Current Newsletter

Options for reading the current issue of The Searchlight, our monthly newsletter:

  • Read it in the body of the email announcing availability of the current issue
  • Read it below on this web page
  • View/print the PDF version
  • Get a printed copy in the mail (available only by special request to the Church Administrator)

View past issues of The Searchlight here.

January 2022 Searchlight

To read the January 2022 Searchlight on this page, scroll down or click the on-page links below to see specific articles:

Minister’s Message – We Are Rising to the Moment by… Confronting Power

This month marks the 10th anniversary of our faith-based community organizing partner Missouri Faith Voices! We heartily congratulate them for all the work for justice they have accomplished alongside many congregations over a decade. Missouri Faith Voices has been an incredible resource for our congregation and for me personally in learning about community organizing and building power for the Beloved Community.

One of the first things you learn in community organizing is that power is a neutral term. Power is simply energy, or the capacity to effect action. It is not inherently good or inherently bad but, like energy, it must flow. Power hoarded yields oppression, but power mobilized at the margins reclaims efficacy and liberation.

This perspective acknowledges that each person has an inherent power from within that our faith demands be allowed to flow freely, and that the exercise of power over another limits that freedom. It is the work of faith to liberate that sacred power within, even when it means confronting those who would wield power over others. We turn our hearts toward that work this month, as we rise to the moment by “confronting power.”

See you in church,
Rev. Molly

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January Worship – 10:30 a.m. Sunday in-person and online

Worship services are merged into one service held in-person and live-streamed online at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. If you have trouble accessing the technology to join us online, please send an email with your contact information to our Tech Team.

Sunday, Jan. 2 – “Getting Free Together” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Join us to reflect on the joy and freedom we find in the liberation struggle and to ponder why it is a spiritual journey rather than simply a political one. We’ll also be introducing the congregation to the UU 8th Principle project. Don’t miss this service, which will feature special musical guest Sifa.

Sunday, Jan. 9 – “Liberation Theology for this Moment” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and Guests

Join us for the fifth installment in our “Theology For This Moment” series, in which we ask what interventions different theological frameworks offer to this moment of challenge and transformation. This month we explore Liberation Theology, which centers liberation of the oppressed in the act of salvation. Musical guest The Jane Doe Review will perform.

Sunday, Jan. 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday – Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, Guest Preacher

Join guest preacher Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson and special musical guests as we remember the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and bring forth his vision for our world into the day before us.

Sunday, Jan. 23 – “Worthy Now” – Church of The Larger Fellowship

Join us for a special service provided by the Church of the Larger Fellowship, Unitarian Universalism’s church without walls that serves UUs regardless of geography or location. The CLF will share its thriving “Worthy Now” prison ministry for those who are incarcerated.

Sunday, Jan. 30 – Founder’s Day – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Join us for our annual celebration of our congregation’s founding on this, our 71st anniversary. What does our heritage carry into this moment of transformation?

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Worship Zoom information

Worship services will be offered in-person and via Zoom at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Online coffee hour after worship is continuing for now.

The Zoom address for our 10:30 a.m. Sunday worship is:
You can also join by phone: 312-626 6799
Webinar ID: 380 411 489

Services are also streamed live to Facebook.

The Zoom address for our coffee hour is:
You can also join by phone: 312-626 6799
Webinar ID: 652 315 354

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“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!

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Membership classes

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

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Membership Team – Leaving space…

Imagine your goal is to wear your UU nametag. You enjoy allowing others an easy way to get to know you.
But alas, as you approach the nametag board, you are blocked! Egads! Someone trying to be helpful has cleared the path in front of the doors by placing the wheelchairs and other chairs right under the nametag board!

Let’s try to keep the area around the nametag board and other traffic areas clear by returning chairs to where they belong. Try to see things from others’ perspectives. Thanks, and Happy New Year to all!

– Patty Daus, Membership Team

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A special opportunity to greet your UU community awaits

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.

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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.

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UUCC Chalice Circles – Are you interested?

The intimacy of the UUCC Chalice Circles is one way to enrich our members’ lives with greater depth of meaning. Each Chalice Circle has seven to 10 members and meets at least once a month.

Email any questions you may have to the Chalice Circles Team for information or if you want to sign up but have not yet done so.

Because of a lack of participation, the fourth Wednesday Open Chalice Circle has been canceled.

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UUCC Caring Ministry

The Caring Ministry Team is based on the belief that we are all inherently worthy of care and meaningful connections with others.

This ministry provides support in times of celebration and challenge. Support may include cards, calls, visits, meals and assistance with errands, transportation or other needs.

There are many church members and friends who perform and support caring ministry activities. Please consider joining our team and/or helping out periodically.

Those needing help should contact the team in a time of need.

Email Meredith Donaldson or call the church office at 442-5764 if you need help or want to volunteer to help.

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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”

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January Festival of Sharing

For the month of January, the Festival of Sharing focus is on the “Missouri Paper Products Pack.” These packs are intended for families with low incomes. We are asking for donations for this project a second time in the church year because of the coronavirus-driven need for these products. Each pack will consist of the following items:

  • 3 wrapped packages of toilet paper with 4 double rolls each (unable to receive 12 rolls in one package)
  • 2 rolls of good quality paper towels
  • 2 large rectangular boxes of facial tissue

In 2020, there were requests for 5,244 of these packs statewide, but only 777 were provided. Paper products are critical for low-income families because food assistance coupons cannot be used to purchase them.

Collection boxes are available in the church Greeting Area.

– Bonnie Johnson, Festival of Sharing Chair

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DJIT is thankful for support

The Disability Justice and Inclusion Team (DJIT) is grateful for all of the lovely feedback we received after our Dec. 12 worship service, “Disability Justice: Inclusion as a Spiritual Practice.” We also want to thank all of the amazing supporters of the accessibility campaign – we are so incredibly excited about the accessibility improvements coming to UUCC!

At this time, the team has decided to take a break for a couple of months to rest and regroup. We will be sure to let you know when we are back to our monthly meetings. If you want information or have questions, contact Gretchen Maune at 573-489-0986 or by email.

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Room at the Inn’s February week at UUCC has changed

Room at the Inn will now be at UUCCC again from Feb. 27 to March 6, 2022. The former dates were Feb. 20-27, 2022.

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UUA Regions – an introduction

Our Unitarian Universalist congregations are organized into regions. Each region is served by a Regional Lead and a team of Congregational Life Staff. These staff provide a wide variety of congregational services.

UUCC is a member congregation of the MidAmerica Region, which includes nearly 200 congregations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan, western Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The MidAmerica Region combined the former Central MidWest, Heartland, and Prairie Star districts.

A good way to get involved with the MidAmerica Region would be to participate in the Regional Assembly, which will be held online on April 30, 2022.

You can find more information about the MidAmerica Region at

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Consider donating to others

Minister’s Discretionary Benevolence Fund
You can donate to this fund at

Community Foundation of Central Missouri’s Covid-19 Relief Fund

Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri

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Social Action T-Shirts

Your $20 purchase helps UUCC continue our social action projects. Email Allie Gassmann or Sarah Twaddle-Wolcott.

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Programs and Events

Check the Zoom Links page for the links to join online meetings below

Conversations, Etc. – 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5 -online and in-person

Conversations, Etc., the UUCC women’s group, will meet via Zoom and in-person at the church, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5.

We gather to enjoy the company of good friends. If you would like to join the group, contact Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642 or by email.

Green Team – 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6 – online

Email Allie Gassmann for details about the Green Team‘s monthly meeting. All are welcome.

Men’s Group – 8:30 a.m. Jan. 8, 22 & 29 – online

The UUCC Men’s Group ordinarily meets in person on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays of each month. The group has arranged for online meetings during the Covid pandemic. For more information, contact Wiley Miller at 573-864-8574 or by email.

UUCC Book Discussion – 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 -online

The Book Discussion Group will meet online and by phone to briefly discuss books each has read. For questions, contact Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0624 or by email or 573-445-0624.

Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team – 1:00 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9 – online

Email for details about the monthly meeting of the Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team.

Non-toxic Masculinity Men’s Group – 8 p.m. Mondays, Jan. 10 & 24

For information, contact Kevin Fritsche at 573-289-4536 or by email.

UU Life Writers – 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan 15 & 29

The Life Writers Group celebrates its 22nd year writing, writing, writing! New writers are welcome to join us the first and third Saturdays of each month. One does not have to be published or an accomplished writer! We write memoir – life stories – and enjoy hearing others’ experiences on their life journeys.

In January and February our meetings will be on Zoom. The writing prompt will be sent out several days ahead of time. We will share on camera! The theme for January is “Firsts!”

Contact Fran Reynolds for further information at 573-881-2838 or by email.

Loaves and Fishes meal – Sunday, Jan. 16

The Social Action Team is looking for volunteers to prepare servings of various dishes, which are assembled into boxed meals at the Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church.

This system requires the volunteers providing food to take the food to Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church by 4 p.m. The volunteers who assemble the boxed meals also are asked to be at the church by 4 p.m. Sign up online here.

You can also support this effort by making a donation to the church specifying “Loaves and Fishes Fund.” For information, email Diane Suhler.

Kaleidoscope Pagan gathering – 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29

Join Kaleidoscope as we celebrate Imbolc, also known as Brigid’s Feast. The first stirrings of life after the long winter appear. Brigid shines the light of creativity upon us. Growth begins.

Gather with us at 4 p.m. Jan. 29 at the church. All are welcome, no matter their personal paths. Please bring snacks and drinks for yourself as desired. Currently, we are not planning to share food due to continued concerns about Covid. Masks are required.

If you have questions, email Kaleidoscope.

Unlisted Meetings

Contact your team leader if you are unsure of meeting status.

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DRE’s January message

I am excited to be starting a new year in religious education! After our fall programming spent transitioning back into our in-person church community, we will start returning to some of our church life traditions. Vaccinated children will start with the adults upstairs in the service for a centering time before heading downstairs to their classes. And we will split into our usual classes: Potter Class, Schweitzer Class, Thoreau Class, Adams Class, and YUUTs.

Each class needs a teacher and an aide, which requires a lot of volunteers. If you have found UUCC in the last year and are interested in getting involved, this is one of the most rewarding ministries in the church. We would love to have you involved! We are also getting ready to resume our sexuality education program, Our Whole Lives. It is going to be an exciting semester in R.E.!

– Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education

YRUU Planning Meeting – Noon Jan. 2

As always, the first Sunday of the semester we will be eating pizza and planning our activities for the semester. Teens who want input into what we will be doing need to attend.

OWL Sexuality Education in the New Year

In 2022 we will be restarting our Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education program with two classes:

  • K-1st Grade OWL at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays
  • High School OWL at 7 p.m. on Mondays.

Parents need to attend an orientation in order for their children to participate in the program:

  • K-1 OWL Parent Orientation – 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8
  • High School OWL Parent Orientation – Noon Sunday, Jan. 9

Junior Youth Meeting – 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 14

All 6th-8th graders are invited to join us in the sanctuary to play minute to win it games (silly party games).
RSVP to DRE Jamila Batchelder.

R.E. Volunteer Training – 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22

Are you new to our community and want to get involved in volunteering in our religious education program? Have you been teaching for years but are out of practice after two years of pandemic? Do you want to share collective wisdom for how we need to adjust our program to fit our new realities? Everyone is encouraged to join us for this training as we prepare for new programming in the new year! RSVP to DRE Jamila Batchelder.

RE Schedule

Jan. 2: Regular Classes
Jan. 9: Regular Classes
Jan. 16: Service Sunday
Jan. 23: Regular Classes
Jan. 30: Regular Classes

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Our Staff

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister
Office Hours:
    Tuesdays via Zoom – 10-11:30 a.m. – Zoom link
    Thursdays in person – 2:30-4 p.m.
    Or by appointment

Suzanne Clark, Administrator
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Telephone: 573-442-5764

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

Violet Vonder Haar, Director of Music Ministry

Hans Bridger Heruth, Accompanist

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant

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2021-2022 Board of Trustees

Tim Dickerson, President
Rebecca Graves, Past President
Melissa Ensign-Bedford, President-Elect
Ginny Winter, Treasurer
Connie Ordway, Secretary
Jeremy Duke
Susan Even
David Leuthold
Christine Heath

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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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