Special December worship opportunities

Holiday Blues Vespers – 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13

We hold a holiday blues service every year to be present to the less than merry feelings that holiday season can often exacerbate. This year, we may need it more than ever. Join your fellow UU Churchers on Zoom to stay with the hard parts of the season this year. Zoom Meeting ID: 959 8577 3766 Passcode: 012090.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service – 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24

Join us for a digital version of our beloved Candlelight Christmas Eve Worship. We will ground and lift our hearts with the same words and songs that have been spoken and sung year after difficult year for generations. Please submit a photo of you and your family in candlelight, and the names of any beloved ones who have died or been born in the past year to digitalarts@uucomo.org by Dec. 11 in order to be included in the service. Watch the service on our YouTube or Facebook page, or join the Zoom watch party. Zoom Meeting ID: 975 5226 8551 Passcode: 065078.

 

December holiday-related activities

Waiting with the Animals
A Nature-Based Advent Study with Rev. Molly
7:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22

We will use the book All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings by Gayle Boss, which offers daily reflections “depicting how wild animals of the northern hemisphere ingeniously adapt when darkness and cold descend.” At the first session on Dec. 1, we will spend time with the introduction and the themes of Advent. Then we will reflect each week on the animal stories from that week’s readings. While the book is centered in the Christian season of Advent, the content of the reflections themselves are appropriate for anyone who enjoys delving into the wisdom of the natural world.

Please RSVP here: https://forms.gle/mbwo6ZycZDgaGbUT9. The book is available from your favorite online bookshop, and ebooks are also available. If you would like to join us but purchasing the book is a hardship, we will be happy to have one sent to you.

Christmas Story Path
A socially-distant, interactive nativity on church grounds
4:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12

Join us for a magical socially distant experience of the Christmas story on church grounds. Based on the traditions of our Family Christmas Eve service, participants will visit several different stations to interact with parts of the Christmas story, hear the beloved carols, and experience a taste of the magic of the season. Individuals and family units will start on the path one at a time to maintain distance. Masks are required. Please RSVP so we can plan appropriately for some holiday treats: https://forms.gle/R8pAraLnA5hZid828.

Holiday Treat Exchange
Porch drop-off before 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19
Zoom gathering at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec.19

Cookies and candies, Chex mix and spiced nuts, latkes and fritters, OH MY! Sign up here to participate in a Holiday Treat Swap! Drop your treat by the assigned porch on Saturday, Dec. 19, and then gather on Zoom together to enjoy the treats and the stories that accompany them! Sign up by 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14 to participate: https://forms.gle/twuqTmVZRxXdPnf18. Zoom Meeting ID: 962 9685 7041. Passcode: 110261.

Corona Christmas Caroling
5-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20

Sign up to give or receive socially distant Christmas Carols! We will match folks who want to sing with folks who would like a safely distanced visit. Carolers can pick up carol books at the church at 5 p.m. before heading to their assigned destinations and are encouraged to maintain at least 12 feet of distance while singing from the yard or driveway. Sign up by 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14 to participate: https://forms.gle/bkU3KJruTZk9eoXd8.

Christmas Day Share & Play
2-3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 25

Drop in to join your UU Church friends on Zoom to say a very merry Christmas hello and to share about your favorite gifts, present and past. Zoom Meeting ID: 939 8145 4230. Passcode: 831406.

 

President’s Perspective – Floating Together

by Rebecca Graves, 2020-21 President

No big news this month, more a patchwork of announcements. We are working through the board calendar: https://uucomo.org/board-calendar/. I admit that the pandemic, and somewhat the election, have pushed us behind a bit. We should be caught up by January, if not December. The Covid Advisory Task Force continues to provide the board with up to date information especially about how to host Room at the Inn (RATI) safely. Between their work and the work of the RATI staff, I am confident that we will make the hosting of RATI – its guests, staff and volunteers – as safe as possible in this pandemic.

Along with several other members of our congregation, I am taking the Beloved Conversations Virtual course on racial justice (https://bcvirtual.meadville. edu/p/home). I could simply say that this is a six-lesson online course that dives into our emotions and understanding around social justice; however, it is much more. The lessons are rich both in depth of content and type of material. It is not simply texts to read, but also podcasts, videos, poems, as well as embodied work such as dance, art, song. There is individual work and partnered work, along with small and large group discussions. Yet there are no grades, no tests, no requirement to “finish the list” of resources. This is a holistic way to encounter this topic; and, now in lesson three, I find that I am trusting the process, and the learning is deep.

The board is wrestling with the question, “How do we measure our execution of our mission?” beyond door counts and money raised. Thinking of our mission in a pandemic when we are so separate sparked an image of all of us in life rafts, drifting. This image has been following me these past weeks as I think on the words in our mission and as I repeat our chalice lighting on Sundays – ”Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law. This is our great covenant… to help one another.” How in this time can we help each other? How can we live our mission of deep connection and healing each other so that we can heal the world? How can we stay together while floating alone in our small rafts on this vast sea?

I pulled on this image and saw us paddling toward each other, tying our rafts together (safely distant of course), sharing water, light, and love. This is what we do already with our small group ministries, when we gather in a circle outdoors and share stories and music, when we meet over Zoom and see each other’s faces. I have no way to measure this yet, but I ask us to keep reaching out, keep paddling over to each other and roping our rafts together. If you think of someone, message them, call them or mail them a note – perhaps we should bring Christmas cards back this year. If you are one who bakes or cooks, drop food by. Leave a picture drawn by your child in someone’s mailbox (physical or online.) Share flowers or an interesting stone picked up on a walk. And, if you are alone, send up a flare (a text will do) so that we may paddle over to you, so that we may serve our deep connection and heal in this time of pandemic.

 

Rev. Molly’s December office hours

Tuesdays on Zoom – 9:30-11 a.m.
Thursdays on Zoom or outdoors if the weather is particularly nice – 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

If Thursday office hours will be offered outdoors, I will send out an email announcement.

I remain available to you by Zoom and phone if in-person outdoor visits do not fit your risk level. Simply select “virtual meeting” on my online calendar.

– Rev. Molly

 

December Honduras Ministry update

Honduras and other Central American countries have been hit extremely hard by hurricane Eta, and hurricane Iota is also hitting the region. The Cangrejal River Valley, where the UUCC Honduras Ministry has built latrines and done other projects desired by the community, has been severely affected. The bridge that leads from La Ceiba to the river valley, and the road that goes up to the river valley communities, have been washed out, and some people who lived along the banks of the river lost everything.

There are food shortages, and it’s hard to imagine how people will be able to rebuild their lives after so much devastation. We are staying in touch with our Honduran friends and will be sending financial help from our congregation.

– Allie Gassmann
Honduras Ministry Chair
Email

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

 

May 3, 2020 podcast – A Chance to Dream

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

 

 

April 26, 2020 podcast – Lessons from Nature

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Oct. 13, 2019 – Loving Bravely

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

 

Oct. 20, 2019 – Strengthening Our Hearts

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

 

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

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

 

Oct. 6, 2019 – Begin Again in Love

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

 

Consider donating to help others during the coronavirus emergency

UUCC benevolence funds

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

Other community organizations

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

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

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

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

 

Nov. 17, 2019 – What Do We Seek Here?

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

 

Nov. 10, 2019 – With Heat and Great Effort

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

 

Nov. 3, 2019 – Remembrance Sunday

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

 

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.

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.

 

 

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

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

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

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

Jan. 13, 2019 – Thresholds

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

Jan. 6, 2019 – Be It Resolved

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

Dec. 30, 2018 – Begin Again in Love

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

Social Action Team invites you to join

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

There are five important aspects of UUCC Social Justice Work

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

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

– Caya Tanski, SAT Chair – email

Dec. 2, 2018 – The F word (Faith)

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

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

Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson

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

Nov. 11, 2018 – Service and Sacrifice

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

Nov. 4, 2018 – Day of Remembrance

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

Oct. 21, 2018 – Do the Monster Mash

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

Oct. 14, 2018 – Damaged by Privilege

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

Oct. 7, 2018 – Everyday Evil

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

Sept. 30, 2018 – Peace Must Be Dared

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