2022 Congregational Meeting – noon May 15

This year the Annual Congregational Meeting will be held in-person and via Zoom at noon Sunday, May 15. For those attending in person, coffee hour will include snacks.

On the agenda will be approval of the 2022-23 operating budget, election of Board of Trustees members, and a vote on the proposed 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism.

Board candidates are Christine Heath, Taylor Gill, Iyesatu Kamara-Bush and Fred Young.

Read more

 

2022-23 Faith-to-Action nominations are open

Even as we finish up the last few Faith-to-Action collections for this year, it’s time to think ahead to next year’s collections, which will start in September.

A button link to the 2022-23 nomination form appears near the top of the home page on the UUCC website, or you can use this direct link.

Priority consideration will be given to nominations received by July 15. Later nominations will be considered if collection dates are available.

Recent FTA collections

Here are a few of the recent collection amounts:

UUSC Haiti Earthquake Relief – $828
Loaves & Fishes – $527
Room at the Inn – $1,579
Honduras Education Fund – $1,117
Dawson Journey Ministries – $1,743
Sanctuary & Immigrant Justice Team – $794

Several collections are still pending, including the UUSC Ukraine relief, which is more than $2,200.

 

Help lead a ‘Pop(corn) Theology’ summer service!

Dear UU Churchers,

We are excited to announce our lay-led worship series for summer 2022: Pop(corn) Theology!

What is a source from popular culture that holds deeper spiritual or theological significance for you? Are you a Star Wars devotee or a Trekkie? Have something to say about the spirituality of Buffy or social commentary from Downton Abbey? Other ideas entirely from your favorite books, movies, shows, songs, social media? Get it touch with us!

We invite you to offer your reflections this summer with the support of the Worship Associates Team! From a brief piece of writing to a whole service, we are here to support you in participating in our rich tradition of lay-led worship. Email the Worship Associates if you are interested in participating in any way at all, and we’ll help make it happen.

Hoping to hear from you,
Your Worship Associates:
Tim Dickerson, Todd Iveson, Iyesatu Kamara-Bush,
Gretchen Maune, Jeff Ordway and Sam Otten

 

George Grimm-Howell will be 2022-23 Intern Minister

We are delighted to announce that UUCC will become a teaching congregation once again in the 2022-23 church year when St. Louis seminarian and long-time Unitarian Universalist George Grimm-Howell joins us as Intern Minister! George approached us this winter looking for an internship site nearby his home in St. Louis, and after several in-depth conversations, we realized that he would be an excellent fit for our congregation. We are overjoyed to welcome him beginning in August!

George is a seminary student who will earn a master of divinity degree at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in May 2022. He is a few months away from becoming a candidate for UU parish ministry, focusing on themes of social justice and liberation, particularly for members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of color, and incorporating socially transformative art forms into the worship experience. He lives in University City, Mo. with his family and is a long-time member of First Unitarian Church of St. Louis.

 

April 2022 new members

The UUCC Membership Team, along with the UUCC congregation and Rev Molly Housh Gordon, would like to warmly welcome our new members:

Adrienne Mann
Amanda Smith
Art Smith
Doug Mann
Jordan Alexander
John Brennan
Kevin McKiernan
Taylor Gill

These new members signed the membership book during the Ingathering Service on April 3. We are so pleased that these new members are among us. Together we can do great things.

Patty Daus
UUCC Membership Team

 

Immigrant sponsorship update

Thank you for your generosity. The Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team just learned that you contributed $794.01 to the Feb. 27 Faith-to-Action collection in support of the Guatemalan family we are sponsoring in their quest to seek asylum. We are also very grateful to Christine Heath, a member of the church and currently serving on the Board of Trustees, who since May last year has offered the family a place to live with her in her home. Thank you, Christine!

The family is doing very well. At the writing of this article, it looks like Lilly may have found a job, and this would mean that Lakshmi would be able to keep her Head Start spot! Lilly is going to take her written driver test soon, and knowing Lilly, she will soon be ready to take the driving exam as well. If you are willing to help Lilly learn to drive, please contact us.

It will, however, be some time until Lilly can be independent in her transportation needs. Currently there is an increased need for drivers who can take the family to appointments and take Lakshmi to and from her Head Start location. We put out a call for volunteers monthly, and volunteers can select when they volunteer based on their schedules. People willing to help should contact Joe Donaldson at 573-289-0725 or by email for more information.

Another highly desired item is a treadmill for Lilly. If you have one that you no longer need, please contact us.

As a reminder, if you would like to support the efforts of the Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice Team in general, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the church with Sanctuary Fund in the memo line. If you would like to make a non-tax-deductible donation to the family directly, you can send a check made out to Allie Gassmann at 1700 Princeton Dr., Columbia, MO 65203. This money will go on a joint account from which the family’s expenses will be paid directly.

If you would like to get involved on the team, please contact Dave or Allie

Dave Gibbons – email
Allie Gassmann – email
Co-chairs, Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team

 

Call for delegates to UUA General Assembly

What is the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly (GA), and why would you want to attend?

GA is the annual nationwide meeting of our UU churches. 

What happens at GA?

You get to worship, attend workshops, connect with other UUs, and as a delegate you would represent our church at the business meetings – where UUA policy decisions are made.  

When and where is it?

June 22-26, 2022 – online or in-person at Portland, Oregon.

What is the role of a delegate?

Delegates represent their church at the Business Meetings – where UUA policy decisions are made.  Therefore, it is important that the delegates attend the business meetings.  Read more about delegates here.

Sign me up!

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia has the financial means to cover online registration. We are allowed five voting delegates, and with a paid registration any of our church members are welcome to attend.

If you are interested in attending this year’s virtual assembly and serving as a delegate, please complete this form by May 15, 2022.

Need more information?

Read all about GA here: General Assembly: The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Annual Meeting.

May 1 seminar set on Black Farmer Scholarship Fund

Our Social Action Team has scheduled a seminar, “The Henry Kirklin Black Farmer Scholarship Fund; Remembrance and Repair,” at noon Sunday, May 1 in the Sanctuary at UUCC.

The seminar will focus on the Henry Kirklin Black Farmer Scholarship Fund. Established and administered by the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (CCUA) and partners, the scholarship is open to individuals who identify as African American and who are relatively new farmers or who intend to farm in mid-Missouri.

Moderated by the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson Jr., the seminar will briefly cover the history of the virtual disappearance of African American farmers from Boone County, as well as the ongoing activities of the Community Remembrance Project. The seminar also will feature Billy Polansky of CCUA and a program grantee to discuss the Scholarship Fund, and will include a donation to the fund from the Social Action Team on behalf of UUCC.

The seminar will be both in-person and live-streamed on Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. May 1, with a question-and-answer period until 1:30 p.m. All members of the community are welcome. At this time, masks are required for entry into the church.

Zoom link

If you have questions, email Fred Young.

 

8th Principle update from Rev. Molly

I’d like to give you an update on our congregational discernment regarding congregational adoption of the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, which would add to our Principles our commitment to dismantling racism and oppression.

This winter our Board of Trustees charged me with leading our congregation in discussion and education regarding the 8th Principle. Our youth group also expressed their desire to help lead us in this work. Throughout the month of March, we held four discussion groups with identical content, two online and two in person, which were attended by a total of 37 members of the congregation (about 15% of our members).

In these groups we have learned about:

We also discussed what we learned and our hopes for Unitarian Universalism, and we got a read on where folks are with the question. While not unanimous, we had a significant majority of support for the adoption of the 8th Principle among the 37 discussion group attendees.

What are our next steps?

On April 10 our Youth Group will offer us their beloved annual youth-led worship service, and their topic will be the 8th Principle Project. Directly after the service, we will hold another discussion group with a pizza lunch (including a gluten-free option) with childcare provided, and we encourage as many UU Churchers as possible to attend. Please RSVP by April 3 to help us with numbers for lunch and childcare, but do attend even if you forget to RSVP.

After that additional discussion group, we will do an online straw poll of members of the congregation to assess their level of support, their level of understanding, and their feeling about whether or not more process is needed. At its April 21 meeting, the Board of Trustees will decide whether to add a vote on the 8th Principle to our May Annual Meeting agenda or create more process and defer the vote until the fall.

Thanks for your attention to this important collective work and discernment.

– Rev. Molly

 

Rev. Molly announces new office hours

Community Office Hours are resuming! Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. I’ll be at Uprise Bakery downtown – either on the patio if it’s nice or indoors if it’s not. I’d love to see you for your morning coffee or early lunch hour!

I will also continue to hold online office hours. They will move to Thursdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and will always be at the following link:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85318398129?pwd=c1ZhblR4K3RVU0Q1bDdpZDhZZzZ6dz09

You can also make an in-person or online appointment with me here.

– Rev. Molly

 

Commons Folk – Weekly wildflower walks in Gans Creek Wild Area

With Peter and Hoyt – 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays
Meet at the Wagon Wheel Trailhead – end of S. Bearfield Road

We will be walking the same route every week on a circular path back to the parking lot so that we see the seasonal change in the flowers. The walk is about 2½ miles, crosses Gans Creek twice, and climbs up and down the bluff, but we will go at a leisurely pace. It is one of Peter’s favorite walks and takes about two hours with plenty of rest stops.

Wear good walking shoes that are OK in water, and bring a walking stick if you need it.

If the creek doth rise, a notice will be sent out the day before to provide alternative arrangements.
Just come when you can. Tell likely friends.

Email Peter Holmes for information.

 

President’s Perspective – 8th Principle and our future

Hello, beloved UUCoMo community!

Hoppy April, UUCC. In this time of rebirth and renewal, let us reimagine what it means to be part of this beloved community we call UUCC. Where do you envision us going forward? How do you expect us to create this vision we set for ourselves in both our community and the community at large?

We have an opportunity to put in writing what we are already doing. BlackLives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) has provided us with a vision for how we can live our 7 principles. As I wrote this, I was looking up how other UU Communities have discussed adopting the 8th Principle. In doing so, I found a video from the First Unitarian Church of Oakland where Rev. Theresa Ninán Soto talked with Rev. Dr. Michael Tino about the 8th Principle as the congregation voted on whether to endorse the Principle.

Since Rev. Molly just had Rev. Ninán speak to our church on Disability Theology, I just knew this was not a coincidence and that I had to share this video with you all. If you have any questions about the 8th Principle and want to talk more about it, I would love to do that with you. Here is a link to their recorded discussion: https://uuoakland.org/services/december-12-2021-8th-principle-vote-love-is-not-all/

And here is a link to one of my favorite words of worship from Rev. Theresa Ninán Soto that I think it is great to think about as you contemplate adding this Principle into our congregation and community: https://www.uua.org/worship/words/poetry/freedom-liberation

In Love,
Tim Dickerson, 2021-22 President

 

“Singing, Singing with You…” – group singing and coffee hour have resumed

A message from Rev. Molly

Your Pandemic Task Force and I are overjoyed to see our community transmission rates of Covid-19 reach the lowest numbers that we have seen since last summer. While we recognize the situation may continue to shift, right now we are grateful for a moment to relax a bit. Here’s what that means for church right now:

  1. We will continue to require masks for worship and religious education for the time being as we move forward slowly into the next normal. We will let you know when the Pandemic Task Force is ready to make masking optional.
  2. We are going to SING together (in our masks), starting this coming Sunday, March 20. I am OVERJOYED! This includes congregational hymn singing, AND the choir is re-gathering too, for any of you who are ready to raise your voices together as a spiritual practice. Rehearsals are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the church.
  3. We are resuming coffee hour! When weather allows, we will have coffee set up after the service outdoors and the greeting area doors propped open. We invite folks to move between the space outdoors or indoors according to their safety needs and comfort levels. On rainy Sundays we will set up coffee in the greeting area after the service and invite folks to spread out into the sanctuary for plenty of space.
  4. We will, always, continue to offer a live-stream of our worship and online options for as many events as possible as we live into our in-person and online future. We invite you to use the option that works best for you, for any reason at all!
  5. We will be planning more fellowship events in the coming months to continue reconnecting – perhaps even a return to potlucks later in the spring. Let me know if you’d like to be involved in planning fellowship opportunities!

As some of you regain comfort with being involved in the collective life of the church, we could use your help! We are currently looking for volunteers to usher, greet, help April with coffee hour, join our Livestream Team, and teach or aide in our Sunday school classrooms – even signing up once every month or six weeks is a huge help! Let me know if you’d like to be connected with these easy and fun volunteer opportunities!

I feel a sense of surging energy for our spiritual and social life together, and I can’t wait to see what emerges for our community in the coming months and year. Happy Spring!

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

 

We will study the proposed UU 8th Principle

In this post:

Minister’s Message – On the 8th Principle

I want to tell you today about a movement in Unitarian Universalism called the 8th Principle Project, which is a grassroots part of our faith tradition’s work for collective liberation, and which is encouraging UUs across the nation in our shared work of becoming more free.

In 1984 our association voted to adopt seven principles to guide our shared life together, in which we would covenant together to affirm and promote:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Compelled by the spiritual necessity of work for collective liberation, Black leaders in Unitarian Universalism have proposed an 8th Principle: “Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

143 congregations in our association have voted to adopt the 8th principle and add the work of collective liberation as a mandate for their spiritual life together. The Unitarian Universalist Association as a whole has a committee looking at the issue, and a vote likely will take place at the General Assembly in 2023.

And this year in a burst of synergy, our Board of Trustees and our high school youth independently expressed their desire to study and work toward our congregation’s potential adoption of the 8th principle. The board has commissioned me to create a series of study and conversation sessions, which we hope will lead to a vote at our annual meeting. And our amazing young people are ready to help lead us.

I would argue to you that we have already begun the work of embodying the eighth principle in our life together, with the help of partner organizations like Missouri Faith Voices, partners in ministry like the Rev. Dr. CW Dawson, and the passion of our members who show up when the topic at hand is racial justice and dismantling other systems of oppression.

And I would argue to you that there is still much to be done to ferret out the ways supremacy systems live on our culture and community and our own selves. We are only beginning to imagine true freedom. And I believe this community knows that this is deeply spiritual work… that we have begun to see the cost to our souls when supremacy systems abide – to recognize that there is freedom and thriving and connection and our very humanity at stake.

I’m excited to study this new principle together. I’m eager to continue this lifelong work together. I’m overjoyed to be on this freedom journey with you. I hope you’ll join me at one of this month’s events!

8th Principle discussion groups

We will be offering four identical opportunities to learn about and discuss the 8th Principle Project of Unitarian Universalism. Please choose one and join us!

Online
Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 16 at 12 p.m.

In Person
Sunday, March 20 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m.

Please RSVP for your chosen date at https://uucc65201.breezechms.com/form/1b9f26.

Safety guidelines for in-person worship

After a hiatus in January caused by the spike of cases of the Omicron Covid variant, we resumed in-person services on Feb. 6, and we continue to offer live-streamed services. All are invited to attend in the format that best meets their needs and risk tolerance.

For those attending in person, we are continuing the following in-person safety measures:

  • Masks are required for those 2 and older. We recommend high quality masks such as N-95, KN-95 or KF-94 for all who can wear them, and we will have some on hand at the church for those who need one.
  • Please stay home and attend online if you feel sick – even just a little “under the weather.”
  • The chairs will be set up at a safe distance, and we ask you to maintain distance when not in your seat.
  • Nursery caregivers and Religious Education teachers are vaccinated, boosted and masked.

Our ventilation in the sanctuary remains top notch!

Choir rehearsals resume

It appears that Covid numbers are trending down more and more each day (yay!), which means we can gather for (safe) singing again! Choir rehearsals will be resuming in March at 7 p.m. each Wednesday. For now, we will gather in the Sanctuary to allow for enough room for social distancing and air flow. KN95 masks are required. Our first scheduled Sunday performance will be Easter Sunday, April 17.

All are welcome in the choir, regardless if you’ve sung in choir in the past or are new to the congregation. The more the merrier! Hope you can join us!

If you have questions, please email Violet Vonder Haar, Director of Music Ministry.

Covid Task Force says in-person programming can continue with additional vigilance

After in-depth conversation on Dec. 31, 2021, the UUCC Covid Advisory Task Force advised that our church is taking all recommended precautions and that with additional vigilance in view of the increasing spread of the Omicron variant in the U.S., we can continue to offer both online and in-person programming for adults and children.

We are very grateful that our members are highly compliant with public health recommendations regarding vaccination and boosters, as well as masking in public and limiting exposures. If you are not boosted, we highly encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

We affirm that we must continue vigilance for the protection of those most vulnerable, including young children for whom vaccination is not yet available and all those who are medically vulnerable. Therefore, we will continue to follow these precautions with increased vigilance:

1. Please do not come to in-person church if you are at all sick or even “feeling under the weather” or have recently been exposed to a positive Covid case. In these cases, we look forward to seeing you online!

2. Masks must be worn at all times in the church building, except when speaking or performing on the chancel for a short period of time at large distance from the congregation, or when working alone in a room or office. Additionally, we are strongly recommending that all attendees wear maximally protective masks during the spread of Omicron, such as N-95, KN-95, and KF-94 masks. Studies are showing that simple cloth masks are no longer protective enough against the emerging variants. We will have children’s and adult’s sizes of KN-95 masks available at the church for those who need them.

3. Please maintain distance at all times. Seating pods will be set up with adequate distance in the sanctuary, and we ask you to maintain distance as much as possible when not in your seats. We recommend avoiding physical contact like hugging at this time.

4. We will continue to avoid congregational singing for the time being.

5. In the case of confirmed Covid spread during a church program, we will revert to online-only programming for a period of time as we re-assess our procedures. In the case of exposure to a positive case, we will directly contact all those identified as a close contact.

6. We continue our commitment to quality online programming and to inclusion regardless of format of participation as we seek to balance need for connection with protective measures. We encourage each congregant to always choose the participation format most in keeping with your own risk calculus. If we can better include you in our community’s life in person or online, please let us know! minister@uucomo.org

7. We recognize that even those taking extreme precautions are becoming ill with the more contagious variants, even as vaccination continues to protect well against the worst severity of infection. We will reject stigma around illness of any kind and support one another in this challenging time. Please let us know if you become ill so that we can be a part of the community of care surrounding you!

We are holding one another in love as these challenging circumstances continue to unfold, and we are grateful for your renewed vigilance and your compassion and commitment to beloved community.

In Faith,
Rev. Molly and the Covid Advisory Task Force:
Barb Carter
Susan Even
Rosie Geiser
Cande Iveson
Larry Lile
Jan Swaney

 

“Rising to the Moment” Accessibility Campaign meets its $400,000 goal

Thanks to all who gave and pledged for helping UUCC Rise to the Moment!

As of Dec. 12, 2021, those who gave, pledged and spread the word helped our Accessibility Campaign reach its full goal of $400,000.

The architects are hard at work on their designs, and we plan to begin work by the summer to install our elevator, new carpeting, door openers and braille signage!

With your help we will be more ready to advance our mission of radical welcome!

UUCC sponsors African American Heritage Trail marker

The UUCC Social Action Team, along with individual UU donors, is sponsoring a marker at the site of the historic Douglass Football Field. This marker will be part of the African American Heritage Trail in central Columbia. The marker is complete and will be installed this spring. The text is as follows:

“The Douglass Football Field served as both the location for the Douglass High School Bulldogs’ games and also as a community gathering site for Black audiences during each Fall and Spring season. The field was a popular destination from the early 1900s until the school was integrated with Hickman High School after the 1959-60 season. Many talented players shared the daily, four-block walk from the school dressing rooms to practice and play here. Notable coaches included Roland Wiggins, MD and George C. Brooks, a native son who played as a student and coached until Douglass closed. Long live the memories of the Douglass High School Bulldogs.

“Signage Courtesy of Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia”

Greeting opportunities await

Greeting for service is fun, informative, community- building and appreciated.

Time commitment: 10 to 11:30 a.m. or noon Sunday

Responsibilities:

  • Smile and greet.
  • Encourage name tags. Masks will be required for all participants above age 2. Watch for new faces or people who are glancing around the room. Escort visitors with children to RE.
  • Afterward, seek out the new visitors and touch base with them. Answer questions as best as you can. Refer the question to the right person, send the question to the membership team, and/or refer the person to the UUCC website.
  • Greeter signup can be found at: https://uucomo.org/blog/sheet/sunday-greeters/.
  • Once you have signed up, a more detailed instruction sheet will be provided.

The Membership Team hopes to have a board welcomer and two greeters for each service.

 

We love our trees!

The Grounds Team would like to introduce you to some of our trees and invite you to share your love of our trees and woods on the UUCC Facebook page.

Shingle Oak – Wood from this oak can be split into thin sheets, which used to be made into shingles.

White Oak – These oaks can live for more than 300 years and are found throughout Missouri.

Shagbark Hickory – Its wood makes excellent, slow-burning charcoal, its nuts are edible, and its wood is used for many implements. Wildlife from moths to squirrels to bats appreciate shagbarks, too!

Sweet Gum – The star-shaped leaves of sweet gum become even more striking in the autumn, when they turn various shades of gold, red, pink, and purple, often on the same tree – sometimes even on the same leaf!

Ginkgo – A non-native tree, the ginkgo’s combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood, and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes it durable, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old.

Explanations are courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation at https://mdc.mo.gov and also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginkgo_biloba.

Check out the Grounds Team. Submitted by Patty Daus.

 

Greetings from our new Music Director Violet Vonder Haar

Violet Vonder Haar

I am so excited to be joining the UU family! I look forward to seeing what kind of music magic we can all make together and can’t wait to get to know you. I thought I’d tell you a little about myself and my musical journey and how it has led me here to you.

My first musical performance was at Earth Day of Columbia in Peace Park at the age of 9. From the very beginning, as a songwriter and performer, music was and still is a way for me to shed light on social issues, to heal and to open hearts and minds. I have played music across the country and Midwest touring with my band, Violet and the Undercurrents, and in 2018 I formed the Jane Doe Revue, an all-female rock orchestra that has helped to raise more than $20,000 for women’s healthcare in Missouri.

I graduated from Central Methodist University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a vocal emphasis and began teaching private music lessons shortly after. I have taught general and elementary music at Lange Middle School, Stephens College Children’s School, Columbia Montessori School and Windsor Street Montessori. I love to teach and believe it is one of the most meaningful and radical ways to make a direct impact on our future.

On Oct. 1, my wife Phylshawn Johnson, local music teacher Audra Sergel and our non-profit music organization Compass Inc. announced that we will be opening a community music center in the heart of Columbia on University Avenue. The center will be a hub for our mid-Missouri music scene and a place where anyone can come to learn music. Through a community outreach program, we will be offering music lessons on a sliding scale. The center will also be home to a substance-free listening room, recording studio and workshop rooms. We are in the middle of our first fundraising campaign with hopes to open the center in the spring of 2022. If you are interested in learning more, visit https://compasscolumbia.org/.

Some of my music ministry goals at UUCC are to reconvene the choir safely, begin a youth music program with an emphasis on singing and playing based upon interest and skill level, youth and/or adult songwriting groups, involving and inviting members of the Columbia music scene to play for our services and of course involving and making space for all the talented UUCC musical members. I am grateful to have been welcomed into the UUCC family and look forward to growing the music program with you!

Musically yours,
Violet Vonder Haar

 

Easy text and online donations now available

We are excited to announce that we have launched a new system giving our members and friends the ability to give to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia by:

  • Text message from your smartphone, or
  • Online

This new system has been arranged through the Breeze Church Management System, our new church database. It replaces our previous Paypal portal, which is now inactive.

You can find complete details about the new system at https://uucomo.org/give.

As fewer people are using checks or carrying cash, we wanted to offer a safe, secure and convenient way to easily support our church through giving by text message or online.

As some of our members, friends and visitors are continuing to stream our worship services online, we hope this new system will be more convenient than mailing a check or using our previous Paypal portal.

Our new system will allow you to give using a credit/debit card or bank ACH transfer. The system will ask for your card or bank account information the first time you use it, and you can change that information later. You can use the system to give whenever your choose, and you can also set up automatic recurring gifts.

Our church will pay a small transaction fee to process online payments, but we feel the fee is well worth the convenience. If you choose, you will be able to cover that fee for the church when you make an online gift.

We believe these new tools will allow us to continue to serve you well. We want you to know we greatly appreciate you and your spirit of generosity as you continue to support UUCC and our mission of radical welcome and deep connection that moves us together to heal the world.

 

UU Life Writers’ Group publishes its second anthology

The UU Life Writers’ Group is pleased to announce the publication of its second anthology, Stories, Just Stories. The stories are mini-memoirs about family, growing up, social activism, romance and pets. A big section of poetry is included. The anthology also contains tributes to those writers no longer with us.

Copies are $8 and can be ordered by email to Fran Reynolds. Pay on the UUCC donation page by selecting the “Other” option and specifying “Life Writers Anthology” as the purpose of the donation.

March is Women’s History Month. UU Life Writers will be writing stories about women who have been important to them, the church and the community. Everyone is welcome to join us on Zoom. We will meet March 6 and 20 at 10:30 a.m. For more information contact Fran.

 

Please help sponsor the UUCC Honduras Education effort

Our congregation has for many years been in a relationship with a community in the Cangrejal River Valley of Honduras. Groups of UU Churchers have visited every couple of years to work on projects and have maintained relationships between trips with communications and material support for things like the health clinic. This has been mutually rich in learning and connection for both communities.

Two years ago our Social Action Team undertook a project to establish an Education Fund to aid community leaders in furthering their education and building skills to help in their community. The Honduras Education Fund provides scholarship funding for these local leaders, but it is currently running low on funds! The team is seeking individuals or families to pledge $160/year (about $15/month) for two years to keep the Education Fund up and running! One time gifts of any amount are also accepted on our online donation page – select the “Other” option and note “Honduras Education Fund” for the explanation.

Can you help? Email Caya Tanski with any questions.

 

Rev. Sally Fritsche joins Illinois church

Rev. Sally Fritsche in the pulpit

The Rev. Sally Fritsche, daughter of our members Lisa and Kevin Fritsche, joined the UU Church of Urbana-Champaign (UUCUC) as Associate Minister for Congregational Life on Sept. 1. Her duties will include pastoral care, membership, leadership development, small group support and alternative worship opportunities. She will also lead one Sunday service per month. She delivered her first sermon there on Sept. 13.

Rev. Sally grew up in our church and had a keen interest in world religions from a young age. After earning undergraduate degrees in sociology and religious studies, she first felt the call to ministry while serving in Americorps in rural Indiana. She was both disheartened by the poverty and suffering she witnessed and inspired by the activism and compassion she saw in local congregations. Newly reminded of the power religious community can have to change lives and sustain people, she turned away from her doctoral aspirations and instead applied to and was accepted at Harvard Divinity School.

While a divinity student, Sally served as an assistant chaplain to the Suffolk University Interfaith Center, as a chaplain intern at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in downtown Boston, and as an assistant director at the Boston Nature Center summer day camp. After graduating with her Master of Divinity in 2018, she served as ministerial intern at First Parish UU in Needham, MA, where she was ordained as a UU minister on June 20 this year.

Rev. Sally and her husband Miles Faaborg, also a Columbia native, moved to Urbana from Massachusetts and had a few weeks to get to know the area before she started her ministry at UUCUC. Miles also attended Harvard, where his field of study was applied physics, and he was a research fellow at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The couple married in July 2018.

Rev. Sally can be contacted by email. You can read more about Rev. Sally here.

Below are additional photos of Rev. Sally from this summer.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.