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March 2019 Searchlight

To read the March 2019 Searchlight on this page, scroll down or click the on-page links below to see specific articles:

Minister’s Monthly Worship Message

Our 2018-2019 Theme is Loaded Words – March’s Loaded Word is . . . SALVATION

“Surely the earth can be saved by all the people who insist on love.”

– Alice Walker

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so I got asked about the state of my soul a lot. “Have you been saved?” a classmate would invariably ask on the playground, and usually I would answer: “I don’t need to be saved. I’m just fine!” Later, after I learned in Sunday school about Universalism and our forebears’ belief in universal salvation, I’d often settle for a simple “Yes.” Sometimes I would sneak in, “… and so is everyone else,” just to throw them off.

It’s hard to see salvation as anything other than loaded when your religion is not of the evangelical variety, but I’ve come to think about salvation more and more as a healing notion. The word salve, after all, comes from the same root. My soul doesn’t need to be saved from eternal damnation, but it is regularly saved from isolation, despair, and cynicism by acts of love that I witness or experience.

More often I think perhaps I need salvation after all – just not the kind those kids meant. I think if I walked back onto that playground today and was asked the question again, “Have you been saved?” I would answer: “Every day. I am saved by community. I am saved by kindness. I am saved by love. I hope you are too.”

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

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March worship services

Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m.

Sunday, March 3 – “Saved, Despite Ourselves” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

This month’s loaded word is salvation. What does it mean to be descended from historic Universalists who believed everyone is saved, historic Unitarians who believed that we save ourselves, and historic Humanists who believed that we never needed saving in the first place?

Sunday, March 10 – “On Prayer” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

The poet Czeslaw Milosz writes: “You ask me how to pray to someone who is not./ All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge/And walking it we are aloft.” Join us for an interactive service exploring prayer. We’ll talk about what prayer means for different Unitarian Universalists and visit stations to explore many different practices.

Sunday, March 17 – “Youth Sunday” – YRUU High School Youth Group

Join us for our annual Youth Sunday service offered by our high-school-age UU Churchers. This service is a highlight every year, when we benefit from the wisdom of our emerging young adults. Don’t miss it!

Sunday, March 24 – “Living Up to Radical Welcome” – Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Team

Join our Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Team as they offer a service exploring disability justice, and how universal accessibility benefits (or “saves”) folks of every ability!

Sunday, March 31 – “Evolving Understandings of Salvation” – Alexis, Intern Minister

Early ideas regarding salvation from our faith traditions may not seem recognizable to us now, but they are important in how our understanding of salvation is evolving as a faith. You’re invited to learn more about ideas regarding salvation through service and how we might make use of past salvation theologies for current understandings and practices.

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Stewardship 2019: Pledges = Planning

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Art by Dennis Murphy – click to enlarge

With one week remaining in the four-week 2019 Stewardship Campaign, we had pledges totaling $185,211 after worship on Feb. 24 – 55% of the $335,000 needed to fully fund our projected expenses in 2019-2010.

UPDATE: We had 103 pledges totaling $202,887 as of Feb. 27, or 61% of our $335,000 pledging target. The campaign has been extended to March 10 from March 3 because of more snow in the forecast.

So we have a long way to go to meet our goal of pledges from all 208 potential pledgers and reach our pledging target. We are still waiting to hear from about 100 potential pledgers, including about 55 who pledged for the current fiscal year.

After this year’s campaign officially ends on March 3, our stewards will be following up with those who have not pledged.

Click this button to conveniently pledge online:

Click here to pledge online

Pledges = Planning

A frequently heard question is, “How is pledging different from giving money in the offering basket?” While donations via the weekly offering are greatly appreciated, and are used to help support the church and its causes, they are unpredictable, and thus we cannot rely upon them in planning our budget. Also, twice a month, undesignated cash offerings go toward our Faith-to-Action collections. On the other hand, pledges give us a good idea of the funds we can expect during the year and allow us to plan our operating budget.

That’s why we say, pledges = planning.

If you haven’t pledged before but routinely put money in the offering basket, please pledge at least the amount you would put in the basket over a year’s time.

All Pledges Make a Difference!

Our $335,000 target is a 5% increase over current year pledging. We estimate that a pledge $30 or $60 per month ($360 or $720 per year) from all who have not previously pledged and a 5% increase in pledges from current pledgers would meet next year’s budget needs.

What About My Time?

Another frequent question is, “What about the time I contribute?” We absolutely could not function without our many volunteers, and they are greatly appreciated! But volunteerism alone cannot sustain our beloved church. Many members and friends of our church volunteer their time as well as pledge. We need the generous donations of our members’ and friends’ time, talents and treasure.

Find Out More

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‘Speak Hope, Share Love’ – and FOOD! A Stewardship Celebration Potluck

Join us for a potluck to celebrate the abundance of community and the conclusion of the annual stewardship campaign on Sunday, March 3 from noon to 2 p.m. Please bring a dish to share.

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President’s Perspective – Renovating vs. Relocating

A letter from the President, Building Needs Task Force and Rev. Molly

Dear Fellow Congregants,

The Building Needs Task Force continues to work closely with Rev. Molly to try to move forward in our preparations for a capital campaign to have a facility that better meets the needs of our growing congregation. The Task Force held two informational meetings at the church, distributed information via our monthly newsletter, and submitted requests for comments and opinions from the congregation. We will continue to do so.

During the process we learned, as we did some 25 years ago, that there are some members who preferred to relocate to the downtown area, something that would make us more accessible to more members of the community and add to our mission of radical welcome. This option was fairly thoroughly researched by members of the Task Force. Sadly, what we learned did not kindle hope that such a move would be feasible. Here are some of the numbers that have been made available to you in previous reports:

  • Lots of two acres or more downtown are currently ranging from $1.1 million to $4 million, with or without a building on them.
  • Renovating a storefront type building downtown to make it suitable as a church is estimated to cost between $2 and $4 million more, once an empty building is purchased.
  • Building a new structure on undeveloped land is estimated to cost between $3.5 and $4 million above the cost of the land (14,000 or more square feet at $250 per square foot).
  • Selling our current building would be very difficult, if possible at all, and it risks becoming a financial liability rather than an asset.
  • In the process of interviewing architects and fundraising consultants, we have learned that the amount of money that a church our size can expect to raise in a capital campaign over a three-year period probably won’t exceed about $1 million, which effectively shuts the door on any thoughts of relocating unless an unlikely windfall occurs.

As daunting as all this may sound, our meetings with architects and phone calls with fund-raising consultants have been very informative. After much consideration, we are excited to announce that we have chosen to work with SOA, a group of local architects who have extensive experience in doing renovation work with non-profits, including more than a dozen churches, and who are committed to sustainability wherever possible. They will help lead the congregation through a design discernment process that will align with our eventual fund-raising target.

Look for additional information from us and from the lead architects at SOA in the coming weeks. One of their priorities this spring will be to reach out to the congregation for additional input from you as we move forward with this important project.

Yours in service,
Barbara Rupp, 2018-19 President
Kevin Fritsche Lawrence Lyle, Matthew Bossaller
Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

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Forum – March 2019 – 9 a.m. Sundays

The UU Forum, an adult discussion group open to the public, meets on Sundays from 9 to 10 a.m. Conversation and light refreshments are offered along with the discussion. Forum coordinator: Bill Clark, 573-474-4510.

  • March 3 – George Frissell will return to discuss Chinese religions.
  • March 10 and 17 – The UUCC Accessibility and Inclusion Team will do a two-part presentation.
  • March 24 – George Lombardi will review the “Puppies For Parole” program that he originated at the Missouri State Penitentiary
  • March 31 – Fran Reynolds and her UU Life Writers Group will present a program.

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X-ennial Supper Club – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 17

If you are somewhere in your 20s-40s and interested in new connections with fellow UU Churchers, join us at the church for this potluck style dinner and socializing. Child care and pizza for kids will be provided.

Please bring a dish to share if you can – St. Patrick’s theme is welcome but not required!

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Sunday morning meditation sessions

In February we offered “Meditation Basics” on Sundays in place of our regular “Mindfulness Meditation.” Meditation Basics allows participants to discuss and practice the basic elements of mindfulness meditation. Facilitated by Peter Holmes, the sessions are suitable for beginners as well as experienced meditators.

Due to weather, the final session of Meditation Basics will now occur on Sunday, March 10 from 10:05 to 10:50 a.m.

On Sunday, March 3 from 10:05 to 10:50 a.m., we will offer our regular Mindfulness Meditation opportunity, which will then continue weekly beginning Sunday, March 17.

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A Walk on the Wild Side

Meet at 1:30 p.m. at the church on the fourth Sunday each month

The Green Sanctuary Team is sponsoring monthly walks throughout the year to explore the beauty of local woods and creeks (Gans Creek, Three Creeks, and Mark Twain National Forest). Shrug off your civilized self for a short time and come with us into the peace of wild things.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s life may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water,
and I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

The walks will be suitable for reasonably fit 10- to 70-year-olds. Children are very welcome. There will be plenty of stops along the way. For more information, email Peter Holmes.

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March Focus for Festival of Sharing

The Festival of Sharing focus for the month of March is on the “Church World Service Cleanup Bucket” project. Each bucket will consist of the following items:

  • One bucket with resealable lid (5 gallon only)
  • One 50 oz. or two 25 oz. liquid laundry detergent (bottles only)
  • One bottle of liquid household cleaner, water mixable (no spray bottles)
  • One liquid disinfectant dish soap (16-28 oz.)
  • One non-aerosol insect repellent (6-9 oz.)
  • One scrub brush (plastic or wood)
  • 18 reusable cleaning wipes
  • One 100 foot or two 50 foot clotheslines.
  • 48-50 clothespins
  • Four scouring pads
  • One pair work gloves (cotton with leather palm or all leather)
  • Five dust masks
  • Seven sponges, including one large one
  • Two pairs non-surgical latex gloves, suitable for multiple uses.
  • 24-48 heavy-duty trash bags, 30-45 gallons

In 2017, there were requests for 9,254 cleanup buckets statewide, but only 1,211 were provided. With the large number of weather-related natural disasters recently, these are badly needed almost everywhere.
Collection boxes are available in the church greeting area.

– Bonnie Johnson, Festival of Sharing Chair

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Sanctuary Team event – “Tamales and Tales from the Border”

Lunch on Sunday, April 7

Join us please – Your UUCC Sanctuary Team will hold a fellowship and fundraising event (in collaboration with the Sanctuary Team from Rock Bridge Christian Church and others) for the Faith Voices Immigrant Justice/Sanctuary Network Fund. We will offer incredibly delicious homemade tamales and side dishes along with stories and pictures of first-hand experiences from our team members who have traveled recently to the border and to detention centers.

All ages are welcome. Come to enjoy the food, the fellowship, and to learn more about our teams’ work to support our immigrant friends and neighbors and to end this country’s inhumane for-profit detention system.

  • Date: April 7, 2019
  • Food Served: 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. (Eat In or Take Out, but we hope you will stay for the program)
  • Place: Broadway Christian Church, 2601 W. Broadway

Questions? Email Rev. Dottie Mathews, Allie Gassman or Vicki Boyd Kennedy.

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Green Sanctuary Team happenings

The Green Sanctuary Team group thanks those who participated in Green Hearts from New Year through Valentine’s Day – and encourages all to continue to think about the “the needs” in our lives that are the things that we don’t really need, the costs of which fall on the communities who bear the brunt of energy extraction and pollution.

Members of the GS Team hosted a coffee klatch at the Missouri Rural Crisis Center’s CAFO summit, where about 100 people from around Missouri gathered to hear about the efforts to keep Missouri agriculture from being dominated by huge, polluting, inhumane Confined Animal Feeding Operations through the tool of county-level health ordinances. We will continue to support MRCC in their lobbying efforts, and welcome anyone who is interested to join us.

The Stream Team will do its first water quality study of the year at our Hinkson Creek site at 2 p.m. March 23. Contact Peter Holmes if you would like to get involved.

Join us for our next meeting at 7 p.m. March 7 at the home of Allie Gassmann.

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Registration now open for 2019 MidAmerica Regional Assembly

This year, the MidAmerica Regional Assembly will be held April 5-7 in St. Louis, Mo. at the Marriott St. Louis Airport Hotel.

Please visit uua.org/midamerica/ra for information about Regional Assembly including pricing, hotel information, schedule of events, workshop information, information on volunteering, how to register, and much more.

The theme is “Intersectionalities.” The keynote presenter will be UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray. Presentations and workshops will explore identities we encounter and embody, the challenges of social inequality, and tools and skills we need in order to work more effectively with one another, as well as the general “nuts and bolts” of congregational life, such as leadership, stewardship, membership, and religious education. Join us to explore, share, and worship with fellow Unitarian Universalists.

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Will you serve?

Are you passionate about our mission of forging a community of radical welcome and deep connection that moves us together to heal the world?

If so, you are a great candidate to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees or as a delegate to the UUA General Assembly.

If you want to learn more, please contact Nominating Committee members Kevin Fritsche, Peter Holmes or Todd Iveson.

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MADP presents “Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2”

A documentary film – Thursday, March 21 – Reception at 6:30 p.m. – Film at 7 p.m.

This documentary showing sponsored by Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty in cooperation with the UUCC Social Action Team presents an example of how every death sentence has a lasting human cost, which profoundly affects every individual from the inmate and his family to the jurors involved.

The film tells the story of Lindy Lou Isonhood, who served on a 1994 jury that convicted a man of double murder. Twenty years later she traveled through Mississippi with documentary producers and interviewed 11 fellow jurors.

The film will be shown at the church on Thursday, March 21. Lindy Lou Isonhood will be present to answer questions. A reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the film will be shown at 7 p.m. A $5 donation will be requested and will be used to support efforts of the Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty’s effort to end executions in Missouri.

If you would like to help with the refreshments, please call Linda Lou Brown at 447-3939.

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A message from Alexis, our ministerial intern

As spring approaches, I think about unseen happenings all around us. Nature is transitioning from the quiet of winter to the action of spring and the eventual full bloom of summer. People can be like that too – we do not always know what is happening under the surface, yet we are all undergoing emotions, thoughts, and internalizing our experiences as we go about our daily lives.

This time of transition can provide a seasonal punctuation mark to take time to notice what we are experiencing and how we are developing. It can be a time to honor what we have been through and to consider what we are hoping will be. I suspect, based upon my schedule, making time for such intentional reflection is not an easy task, but I hope that such time can be made and that it restores and rejuvenates you.

The greatest gift for me, as your ministerial intern, is to be available to hear your stories and your internal rumblings, both in casual and in planned conversations. Always feel welcome to contact me by email or reach out to me at church.

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Adult R.E. continues

Classes continue through March 19 every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Childcare is provided. All are welcome to attend one, some, or all sessions. For more information, contact Ellen Thomas at 573-445-2928 or by email, or Lisa Fritsche at 573-289-4162 or by email.

Spirit in Practice
Led by Caya Tanski, Rosie Geiser and Peter Holmes

The Spirit in Practice series was created for new or long-time Unitarian Universalists to develop regular disciplines or practices of the spirit. These practices can help you connect with the sacred ground of your being, however you understand it. While participants of these workshops will come from various spiritual or religious paths, the series affirms that diversity, while seeking unity in our communal quest for meaning and wholeness and offering a forum for learning, sharing, and growth that can enrich all faith journeys. You will be invited to reflect, share, and explore ways to nurture your connections with the sacred in everyday life. You will be encouraged to try new lenses through which to view and engage the depth and dimension of your life. Remaining classes:

  • March 5 – Life Practices
  • March 12 – Justice Practices
  • March 19 – Looking Back and Moving Forward

Building the World We Dream Of
Led by Chuck Swaney, Kim Wade and Jill Graham

Through a series of interactive seminars, participants will explore topics that increase their understanding of race/ethnicity and systemic racism. The curriculum is designed to help us move personally and as a community toward an anti-racist, multicultural congregational transformation. Remaining topics:

  • March 5 – Resistance
  • March 12 – Commitments
  • March 19 – Book Discussion: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo

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Social Action Team News

The UUCC Social Action Team invites anyone interested in connecting deeply with others to begin to create a more life sustaining society to join us at a retreat with Sherry Ellms called “Creating the World We Want To See – Finding Joy, Resilience and Justice in the Midst of Heartbreak.” The retreat will focus “The Work That Reconnects,” based on the work of author and activist Joanna Macy.

The Social Action Team is helping co-sponsor the retreat, which will take place the weekend of March 15-17 in the Fillmore Room at Unity Church. You will find more information and a link for registration on the Columbia Show-Me Dharma Facebook page. For more information, email Caya Tanski.

The Social Action Team also invites you to another event we are co-sponsoring in March (along with Missourians Against the Death Penalty). The film, showing on March 21 here at our church, is called “Lindy Lou, Juror Number 2,” a documentary that was shown at the True/False film festival in 2007. Lindy Lou will be present at the showing and discussion.

Click to enlarge

Also, we encourage everyone to get their UUCC T-shirts! You will want to wear these soft and beautiful shirts at any time, but we hope everyone will wear them when we represent our congregation at social justice events. These T-shirt sales are a fundraiser for the SAT. Any proceeds above our cost of producing the T-shirts will go towards our hosting or co-sponsoring other church or community-wide social justice events and causes.

The shirts are available in a variety of sizes and with a variety of text and logos. Twenty bucks will put you in one. Contact Caya Tanski, Allie Gassmann or Sarah Wolcott for more information or to place your order.

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Are you passionate about clean air and water in Missouri?

Do you want to see Medicaid expansion? Are you concerned about the conditions of livestock in industrial agriculture?

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) is a leader on all of these issues, and more. Members of the UUCC Green Sanctuary team are involved with the efforts of MRCC.

If you are interested in learning more and participating, please email Ellen Thomas.

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Programs and Events

UU Life Writers

The UU Life Writers’ Group will meet March 2 and 16 at 10:30 a.m. in the Centering Room. Our theme this winter/spring is “Life is like a box of chocolates ….” Everyone who likes to write mini-memoirs or enjoys listening to other life stories is invited to join us. This is not a critique or publishing-focused group. The purpose is to write our life stories.

For more information, email Fran Reynolds.

UUCC Book Discussion – March 8

The UUCC Book Discussion Group will meet at noon Saturday, March 8 at Bamboo Terrace, 3101 W. Broadway, Suite 101. Bring a book you have read to discuss briefly.

If you have questions, contact Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642 or by email.

Conversations, Etc. – March 13 – different location!

Those attending Conversations, Etc., the UUCC women’s group, will bring sack lunches and drinks to Mizzou North, 115 Business Loop 70 West at noon on March 13.

The group will meet in the first floor conference room at noon and then enjoy a docent-led tour from 1 to 2 p.m. of the exhibit by Barbara Montgomery, “Objectified: The Female Form and the Male Gaze.”

Visitor parking is in the back row. Disabled spaces are available in the front row.

If you have questions, contact Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642 or by email.

UUCC provides Loaves and Fishes meal on third Sundays – March 17

UUCC provides the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on the third Sunday each month – March 17 this month.

Please sign up here to prepare food for this meal and/or to help set up, serve, and clean up.

Serving meals at Loaves and Fishes is a project of our Social Action Team. Email Diane Suhler for more information.

Kaleidoscope Pagan Gathering – 6 p.m. Saturday, March 23

Come celebrate the rebirth of the Earth, bunnies and eggs and Nature courting. Celebrate all things new and joyful and wonderful.

Join Kaleidoscope as we celebrate Ostara, the spring equinox, at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 23 at the church. We will join in ritual, followed by a potluck and friendship. All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

Non-toxic masculinity men’s group – 7 p.m. Mondays at church

The Non-Toxic Masculinity Men’s Group meets at the church at 7 p.m. Monday evenings.

The group serves cisgendered, straight, white men who are actively working to detoxify their masculinity and privilege so that they can stop doing damage to others and learn how to become active allies of other, more marginalized, groups.

For more information, email Jeff Ordway.

Men’s Group – March 9, 23 and 30

The UUCC Men’s Group meets on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays of each month at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. The group is open to all men. There are no fees and no reservations are necessary.

The agenda is an open discussion of whatever is on the minds of those in attendance – and breakfast!

For more information contact Wiley Miller at 573-864-8574 or by email.

Welcoming Team Announces: For Our Newcomers: “Getting to Know UU”

For those who want to know more about us. On the first Sunday each month in the minister’s office after the 11 a.m. worship service for about 30 minutes. Childcare provided.

UUCC Caring Ministry

The Caring Ministry Team needs many hands and caring hearts! Contact Meredith Donaldson by email or call the church office at 573-442-5764 to volunteer.

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REflections

DRE’s March Message

In March at UUCC, we are thinking about the idea of salvation, the idea of being saved. What does it mean for a UU to be saved? Talk about a loaded word!

This month, our intergenerational service will be on prayer, and I came upon a definition of prayer as anything that moves us from an orientation of fear to an orientation of love. I think this definition can help guide us in thinking about a UU form of salvation as we move through an uncertain world that is often frightening. I hope as you think on this, you will consider in working with our children on developing their own practice of prayer. A prayer can take so many forms, and can be so comforting to children to help them return again and again to a place of love. Some ideas to consider:

  • Developing a family mantra
  • Making prayer beads
  • Creating a prayer walk through nature
  • Creating a bedtime prayer, invoking whatever power is meaningful to you.
  • Attending our intergenerational service on March10 to learn more!

Sincerely,
Jamila Batchelder
Director of Religious Education

Junior Youth Night – 6:30-8 p.m. March 8

For our March Junior Youth Night, the youth will be joined by the high school youth group for a games night. We will be competing in the One-Minute Olympics. What is that? Join us and find out!

Coming of Age Service Project: Art and Service Auction – March 10 – 10-11 a.m. and noon

Coming of Age class members have chosen to raise money for the Center Project, Columbia’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center, as their service project. They will be auctioning off art made by them, as well as services, before and after the 11 a.m. service. Please support the youth and this fantastic organization!

YRUU Lay-Led Service – 9 and 11 a.m. March 17

Join our fantastic youth group leading a service on finding sacred meaning in our favorite books.

March R.E. Schedule

  • March 3: Regular RE Classes
  • March 10: Intergenerational Prayer Service
  • March 17: Regular RE Classes and YRUU lay-led service
  • March 24: Group Sunday – Books!
  • March 31: Service Sunday – Spring Cleaning

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Our Staff

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister
Office Hours:
    Tuesdays 1-4 p.m. at church
    Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Kaldi’s Coffee Downtown
    By appointment (including evenings and weekends)
Email

Alexis, Intern Minister
Office Hours: By appointment
Email

Suzanne Clark, Administrator
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Telephone: 573-442-5764
Email

Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m.-noon and by appointment
Email

Marques J. Ruff, Interim Music Director
Rehearsals on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Email

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant
Email

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2018-2019 Board of Trustees

Barbara Rupp, President
Mindy McPherson, President-Elect
Todd Iveson, Past President
Patty Daus, Treasurer
Sam Buffaloe, Secretary
Mark Johnson
Gretchen Maune
Elaine Martin

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Searchlight Publication Information

The Searchlight is published monthly by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri.

Submissions: By email or postal mail to Church Administrator. The deadline for submissions is noon on the third Monday of each month for the following month’s edition.

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