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.

November 2019 Searchlight

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

Minister’s Monthly Message

2019-2020 worship theme – Living Our Mission:
In the spirit of courageous love, we
forge a community of radical welcome and deep
connection that moves us together to heal the world.

November’s theme is: Forging Community

What makes a community? Is it simply the gathering of people in one place, or something more profound than that? For me, a true sense of community is born of mutual sharing and commitment, in good times and in bad. Life can be a gauntlet, and community is in it together, for the long haul, even when it is hard.

When we crafted our mission statement, the language that rose to the top was “forging community” because we understood that community is not something that just happens because you share a space. Real community, the kind that lasts, the kind that sustains us, is crafted under heat and with great effort. Real community takes work – we do the hard work of getting to know each other and letting ourselves be truly known; we do the hard work of engaging conflict and staying at the table; we do the hard work of holding boundaries while making space.

And when we do this hard work, we find that we are sharpened and brightened like forged metal. When we do the hard work of community, we shine.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

Back to Contents

November Worship – Services at 9 and 11 a.m.

Update – The Nov. 17 service has been changed as set out below.

Sunday, Nov. 3 – “Remembrance Sunday” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Community holds memory in a way that none of us can do alone. As we forge community together this month, join us for our annual Remembrance Sunday. On this Sunday closest to All Souls Day, we set aside a time of memory, honoring the lives of loved ones now gone. You are invited to bring a photo or memento of your loved one as we together create an altar for our beloveds.

Sunday, Nov. 10 – “With Heat and Great Effort” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Beloved community is not a thing that simply happens. Rather, it is created, under heat and with great effort. Join us this Sunday to reflect upon what it really means to forge community and why it is the most important hard thing we do.

Sunday, Nov. 17 – “What Do We Seek Here?” – Rev. Dottie Mathews, UUCC Affiliated Community Minister

In our Unitarian Universalist faith, there is no precept demanding weekend attendance, nor are any “extra heavenly points” awarded to those who actively participate in Sunday services and in other fellowship opportunities at the church. Join Rev. Dottie as we ponder together: Why is it that we do come? What is it we are hoping to find here? And what is our role in being attuned to the hopes that others bring with them as they venture into our doors?

Sunday, Nov. 24 – “Feasting Together” – Thanksgiving Sunday – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon & DRE Jamila Batchelder

Join us for our beloved Thanksgiving cornbread communion service, as we reflect upon the ways community is formed by giving and receiving blessing. We will create an altar of gratitude for the blessings of our earth and ask you to bring a fruit or vegetable to place on the altar. Then stay after the service to turn the collected bounty into something yummy for our evening Harvest Potluck!

Back to Contents

Worship schedule change – only one service at 10:30 a.m. starting Dec. 1

After deep consideration by the Worship Associates and with the full support of the Board of Trustees, we have made the decision to consolidate back to one worship service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings starting Sunday, Dec. 1.

There several reasons for this decision. We added an early service to relieve crowding in the sanctuary, but after giving it a good and committed try over four years, we found that the 9 a.m. service never really reached the critical mass necessary to be sustainable, averaging only around 20-30 in attendance. It seems that it is not the solution we are looking for at this time.

Additionally, we feel the early service is not currently the best use of the substantial volunteer and staff time it requires. We want refocus our energies, especially as we prepare to consider a major building improvement project.

We look forward to worshiping together again as one big community on Sundays!

Here are some ideas for how you can help ensure there is enough space for everyone and particularly for visitors:

  • Park in the Shepard Elementary School parking lot and leave closer parking spaces for visitors. Even better, consider carpooling or biking to church!
  • Move to the middle of your row in the sanctuary, thereby leaving the outer seats for late-comers and visitors.
  • Use the front rows in the sanctuary.
  • Look out for visitors who seem unsure where to sit on a Sunday and invite them to sit with you or help them find an empty seat.
  • Encourage your children to sit up front on the RE rug before they head to class.

Back to Contents

Forum – November 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.

  • Nov. 3 – Gail Humphries-Mardirosian, Director of Performing Arts at Stephens College, and Rob Doyen, Program Coordinater for the theatre, will talk about the Stephens College Theatre Department.
  • Nov. 10 – Michael Brown will talk about the Adult Day Care Center at the University of Missouri.
  • Nov. 17 – Our member David Leuthold will give us a preview of Election Night 2020.
  • Nov. 24 – The Thanksgiving week program will come from the Forum group, and the topic will be announced closer to Nov. 24.

Back to Contents

Joint Sanctuary Team and Honduras Ministry Luncheon Fundraiser – Sunday, Nov. 3

Please join us after the 11 a.m. worship service on Sunday, Nov. 3 for a lunch with delicious Honduran tamales and other delicacies cooked by Yadira. There is no set price – please give as you wish and can. All donations will be split between the two ministries.

The Sanctuary Team will continue to support Yadira and family by supporting their sponsoring family. The Honduras Ministry will use the funds raised for latrine-building supplies and other needed items for their service trip in late December and early January.

For more information, email Dottie Mathews or Allie Gassmann.

Back to Contents

Honduras Ministry – Trivia Night Fundraiser – 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16

Tickets are $20 ($15 for students)
and can be purchased at the door
or at church on Sundays

The Honduras Ministry‘s Trivia Night fundraiser will benefit our Honduras work. This date is a change from our usual January or February date because our fifth service trip is scheduled in December.

Funds raised at the Trivia Night will be used for latrine construction, urgently needed clinic supplies, scholarship funds for participants who otherwise would not be able to make the trip, other projects that we will be asked to help with, and support of the microfinance group Adelante.

The event will feature child care, good food, a silent auction, 50-50-raffles, a chili cook-off, and, of course, much trivia fun! Bring chili to share by 5:45 p.m. for a chance to win a beautiful Honduran bag!

The special Faith-to-Action collection at the Water Ceremony in August raised $640 that we sent to aid in efforts to control dengue fever.

For more information about Trivia Night or the Honduras Ministry, email Allie Gassmann.

Back to Contents

Harvest Potluck – 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24

Join us to celebrate the abundance of the season with a Harvest Potluck Dinner highlighting the bounty of local agriculture. You are encouraged to bring a potluck dish made with local and/or seasonal ingredients.

This event will be family-friendly and will include entertainment for the whole congregation.

Back to Contents

President’s Perspective – So I’d like to ask you…

By Mindy McPherson, 2019-20 President

The Board of Trustees continues to revisit and work through ideas that were sparked at its August retreat. We are reflecting on our work and its correlation with our vision statement. We are also evaluating draft language for a board covenant.

As I’m moving through the academic year and navigating communications with my colleagues and students, as well as my children’s teachers, coaches etc., I’m paying particular attention to how I best receive, process and store information (managing physical documents shared through Kindergarten and second grade Friday folders is not my strong suit). Consequently, I am reflecting on how I can most effectively share important, usable information. This reflection extends to my work within our church and, in my opinion, is timely as we have many exciting initiatives underway and on the horizon.

The responsibilities and expectations of board members as delineated in our board policies indicate that we, as board members, are to report to the membership on the activities of the church. We are also guided to “appropriately accept and respond to questions from church members and friends.” Logically, the specifics of board meetings can be found within the meeting agendas and supporting documents and the meeting minutes; all of these are available through the church website. This newsletter offers an additional avenue for communications from the president, but neither of these channels is particularly interactive.

So, I’d like to ask you – How do you prefer to give/receive communications to/from the board? Are the current channels working for you? How do you feel about the use of social media (e.g. Facebook posts/comments) and email? What strategies can we employ to make our communications more intentional and engaging? A UUCC board blog? With what additional communication practices do you find success and satisfaction in other aspects of your personal and professional life?

I encourage you to reach out to board members individually, if it feels comfortable; our email addresses are posted on the church website. I’ve also compiled a brief google forms-based survey ( that you may use to share your thoughts about board communications.

I wish you a delightful fall.

Back to Contents

Festival of Sharing 2018-2019 results

Project 2018 2019
CWS* Clean-up Buckets 1 – $75.00  
CWS* Hygiene Kits 27 – $405.00 10 – $150.00
CWS* School Kits 13 – $195.00 20 – $300.00
Eyeglasses 40 – $40.00 27 – $27.00
Shoes 1 – $1.00  
Baby Bundles 4 – $140.00 6 – $210.00
Backpacks of Love 12 – $420.00 17 – $595.00
Backpack blankets   1 – $6.00
Blankets 2 – $24.00 2 – $24.00
Family Food Pack 11 – $308.00 12 – $336.00
Paper Products 2 – $30.00 10 – $150.00
Personal Hygiene Kits 7 – $140.00 10 – $200.00
Reading and Writing Packs 23 – $322.00 12 – $168.00
Seed Packs 18 – $9.00  
Student Dental Packs 24 – $264.00 21 – $231.00
Youth Personal Care Packs 10 – $350.00 9 – $315.00
Empty Backpacks   14 – $70.00
Cash** $800.00 $700.00
Totals $3,523.00 $3,482.00

Note: An additional $100 was received in late September 2019 after the check had already been prepared for delivery. This amount will be donated to Festival of Sharing next year.

*Church World Service

Back to Contents

Festival of Sharing – November 2019

For the month of November, the Festival of Sharing focus is on the “Missouri Family Food Boxes” project. These are targeted for families with low incomes. Each box will consist of the following items:

  • 3 different cans of vegetables
  • 3 different cans of fruit
  • 3 cans of chicken
  • 3 cans of tuna
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 can of pasta sauce
  • 1 lb. of pasta
  • 3 packages macaroni and cheese

There is a great need for the food boxes – in 2018, there were requests for 8,928, but only 1,307 were provided. In 2019, your generosity allowed UUCC to provide 12 boxes. Collection boxes are available in the church Greeting Area.

– Bonnie Johnson
Festival of Sharing Chair

Back to Contents

Sanctuary Team update

Join us for lunch Sunday, Nov. 3 after 11 a.m. worship

We are all aware of the harsh and chaotic policies being perpetuated against those attempting
to seek asylum in our country. Our UUCC Sanctuary Team continues to work to provide care
and support for our local immigrant friends, and especially for the local asylum-seeking family,
Edler and Yadira Umanzor and their two daughters. The conditions in the country from which they fled (Honduras) continue to worsen, and news from the border tells us that the number of people who are able to “cross” to begin their own asylum plea in this country has diminished dramatically in recent weeks. Please continue to stay educated on these heart-wrenching conditions, and please take action. Continue to call and write your legislators on behalf of the vulnerable people who come here seeking lives free of violence.

One way to directly help asylum seekers like the Umanzors is, of course, financially. We are pleased to report that the UU Fellowship of Door County, Wis., after learning of our commitment to help sponsor this family, held two events to raise funds, and they were able to send more than $1,700 to the family. This is certainly a huge help – but it is only a portion of what is needed to sustain the Umanzor family as their legal case slowly moves forward. 

Toward that end, on Sunday, Nov. 3 after the 11 a.m. service, we invite you to join the Sanctuary Team and Honduras Ministry for a tamale lunch with delicious Honduran tamales and other delicacies cooked by Yadira. There is no set price – please come to enjoy the great food and give as you wish and are able. All donations will be split between the two ministries, to help support the Umanzor family and to support the latrine-building service trip the Honduras Ministry team plans to take in late December and early January.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the Sanctuary Team, please reach out to Dottie Mathews or Allie Gassman. In addition, our local Faith Voices Sanctuary Network/Immigrant Justice team is always looking for more volunteers, and both Dottie and Allie would be very glad to tell you about those opportunities to help as well.

Back to Contents

Fall Adult Religious Education

Resistance and Transformation: UU Social Justice History
6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Nov. 19

You are invited to attend our adult RE program, “Resistance and Transformation: UU Social Justice History” on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Each session can stand alone, and childcare is available. Remaining sessions are:

  • Nov. 5 – Religious Freedom on the Margins of Empire
  • Nov. 12 – Utopianism
  • Nov. 19 – Counterculture

Join teaching team Kyna Byerly, Tim Dickerson and Connie Ordway to learn about the social justice actions of our forebears and consider how to apply their lessons to our work today. Curriculum authors Collin Bossen and Julia Hamilton write:

Grounded in the belief that even “failures” in our history can be instructive, this program presents the ongoing struggle of our tradition to live up to its ever-evolving ideals of social transformation.

Back to Contents

Rev. Molly’s office hours

Rev. Molly’s weekly Community Office Hours are at Kaldi’s Coffee downtown from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays.

She is also always happy to meet by appointment with members, visitors, newcomers, and community partners. You can schedule an appointment with Rev. Molly by email or online at

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!

Back to Contents

Have you noticed a brighter, neater church?

Thank you to the members who came to Church Work Day on Oct. 5. Led by Building and Facility Team members Kevin Fritsche, Peter Holmes and Larry Lile, members accomplished a good number of things that morning, including repairing chairs, moving plants, cleaning windows, reorganizing storage (and putting away chairs) and cleaning dirty railings and grates.

There are still many things to do, but we thank Kara Braudis, Patty Daus, Qhyrrae Michaelieu, Roger and Kathy Nettleton, and any others who came in for shorter periods and whose names we missed.
If you notice anything that needs updating, we have a long list, but you are welcome to add to it.

Back to Contents

UUCC Caring Ministry

We need many hands and caring hearts! Email Meredith Donaldson or call the church office at 573-442-5764 to volunteer.

Back to Contents

Get your UUCC Social Action Team T-Shirt!

Your $20 helps UUCC with our many social action projects. Contact Caya Tanski, Allie Gassmann or Sarah Wolcott for more information or to place your order.

Programs and Events

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

“Crossroads in our Lives” is the theme this fall for the UU Life Writers group. We will meet on Saturday, Nov. 2 and 16 at 10:30 a.m. in the Centering Room downstairs at the church. We gather to write and to enjoy sharing our life stories. Come with paper pen/pencil and join us. For further information contact Fran Reynolds at 573-881-3828 or by email.

“Getting to Know UU” – Nov. 3 after 11 a.m. worship service

On the first Sunday each month, the Welcoming Team invites newcomers to gather in Rev. Molly’s office after worship for about a half hour to learn more about UUCC and Unitarian Universalism. Childcare will be provided.

Non-toxic Masculinity Men’s Group – 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4

The Non-Toxic Masculinity Men’s Group meets at the church at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. The group serves cisgendered, straight, white men who are working to detoxify their masculinity and privilege so that they can stop doing damage to others and become active allies of marginalized groups.
For more information, contact Jeff Ordway.

Men’s Group – 8 a.m. Nov. 9, 23 and 30

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 Book Discussion – new day and time for winter– Noon, Saturday, Nov. 9

The UUCC Book Discussion Group will change to accommodate winter evenings, which are too dark for some of us. We will meet at noon Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Bamboo Terrace, 3101 W. Broadway, Suite 101. Bring a book you have read to discuss briefly.

For more information, contact Pam Springsteel at 445-0642 or by email.

Conversations, Etc. – Noon Wednesday, Nov. 13

Conversations, Etc., the UUCC women’s group will meet at the church at noon on Nov. 6. Bring a brown bag lunch. Come and enjoy the company of friends. Questions? Call Melinda Farhangi at 573-445-6325.

Loaves and Fishes meal – Nov. 17

UUCC provides the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on the third Sunday each month – Nov. 17 this month.

Please sign up here on the church website 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.

Walk on the Wild Side – 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24 [graphic]

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 1:30 p.m. at the church.

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, talk to Peter Holmes.

Kaleidoscope Pagan Gathering – date/time to be announced

Join Kaleidoscope in December to celebrate the return of the Sun, the symbol of hope and the promise of returning warmth. We will join in ritual, followed by a potluck and friendship.

All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

Mindfulness Meditation – 10:05 a.m. on Sundays

Join us for Mindfulness Meditation every Sunday from 10:05 to 10:50 a.m. We meet in the Centering Room, the Schweitzer classroom, or 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, contact Peter Holmes.

Back to Contents


DRE’s November Message

This month, we are exploring the theme of “forging community” at UUCC. I often try to articulate to my non-church-going friends why I find it so important to be a member of a religious community and not just an independent, spiritually-inclined individual. I love the opportunity to interact with all sorts of people, of all ages, and to get to practice with them all the beliefs we try the enact in the wider world – a community that will be patient with me when I get it wrong and that will keep at it with me. And I love having my children grow up in just such a community.

When I look at the phrase “forging community,” what jumps out at me is that community does not just create itself automatically. It takes action and effort. The more effort we put into it, the richer our community. There will be many opportunities this year for you and your children to take part in doing the work of forging community – work that is at times absolutely joyful, at times challenging. I look forward to us creating this beautiful community together.

Jamila Batchelder
Director of Religious Education

Junior Youth Night – 6:30-8:20 p.m. Nov. 8

Junior Youth will be watching a movie and eating pizza. RSVP by email.

Forging Community on Nov. 24

We will be celebrating the blessing of giving and receiving all day on Nov. 24. We will begin with an intergenerational service in which everyone is invited to bring something representing the bounty of the earth (a fruit or vegetable) to help us build an altar. Then, after the service, all who are interested are invited to stay and join us in a communal cooking project where we will turn all those lovely fruits and vegetables into something delicious to share.

That evening, we will hold our annual Harvest Supper potluck, where we will bring dishes to share (you are encouraged to use some locally grown or seasonal produce in your dish), and we will enjoy a wonderful meal together, followed by games.

Youth Service Team

We are working to make our youth service team more active in 2020 – helping to plan and lead service projects, as well as looking into additional service opportunities outside of our monthly Service Sunday. If your child is interested in getting involved, please email Jamila.

November Schedule

  • Nov. 3: Service Sunday – make Project Linus blankets
  • Nov. 10: Regular RE Classes
  • Nov. 17: Regular RE Classes
  • Nov. 24: Intergenerational Service – Cornbread Communion

Back to Contents

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

Back to Contents

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

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