“Critiques of Capitalism” class starts June 30

Online at 7 p.m. Tuesdays from June 30 through July 28

Presented by The Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister, and
The Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, Philosopher-in-Residence and Facilitator

“Critiques of Capitalism” will focus on the problems of capitalism and its impact on American life. Beginning June 30, the class we will meet at 7 on Tuesday evenings via Zoom. Below is an outline of the course and the guest participants.

June 30 Liberation Theology and Capitalism – Dr. C.W. Dawson, Jr., UUCC Philosopher-in -Residence.

July 7 – “Belonging, not Belongings”: An Economy of Gratitude, Responsibility and Reciprocity – Dr. Sharon D. Welch, Affiliate Faculty, Social Ethics, Meadville Lombard Theological School (Unitarian Universalist).

July 14 “The Promise of Globalized Capitalism: Faustian Bargain” – Dr William Rodriguez, Faculty, Bethune Cookman University.

July 21 Uprooting & Dismantling Capitalism’s Economic Slavery and Oppression of Black Women: Moving from Intersectionality Towards Assemblage, Multiplicity, and Multi-vocality with Critical Family History – Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, Ph.D. candidate, University of Missouri-Columbia and President of Race Matters, Friends.

July 28 – Wrap-Up – An opportunity to debrief and comment on the content of the classes.

The Zoom link for the classes is on the Zoom Links page. Links to required and recommended readings are on the Adult R.E. page.

 

Rebecca Graves will be 2020-21 President

Rebecca

At its meeting on June 18, the Board of Trustees selected Rebecca Graves as President-Elect. Under church bylaws, Rebecca will become President effective July 1 and serve until June 30, 2021. Rebecca previously served as President in 2003-04.

The selection was necessitated by the resignation from the board of the previously selected President-Elect, Michela Skelton Birk.

The newly constituted board will take office July 1 and select the other officers – President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer – at its July 16 meeting. Members of the newly constituted board will be:

  • Terms ending June 30, 2023: Kara Braudis, Timothy Dickerson and David Leuthold.
  • Terms ending June 30, 2022: Jeremy Duke, Rebecca Graves and Ginny Ramseyer Winter.
  • Terms ending June 30, 2021: Mark Johnson, Mindy McPherson (Past President) and Jan Swaney.

Board members whose terms will end this June 30 are Sam Buffaloe (current Secretary), Gretchen Maune and Barbara Rupp (Past President).

 

 

Budget approved, board members elected

Results of mail balloting after the June 7 online Annual Congregational Meeting were announced at the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday evening, June 18. The 2020-21 operating budget was approved, and the slate of board candidates was elected.

The quorum requirement of 51 was far exceeded – 87 written ballots were received. The budget was approved by an affirmative vote of 85 members, with two abstentions. The slate of board candidates was approved by all 87 voters.

New board members taking office July 1 will be:

  • Three-year terms: Kara Braudis, Timothy Dickerson and David Leuthold
  • Two-year term to fill a vacancy: Ginny Ramseyer Winter
  • One-year term to fill a vacancy: Jan Swaney

The budget can be viewed on the Annual Meeting page, which also features photographs and brief biographical sketches of the new board members.

 

May 3, 2020 podcast – A Chance to Dream

Sunday, May 3, 2020 was the eighth Sunday of our online worship in compliance with guidelines for social distancing during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s homily was titled “A Chance to Dream.” Even as our state rushes to “re-open the economy,” it is clear not only that there is no quick and safe way to go back to how things were before, but also that exactly how things were before is not a worthy goal. In a time of deep uncertainty and rupture, there is also unprecedented possibility – to dream a better world and to replace old and dysfunctional ways of being with new and generative ones. Join us to dream about the more just world we are creating amid all that is crumbling around us.

 

 

Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson – Philosopher-in-Residence

Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson

We welcome the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson as our Philosopher-in-Residence from May 11 to Sept. 6, 2020.

The Rev. Dr. Dawson will be offering weekly education opportunities on subjects such as Black Humanism, Critiques of Capitalism, Dr. James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree, and more. He will also be offering weekly office hours and written meditations to the congregation and will be preaching at least once a month. Most gatherings will be held by Zoom, until such time as in-person gatherings become feasible.

The Rev. Dr. Dawson holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a specialization in Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics, and Philosophy of Race (African American Secular and Religious Thought). He has published articles, facilitated discussions, and lectured on race and racism in various venues including here at UUCC. He is excited to be working with us this summer.

 

April 26, 2020 podcast – Lessons from Nature

Sunday, April 26, 2020 was the seventh Sunday of our online worship in compliance with guidelines for social distancing during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Our service observed the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, and we enjoyed the beauty of spring as members of our Green Sanctuary Team reflected on “Lessons from Nature.”

 

 

April 19, 2020 Podcast – “Lessons from the Flowers”

Sunday, April 19, 2020, was the sixth Sunday of our online worship in compliance with guidelines for social distancing during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. We remembered the beauty of the earth as well as its impermanence by creating a nature mandala with beautiful bits of spring. Rev. Molly’s homily was “Lessons from the Flowers.”

 

April 12, 2020 – Easter – The Holy or the Broken Hallelujah

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, was the fifth Sunday of our “virtual” online worship in compliance with guidelines for social distancing during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Rev. Molly livestreamed the service from her home via Zoom. This podcast features Rev. Molly’s homily, “The Holy or the Broken Hallelujah.”

You can also view a video of the entire worship service. Also participating from their respective locations were Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education; Jeremy Wagner, Director of Music Ministry; Hans Bridger Heruth, Collaborative Accompanist; and Rebecca Graves, Worship Associate.

 

Oct. 13, 2019 – Loving Bravely

On Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon preached on “Loving Bravely.” Rev. Molly invites us to explore together how we live through the spiraling dance of love and fear, discern the difference between discomfort  and  danger,  and  expand  our  comfort zones so that we can draw the circles of love and compassion in our lives wider and wider.

 

Oct. 20, 2019 – Strengthening Our Hearts

On Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, our Worship Associates presented a meaningful lay-led service on the topic “Strengthening Our Hearts.” They offer us an  opportunity to hear UU Churchers’ testimony about what “Courageous Love” means to them in their lives.

 

March 8, 2020 – Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!

On Sunday, March 8, 2020, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon title was “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!” Often it is not actually what we do that is most supportive to our loved ones, but rather a quality of our presence. Rev. Molly invites us to explore what it means to be a healing presence with those we love, especially in the times when we feel most helpless.

 

Volunteers sought for summer lay-led worship services

The Worship Associates Team has changed plans for our summer lay-led worship services and needs your help to make them a success. The team is determined not to allow the COVID-19 virus to undermine our long tradition of the lay pulpit.

The team is looking for two to four volunteers on each available Sunday to address the important questions specified below that may have even deeper meaning as we figure out together what this difficult time will ultimately mean for our future as a church, as a community and as a country. Volunteers will have about five minutes to their share thoughts on the chosen topic. That’s equivalent to two or three double-spaced, typed pages.

We don’t know now whether this summer we will be meeting in person or will need to continue online services, but that won’t significantly impact the volunteers’ role. Volunteers are welcome to suggest other worship features, but the Worship Associates will be responsible for putting together the rest of each service. This includes all technical aspects if we are still meeting virtually.

The available topics, dates and assigned Worship Associates are:

  • June 28 – What sacred or centering practices sustain you? – Cande Iveson, Worship Associate
  • July 5 – What does Justice look like to you? – Todd Iveson, Worship Associate
  • July 19 – What values are most important to you? – Tim Dickerson, Worship Associate
  • Aug. 2 – What gives you hope? – Sam Otten, Worship Associate
  • Aug. 9 – In what do you place your trust? – Rebecca Graves, Worship Associate
  • Aug. 16 – What makes a place sacred? What places are sacred to you? – Jeff Ordway, Worship Associate

If you are willing to share your thoughts on any of these important questions, please send an email to the Worship Associates. Thank you for your help in continuing this valuable tradition.

 

Oct. 6, 2019 – Begin Again in Love

On Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, special guest Jeanne Snodgrass, Director of Mizzou’s Hillel Jewish Student Center, preached on “Begin Again in Love.” One way we practice courage is by making amends and beginning again in love. On this Sunday closest to Yom Kippur, Jeanne invites us to learn what wisdom we can all take from the traditions of Judaism’s High Holidays.

 

Faith-to-Action recipient nominations requested for 2020-21

The Social Action Team welcomes your nominations for Faith-to-Action collections at Sunday worship services during the 2020-21 church year starting in September. You may submit a nomination online or in writing. Click the button below to submit nominations.

2020-21 Faith-to-Action Nominations

Roughly twice a month, Faith-to-Action collections are taken for organizations, programs, or agencies that align with our church mission and vision.

Please submit nominations no later than July 15, 2020. Nominations received after that date will be considered if openings are still available.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding our church services this spring, some or all currently scheduled Faith-to-Action collections will be postponed and rescheduled for summer or fall services.

Rev. Molly’s online office hours

Rev. Molly’s weekly online office hours are at https://zoom.us/j/2115663859 on two weekdays:

  • Tuesdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Thursdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

She is also always happy to meet by appointment. You can schedule an appointment by email.

Please reach out if you’d like to chat about life, find your place in the church, process something difficult, find a listening ear, or discuss a project.

 

Online pledge payments

UUCC members and friends who are accustomed to paying their pledges by checks placed in the offering plates at worship services can easily continue their regular pledge payments online while we engage in virtual worship during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just go to our online pledge payment form to make your payments.

 

Consider donating to help others during the coronavirus emergency

UUCC benevolence funds

You can donate to our church’s benevolence funds here. Be sure to note “benevolence funds” as the purpose of your donation.

Other community organizations

Other community organizations working to help those in need during the crisis include:

Community Foundation of Central Missouri’s COVID-19 Regional Relief Fund
https://cfcmfoundation.org/donations/covid-19-regional-relief-fund/

COVID-19 Crisis Shelter for the Unhoused
http://comocrisisshelter.com/

The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri COVID-19 Response
https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E164454&id=77

 

President’s Perspective – I wish you well in this uncertain time

By Mindy McPherson, 2019-20 President

With so many questions and uncertainties amid the spread of the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 and the rise of COVID-19 cases, it is surprisingly easy to know where to begin this note. Simply, I wish you well.

I will not write this note pretending to be a medical expert or a spiritual guide. Quality, trustworthy medical, research and public health information is available through a variety of sources. Rev. Molly, the ministry team leaders, and staff have mobilized quickly to offer continued spiritual support. I can’t encourage you more to explore and engage with the message and content shared out through the church Facebook groups, Zoom meetings and website.

As Rev. Molly said on Sunday, we are a church with no walls. We’re continuing to nurture our spirit and maintain connection, even (and especially) in this extraordinary time.

If technology is vexing you or you simply aren’t sure where to start with all of this, there are many in our church family who stand ready to help you, myself included.

This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. Your dedicated Board of Trustees continues to meet (via Zoom) and address church business. One of the first duties of the board, as delineated in our bylaws, is the promotion of the long-term well-being of the congregation. And so, we are evaluating our current work and looking to the future. Collectively, our priorities are first to navigate the changes mandated by our need to limit the spread of the coronavirus. This, in some cases, has meant pressing pause on a task or project while we await more information.

We are continually monitoring and evaluating the impacts this pandemic has on UUCC. We will consider each piece of board-related work and, as new complexities emerge and evolve, we will, as always, do our best to represent the congregation in determining and ensuring appropriate actions for our beloved community.

 

Nov. 17, 2019 – What Do We Seek Here?

On Nov. 17, 2019, “What Do We Seek Here?” was the Rev. Dottie Mathews’ sermon topic. In our Unitarian Universalist faith, there is no precept demanding weekend attendance or any “extra heavenly points” awarded to those who actively participate in Sunday services and in other fellowship opportunities. Rev. Dottie invites us to ponder: Why is it that we do come? What is it we are hoping to find here? And what is our role in being attuned to the hopes that others bring with them as they venture into our doors?

 

Nov. 10, 2019 – With Heat and Great Effort

On Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s topic was “With Heat and Great Effort.” Listen as she explains that beloved community is not a thing that simply happens – rather, it is created, under heat and with great effort. Rev. Molly invites us to reflect upon what it really means to forge community and why it is the most important hard thing we do.

 

Nov. 3, 2019 – Remembrance Sunday

On November 3, 2019, our annual “Remembrance Sunday” on the Sunday closest to All Souls Day, we set aside a time of deep memory, honoring the lives of loved ones now gone. Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored how community holds memory in a way that none of can do alone.

 

Community care in the time of COVID-19 – please fill out survey

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

I write to let you know that we are mobilizing to support one another in this time. Thanks to your donations to our Benevolence and Discretionary funds, our congregation has already helped several of our CoMo neighbors get what they need as we prepare for widespread social distancing, and we will continue to help as long as we are able. If you know someone in need of assistance, please direct them to my email. 

Several of you have also reached out wondering how you can help. To that end and with the modeling of other UU congregations, we’ve developed a survey to help us discern what people’s status and needs are and also what resources folks have to share. Please fill it out now, if you will, and if your status or needs change, return to fill it out again, as well as notifying me directly. 

We know in large part what we need is each other, so we are exploring the technology that will allow us to gather with one another. 

Your ministry team leaders received information from me today about scheduling virtual meetings, and I will be offering online “Office Hours” from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays in this Zoom Room.

We’ll be engaging a LOT more on our Facebook page  so go like and follow that today, join our Columbia UUs Facebook Group, and know that I will always accept friend requests from UU Churchers with great gladness (but be warned that you will see a lot of my children). You can continue to join us on Zoom for Worship on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Jamila will have updates soon about programs for kids. 

For those who prefer not to use social media, please do feel free to be in touch with any of our staff via email and phone. My cell number is in church directory, and I am very glad to text as well as receive calls there. We also want you to know that there is an EASY PHONE OPTION for our Zoom worship on Sundays! Dial 312-626-6799 and enter Webinar ID: 380 411 489 Also, if you need to attend a Zoom meeting by phone, just let your meeting host know.

Wishing you health and hope,
Rev. Molly

 

Recommendations for team leaders

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

How our church gathers in this time and what we do is suddenly very different than it was last week. And yet, I feel certain there is a role for our community to play now in loving the world that is even more important than ever. Here are a few notes for you, my dear ministry leaders:

1. I’d like to invite you to suspend your in-person meetings for a time to protect those most vulnerable among us. This does not mean you need to refrain from meeting! The church has two Zoom videoconferencing accounts that we can share with our leaders. Simply write to me to schedule a meeting and I will send you the link. You can also sign up for your own free Zoom account, although the free account limits meetings to 40 minutes. If your folks prefer phone over video, https://www.freeconferencecall.com is an easy to use resource to help. 

2. I’d like to give you the grace to imagine that some of the work you were doing may need to go on hold for a while. That is OK. This is a time we can slow down a bit together. What I would like to suggest is that you check in with your team members. See how they are doing. Remind each other that you are not alone. And then, if you feel ready, start and email thread or schedule a virtual meeting to imagine together what the world and our congregation need in the time of global pandemic that your team is particularly well-suited to address. How is your team’s work different and unique in this time?

3. I’d like to know how you are. Please check in, reply to me, give me the update. And then, let me know what needs you are identifying from others in our church community that we can work together to meet. 

Talk to you soon. ’Til then I am wishing you health and hope,

Love,
Rev. Molly 

Reparations Working Group update

We in the Reparations Working Group have begun our work! Just what exactly is that work? Our charge, first articulated by Rev. Molly in her February 2019 sermon, “Reparations and Soul Repair,” is to conceive of a small-scale, hyper-local reparations project. How might we leverage and redistribute a portion of our congregation’s resources to African American residents of Columbia and/or Boone County as an admittedly small act of repair to the systemic impacts of slavery and ongoing racial injustice? We will grapple with this question and present a detailed project proposal to the congregation by late fall 2020.

To get from here to there, we have formed sub-teams in these three intersecting areas:

  1. Truth Telling: How have white residents suppressed black residents throughout the founding and growth of Columbia and Boone County? How is that past still present in our community today? We are diving into Columbia’s history (including archival research and oral history gathering) to uncover and to shift the narrative of race in our community.
  2. Project Dreaming: We are researching examples of other reparations projects around the country to inspire and inform us as we envision and plan our own small scale project.
  3. Relationship Building: We will identify and deepen relationships with black community members who are willing to offer insights into the history and the effects of systemic oppression in our community and to advise us on project design.

We are clear in understanding that our work:

  • Must go beyond apologies, however heartfelt, and enter the realm of physical, material repair.
  • Will be small in scale and cannot undo generations of past suffering.
  • Involves, for those of us who identify as white, humility and an ever-deepening understanding of our own individual and familial roles in historical and present-day systems of racial oppression.

We move forward with this hope – that the work of small-scale repair, while modest, can still be profound. Small steps can also be bold. We meet twice monthly.

Working Group members are Amie Burling, Andrew Twaddle, Charles Swaney, Dan Bugnitz, Dave Gibbons, Fred Young, Gretchen Maune, Kim Wade, Rev Molly Housh Gordon, Sam Otten. Let Rev Molly know if you would like to join us.

– Kim Wade

Rev. Molly’s sabbatical plans

I am very grateful to announce that this summer, at the end of my eighth year of service as minister of our congregation, I will taking a four-month sabbatical from May 11 (the day after our Flower Communion Service) to Sept. 8 (in time to resume the pulpit for the first Sunday of the church year).

What is a sabbatical?

Sabbatical is a long tradition in ministry and academia alike, allowing for an extended time of study, reflection, rest, and renewal… all ingredients for effective ministry. In our Unitarian Universalist tradition, sabbatical leave is part of the congregation’s covenantal agreement with their minister, who generally earns one month of sabbatical per year of service up to a limit of 6 months.

What will you be doing with your sabbatical?

I know this opportunity for extended renewal is a rare gift in our American culture of overwork and grind, and I am humbled and grateful for the chance to recharge my batteries in this way. I hope to do a lot of reading to renew my wells of preaching fodder and take on a writing project that is tickling my brain. I plan to return refreshed and full of new ideas and rekindled energy!

What kind of support will we have during the sabbatical?

The board has been saving for sabbatical coverage since I arrived. As well as our usual robust summer lay-led worship and excellent volunteers, we will have a part-time sabbatical minister to fulfill my executive and pastoral capacities and preach twice per month.

I am very pleased to announce to you that the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson has been hired as our sabbatical minister. The Rev. Dr. Dawson is a progressive pastor, professor of philosophy and religion, prolific columnist, and a regular and beloved guest preacher and teacher here at UUCC. I am elated that he is available to work with us in this way – to guide the congregation and to provide new perspective to our ministry during this period.

Does sabbatical benefit the congregation?

Yes! A sabbatical can be a time of mutual growth and exploration for minister and congregation alike, as the congregation has the chance to benefit from different perspectives and ideas.

For this sabbatical period, as well as fulfilling the roles listed above, Rev. Dr. Dawson will specifically be working with the congregation on its desire to grow in radical welcome and multiculturalism. Join us for worship on Sunday, Feb. 23 for a pulpit conversation in which Rev. Dawson and I will discuss our hopes and wonderings regarding this work.

Will you be around during sabbatical?

I will be on full leave from all church duties and will not be available for anything church-related, including pastoral care. But I will mostly be in town as my family members go about their usual lives. It is very likely that we will run into each other around town, in which case, I will be very glad to say hello in my private citizen capacity. I know that I will miss seeing your faces week after week!

I have more questions.

Ask me by email or call me at 573-442-5764.

 

 

Honduras Service Trip report

A group of ten members and friends of UUCC spent a week in Honduras from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 building latrines and deepening ties and friendships with people in the Rio Cangrejal Valley. As they worked on the latrines, they learned more about the hardships people in the valley face. They also had many opportunities for laughter and companionship.

A group of activists from Guapinol joined them to tell them of their struggles to defend their land from mining companies. The poverty the majority of people in Honduras suffer as a result of the depth of corruption and criminal activity of the government is staggering.

Click the following button for a more complete description of the trip including many photographs:

2019-20 Honduras Trip – Full Report and Photographs

It will be another three years before the Honduras Ministry Team goes back to Honduras. In the meantime, the team will be in close touch with their friends in the Valley. The team will continue to raise funds for the health clinic in El Pital. The healthcare and educational systems are in shambles in Honduras, so providing funds for basic necessities at the clinic is of vital importance. The team would like to fund a few more latrines and continue supporting the microfinance organization Adelante.

Allie Gassmann, Honduras Ministry Team Chair

Sharing our space with Missouri Faith Voices

From Rev. Molly:

Brittany Hughes

In expression of our partnership with Missouri Faith Voices and our intention to leverage our facility for the work of liberation, the UU Church of Columbia is proudly donating office space for Missouri Faith Voices Columbia Organizer Brittany Hughes.

Brittany is making use of our volunteer work room as well as sharing space downstairs with Music Director Jeremy Wagner. If you’re around on a weekday you just may have the chance to share a warm UUCC welcome!

Brittany is the regional organizer for Columbia’s chapter of the grassroots organizing group Missouri Faith Voices. Originally from Aliceville, Alabama, Brittany spent most of her school age years in St. Louis, Missouri. Her passion for this work is derived from her love of black folks and the desire to see the collective liberation of BIPOCs not only in America but globally. When she isn’t working, Brittany enjoys a good book, cooking, music, and grabbing drinks with friends.

 

Hans Bridger Heruth – our new staff collaborative pianist

Hans Bridger Heruth

Hans Bridger Heruth became our staff collaborative pianist in September 2019. Hans is an award-winning composer as well as a conductor, pianist, singer, and violinist. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia. As our collaborative pianist, Hans will help shape our music program.

Hans was born in Kansas City, Mo. and began studying both voice and piano at age 3, training as a boy soprano. He began studying violin at age 9 and started composing shortly after. His chamber opera, “A Certain Madness,” based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, premiered with critical acclaim and sold-out houses. His current projects include a new work entitled “Wytchkraft” for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gemma New.

An active collaborative pianist, Hans is also a staff accompanist at MU, where he accompanies the flagship choral ensemble, the University Singers. As a budding conductor, he has made a number of appearances with various ensembles. Most notably, he conducted Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” with the Show-Me Opera Program.

 

Why is that rug in the sanctuary?

Click to enlarge

Starting Sunday, Sept. 8, you will notice that the front two rows of chairs on the west side of the Sanctuary have been removed and replaced by a large rug for children to sit on.The rug will have quiet items like crayons, paper and foam blocks. Parents, teachers, and other adults are invited to join the rug community too!

The reasons we are trying this are several. The first and most important is that we have designed the first part of the liturgy to be engaging to children and meaningful to folks of all ages, but it is hard for children to see and participate when they are sitting in the back of the room behind a bunch of adult heads! We believe children will feel more comfortable in our sanctuary, learn our rituals, and begin to engage more fully when they are nearer the “action” on the chancel.

The second is that creating a designated space for children front and center communicates that their presence in our worship life is important to the adults of our community and that learning to be a part of our services  is an important part of their religious education, one we know takes time and patience.

The third is to create a clearer pathway in the back of the sanctuary for people with all kinds of mobility needs to get where they need to go. We know families with children often sit in the back for easy access to the door in case a child needs to take a break in the Greeting Area. By placing the rug at the west side of the sanctuary, we hope families will still have easy access to the exit if they need it. Additionally we hope to continue fostering an atmosphere that truly welcomes the energy of children!

We’ll check in after a while to see how it’s going, and we are always happy to hear your thoughts directly – email either Rev. Molly or Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder, or both.

 

New Director of Music Ministry – Jeremy Wagner

From Rev. Molly and the Music Director Search Team:

Jeremy Wagner

We are very pleased to introduce to you our new Director of Music Ministry, Jeremy Wagner!

Jeremy stood out to our search team because of his passion for building community through music and his gifts for working with singers of all ages and levels, including a gift for working with children and youth. He was recommended by his mentors and peers as an excellent and accessible conductor and showed himself through conversations with our search team to be dedicated, effective, and creative! We are so excited to begin working with Jeremy.

Jeremy will be getting oriented this week and next, and his first Sunday with us will be July 28. He also looks forward to gathering and meeting the choir in mid-August, and will be available for a meet and greet to the whole congregation after the service on July 28. Please plan to stay for coffee on Sunday the 28th and welcome Jeremy to our beloved congregation!

Jeremy is a promising music educator, performer and conductor who recently earned a Bachelor’s of Science-Education degree (with an emphasis in Vocal Music), as well as a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Growing up in Edmond, Oklahoma, and living in New York, Texas, and Missouri, he found that no matter where he lived he was able to find friends and nurture his love for music through school choirs. During his time in both the School of Education and the College of Arts and Science at Mizzou, he was able to work alongside and learn directly from his mentors, Dr. Wendy Sims, Dr. Brandon Boyd, and Dr. R. Paul Crabb.

Additionally, he was given opportunities to work with local public educators and students from Columbia Independent School, Rock Bridge High School, Locust Street Expressive Arts Elementary School, and Jefferson Middle School. Through his participation in the community, he has also established himself as a performer, singing a number of roles with Show-Me Opera’s productions and Missouri Symphony Society. His musical gifts and focused work ethic led to him being named the Director of Music at First Christian Church in Centralia, Mo., where he served for three years. He also worked as an intern for the Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri.

In Glad Song,
Rev. Molly & Your Music Search Team – Pack Matthews, Jamie Meadows, Neil Minturn, Jeanne Murphy

July 14, 2019 – Making Liberation Irresistible

This summer we are exploring the use of secular works as sacred texts. Listen to the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon on July 14, 2019 as she explicates the thesis of the book Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown. Brown posits that there is more to this world than the pursuit of mere life, liberty and justice; that we deserve pleasure; and, in fact, that embracing what brings us joy is central in organizing against oppression.

June 16, 2019 – Looking Up to Les Misérables

In summer 2019 we are studying secular works as sacred texts. On June 16, 2019, we explored secular texts using the spiritual practices of Lectio Divina and Floralegium – techniques that ancient monks used to study the Bible. Tim Dickerson and Sam Otten applied these techniques to excerpts from two works – Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and “John Wayne Gacy Jr” by Sufjan Stevens. Listen to their exploration of these works for the inspiration and deeper meaning we can find in them.

May 19, 2019 – Celebration Sunday Podcast

At worship on May 19, 2019, we were treated to a music extravaganza as we celebrated the service of our Interim Director of Music Ministry, Marques J. Ruff, and our accompanist, Arun Garg. We also celebrated the accomplishments of our high school graduates. We apologize that this is one of the longest podcasts we have offered – however we make up for it by having rights to publish the wonderful music from Marques, Arun and our choir. Also, you can see photos from the service here.

Rev. Molly’s new office hours

Beginning in June, Rev. Molly’s Community Office Hours will be held at Kaldi’s Coffee downtown on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (instead of Tuesdays).

Rev. Molly is also always happy to meet by appointment with members, visitors, newcomers and community partners. Regular office hours at church are 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays, but appointments can be scheduled on other days and at other times, including evenings and weekends.

Please do reach out if you’d like to chat about life, find your place in the church, process something difficult, find a listening ear, or discuss a project together!

You can schedule an appointment with Rev. Molly here or by sending her an email.

 

Fragrance sensitivity? We’ve got you (or at least your chair) covered!

On Sunday, March 24, the Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Team presented the lay-led service, “Living Up to Radical Welcome,” and made a small change in the sanctuary while we were at it. As we’ve heard a number of questions about this change, we thought it was about time we shed some light on it.

If you’ve been to services during the past couple of months, you have likely noticed a section of chairs in the back of the sanctuary topped with yellow pillowcases. This sunny addition was inspired by feedback we’d received from congregants who have fragrance and chemical sensitivities. These individuals had been unable to enjoy services because of the migraines, allergies, and other reactions caused by these products, which many of us don’t think twice about applying. While we can’t control what products each person uses before joining us for worship, we can create a space in which people who live with sensitivities or allergies to those products can, hopefully, be more comfortable and feel more radically welcome.

The AIM Team requests that the fragrance-free seating area be reserved for individuals who are not wearing perfumes or scented products. We thank you for your help with this step towards being more accessible to and inclusive of all members and guests.

– Gretchen Maune, Chair
Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Team

May 12, 2019 – Flower Communion

On Sunday, May 12, 2019 we celebrated our annual Flower Communion, a tradition started in 1923 by Czech Unitarian Minister Norbert Chapek. In this podcast, we are pleased to present the reflections of our Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and feature the wonderful music from our service, by permission of the performers. Although the visual beauty of the service can’t be appreciated by listeners, we make up for that with the music from our guest musicians. Mathena Claire Page sang “Meinem Kinde,” Aubrey Smith sang “Serenade,” and then together they sang “The Flower Duet.”

March 24, 2019 – Living Up to Radical Welcome

At worship on Sunday, March 24, the UUCC Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Team explored the topic of disability. Some disabilities are easily observed, leading to snap judgements about the person’s inherent worth and dignity, to misconceptions and prejudices, and often to discrimination. On the other hand, many disabilities are invisible, leading to accusations that the person might be “shirking” or “faking it.” But often well-meaning people are too “helpy,” as it is sometimes described, assuming that they can grab a disabled person’s arm and lead them around. All of these attitudes, well meaning or not, miss the mark. Disability is the only minority that any of us can join at any time, and we are likely to join them if we are lucky enough to live that long. Listen as Gretchen Maune, James Cutts, Qhyrrae Michaelieu, Martha Brownlee-Duffek and Ruth Millage describe their experiences.

Feb. 24, 2019 – Reparations and Soul Repair

At worship on Feb. 24, 2019, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s topic was “Reparations & Soul Repair.” She explored these issues: If power is the ability to act, then our power is deeply affected by our resources. What do we do about the truth of history that many have been systemically robbed of resources and thus power? What joyful redistribution of shared power could we find through the exercise of reparations? And what does all this mean for the well-being of our souls?

You can also read this sermon.

 

Social Action Team makes UUCC T-shirts available

After a two-year lapse in the availability of UUCC T-shirts, the UUCC Social Action Team now has three designs of T-shirts available for purchase at $20 apiece. The shirts are perfect for rallies and other activities and events. Look for them in the Greeting Area.

Some of the shirts feature the design that first became available in 2017 before the UUA General Assembly. On the front this design includes the official church logo and the church motto. On the back, it features the logo and the following words from our Mission Statement: “Courageous Love, Radical Welcome, Deep Connection – Healing the World.”

The other two designs are specific to the Social Action Team.

You can see the shirts in the photo slideshow below. Click the arrows to see the next or previous photo.

 

 

Faith Voices unveils “Moral Agenda” endorsed by Social Action Team

The Faith Voices of Columbia Moral Agenda 2019 was unveiled at a press conference on Feb. 4, 2019 and presented to the Columbia City Council the same evening. Read about the press conference and see a photo in The Columbia Missourian. Our minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, was one of the spokespersons for Faith Voices of Columbia.

Our Social Action Team voted at its January 2019 meeting to endorse the Moral Agenda.

Jan. 27, 2019 – Across Generations: Founders’ Day Sunday

At worship on Jan. 27, 2019, the day before the 68th anniversary of our church’s founding on Jan. 28, 1951, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon reflected on the history and future of Unitarian Universalism in Mid-Missouri. Listen to her sermon exploring the vision that connects us across generations, what it means to be a good ancestor, and how this idea can inspire us to leave a legacy that we may not harvest.

Jan. 20, 2019 – MLK Jr. Weekend – The Lonely Justice-Maker

On Jan. 20, 2019, the day before the official observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon revealed a major new effort by Faith Voices of Columbia – an interfaith group that promotes relationships of understanding, cooperation, and respect across religious and political divides. This proposal is scheduled to be presented to our community and our City Council on Feb. 4, 2019. The proposal demands funding for a permanent shelter for the unhoused, real and full community policing, abolishment of cash bail, and a number of other measures designed to create a moral attack on amoral policies. There could be no more fitting tribute to Dr. King’s legacy. We also are privileged to have digital rights and permission to publish Marques Ruff’s inspiring vocal performances.

Jan. 13, 2019 – Thresholds

Church was canceled on Jan. 13, 2019 because of heavy weekend snow, so we offer an archived recording from 2015 on the topic of “thresholds.” Times of change and transition can seem significant. Below the surface of our lives, the seeds of huge changes sleep beneath the snow, but we suspect nothing. When the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a springtime flourish of possibility, a threshold that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres. Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored these ideas on May 3, 2015.

Jan. 6, 2019 – Be It Resolved

A guest preacher, the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson challenged us at worship on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, a time of resolutions and self-reflection, to be courageous – courageous in the face of trouble, courageous to stand up and say “enough,” courageous in the face of criticism and controversy. Rev. Dawson said he would rather die courageous than live as a coward.

Dec. 30, 2018 – Begin Again in Love

At worship on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, we paused at the cusp of a new year to reflect on what had been, and also to look forward and find inspiration and purpose for the new year. Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, DRE Jamila Batchelder, Intern Minister Alexis led us in poetic reflection.

Social Action Team invites you to join

We invite all church members and all friends who have an interest in social justice issues to join our Social Action Team to help us shape and strengthen our work.

There are five important aspects of UUCC Social Justice Work

  1. Direct Service (e.g., Loaves and Fishes, Room at the Inn).
  2. Fundraising (e.g., through Faith-to-Action offerings, fundraisers such as the Honduras Trivia Night, sales of artisan crafts, and more, to support social justice work).
  3. Education (learning about systems of injustice, our role in them, and how to effect systemic change).
  4. Advocacy and witness (e.g., work with Race Matters Friends, showing up at City Council, Solidarity Network events, working with Missouri Faith Voices, the Sanctuary Team, letters to congressional representatives, work with MADP, the Center Project, etc.)
  5. Community building and deep connection (to sustain ourselves in the work, but also to create the world we want to see).

Besides joining the SAT itself, we encourage participation in any of our subcommittees or other teams such as the Sanctuary Team, the Missouri Faith Voices work, or the Green Sanctuary team. Together we create the change we want to see while being who we want to be in the world. We welcome your comments, suggestions – and of course action items.

– Caya Tanski, SAT Chair – email

Dec. 2, 2018 – The F word (Faith)

There is a word not often heard in the Unitarian Universalist Church, and it is the F-word. Dare we utter it? Faith. In our exploration of loaded words this year, faith is the loaded word for December. Sometimes we see faith set up as an idea in opposition to reason and doubt. But can faith be of use in our thought and practice? Can faith actually translate to passion and commitment? What if our “faith” is what we believe fiercely, and even irrationally, as a part of dreaming better for our world? At worship on December 2, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored this topic, with introductory readings by Intern Minister Alexis and Tim Dickerson.

Nov. 25, 2018 – Now the Work, Soon the Victory

Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson

One of our favorite guest preachers, the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, pastor of Dawson Journeys Ministry, was in our pulpit on Nov. 25, 2018. He teaches religion and philosophy at several area colleges, and his eight-week course “History of the Black Church in America,” has been a hit at our and several other area churches. In his sermon, “Now the Work, Soon the Victory,” Rev. Dr. Dawson asked, “How do we correct oppression? How can we be a part of the solution?” and he made clear there is much work to be done. The sermon was introduced by our Interim Music Director Marques J. Ruff singing “The Rain is Over and Gone.”

Nov. 11, 2018 – Service and Sacrifice

On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2018, our worship topic was “Service and Sacrifice” – a time to think carefully about the role of sacrifice in the lives of our service members and in all of our lives. What does it really mean to serve our country? Listen to Joe Collins and Anja Eick about their experiences in the military.

Nov. 4, 2018 – Day of Remembrance

In the United States we have often conceived of Halloween as a frivolous time when children don costumes and eat too much candy. However in many cultures, this is a serious season for contemplating and respecting the memory of ancestors, folks dear to us who have departed – a time for honoring their memory and coping with grief at their passing. In her homily on Nov. 4, 2018, “All We Are and Will Ever Be,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored this more meaningful and somber aspect of the Day of Remembrance, explaining how love is essential even though it entails future loss.