Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  March, 2016

Service Theme for March, 2016

The ancient (and modern) virtue of Reverence 
is our worship theme for March.

March 6th
A Call to Reverence
Rev. Greg Martin
According to philosopher, Paul Woodruff, reverence includes a capacity for awe, respect and shame coupled with a deep understanding of human limitations. We explore this, and also install newly elected officers of the Fellowship to the ministries that we have entrusted to their care as they begin their terms of service.

March 13th
Naked Emperors
Rev. Greg Martin
Mockery is not the same as irreverence, and can be useful in maintaining a spirit of reverence (not to mention a sense of sanity in an election year)

March 20th
Equity and Quality in Education
Tom Lasley, Exec. Dir., Learn to Earn
Tom will help us contemplate our reverence for children and the importance of preschool for all children in Montgomery County, one of the LEAD initiatives. Why should communities of faith focus on education in Dayton and Montgomery County...and especially on preschool? Come and find out.

March 27th
Reverence Without a Creed
Rev. Greg Martin
The month's celebrations conclude with the dual recognition 
of the Spring Equinox and Easter.

   A Few Words  
From Our Minister
The spiral turns. March is a time of transition at MVUUF. As Spring approaches we transition to the new elected leadership. We gear up for our annual Stewardship Campaign as we look ahead to the next fiscal year that begins July 1st. We'll soon be advertising for a new music leader in hopes of having them in place later in the Spring. The new Vision & Mission Taskforce, led by Catherine Queener and Yolanda Crooms, gets underway working toward some proposals for the June Congregational Meeting.

With all of that in mind, I want to express thanks to Barb Weber and Trudy Krisher who have served as President and Vice-President of the Board (they both continue as Trustees-At-Large), as well as outgoing Board Member, Genevieve Harvey. Their capable leadership has served our congregation well through the transition to new ministerial leadership. I look forward to working with new President Gail Cyan and new Vice-President Tina Porter who bring new vision and energy along with much administrative leadership experience to their respective roles. We now have a full leadership team with the addition of new Program Council Chair David Cobb, coupled with the competencies of ongoing Treasurer Brianna Kempe and Board Secretary Lynn Buffington. Gail, David, and I will be meeting regularly to form a collaborative team for the very best management of the Fellowship in the year ahead. We will plan to share our hopes and visions with you soon.

I have deeply appreciated the energy, enthusiasm, and engagement of participants in the Fellowship in this first year. There is a quality and a desire here for something truly remarkable and meaningful for people's lives and the betterment of our world. Already have I been impressed with the energy and interest that our new commitment to LEAD has engendered. It is creating new opportunities for new people to be engaged in along with many faithful, long-term servants, as was hoped for. Outreach transforms congregations more than any other factor or effort. It gives people an opportunity to devote themselves to something greater than themselves. I invite you to continue to grow in your financial support of the Fellowship and in other ways of volunteer service. Or maybe this is an opportunity for you to take those steps for the very first time. Your generosity in the coming year will help us extend our involvement in the community, provide quality religious education and worship for all ages, meet the mortgage and utility payments, and work toward just compensation for our staff. Together, we will place MVUUF on a firm foundation. 
Rev. Greg Martin

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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...
We have come to the end of my term as President and, as we do in times of transition, I have been both looking back to the past and looking ahead to the future. I am proud of the work we have done as a Fellowship and as a Board over these past 18 months. I am deeply grateful for those who have helped us with that work. None of us could have brought us to this place alone. I am also   excited by what I envision us accomplishing in the coming years.
When I took office in October 2014, the Fellowship was in the depths of our Interim transition. We were struggling with questions of where we wanted to go and how we were going to get there. Alysoun Taylor-Hall had led us well to that point. Her wise and courageous resignation when she felt that she could not guide us further created a crisis, but it also freed us to move into some new ways of being together.
My presidency began with a series of Leadership Exploration Group meetings. These involved significant time and energy commitments from our already busy Fellowship leaders. The dedication they gave to this was just one instance of the dedication they have given and continue to give to the life of our community.
Learning in those LEGs about how church systems operate gave Board and Program Council members a way of thinking about what we were doing. Just as important, the meetings gave us an opportunity to focus on where and how we wanted to move forward. The tone of conversations began to shift toward one of optimism. We became increasingly hopeful about the Ministerial Search process. Despite the efforts of our excellent Search Committee, many of us were feeling anxious about who our new minister would be. But the Fellowship chose to deal with our anxiety by challenging ourselves to do our best to attract the best. The success of our Capital Calling    Campaign was a vote of confidence in our future. As he has begun his ministry with us, we are  seeing the fruits of that confidence and commitment.
In the midst of the many changes brought about by the Interim and Search processes, including saying goodbye to Rev. Mary and welcoming Rev. Greg, we have also moved forward with many new initiatives. Internally, we are starting work on renewing our Mission and Vision Statements, on reviewing our music program and hiring a new musician to lead us, and on Leadership Development. In January, we elected a full slate of officers (except for one member of the Nominating Committee) for the first time in a number of years. We are enjoying and learning to use our new AV system and are about to install solar panels to meet our electricity needs.
We are also deepening our commitment to Social Justice. The congregation has engaged in important soul work about how to welcome sexual offenders in our midst while maintaining safeguards for all. We display our Black Lives Matter banner and many have put words and bodies into this declaration. We are joining LEAD and have reached out to our Muslim neighbors.

We have done all this and more in these 17 months. It has been a lot of work and I am feeling tired as I step down. But I am also feeling honored and deeply grateful that you entrusted me with this sacred work for our community. It has been work that has touched my spirit, and you have been people who have fed my soul.
Each new President brings unique gifts to the role. Incoming President Gail Cyan's fresh perspective, passion, and energy will serve us well in this exciting time of deepening involvement in how we live our principles. I look forward to seeing what she brings out in us and who we become under her leadership. Please join me in supporting and thanking her for taking on this responsibility with love.
With deep gratitude to you all---
 Barb Weber, Outgoing Board President

I am really looking forward to serving this congregation as President of the Board over the coming year! Barb Weber has been such a wonderful role model and leader, and I am grateful that she will still be serving on the Board as a past President. A change in leadership is an OPPORTUNITY to shift the energy of our congregation from transition to engagement and mission. These will be my focus areas and I hope you will be open to joining me.
ENGAGEMENT-means show up, let your voice be heard, 
contribute in your unique and wonderful ways!
MISSION-means to hold the values of being UU
 in our heart and work to engage and infuse the values
 into EVERYTHING we do!
As a personal project, I will be using this space in future Forums to lift up the amazingly good work of individuals and groups in all areas of the church. Please feel free to suggest to me people/groups that deserve some "props." Otherwise, I will hunt you down!
Finally, I invite you to contact me by email ( or in person about ANYTHING that you would like to see at the Fellowship. If I can't help you, I can connect you with a person/group that can!
Looking forward to the synergy that is created when people put their hearts into ENGAGEMENT and MISSION!
Gail Cyan, Board President

With the weather being so non-committal lately, it's easy to forget exactly what month we're in. But March welcomes spring, no matter what the temperature is outside, and it's only 3 months away from summer. While the YRE Committee is busy making plans for another spectacular Eggstravaganza Egg Hunt, and Spring Break festivities are being scheduled, I am thinking ahead to summer vacations, warm sunshine, and what kinds of fun we can make happen in three short months of YRE! Here's a preview:
Although we're still discussing the breakdown of our classes, we're sure to offer three distinct tracks this summer-one for our youngest children, one for the general elementary ages, and one for the tweens and teens. In the elementary ages, we'll be doing a program I've entitled STEAMM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Music, and Movement. (Yes, I know the   acronym is a stretch, just humor me.) I'll be contacting people in the next few months to ask if you would be willing to lead a class or two on one of these themes. And of course, I'll be looking for lots of assistants as well as volunteers willing to teach preschool and Jr/Sr High.
Which brings me to even more exciting news! No one is more tired of the weekly emails and Facebook posts asking for additional volunteers than the DRE who has to write them. Trust me. So this summer, the YRE Team (the YRE Committee, Lifespan RE Rep., RE Assistant, and myself) have come up with a trial solution based on suggestions that members have made when asked why they do not volunteer more often in YRE. Just for the summer months, we will be moving our YRE     classes to the 9:30-10:45 a.m. time slot. I know this will take some adjustments and lots of reminders (hence why I am writing about it in March!), but my hope is this will allow for a greater diversity in volunteers, since those teaching will NOT have to miss the worship service. Parents who bring their children to YRE at 9:30 a.m. will have many options to feed their own interests, like a Parent Support Group, Women's Group, Meditation Group, Community Discussion Group, taking a walk in the labyrinth, and of course volunteering in YRE. The children will still join the congregation for Words For All Ages, and when they are sung out of the Sanctuary they will go to childcare until the service is over.
Over the next few months, we'll be ironing out the details, and letting you know more...but please feel free to reach out if you would like to teach a one-time lesson this summer.
Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education
Help us to bring joy to children in our congregation and in the Greater Dayton Community!
When:  Sunday, March 27th, 12:30 p.m., at the Fellowship
Once again this year, the YRE Committee is excited to host an Egg Hunt for the children in our congregation. Kids in grades 5 and under will be divided into age groups and invited to search for eggs outside on our lovely grounds. Collected eggs can be redeemed at our prize station, which will include non-food items as well as sweets.
Help from our middle and high school students to hide and count the eggs is greatly     needed-and will be sweetly rewarded!
How You Can Support the Egg Hunt:  Beginning Sunday, March 6th, we will have a table set up in the Gathering Space to collect donations of treats and trinkets that kids can choose when they redeem their eggs at our prize station. Examples of prizes include individually-wrapped candy, healthy snacks, fun erasers, notepads, stickers, small activity books or toys, bubbles, etc.

Spreading Our Love by Supporting the Food Bank
 Did you know that each week the Food Bank packs and distributes food to hundreds of food insecure kids in the Miami Valley to sustain them through the weekend? In addition to nutritious food, each pack includes a handmade Backpack Note with  positive words that encourage and bring a smile.
As part of our Egg Hunt festivities, we'll have a table set up where you can create  Backpack Notes for the Food Bank. Some basic supplies will be provided, but please consider bringing stickers, markers, and other materials to decorate the notes (please, no loose glitter). All ages are encouraged to create the notes!

We will also be collecting peanut butter and other much-needed foods. Look for a donation barrel in the Gathering Space beginning Thursday, March 24th. The Food Bank staff tells us there is a continual need for the following items:  peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned or dry beans, canned or dried fruit. Please  donate standard, household-sized containers of these items (as opposed to large, bulk-sized items) to reach most families. You are welcome to add items to the barrel through the end of our drive, on Monday, April 4th.
Feel free to contact Pam Gromen, chair of the YRE Committee, with any questions, at:

Are you getting stoked for the festivities of the annual Service  Auction? I know Ria and I are looking forward to it! We're getting in a luau-and-surfin' frame of mind, and are in full swing planning an evening of great music (good vibrations!), delectable pu-pus (appetizers), our always gnarly wine & beer bar, and much more! 
This is our BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT bash of the year!    EVERY member and friend is invited to donate a service (sewing, driving, gardening, etc.), an item (baked goods, jewelry, handmade goods), or an event (dinner, wine tasting, guided hike) for the community. Then, on the night of the event, folks will bid on all of these in a live auction! Also, MVUUF groups and individuals donate baskets of goodies for a raffle, as well!
This fundraiser puts a big emphasis on FUN, so drag out your colorful shirts, grass skirts, and coconuts, and get ready for some FUN!
There will be a Facebook page for the event (soon to be activated)...stay tuned for more information, and don't forget to save the date: 
Saturday, April 16th     6:00 p.m.     at the Fellowship
A hui hou kakou,
Dawn Bellinger and Ria Megnin

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 next meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 16th, 10:30 a.m., at the Fellowship. The featured book will be  The Boys In The Boat:  Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown.
Future offerings will be:
Wednesday, April 20th--Station Eleven, by Emily   St. John Mandel
Wednesday, May 18th--The Great Glass Sea, by Josh Weil 

MALCOLM X (Part 2)
MVUUF's Anti-Racism Taskforce (ART) will present the second half of the movie, Malcolm X, for the March offering of First Friday Movie Night, on Friday, March 4, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Sanctuary at the Fellowship. (As the movie is 3 hours and 20 minutes long, the first half was shown in February.) Refreshments will be served during the showing, and there will be a discussion afterwards. We hope to see many of you there!

The late Roger Ebert gave the film 4 stars; a portion of his review follows: "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.

WHAT:a fundraiser by the Youth Group, to purchase new TV and media player
       WHO:     17 lucky holders of the VERY limited tickets
WHEN:   a Saturday as yet to be determined, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE:  in the Gathering Space at the Fellowship
Tickets are $25 each; 
more info coming soon about how to get them
Enjoy a delicious meal, and help the Youth Group earn the funds needed for a new TV and media player for their area. The evening's menu will include the delectable offerings of Shrimp Etouffee, Tofu Etouffee, Red Beans & Rice, Sauteed Zucchini, Bananas Foster, and the star of the evening: a Turducken! (a chicken wrapped in a duck wrapped in a turkey, with spicy cornbread stuffing in-between!)

Thanks to all who donated food and/or served our second Saturday lunch at St. Vincent's     shelter on February 13! At 11:00 a.m., we served 52 women and at noon we served 20 families (children with  parent(s) or guardian(s)).  It was only 15 degrees outside that day and there was much appreciation of seconds on chili!  The   families really enjoyed the Valentine's Day PBJ heart sandwiches prepared the previous evening  at the MVUUF Beloved Community gathering. The picture below shows our February volunteers!  
For March, the Sunday afternoon  MVUUF covenant group will be preparing and serving the lunch as a service project.  Please join them in this generous effort by staying tuned for more details from the Covenant Group on donating  beans for chili, ground turkey for chili, and fresh fruit and/or helping with cooking on Friday evening, March 11.  To donate  milk, juice, green salad or chili     toppings, please sign up as usual on the clipboard in the Gathering Space.  You can also contact Lynn Buffington at, 657-0426 for an update on joining the covenant group's efforts.   

Remember to place your order for Fair Trade coffee on the first Sunday of the month--this month it falls on March 6th--in the Gathering Space after service, to be picked up on or after the third Sunday of the month--this month, March 20th. 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!