The Newsletter May 2017    
           

This month in worship and religious education we explore... COURAGE.  
  


Spring Spruce Up Day 
 
Mark your calendar! On Saturday May 20th from 9 AM - 3 PM we will be holding Spring Spruce-up Day to get both the church and Nielsen House ready for summer. We'll be doing a variety of tasks both outdoors and indoors. Please consider helping out on this day. You could work for a few hours, half a day, or more... whatever works best for you. Any help will be appreciated. If May 20th doesn't fit your schedule, you can select a task and do it when you can. Look for the sign up sheet and list of tasks posted in Fellowship Hall. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Bob Keith or Roger
Orwick.


Adult Enrichment

The fairly new Women's Group at North Unitarian Universalist Congregation and the even more recently organized "Meet and Eat" dinners are moving forward.

Mostly because of the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, a series that premiered on April 26, the Women's Group has decided to explore not only feminist thealogy but also the themes and concerns in Atwood's book.  The time is right for both studies.  

In the The New York Times article (3/10/17), "Margaret Atwood on What 'The Handmaid's Tale' Means in the Age of Trump," the author remarks, "In the wake of the recent American election, fears and anxieties proliferate.  Basic civil liberties are seen as endangered, along with many of the rights for women won over the past decades, and indeed the past centuries."  Earlier in the article she states, "The control of women and babies has been a feature of every repressive regime on the planet."  Certainly The Handmaid's Tale describes a repressive Bible-founded theocracy.

The Women's Group's future program will be loosely based on the UUA curriculum "Rise Up and Call Her Name," with a multitude of other sources, such as Atwood's work, supplementing it.  At our May meeting, on Tuesday the 16th, (6:30 pm), we will consider how we're all "Eve's Daughters," affected by our "original sin of being born female," which creates what author Sue Monk Kidd calls a kind of feminine wound.  We'll look at some anecdotes and poems giving the point of view of Lilith (Adam's first wife).  Then hopefully we all will have had time to finish The Handmaid's Tale by the June 19th meeting so that we can begin to discuss it.  Anyone identifying as a woman is welcome in our group.
            
As for the "Meet and Eat" dinners, where people can become better acquainted and enjoy stimulating conversations, Marty and Bob Keith already have hosted the first one on April 29th!  They supplied the main dish and the dessert, and the guests brought the sides.  Six other folks will dine at the home of James and Bobbi Jo Allan in late May.  The exact Saturday is yet to be decided, after everyone involved has had a chance to check calendars.  At least one more dinner is planned, tentatively set for mid to late June.

Finally, the enrichment opportunity, "Mindful Writing," still meets on the 3rd Wednesday evening of each month at the church, with writers bringing in prose and poetry on topics that interest them.



From Your Steering Committee

The Steering Committee was formed last fall to discern the needs of the congregation as we move forward with our goal of living our congregation's mission. It is also tasked with guiding the process of determining how remodeling existing space and/or building new space can help us achieve that goal.

In the last congregational meeting, the committee was asked how this process is different from the previous one. We believe that there are two major differences. First, the current process is driven by the mission of the congregation as delineated by the Board. In our prior attempt desire for more space was the top priority. The emphasis was on a Sunday worship experience, which resulted in prioritizing the sanctuary. In practical terms this meant that other activities were expected to conform to the available space.

This time the board has taken a careful look at what our community values as people of faith engaged in the world. They looked at our UU values, how they inform our mission and the ways in which that mission can be put into practice. So, the present process is focused on how a space can support our worship needs and also those ways we choose to serve the world. In simple terms, the goal of the first attempt was to conform our needs to the space. This time we want to conform the space to our needs.

The second big difference is the commitment of the Steering Committee to regularly keep the congregation informed about the process. We believe that this project belongs to the whole congregation and that we are stronger and more effective when we all work together; we want and need input from congregants. To that end we have established an email address to which you are encouraged to submit questions and concerns about this project. That address is: steering@nuuc.org.

Now for this month's updates:

- Committee members have visited several congregations that have gone through a building and/or expansion program. These visits have given us ideas about what to do or not do as we move forward. Three committee members visited the Wooster UU Church on 4/30.

- We have a list of architects to interview and hope to proceed with interviews in June.

- There is a bulletin board near the sanctuary with an explanation of NUUC's mission. There is also an envelope on it in which you can submit questions/concerns/suggestions to the Steering Committee.

Thanks for your interest in and attention to NUUC, the congregation's mission, and our update.


Allison Fagan, chair Rod Myers
Teri Cornell Lauren Richards
Christine Jones-Leavy John Rodeheffer
Richard Leavy
Host a Muslim Student

Host a YES student in 2017-2018! The YES scholarship program is designed for exchange with majority Muslim countries to increase understanding and promote peace amongst our communities.    Students come from devout Muslim families, to non-practicing, as well as some Christian, from countries such as Jordan, Albania, Palestine, and Liberia.  We are looking to place 4 of these youngsters in the Central and Southern Ohio area.  Please let us know if your can help!

Interested persons can contact Kay Barr at fraubarr@aol.com

White Privilege: Let's Talk~
Transformational Dialogue

Rev. Susan Ritchie and Rev. Joan Van Becelaere are offering the curriculum "White Privilege: Let's Talk-A Resource for Transformational Dialogue," inviting NUUC members and friends to participate in ongoing conversations (in the style of and as a special iteration of Conversation CafĂ©) on Thursday nights, May 4-June 8. 7 PM (in Fellowship Hall, not Nielsen House).  This curriculum is designed to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race.  Divided into six focused parts, each part introduces a different aspect of the dynamic of white privilege: 1. Laying the Groundwork; 2. Whiteness as the Norm: Five Loci of Insights on the Binary of Light/Dark and Black/White; 3. Spiritual Autobiography Told Through the Lens of Race; 4 & 5. The Cash Value of Whiteness or Whiteness as a Tax-Exempt Status; and 6. On Becoming an Ally.  All four parts include a brief video present ation and reading with a different view of the subject matter presented based on different people's unique personal experiences.   This is offering is in spirit with the request from the Black Lives Matter Unitarian Universalist requesting that congregations engage in teach-ins regarding white privilege, given the recent events at the Unitarian Universalist Association where hiring practices were decried as institutionally and structurally racist.  To sign up, click here.
 
Mowing at NUUC - We Need Some Help
 
Forthis mowing season, the Building and Grounds Committee plans to handle the mowing using the same approach as last year, which will avoid us having to contract out the mowing and save about $3,200 in the budget. Our plan is for the B&G Com mittee to handle the mowing on a rotating basis with some help from the congregation. B&G Committee members will mow 3 weeks of each month, and the 4th week and sometimes the 5th week will be handled by a different volunteer from the congregation. This approach will spread the work so each committee member will mow about once a month, and each congregational volunteer would mow just one time during the season. Our approach will keep everyone's work commitments reasonable. 

The areas to be mowed include both the church yard (bounded by the driveway and the parking lot) plus the yard around Nielsen House. We have a riding mower, which is used for almost all of the mowing. For a few small, tight areas, which the riding mower cannot handle, we use a push power mower. The southern field at the rear of our property and the west side of the parking lot are excluded and will be mowed separately compliments of Gary Rusk, using his large tractor.

Therefore, we would like to get 1 or 2 volunteers from the congregation each month to mow one time in the season. The mowing season runs from April through early November. But volunteers from the congregation will be needed only from mid-April through October, which is 6 1/2 months. Three of those months have 5 weeks and will require 2 volunteers, so we need a total of 10 volunteers.

Please consider volunteering to mow one time this season. If would like to help the church handle the mowing, you can sign up on the mowing sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall. Just pick a date that works for your schedule. If you have questions or would like more information, just contact Bob Keith at 740-369-1919 or bobkeith@frontier.com .


 
Social Justice News


IACO INTERFAITH VISIT TO AHLUL BAYT ISLAMIC CENTER: Join the interfaith community for a time of conversation, consultation and community building at Ahlul Bayt Islamic Center, 2580 W. Dublin Granville Road, Columbus, OH 43235 on Saturday, May 6th, 1-3 PM. Lunch will be provided following a welcome and prayer observation. To attend kindly RSVP by May 1 to office@iaco.org. Please join us in building a community of friendship and trust.

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE 101 SUMMIT: May 6th, 2017, 10am-2pm at First UU Church, 93 W Weisheimer Rd, Columbus, OH 43214. Restorative justice is a practice utilized across disciplines that focuses on conflict resolution and prevention by shifting away from a top-down, punitive-based approach and towards reaching collective, meaningful resolution for all involved individuals. The Juvenile Justice Coalition (JJC) will be co-hosting a summit to 1) introduce individuals to restorative justice principles, 2) show how restorative justice can be applied in different settings, including juvenile courts, schools, direct service organizations, communities, and faith-based spaces, and 3) create time to brainstorm with other stakeholders in your field to identify practical ideas about integrating restorative justice into your work. Contact Erin Davies at edavies@jjohio.org or 614-400-5548 for more information.

INTERFAITH ASSOCIATION OF CENTRAL OHIO (IACO) Helping Central Ohio Homeless: Join representatives from other faith communities to help serve meals at the Van Buren Shelter, 595 Van Buren Drive, Columbus, 43223, from 5:30 PM (introduction and tour) to 7:45 PM on Sunday, May 28th. If you are interested in joining the other IACO members who are volunteering, please contact Michael Greenman, Moderator of the IACO Social Justice Task Force, at mgreenmanoh@gmail.com. For more information, see the SAC bulletin board or ask Pam Patsch.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING:   Our May Loose Change Offering will be donated to the Columbus chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) which is part of a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice.  The mission of SURJ is to move White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability through community organizing, mobilizing, and education. They work to connect people across Columbus, Ohio while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change. SURJ envisions a society where we struggle together with love, for justice, human dignity and a sustainable world. For more information visit the SURJ website at http://surjcolumbus.org/


REPURPOSING PLASTIC BAGS: Sometimes we forget to bring our reusable bags to the store and end up with plastic bags. Now you can donate your plastic bags to the Ohio Reformatory for Women where inmates are making sleeping mats for homeless people. The Vineyard, a Columbus church, distributes the mats to homeless people living in camps through its urban ministry program. Crocheting the mats gives the women purpose and meaningful activity by teaching them they can take care of someone else and the Earth. You can leave your plastic bags in the designated bin next to the office in Fellowship Hall.

UUSC FAIR TRADE COFFEE: Shop for delicious Fair Trade coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate after the service on May 14, 2017. Your purchase of Fair Trade products means that workers along the supply chain are provided a living wage. The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) supports a number of worker-owned, local producers who are in danger of being replaced with multinational corporations that have little respect for workers' rights. Making consumer choices that are aligned with our UU Principles is one way to help create a more just world community. 

DONATING YARN AND SCRAPS OF MATERIAL: Some of the women in Horizon are working on service projects including knitting or crocheting items for charitable groups or making quilts. They greatly appreciate donations of yarn, scraps of material, or patterns that you no longer need.

Service Auction:  Great Fun and Great Success!
 
Our service auction on Saturday evening April 8th was great fun and a great success.  The theme "A Night in the UUniverse" gave us a galaxy of amazing outer space decorations.  The Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall were both decorated to reflect the theme with planet systems suspended from the ceilings, a giant silver rocket ship, space murals, a large UFO, planets, moons, NASA planet travel posters, aliens, and stars, plus UFO's floating above.
 
Beyond the decorations, many activities went on simultaneously.  There were the Silent Auction and the Theme Basket Auction for adults.  Meanwhile the children were eagerly vying for certificates for fun events, educational space books, and games in the Kids' Raffle Auction.  In addition, there was a fantastic selection of foods with a space motif and other refreshments, including wine provided by Susan Ritchie and Donna DeGeorge.
 
In Fellowship Hall, we had 5 colorful, fun space activity booths.  Popular activities were trying your skill at making ringers to win a prize at the booth "Rings of Saturn Toss and Space Pods" operated by Lynn and John Foreman and getting a space-theme face painting at Beth Wilcox's "Space Faces" booth.  Also popular was the "Cosmic Creations" craft booth, where you could make a light saber or UFO that was hosted by Dee, Alex, and Jason Burlison.  Many liked Marty Keith's "Glow-in-the-Dark Space Spin" booth and tried their hand at spinning the rune wheel to win a prize while being amazed how things glowed under the black lights in the darkened room.  At the fun photo booth, "Out of this World Photos," Spenser Hickey and Brad Bushman took people's picture against the night sky or had them put their head into a full-size picture of astronaut Neil Armstrong's spacesuit to get a fun picture.
 
The evening got more exciting when the first of 2 live auction sessions began with Nathan Morse as our quite entertaining auctioneer.  Not to be left out during the live auctions, children could still do face painting.  At the intermission, people again enjoyed the 5 space activity booths, more excellent food, and finished up the silent auctions.  The 2nd live auction session then continued the excitement and was quite fun due to Nathan Morse's lively sense of humor.  Throughout the evening, the changing of activities was marked by the trumpet fanfare of Space Bugler, Susan Ritchie, and our Interplanetary Crier, Bob Keith.  During the evening, three $25 gift cards for nice restaurants were given as door prizes for adults and 3 kids received door prizes of space books and flashing wands.  At the end of the evening, we saw the children's happy reactions to winning items as the tickets were drawn for the Kids' Raffle Auction.  This service auction was a truly memorable evening, and we look forward to next year's service auction.
 
The service auction is NUUC's biggest fund-raiser and this year's auction was a great success with impressive results.  We grossed just over $9,400 in sales, which is a new record!  Last year we grossed $7,886 and our goal this year was $8,000.  We thank all the donors for their many auction items and all the bidders who bought them.  This amazing community event could not have happened without each and every one of you.  There were only about $600 in expenses thanks to many special donations by the service auction team members and space activity booths' hosts, plus people's creativeness in finding low-cost ways to do the event's decorations.  The service auction will further help build community throughout the year as people get together to fulfill the service donations.
 
We give a hearty thank you to the Service Auction Magic Makers team, which planned and conducted this fabulous service auction.  We also give a big thank you to both the setup and decorations teams, who did a great job in transforming the church into the "A Night in the UUniverse".  The food team of Susan Ritchie and Donna DeGeorge gets a great big thank you for providing a wide selection of tasty foods with a space motif th roughout the evening, plus served refreshments including wine.  A special thank you goes to our space activity booth hosts identified earlier in this article.  Additionally, we give a hearty thank you to John Rodeheffer and Bob Keith for constructing the 5 space-activity booths.  And let's not forget a large thank you for our super auctioneer, Nathan Morse.  We also give a big thank you to the cleanup team for their quick work right after the event to get the church ready for the Sunday service the following morning.  Another special, large thank you goes to Chris Aultman for putting together the event's catalog, handling the data inputs on auction day, and following up with participants on their donations and purchases.  In addition, we thank the remaining people not specifically identified here, for their help in putting together this big event.  Lastly, we thank all the donors, and all the buyers that made the service auction such a fun event and a great success.
 
Everyone definitely can look forward to the next service auction, which will be held in the early spring of 2018.  We're sure it will be even more exciting and surprising than this service auction.
 
To help people easily locate who bought and sold each item at the service auction, we will have 2 new reports available online at NUUC's website for the coming year.  We'll also have this year's service auction catalog and the catalogs of past service auctions online, too.  You can reach this service auction information at www.NUUC.org/service-auction .  For questions, contact Chris Aultman or Bob Keith.
 
Best regards, 
 
The Service Auction Magic Makers  ( Dee Burlison, Lynn Foreman, Marty Keith, Trina Timson, Brad Bushman, Jan Bourke, and Bob Keith [chair]).


Treasurer Diane Conley's Report

Treasurer's Report - for the month of March 2017
Roots & Wings balance as of March 31, 2017....$19,955.00
March Loose Change Collection - Project Linus Columbus.....$230.55
Financial Snapshot thru March 31, 2017:
                                                                         
 YTD Actual                         YTD Budget                        Difference

Pledges and Other Revenues        
  64,154.46                           40,757.50                           23,396.96

Expenses                                                                  40,269.60                           43,663.09                             3,393.49

Net Income (Loss)                                            23,884.86                           (2,905.59)                           26,790.45
 
We had a great first quarter!  Pledges are being paid timely and expenses are tracking less than budget.  Thank you!   
If you have any questions about the financials, please send an email to Treasurer@nuuc.org