Congregational work day – 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

The elevator is almost in! The contractors are wrapping up their work! And now, it is our turn to finish the organizing, clean-up and small projects that will return our building to full function and renewed beauty.

Please mark your calendars to join us from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 for our congregational work day. Many different skills and gifts will be useful. Childcare can be made available upon request. Go to the following link to sign up and to tell us about skills, access needs and childcare requests:

https://forms.gle/F5e2GB3KfrsStY8j6

Lay leaders who would like to suggest or coordinate a project are asked to email Rev. Molly.

 

Minister’s message – February theme is “Interconnection”

Weave real connections, create real nodes,
build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: make life that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble, wilderness to the outside
but to us it is interconnected
with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

– Marge Piercy

I believe there are two “interconnected webs of all existence of which we are a part” (UUA 7th Principle). There is a mysterious and invisible one that stretches out beneath us, that connects us to all people, animals, plants and things, whether we know it or not – one big terrestrial family. And there is the web we can see or touch – the conscious web that we weave by choice in spiritual commitment and depth.

The invisible web is woven impenetrably – in an entangled universe, there is nothing one can do to separate our fates each from the other. We cannot be unraveled. But the visible, tangible web? It can become frayed. We forget that we belong to each other. We fail to reach out. We damage the web with violence or hatred.

It is our work in spiritual community to tend to both. We lean on the solid truth of the invisible web while weaving tangible connections in the world we can see. We keep tangling and interweaving until we can all at last flourish amid the existential truth – that we are wound and bound together and cannot be unraveled.

Let us tend to that tangible web together this month.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

 

Intern Minister’s message – The Blessings of Inter-Being

I often think of Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful idea of inter-being. Each life is intimately intertwined with the rest of existence. No being or object stands independent of its deep relationships – relationships to the past, sustenance in the presence, and the path for future evolution.

So too with our church family and the way we practice our faith. Our beautiful project here, how we “do” religion, is steeped in relationship. When we step into our sanctuary, we step into the history that preceded us. And as we experience faith formation, we do it in collaboration with others as we all wrestle with the big and small questions of our existence and how we are called to be in the world.

I look forward to continuing this shared journey with you, as we enter the month of February and explore our monthly theme of interconnection. May our relationships carry us forward into lifelong learning and the peace that comes from being held by the interconnected web of existence of which we’re a part.

– George Grimm-Howell, Intern Minister

 

First Sunday potlucks resume!

In the wake of the last two+ years of pandemic life, we see a pressing need to re-build a palpable sense of community… and what better way than to share potlucks together!

So, we are resuming a tradition that ended several years back due to logistical challenges – First Sunday Potlucks!

Beginning with Sunday, Feb. 5, please bring a dish to share each first Sunday of the month, plan to stay for fellowship and deliciousness after the service, and plan to stay at least once every couple of months to help clean up!

We look forward to feasting together again!

 

Membership classes planned in April

All who plan to become church members are strongly encouraged to attend the two membership classes offered by our Membership Team. Classes are held four times a year, and each class lasts 60-90 minutes. For more information, go to https://uucomo.org/how-to-join/.

Spring Cycle 2023

7 p.m. April 13 on Zoom – Membership 101 – History of Unitarian-Universalism
Register at https://uucc65201.breezechms.com/form/6b0d8d

Noon April 16 at church – Membership 102 – A tour of our building and grounds and information about getting connected within the church, financial stewardship, and privileges and responsibilities of membership.
Register at https://uucc65201.breezechms.com/form/fd042d

10:30 a.m. May 7 at church – New Member Ingathering during worship

 

SAT news – African-American Heritage Trail marker

Some time ago, the Social Action Team along with individual UUCC donors provided sponsorship funding for a marker on Columbia’s African-American Heritage Trail.

The marker we sponsor commemorates the location of the Douglass High School football field, now a residential area. The marker has been fabricated but not yet installed. The intent is to install the marker this spring on Unity Drive.

 

The Grounds Team wants you!

The Grounds Team is reaching out to the congregation to identify members and friends who are likewise interested in the health, beauty and diversity of our church grounds.

If you would like to connect with others to explore and learn, share expertise, and/or help care for our church grounds, please do let us know! Come visit with us at our table in the Greeting Area before or after Sunday services, or contact Carol Arnold at 573-268-8637 or by email.

 

Immigrant sponsorship update for February

Thanks to Joe and Meredith Donaldson’s generous gift of their car, Lilly now has a car to drive. She has passed the written test and has started taking official driving lessons with her own car. It won’t be long before Lilly will be independent with her transportation, but until then, there is still a need for drivers. 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 email Ruth Milledge at ramilledge@gmail.com. Ruth has been giving Lilly informal driving lessons and is the interim transportation coordinator. If you are interested in taking on a driver coordination role, please let us know!

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 in order to provide assistance where needed. 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 into a joint account from which the family’s expenses will be paid directly. In addition, contributions can be made in memory of Joe Donaldson to the UUCC Sanctuary Fund.

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

Dave Gibbons
Allie Gassmann
Co-Chairs, Sanctuary and Immigrant Justice Team

 

Amazon Smile fundraising being discontinued

Some UUCC members and friends have given to the church when making purchases through Amazon with the Amazon Smile program. Amazon has written to inform groups of the discontinuation of the program. In part, here is what Amazon says:

“…we launched Amazon Smile to make it easier for customers to support their favorite charities. However, after almost a decade, the program has not grown to create the impact that we had originally hoped. With so many eligible organizations – more than 1 million globally – our ability to have an impact was often spread too thin.

“We are writing to let you know that we plan to wind down Amazon Smile by Feb. 20, 2023. We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we’ve seen we can make meaningful change – from building affordable housing to providing access to computer science education for students in underserved communities to using our logistics infrastructure and technology to assist broad communities impacted by natural disasters.”

 

Lawsuit challenges Missouri’s abortion ban

From our Minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

On Jan. 19 a lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis challenging the Missouri abortion ban on the ground that it violates the separation of church and state enshrined in the establishment clause of the Missouri Constitution.

There are 13 clergy plaintiffs in this case representing United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), United Methodist, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist theological perspectives.

I am writing to inform you that I am one of these plaintiffs.

I am proud to challenge this law because I firmly believe that it violates our Unitarian Universalist principles and theology, as well as our state’s essential promise of religious freedom and pluralism and the mandate to ensure the well-being of our citizens.

This lawsuit is being supported by many entities from across the nation and state. In particular, the national organizations Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the National Women’s Law Center are providing legal counsel and organizing support. Other pro-choice organizations and communities from across the state have been consulted and are involved in supporting the suit.

This lawsuit may draw some attention to our congregation and our ministry on behalf of the bodily autonomy and moral agency of all people. I have consulted along the way with your Board of Trustees; the board agrees that we welcome the opportunity to publicly support human rights in this way.

There is some chance that this lawsuit may also draw less welcome attention to my family and me personally, and we are grateful, in anticipation of that possibility, to be embedded deeply in a community of shared values and mutual support.

I thank you in advance for your love as this lawsuit proceeds. I am honored to serve with you in our congregation’s ministry of justice and dignity for all people.

In Faith,
Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

More information:

 

 

Rev. Molly featured in “Roe, Religion and Reproductive Justice” article

Our minister, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, was prominently featured along with other Columbia church leaders in an article headlined Roe, Religion and Reproductive Justice in the Jan. 5, 2023 issue of The Columbia Missourian Vox Magazine.

According to the article, when Rev. Molly spoke at a rally in May 2022, “Her message was clear: There is a spiritual community in Columbia that is widely supportive of reproductive rights. Housh Gordon is trained by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice to provide all-options pastoral counseling to people making health care decisions. She extended the offer of spiritual counsel to everyone in the crowd, emphasizing that there are safe spaces for people of faith to talk through their reproductive options.”

The article goes on to point out that while about 63% of U.S. adults identify as Christian, about 61% think abortion should be legal all or most of the time. The idea that religious affiliation is synonymous with opposition to abortion is simplistic and the product of a powerful group of religious conservatives. The article quotes Rev. Molly as saying, “Right wing, extremist Christians have aligned the general understanding of Christianity with a very particular social worldview that is not actually very Christian. … The central narrative of Christianity actually is about how life and love are victorious against the forces of empire and death and oppression. And you can very much read the story of Jesus as the opposition to the powers and principalities of this world, the hierarchical powers that harm people, body and spirit.”

Other church leaders quoted in the article were the Rev. Rick Oberle of the United Church of Christ, the Rev. Sarah Klaassen of Rock Bridge Christian Church, and Executive Director Jeanne Snodgrass of Mizzou Hillel.

 

 

Membership Team announces classes and nametag changes

2023 membership classes

All who plan to become church members are strongly encouraged to attend the two membership classes offered by our Membership Team. Classes are held four times a year, and each class lasts 60-90 minutes. Read more.

Winter Cycle 2023

January 2023 classes have been canceled because of insufficient registrations.

Spring Cycle 2023

  • 7 p.m. April 13 on Zoom – Membership 101
  • Noon April 16 at church – Membership 102
  • 10:30 a.m. May 7 at church – New Member Ingathering during worship

Summer Cycle 2023

  • 7 p.m. July 13 on Zoom – Membership 101
  • Noon July 16 at church – Membership 102
  • 10:30 a.m. July 30 at church – New Member Ingathering during worship

Fall Cycle 2023

  • 7 p.m. Sept. 28 on Zoom – Membership 101
  • Noon Oct. 1 at church – Membership 102
  • 10:30 a.m. Oct. 15 at church – New Member Ingathering during worship

Nametag changes

The blue visitor tags are now intermixed with the white member tags. The visitor name tag holder that was next to the sanctuary doors has been moved to the vestibule.

We have been experimenting with different ways to alphabetize the name tags. Who knew there could be so many ways? Up then down then up, up then up again, or the current system as of Dec. 18, right to left. We would like to thank all those who have assisted with organizing the tags.

If you need a name tag edit or a new name tag, please email the Membership Team.

 

 

Withdrawal from Endowment Fund for Accessibility Project approved

Church members present in person and by proxy at a Special Congregational Meeting on Nov. 6, 2022 overwhelmingly approved the following proposition:

Shall the Board of Trustees be authorized to withdraw up to $100,000 from the church’s Endowment Fund to complete the current accessibility project that includes installation of an elevator, and shall the board be mandated to reimburse the Endowment Fund to the extent that pledges and other contributions and grants are later received for the accessibility project?

After the vote, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon reported on the status of the project. She said painting and flooring work is about 80% complete, and work is progressing on preparing for installation of the elevator. The elevator is scheduled to ship on Nov. 28, and it is hoped installation will be finished in December.

Before the meeting, Treasurer Christine Heath and President Melissa Bedford provided the following information:

We are pleased to inform you that we have raised pledges for all but $30,000 of the $545,000 needed to complete our accessibility project.

Here is how we plan to pay for the rest: 

  1. Due to rising interest rates and falling market values, our Investment and Endowment Committee and Board of Trustees deem it wisest to use our Endowment Fund to bridge the gap in funds as bills come due, rather than pursuing a bank loan.
  2. The board will be asking you, the congregation, to vote to allow us to withdraw up to $100,000 from our endowment to complete payment for this project. This is because some of the money pledged to the campaign will not be received until next year.
  3. Of the maximum of $100,000 to be withdrawn from the endowment to pay for construction, the board hopes to be able to reimburse $50,000 to $70,000 to the Endowment Fund, depending on how many pledges are fulfilled and whether additional contributions and some small grants are received.
  4. The vote of the congregation is required for any withdrawal of principal from the endowment.
  5. The board is clear that this use is consistent with the expressly stated purpose of the endowment in the Investment and Endowment Policy on both counts, given that the funds will go toward capital needs consistent with our principles and furthering our mission of radical welcome AND given that it is most prudent in this financial climate to avoid a bank loan in service of the long range financial health of the congregation. Here is the language from the policy: 

The purpose of the endowment fund is to assure the long range financial future of the church and to fund capital needs and special projects that are consistent with Unitarian Universalist principles and further the mission of the church.

 

Rev. Dottie Mathews recognized for immigrant work

Dottie’s recognition certificate
Click to enlarge

During our Oct. 23, 2022 worship service, our Affiliated Community Minister, Rev. Dottie Mathews, was recognized for her past work as coordinator of the Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum Seekers (CAPAS), a program of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).

As part of the recognition, it was announced that the UUSC has started a fund to support congregations as they welcome asylum-seekers into their communities and named it Dottie’s honor. The Dottie Mathews Congregation Action Fund will provide startup money to congregations who decide to take a leap of faith into immigrant justice work.

Jessica Sapalio, Dottie’s successor as CAPAS coordinator, made the announcement. Here are Jessica’s remarks:

I know that many of you are aware of the incredible dedication and many years of her life that Dottie has given to immigrant justice work and to designing the nationwide CAPAS program. Through her vision and the partnerships that she has built at many congregations and with many organizations, hundreds of asylum-seekers and families who were separated at the border have been met with welcome and solidarity in an otherwise dehumanizing process.

I first met Dottie when my congregation became interested in hosting a CAPAS program. New to immigrant justice work, we were so grateful for Dottie’s knowledge, guidance, and grace in helping us establish a local program to offer solidarity to asylum seekers, which is very similar to the amazing program that you run here under Dave and Allie’s leadership. In January of this year, I had the great honor of getting to try to follow in Dottie’s footsteps by becoming the CAPAS coordinator at UUSC to carry on the incredible program that she created. My daily mantra has become “What would Dottie do?”

In the meantime, I have become a huge fan of your congregation, often watching services remotely, so I was excited to accompany Rosie and Dottie here today, but I’m also here because the UUSC would like to officially honor the incredible contribution that Dottie has had to the immigrant justice field. Dottie, would you please come up?

Dottie is a true justice warrior who has changed the lives of so many involved in this program. In recognition of this, UUSC has started a fund to support congregations as they welcome asylum-seekers into their communities and named it in her honor. The Dottie Mathews Congregation Action Fund will provide start up money to congregations who decide to take a leap of faith into immigrant justice work.

We have also put together a book of messages from many CAPAS congregations, including yours, and partners throughout the country who wanted to express their gratitude.

I wanted to thank you all for having me today, for those of you who helped work on the surprise, and to Rev. Molly, who I am so sad to have missed. I wanted to send special love and thanks to Rosie who through her love has supported Dottie through this journey and therefore all of us, to all of you and your congregation for your commitment to supporting asylum seekers.

 

Welcome to our meadow!

By the time you see this article, the backyard meadow at church is likely to have received its maintenance-mowing and may look like a blank space or a poor excuse for lawn. But, I hope you have seen, can imagine, or will see the wonderful plants that are still alive and well beneath the ground.

There are Common Milkweeds that support traveling Monarchs, Baptisia that bloom with blue flowers above silver-leaved mounds, tall slender-stalked Grayhead Coneflowers, and bunches of fragrant Slender Mountain Mint. There are prairie grasses: Big Blue Stem with its turkey-track seed heads, dense clumps of Switch Grass that form airy panicles of seed, Indian Grass with golden plumes, bright orange-flowered Butterfly Weed, colonies of Ashy Sunflowers, Compass plants that point North and South, Obedient Plant, Rattlesnake Master, Goldenrod, Gum Plant, Blue Sage, Willow-leaved Sunflowers, and multiple species of Asters and Eupatoriums.

This meadow is the result of a human-driven transformation, part accidental and part intentional. When our UU forbears arrived and put up the building in 1969, the current meadow space was home to a woodland community. Then, in 1998 as we put on an addition, a big “bulldozer-oops” occurred, clearing a chunk of woods from the flat area and on down the hillside. We responded with attempts to help the land heal by nurturing a native, shrubby, woods-edge/hedgerow-type community on the hillside, with a native prairie plant community on the flat area that we now call our “meadow”.

Scientists use the words “disturbance” and “succession” in describing the transformation of ecosystems over time. In this particular instance, and so many others, we humans were careless disturbers. But disturbance in ecosystems is not always a bad thing. It can also be regenerative. Now, we are trying to work with natural succession and to steward the land toward health and abundance. We are attempting to partner with diverse life forms, all of whom we will never completely know, but whose basic roles and presence we can at least try to appreciate and support. We aspire to minimize our disturbance and to practice respectful nurturance of a healthy ecological community. Sometimes that requires active labor on our part, but it also asks of us an unhurried presence and an open mind toward recognizing and understanding all that this other-than-human community brings to us. There have certainly been many blunders along the way, but it is our hope that as we observe and learn from direct experience, and listen to naturalists and scientists, we are becoming more attuned to this plant community and are growing in solidarity with it.

It is the hope of our Grounds Team that those who spend time here will be touched by the presence of this rich multi-species community, and that they will return over and over to be connected with its rich transformative presence.

– Carol Arnold, Grounds Team member

 

Oct. 30 changes to Covid-19 masking policy

Your Pandemic Task Force has recommended and your Board of Trustees has approved a new masking policy at the church. Because of our top-of-the-line sanctuary ventilation, the self-protective nature of KN-95 and similar masks, and a CovidActNow rating of “low risk” in Columbia and Boone County, masks are now welcome, celebrated, and optional at the UU Church of Columbia.

We will continue to provide KN-95 masks of all sizes for those who need or prefer them and to maintain a culture that welcomes masking, but we will no longer be requiring masks for worship or meetings. In order to continue to protect our community, we ask you to ensure that you are up to date on Covid vaccination and boosters and to stay home with our online worship offering if you feel sick at all.

In addition to our online offering, we will be providing the following options for various risk levels: 

  • The seating in the east side of the sanctuary will be set up for social distancing for those with increased vulnerability.
  • The greeting area will be set up with a livestream of the service as soon as our construction project allows us to move back into the space.
  • All meetings will have an option to use our new Owl hybrid meeting technology so that online participants can be comfortably included.
  • We have added an online-only Chalice Circle Small Group – you can register here for that offering.

With Care,
Your Pandemic Task Force, Board of Trustees, and Minister

 

Virtual Chalice Circle on 3rd Mondays now an option

Would you like to connect with other congregants in a monthly Chalice Circle, but need or prefer to meet virtually? Whether it’s the pandemic, lack of transportation, or some other reason, you are welcome.

This Zoom gathering will be facilitated from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the third Monday each month by Gretchen Maune. Signups are open here, and we can have up to nine participants in addition to Gretchen.

If you have questions, contact Gretchen at 573-489-0986 or by email.

If you have general questions about Chalice Circles, email Kathie Bergman.

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

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.