Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  May, 2016

Service Topics for May, 2016
May 1st
The Importance of Relationships,
As Seen Through the Eyes of a Photographer
Ken Schory, Friend of the Fellowship
Through the months of May and June, we will feature 
in our sanctuary an exhibit of exquisite landscape photographs 
by Dayton-area industrial designer and commercial photographer 
Ken Schory. During our service this morning, Ken will refer to 
these images in discussing the importance of developing positive relationships with ourselves, others, and the Web of Life.

May 8th
Haji:  Pilgrimage
Rev. Greg Martin
This will be our second exploration of Islam for Unitarian Universalists. All Muslims aspire to travel to Mecca for the Haji sometime in their lifetime. We'll explore this pilgrimage as a metaphor for the spiritual transits of our lives. Emilio Estevez's film, The Way, will also help us frame the journey.
May 15th
Intergenerational Flower Communion
Rev. Greg Martin and DRE Shannon Harper
Everyone is encouraged to bring a flower this morning to share in the service. This long-time UU tradition comes to life for all ages once again. We'll also be receiving new members in our Fellowship this day.
May 22nd
Ramadan:  Fasting
Rev. Greg Martin
Fasting is another pillar of Islam that can speak to Unitarian Universalists. Rev. Greg Martin explores the Muslim month of fasting and helps us consider ways that fasting can be a spiritual practice 
that brings clarity and renewal in our lives.
May 29th
(to be announced; info was not available at time of publication)
   A Few Words  
From Our Minister
The focus of the Committee on Ministry this year has been leadership. Members of the group include Margaret Michal, Scott Leonard, Alysoun Taylor-Hall, Alice Diebel, and myself. We have interviewed many leaders of MVUUF, talked extensively with one another, and have researched a number of best practices. This month, our team will be sharing our recommendations on  leadership and leadership development with the Board and congregation.
One of the things that is clear from our work is that leaders need to be supported and mentored in their respective roles. No great surprise there, but it takes some foresight and intention to actually make it happen. With that in mind, the Board and I are inviting our elected leadership to a Leadership Retreat on Saturday, May 14. It will be a time of deepening our sense of belonging and our  relationships with one another. No business will be transacted. No problems will be solved. Everyone will have the opportunity to speak and everyone will spend more time listening to others than speaking. We'll be using a series of questions that draw us deeper. We'll be seeking to create a space for something new to happen in the future, distinct from the past. Everyone will be expected to engage and participate actively. There are no bleacher seats or skyboxes. No prizes for attending. Leaders are free to accept the invitation to participate or not. They will take away from the day what they invest in it.
Our focus for the day will not just be on sustaining vital leaders, however, as important as that is. Every leader is being asked to invite a potential leader to accompany them. We would like to cultivate a climate of identifying future leaders and nurturing their gifts, as well. This is an abundant, generous and gifted community. We have what we need for a vital and alive future. And this is the first step toward that practice.
I am very excited about facilitating this experience. I've been working with the materials of Peter Block, an enthusiastic builder of community (and active citizen of Cincinnati) in preparation for this retreat. Block believes that good and powerful questions are at the heart of developing stronger communities. I believe in asking them.
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...

This Fellowship is so AWESOME! So many wonderful examples of ABUNDANCE and ENGAGEMENT. I am just overwhelmed by all of the good that I see from so many. I feel truly blessed to witness this congregation's success and continued investment to make our Beloved Community SHINE.
From the celebration that was the Service Auction and all of the people who came together to make it happen, I am in awe. Ria Megnin was the public face of leadership for this event (and boy did she shine brightly!), but she was the tip of the iceberg representing the many hands and hearts that came together to build community...I am in awe.
Our generosity and abundance extends beyond our walls, as was displayed at the LEAD Nehemiah Assembly and the huge MVUUF turnout of folks using their bodies to speak our values, as well as in the weekly donations collected when the plate is passed for the Dayton Family Law Center...I am inspired.
We have leadership overflowing from so many people with so many skills and so much heart. I  witnessed it at the New Member Joining Session. Diane Colvin was inspiring, sharing her grace and knowledge with our newest potential members. And then to see that energy reflected back in    excitement from people who are about to commit their "time, talent, and treasure" to our community...I am humbled.
I am inspired by Rev. Greg Martin's dynamic leadership and his willingness, desire, and calling to reach beyond our walls. From meeting with Oakwood High School students, to sitting on the board of LEAD, to bridging relationships with the local Muslim community, and witnessing for Black Lives Matter-we have a leader who is holding the doors of the church wide open, both to welcome new people into our loving community as well as invite us to shine our beacon of hope more boldly to the larger community of which we are a part.
We have tireless leaders who take on and carry heavy loads, often without any recognition. Pat Santucci is one example of a member who has donated countless hours to our audio/visual system, a system that is "invisible" unless there is a problem (those of you who were at the LEAD Assembly will be reminded of how "visible" a sound system can be when something does go wrong!). And then there is our Treasurer, Brianna Kempe, who literally puts her heart into the management of our money. Both of these leaders have wonderful people surrounding them, supporting initiatives and providing grounding support. Yet both would benefit deeply from more willing volunteers to spread the workload out into smaller and more manageable pieces. You do not have to be an accountant or sound technician by trade to be of immense help. I would like to see us work on ways to encourage more people to move in and out of these more "thankless" jobs. Fulfillment can be found in the camaraderie of working together as a team.
To that end, I hope to see many of you at the Leadership Retreat on Saturday, May 14, 9-3:00 p.m. This is open to current leaders and future leaders who are open to investing more of their time and talents to our community. Come and build relationships together, and discover and affirm ENGAGEMENT as a spiritual practice.
In awe of all we are together,
Gail Cyan, Board President

Camp with us under the stars!
Sunday, May 29th, 3:00 p.m.--Monday, May 30th, 10:00 a.m.
It's time once again for the annual MVUUF Friends & Family Memorial Day Camp-Out! We will be pitching our tents in the back of MVUUF on our lovely grounds (not in the wetlands, of course!). A community grill and fire pit will be provided, and the building will be open for kitchen and bathroom use. Bring your camping chairs, tents, and food for your family; insect repellent and sunscreen are STRONGLY encouraged! Do you have a favorite outdoor activity or game to share with the group? Post your suggestions on our Facebook event page HERE
And please RSVP-either through the Facebook event page or email-so that we will have a head count. You can contact the YRE's Committee Chairperson, Pam Gromen, with questions or RSVPs at: 

Hi everyone!
Every year the YRE Committee, LRE Rep., and myself sit down and plan out a way to thank our  dedicated volunteers in YRE. This year, in addition to our Appreciation Breakfast (more on that to come), I am raffling off gift baskets to volunteers. The more time you spend volunteering in YRE, the more chances you have to win!
Please consider helping me make these raffle baskets extra nice by donating items to fill them with. I'm looking for $5 gift cards (to anywhere! Coffee, sandwiches, ice cream, groceries, etc.), snacks, sweets, handmade items, or just anything you think volunteers would enjoy!
You can drop off these items to Jennie, our admin, during weekday business hours, or to Stella or myself on Sundays. Please make sure the items are marked as "YRE Appreciation" so we don't get them confused. Deadline for donating is Sunday, May 22nd.
Thank you so much for helping me to show our YRE volunteers how much we appreciate them!

Shannon Harper, Director of Religious Education

MVUUF stands on the side of love in the Dayton Pride parade!
Please mark your calendars for Saturday, June 4th, for our annual Dayton-area Pride Parade & Festival, noon until 4:00 p.m. members and friends of the Fellowship will march in the parade wearing rainbow colors or our yellow "standing on the side of love" t-shirts, carrying our banners. We will also host an info table at Courthouse Square. Children and adults are welcome to walk in the parade and join the festivities. And Alice Diebel will be taking orders for those "standing on the side of love" t-shirts in the next few weeks, if you would like to wear one for the event.
This is a great opportunity for public witness, stepping outside of comfort zones (for some of us) and standing with all of our LGBTQ friends and allies-standing up for love!
We will meet at Cooper Park (behind the Library) around 11:00 a.m. to hang out and line up for the parade. Watch the E-Blasts for more information and details. And if you are interested in helping with this organizational endeavor, please inform Jennie, our admin.
--The Tuesday Evening Covenant Group

Thank you to all who have been dropping off items for the MVUUF food pantry. The Pastoral Associates can announce that it is well-stocked with soup, peanut butter, and hygiene products (including feminine supplies). There is no general category that needs to be filled at this point. Items that would be useful to replenish the current stock are:  boxed mac and cheese, snack items such as granola or cereal bars, canned citrus fruits, and various basic seasonings. This is not to limit the donations coming in, but just a highlight of what is running low or missing at present. If you are curious about what the pantry contains or what is being used in the current month, there is a list posted on the outside of the pantry door. The cabinet holding the food pantry can be found in the MVUUF kitchen.
If you are a member or friend of the Fellowship currently suffering from food insecurity, please talk to a Pastoral Associate such as Dan Miyake, Shannon Heather Hansen, or Tina Musgrove. The    pantry is not just for emergencies, and there is also more than just food available; most importantly, the use of the pantry is kept confidential. One can even choose to have a collection of food and hygiene items prepared, or make an appointment with a Pastoral Associate to "shop" through the selection for needed items. There are no set hours at this point.
One final note:  Tina Porter will be leaving the pastoral Associate team after May 15, to better     focus on her role as Board Vice President. She will be unable to help with the food pantry and will only be able to pass questions to the other Pastoral Associates after that point.

Healthy Ohio Program?
The Social Action Committee encourages you to contact the Ohio Department of Medicaid before May 16 to oppose the so-called Healthy Ohio Program. If enacted, this program would restrict access to health care for many thousands of low-income adults by creating unnecessary new requirements, co-pays, and a debit card system that has been costly in other states. This program is opposed by the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians as well as by consumer health groups such as Equitas Health (formerly Aids Resource Ohio) and the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Coalition.
Your opposition can be expressed via email, regular mail, or fax:
EMAIL your opposition to
HealthyOhio@medicaid.ohio.gov_ with a copy to
MAIL your opposition to
Healthy Ohio Program, 1115 Waiver, Bureau of Health Plan Policy, OH Dept. of Medicaid,
50 West Town Street, 5th Floor, Columbus, OH  43218
FAX your opposition to
(614) 995-1301, Attention:  Healthy Ohio Program 1115 Waiver
You can learn more from the handouts in the Gathering Space or by clicking HERE
Anti-Racist Parenting with Drs. Kimberly and Terry Barrett
This two hour, interactive workshop will be presented by SURJ Greater Dayton and the Anti-Racism Task Force (ART) of MVUUF, providing the opportunity for participants to learn about effective strategies for raising children with anti-racist identities, by exploring related psychological theory and research as well as lived examples from the facilitators' experience of parenting a happy, culturally competent, biracial, multiethnic child. Participants will also learn what every parent should know about race and racism and strategies for helping children develop empathy and a  cognitive schema of inclusion.
Dr. Kimberly Barrett currently serves as V.P. for Multicultural Affairs and Community Engagement at Wright State University. She has more than 25 years experience working with students, faculty,  governing boards, community members and others promoting learning, student development,    social justice and diversity in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining Wright State, Dr. Barrett served as V.P. for Student Affairs at the University of Montevallo (AL). She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels; presented at regional, national and international conferences;  published articles in newspapers and professional journals; and served as a diversity consultant. She has earned graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology and Education, and a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in Higher Education Administration. Throughout her career, which began in mental health, Dr. Barrett has been active in a variety of community organizations and on non-profit  boards whose goals relate to achieving social and economic justice.
Dr. Terry R. Barrett is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Murray State University. He is widely published in the area of cognitive psychology, particularly related to aging, memory, learning and perception. He taught cognitive psychology and statistics at the undergraduate and graduate level for 25 years, and has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology form the University of Colorado-Boulder. In his retirement, Dr. Barrett enjoys gardening, photography, following his grandson's championship    motor cross activities, and being the number one fan of his youngest son's emerging musical       career.
The workshop is free; donations are welcome and will be invested in creating more educational opportunities like this one. Light refreshments will be provided by MVUUF's ART. Child care will   also be provided. Please send an email to: to let us know how many children will need care and what their ages are.

Please join other MVUUF members and friends for two FREE events at the UUA General Assembly in Columbus on Thursday, June 23rd!
We will be arranging group transportation (bus or carpooling) to Columbus, leaving roughly at 2:30 p.m. and returning roughly at 10:30 p.m. The two FREE events are:  1) a public witness event from 4:15-5:00 p.m. outside the Ohio Statehouse with interfaith and community partners. One of the speakers will be Rev. Dr. William Barber, a leader and co-founder of the North Carolina Moral   Mondays movement; and 2) The Service of the Living Tradition, 7:30-9:00 p.m., at the Columbus Convention Center. This significant and inspiring worship experience will have choirs, speakers, and feature the installation of new ministers. If you'd like to attend these two FREE events with other MVUUFers, please sign up in the Gathering Space, or send an email to Alice Diebel at
Additionally, each congregation has a representative voice in the UUA, which will guide the direction of our denomination's future. MVUUF has the honor of officially designating 4 of our voting members to represent our congregation and vote during the General Sessions at General  Assembly (this does not conflict with any of the scheduled workshop programming). With so many people attending from our congregation, this is a special honor to have this responsibility this   summer.

If you are interested in being one of our official MVUUF delegates, please contact Gail Cyan before the May 12th Board meeting (contact her at You have to be registered full time for GA, June 22-26, and be a voting member of MVUUF. If we have enough interest, we can also designate up to 4 alternates, in case someone needs to miss one of the General Sessions during the Assembly.

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:
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, May 18th, 10:30 a.m., at the Fellowship. The featured book will be  The Great Glass Sea, by Josh Weil. 

Upcoming books will be:
June 15th--I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
July 20th--Orphan Train, by Cristina Baker Kline (this was the novel chosen for The Dayton Big Read for 2016)
August (date TBA)--Before You Know Kindness, by Chris Bohjalian
September (date TBA)--Zealot, by Reza Aslan
Feel free to contact Janice Beers with any questions.

This month, the Smart Choice group will be gathering to celebrate birthdays on Thursday, May 12th,  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:

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. May is the first month of our spring and summer 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 all who pitched in providing food and/or serving the April meal! We served about 70 on an unseasonably cold April 9; for the first time in several months, we were not able to provide seconds for all who would have liked them, but there was much appreciation for our home-cooked meal.
May 14th menu--hot sandwich filling (pulled BBQ chicken/pork, or sloppy joes), vegetable dish (pasta salad with LOTS of vegetables, cole slaw, or other vegetable), green salad, fresh fruit/fruit salad, 100%  orange juice and reduced fat milk (we will use buns from St. V's pantry for the sandwiches). 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.

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:

Remember to place your order for Fair Trade coffee on the first Sunday of the month--this month it falls on May 1st!--in the Gathering Space after service, to be picked up on or after the third Sunday of the month--this month, May 15th. 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!