Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  February, 2016

Service Theme for February, 2016

Have you ever felt vulnerable? Or afraid of being vulnerable?
Then February worship is for you as we explore the theme of Vulnerability.
As Brene Brown says, "You can't get to courage 
without walking through vulnerability."
February 7--If You Really Knew Me...
Rev. Greg Martin.  
We begin this month with a focus on vulnerability. We often 
go through life assuming that if people really knew us, they would not accept us if not outright reject us in many instances. We harbor secrets and inner pain. We can expend enormous energy keeping ourselves secure and impregnable. Or we can discover that part of being human is to suffer. When we openly acknowledge our sufferings to others in a safe space, in other words, become vulnerable, we can find courage and a new power in living.
 February 14   
Our Worship Rep, Joe Zimmerman, is planning a special 
Valentine-themed worship for this morning.
February 21--Hide or Seek
Rev. Greg Martin
This morning, Rev. Greg Martin shares part of his personal journey 
from hiding to seeking. In risking the vulnerability of coming out, 
he has come to a more authentic and fulfilling life.
February 28--Inside Out
youth of the congregation 
With this morning's service led by the youth of our congregation,
it promises to be a "real" experience.

   A Few Words  
From Our Minister
An interfaith coalition has come together to provide a message of respect and welcome to Muslims in the Dayton area. People of Faith Welcoming Muslims:  Liberty and Justice For All is the working title of this diverse group. Its message is aimed at countering much of the vitriolic rhetoric and violence   being promulgated in various quarters of our nation. Most religions have a common message that seeks to dispel fear in times of anxiety and distress. And most religions proclaim and practice a welcome to the immigrant. You could say that in the eyes of people of faith and concern, hospitality trumps hostility.
As a Unitarian Universalist religious leader, I have joined this effort, along with Maureen O'Meara of our Social Action Committee. Maureen is working on efforts to bring Muslims and others together in small group settings around our metropolitan area. I'm focusing on crafting a media event that will feature religious leaders offering a united message of support, dispelling fear, and speaking from their respective teachings about the centrality of hospitality. The theme of the event will be Expanding Our Hearts in keeping with the timing near Valentine's weekend. Representatives from many area religious traditions-Jewish, Baha'I, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian (both Catholic and Protestant), Islam, and of course UUs and others will gather on Friday, February 12, at 11:00 a.m. The venue is yet to be determined but likely sites are City Hall or Sinclair Community College, so please keep your eyes and ears open for final details. The goal is to have many people in attendance to demonstrate a powerful message that the religious community of Greater Dayton is in solidarity with one another, and especially with our Muslim sisters and brothers. Religious freedom is at the core of our UU movement. Please come and be present if you can.
Rev. Greg

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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...

As we begin February, we are in the midst of Thirty Days of Love and are approaching Valentine's Day. I imagine we all remember the often corny valentines we passed out in elementary school. But there are so many other ways we show our love-for each other, and for all in our world.
Here at the Fellowship, I so often see someone offer a smile, a helping hand with a project, or support in tough times to others in our midst. That kind of caring is important in weaving our connections with each other. The countless hours of volunteer time given to our community is   another way we show our love.
We also show we care when we express gratitude to each other. It takes little to say "thanks" but it feels so good-to both the receiver and the giver. Whether it is for big or small things doesn't matter; it is being noticed and appreciated that helps each of us feel like part of the whole.
I don't suppose many of us think of our Congregational Meetings as a way to show our love, but in fact, they are. Taking time to participate says that we value each other and the community we   create together. Engaging in respectful discourse honors all of us. Even when our sometimes-impassioned discussion speaks to our different ways of thinking, our listening speaks to our love. 
As we live our love for each other inside these walls, we also encourage each other to live that love in the broader world, as well. We are encouraged to show others the kindness we show each other. Our growing relationship with the Dayton Mercy Society and our local Muslim community is one way that we live that love. So, too, are our involvement in Black Lives matter, the efforts to bring a bus stop to the Dayton Mall, our feeding the hungry, and our working for justice in so many other ways.
As we gather for our January 31st Congregational Meeting, let us hold our love in our hearts. Love for each other, for our Fellowship Community, and for our world. How will you show your love in the year ahead?
Barb Weber, Board President

This year, when you're attending the January 31st Congregational Meeting, you will find a table set up with Contribution Statements available; simply find the envelope that has your name (the envelopes have been sealed for security), and take it with you. Additionally, if you see an envelope belonging to a friend who isn't present, you may want to drop that off to them, as well (and save MVUUF some postage costs!). Statements have been printed this year because the Administrator is still working with PowerChurch to discern why they are not able to be emailed at this time. Hopefully, this problem will be fixed soon!
It's true! On Sunday, January 24th, a special collection was taken up, in support of the on-going water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Through the generosity of members and friends, we will be sending a check to the United Way of Genesee County, Michigan for $922.01!
If you were unable to donate at that time, but would still like to do so, here's the link to use: Flint Water Crisis

The Evening Book Discussion Group will be meeting in the Library at the Fellowship on Tuesday Evening, February 9th, at 7:00 p.m. They would love to have some additional participation that evening, as they plan to discuss the UUA Common Read book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson. This book is available in a variety of formats at local public libraries, please contact Ann Snively if you would like more information.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is the selection for their Tuesday, March 8th gathering. They'll be meeting again at their usual location, Christopher's Restaurant on East Dorothy lane in Kettering, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Smart Choices will be gathering for their birthday lunch this month on Thursday, February 11th, 11:30 a.m. at the MCL Cafeteria (corner of Far Hills and David Road in Kettering). They'd love to have you join them! 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.  This month, they'll be gathering on Wednesday, February 17th.

Our Anti-Racism Taskforce will present the movie, Malcolm X, for the February offering of the First Friday Movie Night, on Friday, February 5, 7:00 p.m., in the Sanctuary at the Fellowship. Refreshments will be served during the movie, and there will be a discussion afterwards. We hope to see many of you there!

What follows is a description of the film from Roger Ebert:
"Malcolm X is one of the great screen biographies, celebrating the whole sweep of an American life that began in sorrow and bottomed-out on the streets and in prison before its hero reinvented himself. Watching the film, I understood more clearly how we do have the power to change our own lives, how fate doesn't deal all of the cards. The film is inspirational and educational-and it is also entertaining, as movies must be before they can be anything else.
This is an extraordinary life, and Spike Lee has told it in an extraordinary film. Like Gandhi, the movie gains force as it moves along; the early scenes could come from the lives of many men, but the later scenes show a great original personality coming in to focus. To understand the stages of Malcolm's life is to walk for a time in the steps of many African Americans, and to glimpse where the journey might lead.
Denzel Washington stands at the center of the film, in a performance of enormous breadth. He  never seems to be trying for an effect, and yet he is always convincing; he seems as natural in an early scene, clowning through a railroad club car with ham sandwiches, as in a later one, holding audiences spellbound on street corners, in churches, on television, and at Harvard. He is as persuasive early in the film, wearing a zoot suit and prowling the nightclubs of Harlem, as later,  disappearing into a throng of pilgrims to Mecca. Washington is a congenial, attractive actor, and so it is especially effective to see how he shows the anger in Malcolm, the unbending dogmatic side.
Accomplished storytelling Lee tells his story against an epic background of settings and supporting characters (the movie is a gallery of the memorable people in Malcolm's life). Working with         cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, Lee paints the early Harlem scenes in warm, sensuous colors, then uses cold, institutional lighting for the scenes in prison. In many of the key moments in Malcolm's life as a public figure, the color photography is inter-cut with a black and white, quasi-documentary style that suggests how Malcolm's public image was being shaped and fixed.  
Spike Lee is not only one of the best filmmakers in America, but one of the most crucially important, because his films address the central subject of race. He doesn't use sentimentality or political clichés, but shows how his characters live, and why."

Our congregation strives to welcome everyone. Along those lines, MVUUF's Pastoral Associates will be offering a three-session class about supporting those with mental disorders. Members and friends of MVUUF and the Tree of Life congregations are welcome to join this class to increase their understanding of mental illness and learn ways to support those who live with it. The class will be held in the Founder's Room, 7-8:30 p.m., on the first three Wednesday evenings in February (3rd, 10th, and 17th). The class will be taught by MVUUF member, Margaret Michal. Margaret has a Masters degree in Social Work, and has worked as a therapist; she also has a family member with a serious mental illness, and has struggled with depression herself.
The goal of the three sessions is to reduce prejudice and create stronger relationships within our congregation and our community. By increasing our understanding of mental illness, we can learn ways to support people who are trying to deal with their illness.
The class is open to anyone who has an interest in developing stronger relationships with people who have mental illness, and the three sessions will cover the challenge of mental illness for our society, stigma, explanation of mental health diagnoses, signs of mental illness, and ways to be helpful to those who suffer with these disorders.

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 as it is so popular with both diners and cooks! 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, please take an info half-sheet near the sign-up sheet. Thanks to all who cooked and helped at January's lunch; there was an unusual number of very young children. Once again our food was received with much appreciation for it's freshness and home-cooking!
February 13th 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 itms, 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.

On Sunday, February 7th, a discussion will be held at 12:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary, regarding the current CSAI, Escalating Inequality. The purpose is this discussion is to collect comments to submit to the UUA, which will be used to inform the workshops that will take place at General Assembly this summer. Please try to attend this meeting to voice your thoughts; our congregation should be heard.
Many of you are familiar with the UUA Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAI) but some of you may not be aware. The congregations of the UUA choose an issue, study that issue for four years and submit feedback, and then the UUA issues a Statement of Conscience about the issue, based on member comments. The current CSAI, Escalating Inequality, was chosen for 2014-2018, and we  are currently in the study-and-comment phase. Recently, the Social Action Committee presented a curriculum on Class Consciousness that was suggested by the Escalating Inequality Study Guide.
We hope many of you will be present for this important discussion. What follows is the text of this CSAI.
CSAI: Escalating Inequality
Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs) are issues selected by Unitarian Universalist member congregations for four years of study, reflection and action.
Upward mobility-the American Dream-has become a myth. Concentration of wealth and power has skyrocketed. Dr. King's dream of justice and equality has fractured. Half of all Americans are  impoverished or struggling, as the middle class shrinks and billionaires take the profits. Where's our commitment to the Common Good?
Grounding in Unitarian Universalism
Our Unitarian Universalist (UU) tradition places its faith in people to crate a more loving community for all, guided by "justice, equity, and compassion in human relations." Challenging extreme inequality has now become a moral imperative, just as prior generations have led movements from abolition to civil rights and marriage equality.

Topics for Congregational Study
  • What do numbers show about the expansion of extreme wealth and increase in struggling households?
  • What are the lessons to be learned from the history of movements for economic justice, here and abroad, dating back to the last Gilded Age?
  • How are social classes formed and what practices will help us transcend class barriers in our congregations and communities?
  • What do studies say about the indirect social outcomes of growing economic inequality? These include hidden effects on hierarchy, discrimination, segregation, minorities, physical and mental health, education, violence, punishment, political polarization, and public services.
  • Study root causes of inequality, such as corporate globalization, "free trade," outsourcing, privatization, tax shifting and evasion, subsidies and bailouts, monopoly, suppression of labor, money in politics, "externalizing" social and environmental costs, "free market"/libertarian ideologies, deregulation, unlimited income/wealth.
  • Where to begin:  Money out of politics, minimum/living wages, debt servitude/predatory    lending. Justice and fairness in taxes and trade. Re-regulate Wall Street and empower workers. Grow opportunity through better healthcare, education, public services, cooperatives, media, democracy. Develop a deeper understanding of classism.
  • Distinguishing among the moral, social, economic, political, and sustainability implications of inequality, imagine a new strategy for the Common Good-"caring and sharing" on a social    level.
Possible Congregational/District Actions
  • Collect current and historical resources on inequality, written and online, from here and abroad.
  • Enlighten yourselves via discussion/film/study groups on the effects, causes, and history of     inequality.
  • Develop a variety of spiritual experiences to inspire UUs to transcend barriers of class.
  • Organize action agendas on select issues, networking with other congregations and allied secular and interfaith groups. Collaborate, as feasible, with UU organizations like state Legislative Networks, UUJEC, and UUSC.
  • Join to develop a vision of the common good that animates a movement toward sustainable well-being for all, to reduce demands on the earth's resources, and to nourish the soul by    sharing life's essentials.
 Related Prior Social Witness Statements
  • Amend the Constitution: Corporations are not Persons and Money is not Speech (2013)
  • Raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $10 in 2010 (2008)
  • Single-Payer Health Care (2008)
  • End Present-Day Slavery in the Fields (2008)
  • Support Immigrant Justice (2006)
  • Support for the Millennium Development Goal One:  Ending Extreme Poverty (2005)
  • Economic Globalization (2003)
  • Economic Injustice, Poverty, and racism:  We Can make a Difference (2000)
  • Working for a Just Economic Community (1997)
  • A Job, A Home, A Hope (1995)
Remember to place your order for Fair Trade coffee on the first Sunday of the month--this month it falls on February 7th--in the Gathering Space after service, to be picked up on or after the third Sunday of the month--this month, February 21st. 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!

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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!