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May 19, 2017
Latest News
Senior Minister Sabbatical Scheduled for Next Fall
Fire Drill This Sunday!
Annual Meeting Warning Notice
From the Ministerial Intern
Thank You, Woody!
End of Year Housekeeping
Annual Picnic
Assisting with the RE Program
Care Network Corner- Bonilla Family Still in Need of Meal Assistance
Check Out the Latest Books!
Love and Justice Vigil May 24
From Shawl Ministry
Sanctuary Sunday and Donuts and Dialogue
Marathon Bake Jean Palmer
Staffing Our Future
Please Return Your Books!
Join the 16 folks READY to be Next Year's
Why I Teach in RE
Afterword: April 30 White Supremacy Teach In
Racial Justice- Congregational Discernment Project
Thank You, 2016-2017 RE Stewards!
Stress Buster Evening FunRaiser Event
Five Star Film Cafe Presents: "Where to Invade Next?"
Upcoming Sundays for Children
Upcoming Services
May 21- Always Growing
9 & 11 

Worship Leaders:
Rev. Mara and Andre Mol, Ministerial Intern
Worship Associate: Rebecca Gurney

This Sunday, we'll explore how spiritual growth unfolds through the course of our lives. Sometime, we are lulled into thinking we're gone growing - then life offers us a new invitation to stretch minds, hearts and spirits. Andre will offer a reflection, as the first year of his internship with us concludes, and Rev. Mara will preach. At both services, we will also enjoy the musical gifts of our children's choir and have a chance to celebrate our RE stewards. Our 11am service will also feature music from our adult choir, and we will welcome new folks into membership.


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Important Dates
May 21
Five Star Film Café
"Where to Invade Next"

June 8

Mother Up! A Gathering for Families

June 11 
Five Star Film Café
"What the Health"


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Senior Minister Sabbatical Scheduled for Next Fall 

In our UU tradition, as in most denominations, ministers and religious professionals are encouraged to take regular sabbaticals to access the kind of renewal and regeneration that are necessary to sustain ministerial service over the long haul. Sharing the same origins as the word "sabbath," which means "to rest," sabbatical offers an opportunity for deeper replenishment than even annual vacation and study leave can provide. It is a time for spiritual refreshment and contemplation, as well as new learning and growth. For parish ministers, in particular, regular sabbatical is critical for refilling the well of sermon and worship ideas and is essential to nurture creativity.

The current best practice in our UU ministry, fine-tuned over decades of experience, is for clergy to take four months of sabbatical every five years, or five months every six. This length of time and frequency seems to be the sabbatical sweet spot for the rhythms and needs of both congregational life and a healthy and vital shared ministry.

It may be hard to believe, but Rev. Mara is just concluding her fourth year at FUUSB (time flies!), and as such is due for sabbatical beginning in the next program year, her fifth year with us. Given all that is afoot at FUUSB these days, especially the significant staffing reorganization we are undertaking, Mara had originally planned to forestall her sabbatical for another year or two in the hopes of getting further along in the restructuring process before being away for an extended period; however, as the reorganization calendar has emerged - and after some personal discernment this spring, Mara determined it makes more sense to take a shorter sabbatical next fall, rather than waiting for a longer one later. After consulting with the Board, Personnel Team, and senior staff about the specifics, we have scheduled a three month Senior Minister Sabbatical from August 21-November 15, 2017.

The reasons for this timing are really two-fold. First, looking ahead to the next few years, we have realized this fall is actually the least disruptive time for Rev. Mara to be away in terms of implementing our new staffing plan. It will be a short lull between hiring the new staff who will join our team in the 2017-18 year, and the start of next year's stewardship season, not to mention the early stages of our process to hire a Congregational Life Minister, which will start next spring. Related, it allows her to be back before Martha Dallas' departure at the end of November and the busy December holiday season.

Second, in reflecting on the state of her own spiritual tanks, Rev. Mara has realized she is in deep need of the renewal time sabbatical offers. Mara has been in ministry for ten years (serving six years before coming to FUUSB) without having taken any sabbaticals. Most of her classmates have had one, if not two, sabbaticals by now. The ministry needs of the past year-both internally and externally-have been particularly intense. Taking some extended renewal time sooner rather than later will allow Mara to refill her well before we head into the next phase of our staffing vision plan, continue to respond to the extraordinary needs of our times, refresh her sermon idea coffer, and to return renewed for the next chapter of our shared ministry.

We are in the final stages of developing a plan to hire a sabbatical minister, who will provide a regular pulpit presence and pastoral coverage in Rev. Mara's absence. Between our sabbatical minister, Andre - our ministerial intern, our fine staff team, and our talented and dedicated lay leaders, we know our ministries will be able to continue to thrive in the few months that Rev. Mara is away. We look forward to sharing more about all of this with you in the coming weeks - as well as Rev. Mara's plans for her time away, and how they will nurture our shared ministry. If you have any related questions in the meantime, please let us know!

Fire Drill This Sunday! 
by Bob Furrer

Drill time! On Sunday, May 21st, there will be a fire drill at the close of each service. As many of you know, the FUUSB has been staging drills for many years as a proactive 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 Meetinghouse 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 below.
It's my hope that everyone cooperates to their fullest ability, so the exercise can result in a efficient and constructive way to prepare ourselves for an actual fire should it ever occur.

Many thanks to all involved!

Annual Meeting Warning Notice
The congregation is warned that the Annual Meeting of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington will be held at 11:15 a.m., Sunday, June 4, 2017 immediately following the service.

Click here to read the full Annual Meeting Warning notice.

Click here to view the full budget on the Board of Trustees page.
From the Ministerial Intern
by Andre Mol

It's hard to believe that May is upon us, spring is finally here, and I'm wrapping up my first year as the ministerial intern at First UU. As I prepare to take a break for the summer, I've been reflecting on all that we've shared together this past year.

We have faced a lot of challenges and heartache, nationally and within our denomination. At the same time, we've had the chance to celebrate personal milestones, holidays, the changing of the seasons, and our historical meetinghouse. Many you have shared with me your journeys and struggles during coffee hour, in group discussions, and in individual meetings. I feel honored to be practicing ministry with you at this time. I'm also keenly aware that many of the opportunities afforded to me as your intern have occurred because of the ministerial needs of a congregation this size. That is why I'm excited about the First UU Staffing vision set forth by Rev Mara and Christina, which will ensure you have the proper staff to meet your growing ministerial needs.

Our time together is like an ongoing conversation. I have grown not through one individual interaction but from the cumulative interactions: the experiences we've shared together through worship, pastoral care, vigils, marches, listening sessions, and informal chats in the Parlors. I look forward to continuing this conversation next year, as well as deepening our community relationships through an interfaith social-justice workshop that I'll be offering this fall. I'll share more on this workshop in September, and you'll hear more of my reflections on my growth at FUUSB during my last Sunday service of the year that Rev. Mara will be leading on May 21.

You all have my appreciation for being such an important part of my learning journey. I want to specifically thank my dedicated internship committee which has met with me monthly, and guided and supported me since I began at First UU. The committee is chaired by Pam MacPherson and includes Ed Amidon, Jeff Byam, Cheryl Haller, Nina Harrington, and Monica Sargent. A heartfelt thank you to all!

My last day in the office this year will be Wednesday, May 24. I will join some of you at UUA General Assembly in June in New Orleans. Then, I will return the last week of August to begin my final internship year with you. I wish you all a fabulous summer and I look forward to the year ahead!

With gratitude,


Thank You, Woody! 
by Bob Furrer

At a recent Property Team meeting, volunteer contributions were discussed, and Woody Fulton's work with our Audio Visual equipment was cited as an example of exceptional stewardship that serves not only the Property Team, but all involved with Stewardship and Resources, as well as all of the Ministry Area Teams and their individual components. 

On behalf of all of the FUUSB Ministry Area Teams who wholeheartedly concur with our thoughts, we would like to give  a sincere and heartfelt thanks to Woody Fulton for all he does, and has done for the FUUSB. Woody has, and continues to, play a critical role in preparing for Sunday services, benefit concerts, political forums, and myriad types of UU programming. His work over the past years has been, and continues to be, instrumental in providing  professional presentations that our congregation and community appreciate and have come to expect, though all too often taken for granted!  His "can do" attitude, ability to patiently and objectively explain the constraints of our AV equipment, and willingness to consider new ideas and suggestions, all contribute to making his work essential to the outstanding programming presented at our Meetinghouse. 

Thanks, Woody, for giving your talent so cheerfully, abundantly and freely. It's appreciated by all of us!!!
End of Year Housekeeping
by Xina Fulton

As we near the end of the fiscal year, we need to make sure we meet our current year budget income. If you have not yet fulfilled your 2016/2017 fiscal year pledge, please do so prior to June 12 if possible. If you are unsure if you still have a balance due on your pledge, please email Christina and she will be happy to look it up for you. In order to meet our budget, we still need to collect about $83,000 in pledge income, so let's make it happen!

Also, if you made a pledge for the 2017/2018 fiscal year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018) and wanted to set up automatic payments, now is the time! Go to and click on "Donate Now" to set up your automatic bank withdrawal or credit card payments. If you have any questions or difficulty making this happen, contact Christina and she will help you out.

Thank you all; it's your generosity that helps this Society fulfill its mission!

Annual Picnic
by Lynn Douglas

silverware_heart_knife.jpg Come and celebrate after the Annual Meeting! It will be a lovely, sunny day and we will gather on the lawn for yummy food, sidewalk chalk, good conversation, labyrinth exploration...Please sign up to bring your favorite sandwiches or other goodies. See you then!!

Click here to sign up!  
Assisting with the RE Program
by Martha Dallas

Wendy Pelletier expressed this about her volunteer role in RE:

I assisted with the RE program this past Winter as a Doorkeeper in Spirit Play II. I had been a co-teacher for about 8 years when my kids (Bob and Katie) were in elementary school and I really enjoyed it. They are now grown, in their twenties,
and are productive, thoughtful and caring people. Teaching allowed me to spend more time with my kids and was also a great opportunity to learn more about the UU principles, since I was not raised as a UU.
This year I enjoyed seeing how the program has changed and grown since my earlier experiences.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons Why I love Volunteering in RE:
5. You may not have to wash the Breakfast dishes. Score!
4. You get to be around imaginative and smart kids. Fun!
3. You will learn (or remember) things about the world and the UU Faith. Learn!
2. You will meet interesting adults of all ages and interests. New Friends!
1. You will feel good about sharing the job of raising the children of our "Village." Smile!

I hope you'll consider bringing your heart and spirit to the volunteer service of helping grow our young UU souls! Contact Martha Dallas ( if you're curious to learn about possibilities. We'd love to have new folks come aboard! Thank you.
Care Network Corner- New Request
by Sarah Weber

We have a new request this week. A member of our congregation needs some help getting around. She would like assistance getting to Sunday service (either 9 or 11.... she is flexible) and to a weekly commitment at St. Paul's Cathedral in Burlington. She has a special vehicle that meets her needs, but she needs someone to come to her house and drive her in that special vehicle. She also needs help navigating through the cathedral building on Thursdays once she gets there. The time commitment would be roughly 2:30 to 5 pm on Thursdays. She would be happy to barter for rides, too.

(We are using the Meal Train application to help schedule rides.... this link is really for rides, not for meals.)

Rides for Jill:

Erica, Missa, and Mira:

The Bonilla Family:
Check Out the Latest Books! 
by Peggy Derby

Check out the display of books for children in the youth library. These books cover Unitarian Universalist beliefs and the 7 Principles. Fun to read and directed to a child's ability to understand.

Also check out the group of books on the Parenting cart in the community room that are about UU parenting.
Love and Justice Vigil May 24
by Kim Watkin

The Love and Justice Vigil for Wednesday, May 24th from 5:15pm to 5:45pm will meet in the front of the FUUSB.  We will stand in solidarity with our refugee neighbors and the immigrant community. 
From Shawl Ministry
by Lynn Douglas

Calling all knitters and crocheters- shawls are weighty projects for summer, but we would love to have a good supply of baby blankets for autumn! Also, If you are interested in a special, larger project contact Lynn at  Thank you ALL for your participation in this important ministry. 
Sanctuary Sunday and Donuts and Dialogue
by Tiffany Tillman

Sanctuary Sunday and Donuts and Dialogue
Sunday, May 21st, 11-1PM

All Middle and High School youth are invited to come to the worship service together and have donuts afterwards in SBA. Our YUUth Group welcomes middle school youth to sit in the balcony with them, and then come to SBA afterwards for donuts and a discussion about the service and monthly theme. It's a great way to get to know other youth and engage in fun and conversation.
Marathon Bake Sale
by Jean Palmer

The Yuuth Group plans a Bake Sale for Sunday May 28 during the Vermont City Marathon. There are so many people downtown, we thought we'd sell them some goodies to fund our Service Trip next year. We are requesting donations of baked goods from all of YOU! If you can bake something for us, please e-mail Jean at to let her know what you can make.
Many Thanks!

Staffing Our Future
by Xina Fulton

This past week you should have received a letter from Rev. Mara and Christina announcing the remaining vision for Staffing our Future. We hope you've had a chance to read the letter and process the information, and that you're as excited about this vision as we are. Although the letter was long, we were unable to give you all the details of the plan and the reasons for our decisions. We're sure that you must have lots of questions and we want to answer them all. Therefore we've planned to have Cottage Meetings over the next few weeks. The next Cottage Meeting will be on Saturday, May 20 at 9:00 a.m. in the Parlors. There will also be a meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday, May 21 at 12:30 p.m. During these meetings we will go over the staffing plan and answer any questions you may have about that. We're happy to also have a Board member or two available to remind us about our governance structure and how that structure plays out in staffing decisions.

Cottage Meetings: Saturday, May 20 @ 9:00 a.m.
Sunday, May 21 @ 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 30 @ 5:30 p.m.

We truly hope you'll be able to attend one of the Cottage Meetings. However, if you are unable to attend and you have questions, please contact Rev. Mara or Christina. We're happy to answer your questions anytime.
Please Return Your Books! 
by Lynn Douglas 

The Library Committee requests (read begs) you to please return all overdue books. We would prefer not to have to call everyone about all these books and chances are you would prefer not to be called.

The Committee will soon begin an inventory and it would be so much easier if we had all our books to count.

Please return them to the book "bag" hanging on the cart in the parlors or the basket in the Children's library.

Join the 16 folks READY to be Next Year's
RE Stewards!

by Martha Dallas 

Join these Fab Folks who've ALREADY told me they'll be part of the RE Team next year:

Christine Vatovec
Ann Rathbone
Tiffany Tillman
Jeff Trumbower
Rachel Schek
Jennifer Callahan
Josh Fairfax
Adessa Yeager
Cheryl Herrick
Melinda Lee
Tana Randall-Wolfe
RJ LaLumiere
Jenn Schollmeyer
Michelle Connor
MaryBeth McNulty

All I ask now is to know who's interested, and if you have any preferences or limitations. The best ways to communicate this are: 1) via the mini-forms on the "I'd Like to Help Grow Souls" bulletin board displays found both outside the main office and in the Community Room; OR via the online version of the same form you can complete HERE.

Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!

Martha Dallas
Why I Teach in RE
by Ginger Williamson

For many years, I HAD to teach in RE. Not just because we were a parent co-operative model, but because if I wasn't in the classroom with my kids, they weren't going to stay or enjoy RE. But, as my kids grew up and became more independent, I realized that not only do I enjoy teaching in RE, but I'm good at it, and it helps ground me in my UU faith.

Our curriculum is easily accessible online, so no more bulky binders or hard-to-read photocopies of Sunday's lessons. The families who are coming into our Society are excited and enthused about what-and who-our Society stands for, and they appreciate the perspective of a diverse UU curriculum. And best of all, it's easy to teach in RE; if you know how to be around people, you can be in an RE classroom! You can play a limited role or expand your duties, depending on your own needs and situation.

Parents with young children NEED a spiritual recharge, and coming to FUUS helps with that. But, if those families are always teaching in RE, it's hard for them to get a break and feel connected to the larger Society. That's our loss, and theirs. By being a committed RE teacher, even though my kids are no longer downstairs, I'm contributing to our Society and helping families be engaged in our offerings. Plus, you never know when what you learn in the RE classroom will come in handy outside of the program. I once won a trivia game because I knew the answer, thanks to our then-4th grade curriculum, Holidays and Holy Days. When asked how I got it right, one opponent, surprised to find out that religious ed programs don't have to be like his was, said, "man, my Sunday School was never that great!"

By teaching in RE, even though my own children are no longer in the program, I'm able to help model a new path for our vibrant RE. Plus, it's fun to be with the kids! They are interesting, inquisitive, kind, thoughtful, and enjoyable to be around. Their questions, comments, and smiles make my day.

If you're considering a way to live out your UU faith within our Society, I hope you'll think of joining me in an RE classroom. I know we can find the perfect spot for you! As for me, I'll be by the drawing table. See you there!

--Ginger Williamson, RE teacher since 2003
Afterword: April 30 White Supremacy Teach In
by Andre Mol

Many of you joined us on April 30 for a special service and discussion focused on institutional racism and white supremacy. We were one of over 680 UU congregations who participated in this teach-in the last few weeks at the call of the Black Lives of UU (BLUU) organizing collective. Our service, co-organized by our worship team and our Racial Justice Task Force, explored what is meant by white supremacy, how it relates to the recent events at the UUA, and what our UU history teaches us about this moment. We reflected on what this all means for us at FUUSB and how we move forward from here in solidarity with UU siblings of color.

For those who missed the service or who are looking to continue to explore and reflect on this ongoing conversation, we are sharing the readings and many of the sources that we cited throughout the service. We are also including the recording to the two reflections offered by Andre Mol and Zoe Hart.

We continue to welcome any questions or wonderings about the ongoing happenings in our larger UU world and our teach-in. Please reach out to Zoe (, Andre (, or Rev. Mara ( to discuss.

Dismantling White Supremacy Sermon from April 30. 

The Invisibility of Whiteness by james a. powell

Visitors in the Struggle for Racial Justice by Aisha Ansano

Brave Little State: Why is Vermont So Overwhelmingly White?

The Dream of White Innocence by Rev William Sinkford

The UUA Meets Black Power - BAC vs. BAWA

Racial Justice- Congregational Discernment Project- More Interviews Needed
by Jud Lawrie

We are still seeking First UU members who would be willing to be interviewed for a project of the UU Racial Justice Task Force. The project will involve obtaining the input from First UU people regarding their perception and thoughts about issues of racial justice and racism in Vermont. The objective is to help us determine and prioritize possible racial justice initiatives to be undertaken by the Racial Justice Task Force as well as by the larger UU congregation.

The interviews would each take from 30-60 minutes and would be scheduled at a time and place convenient for you (either at UU or somewhere of your choosing). We're hoping to begin conducting these interviews in May. Below is a link to a Google Form where you can indicate your willingness to participate as well as your preferences for when and where the interview might take place.

Please help us chart a course forward on this important issue by signing up to be interviewed. And please don't feel like you need to be an expert on the subject--everyone's input is valuable.

If you have any difficulty accessing or filling out the form, or if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.

Jud Lawrie
Co-chair, Racial Justice Task Force
Thank You, 2016-2017 RE Stewards!
by Martha Dallas

YOU helped grow the souls of some 170 children and youth this year!!!

Jill Allen
Brenda Balon 
Debby Bergh
Kate Bove
Kim Brockway 
Jenn Callahan
Todd Clason
Elizabeth Clayton
Tori Cleiland
Brianna Douglas
Meg Dunham
Julie Elfin
Josh Fairfax
Tara Graham
John Grimm
Linda Gross
Zoe Hart
Nancy Hellen
Cheryl Herrick
Dan House
Wren House
Clara Keegan
Meredith Kenton
Emily Koella
John Koutras
RJ LaLumiere
Pam Laser
Sharon Leach
John Leddy
Melinda Lee
Jeanne Lynch
Don MacDonald
Suzie McCoy
Mary Beth McNulty
Pam McPherson
Krista Nickerson
Wendy Pelletier
Tana Randall-Wolfe
Ann Rathbone 
Peg Rosenau 
Paula Rupp
George Rutherford
Jonathan Sands
Rachel Schek
Amelia Schlossberg
Mary Silverman
Tiffany Tillman
Jeff Trumbower
Christine Vatovec
Caitlin Waddick
Ginger Williamson
Valerie Wood-Lewis
Robyn Woodworth
Adessa Yeager
Xu Zhou

Stress Buster Evening FunRaiser Event - Opportunity to attend

Last Tuesday of May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep/Nov/Jan/Mar at 5:45 at the UU. Join Lynn Clauer of Sound & Soul Awakenings for a stress busting evening complete with guided relaxation and gong bath... We all seek peace and the strength that it brings to us and to our own expression of faith. With so much going on day to day, we need to tap the amazing tools for well being and healing found within.
You will be guided through breath work, gentle/mindful movement and centering (simple standing/sitting), and then enjoy a guided relaxation and Gong Bath including Tibetan bowls and Koshi chimes. The session will last between 60-75 min. Sound and a Gong Bath create a deep vibrational therapy that stimulates self healing and centering ~ great for mind, body, and spirit.
Currently few sessions may have to be cancelled (require 4 to be signed up for a session) and each is limited to 8 people per session due to space - It will be in the Susan B. Anthony room and mats and blankets will be provided. All you need to bring is an open mind and wear comfortable clothing - You may bring a pillow if desired to feel comfortable on the floor. A chair accessible version can work if needed.
Great for gift giving ~ UUs, non-UUs... you could even book a full group session for a special celebration (Birthday? Anniversary? Holidays?). To register or to ask questions call Lynn at 922-0516.

Five Star Film Cafe Presents: "Where to Invade Next?"

Join us after the service in the community room for these must-see, social-justice oriented films, a simple vegan lunch, and conversation! Free, bring the whole family (see age guidelines and check Commonsense media), invite friends!

Sunday, May 21 @ 12:30: "Where to Invade Next". To discover what we can learn from other countries, Michael Moore playfully "invades" them to see what they have to offer re: prison reform, school lunch, work policies, gender discrimination, and more. Hilarious and moving, the BBC called it a "guerilla act of humanity." (Age 15 and up, younger for politically aware teens)
Upcoming Sundays for Children
by Martha Dallas 

May 21 - Justice Sunday about BEES with Koi Boynton!
May 28 - FUNday at 10 AM only (single service Sundays begin)
June 4 - Childcare with special activities for children (details TBD!)
June 11 & beyond: All-Ages Childcare at 10 AM throughout the summer