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.

 

 

 

Loaves and Fishes procedure changing in September

Starting Sept. 20, the Social Action Team (SAT) is changing the Loaves and Fishes procedure because of the difficulty in recent months getting enough volunteers to prepare entire boxed/sack meals. Essentially, we are returning to the old system of having volunteers prepare 20 servings of various dishes, which will then be assembled into boxed meals by additional volunteers. Please sign up here.

This change in procedure will require the volunteers who are providing food to take the food to Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church by 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 instead of 4:30 p.m. The volunteers who will assemble the boxed meals are asked to be at the church by 3:15 p.m.

Please submit receipts for all food items, and some or all of your expenses may be reimbursed by the church.

Loaves and Fishes was started in the mid-1980s by the St. Francis Catholic Worker community and serves a free community meal seven nights a week from 5 to 6 p.m. in the basement at Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church in partnership with that church and more than 20 other local faith communities and other organizations.

 

“Lunchtime chats” offered at noon Wednesdays in September

Starting Sept. 9, Rev. Molly is offering a series of “Lunchtime Chats” on our UUCC Facebook Page with wise members of our community at noon on Wednesdays. She will be asking them how they are sustained through difficulty and what practices they turn to in uncertain times. She will also pose the questions of those who tune in to watch on Facebook. The scheduled chats are:

Wednesday, Sept. 9 at noon – Chris Lawrence, PhD, SEP, local counselor, somatic experiencing practitioner, and founder of HeartSpace Clinic, a non-profit organization offering compassionate, trauma-informed training, consultation and direct services helping to build resilience with those affected by acute and cumulative stress and trauma.

Wednesday, Sept. 16 at noon – Rev. Dottie Mathews, our beloved affiliated community minister who also works with congregations and individuals across the country coordinating sponsorship of asylum seekers with the UU Service Committee and other organizations.

Wednesday, Sept. 23 at noon – Brittany Hughes, Missouri Faith Voices regional organizer for Columbia, leading our community in faith-based, grassroots organizing for racial equity and economic dignity.

Wednesday, Sept. 30 at noon – Rev. Brad Bryan, Pastor of Wilkes Blvd. United Methodist Church, home of Turning Point Day Center’s ministry to unhoused neighbors in Columbia.

Tune in at the UUCC Facebook Page.

 

President’s Perspective – A Summer Pause

By Rebecca Graves, 2020-21 President

Not much has happened in the past four weeks, for which I am grateful. The Board of Trustees will hold its annual retreat in September. Weather permitting, we will be meeting part of the day in person – physically distant, outdoors and masked, of course.

As the retreat is an opportunity for the board to come together and synchronize as an ensemble, we feel it is important to be together in body as well as spirit. (Speaking of the body, there’s also only so much attention it has for Zoom.) Visioning will also be on the agenda, as I mentioned in my last column.

I hope you had time and space to pull back from the confusion and distress of these past few months. Even if, like me, it was a couple of weeks where the pace of work was slower, calmer, and the summer views from my work-at-home office in the kitchen were memorable for the hummingbirds, the green of the leaves, and the drama of thunderstorms. Even better if you were able to travel, to rest (however that looks for you), and to be with loved ones. We do need to love each other, and that includes ourselves. We need to have strength for the work ahead. (There is always work ahead.)

As the fall gears up, I anticipate that there will be more news to report. As a reminder, board meetings are open to all members and our governance structure and information is available on our website.

Do contact me, or other members of the board, with any questions, concerns or comments you have on how we can best serve you and the church.

 

CROP Hunger Walk – Sept. 20, 2020

For more than 25 years there have been interfaith community CROP Hunger Walks to raise funds for hunger relief around the world, in the US and in each community. Because of the pandemic, this year there will not be a communal hunger walk.

Instead please gather with friends and family and participate in a “Micro Walk” at a location of your choice. Take a selfie of your group and post it on your and Columbia CROP’s Facebook pages. Plan a self-guided “CROP Hunger Walk Food Partners” tour to all five of our local partners and post five selfies. The partners are:

  • Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen
  • Russell Chapel Community Food Pantry
  • Destiny Worship Center Food Pantry
  • Fifth Street Christian Church Food Pantry
  • Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (as a supporting partner, CCUA will not receive funds raised from the CROP Walk).

Form a team, collect funds, and then come by the CROP Hunger Walk “Donation Drop-off” in the parking lot of Broadway Christian Church, 2601 W. Broadway, Columbia, from noon to 3 p.m. on Sept. 20. You can also donate online to the Columbia CROP Hunger Walk.

Or, email contact Columbia’s CROP Hunger Walk Treasurer, Linda Reed Brown or 573-256-0091 for information about mailing donations. Questions? Email Allie Gassmann of the Social Action Team.

 

Tim Dickerson selected as President-Elect

Tim Dickerson

Tim Dickerson was selected as President-Elect at the Board of Trustees meeting on Aug. 20, 2020. Under church bylaws, Tim will become President for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021.

Tim started the first year of a three-year term on the board on July 1, 2020. He began attending UUCC in July 2015 and became a member of the church on October 15, 2017. He has helped with Junior Youth Group and Service Sunday. He has taught Children’s and Adult RE and is a co-facilitator for 7th-9th Grade OWL. Tim serves on the Service Auction Team, Technical Team, and Worship Associates Team.

 

COVID-19 Advisory Task Force members appointed

Jan Swaney, Rosie Geiser, Susan Even, Barbara Carter, Cande Iveson and Larry Lyle were appointed by the Board of Trustees as members of the COVID-19 Advisory Task Force at the board’s meeting on Aug. 20, 2020. As the board representative on the task force, Jan Swaney will convene the group’s meetings.

The board approved the following charge for the task force at its July 16, 2020 meeting:

The task force is charged with making recommendations to the board and the minister in regard to how best to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    • The task force is specifically charged with gathering information, reporting, and making recommendations to the board and the minister at monthly intervals regarding, but not limited to: Operating procedures, employee safety, worship, rites of passage, religious education, use of building and grounds, as well as small group ministry and social gatherings. Recommendations will be informed by local and state public health guidelines, Unitarian Universalist Association advice, and the spiritual needs of the congregation.
    • Final decisions will be made by the board with the consultation of the minister.
    • The task force will consist of at least three (3) church members. At least one of the members will be from the board, and least two of the members will have a medical, public health, or a disaster response background. The board representative will convene the task force.
    • The task force will meet and report to the board and minister at least monthly.

Both Jan Swaney and Susan Even are physicians.

 

New Adult R.E. class starts Aug. 11

Online Book Study

The Cross and The Lynching Tree by James Cone
Facilitated by Philosopher-in-Residence, The Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson Jr.

Join us to study an important work from one of the fathers of Black Liberation Theology. Books can be ordered from Semicolon Books, a Black Woman-owned Chicago bookstore, or your favorite bookseller. More details to follow.

https://zoom.us/j/95074842734?pwd=akl6NXhwRmMrc2d4c2F1Qm1md1p6QT09
Meeting ID: 950 7484 2734
Password: 185247

 

 

President’s Perspective – A Time to Serve

By Rebecca Graves, 2020-21 President

Hello from your new President. I am honored to serve you and our church mission in this role for the coming year. When I joined the Board of Trustees last summer, the world was a different place. And, yet, here we are, still together worshiping and working on the side of love. The future is never clear, but our values are, and our commitment to each other is. This is how we will get through these next few months, together in our values.

I would like to welcome our new board members who began their terms with July’s board meeting: Jan Swaney (term expires 6/2021), Ginny Winter (6/2022), Kara Braudis (6/2023), Timothy Dickerson (6/2023), and David Leuthold (6/2023). Jan Swaney is finishing up the term of Elaine Martin, and Ginny Winter is finishing up the term of Michela Skelton. At our July board meeting, Jan Swaney was elected as Secretary, and Jeremy Duke was re-elected as Treasurer. We will be electing a President-Elect at our August board meeting.

The board is working to create a Covid-19 Advisory Task Force. The overall charge of the task force will be to gather information and make recommendations to the board and the Minister regarding church operations and worship during the pandemic. (See below for the full charge.) The task force will assist the board in having the most current and best information with which to make decisions, especially as best practices for safety and health can change rapidly as we learn more about the virus and the disease.

So much has changed. This summer, we thought we would be gearing up for our capital campaign, Rev. Molly would be on sabbatical, and the board would be working on its review of the mission and vision. During the next board meetings and the board retreat on Sept. 19 (online, of course), we will be taking stock of where we are, where we envision ourselves to be, and setting a course. As I said at the start, I am honored to be your President on this wild journey in love.

 

Covid-19 Advisory Task Force

Our Board of Trustees is working to set up a Covid-19 Advisory Task Force.

The task force will be charged with making recommendations to the board and the minister in regard to how best to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • The task force is specifically charged with gathering information, reporting, and making recommendations to the board and the minister at monthly intervals regarding, but not limited to: Operating procedures, employee safety, worship, rites of passage, religious education, use of building and grounds, as well as small group ministry and social gatherings. Recommendations will be informed by local and state public health guidelines, Unitarian Universalist Association advice, and the spiritual needs of the congregation.
  • Final decisions will be made by the board with the consultation of the minister.
  • The task force will consist of at least three (3) church members. At least one of the members will be from the board, and least two of the members will have a medical, public health, or a disaster response background. The board representative will convene the task force.
  • The task force will meet and report to the board and minister at least monthly.

 

Grounds Team has set up outdoor meeting spaces

The UUCC Grounds Team did some work – at a social distance – on the grounds recently. Chain saws were buzzing, and when they were quiet, the birds were chirping and the insects buzzing. The breeze and the sun on our faces was lovely, and we were happy to see each other and enjoy the outdoors.

Purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans, wild petunia and butterfly milkweed are in bloom and are attracting monarchs and supporting diversity in our flower beds,

The church building remains closed (see the UUCC website for details), but if you are looking for a shady spot on our grounds for your small group meeting, we recommend the following areas:

  • The fire circle (in the woods behind church)
  • The memorial garden
  • The old playground area (east side of church)
  • The office entrance area (west side of church)

Chairs, tables and benches have been placed in these areas. Please follow safety recommendations and enjoy our grounds.

Fire Circle

Memorial Garden
Playground Area Office Entrance Area

 

 

18 Faith-to-Action nominations received

Eighteen Faith-to-Action nominations have been received for the 2020-2021 church year. The Social Action Team will review these at our next meeting on Aug. 2. If all meet the criteria, we will have enough for two collections per month, for the regular nine-month (September-May) church year. This also allows for some flexibility for the minister’s discretion on issues that are timely – for example, the highly successful June collection for the Movement For Black Lives.

You are still welcome to submit FTA nominations, with the understanding that nominees at this point will be of secondary priority and may not be selected for this church year.

The list of accepted FTA nominees will be published soon. Thank you to all who have taken the time to nominate a FTA recipient.

 

Treasurer and Secretary selected

Jeremy

The Board of Trustees elected Jeremy Duke as Treasurer and Jan Swaney as Secretary for the 2020-21 fiscal year at its meeting on July 16, 2020.

President Rebecca Graves said the board plans to elect a President-Elect in August. The President-Elect will become President on July 1, 2021, according to church bylaws.

The newly constituted Board of Trustees took office July 1. Three new board members will be elected for three-year terms at the Annual Congregational Meeting next spring and will take office on July 1, 2021.

Jan

Members of the newly constituted board are:

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

Board members whose terms ended June 30 were Sam Buffaloe (Secretary), Gretchen Maune and Barbara Rupp (Past President).

 

Rebecca Graves will be 2020-21 President

Rebecca

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Budget approved, board members elected

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

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

New board members taking office July 1 will be:

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

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

 

May 3, 2020 podcast – A Chance to Dream

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

 

 

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

Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson

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

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

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

 

April 26, 2020 podcast – Lessons from Nature

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Oct. 13, 2019 – Loving Bravely

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

 

Oct. 20, 2019 – Strengthening Our Hearts

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

 

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

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

 

Oct. 6, 2019 – Begin Again in Love

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

 

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

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

2020-21 Faith-to-Action Nominations

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

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

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

Rev. Molly’s online office hours

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

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

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

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

 

Online pledge payments

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

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

 

Consider donating to help others during the coronavirus emergency

UUCC benevolence funds

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

Other community organizations

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

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

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

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

 

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.

 

Recommendations for team leaders

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

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

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

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

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

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

Love,
Rev. Molly 

Reparations Working Group update

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

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

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

We are clear in understanding that our work:

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

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

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

– Kim Wade

Honduras Service Trip report

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

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

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

2019-20 Honduras Trip – Full Report and Photographs

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

Allie Gassmann, Honduras Ministry Team Chair

Sharing our space with Missouri Faith Voices

From Rev. Molly:

Brittany Hughes

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

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

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

 

Hans Bridger Heruth – our new staff collaborative pianist

Hans Bridger Heruth

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

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

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

 

Why is that rug in the sanctuary?

Click to enlarge

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

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

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

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

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

 

New Director of Music Ministry – Jeremy Wagner

From Rev. Molly and the Music Director Search Team:

Jeremy Wagner

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 14, 2019 – Making Liberation Irresistible

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

June 16, 2019 – Looking Up to Les Misérables

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

May 19, 2019 – Celebration Sunday Podcast

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

Rev. Molly’s new office hours

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

– Gretchen Maune, Chair
Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Team

May 12, 2019 – Flower Communion

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

March 24, 2019 – Living Up to Radical Welcome

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

Feb. 24, 2019 – Reparations and Soul Repair

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

You can also read this sermon.

 

Social Action Team makes UUCC T-shirts available

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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