Membership classes – June 23 and 26

Are you interested in learning more about membership with our community? Are you ready to deepen your connection and get involved? If so, join us for these membership classes:

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23, via Zoom – Membership 101: “History of Unitarians & Universalists” – Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83444793563 – Meeting ID: 834 4479 3563 – Passcode: 430930
  • After worship Sunday, June 26, in-person – Membership 102: “Getting Involved at UUCC”

A vegetarian lunch for the in-person class will be provided for those who RSVP online or at 573-
442-5764. Childcare can be provided with a one-week notice.

You can sign up for the classes here.

If you are not yet ready to join, we have already scheduled fall sessions.

 

Summer 2022 events

Summer Poetry Group with Rev. Molly
7 to 8:30 p.m. First Thursdays – June 2, July 7, Aug. 4
UUCC Centering Room with Zoom option 

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 make the whole series, and feel free to join in-person, online, or alternating how you attend. Please bring a notebook and pen and a favorite poem to each gathering! The in-person participants will gather in the Centering Room downstairs at church. 

Zoom info: https://us06web.zoom.us//89071224964
Meeting ID: 890 7122 4964 – Passcode: 790328

Friday Pie Day Returns This Summer
7 p.m. Second Fridays – June 10, July 8, Aug. 12

Bring a pie to share for this casual chance to socialize, connect and enjoy delicious things together! Can’t bring a pie? Come anyway – we’ll have plenty. We may break out the board games or just sit and chat. We’ll choose whether to meet outside or inside the upper level in response to weather and current Covid numbers.

Karaoke Night fundraiser
7 to 9 p.m. June 18

Come sing your heart out and help raise money for our elevator project at this fundraiser hosted by our YRUU youth. We will have everything from solos for those of you who like to stand out, to big-group sing- alongs for those of you who like to sing with a crowd. Suggested donation is $5. Light refreshments will be served.

Music Director plans an exciting musical summer

June 12 and July 10 after worship

We have some exciting music events planned this summer at UUCC. The choir has taken a break for the summer. However, if you’re like me and can’t keep from singing, I hope you’ll join us on June 12 after the worship service for a fun group sing event – YO(UU) SING. I will share simple and familiar songs to sing together! This is for anyone and everyone, whether you’re just a shower singer or love belting it out in the choir.

If you’ve got little ones, I’ve also got you covered. Join us on July 10 after worship for a YO(UU) KIDS SING! This will be a fun and interactive set of not-just-for-kids songs! From a love song to waffles to penguins drinking tea, laughter and joy are guaranteed. Come prepared to shake and sing your sillies out!

7 p.m. Saturday, June 25

I’m also very excited to invite you to a special event on June 25. My dear friend Steph Plant from Edwardsville, Ill., will be offering a one-of-a-kind listening experience called “The Cup,” an immersive musical experience that audiences are calling “inspired”… “hypnotic”… and “powerful medicine.” It is part ritual, part concert, part sound bath… taking the listener on a profound emotional journey that guides the spirit through song and the transcendent healing frequencies of pure quartz crystal singing bowls. You won’t want to miss this! Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and music will start at 7 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $15 at the door.

I am always looking for guest performers for our Sunday services. If there are any members who have music they’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by email. See you in church!

– Violet Vonder Haar
Director of Music Ministry

 

President’s Perspective – We have accomplished so very much

By Timothy Dickerson, 2021-22 President

Dear UU beloved community,

What a joy it has been being your President and working with the other Board of Trustees members. We as a congregation have accomplished so very much this year:

  • We have signed the contracts and the work for the accessibility updates to our church will have begun or will begin very shortly.
  • We unanimously endorsed the 8th Principle.
  • We conducted our first ever in-person and online hybrid congregational meeting and vote.

Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Iyesatu Kamara-Bush, Taylor Gill and Fred Young on being elected for three-year terms and Christine Heath on being elected to a one-year term on the board.

Sadly, this is my last President’s Perspective. However, I look forward to reading incoming President Melissa Ensign-Bedford’s perspectives. I am so looking forward to seeing where our new members, Melissa and the rest of the board will lead us this year. Departing board members Ginny Winter, Rebecca Graves and Jeremy Duke – thank you all for your time, wisdom and light.

Be on the lookout for ways you can get to spend time getting to know your board. Thank you, Gretchen Maune, for this great idea! Even though I will no longer be President, I still be serving on the board, so feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to talking with UUall!

 

Immigrant sponsorship update for June

The Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team is happy to report that Lilly is overjoyed to have started her part-time job at the University of Missouri! This is a huge step towards independence for her. Next steps are learning to drive, buying a car and finding a place to rent. If you are willing to help Lilly learn to drive and/or have information on cars and places to rent, please contact us!

Since it will be some time until Lilly can be independent in her transportation needs, there is currently an increased need for drivers. Host Christine Heath and co-chair Dave Gibbons are doing a lot of the transportation but will need backup drivers sometimes. Lilly needs transportation to and from work, and drivers are needed to take the family to appointments and take Lakshmi to and from her Head Start location. We put out a call for volunteers monthly, and volunteers can select when they volunteer based on their schedules. People willing to help should contact Joe Donaldson at 573-289-0725 or by email for more information.

May 26 was the first anniversary of UUCC welcoming Lilly, Manuel, and Lakshmi to Columbia and committing to their sponsorship, and we are so grateful for the generosity of Christine Heath in offering her home to the family. One of the goals of sponsorship, however, is to help immigrants transition to independence. If Lilly had no children, she would be well on her way. However, when we agreed to sponsor a single mom with two small children, we knew transitioning to independence would be more challenging.

Consequently, our sponsorship of the family will need to continue to assist with their current financial needs and to prepare for the upcoming additional expenses of rent, utilities, and transportation. So we would greatly appreciate your financial contributions to our sponsorship efforts! If you would like to support the work of the Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice Team, 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 non-tax-deductible donation to the family directly, you can send a check made out to Allie Gassmann at 1700 Princeton Dr., Columbia, MO 65203. This money will go on a joint account from which the family’s expenses will be paid directly.

If you would like to get involved on the team, please contact Dave or Allie

Dave Gibbons – email
Allie Gassmann – email
Co-chairs, Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team

 

2022-23 Faith-to-Action nominations are open

Even as we finish up the last few Faith-to-Action collections for this year, it’s time to think ahead to next year’s collections, which will start in September.

A button link to the 2022-23 nomination form appears near the top of the home page on the UUCC website, or you can use this direct link.

Priority consideration will be given to nominations received by July 15. Later nominations will be considered if collection dates are available.

Recent FTA collections

Here are a few of the recent collection amounts:

UUSC Haiti Earthquake Relief – $828
Loaves & Fishes – $527
Room at the Inn – $1,579
Honduras Education Fund – $1,117
Dawson Journey Ministries – $1,743
Sanctuary & Immigrant Justice Team – $794

Several collections are still pending, including the UUSC Ukraine relief, which is more than $2,200.

 

Help lead a ‘Pop(corn) Theology’ summer service!

Dear UU Churchers,

We are excited to announce our lay-led worship series for summer 2022: Pop(corn) Theology!

What is a source from popular culture that holds deeper spiritual or theological significance for you? Are you a Star Wars devotee or a Trekkie? Have something to say about the spirituality of Buffy or social commentary from Downton Abbey? Other ideas entirely from your favorite books, movies, shows, songs, social media? Get it touch with us!

We invite you to offer your reflections this summer with the support of the Worship Associates Team! From a brief piece of writing to a whole service, we are here to support you in participating in our rich tradition of lay-led worship. Email the Worship Associates if you are interested in participating in any way at all, and we’ll help make it happen.

Hoping to hear from you,
Your Worship Associates:
Tim Dickerson, Todd Iveson, Iyesatu Kamara-Bush,
Gretchen Maune, Jeff Ordway and Sam Otten

 

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

 

8th Principle update from Rev. Molly

I’d like to give you an update on our congregational discernment regarding congregational adoption of the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, which would add to our Principles our commitment to dismantling racism and oppression.

This winter our Board of Trustees charged me with leading our congregation in discussion and education regarding the 8th Principle. Our youth group also expressed their desire to help lead us in this work. Throughout the month of March, we held four discussion groups with identical content, two online and two in person, which were attended by a total of 37 members of the congregation (about 15% of our members).

In these groups we have learned about:

We also discussed what we learned and our hopes for Unitarian Universalism, and we got a read on where folks are with the question. While not unanimous, we had a significant majority of support for the adoption of the 8th Principle among the 37 discussion group attendees.

What are our next steps?

On April 10 our Youth Group will offer us their beloved annual youth-led worship service, and their topic will be the 8th Principle Project. Directly after the service, we will hold another discussion group with a pizza lunch (including a gluten-free option) with childcare provided, and we encourage as many UU Churchers as possible to attend. Please RSVP by April 3 to help us with numbers for lunch and childcare, but do attend even if you forget to RSVP.

After that additional discussion group, we will do an online straw poll of members of the congregation to assess their level of support, their level of understanding, and their feeling about whether or not more process is needed. At its April 21 meeting, the Board of Trustees will decide whether to add a vote on the 8th Principle to our May Annual Meeting agenda or create more process and defer the vote until the fall.

Thanks for your attention to this important collective work and discernment.

– Rev. Molly

 

Rev. Molly announces new office hours

Community Office Hours are resuming! Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. I’ll be at Uprise Bakery downtown – either on the patio if it’s nice or indoors if it’s not. I’d love to see you for your morning coffee or early lunch hour!

I will also continue to hold online office hours. They will move to Thursdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and will always be at the following link:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85318398129?pwd=c1ZhblR4K3RVU0Q1bDdpZDhZZzZ6dz09

You can also make an in-person or online appointment with me here.

– Rev. Molly

 

“Singing, Singing with You…” – group singing and coffee hour have resumed

A message from Rev. Molly

Your Pandemic Task Force and I are overjoyed to see our community transmission rates of Covid-19 reach the lowest numbers that we have seen since last summer. While we recognize the situation may continue to shift, right now we are grateful for a moment to relax a bit. Here’s what that means for church right now:

  1. We will continue to require masks for worship and religious education for the time being as we move forward slowly into the next normal. We will let you know when the Pandemic Task Force is ready to make masking optional.
  2. We are going to SING together (in our masks), starting this coming Sunday, March 20. I am OVERJOYED! This includes congregational hymn singing, AND the choir is re-gathering too, for any of you who are ready to raise your voices together as a spiritual practice. Rehearsals are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the church.
  3. We are resuming coffee hour! When weather allows, we will have coffee set up after the service outdoors and the greeting area doors propped open. We invite folks to move between the space outdoors or indoors according to their safety needs and comfort levels. On rainy Sundays we will set up coffee in the greeting area after the service and invite folks to spread out into the sanctuary for plenty of space.
  4. We will, always, continue to offer a live-stream of our worship and online options for as many events as possible as we live into our in-person and online future. We invite you to use the option that works best for you, for any reason at all!
  5. We will be planning more fellowship events in the coming months to continue reconnecting – perhaps even a return to potlucks later in the spring. Let me know if you’d like to be involved in planning fellowship opportunities!

As some of you regain comfort with being involved in the collective life of the church, we could use your help! We are currently looking for volunteers to usher, greet, help April with coffee hour, join our Livestream Team, and teach or aide in our Sunday school classrooms – even signing up once every month or six weeks is a huge help! Let me know if you’d like to be connected with these easy and fun volunteer opportunities!

I feel a sense of surging energy for our spiritual and social life together, and I can’t wait to see what emerges for our community in the coming months and year. Happy Spring!

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

 

We will study the proposed UU 8th Principle

Minister’s Message – On the 8th Principle

I want to tell you today about a movement in Unitarian Universalism called the 8th Principle Project, which is a grassroots part of our faith tradition’s work for collective liberation, and which is encouraging UUs across the nation in our shared work of becoming more free.

In 1984 our association voted to adopt seven principles to guide our shared life together, in which we would covenant together to affirm and promote:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Compelled by the spiritual necessity of work for collective liberation, Black leaders in Unitarian Universalism have proposed an 8th Principle: “Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

143 congregations in our association have voted to adopt the 8th principle and add the work of collective liberation as a mandate for their spiritual life together. The Unitarian Universalist Association as a whole has a committee looking at the issue, and a vote likely will take place at the General Assembly in 2023.

And this year in a burst of synergy, our Board of Trustees and our high school youth independently expressed their desire to study and work toward our congregation’s potential adoption of the 8th principle. The board has commissioned me to create a series of study and conversation sessions, which we hope will lead to a vote at our annual meeting. And our amazing young people are ready to help lead us.

I would argue to you that we have already begun the work of embodying the eighth principle in our life together, with the help of partner organizations like Missouri Faith Voices, partners in ministry like the Rev. Dr. CW Dawson, and the passion of our members who show up when the topic at hand is racial justice and dismantling other systems of oppression.

And I would argue to you that there is still much to be done to ferret out the ways supremacy systems live on our culture and community and our own selves. We are only beginning to imagine true freedom. And I believe this community knows that this is deeply spiritual work… that we have begun to see the cost to our souls when supremacy systems abide – to recognize that there is freedom and thriving and connection and our very humanity at stake.

I’m excited to study this new principle together. I’m eager to continue this lifelong work together. I’m overjoyed to be on this freedom journey with you. I hope you’ll join me at one of this month’s events!

 

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!

“Rising to the Moment” Accessibility Campaign meets its $400,000 goal

Thanks to all who gave and pledged for helping UUCC Rise to the Moment!

As of Dec. 12, 2021, those who gave, pledged and spread the word helped our Accessibility Campaign reach its full goal of $400,000.

The architects are hard at work on their designs, and we plan to begin work by the summer to install our elevator, new carpeting, door openers and braille signage!

With your help we will be more ready to advance our mission of radical welcome!

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.

 

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.

 

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.