Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          September 1-30, 2014

Sermon Topics


September 7---From Lakes, Streams, Oceans and Faucets:  A Celebration of Water--Multi-Generational Water Service---Rev. Mary Moore and Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education.  


September 14---Beyond Categorical Thinking---Jo Ann Dale and Michael Takada.    We all have an image of the ideal minister, often fitting a particular age, gender, physical ability, race, or sexual identity. With this image in mind, it can be difficult to consider ministers who don't match it. This service will explore these issues, and is followed by an important workshop that will help everyone in our congregation be part of the search.


September 21---Marching in the Face of Climate Change---Rev. Mary Moore.   


September 28---Service Trip To NOLA---Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education and Erin Halpin, Tyler Clark, Max Santucci, Leo Santucci, Kevin Rawlins, and Bill Ross.  In July of 2014 we made congregational history when our Fellowship sent five youth and two adult advisors to New Orleans on our first ever Youth Service Trip. Hear how the experience impacted our teenagers as they bring a little of The Big Easy back to the Midwest. Social action, environmental justice, cultural diversity and some really great music is in store! 


Around the Fellowship...



We at the Fellowship have been "speaking our truth with love" lately. At least 17 people participated in the rallies in Cincinnati in favor of Marriage Equality. The UU World blog 

( posted the following report:

     Hundreds gathered in Cincinnati to show support for marriage equality, marking the opening arguments for Michigan and other Midwest states in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Rev. Mary Moore of Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Dayton, Ohio, was present along with members of the congregation. "We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of everyone," said Rev. Moore, "It's not fair because I perform services for same-gender couples but they don't get the same rights as heterosexual couples." (Detroit News, 8/5/14)


The following week, Fellowship members and Mary participated in a vigil and rally following the killing of Michael Crawford III at the Beavercreek Walmart. Again, this was an opportunity to get the word out about our values and to show that we walk our talk.


We can be proud to have been represented in these important issues by our minister and fellow church members. We have much that is important for the world and those who have power in it to hear.


It is not always easy to "speak our truth with love." When we feel strongly about something, tensions can mount and we can forget to be kind. This can happen both outside the Fellowship and also internally in our own midst. Especially in these times of transition here at the Fellowship, when some things are changing and others are remaining the same, it is important to talk openly, directly, and especially respectfully about the things we like or do not like.


It is easy, when feelings run high, to speak harshly or for our body language to
show our displeasure with a situation. Unfortunately, displeasure with a situation easily is interpreted as displeasure with a person. When we forget that we are in community together and allow ourselves to engage in disrespectful behaviors, people may be hurt and conflict can escalate. Hearing each other's points of view and finding ways to meet each other's needs can happen more easily when we act in a caring manner in our communication.

Just as we uphold our Unitarian Universalist principles of worth and dignity in the outside world, we must do so within our own walls. Our Fellowship's Covenant of Right Relations begins "As I enter this sacred space, I will do my part to create a loving, welcoming environment...focusing on the goal of building the beloved community within these walls and in the wider world." That means we strive to show love in our speech and in our physical expressions.


It also means that we hold each other accountable to behave in loving ways. Sometimes we may not even be aware that our behavior is causing discomfort for someone else. If you observe that happening, please speak up. Just as we defend the dignity of strangers by rallying and making our voices heard, so too we can defend the dignity of our fellow congregants.


Building the world we see takes work. It takes "speaking our truth with love." This is the sacred work that creates community and will bring us the life that we long for. It is worth it. We, and all the world, are worth it.


With faith in our future,

Barb Weber,

Transition Team Chair






Remember to attend this special 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! 




Welcome to our two newest staff members! At the Board meeting of August 21, the Board approved the offers of employment for Stella Combs and Kate Jacobs.


Stella Combs will be serving as our Religious Education Assistant, providing a helping hand to our Religious Education program. Before she moved to Middletown, she was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, Virginia. In Virginia, she served as Youth Religious Education Committee Chair, where she did program planning for all age groups, participating in multi-generational services and youth camp outs. Stella describes herself as a creative, fair-minded person with a passion for giving to others. Hiring Committee member Brianna Kempe says, "Stella's references were glowing about her desire to get jobs done, and we look forward to the support she'll be able to provide for our own YRE wing."


Kate Jacobs has been appointed our Congregational Coordinator. In that role, her friendly, helpful attitude and her employment experiences in customer service will help make her strong connections among people, programs and activities at the Fellowship. As one of her references pointed out, "If there's a way to make things run better, Kate will think of it." Kate earned a B.A. in Historical, Political and Sociological Studies at The University of Exeter in England, and is the new mother of a 4-month old son. Trudy Krisher, a member of the Hiring Committee, says, "Kate is eager to help foster connections around the Fellowship; I have no doubt that her youth, energy, and competence will help us grow our volunteer efforts at the Fellowship."


Welcome Stella! Welcome Kate!


Many thanks are due to the Hiring Committee, made up of Brianna Kempe, Trudy Krisher, Laura Vondenhuevel, and Rev. Mary Moore. The committee especially wants to thank Jennie Freiberger, who made the posting of jobs, the collection of applications, the scheduling of interviews, and the entire personnel hiring process run smoothly.

--Trudy Krisher, Hiring Committee member




It's always exciting, in September, to get back into our church year. In YRE, children get to "move up," re-forming classes with new people, and in some cases even getting to change classrooms. Our volunteer teachers are fresh and ready to meet their new students. The classrooms have been cleaned and organized and supplies refreshed. And our YRE Committee is busy planning special events and activities for the next 8 months, designed to build our beloved community and serve our families. But this year, there's even more "new" floating around YRE!


Okay, she might not actually float, but our new Religious Education Assistant, Stella Combs, is going to be a wonderful asset to our growing YRE program! She comes to us with very high regard from her previous UU congregation (UU Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, Virginia). You will see her mostly on Sundays, greeting new families, overseeing the prep room, and supporting our volunteer teachers. Feel free to stop in and introduce yourself!


Also new, and figuratively floating around cyberspace, is our online volunteer sign-ups, First Hour RE sign-ups, and YRE child registration forms. (Please see the blurb after this article for more information and those links.) Using online forms will greatly simplify our administrative tasks in YRE.


First Hour RE

is something that many churches use to offer Lifespan Religious Education before service on Sundays. MVUUF has used this time for adult classes like New UU, Build Your Own Theology, and the on-going Community Class. And in YRE we have occasionally offered a short class here or there in the mornings.  But beginning this September, and going through November, we will be offering three different classes happening at the same time:  OWL for 4-6 Graders; Age of Reason for 2-3 Graders; and Parents as Resident Theologians for adults. (Please see the blurb following this article.) 


In addition to these classes, we'll have special childcare available for K-5 graders who will not be attending one of the classes. This childcare will be more structured, with group games and activities. Our childcare providers are working hard to make sure the kids in childcare will have a fun experience.


Don't forget to join us for our Multi-Generational Water Ceremony on Sunday, September 7, and for our first day of regular YRE classes on Sunday, September 14 to see these changes and more first-hand!



If all of our teaching teams have at least four teachers, no one will have to give up more than one Sunday each month. Think of that! Spread the love! Consider giving just a little time so that others can fill their cups as well.


You can now volunteer to help in YRE using this link: 


To find out more about what is needed for YRE volunteers, use this link: 


Get involved from the comfort of your own home!




First Hour RE is religious education for the whole family that begins at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings. This fall we're offering three exciting classes, plus additional childcare for children who aren't attending a class. An online registration link for these classes and childcare has been sent to the MVUUF-News List and the YRE-Parent List; you can also find them here:



Sign up for First Hour RE classes using this link: 


And you can now register your children for YRE classes electronically using this link: 


Here's some info regarding the First Hour RE classes:


          OWL for 4-6 Grades (

o   September 14 Parent Meeting

o   September 21 Parent-Child Orientation

o   September 28-Session 1 (kids only sessions 1-8)

o   October 8-Session 2

o   October 12-Session 3

o   October 19-Session 4

o   October 26-Session 5

o   November 2-Session 6

o   November 9-Session 7

o   November 16-Session 8 (there may also be a class celebration with parents        on this day)

Contact for this class is Genevieve Harvey,        


          Age of Reason

 This program is designed to engage 2nd and 3rd grade UU's in their own special Rite of Passage at the universally recognized stage of development-- the age of reason. The program is designed to coincide with the Roman Catholic First Communion rite. The core message is "Sink Your Roots-Stretch Your Wings-Find Your Own Truth."  We'll be talking about each UU Principle and also talking to staff and volunteers at MVUUF.  Classes begin September 21st and meets every Sunday  through November 2nd, when we will be part of a Multi-Gen service.
Contact for this class is Shannon


          Parents as Resident Theologians 

  This class helps parents and other adults articulate their religious experiences and beliefs in order to respond to the religious questions of their children. Goals for Participants:  To probe personal theological issues,  gain insight into their religious journeys, explore ways to interact with children in their religious questioning, reach a deeper understanding of what it is to be a Unitarian Universalist, appreciate the important role of parents in their children's religious development, articulate their personal theology. Classes will take place on Sundays, September 28-November 9


Contact for this class is Robin Shampton,




Registration for our annual Fall Compassionate Connection 
(a.k.a., Non-Violent Communication and 
Compassionate Communication) will close soon! This workshop is intended as an introduction to a more peaceful, and often more effective, approach toward listening and speaking with others, particularly when making requests of, or sharing a different opinion with another person at home, at work, or in the community. At this point, registration of new attendees has been too low to justify the resources involved in running this 10-week workshop. If you have never been exposed to this approach toward more effective communication, as opposed to the manipulation and intimidation often found "between the lines" of our American language, THIS  is your opportunity to change your thought to change your life.


As in the past, the 10 workshop meetings will follow the flow of the first ten chapters of Marshall Rosenberg's NonViolent Communication-A Language of Life, Second Edition. Rosenberg presents a "left brain", step-by-step approach toward understanding how his approach toward NonViolent Communication is structured. The meetings will include a variety of music, poetry, and sharing by participants to encourage a "right brain" appreciation of the thoughts and feelings that are fundamental to Compassionate Connection.


Denny Smith and Mike Fanelli will facilitate the workshops; you can sign-up at the registration table in the Gathering Space, or contact Denny at But please, do so soon! 



Do you check the box that says "white/Caucasian" when filling out forms? What does it mean to identify yourself as white? Examining Whiteness is a UUA curriculum designed to help white people understand how race and racism shape our identities. Examining Whiteness provides an opportunity to engage hearts and minds in a safe community where self-awareness and accountability can lead to transformation.


This curriculum is recommended especially for those who do identify as white. While it may seem counter-intuitive to do anti-racism work in a segregated setting, it follows a well-established model. According to Judith H. Katz, an anti-racism trainer, when minorities are part of mixed-group classes, "They were being put in the hot seat to discuss their experiences with oppression. Whites would often attempt to refute the reality of those experiences or would feel guilty about being white." Katz said the usual result was that white people either reinforced their initial attitudes or increased their feelings of anxiety and guilt.


Put our UU values to work. Take advantage of this opportunity for an honest discussion of whiteness. If we can't talk about racism at MVUUF, then where can we talk about it?


There will be six sessions, on Thursday evenings, October 2 through November 13 (no session on October 30), 7-8:30 p.m., in Classroom #5 at the Fellowship. You can talk with either Joe Law ( or Phil Wise (, who will be leading the sessions, and watch for sign-up sheets in the Gathering Space.




Transgender 101 is a three-session class, which will be held on three consecutive Tuesday evenings, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary.


September 9-Transgender 101, with MVUUF member Antonia Harter. Antonia has taught this class across the country in colleges and universities, and her lively presentation style has been praised in these settings. As a transwoman, she has spent many years of involvement in the trans community.

September 16-How To Be An Ally with MVUUF member Margaret Michal. September 23-a Panel Discussion with trans people of various ages and backgrounds.


Transgender awareness is in the forefront of media, and it's an important area for us to consider as we build our beloved community with inclusion. Sign-up sheet is in the Gathering Space; contact Margaret Michal with questions,




What do people of faith need to know to identify victims of domestic violence and human trafficking and respond helpfully? You will learn this and more at the Interfaith Conference on Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, which will be held on Wednesday, October 29, 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., at U.D.'s River Campus, 1700 S. Patterson Blvd., in Dayton. Two MVUUF members are on the planning team, and they are excited about the amazing array of speakers, from Ohio Representative Teresa Fedor to panels focused on children, men, survivors, and responders. Links for the full program and registration can be found here: with paper versions available in the Gathering Space. Register now, and if you cannot attend, small donations are welcomed to support scholarships for others to attend. You can make a check out to West Ohio Annual Conference-Oct. 29 and give it to Maureen O'Meara or Lynn Buffington, or mail it to the address accepting paper registrations. And please, share the link with others!




On Sunday, September 21, thousands of people will come together in New York City to take part in the People's Climate March.  Individuals and organizations, including faith communities, will be marching together to call for a strong climate change treaty. Of course, not everyone can go to New York City for the event. For those who cannot attend, the organization Green Faith-Interfaith Partners for the Earth is urging faith communities to show support locally for the march. Here at MVUUF, we plan to participate in several activities suggested by Green Faith, including this one:  On (Sunday) September 21 at 1:00 p.m. "sound off" outdoors in support of climate action for 5 minutes and 50 seconds. Why 5 minutes and 50 seconds? That's 350 seconds, to represent 350 parts per million-the highest number of ppm of carbon dioxide allowable for a stable climate. Plans are now underway to determine how we will sound off, so look for further information in the coming days and weeks. Plan now to be with us on September 21 for this opportunity to collectively express our support for climate action. Every voice matters to make change happen.




Hi, please allow me to introduce myself as the newly-appointed Activities Representative to the Program Council at MVUUF. My name is Gail Cyan, and I am really looking forward to having fun with you and am ready to hit the ground running.


At SUUSI this summer, Beloved Community was the theme. We spent a lot of time exploring this concept of intentionally being in community with each other. One of the ministers challenged us to expand our ideas about "church activities" as NOT just being social with each other, NOT just attending committees and volunteering our time, NOT just serving our insulated congregation-he challenged us to become INVESTED and seek out the spiritual and communal energy that comes from "doing good" with each other. He advocated for infusing social justice and radical hospitality into everything we do together; to ask ourselves how we can spread the powerful, productive, and positive energy that comes from worship, fun, and being in community.


I love this.


I have just created a Facebook group called MVUUF Beloved Community and I invite you to search for it and join in or start a conversation. Once you are in, invite people you know to join. Let's brainstorm and share our ideas about community building. How do we want to know each other more deeply? How can we support each other? What are our favorite memories from times shared in the past? What would you like to see happening at our Fellowship in the future? (You get the idea!) I will do my best to summarize what is shared on the Facebook page in emails to the congregation from time to time, as the spirit moves me to do so.


Also, I have been inviting people that I meet at the Fellowship to give me feedback about ideas to create a Beloved Community and I am humbled by the conversations, the passions that are simmering out there amongst us. I hope to serve as a facilitator to make many of these ideas happen. If we haven't met yet, please introduce yourself. I will have my notebook ready to jot down ideas and look forward to sharing a conversation with you.


I truly love this Beloved Community. I am committed to it. We have a lot to look forward to.



In support of the congregation's ministerial search, Chalice of the Willow (CUUPS) will be moving their normal second Sunday discussion from September 14 to Sunday, September 7, 12:30-2:00 p.m., at the Fellowship. We encourage our members to attend the service Beyond Categorical Thinking and the Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop after the service on September 14th. 


On September 7th, we will be discussing Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox, and other fall traditions. On September 20th, we will be having our Autumnal Equinox Ritual. Also, September 20 is Dayton Pagan Pride Day at Eastwood MetroPark. members of CUUPS will be in attendance, and there will be workshops and public rituals. Please stop by and say "Hi!" For any event updates or other happenings, please visit our Facebook group (Chalice of the Willow) for more information, at:




So much to do! There is no place better nor anyone better to be with than UUs!




The Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) will be presenting a series of films on the first Friday evening of each month, featuring varying aspects of race relations in the United States.


The first film will be The Color of Fear, shown on Friday, September 5, 7:00 p.m., in the Founders Room, with a discussion following. This documentary features eight North American men (two African-Americans, two Latinos, two Asian-Americans, and two Caucasians) gathered together by director Lee Mun Wah for a dialogue about the state of race relations in America, as seen through their eyes. The exchanges are sometimes dramatic, and put in plain light the pain caused by racism in North America. Refreshments will be served, and there will be a discussion following the film.


We have made arrangements to obtain the film, but it is not yet in hand. In the event that it is not available on September 5, we will show another highly-acclaimed documentary, Traces of the Trade, in which producer/director Katrina Browne and her cousins explore the story of their New England ancestors, who comprised the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history.




We need you! Please consider joining the Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) at our next meeting, on Wednesday, September 24, 6-8:30 p.m., in the Founders Room. We encourage everyone to join ART! Upcoming meetings dates are:  October 22, October 29, and November 5.



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. And don't forget:  donations for the Baby Shower need to be made by Sunday, September 7! Please refer to the August edition of The Forum (on our website) for more details.




September 7:  Songs & Music That Left Indelible Memories In Our Lives (feel free to bring samples!)  with moderator Ralf Grisard   

September 14Honesty & Relationships with moderator Don Heidorn  

September 21Bring Your Own Aphorism  with moderator Diane Bohlander     

September 28Habitat for Humanity 101 with moderator Gary Luttrell 




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

October 15-The Hundred-Foot Journey, by Richard Morais

November 19-The Dollmaker, by Harriette Arnow


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, September 9, 7:00 p.m., at Christopher's Restaurant to discuss Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris.  New participants are welcome; contact Ann Snively if you'd like more information.


Upcoming titles:

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 next meeting of our Environmental Learning Forum Book Club will take place on Monday, September 15, 7:00 p.m., in the Founders Room. Our monthly reading/discussion selection is Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and The Environmental Crisis. The authors, Ian Angus and Simon Butler, refute the prevailing idea that over-population is a major cause of environmental destruction. Instead, they argue that by focusing on human numbers, we actually weaken the search for real solutions. We have ordered a few paperback copies from for resale at their discounted price of $14.74 (list price is $19.00). To reserve a copy, please contact Environmental Action Group chairman Gary Courts at (937) 436-3628 or And please plan to be with us on September 15 to discuss this treatise that presents an unconventional view on the roots of environmental crisis. 




Smart Choices will hold their next monthly birthday luncheon on Friday, September 26, 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 Petersen at




We have a new order & delivery schedule! Orders will go in the first week of each month and deliveries will be on the third week. To place orders, look for the Fair Trade coffee table on the first Sunday or pick up an order form from the Gathering Space and place your order any time with Lynn Buffington, at
(937) 657-0426 or




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.  September 13th Menu: hearty chili, 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. 




Well, you've made it to the end of another informative edition of
The Forum...but have you taken THE SURVEY yet?!?


The Ministerial Search Committee wants to make sure that EVERYONE participates in the survey to help us find the very best new settled minister. So, if you still haven't taken the survey yet, please do so as soon as possible! Simply click on the link below, or contact Jennie Freiberger, our Administrator, at (937) 436-3628 or   and she'll make sure you get a paper copy to fill out and return. EVERY opinion matters, so please share yours TODAY!


click HERE to take the survey!


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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!