The Forum, APRIL 2020





                                 Miami Valley                              
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458





Worship Services on Zoom

To join us for our Worship Services on Zoom, 
simply click HERE!

Staff Notes

                                      FROM REV. KELLIE
My Dear Ones,
For our March Forum, we decided to separate the staff/board contributions into a later mailing so that we could get the timely aspects of the newsletter out on the first of the month (events, groups, meetings). I must confess that I am what delays The Forum release 99.99% of the time, eek. Of course with the March we had, we never got the second mailing out with my column and the staff and board contributions. So as you might be able to predict, I have asked us to go back to a delayed but full Forum. Thank you for your understanding.
When I start a new Forum letter, I always go back to the previous month's letter, which in this case was February. It seems both naïve and even more timely now:
I hope you all are healthy in body and spirit, especially with the viruses blanketing our local area. My 14-year old son, Matt, was ecstatic to have his first ever "snow day" (aka- school cancellation) due to sickness throughout the large Centerville school district. February's Soul Matters theme of Resilience seems to perfectly fit our needs this month, ha.
While physical resilience is important (our ability to recover from a physical illness or injury), Jane McGonigal emphasizes the need for human beings to cultivate three additional types of resilience: mental, emotional, and social. As a video game designer and researcher, McGonigal believes that playing games can strengthen all four types of resilience.
As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I believe that our faith can strengthen them as well by giving us opportunities to go deeper inside ourselves, make deep bonds with our fellow congregants, and work for love and justice in our world. Resilience gives us the strength and flexibility to handle conflict and overcome obstacles so that we can become our best selves. This month's Soul Matters theme song Rise Up by Andra Day captures this spirit of resilience beautifully.
At our January congregational meeting, I reminded everyone that all change causes stress, even positive change, like my recent marriage or any number of positive changes the congregation has experienced over our 19 months together. Stress causes us to return to old tools-old ways of being-old ways of interacting (we could also call it regression but that sounds pretty judgmental). Our return to old is completely natural and normal. With this awareness, we can intentionally resist the old ways and reinforce the new ways we have been learning. We can reinforce the new ways and increase our resilience.
To say that we are living in a once-in-a-lifetime period is not an exaggeration. My grandmother, Nanie, was born in October of 1918, the year of the last pandemic, the Spanish Flu. Even if she was alive today (she died in 2014 at the age of 95), she would have no conscious memory of it as a newborn. Our country hasn't been asked to sacrifice to this degree since the end of World War II, 75 years ago. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime horror. Of course, we are scared. Of course, we are stressed. Of course, we are filled with despair. Of course, we need each other.
Now more than ever, with our physical building closed, we are learning that a "church" (or "fellowship" or "congregation") is much more than a building-a church is a community-a church is its people. We are Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, together in-person or together in our separate homes. Even separated by physical distance, we   have   each other.
Please allow yourself to participate in MVUUF's community during this difficult time. Attend Sunday worship via Zoom, Facebook Live, or by calling in using a landline. Join one of our new small groups. Attend your regular committee and group meetings. Even separated by physical distance, we   have   each other.
Pick up the phone and ask for tech help if you need it (tech can be difficult to work with for even tech experts!). Send an email asking for pastoral care-you don't have to have COVID-19 to need extra support right now. Call me and ask for financial assistance-I know we have congregants (friends and members) who have lost their jobs or had their hours dramatically cut. Return the phone tree message that you saved on your voicemail. Please allow yourself to be supported-to remain connected. Even separated by physical distance, we   have   each other.
For some of us, there is a wealth of extra time right now because of the Ohio stay-at-home order. Allow yourself to use this time being Unproductive. In this month's Forum, we are including the Soul Matters packets for this month (Liberation) and February (Resilience). We also are including a link to our Soul Matters Spotify song list, which has the song I selected for each month's Soul Matters theme. Watch Spring unfold in your own backyard. Stay home. You are not a Human Doing-you are a Human Being.
For some of us (like your staff, board members, and caregivers of young and old), there is even less extra time than normal because we are doing so much more than before COVID-19. Remember to be compassionate with yourself and ask for support, even when you don't think you need it. The pandemic is not going to be over May 30. This is not a sprint, a marathon, or even a triathalon. COVID-19 is the Ironman Triathalon: 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride, and a full marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run. We must pace ourselves. We are more than our productivity. The dishes and the newsletters can wait (and Annie's Macaroni and Cheese is still cooking in my book). We are already enough.
Even separated by physical distance, we   have   each other. See you on Sunday!
Holding you in my heart,
Rev. Kellie
How and When to Reach Me:
  • The best way to reach me is to text or call my mobile phone on my office days (847.804.4614): Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
  • Please do not text or call my mobile phone on other days unless you have a pastoral care emergency (Sundays are busy with our worship service, Tuesdays are my day off, and Fridays are my study day).
  • Thank you for helping me take the time I need to stay healthy and happy as your minister!
What I'm Reading, Listening to, and Watching:
  • Stay the F-k at Home by Adam Mansbach
    • Sequel to Go the F-k to Sleep
    • Read by Samuel L. Jackson (click HERE  to listen)
  • The Stranger from the Sea (Poldark Book 8) by Winston Graham
  • The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri
  • Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema (this year's Congregational Read)
    • Next discussion group Saturday, April 18th at 10:30 AM
    • Discuss "How Dare You? Mi Likkle, But Mi Tallawah!" and Response essays
  • Pandemic Docu-series - Netflix
  • Poldark (including the final season at long last!) - Amazon Prime
  • Outlander (had to introduce Ivers to it) - Netflix
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (most recent season) - Amazon Prime

It seems that music is one of the most popular ways to de-stress and manage anxiety in these strange times of coronavirus. I find it significant that so much of the sharing on social media is folks singing, playing instruments, lip-syncing or dancing in Tik-Tok videos. We humans need these outlets of emotional expression for our mental health just as we need sunlight, fresh air and exercise for our physical health. For me, listening to music with words sometimes just requires too much of the verbal left side of my brain and is not as relaxing as instrumental music. 

If you want to try a "taste" of something new, some of my favorites to have on in the background are: any of the "Orchestral Suites" by J.S. Bach, the "Mother Goose Suite" by Maurice Ravel, or anything played by the Adagio Trio (cello, flute and harp.) You could also tune in classical WDPR 88.1. With music in your ears, wishing you all peace in your minds and hope in your hearts.  
 ---Sara Davis, Director of Music

Hello, this is Rev. Kellie. I'm jumping into the Children and Youth Religious Education (CYRE) space for a moment. I hope you'll forgive my intrusion. I'll try to be quick. ;)
On Sunday, March 8th, I joyfully announced from the pulpit that we had selected one of our very own congregants as our new Director of Religious Education (DRE), Somaya Bernard. Unfortunately, before we could send out a formal announcement to the whole congregation, we discovered the urgency of addressing COVID-19 and the announcement never went out.
The good news is that we didn't wait for an announcement to integrate Somaya into our MVUUF staff and CYRE committee. Somaya has jumped in enthusiastically to support our children, youth, and families. I couldn't be happier or more grateful-- I hope you share my feelings. If you don't now, believe me, you will!
Without further ado, I am THRILLED (and shouting it to the heavens) to introduce MVUUF's new DRE, Somaya Bernard!
With MUCH gratitude and love to René Hick and ALL our CYRE volunteers,

Rev. Kellie

Dear MVUUF children, youth, and families:
Growing up in Unitarian Universalism and at MVUUF was the most magical experience. I truly owe a large part of who I am to our programs and the adults that led them. I am so overwhelmed with excitement and joy to be given the opportunity to give back to our community as your DRE.
Although I have dreamed of being a DRE for a long time, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this is how I would start my adventure! However, I am glad that I can be here with you all during this difficult and scary time. I have had so much fun on Sundays seeing all the kids' smiling faces and listening to them share.
Looking back on our normal day-to-day lives, they seem so busy. It's often hard for us to find the time to connect and get to know each other more. My little spark of hope is that we can use this experience to build stronger bonds and connect with both those in our community and our own households.
The MVUUF staff and CYRE committee have been working hard to put together some new ways we can connect with each other via the videoconferencing platform called Zoom. To help us connect more often and more deeply, we have formed several new groups for our families. Those groups include a middle school youth group, a high school youth group, a children's play date group, and a parents group. We are still looking for group leaders and working out the dates/times for these groups so look for updates in our weekly E-blast. If you would like to help lead any of these groups, please contact me directly.
We'd also like to introduce a new resource, called Soulful Home. These monthly Soul Matters packets are designed to help you create sacred spaces in your own home and in your daily lives. We will send them to all registered CYRE families via email. I encourage you to read through them and pick out a few (or all of them!) that speak to you and try them out. These are a great way to explore our faith at home and have a little fun doing it as well!
I wish everyone good health and at least a little bit of peace during the month of April. If you need any additional support (practical, emotional, or spiritual), please email, text, or call me ( or 937-694-0594). I hope to see you all on our Sunday zoom calls!
--- Somaya Bernard,  Director of Religious Education

Now that we are currently obeying the "shelter-in-place" order from Governor DeWine, many things around MVUUF are being handled in a different way. Here are two things you may not know about, but are being done in order to help keep ALL of us safe during the pandemic.

1. We want to make sure we are all still able to connect with each other in a safe way, so we have begun using Zoom, a computer app that allows us to be connected for meetings, worship, etc., by using our home computers or cell phones. Several groups have already been using Zoom for their meetings; if your group has not yet, why not check it out? It's a great way to stay in touch and continue much of the great work that MVUUF has been doing. Just contact me at and I'll get you set up!

2.  We also want to keep our building---and those entering it---safe as well. If you have a fob or access card, and need to enter the building, PLEASE make sure to contact me at BEFORE you do so, so that your trip to MVUUF can be scheduled. In this way, we can ensure that there will not be several people in the building at the same time.

And please know that I am really looking forward to the day when I can once again be in the MVUUF building, answering the phone, getting the door, and seeing you all again IN PERSON! May we all be healthy & safe during this unsettling time.
---Jennie Freiberger, Fellowship Administrator

The Soul Matters theme for the month of April is Liberation. In order to access this month's packet for small groups, please click  HERE.

Additionally, we're also including the link to February's Resilience packet in order to help you get through these difficult days.

And we're also offering Soul Matters' Spotify playlists for last year ( 2018-2019) and this year ( 2019-2020) for comfort & inspiration.

Fun Things To Do This Month

Wednesdays, 10:30 AM, on Zoom
Since we cannot enjoy Coffee With the Minister at the Fellowship currently, you'll be pleased to know that you CAN enjoy it every Wednesday morning, 10:30 AM, on Zoom! 

Simply click  HERE to join the conversation!

Wednesday, April 15th, 10:30 AM, on Zoom
This well-read group usually meets on the third Wednesday of every month, 10:30 AM, in the Founders' Room at MVUUF. But now that the coronavirus has us all "sheltering in place" to keep us safe from contagion, the group will be meeting "virtually" on Zoom! 

On Wednesday, April 15th, beginning at 10:30 AM, they'll be meeting in a Zoom room to discuss The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri. Since t he group is open to all, please contact Anwyl Scott ( if you'd like to have an invite for the meeting!


Sunday mornings, 9:30 AM, on Zoom
The group has also moved to Zoom! Open to all who identify as female, they gather online every Sunday morning beginning at 9:00 AM.

You can click HERE if you'd like to join them!

Saturday Afternoons, 3:00 PM, on Zoom
Are you missing the fellowship and social connection of our Coffee Hour gatherings after service on Sundays?

Then cheer up, because we have a solution to your woes: a "virtual" Coffee Hour, every Saturday afternoon, in a Zoom room! Click HERE and join us this Saturday (PLEASE NOTE: on Saturday, April 4th, Coffee Hour will be moved up to 11:00 AM)!

Sunday, April 12th,  12:30 PM, 
on Zoom
Our pagan group, CUUPS, will also be using Zoom for their monthly discussion group this month. You can join them on Sunday, April 12th, 12:30 PM (click HERE in order to join their discussion). 

Please note that our Circle Worship is currently on hiatus as Somaya Bernard settles in as our new Director of Religious Education.

Make sure to stay in touch with The Forum and E-Blasts as to when it will be held again.

Around the Fellowship

This month's Unsung Hero award goes to Lynn Buffington.  Lynn is a tireless  leader and volunteer who has been involved in a variety of MVUUF areas over many years. In addition to serving on the Board and Program Council in a variety of positions, she has taught children in YRE for the past 15 or so years.  

Lynn has maintained a long presence in Social Action often serving as the committee chair, running our fair trade ordering, starting and continuing to organize our monthly lunches at St. Vincent's, and both organizing and showing up enthusiastically for local and state-wide demonstrations and letter writing campaigns.  She also finds less visible ways to serve informally: bringing food to meetings, having our youth decorate envelopes for the Giving Tree, serving as a contact for the yearly Israeli/Arabic event with our youth, and buying whatever is needed whenever an event or program is in need.  She's a mentor and role model for anyone doing anything. And, most of all, she keeps the Fellowship in Fair Trade coffee...and she doesn't even like coffee!!!

Sunday, April 5th, 12:30 PM, on Zoom
The Stewardship Team was hoping to provide your lunch, but now you will be getting a delicious lunch or snack from your own kitchen, then sitting down at your computer to join us at 12:30 PM on Sunday, April 5th.

During the Café Conversation, we will present the new pledge packet and explain the new way of pledging. You will have access to the MVUUF online giving page. You can also reference your pledge statement for the current year that Jennie Freiberger sent in early March, if you want to refer to it as part of your calculation for the 2020-2021 pledge year.   

The MVUUF online giving page allows you to set up an automatic monthly payment, too. If you are a fast decider, you can turn in your 2020-2021 pledge this Sunday - if you are like the rest of us, please send your completed pledge by Sunday, April 26th. Thank you!

This month's Program Council, which was scheduled for Monday evening, April 6th, in a Zoom room, will not take place.

Their next scheduled meeting will be Monday, May 4th; more details will be available on future E-Blasts and The Forum for May.

3rd Wednesday of each month, 6:00 PM, on Zoom
We have had a lot to get used to lately as we experience the "shelter in place" order from our Governor:  many are confined to their homes, many are trying to get used to communicating electronically instead of in person, many are trying to work from home or worried about how to make ends meet after being furloughed or let go from their jobs. So many changes! Are you looking for something to help offset the fear and anxiety many of us are feeling these days due to the coronavirus pandemic?

We'd like to offer a bit of peace and comfort in these trying times, in the form of our Worship For The Weary services. We'll "gather" online using Zoom (click  HERE to join us!) for music, readings & reflection; the services will begin on Wednesday, April 15th, 6:00 PM, and continue every Wednesday at the same time, for as long as needed.

We hope you'll plan on joining us!

Wednesdays, 7-8:00 PM, on Zoom
Our Director of Music, Sara Davis, wants to make sure you know that the Choir is still continuing to get together despite the coronavirus...and they're doing it with Zoom!

If you are currently a Choir member (past, present, or future) make sure to join them! All you need to do is click  HERE on Wednesday evening, beginning at 7:00 PM and you're all set!

Showing Up for Justice
Please note that two of our Social Justice groups, Transgender Alliance Group and Anti-Racism Ally Group, are experiencing a hiatus currently. Stay tuned to The Forum and E-Blasts as to when they will begin meeting again.

Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema
Saturday, April 18th, 10:30 AM, in a Zoom room
Our Congregational Read continues for the month of April, using a Zoom room!

You can join Rev. Kellie and other participants as they discuss Centering:  Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry (edited by Mitra Rahnema) by clicking  HERE to join the conversation. Your assignment for the next meeting is to d iscuss "How Dare You? Mi Likkle, But Mi Tallawah!" and Response essays 

Social Action is coordinating  with Rev. Kellie, Pastoral Care and the MVUUF Disaster Recovery Team to respond to covid 19 needs.  MVUUF members are invited to make financial  donations to the MVUUF Disaster Fund. You will find the MVUUF Disaster Fund listed under "Other Fundraising" on our website's Giving Page or you may mail a check to MVUUF with "Disaster Fund" in the memo line.  Because MVUUF still needs our funds for operating expenses, now more than ever, please  donate to the Disaster Fund only if you are able to also continue to contribute to MVUUF operating expenses. The Disaster Fund will be used for economic assistance for those affected financially by covid 19 and for assistance to specific covid 19 relief needs in the greater Dayton area.  Requests for financial assistance for individuals will be confidential and  should be made to Rev. Kellie.  Contact Kristen Beireis at or Tina Porter for more information or with suggestions.  Volunteer opportunities and suggestions for them can be shared  via the MVUUF Disaster Recovery Team on Facebook.

If you would like to help with  or  request assistance for the food pantry contact Steve Steel at . Several MVUUF members are collaborating with greater community members to organize assistance to our newest immigrant neighbors who do not have as much access to covid 19 relief as others.  For more information on that, please contact Social Action leaders Bill Ross (  or  Lynn Buffington (  or 937-657-0426) or Immigration Action group leader Jen Linck at

Saturday, April 11th, 10:45 AM, 120 West Apple Street, in Dayton
In this age of coronavirus, we  will be accepting financial donations to purchase some or all of items for the April 11th lunch.  You may donate by sending a check made out to MVUUF with memo line "St. Vincent's."  Please mail to 8690 Yankee St, Dayton 45458.  Because MVUUF still needs our funds for operating expenses, now more than ever, please only donate for St. Vincent's if you are able to also continue to contribute to MVUUF operating expenses.  Stay tuned through E-blasts for an update on our plan for April.

For many years, MVUUF has provided and served lunch for the residents of Dayton's St. Vincent's shelter for women  and families.  For April, we  thought to simply donate money for St. Vincent's for the meal, however Rev. Kellie wisely suggested we ask St. Vincent's what they most need, and what they most need is prepared food.   We are currently working out a plan;  we may use a local catering company to deliver the main dish or the whole meal to St. Vincent's and St. Vincent's staff and new, young volunteers will serve.  That is a three-way win, -  residents receive a nourishing meal, we minimize exposure to coronavirus that would come from our many volunteers shopping and delivering items, and we support a local catering business that has temporarily  likely lost most of its current business. 
Our last lunch, in March, was at the beginning of the "safe at home" period, so we adapted by having most volunteers drop off their menu contributions the St. Vincent's door, while the three volunteers in the picture above spent half an hour setting up the meal which was then served by St. Vincent's staff. 

Click  HERE to read about measures St. Vincent's is taking in this challenging time. 


One Last Thing... 



You can keep up-to-date with all the happenings at MVUUF by viewing the Fellowship's online calendar right HERE.

It's especially helpful during these days of Zoom meetings, as you will be able to find the links to those meetings in the details of the event on the calendar, too. 




We are a liberal religious community that embraces diversity and respects the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  ALL are welcome here, no matter their race, class background, sex, sexual/affectional orientation, gender expression, or ability.


Please visit us on Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM for our worship service---

we'd love to see you! Simply click HERE to enter the Zoom room.