September 28, 2023

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This Sunday at VUU


Sunday, October 1`, 2023

Centering the Earth, Practicing Sustainability

Join Rev. Sarah and members of our Environmental Action Team (EAT) will be celbrating “I Love the Earth" Day.

Both before and after the service EAT Team members will share information about the various environmentally friendly activities that EAT members are learning about with VUU members and friends.

And, if you are hungry, please join the us for EAT pizza and a VUU Going Solar presentation at the front of the Sanctuary to hear from VUU’ers who have installed solar panels on their homes and also hear about what we have learned in exploring options for VUU Going Solar.  



  • 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  

In person: Board Room

Via Zoom here

Join Us on YouTube 10:30 Sunday

Update for Online Folks: We are working out the complexities of opening the zoom room with online hosts, 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

To help with Sunday morning hospitality, click here.

VUU Happenings

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

See Articles Below For

VUU Updates

Joys and Concerns

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, September 28

  • EastVUU Gathering 6:30p
  • Board Meeting 5:15p
  • Facilities Meeting 6p

Friday, September 29

Saturday, September 30

  • Board Retreat 9:30a

Sunday, October 1

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Faith Formation 10:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a

Monday, October 2

  • Communications Team 5p
  • IHelp Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, October 3

  • EVUU Women's Group 1p
  • Men's Group 7p

Wednesday, October 4

  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • Spectrum Connection Circle 6p

Thursday, October 5

  • Spirit of Life Reading Circle 7p

Friday, October 6

  • FLP Lunch 12p

Saturday, October 7

  • VUU New Participant Class 9:30

Sunday, October 8

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Faith Formation 10:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a

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

Desert Notes

Spirituality of Conflict

Last week your Board of Trustees, Committee on Shared Ministry and I met with Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson to begin our work on the Spirituality of Conflict.  The small group ministry capped out at 34 participants, and we had a very engaging and deep set of conversations that explored out own responses to conflict (small group ministry), the recent history of congregation (leadership), and how we will engage this work this year.  Worship on Sunday was led by Rev. Sam with reflections from me and from Rosaland Hawkins.  If you missed it, you can look it up on our Live YouTube channel.  We’ll be sharing more soon, so stay tuned!

Staff updates:  Both Todd and Rev. Sarah will be on vacation next week.  We'll catch up on email, voicemail and other messages when we get back!  If you need someone, you can reach out to both Katie and Marci. 

VUU Updates

MInisterial Installation

On October 28 from 2-3:30 we will celebrate the installation of your senior minister, Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan, as the settled minister here at VUU.  The celebration will feature a sermon from Rev. Jonalu Johnstone and several other clergy colleagues will be part of the service.  UUCP’s choir will join us under the direction of Benjie Messner in tandem with our VUU voices and band.  It will be inspiring and a marker of the shared ministry between our called minister and our congregation as well as recognizing the support of community partners and commitments.  Watch for updates in your inbox!

Joys and Concerns

I wonder how many of you know how close at hand the Caring Neighbors are for you in any time of need? In 2021/22, my family had some serious health crises going on. Caring for our grown son full time kept me at home most of the time, and I was mired in grief, worry and sadness. I didn’t think life would ever be the same. I couldn’t get out much and I had no energy to try. I reached out to my caring neighbor contact just for someone to talk to a little, and to ask for prayers... from that point on I received weekly phone calls to check in on me. I also received calls from pastoral care, and Rev. Wooden called me weekly for quite some time. 


I was always asked what I needed. A ride somewhere? Someone to pick up groceries? Melissa Bush gave me concrete resources, numbers to call when I was thinking I was needing home health care help.  I can’t begin to say how much these calls kept a little bit of light on inside my heart - just knowing someone cared and was there to just listen a little (I often did not want to talk much at all, but I loved hearing a voice asking me how I was doing.) 


I promised myself if and when things got better, I would pay it forward, and now I am a Caring Neighbors coordinator for my zipcode. Do NOT hesitate to reach out, even if you don’t know what it is you need! You can obtain a ride to a doctors office, a meal train, or just a listening ear, when you need it. Resources are there for you at VUU! 

It takes a village, and I am so grateful for ours.

Madeline Kasian

Dominic has Arrived!

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, and by phone or text at 480-818-3343.

Music Ministries

Change in Plans

To minimize the spread of COVID, the 1-Hour Family/Kids Choir is cancelled this week. We will resume choir rehearsal on October 4 and 1-Hour Family/Kids Choir starts November 5.

Fall Music Details here

Mark Your Calendars

Chiliokie is our annual chili cook off and karaoke event hosted by Katie and the Music Team. We will gather October 21 in the Sanctuary for a fun night of food and music. More details coming soon.

Earth Day Cabaret is our annual cabaret that highlights our talented and diverse musicians within VUU. Desserts, music, dancing and celebrating our beloved Earth will happen April 27 in the Sanctuary. More details coming soon.

VUUsica Concert Series

Christy Vest, our beloved piano accompanist is offering a vocal and piano concert that is interactive and performative. Come to the Sanctuary, Saturday, Oct. 14 from 4:30-5:45 for an afternoon of live music. Tickets are $20.

Voices Lifted Singing Group

VUU's Voices Lifted Singing Group sings in hospice settings, nursing homes, assisted living, and for ill or injured members of VUU and their families.

Contact if interested in joining or having Voices Lifted sing for a loved one.


EVUU Social Night TONIGHT September 28 6:30p

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.

STAY UPDATED: Click here for the EastVUU Facebook group

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.

Sign in # 408915517, Password: 293512

Adult Faith Formation

Spirit of Life Reading Circle

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. Contact Mary Rothschild to be added to the SOL mailing list to receive the readings. Zoom link here

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.  

Pastoral Care Room Update

Pastoral Care Room renovation

The Pastoral Care Room has been updated! The Lay Pastoral Care Associates are proud to announce that the transformation of our room at the south end of the sanctuary is fully complete!

Many thanks to all who helped make this a reality: Special Funds Committee, Aesthetics Committee, Janice Pittsley (for her artwork inspired by our youth), and VUU Office Staff. A special shout out to Carl and Sue Anderson for preparing the room, patching/repairing dry wall, and painting the entire room!

Please stop by after service when an LPC associate is free to give you a tour. The room is now a comfortable and calming space where you can come to share your concerns and receive a listening ear.

~Melissa Bush, co-chair LPCA

Help Wanted

Professional Photo Shoot

Calling all strong people: We need your help after service on October 8 to move, stack and hide chairs and then on Monday we'll gather at one to move them back after the photo shoot. We will also need some volunteers to help move some furniture in other rooms. This should take about 2-3 hours. Please let Tricia Amato know if you are available to help, or if you need additional information.

The Happenings Team

Your Happenings Team compiles the news and calendar each week to make sure you receive all the information you need every Thursday at noon. Most of the work is done on Wednesdays, and each team member takes the lead every second or third week (about three hours), while the others pitch in to edit (30-60 minutes) on their off weeks. To join the team or find out more, contact The Happenings Team here.

Facilities Committee

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 for more information! Mikaela Young, Facilities Chair

Environmental Action Team

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!

Food for Life and the Planet

Many scientists have come to support the idea that animals can feel a range of emotions and feelings such as pleasure, pain, joy and fear. Some say animals even experience complex emotions such as grief and empathy! How do you feel about this? Have you witnessed these emotions in companion species you have lived with, cared for and loved?

Bring your lunch and join us as we explore animal sentience and how our opinions affect our behaviors and biases.

Lunch with FLP

Date:   Friday, October 6

Time:   12 Noon

ZOOM Link here 

Please explore this material prior to the meeting to facilitate our discussion:

Article: What is Sentience?

Video: Animal Sentience: A New Era of Understanding

Video: Grief and Love in the Animal Kingdom

There is a lot of really cool information about this topic including info by specific species: elephants, chickens, pigs, octopuses, etc. Please contact us if you would like additional info to explore. Particularly fun with kids!

See you then!

Denise McLeod and Linda Ruehlman

Finance Team

Finance Training: VUU Style

It has been customary to offer this training most every year; the pandemic disrupted everything; And we are back!


The goal of this is to help anyone at VUU more easily read our financial reports. After all, if you want know what an organization is up to, first follow the money! We've schedule 90 minutes of training, hosted by the Finance committee.

Food will be provided.

October 12

5:00 - 5:30 - Finance Team Meeting

5:30 - 7:00 - Finance Training for all

Feel free to come early if you want to listen in to the Finance meeting, which starts at 5:00.


If you are interested, please contact Anne Schneider.

Agenda: Introductions, Committee Charter and Volunteer Positions, How to read VUU's Profit and Loss Statement, How to Read our Balance Sheet, All About the General Ledger, Intro to VUU Budget Process, Policies for Accounts, Check Signers, and Money Control, Questions?

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 / Adult  $2.25 / Seniors (55yrs) $1.25

The Page Turners' Book Club

We are open to all members, visitors and friends. Save the date - October 19 at 7p. Our book will be The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz.

Details to come.

FUUNd Update

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

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 or give her a call at 480-244-6570.

Volunteering and Giving

A Big I-Help Dinner Thank You!

Many thanks to all who participated in the Monday Sept 25th I-HELP meal. We had about 25 guests who thoroughly enjoyed their meal of chicken, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad and brownies. What a feast! There were even enough leftovers for volunteers to participate in the meal as well; yum!!

A VERY special thanks to those who participated in the set up, serving, and clean up: Nick Carr, Deb Lusk, Nancy Landeryou, Sabena Norman, Pat Flahart, Mark Beehler, and Jodi Cicirello. You all ROCK!!! I truly appreciate the way all of you just pitched in and took care of business. It was truly amazing to watch such a group effort!

Laura Rohlfing,VUU I-HELP Coordinator

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.

Border Support

MONTHLY SUPPLIES NEEDED: Please place in Refugee Aid bin:  

Paper Towels and/or Clorox Wipes. Clothing drive is ongoing with all sizes summer/winter for children and men/women S-M-L.

IMMIGRATION NEWS: Join and follow WITNESS AT THE BORDER on FB for updates to the "REAL" news about border issues affecting Asylum Seeker Shelters VUU supports thru Refugee Aid supply chains of food and clothing.  

To receive the Refugee Aid monthly newsletter, email a request noting you're with VUU:

UU Justice Arizona Network

The Future of Us Fundraiser for UUJAZ

Join Rev, Sarah and Hear Rev. Julián Jamaica Soto speak about our future, read their poetry, and launch their new book inspired by the desert.  Want to carpool out there from VUU?  Contact Rev. Sarah at

Register here for the event in Phoenix

Date: Tuesday, October 17th

Time: 5:30pm doors | 6:00 start time

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix

4027 E Lincoln Dr, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |