The Communicator   September 2016 
Volume 33, Issue 9
Worship in September: Faith

The F-word gets thrown around too often without any conversation and context.  IN the community, as a person of the cloth, I try to redefine what a “person of faith” is by showing up on the side of love.   Let’s abandon dogma-laden salon debates and empty theological arguments that do little to heal the sufferings of our world.  Let’s get real about faith- what faith in action looks like: restoring faith in humanity and redefining and reClaiming faith as religious liberals.

Community Sharing in September: Visuality, Inc

The mission of Visuality  is to promote the health, safety, and personal growth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning youth. Visuality strives to end all forms of violence, harassment, and discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  Their vision is that all persons are able to fulfill their potential and live their lives with honesty, dignity and without having to pretend, lie or hide due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Visuality is very close to home in our UUCFM community. Our members Arlene Goldberg and Katie Romano Griffin have served on the board that planted the seeds. Member Alison Carville was a part of the Edison State College (now FL SW) Gay-Straight Alliance that was famous for holding successful bake sales to raise funds to establish its nonprofit status, years ago. 

More Sunday Happenings!
Christian Group
The UUCFM Christian Group meets at  9:00a   on Sundays  in Room 7.  This is a great time for interested UUs to come visit, take a look, ask questions, and see what we're about. We look forward to welcoming you. We have a Communion after the service every 4th Sunday in Room 7. 
Humanist Forum
The Humanist Forum meets every Sunday at 9:15a in Hobart Hall.  All are welcome to join us for a new and engaging topic each week. 

This week, September 4th, John. C. Heim, founder of the SWFL Clean Water Movement, speaks about the water issues in SWFL and explores possible solutions for this disaster which affects us all.  John leads in the pursuit and procurement of state constitutional-level environment protection of environmental rights.
A Newcomers meeting will be held Sunday, September 4th in Room 2 at noon.  Chris Rosa leads this informative session for any newcomers who would like to learn what we're all about.  All welcome!
From the Staff & Board
Minister's Column

As we explore faithful Journeys this month and worship, I invite you to check out resources provided by Michael Dowd. I often refer to the work of Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow- itinerant theologians for the Great Story of the cosmos. They encourage us to embrace our place and purpose in that story. In his most recent work, Dowd posits that we are entering a new phase in religion... that of evidential reformation.  Reality is wondrous enough!  It's sobering enough as well.  As I mentioned in last Sunday's service, authentic living requires putting reality at the center of our lives. And, as we look to find our place and purpose in the great story of the cosmos, we are invited to also to embrace the reality that human-centered ways of living that do not acknowledge our interconnectedness with all that is, contribute only to a culture of death. As we transition in our worship services from the theme of Humility to Faith, I invite you to read Michael Dowd's Evidential Reformation-based Ten Commandments (He also calls the "Reality's Rules"). They are listed here in the newsletter at the end, and you can also find them online at .  These commandments require new and faithful ways of being, if we are to truly work towards Earth Community and Beloved Community for all.
Music Notes

Musical Calendar

September 4: For our service about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Choir harmonizes the stirring anthem  Circle Round for Freedom, and Amy Laursen leads the Band in  What Faith Can Do by Christian rock band Kutless. 

September 11: Haris Blackwood and Rev. Allison team up for  Calling All Angels, and the Choir shares  River of Peace for Water Communion. 

September 18: The Choir sings Sweet Honey in the Rock's  We Are the Ones and the Band plays an uplifting offertory. 

September 25th: When Rev. Katie Culbert comes to speak about awe, the Band plays Peter Mayer's  Holy Now and the Choir sings  I Am That Great and Fiery Force by Renaissance composer Josquin Desprez. 

The  Music Committee will exchange emails in lieu of a meeting on  Wednesday, September 28th.

The UUCFM Choir rehearses most Wednesday nights from 6:45-8:15p, and on Suday mornings from  9-10a in the Sanctuary.  It's free and there are no auditions. Please email me in advance so that a music folder can be prepared for you. Come join us in singing!

The UUCFM Band rehearses most Wednesday nights from  6:00-6:45p, and on Sunday mornings from  9-10a in the Sanctuary. If you would like to play your instrument during a  Sunday service, please email me to coordinate the details. Come join us in making music together!  

Amy Laursen, Director of Music                                                                               

RE News

This Sunday, our Pre-K - 5th Graders will be attending Children's Chapel while our middle school youth will remain in service with the adults. In Children's Chapel, we will be gearing up for the #BoycottWendys photo petition by talking about the fabulous work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and creating signs for you all to use in the petition. Come see us after service in Hobart Hall!

Our marvelous Music Director, Amy Laursen, has invited any children and youth who are interested in participating in the choir to attend the rehearsal on  Wednesday, September 7th at 6:45p. Any children or youth who do attend this rehearsal will be welcome to sing in the choir for our Water Communion on  Sunday, 9/11.

Jenn Blosser, RE Director
Save the Date!
Soulful Sundown

If you are a leader in our congregation- teacher, coordinator, committee chair, board member, come to this sacred time to nourish your own spiritual journey as you serve our faith and our congregation. Soulful sundown is a space dedicated to you leaders in the church who must nourish your inner lives in order to serve with joy and abundance. 

Soulful Sundown will be held  7-8 pm in Miller Sanctuary on these  Thursday evenings:
October 6
January 26
April 13
UU Women's Retreat

7 th Annual Florida UU  Women’s Retreat

April 7 -9, 2017

DaySpring Episcopal Conference Center Ellenton, Florida

The retreat begins Friday at 5:00pm and ends Sunday at Noon.  DaySpring Conference Center is conveniently located off I-75 just  north of Sarasota on Florida’s West Coast. The beautiful campus  nestled under ancient oaks and located on a cove of the Manatee  River offers a serene setting for our annual retreat. Take a look- Dayspring

$220 per person covers expenses for a semi-private room and six  meals. 8 women share a cozy cottage with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, a screened porch and common area. A limited number of single  rooms are available at $292 each.

$5 Discounts available for registration before September 30.

A non-refundable deposit of $15 for semi-private room or $25 for a  private room will reserve your place. Final payment is due January  15, 2017. Come join us for an enriching and memorable weekend.

To register contact Helen Leddy at
Our Classes & Groups
Women's Circle
The Women's Circle is holding an evening meeting for September, so we had to select a different date.  We will meet  Thursday, September 8th at 6:00p for a potluck in Hobart Hall. Wine is acceptable if anyone chooses to bring some.

For the evening we ask you to wear a tee shirt with a logo or design that you will want to explain to the rest of us.  We will also be learning to make greeting cards with supplies and assistance provided by Jane Richey and Joan Hickock.

So that we may estimate supplies, we ask that you RSVP if possible to help us know how many envelopes we will need for the cards.  This should be good fun and good conversation.  Contact Jane Richey  or Susan Forsyth .
Mindfulness Meditation

Join us on Monday evenings to explore the very simple and satisfying practices of mindfulness and meditation.  You don’t need experience with meditation, nor do you have to be a Buddhist.  Do please bring an intention to quiet the mind and the body in a supportive group of UU members and friends with a similar intention - people who want to carry mindfulness into their daily lives.  We meet Mondays from 6:30-8:00p in the Sanctuary. If you have any questions, please contact Gary Robbins at
Optimal Living Group
The Optimal Living Group is open to all and does not require attending every session.  We meet in the Sanctuary on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 4:00-5:30p.  We discuss how to live optimally, including practical ways to cope with life's challenges and issues.  Helping others and developing maturity in ourselves is part of our quest.  We explore many paths and techniques for enriching our lives and making a difference for others.  For more information fill out a blue card found in the pews or email Neil at
Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Group
The Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Group meets every Sunday in Room 1 from  1:45-3:45p.  All are welcome to attend!   Join Mary Tracy Sigman and others for this well loved and well attended group. 
Creative Express Workshop

The Creative Express Workshop is a course that runs seven months on the third Thursdays from September 15, 2016 to March 16, 2017 from 7:00-9:00p in the Conference Room.

This class is ideal for people aged 16 and older who want to learn to become more creative.  We’ll learn about the creative process and its relationship to relaxation, time management and prioritization.

Express yourself as we explore the creative process through many media:

 writing goals and affirmations, poems and blogs,

 producing collage and sculpture,

 developing a character,

 a play, a plan, and a party.

There will be many experiences, and opportunities for you to make things in class. You’ll get the most out of the Workshop if you commit to the whole course- there will be no add-ons after the first month.
The Workshop costs $210.00 in full, or $30.00 per month. Sign up early, (by September 1st) and pay only $180.00 in full. Space is limited so register early to reserve your seat.

This workshop is conducted by Julia Davis, Certified Life Coach and Creativity Consultant. Please contact Julia at   or (239) 560-2114 for more information and to register.
CUUPs Learning Circle

Earthways Shamanic Path Class  is conducted on the 1st Tuesdays of the month, from  7:00 PM to 8:30  PM.   We meet in classroom 4.  Whale Maiden conducts this class with a co-facilitator.  In these classes, we presents a topic about the Earthways Shamanic Path, and conduct a Shamanic Journey. 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 a monthly class on the  2 nd  Saturday of each month from  9:30 AM to 11:30 AM This class is conducted outside.    We gather at the Pond by the Amphitheater of the UUCFM.  In this class, we work with one tree per month to learn what it is and what it’s spiritual gifts are for us.  We conduct a shamanic journey with the tree.  We do our journeys with drums and rattles. Remember to bring a bandana or scarf to cover your eyes.  Bring a folding chair, water bottle and snack. Also, bring a tree identification book if you have one.  Since we will be outside, you may want to bring bug repellent, sun hat, sun block (even a light-weight long sleeve shirt is a good idea).  Also, we will be near pollen and bees, so please take whatever personal precautions are right for you.  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.

CUUPS introductory class, "What is CUUPS, What is an earth-centered belief -- what is Paganism"   is conducted on the 3rd Wednesdays, from  7:00 PM to 8:30 PM  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 al l . Whale Maiden and other 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.

Contact Whale Maiden for information on these 3 classes.   

Holton Eco-Preserve Happenings

Many amazing things have happened this past year on the Holton Eco-Preserve.  We have taken our inspiration from the early HEP visionaries and are moving forward to fulfill the mission of HEP

                "Our mission is to help people to steward our earth through classes and events which promote sustainable lifestyles and enhance the native habitat of our community."

Can you believe it is almost a year since the Bill Brewer Family Gardens were dedicated!  This coming season, we have MANY more projects and activities planned. To stay up to date with HEP Happenings, please check out the updated website (thank you Lesley Peterson!) at and “like” us on Facebook .  As always, if you have a little time each month and would like to help us in any way possible, please feel free to contact Peg Eisenberg at

Weekly Activities
Community Wednesday

Join members and friends of our UUCFM community 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.
Activitie s for September:

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
 Tai Chi has finished for the season.  All are welcome to join us again in the fall on Thursdays at 10:00a in the Sanctuary.
Mah Jongg will resume in the fall.  We play on Friday afternoons. There is no charge and all are welcome!
Social Justice
South Fort Myers Food Pantry

In an effort to have the pantry run more efficiently, there have been some changes made.  The sorting of food and stocking of shelves is now being done on Wednesday.

Food is still being distributed on Mondays during the same hours,  11AM to 1PM  and in the evening  6PM to 8PM .  With less activity more attention can be directed to the clients who come to food.  Half way through the year, we have served 3,751 individual clients or a total of 10,708 household members.

Not all our food comes from the Harry Chapin Food Bank.  The pantry depends on food donated from the coalition churches.  Our ongoing food drive is an important part of our commitment as a coalition member.  There is always a need for canned meats and meals such as ravioli and chunky soups.  This is particularly true during the summer months.  You don't have to bring a lot of food; just one can a week from everyone each  Sunday would make a sizable donation over the month.  Once we had a motto, "Fran's plan, just one can."

I regret that I had incorrect information when I said that the pantry did not need volunteers.  I have been informed that there is a need on all three shifts;  Monday days or evenings and Wednesday 1-3.  If interested, let me know and I'll tell you who to contact.  See Fran Rose after church or call me and leave a message, 239-432-9538.  If you prefer email write "Food Pantry" on the subject line.
My UU Story

Finding Spiritual Caretaker Within  by Diane Buckley

As a child I was a Roman Catholic. My family gave lip service to religion although I was required to attend catechism classes. I took the teachings very literally and believed in a concrete way in a God that cared about me, listened to my needs, and made everything right in this world. This was quite helpful to me at the time when I struggled to understand a chaotic and sometimes painful world. I particularly remember praying oh so hard during the Cuban missile crisis and needing to know that God and President Kennedy would fix everything.

I got older and many of the church’s values conflicted with my own budding feminism and activism. At that time a young radical, hippy Jesuit priest came to my church and opened my mind in dramatic ways. I “worshiped” him and began to question almost everything. Then a day came when I learned that he was a serial pedophile rapist and perhaps a sadistic killer. I learned that I needed to go within myself to find the caretaker of my spirit.

From that time on I read extensively about various religions and talked with many people about their belief system. It was hard, lonely work and it did not comfort me or provide any certain answers. I got by but I was always aware of a need for something more.

Upon moving to Florida Neil and I made the decision to find a spiritual home where we could grow and be in tune with our true calling. During the summer we attended a panel discussion at UUCFM about segregation in Lee County. Almost from the first moment we knew that we had found that home.

I took several classes to learn about UUism. Many people opened their hearts and their homes to us. I really liked being with people who “walked the walk” of their beliefs. I felt accepted just as I was. I also felt strengthened being in a community that could support my values and
my search for meaning. Here was the spiritual sanctuary and the community that I had been seeking.

I need to admit that it is the love that I find here that sustains me. It lifts me up when I most need it. It helps me to make a difference in this world and that is what gives my life meaning.
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.   
Homes for the Holidays
This is who we are as congregants of UUCFM: loving, growing and serving. One way we love, grow and serve is by opening our homes to others in our congregation who may otherwise be alone for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. If your family is able to host one or more UUCFM friends for either of these holiday meals, please contact Leslie Gatto. Thank you!
Kitchen Update

Since the closing of the Kitchen in June to fumigate the entire Hobart Hall, the Operations Council has been focusing on eliminating practices that contribute to the introduction and infestation of the critters which jeopardize the healthy food environment we all expect for our families.  One such practice is when people who use the Kitchen leave it with food on the counters or with dirty, food-encrusted dishes in the sinks.  This is a "welcome mat" for roaches, mold and other critters and threatens the clean environment that we have worked so hard to avoid achieve.  It is just not fair to our Kitchen volunteers to be expected to clean-up after these people.

As we do not have staff on hand when these events happen, it has been difficult to attribute such violations to any one group. Last week we installed "Kitchen Cams" which will enable us to know who is leaving the Kitchen in poor and unsanitary condition.   Such violators of our Kitchen procedures will first receive a friendly reminder.  Upon a second and each successive violation, a $25 clean-up fee will be assessed.  Please let others know that it is unacceptable to leave food items out when leaving the Kitchen.

Lastly, anyone holding an event involving food in Hobart Hall should clean-up the Hall of all food items, bag them and remove the bags to the dumpster at the east end of the parking lot at the end of the event.  Thank you for helping us keep our outstanding campus clean and safe.
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.  
Sacred Water Blessing Ceremony

Hello my Beloved Community.  As some of you know, the issue of Clean Water has become one of my passions.  In addition to political involvement with Clean Water activists around the state, I have made a commitment with the Sacred Water Tribes forming in Florida and around the planet to work energetically for Clean Water. This vision is to unite in blessing our rivers, lakes and seas with prayer, music and intention. I have been being guided by this group headed by a woman who is one of  the Hado instructors who studied under Dr. Masaru Emoto  in Japan and was empowered to take the knowledge, music and intentions and share with those who would join energetically to do this work.  Musicians and singers really appreciated. Please contact me if you want to help.

So I invite you all to join me:

Sacred Water Blessing Ceremony
Saturday September 3rd 9:00am
Centennial Park by the Pavilion on the Caloosahatchee River
Eckhart Tolle Class
Fall 2016 Spiritual Intensive Based on the Teachings of Eckhart Tolle,  Thursday evenings,  October 6 - November 10, in Naples.  

Contact Donna Carty
Tel:  239-784-7734
Keep your eyes peeled for Ken Burns' new documentary, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War, which tells the story of an American Unitarian minister and his wife who risked their own lives to save others in Europe before and after WWII.

The documentary will be aired on PBS in September, when it is projected to have 5-7 million viewers. It will also be screened at the White House, the Holocaust Museum, and at 600 colleges where students from Hillel Centers (Jewish) and Newman Houses (Catholic) will view the film together. 

MOVIE: LOVING The  National Association of Black Journalists in Washington, DC and Shiree Woody are working to bring this exclusive screening to SWFL, which will air in select cities on  November 4, 2016.

We need your support by attending the screening.  We need to have a count, so we need to you to RSVP to the link below ASAP.  We need to have a strong showing.  Below are details and a synopsis about the movie.

From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols, “Loving” celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.

RSVP to:   Be sure to include number of people attending and your names. Thank you.

Reality's Rules by Michael Dowd

Ten Commandments to avoid extinction:

  1. Stop thinking of Me as anything less than the voice of undeniable and inescapable Reality.
  2. Stop thinking of ‘divine revelation’ and ‘God’s word’ apart from evidence.
  3. Stop thinking of Genesis, or your creation story, apart from Big History.
  4. Stop thinking of theology apart from ecology.
  5. Stop defining and measuring ‘progress’ in short-term, human-centered ways.
  6. Stop allowing the free or subsidized polluting of the commons.
  7. Stop using renewable resources faster than they can be replenished.
  8. Stop using non-renewable resources in ways that harm or rob future generations.
  9. Stop exploring for coal, oil, and natural gas — keep most of it in the ground!
  10. Stop prioritizing the wants of the wealthy over the needs of the poor.

Sept 4   Linda Johnson

Sept 4    Keara Trummel

Sept 9   Judy Burget  

Sept 9  Beth Helm 

Sept 12  Dawn Kulpanowski 

Sept 14 Jenn Blosser 

Sept 14   Frances Pake 

Sept 16   Genelle Grant

Sept 19   Allison Farnum

Sept 19  Toni Latino

Sept 21 Judie Marble 

Sept 24  Carol Boyd  

Sept 24  Leslie Gatto

Sept 29   Mary Pat Fitzgibbons

Sept 30  Jen Smith 

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