Cornbread Communion: Faith, Gratitude and Generosity
Join us for a service that centers our practices of gratitude and how these can renew our faith and capacity for generosity. Rev. Sarah and Joel Sannes, with VUU Voices.
Sneak Peek: Nov, 26, 2023: Flip the Church! On November 26 the worship team invites you to watch this homily from Rev. Sarah’s installation before coming to service and be prepared to be in a small group conversation about it. Worship Associates Joel Sannes, Amanda Schneider and Melanie Cloonan Schulte will help facilitate. We’ll begin and end with our usual rituals of songs, chalice lighting, readings, and an offering while making room for small group conversations.
Tuesday night I co-chaired a regional VIP action meeting that focused on our work with Chandler Unified School District on mental health supports for students and with Chandler City Council on affordable housing strategies. We had 92 VIP participants, largely members from VUU and St. Matthews Episcopal here in Chandler. Many other member organizations were represented as we reported on our successes and the ongoing challenges of these issues. We heard compelling stories from folks impacted by shrinking affordable housing stock and soaring prices–2 from VUU members and 2 from St. Matthews members. VIP leaders also taught us about this issue and shared statistics and research they had done. We heard responses from CUSD leaders and Chandler Council member Christine Ellis. We also began planning for a Delegates Assembly on Dec 12 (who can come) and we are developing a rapid response team of folks responding to affordable housing policy opportunities to work with elected officials and attend meetings. I was inspired by our shared work, as well as the dedication and relationship building held by it. So many VUU folks worked together over the last year to get to where we are now! Last year I attended a week long training with VIP and this year I can see our work building and growing. THANKS!!! I hope more of you will get involved as you are able.
Also of note, a small group of staff and members are working on a grant application for funds to help us identify and respond to campus safety needs. We have been learning with other congregations about safety strategies and about opportunities to help build a safety plan that prepares us for many different emergency situations.
Thursday I will be at the Chandler Senior Center with Azcend board serving a holiday lunch. Participating on the Azcend board is helping understand our community better and be part of the efforts to respond to needs in our community. This is also important work, and I know many of you are involved with this organization as well.
Last week I spent several days with Borderlinks and with other UU colleagues in AZ learning together and planning how we will deepen our work with people crossing our borders and with organizations supporting migrants. In addition, we are thinking about how we do this work together, as a coalition of congregations who are theologically and communally connected.
Finally, we had a beautiful “homegoing” celebration of life for Debbie Dinyes with her family and friends, celebrating her role as a beloved elder at VUU and her deep values as a lifelong UU. It was an honor to lead this ritual, and to hear the stories about her life and the things she brought passion and commitment to. What a beautiful thing to be in community.
Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan
Restorative Practices/conflict engagement work with VUU
Hello VUU! I’m excited to share with you this video introducing our “Special Care Congregations” Tool and Impact of Ministries Survey. Both of these resources are part of our work together, exploring the dynamics, conflicts, needs, and hopes at VUU.
This tool was shaped by my nineteen 1:1 conversations with your congregational leaders in September, as well as my gatherings with them during our Kick Off Weekend. The tool invites you to explore a couple different “metaphors” about the needs and dispositions of a community experiencing a leadership or organizational transition.
Then, when you’re ready, fill out the Impact of Ministries Survey this month (before the end of November) to share your reflections about what needs appreciating, gratitude, grieving, healing, tending, or accountability in this congregation’s history of ministries and leadership.
Near the end of November, I’ll begin reviewing your responses with Rev. Sarah to explore themes, patterns, and possibilities with your Board and Committee on Shared Ministry. Your responses will guide our reflections and next steps together!
You are welcome to email me if you have questions – I am grateful to learn and work with you!
With care, Rev. Sam
After extensive engagement with UUs across our faith tradition, the Article II Study Commission have completed their Final Proposed Revision to Article II of the UUA Bylaws. Links to the text and additional important information are in this email, including a deadline of 5pm ET on February 1, 2024 for submitting any new amendments. The Commission's letter that follows lifts up all of the creative energy around the process, reflecting generations of UUs actively shaping our faith.
As your congregation prepares to review the language describing Unitarian Universalist shared values, it’s worth noting that this process began in 2020, when the Article II Study Commission was charged by the UUA Board to review that section of UUA Bylaws that includes the Principles, Purposes, and Sources. The Commission was to propose revisions that will enable our faith tradition to be a relevant and powerful force for spiritual and moral growth, healing, and justice. Learn more about the history of this process in the Article II section of UUA.org.
The Commission held thousands of conversations with UUs and developed a proposal that went before a vote at the 2023 General Assembly. Delegates voted to move forward with a process to discuss further changes and approved several amendments to the Commission’s proposal. In the months since GA 2023, the Commission has worked to incorporate those amendments into a final document for congregations to review. That document, the Final Proposed Revision to Article II, is now available.
At GA 2024, we will come together and vote on whether to adopt this revision as the new Article II of the UUA Bylaws. This email shares links to the proposed revision, information on submitting amendments, and resources to support engagement with this important opportunity to connect more deeply with what it means to be UU.
With you on the journey,
Rachel, Unitarian Universalist Association
The UUA invites all UUs to review the Final Proposed Revision to Article II and absorb what it means to you and your congregation or community. To help you engage deeply with the text, we offer multiple formats of the Final Proposed Revision: an online webpage, a PDF version linked from the webpage, and a PDF version with line numbers linked from the webpage, to support the work of proposing amendments.
Hello VUU Members,
At the last Congregational Conversation, the Board said we would set meetings to let you share and share with you about our congregation’s understandings of and feelings about upcoming Article II proposals to be voted on at 2024 GA. The Board has planned those sessions. Check your email for the details. Please join us for a meeting.
Nancy Egly, BoT Vice President and the Board of Trustees
Citizenship: Fostering Compassion and Creativity at VUU Scouts
This month, our focus at VUU Scouts is Citizenship. Our goal is to instill in our scouts the values of being responsible, compassionate, and engaged members of society.
At our recent scouting meeting, our scouts took a proactive step towards promoting good citizenship by creating care bags for those in our community who are unhoused. These care bags are designed to provide comfort and support to those individuals our scouts may encounter throughout their lives. Each bag includes supportive message cards written by the scouts filled with love, light, and encouragement.
In addition to our meaningful community service project, our troops also showcased their creativity by making Tie Dye shirts to serve as our distinctive uniforms. These vibrant shirts represent our unity and commitment to being active citizens in our society.
Looking ahead, our next meeting, Monday November 20 at 6pm promises to be an exciting one! We will be engaging in arts and crafts activities to explore what it truly means to be a good global citizen, while also understanding the importance of being a responsible local citizen. We invite you all to join us in this enlightening session.
For further details, please refer to our informative flyer. We encourage you to spread the word and invite others who share our passion for citizenship education to join us on this incredible journey.
Let's come together, make a difference, and pave the way for a brighter future.
The 1-Hour Adult Choir - Dec. 3 and the Kids'choir "Angel Choir" - Dec. 10
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. Next is December 3. However, please note that an Angel choir will be taking the place of the 1-hour kids' choir for the month of December. The kid's choir will not be meeting Dec. 3 but rather be singing for the pageant on December 10. All kids are welcome to sing in the Angel choir. Your kids can also be a different character than an angel AND still sing in the Angel choir. Contact Katie for more information such as videos of the songs and lyric sheets that the Angel choir will sing: MusicDirector@vuu.org.
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 MusicDirector@vuu.org. I have a director and now need to collect who is interested in participating. Yay!
Our 2024 planning meeting to decide how our EastVUU group can grow and prosper. Suggestions welcome before our meetup. Email us and we will compile a listing to present and discuss. Suggestions also welcome night of meeting!
Once again at Barbara Peter's Home. Plenty of inside room and outdoor fire pit area to enjoy fellowship after a busy Holiday Season! More info will follow.
Partners in Education (PIE)
What a wonderful experience for our Adams students! We are opening the world to them. We are so excited to have had this collaborative effort with Denise McLoud and PETA. Please think about resources or network contacts that you can bring to Adams!
A Unitarian Universalist Christmas Pageant
Join us on December 10 as the children and youth of Valley UU remind us how and why we celebrate Christmas. In addition to a fabulous story about the true meaning of Christmas we will be conducting a clothing drive during the pageant.
We will be supporting documented asylum seekers who come to the valley. Please plan to bring new or slightly used outwear for kids and adults:
All children's sizes - sweat shirts and jackets
Adult sizes small, medium & large - jackets
You will want to join us in person - everyone in the sanctuary will receive an "audience participation" bag!
Class schedule for the next 2 months
Nov. 19- MS & HS classes meet, Pre-K - 5th grade NO class Pageant Rehearsal (assistants assist with pageant.) OWL classes meet
Nov. 26 - NO classes, all age game day (assistants join us) OWL classes do NOT meet
Dec. 3 - MS & HS classes meet, Pre-K - 5th grade NO class Pageant Rehearsal (assistants assist with pageant.) OWL classes meet
Dec 10 - NO classes, everyone attends Pageant, 10:30 am OWL classes do NOT meet
Dec. 17 - ALL classes meet, OWL classes do NOT meet
Jan. 7 - Everything is back!! All classes and OWL meet.
Jan. 14 - ALL classes meet, OWL classes do NOT meet
The VUU Youth visited the Hindu Temple for Diwali last week...
Joys and Concerns
Maren Kay Long born Oct. 27
Doug Feisler and Carlin Knight are happily welcoming the newest member of their family: Maren Kay Long, born 10/27/23, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to Dave and Aimee Long, Carlin and Doug's youngest granddaughter. Although this is their first great granddaughter, they already have two wonderful great grandsons, Charlie and Ben. Carlin took daughter Laura to Italy to celebrate major birthdays this year. When they returned to Philadelphia, the icing on the cake was the birth of Maren the day before Carlin returned to Arizona so they all got to meet. What a wonderful blessing!
Meal Train for Donna Bennett
Donna got a new knee! She will be recovering at home for at least 6 weeks after her total knee replacement. We would love some help with meals for her and Bradley. Sign up for the Meal Train.
If you don't live locally or would just rather send her a food delivery gift card, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for surrounding her with love and support in the form of food in this healing time for her!
Olivia James, Donna's daughter
Fellowship and Social Activities
Remember when we used to haveFUUNd?– We’re back!
These photos are from some of the many popular events from the 2023 Let’s HaveFUUNdTogether Auction. You can hike, bicycle, bird watch, have dinner or sip wine at happenings throughout the year at 2024 Let’s HaveFUUNdTogether Auction. What event, dinner or service can you contribute? Games, a dinner, baked goods or a specialty service are all possibilities.
Look for the FUUNd Together table to see photos, get ideas and pick up a form for your special donation.
We’ll be there this Sunday, November 19 and are eager to meet you.
Singles Dinner out
Friday, November 24 (yes, the day after Thanksgiving!) at 6:30p
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 November 16 at 7:00 PM. The book is The House of the Spiritsby Isabel Allende. In one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies.
For the meeting address or questions, please contact Johnnie at 480-231-8381 or email: email@example.com.
Volunteering and Giving
I-Help Dinner November 27
This year, we are taking a break from poultry and doing a ham dinner for our Thanksgiving meal.
Please bring ready to serve items between 5:30-6:00 pm. Non-perishable or cold food donations may be labeled and brought to the Sanctuary kitchen on the Sunday prior to the meal.
Want to be a part of the IAT's robust plans to boost spirits and spread joy during the holidays?
Here are two big efforts that YOU can participate in:
Support Our Winter Clothing Drive
Donate lightly used or new winter clothing, especially sweatshirts, sweaters and coats for men and women (Sizes S/M/L) and children to teens (all sizes). We also accept all seasonal clothing.
Asylum Seekers often travel into winter condition states with no protection but what Refugee Aid can supply by your and others' donation
Place items in the Refugee Aid Bin in the Sanctuary or hand them to us at the Immigration Action table and we will get them where they are needed for you (and out of your overstuffed closet!)
Choose a Gift to Give from our Gift Tree
Visit our Holiday Tree on the patio Sundays before and after services loaded with gift items from the wishlists from our families. Select a tree tag item that you'd love to give, and then bring the item to Sunday service, order it from the Amazon wishlist link, or give cash and we'll order it for you! We will have the items wrapped and delivered to each family before the holiday! So easy...
...or choose to give a gift card or cash for groceries or gas in denominations of $10, $20, or $50 and it will double in value thanks to Special Funds' matching grant.
Sponsor Ian in a Turkey Trot
Ian is collecting pledges for his 6th Grade classes' Turkey Trot at Adams Elementary (Our PIE supported school). He needs to raise $210 to attend a one-week science camp in March.