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.

July 2020 Searchlight

To read the July 2020 Searchlight on this page, scroll down or click the on-page links below to see specific articles:

Minister’s Monthly Message – The present moment can be… is… enough

Dear UU Churchers,

Oh, there are so many questions pestering us in this 2020 Pandemic summer! I want to know what things will be like in the fall – and the winter! I want to be able to make plans! I want to know when and whether and how all of you and all of us will be safe! And we don’t know.

Perhaps our job this summer is simply to sink into the small things we do know: That a popsicle is a cool treat on a hot day (a daily lesson from my daughters); that today we can call an old friend for a long conversation; that we can drink water with mint and eat fresh tomatoes from our garden; that we are thinking of one another tenderly, and it helps us feel less alone.

This is always true, but mandatory in pandemic…the present moment can be…is…enough.

“It is Enough” by Danna Faulds

It is enough right now
to taste one moment of peace.
Of course I want more,
but at least the door is open.

It is enough to draw a conscious breath
and let my hands relax,
fingers releasing their tight grasp
on things outside of my control.

It is enough to shed a layer of stress
as if taking off a jacket or
a pair of too-tight shoes.

Ease of being has to start somewhere.
This breath is my first step.

In these odd and uncertain summer days, may you (still) (always) have enough.

I’ll see you in (online) church.

Love, Rev. Molly

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July Worship – Sundays at 10:30 a.m. – Online Only

Sunday, July 5
“What does justice mean to you?”
Todd Iveson with reflections from UU Churchers

Sunday, July 12
Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Sunday, July 19
“What values are most important to you?”
Tim Dickerson with reflections from UU Churchers

Sunday, July 26
Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson

Worship services are offered via Zoom on “Webinar Setting,” which means the only video and audio will be from presenters. They will be followed by a weekly digital coffee hour where you will be able to see, hear and visit with each other.

The web address for our weekly Sunday 10:30 a.m. worship is:

You can also join by phone:
312-626 6799
Webinar ID: 380 411 489

The web address and join-by-phone information for our weekly 11:30 a.m. coffee hour are on the Zoom Links page.

If you have any trouble accessing the technology to join us, please send an email to our Tech Team with your contact information, and someone will reach out to you to help!

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Budget passed and board members elected

Following its meeting on June 18, the Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that 87 written ballots were received after the June 7 online Annual Meeting, far surpassing the 51 needed for a quorum. Both measures on the ballot passed overwhelmingly.

Thanks to all who submitted ballots for taking the time to ensure that our church has an operating budget in place for the upcoming fiscal year and for electing a fantastic group of individuals to serve on the board. The board will elect the President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer at its July meeting with the new board in place.

2020-21 board members effective July 1 will be:

  • Terms ending June 30, 2021: Mark Johnson, Mindy McPherson (Past President) and Jan Swaney*
  • Terms ending June 30, 2022: Jeremy Duke, Rebecca Graves (President) and Ginny Winter*
  • Terms ending June 30, 2023: Kara Braudis*, Timothy Dickerson* and David Leuthold*

* New members

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New Adult Education – Critiques of Capitalism

Online at 7 p.m. June 30-July 28

Presented by The Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister, and
The Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, Philosopher-in-Residence and Facilitator

This course will focus on the problems of capitalism and its impact on American life. Beginning June 30 we will meet on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. via Zoom. The classes and guest participants will be:

June 30 – Liberation Theology and Capitalism – Dr. C.W. Dawson, Jr., UUCC Philosopher-in-Residence.

July 7 – “Belonging, not Belongings”: An Economy of Gratitude, Responsibility and Reciprocity – Dr. Sharon D. Welch, Affiliate Faculty, Social Ethics, Meadville Lombard Theological School (Unitarian Universalist).

July 14 – “The Promise of Globalized Capitalism: Faustian Bargain” – Dr William Rodriguez, Faculty, Bethune Cookman University.

July 21 – Uprooting and Dismantling Capitalism’s Economic Slavery and Oppression of Black Women: Moving from Intersectionality Towards Assemblage, Multiplicity, and Multivocality with Critical Family History – Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, Ph.D. candidate, University of Missouri-Columbia, and President of Race Matters, Friends.

July 28 – Wrap-Up – An opportunity to debrief and comment on the content of the classes.

Required and recommended readings for the classes can be found at

The Zoom link for the classes is available on the Zoom Links page at

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Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson’s Wednesday-Friday Office Hours

From May 11 to Sept. 6, 2020, The Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson will be our Philosopher-in-Residence offering weekly education opportunities on subjects such as Black Humanism, Critiques of Capitalism, Dr. James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree, and more.

He will also be preaching once a month, holding weekly office hours Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. and Fridays from 10 to 11 a.m., and offering written meditations to the congregation.

The Zoom link for his office hours is available at

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Festival of Sharing – July 2020

In July, the Festival of Sharing focus is on the “Missouri Paper Products Pack” project. These are targeted 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 box will consist of the following items:

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

In 2019, there were requests for 4,450 packages state-wide, but only 1,280 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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Building Task Force Annual Report for 2019-2020

November 2017 – The Board of Trustees (BOT) convenes the Building Needs Task Force (BNTF)

Spring/Fall 2018 – BNTF articulates needs and evaluates options (15 page report)

Winter 2018-2019 – Simon Oswald Architecture (SOA) hired

Spring/Fall 2019 – SOA develops a master plan for the building with a two-phase recommendation and BNTF becomes the Building Task Force (BTF)

December 6-8, 2019 – “Next Steps Weekend” with UUA consultant to help determine the congregation’s readiness to move forward with a Capital Campaign. Rachel Maxwell reviewed church information prior to her visit. Rachel met with the board, staff and 35 church leaders, viewed the grounds and followed up with a Power Point report to the congregation that is also available online. Rachel reports the congregation is in a good place to move forward and recommends a one-phase building project. Rachel also made five recommendations to facilitate our success.

January 26, 2020 – The first listening session following the Next Steps presentation.

February 29, 2020 – The second listening session following the Next Steps presentation.

February 2020 Board Meeting – The BOT approves funding for SOA to rework plans into a one-phase project, based on input received during Next Steps, listening campaigns, and input from congregants.

March 2020 – Global COVID-19 Pandemic arrives in Missouri; stay-at-home orders issued for Columbia – UUCC building is closed, but we continue to gather online, and the first Zoom church service is held. The Building Task Force pauses its work, with the support of the Board of Trustees, as we wait to see how our congregation’s ministry plans and financial capacity are affected by the pandemic. The BTF is currently monitoring the situation and will engage the congregation when the time comes to reassess our financial capacity and building needs in the new landscape that emerges post-COVID.

Building Task Force materials are available online at

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Weekly activities to stay connected

Wednesdays at noon
Midweek Mid-day Centering Moment
Hosted by Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Join your fellow UU Churchers for a 30-minute midweek check-in with a chalice lighting, reading or practice, and time for sharing joys and sorrows.

Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Virtual Choir Hangout
Hosted by Jeremy Wagner

Fridays at 1 p.m.
Crafting Club
Hosted by Robin Yoerger Duple

Join UU crafters and friends to share ideas or simply chat while knitting, crocheting or crafting from the comfort of your home.

Zoom links and the join-by-phone information for these activities are on the Zoom Links page.

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UUCC Caring Ministry needs many hands and caring hearts!

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. We can help in many ways:

  • Do you need temporary meals at home?
  • Do you need telephone contacts?
  • Do you have a financial emergency?

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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Social Action news for July 2020

Loaves and Fishes: Our regular third Sunday meal at Loaves and Fishes has been modified by the need to maintain safe social distancing. In June we had signups for bringing complete boxed meals. The congregation responded, and all slots were filled. Thank you!

The protocol for July 19 will be the same, and we are hoping many will sign up to bring meals.

Faith-to-Action nominations: We welcome your nominations for Faith-to-Action collections starting September 2020. You may submit a nomination online or in writing. Please submit nominations no later than July 15. Nominations received after this date will be considered if openings are still available.

Donations: As our church closes out its fiscal year, the Social Action Team has donated its remaining funds to the Honduras Educational Fund to support Cito and Keyla’s ongoing college studies and the Henry Kirklin Black Farmer Scholarship Fund established by the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

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Rev. Molly’s online office hours

Rev. Molly’s weekly online office hours are Tuesdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The link is on the Zoom Links page.

She is also very happy to meet by appointment. You can schedule by emailing her. Please 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.

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Greetings from the UUCC Grounds Team!

Even though we humans are meeting virtually, the bumblebees, butterflies and caterpillars are enjoying our church gardens. Yay! See Carol Arnold’s June 15 Facebook post to see if you can find the insect in each picture.

Currently on display in the front of church and on the church Facebook page (photos courtesy of Jeanne Murphy): Purple coneflower, butterfly weed, penstemon, coreopsis, Missouri primrose, and common milkweed. The back meadow has a large patch of butterfly milkweed which, by the way, is the single most important source of food for the threatened monarch butterfly, and planting a patch or two is an important contribution to the continued existence of the species.

We know all the religious ed students are familiar with the UU Seventh Principle, but for those of us who haven’t quite memorized all the principles, the Seventh Principle is “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Native plants fit so beautifully with the Seventh Principle, as natives are those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. They are the ecological basis upon which life depends, including birds and people.

The Grounds Team members continue to weed throughout the week while keeping a safe social distance. We meet via Zoom every third Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. If you are interested in plants or have questions, join us. For more information, email  Jeanne Murphy or Patty Daus.

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Consider donating to help others during the coronavirus emergency

UUCC benevolence funds

You can donate to our church’s benevolence funds at 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

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Online pledge payments

UUCC members and friends can easily continue their regular pledge payments online while we engage in virtual worship. Just go to and fill out the brief form there to make your payments.

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Programs and Events

Status of unlisted meetings

Please contact your team leader if you are unsure of meeting status. We do know that the Xennial Supper Club is still on hold.

Green Sanctuary Team Meeting – 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2-online

Non-toxic Masculinity Men’s Group – 7 p.m. Monday, July 6 online

Contact Jeff Ordway at 573-476-2834 or by email for meeting information.

Conversations, Etc. Change of Day! – Noon Thursday, July 9-online

Conversations, Etc., the UUCC women’s group, will meet online or by telephone on Thursday, July 9 at noon. If you have questions, contact, Pam Springsteel at 445-0642 by email.

UUCC Book Discussion – 5 p.m. Friday, July 10-online

The Book Discussion Group discusses books we are currently reading in a brief manner. If you have questions, contact Pam Springsteel at 445-0642 or by email.

Men’s Group – 8 a.m. July 11 and 25-online

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

Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team – 1 p.m. Sunday, July 12 –online

Email Allie Gassmann for details.

Revelio Como – 1 p.m. Sunday, July 12 online

The local “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” group meets on the second Sunday of each month from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Join us to use rigor and sacred practices to explore along with the podcast.

For more information, email April Rodegghero or Jamila Batchelder. Check out our Facebook page.

Loaves and Fishes – July 19 this month

The procedure in July will remain the same as June. Loaves and Fishes Director Ruth O’Neill has instructed all participating groups to provide boxed/sack meals. The Social Action Loaves and Fishes Team requests that chicken, beef or vegetable meals be provided by congregants. Be on the lookout for more information.

You can support this effort by making an online donation at, specifying “Loaves and Fishes Fund.” Email Diane Suhler for more information.

Kaleidoscope Pagan Gathering – 7 p.m. Saturday, August 1

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 7 p.m. Aug. 1, probably by Zoom. Send an email Barbara Carter for the Zoom link. All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

UU Life Writers

The UU Life Writers Group does not meet in July or August. However, we are compiling stories, poetry and pictures for our 2020 “Stories – Just Stories” anthology. Submissions are welcome – email to Fran Reynolds.

There will be no Walk on the Wild Side in July

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DRE’s July Message – UUs’ Role in Anti-Racism Movement

We had our Summer R.E. program all planned out…until the pandemic changed our world. And so we made a new plan…and then the world changed again, as people everywhere began to take to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter. This movement speaks to the very heart of who we are as UUs, and we are called to center our attention and energy to this movement.

When I try to explain to people what Unitarian Universalism is, I say that we care less about the details of your theology and more about understanding your role in making a more just and compassionate world. Our first principle calls for us to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and our sixth principle calls us to build a world where this is lived out.

This summer, we focus on understanding our active role as Unitarian Universalists – most particularly in this time in the anti-racism movement – and explore some of the forms this can take. We will have a Sunday morning RE time, but also a weekly project for your family to work on through the week.

For some projects, it will be helpful to have materials provided to families. We are exploring ways to make this easier for families scattered around Columbia and outlying communities. We are going to experiment with setting up some dropboxes on members’ yards to make it easier to stop by and pick up what you need.

Jamila Batchelder
Director of Religious Education

Junior Youth Night online – 6:30-8 p.m. July 10

We will meet via zoom and play some online games together and enjoy each other’s company!

YRUU on summer hiatus

The high school youth group will be taking the summer off and will meet again in September.

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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)

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

Jeremy Wagner, Director of Music Ministry

Hans Bridger Heruth, Accompanist

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant

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2020-2021Board of Trustees

Rebecca Graves, President
Mindy McPherson, Past President
Mark Johnson
Jan Swaney
Jeremy Duke
Ginny Winter
Kara Braudis
Timothy Dickerson
David Leuthold

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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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