At worship on Sunday, July 29, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon reflected on the meaning of Sanctuary. A sanctuary literally means a church, yet also means a place of spiritual and even legal refuge. Rev. Molly explored how we can create a culture of compassion and expand our circle of warmth and care to those around us.
This podcast is an archived recording of our March 18, 2018 worship service. We have the privilege to hear our YRUU youth group share their feelings and thoughts about gun violence and the toll it has taken on their young lives.
Our YRUU youth carried our church banner in the banner parade at the opening
session of the UUA General Assembly in Kansas City, Mo. on June 20. In the first part
of this short video, they are seen on their first pass through the convention hall.
After the transition, they are seen on their way out of the hall.
The Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly was held this year from June 20 to 24 in Kansas City, Mo. What is GA? It’s part inspiration and spiritual sustenance. It’s an opportunity to mingle with UUs from all over the country and some other countries and engage in issues important to our UU faith. But also, it’s a time to conduct a lot of the business of the association.
This year there were 2,814 registered attendees, including 134 youth. 522 congregations from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Mexico were represented by 1,570 delegates, including 199 off-site delegates.
Our voting delegates this year were Rev. Molly, Todd Iveson, Peter Holmes, Gretchen Maune, Connie Ordway, and Steve Scott. About 15 other members of our church also attended all or part of GA, and a number of them served as volunteers performing various tasks to keep the show running, in exchange for which they received free registration for GA. For example, Maria Oropallo and Kathie Bergman staffed an information booth to answer questions from attendees, and Larry Lile assisted with the tech staff that provided audio/video services.
The business of the General Assembly takes place in General Sessions. All registered attendees are welcome at these sessions, but only voting delegates can vote.
At the business sessions there was broad consensus for aggressively challenging the criminalization of migrants, people of color, and indigenous people. Delegates overwhelmingly selected “Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy” as a multiyear Congregational Study/Action Issue.
Delegates also endorsed three Actions of Immediate Witness, which all emphasize the urgency of supporting people of color and indigenous people. The first calls for congregational action to draw attention to predatory medical fees charged to incarcerated people, who are disproportionately people of color; the UUA’s Church of the Larger Fellowship developed the resolution in partnership with its 870 incarcerated members.
A second resolution pledged solidarity with indigenous “water protectors,” who have been fighting the placement of liquid natural gas pipelines near Native American lands and who face federal charges for disrupting construction of the pipelines.
The third resolution demanded immediate action to improve U.S. treatment of asylum seekers and migrant families to keep families together. Among other demands, the resolution advocates the abolition of Immigration Customs Enforcement “and the implementation of a system that understands the causes of migration, provides a non-carceral solution while asylum seekers await a decision on their case, and has a fundamental commitment to keeping families together.”
Delegates also approved a group of bylaw changes to bring the UUA’s governing document up to date with current understandings of gender diversity. A proposal introduced last year to change Unitarian Universalism’s “Second Source” from “words and deeds of prophetic women and men” to “words and deeds of prophetic people” passed easily.
A second bylaws amendment changed all gendered pronouns in the bylaws to the gender-inclusive “they/them/their.”
A third bylaws amendment will allow religious educators who are active members of the Liberal Religious Educators Association to serve as voting delegates at future GAs.
The assembly also approved bylaws changes adding two youth trustees to the 11 at-large trustees on the UUA Board of Trustees; allowing the role of moderator at GA to be filled by more than one person; modifying the length of terms of service on committees; and simplifying the social witness resolutions process.
The primary responsibility of our new Denominational Affairs Team is to act as a liaison between our congregation and both the Unitarian Universalist Association and the MidAmerica Region. The team will:
- Meet to discuss issues of denominational concern.
- Promote education on UUA General Assembly social justice statements in collaboration with other teams.
- Foster an understanding of and commitment to what it means to be a responsible member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Through these efforts, the Denominational Affairs Team will prepare a pool of people in our congregation to be delegates to the General Assembly and regional meetings.
For more information, contact Steve Scott at 573-442-1865 or by email.
At our worship service on July 22, 2018, Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and others offered a spiritual exploration of human sexuality and information about our “Our Whole Lives” (OWL) program of comprehensive sexuality education for all ages.
In her sermon “Try a Little Tenderness” on July 15, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored what it means to engage tenderness as a tactic of resistance in a time when appeals to security, strength and “other-ing” are used to oppress. She suggested how to bring softness and openness to the time at hand.
On Sunday, July 8, 2018, we explored “Everything Must Change: A Woman Gets Older,” organized by Connie Ordway. What does it mean for a woman to age in this society? Connie mapped the journey for women to reclaim their status as “Wise Women” with the help of several other women.
Rev. Molly’s homily on July 1, 2018, “Spiritual Tools to Sustain Us,” focused on four tools: Lamentation, Connection, Hope and Enjoyment.
The mission of the Member Connect Program is to assist UUCC members and friends in finding their place in our church community through deeper connection, service, and spiritual exploration. To do this a team of connectors is available to have a conversation with every member of the church who is interested. These conversations will give members a chance to reflect on their spiritual journey, their connection with the church, and their level of involvement in church life.
– Peter Holmes and Rosie Geiser, co-chairs
Our observance of the 67th anniversary of our church’s founding at worship services on Jan. 28, 2018 included dedication of a beautiful new metal chalice purchased and given to the church by a member couple.
The late Naoma Powell made the chalice we had been using since 2006 after the congregation’s previous chalice broke, and it was always intended to be temporary. Naoma’s chalice served us long and well, but was showing signs of wear. To protect this beloved artifact, it is being officially “retired” from active duty but will always have a place in our sanctuary and will still be used for special occasions.
The new chalice is larger and will be easier to see from all parts of the sanctuary, in keeping with the needs of our growing congregation. It was dedicated with Naoma’s own January 2006 words of dedication of the chalice now being retired:
Though chalice changes, the flame burns bright.
Not holder, not cup but flame that offers light.
Flame that lights the darkness.
Flame, in its burning, illumines night.
Flame, its double halo, bringing light to shadow, warmth to shade.
Meet the Chalice Artist
Our new chalice that was dedicated at the Jan. 28 worship services was crafted by Ryan Schmidt, a metal artist based in Cumberland Gap, Tenn.
Ryan owned and managed a motorcycle repair shop in Kansas City before moving to Tennessee in 2015. Shortly after moving he met a neighbor, William Brock, a traditional blacksmith who taught Ryan the art of blacksmithing. Ryan’s passion is creating custom-made functional objects, ornamental ironwork, sculptures, and furniture. He is a member of several professional blacksmithing groups.
When Ryan is not creating art at his shop, Mitty’s Metal Art (https://www.mittysmetalart.com/), he likes to get out and explore the surrounding Appalachian region on his Harley or mountain bike. Ryan is not a UU but is familiar with our denomination through friends.
From the Music Director Search Team:
Late last spring Rev. Molly formed a search team tasked with finding a replacement for our beloved Desi Long upon her retirement. Our immediate need – music for the summer services – was fairly easily met by our “deep bench” of volunteer musicians, for whom we are ALL most grateful!
The longer-term question of how best to minister through music, to both the congregation and the larger community, was far more complex. Rev. Molly has already described much of that initial process of creating an interim period in earlier communications, so we won’t repeat them here. Suffice it to say we were most fortunate to secure Marques J. Ruff as our Interim Director of Music Ministry. It was our hope that Marques could manage the immediate tasks as well as help us articulate a clear vision for UUCC’s music program and better define the skills needed by candidates for a permanent position.
Our committee met recently to discuss what we’ve learned in this first half of the church year and to review the search timeline we’d originally established.
We have already seen a number of changes. Choir rehearsals are longer and performances more frequent. We have benefited from the addition of Arun Garg as our new professional accompanist for the choir and our services. Both the choir and the congregation have had a chance to experience a diverse musical repertoire. The feedback we hear is largely positive, but we still feel there is much more to learn about music and culture in our congregation – what we love, what is uncomfortable, what is possible, and more. We want to fully engage the congregation in this conversation so that we have a more complete understanding of what we are looking for in a permanent director.
It is the consensus of the committee that our original timeline of one program year (about nine months) did not allow sufficient time for securing and reflecting on your input. We feel it is critically important to take the time we need to listen first, then recruit, select, and hire a permanent director that is the right long-term fit for our congregation.
To that end, we must adjust our search timeline. This is also, in part, because our process is being happily interrupted by our minister’s parental leave, from the end of March to mid-June 2018.
Our revised timeline extends the search process through May of 2019. That also means lengthening the interim period, allowing Marques more time to work with the congregation and with the search committee. We are very pleased to share that Marques has agreed to extend his engagement with us through May 2019. As previously stated, the interim director is not eligible to apply for the permanent position. And we are sure that Marques will be off to impressive new adventures when his degree program ends in May of 2019.
Key points in the revised timeline appear below.
- Winter/Spring 2018 – Congregational Conversations
- Spring/Summer 2018 – Finalize job description
- Early Fall 2018 – Post and Advertise Job
- Late Fall/Early Winter 2018 – Conduct Interviews
- By January 2019 – Make and finalize offer
- June 1, 2019 – Permanent Director of Music Ministry begins work
We have tentatively scheduled two congregational conversations to inform our search. One will occur in February and another in March. Our topics will include your present experiences and future dreams for music at UUCC. You’ll receive more detailed information shortly!
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of us.
With all our best,
On Dec. 10, 2017, Worship Associate Rebecca Graves explored “The Wildness of The Season.” Focusing on the northern European figure of Krampus, she examined what it means to tap into the wild within.
On Dec. 3, 2017, we heard a story about a woman who showed up anyway. Amid the inevitable struggles of life and relationships, one of the most profound things we do in religious community is to explore how to remain faithful to one another, to our highest values, and to love. When the going gets tough, it takes spiritual maturity to stay at the table and find our way through. “If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.” Are you intrigued? Listen to Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s inspiring story about Ruth Coker Burks from Little Rock, Ark.
Do you do online shopping at Amazon? If so, your purchases can now benefit our church with a contribution from Amazon of 0.5% of the purchase price.
Here’s how to get started:
1. In your browser, go to https://smile.amazon.com.
2. Sign in using your normal Amazon username and password.
3. Next you will see a screen with a box on the right asking you to “Select a charity.”
4. In the bottom of that box, where it says “Or pick your own charitable organization,” type “Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia” in the box and click the “Search” button.
5. Next you will see a screen showing our church with the location listed as “Columbia MO,” and there may be other churches listed. Click the “Select” button next to our church’s name.
6. Finally, you will see another screen with a checkbox to indicate that you understand that you must always start at https://smile.amazon.com to support our church. After clicking the checkbox, you can click the “Start Shopping” button which will take you to the main Amazon screen.
A tutorial covering the above steps and including screenshots is available in a printable PDF.
In the future, always start your Amazon shopping at https://smile.amazon.com so that your purchases will benefit UUCC. You will find all the same Amazon products and prices there as regular Amazon.
Tip: If you have set up a bookmark or favorite for Amazon, be sure to change it to the new address.
Finally, don’t forget that you can also donate to UUCC when you do grocery shopping at Schnucks – read more.
In her sermon on Nov. 19, 2017, “Staying at the Table,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon spoke of how Thanksgiving time with family is sometimes fun, sometimes hard, and always meaningful, and she explored how we can stay at the table through it all. Listen as she starts with a closer look at a hymn popular in the Civil Rights movement – “We’re Going to Sit at the Welcome Table.”
Our members Kevin EarthSoul, Connie Ordway and Melissa McConnell spoke at our “Struggling Together” worship services on Nov. 12, 2017 about how they grappled with struggles of different kinds in their lives and the meaning they found in their struggles. Listen as they tell their stories. You can also read the text of Connie Ordway’s remarks, “When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be an Old Woman” (PDF).
UUCC was given an award recognizing our social action work and Rev. Molly’s exemplary leadership in social action – particularly our sanctuary work – at the annual dinner of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks on Saturday evening, Nov. 11, at the Missouri United Methodist Church.
Allie Gassman of our Social Action Team accepted the award on behalf of our church.
Allie said, “It was a great honor to be able to accept the award on behalf of our church – especially in the presence of all the seasoned activists in the room.”
The framed award certificate, shown in the photo below, is on display on the credenza in our Greeting Area.
One way we build resilient community is by engaging struggle together. In doing so we learn that we can do hard things, engage in emotional complexities, and struggle together for justice. When we wrestle with the difficulties of life together, sometimes we just may find our way to a blessing. Listen as Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explores these ideas in her Nov. 5, 2017 sermon, “Wrestling to the Blessing.”
Please welcome our new Sunday Morning Assistant, April Rodeghero, who began her work with us in October.
April is mother to a seven-year-old and to one-year-old twins. She has worked with MU Adventure Club, Missouri Afterschool Network and the Columbia Housing Authority. Now she works as a postpartum doula, supporting parents in their new roles. She has attended UUCC occasionally in the past year or so.
April will welcome your friendship and your help in the church kitchen – especially on potluck days for setup and cleanup! Please let’s show April our radical welcoming spirit!
Difference enriches our communities, but could it also enrich the identity of our very own souls? Listen as we consider the complexities of the self, how we contain contradiction, and how we grow over time, awaking a different self each day. In her sermon on Oct. 22, 2017, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored how this complexity colors the portrayal of victims and perpetrators in the media – mainstream media flattens some into a two dimensional characture, while allowing us to examine the three dimensional depths of others. Is this difference driven by fear of the other?
On Oct. 15, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon was “Listening So Others May Speak, Speaking So Others May Listen. ” Jeff Ordway presented related readings. Rev. Molly explored how we can have useful conversations across difference in a polarized and polarizing time, how we might listen in a way that others will speak, and how we might speak so that we might truly be heard.
The UUCC Honduras Team presented the worship services on Oct. 8, 2017. The Team has been supporting villages in the Cangrejal River Valley, about an hour drive south from La Ceiba, Honduras, since 2009.
A group of 16 went on the fourth UUCC service trip this past June to build latrines, offer Pap smears in a clinic, and paint the clinic and the elementary school in a Honduran village. Allie Gassman, Jackie Baugher, Leila Gassmann, Jonas Gassmann and Chris Hayday shared their stories.
In her sermon on Oct. 1, 2017 titled “Holy Difference,” the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon said that when she describes Unitarian Universalism to folks for the first time, one of the characteristics she names is, “We believe difference is holy, rather than threatening.” She explored how this belief can be hard to live out in these times and this world and considered how we can live a life in which difference is holy.
In her moving sermon on Sept. 24, 2017 titled “Being Sanctuary, our Affiliated Community Minister, the Rev. Dottie Mathews, shared what she has learned while accompanying immigrant neighbors to ICE check-ins and doing other sanctuary work. She pondered how we can truly treat everyone as members of the human family amid inhumane systems. The sermon text is also available (PDF).
Rev. Molly Housh Gordon made the following announcement on Aug. 20, 2017:
I am very pleased to introduce to you our new Interim Director of Music Ministry, Marques Jerrell Ruff, who will be working with us for this transitional year beginning Sunday, August 20, 2017.
Marques comes to us fresh off of several years touring as a member of the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in music, he is excited to begin his Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Mizzou this fall!
A lover of classical, jazz, gospel and show tunes, Marques is also a writer and rather good amateur chef. When not listening to and/or creating music, he can be found enjoying nature, new restaurants, and falling down the hole that is video suggestions on YouTube.
Our search team was especially impressed by Marques’ excellence across an extremely wide variety of musical styles, and we are excited to see how he helps our congregation grow musically, as we dream together about our long-term musical hopes and goals.
In faith and song!
At our worship service on June 11, 2016, Worship Associate Cande Iveson explored our worship theme for the month – fidelity to covenant. Listen as she unpacks this phrase with concrete examples to help understand it, adding a bit of humor.
Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray was selected by delegates as the first elected woman President of the Unitarian Universalist Association at the June 21-25 General Assembly in New Orleans. She had been the lead minister of the UU Congregation of Phoenix, Ariz., where she became well known for her work on behalf of immigrants, since 2008. Read more.
More than 4,000 UUs attended G.A., including some 1,800 delegates from more than 500 UU congregations. UUCC’s delegates were Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Patty Daus, Tracey Milarsky, Jeanne and Dennis Murphy, and Gena and Steve Scott.
Also attending from UUCC were DRE Jamila Batchelder along with four YRUU members and one 9-year-old. The young people carried our UUCC banner in the banner parade at the opening celebration on June 21.
Our UUCC banner was carried by five of our young people in the banner parade at the Opening Celebration of the UUA General Assembly (G.A.) in New Orleans on June 21, 2017. In this short clip they are seen entering the Great Hall of the New Orleans Convention Center and later proceeding out of the hall.
Read more about the many important actions taken by delegates and the UUA Board of Trustees at G.A.
Does Your Family Like to Hike?
We are starting a new monthly event at UUCC, a hike for all ages. The purpose of the hikes is to strengthen our connection to nature while also strengthening our connection to each other and building our community.
We will have two different hikes scheduled each month, to accommodate our different schedules and needs.
- One hike will take place on the third Sunday of the month. We will meet at the church at 1:45 p.m. and then head over to Grindstone Nature Area (on Old Hwy. 63) at 2 p.m. We will hike the same trail each month, learning to become attuned to the changes and cycles that are occurring. The hike is approximately two miles in length, with a creek at which we will stop for a while to rest and play at the halfway point. Most of the hike is fairly moderate, but there is one 50-meter stretch that is fairly steep.
- The second hike will take place on the Tuesday following the third Sunday each month, meeting at the church at 9:45 a.m. and leaving for Grindstone Nature Area at 10 a.m. The hike is approximately 0.5 miles, with two stops for creek play. The hike is fairly moderate, with a few small hills. There is a very shallow creek that we will cross, so wearing shoes that can get wet is advisable.
– Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education
In her sermon on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 titled “Of Salvation and Scars,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored a Unitarian Universalist interpretation of traditional Easter themes, examining what it means to be wounded and whether a wound paradoxically makes us more human.
Our lay-led worship on March 26, 2017 was titled “Four Score: Reflections on Aging from Four Generations” and was presented by UUs across several decades. Listen to what Cande Iveson, Rachel Byerly Duke, Tracey Milarsky, Todd Iveson and David Leuthold had to say at the 11 a.m. service about what aging means to them.
Life is a series of inevitable changes – yet we cling and grasp at each fleeting piece, always being forced to let go, as we are carried along in the currents of life. Moments of change in our lives can be lessons, as well as deeply emotional experiences. Join us as Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explore how religious traditions help us understand these changes as the impermanence of all things.
Our audio podcast this week considers impermanence – a part of the natural ebb and flow of life. Why do we resist impermanence, meeting our own end with fear and panic? Can we, instead of avoiding this part of living, turn toward it, through our spirituality? Can it be a friend, whispering that we should enjoy this beautiful fleeting moment of gold and ash? Listen as Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explore these deep questions.
What does it mean to show up with courage in a time of division and even violence? Unitarian Universalists have a storied history of courageously resisting laws that violated their conscience. Listen to a podcast of Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon on Feb. 19, 2017 as she tells us of a chance and an obligation to take a leap of courage for our community.
Our work in this time of division and fear is the same as the work always is – it is the simple calling of loving our world. How do we remain rooted in love in these times when there is so much to be done and so much coming at us all the time? Join us as Rev. Molly Housh Gordon describes creative ways to sustain our love of the world and make it concrete.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. admonished us to be “creatively maladjusted.” What does that mean as we face today’s challenges? Is it possible to be hopeful? As we confront today’s anti-progressive forces, what would it look like for a creatively maladjusted justice movement to forge a “Third Reconstruction”? Listen to the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s Feb. 5, 2017 sermon, “Moving for Justice,” in which she admonishes us to breathe, and then to push.
This semester in religious education, we are trying something new! Well, actually, two things new:
- First, we are going to be offering R.E. during the 9 a.m. service starting Feb. 5. This will be in addition to our usual 11 a.m. R.E. program.
- Second, at this 9 a.m. time, we will be experimenting with a new way of doing religious education.
The curriculum is called “Spirit Play,” and it is based on a Montessori approach to learning that encourages self-directed exploration and allows children to engage deeply with their own religious education in a way that meets their own individual needs and interests.
This semester, we will have one mixed-aged class, most appropriate for children ages 3-9. The class is structured to begin with a time of storytelling that is accompanied by a series of props and materials that are used to help narrate the story. After the story is complete, the children will have the chance to play with the materials from the week’s story as well as the materials from other stories.
All our stories this semester will focus on the theme of heroes and heroines. Imagine your young one playing out the story of Bree Newsome’s heroic climb up the Charleston flag pole to remove the Confederate flag, Julia Butterfly living in an old growth redwood tree for two years to save it from loggers, or Martin Luther King’s courageous stand for voting rights at Selma. I am so excited to get to see our children’s imaginations at work, making these stories their own!
Additionally, there will be other materials in the room to let children engage however their interests lie – from building models of sacred places out of blocks to “playing church” with their own pulpit and chalice, to painting pictures that arise from the creativity of their souls, to taking part in scientific exploration of our beautiful and fascinating world. I can’t wait to see them explore!
– Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education
On Dec. 4, 2016, in a sermon titled “God Is Not God’s Name,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored deep questions of theism, atheism and metaphor, helping us understand the danger of simple, certain and hollow stories – how such simplistic views of the world can leave us with the choices only to agree or oppose. Yet a richer, deeper, more complex story can help develop deep resistance to tyranny and deep sustenance… feeding the soul.
In her sermon on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, titled “Beloved Resistance,” the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon spoke to how we as Unitarian Universalists must double down on love and connection with all peoples to combat the forces of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and other prejudices unleashed and seemingly normalized during the Presidential election. The audio recording of her sermon is from the 11 a.m. worship service.
On Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, we welcomed back Kenny Wiley, former UUCC member and now a UU World senior editor and Denver-based religious educator. Kenny attended UUCC from 2008 to 2011 when he was a student at MU. He delivered a sermon, “Finding Home,” that emphasized the importance of the UU First Principle – the inherent worth and dignity of every person – in our relationships across racial and cultural lines. The audio recording is from the 9 a.m. worship service. See photos from the 11 a.m. service.