UU La Crosse
A Unitarian Universalist Fellowship


July, 2019 Monthly Newsletter
Reverend Taves returns in August

Rev. Taves is on her study break for June and July. Her column will return to this spot in the newsletter in August.
From the Board President
President’s Report—July 2019
Ron Malzer

Welcome to Fellowship Year 2019-2020! This is a time of excitement and activity for UU La Crosse, and I hope that you are planning both to play an active part in one or more of our activities, and to reap the benefits of being part of this community that nurtures us, and inspires us to make the world a better place.

As of June, I’ve stepped up from the position of Board Vice-President to Board President. I’m fortunate to be following a long line of strong leaders of this congregation. Over too many years to count, Past President Ingrid Iverson pulled this congregation forward, taking on an in incredible load. Our most recent President, Jacob Sciammas, brought us to new places as to what we do and how we do it, particularly as part of our growth initiative. We have become an increasing presence in the community, while intensifying how we connect with each other.

We have half-time ministry that strongly addresses multiple needs of ours in difficult times for our world, including consulting with us on organizational development.

Rev. Krista likes to remind us that four pillars uphold a congregation: Sunday services, religious education, social justice, and member services. All four are going strong at this point. We have excellent services, planned by Amanda Strosahl and the Sunday Service & Music Team, almost every Sunday: two minister-led, and two led by members or guests most months. Quality music that uplifts us is part of who we are—we are lucky to have Rita Thometz and Dr. Carol Rhodes leading and supporting our wonderful choir.

Religious Education (RE) is now headed by a permanent Director, Delena Leon, moving up from the Acting post she had the past year; we are now also seeking a paid RE teacher to work with her (let me or someone know if you have leads!). Our social justice team has not just a new leader—David Boen—but also a new name: “Social and Environmental Justice Team.” And Member Services, under the leadership of Kathy Schnitzius and the energy of Connections Coordinators Jen Miller and Donna Bauer, have added a new vitality to us. 

Finally, the Fellowship wouldn’t hold together without the incredible work done by Office Administrator Emmy Carlson and AV Tech & Office Assistant Giorgia Brennan.

Over the next six months, we need to have a key decision to make about where we are heading with professional ministry. I pledge to you that conversations will happen, many, many times, to make sure that we as a congregation decide well at this key decision point.

Here’s to a good year ahead!-- Ron
Visioning work nears completion

The Visioning Team has been actively collecting and collating large amounts of data.  We have spent countless hours at our 15 organizational meetings, 12 listening sessions (the remaining two are to be completed by the end of June), interviews with 14 Community Collaborators, and much independent work and synthesis. We are nearing the draft of a vision statement. 
 
There were several themes that came across in the listening sessions:

1) Feels welcoming, engaging, enthusiastic, connected, safe, dynamic, and relaxed
2) More diversity in attendees (age/economics/LGBTQ/ethnicity/education/spiritual beliefs)
3) Community activism/belief into action
4) Proudly known in community for our gifts and message
5) Multigenerational and challenging Religious Education and small group
6) Engage with Community Partners
7) Professional leadership
8) Flexible physical space

Role of Minister: being cared for, leadership, focus, continuity, connection with community. May not want Minister to preach every Sunday, but be available for other needs, for example pastoral care.

We have also met with 14 Community Collaborators to ask for their opinion of who we are and what they need us to be in the community.  Their responses indicate that the UU Fellowship is mostly known for our community activism (11 of 14 responses) for issues ranging from race relations, to sexuality, to empowerment. Our group is viewed as educated, empowered, open to all, non-doctrinal, and free to act as a community or issue convener and spokesperson for various causes by about half of the interviewed groups. While this is somewhat encouraging, at least one third of those interviewed do not know what we really stand for or could use more information about us. However, there is some consolation to hear from at least two groups that we are “small but mighty.”

There was much consensus on what the community needs us to be. Eleven of the 14 groups indicated that we should do more partnering and collaboration, including interfaith collaboration, with existing groups and that we be a voice for and with the marginalized in our community. Also 6 of 14 saw a need for social justice outreach and five requested a need for support, whether by monetary donations, volunteerism or cross-promotion of events and causes. Three of the groups recognized us as a place for individuals who are spiritual but not religious (the Nones) to congregate.
Sunday Services

Sunday June 30

We will be watching the Sunday Morning Worship from the 2019 UUA General Assembly held in Spokane, WA on June 23rd. From the 2019 GA program: "After exploring el poder de nosotros/the power of we, what are we ready to do/¿que estamos listo para hacer? Let’s not be servants of the past in new cups. Let’s all get free by planting faithful seeds of change and together turn to free the faith we love." Sunday, July 7  –  No Service

July 14 and 21

The Sunday “Services” on July 14 and 21 are going to be actual “Service” projects. We will be working together as a congregation to prepare food for the Hospitality House (safe place for the homeless to gather during the day) and for the Family and Children’s Center. Please keep an eye open for more details to follow as to ways you can help with this project, e.g. bringing food, supplies, baking cupcakes, etc. The service projects will be children friendly activities. Part of our Mission statement is to “Involve through Service.” Please plan to attend with an open heart for service and fun!. Invite family and friends. More to come...

Sunday, July 28 – "With Great Freedom Comes Great Responsibility"
Amanda Strosahl

Freedom comes with responsibility. According to David Gerrold,"Freedom is not about being comfortable. It's about seizing and using opportunities, and using them responsibly. Freedom is not comfort. It's commitment. Commitment is the willingness to be uncomfortable." How do our commitments to freedom make us uncomfortable? How do we live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others?

Amanda Strosahl has been a member of UU Fellowship of La Crosse for over 10 years. She is an active member of Beloved Conversations Opposing Racism which is a group that started within our fellowship in response to the need to "wake up" to racial injustices.
Notes from Jen,
Connections Coordinator

Happy July!

June was a busy month. With so much activity, I feel like it was over in the blink of an eye. My family and I took advantage of the warm weather and enjoyed bike rides on the Great River Trail, walks along the Mississippi and took a day trip to Madison. If you love beautiful, tranquil gardens, I highly recommend visiting Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison.

The Bird Walk was a special event to participate in and we had many visitors from La Crosse and the surrounding areas. I enjoyed tabling and had some great conversations. While on the walk, my family especially loved seeing all the turtles sunning themselves on logs. It was a great morning!

There are many opportunities this summer to become more involved in our Fellowship. Donna and I are here to help should you like to find out how to be more connected, would like to know about membership or just need some help. We are available to chat with after every service and can be reached at: jen@uulacrosse.org .

I am looking forward to what July brings and am eagerly anticipating the family friendly service projects that the Sunday Service Team has planned. I wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday!

Jen
Help Share the Bounty July 7

A few more volunteers are needed for Share the Bounty  on July 7th, 2019 from 8 am  until approximately  2 pm  at the Farmers' Market at the Onalaska Festival Foods parking lot near Festival Foods and JoAnn Fabrics and across from Panera Bread. Volunteers take donations of produce and money. Money donated is used to buy produce. During the market and at the close of the Farmers' Market the produce is separated by volunteers, weighed and loaded into a Hunger Task Force truck. Please contact Carla Pena at ctheworldpena@gmail or call 608-784-3981 to volunteer.
Volunteer at Kane Street Garden
Get your gardening groove on by volunteering at Kane Street Gardens, the UU Special Collection for this summer. Located on the corner of Kane and St. Cloud streets in North La Crosse, the garden provides produce for the Hunger Task Force.

Summer volunteer hours,now 'til October 15th
Monday    8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday    8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Thursday   8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday     8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday    8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Sunday     Closed
What they need help with is whatever is going on that day, such as weeding, planting and transplanting, pruning, watering, mulching, harvesting, and cleanup. You do not need to make an appointment; just show up within the scheduled times listed above. Also, if you are volunteering on a harvest day you can get first choice at whatever is being harvested. Here is the schedule for harvest:
 
Monday 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Thursday 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – Noon
Summer Special Collection is for Kane Street Garden

The Special Collection for June, July, and August will be for the harvesting of "seed money" for our annual congregational project. Between now and June 2020, this congregation will be partnering with the fabulous Kane Street Garden, as part of our initiative on social and environmental justice. Money for supplies money is needed by our Social Justice Team. Place cash in the specially-marked envelopes, or write a check to "UU La Crosse" with the words "Kane Street" on the memo line. Our UU Fellowship is a 501 c(3) organization.


Summer Update for Collection Basket Aiding Those in the La Crosse Area

Here’s a list of items which are most needed at this time for folks experiencing home insecurity in our community:
Men’s T-shirts
Socks for women and men
Motel-sized hygiene items
New underwear for women and men

These items are needed for New Horizons’ Boutique (free items for clients):
Full-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner
Full-sized tubes of toothpaste
Razors and deodorant
Toilet paper and cleaning supplies

Contacts

Office Hours
Emmy will be available for drop-ins or appointments  Thursdays from 10am – 1pm .
As usual, email Emmy at  officeadmin@uulacrosse.org  if you would like to meet outside of office hours or need assistance otherwise.
She is also at the Fellowship building on Sunday mornings.

Deadlines for Newsletters & Announcements:

Weekly E-news : Giorgia at enews@uulacrosse.org by 12pm Mondays

Monthly Newsletter:  Janis at jollyjanis22@gmail.com  by 23rd of the month

Order of Service:  Emmy at officeadmin@uulacrosse.org u  by 12pm Mondays

All other announcement s: Emmy at officeadmin@uulacrosse.org. ccoordinatoru