The Communicator
May 2017   Volume 34  Issue 5
Sundays in May
Flower Communion this Sunday!
As we have experienced the White Supremacy Teach-In last Sunday, I am reminded that we are in a process- a journey towards healing and wholeness through naming, conversation and hard work around problems of white supremacy and being inclusive as a congregation.  Every Sunday we can touch on this healing journey!  This Sunday is Flower Communion Sunday, a tradition many Unitarian Universalist congregations enjoy around the end of the school year.  It is a ceremony that celebrates the worth and dignity of every person as well as the understanding that each person is beautiful. As written on the Unitarian Universalist Association's website: "Flower Communion was originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Flower Ceremony was introduced to the United States by Rev. Maya Capek, Norbert's widow. In this ceremony, everyone in the congregation brings a flower. Each person places a flower on the altar or in a shared vase. The congregation and minister bless the flowers, and they're redistributed. Each person brings home a different flower than the one they brought."  As such, the Flower ritual is also a celebration of the blessings of community.  Just as we must name and work on challenges like white supremacy, we must name and celebrate the beauty of our humanity and our potential to bring that beauty to others in community!  So bring a flower from home or roadside to offer this Sunday as a symbol of the beauty you bring and the beauty you might receive in community.
Staff & Board News
Treasurer's Corner  
Did you know that if you qualify you can get a bigger tax savings when paying your pledge? If you are over 70-1/2 years old, the IRS allows direct transfers from an IRA to a qualified charity. The withdrawal is not subject to any tax, ever, and counts towards your Required Minimum Distribution. Additionally, your taxable income is reduced by the full amount of your donation. This results in larger tax savings than itemized contributions. It can be easily set up with a phone call your broker or financial manager
and all you need is the mailing address for UUCFM for them to send a check to the church.

Community Sharing Kudos

We finished our fiscal year strong by collecting over $2,900 for the SFM Food Pantry, our largest monthly sharing collection ever! Our total Community Sharing for FYE 3/31/17 was $24,102, a 13% increase over last fiscal year. We have increased our Community Sharing 412% since December of 2013 when we decided to donate all undesignated offerings and collected over $65,000.


ACT $ 1,255

Alliance for Fair Food $ 1,291

Grace Project $ 2,580

LIFE $ 2,087

Planned Parenthood of SW & Central FL $ 2,050

Quality Life Center $ 1,586

South Ft Myers Food Pantry Coalition Inc $ 3,317

Visuality $ 1,147

UUCFM Minister's Discretionary Fund $ 3,507


Early Learning Coalition of SW Florida $ 582

Lee County Homeless Coalition $ 852

Literacy Council Gulf Coast $ 582

Our Mothers Home of Southwest Florida Inc $ 1,255

PACE Center for Girls, Lee County $ 851

PAWS Animal Rescue $ 203

SalusCare $ 958

Total UUCFM Community Sharing $ 24,102
From Membership  
One of the things that makes our community so special is our connection to members and guests. It can be hard to reach out if you don't know where to start.

Following are two strategies you may wish to practice to help you connect:

1. Rule of three: during the first three minutes after service, speak to people you don't know well.
2. Circle of ten: say hello to people within ten feet of you before and after service.

Connecting is as easy as remembering and implementing the rule of 3 and the circle of 10. Good luck!
Save the Date!
CIW Protest
Join the  Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their Southwest Florida allies in Naples for a spirited and lively protest outside of the recently inaugurated  Publix on Immokalee Road, right in the CIW's backyard. Let us call on the Florida-based grocer to finally make a true commitment to supporting human rights for the farmworkers that make their profits possible, by joining the Fair Food Program! 

WHEN: Sunday, May 7 at 2:00 PM
WHERE: Publix at Orangetree
13550 Immokalee Road, Naples, FL 34120 

Will you join the fight for Fair Food? 

Spring Fling Festival 2017

A Family Day of Fun and Learning About Our SW Florida Environment

Saturday, May 13th

Bring your family to celebrate our Annual Butterfly Release at the Holton Eco-Preserve. Come and share in learning about all plants bright and beautiful in our SW Florida environment.  Good fun.  Good food. Good exhibitors.  Good day with the family. Good day for the environment.  Our Annual Spring Fling Festival will be on Saturday, May 13th this year from 9:00a to 1:00p. The festival includes guest speakers, children’s activities, exciting vendors, delicious food with demonstrations, and our 2nd Annual Butterfly Release!  Volunteers needed; contact VP of Operations, .

New Connection Circle
A new connection Circle will be held on six consecutive Sundays- from May 14 through June 18. There are six places still open in the circle. If you would like to participate please call or send a text message to Patricia Vivier-Naidl at 239-826-8701 and leave your name and telephone number so I can get back to you. Namaste!
Citizen's Climate Lobby
SWFL Citizen's Climate Lobby first meeting is  Saturday, May 6th at 10:00 am

Members of our UU Social Justice have joined with All Faiths Climate Action Group.  We will be part of this together! We will meet at  Lamb of God Church (19691 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33967)in the  Arbor conference room. A current introduction to CCL will be presented and we will spend time getting to know each other and identifying how we can best support CCL.  If time permits we will share one – three “laser blasts”. We will finish our meeting no later than  noon. I look forward to seeing each of you there. Others are welcome to join, so please share the invitation. Feel free to call or text Connie at  239-340-1668  if you have questions.
Florida’s Broken Criminal Justice System:  Let’s Fix It!
THURSDAY, MAY 18 at 7:00p at UUCFM

America’s criminal justice system is broken. With only five percent of the world’s population but 25% of its prisoners, we are at a crisis point. Join the ACLU of Florida’s Collier County Chapter for a panel discussion on Florida’s criminal justice system.

For the last four decades, this country has relentlessly expanded the size of our criminal justice system, needlessly throwing away too many lives, tearing families apart, failing to make communities safer, and wasting over trillions of taxpayer dollars a year.

Currently, Florida has over 100,000 inmates in state prisons, and approximately 82,000 of them are non-violent offenders. Guest speakers will address criminal justice reform on a local, state, and national level and its impact on public safety, recidivism for offenders, ending the war on drugs, and other solutions to a system that is unproductive, wasteful, and dominated by racial disparities.


Deborrah Brodsky, Director, Project on Accountable Justice, Florida State University, Donald Day, J.D., Criminal Defense Attorney Ft. Myers and Naples, FL, Raymer Maguire, Florida Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform Manager, ACLU of Florida

The conversation will be moderated by Casey Wolff, Legal Panel Chair of the Collier County Chapter

The event is co-sponsored by the ACLU of Florida Collier County Chapter and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Myers, FL

This event is free and open to the public.

To RSVP, please contact Mo Winograd at

UUCFM has sponsored a horse to enter in the BOOTS & BLING Horse Races. Will you or your team be the one to decorate our horse and win best dressed? Call Rose Klein at 810-358-8312 for details!

BOOTS & BLING is a Fundraiser To Benefit Healthy Start Babies of Southwest Florida. It
will be held on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 5:30 pm. to 8:30 pm at the Florida Southwest State
College, 8099 College Parkway in Fort Myers. (FSW Parkway & Buccaneer Blvd. Bldg U; Lot 6).
The event will feature Horse Races, 50/50 Raffle, Bingo, Best-Dressed Horse, Silent Auction, Music, Dancing, Barbecue Dinner and complimentary Beer & Wine. Tickets are $40 and can be reserved at www.HealthyStartBaby.Org

Healthy Start of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties since 1992. Their mission is to reduce infant deaths and increase healthy births. Last year, services were provided to approximately 14,000 pregnant women and infants here in Southwest Florida. Healthy Start of Southwest Florida works in partnership with United Way and Florida Health.

Healthy Start of Southwest Florida is located on Jefferson Avenue, Fort Myers. Their number is 239-425-6920.


What: Boots & Bling Annual Fundraiser

Who: Healthy Start Babies of SWFL

When: May 6 from 5:30 to 8:30p  $40/includes all events

Where: Florida Southwest State College, 8099 College Prkwy, BldgU: Lot 6

Why: To benefit the Healthy Start Babies of SWFL
Katie Romano Griffin Ordination
You are cordially invited to attend the ordination of Katie Romano Griffin on Sunday, June 4th .  Follow this link to the invitation and details about the event : .
Wizard Camp
Future wizards and soothsayers can partake in a Sorting Hat Ceremony, become Quiddich players, make cloaks and wands, send out Wishes for the World, take classes on Incantations, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Muggle Studies, and more! Alchemy, potions, and divination await them at the School of Wizardry Summer Camp, June 12 through June 16th from 9:00-4:00p (with optional before and after care). Prices range from $175-200. Also, there will be a feast on Friday at 6:00p as a culmination of our week of wizardry!

To register and to got more info:

Be sure to register soon!  Once a certain number of campers is reached, registration will be closed. Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have! 

Classes & Groups
New Book Study with Rev. Allison 
Join us for the next round of Book Study focusing on  The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. From the author's website: This is "Harpur's most radical and groundbreaking work to date, in which he digs deep into the origins of Christianity and how the early Christian church covered up all attempts to reveal the Bible as myth. What began as a universal belief system has become a ritualistic institution headed by ultraconservative literalists. As he reconsiders a lifetime of worship and study, Harpur reveals a cosmic faith built on these truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity. Only with a return to an inclusive religion where Christ lives within each of us will we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we are intended to become."

Book study will meet four sessions in the Library/ Conference Room with the following schedule:
May 17 Chapters 1-3;  May 24 Chapters 4-6;  May 31 Chapters 7-9 and  June 7th Chapter 10 and vote on next book selection
Weekly Activities
Community Wednesday 
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 May:

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  

The Community Sharing Month for the pantry proved to be very successful.  The donation from UUCFM is greatly appreciated and will be put to good use to help feed our neighbors in need who can not afford to buy food for their families every week.  In addition I have estimated the cash value of the food that we donate every week and am happy to say that it is around three thousand dollars for the year.  This is remarkable and is truly a group effort.  Kudos to those of you who remember to drop something off in the donation baskets as often as possible.  Baskets can be found in the Narthex and Hobart Hall by the water coolers.  Want to know more about the pantry?  Stop by the Social Justice table in Hobart Hall after church and pick up a flyer or email Fran Rose at  Be sure to put Food Pantry in the memo line of your email.

Your Calls Needed! LIFE and Statewide Juvenile Civil Citation Bill
Last week the third and final House committee passed an amended HB205.  It was amended to provide law enforcement officers the discretion to offer civil citations for adult misdemeanor offenses.  While we support that, we are unsure what impact that will have on what the final bill will look like that is passed by the House and how it will impact the effort to find common wording for a bill to pass both chambers.  We were disappointed that HB205 never got the original wording mandating civil citations restored to the bill.

So, as best as anyone can explain, here's where we are:  The Senate bill with our wording for mandatory civil citations passed all three Senate committees with very strong support.  Sen. Flores is still confident that the House language will move to be closer to the Senate language.
Here's what we need you to do in the meantime...we need to have another strong phone blitz on our 4 House reps. Here is what you say:

My name is ___________________ and I live in Lee County.  I am calling to express my support for the original version of HB 205 which more closely mirrored SB 196.  Juvenile Civil Citations have been proven the more effective way to respond to children who commit first-time, non-violent misdemeanors. I support expansion of this worthwhile program. The current HB 205 is a poor substitute and our group has discovered that even after records are expunged they can still be seen by various entities and can still cause a major problem for children trying to enter the military.  The session is quickly coming to an end and this is crucial.  I am urging Representative  Fitzenhagen, Rodrigues, Eagle, Caldwell to convince Representatives Ahern and Sprowls to add language back to HB 205 to ensure that children throughout our state receive equal access to the successful civil citation program or similar diversion programs.  Thank you! 
Here is a reminder of their phone #'s:

Rep. Matt Caldwell -  (850) 717-5079  (chief of staff - Charlotte Codie)
Rep. Dane Eagle -     (850) 717-5077  (chief of staff - Paige LeBoutiller)
Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen   (850) 717-5078  (chief of staff - Eddie Metzger)
Rep. Ray Rodrigues             (850) 717-5076  (chief of staff - James Mullen)

Service Auction Thank You

In appreciation for all you did to make this auction such a success, please accept this tremendous Thank You!  We made $14,258.  Thank you for your donations of:

Artwork, Handmade Items, Baked Goods, Dinner parties, Lunches, Baskets, Food for the Buffet, Decorations, Vacations and jobs monitoring the bid sheets.  A special thanks to our AUUctioneer, Jennifer Grant.  Another special thanks to all of you who placed those winning bids.  All who participated are:

Carol Barclay; Jan Beemer; Jenn, Lee and Jersey Blosser; Shirley Blumenfeld;  Tony Borras and Toni Latino; Barbara & Richard Boynton; Phyllis Brewer; Ted and Audrey Brown; Judy and Don Burget; Alison, Jill and Mike Carville; Carla Clason; Teri & Mel Cooper; Andy Crossen and Allison Farnum; Julia Davis; Doug Deininger and Laura Snow; Virginia Duffy; Teresa Eland; Ellen & Andy Erickson; John Fischer; Mary Pat FitzGibbons & Paul Brown; Kathy Ford; Alice & Susan Forsyth; Donna Foy & Haris Blackwood; Randal Gann; Leslie & Doc Gatto; Elinor & Rick Gentilman; Mary & Peter Golbitz; Dolores Gozzi; Genelle Grant & Richard Shine; Nancy & Roy Green;  Sean Griffin and Katie Romano Griffin; Arlene Gundlach; Cindy Gustafson; Mathew and Shellie Halstead; Anne & Harvey Heckes; Kathy Heckler; Joan Hickok;  Stephanie & Matt Hoffman; Krista Hutson; Julie Ireland; Walt & Simone Ittenbach; Priscilla Jeffcoat; Linda  & Denis Jensen; John & Janine Johns; Albie Johnson and Carole Latino; Linda Johnson; Ruth King-Fotovat; Rose & Don Klein; Keith Klinele; John Kron; Dan Laliberte and Steve Jorgensen; Judith Lancaster; Peg Lancioni; Bruce Leddy; Nancy & Jeff Letts; Deb Lewis; Dawn Lienhardt; Barbara Mannix; Bruce & Judie Marble; Debbie & Bill Marquardt; Barbara May & David McGrath;  Bob McCarron; Angela Melton & Kimberly Littleton; Pam & Rod Miller; James Morgan; Mary Murray; Bob & Mary Nies; Lily Nieves & Peter; Tina Noel; Emily Palmer; Bill & Jane Petrarca; John Pittman & Margot White; Joy Purcell; Holley Rauen & Liz Taggart; Don Richards; Gary & Sima Robbins; Chris Rosa; Fran Rose; Russ & Annie Rosenthal; Glenn & Paloma Siebert; Mary Tracy Sigman; Tom Sizemore; Jen Smith; Cathy Snow; Judy & Keith Songer; Rachel Spiller; Sydney Stewart; Jack Ulman; Carol Ann Ungerleider; Dorothy Van Howe; Kim Watson; Carla Webb; Lucy Wistreich; Diane Buckley and Neil Yesu; Suzanne & Bill Ziemer.

My UU Story

Benjamin FranklinWas I a Unitarian? 

Franklin's own words, in the last year of his life:

I believe in one God, creator of the Universe. That he governs it in his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we can render to Him is doing good to his other Children. That the soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever Sect I meet with them.

As to Jesus of Nazareth, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend that it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.

I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced the Goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously thro' a long life, I have no doubt of its Continuance in the next, though without the smallest Conceit of meriting such Goodness.

The American Unitarian Association and the British Unitarian Association were both founded well after Franklin's death, so membership in a congregation associated with either Association cannot be the measure of whether he "belongs" or not.

Instead, as with other pre-1820s figures, we have to look at his theology and at which congregations he attended regularly during his lifetime. Such congregations included those led by Joseph Priestley and by Theophilus Lindsey.

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.  
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.

May 1    Judith Lancaster   

May 3    Hugh Barclay

May 3    Alayna Calkins is 12!  

May 3     Matt Hoffman  

May 6     Arlene Goldberg

May 7     Cecilia Bridge

May 8     Peg Clayton Fischer

May 9      Alison Carville  

May 9     Helen Dixon  

May 9    Walter Peterson

May 12  Fran Rose

May 14  Jim Stout

May 17   Priscilla Jeffcoat  

May 17     Elaine Swank

May 21    Mary Golbitz   

May 23    Cathy Snow

May 24    Nancy Beecher  

  May 24     Elise Sexton is 16!

May 29    Stephanie Moreland

May 30    Diane Buckley

May 31    Kelly Johnson

 Please send all news articles for the Weekly E-news to
All Communicator articles may be emailed to
Newsletter Editor: Jill Carville 
(239) 561-2700 
Board of Trustees

President  Steve Eisenberg                         239-634-7367
President Elect   Matt Hoffman                   239-222-4836
Secretary  Rachel Spiller                            205-527-2386
Treasurer  Jen Smith                                    480-677-0404
VP Finance  Deb Lewis                                239-313-5618
VP Ministerial Services  Susan Forsyth   239-424-8442
VP Operations  Bill Petrarca                        239-454-2438
VP Programming  Donna Foy                     503-574-2130
Member at Large  Albie Johnson               239-218-7405

Minister                        Rev. Allison Farnum    239-561-2700x204
Director of Music       Amy Laursen                941-932-2353     
Director of RE            Jenn Blosser                 239-561-2700x208
Office Manager          Jill Carville                     239-561-2700x202
Building Supervisor  Mickey Kellam              239-738-3473     
Nursery Supervisor  Liza Kellam                   239-314-6316      
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