Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          February, 2015

A View From the 'Rim


One of my tasks as an Interim Minister is to let folks know about ways of "doing church" in some other UU congregations which are different from what happens at MVUUF. I do this in order to help MVUUF as you move into relationship with your good, new settled Minister; for your new minister may be used to some of these practices and/or wish to bring them to MVUUF. I at least would like you to have heard about them!


At this time I want to tell you about "Theme Based" programming which many UU congregations do. The Minister-often in conjunction with program staff and perhaps some congregation members who are helping to lead program areas-selects a Theme for each month, and/or perhaps one for the entire year.


Worship services for that month, YRE programming, Covenant Group sessions, aesthetic decorations in common areas, Adult RE offering and/or a Book Group programming-maybe even some Social Action programming are ALL centered around that theme.


The worship services for the month are planned much more like AWE services are planned here at MVUUF. The Minister and the DRE and someone from the Music programming area and a Worship Associate or two meet together weeks ahead of time to plan for and make selections for music, songs, Words for All Ages, readings, opening words, chalice lighting words, etc.


MVUUF's DRE, Shannon Harper, is very aware of the idea of Theme Based programming and the MVUUF Choir Director, Jeanette Filbrun Eakins, has already been seeking to follow themes of services for a long time. (Wasn't the choir piece at January 18's MVUUF service, which featured the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just great!!!)


So now you all will be able to take part knowledgeably in conversation about Theme Based programming with MVUUF's Settled Minister Candidate during Candidating Week this spring!



With the warmest regards as always,

Your interim minister,




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From February 2 through February 7, Rev. Mary will be joining a sizeable number of UU ministers attending the UU Ministers' Association Continuing Education Institute at a state park in California. Pastoral Care Minister, Lathe Snyder, will be providing Pastoral Coverage for emergencies for MVUUF during this time.


You can reach Lathe at:  (937) 439-2014---landline, 

                                             (513) 237-3420---cell


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Service Topics for February



February 1--Candlemas & Communion--Shannon Heather Hansen, Rev. Lathe Snyder, Rev. Mary Moore. Imbolc in the Pagan tradition and Candlemas in the Christian tradition both  celebrate the return of light. Come join the Fellowship as we welcome the strengthening sun and map out our journey toward light for the coming year. Please bring candles to be blessed for the year ahead, as well as a candle for candle communion (similar to our flower communion).


February 8--Privilege and the Courage of Nonviolence--Bob Lewis. Are you and I violent persons? Are we nonviolent? Can the approach of nonviolence used by Gandhi and King have any purpose in our own lives? As persons, and as a congregation, how should we use this Season of Nonviolence from January 30 to April 4?


February 15--What Type of Valentine Do You Prefer?--Rev. Mary Moore. On this Sunday near Valentine's Day, we'll be taking a look at the great variety of ways we use to tell our parents, partners and children that we love them-and the ways in which they tell us we are loved. We'll also be recognizing MVUUF's newest members on this morning.


February 22--Infinite Love--Rev. Mary Moore.  MVUUF Auction Door Prize Service Topic. Because I don't believe in selling sermon topics to the highest bidder at UU congregation auctions, at last year's MVUUF auction, there was a door prize offered whereby everyone who attended could enter a drawing for the chance to choose a sermon topic for me. As a result of the drawing, "Infinite Love" is to be this year's topic! There are many directions in which I might go with this. Come on this Sunday to find out which one I chose!



Around the Fellowship...



I am so proud of our congregation for the work we did at our Congregational Meeting! It was long, lasting over three hours, but we engaged in civil (to use Mary's word) and caring discussion. We reached some momentous decisions and did so in a way that deeply honors our Principles.


Our nearly unanimous decision to hang a Black Lives Matter banner on our building shows our willingness to take a strong stand on the Side of Love. Our approval of our UUA Green Sanctuary application shows our commitment to our planet earth.


And our lively, respectful discussion of the proposed bylaw changes shows our dedication to our faith and our beloved community. The following bylaw changes were approved:

---Adding the category heading "Membership"

---Adding the Minister as an ex-oficio member of the Audit Committee

---Removing "Associate Membership" as a category in the future

---Giving the Minister the authority to hire and fire staff


The following bylaw changes were not approved:

---Requiring a 30-day waiting period for voting privileges

---Requiring a financial pledge for membership


The use of the democratic process reminds us that our own preference will not always prevail. I trust that, no matter which side of any of these questions we may be on, we will all continue to value each other and our on-going involvement in our beloved community.


Our congregation is what we make of it. January 25 is a day we can all be proud of the direction we are moving toward, together.


-Barb Weber, Board President




Are you happy at MVUUF? Do you appreciate our programs? Do you want to learn more about us? Want to know why we are so awesome? Please join us in celebrating what is right with MVUUF, on Sunday, February 22. We will have a gathering in the sanctuary just after the Sunday service, to celebrate our successes!


I will be inviting various leaders to present information about what they have been doing, and there will also be time for questions and comments.


Please plan to join us!


-Margaret Michal,

MVUUF Transition Team Chair




Join us for an 8-week Adult Religious Education (ARE) class, where we will be discussing and exploring various topics related to Earth-Centered Traditions/Spirituality. We will be discussing the principles of Earth-Centered Traditions, the "big tent" (or "umbrella") of Paganism, beliefs, concepts of deity, ethics and personal responsibility, celebrations across traditions, and others. Classes will be held in the Founder's Room, beginning on Friday, February 27, 7-8:30 p.m., and continue on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of every month until June 12th. This is an introductory-level class, and all are welcome to attend.


We will be using the book Paganism:  An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce & River Higginbotham as our basic guide to walk through these topics, as well as other sources to supplement our exploration. This book came recommended to us from the CUUPS national organization as we were working to develop a beginner's-level curriculum for exploring this topic. While it is not required to purchase the book to participate in the class, those wishing for a deeper journey might find it very useful, as there are a lot of exercises to explore many of the topics in more depth then we will have time for in this overview-introductory class.


This class will be led by Megan Zane and Laura Vondenhuevel (Galena), both part of the leadership council of our Chalice of the Willow (CUUPS) group here at MVUUF. If you have any questions about the class or wish to sign-up, please email Laura at




Please check out our Facebook page or Gmail calendar ( for the latest events and happenings! We still have our discussion group monthly on the 2nd Sunday, after service from 12:30-2:00 p.m., in the Founder's Room, but we are doing so much more! New and Full Moon Gatherings, ritual and community potlucks for the holidays, and we are even in the preliminary stages of planning a half-day retreat and ritual for Ostara/Vernal Equinox on March 21st, with the ending ritual being planned in conjunction with the Dayton Pagan Alliance.


All Chalice of the Willow events are open to the entire MVUUF community and the community at large; you do not have to be a Pagan to attend. We have many members that are Pagan, some are Pagan-interested, and others just want to come and support us. We welcome all! If you have any questions, please contact Megan Zane at




You can keep up-to-date with all the happenings at MVUUF by viewing the Fellowship's calendar online, from a link on our website: The calendar is updated daily, so it's always the best place to check and see what's going on!




Some years ago I had the honor of looking into the eyes of Mohandas Gandhi's grandson. There is something about realizing that Gandhi is there in his grandson that brings peace and awe together in a gaze.


This experience followed our push into the war in Iraq. The UU congregation in Michigan that my partner Bob and I attended decided it could not stand idly by without registering moral outrage about a "pre-emptive war" in Iraq. The implications were-and are-mind boggling. Who were we in this country to jump to the conclusion that someone is guilty before a crime was even committed? We started the Jackson Interfaith Peacekeepers with other local congregations. The Peacekeepers brought Arun Gandhi to Jackson as a speaker and teacher and we learned about The Season for Nonviolence.*


Of course the war in Iraq is now officially over, but our nation is plagued by violence in the form of mass shootings or by the shooting of black men by police-one at a time. So while the war is over, nonviolent tactics are needed more than ever, and are at the heart of significant change.


At MVUUF we have honored The Season for Nonviolence in most of the past 10 years. The Social Action Committee has led the effort in simple ways, inviting the congregation into contemplation with daily meditations or weekly reflections to bring nonviolence into our hearts and our lives to calm the fears that lead us to violence. We have also hung posters that remind us of the great change that can occur through the persistent, steady nonviolent civil disobedience throughout the centuries.


Two faces are ever present in those posters, those of Gandhi and of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Season for Nonviolence begins on the memorial anniversary of Gandhi's assassination on January 30 and ends on the memorial anniversary of King's assassination, April 4. We have also added the faces of other people who represent the courage and conviction of nonviolent change:  Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and Nelson Mandela.



It may seem as though the season is passe', that it's time to move on to other ways to promote nonviolence. And maybe it is. But this year in particular, as I watch people peacefully protesting against police violence be arrested and literally dragged away, I think there is no better time than now to pause and admire the courage and conviction of these historic figures and present-day, nonviolent organizers. Violence will not win the change.


Violence breeds violence...

Pure goals can never justify impure or violent action...

They say the means are after all just means. I would say means are after all everything.

As the means, so the end...

If we take care of the means we are bound to reach the end sooner or later.

-Mahatma Gandhi


-Alice Diebel



* The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence (SNV) commences for the 18th consecutive year on January 30, 2015 in cities across the globe. The annual 64 day campaign, co-founded in 1998 by Dr. Arun Gandhi and The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the January 30 and April 4 anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.






MVUUF's Anti-Racism Task Force would like to encourage EVERYONE to participate in this justice for action event for John Crawford III. It's scheduled to take place at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, at the Federal Building in downtown Dayton. There will be a sit-in at the office of Dayton's U.S. Attorney, Carter M. Stewart, (who is tasked with the investigation into John Crawford III's murder), to bring justice and peace to John Crawford III's name.


Letters to U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart are being collected now, and can be emailed to:


Now's the time to help convince Attorney Stewart that John Crawford III's civil rights were violated, resulting in his death. All messages will be delivered during the action.




The Anti-Racism Task Force will be presenting the movie Fruitvale Station for the next First Friday Movie Night, scheduled to take place at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6, in the Founder's Room at the Fellowship. The following is a review of the movie from the Rotten Tomatoes website:


Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions:  being a better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve; being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late; and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, but as the day goes on he realizes that change is not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn,       however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day. Oscar's life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area-and the entire nation- to its very core.


There will be refreshments during the movie and a discussion following. We hope to see many of you there!




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 growers and workers; and a commission to support Social Action activities at MVUUF. Orders are available for pick up on the third Sunday of the for this month, that will be Sunday, February 15. You can also place your order at any time with Lynn Buffington at (937) 657-0426 or




Our MVUUF Endowment Fund is regulated by our bylaws. In brief, it relegates the responsibility of managing the Fund to a committee of three, nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the congregation. The terms are staggered, so that one person is elected each year. In turn, each serves a term of three years.


Annually, the Board may request money from the income of the Fund. This includes capital gains, interest and dividends from the current fiscal year. The principle is to be protected for future use. However, the congregation has final authority over the Fund. In times past, our Fund was invested in various mutual funds and money markets. Now, our Fund is invested with the larger UUA Common Endowment Fund. This is well managed, and invests in socially-responsible corporations. The return has been quite good. At present, we have some $134,000 invested.


For further information, please see our new brochure in the pamphlet rack, or talk with a member of the Endowment Fund Committee:  Sharon Harmer, or Larry Stone.




The Evening Book Discussion Group is doing something different for the February meeting. We will be meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 10, at Books & Company (at The Greene) to hear Fellowship member and author Trudy Krisher talk about her new book, Fanny Seward:  A Life.


Our future dates and selections are: 

March 10---Bad Paper:  Chasing Debt From Wall Street to the Underworld, by Jake Halpern

April 14---What I've Stolen and What I've Earned, by Sherman Alexie

May 12---How To Be Victorian:  A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Victorian Life, by Ruth Goodman.


The Evening Book Discussion Group holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of the month, at Christopher's Restaurant on East Dorothy Lane. New participants are welcome! Contact Ann Snively if you would like more info.




We meet for discussion one Wednesday morning a month, 10:30 a.m., at the Fellowship. Our upcoming selections are:

Feb. 18---The Kashmir Shawl, by Rosie Thomas

Mar. 18---The Wind is Not a River, by Brian Payton

April 15---The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

May 20---The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry:  A Novel, by Gabrielle Zevin

June 17---The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce


All are welcome to join us!




The next meeting of our MVUUF Environmental Learning Book Forum will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Founder's Room at the Fellowship, on Monday, February 16. Our reading/discussion selection is

This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs. The Climate by award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein. This newly-published book calls for a restructuring of the global economic and political systems to meet the climate challenge.


Copies may be available in local libraries and book stores; the hardcover edition is available from at a discounted price of $22.68 (list price $30), and a Kindle edition sells for just $12.99.


Please plan now to join us on February 16 for what should be a spirited  discussion of this provocative book!




Smart Choices will be having a birthday party lunch on Thursday, February 26. We'll be meeting at 11:30 a.m. at a private room at MCL Cafeteria. Everyone is invited! Please RSVP to Allie Petersen at




Please join us in our long-standing 2nd Saturday ministry of serving lunches to homeless and/or low income women and families. Sign-up sheets are on the table by the windows in the Gathering Space. With the cold weather, the numbers continue to be up at St. V's. Thanks for the many who helped us serve more than 100 people in January! If you are thinking of helping but would like more information, please pick up one of the informational half-sheets on the same table where you sign-up. 

February 14th Menu:   (this will be the first month of our lasagna menu) lasagna, green salad, fresh fruit or fruit salad, garlic bread, and 100% juice (we will also use stock in the St. Vincent de Paul pantry for milk and bread, but do need garlic butter). We need four to five donations of each item, with each donation serving 15-20. Please bring all items, heated if applicable, to 120 W. Apple Street in Dayton (the 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. Contact Lynn  or Shirley Gezinski if you would like to help with menu planning and organizing.




Please bring your self-addressed envelopes to MVUUF by Sunday, March 1, so that Rev. Mary Moore can take them with her when she travels to Selma, Alabama. During her January 18th sermon, Rev. Mary encouraged MVUUF folks to read the quotations about nonviolence which members of MVUUF's Social Action Committee will be sending out during the Season of Nonviolence-the 64 days between January 31 (date of Gandhi's death) and April 4 (the date of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death).


Rev. Mary encouraged MVUUF members and friends to write a few sentences each day about nonviolence, anti-racism, etc., during the Season of Nonviolence. By Sunday, March 1, MVUUF folks should write a couple sentences on a slip of paper about their commitment to nonviolence and anti-racism in their lives. Then people should place their slip of paper in a self-addressed (stamped, if possible) envelope and bring their envelopes to MVUUF before Sunday, March 1.


Rev. Mary will take these envelopes to Selma, Alabama with her, and mail them back from there, so that when you receive your envelope with a Selma postmark it will serve as a reminder to you of how you wish to live out your commitment to nonviolence and anti-racism efforts in your life.



MEN WHO COOK Annual Fundraiser

Saturday evening, February 28

        6:30 p.m. at the Fellowship


Enjoy a delightful meal and

evening of entertainment

hosted by the men of the Fellowship.

         From appetizers to desserts---all                  prepared to please your palate, 


carnivore, vegetarian,

vegan, or gluten-free.

Tickets are on sale

               on Sundays after service,               

in the Gathering Space: 

$30/adults, $5/children 12 and under






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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!