Sign up to help with PrideFest

We are calling all hearts to join the UUCC presence at the 2023 Mid-Missouri PrideFest Sept. 23-24. We will have our own booth and a parade entry that will allow us to publicly declare that our faith is love. We have a need for:

  • Volunteers
  • Some equipment
  • A pickup truck
  • People who are willing to walk, roll or ride in the parade on Sunday, Sept. 24.

Click the button below to sign up to staff our booth and/or participate in the parade:

Sept. 23-24 PrideFest Signups

For questions or offers of help, please email Intern Minister George Grimm-Howell.

2023-24 Chalice Circles signups now open

The time has come once again to sign up for UUCC Chalice Circles!

Chalice Circles are a small-group ministry of the church designed to build community and foster connections between members. They provide opportunities to share your heart in a safe, brave space. Read more.

Groups of no more than 10 members are led by fellow UU volunteers. Topics are planned to complement the monthly themes of the church year. A Chalice Circle commitment is for one cycle of nine sessions, though some Chalice Circles may elect to continue in some form over the summer. Groups will meet once or twice per month for 69 to 90 minutes from September 2023 to May 2024.

You can learn more and sign up here. There is also a signup button near the top of the home page.

If you have questions you are also welcome to email the Chalice Circles Leadership team that consists of the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Kathie Bergman and Crystal Paddock Buffaloe, or call or text Crystal at 573-289-9705 (please leave a message!) .

We look forward to a fun, connected, meaningful year ahead!

Minister’s message – “How do we live through precarious times? Willingly”

One of my favorite Holly Near songs starts out: “I am open, and I am willing. To be hopeless would be so strange. It dishonors those who go before us. So lift me up to the light of change.”

This year we are pondering together how we move well through these sometimes fearful, often confusing, and still beautiful times. Climate change and crumbling systems impact our daily lives. So much is uncertain. So much feels too big to carry. So much feels outside our control. It can be tempting to detach, to become cyncial, or to give up hope.

And yet, and yet. We know, as people serving Love, that we must keep showing up in these times. We show up to honor those who have fought for better before us. We show up so that our children’s children may live. We show up because the world is still very beautiful, and our presence is what we have to give. Perhaps our presence – given rigorously, given hopefully, given with every ounce of our will – is enough.

– Rev. Molly

Intern Minister’s message – “Willing”

Rev. Molly’s announcement of “Let it Be a Dance” as our worship arc for the upcoming church invites us to reflect on how we move together through precarious times.

This is also pride month in Mid-Missouri, which means we have an opportunity to renew our commitment to supporting not only each other but all LGBTQ+ people who face some of the most precarious times in recent memory.

Our September theme willingly invites us to revisit our commitment to opening our doors to the queer community.

It goes much farther than opening doors, requiring us to open hearts to the work of what UU minister and activist C B Beal calls preemptive radical inclusion.

Beal writes that being willing to journey with the LGBTQ+ community requires a willingness to place ourselves in the intersection of trauma-aware and anti-oppression practices. It also requires being willing to change and share power differently. With deeper understanding, we can willingly recommit to the work of radical welcome.

I am proud of the fact that we at UUCC have committed to returning our life-giving presence at the Mid-Missouri Pride Fest Sept. 23 and 24.

We can all feel gratitude for the enthusiastic response so far to opening our arms of welcome and willingly stepping into the stream of change.

Love and light,

DRE’s September message

This year, we explore how to live in a time of precarity. We begin by thinking about how we approach it willingly. To me, this means showing up for each other as a community. We show up by saying yes to helping one another. But also it is recognizing our own need for people to show up for us and being willing to ask for help.

I have been blown away by how many people have said yes to showing up for our children as R.E. volunteers. However, if your circumstances make volunteering too much right now, please let us say yes to you and your need for support. We are in these times together!

Some simple ways we can show up for each other and our community:

  • Bring a meal to a family welcoming a new baby
  • Send a card to someone experiencing a loss
  • Check in on someone who shares a sorrow during service
  • Cook a meal for Loaves and Fishes or Como Mobile Aid Collective to share with our unhoused neighbors

– Jamila Batchelder
Director of Religious Education

Music Director announces choir rehearsals and Music & Variety Show fundraiser

From Violet Vonder Haar, Director of Music Ministry

  • Choir rehearsals – start Sept. 20
  • Music & Variety Show fundraiser – Nov. 10

I hope this message finds you well and filled with the joy of music! As the Music Director of our beloved church, I am excited to extend a warm invitation to everyone join our choir for the upcoming 2023/2024 church year. Our choir will rehearse at 7 p.m. Wednesday evenings starting Sept. 20 (changed from the original start date of Sept. 13). Whether you are an experienced singer or someone who simply enjoys singing, we welcome you to be a part of our musical community. Joining the choir is a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow congregants, express your love for music, and enhance our worship services through the power of song.

I would also like to invite you all to a special Music & Variety Show and Fundraiser for the UUCC Music Program from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 10 (changed from the original Sept. 8 date). This event promises to be a delightful evening filled with diverse performances and a chance to showcase the incredible talents within our congregation. All members, non-members, and performers of all abilities and talents are encouraged to participate. Whether you have a song to share, a story to recite, or a poem to enchant us with, we invite you to sign up and become a part of this memorable occasion. Each performer will have a 5-7 minute time slot, and participants of all ages are welcome.

This Music & Variety Show will also provide an excellent opportunity for you to come and chat with me about joining the choir or offering any other musical offerings for the church year. I would be delighted to answer any questions you may have and discuss how you can contribute to our vibrant music program.

Please sign up to participate in the show at this link: We are excited to showcase the immense talent within our congregation and create an evening that celebrates our shared love for music.

Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for the UUCC Music Program. I look forward to the joyous music-filled year ahead and to seeing you all at the Music & Variety Show!

Monthly game nights planned starting Sept. 9

Love gaming? Love building inclusive community? Join us for our new, monthly All-Ages Accessible Game Night! The first game night will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 in the Sanctuary and Greeting Area.

Thereafter we will gather on second Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at the church with games and puzzles appropriate for all ages and abilities, a sensory friendly area, and snacks! Child care will also be provided. Want to bring your favorite game with you? Please do! We will also provide a number of accessible options.

Join us for Pride Fest Sept. 23-24

We are calling all hearts to join the UUCC presence at this month’s Mid-Missouri Pride Fest. We will have our own booth and a parade entry that will allow us to publicly declare that our faith is love. We have a need for:

  • Volunteers
  • Some equipment
  • A pickup truck
  • People who are willing to walk, roll or ride in the parade on Sunday, Sept. 24.

Please email Intern Minister George Grimm-Howell to learn more. Also, plan on ordering your “Our Faith Is Love” t-shirt and look for other ways to get involved!

2023-24 Milestones Retirement Circle

UUCC is announcing a newly-imagined, drop-in opportunity for fellowship at UUCC – Milestones’ Circle, a gathering of folks who are retired or contemplating retirement.

The first Milestones’ Circle meeting will be at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 and thereafter will be scheduled on fourth Sundays at the same time in the lower level of the church.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own brown bag lunch. A short program will be offered, and we will have a chance to reflect and share from our own personal experiences.

For more information, email Intern Minister George Grimm-Howell or contact volunteer Kathie Bergman at 573-999-3938 or by email.

Faith-to-Action recipients for 2023-24 announced

The Social Action Team has announced its selection of the following 12 organizations – one per month – as 2023-24 Faith-to-Action recipients starting in September:

  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
  • Defense for Children International-Palestine
  • First Chance for Children
  • Honduras Team
  • Loaves and Fishes
  • MADP (Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty)
  • Minority Men’s Network
  • Missouri River Relief
  • No More Deaths
  • Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice Team
  • The Center Project
  • World Wide Mobility

Starting this September, we will have two Sundays per month when the collection will be 100% dedicated to the monthly FTA recipient. Collections on other Sundays will be 100% dedicated to UUCC. On-line donors can clearly distinguish between FTA donations and general UUCC support.

The Center Project will be the September FTA recipient, which ties in with the September Mid-Missouri Pride Fest.

Immigrant sponsorship update

Lilly, Manuel, and Lakshmi, the Guatemalan family UUCC is sponsoring, have recently moved to a new home, and the move was accomplished with significant help from Ene and Mike Chippendale. Ene and Mike transported furniture and other belongings and purchased and donated portable air conditioners and other items for the family. We are extremely grateful to Ene and Mike for their generous assistance to the family.

When we agreed to sponsor a single mom with two small children in May 2021, we knew transitioning to independence would be more challenging. Consequently, our sponsorship of the family is continuing in order to provide assistance where needed. You may support the work of the Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice Team, and our sponsorship of the family, by making a tax-deductible donation to the church. Please include Sanctuary Fund in the memo line. You can also make a non-tax-deductible donation to the family by sending a check made out to Allie Gassmann at 1700 Princeton Dr., Columbia, MO 65203 – this money will go into a joint account from which the family’s expenses will be paid directly.

And if you would like to get involved with the team, please contact Dave or Allie.

Dave Gibbons
Allie Gassmann
Co-Chairs, Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice Team

Rev. Molly announces new office hours schedule

Rev. Molly has announced that starting the week of Aug. 21, her new office hours schedule will be:

  • 2:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at church.
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m .Fridays at Uprise Bakery downtown.
  • Other meetings will be available by appointment.

The easiest way to make an appointment is by using Rev. Molly’s scheduling app, but if you can’t find a time there, email Rev. Molly as she can sometimes work you in at a different time.

2023-24 church officers selected

At its July 20 meeting, our Board of Trustees elected church officers for 2023-24. They are:

  • President-Elect – Ruth Milledge
  • Secretary – Luke Daily
  • Treasurer – Fred Young

As 2022-23 President-Elect, Iyesatu Kamara-Bush is serving as 2023-24 President.

Ruth Milledge will become the 2024-25 President as of July 1, 2024.

Read more about the Board of Trustees.

Lock system for exterior doors has changed

In the past UUCC used a key system for exterior doors. We have now fully transitioned to an automatic lock system to make our church more secure. Each week, Church Administrator April Rodeghero will update the schedule so the exterior doors will unlock and lock for scheduled activities.

Staff members, lay leaders and organizations that rent space in the church will have a code to unlock exterior doors using a keypad in order to enter the building at other times. As a backup, April has an app on her smartphone that can lock and unlock doors remotely as needed when other methods do not work.

All those who now have a key to the exterior doors are asked to turn in their keys and begin using the keypad codes that will be provided to them. Keys should be turned in to April in person or labeled with your name or group and put in April’s mailbox.

It is important to turn in exterior door keys because each time a key is used, it overrides the system and causes the automatic locks to reset. This results in the doors being locked or unlocked at unscheduled times. Thus, if you are the last person to leave the church and the exterior doors are not locked, be aware that:

  • The doors will lock at the scheduled time.
  • A key should not be used to lock the doors because that will interrupt the schedule.

Those who have keys to interior doors in the church may keep those keys, but they are asked to inform April that they have such keys.

Questions about this new system should be emailed to April.


Hospitality and Potluck teams seek new members

Do you love having coffee at UUCC on Sunday? Are potlucks your favorite Sunday activity? The Potluck and Hospitality teams need you! The Hospitality Team makes coffee and cleans up on Sundays. The Potluck Team does the setup and cleanup for each monthly potluck.

We want to keep these two teams going and make them large enough so that everyone takes a turn. The Hospitality Team asks for a once-a-month commitment. The Potluck Team could use your help a few times a year.

For questions and to sign up for either or both teams, please email Church Administrator April Rodeghero.


UUCC-sponsored African American Heritage Trail Marker dedicated

Our church sponsored one of the markers on the African American Heritage Trail in north-central Columbia. The marker commemorates the historic Douglass High School football field, four blocks west of Douglass High School.

A dedication ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at the marker location at the corner of Oak Street and Unity Drive. UUCC Board of Trustees member and Social Action Team Chair Fred Young represented the church, and several other church members were present. Also attending were various city and county dignitaries, Sharp End Heritage Committee members, Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and alumni of the Douglass Bulldogs from the late 1950s.

In the slideshow below, click the right or left arrows to see other photos.


May 7 Annual Meeting results

At the Annual Congregational Meeting on May 7, 2023:

  • The operating budget for 2023-24 was approved.
  • Luke Daily, Ruth Milledge and Roger Nettleton were elected as new members of the Board of Trustees.
  • Rev. Molly delivered her annual report for 2022-23.
  • Volunteers were recognized.

Read more


Religious education volunteers recognized

Religious education volunteers during our 2022-23 church year were honored as part of our Graduation Sunday worship service on May 21. Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education, gave heartfelt thanks to the volunteers for their work in the program.

R.E. volunteers recognized were: Stephanie Anderson, Carol Arnold, Andrea Baka, Jennifer Bard, Julia Bonham Hardy, Jenny Bossaller, John Brennan, Crystal Buffaloe, Amie Burling, Melissa Cameron, Barbara Carter, Camden Daily, Holly Daily, Luke Daily, Tim Dickerson, Mallory Donahue, Jack Draper, Jeremy Duke, Rubin Duple, Kaeden Ensign, Kevin Fritsche, Taylor Gill, James Gordon, Margaret Harder, Amy Hildebrand, Iyesatu Kamara-Bush, Adrienne Mann, Elaine Martin, Erin Merrill, Qhyrrae Michaeliue, Jeremy Milarsky, Tracey Milarsky, Shannon Mulvania-Beck, Sarah Oldfather, Chelsea Otten, Stacie Pottinger, Becky Scott, Sarah Smith, Amber Sparks, Martha Stanton, Ginny Winter, Jeremy Winter and Nancy Zamora-Cheaks.

Special guests and substitutes recognized were: Mary Beth Bernadin, Sam Buffaloe, Patty Daus, Melissa Ensign, Megan Gore, Madeleine LeMieux, Dottie Mathews, Jameson Sparks, Jay Sparks and Maryam Webster.

Childcare staff recognized were: Maryam Webster, Meena Cullity, Chante Graham, Eva Loudermilk, Molly McCoy, Clarity Milarsky and Lila Ordway.


Living Earth Meditation offered on Saturday mornings

Living Earth Meditation will be offered at 9 a.m. on Saturdays at 1400 Gary St., Columbia, beginning April 1, 2023. It will be a collaborative program of our church, the Columbia Friends Meeting and Show Me Dharma and will be facilitated by Peter Holmes, Ph.D., and Tricia Straub.

The format will be silent meditation outdoors with an opportunity to share insights and reflection –
being at home in Nature while building a connection between spiritual practice and ecological awareness.

Read more

Lawsuit challenges Missouri’s abortion ban

From our Minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

On Jan. 19 a lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis challenging the Missouri abortion ban on the ground that it violates the separation of church and state enshrined in the establishment clause of the Missouri Constitution.

There are 13 clergy plaintiffs in this case representing United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), United Methodist, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist theological perspectives.

I am writing to inform you that I am one of these plaintiffs.

I am proud to challenge this law because I firmly believe that it violates our Unitarian Universalist principles and theology, as well as our state’s essential promise of religious freedom and pluralism and the mandate to ensure the well-being of our citizens.

This lawsuit is being supported by many entities from across the nation and state. In particular, the national organizations Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the National Women’s Law Center are providing legal counsel and organizing support. Other pro-choice organizations and communities from across the state have been consulted and are involved in supporting the suit.

This lawsuit may draw some attention to our congregation and our ministry on behalf of the bodily autonomy and moral agency of all people. I have consulted along the way with your Board of Trustees; the board agrees that we welcome the opportunity to publicly support human rights in this way.

There is some chance that this lawsuit may also draw less welcome attention to my family and me personally, and we are grateful, in anticipation of that possibility, to be embedded deeply in a community of shared values and mutual support.

I thank you in advance for your love as this lawsuit proceeds. I am honored to serve with you in our congregation’s ministry of justice and dignity for all people.

In Faith,
Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

More information:



Rev. Molly featured in “Roe, Religion and Reproductive Justice” article

Our minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, was prominently featured along with other Columbia church leaders in an article headlined Roe, Religion and Reproductive Justice in the Jan. 5, 2023 issue of The Columbia Missourian Vox Magazine.

According to the article, when Rev. Molly spoke at a rally in May 2022, “Her message was clear: There is a spiritual community in Columbia that is widely supportive of reproductive rights. Housh Gordon is trained by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice to provide all-options pastoral counseling to people making health care decisions. She extended the offer of spiritual counsel to everyone in the crowd, emphasizing that there are safe spaces for people of faith to talk through their reproductive options.”

The article goes on to point out that while about 63% of U.S. adults identify as Christian, about 61% think abortion should be legal all or most of the time. The idea that religious affiliation is synonymous with opposition to abortion is simplistic and the product of a powerful group of religious conservatives. The article quotes Rev. Molly as saying, “Right wing, extremist Christians have aligned the general understanding of Christianity with a very particular social worldview that is not actually very Christian. … The central narrative of Christianity actually is about how life and love are victorious against the forces of empire and death and oppression. And you can very much read the story of Jesus as the opposition to the powers and principalities of this world, the hierarchical powers that harm people, body and spirit.”

Other church leaders quoted in the article were the Rev. Rick Oberle of the United Church of Christ, the Rev. Sarah Klaassen of Rock Bridge Christian Church, and Executive Director Jeanne Snodgrass of Mizzou Hillel.



Rev. Dottie Mathews recognized for immigrant work

Dottie’s recognition certificate
Click to enlarge

During our Oct. 23, 2022 worship service, our Affiliated Community Minister, Rev. Dottie Mathews, was recognized for her past work as coordinator of the Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum Seekers (CAPAS), a program of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).

As part of the recognition, it was announced that the UUSC has started a fund to support congregations as they welcome asylum-seekers into their communities and named it Dottie’s honor. The Dottie Mathews Congregation Action Fund will provide startup money to congregations who decide to take a leap of faith into immigrant justice work.

Jessica Sapalio, Dottie’s successor as CAPAS coordinator, made the announcement. Here are Jessica’s remarks:

I know that many of you are aware of the incredible dedication and many years of her life that Dottie has given to immigrant justice work and to designing the nationwide CAPAS program. Through her vision and the partnerships that she has built at many congregations and with many organizations, hundreds of asylum-seekers and families who were separated at the border have been met with welcome and solidarity in an otherwise dehumanizing process.

I first met Dottie when my congregation became interested in hosting a CAPAS program. New to immigrant justice work, we were so grateful for Dottie’s knowledge, guidance, and grace in helping us establish a local program to offer solidarity to asylum seekers, which is very similar to the amazing program that you run here under Dave and Allie’s leadership. In January of this year, I had the great honor of getting to try to follow in Dottie’s footsteps by becoming the CAPAS coordinator at UUSC to carry on the incredible program that she created. My daily mantra has become “What would Dottie do?”

In the meantime, I have become a huge fan of your congregation, often watching services remotely, so I was excited to accompany Rosie and Dottie here today, but I’m also here because the UUSC would like to officially honor the incredible contribution that Dottie has had to the immigrant justice field. Dottie, would you please come up?

Dottie is a true justice warrior who has changed the lives of so many involved in this program. In recognition of this, UUSC has started a fund to support congregations as they welcome asylum-seekers into their communities and named it in her honor. The Dottie Mathews Congregation Action Fund will provide start up money to congregations who decide to take a leap of faith into immigrant justice work.

We have also put together a book of messages from many CAPAS congregations, including yours, and partners throughout the country who wanted to express their gratitude.

I wanted to thank you all for having me today, for those of you who helped work on the surprise, and to Rev. Molly, who I am so sad to have missed. I wanted to send special love and thanks to Rosie who through her love has supported Dottie through this journey and therefore all of us, to all of you and your congregation for your commitment to supporting asylum seekers.


Welcome to our meadow!

By the time you see this article, the backyard meadow at church is likely to have received its maintenance-mowing and may look like a blank space or a poor excuse for lawn. But, I hope you have seen, can imagine, or will see the wonderful plants that are still alive and well beneath the ground.

There are Common Milkweeds that support traveling Monarchs, Baptisia that bloom with blue flowers above silver-leaved mounds, tall slender-stalked Grayhead Coneflowers, and bunches of fragrant Slender Mountain Mint. There are prairie grasses: Big Blue Stem with its turkey-track seed heads, dense clumps of Switch Grass that form airy panicles of seed, Indian Grass with golden plumes, bright orange-flowered Butterfly Weed, colonies of Ashy Sunflowers, Compass plants that point North and South, Obedient Plant, Rattlesnake Master, Goldenrod, Gum Plant, Blue Sage, Willow-leaved Sunflowers, and multiple species of Asters and Eupatoriums.

This meadow is the result of a human-driven transformation, part accidental and part intentional. When our UU forbears arrived and put up the building in 1969, the current meadow space was home to a woodland community. Then, in 1998 as we put on an addition, a big “bulldozer-oops” occurred, clearing a chunk of woods from the flat area and on down the hillside. We responded with attempts to help the land heal by nurturing a native, shrubby, woods-edge/hedgerow-type community on the hillside, with a native prairie plant community on the flat area that we now call our “meadow”.

Scientists use the words “disturbance” and “succession” in describing the transformation of ecosystems over time. In this particular instance, and so many others, we humans were careless disturbers. But disturbance in ecosystems is not always a bad thing. It can also be regenerative. Now, we are trying to work with natural succession and to steward the land toward health and abundance. We are attempting to partner with diverse life forms, all of whom we will never completely know, but whose basic roles and presence we can at least try to appreciate and support. We aspire to minimize our disturbance and to practice respectful nurturance of a healthy ecological community. Sometimes that requires active labor on our part, but it also asks of us an unhurried presence and an open mind toward recognizing and understanding all that this other-than-human community brings to us. There have certainly been many blunders along the way, but it is our hope that as we observe and learn from direct experience, and listen to naturalists and scientists, we are becoming more attuned to this plant community and are growing in solidarity with it.

It is the hope of our Grounds Team that those who spend time here will be touched by the presence of this rich multi-species community, and that they will return over and over to be connected with its rich transformative presence.

– Carol Arnold, Grounds Team member


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.


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 and also

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

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

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.


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

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.