with whether statewide gay marriage bans violate the Constitution.


Al Gerhardstein, who spoke at the Fellowship last month, is a UU Cincinnati civil rights attorney who represents plaintiffs in two Ohio cases that will go before the Appeals Court. Commenting on the August 6 hearing, he said, "I think the way the court's approaching it is significant. They see the need to do some basic rulings on core principles cutting across all these state lines. It's very exciting."


The Fellowship, which has taken a stand in support of gay marriage, has already hung the banner twice in the last few years, and it is carried every year in the Gay Pride Parade. The banner will be hung for a thirty day period, which began the last weekend in July. Members of the Fellowship are also encouraged to attend two marriage rallies in Cincinnati on August 5 and 6 (you can find out more by reading Rev. Mary Moore's column, or checking out the Fellowship's Facebook page). Wear your Standing On The Side of Love

t-shirt, or wear red to symbolize your support for marriage equality.


A February 2014 poll from The Washington Post/ABC News found that 59% of all Americans support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. For the first time, the poll showed that there is a majority support for marriage in every region of the country, as well as plurality support in every age group.






MVUUF's West Dayton Action Group has committed to coordinating and hosting a Baby Shower at the Wesley Community Center on Saturday, September 20. The baby shower will bring together 20 expectant and new moms to celebrate, share information, connect them with community resources, and provide essential infant items. We are counting on the Fellowship to support the efforts in the following ways:


1.   Donate items for the baskets

      Each of the 20 baskets will contain the following items:

  • Mom's gift set (small basket with several toiletries pre-wrapped in cellophane)
  • 1 large blanket
  • 3 receiving blankets
  • 1 sleeper
  • 3 onesies
  • 1 baby towel
  • 1 3-pack of baby washcloths
  • 1 baby hat
  • booties/socks
  • 1 burp cloth
  • 1 large stuffed animal
  • 1 small stuffed animal
  • 1 infant outfit
  • 1 rattle or hand toy
  • disposable diapers (size 1)

You may bring items to the Gathering Space where we have baskets for the donations. There will also be an area to sign-up to donate items. And calling all knitters! It would be fantastic to have handmade blankets, hats, booties!


2.   Donate new or gently used larger items that will be distributed on an as-needed basis, such as cribs, mattresses, car seats, strollers, fitted crib sheets and other infant items.


3.   Make a monetary donation for us to buy needed items. You can place a check in the offering plate with Wesley Baby Shower on the memo line, mail a check to the office, or donate through the online giving option.


Material donations will be accepted through Sunday, September 7, but the sooner the better to help us in preparing for the event. If you have any questions, please contact Bob Lewis at (937) 350-7763 or




The MVUUF Social Action Summer Film Series are free movies with snacks and good fellowship that take place on Friday evenings, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Founders Room at the Fellowship. Bring friends and family! If you like, stay after for discussion. Donations of snack items are welcomed, but not expected.

  • August 8th-The Internet's Own Boy                                                 is Brian Knappenberger's 2014 compelling documentary about social activist and brilliant computer programmer Aaron Swartz.  Find out more about the movie by visiting


     The film website Rotten Tomatoes gave it an unusually high 90% rating and said, "From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined  with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26." Thanks to the filmmaker for making our non-commercial showing possible under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

  • August 22nd-Unnatural Causes is a PBS series. We will watch Episode 1:  "Set in Louisville, Kentucky, it is a story about health, but it's not about doctors or drugs. It's about why some of us get sicker more often and die sooner in the first place. What are the connections between healthy bodies and healthy bank accounts and skin color? How do social policies and the way we organize work and society affect health?" Find out more about the series at:


--Lynn Buffington, Social Action Committee Chair




All are invited for a MVUUF Meet Up for an improve comedy show at Black Box Improv in Dayton on Saturday, August 9. If you want to know what Black Box is, check them out at:



We will meet at Lucky's Tap Room on Fifth Street in the Oregon District between 6-6:30 p.m., and then go over to Black Box for the shows. There is one show at 8:00 p.m., and another at 9:30 p.m. It's $7 per show, or $10 for both (which I recommend). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and parking is more of an issue than seating, so if you don't want to walk, you'll need to get there early to get a spot. The show is appropriate for adults and possibly older teens, but they often contain adult content. You can BYOB, food and snacks!


While looking up info to share, I also found a Groupon if you are interested in taking an improve class yourself. Introductory 8-week Improv Class with Groupon is $45 (usually $100).

--Genevieve Harvey, Program Council Chair




All are invited to meet up at the Holes Creek Gathering on Sunday, August 24, around 12:30p.m. It's at Countryside Park, which is located on the grounds of the Centerville Rec Center (895 Centerville-Miamisburg Road), just a few minutes from the Fellowship. This is a public event and open to all ages. If you are interested in meeting there with a group from MVUUF, please email me (Genevieve Harvey) and I'll keep a list of all interested and we'll plan a meet-up spot. Please note that there are not details regarding food that will be available for purchase, so I'm suggesting that if people don't want to take a chance, they may want to bring their own picnic or snacks to eat at the Fellowship or at the park before we join the festivities. If you have period costumes (1750-1865), you may want to wear them! Find out more at:






Earlier this year, when the Library was "out of commission," three CDs of Sunday sermons were borrowed, and have not as yet been returned:  #101 (2/23/14), #110 (4/27/14) and #114 (5/25/14). Please contact Pat Santucci if you know of their location.



Small Group Dinners will start again in September, but with a slight twist this time:  instead of doing them on a five-month, four-month rotation, we're going to rotate groups every three months for three rotations.


What are small group dinners, you ask??? They are groups of 6-8 adults from MVUUF who meet once a month for a potluck dinner. Your group picks the house, the time, the menu, etc. You sign up (sign-up sheet will be in the Gathering Space), and I randomly pick the make-up of the groups (no peeking!). This is a great way to get to know others in the Fellowship. It's an especially great way for our new members to get integrated into our community, too.


The more people that sign up, the more fun it is! Look for the sign-up sheets the first Sunday in August. If you have any questions, give me a call at (937) 427-1980 or send me an email at:

--Dawn Bellinger




You can now share joys and sorrows with a Pastoral Associate after every Sunday service. One of the six will be available at the front of the sanctuary (by the quilt) to lead a short session during the coffee hour. The Pastoral Associates are also available for home and hospital visits for those who cannot make it to service on Sundays, as well. Our Pastoral Associates are:  Ria Megnin, Heidi Porter, Tina Porter, Denny Smith, Lathe Snyder (Coordinator), and Kathleen Turner.




It's almost time to celebrate our annual Fall Compassionate Connection Workshop (Compassionate Connection is also known as Non-Violent Communication and Compassionate Communication). The workshop will begin on Tuesday, September 9, 7-9:00 p.m., in the Founders Room at the Fellowship, and we will meet weekly, for ten weeks, ending in early November. There are make-up dates in case of severe weather events. Denny Smith and Mike Fanelli will facilitate the workshop; contact Denny at to register, and for more information.




August 20 - Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes.

September 17 - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain.


We meet one Wednesday a month, at 10:30 a.m., in the Fellowship Library.  All are welcome! Contact Janice Beers, ( 937) 836-7166.




The Evening Book Discussion Group will meet on Tuesday, August 12, 7:00 p.m., at Christopher's Restaurant to discuss The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.  New participants are welcome; contact Ann Snively if you'd like more information.


Upcoming titles:

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




The August meeting of our Environmental Learning Book Club will take place on Monday, August 18, 7:00 p.m., in the Founders Room at the Fellowship. Our reading/discussion selection will be The Zero Waste Solution:  Untrashing The Planet One Community at a Time, by Paul Connett.  In The Zero Waste Solution, Connett discusses successful zero-waste initiatives around the world that show how communities can re-envision their waste-handling processes by consuming less, turning organic waste into compost, recycling, and demanding non-wasteful product design. We have ordered a few paperback copies from at a discounted price of $19.05 (list price is $24.95). To reserve a copy, contact Gary Courts, Environmental Action Group chair, at (937) 436-1094 or also has a Kindle edition available for $13.99. Plan to be with us on August 18 to discuss this important read on how to combat our wasteful ways.




August 3: Personality Types with moderator Jim Faulconer  

August 10:  Songs or Music That Left Indelible Memories (bring samples!)  with moderator Ralf Grisard 

August 17:  Accentuating the Positive with moderator Diane Bohlander    

August 24:  To Be Announced  with moderator Daniel Begley

August 31:  Income Inequality with moderator Wil Brooks




We are looking for several volunteers to help out with cleaning up after the coffee hour (after Sunday service) for the 1st, 4th and 5th Sundays of each month. Also, it would be nice to have a few volunteers who could help to make the coffee on the 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month. If you'd be able to lend a hand in this way, please contact Heidi Porter, at




Fair Trade coffee sales will resume in September. Until then, feel free to contact Lynn Buffington, at or (937) 657-0426, to place an order.  




Smart Choices will hold their next monthly birthday luncheon on Thursday, August 28, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at MCL Cafeteria in Kettering (Far Hills and David Road). All are invited to help us celebrate...come check us out! 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.  August 9th Menu: pulled pork/BBQ chicken/sloppy joe sandwiches, vegetable dish (coleslaw, pasta salad with veggies, or side dish made with fresh veggies), fresh fruit 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. 



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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!