June 2021
Your monthly news & updates
The theme this month in worship, religious education and small groups is "Play"

To receive a copy of this month's "Soulful Home" packet for how to add elements of ritual and spirituality to daily family life especially with younger children, please email the request to minister@nuuc.org
Silver Linings: Annual Pledge Drive Begins June 1
Dear NUUC Members and Friends,

As you might know, our congregation’s fiscal year ends on June 30, 2021, which means that we conduct our annual pledge drive June 1-June 20. This allows us to construct our budget and present it to the congregation for approval in early July. Our pledge theme this year is “Silver Linings.”

2020 was truly the Annus horribilis. While we did not lose any church members to the Covid pandemic in these long past months, many of us have been ill, some of us dangerously so. All of us have lost both loved ones and our usual ways of life. The deep racial and economic inequities that mark America have become even more exaggerated.

Yet even these heavy clouds reveal silver linings. We have learned new ways of being with each other, and of understanding ourselves. More people than ever in our history participated in our worship and enrichment programs, including those addressing white privilege (for more details, click here to see our annual report). 

While many of us have personally suffered serious financial hardship because of covd-19 related changes to our economy, many of those who are able to have also generously stepped up their giving. Donors have told us that they have been inspired by our justice-based commitment to retain staff as if we were operating normally.  We also benefitted this year, as we did last, from a grant from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program that insulated us from the loss of income from not being able to hold a service auction.  For these reasons we anticipate closing the fiscal year on June 30 with no deficit. 

We have also continued working hard on our Building Expansion Project. In September of 2020, we appeared before the Orange Township Zoning Board, and received all the necessary permissions and approvals of our design plan for both the building and site. In late November we completed the design development phase of drawings with architect Kay Onwukwe, and chose a new architect, Gary Gray of Davis/Wince to complete construction drawings. As of this writing, construction drawings are nearly complete, and our contractor Shaun Greer is working on the “guaranteed maximum project cost.” Once we have that and have made any necessary budget related adjustments, we will launch the final, "matching gift" "close the gap" phase of the capital campaign. While we have run into delays along the way, we still plan to start digging this summer. 

Most of all, we anticipate eagerly our re-opening for face to face gathering (with continued options for virtual participation). If the statistics continue to improve, we can imagine outdoor gatherings and/or small groups meeting this summer, and we hope for the resumption of face-to-face gatherings in or around the time of our traditional Ingathering Service (the first Sunday after Labor Day). Your Board of Trustees monitors this situation closely, following the advice of public health experts and other Unitarian Universalist communities. We will let you know as soon as possible when we are able to set a safe date for reopening.

Despite the challenges, maybe because of them, NUUC has grown in both numerical, institutional, and spiritual ways.  We are well poised to move into a newly vibrant future. Thanks to your time, talent, commitments, patience, and generosity. 


Warmly,

Rev. Susan Ritchie and your NUUC Board of Trustees
 
 
Ways to Make a Pledge
1.     You can return the printed form below through regular mail to our PO Box (PO Box 541, Lewis Center, OH 43035). Printed forms will be mailed to all members on June 1.  
3.     You can speak to an actual living person! Indicate your interest in talking to a steward through this form here.
4.     You can go to our online donations platform (here) and set up a recurring gift to be paid from either a deposit account or credit card. If you already have a recurring online gift set up with us, we will consider this your pledge unless you change that information or let us know differently.
 
Participate in the 2021 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association June 23-27
Each year thousands of Unitarian Universalists from across the nation gather together during General Assembly to worship together, participate in education programs and workshops, and vote on the business of the association. Because this year's GA will be entirely online, it is easy to participate (no travel! no expensive airplane tickets and hotel rooms!). You can find out more here:
If you are planning to attend and would like to represent our congregation as a voting delegate, please contact minister@nuuc.org
NUUC to Aid Returning Citizens
WELCOME BACKPACKS
 Members of NUUC (Lyn Savidge & Pam Patsch) and First UU (Dick Dawson & Marge Lynd) formed a UU team and participated in Horizon Prison Initiative’s webinar series about the role of faith communities in addressing the opioid crisis. It was an excellent series, and we learned a lot about addiction, trauma, treatment, and resources available in Central Ohio. At the end of the series, each team was asked to commit to taking a concrete action together. 
 
Most people who are incarcerated committed offenses related to an addiction. Everyone on our UU team has worked with individuals who were in prison or had been recently released. We got to know them as fellow human beings, learned about the challenges and trauma they have faced in their lives, witnessed the positive changes they were making, and listened to their concerns about reentry. When released from prison, people are given a trash bag containing a few of their belongings. They leave with the clothes they are wearing, but no hygiene items, extra clothes, food, or other necessities. The lucky ones are released to family members who can provide for their needs immediately after release. Others go to a halfway house where they have housing and meals, but little else. Some leave with no where to go and only what is in their trash bag. Successful transition from prison to the community is already challenging when you have a felony record and are recovering from addiction, but even more so if you have limited support and resources on the outside. 
 
To help with the transition, two nonprofit groups have joined together to collect items to welcome returning citizens back to the community. A Step in the Right Direction strives to break down the barriers of re-entry and change the stigma around citizens reentering society by providing quality programs and supportive services to individuals of primarily low to moderate incomes. Visionz of Love serves inner city youth in Columbus with programs that promote mental, physical, and emotional well-being through the core values of perseverance, empowerment, education, and accountability. One of their target groups are children whose parents have been incarcerated. The backpacks are not only a way to provide for some of the immediate needs of returning citizens, but to also let them know that people in the community care and support them.
 
Our UU team is inviting members of our two congregations to collect items for the Welcome Backpacks including:
·       Backpacks or Duffel bags
·       Toothbrush & Toothpaste
·       Deodorant (men's & women's)
·       Socks (men's & women's)
·       Underwear (men's & women's - all sizes)
·       Combs/Brushes
·       T-shirts (any size or color)
·       Encouraging notes such as “You are closing the old chapter and starting a new one.” or “This is your chance. You can make it!” or “Welcome home. Know that people care and support you.”
 
​At NUUC, we will be collecting backpack items in May and June. If you have items to contribute, please contact Lyn Savidge (Delaware area) or Pam Patsch (Columbus area) to arrange to drop off or have items picked up. You can email Lyn at lynsavidge@gmail.com or text her at 614-443-2741. Pam has new contact information. Her email is bealight2010@icloud.com and phone number is 614-715-7290. Donated items will be delivered to A Step in the Right Direction at the end of June. Let us know if you are interested in helping to assemble backpacks with other volunteers from the non-profit groups.
 
Ways to Connect
Creative Fellowship
Are you longing for connection in these difficult times? Do you have unfinished craft/art/sewing/knitting or other projects that you would like to work on but haven’t? If so please join Commissioned Lay Minister Teri Cornell in Creative Fellowship! We will have a zoom meeting once a month (the first Thursday of each month from 6:30PM-8:00PM) and we can work on our projects, exercise our creativity, and talk about whatever is on our minds and hearts. No need to sign up, just drop by using the same Zoom link that we use for regular NUUC worship service (see below).

The Second Monday Morning Covenant Group, meets from 10:00 until noon via “Zoom.” For a link, contact Marty Keith at martykeith @zoho.com. On June 14, participants plan to consider "Perfectionism and How It Affects Us."

Wednesday Noon Check In
Join us using the regular NUUC zoom connection at noon everyday Wednesday for informal check- ins and chat with your fellow members. Use the regular Sunday morning Zoom login, or write minister@nuuc.org for a direct link.
NUUC's Women's Group meets the last Sunday of the month at noon. The topic for June 27 is "Why Do People Cling to Certain Beliefs?" Weather permitting, the group is meeting on the lawn at the church.  Participants will not be entering the building. In the event of rain or a chilly day, a Zoom session will be arranged.

Interested in the Once a Month Brown Bag Books? The next meeting is June 15, beginning at Noon, to discuss "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Weather permitting, the group is meeting on the lawn at the church.  Participants will not be entering the building. In the event of rain or a chilly day, a Zoom session will be arranged.

Soul Matters Small Groups
We currently have three different Soul Matters Small Groups virtually meeting, for regular in depth check ins, and for exploring together different spiritual themes. New members are welcome at any time, write to minister@nuuc.org
Mowing at NUUC: We Need Some Help
For this mowing season, the Building and Grounds Committee (B&G) again plans to handle the mowing using the same approach as last year, which will avoid us having to contract out the mowing and save about $3,900 in the budget. With activities starting to pick up from the COVID-19 virus lockdown, we feel we can include volunteers from the congregation in our mowing plans. We will be taking recommended virus precautions for volunteers. But we want to point out that the mowing is mostly a solitary activity.

Our plan is for the B&G Committee to handle the mowing on a rotating basis with some help from the congregation. B&G Committee members will mow 3 weeks of each month, and the 4th week plus sometimes the 5th week will be handled by a different volunteer from the congregation. This approach will spread the work so each committee member will mow about once a month, and each congregational volunteer would mow just one time during the season. Our approach will keep everyone's work commitments reasonable.

The areas to be mowed include the church yard (bounded by the driveway and the parking lot) plus the yard around Nielsen House. The southern field at the rear of our property and the west side of the parking lot are excluded and will be mowed separately by the B&G Committee members.

We got a zero-turn riding mower about 3 years ago, which can be used for almost all of the mowing.
The mower’s cost was totally funded by a very generous donation from Gary and Ruth Rusk, plus a generous donation from John and Lynn Foreman. For a few small, tight areas, which the zero-turn mower cannot handle, we then use a self-propelled push power mower. If you are not familiar with using a zero-turn mower, we will give you some brief training for about 15 minutes that gets you familiar enough with the mower to comfortably mow the main parts of the yard. You will still trim the edges of the yard with the self-propelled push mower. Using a zero-turn mower is fun and allows the mowing to be done in about half the time. But, some people prefer to use the push mower to mow the entire yard instead of the zero-turn mower.

We would like to get 1 or 2 volunteers from the congregation each month to mow one time in the season. The mowing season runs from April through early November. But this year volunteers from the congregation only will be needed beginning in the last week of April through October. Three of those months will contain 5 weeks and require 2 volunteers, so we need a total of 10 volunteers.

Please consider volunteering to mow one time this season. If you would like to help the church handle the mowing, you can see the mowing sign-up schedule posted at this weblink: tiny.cc/NUUC-mowing . To get scheduled, just pick a date that works for your schedule and then contact Bob Keith at bobkeith@zoho.com or 740-369-1919. You also can contact Bob if you have questions or would like more information.



Mary Vietmeier's Journey: North to Alaska

As many of you know after graduating from The Methodist School of Theology last May my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE learning hospital chaplaincy) was cancelled due to COVID 19. Now fully vaccinated I have accepted a CPE internship this summer at the Providence Medical Center in Anchorage. This has become a true spiritual quest that has amazed me in how it has unfolded so I thought I would share it with those who might be interested. And, to provide an opportunity and space for you to share comments, thoughts, insights, and any other inspiration from your own spiritual journey. I have set up a private group on Facebook (Spiritual Seekers of True North) which I hope to post to daily beginning with the 8 day 7 night drive to get there. This is a private group by invitation only. There will be non NUU folks in the group from my Facebook community, family, and friends who I have invited. My hope is that over time this will evolve into a place to share and support each other in the next level of understanding, growth, and unity in both our individual and collective consciousness. Or if you just want to follow along you are welcome. To join: search on Facebook for Spiritual Seekers of True North, go to the group page and click on Join. I will then give you access; hope to see you soon. Namaste, Mary Vietmeier

MORE UU SOCIAL JUSTICE NEWS
 
THE COLORS OF PRIDE
 
JUNE IS PRIDE MONTH, a time to affirm the dignity, equality and increased visibility of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community.  
 
This year a coalition of advocacy and faith-based community partners have organized “The Colors of Pride”, a week-long effort to bring together faith leaders and their congregations in support of LGBTQ equality. To participate in any of the weeks’ activities, sign up here.
 
The week of action, which will run from June 11 - 19, will provide opportunities for allyship between and within the queer community, Black and Brown communities, and congregations. Activities will be focused on the intersectionality of queerness, racial justice, and religious identity.
 
There are many ways for your congregation to participate in The Colors of Pride, including:
 
  • Participate in the Faith Weekend of Action for LGBTQ Nondiscrimination, June 11 - 13: Your congregation will be sent a toolkit with ways to support the LGBT equality during your faith service, including messages for your bulletin, recommended readings and even short video messages from faith leaders that can be shared online or during service during the month. 
  • Take part in the “Faith in Action Night for the Equality Act” on Monday June 14, an evening of information and training about advocating for LGBT nondiscrimination
  • Join “Script, Schedule and Speak”, a training for faith leaders on Wednesday, June 17 and learn how best to reach your elected leaders in support of nondiscrimination protections.
  • Promote a Juneteenth virtual celebration on Saturday, June 19 and conclude Pride Week with a spiritual commemoration of the emancipation of the enslaved Americans in the year 1865 known as Juneteenth.
  • Educate your community by sharing prepared emails with your congregation that encourages advocacy to Protect Trans Women of Color, Support Criminal Justice Reform and Pass the Equality Act.
 
To participate in one or all of these opportunities, sign up here. Within the next few days the campaign will share a toolkit with additional information and resources for your congregation. 
 
For questions about specific activities, or for more information generally, please contact Rev. Dr Roland Stringfellow at mccdpastor@gmail.com
 
Thank you, 
Equality Act Faith Coalition
 
UUJO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE RENEWAL PROGRAM
 
Along with the usual environmental threats we face daily, there are bills at the Statehouse threatening to make brine (with radium in it) available for commercial use as a de-icer. We could soon find our neighbors and businesses spreading dangerous radioactive brine on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. UU's are being called to do protection work, education, and advocacy to stop these bills and protect the health of our children, friends and the larger community.
 
However, many UU environmental justice groups in Ohio are feeling stretched, disconnected, and unsure of what to tackle next. It doesn't have to be that way! Now that we're all familiar with Zoom and other technologies, we have the opportunity to lean into finding and using resources and connections in new ways. We are now introducing the: UUJO Environmental Justice Renewal Program to Respect Life, Restore the Earth, and Renew Our Spirits.
 
All Ohio UU congregations are invited to participate in this program running from June through September. We'll gather as a statewide group each week to learn, support each other and make new connections to inspire action. Bring your passion, your concerns, and your needs. Let's work together throughout Ohio to make a difference. After all, many hands do make light work.
 
We ask that at least one person in your congregation sign up to participate (all are welcome). Please sign up on the form HERE  and fill in the Doodle Poll so we can find a common time to meet early June.

With Hope for the Future,
Rev Joan VanBecelaere
Executive Director
Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio
 
 
PEOPLE OF FAITH NEED TO DEFEND DEMOCRACY IN OHIO!
 
A working group that included UU Justice Ohio and North UU Church in Lewis Center, crafted this letter to oppose the Ohio Legislature’s attempts to deny democracy in our state. Please read and sign on and share.

Thank you. Rev Joan VanBecelaere, UU Justice
Democracy is at its best when there is abundant access to the ballot, equality and expression. And as people of faith, we believe that every person has inherent dignity and worth, as well as unique God-breathed gifts to share with the community. 
 
The GOP in our Statehouse is taking extreme and radical measures to silence differing opinions and restrict voting access. These right-wing lawmakers in gerrymandered districts believe that they should choose their voters, rather than having us voters choose our elected officials. 
 
Bills to criminalize protest and restrict voting are moving in both Ohio’s House and Senate. We must stand up against this unholy attack on our shared values. 
 

Let’s keep working together for a robust democracy that recognizes the dignity in all Ohioans!
 
Peace שָׁלוֹם سلام,
Rev. Dan Clark
Ohio Director, Faith in Public Life
he/him/his
 


Checkout UU Justice Ohio by clicking here.
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