Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          November 1-30, 2014

A View From the 'Rim


MVUUF is now entering upon one of my favorite times of an Interim Period-the time when the Ministerial Search Committee asks me to write a brief letter to prospective applicants for the Committee to include in the web-based Search Packet it is preparing. The reason I enjoy doing this task so much is because I can lift up and celebrate in that   letter some of the achievements of the congregation during this Interim Period!


What a joy it is for me to be able to tell some of what has come about during this time to my colleagues who are interested in becoming your new settled minister.


In no particular order, I will be mentioning such accomplishments as the Fund for Building Maintenance you established and supported and the complete refurbishment of the outside of the building and the parking lot which came about because of this.


Then there was the Youth Group Service Trip to New Orleans and the huge achievement of their raising the necessary funds to do this from your generous contributions. A Pastoral Associates program was begun here at MVUUF, along with Meals, Wheels and Caring Cards Appeals programs, and a Covenant Group program was re-established. A Channel 2 news team came out to broadcast to the larger community MVUUF folks ringing bells and banging gongs as they marched outside the meeting house to proclaim that climate change was real, caused by human activity and of great concern.


Through the initiative of some visionary members, informal Beloved Community gatherings have been taking place on some Friday evenings, with activities as diverse as a Trivia Night and a bonfire circle being offered.


MVUUF was farsighted and committed enough to create and fill two new staff positions-Congregational Coordinator and Religious Education Assistant. An Anti-Racism Task Force and a Westside Dayton Action Group have come about during this Interim Period. MVUUF leadership has been meeting in an extended series of sessions devoted to examining some of the long-time systemic challenges of the congregation and is beginning to create plans to address them. I also have been hearing some wonderful rumors of a Children's Choir or a Family Choir being formed soon!


All of these efforts and activities which have happened during this interim time have been announced and chronicled in the weekly MVUUF Friday E-Blast which was itself an Interim Period initiative.


I'm thinking that one of my ministerial colleagues is going to be very fortunate to be called to MVUUF as your good new settled minister!




With warmest regards, as always,

Your interim minister,




Sermon Topics


November 2--Samhain--Shannon Heather Hansen and Rev. Mary Moore. We will be celebrating the season of Samhain differently than we have in the past, and this service will be more intensive in nature. It will not be an inter-generational service, as YRE has plans of their own for celebrating the season


November 9--Toward Anti-Racism in the Miami Valley--Kathleen Pennington and Ndidi Achebe. MVUUF's Anti-Racism Task Force looks at racism and its impact in the Miami Valley and at ongoing attempts-including efforts by members of MVUUF-to make a difference.


November 16--Transgender Remembrance Day--Rev. Mary Moore and Margaret Michal. Transgender people are victims of murder and discrimination in surprisingly high numbers. We memorialize the loss of so many of our fellow human beings. We explore what we can do to create a world with out transphobia. We do all of this with our first two principles in mind. The inherent dignity and worth of every person. Justice, equality and compassion in human relations. This is a learning experience for all of us.


November 23--Stone Soup--Rev. Mary Moore and Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education. Join us this morning for a multi-generational service where you'll be fed spiritually...and also physically, after the service.


November 30--An Uncertain Sound--Edwin Fuller.


Around the Fellowship...



Sometimes it feels like a giant kaleidoscope has turned and suddenly the pieces fit differently than they did before. Our Interim Period has certainly felt that way at times, and here we are again with more changes.


This time it is unexpected changes of leadership. As you have probably seen, on October 8, the Board appointed me to fill out Aysoun Taylor Hall's presidency until officers who will be elected in January take office in March. Ann Snively is also new to the Board, as she will be completing Bill Dugger's term.


Many thanks are due to Alysoun and Bill for their diligent work. Both served us well. I am grateful for all they did on our behalf and am sending both of them good wishes.


Assuming the presidency means that I am stepping down from the Transition Team. Darrell Phillipson, Margaret Michal and John Bierman are joining Joe Law and Bonnie Thompson on the Transition Team. (No, it did not take three people to replace me; the Team had been understaffed for some time).


The Right Relations Committee has also been repopulated with Ria Megnin and Sheila Adams. Vacancies on the Nominating Committee are being filled by Sarah Hewitt and Garlene Hamilton. Thank you to the Board for identifying these new leaders and thank you to all those who are undertaking this work for our community.


In other leadership news, the Board, Program Council and Transition Team have taken on a study of Systems Theory and how it applies to our church. Systems Theory is a way of analyzing how an organization functions, with an eye toward developing better ways of being together. We are doing this in an attempt to determine what has kept us from growing and deepening our community. We have identified several areas to work on and will be brainstorming possible "solutions" to some long-standing problems. The engagement of these thoughtful people is impressive and moving.


Curious? Talk with people in your governing bodies. Ask them what they are learning and what better approaches are under consideration. If you don't know who we are, check with Jennie in the office. We will be letting you know of any decisions that are made.


As always, your concerns and ideas are important to us. Let us know what you are thinking. It is when we all work together that the kaleidoscope turning creates the most beautiful patterns.



With faith in our future, even with a new hat,

Barb Weber,

MVUUF Board President





The week of November 3-7, I will be over in the St. Louis area where I will be attending the annual meeting of the Prairie UU Ministers Intentional Study Group, and where I will be presenting a paper on the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher. At the end of that week, I plan to visit my daughter in Illinois on her birthday (Shhh! No telling; it's going to be a surprise!). On Sunday evening, November 9, I will be at the Ordination of a good friend, Lynnda White, by the Peoria, IL UU congregation. Making my way back to Dayton, I plan to take my older son (who lives in another city in Illinois) out to dinner on HIS birthday that Monday night. I'll travel as far as Indianapolis on Tuesday, November 11, honor a commitment there and return home to Dayton on Wednesday, November 12.


Lathe Snyder will be providing pastoral care coverage for MVUUF during my time away.


Lathe's email address is:


And his phone numbers are:  (513) 237-3420 (cell)

                                                   (937) 439-2014 (landline)






Surprise! This month I'm giving 

you a little glimpse into my mind. You're welcome!


Truth is, I was so busy attending a Liberal Religious Educator's (LREDA) Conference this past week that I didn't have time to write a long, insightful article for the newsletter (you're welcome, again!).


But I gleaned so many wonderful tidbits of knowledge during my time with hundreds of other religious educators in Decatur, Georgia, that I thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of what I "do" with it all during conferences. I've got pages and pages of this stuff! Rest assured, in the months (and no doubt years) to come, it will all be sorted and put into coherent communications that I will be sharing with all of you.


For now...please consider volunteering in our YRE program. We are still short on teachers for all grades, and guess what? Our program is growing! We would love to find you a special place in our YRE family!



Shannon Harper

Director of Religious Education





The end of October/beginning of November has many names to celebrate the change of the season:  Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), Summer's End, Hallowmas, All Saints' Day, Shadow Fest, Ancestor's Night, Hallowed Evening, Winter Nights, The Last Harvest, Feast of the Apples, Day for the Ancestors, etc. Most Pagans in our community refer to it as Samhain (pronounced Sow-in).


In the commonly accepted Wheel of the Year, Samhain is the time when darkness descends in earnest, enveloping our sense with thoughts of cold, emptiness, quiet, and loss. For some, it is a time of solitude, sadness, and sometimes even fear creeps in. We don't approach Samhain the same as our ancestors. We don't generally line in fear that the light won't return (although it's something to think about), that we won't be fed, or that we won't have the opportunity to manifest our desires. We do, however, acknowledge that socially and economically beleaguered spirits cope with the holiday blues. In light of these modern trends, this is still a naturally provocative time of passage.


The time between Samhain and the Winter Solstice can be a time between times. Samhain is seen as the last harvest and the point where the dark hours outnumber the daylight hours. The Winter Solstice is the turning point when the light returns to us. What lies in between? The darkness of the womb? The Veil between life and death? Our ancestors? Our own selves?


On Sunday, November 2nd we will be celebrating the season differently than we have in the past. There will still be an Ancestors' Altar in the Gathering Space for people to bring items to remember those who have crossed on, as this is still the time for honoring our ancestors, family, and loved ones that have crossed on past death (which began on Sunday, October 26th). The service, however, will be more intensive in nature. This will not be an intergenerational celebration. YRE has plans of their own for celebrating the season.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Shannon Heather at:




Chalice of the Willow (CUUPS) will hold their Samhain Ritual on Saturday, November 1. The doors open and socializing begins at 6:30 p.m., with the ritual beginning at 7:00 p.m. Following the ritual, there will be an indoor candlelit labyrinth, and a potluck meal. All are welcome to join any and all parts of the evening! If you have any questions, please contact Shannon Heather.




Come one, come our Town Hall! The Ministerial Search Committee (MSC) invites you to attend our Town Hall Meeting, which will be held on Sunday, November 2, immediately following the worship service. The MSC will share data compiled from the Survey and the Cottage Meetings, and it should conclude at 1:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided; please be aware that if you will be using childcare, you need to bring along a snack for your child/ren. Additionally, the youth will be selling bagels to support their holiday giving project for the adults.


We hope to see you at our Town Hall!

And if you have any questions about the search process, please contact one of us!


The Ministerial Search Committee---Yolanda Crooms, Alice Diebel, Karen Evans, Edwin Fuller, Iris Mirelez, Catherine Queener, and Jay Snively




Make sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, November 22, as that is the date of our annual Thanksgiving Fellowship Dinner. More details will be headed your way SOON!





On Sunday, November 9, during the worship service we will be using the exact model of video projector that we intend to install. Please plan to stay after the service for a brief explanation of the current design and the final decisions the Board will make in the next few months. Pat Santucci, A/V Chairperson, will host the gathering. We will begin as soon as we can-no later than 12:30 p.m. Expect 10 minutes of presentation, with a chance for comments and questions as we clean up.




To make the upcoming 2014 Winter Bazaar (on December 6, for those who don't have it on their calendars yet!) the best possible success for our Fellowship and community, I am looking for some volunteers, particularly people willing to take the lead on the following items:
  • Breakfast and Lunch---creating a breakfast and lunch menu to have available for sale during the Bazaar hours; gathering donations of supplies; preparing and running the food table
  • Raffle---sending out letters to local businesses and groups within MVUUF to see what they may be able to offer for us to raffle off (items like coffee baskets, wine & chocolate baskets, children's toys, etc. have done very well in the past)
  • Bake Sale Lead---keeping track of what people have volunteered to make for the bake sale; setting up a bake sale night, perhaps; managing the bake sale table
  • Set-Up and Clean-Up Crews---we had enough people jump in last minute to help clean up last year, but we could have used more help with setting up. I'm hoping to see if I can get someone to take the lead on it this year.
Interested in helping out? Please let me (Brianna Kempe) know. I can be reached at or (513) 484-4496 (call or text). Thanks! 




Each year at this time, friends and families in our congregation participate in Guest At Your Table-a 40 year UU tradition. By bringing home a beautiful Stories of Hope booklet and Guest At Your Table envelope, families and individuals learn about how the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee puts our shared values into action.  Through a potent combination of advocacy, education, and partnerships with grassroots human rights leaders, UUSC promotes workers' rights, upholds the human right to water, and protects communities at risk. 

Through the Stories of Hope booklet, we connect with leaders throughout the world who are working hard for human rights in partnership with UUSC. Households are invited to share Guest At Your Table materials when family and friends gather together, reflect on the contributions of these "guests" toward justice, and share generously. Each week, we can choose a different story to read, bringing our guests to life and helping celebrate our own rights. 

Sharing our blessings through Guest At Your Table ensures that UUSC's human rights work continues. Please consider making contributions throughout the program, to collect enough to be eligible for the matching grant:  any donation of $125 or more is eligible to be matched  dollar for dollar, thanks to a generous grant by the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, New York. This means you could double the impact of your gift!


Please be sure to pick up your Stories of Hope booklet and envelope. If you prefer, you can make your contribution online at:

Our Guest At Your Table program will run from November 23, 2014 through January 4, 2015.


If you have any questions, please contact Kathleen Pennington at





The Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) continues to present a series of films on the first Friday evening of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Founders Room.  This month's offering, Smoke Signals, will be shown on Friday, November 7. This feature film was written by Sherman Alexie, and is based on his short stories. The main characters are Victor Joseph (Adam Beach), an angry young man who enjoys playing basketball, and Thomas Builds- The-Fire (Evan Beach), an eccentric, and the movie follows the men on an adventure that changes both their lives. The film is unique in that it is an all-Native American production: producers, director, screenwriter, actors and technicians are all Native American, as Alexie wanted them all to have a chance to shine.


As always, refreshments will be served, and there will be a discussion following the movie. All are invited and encouraged to attend.





MVUUF friends:   Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your overwhelming support of the Cheesecake Sale to support the Walk to End Alzheimer's. To Adrienne who helped serve, to everyone who donated (those who donated, those who bought a slice of cheesecake, those who donated and did not want the cheesecake calories), and to everyone who supported this effort at the Fellowship-thank you so much! Our grand total raised was $720! Again, thank you!

-Robin & Jim Farinet




November 2nd:   Individual Development Goal? with moderator Joe Lawrence

November 9th:   Beyond Tribalism, with moderator Jim Faulconer

November 16th:   Domestic Violence, with moderator Roger Davis

November 23rd:   Thanksgiving Sunday

November 30th:   Open Forum




November 19th:   The Dollmaker, by Harriette Arnow. This book is 677 pages, so you may not want to wait until the last minute to start to read it!

December 17th:   This is our annual Christmas party/meeting with lunch. We have a reservation at Christopher's Restaurant on Dorothy Lane at 10:30 a.m. The short book for discussion is Christmas Day in the Morning, by Pearl Buck.

January (date tba):   The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd


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, November 11th, 7:00 p.m., at Christopher's Restaurant (2318 East Dorothy Lane) to discuss

The Circle, a novel by Dave Eggers. This will be an interesting book to discuss, as it follows the career and personal life of a young woman who works for a very powerful technology company, and it raises questions about the role of technology in our lives.


The book for our December 9th meeting is 
The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd. The Evening Book Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month, at Christoper's Restaurant. New participants are welcome; please contact Ann Snively at 

if you would like more information.




Smart Choices will hold their next monthly birthday luncheon on Thursday, November 13, 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





After service on the first Sunday of the month is the time to order Fair Trade coffee in the Gathering Space, for a triple win:   delicious coffee or tea; economic justice and safety for the growers and workers; and a commission to support Social Action activities at MVUUF. Orders are available for pick up on the third Sunday...Sunday, November 16 this month. You can also place your order at 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.  November 8th 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. 


Don't forget!!!



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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!