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View past issues of The Searchlight here.

April 2020 Searchlight

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

Minister’s Monthly Message

My Dear UU Churchers,

In this time of uncertainty and fear, I want to share my faith in the strength of this community to hold us through whatever may come. I have seen you show up for each other amid worry, sorrow, joy and loss again and again over the years, and I know that a profound spirit of compassion is alive and at work among and between our congregation, always. Your staff and lay leaders are creating new systems of support and connection to meet the needs and challenges of this time, but we also encourage you to do what you always have and always will – reach out (using virtual, phone, and written means) and love each other.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia will continue gathering only online at least through April and quite possibly beyond, as our community endures the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so, we remember that our willingness to stay apart, while still staying connected, is an act of love and practice of community care. Together as staff and volunteers, we will be focusing our energies on providing worship, pastoral care, opportunities to connect with one another, and service to the wider community while still working to maintain our usual ministries.

I do hope you will join us for online worship and coffee hour on Sundays. If you need technology help, send an email to, which will prompt someone to get in touch to assist you. I also encourage you to reach out for pastoral care. I can be reached by email or on my cell phone, 573-825-7464.

In addition to using the newer technology available to us, we’re working to get other low-tech supports like phone friends and penpal-ing up and running, too! Contact me to participate.

Is there another way that we can support you? Please do be in touch. The work of the church is clearer than ever in this time – to hold and care for its members and wider community, to be sustained by spiritual practice, and to embody love, hope, and courage to a world that needs our care.

I am sending you my love and my wishes of health and hope.

In Faith,
Rev. Molly

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April Worship – online only at 10:30 a.m. Sundays

We will be worshiping together online through the month of April as we continue to observe the City of Columbia’s stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Worship services will be offered by Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder, Music Director Jeremy Wagner, Pianist Hans Bridger Heruth, and your Worship Associates Team.

Worship services will be created weekly to respond to the emotional and spiritual needs of the moment. Worship services will be offered on “webinar setting,” which means the only video and audio will be from presenters.

Services 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

Coffee hour at 11:30 a.m.

Go to the password-protected Zoom Links page for the Coffee Hour Zoom link

If you have any trouble accessing the technology to join us, please email our tech team with your contact information, and someone will reach out to you to help.

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Easter Weekend

Tenebrae Good Friday Service
8 p.m. Friday, April 10
Online @

A Tenebrae service is a traditional Christian service of descent into darkness held during the final three days of holy week before Easter, representing the death of Christ. It is commonly practiced with solemn music, readings from scripture, and the progressive extinguishment of candles. It recognizes that the victory of Easter morning is always preceded by the despair of Good Friday. Contemporary progressive Christians and UUs sometimes observe Tenebrae as an opportunity to sit with the difficult realities of our world, before the celebration of hope that arrives on Easter morning.

Our Tenebrae service will feature contemporary readings representing all the ways people are “crucified” in this world. We will also share beautiful, solemn music, and a growing darkness. If you are able, gather seven candles near your computer, and we will snuff them out together from home, one by one.

Easter Sunday Service
10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 12
Online @

Join us virtually for Easter this year as we remember of the victory of love over death even in these uncertain times. Gather online for Easter Sunday at our usual 10:30 a.m. time, and join us for coffee hour afterward with your best Easter bonnet!

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Online pledge payments

UUCC members and friends who are accustomed to paying their pledges by checks placed in the offering plates at worship services can easily continue their regular pledge payments online while we engage in virtual worship during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just go to and fill out the brief form there to make your payments.

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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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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.. Go to the password-protected Zoom Links page for the Zoom link.

She is also always happy to meet by appointment. You can schedule an appointment by email.

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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Call for summer lay-led worship volunteers

Exploring our theological diversity is our worship theme for this summer. In keeping with our longstanding tradition, the Worship Associates are looking for six people (or groups) to share their theologies and spiritual practices in lay-led worship services.

  • Are there beliefs, traditions or practices from your religious upbringing that still inform your spiritual life? Please share them with us.
  • Have you drawn on other sources you have been exposed to along your way that you have incorporated in your current theology or practice? Let us know what moved you.
  • Are you currently exploring spiritual teachings that inspire you, even if you have not fully integrated them into your religious beliefs? Explore them with us.

Whether Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, atheist, Hindu, Muslim, agnostic, deist, or any other “ist,” we want to learn about what is meaningful to you. Help us to continue to question our answers and to more fully understand this beautiful religious tapestry we have woven.

You won’t be in this alone. An experienced Worship Associate will be assigned to assist you, and Rev. Molly is planning to offer a worship training May 2.

Available dates are:

  • June 7 and 21
  • July 5 and 19
  • August 2 and 16.

If you are interested in doing a service or have any questions, please contact any member of the Worship Associates (Tim Dickerson, Rebecca Graves, Cande Iveson, Todd Iveson, Jeff Ordway, Sam Otten) or send an email to the Worship Associates.

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President’s Perspective – I wish you well in this uncertain time

By Mindy McPherson, 2019-20 President

With so many questions and uncertainties amid the spread of the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 and the rise of COVID-19 cases, it is surprisingly easy to know where to begin this note. Simply, I wish you well.

I will not write this note pretending to be a medical expert or a spiritual guide. Quality, trustworthy medical, research and public health information is available through a variety of sources. Rev. Molly, the ministry team leaders, and staff have mobilized quickly to offer continued spiritual support. I can’t encourage you more to explore and engage with the message and content shared out through the church Facebook groups, Zoom meetings and website.

As Rev. Molly said on Sunday, we are a church with no walls. We’re continuing to nurture our spirit and maintain connection, even (and especially) in this extraordinary time.

If technology is vexing you or you simply aren’t sure where to start with all of this, there are many in our church family who stand ready to help you, myself included.

This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. Your dedicated Board of Trustees continues to meet (via Zoom) and address church business. One of the first duties of the board, as delineated in our bylaws, is the promotion of the long-term well-being of the congregation. And so, we are evaluating our current work and looking to the future. Collectively, our priorities are first to navigate the changes mandated by our need to limit the spread of the coronavirus. This, in some cases, has meant pressing pause on a task or project while we await more information.

We are continually monitoring and evaluating the impacts this pandemic has on UUCC. We will consider each piece of board-related work and, as new complexities emerge and evolve, we will, as always, do our best to represent the congregation in determining and ensuring appropriate actions for our beloved community.

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Festival of Sharing – April

For the month of April, the Festival of Sharing focus is on the “Missouri Youth Personal Care Pack.” These packs are for youth ages 12-18 who have experienced a crisis situation and who have been placed in state care or are experiencing homelessness. Items will be placed in drawstring bags that will be provided by the Festival of Sharing Team.

  • 1 chapstick
  • 1 bottle hand sanitizer (3 oz)
  • 1 fleece throw
  • 1 washcloth
  • 1 box medicated facial cleansing pads (such as Stridex)
  • 1 toothbrush and 1 travel-size toothpaste
  • 3 ink pens
  • 1 journal
  • 1 men’s body spray or
  • 1 small package of feminine pads
  • 1 comb or brush
  • 1 travel size shampoo and
  • 1 travel size conditioner
  • 1 deodorant
  • 1 travel size lotion

In 2019, there were requests for 390 of these packs statewide, but only 337 were provided. Collection boxes will be available in the church greeting area.

– Bonnie Johnson
Festival of Sharing Chair

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Social Action Team – April, 2020

Faith-to-Action nominations for 2020-2021 church year are open

The Social Action Team welcomes your nominations for Faith-to-Action collections at Sunday worship services during the 2020-21 church year starting in September. Roughly twice a month, Faith-to-Action collections are taken for organizations, programs, or agencies that align with our church mission and vision. You may submit a nomination online or in writing. Please submit nominations no later than July 15, 2020. Nominations received after that date will be considered if openings are still available.

2020-21 Faith-to-Action Nominations

Faith-to-Action in uncertain times

Because of to the uncertainty surrounding our church services this spring, some or all currently scheduled Faith-to-Action collections will be postponed and rescheduled for summer or fall services.

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UUCC Grounds Team Meeting – online at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 18

Spring is here, and the Grounds Team is excited to see our native plants pushing through the soil and reaching for the sunlight. Not only do native plants beautify our grounds, they also nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals.

The Grounds Team cares for the woods and field behind the church, the Memorial Garden and the flower beds around the church. We meet every third Saturday at 9 a.m. during the growing months and always welcome folks who want to learn about native plants, or who want to give a hand. For more information or to be placed on our “we have a work day” list, email Jeanne Murphy or Patty Daus.

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UUCC Caring Ministry

The Caring Ministry needs many hands and caring hearts!

Email Meredith Donaldson or call the church office at 573-442-5764 to volunteer.

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Green Sanctuary Team events still on the agenda…

We will evaluate as we approach each activity

UUCC Stream Team – join the Green Sanctuary Team
in monitoring the health of Hinkson Creek

9:45 a.m. Saturday, April 11 – meet at the church

The Stream Team, a subgroup of the Green Sanctuary Team, will be catching and counting macro-invertebrates (like the mayfly above) that live in the creek. We will also be measuring stream flow, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate content, pH level, conductivity, and turbidity.

All ages are welcome to come and do some serious but enjoyable messing in a creek together and discovering what lives there. Wear shoes that allow you to wade in the creek. Questions? Email Peter Holmes. More information and photos.

Walk on the Wild Side – 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26

The Green Sanctuary Team is sponsoring monthly walks on the fourth Sunday most months throughout the year to explore the beauty of local woods and creeks (Gans Creek, Three Creeks and Mark Twain National Forest). Meet at the church at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26.

Shrug off your civilized self for a short time and come with us into the peace of wild things.

The walks are 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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Programs and Events

UU Life Writers – 10:30 a.m. April 4 and 18 – online

The UU Life Writers’ Group will meet online at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 4 and 18. Watch for an email on how to connect. We are continuing to write stories on the theme of “Inheritances.”

Meetings are also planned May 2 and 16 and June 6. Watch for details.

Social Action Team – 11:45 a.m. Sunday, April 5 – online

The Social Action Team will meet online at 11:45 a.m. Sunday, April 5. For details, contact Fred Young at 573-443-2154 or by email.

Non-toxic Masculinity Men’s Group – 7 p.m. April 6 – meeting decision pending

The Non-toxic Masculinity Men’s Group normally meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday each month. Contact Jeff Ordway at 573-476-2834 or by email to learn if the April meeting will be held online or canceled.

Conversations, Etc. – Noon Wednesday, April 8 – online

Conversations, Etc., the UUCC women’s group, will meet online at noon Wednesday, April 8. Enjoy the company of friends.

If you have questions, call Melinda Farhangi at 573-445-6325 or email Pam Springsteel.

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

The Book Discussion Group will meet online at 5 p.m. Friday, April 10. We discuss books keeping us occupied. If you have questions, contact Pam Springsteel at 445-642 or by email.

Men’s Group – 8 a.m. April 11 and 25 – meeting decisions pending

The UUCC Men’s Group ordinarily meets in person on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays of each month at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Executive Center, but will not do so in April.

However, the group is exploring the possibility of meeting online in April. Participants will be notified by email if virtual meetings will take place on April 11 and 25. For more information, contact Wiley Miller at 573-864-8574 or by email.

Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team – 11:45 a.m. Sunday, April 19 – online

Send an email to Allie Gassmann, co-chair of the Sanctuary/Immigrant Justice Team, for details. Note the date change.

Revelio Como – 1 p.m. Sunday, April 19 – online

The local “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” group meets on the second Sunday of each month (except in April, when it’s Easter) 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 at:

Loaves and Fishes – April 19

UUCC will provide the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on Sunday, April 19 as usual.

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.

Xennial Supper Club – 5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19 – meeting decision pending

The Xennial Supper Club usually meets monthly on the third Sunday evening. Contact Michela Skelton at 573-207-9216 or by email for April plans.

Kaleidoscope Pagan gathering – 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 1 – we hope!

Join Kaleidoscope as we celebrate Beltane, better known to most of you as May Day. We used to weave paper baskets, fill them with dandelions, and hang them on peoples’ doors. Do you remember? Celebrate fertility, joy and (at last!) fresh greens to eat.

Gather with us at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 1 at the church. We will join in ritual, followed by a potluck and friendship. All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

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DRE’s April Message

It feels very strange to sit down to write a newsletter in a time of such uncertainty. We had many plans for the month of April… and now, everything is different. We are reimagining what church and religious education looks like in a time when we can’t be physically together.

What I most want to communicate to you is how much I love you; how much I value being part of a community so strong that I feel that connection even when we are far apart. I hope each of your children feels that love, and strength, and connection. And I hope each of you parents do as well. Please know that

if you are in need in any way, to reach out, even it is just to message with me and have another grown-up to talk. You are all in my hearts always.

Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education

R.E. class schedule

In-person R.E. classes at church are suspended at least through April to ensure we do our part to protect vulnerable populations and slow the spread of COVID-19 to a level our health system can manage. During April, R.E. classes will take place online as follows:

10 to 10:30 a.m. – Online Religious Education – Younger Children

9:45 to 10 a.m. – Potter Class – We will light the chalice and read a story together. We will leave you with a craft idea to do at home that you can share later with a photo.

10 to 10:15 a.m. – Schweitzer Class – We will read a story together and sing a song. We will leave you with a craft idea to do at home that you can share later with a photo.

10:15 to 10:30 a.m. – Thoreau Class – We will talk about Unitarian Universalism and come up with a project to work on independently that can be shared later with a photo or video.

  • Go to the password-protected Zoom Links page for the Zoom links.

Noon – Online Religious Education – Adams Class

Adams Class – We will meet and watch part of a Harry Potter movie together and discuss.

Go to the password-protected Zoom Links page for the Zoom link.

12:30 p.m. – Online YRUU

Go to the password-protected Zoom Links page for the Zoom link.

1:30 p.m. – Online Religious Education – YUUTs Class

YUUTs Class – We will discuss religions we are learning about. We will work with the houses of worship we were planning to visit about how they are handling services in this time and see if we can arrange to join an online worship.

  • Go to the password-protected Zoom Links page for the Zoom link.

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Joy Breaks with UUCC – Join us each day in our Columbia UUs Facebook Group

Music Monday – Sing together by posting video to our FB group starting at 3 p.m.

Art on Tuesday – Make something creative and share a picture with us in our FB group at 3 p.m.

Hump Day Humor – Record yourself telling a joke and post in our FB group. Starting at 3 p.m. Wednesdays.

Photo Hunt Thursday – We will send you on a scavenger hunt to record with a camera. Post what you find to our FB group at 3 p.m.

Friday Dance Party – Join us at 3 p.m. for a Zoom dance party.

Saturday Story Time – Join us on Zoom at 3 p.m. for a story read by a member of our community.

Chalice Sunday – During the week, make a chalice out of whatever you can find. On Sunday before worship, light it and post a picture to our FB group.

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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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2019-2020 Board of Trustees

Mindy McPherson, President
Michela Skelton Birk, President-Elect
Sam Buffaloe, Secretary
Jeremy Duke, Treasurer
Barbara Rupp, Past President
Gretchen Maune
Mark Johnson
Elaine Martin
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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