Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  September, 2015

Service Topics for September, 2015

September 6
Labor Sunday:  What The Corporations
Don't Want Us To Know
Ria Megnin
Is Labor Day about a backyard party and festive parade? 
Or the Labor Party and a rabble-rousing rally?
We'll take a first-hand look at the dramatic history of Labor Day, 
the progressive faith traditions of Labor Sunday, 
and the crucial role of UUs protecting worker rights around the world.
                                                                                                                                                                                 September 13
                                            Let Your Love Flow 
                         A Multigenerational Water Ingathering                       Rev. Greg Martin
  The annual Water Ingathering celebration begins our year together 
and renews the bonds of community. It will be a participatory, 
musically moving opportunity for all ages to focus on the gifts of water and community in our lives. Several rituals will be offered including 
a blessing of the children. The service will conclude with a procession 
to the Youth Religious Education hallway for coffee and an open house. Please bring water from some aspect of your life to share.

September 20
A People So Bold:  Taking Stock
Rev. Greg Martin
Rev. Greg Martin will inaugurate his ministry with us in a series of 
three sermons based on the book A People So Bold: Theology and Ministry for Unitarian Universalists, edited by John Gibb Millspaugh. (Please see details in my column in this month's Forum to obtain your copy of the book and join in the MVUUF community reading experience.) Today's theme examines the context in which we seek 
to undertake ministry in the year 2015 and beyond.

September 27
A People So Bold:  Catching Fire
Rev. Greg Martin
Unitarian Universalists have  emphasized the "inner divinity" of the human being since our inception two hundred years ago. And yet we are complex beings entwined in an even more complicated world. We often participate, many times unwittingly, in an unjust social structure, and sometimes perpetuate the very evils that we deplore. This morning, as we tap into the spark within, we catch fire for a third way of political engagement, one based on cooperations rather than oppositions.

October 4
A People So Bold:  Poetic Partners
Rev. Greg Martin
The third and final sermon in the series focuses on equipping our Fellowship to engage in ministry for our time and place. Stories, especially those that need telling, poetry, music, and the visual arts, move us beyond mere knowledge to embodied action. Yet, by ourselves these actions often don't amount to much. Let's face it, Unitarian Universalists delude themselves if we think we're going to change the world all by ourselves. Partnerships with other people and organizations of faith and concern are needed for effective social change in today's world. Rev. Greg urges us to come alongside others for this morning.

A Few Words From Our Minister
The first autumn with a new congregation is always a special time. I've experienced this numerous times over the course of my ministry, but each time is always exciting. And after the first month on the job, I am more excited than ever by the prospects of ministry here with Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. I sense your energy, enthusiasm, and hope, and I share it.
Several important events will happen this fall as we shape our partnership together. A start-up workshop for the congregation, Board, minister, and other leaders will take place the weekend of October 9-10. Friday night's session comes with an open invitation to all who are a part of this fellowship. Later, on November 15, a Service of Installation will be held to install me as your third called minister. This occasion will be accompanied by a Day of Service and Action for Food Justice, as well as a communal art collaboration. More details will be shared in October.
Leading up to these events, the Board and I would like to invite you to participate in a community reading and conversation around the book, A People So Bold:  Theology and Ministry for Unitarian Universalists, edited by John Gibb Millspaugh. It is our hope that the reflections and conversations engendered by a common reading experience will lay the ground work for vital and effective     ministry together for many years to come.
The book includes 22 short essays by many leading UUs. It came out of a gathering in Baltimore that took place in 2009 just as Barack Obama was being inaugurated to his first term as President. While our context is now different seven years later, as the President nears the end of his second term and we look ahead to the 2016 Presidential election, much of the theological thinking and the reflections on doing found in the pages of this book remain as challenging and relevant as ever. I urge you to pick up a copy on Sunday mornings or from the church office. They are available for the discounted price of $13; you can also order an         e-version online from the UUA Bookstore for $8.
In September and October, we'll find some ways to converse on the contents and what they elicit in you. What essay or essays in particular speak to you? Are particularly relevant for MVUUF? What challenges you? What is missing? Look for opportunities for dialogue as they're publicized. I'll hold a conversation on Sunday morning, October 4, from 9:30-10:15 a.m. in the sanctuary. Covenant groups and other small groups will also be using the book in their gatherings. You can also bring your insights to the start-up workshop.
And so we begin together! Boldly!
Rev. Greg
Life Around the Fellowship...

September has always been the start of the year for me, despite what January calendars say. I guess all those years when the school calendar ruled our lives still echo. As we return from vacations and the slower pace of summer, there is an excitement in the air and energy all around.
This year, of course, the excitement seemed to start early with Rev. Greg Martin's arrival on August 1.  We have been having great attendance at services and people have spoken afterwards about new ideas to ponder at home. Our newly-formed Adult Religious Education Committee is already working to put together a curriculum that will encourage our deepening spirituality and commitment to our Unitarian Universalist Principles. They are beginning this fall with courses in Compassionate Communication and exploring Unitarian Universalism. The Finance Committee is working to develop innovative fundraising ideas and the Solar Panels project is once again progressing.
Whew! What a lot is happening. This is a wonderful time in the life of the Fellowship.
It is just the beginning of becoming the congregation we said we want to be. Do you remember the dreams we shared with each other in the Cottage Meetings sponsored by the Ministerial Search Committee? Remember how much fun it was to brainstorm together about what we want the Fellowship to become? Remember our energy and enthusiasm?
Soon we will have another opportunity to engage in this type of dreaming together. Mark your  calendars now for Friday evening, October 9. This will be the initial part of a Start-Up Workshop when Rev. Greg and Fellowship leaders will be working to plan how to move us toward those dreams you helped enunciate that evening.
Nancy Heege, staff member from MidAmerica Region of the UUA, will be facilitating this Workshop. The MidAmerica website says that Nancy's "passion is finding the right questions to ask to help congregations toward their dreams and visions."
Sound like fun? Plan now to attend on October 9th. Childcare will be provided.
We need your input and your dreams. We need YOU. See you on October 9th!
Barb Weber, Board President

Every year it seems we complain that the schools are cheating us out of summer, making the kids come back earlier and earlier. As I write this on a chilly night in late August, it feels like even Mother Nature is against us this year! But in YRE at least we're keeping it "old school." Our official YRE school year will begin on September 20, with the first day of regular classes.
But that doesn't mean we haven't been diligently working through August, and I am so excited to share with you now some exciting happenings this year!
In YRE, we're changing the concept of what we do on First Sundays. Instead of our traditional "Children's Worship," the Kindergarten-5th graders will be exploring the congregation worship theme of the month through interactive stations in the Founder's Room. In September, we'll be  exploring UU identity to go along with the book A People So Bold.
Once again this year, our YRE preschool class will be doing the well-loved preschool curriculum, Chalice Children. The K-2nd grade class will be doing a curriculum that is new for us called World of Wonder (click HERE for more info), which really delves into our 7th principle, taking care of the independent web of life. The 3rd-5th grade class will be using the curriculum Spirit of Adventure. This is the curriculum that gave us the idea for the Take Apart Party last year; lots of fun, hands-on learning will be done! The 6th-8th grade class will be studying the classic (and incredibly popular) Neighbouring Faiths this year, in combination with a new curriculum from the UUA called Building Bridges, which will give a more in-depth study and comparison of different religions. In accordance with Neighbouring Faiths, we'll be making visits to other places of worship during the year.
The 9th-10th graders will be going through our all new Coming of Age Program which will combine some class time, some independent study, and some mentoring with adults. Youth in 11th-12th grades will be encouraged to attend worship service and/or volunteer as teachers and helpers in YRE on Sunday mornings. Our evening youth group will start back up in October, and will be open for 6th-12th graders.
And finally, in addition to all this awesomeness, OWL 1-2 and 7-9 will be starting soon. Our parent group plans to start meeting on Sunday mornings again, and I have a dream that we're going to have a Gaming Club option for kids in AM childcare.
Of course, none of this can happen without enthusiastic YRE volunteers! I know commitment can sometimes be a struggle in our busy lives, so to make it easier I've divided the year into semesters. YRE volunteers are only needed to commit to teaching for 3 months this first semester! We'll have lots of opportunities to help beginning this month...stay tuned for more info!
Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education

This year, we didn't have any takers on the need to lead the Fall (or Winter) Bazaar, so our budget is set up for a new fundraiser, which as of yet does not have a fun, catchy name.
I am looking for individual(s) who want to help promote a night of community, with the focus of all that we receive from the UUA and the MidAmerica Region. Will it be a night of wine and desserts? An evening of UU IQ trivia? A night of skits and music from some of our most talented members?
At this point in the year, the Finance Committee believes that this event would work best in January...with the understanding that Men Who Cook is likely to fall in that month, as well. Have another idea of timing?
It's up to you...with the understanding that we also want this to be a catalyst for greater support of the UUA Dues expense line on our budget.
Bob Lewis and Alice Diebel are among the first to sign up to help, but we need a leader, still! We have people who know a lot of what the UUA provides to us-but I would love to see this passion for being a Fair Share Congregation start to make its way to all of us. And to do that, we need a leader who has a spirit of fun and a desire to help the bottom line while we're at it!
If you are willing to lead, please let me know. Willing to help? I'll start a list of volunteers for our eventual captain! I can be reached via email,, or call or text, (513) 484-4496.
Thank you for what each of you do to make MVUUF an even more spiritually fulfilling and socially just place to rest my heart.
Brianna Kempe, Treasurer

Beginning this month, we will have two classes to offer to adults who are interested in expanding their spiritual knowledge. Take a moment to read these brief descriptions and see if one or the   other (or both!) may strike your interest:
Introduction to Unitarian Universalism
Begins Sunday, September 27, 9:30-10:45 a.m. (and the following seven Sundays, at the same time); facilitated by Rev. Greg Martin, Bob Lewis

If you are a new or prospective member of the Fellowship and want to learn more about what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist, this course is for you. A series of eight 75-minute workshops address important themes in UUism, including Theology, History, Worship, Covenant and Polity, Spiritual Growth and Faith Development, Social Justice, Membership. There will be lots of time to raise questions, dialogue with others, and explore more deeply. There is no fee, and all you need to bring is an open mind and a willingness to share in the conversation; childcare is available.
Compassionate Communication
Begins Wednesday, September 9, 7-9:00 p.m. (and the following 9-10 Wednesday evenings, at the same time); facilitated by Denny Smith, Mike Fanelli

This workshop is intended as an introduction to a more peaceful, and often more effective, approach toward communication, both listening and speaking with others, particularly when making requests of, or sharing a different opinion with another person at home, at work, or in the community. The meetings will include a variety of music, poetry, and sharing. All new members are encouraged to sign up for this workshop; childcare is available.

In June, the Social Action Committee asked MVUUF members to vote for a September-November recipient of 50% of our non-pledge offerings; The Castle was selected, and we hope you will give generously to support the work of this important organization for people with emotional             disabilities.
Three other very worthy organizations were also recommended by members, and we will highlight one of these each month for your personal gifts, if you are so moved to contribute.
For the month of September we focus on the fund to Rebuild the Black Churches, which were burned in June of this year. In response to the current epidemic of hate crimes in our country, Standing on the Side of Love is raising funds to aid in rebuilding the four predominantly black churches. Please consider giving at:
or giving directly at:  
Please join the campaign in solidarity for justice and equality in our world.

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and support one another.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
-Assata Shakur
Dear Friends,
I've read and heard these words from Assata Shakur several times. Once I learned the words, thanks to the Ohio Student Association, I shouted these words on many occasions. However, it was only recently that I learned what these words meant.
I was raised in a working-class neighborhood in which the majority of homes were owned by black folks. Just about everyone knew each other and we played hopscotch in my driveway, hide-and-seek in the park across the street, and when the street lights came on you better be at your front door! I was also bullied on a regular basis during my childhood because I was gay and smart. I think this was an example of internalized oppression from those that did the bullying. I used to say I was "picked on" until I learned what the word "bully" meant.
I was also raised full of internalized racism. "You are better than 'those' people." "Don't talk like that. You sound like 'them.' " "Those folks are 'lazy.' " And when the evening news came on and the story was about a crime that was committed, I heard, "Please don't let him be black."
I have and continue to unlearn, address, and challenge my internalized racism and implicit biases every day. And then I experienced the feeling of insurmountable love during the 2015 Movement for Black Lives Convening in Cleveland, Ohio.
Over 1,000 people who identified as being black gathered together, and words can't really describe all of the emotions I experienced. The eye contact was unbelievable. The respect for one another was unbelievable. The feeling of being safe was unbelievable. The smiles were contagious. I could go on and on...
The first workshop I attended was Solidarity is a Verb, Collaboration is a Practice. Ideas regarding the importance of trans lives mattering were discussed and I personally realized how much I thought I understood about my trans family. I left this workshop knowing I needed to further educate myself on being transgender and the struggles they face on a daily basis. I learned facts about the number of trans women who are killed on a daily basis but their stories rarely, if ever, make the headlines. Again, my cultural biases were challenged and I knew I had yet another form of oppression to unlearn.
Another workshop I attended was on Community Organizing, during which we shared the achievements and challenges we faced when attempting to achieve our goals. The facilitator didn't push her agenda on us but rather urged us to share our thoughts and views with each other. We laughed and gently challenged each other at the same time. The workshop left me intellectually stimulated, feeling recharged to continue fighting for justice.
When I think of the 7 principles of Unitarian Universalism, I unfortunately often view them as abstract ideas. For example, the first principle: "the inherent worth and dignity of every person."
How can this be achieved when we are all raised with cultural biases? When I enter a room which has a majority of people who appear to identify as white, I don't believe they automatically see my inherent worth and dignity. From my life experience I've learned to guard myself as best I can from the racism and micro-aggressions I definitely know I will have to deal with. I know from the jump that most white folks do not believe in the inherent worth and dignity of black folks due to the   racist world that I experience and that we all live in. We are all taught to believe the stereotypes about people of color, for example:  all black males are rapists, murderers, lazy, etc. AND because I used to feel like white folks were safe to be around, I didn't worry about being robbed, raped, etc. I now realize my internalized racism was at work. I am still working on that one.
It is our duty to fight.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and support one another.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
It is my hope that more white Unitarian Universalists will commit to being active in the struggle to end all forms of oppression and to bring it closer to home right now. I hope more will join in, support and initiate direct actions in the Black Lives Matter Movement.
In faith,
Ndidi Achebe

Looking for a place to release your inner voice? Some place to let loose the wealth of emotions that can only be expressed through singing meaningful music with other music-loving people? Then come to Choir at MVUUF and discover the delight of singing and sharing with other UU amateur musicians. You don't have to know anything about music to be in the Choir, and there are no auditions; the only requirements are that you enjoy singing and would like to be part of a vital element of worship services at MVUUF.
Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m., in the sanctuary at the Fellowship. Come join us and feel the joy of camaraderie through singing---you'll discover talent you were unaware of, in yourself and others, and also appreciate contributing to the overall experience of a service.
Please contact Jeanette Filbrun Eakins, our Choir Director, at or (937) 750-4073 with any questions. All are welcome!

Here is an update on our wetlands for new members and friends, and regular members who forget things like I do. In July of 2007, we did a scientific study of the wetlands. The MVUUF Women's Group produced a wonderful notebook featuring color photos of each plant, including the common name, scientific name, and official wetland status according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This notebook is available in our Richard Venus Library.
Through much of July and August this summer, the Monkey Flower, a pale purple beauty, has been the predominant bloom in the wetlands. September will see Canada Goldenrod, Flat-Top Goldenrod, Tall Ironweed, Blue Vervain, Self-Heal, Pennsylvania Smartweed, and Virginia Mountain Mint in bloom.
Swamp Milkweed and another milkweed family plant, Indian Hemp, are growing long, string-like pods while up in the labyrinth, a nice patch of Common Milkweed with large, plump, warty seedpods is ripening. Milkweeds are very beneficial to Monarch and other butterflies.
In September, volunteers will be removing invasive trees:  White Ash, Black and Sandbar Willows, Silver Maple, and some Cottonwood. Cut-Leaved Teasel, a very aggressive plant, will be removed as well.
What we have here is a remnant of original wetlands. At the time of settlement, Ohio had 5,000,000 acres of wetlands; today, only 482,800 acres remain. 4,517,200 acres were drained and/or filled-a net loss of 90%.
--Dane Mutter, Fellowship Member

Please join us in providing food and/or serving for our long-standing 2nd Saturday lunch ministry for women and families staying at St. Vincent's shelter. This is the first month of our hearty chili fall menu! You can sign-up for food donations and/or serving on the clipboard on the counter by the windows in the gathering Space, or you can contact Lynn at (937) 657-0426, or If you would like more info on volunteering, please pick up one of the half-sheets near the sign-up sheet. Thanks to all who donated food and helped serve in August; we were happy to be able to offer seconds!
September 12th fall menu:  hearty chili, chili fixings (shredded cheese, chopped onions, etc.), green salad (dressed with dressing) or other fresh vegetable dish, fresh fruit/fruit salad, 100% juice, reduced fat milk. We need several donations of each item, each to serve 15-20. Please bring all items-heated if applicable-to 120 West Apple Street, Dayton (St. Vincent de Paul Hotel) by 10:45 a.m. Serving ends about 12:45 p.m., with women eating at 11:00 a.m. and families at noon. Contact Lynn, Shirley Gezinski, or Iris Mirelez if you would like to help with menu planning or organizing Friday evening intergenerational cooking activity for St. V's. 

                            Please Join Us
         As We Stand on the Side of Love
               Bill Brock & Jay Davidson
                           Will Say "I Do"
       on Saturday, September 12th, 2015
              2 o'clock in the afternoon
                         Miami Valley 
       Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
        Reception Immediately Following

        If you would like to help with this event
through donations of time, talent or resources,
please contact Shannon Heather on Facebook
           or send her a text at (937) 838-5505

The June gathering of this fun group will take place on Thursday, September 24th, 11:30 a.m., at the MCL Cafeteria (private room). Everyone is invited to join them! Please RSVP to Allie Petersen at:

The Evening Book Discussion Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month, 7:00 p.m. at Christopher's Restaurant on East Dorothy Lane. New participants are welcome! Please contact Ann Snively for more information. The titles that have been selected for the next few months are:

September 8 -- At Home: A Short History of Private Lifeby Bill Bryson
October 13 -- Still Life with Bread Crumbs
by Anna Quindlen 
November 10 -- Clara and Mr. Tiffany
by Susan Vreeland

The Environmental Book Club meets monthly on the third Monday, from 7-8:30 p.m., in the  Founder's Room at the Fellowship. Upcoming selections are:
  • September 21 - Walden, by Henry David Thoreau
  • October 19 - Moral Ground:  Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, by Kathleen Dean Moore
  • November 16 - Earth in The Balance, by Al Gore
  • December 21 - Pope Francis' Encyclical, On The Care of Our Common Home (you can read the Encyclical on the Vatican's website)

The Daytime Book Club meets monthly on Wednesday mornings, 10:30 a.m., in the Founder's Room at the Fellowship.  Here's an update on the Daytime Book Club's coming selections for the next few months:
  •  September 16  Deep Down Dark:  The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, by Hector Tobar
  •  October 21   The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher
  •  November 18  Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, by Steven Drucker
  •  December 16  A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas. (This book is very short, for our annual party.)
  • January tba  The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. This book has 784 pages in paperback; we chose it for January so we could begin reading it in December or earlier.

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!

*****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   *****   

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!