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.

October 2021 Searchlight

To read the October 2021 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… Embracing Tension

“This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn’t matter to me what your position is. You’ve got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you’ve got.”

– Toni Morrison

Natural to the brain, nurtured by the media landscape, and taken advantage of by social media – the human tendencies to polarizing simplicity and either/or thinking are a fact of our lives.

Yet, the tendency to simplify away complexity is one we can and must resist with the help of spiritual practice. We must because we are living in a time that will require us to work together for survival – our liberation is bound together with those at every pole of every dualism. We can because embracing tension is a spiritual and intellectual muscle we can exercise by holding nuance, finding third ways when offered duality, and seeking complexity when offered simplicity.

Join us this month to lean into being complex human beings in a multi-faceted world!

See you in church,
Rev. Molly

Back to Contents

October Worship – online and in-person outdoors at UUCC

We will continue worshiping with two services – online at 9:30 a.m. and outdoors in-person at 10:30 a.m. If you have trouble accessing the technology to join us online, please send an email with your contact information to our tech team.

Sunday, Oct. 3 – 9:30 a.m. ONLINE • 10:30 a.m. OUTDOORS
“Unitarian Theology for This Moment” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

What are the cornerstones of Unitarian theology, and how do they speak into this moment? Join Rev. Molly for the launch of our year-long theology preaching series, where we will explore a different theological framework one Sunday each month. This would be a great Sunday to bring a friend to learn about Unitarian Universalism!

Sunday, Oct. 10 – 9:30 a.m. ONLINE • 10:30 a.m. OUTDOORS
“Universalist Theology for This Moment” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

What are the cornerstones of Universalist theology, and how are we challenged to uphold them in these times? Join Rev. Molly for the second in our two-part engagement with UU theology this month. This is another great Sunday to bring a friend to learn about Unitarian Universalism!

Sunday, Oct. 17 – 9:30 a.m. ONLINE • 10:30 a.m. OUTDOORS
Guest Preacher: Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson Jr.

Join us for a powerful word from UUCC’s favorite guest preacher, philosopher, and our former sabbatical minister, the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson, with music from our own Neil Minturn and Alan Arnold.

Sunday, Oct. 24 – 9:30 a.m. ONLINE • 10:30 a.m. OUTDOORS
“Nuanced Clarity” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

In a time of ever more stark polarization and duality, how do we hold the tension between moral clarity and nuance? Can we find the clarity to act alongside the complexity -– to act gently and wisely as competing truths and priorities pull at our hearts?

Sunday, Oct. 31 – 9:30 a.m. ONLINE • 10:30 a.m. OUTDOORS
“Tricks and Treats” Halloween Service – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

Halloween as expressed in our culture holds contradiction beautifully – inviting us into the meeting point of fear and excitement, sweetness and mischief, seriousness and celebration. Join us for an intergenerational celebration before the tricks and treats begin. Costumes encouraged for UU Churchers of all ages.

Back to Contents

Worship Zoom information

Worship services are offered in person and via Zoom. Online services at 9:30 a.m. are followed by a weekly digital coffee hour at 11:30 a.m.

The Zoom address for our 9:30 a.m. Sunday worship is:
You can also join by phone: 312-626 6799
Webinar ID: 380 411 489

The Zoom address for our 11:30 a.m. coffee hour is:
You can also join by phone: 312-626 6799
Webinar ID: 652 315 354

Services are also streamed live to Facebook at:

Back to Contents

Rising to the Moment

This year’s worship arc and themes

Each year our Worship Associates and staff sit down to imagine an arc for our Sunday Services for the year. In this in-between year, as we emerge from a pandemic that still continues and bring our hearts to bear on a climate-changing world, we thought about all the spiritual tools we will need to cultivate as we rise to meet this moment. We celebrate the presence of these tools right here in our own community, and spend the year deepening them as we rise together to the moment at hand.

  • September – Staying Present
  • October – Embracing Tension
  • November – Grieving Together
  • December – Seeking Inspiration
  • January – Confronting Power
  • February – Nurturing Each Other
  • March – Engaging Conflict
  • April – Renewing Promises
  • May – Celebrating the Good

Theology for the Moment Series

Rev. Molly also will be preaching a monthly theology series, delving into how a number of theological frameworks speak into the moment at hand.

  • Unitarianism & Universalism for this moment (2 Sundays)
  • Political Theology for this moment
  • Process Theology for this moment
  • Womanist Theology for this moment
  • Queer Theology for this moment
  • Disability Theology for this moment
  • Earth-Centered Theology for this moment
  • Liberation Theology for this moment

We look forward to reflecting together with you all year long!

Back to Contents

How can you help with worship?

Are you a current, former or future theater person? A techie? A builder? A gamer? We could use your help creating our dual platform reality!

We need an ongoing livestream team to use our videogame-style controlled camera, streaming software, and soundboard for livestreaming.

We need a short-term set design and building team to help us create a stage and beautiful background for outdoor worship.

Please email Rev. Molly if any of these activities interest you or if there are other ways you can help!

Back to Contents

Upcoming membership events

Membership Class (required to join)

Choose either 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7 via Zoom or noon Sunday, Oct. 10 outdoors in person on the church grounds. RSVP by email.

New Member Ingathering in Worship

Sunday, Oct. 24 online at 9:30 a.m. and in-person at 10:30 a.m. RSVP by email.

Back to Contents

Online and text donations!

We are excited to announce that we are rolling out the ability for you to give to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia by text message from your smartphone or online. We are doing this through an arrangement with the Breeze Church Management System, our new database. You can find complete details about the system at

As fewer people are using checks or carrying cash, we wanted to offer a safe, secure and convenient way to easily support our church through giving by text message or online.

As some of our members, friends and visitors are continuing to stream our worship services online, we hope this new system will be more convenient than mailing a check or using our old Paypal portal.

Our new system will allow you to give using a credit/debit card or bank ACH transfer. The system will ask for your card or bank account information the first time you use it, and you can change that information later. You can use the system to give whenever your choose, and you can also set up automatic recurring gifts. Our church will pay a small transaction fee to process online payments, but we feel the fee is well worth the convenience. If you choose, you will be able to cover that fee for the church when you give online.

We believe these new tools will allow us to continue to serve you well. We want you to know we greatly appreciate you and your spirit of generosity as you continue to support UUCC and our mission of radical welcome and deep connection that moves us together to heal the world.

Back to Contents

How to text a donation from your smartphone

Send your text to 573-405-1202

Hint: Save this number in your phone’s contacts under “UUCC Giving” to make it easy to start a text to the correct number.

The first time you use the text donation system, you will need to enter your credit/debit card information or bank ACH transfer details. You can change your payment method later by texting update.

Using the text system, you will have these three choices for the purpose of your donation:

  • Pledge Payment
  • Sunday Collection
  • Faith-to-Action Collection

Follow these guidelines for making your text donation:

  • You can text the word give, and the system will then ask for the amount – or you can skip this step and enter the amount using the following guidelines.
  • The amount goes first, with or without a dollar sign – $50 and 50 both will work.
  • If you enter only an amount, your donation will go to the general Sunday collection. If you want, you can specify that result by entering a space after the amount followed by the word sunday (not capitalized). Example: 50 sunday.
  • If you want to make a pledge payment, enter a space after the dollar amount and then the word pledge. Example: 50 pledge.
  • If you want to make a Faith-to-Action donation, enter a space after the amount and the code f2a.
    Example: 50 f2a.

Here are some additional text codes you can use:

  • update will allow you to change your payment method
  • refund will result in refunding of the most recent donation made if done within 24 hours – if the donation started a recurring gift, the recurrence also will be canceled

If you want to set up an automatic recurring donation, you can use these codes:

  • weekly – sets up a recurring gift each week – example: 50 pledge weekly
  • biweekly – sets up a biweekly recurring gift – example: 50 fta biweekly
  • monthly – sets up a monthly recurring gift – example: 50 sunday monthly
  • yearly – sets up a yearly recurring gift – example: 1000 pledge yearly

Back to Contents

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.

Back to Contents

President’s Perspective – So much good is going on!

By Timothy Dickerson, 2021-22 President

Hello, beloved UUCoMo community,

So much good is going on at 2615 Shepard Blvd. as we UUs live our mission. First off, a big shout-out to Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder, the COVID Task Force, and all you other stellar UUs who have put in so much time, passion and love to make it possible for us to safely worship in person while still maintaining our much-needed online presence. It has been encouraging and uplifting to see many of your eyes and different masks, but mostly YOU and your inherent worth and dignity, as we once again worship IRL (in real life).

The Accessibility Task Force is planning for an elevator, automated doors, new carpeting, and other necessary improvements to ensure that all who enter our church community feel welcome and empowered to access all the many amazing nooks and crannies our beloved church home provides.

Your board had its annual retreat on Saturday, September 18, and WOW, what a wonderful, thoughtful and compassionate group of humans I get the honor and pleasure to serve with. We started the day with inspiring worship provided by Rev. Molly. She asked that each of us bring an object that we feel represents our spirits and tell their stories. I brought my stuffed Winnie the Pooh that have had for as long as I can remember. If you are curious why, feel free to ask, but be prepared for me to ask to see what object represents your soul and its story.

We spent the rest of the day in deep conversation using the book The Nested Bowls that Rev. Molly gifted us before leaving on sabbatical. We worked through the great thought-provoking questions it provides, ate some yummy food, and learned a lot about and from one another by practicing deep intentional listening with one another.

Your board and minister are very committed to UU ALL and ensuring we continue living our mission and creating a beloved community.

Tim Dickerson

Back to Contents

Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team sponsorship update

The Guatemalan family that UUCC is sponsoring in their quest to seek asylum is doing well. Manuel started kindergarten at Paxton Keeley Elementary, has joined Cub Scouts and has gotten some serious and very needed dental work. A big thank-you to King’s Daughters for his dental bills. Lakshmi is crawling all over the place and makes her presence known. She is no longer the very quiet baby she was when they first arrived! Lilly has found a Spanish-speaking church community, she is taking English classes seriously and is making a lot of progress in her English, and she is glad Manuel is back in school! She tells Manuel that he has to do very well in school because it is a great privilege that he gets to go to such a good school.

The Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team is looking for help from anyone who would be interested in giving of their time and/or treasure. For instance, Lilly needs rides to and from her church on Sundays and for shopping, Manuel’s dental appointments, Lakshmi’s healthy baby visits and WIC appointments, and various other trips around town. We need some more drivers!

As a reminder, if you would like to support the efforts of the Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team in general, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the church with SIJT in the memo line. If you would like to make a non-tax-deductible donation to the family directly, you can send a check made out to Allie Gassmann at 1700 Princeton Dr., Columbia, MO 65203. This money will go on a joint account from which the family’s expenses will be paid directly. If you would like to get involved with the team, please contact Dave or Allie!

Dave Gibbons and Allie Gassmann
Co-chairs, Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team

Back to Contents

UUCC Chalice Circles invite participants

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

– Herman Melville

  • What makes you feel connected – to individuals, groups, and/or organizations?
  • What do you value the most about the connections you have in your life?
  • What do you do to maintain the important connections in your life?
  • What new connections would you like to make in your life? Have you thought about what you need to begin making those connections?

Would you like to join a UUCC Chalice Circle? It’s time to sign up for the 2021-22 church year!

The intimacy of the UUCC Chalice Circle groups is one way to enrich our members’ lives with greater depth of meaning. This regular spiritual practice complements our Sunday morning services as it builds on the monthly themes set by the minister and worship team. It is a place to share deeply with each other, to build lasting and caring relationships, and to strengthen our church’s sense of community. Each Chalice Circle has seven to 10 members and meets at least once a month. Following the church Covid safety guidance, some group meetings will be held in the church whenever possible. At this time we are planning for six groups for the 2021-22 year:

  • 2nd Mondays at 7 p.m. – Larry Lile, facilitator – meeting via Zoom
  • 2nd Tuesdays at 6:45 p.m. – Connie Ordway, Women’s Chalice Circle facilitator – meeting via Zoom
  • 2nd Wednesdays at 9 a.m. – Lisa Fritsche and Jeanne Murphy, co-facilitators – meeting at the church
  • 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 7 p.m. – Qhyrrae Michaelieu and Crystal Buffaloe, co-facilitators – meeting at the church.
  • 2nd Thursdays at 7 p.m. – Peter Holmes, facilitator – meeting at the church
  • 4th Sundays at 4 p.m. – Dottie Mathews and Rosie Geiser, co-facilitators – meeting via Zoom or in their home

If you would like to join a Chalice Circle, you may sign up here on the church website or by email. A signup list will be closed when 10 people have signed up for a specific group.

The Chalice Circles Leadership Team that guides the overall program consists of Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Peter Holmes and Kathie Bergman. You can read more about Chalice Circles here, or you can contact the team by email.

Back to Contents

Open Chalice Circle on Zoom

6:30 p.m. fourth Wednesdays beginning Oct. 27

No signup needed – just show up. Everybody is welcome! Come and experience a chalice circle and make new connections. Join the Zoom meeting at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month starting Oct. 27 at

Back to Contents

Online giving to UUCC

For pledge payments and
other donations, go to:

Back to Contents

Consider donating to others

UUCC Minister’s Discretionary Benevolence Fund

You can donate to this fund at

Other Agencies

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

Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri

Back to Contents

Social Action T-Shirts

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

Back to Contents

Festival of Sharing

For the month of October, Festival of Sharing will focus on the Missouri Blankets project. Please donate stain-free, clean blankets.

  • Baby blankets – 36 x 45 including quilts. Not swaddling blankets.
  • Full-size blankets – throws and twin to king size. Quilts are acceptable.

In 2020, there were requests for 1,426 blankets, but only 904 were provided. Collection boxes will be available in the church Greeting Area.

– Bonnie Johnson
Festival of Sharing Chair

Back to Contents

Programs and Events

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

UU Life Writers – 10:30 a.m. Saturday Oct. 2 and 16

The UU Life Writers group will continue their fall theme of metaphors. October writing prompts will be centered on “Music as Metaphor!”

Everyone is welcome to join us at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings, Oct. 2 and 16, in the Centering Room. If the weather is nice, we might meet at Kiwanis Park behind Russell Blvd. School.

For further information, email Fran Reynolds.

Non-toxic Masculinity Men’s Group – 7 p.m. Mondays, Oct 4 & 18

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

Conversations, Etc. – 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6

Conversations, Etc., the UUCC women’s group, will meet via Zoom and phone at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6.
We get together to enjoy the company of good friends. If you have questions and would like to join us, contact Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642 or by email.

Green Team – 7 p.m. Thursday Oct. 7 – online

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

Men’s Group – 8:15 a.m. Oct. 9, 23 and 30 – online

In normal times the UUCC Men’s Group 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, Oct 10 – online

Email Allie Gassmann for details on the Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team‘s monthly meeting.

UUCC Book Discussion – 4 p.m. Oct. 16 – a different Saturday!

The Book Discussion Group will meet online and by phone to briefly discuss books we have read. For questions, contact Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642 or by email.

Loaves and Fishes meal – Oct. 17

Our regular monthly turn to serve the Loaves and Fishes evening meal will be on Sunday, Oct. 17. 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 – 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30

Samhein (sa-win), Year’s Ending, and the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead grows thin. Now is the time to remember those who have passed, and explore within ourselves those changes we need or want to make in our lives.

Gather with Kaleidoscope at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30 at the church. All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths. As of this date, we request you wear a mask, and please bring snacks and drinks for yourself as desired. Currently, we are not planning to share food due to continued concerns about Covid.

If you have questions, email Kaleidoscope.

Unlisted Meetings

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

Back to Contents


DRE’s October message

What a joy to reopen in-person Religious Education classes again and get to re-gather as a community. Our first month has been so much fun, and a chance to learn and make adjustments. We are looking forward to October and more community building together.

New Class for 6th-7th graders! – 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sundays

Our plan pre-pandemic for our 6th-7th graders this year was to watch and discuss Star Trek TNG. But we couldn’t figure out how to do this with outdoor RE.

But with an investment in some very long extension cords, we think we have found a way to make it work! We will be meeting in the Memorial Garden. Any 6th-7th grader who prefers can stay with the park class.

YRUU Lock-in? – Oct. 2-Oct. 3

Each year, we start off our YRUU programming with a lock-in as a chance to get to know each other and bond as a group. We are hoping that Covid case numbers come down far enough that we feel safe doing that this year.

If numbers stay bad, we will have an outdoor evening of fun, but won’t stay the night inside the building.

Our event will begin at 5 p.m. Oct. 2. Stay tuned for more info.

Junior Youth Meeting – 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8

All 6th-8th graders are invited to join us for an outdoor movie night. We will be voting on the movie, so keep an eye out for an email of our choices. Our meeting will go a little longer than usual to make sure we have time to see the whole movie. Dress for whatever the weather might be!

And RSVP to DRE Jamila Batchelder.

Pumpkin Carving Party – 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31

Come join us for pumpkin-carving fun and a bowl of chili after the all-ages service on Halloween! We will provide a pumpkin, but RSVP to DRE Jamila Batchelder so we can have enough pumpkins for everyone.

Volunteers Needed!

We need volunteers to help out in our RE classes! If you are interested, please sign up on our website:

RE Schedule

Oct. 3: Regular Classes
Oct. 10: Service Sunday
Oct. 17: Regular Classes
Oct. 24: Regular Classes
Oct. 31: All Ages Service

Back to Contents

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

Hans Bridger Heruth, Accompanist

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant

Back to Contents

2021-2022 Board of Trustees

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

Back to Contents

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.

Back to Contents