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October 12, 2017
Latest News
Join Us for Worship This Sunday
Religious Education Classes
Signing Sunday for New Members
Black Lives Matter Q & A
Film Screening & Discussion
Cakes for the Queen of Heaven
Born on Third Base Book Group
Mother Up! Gathering
"Working for Change" Event
Fire Drill on October 22
Member Parking Passes
New Community Chorus
"New UU" Classes
Monthly Book Group
OWL for Kindergarten & First Grade
New Safety Team Members
Care Network Team Update
Lost and Found
Upcoming Services
Sunday, October 22,
9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Rev. Phyllis B. O'Connell, Sabbatical Minister
"Personal Reflections on Retirement and Aging"

It is Benjamin Franklin to whom this quote is attributed: "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." True enough. And for most of us, right next to these two certainties come the likely certainties of retirement and aging. This sermon is a personal firsthand reflection on both.
Worship Associate: Rebecca Gurney

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Join Us for Worship This Week
Sunday, October 15 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Geoff Kaufman, Guest Preacher and Musician 
"Reaping What We Sow: The Power of Our Hearts, Illustrated Through Song"
Geoff will use "heart" as the focus in singing and discussing several songs that have been important touchstones in his own spiritual development.  
Guest Bio: Geoff has been presenting music in concert and in Sunday services for UU congregations for 35 years. He has sung at General Assembly, first in 2003 as song leader for the Closing Celebration in Boston, then in a workshop called "Singing the Spirit Home: Achieving Community Through Song" in Long Beach, and in 2005 with Pete Seeger in Fort Worth for the Opening Celebration.

Worship Associate: Woody Fulton  
Religious Education Class Schedule
Upcoming Sundays for preschool through 7th grade:
Oct. 15: Classroom Sunday
Oct. 22: Classroom Sunday
Oct. 29: Classroom Sunday
November 5: Classroom Sunday

Signing Sunday for New Members
Nina Dahlstedt Buss, Membership Coordinator
If you have taken the New UU class, made a 
fi nancial  pledge, and feel ready to become a member of the congregation, you are invited to meet Nina at the front of the Sanctuary right after the service this Sunday, October 15 to sign the Member Book.
Black Lives Matter Q & A
Zoe Hart
After the service this Sunday, October 15, at 10:15 a.m. or 12:15 p.m., join members of the Racial Justice Task Force in the Community Room for a Black Lives Matter question and answer session. This discussion is one of a series of events aimed at helping our Society make a decision about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and putting up a Black Lives Matter banner. Helpful reading in preparation for the discussion includes:

What Does Moral Courage Look Like?
We hope you'll join us for an interfaith film screening of the PBS documentary, Defying the Nazis: The Sharp's War ( which will take place from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. this Sunday, October 15 at the Meeting House. 
This film, co-directed by Artemis Joukowski (along with Ken Burns), who is the grandson of the Sharps, tells the story of two young Unitarians who stood up boldly and courageously against injustice to defy the Nazis and rescue Jews, dissidents, and other refugees during World War II. Following the screening (roughly 90 minutes), Artemis has generously agreed to be with us as part of a panel to discuss the film. He will be joined by other local community and interfaith partners to explore modern stories of moral courage and solidarity with immigrant, refugee, and faith communities.

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven Starts Next Week!
Adult RE Class: "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven"
Mondays 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., October 16, 23, and 30, and November 6 and 13.
This is a 5-session class AND you have to sign up in advance to attend.  Sign up on the bulletin board across from the church office or by emailing Sign up if you can attend 4 out of 5 sessions.
"Cakes for the Queen of Heaven" is a woman honoring adult RE curriculum by Rev. Shirley Ranck. Join Sally Russell in examination of pre-Judeo Christian cultures that may have worshiped the female as divine. Here is a link to the website for more details:  
Born on Third Base Book Group Starts Next Week!
Join Economic Justice Task Force member Gene Bergman and congregant Valerie Wood-Lewis to read and discuss  Born on Third Base: A One-Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good by Chuck Collins. You may have seen Chuck speak at the Society last year or at General Assembly - He's a voice worth listening to! This 6-week group will read and discuss the book and do extension activities together. Join us!  

Thursdays, from October 19 to November 30 (except Thanksgiving), 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. 

Contact  Gene at  with questions or to register.

Mother Up! Gathering
Rachel Schek

If you are a parent concerned about climate justice but not sure how to make space for it around work emails, the laundry pile, and the grocery list, then Mother Up! is the place for you.  Mother Up! is a program of 350VT bringing  families 
together  to talk about the tough realities of climate change and to participate in the transition to a healthier and safer world.  

We're collaborating with FUUSB to host monthly gatherings for families to learn about and act on climate justice concerns. Join us on Thursday, October 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room. A simple, vegetarian (vegan option) dinner for all ages will be included. Childcare is provided for young children in the nursery. 

RSVP (appreciated, but not required) to 
rmschek@gmail.comPlease use our  Facebook event  to invite friends!
Working for Change: Through Activism and the Law
Bob Furrer, Facilities Manager

Hello all,

The law firm Langrock, Sperry & Wool has made arrangements to use space at the Meeting House on October 20 at 7:30 a.m. to present a performance and panel discussion titled "Working for Change: Through Activism and the Law." (Click here for the event flier.) The poetry slam group Muslim Girls Making Change will perform, and then join Ebony Nyoni (Executive Director of Black Lives Matter Vermont), Thato Ratsebe (Assistant Director and Programs Manager of AALV-VT) and Marita Canedo of Migrant Justice for a panel discussion and Q & A. 

Although the presentation is "by invitation only," I approached the organizers and inquired if they could possibly offer our congregation a limited number of invitations, as the nature of the program may be of interest to those concerned with racial justice issues. They have graciously agreed to offer fifteen invites to those of our congregation expressing interest in attending the event. Invitations will be distributed on a first come, first offered basis by responding directly to me via email at by October 17 at the very latest.

Fire Drill on October 22
Bob Furrer
fire alarm

Drill Time! Fire Drill, that is! On Sunday, October  2 2,there will be a fire drill at the close of both services. As many of you know, the FUUSB has been staging drills for many years as a proactive and educational means to prepare ourselves in the event of an actual fire. When the alarm sounds at the close of each service, there will be a prerecorded message broadcast throughout the Meeting House prompting immediate evacuation. There will also be instructions included within the order of service that should be reviewed by attendees prior to the alarm. The same instructions can be viewed by clicking here. It's my hope that everyone cooperates to their fullest ability, so the exercise can result in an efficient and constructive way to better prepare ourselves for the event of an actual fire.
Update on Member Parking Passes

Please note that FUUSB member parking passes  are sold out for this year!
Update on the New Community Chorus
Jennifer Carpenter, Director of Music

Please note a slight change in the rehearsal schedule (a change from last week's 
Steeple article): 
We encourage people interested in the new Community Chorus to attend the Wednesday Love and Justice Vigils from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. outside the front entrance of FUUSB. We will then begin rehearsal at
5:45 p.m.  in the Parlors for the Chorus.  That is a change, as in the original article last week we said we'd rehearse from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Who may join: All are welcome, children and adults alike! We will sing music along the lines of what a group of Freedom Singers would sing, such as peace and protest songs (i.e. This Land is Your Land, I've Got Peace Like a River). No experience nor audition required. You do not need to read music.  Guitars and hand percussion welcome as well!
First rehearsal: Wednesday, November 1 from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. in the  Parlors.
Rehearsal schedule: Monthly - The first Wednesday of the month from November to May from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.
Sunday service schedule: Monthly - Every first Sunday of the month from November to May for the 11 a.m. service (second service). Call time is 10:15 a.m. for the Chorus in the Sanctuary.
Note:  For the first rehearsal we ask that all children under age 18 be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the full rehearsal, as we will have a brief meeting in the last 15 minutes of rehearsal to discuss a chaperoning plan that mutually works for all involved, in order to ensure that there's enough adult supervision in the room.

Please contact Jennifer Carpenter, Music Director, with questions at

New Structure for Newcomer Classes
Nina Dahlstedt Buss

In November we will launch our "new and improved" class options for newcomers. The New UU Class, formerly offered as a 3½ hour class six times per year will be offered as two shorter classes, one of which will be offered every month. New UU Part 1: Getting Acquainted provides an overview of Unitarian Universalist history and beliefs, including our Seven Principles and Six Sources. It's a great introduction to UUism and also a good way to meet other newcomers. This class will be offered on the first Sunday of every month from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. The first class is scheduled for November 5.

New UU Part 2: Getting Connected provides information about activities, programs and Ministry Teams here at our First UU Society. It includes time for getting to know each other better, and an overview of the process for becoming a Member of the congregation. This class will be offered six times per year (approximately every two months) on a Saturday morning. The first Getting Connected class is scheduled for November 14.

Taking both classes is a requirement for becoming a member of FUUSB, although Part 1 can be waived for those who have been a member of another UU congregation. For more information about these classes or to sign up, please contact Nina Dahlstedt Buss at

Monthly Book Discussion Group
The Book Group meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Meeting House. All are welcome! The book selection for the November 14 discussion is An Address in Amsterdam by Mary Dingee Fillmore. 

There's Still Room in OWL for Kindergarten and First Grade!
Martha Dallas, Director of Religious Education

This module of Our Whole Lives (OWL) addresses bodies, safety, and the joy and miracle of conception and birth. There's no fee, it's only eight sessions, and is offered after second service between mid-December and mid-February. With eight enrolled, we'd love to have a few more. Don't miss out; we won't offer this again until 2019-2020! Contact Martha Dallas ( ) to sign up your child. 

Meet Our New Safety Team Members!
Martha Dallas

The Safety Team develops and supports the implementation of our Safe Congregation Policies. One role of the team is to be a congregational resource and sounding board, so I'm pleased to announce our two new members: Mike Nichols and Lisa Lax.

Mike joined the First UU Society in 2010 where he has been involved in the RE Program and is a trained OWL Facilitator. He is currently helping to lead the 8th grade OWL class. He is a spiritual introvert who continues to be transformed through ever deeper immersion in the solitary meditation practices of Buddhism. He is a clinical social worker who works full time as a crisis clinician at the Howard Center and is also involved in Team Two, a statewide training curriculum where law enforcement and mental health crisis workers train together to strengthen collaboration in responding to a mental health crisis. Originally from Delaware, Mike moved to Vermont for college where he studied Transpersonal Psychology at Burlington College and Social Work at UVM. Mike's 12-year-old son, Gabe, is currently in the RE Program for 6th graders.  

Lisa has been a member of the First UU Society since 2001. At the Society she has been a volunteer parent in RE, a theme circle facilitator, waitstaff for the Christmas breakfast and has helped with other miscellaneous activities. Her work as a professional social worker has included managing a child welfare education project at UVM and administering a district office for the Department for Children and Families. She currently works for Invest EAP as a clinical coordinator and counselor. She is the mom of two adult children.

Update from the Care Network Team
Martha Molpus

It's easier than ever to offer care to members of our beloved community who are in need. The new Meal Train Plus allows all of the FUUSB requests to be accessed in one link, either on our Society's Facebook page or website, . Please consider how you can help and thanks for sharing the care!

Lost and Found
Are you missing a pair of reading glasses or other item? Check the lost and found basket and bulletin board just inside the main office for small items. We have lots of glasses and cases! For larger items, check the lost and found bin in the Community Room next to the piano.