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July 2019 Searchlight

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

Minister’s Monthly Message


This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

We have entered the heart of summer, when the earth is covered in a riot of wildflowers, and the peaches are ripening on the trees, ready for you to enjoy, juice dripping down your chin. This world is so full of strife and woe, and it is so very, very sweet.

My wish for you this month is a moment every day of unapologetic pleasure as you savor these summer days.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

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July worship services

Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

(Our summer schedule is one worship service at 10:30 a.m.)

Sunday, July 7 – “What Do We Personify?” – Alexis, Intern Minister

Inspired by a Russian folktale in which a character learns the consequences of agreeing to take a walk with Misery, let’s explore what we choose to embody in our everyday lives. To what do we devote our energies? What qualities do we live out throughout the day and why?

Sunday, July 14 – “Making Liberation Irresistible” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

In her book Pleasure Activism, Adrienne Maree Brown posits that we must embody in our own lives the justice we want to see in the world. And, she points out, the world we want to create is not just one of struggle but of enjoyment. Join us to reflect on the role of pleasure and joy in the work of justice.

Sunday, July 21 – “Secular Sacred Text” – Lay Leaders

Join us for our meaningful lay-led preaching series on our secular sacred texts. Your fellow UU Churchers will be sharing about books, poems or lyrics that have been a profound touchstone in their lives.

Sunday, July 28 – “Savoring the World” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

E.B. White once said, “I arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Is our purpose in this life to save the world or to savor it? Perhaps we cannot have one without the other. Join us for an interactive all-ages service to practice together enjoying and savoring our world.

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Reserve your date for summer lay preaching

Is there a secular text that has shaped your thinking? A book, a poem or a lyric that is rich with meaning for your life? This summer’s lay-led preaching series will engage the secular sacred texts of our congregation, and we’d love to hear from you!

Available dates are July 21, Aug. 4 and Aug. 18. Email the Worship Associates to claim a date! You’ll receive support from the Worship Associates in creating a well-crafted and meaningful service for our congregation.

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Rev. Molly’s new office hours

Rev. Molly’s Community Office Hours are now being held at Kaldi’s Coffee downtown on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. She is also always happy to meet by appointment with members, visitors, newcomers and community partners.

Please do reach out if you’d like to chat about life, find your place in the church, process something difficult, find a listening ear, or discuss a project together! You can schedule an appointment with Rev. Molly here.

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Forum – June 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.

  • July 7: Allen Hjelmfelt will present his annual music and meditation hour – a Forum tradition.
  • July 14: To be announced.
  • July 21: Kathie Bergman will present her story of her month-long trip to El Paso, Texas, to work with migrants seeking asylum.
  • July 28: Dick Parker will share “My life Events.”

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President’s Perspective – A New Season

by Mindy McPherson, 2019-20 President

As I sit to draft this message, the summer solstice is just a few days away. It’s a great time to marvel at our natural world, while enjoying the blessing of 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight. The summer season, for me, is also a time of attempted rest and renewal. It also offers me the chance to refocus my energy as I begin my year-long term as your president.

I’ve served on our board for just over a year now, having joined in December of 2017. I’m grateful to have learned from and worked with President Barbara Rupp. I also want to acknowledge the contributions made to our community by Past-President Todd Iveson and Treasurer Patty Daus, who will both be rotating off the board at the beginning of July. My service on the board has been an educational experience, and I look forward to continued growth as I help you and our current board members carry on the important work of our church.

As we move through the summer months, the board will continue to work with the Building Needs Task Force and congregation to flesh out how we can best carry out our mission, balancing both the needs of and our desires for our physical space, as well as the needs of and our desires to support the community around us.

We will build on the engaging workshop we had with Simon Oswald Architects (SOA) in May and work toward a better understanding of how a capital campaign can help us meet our goals. Input from the congregation and continued involvement and awareness of this process are critical to its success. As always, communication is important. If you have questions or comments about the building needs elucidation process or the on-going work to support our mission, please contact a member of the board.

I urge you to explore the many activities and opportunities that the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia (UUCC) has to offer in the coming months. What a great time it is for our religious education children to get outside and explore our UU Seventh Principle, respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Adults can learn from fellow congregants as they share about their areas of expertise in the summer adult R.E. series. Many other engagement opportunities and events, like the X-ennial Supper Club, are listed on our website ( and highlighted on Facebook groups Columbia UUs and UUCC R.E. Community.

Wherever life takes you this season, I wish you well.

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Summer Adult R.E. opportunities

We have an exciting line-up of Adult R.E. offerings this summer! Each Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 6, fellow UUs will be offering lectures, talks or interactive workshops about their special areas of interest or expertise, and the topics look amazing. Every session is open to all, and childcare will be provided. Here is the schedule, which you can share with your friends. Hope to see you!

  • July 2: Healing Touch – Rosie Geiser
  • July 9: Spiritual Practices for Readers – April Rodeghero and Jamila Batchelder
  • July 16: Parenting for Positive Body Image – Ginny Winter
  • July 23: Spirit Figures – Qhyrrae Michaelieu
  • July 30: Disability Justice 101 – Gretchen Maune
  • Aug. 6: Nature, Art and Spiritual Practice – Melissa Ensign-Bedford

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July focus for Festival of Sharing

For the month of July, the Festival of Sharing focus is on the “Missouri Reading and Writing Pack” project. These packs are for elementary school students who could not otherwise afford these supplies. Place all items in a large ziplock bag (2 – 2.5 gallon).

  • 6 new pencils with erasers
  • 2 70-page spiral or tape bound notebooks
  • 1 pencil holder
  • 4 folders with pockets
  • 1 12-inch ruler
  • 1 pair of child-sized metal scissors
  • 1 large eraser
  • 1 box of 24 crayons
  • 1 box of 10 markers (only 10)
  • 2 ink pens, medium point

2,802 of these packs were shared in 2018. Collection boxes are available in the church greeting area.

– Bonnie Johnson, Festival of Sharing Chair

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Honduras Service Trip news

Planning for the fifth UUCC Honduras Service Trip in December and January is well under way. We are excited to start our composting toilet project. Cito, our Honduran foreman, will be taking a course on composting-toilet-building in July. This will be a more sustainable alternative to the pit latrines we have been building, and the community is now asking for this opportunity.

For more information on our 2017 trip, please go to
You will find descriptions of all our service trips on our UUCC website as well. For more information and to join us, email Allie Gassmann.

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News from your Social Action Team

Call for Faith-to-Action Nominations

The Social Action Team asks you to consider nominating an organization, local, national, or even international, that you know embodies the principles of love and social justice as described in our seven UU principles. The first-priority deadline for FTA applications for the 2019 – 2020 church year is July 15, 2019.

$13,682: That’s how much the Faith-to-Action collections raised in the first 11 months of the 2018-2019 church year!

24: That’s how many organizations and internal UUCC programs have benefitted from our collective generosity so far this church year! We are putting out money where our values lie. Thank you all for your generous expression of love in action.

FAQ’s about the FTA program

“I’ve heard the FTA application is a hassle to fill out.”

You have to compile some basic contact information about the organization you are nominating. You also have to state briefly what the organization does, and why UUs should support it. It is not difficult at all. Click the following button for the nomination form.

Faith-to-Action Nominations for 2019-20

“My organization/program has received funding in the past via the FTA collections. Can’t you just slot me in, without an application?”

For the sake of transparency in our financial dealings, we are requesting that all applicants and applications go through the same process.

“What if I miss the July 15 application deadline? Should I just forget it for this year?”

No. All available slots may not be filled by July 15. Priority will be given to nominations received by July 15, but we will consider nominations until all slots are filled.

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A standing invitation from the UUCC Social Action Team

We invite all church members and all friends who have an interest in social justice issues to join our Social Action Team to help us shape and strengthen our work. There are five important aspects of UUCC’s social justice work:

  1. Direct Service (e.g. Loaves and Fishes, Room at the Inn)
  2. Fundraising (e.g. through Faith-to-Action, fundraisers such as the Honduras Trivia Night, sales of artisan crafts, etc. to support social justice work)
  3. Education (learning about systems of injustice, our role in them, and how to effect systemic change)
  4. Advocacy and Witness (e.g. work with Race Matters, Friends, showing up at City Council, Solidarity Network events, working with Missouri Faith Voices, the Sanctuary Team, letters to congressional representatives, work with MADP, the Center Project, etc.)
  5. Community Building and Deep Connection (to sustain ourselves in the work, but also to create the world we want to see)

Beyond joining SAT, please consider participation in any of our subcommittees or other teams such as the Anti-Racism Subcommittee, Economic Justice Subcommittee, Honduras Team, Sanctuary Team, the Missouri Faith Voices work, or the Green Sanctuary Team. Together we create the change we want to see while being who we want to be in the world.

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Sanctuary Team news – Funding asylum seekers with a Honduran lunch

The Sanctuary Team is continuing to coordinate support for Edler and his family. Recently wife Yadira and second daughter Alejandra arrived from Honduras as well, so now all four family members are reunited and living together in a duplex.

Thank you to the many generous people who donated items to fill their empty home. It is now almost complete. A few things they could still use are an oscillating fan, doormat, big pots and big mixing bowls (to be able to make tamales for sale), umbrellas, and consumables like toilet paper. If anyone is available to give rides, those would be very welcome as well. Yadira will be selling Honduran meals and give Spanish lessons. Contact Dottie or Allie for more information.

Periodic fundraisers are planned to support asylum-seeking families with legal and other costs, and on July 10 there will be a Panera fundraiser. Be on the lookout for flyers.

Please mark your calendars for our next after-church lunch fundraiser featuring Honduran food and tamales on Aug. 11. You will have a chance to meet Edler and family, taste Yadira’s great cooking, and learn more about the situation in Honduras and in our own country regarding immigrants and refugees.

For more information or to get involved, please email one of the Sanctuary Team co-chairs, Rev. Dottie Mathews or Allie Gassmann.

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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

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X-ennial Supper Club – 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 21

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 at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 21.

Child care and pizza for kids will be provided. Please bring a dish to share if you can!

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Shop and help UUCC at the same time

Did you know you can buy things you need and contribute to UUCC at the same time?
Locally, you can sign up with Schnucks Supermarket to donate a percentage of your purchases to the church. Learn how.

Do you do online shopping at Amazon? If so, your purchases can benefit our church with a contribution from Amazon of 0.5% of the purchase price. Learn how.

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Programs and Events

Mindfulness Meditation – Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

Join us for Mindfulness Meditation every Sunday this summer from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. We meet in the Centering Room, the Schweitzer classroom, or at the Fire Circle when the weather is good. Meditators of all levels of experience are welcome.

This is mainly silent meditation with some instruction, if needed, and with brief selected readings from eminent teachers

For more information, email Peter Holmes.

Non-toxic masculinity men’s group – 7 p.m. Mondays at church – July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29

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.

Welcoming Team Announces – July 7 – For Our Newcomers: “Getting to Know UU”

This session for those who want to know more about us is offered by the Welcoming Team on the first Sunday each month in the minister’s office after the 11 a.m. worship service for about 30 minutes. Childcare will be provided.

Conversations, Etc. – Noon July 10

Conversations, Etc., the UUCC women’s group, will meet at the church at noon Wednesday, July 10. Bring a brown bag lunch. Come and enjoy the company of friends. Questions? Contact Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642 or by email.

UUCC Book Discussion – 5 p.m. July 12

The UUCC Book Discussion Group will meet at 5 p.m. Friday, July 12 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.

Men’s Group – July 13 and 27

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.

UUCC provides Loaves and Fishes meal on third Sundays – July 21 this month

UUCC provides the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on the third Sunday each month – July 21 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. Friday, July 26

Lughnassad, the Feast of the First Harvest. Juicy ripe tomatoes and zucchini everywhere. The Earth once again gives of Her bounty. We join to celebrate Her gifts.

Gather with Kaleidoscope at 6 p.m. Friday, July 26 at the church. We will join in ritual, followed by a potluck and friendship. All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

UU Life Writers

UU Life Writers are taking a summer vacation… but still writing at home – at the beach – at the lake – in the mountains.

Join us in September! For further information on this group, please send an email to Fran Reynolds at

No Walk on the Wild Side in July

The usual “Walk on the Wild Side” hike on the fourth Sunday will not take place in July. The next hike is scheduled on Aug. 25. Meet at the church at 1:30 p.m. The hikes are sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Team.

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DRE’s July Message

This summer our UUCC community is focusing on exploring the sacred practice of reading – not just sacred texts, but finding the sacredness in secular books as well. I think the books that often hold the most sacred meaning for us, that help us form our values and our vision of what the world is and what it could be, are the books we read in childhood. So take some time this summer to find sacredness in books with your children. Here are some ways to try this out:

  • Share your own cherished book with childhood with your child.
  • Listen to the podcast “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” with your child to learn sacred practices that can be applied to secular books.
  • “Bless” characters in books together, sending good wishes and appreciation for people going through similar circumstances, or with similar gifts and flaws, including ourselves.
  • Treat whatever book your child is reading, no matter how non-weighty in might seem, with reverence and seriousness. Find out what about that book speaks to your child.
  • Talk about both what we love about books and what ways they are problematic (this comes up a lot when you are sharing favorite books from childhood!). Teach your child that they can love something while also questioning it and recognizing its flaws.

Jamila Batchelder
Director of Religious Education

Pie and Board Games – Mid-Summer Family Game Night – 6:30-8:30 p.m. July 13

Join us for a mid-summer get-together. We will have games for kids, games for families, and games for grown-ups (and babysitters so that parents can play a few games without their kids!).

Summer Religious Education – Our Seventh Principle

Summer religious education will focus on our interconnection with nature. Kids will be divided into two classes.

PreK-1st grade will be doing a Spirit Play curriculum, learning about some environmental heroes and stories of our connection with nature.

2nd-8th graders will be connecting with the earth and our church property with a curriculum that will be almost entirely outside.

We are still looking for volunteers, so if you would like to volunteer once or twice, please let us know.

July Schedule – R.E. at 10:30 a.m.

  • July 7: Spirit Play: The Story of Julia Butterfly Hill; Outdoor RE: Local Food
  • July 14: Spirit Play: The Story of Guara Devi; Outdoor RE: Making Shelters
  • July 21: Spirit Play: Story of Wangari Maathai; Outdoor RE: Making Boats
  • July 28: Intergenerational Service


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Our Staff

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

Alexis, Intern Minister
Office Hours: By appointment

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

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

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant

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2019-2020 Board of Trustees

Mindy McPherson, President
Barbara Rupp, Past President
Sam Buffaloe
Gretchen Maune
Mark Johnson
Elaine Martin
Michela Skelton Birk
Jeremy Duke
Rebecca Graves

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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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