The Communicator
May 2020
Volume 37 Issue 5
Inspired by love, we transform ourselves and serve others.
This Sunday, May 3rd
Our Sunday service will be streamed via our website, at 10:30 AM  and also available on video by  Zoom   gathering. There will be no physical service in our Sanctuary.

The service theme is This Rose Will Open and is made possible by:

Rev. Margaret L. Beard , Minister
Jenn Blosser,   Director of Religious Education
Suellen Kipp,   Director of Music
Gini Gottman, Worship Associate
Krista Hopper, UUCFM Member
Albie Johnson, Worship Associate
Peter Golbitz, Musician
Mary Cline Golbitz, Musician
Lesley Peterson, Tech Team Member
Mark Brandon, Tech Team Member
Alison Carville, Tech Team Member
Walter Peterson, Tech Team Member

And YOU!

This is the Zoom meeting link for Sunday's Service:

If you join before 10:30 AM, you will be placed in an online "Waiting Room," and will manually be added when the worship team is ready to begin the service.

If you would like to make a pledge or donation to UUCFM at any time,  you may mail a check to UUCFM, 13411 Shire Lane, Fort Myers, FL 33912 or visit our PayPal at 
Type in your donation and in the notes section, please add the word  pledge  or  donation . If you would like your donation to go to  community sharing , please note that. Thanks!

Our Community Sharing  partner this month is  Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. The mission of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, an affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is to provide affordable access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and accurate health information through patient care, education and advocacy. This affiliate began operations in 1966 and presently provides vital sexual and reproductive health services, as well as comprehensive sexuality education to women, men and teens throughout southwest and central Florida. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, they are not allowing walk-ins at this time, please call 941-567-3800 to make an appointment.

May’s 5th Sunday Community Sharing money will go to Harry Chapin Food Bank.
From the Minister

Greetings! For most of my life, my personal mission has been “Increase Love and Justice.” How about you? Increase Love and Justice is what guides me. It can happen in both small and large ways. It can happen in the church and in the community. How do I or anyone else do this in the new world of COVID? We do what we can, where we can. It might be in our own home in interactions with our family members or housemates, It might be in our phone or zoom conversations or email or snail mail letters. What we do matters. I try to ask myself on a daily basis “where have I increased love and justice?"

I noticed this week that a number of people (including me) are getting grumpy. I think it is a normal or natural response to what is going on around us. Many of us are staying at home. Our lives are more constricted or we may be feeling vulnerable because of health issues.  Some of us are home with children, trying to educate them in meaningful ways. We might be worrying about their future. Others, are essential workers and are going out daily into the great unknown. They wonder if they are protected enough. Yes, it is normal to be grumpy, or depressed, or probably “whatever" you are feeling. It is important to slow down or focus on what you are really feeling.  Take time for yourself and perhaps reach out to someone—friend or family member. Talk about how you are feeling and ask how they are doing. In addition to my family, I feel fortunate to have a great support system of friends and colleagues just a phone call away. I and our pastoral care associates are available to support you. Sometimes you might need to reach out to a mental health professional. Don’t go it alone. Let us know how we can help.

A number of you have asked what to call me or you have assumed (based on experienced with previous ministers) "Rev. First Name." I prefer you call me “Margaret" in an email or in person.  If you are referring to me in public or you are writing about me in a document like a newsletter or the minutes of a meeting please refer to me as "Rev. Beard." I have jokingly said that if you are in jail or introducing me to your parents, it is good to call me "Reverend Beard." The “Reverend" often gets me increased respect and sometimes access to a variety of places. Your parents might be impressed that women get to be ministers. Please also let me know what you preferred to be called. 

Hope to “see" you soon, perhaps over ZOOM.

Margaret (The Reverend Margaret L. Beard, Minister)
When Will We Be Together Again?

I’m sure that the majority of us have had this question on our minds. This has been a challenging time as we have had to find ways of remaining in community with each other while maintaining social isolation. It feels like an oxymoron doesn’t it – isolated community? And yet we have been meeting this challenge with steadfastness and grace. Through the hard work of our staff and volunteers, we have enjoyed meaningful worship services and have gathered together in groups in an online environment. We are navigating through a new way of doing things.

How long will this situation continue? The governor’s stay-in-place order, intended to flatten the curve of the coronavirus, began on April 4th and was to last 30 days. However, both myself as the President of the Board of Trustees as well as our minister, Rev. Margaret Beard, do not feel that we are ready to open the doors to our congregation or the public. While the curve of the virus has flattened due to the stay-in-place measures, it
remains a serious threat to our community. Regardless of what decisions our political leaders may make regarding public gatherings, we believe that it is important to listen to the scientific community and our health care professionals, who advise us to resist the urge to end isolation measures too quickly. And so, we will continue to remain closed to in
person gatherings for the time being. We will continue to join together in community via virtual space.

The Board of Trustees and our minister will continue to monitor the situation and make further decisions regarding reopening as new information comes to light. We will keep you informed as the situation develops. The safety of our congregation members, our loved ones, and our wider community continues to remain our primary concern.

“We will get there, heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will.” Breathe deeply, my fellow congregation members and friends. This will pass. We want you safe and well. Our goal is that when we are able to come together once again, that we will ALL be here.

Lesley Peterson, President of the UUCFM Board of Trustees
Upcoming Events
School of Wizardry!
Enrollment for the 2020 term of the School of Wizardry is open. The term begins on Monday, June 29th, and ends Friday July 3rd. Due to the current uncertainty brought on by the Corona-virus pandemic, we are opening a light registration at this time. Space is limited to 44 participants for the term. We are monitoring the health situation closely and will not host programming at UUCFM if the CDC advises. 

If we can't physically gather for camp, our team of dedicated volunteers are working to bring the School of Wizardry to their campers digitally! This virtual version of camp, scheduled for the same week, will be offered for a suggested donation of $50 per participant.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact:
Krista Hopper, Camp Director
Phone - (239) 464-1333
Email -
Classes & Groups
The Book Club  
The UUCFM Book Club now meets online. Our current book is  Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain , by David Eagleman. The weekly readings are:

May 6:  Ch. 5
May 13:  Ch. 6
May 20:  Ch. 7 and choosing our next book. 
Online Photo Directory   
During social distancing, it’s a great time for new members to get their photos into the UUCFM Online Photo Directory. That’s also true for other members whose photos aren’t yet in the Photo Directory. To make this happen, please email a head and shoulders digital photo of either single or couple members along with your full name(s) to Denis Jensen at  and I’ll get you in the Photo Directory.
If you have never accessed the UUCFM Photo Directory, the directions for UUCFM Members are as follows:

  1. Go to the UUCFM website
  2. You can log in to the website by clicking on the light green login or register at upper right. If you’ve never logged in before, you need to email Lesley Peterson at so she can allow you access. You will use your email as your user name and you must choose a password. Once your access is granted, you can log in.
  3. Once you’re logged in, click on Photo Directory from the Member Services block at left and you are in. You can also do a Membership Search or perform other activities once you have access.
Transition Team Scheduling Member to Member Listening Groups on Zoom

We hope you will join us on Zoom. We have picked two dates - Monday, May 11 at 10:00 AM and Saturday May 16 at 10:00 AM. We will set up future dates in case you miss the May meetings, but we hope to have a small group of up to 8 people on these May Zoom video calls. We have four questions we want to ask you. It will help us plan out our future together. 

All you need to do is email Karen Brown at  or call her at 862-432-0173.  Once you make a commitment to join the call, you will be given an invitation link to get on Zoom via email. We hope many of you will email Karen or call her if you have questions. If you are not a Zoom fan, once we are together again, we will set up in-person groups. It will be a delight to gather together as we have been apart for so long. 

Warmest regards from the Transition Team,

Karen Brown, , 826-432-0173 
Bill Petrarca, , 239-810-4608 
Walter Ittenbach, , 239-850-4546
Lane Cook, , 239-222-9406
Karen Feinen, , 585-615-0064
Patricia Vivier-Naidl, , 239-826-8701
Roy Green, , 239-433-1142
From Our Caring Network
If you or another member of the Congregation needs some extra attention during this time, your Pastoral Care Committee is here to help as much as we can.

Our Committee members include Mary Faegre, Harvey Heckes, Joan Hickok, Marge Kolde, Mary Tracy-Sigman, Patricia Vivier-Naidl, Holley Rauen and Suzanne Ziemer. Leslie Gatto has also offered her help at this time. If any members of the Congregation are available to help during this crisis with picking up and delivering items, please contact Mary Golbitz.

As a way to keep our Community together we are offering Community Conference calls Wednesdays at 4:00 PM. These will be informal calls to check in, share and be able to offer support to one another. We may change to a Zoom format so we can see one another if all are comfortable with this.

Please call to informally connect with other members of the Congregation. The dial in number is  712-770-4898. Access Code is 634697#.  

We can connect with you individually by phone if you are feeling isolated and offer other assistance such as getting groceries or other essentials for those who are unable to leave their homes while keeping us all safe and protected. Please contact Mary Golbitz for information or assistance:  or  207-479-4082  

UUCFM is the beneficiary of goodness from long, long ago. Three people from past generations recently left a bequest to the church in their wills:

Leonard Coleman
Barbara King
Bud Louis

Through their foresight and care for our community, we have resources available to help us through these uncertain times.

If you would like to include UUCFM in your will or estate plan, please contact Jill Carville at and request a brochure about the Shire Lane Legacy Society.  

“A community grows great when elders plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Member to Member
From Frances Pake: I am inviting folks to join a limited number of people for a group sharing life stories. I have a few I am writing for my memorial service, whenever that might be. In the meantime I would like to get to know people while we are social distancing so we will know a few folks better when we meet next face to face. Stories will be shared with no more than 8 church members. If interested let me know and I will pass along the email addresses of those who wish to share.
Social Justice
South Fort Myers Food Pantry

Yesterday I received an update from the pantry expressing the frustration they feel as they are challenged to obtain enough food for their clients. First they had to make massive adjustments to keep clients and volunteers safe. They never shut down and have been operating for the last five weeks as a drive through pantry, passing out bags of prepackaged food reminiscent of the early days before the pantry became a walk through “choice pantry”. They have worked out all the problems that this system presented and this week they will begin to register new clients. The volunteers there have been working very hard to make this happen.

You can probably imagine what has happened to their food source. They are still getting food from Harry Chapin Food Bank but of course every food pantry and mobile pantry that they send out are swamped with more and more clients every week. The churches are closed so they are not getting weekly food from the coalition churches. The markets and retail stores that were always a backup when the supply was getting low are now having problems keeping their own shelves stocked and are limiting regular shoppers to certain amounts per family. So what’s the solution?

Many of us may be feeling frustrated during Shelter in Place, wishing there were something we could do. It would be wonderful if you could fill a bag with food and bring it to the Food Pantry behind the Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church at 8260 Cypress Lake Drive in Fort Myers on any Monday between 9 & 10 AM or 3 to 3:30 PM. Remember your mask!  Better still you could call friends or neighbors, tell them you are making a run to the South Fort Myers Food Pantry because they will be serving a big influx of people in the next few weeks, and would they like to donate some non perishable items? It sounds as though they could use almost anything but the items they mentioned were rice, cereal, pasta & pasta sauce, peanut butter, soup, canned vegetables and fruit.

If you do decide to do this, please, say that you are from UUCFM or just the Unitarian, Universalist Church. I think they’ll know which one. If physically you cannot do this maybe you have a friend that would be willing. Just a thought. There’s such a big need. 
Fran Rose:
Our UU Story
Henry Bergh
Sometimes, anger can be a good thing. Henry Bergh was angry about the way people often treated animals. So, he founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in April, 1866. Bergh was a Unitarian who lived in the 1800s (1811–1888).

When Bergh was 50, Pres. Abraham Lincoln asked him to go to Russia as a diplomat. There, he saw a man whipping a horse. He asked a policeman to stop the beating, but the policeman said the man owned the horse and could do anything he wanted to it.
He also remembered what he had seen at home in America—overworked and beaten horses, dog pits where people bet on which dogs would kill the others, fights to the death between roosters or between bulldogs and bears, and pigeon shoots where birds were blinded in one eye so they would fly around crazily while wealthy hunters tried to shoot them.

After leaving Russia, Bergh went to England, where he met the president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This organization had the power to stop people from abusing animals. Bergh realized he could start a group like it in the United States.

Bergh helped New York State pass a law, making abuse of animals illegal. As president of the ASPCA, the city and state of New York gave him power to arrest people and take them to court. He investigated cruelty, closed down dog pits and rooster fights, made dairy farmers clean up their barns. His battle to stop cruelty to animals became known as "Bergh's War."

The ASPCA was active, but it was poor. Then an old man sent for Bergh. When Bergh entered the shabby little home, the old man said, "I've been reading about you in the papers. I like what you are doing for animals. I am ill, and I know I am dying. I'm going to leave everything in my will to the ASPCA."

Bergh thanked the old man, without expecting his gift to be of much help. But after the man died, Bergh found out he had been a millionaire who had lived as a miser. Now the ASPCA could move out of a small rental room into a building of its own. Now it could grow. Within five years, Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had sprung up in 19 states and Canada.

Edited by Joy F. Sokeitous
Our Greater Community
Please submit articles regarding programs from our facility users, community sharing partners, and greater UU news only. Thank you!

Your Gifts Needed for
UUA COVID-19 Pandemic Response
Your financial gifts to the COVID-19 Response fund of the Unitarian Universalist Assn. (UUA) will be used to provide financial assistance to Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations and related UU entities, as well as UU religious professionals and administrative staff impacted by this crisis.  Please donate at this online site:

In this time of national crisis, the UUA is working alongside our congregations, and supporting our UU religious professionals and administrative staff, who are tirelessly leading our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact is widespread, but some will be hit harder than others.

Grants will be awarded via the Disaster Relief Fund to congregations and UU entities partnering with local organizations to provide assistance in their community to people who are at significant risk to health and livelihood because of COVID-19. Grants to meet the extraordinary financial needs of ministers, religious professionals, and congregational staff impacted by COVID-19 will be disbursed through the Living Tradition Fund.

The Disaster Relief Fund assists UU congregations and their communities in recovering from crises ranging from natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, to human-caused disasters like the collapsing infrastructure resulting in unsafe drinking water seen in Flint, MI. Our congregations, our people, and our communities will all bear the impact of this latest disaster, the COVID-19 heath emergency .​ 
The Living Tradition Fund helps our professionals who have devoted themselves to helping others. The fund helps meet the extraordinary financial needs experienced by ministers (active and retired), other religious professionals, and congregational staff. These professionals may request relief with large outstanding medical bills, or assistance when facing a housing crisis. The Fund also supports surviving spouses and partners of deceased ministers faced with the dual challenges of loneliness and reduced income. 
Joy F. Sokeitous
May 3   Matt Hoffman  
May 7  Priscilla Jeffcoat
May 8  Peg Clayton Fischer
May 9   Alison Carville  
May 9 Helen Dixon 
May 9  Walter Peterson
May 12  Ann Holmes  
May 12 Fran Rose
May 14  Jim Stout
May 17   Elaine Swank
May 21  Mary Cline Golbitz  
May 23   Cathy Snow
May 24  Janene Larson
May 29  Stephanie Moreland
May 30  Diane Buckley
Did you know your purchases can help us?  Amazon Smile  donates to UUCFM when you do your online shopping by following this special link to Amazon: 
Want to Become a Member?
If you are interested in becoming a new member, please email
Minister  The Reverend Margaret L. Beard
Director of Music   Suellen Kipp
Director of RE   Jenn Blosser
Office Manager  Jill Carville
Building Supervisor   Mickey Kellam
Nursery Supervisor   Liza Kellam
Please send all newsletter articles by  Wednesday at noon  for publication in Thursday's newsletter. Send articles to .