Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          March, 2015

A View From the 'Rim



It has been interesting to watch the ever-changing cavalcade of items which have graced the   Gathering Space at MVUUF this church year!


At the end of the summer, there was the marvelous group of 20 layettes, collected by the MVUUF West Dayton Action Group to be given at the Baby Shower for soon-to-be moms at the Wesley Center. Then, a month or so later, here in the Gathering Space were the wonderful assortment of Gift Baskets created by MVUUF folks, to be given away in drawings at the MVUUF Winter Bazaar.


Now, over the next two months, MVUUF is entering into a season of making preparations to welcome a Candidate for your next settled minister.


To my way of thinking, this can be viewed as another time of giving gifts, as part of the process of making MVUUF ready for the arrival of this Candidate-creating a layette, as it were, for the nurturing and support of his/her ministry with you.


MVUUF folks' time, talent and treasure are all important gifts for creating this "layette." All of these are valued contributions.


It is especially important to remember that your annual Stewardship Campaign to support MVUUF's 2015-2016 Program Budget be fully funded. This will send a message to your Candidate that MVUUF is serious and excited about its programs and its future.


Another important part of your creating this "welcoming layette" of support for your new settled minister is having MVUUF people (that means YOU) step up to fill volunteer roles for the next church year, when asked to do so by MVUUF leaders.


Yes, it is important that both of these acts of intentional preparation, of gift-giving for your next settled minister, be accomplished successfully; for doing so will set the tone for a long and fulfilling settled ministry here at MVUUF.




With the warmest regards as always,

Your interim minister,





Service Topics for February


March 1--Matchmaker, Matchmaker!--Scott Leonard. 

 Our congregation has spent many months collectively asking our Ministerial Search Committee (our "matchmakers") to find us the perfect match. The Committee's work is nearly done, but what do we     as a congregation still need to do to pave the way for our new settled minister?


March 8--Selma Sunday:  Responding to the Macedonian Call--Yvette Kelly-Fields, Executive   Director at Wesley Community Center, and Bob Lewis, Chairperson of the West Dayton Action Group. 

On March 8, 1965, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sent telegrams to clergy all over the country, saying "In the vicious maltreatment of defenseless citizens of Selma, where old women and young children were gassed and clubbed at random, we have witnessed an eruption of the  disease of racism which seeks to destroy all America. No American is without responsibility. The people of Selma will struggle on for the soul of the nation but it is fitting that all Americans help to bear the burden. I call therefore on clergy of all faiths to join me in Selma." Many UU clergy and lay people responded to the call, including Rev. James Reeb and Mrs. Viola Liuzzo, who were murdered. Is there still a call to us? Like crossing the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, is there a bridge we need to cross?


March 15--Singspiration--Rev. Mary Moore and Jeanette Filbrun Eakins, Choir Director. 

On this morning we'll be carrying out a task of this Interim Period and having some fun exploring together in words and song what are some of the favorite hymns of this congregation.


Please send your own personal Top Ten Favorite Hymns to me at MVUUF or via email at by WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12. We'll compile a list of these to share-and we also just might be singing several of them on this Sunday!


March 22--World Water Day--Rev. Mary Moore, Gary Courts, Maureen O'Meara, and other "green" MVUUFers.  

This morning we'll join with other UU Green Sanctuary congregations in kicking off Climate Justice Month. Come together on this day as we put our ethics into action!


March 29--The Iowa Sisterhood:  Meet A Group of Liberal Religious Women Ministers From Over a Century Ago--Rev. Mary Moore.  

At one time during the 1800s, when most other denominations were not ordaining women, all the churches in our tradition in the state of Iowa were served by women ministers. We'll be exploring together some of their inspiring stories on this morning.


Around the Fellowship...



Lately, a topic on my mind has been the purpose of YRE. Now, you may think, "Well, you are the  Director of Religious Education...shouldn't that always be on your mind?" And yes, the question-like a mantra-is always on my mind. But also like a mantra, the answer is personal. As a             professional, it's my job to also understand what the purpose of YRE is to our congregation, and specifically to the families who brings their young ones here.


You see, when I ask visitors what brought them through our doors, I usually get some answer like, "We are looking for a place that teaches values in a non-dogmatic way," or "I want my children to learn about different beliefs." Unless the adult I am talking to has a personal experience with UUism, I do not hear "I want my child to grow up to be a Unitarian Universalist." And even those that grew up as UUs or have a relationship with the church would not usually make that statement, because after all, faith is about choice.


And yet, I've been hearing sentiments from congregation members, both with and without        children, that express the feelings that our YRE "success rate" may in fact be at least partially determined by how many of our bridged youth become members of our Fellowship, or at least attend our Sunday morning services. That somehow "we" (as a YRE program, congregation, religious movement) have failed if the young adults "we" raised are not filling the proverbial pews on      Sunday morning.


Now, I certainly cannot argue that it wouldn't please me to no end to see our bridged youth and teenagers willingly attending Sunday morning services. But my personal answer to this mantra goes far beyond what can be determined by membership or attendance numbers. You see, I view YRE as a world service. I believe that the more young people we can put into the world that know and share our Unitarian Universalist principles, the better the world will be.


What we do in YRE is teach our children to explore the world, gather information, experience things that are different, express their beliefs without apology, adapt and change their beliefs as they see fit. We teach them that being of service, being an advocate, an ally, a friend are             paramount to our faith. We teach them to be creative and think outside the box, and commend them for coming up with new ways of doing and seeing things. We teach them to be the change.


So yes, I consider our YRE program to be, in some ways, the ultimate social justice project. It's true, our young people may not all continue attending Sunday morning service or become active members of another UU community when they become adults. Some may find similar communities. Some may explore other faiths or decide they don't need organized religion at all. Some may come back when they have children of their own or have a need for a familiar, safe place. And some may just decide to be part of the force that brings Unitarian Universalism into the future. But regardless, for me, the purpose of YRE will be accomplished if they are able to take what they have learned here and spread it in to the world like seeds that will eventually change the whole landscape.

---Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education





The 2015 Stewardship Campaign is here, and we need EVERYONE who cares about MVUUF to participate!


First, join us for the Campaign Kick Off Sunday at the March 1 service to learn what we need to do to pave the way for our new settled minister, and enjoy some tasty snacks after the service. Second, sign up for one of the several Stewardship Gatherings hosted at either a member's home or MVUUF during the month of March. Sign up sheets are available in the Gathering Space, or through a Doodle Poll link you will get in an email.  Finally, the campaign will wrap up on Sunday, April 12 with a Celebration Sunday event, maybe just in time to learn the name of the Ministerial Search Committee's recommended candidate to become our new settled minister!


Please look for more details in MVUUF's Friday E-Blasts, and during the Sunday announcements.




Often, when Unitarian Universalists become aware of a justice issue, they want to learn more. As we become increasingly aware of disparities in the application of policing and justice, in health and education outcomes, it behooves us to learn more about what white people can do. The Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) recommends we start with understanding who we are first. ART will hold a day-long workshop on Examining Whiteness to accommodate people who may not be able to attend the regular six-week course!


The workshop will take place on Saturday, March 7, 9:00 a.m until 4:00 p.m., at the Fellowship; lunch will be provided.


Please sign up for this workshop in the Gathering Space, or contact Joe Law at:


This workshop is recommended for people who identify as white.




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!




Smart Choices will be having a birthday party lunch on Thursday, March 26. We'll be meeting at 11:30 a.m. in a private room at MCL Cafeteria. Everyone is invited! Please 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 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, March 15. You can also place your order at any time with Lynn Buffington at (937) 657-0426 or




The Evening Book Discussion Group will meet on Tuesday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. at Christopher's Restaurant (2318 East Dorothy Lane in Kettering) to discuss Bad Paper:  Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld by Jake Halpern. Other upcoming dates and selections are:


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

June 9---Fanny Seward:  A Life, by Trudy Krisher.


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 information.




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

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!




 We are once again collecting books  here at the Fellowship for the huge Book Sale! The group in charge of the sale is the Book Fair   Foundation, and the Book Sale will take place on Saturday, November 14 and Sunday, November 15 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.   Benefitting from the sale this year will be the  Humane Society of Greater Dayton, the Aullwood Audubon Farm & Center, and the House of Bread.


So tell your family, alert your friends...we are once again a designated drop-off location for the huge book sale. Let the collecting resume!





As we age, we may consider what kind of legacy we are leaving behind. Thoughtful people do estate planning, write wills, establish trusts, and provide instructions to their heirs. Through this planning, we make our final statement about what we really value:   family, friends, and organizations we cherish.


Here at MVUUF, some people are including our Endowment Fund, which provides some assurance that we will be around for years to come. The funds are carefully invested for the long run, while interest, dividends and capital gains may be used to enhance on-going programs.


"Planned giving" means creating a specific plan for future gifts to benefit our church and other charities important to us. These gifts may be made during lifetime or at death. Many people first consider planned giving when preparing a Will, or along with other estate planning, but planned giving can be made part of our financial plans at any time in our lives. The planned gift allows donors to support charitable work important to them, work that reflects their values and commitments. In addition, donors may receive tax benefits.


For further information, please see our brochure in the literature rack, or consult with one of our Endowment Trustees:  Sharon Harmer, or Larry Stone.




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 to the many who donated food and helped serve in February! 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.   March 14th 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.




Have you heard about MVUUF's "bread run?" Every Thursday morning, a MVUUF volunteer picks up several boxes of day-old bread and other baked goods from the Dorothy Lane Market located in Springboro. The volunteer transports the goodies to St. Paul's Church and the Wesley Community Center in Dayton, where the food is then distributed to those in need. We always hear there are enough food resources in the world, but people go hungry because of the failings in distribution. The bread run is one way MVUUF does its small part to get food that would otherwise be thrown out to people who need it. Recently, Margaret Michal joined Pete Davis and Lynn Buffington as a regular bread run volunteer. If we had an additional fourth person, it would allow each of us a once-a-month schedule. Feel free to contact Margaret, Pete or Lynn for more information, or if you'd like to ride along some Thursday to see if the bread run is a good fit for you. Much thanks to Gary Courts, a former bread runner, who steps up at times now and then to substitute!




Did you know that the House of Bread in Dayton transforms donated "near due date" food into a hot, calorie-dense daily lunch for 150-250 people? It's true! All are welcome to eat with no questions asked, unlike some organizations which require people to attend a religious service prior to a meal. Many clients are homeless, aged, or confused. The House of Bread helps to lift their spirits and gives them hope; they can also get warm clothing, someone to talk to, and bread to eat later. Although you can volunteer any day, Wednesdays have kind of become a UU day! The work day of preparation, serving and cleaning up begins about 10:00 a.m., and ends around 1-2:00 p.m. For more details, contact MVUUF member Mike Fanelli at (937) 433-7672, or visit their website at Additionally, this June-August, the House of Bread has been designated to receive our social action portion of the Sunday Offertory, as was approved through voting at January's Congregational Meeting.


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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!