Sanctuary Team requests help

Through the efforts of our Sanctuary Team, starting in April UUCC is helping sponsor a migrant family seeking asylum in the U.S. after fleeing violence in Honduras. Edler arrived first with his older daughter Gaby. Now his wife Yadira and younger daughter Alejandra have made it to the U.S. and the family has been reunited.

They have located an apartment near Gaby’s school and close to others who are helping support them. This involves setting up an entire household for four people from scratch. If you have any household items you would be able to donate to help them establish their new home, please go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050e4eafa72da6fa7-house to indicate how you can help.

If you have no items to donate but would like to offer financial assistance, go to https://www.gofundme.com/honduran-family-seeking-asylum.

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.

Music Director – the search continues

Your Music Search Team has been hard at work this winter and spring. We have met some wonderful folks, sung together, and had some great conversations… but unfortunately we have not yet found our new Music Director.

After carefully preparing a job description using feedback from congregational conversations and the choir, we listed our position in February and were pleased to hear from some excellent applicants. In late March we conducted first-round interviews with a number of applicants and in April conducted several second-round interviews. However, for various personal reasons, in the end our most qualified applicants chose not to pursue work with our congregation.

So, we will be continuing our search. We believe that it is worthwhile to take the time to find a mutually enthusiastic fit, and we look forward to sharing our love of this congregation with a new batch of interested parties in the coming weeks.

Your Music Search Team,
Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Kara Braudis, Pack Matthews,
Jamie Meadows, Neil Minturn and Jeanne Murphy

President’s Perspective – Making Progress

By Barbara Rupp, 2018-19 President

I am very pleased that we had a healthy turnout for our congregational meeting in May during which we passed our budget for next year, elected three new Board members, and participated in a productive workshop with Simon Oswald Architects (SOA), the architects for our future church renovations. Their objective was to gather information from members of the congregation through a “dotmocracy” activity that would help to prioritize the needs of the church. SOA felt that they gathered some very valuable information and they will continue to work with the Building Needs Task Force throughout the summer months and will eventually return to do another presentation at a congregational meeting in the fall.

It is important to keep a couple of things in mind. First, there is no final decision as yet regarding either a master plan or the aesthetic design. SOA will continue to work with us and gather information, and the congregation will have an opportunity next fall to review their recommendations for a master plan.
Second, we must each realize that none of us will get everything we want in this project. However, one of SOA’s strengths is helping us prioritize where we can get the most desired changes while making the best use of inevitably limited resources for our renovation project.

Your Board of Trustees is committed to strengthening the communication with the congregation as we progress with this project. Toward that end the board has decided to increase the size of the Building Needs Task Force to help with communication, including the development of visual charts to show where we are in all stages of the process. It really is an exciting time for our congregation, and I look forward to seeing the progress in the coming year.

Meanwhile, I will be moving from Board President to Past President and passing the baton to Mindy McPherson as of July 1. We are very fortunate to have Mindy as our President next year, and I look forward to working with her as we launch our capital campaign and work toward a master plan for our desired renovations.

Thanks to all for helping to make my time as President so rewarding.

Social Action Team news

Social Action Discourse: If you haven’t already done so, check out Kathie Bergman’s heartfelt report from the front lines of the refugee crisis in El Paso on the Social Action Discourse page. Caya Tanski and Wiley Miller also have essays posted here. Do you have a story to tell? Consider submitting an essay for this page. Contact Caya or Fred Young for details.

July 15 “Deadline” for Faith To Action nominations: The Social Action Team encourages you to submit your FTA nominations by July 15 for the 2019-2020 church year. You can still submit after this date, but priority will be given to applications received by July 15. You can find the information and application here.

Visioning the future: Most members of this congregation are involved as individuals in activities that might be called “social action.” What can we do as a church to project our values into the larger community and to inspire individual members of our congregation to be involved? The Social Action Team is currently exploring ideas for tangible projects that will engage our membership in meaningful social action. Ideas to date can be grouped into the general categories of caring for the homeless population and anti-racism. Projects can focus on deepening our congregation (e.g., seminars, workshops, training) or on impacting the larger community (e.g., Loaves and Fishes, tutoring).

Interested in being a part of this discussion? Join us at our next meeting at 12:30 p.m. June 2.

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

Garage sale “love letter”

From Qhyrrae Michaelieu:

I have a love letter to my church for all the assistance you provided at the church garage sale. Thank you to the folks who asked me what they could help out with, to those who agreed to help when I asked ahead of time (and to those who wanted to help, but had other obligations), and to the folks who showed up on short notice when I started panicking about hauling off all of the left-overs, and of course to my Chalice Circle members who agreed to help with this large undertaking!

Thanks also to all the people who donated stuff and to folks who helped spread the word! (I know it sounds like a Oscar Award speech or something.)

I was so touched by the help you all gave! Together we helped people downsize and get rid of extra belongings, we helped people to reuse material, and we provided lots of free stuff for those who could not afford it and to various charities.

Additionally we raised $1,500 for the church. My heartfelt appreciation!

Honduran lunch fundraiser Aug. 11

As a Sanctuary Team and as a Sanctuary Congregation, we currently do not have anyone living within our walls seeking sanctuary. However, our commitment to befriend and support migrants who are fleeing violence and untenable life circumstances in their home countries remains very strong. As many of you know, out of that commitment UUCC joined Kristine Smith and her family in April to help sponsor (host) Honduran asylum seeker Edler and his family.

Recently Rev. Dottie Mathews accompanied Edler to a visit with the family’s immigration attorney and gained valuable information about the next steps and how the family can be supported legally and otherwise over the coming months.

The asylum process is a very lengthy and expensive journey. Attorney fees and other related costs will be thousands of dollars, so we will be holding periodic fundraisers. Please mark your calendars for our next after-church lunch fundraiser featuring Honduran food and tamales on Aug. 11. You will have a chance to meet both the asylum seekers and the host family and learn more about the situation in Honduras and in our own country regarding immigrants and refugees.

For more information or to get involved, please email either one of the Sanctuary Team co-chairs, Rev. Dottie Mathews or Allie Gassmann.

Email redirection canceled, website redirection modified

About six months ago our internet address changed from https://uuchurch.net to https://uucomo.org. At that time we began redirecting staff and program emails ending in uuchurch.net to correponding addresses ending in uucomo.org. Because of a problem with spam emails, we recently canceled email redirection, with the result that emails sent to uuchurch.net addresses will not be received, and you may not receive a bounce message. If you recently sent a message to which you did not receive a reply, please resend it to the corresponding uucomo.org address.

Also, please update your email program’s address book to change all uuchurch.net email addresses to end in uucomo.org. Otherwise, auto-complete may result in your sending a message that won’t be received.

In addition to the email change, we also recently modified website redirection. In the past, if you went to https://uuchurch.net, you would automatically be redirected to the home page at https://uucomo.org. Now, instead, if you go to https://uuchurch.net, you will see a page advising that the address has changed and providing a link that will take you to the current home page. Please update your browser’s bookmarks/favorites list to the new correct address.

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.”

Beware of scam emails

Our minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, warned congregants on Friday, May 10 that It appears email scammers are targeting our church and other Unitarian Universalist churches across the country. The scam involves using the names of staff members or church leaders with a Gmail address. The first email usually asks for urgent help, and if you reply, the scammer tends to ask for a gift card donation for a charitable cause.

The UUA’s MidAmerica Region has also issued a warning that UU churches have reported their members are receiving these scam emails and that at least one person has lost money to these scams. This scam is also targeting other religious denominations. Read more.

Rev. Molly asked our members and friends to remember that any emails from her will come from her email address ending “@uucomo.org” or through our email list showing an address of “Rev. Molly Housh Gordon via All.” She added, “If you are suspicious about any email from me at any time, please start a new email to me and ask about it. And I will NEVER email you asking for gift cards!”

Our members and friends also should be aware that UUCC only accepts online payments through this website on the Donations and Pledge Payments pages of this website and does not request gift card donations.

The UUA reports it has seen an increase in “phishing” attempts of all kinds. Phishing is a form of “social engineering” whereby a hacker with bad intentions sends an email (or text or phone call) pretending to be someone the recipient trusts and asks the recipient to take an action which can have adverse effects. Sometimes, they request money. Other times, they invite the recipient to click a link or open an attachment that can trigger malicious code.

A good rule of thumb with emails you’re not expecting is to:

  • Reach out to the sender through another channel such as a separate email, telephone call, or smartphone text message, and
  • Not click on a link (or send money, gift cards, etc.) without getting verification from a trusted source.

Summer lay preaching – what is your sacred text?

Is there a secular text that has shaped your thinking? A book, a poem or a lyric that is rich with meaning for your life? This summer’s lay-led preaching series will engage the secular sacred texts of our congregation, and we’d love to hear from you!

Available lay preaching dates are June 30, July 21, Aug. 4 and Aug. 18. Email our Worship Associates to claim a date! You’ll receive support from the Worship Associates in creating a well-crafted and meaningful service for our congregation. Prospective preachers are encouraged to attend the Secular Sacred Text Workshop that will be offered as a summer Adult RE class.

 

Faith-to-Action nominations requested

Spring has arrived, and spring worship services nourish us week after week. But fall is just around the corner, and with it… a new church year and a new set of Faith-to-Action (FTA) collections!

Accordingly, your Social Action Team has opened on-line nominations for FTA recipients for the 2019-20 church year – click the button below to go to the nomination form:

Faith-to-Action Nominations for 2019-20

The team requests that nominations be submitted by July 15. Nominations submitted later may be considered if there is not a full set of recipients, but nominations submitted by July 15 will receive priority.
This is your chance to nominate an organization that reflects your UU values and brings good to our community.

Because the Annual Congregational Meeting is scheduled on May 5 when the Social Action Team would usually meet, the May meeting of the team has been moved to 3:30 p.m. Saturday April 27. After that, the next regular meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2. All are welcome at the team’s meetings.

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.

Walk on the Wild Side – March 24, 2019

On the fourth Sunday each month, the Green Sanctuary Team is sponsoring monthly walks to explore the beauty of local woods and creeks (Gans Creek, Three Creeks, and Mark Twain National Forest). Participating on March 24, 2019 were Kathie Bergman, Gerti Motivali, Roy Wheeler and Peter Holmes.

The next “Walk on the Wild Side” will take place on April 28. Meet at the church at 1:30 p.m. to shrug off your civilized self for a time and enjoy the peace of wild things. The walks are suitable for reasonably fit 10- to 70-year-olds. Children are very welcome. There will be plenty of stops along the way. For more information, email Peter Holmes.

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?

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.

SAT picks Faith-to-Action recipients

By Fred Young, SAT Communications Coordinator

The Social Action Team reviewed the applications for the twice-monthly Faith-to-Action Sunday service collections for the 2018-2019 church year. All of the applicants were determined to be aligned with the mission and vision of our church. Fortunately, we were able to accept all of these worthy applicants. Many thanks to the individuals who took the time to fill out applications for these organizations; your efforts will literally “pay off” for the deserving organizations that have been selected.

Here are those organizations, listed in no particular order:

  • Race Matters Friends
  • Humanity for Children
  • Hickman High School Amnesty International
  • Minority Men’s Network
  • Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
  • Centro para el Desarrollo Político, Educativo y Cultural (Puerto Rico grassroots recovery and development initiative)
  • First Chance for Children
  • Tiger Council of the Blind
  • Literacy Action Corps
  • Voluntary Action Center
  • City of Refuge
  • Centro Latino de Salud
  • UUCC Honduras Ministry
  • Welcome Home, Inc.
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  • No More Deaths
  • Children’s Grove Kindness Libraries
  • The Center Project

In addition, members of the team feel strongly that the Rural Crisis Center and the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture should be considered for Faith-to-Action collections.

We are not suggesting this as the final, definitive list of Faith-to-Action recipients. Other organizations, such as the Festival of Sharing, or situational relief efforts that require a timely response, may be selected at the discretion of the minister. We intend to post information about each of these organizations, ideally in the week preceding each of their respective Sunday collections.

There is plenty more “action” among Social Action Team members that is not covered here. I recently volunteered to direct communications concerning social action that our church is actively involved with and/or that individual members are passionate about and involved with. I am now starting the process of determining how best to accomplish that, via the SAT Facebook page, the UUCC Facebook page, the UUCC website, the monthly newsletter, the weekly news email, order of service announcement inserts, church bulletin board postings… did I miss anything?

I welcome your comments, suggestions – and of course action items – by email.

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.

Oct. 21, 2018 – Do the Monster Mash

At our “Do the Monster Mash” worship services on Oct. 21, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder considered the idea of monsters in mythologies and in the minds of young and old alike. Listen to their thoughts as they explored how the visceral imagery of devils or demons can describe the experience of evil and help us grapple with evils in our world.

UUCC helps make CROPwalk 2018 a success

UUCC members and friends donated to and walked in the successful 2018 CROPwalk to raise funds for hunger relief in Columbia, the United States and the world. The Church World Service event took place at Stephens Lake Park on Sept. 23.

At last count more than $18,000 had been raised. One-fourth of the money will stay in Columbia and go to various food pantries, St. Francis House and the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Thanks to all who donated and participated!

– Allie Gassmann, Social Action Team

Among UUCC CROPwalkers were, from left, Leila, Allie and Walter
Gassmann, Peter Holmes, Sibylle Hoeschele and Wiley Miller.

Oct. 14, 2018 – Damaged by Privilege

In his sermon on Oct. 14, 2018, Jeff Ordway recalled how the privilege of being a white male, which might sound desirable, instead resulted in damage to his own soul and especially to others. The events of recent weeks, when we watched several women come forward at great personal risk to describe abusive behavior by a Supreme Court nominee only to watch as his confirmation sail through a mostly-male Senate, drive home the lasting damage done by white male privilege. Jeff’s personal journey witnessing and experiencing abuses and callous behavior among young white males demonstrates how these attitudes and behaviors are perpetuated. Trigger warning: The subjects addressed in this podcast may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Oct. 7, 2018 – Everyday Evil

Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust in the years after the Second World War, German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt said: “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” At worship on Oct. 7, 2018, Rev. Molly Hough Gordon’s sermon grappled with the small ways people of good will can participate in evil in their everyday lives and how we can work to align ourselves with good.

Sept. 30, 2018 – Peace Must Be Dared

German theologian, pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe.” On Sept. 30, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored the mingling ideas of safety and risk in these times and in our lives against the backdrop of Senate testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her unsettling experiences. After the sermon, we celebrated our long-time and well-loved church administrator, Kathie Bergman, upon her retirement.

Sept. 23, 2018 – A Shelter for Every Storm

At worship on Sept. 23, 2018, our Sanctuary Team (Immigrant Ministry) explored how to create an expansive sense of what it means to offer sanctuary in these challenging times. Together, we considered how claiming our identity as a sanctuary congregation relates to creating deep connections, radical welcome and courageous love – not just for our immigrant friends and guests, but for ourselves as members of this sanctuary community. With the addition of a shower in the church, we now have made our building even more accommodating should a person or family need the shelter of our church as they pursue legal remedies to avoid deportation – the Sanctuary Team thanks everyone who helped make this possible.

Sept. 16, 2018 – Making Amends

Our Jewish neighbors, members, and friends observed the high holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Sept. 18-19, 2018. We all make mistakes. There is something reassuring about that – we have all fallen short, every one of us. Listen to the podcast of our Sept. 16, 2018 interactive worship service for all ages, in which we took the opportunity to contemplate what it means to make amends and acknowledge our failings and the importance of creating a community that continually recommits to our promises.

Sept. 9, 2018 – Sanctuary – An Altar in the World

“Loaded words” is our worship theme for the year, and September’s loaded word is “sanctuary.” Listen to our worship service on Sept. 9, 2018 when the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon, “An Altar in the World,” explored what it is to create and experience sacred space, and sanctuary, in the world and in our lives.

Suzanne Clark is next Church Administrator

Suzanne Clark

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

I am very pleased to introduce to you our next Church Administrator, Suzanne Clark.

Suzanne has recently returned to Columbia after a number of years residing near family in Rochester, NY. She spent the last 15 years working at Temple B’rith Kodesh, a Reform synagogue in Rochester, where she performed administrative duties as assistant executive director. Congregational life and the rewards of working with a community were main motivators for her in applying for the position with us. She is looking forward to meeting everyone and adjusting to a new working environment.

Suzanne will start Monday, Sept. 17, and work with retiring Administrator Kathie Bergman for the next two weeks learning the ropes. Kathie’s official retirement date is Sept. 30, although we are very grateful that she will remain available to Suzanne for a time for any questions that may come up.

Save the date for Sept. 30 after church to celebrate Kathie’s long and wonderful tenure, and get excited to welcome Suzanne warmly among us!