The Communicator
December 2017 Vol 34 Issue 12
Sundays in December
Gifts for Quality Life Center

The Social Justice Committee is sponsoring Holiday Gift Giving for the Students at the Quality Life Center.   On Sunday, pick up a "gift tag" or two with the age and gender of a student. Please bring an unwrapped gift with the tag attached to the Sanctuary or Hobart Hall . We suggest a minimum amount of $10. Please no guns, action figures, barbie dolls or battery-operated toys. Please bring all unwrapped gifts by December 17th.
Chili, Dessert, and Shopping after the Service on December 3rd
Holiday and social activities abound at UUCFM after service on Sunday, December 3rd. Your purchases go toward donations for the work of our church.
Get your $3 lunch of chili and corn bread in Hobart hall.
Go to the Bake Sale table and find the right dessert for you and your family.
There are shopping opportunities galore in the Screen Room. See a dazzling array of arts and crafts to purchase for the holidays.   
Check out the “Next-to-New” table to find 50-50 consignment items. This new activity is chaired by Teri Cooper and Barbara Mannix.
There is still time to volunteer, sign up for a craft table, or to contribute baked goods. Just contact:
The 3rd Annual Holiday Sing-Along!
Sunday, December 3rd at 1:00p

Plan to stay after church for festive fun!
• $3 chili lunch includes cornbread and beverage
• Shop our craft fair and bake sale
• Sing Christmas carols, Hanukkah songs, solstice chants, and other wintry favorites
• We’ll pass the Santa hat to benefit the South Fort Myers Food Pantry
• Request your favorite song by Friday, November 17th for a $25 donation
• Bring a friend!

Questions? Contact Amy Laursen,  
Meetings this Sunday, December 3rd
*Social Justice Committee Room 1 at 12:00 noon
*Connection Circles Rooms 2 & 3 at 11:45 am
*Membership Event Conference Room 12:00 noon
* Rissho Kosei-kai Room 1 at 1:45 pm
Staff & Board News
From the Board
In your order of service this Sunday you will find a white envelope with "Staff" stamped on it. These are holiday bonus envelopes for our UUCFM Staff. Please consider contributing to this fund. Thank you.
From the Minister
Bright Blessings
I would like to wish our director of Music the brightest of blessings as she leaves for her maternity leave after this Sunday. As the Advent season beckons celebrants to look ahead with great anticipation, so may we look forward to sending our love and rejoicing to the Laursen family as they welcome a baby girl at the end of December.

This is also a season where we are invited to offer our blessings to those around us. I would invite you to consider that for every gift you give to yourself or a loved one this season, consider giving a gift to someone in the community. Our social justice committee is creating just that opportunity, and I can't wait to give five gifts this year to the Quality Life Center holiday gift exchange. We are all bound to one another, and I know that being generous will bring my soul peace this season. May it do the same for you.
Music Notes

Musical Calendar

December 3: The Choir and Band team up for the rousing Gospel song,  Let There Be Peace and Haris Blackwood sings  Give Yourself to Love.  The UUCFM Quartet plays Pachelbel's Canon in D. 

December 3: 1:00p HOLIDAY SING-ALONG!

December 4: Please welcome Suellen Kipp as Amy's maternity leave begins. Suellen will work with our Choir and Band from December through March while I am enjoying time with my newborn. She is a talented pianist, singer, and conductor who currently serves as the Director of Music at Temple Beth El here in Fort Myers, and previously served in the same role at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, Indiana for 11 years. She has also taught vocal music and dance in schools for 17 years and holds a degree in Vocal Education. This is a wonderful opportunity for us and I hope you enjoy getting to know her.

December 10: In honor of Hanukkah, the Choir sings the rousing  Nigun Bialik and Angela Melton shares an offertory. 

December 17: For our winter solstice service, the Choir harmonizes the beautiful UU hymn  Dark of Winter and Peter Golbitz is featured. 

December 24: 10:30 am Suellen Kipp shares her piano talents. 

December 24: 5:00 pm Beloved Christmas carols for the annual Christmas Eve service. 

December 31: Celebrate the end of 2017 with Rev. Jason Shelton, UU composer! The Choir shares the heartwarming round,  Dona Nobis Pacem

The next Music Committee meeting will be in January, 2018.

The UUCFM Choir  rehearses most Wednesday nights from 6:45-8:15p, and on Sunday mornings from 
9-10a in the Sanctuary. It's free and there are no auditions. Please email me in advance so that a music folder can be prepared for you. Come join us in singing! 

The UUCFM Band  rehearses most Wednesday nights from 6:00-6:45p, and on Sunday mornings from 9:00-10:00a in the Sanctuary. If you would like to play your instrument during a Sunday service, please email me to coordinate the details. Come join us in making music together! 

Amy Laursen, Director of Music
Suellen Kipp
Religious Education News
Are you ready for an ADVENTure? UUCFM families will each be receiving a UU ADVENTure Bag this Sunday after service. These humble blue bags contain a wealth of seasonal spiritual exploration for the whole family. The bags have been created as a collaborative effort by Jenn Blosser, DRE, and a whole host of Religious Education professionals within the Liberal Religious Educators Association. All UU congregations participating are encouraging their families to tag social media posts about their ADVENTures with #uuADVENTure. This will let participants see how families across the country are celebrating the season and connect them to a larger UU community. This is a festive Family Ministry project that we are happy to offer as a new tradition at UUCFM!
Special Events
Come Join The FUUn BUUnch For Dinner
Saturday, December 2nd at 6:00p

La Grotta
(under new management)
9520 Marketplace Road
Ft Myers 33912


Drive E/W on Daniels Parkway toward 75. Turn North on Danport Way (Just east of Denny’s). Turn Right (East) on Marketplace Road (first road). La Grotta is on the right across from the Marriott. If you miss it, go round the circle, head west. La Grotta is 500’ west of the circle on the left.

Please call John E. Fischer, 267-992-6566 Or email by Sunday, November 26, to reserve your place. Management needs exact numbers to schedule staffing.
Women's Circle
Ladies: put on your holiday hats and join the Women's Circle on Monday, December 11th for the annual holiday get-together. We'll meet in Hobart Hall at noon for a potluck lunch, followed by a white elephant gift exchange. If you aren't crazy about your gift, we go a step further and play take away, which provides lots of laughter and fun. We'll also feature a holiday topic for discussion. Don't miss out on this. 

Linda Jensen  
Join the FUUn BUUnch for LUUnch after Church.
Sunday, December 17th, 12:30 pm at

3701 Fowler St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
(239) 277-0064

RSVP to John E. Fischer, 267 992 6566 or

From Shire Ln. at the Church, turn right and drive west on Daniel’s Parkway.
Turn right onto Plantation and follow it north around the circle at Crystal Dr. to
Colonial Blvd. Turn left onto Colonial and follow it west to Fowler St. Turn right
onto Fowler St. and follow it north across Winkler Avenue. Biggy’s is ½ block
north of Winkler on the east side of the street.
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans
Please join CUUPs on December 17th in Room 1 for our traditional gift give and take. Bring a wrapped gift and be prepared to take one away. Bring a snack to share for our festivities. All are welcome. We start around 12 noon. Helen Dixon is our gracious hostess for this event.

We are having a special time for all! Last year we hosted a Yule feast and song- we will do this again on a smaller scale on December 22nd. We will gather at the fire pit. Come join us at 6:30p as we drink wassail and have a Yule log with song and stories. We will honor the solstice. Bring a chair, a dish to share, and your voice. Join us as we celebrate Yule! May blessings of Peace and Love be with you all.

CUUPs co-chairs,
Lily Nieves
Heather Robinson
Games and More!

Saturday, January 27th, our church sponsored Scouts present a Casino Night for UUCFM. There is limited seating. Get tickets for friends and neighbors for a fabulous evening on January 27, 2018 from 6-10 pm,at $20 per person. Make checks payable to UUCFM, memo line Casino fundraiser. Send to/ contact Suzanne Ziemer, 4753 Estero Blvd, #303, Fort Myers Beach, 33931 or reserve  239-463-9020

Dinner Buffet includes: Caesar Salad, Artichoke & Parm Decadence,Baguette slices w/spread, Mushroom Melange , Greek marinated veggies w/feta, Pork loin spiral, Caribbean Chicken, Fruit and Assorted Pastries.

Casino tables, Roulette, & Wheel of Fortune will be serviced by our UU Boy Scout Troop as a thank you using our facilities.

All proceeds go to UUCFM All proceeds go to the UUCFM Budget.
Dinners Go Round for 2018
Dinners-Go- Round are now forming for January through April 2018!

Denis and Linda Jensen are organizing Dinners Go Round for January through April of 2018. These monthly potluck dinners offer you a chance to get to know your fellow UUCFM Members on an informal basis. One dinner is held each month at a host UUCFM member’s home on a date determined by the host and participants.

If you didn’t participate last year and would like to do so this year, please email Denis Jensen by December 15th at and let him know. Please include your names, telephone numbers, addresses, and email addresses in your email to Denis and also let him know if you would consider being a host for one of the four monthly dinners, or if there is one or more of the four months where you would not be able to participate. Also advise Denis if you will require wheelchair accessible dinner sites.
Rummage Sale
Save your gently used items for our UUCFM Rummage Sale! The sale will happen over 3 days- Friday, January 19th, Saturday morning, January 20th, and Sunday afternoon, January 21st. Contact Deb Lewis for details
Classes & Groups
UUCFM Book Group
The UUCFM Book Group meets each Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:30p in the Library.
The Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist group meets Sundays at 1:45p in Room 1.
Weekly Activities
Congratulations to our eBINGO WINNER this month: Audrey Brown! 
Audrey walks away with the eBINGO Jackpot of $125 this month. December play cards will be available this Sunday and the following Sunday after service in Hobart Hall. Tell your friends—the more who play, the bigger the jackpot. Where else can you turn $10 into $125 (or more) and help the church in the process? Easy-peasy!

Bill Petrarca
Community Wednesday 
Community Wednesday is held in Hobart Hall. All are invited. Bring friends and neighbors, too. Join us each Wednesday for a delicious meal prepared by Chef Joy for a small donation. After the fellowship and fine fare from 6:00- 6:45p, join your favorite programming event, committee meeting, or social activity. Child care is provided until 8:30p.
Community Wednesday Activities for December:

4:00-5:30        Optimal Living Group (1st & 3rd Wed)

6:00-6:45        Community Meal
6:00-6:45        Band Rehearsal in Sanctuary

6:45-8:00        Choir Rehearsal in Sanctuary
Social Justice
South Fort Myers Food Pantry & the Q!  
Thanksgiving is over and we have already started to collect Christmas presents for the children at the Quality of Life Center or “the Q” for short. Why the early start? The Q has been the recipient of our community sharing in December. The children and teens who attend the after school program have received the Christmas gifts that our parishioners have donated for the last three years. Mr Mohamed, who has spoken at our church many times over the years, started the after-school program seeing the need for support of the youth, as well as the working parents, in the Dunbar community.

So, what exactly do they do for these young people? First they are served a snack when they get there and a meal before they leave in the early evening. The following are some of the supports offered while they are there: a tutoring program, homework help, reading support, meditation, art classes, and dance classes. Once a year they put on a very impressive major production. In addition, teens are taught how to manage money, including how to raise money for special projects in which they might have an interest. In the summer they have special outings such as going to the beach, maybe sailing, golf, tennis lessons and even rock climbing. Many kids would never get to do this without the Q. Our part in their Christmas is to make sure they all get at least one gift. The Q has been able to expand since we first gave gifts and now have 181 students. We have now handed out about 140 gift tags designating the gender and age of the intended recipient. Help us get the gifts for the other 41 students. Get your tag with instructions by December 3rd if possible and returning them by the 17th. Pick up a second tag if you are feeling in the holiday spirit.
 Thank you all and Happy Holidays from the Q gift Committee!
If you have questions or are interested in volunteering at the Q or the Food Pantry, email Fran Rose at Put "Food Pantry" on the subject line of your email.
Member to Member
Do you have something to offer, trade, or sell? Are you looking for something? Free ad space here for personal items only. Please don't send ads in for your home business. Email
My UU Story
Thoughts of Christmas, Pagan Times, and Current Stress

What do some UUCFM members think about Christmas? What are their memories and concerns? At a recent Women’s Group luncheon, some members shared their holiday comments.

“At my very first Unitarian Church, in Philadelphia, I learned that Christmas is basically a pagan holiday. What we think of as Christmas trees, wreaths, and lights were originally part of the Sun worship tradition. When the days were getting shorter at the end of the year, people decorated with greenery to encourage more day light to return,” explains Joy F. Sokeitous. “This is the root of the beautiful decorations we now enjoy. Gift-giving started during Roman times as part of Sun worship.”

Some women remember the holidays as taxing times.

“it is too stressful. I don’t want to give any gifts since my husband and I give to each other throughout the year. We do decorate, but no tree,” explains Peg Clayton-Fisher.

“It was stressful times, trying to have everything perfect! Now, it is much easier because I gave up sending Christmas cards. Instead of gifts I now just send money (checks). But, I still love seeing the decorations,” says Dorothy Van Howe.

“Family and love,” remembers Joan Hickok. “But, all the gift-giving can be very stressful.

Suzanne Ziemer has an answer to the stress: “It is a time for family togetherness, sharing memories and exchanging fun, low-cost gifts. All the generations get together to play table games.“

Many Unitarian-Universalist churches around the country have holiday dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas. These offer a place to celebrate for both people with no local families and families of many generations.

“My family used to enjoy both the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at this church. My young family found this to be a surrogate for our family 1,200 miles north,” recalls Margie Kolde.

by Joy F. Sokeitous

About My UU Story

Each month, the Membership Committee would like to publish your UU story- either converted or born UUs. How did you become a UU, or how did our religion affect your life? Alternatively, do you have a one paragraph remembrance of your first reaction to being in a UU church and/or learning about the religion? To share your story, please contact Joy Sokeitous at  

Joy will help you edit and she will provide questions to help you develop your story.
Bed & Breakfast Volunteer Opportunity
We are preparing for another year of UUCFM’s Bed and Breakfast program. Through the generosity of host families within our congregation, we have raised $3000 to $5000 a year for the church operating budget for many years. We provide this service to UUs and/or their friends from around the country. This
program cannot happen without volunteers and we need your help!

What’s needed to be a host? The host provides one bedroom and bathroom and a basic breakfast each morning of the guests’ stay. The guests are usually one or two people. The breakfast can even be a “do it yourself” if your guests are early risers or you have to go to work and they want to sleep.

Do I have to entertain the guests or take them places? No! They will have their own transportation. If you have favorite restaurants to recommend, or other local travel tips, they are always appreciated. You are not expected to provide entertainment, transportation or extra food. For the most part, guests are off
doing their own thing most of the day and evening.

When and for how long? Guests stay from one to seven nights during the months of January through April. (Most stay only two or three nights.) You choose when and for how long you can host and then your requirements are matched with those of the guests. Even if you can only host for two nights in March, for example, that is a big help. February and March tend to have the biggest demand.

All money received from the guests as they stay in your home goes directly to the UUCFM operating budget. I haven’t even mentioned how interesting and fun this experience can be for the hosts. We have met so many great UUs through this experience!

Please consider being a host! Before you say no, talk to me. Just try it once…

Mary Nies, Program Coordinator
239-466- 7933
Shop for everyone on your gift list this holiday at  and Amazon donates to Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers.
Our Greater Community 
If you are a UUCFM Community Sharing Partner, a regular Facility User, or have UU related news to share, you are welcome to submit announcements for publication in our Greater Community section of the newsletter. Please send announcements in by each Wednesday for publication in the Thursday
Free Workshop for Women
Ladies, do you have a problem with leakage when coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising? Do you feel like you need to go all the time? If so join Sue Persia, a licensed women’s health therapist, for a fun, insightful, FREE 60-minute workshop to learn how to decrease symptoms. Join us December 7 th  at 6:00p in Room 7. Please bring a large towel or yoga mat for gentle, interactive exercises.Contact Sue Persia
SWFL Gay & Lesbian Chorus
SWFL Gay & Lesbian Chorus with
Tropical Storm present

There's No Business Like Snow Business

2017 Holiday Concert
Saturday, December 9th in Hobart Hall
6:00pm Dinner
7:00pm Concert

For tickets contact
Dec 3 Carol Ungerleider
Dec 11 Dawn Lienhardt
Dec 13 John Pittman
Dec 13 Kimberly Littleton
Dec 14 Lucy Wistreich
Dec 15 Lesley Peterson 
Dec 15 Sydney Stewart
Dec 16 Matt Halstead
Dec 17 Kay Flatten
Dec 21 Harvey Heckes
Dec 26 Melinda Machones
Dec 30 Joy Sokeitous
Dec 30 Bruce Marble
  Please send all news articles for the Weekly E-news to
All Communicator articles may be emailed to
Newsletter Editor: Jill Carville 
(239) 561-2700 
Board of Trustees

President              Steve Eisenberg        239-634-7367
President Elect     Matt Hoffman          239-222-4836
Secretary Theresa Bahre 843-472-0386
Treasurer              Jen Smith             630-881-0000
VP Finance             Deb Lewis            239-313-5618
VP Programming Julie Ireland 786-348-5544
VP Ministerial Services   Susan Forsyth         239-424-8442
VP Operations           Bill Petrarca           239-454-2438
Member at Large Bruce Marble 239-596-2703
Youth Representative Madeline Wellman

Minister            Rev. Allison Farnum  239-561-2700x204
Director of Music   Amy Laursen        941-932-2353
Director of RE       Jenn Blosser       239-561-2700x208
Office Manager      Jill Carville          239-561-2700x202
Building Supervisor  Mickey Kellam       239-738-3473
Nursery Supervisor  Liza Kellam          239-314-6316