The Newsletter , December, 2018    
Winter Solstice Service & Drum Circle
Dec. 21, 7:00 PM

Come share in a worship full of poetry, music, and candlelight; with rituals for releasing the past and setting our fresh intentions as wheel of the year turns yet again.  The service will be in the sanctuary from 7:00 PM-7:40 PM.  All interested are invited to stay for a drum circle that will take place in Fellowship Hall at 7:45 pm. Snacks will be served in between the events.  This special seasonal event is open to the whole community; please share this announcement with your friends and neighbors!
You are Invited: Service Auction Kickoff Meeting
Kickoff of Service Auction Planning - You're Invited!

Our exciting and fun service auction is coming in April and we would like your input in making it the best service auction ever. I invite you to attend the kickoff planning meeting for our annual service auction on Tue. Dec. 11th at 7 PM in Fellowship Hall.

At the planning meeting, we will set the date for the service auction, establish the revenue goal, and seek theme ideas. This meeting involves no commitment beyond just attending and offering your input. Some of you have expressed interest in being part of the ongoing service auction planning team and it will be great to have you be part of the team. Others of you may not want to be on the planning team and that is perfectly fine. We value your opinions and will be thrilled to just get your input at the kickoff meeting.

We hope you will attend this meeting.

Best regards,
Bob Keith

Brown Bag Books

Hello Readers,
Brown Bag Book readers met last Tuesday to discuss Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.  After an interesting discussion, we chose the next two upcoming books which are listed below.  We tried to lighten up a bit the on the reading material.....  If any of you have suggestions of books you want to read and discuss, bring the names along next month.  We will be choosing additional books.  Attached is a complete of all the books we have read Since our beginning in 2005!
 Basic Black with Pearls by Helen Weinzweig
American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee
The following is short summary of Basic Black with Pearls from Amazon:

A brilliant, lost feminist classic that is equal parts domestic drama and international intrigue.  Shirley and Coenraad's affair has been going on for decades, but her longing for him is as desperate as ever. She is a Toronto housewife; he works for an international organization known only as the Agency. Their rendezvous take place in Tangier, in Hong Kong, in Rome and are arranged by an intricate code based on notes slipped into issues of National Geographic . He recognizes her by her costume: a respectable black dress and string of pearls; his appearance, however, is changeable. But something has happened, the code has been discovered, and Coenraad sends Shirley (who prefers to be known as "Lola Montez") to Toronto, the last place she wants to go. There the trail leads her through the sites of her impoverished immigrant childhood and sends her, finally, to her own house, where she discards her pearls and trades in her basic black for a dress of vibrant multicolored silk.

Brown Bag Books meets on the third Tuesday of each month at noon at the North Church.  Sometimes we walk after we're finished...

We would love for you to join us as you are able!  Hope to see you Tuesday, December 20th!
Happy Reading
Thanks for Help with Mowing

With thoughts of the Thanksgiving holiday still fresh, we have something else to be thankful for at NUUC. It is the efforts of the many volunteers who have helped with the mowing this season. We have just completed the mowing season and as you may know, we handled the mowing ourselves at NUUC instead of using a mowing contractor. Our coordinated mowing efforts went quite well and saved a lot of money. We estimate we saved $3,360 by not contracting out the mowing this year. For the yards around the church and Nielsen House, the Building and Grounds Committee members took turns mowing each week except for the 4th and 5th weeks each month, which were handled by volunteers from the congregation.

We give a big thank you to the following congregational volunteers for their fine mowing efforts, which filled out the mowing schedule this season:
John Foreman*
Sarah Johnson*
Neil Kirby**
Dan Patridge**
Susan Ritchie*
Aimee Salyer*
Jeff Turner**
** = mowed 2 times
* = mowed 1 time

For 3 weeks each month, 3 members of the B & G Committee took turns mowing. We give a hearty thank you to these committee members for their monthly efforts:
Roger Orwick
John Rodeheffer
Bob Keith

Also, we give a great big thank you to B&G Committee member Gary Rusk for his weekly mowing the large field at the rear of our property plus the area west of the parking lot. Gary generously volunteered to handle mowing the fields for the entire mowing season, which really enhanced the appearance of our property.

Donors for New Mower
The big highlight of this mowing season was purchasing a new zero turn mower in July. 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. A large thank you goes to the Rusks and Foremans! The zero turn mower has cut our mowing time in half and some even say the mowing is now fun. In addition, we've found that with 15 minutes of training, even people that have never used a zero turn mower before were able to mow and feel confident and at ease.

Since our volunteer mowing approach worked so well and we now have a new zero turn mower, we plan to continue this approach in the coming mowing season. Watch for more information on our mowing plans as spring approaches.
Adult Enrichment Programs---News

NUUC's December Game Night is a certainty! All ages are welcome. Please bring a dessert to share and become better acquainted over a variety of games on December 7, at 6:30, in Fellowship Hall.
The Second-Monday-Morning Covenant Group plans to explore "The Power of Myth" on December 10, from 10:00 until noon.
Bag Books, meeting on third Tuesdays at noon (coming up, December 18), has chosen Basic Black with Pearls, by Helen Weinzweig, for its next read.
NUUC's Women's Group is taking a break through the holidays but will resume January 24, 2019, at 6:30 in Fellowship Hall. We are considering various discussion ideas: the novel The Vegetarian by Han Kang, about a woman who has to battle her husband, among others, for the right to have her own opinions [This book has been compared to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's"The Yellow Wallpaper"]; a couple of non-fiction works- Sex Object: A Memoir (Jessica Valenti) and Asking for It (Kate Harding); and Can We All Be Feminists?, a book of readings which can be addressed one at a time or in conjunction with another book. There are other topic possibilities as well.
While I, Marty Keith, do not organize all the above, I can answer questions or direct folks to someone who can! Newcomers to the groups always are welcome.   
Christmas Eve Service
Dec. 24, 7:00 PM


Join us for a special service of candlelight, carols, music and story.
The theme in worship and religious education this month is Mystery.
Congregational Meeting Schedule for Dec. 16; Building project update

Dear NUUC Members and Friends,

Your board of trustees is calling a congregational meeting for December 16, to immediately follow the worship service. We will be asking for a vote to engage Kay Onwukwe as our architect to develop a schematic design to present for congregational approval for a cost of no more than $17,500.  Because of his understanding that the congregation will be extremely interested in accurate cost estimates, Onwukwe has proposed that he work on a "design build" basis, which means that he would work with a construction company on every phase of his design development, so that the budget can be managed and accurately controlled from the very beginning.  For this reason, we will also ask for a vote to approval Shaun Greer as our contractor for this period, for a total cost of not more than $12,000 (this figure is likely to be lower given some of the programming work that has already been accomplished).

We are working to have a design to present for congregational approval yet this winter. Should the congregation show enthusiasm for the design, our consultant Barry Finkelstein, will return in March to train stewards, and we can launch a combined annual pledge and capital campaign drive this Spring. 
In the past, we have been accustomed to doing a fall annual pledge drive. However, the opportunity to do a combined drive under Barry's guidance, in addition to the general advantages of doing a spring pledge drive, have led the board to recommend that we use this opportunity to permanent locate the annual pledge drive to the spring, and change the fiscal year from its current association with the calendar year to a July fiscal start. Hence, at the December 16 meeting, we will also ask the congregation to vote that we extend our current budget to the new fiscal year. That budget has been performing very well; we will hear a report on both the budget performance and the status of capital funds at the meeting.  We will also ask that congregants simply extend their pledge at their current levels until the campaign launch. We do ask that you email to indicate if you would like to increase your pledge, or if you need to decrease it due to changed circumstances.  

We know a lot has happened in a fairly short time relative to the building process, so we are providing a brief summary below of all that has transpired since late this summer.

Your NUUC Board of Trustees

Building Project Timeline since August 2018

At a congregational meeting on August 3, Dave Kerr's design concept one was selected as the best of three presented designs, using preferential voting. Support for the concept was nonetheless weak, with 24/65 persons present voting for "none of the above" as their preferred design.

Consultant Barry Finkelstein released the results of the Financial Feasibility Study on August 30. The results showed good acknowledgement and engagement with the process, appreciation for the work of the Steering Committee, and also, disappointment that Design Concept One did not accomplish more of our mission related goals. Barry reported that a capital campaign organized around Design Concept One would raise $450-$550K.   Immediately before the meeting, Barry let us know about a member of the congregation willing to give a generous six figure gift towards a Capital Campaign directed around a design that meets more of our goals. Barry also reported that many of the people he spoke with would also be willing to give more to a project representing more gains. Barry believes that a project more in line with our goals has the realistic potential to raise $850-$1150K.

Shortly after the results of the Feasibility Study, the Steering Committee recommended that as there was not adequate support for a capital campaign around Design Concept One, we suspend efforts to build on our land and look for real estate for purchase, and that the Steering Committee disband. You can read their recommendations here.
The board then took on the task of completing the remaining to-do items from the Financial Feasibility study. This included looking at existing real estate (so far, that search has shown nothing viable, but it remains an active search) and reviewing the cost estimates from Lincoln Construction that estimated the Design Concept One expense to be at $900K. Jeff Seiter, an architect whose primary practice is the review of cost estimates, examined all the materials, and determined that for $900K we could build something that represents more gain in space and mission alignment than Design Concept One. Given this information, plus the offer of the large gift, the board decided that it was important to continue to work to find a unifying design concept for building one our land. The board believes that given the feasibility study sets a reasonable capital campaign goal of $850-$1150K, and that we could pursue a conservative mortgage of $100K, in addition to resources available to us after the sale of Nielsen House, that a projected building cost of $900K leaves room for soft costs and overages.  

The board searched and interviewed architects for this next phase and decided to recommend Kay Onwukwe to the congregation as someone who could use the programming results of the previous work, as well as his own processes, to develop a design concept to present to the congregation for a building with a cost of $900-$950K.  Kay proposed working on a design-build basis with Velocity Construction, in order to tightly manage our $900-$950 budget

In October of 2018, the board introduced the congregation to Kay Onwukwe and Shaun Greer.


HOLIDAY FAMILY 2018: This year we will again be adopting the women in the Horizon Prison Initiative program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW) for our holiday giving. The December holidays are a particularly difficult time to be separated from their families and the women are especially grateful for the compassion and generosity of our congregation. On December 30th, NUUC will be providing a delicious dinner for the women prepared by Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie. You can also donate items to the women including: craft supplies (colored pencils, markers, construction paper, banner paper, glitter, yarn); 2019 wall calendars with colorful pictures; daily meditation or reflection books; and Praying in Color books. Donated items can be put in the designated box in Fellowship Hall. You can also donate to the Loose Change Offering on December 9th or make a check donation to NUUC with Horizon Holiday Family in the memo line by 12/24/18. Your generous donations will fund the Holiday Dinner for 100 people. During the service on December 16th, Mary Kerns, Horizon Program Coordinator, will share information about the Horizon program and participants at ORW. If you would like to learn more about the Horizon women, ask Pam Patsch or one of the Outside Sister volunteers from NUUC (Lynn Foreman, Bonnie Beardsley, and Lyn Savidge). You can find more information about Horizon's program on the bulletin board in Fellowship Hall or on the Horizon Prison Initiative Facebook page or website

DONATE YARN : The Horizon women have been very busy knitting and crocheting winter scarves and hats for community service projects and are in need of yarn. If you have yarn you would like to donate, please put it in the plastic bin in Fellowship Hall.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR, ADDRESSING POVERTY WITH OUR HEADS, HEARTS, AND HANDS - The Interfaith Association Of Central Ohio (IACO) and Habitat for Humanity - Mid-Ohio invite you to attend the 3rd Annual Interfaith Prayer Gathering and Potluck on Sunday, December 9, 2018 ;  4:30-7:00 pm at St. Phillip Episcopal Church, 166 Woodland Avenue, Columbus, OH 43203. The interfaith prayer service begins at 4:30 and the potluck at 5:30. Bring a covered dish to share with ingredients listed on index card. NUUC is one of the co-sponsors for this event.   RSVP by December 7, 2018 to Please indicate number attending prayer service and if you are staying for the potluck. This is a great opportunity to worship and break bread with people from other faiths. This year, the service will include youth representatives from each of the IACO 9 faith traditions. If you are interested in volunteering to help with the potluck set up or clean up, contact Pam Patsch at

INTERFAITH ASSOCIATION OF CENTRAL OHIO (IACO) Helping Central Ohio Homeless: Join representatives from other faith communities to help serve meals at the Van Buren Shelter, 595 Van Buren Drive, Columbus, 43223, from 5:30 PM (introduction and tour) to 7:45 PM on Sunday, December 23rd. If you are interested in joining the other IACO members who are volunteering, please contact Gwyn Stetler at . This is a great opportunity to serve those in need AND to get to know people from other faith traditions. For more information, see the SAC bulletin board or ask Pam Patsch.
REPURPOSING PLASTIC BAGS: Sometimes we forget to bring our reusable bags to the store and end up with plastic bags. Now you can donate your plastic grocery bags to the women in the Horizon Prison Initiative program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. The women use the plastic bags to make sleeping mats for the homeless. You can leave your plastic bags in the designated container next to the office in Fellowship Hall. Please note, ORW ONLY accepts plastic grocery bags.