December 21, 2023

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This Sunday at VUU




Sunday, December 24, 2023

3:00p Family Friendly Christmas Eve service “Stories, Songs and Santa!” Hosted by the Seiferth, Oglesby-Dunegan, and Beaudoin families. An intergenerational early service oriented toward families with younger children who have earlier bedtimes, shorter attention spans, and whose theology is one of cookies, Santa and stories about Santa, and fun songs. Wear your “holiday funware”–holiday pajamas or special outfits. Bring some cookies to share. We’ll have Santa and a beautiful spot to take a family photo (with or without Santa!) after the service. Take spectacular pictures and videos with the Everlasting Pics Photo Booth! We’ll also have an exchange of stuffed animals for your child to choose a lovey to take home (bring one, take one and of course we’ll have extras in case someone forgets!)

7:00p Service Led by Rev. Sarah and an ensemble of singers, directed by Beth Wyman. A service oriented around adults and older children celebrating the beauty and magic of this season through classic music and messages that remind us of the connections between liberal Christianity and Unitarian Universalism through the traditional Christmas story. Of course, we also share a theology of pretty lights, cookies, and hot drinks (coffee/hot chocolate).  



  • Preschool (3/4 yr olds)
  • Kind/1st Grade
  • 2nd/3rd Grade
  • 4th/5th Grade
  • Middle School (6-8th)
  • High School (9-12th)

Haven't registered yet this year? Use this link

See 2023-2024 Curriculum Here


8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

Zoom only this week

Via Zoom here

*** Please remember that COVID and other viruses are abundant right now. Stay home if you have symptoms and mask if you've been exposed. ***

December 31, 2023


“Shedding Light on the Mystery of AI and ChatGPT with Izzy Hyman” presented in fun, accessible terms. Hosted by Barbara Face. (No Time For All Ages, no in person service; appropriate for teens and up). HAVE FUN with technology! 

Join Us on YouTube Sunday
Join the Zoom discussion after service here

Sneak Peak at Upcoming Services

January 7  The VUU board and Committee on Shared Ministry will facilitate listening sessions designed to make space for members to share their perspectives on what’s important for VUU and for their own spiritual life with VUU. We are maximizing this opportunity by offering three different time frames on that day to give each of you an hour to share and to listen to others talk about what’s most important to you. The sanctuary will be closed for final construction projects, and we will use spaces on the education side of campus and office building to host these small circles. 

The time slots are:

  • 9:00-10:00 a.m (72 seats)
  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. (64 seats)
  • 12:45 to 1:45 am (34 seats)  

There will be an online session also available from 12:45-1:45 (24 places, open to anyone).  We’ll have two coffee breaks/social time between the three sessions from 10:00 -10:30 and 11:30-12:00.  We will need help setting up and cleaning up.

Please note: the 10:30-11:30 session slots are for parents with children and youth in Faith Formation classes that will be in session at the same time and participants in the Dalai Lama group that meets 9:00-10:00 a.m. We have a few slots at that time for new people who make their first visit to VUU on January 7, and if there are open slots still by January 5, we will open these to other members. The 12:45-1:45 slots are being held first for parents with kids in OWL. If there are open slots still by January 5, we will open these to other members. We have 100 kids enrolled in faith formation and in OWL. Thank you for understanding this structure. To sign up, use this link.

January 14 MLK day Sunday. Sanctuary closed for renovations. Online and In-Person offerings, details TBA. In case you like homework–we’ll learn together from this book: “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” by Heather McGhee.  If you don’t have time to read but do have time for a video (Ted Talk) or audio lecture (University lecture).

January 21 ”Stories from the Front Porch.” A Storytelling service featuring VUU storytellers telling their own stories from the heart. If the sanctuary isn’t ready yet we’ll meet on the patio and pull up a chair.

Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!

It wouldn’t be Christmas without COOKIES! You can help make Christmas Eve at VUU extra special! Contribute a dozen of your favorite Homemade or Purchased Christmas Cookies for after the 3:00 PM or 7:00 PM Service on December 24.

We also need help preparing hot cocoa and cider before each service and cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. To volunteer to bring cookies and /or to help that afternoon or evening, go to our special Christmas Eve Hospitality Sign Up here. Questions? Contact Barb.

Submitted by Barb Quijada

To help with Sunday morning hospitality, click here.

VUU Happenings

Love is our doctrine · Service is our prayer · Justice is our calling

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Desert Notes

VUU Updates

Faith Formation

Fellowship and Social Activities



Music Ministries

Children/Youth Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation

Caring Ministries

Social and Environmental Justice

Sunday Morning Teams



UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association)

Submit to the Happenings

Prior Weeks' Newsletters

Partner Organizations

UU Justice Arizona

Valley Interfaith Project

Adams Elementary


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Thursday, December 21

  • EastVUU Coordinators 10:30a
  • Worship Associates 6:30p

Friday, December 22

  • Singles Dinner Out 6:30p

Saturday, December 23

Sunday, December 24

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • NO Faith Formation Classes
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Christmas Eve Service 3p
  • Christmas Eve Service 7p
  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Monday, December 25

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, December 26

  • Sanctuary Clear Out 9a

Wednesday, December 27

  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • CCL/EAT Meeting 6p

Thursday, December 28

  • EastVUU Gathering 6:30p
  • Facilities Committee 6p

Friday, December 29

Saturday, December 30

Sunday, December 31

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • NO Faith Formation Classes
  • Morning Service ZOOM only10:30a

Click here for the most current calendar, to view locations, contact information details for above events

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

We had a wonderful workshop with Hospice of the Valley last week on managing grief during the holidays, attended by about 20 people.  If you want some of the handouts from this event, please check with a lay pastoral care associate.  We have some follow up plans underway from this workshop, so watch for more information soon!

From December 25-January 1 the VUU office will be closed and staff will be away.  We look forward to catching up with all of you after that week.  Rest and renewal are an important aspect of our work–we need time to attend to our own relationships and needs so that we have the capacity to  return to this community.  So much of the winter holidays are about family time and traditions–it’s important to me to honor our staff once a year with the gift of time, especially when our jobs are focused on taking care of the “VUU family” the rest of the year. 

Blessings to all of you this season–may your challenges be met with the needed resources and your joys be amplified.  –Rev. Sarah

VUU Updates


FUUNd Update

🎜Meet new friends, party with the old (ones), one is silver and the other’s gold!🎜

Host an event or teach your guests your special skill. Donate a service. The sky is the limit!

All possibilities give you a chance to make new friends and celebrate long-term VUU friendships.


Donate now! Just click Let's Have FUUNd Together 2024 ( The deadline for donations is January 14th. Not sure what to donate? Click here for an inspiring list of last year’s auction items. Need a co-host or other help with your event? Email [email protected].


Article II - Final Proposed Revision

The final revision of the proposed Article II changes are now available here. Article II is a foundational document that defines many important aspects of our collective faith and VUU's relationship with the UUA. VUU will send delegates to General Assembly (GA) this summer to vote on this topic along with many other important issues. We encourage VUU to stay informed and we look forward to selecting our delegates in the coming months.

VUU Board of Trustees


New Member Class

SAVE the Date: January 20, from 9:00-1:00 in the VUU Board Room (in the office building on the west side of the parking lot.)

Register/RSVP here 

Learn about Unitarian Universalism, Valley UU, and find your own starting point at VUU and the pathway to membership. Anyone welcome. Current VUU leaders and members are welcome to join us. Class led by Rev. Sarah and Beverly McCormick.

Restorative Approaches to Conflict and Relationship: In-Person Workshops at VUU 

Come learn with our conflict engagement consultant, Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson, as we explore a different approach to conflict -- one where our interdependence and our creative power is the basis of all action, healing, and accountability. 

This experiential workshop will include:

  • Experience of being in "circle" with members of the VUU community
  • Practice with tools to support us in our physical reactions to stress and conflict
  • Experience with how a restorative/transformative framework, grounded in UU values, would shift our personal or community approaches to conflict and harm

Expect ritual, creativity, reflection, and real time exploration of what relatedness means to us. 

This in-person workshop will be offered twice: once on Friday (January 26, 1PM-4PM) and once on Saturday (January 27, 10AM-1PM), in an effort to make the offering accessible to a wider number of VUU participants. Each workshop will be capped at 30 people.

All workshop participants must be registered to participate (walk-in space may not be available unless space is remaining and announced publicly). You will receive a confirmation of registration email. 

Tea and coffee will be available. We welcome participants to bring foods to share! Register here.

Helping Each Other

One of our new participants comes to us from Clarksville, TN where the recent tornados did a lot of damage. Mateja Saiz was a member of the UU community there and says her “time at the university and the UU fellowship there made me a better person, and I will always be grateful to the Clarksville community.” She invited us to consider helping to raise emergency donations to help those in need. 

This is what she says about the town and the tornados: “If you aren't familiar with Clarksville, it is a small city about 45 minutes north of Nashville on the Tennessee/Kentucky border. The surrounding area is mostly farmland sprinkled with small towns. The two main economic cornerstones for Clarksville are Austin Peay State University and Ft. Campbell army base. These institutions have created a community where people on both sides of the political spectrum regularly mingle for work and local affairs. It is a great place to foster dialogue and learn to work together. Thanks to the University, Clarksville serves as an island of progressivity for minorities, especially LGBTQ+, in a region that is predominantly very conservative. The UU Fellowship in Clarksville is full of great people who are active in the community and they have identified YAIPAK as an organization that would put donations to good use in the wake of yesterday's tornado.

Current reporting states about 270 homes are uninhabitable (see link below.) Tennessee winters are generally mild, but not mild enough to be without shelter during December. Beyond that, hundreds of people will now be incurring extra expenses right before the holidays because of storm damage. Please consider this cause at this charitable time of year!”

This link has information about the damage done. I reached out to the UU’s there for more information about how we might help them. The American Red Cross is doing much of the disaster relief work.  You can donate to this work here.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a free research program to help you access free tests, telemedicine, and treatment for COVID-19 and Influenza. Sign up here.

Also, free COVID tests are available from the government. Read here.

HELP!! December 26 - Preparing the Sanctuary for More Love

In preparation for the contractors to come to complete our sanctuary transformation, we need some out-of-work elves to prepare the sanctuary by moving holiday things into storage, stacking chairs, and covering things that we don't want to get dusty. The Sanctuary Transformation Team invites you to join us the 26th from 9-noon, after which we'll adjourn to a nearby eatery for lunch, for those who can join. We will plan on 9a-12p; come when you can!


Come if you can help, physically, and come if you can provide moral support and/or sing some carols or hymns and cheer on the others. Many hands and voices make light work!  RSVP at this link.


Sanctuary Will Be Closed After Christmas

The Sanctuary Transformation Team is happy to let you know that the Phase II renovations of the sanctuary are ready to start!


Our contractors will begin right after Christmas, and we look forward to our grand reopening January 21 (give or take a week). When you join us then, you’ll see even more transformation including a full interior paint, some new furnishings on the stage, new signage, and a fully remodeled kitchen. There will be accessible doors to the sanctuary and men’s room, and a beautiful refresh in the restrooms! The kitchen will have new doors, new cabinets, new appliances and more! 


Thank you to everyone who has contributed with your funds and your talents to making this happen!


Quick reminder that the capital campaign ends December 31, and we appreciate everyone sending your final contributions by the month’s end to make sure we can pay for all we’ve planned!


Thanks from the Sanctuary Transformation Team!

Music Ministries

VUUsica Concert Series – Christy Vest Jan. 20th

Christy Vest, our beloved piano accompanist, is offering a vocal and piano concert that is interactive and performative. Come to the Sanctuary on Saturday, January 20th from 4-5ish pm for an afternoon of live music. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids 18 and under. Possible childcare for younger kids - reach out to Katie if needing childcare at [email protected].

You can purchase tickets online by clicking our online giving link. Once you click the link, simply check the Music Program under "give to Operating" and indicate how many tickets you purchased in the notes, indicating it’s for Christy Vest.

Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the day of the show starting at 3:30 when the doors open.

Interested in Leading the Drum Circle?

Do you or someone you know, have interest in helping Katie lead the drum circle? If so, please contact Katie at [email protected]

The VUU Voices Choir - Wednesdays, 6-7:30 pm

Rehearsals are on Wednesdays in the Sanctuary from 6-7:30 pm. To perform for the Christmas Eve 7 pm service, rehearsal is Dec. 20, same time and place. There will be no childcare for these two rehearsals unless requested. To see the 2023-2024 schedule please click here.

To access sheet music and vocal tracks for songs we are working on, please click here.

Choral Vocal Workshop at Christy Vest’s studio – January 10

Due to construction happening in the Sanctuary in January, choir rehearsal in the sanctuary is cancelled for January 10. However, singers are invited to attend a choral vocal workshop with Christy Vest in Christy’s studio on January 10, 6-7:30 pm. Join us as we explore vocal styles, refine techniques, and celebrate the power of individual and collective voices. Contact Christy for address information and any questions at [email protected].

No 1-Hour Choirs (Adults and Kids) in January

Have you and/or your child wanted to sing in a choir, but mid-week rehearsals don’t work for you? Join the 1-Hour Choir. We’ll learn an easy song or two on the Sunday morning we perform. This allows for flexibility - you do not have to be committed week to week. All ages are invited, children and adults. The adults will meet in the Sanctuary and the kids will meet in the Flex room, in the Sanctuary both from 9am -10 am. Both the adults and the kids will then lead music in the service, with the kids singing before they go to their classes.

A rehearsal and performance are held every first Sunday of the month, skipping January. Next is February 4. Contact Katie for more information or with any questions: [email protected].

The Chalice Ringers – Interested in ringing?

If you or someone you know has an interest in playing bells in our bell choir the Chalice Ringers, please contact Katie Seiferth at [email protected]. I have a director and now need to collect who is interested in participating. Yay!


East VUU After Christmas Party

Thursday, December 28 at 6:30 pm

Barbara Peter's Home, 2114 Leisure World, Mesa

To be let in at the gate: Ask for Barb Peters, 2114. Mention Church Potluck.

Plenty of inside room and outdoor fire pit area to enjoy fellowship and/or games after a busy Holiday Season! A relaxed get together, so feel free to rove around with drinks, appetizers or desserts you choose to bring to share. 

Anyone can participate to bring a wrapped white elephant gift. If you do, you will draw a number and all gifts are in a pile so when your number comes you select. (There might be a twist in the rules at game time!) Anyone wanting, can share their New Year's Resolution(s).

If able, you can bring a new or slightly used clothing donation for asylum seeker shelters. F/M, SML …. Children and Teens, all sizes. Winter clothing preferred, but will accept all seasons. 

Our January monthly meeting on zoom will be on 6:30 PM, Thursday January 11. More info to follow. 

Faith Formation

Faith Formation Holiday Class Schedule:

  • Dec. 24 - No FF Classes Join us for 3p family service
  • Dec. 31 - No FF Classes.
  • Jan. 7 - Everything is back!! All classes and OWL meet.
  • Jan. 14 - ALL classes meet, OWL classes do NOT meet

Click Here for Winter Camp Registration

Spirit of Life Reading Circle - Date change

We have decided to just this once to change our scheduled Zoom meeting from January 4th to January 11th, still a Thursday evening at 7:00, but the second Thursday instead of our usual first Thursday. Readings will be sent in early January with plenty of time to be ready for January 11th.

Joys and Concerns

George Schroeder

Longtime member George Schroder is recovering from major surgery at his part-time home in Massachusetts. He and partner Peter Schweizer are members of VUU, and throw a fantastic gourmet pizza party for FUUNd every year. We look forward to their healthy return to the Valley.

Cards for George can be sent to 184 Bradford St., Unit B, Provincetown, MA 02657.

Share your Joys and Concerns here.

Fellowship and Social Activities

The Page Turners' 2024 Book Selection Party - POSTPONED

The Book Selection party scheduled for December 14 will be held on January 18. More information to come.

Volunteering and Giving

December 25th I-HELP Dinner

Our Christmas evening meal features tamales with all the trimmings. Volunteers have filled all our needs for this meal. Happy holidays to all, and thank you very much for your generosity!

If you have any questions or would like to be placed on the I-HELP email sign up list, please contact Laura Rohlfing at [email protected].

Laura Rohlfing, I-HELP Coordinator

Happy holidays from the VUU Immigration Action Team

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |