“Spirituality of Conflict: A Day of Blessing for Restorative Practices at Valley Unitarian Universalist”
Led by Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson and Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan. The VUU Band and VUU Voices lead music under the direction of Director of Music Ministries Katie Seiferth with accompanist Christy Vest and Choirmaster Beth Wyman.
Update for Online Folks: We are working out the complexities of opening the zoom room with online hosts, and I am grateful for the few people who have stepped up to help us host the post service coffee hour. This is a chance for those who can’t make it to service to enjoy a conversation with others after service and for new folks visiting us online to meet a few people and ask questions. We’ve had 30 and more people on YouTube live most weekends, and a handful joining the zoom room after service.
Both links are on our website front page. Pastoral care folks are present in both spaces with info about how to reach out to them for folks who want a 1:1 conversation. If you are interested in a brief training on how to host the zoom room coffee hour after service (30 minute commitment more or less) let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am looking forward to officially “kick off” our work together this weekend!
I will be meeting with your Board and Committee on Shared Ministry (CSM) on Thursday evening to explore their hopes and direction for our year of work together. On Saturday morning, our “Spirituality of Conflict” group begins – with over 30 of you registering and committing to a nine-month long program in exploring our personal responses to conflict and deepening our care for each other in the process. On Sunday, Rev. Sarah and I will co-lead the service with guest reflections from your CSM and Board – celebrating your work ahead and the role I will have in your community this year. I look forward to meeting you during coffee hour and welcome a chance to introduce myself and get connected to you.
What is our work ahead?
I will be supporting your minister, Board, CSM, and staff to understand and engage conflict dynamics in the congregation. The question we are asking is: what are the processes and practices that allow disagreements and conflicts to deepen, rather than block, our relationships in this community?
I will facilitate a “Spirituality of Conflict” course for 30 VUU leaders to deepen their responses to conflict in their personal lives and widen their capacities to engage conflict wherever they are. This course is 9-months long and meets twice monthly in large and small groups, inspired by curriculum from restorative justice work in the California state prison system.
I will offer a congregational workshop, “Restorative Approaches to Conflict in Congregations” in Winter, inviting you to join me in an exploration of what it would mean to have a culture of conflict transformation at the congregational level.
I will provide some direct facilitation support for a conflict or group dynamic in this community – helping us move through a place where we feel “stuck” in real time, and learning as we go through it together. The focus of this facilitation will be decided in dialogue with your leadership.
In one of our planning calls, Rev. Sarah described to me her hopes for our work together: “This is not about fixing a specific thing, or getting ‘rid’ of conflict. The hope is that there is a deeper capacity for engaging conflict in ways that are generative – conflicts grow us and deepen us rather than stop us. This is about tending our congregational culture.”
I am touched by your commitment to seeing this congregation thrive – thank you for letting me in to learn alongside you.
GA 2023 - The Week in Review
More than 4,000 Unitarian Universalists participated in General Assembly last June. 1,800 were online and 2,300 were in-person in Pittsburgh, including over 100 youth and children. Discussion on the GA app was robust, with over 200 active community boards.
Sit back and enjoy this captivating 2023 General Assembly recap video, skillfully crafted by Jay White Media and featuring photography by Nancy Pierce, Chris Northcross, and Lamar Davis.
Help Us Plan Adult Faith Formation Opportunities! Fill out this quick survey and let us know what you’re interested in! This is the last week to weigh in on what we may offer this year.
Quick Desert Notes: One of the books that influenced my reflection last weekend was a book called “How We Show Up: Reclaiming family, Friendship, and Community” by Mia Birdsong. I hope some of you have a chance to read it! In addition, my colleague Kimberly Debus has a blog and a couple of the recent posts have felt very connected to the work we are doing and the experiences I’ve had. https://holdmychalice.substack.com/
Conner Campini and Nic Del Valle are overjoyed to share the birth and adoption of their first child Dominic Manuel Del Valle. Dominic was born on September 10th 2023 in Austin, Texas. They were able to bring him home to Arizona on the 21st and are soaking up every minute with him together at their home in Gilbert.
Members and friends can express support for Connor and Nic by mail to 1612 E. Laurel Ave. Gilbert, AZ 85234. They are also accepting congratulations via email at
The final date for informal Instrumental Music Meetups isSaturdayNov 4. Join James Osborn Popp and Rick Hinrichs in the sanctuary from 10:00 am-12 pm. Bring your ideas and instrument of choice to play hymns and other good sounds. For information call Rick or James at 480-567-2996.
The Caring Neighbors Committee would like to know of your ability to provide various types of assistance to congregants who might need some help (with errands, visits, cards etc). Please complete a short survey so that we can update and expand our Care Bank consisting of willing volunteers. Please click on the link below to volunteer.
We will meet again at Barbara Peters home for potluck, fellowship and games! Always a lot of fun and plenty of room for all that want to join in! Bring a dish, drinks, and utensils.
Directions to Barbara Peter's home at 2114 Leisure World. Enter the Broadway gate at 63rd St., continue straight on Via Norte to a right on Leisure World Blvd. Stay on Leisure World Blvd., then right on 61ST ST. STAY ON THAT STREET. DO NOT TURN AT SIGN THAT SAYS TURN, continue long way to house on left - 2114 Leisure World. Please tell the gatekeeper you are visiting Barbara Peters at 2114 as there are two Barbara Peters in Leisure World. Barbara's phone is 309 215-7203.
SAVE THE DATE: Thursday 10/12 6:30pm - Reflections on Healing
What has been your experience with Grief? What has helped you recover?
Join the EastVUU group for a panel discussion and breakout groups on ZOOM.
Our EastVUU Immigration Actions are now listed under the umbrella of VUU
Anne Schneider, Rebecca Riggs, and Mary Rothschild are delighted to begin a new year of Spirit of Life Reading Circle on Zoom! Our first meeting will be on October 5th at 7:00 pm. We'll send out our links to read before in plenty of time, as usual.
AV/Tech Booth (Especially for events after service)
We need a couple of volunteers to help open the Zoom room for coffee hour on Sundays after service. A quick training will get you set up and you can help us keep folks connected when they’re attending services online. Email Rev Sarahif you are willing to help. Until we have someone to help run the zoom room, we won’t be able to offer this opportunity to connect online.
Professional Photo Shoot
We need a crew to help us prepare the sanctuary for a professional photo shoot so we can promote rentals. Can you come help us move all the chairs out of the Sanctuary (and back into it) so we can stage the room digitally? We have a couple of others rooms that have less furniture move needs to photograph as well. 3 hours should do it! Email Tricia if you’re interested so we match our schedules!
Are you a doer who likes fixing things? Or maybe organizing? Do you want to get involved around campus? Join the Facilities Committee! We work with staff to keep our buildings and grounds up and running and looking good. Email email@example.com more information! Mikaela Young, Facilities Chair
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 on October 1:
Add a heart-felt message to our “I Love the Earth” banner.
Share solutions to protect our environment.
Discover new ways to live at peace with the Earth through personal actions.
Take immediate steps through collective action to save our Earth!
Learn the latest about solar installation possibilities for VUU.
Pick up a scavenger hunt activity to take home (For kids! And the curious)
Learn about Arizona’s water future and how we can ensure enough for all!
Attend a talk on solar energy after the service in the sanctuary.
Food and drinks provided!
Fellowship and Social Activities
Faith Formation Poolside Get Together
Sunday, Oct 8th:
Hamilton Aquatic Center
3838 S Arizona Ave, Chandler.
12 pm - 5 pm closing - Come when you can!
You can bring food and drink - check out the rules here *Pool Rules*. No flotation devices or mermaid tails/monofins allowed, 6 pack sized coolers only.
No need to sign up - just show up!
Fees (credit cards accepted)
2-17 yrs $1
Seniors (55yrs) $1.25
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 is September 21 at 7:00 PM, we will meet at the home of Johnnie Godfrey in Tempe (near Baseline Rd. and the 101). The book is Cloud Cuckold Land by Anthony Doerr. Among the most celebrated and beloved novels of recent times, Cloud Cuckoo Land is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book. For the meeting address or questions, please contact Johnnie at 480-231-8381 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singles Dinner, Friday Sept. 22, 6:30 pm
We're a warm welcoming group. If you're single and haven't checked us out yet, come on out to dinner and make some new friends!
RSVP to this emailor text Claudette at 973-768-6047.
This venue has been a Singles VUU favorite, so we selected it for our 2023 Homecoming. We’ll also take a moment to honor Liz who has been part of the group and recently passed. Peace be with her.
Here are a few pictures from the sustainable gardening and “kindness rocks” parties that were sold last Spring during the 2023 Let’s Have FUUNd Together Auction. In the past few weeks, VUU members and friends also got together to celebrate National Potato Day at a Spuds and Suds dinner (featuring actual potato beer!) and to sharpen their Scrabble playing skills at a workshop hosted by a nationally ranked player!
There is still time to get in on the FUUNd if you enjoy hiking in Arizona in the fall or if you fancy a stay in a cabin in Payson. Check out these activities and others at www.auctria.events/VUUFUUND2023
In the next month or so, we will begin working on the 2024 auction. There is always room for new members on our auction team. If you are interested in finding out more, please email Debbe at email@example.com or give her a call at 480-244-6570.
Volunteering and Giving
September 25 I-Help Dinner
This month's menu will feature oven fried chicken with all the trimmings.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to a schedule conflict, our I-HELP guests will be arriving closer to 6:30 pm.
Therefore, I am asking for food to be dropped off at the sanctuary between 6:00-6:15 PM. If this does not work for you, please contact me to make alternate arrangements.
As always, cold or non-perishable food can be labeled and dropped off at the sanctuary on Sunday, September 24. Again, please contact me to make alternate arrangements.
We partner with Azcend to help provide shelter and meals to folks in our community in need and as one of the newest members of this board, I’d love to have some of you buy tickets and join me at a table for the 2023 Gala on September 22, 2023 from 6-9 p.m. I am also looking for 3 auction items to be donated. Let me know if you have an item for their silent auction you’d like to donate. If you can’t attend, but want to donate on behalf of VUU to Azcend, we’d love that, too. If you’d like to sponsor a table of 8 for $1,200 and invite VUU folks to join you, that’s also an option.
We partner with organizations in the community that are making a difference and allow us to live our values by supporting their work. Azcend has many important programs that support seniors and families with young children, folks experiencing economic struggles, and much more. Their services are offered with respect and dignity and a commitment to making a difference while also helping our community understand and respond to the root causes of the economic challenges so many face. I am excited to be on their board and to be deepening our relationship with this important organization. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or want to come to the Gala!
Paz de Cristo Donation of the Month
September - Pasta Sauce
Please support our focus charity, Paz de Cristo, by bringing a donation of pasta sauce (any kind) during the month of September. Drop your donation in the designated container in the foyer of the sanctuary. Thank you for your generous support!
Immigration Action Teams
The Immigration Action Team continues to integrate VUU's active programs under one umbrella - the Immigration Action Teams, including Border Support and Family Support. Our meeting on 9/10 was productive and well attended.
The next meeting is October 8 in the sanctuary after services. There are lots of ways you can get involved - fulfilling a one-time need, planning a short-term action, or participating in one of our ongoing programs. Please come!
Stop by our table before or after services to learn more.
MONTHLY SUPPLIES NEEDED: Please place in Refugee Aid bin:
Paper Towels and/or Clorox Wipes
UPDATE: From Refugee Aid administrator, MaryJo Miller:
"Two big items of interest affecting our work - the first being the cut in government funding that was being provided to assist the asylum seeker shelter system. Congress provided 800 million dollars in government funding at the first of the year. They put CBP in charge of allocating it. When allocations were announced we learned that the large cities like NY and Chicago were given a large portion of the money, and the shelter system across the border experienced a reduction of 30 to 40%. This is terrible news. Casa Alitas in Tucson had to cut their capacity 50% and the transportation system which brings asylum seekers north from the border to Phoenix is in jeopardy. The Tucson sector is currently the most popular of all the routes across the border. Additional funds are being sought, our congress people assure us they are working on this. We hope they are successful."
Refugee Aid, thru your donations, provides supplies to 4 Latino Church Asylum Seeker Shelters and the IRC Welcome Center.
To receive the Refugee Aid monthly newsletter, email a request noting you're with VUU: email@example.com
Queer Your Faith Tee-shirts for Tucson + Phoenix Pride
Attending pride this year? Want to show up as a UU, with others from your congregation, proclaiming that our UU faith not only "tolerates" or affirms LGBTQ+ folks, but uplifts us as leaders in our congregations, state action network, and Unitarian Universalist Association? This historic year, your Co-Executive Directors and Co-Chairs of the board at UUJAZ, and your UUA President and Co-Moderator of the Board, are proudly queer!
Order a "Queer Your Faith" tee-shirt and show up with pride, on Pride weekend, and every day of the year. Order by Thursday September 21st for Tucson Pride delivery, or Thursday October 5th for Phoenix Pride delivery. Want a shirt just because? You can also order a tee delivered to your door, through this link.