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May 26, 2017
Latest News
(Re)Introducing Our Sabbatical Minister
On to the Next Adventure
Proposed Sanctuary Piano Repair
Annual Meeting Warning Notice
Annual Picnic
Care Network Corner- Bonilla Family Still in Need of Meal Assistance
Celebrating our Coming-of-Agers on June 4!
Please Return Your Books!
New UU Class June 10
Bake Sale is Cancelled
Farewell, Tiffany!
Vermont Lake Monsters Invitation
Upcoming Sundays for Children
Upcoming Services
May 28- We Remember Them
9 & 11 

Worship Leaders:
Judy Brook and Maeve McBride

On Memorial Day Sunday, after the marathoners have passed down Pearl Street, we will gather in the spirit of remembrance and reflection to honor those in our own lives who have passed on. The spirit of our service will be gentle, contemplative, and participatory. If you choose, you may come forward during one of the designated times to light a candle in honor of someone you would like to remember. There will be Vacation Sunday all ages activities for children.


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Important Dates

June 8

Mother Up! A Gathering for Families

June 10 
New UU Class

June 11 
Five Star Film Café
"What the Health"


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(Re)Introducing Our Sabbatical Minister: Rev. Phyllis B. O'Connell

 In wonderful news, during Mara's upcoming three-month sabbatical, we will be welcoming Rev. Phyllis O'Connell back to FUUSB as our Sabbatical Minister. Rev. O'Connell, whom many of you will remember from her coverage of Mara's parental leave in 2015-16, lives in the Boston area and spent more than 25 years in parish ministry before her retirement in 2015. Rev. O'Connell served congregations across Massachusetts, including Wellesley Hills, where Mara served as her Assistant Minister back in 2007-08. When thinking of whom to invite to cover Mara's sabbatical, Phyllis was a natural first choice, and we were delighted when she said yes to our invitation! After a successful back surgery last summer, Phyllis has been enjoying good health, and is delighted at the prospect of another stint with our Society (not to mention enjoying Vermont in peak leaf season!).

As our Sabbatical Minister, Rev. O'Connell will be with us half-time, and like during the parental leave, her primary focus will be on preaching/worship and pastoral care. Phyllis' half-time schedule will involve being in Burlington for alternating weeks, during which she'll be here Saturday evening through Wednesday morning. Her Burlington weeks will include Sunday services and being in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays. On the Sundays Phyllis is not preaching, services will be covered by a combination of our Ministerial Intern, Andre Mol, guest preachers, and services led by our Worship Associate team. Phyllis will also be "on call" for emergencies during her entire time with us, and available to come to Burlington on her "off" weeks should that become necessary. Her first Sunday in the pulpit will be August 27!

We will share more details about the sabbatical, and how various duties of Rev. Mara's will be covered and by whom as the summer unfolds. But in the meantime, we wanted to make sure to get the word out about Phyllis' return as soon as we could!

On to the Next Adventure
by Tiffany Tillman

 It's with mixed emotion that I leave the Youth Ministry Coordinator position here at FUUSB. The decision to leave my position did not come easily. After months of back and forth and deep contemplation, I decided to go with my gut and what my family needed most. In the Fall I will become a preschool teacher with the Davis Studio preschool where Ivy, my three year old, will attend and will also begin to take classes towards a Masters of Social Work at UVM. The schedule will work better with my family of five's busy lives, and will allow me to pursue my goal of getting a MSW.

But, what a gift these past three years have been! I have truely loved every minute of my time working with, witnessing, growing, playing, serving, being humbled by, learning from and engaging with our UU youth on their journey into adulthood and making meaning in their lives. After this year's youth service I looked at the upcoming group of youth and almost said, very loudly, "Wait, forget it! I'm all in!" Working with teens, and I think especially UU teens, is always fun, interesting, thought-provoking and joyful. It'll be hard to match the way the youth challenged me to think outside the box and be ever more inclusive. And, though I'm sure preschoolers will teach me a few things about pop culture, I'm not sure I'll get the same level of education that I've had these past few years.

Like I told the youth, what we have here at FUUSB is about them. They created it. And they will continue to create it. It's their gifts, spirit, thoughfulness, intelligence, openness, compassion, playfulness and love that makes Youth Ministry here strong. And I'm certain our programs and our youth will continue to bloom and grow over the coming years. And who knows, maybe I'll be a volunteer in the future or start a mindfulness for tweens and teens program.

With much love, humility and gratitude,

Proposed Sanctuary Piano Repair
by Woody Fulton

Included in the warning for the Annual Meeting on June 4 is a proposal to use up to $10,000 from the "Meeting House Fund" to make necessary repairs to the Steinway A-3 piano that resides in the sanctuary and adds so much to our Sunday services.

The piano was purchased in 2010, was manufactured in 1926, and resided in a private setting until we purchased it through the generosity of members of the society. It was little used in its original setting, and since we acquired it has been used every Sunday, and on many other occasions. We were aware at the time it was procured that it would eventually need major work, as you might imagine anything 91 years old would. Several pianists, including Wayne Schneider, have recommended that its action be rebuilt. The problem, from the pianist's point of view, is the difficulty in obtaining a consistent pianissimo. Allan Day, who located it and has tuned and maintained it since, attributes this to the age of the linkages between the keys and the hammers, plus the age of the felts of the hammers. Accordingly, we plan to replace those parts. This will render the instrument excellent for our use,as well as making it more welcoming for guest concert pianists.

Prior to First UU moving to two Sunday services, the sanctuary piano was little utilized, and it quickly became clear that the instrument we had at that time would not suffice. Since then, the Steinway has become essential in both services. This proposal seeks to utilize up to $10,000 from the endowment fund, and although our quote from Allan Day from two years ago is $7,000, it is wise to be prepared for any contingency.

A word about the above mentioned "Meeting House Fund" that exists for "the maintenance, improvement and purchase of the Society's long-term fixed assets in perpetuity." This piano proposal is exactly the kind of project that this endowment fund was created for; and, if you appreciate the music that adds so much to our worship experience may we suggest that you consider making a special contribution to this fund to insure that future needs are funded when the need inevitably arises.

Many thanks,
For the Music Committee

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.
Come to Our Annual Picnic! 
by Lynn Douglas

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!  
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:
Celebrating our Coming-of-Agers on June 4!
by Martha Dallas

Please, everyone, join us for worship at 10 AM on Sunday, June 4, when our five Coming of Age participants will be honored, and will share their Credos, or Statements of Personal Belief.

This programmatic rite of passage, which used to be open to any high school student during the year of their choosing, will, starting next year, be a Ninth Grade program - a powerful and meaningful way for each age cohort to connect with one another and deepen their sense of how they relate to UUism - while they begin to engage with their older peers through our high school YUUth Group.

I especially encourage families with older children to come, and stay to hear the Credos, and see how their slightly-older UU peers engage with life and create their own meaning in the world! Younger children will be sung out for some special activities (available through Annual Meeting, which immediately follows worship).

Congratulations, Coming-of-Age participants! See you at 10 AM Sunday, June 4!

by Bob Furrer

As June marks a scheduling transition month for many of our meetings, theme circles and justice events, it would be of great help to me if the designated point people would please confirm whether or not you will continue to meet in June, July and August.

Many Thanks!

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.

New UU Class June 10
by Nina Buss

New UU Class June 10th: Would you like to learn more about Unitarian Universalism? Find out more about our own Burlington UU Congregation? Meet other newcomers? If so, please sign up for the New UU Class! The class will be held June 10th from 9am -12:30 here at the Meeting House. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board outside the Parlors or you may e-mail Nina Dahlstedt Buss at

Bake Sale is Cancelled
by Jean Palmer

The YUUth Group Bake Sale, scheduled for Marathon Sunday, has been cancelled.

Farewell, Tiffany! 
by Martha Dallas

Dear friends,

You may by now have heard the sad news that our amazing Youth Ministry Coordinator, Tiffany Tillman, has decided to wrap up her tenure in that role at FUUSB effective June 30.

Three years ago, in the wake of the Youth Ministry Advisory Team's advocacy for a staff position to lead the team of youth advisors, Tiffany stepped in to the (then) micro-position of Youth Programs Coordinator. Due in part to the cohesion the youth and advisors experienced with her leadership, the position was expanded two years ago to 10 hours/week and given a new title, allowing Tiffany to do even more.

In that time, the growth we've all witnessed in vibrancy and participation in our YUUth Group is due largely to Tiffany's passion, skill, and commitment to our high school teens, and to her conviction that their diverse, love-filled Unitarian Universalist community is a nest of comfort and a soothing balm. Her leadership has helped us glimpse the possibility of really fanning the flames of UUism in teen hearts and spirits!

Surely, we will see Tiffany around FUUSB in other capacities, but Tiffany, we will miss you very, very much as our Youth Ministry Coordinator!

On behalf of the staff team, parents of youth, advisors, and members of our YUUth Group, blessings, love and joy on your journey!

Vermont Lake Monsters Invitation

Dear Faith Community, Family and Friends...


On July 23rd, the VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS invite you to a night out to support JUMP at Centennial Field.
Come join the fun, take someone you love out to the ball park and cheer from the Grandstand.
Whether you take fellow faith community members, the whole family or a group of friends... it's for a good cause.
It's simple, go on line, purchase your $6.00 game ticket and 50% automatically goes to JUMP.
Through your kindness, we can make families feel Safe, Secure and Cared about!

Get your ticket (s) today, click here:

Upcoming Sundays for Children
by Martha Dallas 

May 28 - FUNday at 10 AM only (single service Sundays begin)
June 4 - Childcare with special activities for children, continuing through Annual Meetinig (details TBD!)
June 11 & beyond: All-Ages Childcare at 10 AM throughout the summer
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!