As the metro area sends kids back to school (some almost a month ago as schools begin year round calendars) Rev. Sarah offers blessings to all who are going to school or working in schools (and colleges/universities!)
She’ll explore how all of us at VUU might best support our students and those who work with them–how this faith community can act as an anchor when school communities may be challenging for a variety of reasons.
Rebecca Riggs joins Rev. Sarah as Worship Associate. Katie Seifferth, Director of Music Ministries, and Christy Vest, pianist, lead our music.
Save the Date: Celebration of Life for Debbie Dinyes 11/11/2023 2-4 p.m.
Interested in helping with hospitality and refreshments? Contact Rev. Sarah firstname.lastname@example.org
Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah
The VUU Staff met this week to go over the year ahead of us, planning our calendar of activities. We will also be reviewing the previous year. We’d love to hear from committees about your plans for the year so we can make sure our planning is collaborative and supportive and avoid accidental overlaps in planning. Send us an email with the dates and activities you have planned or hope to plan! Even if your plans don’t require physical space at VUU, we’d like to have a master calendar that shows us what’s happening in our community. Also, please look at the calendar and notice when other things are scheduled, and also if there are activities on the calendar that are no longer relevant.
We had a great presentation about VIP last weekend, and our OWL class (lifespan sexuality) for 8th and 9th graders began with 17 participants! Parents (I am one of them!) are also finding time to connect and share while their kids are in the class. This next weekend we have more OWL programming beginning. As a parent and as a minister, I am grateful for the multigenerational community at VUU.
Recently I met with Trinity Donovan, CEO of AZCEND, to learn more about their work. As you may know, AZCEND runs the I-HELP affiliate work here in Chandler which provides temporary shelter for folks in need of housing. They have many other programs that address the needs of individuals and families in our community. As a result, I applied to serve on their board and was accepted. I am currently the only faith leader that will be serving on their board and I hope to bring deeper connections and partnerships to our shared work in this community. I will be attending an orientation and my first board meeting this month.
We have important partnerships in this community that engage us in direct service, volunteering, advocacy, and organizing. Deepening my connection to these partnerships and inviting more of you into vital roles with them is one of the ways we live our values and broaden our organizational capacity. I look forward to sharing with you as I learn more about our community, our shared challenges, and the opportunities we have to learn, grow and serve together.
Conflict Engagement and Learning Consultant for VUU
Hello, VUU! My name is Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson (or “Sam”) and I will be serving as your consultant for conflict engagement and restorative practices at VUU this year!
I’ve been invited by your Board, Minister, and Committee on Shared Ministry, with support from your Special Funds Committee, to accompany you as we explore our personal and congregational relationships to conflict, harm, healing, and accountability. Our work will include Sunday services, a workshop, small group ministry, coaching, and direct facilitation in support of conflict transformation. The heart of our work is building the skills, practices, experiences, and relationships that allow us to do conflict differently – in ways that help us be a people who know how to “harm less, and heal more.”
On Saturday, August 12, VUU hosted a Zoom meeting to discuss the proposal to form a scouting program here at VUU for elementary aged youth and their families. Rev. Sarah, Marci Beaudoin, and Mark Foote provided background on the recommendation to create a BSA unit, and discussed some other programs available. Thank you to Mary Wolf-Francis for moderating, and all who attended.
Beloved Conversations: Within is back for another term of deep learning, community building, and anti-racist spiritual transformation! Our Within programs are structured into two different racially caucused courses, in recognition of the different spiritual needs and learning goals of people with different experiences of race and racism in our world:
Gathering Our Selves I and Gathering Our Selves II are our programs designed by and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC+) and Un/Learning for Liberation is our program for white people.
Both courses will include:
• Six, bi-weekly, online Lessons, done at your own pace, using videos, music, and readings, accompanied by reflection prompts and suggested conversations with a Critical Friend chosen by the participants;
• Six bi-weekly small group conversations in a Learning Pod;
• And three larger, monthly, facilitated Meaning-Making Sessions on Zoom.
Our program runs two full terms of unique programming- Fall and Spring- so if you have already taken one term, join us again for a whole new experience of ongoing learning and deepening! Scholarships are available by emailing us at email@example.com. Learn more and register through August 31st at www.meadville.edu/beloved
CPR & First Aid Certification Training
Saturday, September 9th, 9 am - 12 pm
(An afternoon session will be offered when this 1st session fills)
Valley UU Congregation
Education complex, Room 8
Training is open to adults and middle/high school youth
Fee: $25 per person
No cost for Faith Formation teachers, nursery workers & classroom assistants. Childcare available with advance request (see form)
UUs across the land voted in June to forward the proposed Article II changes to next year's General Assembly for a vote. The discussion continues in our congregations and hundreds of others. Views vary greatly... read and hear more about the process, the pros, and the cons.
Please join the Environmental Action Team to continue our discussion of strategy and direction as we move into a new year. As climate change continues to capture headlines all over our country, we must recognize its impact on all of us and on the most vulnerable in our community. Our goal is to respond on multiple levels through education, actions and advocacy.
We will continue planning for team actions and specifically for our planned “I Love the Earth Day” celebration October 1st. We will also hear an update from our very busy solar team regarding its progress with various inquiries for solar installation at VUU.
We welcome the voices of all Valley UU Congregants into the discussion, so please plan to attend - we need everyone’s input to address the effects of our warming world.
As we leave behind an extreme summer and move into a season of life-sustaining temperatures and regeneration, let’s celebrate what we love about the Earth.
Please participate in these events:
Add your unique message to the “I Love the Earth” banner.
Visit Environmental Action Team tables on the patio to learn about actions that can make a difference in our future.
Share your ideas, actions and solutions for creating a cleaner and safer environment for all.
Attend a talk on solar energy at 12:30pm in the sanctuary.
Finger food and drinks provided!
Your Support Helps NonProfits Save on Power
With the SRP Solar for Nonprofits™ program, just $3 a month helps cover the cost of installing solar-covered parking canopies at Valley nonprofits. These local organizations can put the money saved on energy costs back into the community.
VUU is applying to SRP for a solar grant, and we encourage everyone to share in supporting the program valley-wide. Learn more here
Fellowship and Social Activities
VUU members and friends enjoyed several FUUNd and educational get-togethers over the past few weeks. Six of us attended a movie screening and discussion of George Balanchine’s ballet masterpiece Serenade at the home of Jessica Blonde, and another group spent an afternoon learning about improving family harmony through better communication with Paul & Amanda Schneider. Look at all the happy faces below!
SAWUURA is a 100-acre property owned by UUs located in the Sierra Ancha mountains near Young, AZ.
The Page Turners' Book Club
The Page Turners Book Club is open to all members, visitors, and friends of VUU who enjoy reading and discussing a variety of books. The next meeting isTONIGHT August 17 at 7:00 PM, we will meet at the home of Johnnie G in Tempe (near Baseline Rd. and the 101). The book is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
For the meeting address or questions, please contact Johnnie at 480-231-8381 or email Amy M.
Volunteering and Giving
UPDATE: Affordable 55+ Housing in Chandler. The 20+ VUU Members & Friends who attended last Sunday’s forum gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to supporting VIP organizing in support of an affordable housing development in south Chandler. Other VIP member congregations in Chandler are having similar conversations.
What can YOU do now?
Regularly check the weekly VUU Happenings newsletter for VIP updates and calls to participate.
Attend the next VIP Housing Team meeting. Meet members of other congregations engaged in the effort to increase affordable housing in Maricopa County. Monday, Sept 18, 6:30 (location TBD).
Join VUU’s VIP Housing Team to help organize VUU’s support.
Commit to showing up at VIP Actions to support affordable housing.
Email Barb Quijada for more information and / or to join the team.
Immigration Action Team
Our month long "Visual Reminder" has been successful in clothing donations for asylum seeker shelters! We look forward to continued donations of summer clothing for men/women S/M and children size 4 and up.
Thank you to all our VUU members for your assistance to these shelters. We will have our table in the back of the sanctuary for two more Sundays. Come by to visit and take a peppermint candy!
Helping our Colombian immigrants
Our Colombian friends are raising our awareness of popular Colombian foods. Have you heard of Salchipapas? It’s a popular street food that started in Peru and now has migrated to most of South America.
We will have a sample of Salchipapas available for you to check out after services on Sunday August 20. If you like it you can place an order for next Sunday August 27 and Sunday September 3.
You can order Salchipapas with sausage, chicken or guacamole. It comes with a plate of fried maduros, sweet plantains. A donation of $20 is requested per plate.