The Communicator
March 2017  Volume 34, Issue 3
Sundays in March
Staff & Board News
Minister's Column
Praxis and Contemplation: Finding Balance

Last week I had the gift of retreat with colleagues with whom I went to seminary. At the same time each year, we gather for Lectio Divina.  During this time we worship each day together (varying from sitting silent meditation to more like a children's chapel) and cook each other delicious food.  Oh, and the best part (since most ministers are very hip and extremely nerdy), we share a bibliography with one another of the top 10 books that have touched our lives and ministries that year.  I can't tell you how much inspiration I gain from this time, and since I get many book ideas, how many eventually trickle into my own devotional life and into my ministry with you.  

Retreats, sabbaths, times of rest are important. Not because the well is dry. Oh, no. It is because there are times when the cup runneth over! As the Lenten season begins for certain practitioners, the season provides an opportunity to consider balance. Same for the approaching Spring equinox.  Where are the places that your life is full and running over?  Where are the empty places?  What is it like to sit with those paradoxical experiences and simply witness without judging?  It's "season," a time when patience is truly a virtue.  Try on some of these questions in a quiet moment and see what answers come.  Thank you for the blessing of study leave so I could recognize and appreciate the full and empty places in my inner life. Thank you for the opportunity to be a book-worm with dear colleagues.  And thank you for welcoming me back always into this aspiring and inspiring community as your Minister!
UUCFM Annual Meeting
The UUCFM Board of Trustees invites all members to attend our Annual Meeting. The meeting starts in the Sanctuary at 11:45a on Sunday, March 26th.  A luncheon follows the meeting at approximately 1:15p in Hobart Hall.                                                               

Save the Date!
Classes & Groups
Book Club

The Minister's Book Club begins a new book discussion on Wednesday, March 15th at 1:00p in the Conference Room. We will be reading Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild.  Please read the introduction and the first two chapters for March 15th.
CUUPs Learning Circle News

CUUPS is a group of people within the UU Church, who have Earth-Centered beliefs, or for people who might be interested in Pagan and Earth-Centered practices, rituals and beliefs. We are open to all.  Here is information about classes sponsored by CUUPS:
CUUPS introductory class, "What is CUUPS, What is an earth-centered belief -- what is Paganism"   is conducted on the 3rd Wednesdays, from 7:00 to 8:30p in classroom 4.  CUUPS is a group of people within the UU Church, who have Earth-Centered beliefs, or for people who might be interested in Pagan and Earth-Centered practices, rituals and beliefs. We are open to all. Members of CUUPS facilitate this monthly class, where we cover: What is the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans?  What is paganism?  How was our CUUPS of Fort Myers chapter established?  What are some of the important contributions that CUUPS of Fort Myers members have made to the UUCFM?  What does CUUPS do? What's coming up in the CUUPS calendar? Donations are appreciated.
Earthways Shamanic Path Class  is conducted on the 1st Tuesdays of the month, from 7:00 to 8:30p.  We meet in classroom 2.  Whale Maiden conducts this class with a co-facilitator.  In these classes, we present a topic about the Earthways Shamanic Path, and conduct a Shamanic Journey. A Shamanic Journey is a form of interreflection which is more active than meditation.  We journey with drums and rattles.  Remember to bring a bandana or scarf to cover your eyes. Water and a snack are a good idea, as is a notebook & pen.  Also bring a yoga mat and a blanket if you like to journey while laying down. The requested sliding scale donation for this class is $7.00 to $25.00 per class.   This class is open to anyone over the age of 18. This class is sponsored by CUUPS of Fort Myers.
Earthways Journey with the Trees   is postponed for the month of March 2017.
Contact Whale Maiden for information on these classes.   
Weekly Activities
Community Wednesday 

IT'S BACK-- Wednesday night programming.  Come first for Joy Purcell's delicious buffet at 6:00p. and then at 6:45 attend the programs following:   

March 8 Roxanne Wendling speaks on Guardian Ad Litem programs for neglected children.  Wendling is administrator of the foundation.

March 22 :  Suellen Kipp will tell us about the Make a Wish Foundation for seriously ill children.

March 29 :  Caroline Ridgway will moderate a panel of women who participated in the D. C. Women's March.  The panel will include UUCFM member Jan Beemer and others: Taylor Hebble, Terry Hayes and Joan Ginsberg. 

Community Wednesday is held in Hobart Hall.  Bring friends and neighbors, too. Join us each Wednesday for a delicious meal prepared by Chef Joy for a small donation. After the fellowship and fine fare from 6:00- 6:45p, join your favorite programming event, committee meeting, or social activity. Child care is provided until 8:30p.
Regular Activitie s for March:

4:00-5:30              Optimal Living Group (1st & 3rd Wed)

6:00-6:45              Community Meal

6:00-6:45              Band Rehearsal in Sanctuary

6:45-8:00              Choir Rehearsal in Sanctuary
Social Justice
South Fort Myers Food Pantry  

Here we are in 2017, nine years since UUCFM joined with a few other churches in the area to meet a  need to provide food to many of our neighbors who could not afford to buy food and meet all their other expenses.  Unfortunately, nine years later there is still a need for our help.  Please support the pantry by bringing non perishable  food items to church on Sundays.  Baskets are located in the Narthex and Hobart Hall.  If you have questions about other ways to help the pantry, email Fran Rose at:  Be sure to put "food pantry" in the subject line of the email.
GRACE Cycle Kits
On March first, a hearty group of volunteers sewed, threaded, and snapped shields, liners and Cycle Kit bags to send to rural areas of Guatemala. There, the GRACE Project will deliver five workshops for teachers and community leaders, collaborating with the Guatemalan Ministry of Education.

On  Wednesday March 15, we will be assembling the 300 kits for shipment to Guatemala. We would welcome a few more volunteers. Muchas gracias to everyone.

Genelle Grant
March to Unified Drums
Barbara Boynton

If my memory serves me, the last and only protest march I took part in was when I was Chairperson of the Welcoming Celebration for the Lee County Planned Parenthood opening in 1992 . My husband Dick and I joined a Right of Choice March to offset picketers during that time.

This year, our daughter and two of her college friends participated in the Women’s March in Washington, as did one of our granddaughters in New Orleans. How could I do anything less than be in the march in solidarity at Naples with so many around our country.. .

My alarm went off at 5:30 am January 21. I was raring to go. My friend Anita Sherman picked me up at 6:30 and away we went. The convenience of a parking garage directly across the street from Cambier Park, where the march began, precipitated a good beginning. .Serendipitously a disabled space beckoned us just as we drove inside the garage.  Anita efficiently removed the wheel chair from the trunk of her car and placed my two pillows in it. I felt privileged to be riding in the comfort of her son Troy’s chair: a symbolic way of having part of him with us.

Anita said, "Since we’re early, how would you like to get a coffee and peruse the area?"

The billowy whipped cream clouds on that beautiful sunny day made my heart glad.  As we moved along, I felt like Queen for a Day riding on a comfortable throne.

A sea of varied posters and signs for justice deepened my feelings of admiration for the participants and optimism for a better world. Even though there were in excess of twenty five hundred participants, I felt surrounded only by love. Any time there was a slight backup,Anita would say, with caring conviction, "Excuse me!  Wheelchair coming!"

We went through like the parting of the red sea.  Folks with courteous, smiling faces stepped out of the way, many saying hi.

The sense of community I felt immersed in the Women’s March of Naples was like nothing I had experienced before. I felt not only connected to my family members who marched but
grateful to see many Ft. Myers UU friends there. We had good conversation with Suzanne Fast and Alison Carville.

I felt empowered by the chants and quality speeches in the amphitheater at the end of the march. I was impressed by the fact that not once were those speeches hateful or damaging. I listened to words and expressions of encouragement, unity, diversity, solidarity and justice.

That memory of collective energy, and appreciation for Anita's help to make it possible, will stay among my fondest memories.
My UU Story
Finding Deeper Meaning in My Life
by Nancy Letts

I came to the Unitarian Church kicking and screaming, ‘though not a baby. I was 50-ish when my husband Jeff, a member of a newly formed men’s group at the local Rhode Island UU church, asked me
to attend a Sunday service with him. How reluctant I was, remembering my Christian upbringing and the
unease I’d begun to feel when, as a young adult, I absorbed well-intentioned messages from many
pulpits telling me I was a sinner and had to repent, or at least to try harder to fit into a proscribed
description of “good”.

Although Jeff and I had tried many Protestant denominations over the years, nothing had pulled us back
after a “time out” when our children were born. And now I was positive I didn’t want anyone to stand in
front of me again telling me how to be a better person. Unhappily, I agreed to try “just one time”.

“That must have been a fluke,” I remember telling Jeff at the end of that service. Instead of well-worn
themes with directions on how to become better, many possible ways to view a particular situation had
been presented, ending with the question, “What do you think”? There was depth and meaning in our
conversation after church, and curiosity, too. We went back, and back again. As a member, I continued
feeling challenged to find my truths, to accept and appreciate differences among those in our
congregation, and to put into action the principles and values we tried as a community to live by -- not
because I should, but because it felt right.

As a UU my life underwent many changes. I found and nourished a deep connection to something
greater than myself that I call Spirit, or Creator. I became a holistic counselor, putting into action my
beliefs about the interplay of body, mind, and spirit. I joined a spiritual growth group that explored
spiritual beliefs from many traditions, practiced reiki healing and shared spiritual experiences. In turn, I
created spiritual growth groups as part of my practice, where clients could safely explore their changing
spiritual beliefs. And, as I changed, my UU friends encouraged, supported and validated my growth.

25 years later, I’m a grateful UU still committed to finding deeper meaning in my life and to acting on
these expanding beliefs in ways that help myself and others. Thanks to UU, I know I am “good”, worthy
of dignity and respect despite my imperfections. I’m grateful to have been dragged to that first UU
service, believing now it was anything but a fluke!
About My UU Story

Each month, the Membership Committee would like to publish your UU story- either converted or born UUs.  How did you become a UU or how did our religion affect your life?  Alternatively, do you have a one-paragraph remembrance of your first reaction to being in a UU church and/or learning about the religion?  To share your story, please contact Joy Sokeitous at   Joy will help you edit and she will provide questions to help you develop your story.   
New UUCFM Campus Brochure

The Membership Committee has produced a new color brochure for taking a 21 station guided walk on our UUCFM campus. It was created and
produced by Bill Petrarca and Suzanne Ziemer with new friends and visitors in mind.  It is hoped members will take interested visitors and friends on this tour of our treasured place.  We all need to
encourage added membership to continue our growth and support of UUCFM.  Limited copies are at the Welcome table.
Photo Directory Update

Special thanks to our photographs, Mel, Denis, John, and all the helpers.  Mel Cooper, Denis Jensen and John Swank have completed
taking photos for the forthcoming directory.  If
you are a member of friend and have missed a photo session and would like to be included, you may send an online photo to John Swank for possible inclusion or mail clear photo to be scanned.,

Thank you to all who participated and we look forward to its publication later this Spring. A free copy will be given to each pledging unit and other
copies can be obtained at cost.
Member to Member
UU Potluck Theater Preview
March 9th  5:00p

Member Bert Brun has written a play that has been produced and is on DVD called Ashes to Ashes. It is autobiographical about Bert and his two sisters who, together, bring their mother's ashes to Bergen, Norway to join with their father's ashes there.  Family dynamics, both negative and positive are featured and when the ashes are placed side by side, mysteriously and magically the parents'  spirits appear to the audience but are not heard or seen by the siblings.  Discussion will follow led by Bert.  Special guest will be Rev. Barbara Carlson, former UU minister from Bloomington, Indiana.

Potluck details:  Held at Ziemers condo clubhouse (30 seat theater) on
Fort Myers Beach, 4753 Estero Blvd,  Gate code 159 to enter the Ocean
Harbor Condo complex.  Ziemer's condo is #303, in 2nd high-rise.

Gather there on Thursday, March 9th at 5:00p for appetizers,  dinner at 6, theater presentation
at 7:00p.

Everyone is welcome but please let Suzanne Ziemer know you are coming
with an email or phone call and what you might be sharing.  Best to
BYOB and a small appetizer before the potluck.

Suzanne Ziemer : 239-463-9020 or
Art in the Narthex
Our March Art in the Narthex display is Seasonal Review amid Marches & Madness.

by Terri Stark
Member Glenn Siebert's A Cappella Group
Our Greater Community 
If you are a UUCFM Community Sharing Partner, a regular Facility User, or have UU related news to share, you are welcome to submit announcements for publication in our Greater Community section of the newsletter.  Please send announcements in by each Wednesday for publication in the Thursday E-news.  

Pachamama Symposium Examines Link Between Justice, Sustainability, and Spirituality

Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium Scheduled for March 4, 2017; all interested youth and adults are invited. 

On Saturday, March 4, an Awakening the Dreamer Symposium will be held at Lamb of God Church and Congregation in S Fort Myers from 10:00a-3:00p.  The Pachamama Alliance is offering an interactive, multimedia experience for anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding of the current state of our world and how we can take action to create environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice for all humanity. 

Participants will explore these three core aspects of our societal condition via facilitated interaction and engaging audio-visual elements. We’ll hear from some of the world’s leading experts on topics as diverse as the current state of the Earth’s biodiversity and the reality of the socio-economic disparity throughout the world. After grounding our awareness in the facts regarding the consequences of humanity’s current relationship with the Earth and each other, we will examine how we arrived at this point. Through a process of guided self-inquiry, each individual will discover the unique stand that they wish to take for a more just, sustainable, and fulfilling world.  Facilitated by Rev James Reho, Gary Robbins and Holley Rauen, RN

This is an opportunity to share your concerns about the state of the world with like-minded members of your community, and offer support to each other in taking steps to effect the changes that you wish to see.  

"The Pachamama Alliance helps put people together with organizations that are really striking at the roots of our failing systems and structures. It helps you find your passion and know where to plug in.” - Holley Rauen

Participants will leave the Symposium empowered to take clear steps to embody their vision for a better world, and having established new connections to work with others on common issues. For more information, call 239-464-6556 or email

The Awakening the Dreamer Symposium is developed and distributed by The Pachamama Alliance, a San Francisco-based nonprofit started at the invitation of indigenous people of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest. Through the Symposium and other workshops, they work to generate widespread awakening at the grassroots level and a transformation of our worldview, such that humanity becomes committed to restoring and protecting the environment and moves towards social justice and spiritual fulfillment. Currently, over 3,700 volunteer Facilitators have delivered the Symposium in 71 countries. It has been presented in 12 languages and reached at least 100,000 people, generating countless community projects and individual change. “(quote from Symposium participant about how Symposium has impacted them, or another quote from Symposium organizer about their personal experience)”

The Pachamama Alliance is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. Its mission is to empower indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture and, using insights gained from that work, to educate and inspire individuals everywhere to bring forth a thriving, just and sustainable world. 

Register Here:

Learn more about the Pachamama Alliance at www.

Scouts Casino Night
Saturday March 25th in Hobart Hall 6:30-10:30p

UUCFM Members and Friends invited!  Must be 21 or older, proper attire required.

Tickets: $35 presale, $45 at door. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres, dinner, dessert.

Call Matt Peterson  239.823-4630
Resist and Rejoice!
UUA General Assembly 2017
General Assembly Update:  Greetings Southern Region UU Congregations. Check out the website for everything you need to know for GA 2017.

March 3    Joan Hickok

March 3    Don Routh 

March 4     James Morgan    

March 4     Dorothy Van Howe  

March 6    Meg Just  

March 7    Dick Boynton  

March 8    Mary Tracy Sigman  

 March 9    Frank Schooley    

March 10   Gary Robbins 

March 11   Jonathon Sauer   

March 13    Andy Crossen  

March 13     Krista Hutson  

March 15    Mike Carville  

March 15     Rachel Spiller  

March 24    Gerald Hoxworth  

March 25     Lily Hoffman is 9! 

March 2    Bill Ziemer  

March 27     Kim Watson  

 Please send all news articles for the Weekly E-news to
Jill Carville 
(239) 561-2700 
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