Construction update

From Rev. Molly:

Thank you to all who helped move furniture on Sunday, Sept. 18, and to all who have contributed to our Accessibility Project in any way over the last 11 months.

I am overjoyed to tell you the project is under way! We will be out of the Sanctuary Sunday, Oct. 2 with an All-Ages services outdoors in back of the church. Our rain location will be Shepard Park. Online worship will be at the usual time, but may be pre-recorded due to technical problems issues of outdoor streaming. Nursery care will be provided indoors, and folks may use the bathroom and other facilities on the lower level. Meditation Group, Forum and the OWL class will continue in their usual locations. Our Liberation Conversation about Reproductive Justice in Missouri will be held in the Centering Room, or possibly outdoors if attendance is extremely high.

Work on the Sanctuary and Greeting area is nearing completion, and the administrative wing is expected to be finished in the next week or so.

We’ll keep you posted as the work eventually moves downstairs and then focuses on the structural changes to allow for the installation of the elevator.

We continue to raise funds to bridge that last little gap to fully funding the project, and you can make a gift or pledge at uucomo.org/rising if you’d like to help us over the finish line! See you in (our beautiful, transforming) church!

Retreat prepares board members for the year ahead

By Susan Even, Board Member

As the new church year ramped up, the UUCC Board of Trustees came together for an all-day retreat on Saturday, Sept. 10. After a centering and brief worship experience, we shared what we love most about our church and, using the “Roots and Wings” theme, described what grounds us and what we stretch toward. In another exercise, we found we had many unexpected things in common, a nice reminder to always look for hidden treasures among us.

Have you ever communicated with your future self? It’s fascinating! We each channeled our ‘2025 self’ and wrote our “2022 self” a letter identifying changes our church has undergone, issues we had tackled, and how we addressed them. Sharing with each other, we learned how enthusiastic and positive we are and the commonality of the future vision we share. We are optimistic, proud, grateful, and confident in our priorities, which include embracing the 8th principle/antiracist/anti-oppression work, strengthening religious education programming, embracing accessibility, and generally widening our circle of concern. We hold guarded optimism about church finances and some anxiety about the general economic and political instability around us.

Then we dug into an assessment of how we perceive that our church fits into nine aspects of Racial Justice in UU Congregations, using a rubric created by Julia Hermann de la Fuente. For each aspect, we attempted to discern whether our congregation fits best as “status quo,” “multiculturally aware” or “anti-racist.” Our individual results were viewed collectively as dots on a large paper on the wall, an interesting visual image that showed we acknowledge many important things that we have already been doing, along with a veritable “to-do list” for future years.

Energized by this, we discussed some future actions we could undertake. We see value in viewing future activities and church structures through an anti-racist/anti-oppression lens. During board meetings, we hope to include learning anti-racist skills. We see the need for intentional anti-racist education for the congregation as a whole and within youth and adult religious education programs and small group and pastoral care efforts. Later in the year, we hope to hold cottage meetings where congregants could participate in the same Racial Justice Assessment rubric work that we found valuable. We agree that the 8th Principle work will be ongoing.

Closing words from Hush by Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson charged us each to listen to the call of “a past not quite forgotten…..a future not fully imagined” and to ask ourselves, “What shall we do?” Congregants, your board hears the call and, over the coming year, wants to lead you into action!

 

Immigrant sponsorship update

Lilly and the kids feel happy in their own apartment. Manuel really likes his new school, Parkade Elementary. The move into their own apartment has been a huge step, but one of the last steps towards independence is another big one. Lilly needs to learn to drive, and she will need a car. If you are willing to help Lilly learn to drive and/or if you have a car you are able to sell at a low price, please let us know.

Since it will be some time until Lilly can be independent in her transportation, there is still a need for drivers. A small group is doing a lot of the transportation, but they need backup drivers sometimes. Lilly needs transportation for work, and drivers are needed for appointments and to Lakshmi’s Head Start location. Volunteers can select when they volunteer based on their schedules. People willing to help should contact Joe Donaldson at joe.donaldson347@gmail.com or 573-289-0725 for more information.

When we agreed to sponsor a single mom with two children, we knew it would be challenging. Our sponsorship of the family will need to continue in order to provide assistance. We would greatly appreciate your financial contributions to our sponsorship efforts! If you would like to support the work of the SIJT, which currently includes our sponsorship of the family, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the church with Sanctuary Fund in the memo line. If you would like to make a donation directly to the family (non-tax-deductible), you can send a check made out to Allie Gassmann at 1700 Princeton Dr., Columbia, MO 65203. This money will go into a joint account to pay the family’s expenses.

If you would like to get involved on the Team, please email Dave or Allie, co-chairs.

Dave Gibbons
Allie Gassmann

 

Usher volunteers needed

Being an usher is a fun and time-limited way to make a big difference for our church community – offering radical welcome to all who join us on Sunday! Ushers work in pairs. Feel free to sign up with a friend or loved one. Kids are welcome to help before their class. Here are the duties:

  • Arrive by 10 a.m.
  • Distribute hymnals among the seats.
  • Greet folks with an order of service as they enter the sanctuary and if necessary help them find seats.
  • Close the doors at 10:30 a.m. and let in latecomers.
  • Pass the collection plates for the offering. Return them to shelf at the back of the sanctuary.
  • Count attendance shortly before the offering and write the numbers on the checklist.

Sign up to be an usher

Rev. Molly’s office hours are changing

Rev. Molly has found that folks wanting to meet with her prefer to make an appointment, which makes it hard to hold a lot of open hours. This year she will be holding her Community Office Hours as the only open hours and offering appointments every day except Monday (day off) and Wednesday (sermon-writing day) for those who wish to meet with her online, by phone, or in person at an indoor or outdoor location of choice.

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

Office Hours

 

Monthly “Liberation Conversations” planned

Liberation Conversations – a Second Sunday Civic Engagement Series

A Second Sunday Civic Engagement Series
of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia
2615 Shepard Blvd., Columbia, MO 65201
uucomo.org

Childcare Provided
Catered lunch available if reserved ahead
$15 each or Sliding Scale
Make Reservation
Sunday, Sept. 11
Lunch at 12 p.m., Conversation begins at 12:30 p.m.
“The State of Democracy in Missouri”
With Molly Fleming
Director, MOVE
Missouri Organizing and Voter Engagement Collaborative
The Missouri Organizing and Voter Engagement Collaborative (MOVE) exists to empower ordinary people to reclaim democracy in the state of Missouri.
Sunday, Oct. 2
(Rescheduled from Oct. 9 to avoid conflict with Roots N Blues Festival)
Lunch at 12 p.m., Conversation begins at 12:30 p.m.
Missouri After Roe: Our Reproductive Justice Landscape”
With Jess Lambrecht
Program Director, Missouri Abortion Fund
The mission of Missouri Abortion Fund (MoAF) is to provide public education and support for people needing reproductive health services, primarily by providing financial assistance to Missouri residents who cannot afford the full cost of abortion care.
Sunday, Nov. 13
Lunch at 12 p.m., Conversation begins at 12:30 p.m.
“Movement Chaplaincy: Spiritual Care for Social Justice Makers”
With Jeanne Snodgrass
Director, Mizzou Hillel
Movement Chaplains participate in social change ecosystems by providing accompaniment, care and resilience building with the goal of reducing activist burnout and creating more sustainable movements at all levels. Movement Chaplaincy is one of the ways the legacy of care and accompaniment is developing in this generation of social change work.

Online “Poetry for Spiritual Growth” series

With Rev. Molly Housh Gordon
First Thursday each Month on Zoom
7 to 8:30 p.m.

Join us for a contemplative series with poetry at the center. We will reflect on spiritual and theological questions using poetry as our source text. We will share some of our favorite poems. We will write, whether you prefer to journal or write your own poetry. And we will share our reflections, and perhaps our writing, with one another.

Please join us for any session even if you can’t commit to the whole series. Dates:

  • Sept. 1
  • Oct. 6
  • Nov. 3
  • Dec. 1

Zoom link
Meeting ID: 890 7122 4964
Passcode: 790328

 

President’s Perspective – celebrating Rev. Molly’s 10 years at UUCC

Following is the text of the speech given by President
Melissa Ensign-Bedford at our Aug. 13 UUCC Elevated Gala

On April 22, 2012, Molly gave a sermon to our congregation called “Roots Hold Us Close.” At the beginning of that service, she painted a picture for us in which she described her “roots” and how Columbia feels “awfully close to where she came from.” She stated that she hoped that her ministry would dig deep and grow strong in our community. As a member of this congregation and someone who has been on this journey for the last 10 years, I feel I can say that Molly’s roots have not only dug deep and strong but have become an integral part of our spiritual ecosystem.

In ecology, there is a term called Mother Tree. Ecologist Suzanne Simard describes them as “the glue that holds the forest together.” These trees use a mycorrhizal network to feed, communicate and support the ecological community that surrounds them. They are a central hub of sorts. They connect not only with their species but with other tree species, plants and soil microbes. They hold soil, and they keep the water flowing through the system, and after a disturbance, the Mother Tree is what helps the system recover.

When we called Molly to be our settled minister, I do not think we knew that we were calling a Mother Tree in the making. As soon as she was planted here, she began to seek out those connections that make a mother tree a mother tree. She started with the congregation by getting to know us, and then she branched out to the community at large. Year after year, she builds on this network, working tirelessly to help us dismantle systems of oppression and simultaneously nurturing our congregation. She asks us to consider hard questions and step out of ourselves, not because she wants us to struggle, but because she is helping us grow.

During the pandemic, Molly held us together through online fellowship. This was a considerable feat for a church that had never had online services and was not wired for it. It required the talents of many coming together without actually being in the same room! Even though the pandemic sucked, we can now offer our services in-person and online. You could say our church’s roots are now intertwined with the world’s web.

I think what I, and the board, love most about Molly is that when the world throws us a punch, she faces it head-on. She reaches deep down into those roots and faces the challenge, knowing that being firmly planted means you won’t get knocked down – or at least not as hard. I look forward to continuing this journey and seeing our roots, and thus our church, grow. Molly, your wish that your ministry would dig deep and grow strong in our community has come to fruition. We know it hasn’t always been easy, and there must have been times that you wanted to run away, but you didn’t! Thank you for taking root at UUCC.

 

Fall music plans

Calling all musical members! Weekly choir rehearsals will begin on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Sept. 14. Let’s make this a year for creating community through singing and song! All ages and ability levels are welcome and encouraged to join. Sunday performance dates are still to be arranged.

YO(UU) Kids Sing will be a monthly gathering to take place on most third Sundays of the month after the worship service. This is a chance for our youth to stretch their musical wings. Bring a simple lunch –music and fun to follow! YO(UU) Kids Sing will take place Sept. 18, Oct. 16, Nov. 20 and Dec.11 and will culminate in a performance at worship on Sunday, Dec. 18.

On Sunday, Sept. 11, we will be joined during our morning service by award-winning touring songwriter Crys Matthews. A prolific lyricist and composer, Crys has found inspiration in her surroundings; from driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the compelling and heart-breaking love story of Richard and Mildred Loving. Thoughtful, realistic and emotional, Matthews’ songs speak to the voice of our generation and remind us why music soothes the soul. Crys will be teaching a master class on the “Art of Writing Social Justice Songs” with a full concert to follow on Sept. 10 at the Compass Music Center. More information and tickets are available at https://compasscolumbia.org/.

 

Social Action Team announces Faith-to-Action nominees

Following is a list of Faith-to-Action collection nominees for 2022-23. Because of administrative changes to the program, we cannot accommodate all of the nominees. The Social Action Team will decide on a final list of recipients in the coming month. Brief descriptions of selected organizations will then be posted on the church website. Thanks to those who submitted nominations!

Centro Latino
Children’s Grove Kindness Libraries
Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture
Columbia Second Chance
Dawson Journey Ministries
Festival of Sharing
Heart of Missouri CASA
The Lajee Center
Loaves & Fishes
Minority Men’s Network
Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Planned Parenthood Great Plains
Rainbow Network
Room at the Inn
Stop Human Trafficking Coalition
Tent of Nations
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
UUCC Sanctuary & Immigration Team
UUCC Honduras Clinic
UUCC Honduras Education Project
The Wardrobe
World Wide Mobility

 

 

Chalice Circle signups have started for 2022-23

Members and friends of UUCC – are you:

  • Looking for a way to connect with fellow UUCC members and friends?
  • Seeking opportunities to share your heart in a safe/brave space?
  • Wanting to find new connections and opportunities to discover how UUCC can be meaningful in your life?

Joining a Chalice Circle may suit your needs. You can learn more about Chalice Circles here.

Traditional nine-session Chalice Circles will meet once or twice a month for an hour or two from September 2022 through end of May 2023. Each circle is limited to 10 members. Groups are facilitated by fellow UU volunteers. Topics are planned in coordination with the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon. Regular service project opportunities are chosen by members of each group to enhance bonds of friendship. Commitment is for one cycle of nine sessions.

Chalice Circles are now open for signups here – or by contacting Kathie Bergman:

  • Phone – 573-999-3938 and leave a message, or
  • Email

If you have questions you are also welcome to call or email. We look forward to a full and exciting year ahead!

 

Four new members joined in July

The UUCC Membership Team, Rev Molly Housh Gordon, and the rest of the congregation warmly welcome these new members who joined on July 10:

Melissa Cameron
Michael Cameron
MaryBeth Bernardin
Courtney Bernardin

Please introduce yourself to our new members.

Our next membership opportunity will be our fall membership cycle:

  • 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 – Membership 101 on Zoom
  • 11:45 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 25 – Membership 102 in person in the UUCC Centering Room
  • During worship Sunday, Oct. 9 – New Member Ingathering

 

Social Action Team reports 2021-22 spending

The Social Action Team’s budget for the 2021-22 church year was $2,000. Here is how the Team disbursed the funds:

Henry Kirklin seminar: $1,000. We sponsored a seminar on Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture’s Henry Kirklin Black Farmer Scholarship Fund. Moderated by Rev. Dr. C.W Dawson Jr., it included presentations by Billy Polansky from CCUA and program participant Eddie Linzie. Our donation went toward the scholarship fund and for honoraria.

Honduras Educational Fund: $500. The fund goes toward educational expenses for individuals in Honduras.

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP): $1,000 total. A combination of funds from the Faith-to-Action collection, supplemented by the SAT budget.

Minority Men’s Network (MMN): $1,000 total. A combination of funds from the Faith-to-Action collection, supplemented by the SAT budget.

The remainder of the budget was used to bolster Faith-to-Action collections for Worley Street Roundtable and Missouri Rural Crisis Center.

 

UUA offers training for Reproductive Justice Organizing Teams

The Unitarian Universalist Association is supporting UU congregations in developing Reproductive Justice Organizing Teams in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade. A series of webinar training sessions will be held in July and August.

Please email Rev. Molly if you are interested in being part of a Reproductive Justice Organizing Team at UUCC.

You can register for the UUA training by clicking the following button:

Training Registration

 

George Grimm-Howell will be 2022-23 Intern Minister

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

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

 

April 2022 new members

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

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

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

Patty Daus
UUCC Membership Team

 

Safety guidelines for in-person worship

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

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

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

Our ventilation in the sanctuary remains top notch!

UUCC sponsors African American Heritage Trail marker

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

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

“Signage Courtesy of Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia”

Greeting opportunities await

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

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

Responsibilities:

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

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

 

We love our trees!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the Grounds Team. Submitted by Patty Daus.

 

Greetings from our new Music Director Violet Vonder Haar

Violet Vonder Haar

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

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

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

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

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

Musically yours,
Violet Vonder Haar

 

Easy text and online donations now available

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

  • Text message from your smartphone, or
  • Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

UU Life Writers’ Group publishes its second anthology

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

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

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

 

Please help sponsor the UUCC Honduras Education effort

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

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

Can you help? Email Caya Tanski with any questions.

 

Rev. Sally Fritsche joins Illinois church

Rev. Sally Fritsche in the pulpit

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

 

2018 UUA General Assembly

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.

New Chalice Is Dedicated

Rev. Molly lit the new chalice on Jan. 28 from a flame passed from the chalice made by Naoma Powell.

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.
Flame, re-igniting
Constant.

 

Meet the Chalice Artist

Ryan Schmidt

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.

 

Your Amazon shopping can benefit UUCC

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.

 

UUCC receives Peaceworks award

Allie accepting award. Click to enlarge.

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.

Please welcome April Rodeghero as Sunday Morning Assistant

April

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!

UUA has first elected woman President

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

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.

Five of our young people lined up to carry our UUCC banner in the banner parade at the UUA General Assembly. See them in action in the video below.

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.

Please Feed the Food Barrel

food_barrelOur Social Action Team sponsors a food collection year-round for the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

Donations of canned meats and fish, stews, peanut butter and powdered milk are especially appreciated, but other non-perishable food items are welcome.

Help us to help individuals in need! If you wish to have a receipt for a tax deduction, talk to Suzanne Clark, church administrator.