Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  January, 2016

Service Topics for January, 2016

Mission is the theme for January Worship
January 3--It Begins With Vision--Rev. Greg Martin.  
It Begins With Vision is the title of the opening sermon for 2016. As a covenanted community, our calling is to be an example, a living embodiment of beloved community, and an active
instrument for change in our world.
January 10--Minding Our Own Business--Rev. Greg Martin.   
Mission is our business. It is how we live out our vision in this particular environment and time. So what business are we in? And how do we keep the main thing the main thing? How do we mind our own business and not someone else's? These are a few of the questions we pursue
this morning.
January 17--Multi-Generational Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration--Rev. Greg Martin, and Shannon Harper, 
Director of Religious Education.
King had a powerful vision of beloved community and strategies to make it real. As we remember and celebrate, we, too, can be shaped into those who uphold the vision and demonstrate its' reality.
January 24--Guest Speaker from the Muslim Community. 
(more details will be available soon regarding this service)
January 31--A Service of Light Gathering--Rev. Greg Martin 
and Tina Porter, seminary student. 
Seminary student Tina Porter and Rev. Greg Martin will lead this service for mid-winter. As the light gains, we look toward spring. 

   A Few Words  
From Our Minister

Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we honor this month, popularized a vision of beloved community. King asked us to imagine the world as it could be in all its glorious diversity if we practiced a powerful togetherness. And then he asked us to live like it is true. It is a radical vision because it flies in the face of how we experience much of life where divisions hold sway. The benefits of embodying such a way of living are immense, but they can also be very costly. It is one of the ways we conceive of ourselves as Unitarian Universalists. We are part of a covenanted fellowship that seeks to live as beloved community. It can be a tough  challenge to live into, and yet we receive it as a gift many times, even as we strive to make it real. And we unapologetically hold that vision not just for ourselves but for the whole of society. And our vision goes even further, mindful of all planetary life and systems, in finding ourselves within the interdependent web of all existence.
In the month of January we will begin a six month process of refreshing and renewing our sense of mission as the Miami Valley UU Fellowship. How do we live out this powerfully radical vision in our time and place? I am energized by that charge both because of the spirit of readiness that I find present here and the exciting challenges that we face in the world right now. Unitarian Universalists and our radical vision are so desperately needed.
I have found that so true in recent weeks. We have reached out in an number of ways to build bridges and relationships with those in the Muslim community. Barb Weber, our Board President, and I sent a letter to the Dayton Mercy Society, our local mosque in Miamisburg, just before  Christmas reaffirming our friendship and support. Muslims are saying that the level of vitriol and hatred that they are currently experiencing exceeds that of post-911 days. It is imperative that we speak up in that climate and back it up with our actions. To that purpose we are actively exploring ways to demonstrate what it means to live in beloved community with another faith tradition.
And that is just one example. As I'm writing these lines the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict the police officers in the Tamir Rice case has come in. It is my opinion that we need to assert that Tamir Rice's life does matter. Consequently, I am a signatory to a request from religious leaders  asking the Federal Department of Justice to step in at this juncture. Until Tamir's life matters as much as all others, and by extension so many people of color, we will not know the fullness of     beloved community in our midst.
2016 will offer us many opportunities to practice and promote the vision of beloved community in concrete and specific ways. I relish being in community with you at this time. Who we are and what we do matters!
Rev. Greg

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
Rev. Greg is in the office on Monday afternoons and during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's always a good idea to call for an appointment as the time can fill up! He is available by appointment at other times of the week. Thursday is his day to focus on sermon writing and other presentations, and Friday is his day off. 

Life Around the Fellowship...
I am writing this on the day after the Winter Solstice, when it is dark for much of the day. Right now, I am content; the Christmas lights and having my family together make all seem brighter. I know it won't be long, however, before I become impatient for the returning sun. There will still be many weeks and much to do before I really begin to notice the lengthening days, and they can be challenging weeks, too.
So too at the Fellowship. We have been rushing from one celebration to the next, with Greg's Installation, Thanksgiving Dinner, Winter Solstice, Christmas...the lights have been burning brightly in our midst. And yes, celebrations will continue after the New Year. We will have our new UUA Fundraising Night, and our eagerly awaited Men Who Cook event. Be sure to come join in the fun!
But there will be work to do as well. The work of justice remains as does the work of nurturing our own beloved community. Much may happen that will be hard to notice on any particular day. As with roots whose work is not easily observed during the dark months, so, too, our preparation may not easily be seen. It takes thought and planning and discussion to move us toward our goals.
It can be hard to be patient when results seem distant. Even when we know we are moving        forward, it can sometimes seem like waiting for the sun. Movement can be slow and more easily recognized over a longer period.
Here at the Fellowship, one chance we have to take that longer view is at our semi-annual Congregational Meetings. Our next one will be on Sunday, January 31, 12:30 p.m., in the Sanctuary. It will be a good chance for us all to stop and notice the progress of the six months since our last meeting (what a lot has happened since June!), as well as to set the course for the work ahead. We will be electing new officers and considering budget adjustments and a proposal concerning LEAD. Plan to come. Participation in our democratic process is an active aspect of our spiritual community, as well as a privilege and duty of   membership.
Meanwhile, let us be gentle with ourselves. Let us draw in nurture during these dark months. Let us look forward to new growth and bright green sprouts. Let us keep watch for the sun and be   joyful as it appears.
--Barb Weber, Board President

SUNDAY, JANUARY 31st, 12:30 p.m.
We'll be having soup at the Congregational Meeting! And as you fill your bowl (if your budget allows) could you please make a donation toward the recent purchase of 72 soup bowls? The Social Action Committee purchased this needed and environmentally friendly option for use by all, at $1.68 per bowl. If you cannot donate anything at that time, you can donate whenever you'd like by contacting Alice Diebel (Social Action Committee Chair) or Maureen O'Meara (Social Action Representative); for checks, please write out to MVUUF and put "bowls" in the memo line. Thanks!

MVUUF's West Dayton Action Group is recommending to the congregation that MVUUF join the local interfaith social justice organization-LEAD (Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton). This proposal will be presented for a congregational vote at our Congregational Meeting on Sunday, January 31st; on Sunday, January 24th,  there will be a gathering in the Sanctuary to discuss this proposal, following the Sunday Worship Service. Prior to that discussion, information about LEAD will be shared with members along with an explanation of why joining LEAD is being proposed and what it will require of the Fellowship in terms of financial support and congregation participation.
The mission of LEAD (established 1992) is to build a strong, grassroots interfaith community organization, dedicated to empowering and preparing people of faith to address injustice and create long-term changes in our communities and institutions.  In the past, LEAD has successfully increased access to transportation, improved regulations on payday lending businesses, successfully pushed for a living wage in Dayton, and created education programs for low-income students. LEAD is currently helping to develop a new         economic development program in west Dayton, providing tutoring to elementary students in the Dayton Public Schools, and gaining public transportation access to the Dayton Mall for persons with disabilities.
Congregation-based community organizing (CBCO) is one of the major ways that UU congregations carry out their social justice work.  Over 700 UU congregations are involved in CBCO and the UUA provides support for congregations beginning this work.

We have numerous members who give so generously of their time to the Fellowship, and we have two specific awards for such dedication:  the Wince Award, and the Unsung UU Award.
Wince Award:  for dedication to the UU faith through service to MVUUF. The award recognizes tireless leadership over decades to strengthen the life of this congregation, and our relationship with one another. Recipients have served in a variety of roles within the Fellowship, demonstrating their love of this community and its value to the world.
Unsung UU Award:  given to someone who tirelessly shows their commitment to the Fellowship behind the scenes. It's not typically a person in a formal position; rather, it's someone who sees something that needs to be done and gets it done.

Let's honor those who share their time and energy with our congregation! Nominations should include why the person deserves the award, and should be received by Sunday, January 10th, by Barb Weber, President of our Board of Trustees.  You can email your nomination to Barb at, or mail it to the Fellowship, or leave it in a sealed envelope in the Board President's mailbox at the Fellowship.  Winners will be announced at the January Congregational Meeting on January 31st!

Did you know we give half of our non-pledge offering to a non-profit organization or charity every quarter? The Social Action Committee and the Humanitarian Giving Action Group would like your help in selecting the next recipients!
Step #1:  Submit nominations by Sunday, January 10th, to the box in the Gathering Space, or via email to Alice Diebel at Please provide a short description of the organization and its clients, and a website address, if available. Nominees should be registered non-profits with low administrative costs and focused on the under-served. They may include previous recipients. In the past, we have restricted organizations to those in the greater Dayton area, but exceptions may be considered.
Step #2:  Watch for information regarding the nominees in upcoming Friday E-Blasts, and in the Gathering Space.
Step #3:  Attend the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, January 31st to vote on your top choice! The two nominees receiving the most votes will be our recipients for the next two quarters of 2016!
***   ***   ***   

Have you been longing to form deeper connections at MVUUF? Are you interested in deepening your understanding of what it means to be UU?

Consider signing up for a Covenant Group! The groups began in September, but many groups are open to bringing in new members  this month. We ask that people covenant (promise) to attend meetings twice a month, take part in a service project with the group, and practice the art of deep listening and sharing.

Sign-up sheets can be found in the Gathering Space; 

you can also call me:(937) 350-7763
or send me an email:
The deadline to sign up is Sunday, January 3.
--Alice Diebel   

There is a lot going on this weekend, honoring & celebrating the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We hope you'll be able to join us for one, or all, of the important events offered; the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery (AL) Bus Boycott will also be marked.

On Friday evening, January 15th, 7:00 p.m., the Anti-Racism Taskforce will show the movie Brother Outsider, about Bayard Rustin. Find out more about the movie HERE

On Saturday, January 16th, join us for the Adult Religious Education's all-day workshop on Class Consciousness, 9:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Facilitators will be Alice Diebel, Maureen O'Meara, and Kathleen Pennington. MLK emphasized economic injustice, especially near the end of his life. That same evening we'll celebrate UUA Night, a fundraising event where we'll renew our commitments to the UUA. What better way to support the work of social justice than to support our association?

On Sunday, January 17th, we'll experience a Multi-Generational Worship Service honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And on Monday, January 18th, we join with many others in the area for the Dayton Martin Luther King, Jr. Walk. Watch upcoming Friday E-Blasts and news list emails for more details. We typically meet at the RTA bus stop and walk together to the Convention Center.

All are invited to attend this discussion on Sunday, January 17th, 12:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary. We'll have questions and discussion after brief comments provided by several MVUUF members and friends currently engaged in our food ministries. Among the projects are:  week-day lunch & visiting at The Castle in Centerville (a safe haven for those experiencing mental disorders); the 2nd Saturday lunch at St. Vincent's Shelter in Dayton; the weekly bread "run" from Springboro to Dayton (Have you ever heard that hunger arises from lack of distribution rather than lack of supply? This is a distribution effort!); advocacy efforts with UUs all over Ohio with  UUJO (UU Justice Ohio Network); adult RE Class Consciousness; and Fair Trade coffee sales.
Also welcome are individuals who can briefly share how they incorporate health and environmental concerns into their food choices, cooking, gardening, and advocacy. We plan to cover descriptions of   projects, how participation "feeds" the spirit (pun intended!), and wish lists (both practical and fantastical). Of course, there will be snacks!  For more information, you can contact Lynn Buffington by email at:

On Saturday, January 23, 1-3:00 p.m. at the Fellowship the Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) group will be hosting a program on Implicit Bias. SURJ has been collaborating with members of our Anti-Racism Taskforce to build anti-oppressive communities. At this program, we'll have an opportunity to learn more about Implicit Bias. The Implicit Bias Test is an online tool that measures our tendencies to make judgements about people based on their skin color. It has been thoroughly tested and used across the country in many settings. Dr. Carmen Culotta, PhD, from Wright State's department of Psychology, will be the featured speaker for this workshop, which is open to the community.  We will learn what Implicit Bias is and how it manifests in the real world. We'll also learn about current research on how we might modify our biases. There will be time for questions and discussion, and everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
To better understand one of the types of implicit bias measurement, attendees are encouraged to come early to take the implicit bias test, or to take one or more prior to the meeting. The tests can be found HERE , and information regarding the tests can be found HERE
For more info, please contact either:

Alice Diebel at 
Lynn Buffington at

The Women's Group invites you to a screening and short discussion of the 2014 documentary, The Empowerment Project:  Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things, on Friday, January 29th, 6:30 p.m., in the Sanctuary.
To make the documentary, the filmmakers drove over 7,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York over the course of 30 days. The film spotlights positive and powerful women leaders from a variety of lifestyles and industries.
We'll share some light snacks, and be joined by local members and friends of Organizing for Action, the group that's providing the film. The film is in the "family" category, so teenagers are also welcome.

Supporters of the Fellowship! Make sure to buy your tickets now for the 9th Annual Men Who Cook event, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday evening, January 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Fellowship.

This fundraiser (which supports our Operating Fund) always gets rave reviews, so please, bring a friend along with you! As many as 30 men of the Fellowship will be preparing a smorgasbord of dinner delights: appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, breads and desserts in splendid variety, including carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Wine will be served, as well. Some live male entertainment will grace the evening, too!

Purchase your tickets after Sunday service in the Gathering Space:  $30/adult and $5/children 12 and younger. Some scholarship tickets are also available.

These eight sessions will be held on Sunday mornings, 9:30-10:4 a.m., at the Fellowship; beginning session on January 31st. There is no fee; simply bring an open mind and willingness to share in the conversation.  Childcare is also available. Facilitators will be Bob Lewis and Rev. Greg Martin. Some of the important themes that will be covered are: theology, history, worship, covenant, governance and polity, spiritual growth and faith development, social justice, and membership. 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, these sessions are for you!

What? Already?!? No, this event isn't scheduled to happen until April 16 (whew!) but Ria Megnin and I want people to start thinking about what service/dinner/item they will offer and/or what they would like to see offered. I'll be getting in touch with people this month and putting out emails on the Yahoo news group and Facebook page, so keep your eyes peeled. I would like to especially encourage new members to get in touch with Ria or me to find out more about the Service Auction.
--Dawn Bellinger, 
Activities Rep. and Service Auction 2016 Chair
(937) 427-1980 or

The Women's Group has some interesting topics ahead for this month. If you identify as female, please join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m.

January 3rd - Diane Colvin - post-holiday blues
January 10th - Sheila Adams - The basics of Islam
January 17th - Alice Diebel - the women of the civil rights movement
January 24th and 31st -  the dates depend on our ability to secure a speaker. One date will be Mission; the other will be Women and Islam. Check our Friday E-Blasts for updates!

During the Interim Period, our congregation formed a group of Pastoral Associates to assist the minister in providing care and support to members who need it. We are available to offer a       compassionate presence, support, and referrals if needed. We encourage members and friends of the Fellowship to approach us, and we will look for ways that we can be of service.
Our Pastoral Associates are:
Lathe Snyder (Chair)
Shannon Heather Hansen 
Tina Porter
Maureen McCarthy-Magill 
Kathleen Turner
Heidi Porter is our once-and-future PA, as she is currently on hiatus due to job responsibilities.
The PAs are also working to manage our congregational food pantry, which exists to help out   members and friends with this need. There will be more to come in future newsletters about this program's structure, but please feel free to approach any of us with questions or needs. Currently, our food pantry's greatest need is for pasta (especially gluten-free) and unscented hygiene items. We also have an on-going need for feminine hygiene products, but we recently received a large  donation. Gift cards are also welcome, especially to Kroger, where we earn points for purchases.

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. We are extending our chili menu to winter as it is so popular with both cooks and diners. 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 Buffington at (937) 657-0426 or
If you would like more information regarding volunteering, please take one of the info half-sheets near the  sign-up sheet. Thanks to all who cooked and helped at December's lunch; many of them are pictured here!
January 9th winter menu:  hearty chili, chili    fixings (shredded cheese, chopped onions, etc.), green salad or other side dish made with fresh vegetables (salad should be dressed or with a bottle of dressing), fresh fruit/fruit salad, 100% juice and reduced fat milk. We need several donations of most items, with each donation serving 15-20 people. Please bring all items-heated if applicable-to 120 West Apple Street in 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. You can contact Lynn Buffington, Shirley Gezinski, or Iris Mirelez if you would like to help with menu planning.

We will be meeting for January birthdays on Thursday, January 14 .Please come and join us in celebration, 11:30 a.m., at MCL Cafeteria. And please RSVP to Allie Petersen at:

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 selection for the this month:
  • January  20  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.

The Evening Book Discussion Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month, at 7:00 p.m. at Christopher's Restaurant on East Dorothy Lane. New participants are welcome! Contact Ann Snively if you'd like more information. Titles that have been selected for the coming months are:
  • January 12--God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison
  • February 9--Just Mercy, by Bryan Stephenson (this is the UUA Common Read title)
  • March 8--All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Remember to place your order for Fair Trade coffee on the first Sunday of the month--this month it falls on January 3rd--in the Gathering Space after service, to be picked up on or after the third Sunday of the month--this month, January 17th. There are many varieties and bean grinds to choose from, including several that are organic!
You can also contact Lynn Buffington at (937) 657-0426 or
You can keep up-to-date with all the happenings at MVUUF by viewing the Fellowship's calendar online, from a link to our website HERE  
The calendar is updated daily, so it's always the 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!