Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum          April, 2015

A View From the 'Rim


Occasionally, I will offer you the thoughts of a "guest columnist" when I come across a piece of excellent writing which I really want to share with you. This is the case with this excerpt from a blog written by Jordinn Nelson Long, a Unitarian Universalist from St. Louis.


"If we're not self-reflective about our intentions in our communities of faith, we are likely to approach our churches like satisfaction vending machines. And in doing so, we deny ourselves and our communities the opportunity for real change.


The thing is, transformation doesn't always feel good. Sharing time, space and resources often isn't a warm and fuzzy experience in the immediate moment. Further, growth is hard, and maturity is demanding, and our dreams are expensive-and in ways that exact costs from each of us.


In consumer culture, when things get tough, we learn the lesson; we don't buy that experience anymore. We simply vote with our dollars and with our feet. Society says that's the rational response, and mostly, it works okay.


But it doesn't work in faith communities.


We are used to being handed things in exchange for payment. So how should we be when we are instead in a place that focuses not on serving us, but on seeing us?


Friends, we need to give more, come always, and ask less. And then--amazingly, counter-intuitively--then things get magical.


My people, what is happening--what is on offer in the smorgasbord of plenty of your local church--is nothing short of transformation. You will be nourished. You will be changed. And eventually, you will grow, and in ways that will add richness and depth to your life, even as you help to add those qualities for many others.


But, get this:  like the watched pot that never boils, this alchemy cannot happen while your focus is on YOU. On what YOU need. On what YOU get.


When we begin our church journey convinced that we don't have enough of what we need, and proceed by trying to stake a claim to whatever that is, and then by grabbing as much as we can, we are indeed indulging in worship.


We are worshiping scarcity.


And that falls right in line with that dominant culture, the water in which we swim.


Church needs to be more than a satisfaction vending machine.


And so I invite you, as a spiritual practice, to try a different way on Sundays.


Show up. Breathe.

Demand less.


Relax more.


And know that together, we are preparing to change the world.


Because we're not making transactions.


We are making commitments."




I hope now that you can understand how Jordinn's words really resonated with me. Perhaps they did with some of you as well?




With the warmest regards as always,

Your interim minister,




Service Topics for April


April 5--EASTER SUNDAY--Ordinary Miracles--Rev. Mary Moore.  For Christians, Easter is a time of miracles. Join us on this morning as we follow Unitarian Universalist tradition, and celebrate the miracles which are all around us every day in the rebirth and workings of the natural world.



April 12--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 Rev. Mary Moore at MVUUF or via email to: by WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8. We'll compile a list of these to share-and we also just might be singing several of them on this Sunday!



April 19--A Celebration of Earth Day Sunday and Culmination of Climate Justice Month--Rev. Mary Moore, Gary Courts, Maureen O'Meara and MVUUF Environmentalists.




April 26--Out for Justice--Rev. Mary Moore, Joe Law, and other MVUUF members.   Featuring a performance by the Dayton Gay Men's Chorus, today's service will celebrate the long-standing commitment of MVUUF and the UUA in support of LGBTQ rights. Come learn about our history and hear the DGMC fill the sanctuary with music. Social justice AND show tunes!


Around the Fellowship...



Here's a snippet of a conversation I participated in this past Sunday in the K-2nd classroom (I may not have the exact verbiage, but you'll get the gist):


Girl:     I'm going to be a basketball player.

Boy:     Girl basketball players [aren't very good], they aren't on T.V.

Me:      That's not true, girls are on T.V. and---

Boy:     (interrupting):  Yeah, cheerleaders.

Me:      (in my head):  Oh no he didn't!


There was actually more to the conversation than that, and multiple children and teachers chimed in, but it wasn't a planned discussion (we were in the midst of clean-up and trying to keep twelve 6-8 year olds from escaping), so I feel like we didn't really do the topic justice. But yet it's been on my mind ever since. Mostly, I think, because I was completely surprised.


As a 40 year old woman I'm accustomed to implied gender roles and the undercurrent of anti-feminism that is still prevalent in our society. It's always there, but it's usually an unspoken prejudice or even a subconscious bias that contribute to gender inequality. No one has outright said to me lately that I won't succeed at something because I'm a girl. And if anyone dared to say something like that to me, I would have plenty of loud and vocal defenders, ready to rush in and boost my confidence.


As a UU educator I feel like we do a lot of talking about equality, in all respects. Our church offers OWL (Our Whole Lives-a comprehensive and age-appropriate sexual education program) for children as young as Kindergarten, and gender stereotyping is definitely talked about there. If you spend much time with UU youth, you will find that they are on the forefront of gender and sexual equality topics. I actually learn more from them about these issues than them from me. And I know the parents at MVUUF would all be quick to redirect if they overheard the same conversation I was a part of.


And so, how did I find myself defending a little girl's right to be a basketball star in one of our YRE classrooms? First, I think it's the age. In the early grades of elementary school kids are solidifying the gender stereotypes they started noticing as preschoolers. They like to label things and they like things to be black and white. Unless we tell them otherwise, and often, they will mimic what they see in our culture (the unspoken, subconscious stuff I was talking just talking about). Male athletes are idolized, females are often novel. Boys aren't cheerleaders, that's for girls. And it's true, as a woman basketball player you have much less of a chance of being on television than a man.


Second, I think in our haste to teach our children that they do not have to conform to the stereotypes of their assigned gender, we leave out the importance of supporting other's choices. I believe if I were to take a poll of families at MVUUF, I would find that almost everyone supports the idea that boys can play with dolls and girls can be firefighters. And I'm willing to bet that every parent of a girl has had numerous conversations with her about how she can do anything, play with anything, be anything, regardless of what other kids say. And I'll also bet that if it's come up, the parents of boys have told them the same thing with regards to things that are normally associated  with femininity (and I do recognize that this is a trickier conversation, especially for those sharing parenting responsibilities with someone who may not agree). But, at this young age, how well are we doing at setting up our children to be allies and advocates for each other? Because supporting a classmate's decision to play with legos instead of dolls or wear pink because it's one of his favorite colors, or dream of being a professional women's basketball player is exactly what being an ally in first grade looks like.


They hear us talk about Standing On The Side Of Love, equal rights and being allies, but those all sound like things big people do and do in big ways. So, in addition to encouraging our children to explore ideas and behaviors that may lie outside of dominant gender stereotypes and to feel good about the decisions they make, I hope we can talk more broadly about tolerance and how to be better allies. Then how proud will they be when we point out they are being good allies the next time they encourage a little girl who dreams of being a basketball player?

 ---Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education




A big HELLO from your Congregational Coordinator, Kate Jacobs! You may know me from my introduction back in the fall, from chatting with me on Sundays, or interacting with me elsewhere, such as the Beloved Community Facebook page. I understand, however, that not everyone is clear about my role at MVUUF, so I would love to clarify.


At the most basic level, my job is to help create a more engaging and involved community. A community that runs smoothly, where needs can be quickly and easily met. To be more specific, I want to find out the needs of the Fellowship, and the interests and skills of its members and friends, and work to match one with the other. To achieve this, I am creating a database where I can make note of these interests and skills. I can then contact the appropriate people if something comes up at the Fellowship that requires a particular skill, or if there's something going on with which people with certain interests may want to be involved.


To illustrate:  a frequent example is childcare (beyond Sunday mornings). When an event is scheduled at the Fellowship for which childcare is needed, I get in touch with the people who have offered their services in this area and find those who are available at the given time.


So, what does this mean for you? It means that I want to get to know you, what you enjoy, and your areas of expertise. Is there something you love to do, or would like to try? Some area in which you would like to get involved? I want to hear about it! Not only does everyone have something to contribute that can help the Fellowship to continue to flourish, but I hope to help each one of you find a deeper sense of community, and a chance to explore a new hobby or show off a talent.


I can often be found around the Fellowship on Sunday mornings. Alternatively, you can find me on the Beloved Community Facebook page, or email me any time at I look forward to speaking with you!

-Kate Jacobs, Congregational Coordinator





Recently, I attended an Annual Pledge Drive house party with other members of the Fellowship. There was a time when I avoided such gatherings. As an introvert, the party aspect wasn't enough to get me there when I thought the purpose was just to convince me to give more money. But I realized as the evening went on that the Pledge was the excuse, and not really the reason for the gathering. The real reason for the gathering was to celebrate all that we are together.


As we gathered all around the table, we talked about why the Fellowship matters to each of us. I found the conversation moving. It came as no surprise that there were many areas of Fellowship life that were important to different people. We heard stories of how our community held us in times of trouble and celebrated with us in times of joy. Of weddings and illness, of laughter and tears.


We heard how the Fellowship has nurtured growth in ourselves and in our children. People talked of inspiration for their spirits and of broadening their minds. The room where we met was graced by one of Diane Dover's quilts, and I thought of the creativity that has blossomed in our midst.


One of the toddlers was happily eating the cookies that were served. I thought of how important it is that we can all help raise the next generation of loving, thinking people and of how vital our Religious Education program is to the future of our world. I thought of how much fun it is to watch these young ones grow. (I also thought about how much I enjoy sharing cookies with you all.)


We heard about ways the Fellowship helps us to stand up for what is right. It encourages us to raise our voices for justice and equality, and it amplifies that voice by our work together. We are continuing our journey toward understanding racism, classism, homophobia, and are working together to deepen our commitment to a fair world.


I heard all these things and treasured the telling and the hearing. And yes, the party was an attempt to get us to give more money. But it was so much more than that. It was a meaningful celebration of the community that we are.


Just so, the money we give through the Annual Pledge is of course important because it enables us to pay for our building, our staff, and all the many program pieces that help make us who we are. But the money is only an outward sign of what matters, which is our commitment to each other, to the future and to our world.


I send my thanks to each of you for the commitment you bring, in terms of your time and energy as well as your money. It's not too late to turn in your Annual Pledge card and, although it is now closed, we will still appreciate any contribution you can make to the Calling Capital Campaign. We each have our own reasons why the Fellowship matters. Let us celebrate all the wonderful things that we are together.

-Barb Weber, Board President





We are so much more  than a building and a budget.


What do you imagine the MVUUF of the future will look like? Where will we be five years from now? How will we minister to each other and the wider community? Most importantly, what will be your role in making this vision a reality?


We are in a time of change, transition. We are asked to make a greater financial commitment to our beloved community. We are asked to search our hearts and minds to define what MVUUF means to us. We are asked to act on this reflection with a larger contribution.


That contribution is not just in money. We have a treasure of skills, wisdom and talents. The responsibility for the future waits with each one of us. We can't expect a new settled minister to "save" us. We are the one that we have been looking for. Right here. Right now. It is our personal responsibility to nurture our Fellowship.


We cannot dismiss that responsibility if we hope to prosper. We cannot think someone else with more time will do it. As a liberal religion, we stand for something unique and valuable. We offer a gift that cannot be found in any other religious organization.


So maybe you were disappointed because a committee didn't go your way. Maybe you don't like meetings. You are tired, hungry, and your feet hurt. Why, of why, would the rest of the committee not see things your way? No church, community, family, or individual is without flaws. You don't give up on what you love. There will always be flaws; that is the rule, not the exception. There will always be challenges, disappointments, and shortcomings. Your lack of participation doesn't improve that condition. If you want change, you are the solution.


Our Fellowship has many key leadership positions empty. Positions such as Operations Representative, Communications Representative, and Program Council Chair. Not only do we need to fill these, we could use our members to step up to share in responsibilities. These jobs could use assistants who take some of the responsibility off the leader. So you could volunteer to help in these areas even if you are not asked to lead. If you are asked, please say yes.


What else could you do? Do you like kids? Sign up to help out in one of the YRE classrooms once a month. Join the choir. Do coffee clean up. Join a committee. Are you more than someone who just shows up for Community Discussion Group or the service?


How would it be different if this was your home that you wanted to polish and nurture? What if we gave our talent as if this was our mission and our jewel? What if we gave of ourselves as if we had a precious gift? What does our future look like then? It is our community. It is our mission. 

-Margaret Michal, Transition Team Chair





The 2015 MVUUF Service Auction is scheduled to take place at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. Woo hoo! Our theme is Flower Power. We're gonna do it all:  the groovy outfits, the hippie hair, the art, the music, the...munchies.


This is our biggest and most important bash of the year. EVERY member and friend is invited to donate a service (sewing, driving, cooking, gardening), an item (baked goods, jewelry, toys, lawnmowers), or an event (themed dinner, wine tasting, guided hike) for the community. MVUUF groups contribute baskets for our raffle! Folks bid on all of these in a live auction, silent auction, 25-cent chance auction, and raffle.


This fundraiser puts a big emphasis on FUN! Expect a night of great music, incredible potluck and prepared foods, our fabulous wine and beer bar, and the witty banter of our awesome auctioneers-all in the delightfully decorated, transformed Fellowship.


What To Do Now

1) Go to the bottom of the homepage at and fill out the donation forms for what your family would like to offer this year! Direct link:

2) Dig up your '60s-era costumes, beads, posters, album covers, recipes, lava lamps, tie dyes and leather vests. If you're willing to share them for the evening, let us know-we'd love to borrow them for the event!

3) We're welcoming donations this year of bottled wine, beer, and '60s-themed food. Talk with Nick and Shirley Gezinski if you can contribute.

4) Volunteers will earn a SPECIAL REWARD for their services this year! (No, it's not brownies.) If you'd like to contribute a 90-minute fun shift with the kiddos, help with food prep, decorate the building, or help us clean up, please contact Ria Megnin at or (831)236-0361.


Thanks, and get ready for some peace, love and rock-'n-roll

--Ria Megnin and the 2015 Service Auction Team





The Social Action Committee invites nominations for the 2014 Emily Upham Social Justice Award, given to a member of the congregation who exemplifies commitment and service for world peace and social justice and is involved in on-going activities that support a vision of a better world. Past recipients include:  Alice Diebel (2013), Pete Davis (2012), Maureen O'Meara (2011), Bob Lewis (2010), Bill Ross (2009), Joe Law (2008), Lynn Buffington (2007), Diane Dover (2006), Gail Cyan (2005), Kate Santucci (2003-2004), and Bev & Sylvia Wince (2002).


Please send your nominations either by email to Maureen O'Meara at or give to our Administrator, Jennie Freiberger, by Friday, May 1, 2015. Please tell us about the person and why you feel they should be selected. The award will be presented at the Fellowship's June Congregational Meeting.





April is a magic month. The sun is north of the equator and warming our part of the planet. April showers and warmth bring about many changes as the seasonal pulse quickens, but don't expect a burst of May flowers in the wetland. In nature, this happens in mature woodlands with many of the wildflowers blooming before the trees form a canopy of deep shade.


Wetland plants are slow to mature, blooming from late July to September. So while we're waiting it's a good time to review the history of the MVUUF wetland for our many new members and guests.


As you look eastward from the windows of the sanctuary, you're looking at a two-acre wet meadow-not a weed patch. It meets the criteria for a jurisdictional wetland as established by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.


The MVUUF Women's Group adopted the wetland as a project in 2007 and produced an attractive photo booklet of the plants that grow here. It includes a photo, the common name, scientific name and wetland status of each plant. The booklet is available in the Venus Library.


In the meantime, April is here. Odds are good that we'll see another snowfall, but watch for patterns of green beginning to materialize, nesting mallards, Canada geese, emerging leaves on silver maple, green ash, cottonwood, sand bar willow, black willow and elderberry. Look for red-winged blackbirds, barn swallows, house wrens, purple martin scouts, and watch for the major invertebrate resident of our wetland, the chimney crayfish.


Long-range plans include a boardwalk for religious education and personal enjoyment.


"Factoid"--the full moon is Saturday, April 4 at 12:05 a.m.

--Dane Mutter, Fellowship member




The Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) will be presenting the movie 42 for the April offering of First Friday Movie Night, scheduled to take place at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3, in the Founder's Room at the Fellowship. There will be refreshments during the movie, and a discussion will follow. The following is a review from Rotten Tomatoes:


"Hero is a word we often hear in sports, but heroism is not always
about achievements on the field of play. '
42' tells the story of two men--the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey--whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous 'color line.' But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and even the players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey's hopes. Instead, Number 42 let his talent on the field do the talking--ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow."





April 5---Where Are You On Your Spiritual Journey?---Joe Lawrence

April 12---Obituaries:  What Would You Like Yours To Say?---Helena Gerard

April 19---Intergalactic Communication---Mike Coalson

April 26---How We Become Who We Are (Using Transactional Analysis)---Joe Casto


May 3---Traveling:  Pros and Cons, Likes and Dislikes---Jennie Hardy

May 10---At What Age Do You Perceive Yourself?---Julie Bragg

May 17---TBA

May 24---Medical Insurance: Why and How---Will Brooks

May 31---Embarrassing Moments: Amusing Stories About Myself---Jennie Hardy




The annual MVUUF Bazaar is not only a great event for finding unique handcrafts and delicious food and baked goods, it's also an important fundraiser, helping to provide much needed support for MVUUF programs and services. Making the event a success takes the dedication of many volunteers, including volunteers willing to lead the coordination of the individual parts that make the entire bazaar come together. Some of these individual parts include the raffle, bake sale, blood drive, set-up, and clean-up.


Last year, Brianna Kempe worked tirelessly behind the scenes to put together a fabulous bazaar! Brianna is now putting her energy and talents to work as MVUUF's Treasurer, and it is no surprise that filling her role as Bazaar Coordinator will require a team of people. The tentative date for the 2015 Bazaar is Saturday, November 14...but the date depends upon the availability of volunteers!


Please sign up to help! Visit our SignUpGenius site to view a description of leadership roles and sign up. Or for more information, please contact Pam Gromen at or Brianna Kempe at




The Evening Book Discussion Group will next meet on Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m. at Christopher's Restaurant (2318 East Dorothy Lane in Kettering) to discuss What I've Stolen and What I've Earned, by Sherman Alexie. Other upcoming dates and selections are:


May 12--How To Be a 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 evening at Christopher's. New participants are welcome;  contact Ann Snively if you'd like more information.




We meet for discussions one Wednesday a month, 10:30 a.m., at the Fellowship. Upcoming dates and selections are:


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

July 22--Fanny Seward: A Life (New York State Series) by MVUUF's own Trudy Krisher. Thanks to Trudy who accepted our invitation to come and take part in our discussion. She will be happy to  receive questions and comments!

August 19--Small Blessings:  A Novel, by Martha Woodroof


All are welcome to join us!




When was the last time you reviewed your Last Will and Testament? During one's lifetime, changes occur-marriages (or re-marriages) happen, children are born or adopted, deaths occur.


A change in any of these circumstances often triggers the need to change your will. No estate is too small for a proper will. If you want your legacy to go where you desire, you must have a will.


Reviewing your will provides you the opportunity to make sure the people and charitable causes most important to you are remembered. Have you ever seen a U-Haul attached to the back of a hearse?


Advice from an attorney and other professional advisors should be sought.


The Endowment Trustees will be giving you general hints on estate planning. We hope they will help you.





Please let our Administrator, Jennie Freiberger, know if you see an item in our building that needs attention. The position of Operations Representative is currently unfilled, and we don't want something to be overlooked!


You can reach Jennie via email at:   and by phone at (937) 436-3628.




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, April 23. 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:



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.  Thanks to the many who donated food and helped serve! 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.   April 11th 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.



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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!