Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          December 1-31, 2014

A View From the 'Rim


Some years it seems the spirit of Christmas/Hanukah/Yule/Kwanzaa just does not seem present in our life, our family, our world. Perhaps this might be one of those years for you.


Rev. Earl Holt, Emeritus Minister of a large UU church in St. Louis, MO, wrote a piece which I have saved and take out to read at such times. I share it with you as a gift.


When Christmas Won't Come


All the outward show of the season is a vain attempt to create Christmas, to control it, to make it come. It will come, I have learned. But it comes in spite of, not because of, our efforts. It comes not in the outward show but rather in the inner darkness. The wise men could only see the star because of the darkness. It was a lonely cave beside the inn that was filled by the birth of love. The shepherds who waited on a lonely, dark hillside and trembled in fear were the first to hear the news.


Christmas is the promise that our emptiness will be filled, our hunger assuaged and a deep darkness be flooded with light. It is a promise that comes to people walking in the darkness--the sad, the weary, the hopeless. It is there for those who feel in their soul's journey they are--like Mary and Joseph--wandering in a strange country, far from home. It is there for the pain-filled and the troubled and the lost.


Christmas will come, but we cannot make it come. And it may come most powerfully when we are most sure it will not come. The vain trappings of the season do disguise a great emptiness. But that emptiness waiting to be filled is the heart of Christmas and in that emptiness, that darkness, Christmas is waiting to be born.



I extend to you my warm good wishes for the December holidays and for peace and hope in your lives and in our world in the new year.



With warmest regards, as always,

Your interim minister,




Service Topics for December



December 7-Each Night A Child Is Born Is A Holy Night-Rev. Mary Moore, Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education, and Pam Gromen.  On this special celebration Sunday, our focus will be on MVUUF young people and their families, with a Child Dedication Ceremony, recognition of our Age of Reason class members, and children singing along with our choir. Come on this day as we honor MVUUF youngsters and their parents.


December 14-Wassail!-Rev. Mary Moore, Jeanette Filbrun Eakins, Choir Director, and the MVUUF Choir.  It's that time of year to join the Choir in MVUUF's annual celebration of some words, music and moods of the holiday season. This will be the third annual year to present this long-standing tradition at the morning service. After the service, we'll meet in the Gathering Space to continue our time of fellowship--enhanced by all the goodies you bring! Please bring appetizers, finger foods, or desserts to share; Wassail Punch will be provided. For those who wish to, our traditional caroling around the piano will take place once we've gathered our refreshments. Wes hail!


December 21-Yule/Winter Solstice-Rev. Mary Moore and Shannon Heather Hansen.


December 24-Christmas Eve Service, 7:30 p.m.-Star of Wonder, Star of Light:  A Service of  Candles and Carols-Rev. Mary Moore.


December 28-Sky Stewart. Sky, a Fellowship member and seminary student at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, will be the featured speaker on this morning. 


Around the Fellowship...



I don't usually quote Donald Rumsfeld. I think his words apply here, as he famously said, "There are things we don't know we don't know." There was an entire MVUUF history and plan that I did not know when I came to the Transition Team. I wonder if there are some of our members who also do not know? I think some of the congregation's current dissatisfaction may be due to not knowing.


In 2006, changes to our bylaws were made by our Board. These changes were made to facilitate our transition to becoming a program church. Our church building was designed and built with he idea that our membership numbers would grow. We need a larger number of members top sustain the vision and the financial success of our Fellowship. We were made to grow. We want to involve more people in our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. We have something valuable to offer.


Rev. Mary Moore was hired as our Interim Minister because of her specialized training and experience in developing program churches; she was hired by our Board to change our function from a pastoral church to a program church. The planning that began in 2006--the building out of our Fellowship, the goals of our Board--all pointed to hiring someone with her experience and training in developing a program church. We were fortunate to hire someone with her background, and she has come to us to help us meet our stated goal.


We are already a program church by definition, we have just been lagging behind in implementing the changes that will allow us to function smoothly as a program church. The change was organic; that is, it was made by our growing numbers, and not a matter of being forced into a mold.


We came from being a pastoral church; that is, a church with 150 members, or less. In a pastoral church, the pastor knows everyone personally and has the time to minister to everyone. In a pastoral church, the pastor, and not the lay leaders, is in charge of most of the functions. A program church makes much greater use of lay leaders, pastoral associates, and small group ministry. If we can grow our ministry, we can hire more staff. That will also help us to be more efficient and effective as a program church.


Here is what I know so far:  we are not a small, pastoral church. If we try to remain "small minded" we will fail utterly, both financially and as a liberal religious force in our community. We know that it is not humanly possible for one pastor to sustain the Fellowship at its present size. We need the help of lay leaders. We need people who can see what the future of the Fellowship could be. We need these folks to be change champions, leaders who are thinking not only about their own needs, but about the needs of our entire congregation. We need growing aspirations to quality. So we need folks to step up and commit to making MVUUF as good as it can be. A new settled minister is not going to "save" us; we have to be saving ourselves. This is our home.


In the future, the Transition Team will be speaking to you in more depth about what it means to be a program church. If you would like more information sooner, please feel free to read Alice Mann's Raising The Roof.


Margaret Michal, Transition Team Chair




Remember...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




Don't forget! This fun event will take place on Saturday, December 6, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and a bake sale...arts, crafts and specialty vendors...educational holiday displays...a book sale...raffles and prizes, too! This promises to be an amazing event that you will NOT want to miss!

If you are still interested in helping out, please contact Brianna Kempe at or (513) 484-4496 (call or text). 

See you at the Winter Bazaar 2014! 


Saturday, December 13, 1-4:00 p.m., at the Fellowship


Are you the kind of person who prefers to make a gift rather than buy one? Does receiving a homemade potholder bring you more joy than a restaurant gift card? Have you always wanted to expand your repertoire of fun craft activities for yourself of the young people in your life? Have your kids exhausted your at-home supply of construction paper, pipe cleaners and glue sticks...and they're still bored?


If you're looking for gift ideas for family or friends, if you need a break from mall traffic and crowds, or if you just like to get crafty, please come to the Fellowship on Saturday, December 13th, from 1-4:00 p.m. Our Handmade Crafternoon features a variety of simple projects that adults and kids can make and give. No previous crafting experience is necessary, and all supplies, directions--even some helping hands!--will be provided.


Find something for everyone on your list (maybe even yourself!) with these and other fun projects:  hot cocoa mix, hand-stitched bookmarks, peppermint sugar hand scrub, holiday wreath picture frames, and more. A gift-wrapping station and gift tags will also be available, so your gifts will be ready when you walk out the door.


Light refreshments will be provided in the Gathering Space. Donations to offset supply costs will be greatly appreciated the day of the event, but are not required for participation. Please RSVP to our event on the MVUUF Parent Group Facebook page, at:


if you'll be able to attend.


Can you volunteer to help make this afternoon a success? Think set-up, helping with projects, cleaning up...craftiness is definitely NOT required to help out! If so, please watch for sign-up sheets in the Gathering Space (beginning November 30), as well as links on the MVUUF website and Facebook page with details on how to sign-up online.


If you can't make the main event but would still like to help out, we are also looking for folks willing to put together samples of the projects, write out instructions, and prep some materials in the days prior to the 13th.


We also need to cross a few items off our supply list, and are hoping to upcyckle and reuse materials when possible. Please contact Eileen Simon at if you are interested in donating time or materials, or if you just want more information regarding this event.


Thanks for your support-we hope to see you there!




Please visit the Holiday Giving Tree in the Gathering Space. There are two ways this year to give! You can decorate the tree with new pairs of socks, for any age, to be given to those at the St. Vincent de Paul shelter for the homeless. Or you can select a gift tag from the tree and purchase the specified gift. You will find gift tags for items for the after-school program at the Wesley Center, as well as for a refugee family whose children are tutored by MVUUF members.  Please be sure to put your unwrapped, with its tag, under the tree on or before Sunday, December 21. Socks for those at St. Vincent's may be added to the tree through December 25.


If you would rather make a monetary donation for gifts, please write a check to MVUUF with "Humanitarian Giving Tree" in the memo line. Checks need to be received, either by mail or in the Offertory basket, by Monday, December 15.




Don't forget 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 through January 4, 2015.


If you have any questions, please contact Kathleen Pennington at





We are now collecting food items every Sunday for our local food pantry. Just be mindful to bring a can or box or some non-perishable food item with you on Sundays. Although any food is welcome, protein (in the form of canned meat or jerky) is especially welcome. Look for the specially-marked spot in the Gathering Space where you can drop off your donation. And thank you for helping to feed the hungry!    





A portion of MVUUF's Sunday Offering during December, January and February--and the entire Offering from the Christmas Eve service--is designated for the Minister's Discretionary Fund. May everyone be generous so that this congregation can continue to be able to offer some support to those who need 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 S. 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, December 9th, 7:00 p.m., at Christopher's Restaurant (2318 East Dorothy Lane) to discuss

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd. We will also talk about plans for future meetings.


The Evening Book Discussion 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, December 11, 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. It's getting colder and the numbers are up at St. V's, so we've needed more contributions. Special thanks to Rita Reeve for stepping up with extra batches of chili in November. 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.  December 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. 



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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!