August 2020 Communicator
Volume 37 Issue 8
Inspired by love, we transform ourselves and serve others.
Sunday, August 2nd

Please join us on Zoom this Sunday, August 2, at 10:30 AM. This is our Annual Pet Blessing Service. We will have a wonderful, full service and we will present a slideshow with all of your beloved pets and animal friends, past and present. Our animals give us so much unconditional love and comfort. We want to bless and honor them all, even though we cannot do it in Hobart Hall this year.  The service this week is brought to you by:

Suellen Kipp , Director of Music             
Krista Hopper , Worship Associate
Holley Rauen, Worship Associate
Peter Golbitz , Musician
Lesley Peterson , Musician
Members of CUUPs

This Week's Tech Team:
Lesley Peterson
Mark Brandon
Walter Peterson
Jill Carville

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 891 5048 2747
Password: chalice

or, follow the link on our webpage for audio only
If you would like to make a pledge or donation to UUCFM at any time,  you may mail a check to UUCFM, 13411 Shire Lane, Fort Myers, FL 33912 or visit our paypa l. Search for Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, then type in your donation and in the notes section, please add either  for UUCFM  or  Community Sharing,  or how much to split between both.
Community Sharing Partner
This Week Only!
Gulf Coast Humane Society
The Gulf Coast Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, no-kill, animal welfare organization established as the first non-profit animal welfare organization in Southwest Florida in 1947. Our shelter does not receive any federal, state, or county funding and no funding from the Humane Society of the United States or ASPCA. We rely solely on donations, grants, bequests and fundraising events to further our mission of caring for the neglected and abandoned pets of Southwest Florida. As a no-kill facility, the pets of the Gulf Coast Humane Society remain in our care until they find their forever home. 

Our mission is to provide humane care for surrendered animals by offering refuge, providing medical care, and facilitating an adoptive home. Each year we take in more than 2,000 animals in need of compassionate care. 

The work we do to care for these animals is all possible thanks to the support of those of you in the community who care deeply about the welfare of homeless pets. They thank you - and so do we.
Community Sharing for the Rest of August
Literacy Council Gulf Coast (LCGC) has provided literacy services for students across Southwest Florida for more than 30 years. Every student is unique, with different goals and needs. We strive to create a welcoming environment that encourages learning, while working with each individual to help them reach their objectives through our numerous programs.

LCGC offers three primary programs:  Adult Literacy, Worksite Literacy and Family Literacy.  Each of these successful programs is designed to help students improve the quality of their lives through literacy and language skills. These programs encompass multiple classes and include both group and individual tutoring opportunities.
UUCFM Classes & Groups
Caloosahatchee Mindfulness
The Caloosahatchee Mindfulness & UUCFM Book Study Group has resumed and is meeting on Zoom every Wednesday at 10:00 AM. We are reading  The Wise Heart  by Jack Kornfield. Please join us.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 849 5260 9369
Password: My1heart
The UUCFM Book Club  
The UUCFM Book Club now meets online. Our current book is the highly recommended White Fragility (Why it's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism) by Robin Diangelo . If you can find a hard copy, great. Amazon is sold out but they have the Kindle book. Read through chapter one. We will next meet on zoom Wednesday at 1:00 PM. For those who will be joining us for the first time, please email Mary Studer at   and she will send you the link to Zoom.
Special Book Group
Waking Up White by Debby Irving is "engaging, challenging, and action-oriented” (Moore, Eddie Jr.). The author tells a personal story about racial tensions in her personal and work relationships. In 2009, after wondering why her diversity efforts were unsuccessful, she begins her own discovery adventure that changed her life. 

Join Helen Leddy on your own discovery journey with Debby Irving’s book. It may change your life, too. This weekly book group meets Thursdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. It will take place online using Zoom. For more information and to sign up, please contact Helen   
From Operations
The Ops Committee has been preparing for the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra to join our church campus. The classrooms floors have been stripped and waxed and the cabinets cleared out and cleaned. A new office off the Narthex has been cleared out and painted. Storage areas in Hobart Hall have been reworked. The Religious Education Director, Music Director and the Building Supervisor's offices were moved into our main church office area. I will be sharing other updates as they happen.

Thanks, Dorothy Van Howe, Ops Chairperson 
From Our Caring Network
If you or another member of the Congregation needs some extra attention during this time, your Pastoral Care Committee is here to help as much as we can while keeping us all safe and protected.
Our Committee members include Mary Faegre, Joan Hickok, Mary Tracy-Sigman, Patricia Vivier-Naidl, Holley Rauen and Suzanne Ziemer. If any members of the Congregation are available to help during this crisis, please contact Mary Golbitz.

We can connect with you individually by phone if you are feeling isolated and offer other assistance. Please contact Mary Golbitz for information or assistance at  207 479-4082 (phone or text) or Holley Rauen at  or 239 464-6556.
Social Justice
South Fort Myers Food Pantry
The board and volunteers at the Food Pantry say thank you for the food that you have dropped off during these very difficult months. 

The best times to drop off food are 9 AM or 4 PM on Monday at the pantry itself, located at 8260 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers in the back of the Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church. Any size donation will be accepted. Most needed foods are peanut butter & jelly, cereal, breakfast bars, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta and tomato sauce, protein rich soups and beans. Please, no glass containers.
Our UU Story

Blessing of the Animals
A Blessing of the Animals service has been conducted annually by the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) group at UUCFM on the first Sunday in August. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic currently impacts church activities.
During this service it is customary for members of the congregation to bring their animal companions with them, or a photo or some other meaningful item related to their animal friend.
Types of Animals Blessed
Any animal can be blessed during blessing ceremonies, for example:

  • Australia: dogs, cats, tropical birds, reptiles, rodents, native Australian bees, goldfish, ferrets, hermit crabs, mounted police horses, rabbits, mice
  • Spain: dogs, rabbits, iguanas, doves
  • Canada: horses, dogs, cats, birds, donkeys, sheep, hawks, parrots, weasels, skunks
  • Working animals: including military or police dogs

Blessing  of animals is a  religious  activity, and occurs broadly across most religions in some form.
The  Lorscher Bienensegen , believed to date back to the 9th century, is a Christian  bee-keeping  prayer written in  Old High German  to bring  honey bees  back to their hives in good health. This may arise from earlier  Anglo-Saxon  and apparently pagan " For a Swarm of Bees " in pre-Christian Germanic areas.

On or around October 4, Christians worldwide celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis with a blessing of animals and prayers for creation.  Saint Dwynwen  is more known for being a  Welsh  patron saint of lovers, but she is also lesser known as being the patron saint of sick animals which she would bless. Legend has it that in the 4th century, whole herds of wild animals would come for the blessing of  Saint Blaise . He was a physician and  bishop  of  Sebastea  in historical  Armenia  (modern  Sivas, Turkey ) who is venerated as a Christian  saint  and  martyr .

According to legend, a cat saved Muhammad from a snake. In gratitude, Muhammad stroked the cat's back and forehead, thus blessing all cats with the righting reflex – a cat's innate ability to orient itself as it falls in order to land on its feet.

The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) identify with the precepts of classical or contemporary Paganism: celebrating the sacred circle of life and guiding people to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.  CUUPS was chartered by the Unitarian Universalist Assn. at the General Assembly in 1987.

~ Edited by Joy F. Sokeitous

Note:  Please send a story about your experience with the Blessing of the Animals for possible inclusion in the UUCFM Monthly Newsletter next August.
Member to Member
Barbara Boynton has donated to the church in appreciation for Mary Cline Golbitz's personal weekly caring relaxation meditation. Thank you, Mary!
Fundraising Idea
For what it's worth, I have a suggestion for a way to raise funds for UUCFM that doesn't require a lot of work or personal contact. We've all heard NPR's occasional pleas to listeners to donate their cars or boats to NPR. UUCFM members could post pictures and descriptions of their cars or boats along with the price, on our website and newsletter. If someone were interested they could email the seller for more information, go view the car or boat, and negotiate price. They would wear masks at their visits.

Each listing would indicate what percentage of the sale price would automatically go to UUCFM. Separate checks could be made out accordingly. We would set a minimum of 10% of the sale price going to UUCFM. If someone wanted to donate 100%, that would be okay too!

In order to prevent the clutter of a lot of small household items, we will set a minimum list price for any item listed: $1000. It is not limited to cars and boats, but the total selling price must meet at least $1000.

Many people dislike the hassle of selling their old cars or boats in advance of buying a new one. This process would make it more pleasant because they would be dealing with an "affinity group," (their church). They would be contributing to their church and maybe making some closer friends in the process. I know I would be more comfortable dealing with fellow UUs.

If you are interested, please send your listing, price, percentage amount for UUCFM, and photos to

In peace and friendship,

Hank Flandysz
Aug 1 Jennifer Grant
Aug 2 Barbara Boynton 
Aug 2 Dan Laliberte
Aug 3 Ian Ireland 
Aug 3 Carla Webb
Aug 4 Margot White
Aug 5 Susan Schmitt
Aug 6 John Simmons
Aug 12 Peg Lancioni 
Aug 12 Carole Latino
Aug 13 Shirley Blumenfeld
Aug 14 Paula Copestick
Aug 21 Suzanne Fast
Aug 22 Marge Gonzalez
Aug 24 Patricia Vivier-Naidl
Aug 25 John Swank
Aug 28 Kathy Ford   
Did you know your purchases can help us?  Amazon Smile  donates to UUCFM when you do your online shopping by following this special link to Amazon: 
Want to Become a Member?
If you are interested in becoming a new member, please email

Director of Music Suellen Kipp
Office Manager  Jill Carville
Building Supervisor   Mickey Kellam
Nursery Supervisor   Liza Kellam

Board of Trustees

President  Lesley Peterson
President Elect  Lane Cook
Secretary  Ruth King Fotovat
Treasurer  Pati Maier
VP Ministerial Services  Keith Hamlin
VP Operations  Dorothy Van Howe
VP Programming  Toni Latino
Member at Large  Genelle Grant
Please send all newsletter articles by  Wednesday at noon  for publication in Thursday's newsletter. Send articles to .