Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  April, 2016

Service Theme for April, 2016

April 3rd
Black Lives Matter:  The Words & The Actions
MVUUF's Anti-Racism Task Force
How can a liberal religious community like ours 
understand and support this movement by, of and for 
Black people? How do we really see what's going on?

April 10th
A Community of Abundance
Members of MVUUF provide reflections on stewardship.
April 17th
Multigenerational Earth Day Celebration
Rev. Greg Martin and 
Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education
The climate is changing, and we are, too, as we seek to be better citizens of planet Earth. Rev. Greg Martin and DRE Shannon Harper lead us in this annual Spring celebration.
April 24th
Rev. Greg Martin
One begins a series on the intersection of Unitarian Universalism 
and Islam. Early Unitarians in Europe shared a destiny with the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire and both proclaimed a common confession, "God is One." Rev. Greg Martin will explore this history 
and how it can shape our relationship with Muslims today.
   A Few Words  
From Our Minister
General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association will be held in Columbus, Ohio, from June 22-26. While the GA is held every year, this is the closest geographically that is will be for a good many years to come. That means it is an excellent opportunity to experience Unitarian Universalism on a whole other level. Worship, social events, public witness, workshops, special guest speakers, interest groups, legislative sessions and other activities make up this UU extravaganza. Fortunately, there are many ways to participate, and I encourage you to find a way that fits your time, interest, and ability. (Besides, how often can you mix with thousands of UUs at the same time?)
First, there are FREE events! On Thursday afternoon, June 23, a public witness on race will be held on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse. UUs are encouraged to don those Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts and to come out en masse. We are exploring chartering a bus for the occasion (see Lynn Buffington's poll on the Beloved Community Facebook page if you would like to ride). That same evening another free event, the annual Service of the Living Tradition takes place. This service honors clergy across the spectrum from ordination to retirement and includes about as much pomp and circumstance as UUs can muster. Then on Sunday morning, June 26, we are encouraging everyone who can to travel to Columbus for the worship service. It always features an outstanding preacher, great music, and inspiring worship. We're hoping to arrange for streaming of the service live at MVUUF that morning for those who are unable to make the trip, as well. 
Second, if you'd like to experience GA at a deeper level but can't commit to the whole event, you can   register for a one-day pass. (Actually, you can combine the opening evening with the entire next day to get you full money's worth.) This is actually a great way to get a good taste of the GA experience. I did this on my first trip to GA and found it a very adequate way to get my feet wet. Choose this option for Thursday, Friday or Saturday. You could even come for the free stuff on Thursday and stay for Friday. Krista Tippitt, host of the NPR radio show On Being will deliver the annual Ware Lecture on Friday evening.
Third, jump in the water for the whole shebang! It looks like we're going to have a sizable group choosing this option. That means there will be opportunities to share transportation and housing as well. If you need financial assistance, you can apply for a grant on-line by March 31st or volunteer to work part of GA in exchange for your registration fee. But you'll need to act quickly! I'm working to have some additional funds on hand to assist people financially, as well.
More information can be found HERE. I'll look forward to seeing you in Columbus in June!
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...

ENGAGEMENT and MISSION! Our mantra for leadership this year!
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 these values into EVERYTHING we do!
April is the month where we are asked to make our pledge of financial ENGAGEMENT. Every time you write a check to fulfill your pledge-YOU are making a REAL difference. You are making a   commitment that WE MATTER as a community. You are engaging in the power and energy that will become OUR SHARED FUTURE.
This is the time of year that we are CHALLENGING you to step up your commitment and INVEST in our MISSION. I have some BIG DREAMS for us as a Fellowship. We are a community of ABUNDANCE.        Abundance of LOVE. Abundance of SERVICE. Abundance of ACTION.
Brianna Kempe, our beloved Treasurer, has been working her butt off crafting a REALISTIC budget of ABUNDANCE for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year. This includes the possibility of a Standing On The Side of Love LIVING-WAGE, starting at a minimum of $15/hour for all of our valuable employees. This includes investing in our MUSIC MINISTRY and hiring a year-round Director of Music. This includes engaging in DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING. This includes trumpeting our  MISSION and VISION to the larger community, in ways that inspire REAL and  NEEDED CHANGE in our world.
ABUNDANCE. Imagine what this Fellowship means to you on a fundamental level. Imagine our POTENTIAL as a community coming together, with LOVE as our guide. IMAGINE us soaring. IMAGINE.
Now it is also tax season, so you probably know what your adjusted gross income is. Get out your calculator and apply these percentages as a challenge to figure out your pledge:
1% to sustain...
2% to Step UP...
3% to INVEST...
4% to GROW!
5% to S-H-I-N-E!!!
We are all in this together. Together, we must ENGAGE and commit to our POTENTIAL. Together, we will contribute to our MISSION through service, leadership, and financial investment.
May we come TOGETHER and let our pledges SPEAK of the FUTURE we ENVISION.
Yours in Fellowship and LOVE,
Gail Cyan, Board President

As I write this letter, the YRE Committee is busy getting ready for our Eggstravaganza Egg Hunt. What many people don't know is MVUUF's egg hunt (traditionally held on Easter Sunday), like all of our events geared toward children and families, is a constantly-evolving and changing work of    creativity and coordination. And it's all because of the dedicated YRE Committee members and Lifespan Religious Education Rep on the Program Council. Without these "super volunteers" we wouldn't have many of the wonderful offerings that welcome new families, involve our children in social justice and are multi-generational enough to attract even adults without children. From  planning a YRE Open House to making holiday gifts to organizing a food drive and backpack note campaign, the YRE Committee and LRE Rep are the backbone to our vibrant Family Ministry.
As the Director of your YRE Program, I am often approached by people with fresh ideas and energy around doing or offering something wonderful for our children or youth in our church. And as the Director I sometimes struggle to juggle all the many aspects of such a multi-faceted program; curriculum selection, lesson planning, volunteer coordination and administrative work have to be my priority, and sometimes this leaves me frustrated that I cannot single-handedly "make all the good things happen." And that's why I want to take a moment this month to introduce you to the team that really makes the magic happen. These people are completely approachable, I assure you, and ready to hear your suggestions, ideas, and feedback-especially if you're willing to help make them happen, too!

Eileen Simon--newly appointed Lifespan Religious Education Representative to the Program   Council. Eileen has served as YRE Committee member, and Chair. She is the mastermind behind Homemade Holiday the last few years, and has great ideas for coordinating YRE with Social Justice and other programs. She also helps in the prep room and assists when I am out on a Sunday. As LRE Rep, she is responsible for communication between the YRE and ARE (Adult Religious Education) Committees and the Program Council (which then reports to the Board).
Pam Gromen--YRE Committee Chair. Pam has coordinated many events in her time on the YRE Committee, from a Fair Trade Fundraiser to a Harry Potter-themed family party. Pam also serves as liason between the Green Sanctuary Task Force and the Committee, and teaches in the K-2nd grade class.

Kathleen Pennington--YRE Committee member. Kathleen is a dedicated preschool teacher and   liason to the Social Action Committee; Guest At Your Table is just one of her projects, and she's   assisted with many others.
Robin Shampton--YRE Committee member. This is Robin's second round on the Committee, after serving three years and taking one year off. Robin organizes park and play dates for YRE families,  co-leads the YRE Parent Group, and has coordinated and assisted with countless YRE events. She also teaches wherever she's needed most.
If you think this team looks sparse, you would be right! We're looking for more great volunteers to shadow these experienced Committee members and join the Committee this spring. And remember, YRE Committee meetings are open to ANYONE and usually happen on the third Sunday of the month, 12:30 p.m., in one of the RE class rooms.
-Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education

You may have seen the children's books being collected in the Gathering Space the end of last month. What's that about? MVUUF is helping the fifty second graders at Dayton's Westwood Elementary experience the joy of reading while preparing for the Ohio Third Grade Reading      Guarantee requirements! We've been inviting donations of new books for the second graders, preferably with an African-American main character(s); these can be fun story books or African-American children's history books. During our Worship Service on Sunday, April 3rd, there will be an opportunity for each person to bring a book up to the front of the Sanctuary. You can bring a book to service on April 3rd, or you can choose one of the books you or someone else donated in March. Books should be new; a list of suggested books can be found in the Gathering Space or by clicking HERE. This is part of a much larger effort in the Dayton area to provide low-income PreK-3rd grade children with one book for each week of summer vacation. For the fifty Westwood second graders, that means 500 books! How much of that total can we provide?
Westwood Elementary is 92% African-American. It is important for children to sometimes see themselves in the books they read, but African-Americans are vastly under-represented in children's books. Of 3,200 children's books published in 2013, just 93 (3%) were "about Black people." If the number matched the African-American population of 13.5%, that 93 would be 432! And a book was counted as "about Black people" if a Black person "features significantly in the  narrative;" the Black person may or may not even be the main character.
Stay tuned for more information from our West Dayton Action Group on how to continue this effort after April 3rd. Westwood Elementary is in the same neighborhood as the Wesley Community Center.

Saturday, April 16th
doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Live Auction begins at 7:00 p.m.

It's time to celebrate the bounty of community with hula skirts, Hawai'ian shirts, coconuts, and all! This year's Luau fundraiser is shaping up to be full of creativity, humor, generosity, and good fun!
How To Take Part
  • Donate an item, service, or event by clicking on our website HERE 
  • Volunteer by contacting Ria at (831) 236-0361 or Or stop by the Service Auction table in the Gathering Space after service!
  • Donate UU Bucks:  we're leveling the playing field (or should I say volleyball court?) again this year, because UU Bucks will return! For every $1 donated, 1 UU Buck will go to someone who needs them in order to participate. Please make checks out to MVUUF with "UU Bucks" in the memo field.
  • Visit the Facebook event page  HERE
What's A Service Auction?
  • The Warm Up:  The Service Auction starts at 5:30 p.m. with a Silent Auction featuring donated goods, services, and events from our community, as well as a terrific spread of Hawai'ian-themed food and drinks! We'll also have lots of fun "extras" happening, including Community Baskets Raffle ticket sales, Hawai'ian-themed face painting, fun crafts and activities for the kids, and more!
  • The Big Event:  At 7:00 p.m., the Live Auction launches! We'll hold our first baskets raffle drawing, followed by bidding on some of the biggest and best donations of the year!
C'mon! Let's make Rev. Greg's first Service Auction a pineapple-powered party to remember!

We have a lot of exciting things going on in and around the Fellowship, and as we get ready to build the new church year budget, it is important to remember that what we get from and give to MVUUF is different for us all.
To help our leaders of activities and interests understand what people want and how they may be willing to help, we've created a survey. Please, if you are involved in any capacity (regular visitor, friend, youth, member, etc.) with MVUUF, take a few minutes to fill out the survey.
There's an online link to the survey HERE. Paper copies of the survey are also available in the Gathering Space; completed forms can be left in the basket if you prefer "pen and paper" surveys.
Whether you choose online or paper survey...please make sure to take it; you'll be glad you did!

In helping to fulfill the beliefs and values of this Beloved Community, the Pastoral Care Team has been established to provide compassionate care to members and friends experiencing personal difficulties and challenges. If you did not already know, a member of the Pastoral Care Team is on duty each Sunday. The Pastoral Care Associates not only assist with the lighting of candles during Joys & Concerns during the Worship Service, but more importantly, they are also available after the service to anyone needing a trained, compassionate ear. Whether you are dealing with anxiety, grief, family issues, or any number of difficulties, we can help. We are not     therapists, but rather,  listeners. We cannot fix anything, but we can be   resources to finding solutions. We may not know the answers, but we will walk with you through whatever you may be going through.
A second duty of the Pastoral Care Team is outreach and community support. This group of folks will be responsible for "care calling," the MVUUF Food Pantry, visits to shut-ins and other support services such as rides to church and sending out cards to those who are ill or in need of our support and love.
The team is undergoing new structuring and training, with the goal of better supporting the spiritual needs of this congregation. We also want to become more visible to the congregation. Beginning this month, the Greeter for each service will announce the Pastoral Care Associate on duty that day and where to find them after the service. Most often, this will be outside of the Women's Group class room in the RE wing. Additionally, a Pastoral Car Associate is available for support during the week.
We hope that as the team becomes more visible and active, members and friends will utilize our services to help navigate through the rough spots when life gets messy. If you would like to    schedule an appointment with a Pastoral Care Associate, please contact me or Rev. Greg, or just stop by to chat after a Sunday service. We are here for you if you need us.
In Light & Love,

Dan Miyake, 
Pastoral Care Team Chairperson

If you are someone who would love to attend an event at MVUUF, but cannot quite afford the    ticket price, please remember there are often scholarship tickets available. An email address has now been set up so that members and friends can discretely ask for these tickets:

The major event that LEAD has every year is the Nehemiah Action Assembly, where public officials are asked if they will support specific policy actions related to the priority issues that LEAD congregations have identified through their listening campaigns and research team processes. LEAD recommends that each congregation send to this event the equivalent to its average Sunday  morning attendance. This garners a very large turnout of hundreds of LEAD members who basically show the "people" power of the organization to push for social change.
The West Dayton Action Group, along with Rev. Greg Martin, has decided to aim for 100 members & friends from MVUUF attending the assembly, which will be held on Monday evening, 

April 25th, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 
at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church, 
519 Liscum Drive, in Dayton. 
Carpooling will be available.
This will be a large turnout for MVUUF and will require a strong commitment from everyone. The Board supports this congregational commitment, and encourages all of our members and friends to sign up for the event. Since this will be our first time participating with LEAD in this way, it will be a significant demonstration of support if we can "show up" in force. Please sign up in the   Gathering Space.
The mission of Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (LEAD), established in 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 community 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 educational 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 for persons with disabilities to the Dayton Mall.
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 congregation-based community organizing and the UUA provides support for congregations beginning this work.
--Bob Lewis

We have a Black Lives Matter banner on our building! How did we arrive at this point in our nation's history? What does it mean for white people to begin to examine race and what it means to be white? Do you want to learn more about the complexities of race and racism? Join us for an interactive, multi-media adult religious education class on Saturday, April 30th, 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. We will provide a light lunch, and child care.
This course is offered by the Anti-Racism Task Force (ART). Contact Alice Diebel with any questions, at (937) 350-7763 or

The Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) will present the movie Bamboozled for the April offering of the First Friday Movie Night, scheduled for April 1st, 7:00 p.m., in the sanctuary at the Fellowship.     Refreshments will be served during the movie, and a discussion will follow. We hope to see many of you there!
The following is a description of the film, from Rotten Tomatoes:
Pierre Delacroix is a hip, young, Harvard-educated writer who is the sole person of color working for an upstart network with floundering ratings. Despite several attempts, Delacroix has yet to see any of his concepts go into production. Now his boss, the ratings-hungry, culture-vulture Dunwitty, issues him a searing ultimatum:  come up with a hot, trend-setting, headline-making, urban hit, or get fired.  Feeling doomed, Delacroix decides to present the most outrageous, unbelievable farce of stereotypical comedy he can imagine-hearkening back to the old days of "blackface" minstrels with a variety show featuring Manray, a homeless tap dancer, and his sidekick, Womack. Incredibly, Delacroix's spoof turns into a ratings bonanza, a cultural phenomenon that has the media pundits raving and audiences of all types howling.

Ultimately, we are all theologians. We ponder the great life issues. Most of us come from other faiths, or no faith, and have found comfort in this place we call Unitarian Universalism. We can  easily tell you what we don't believe; sharing what we DO believe is much harder. And no one is in the pulpit telling us what we MUST believe.
Without a deep-rooted theology, this tumultuous world in which we live can be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If we are to harness our deepest spiritual convictions for meaningful living in this world, we need to get our theology straight. Developing a personal theology is not an        academic exercise; it has to do with the very stuff of our lives. In this course you are invited to focus on the fundamental religious beliefs, values, and convictions that inform and direct the living of your life.
There will be time for thoughtful discussion and sharing. If you would like to explore and articulate your own theology and share your experience with others, join us for this exciting and thought-provoking course. You will need to purchase the $15 course workbook (available for purchase in the Office) and bring a blank notebook or journal for your own notes. Supplemental reading recommended for this course is available at the UUA Bookstore ( Child care will be provided for the class.
Please sign-up for this interesting course; the sign-up sheet is available in the Gathering Space.

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 in Kettering. New participants are welcome! Please contact Ann Snively if you would like more information.
Upcoming titles are:
April 12th--All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
May 10th--The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
June 14th--I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafai

The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 20th, 10:30 a.m., at the Fellowship. The featured book will be Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. And on May 18th, we'll discuss The Great Glass Sea, by Josh Weil. You can contact Janice Beers for more information.

This month, the Smart Choice group will be gathering to celebrate birthdays on Thursday, April 14th,  11:30 a.m., at the MCL Cafeteria (corner of Far Hills and David Road, in Kettering). Why not have some fun and join them? To RSVP, please contact Allie Petersen at:

Think about it. You've been coming to MVUUF for weeks, months, maybe even years. You feel like you are UU, through and through. Perhaps now is the time to make a commitment by becoming a Voting Member of this Fellowship. Please plan to attend the Joining Session after the service on Sunday, April 24th to get information and the required paperwork. New members will sign the book during the Worship Service on Sunday, May 15th. If you have any questions, or you cannot attend on the 24th, please call Diane Colvin, Membership Rep., at (937) 433-0969.

Several volunteers are needed to greet members and visitors as they arrive at MVUUF on Sunday mornings. We have openings in the regular schedule and would also like some "subs" to give the regulars a needed break once in a while. Training will be provided, but the main qualifications are a friendly smile and a welcoming handshake. You do not need to be a member of MVUUF to be a greeter! If you have any questions, please contact Diane Colvin, Membership Rep., at (937) 433-0969 or

Please join us in providing food and/or serving for our long-standing 2nd Saturday lunch ministry for women and families at St. Vincent's Shelter. April is the final month of our cold-weather chili menu! You can sign up for food donations and/or serving on the clipboard 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 the Sunday Afternoon Covenant Group who made all the chili at MVUUF the evening before, and who provided most of the servers on Saturday morning! We served 53, and once again, our food received much appreciation for its freshness, home-cooked flavor, and availability of seconds!
April 9 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, orange 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 (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.

Remember to place your order for Fair Trade coffee on the first Sunday of the month--this month it falls on April 3rd--in the Gathering Space after service, to be picked up on or after the third Sunday of the month--this month, April 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!