Adult RE in February – Colorism and the Church in America

With Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, Jr.
6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22

An insidious form of racism is colorism. Colorism is the preference of white- or light-skinned people over people with dark skin. We are aware that colorism has influenced every segment and institution of American society. The question is, however: How has colorism affected the church in America?

For four Tuesdays in February, we shall discuss colorism and the church.

Zoom link
Meeting ID: 824 9401 7228
Passcode: 501360


Sunday programming online only for remainder of January

From Rev. Molly:

Due to the continuing exponential rise in Covid-19 case numbers in Boone county, we will be moving all our Sunday morning programming online for the remainder of January. We expect this to be a time-limited measure in response to the current surge and plan to resume hybrid programming once it is clear that case numbers are headed back in the right direction. 

For online worship at 10:30 a.m. Sundays, join us on Zoom or Facebook. Don’t miss this Sunday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day service, with the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson. At this time we are still working out details for our special music programming.

We know that many of our members, friends, and families are becoming ill, quarantining, or worrying about loved ones during this current surge. We send healing wishes and care to each of you. Please do let us know if you or someone in your household becomes ill so that we may support you, whether materially or in spirit! 

We send our particular care and support to healthcare workers already stretched past their limits. If you are a healthcare worker in our congregation feeling burned out, please do reach out for pastoral support. I am here for you in such a time as this.  We also send love and wishes of protection to all educators, school staff, and students of every age and stage as classes resume amid the surge. We will be holding you in love and stand ready to support you as needed. 

For each and every one of you, we want to acknowledge the continued spiritual challenge of this time: It is so hard to be here again. We center ourselves as always in the Love that connects, sustains, and transcends us… that does not take away suffering but that rises to meet us even in the most difficult of times. May you feel that Love profoundly in this moment.

See you online,
Rev. Molly


Covid Task Force says in-person programming can continue with additional vigilance

After in-depth conversation on Dec. 31, 2021, the UUCC Covid Advisory Task Force advised that our church is taking all recommended precautions and that with additional vigilance in view of the increasing spread of the Omicron variant in the U.S., we can continue to offer both online and in-person programming for adults and children.

We are very grateful that our members are highly compliant with public health recommendations regarding vaccination and boosters, as well as masking in public and limiting exposures. If you are not boosted, we highly encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

We affirm that we must continue vigilance for the protection of those most vulnerable, including young children for whom vaccination is not yet available and all those who are medically vulnerable. Therefore, we will continue to follow these precautions with increased vigilance:

1. Please do not come to in-person church if you are at all sick or even “feeling under the weather” or have recently been exposed to a positive Covid case. In these cases, we look forward to seeing you online!

2. Masks must be worn at all times in the church building, except when speaking or performing on the chancel for a short period of time at large distance from the congregation, or when working alone in a room or office. Additionally, we are strongly recommending that all attendees wear maximally protective masks during the spread of Omicron, such as N-95, KN-95, and KF-94 masks. Studies are showing that simple cloth masks are no longer protective enough against the emerging variants. We will have children’s and adult’s sizes of KN-95 masks available at the church for those who need them.

3. Please maintain distance at all times. Seating pods will be set up with adequate distance in the sanctuary, and we ask you to maintain distance as much as possible when not in your seats. We recommend avoiding physical contact like hugging at this time.

4. We will continue to avoid congregational singing for the time being.

5. In the case of confirmed Covid spread during a church program, we will revert to online-only programming for a period of time as we re-assess our procedures. In the case of exposure to a positive case, we will directly contact all those identified as a close contact.

6. We continue our commitment to quality online programming and to inclusion regardless of format of participation as we seek to balance need for connection with protective measures. We encourage each congregant to always choose the participation format most in keeping with your own risk calculus. If we can better include you in our community’s life in person or online, please let us know!

7. We recognize that even those taking extreme precautions are becoming ill with the more contagious variants, even as vaccination continues to protect well against the worst severity of infection. We will reject stigma around illness of any kind and support one another in this challenging time. Please let us know if you become ill so that we can be a part of the community of care surrounding you!

We are holding one another in love as these challenging circumstances continue to unfold, and we are grateful for your renewed vigilance and your compassion and commitment to beloved community.

In Faith,
Rev. Molly and the Covid Advisory Task Force:
Barb Carter
Susan Even
Rosie Geiser
Cande Iveson
Larry Lile
Jan Swaney


“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!

Membership classes scheduled Jan. 6 and 9

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

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, via Zoom – Membership 101: “History of Unitarians & Universalists.”
  • After worship Sunday, Jan. 9, in person – Membership 102: “Getting Involved at UUCC.”

A vegetarian lunch will be provided for participants who RSVP by email or 573-442-5764 for the in-person class. Child care can be provided with a one-week notice.

If you are not ready right now, here are your other membership opportunities in 2022:

Spring Membership Cycle
March 15 – Membership 101
March 20 – Membership 102
April 10 – New Member Ingathering

Summer Membership Cycle
June 23 – Membership 101
June 26 – Membership 102
July 10 – New Member Ingathering

Fall Membership Cycle
Sept. 22 – Membership 101
Sept. 25 – Membership 102
Oct. 9 – New Member Ingathering


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”

President’s Perspective – Let’s make 2022 even more Radically Welcoming than 2021

By Timothy Dickerson, 2021-22 President

Hello, beloved UUCoMo community,

I’m hoping you all had a wonderful holiday season and wish you a new year filled with lots of LOVE.
As we embark on 2022, I’d like to encourage all of you to reflect on the previous year and acknowledge many of the fantastic things we have accomplished as a congregation during a pandemic. We now stream online and in-person worship at the same time. We raised enough money and will soon have an elevator in our church! We kept the links of our community even when the community had to be solely online.

For one, I know I am very proud of our administration and our congregation for all that we have done and continue to do to ensure our church is ever-increasing its radical welcome.

Also, check out to learn more about the Black Lives of UU (BLUU), proposed 8th Principle if you have not done so already.


Greeting opportunities await

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

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


  • 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:
  • 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 and also

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

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


2021-22 Faith-to-Action recipients selected

The Social Action Team has completed selection of Faith-to-Action recipients for 2021-22. The team determined that all 21 applicants meet the criteria for a collection, so all were accepted. Some are organizations with which our church has long-time relationships with, and a few are new to the Faith-to-Action program.

We believe that all are deserving of your consideration. You can find descriptions of the recipients at In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Centro Latino
  • Children’s Grove Kindness Libraries
  • Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture
  • CW Dawson Ministries
  • Festival of Sharing
  • First Chance for Children
  • Heart of Missouri CASA
  • Honduras Education Fund
  • Leonard Education Organization
  • Loaves & Fishes
  • Minority Men’s Network
  • Missouri Rural Crisis Center
  • Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP)
  • Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
  • Room at the Inn
  • Stop Human Trafficking Coalition of Central Missouri
  • The Wardrobe
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
  • UUCC Honduras Ministry
  • UUCC Sponsorship of asylum seeking Guatemalan family
  • Worley Street Roundtable

Rev. Molly will schedule Faith-to-Action collections to best fit Sunday service themes and timelines.


Christine Heath to fill board vacancy

Christine Heath

Christine Heath was selected by the Board of Trustees at its Oct. 21, 2021 meeting to fill a vacancy on the board created by the recent resignation of Kara Braudis, whose three-year term would have expired on June 30, 2023.

Christine will serve through June 30, 2022 when the remaining year of the term will be filled by an election at the Annual Congregational Meeting next spring.


Our new Director of Music Ministry

We are so pleased to announce that Violet Vonder Haar will be joining
us at the UU Church of Columbia as our next Director of Music Ministry!
A singer in a white shirt stands behind a microphone.
Violet Vonder Haar performing at Roots and Blues Music Festival.
With a degree in K-12 Music Education and a thriving teaching practice in the Columbia area, Violet brings us the skills to nurture a love of music for all ages of our congregation.
With experience leading a variety of groups in song, Violet is well positioned to build community through music within our congregation.
And with well connected roots in the local Mid-Missouri music scene and a new community music center project in the works, Violet is ready to nurture our congregation’s own musicians and build relationships beyond our church walls.
A row of children and an adult are photographed from behind singing to a crowd.
Violet Vonder Haar leads a children’s choir in singing at a march.
You may know Violet’s gifts for song-writing and performance as a fan of her band Violet and The Undercurrents, who most recently performed at the Roots and Blues music festival. Or you might have gotten in the spirit of a local justice-making demonstration with the music of Violet and her wife Phylshawn, who frequently play at protests and marches in our community. If you’ve encountered Violet you know that her music is spiritually grounded and prophetic in naming the world we seek to create.
A musician stands with a guitar among many protest signs.
Violet Vonder Haar leads music at a local protest.
We are so excited to welcome Violet to the UU Church of Columbia as we begin this new chapter in our congregation’s life, and as we re-connect with one another and the wider Columbia community through the power of song.



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

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.


Rev. Molly and DRE Jamila Batchelder outline re-gathering plans

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder have outlined plans for re-gathering in September after 18 months of online programming.

From Rev. Molly:

Dear ones!

Your Board of Trustees, Covid Advisory Task Force, and staff team have been hard at work on a safe, inclusive plan for gathering together this fall after 18 months of all-online programming. We want to acknowledge right up front that things are not where we hoped they would be with the pandemic and that the local situation and therefore our plans will continue to evolve. We thank you for joining us in the difficult/beautiful spiritual practice of moving through uncertainty together. Here is what we know:

  • Beginning Sept. 12, we will be re-gathering at the church, outdoors for now, with worship services and children’s religious education programs. We will also continue offering online worship. We will continually assess local transmission numbers, congregational comfort levels, and, of course, the weather, to determine when we will move inside.
  • Our outdoor service will be at our usual 10:30 a.m. time on church grounds, and because simultaneous live-streaming outdoors presents many technical difficulties, we will be offering a separate online service at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays while we are outdoors. Children’s programs will be offered at 10:30 a.m. alongside outdoor services.

For those joining us online, note the time change and join us as you have been these many months! We will continue to offer online coffee hour.

For those joining us in person, we request universal masking, and we invite you to bring your own coffee, water, or other morning beverage. We are working on shade and good sound as I write. We will have chairs available but invite you to bring a lawn chair if you’d like and spread out.

We know that this is a highly vaccinated, socially responsible, warm and flexible community. We also know this evolving time of re-gathering may be awkward, or anxious, or have some false starts. Let’s lead with love and be gentle with one another! And, let’s remember to look out for new faces to warmly welcome the beloved ones who have previously only been with us online. It will be an adventure, but we’ve always been on an adventure of the spirit here. Onward!

– Rev. Molly

Note: Rev. Molly and Susan Even, chair of our Covid Advisory Task Force, presented a re-gathering webinar via Zoom on Thursday, Aug. 26. You can view the webinar by clicking the image below.

From DRE Jamila Batchelder:

We are going to begin in-person Religious Education classes starting Sept. 19, at 10:30 a.m. I am so excited to finally be together. But a few things will be a little different! First and foremost:


…at least for the first quarter of the year, as our community gets a handle on its Covid infection rates.

  • Potter Class will meet just outside their regular classroom, beside the lower parking lot.
  • K-7th graders will meet at Shepard Park under the shelter.
  • Coming of Age class will meet on the church grounds at a yet to be determined location.

Other changes: As we reintegrate to church life, K-7th graders will do a group curriculum focused on reconnection, relationship building and the joy of play. We will begin with a story to center us on our core values and then have a combination of structured and less structured activities for children to choose from as we rebuild our R.E. community. We will also build in service projects that allow us to put our faith into action.

Teachers and children will continue wearing masks when we are together, even outside. We will continue to re-evaluate our plans as conditions change here in Columbia and Missouri.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me. It is an amazing opportunity to be a part of creating a community of love, care and growth for the young people of our UU church.

Note: Jamila Batchelder presented a video on Sept. 3, 2021 in which she discussed plans for R.E. classes this year. Click the image below to view the video.


Connie Ordway elected as Secretary

At its regular monthly meeting on Thursday evening, Aug. 19, our Board of Trustees elected Connie Ordway as Secretary for the 2021-22 fiscal year that began July 1.

The board elected Melissa Ensign-Bedford as President-Elect and Ginny Winter as Treasurer for the 2021-22 fiscal year at its July 15 meeting. Under church bylaws, Melissa will become President for the 2022-23 fiscal year that will begin July 1, 2022.


Board selects President-Elect and Treasurer

At its regular monthly meeting on Thursday evening, July 15, our Board of Trustees selected Melissa Ensign-Bedford as President-Elect and Ginny Winter as Treasurer for the 2021-22 fiscal year that began July 1.

Under church bylaws, Melissa will become President for the 2022-23 fiscal year that will begin July 1, 2022.

President Tim Dickerson said the board expects to select the Secretary at its next meeting on Aug. 19.


Financial contributions sought for Guatamalan family

Thank you, UUCC, for your support of our sponsorship of a Guatemalan family seeking asylum. The mom Lilly, her 5-year-old son Manuel, and her 8-month-old daughter Lakshmi, arrived in Columbia on May 26. Church member Christine Heath has generously offered to host the family in her home. Many of you have indicated a willingness to offer financial support of the sponsorship, and we greatly appreciate your interest in helping. There are two suggested ways to consider making contributions.

Give to the church

Please designate contributions to the church for the “Sanctuary Fund.” If donating at, please select “Other” and specify “Sanctuary Fund.”

Contributions to the church are tax deductible. We as a congregation have expressed a willingness to see the sponsorship of an asylum-seeking family as an extension of being a sanctuary congregation.

Although we are unable to make a direct transfer to the family of contributions made to the church, the Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice (SIJ) Team will do its best to use money in the Sanctuary Fund wisely. The financial needs of our sponsorship of Lilly and her family are significant, and we anticipate using money in the Sanctuary Fund for that purpose. However, there is also the possibility that money in the Sanctuary Fund may be used for other immigrant justice purposes, such as helping with unexpected expenses for the Honduran family we have been helping to support, or if there is an unexpected need for sanctuary that UUCC agrees to provide.

Give to the family

At this time please send contributions for the family to Allie Gassmann at 1700 Princeton Dr., Columbia, MO 65203. Please make checks payable to Allie. Allie and Dave Gibbons, as co-chairs of the SIJ Team, and Christine Heath, as host of the family, have opened a joint account for the sponsorship needs of Lilly and her family. They will coordinate all expenditures from the account for sponsorship needs and make a periodic accounting to the SIJ Team. Contributions sent to Allie as gifts for the family are not tax deductible.

We truly appreciate the interest of people at UUCC to help support the sponsorship of Lilly, Manuel, and Lakshmi. The immigration courts are significantly backed up, so our sponsorship could be for quite a while. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, or if you need any additional information.

With much gratitude,
Allie Gassmann and Dave Gibbons, Co-Chairs
Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team

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

COVID-19 Crisis Shelter for the Unhoused

The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri COVID-19 Response


Reparations Working Group update

We in the Reparations Working Group have begun our work! Just what exactly is that work? Our charge, first articulated by Rev. Molly in her February 2019 sermon, “Reparations and Soul Repair,” is to conceive of a small-scale, hyper-local reparations project. How might we leverage and redistribute a portion of our congregation’s resources to African American residents of Columbia and/or Boone County as an admittedly small act of repair to the systemic impacts of slavery and ongoing racial injustice? We will grapple with this question and present a detailed project proposal to the congregation by late fall 2020.

To get from here to there, we have formed sub-teams in these three intersecting areas:

  1. Truth Telling: How have white residents suppressed black residents throughout the founding and growth of Columbia and Boone County? How is that past still present in our community today? We are diving into Columbia’s history (including archival research and oral history gathering) to uncover and to shift the narrative of race in our community.
  2. Project Dreaming: We are researching examples of other reparations projects around the country to inspire and inform us as we envision and plan our own small scale project.
  3. Relationship Building: We will identify and deepen relationships with black community members who are willing to offer insights into the history and the effects of systemic oppression in our community and to advise us on project design.

We are clear in understanding that our work:

  • Must go beyond apologies, however heartfelt, and enter the realm of physical, material repair.
  • Will be small in scale and cannot undo generations of past suffering.
  • Involves, for those of us who identify as white, humility and an ever-deepening understanding of our own individual and familial roles in historical and present-day systems of racial oppression.

We move forward with this hope – that the work of small-scale repair, while modest, can still be profound. Small steps can also be bold. We meet twice monthly.

Working Group members are Amie Burling, Andrew Twaddle, Charles Swaney, Dan Bugnitz, Dave Gibbons, Fred Young, Gretchen Maune, Kim Wade, Rev Molly Housh Gordon, Sam Otten. Let Rev Molly know if you would like to join us.

– Kim Wade

Honduras Service Trip report

A group of ten members and friends of UUCC spent a week in Honduras from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 building latrines and deepening ties and friendships with people in the Rio Cangrejal Valley. As they worked on the latrines, they learned more about the hardships people in the valley face. They also had many opportunities for laughter and companionship.

A group of activists from Guapinol joined them to tell them of their struggles to defend their land from mining companies. The poverty the majority of people in Honduras suffer as a result of the depth of corruption and criminal activity of the government is staggering.

Click the following button for a more complete description of the trip including many photographs:

2019-20 Honduras Trip – Full Report and Photographs

It will be another three years before the Honduras Ministry Team goes back to Honduras. In the meantime, the team will be in close touch with their friends in the Valley. The team will continue to raise funds for the health clinic in El Pital. The healthcare and educational systems are in shambles in Honduras, so providing funds for basic necessities at the clinic is of vital importance. The team would like to fund a few more latrines and continue supporting the microfinance organization Adelante.

Allie Gassmann, Honduras Ministry Team Chair

Sharing our space with Missouri Faith Voices

From Rev. Molly:

Brittany Hughes

In expression of our partnership with Missouri Faith Voices and our intention to leverage our facility for the work of liberation, the UU Church of Columbia is proudly donating office space for Missouri Faith Voices Columbia Organizer Brittany Hughes.

Brittany is making use of our volunteer work room as well as sharing space downstairs with Music Director Jeremy Wagner. If you’re around on a weekday you just may have the chance to share a warm UUCC welcome!

Brittany is the regional organizer for Columbia’s chapter of the grassroots organizing group Missouri Faith Voices. Originally from Aliceville, Alabama, Brittany spent most of her school age years in St. Louis, Missouri. Her passion for this work is derived from her love of black folks and the desire to see the collective liberation of BIPOCs not only in America but globally. When she isn’t working, Brittany enjoys a good book, cooking, music, and grabbing drinks with friends.


Hans Bridger Heruth – our new staff collaborative pianist

Hans Bridger Heruth

Hans Bridger Heruth became our staff collaborative pianist in September 2019. Hans is an award-winning composer as well as a conductor, pianist, singer, and violinist. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia. As our collaborative pianist, Hans will help shape our music program.

Hans was born in Kansas City, Mo. and began studying both voice and piano at age 3, training as a boy soprano. He began studying violin at age 9 and started composing shortly after. His chamber opera, “A Certain Madness,” based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, premiered with critical acclaim and sold-out houses. His current projects include a new work entitled “Wytchkraft” for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gemma New.

An active collaborative pianist, Hans is also a staff accompanist at MU, where he accompanies the flagship choral ensemble, the University Singers. As a budding conductor, he has made a number of appearances with various ensembles. Most notably, he conducted Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” with the Show-Me Opera Program.


Why is that rug in the sanctuary?

Click to enlarge

Starting Sunday, Sept. 8, you will notice that the front two rows of chairs on the west side of the Sanctuary have been removed and replaced by a large rug for children to sit on.The rug will have quiet items like crayons, paper and foam blocks. Parents, teachers, and other adults are invited to join the rug community too!

The reasons we are trying this are several. The first and most important is that we have designed the first part of the liturgy to be engaging to children and meaningful to folks of all ages, but it is hard for children to see and participate when they are sitting in the back of the room behind a bunch of adult heads! We believe children will feel more comfortable in our sanctuary, learn our rituals, and begin to engage more fully when they are nearer the “action” on the chancel.

The second is that creating a designated space for children front and center communicates that their presence in our worship life is important to the adults of our community and that learning to be a part of our services  is an important part of their religious education, one we know takes time and patience.

The third is to create a clearer pathway in the back of the sanctuary for people with all kinds of mobility needs to get where they need to go. We know families with children often sit in the back for easy access to the door in case a child needs to take a break in the Greeting Area. By placing the rug at the west side of the sanctuary, we hope families will still have easy access to the exit if they need it. Additionally we hope to continue fostering an atmosphere that truly welcomes the energy of children!

We’ll check in after a while to see how it’s going, and we are always happy to hear your thoughts directly – email either Rev. Molly or Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder, or both.


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! UUCC Member Connect Program

The mission of the Member Connect Program is to assist UUCC members and friends in finding their place in our church community through deeper connection, service, and spiritual exploration. To do this a team of connectors is available to have a conversation with every member of the church who is interested. These conversations will give members a chance to reflect on their spiritual journey, their connection with the church, and their level of involvement in church life.

If you would like to participate in a meeting with a connector or would like to volunteer to be a connector, email Peter Holmes or Rosie Geiser

– Peter Holmes and Rosie Geiser, co-chairs

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


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 (, 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

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 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 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


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.