Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  December, 2016

Service Topics for December, 2016

Worship for December:  Absence & Presence
December 4th -- We begin the month with our annual Wassail Service.

December 11th -- The God Haunted West will be Rev. Greg's sermon for December 11th. Beginning in the 13th century and continuing into the present, the Western world has found less and less need for God as a working hypothesis to explain the world around us. We live in a time, from a scientific and philosophical perspective, characterized more by the absence of the divine than a sense of God's presence. However, echos or ghosts of divinity still haunt our lives. This morning we explore this spectral theology.

December 18th -- The Presence of the Sacred, Rev. Greg's sermon for December 18th, draws on Sam Keen's book, In The Absence of God:  Dwelling in the Presence of the Sacred. Whether we believe in God or not, the sacred pervades our lives. from wonder to grief to compassion to outrage, we find ourselves experiencing the ordinary and the numinous in meaningful and powerful ways.

December 24th -- Kaleidoscope:  Dwelling in the Presence of the Sacred is the title of Christmas Eve Worship on Saturday, December 24th, 7:00 PM. Through carols and a series of monologues, we will be led into the presence of the love at the heart of the universe.

December 25th -- Christmas Day Service. Come and celebrate with us!
A Few Words  
From Our Minister
"Clarity," as a good friend of mine says, "is always a good thing." Certain times and events do bring clear vision to our lives. This is one of those times for Unitarian Universalism. We are here because we provide a universal welcome and embrace to all, especially those who are ostracized for who they are, who they love, or what they think or believe. We are here to love so that those who have never known love will for once find acceptance. We are here to advocate on behalf of those whose voices are stilled or self-protectively silent or ignored. We listen and comfort with compassion, we practice religio , the binding and connecting together of community, and we give voice to the voiceless in pursuit of a humane world for all. I am glad we are here,     especially now. And I am deeply honored to be with you all here and now on this   journey.
In Community,
Rev. Greg
October News

This SUNDAY , DECEMBER 4th , from 1-4:00 PM , we will be gathering to participate in a dynamic THINK TANK conversation on the "Future of Youth Religious Education."
One of our highest values as a liberal religious church is to EMPOWER OUR COMMUNITY'S CHILDREN. We are their village. We need to provide a safe place for children and teens to challenge what they believe and nurture a deep awareness of the  wonders of life, faith, and love.
We need strong leadership and a solid action plan to accomplish this important vision!
MVUUF has an AMAZING opportunity at hand, to shape our Youth Religious Education (YRE) program for years to come . The MVUUF Board, at our December 13th meeting, will be making some critical decisions   regarding the hiring of professional staff leadership to replace our former Director of Religious Education (with the goal of hiring a new staff member in January). We need input from as many community members as possible, whether you have children or not in our program. We are the village!
This THINK TANK conversation on the " Future of Youth Religious Education " on SUNDAY , DECEMBER 4th , from 1-4:00 PM , will result in a concrete plan, with specific goals, and an outline for the scope of the staff leadership position for Religious Education.
This will be an all hands on exciting gathering. I promise that it will be a fun and productive consensus-building exercise . Your three-hour time commitment to SHOW UP and participate will be a valuable INVESTMENT in our Beloved Community.
There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.
-Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
Please join us as we apply some of the skills we are learning as part of our 360 project journey. Childcare will be provided. Everyone is welcome!
Celebrating the Village,
Gail Cyan, Board President

The second Sunday in December will be special, as we will receive several new members! They will sign the membership book (the "red book") in front of the congregation during the Worship Service, thus reinforcing their commitments to MVUUF. Please be there to meet and welcome these wonderful new members!
And speaking of membership...membership will be the focus of the 360 Project when we meet in January. I hope all who are interested in this important part of the Fellowship life plan to attend and prepare to share your ideas and dreams. If you'd enjoy being part of an official membership team, please let me know so that we can meet and make arrangements to contribute in a positive way! Contact me-Diane Colvin-anytime, at 937-433-0969 or .

Gratitude helps us all feel better. Here are two opportunities to acknowledge and thank fellow members of the MVUUF community who give generously of their energy and talents:  The Unsung UU Award , and The Wince Award . Both are presented each year in January, and the Board is asking for your nominations for each of these awards. The criteria for each are listed below; while both express appreciation for work on the Fellowship's behalf, please note that The Wince Award particularly recognizes length of service.
Please email Barb Weber at with your nomination and a brief explanation as to why you suggested that person. Deadline for nominations is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8th . Nominate someone today and see how good it makes you feel!
The Unsung UU Award
This award is given by the Board to people in the congregation who work tirelessly behind the scenes to get things done at the Fellowship. The Board will select someone who is not on the Board for this award.
The Wince Award
This award is named for former long-time members, Bev & Sylvia Wince, and recognizes tireless leadership over decades to strengthen the life of this congregation and our relationship with one another. Recipients have served in a variety of roles within the Fellowship, demonstrating their love of our community and its value to the world. Recipients are selected by the Board.

Please put on your giving spirit for the holidays, and bring items for the Giving Tree that will warm the hearts, heads, hands and feet of people using the St. Vincent de Paul Shelter. We are collecting hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, and socks for children and adults; just place your donation on or under the Giving Tree in the Gathering Space. Thank you!
And speaking of the Giving Tree, you may notice that this year it's   looking "healthier" than in year's past...and we thank the generous     contribution of Bea Walther for this beautiful tree. Thanks, Bea!

Don't forget! The Anti-Racism Team will be hosting a discussion of the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. This book was selected as the UUA Big Read, and many members & friends have read it.  
We're looking forward to discussing this important book on Friday, December 2nd, 7:00PM in the Sanctuary at the Fellowship, and we hope to see you there!

Poinsettias are needed for the Sanctuary for the month of December. Please sign up in the Gathering Space; different sizes are needed. Why not buy one for your home, and also one for MVUUF?

At the June Congregational Meeting, members voted to share half of our non-pledge offering with The Wesley Community Center (September-November) and Diabetes Dayton (January-February 2017). Thank you for your  generous giving!
During our Congregational Meeting on January 15th, we will be selecting groups for the remainder of 2017 and   early 2018; March-May, June-August, September-November, and one for January-February 2018. We'll hold a   silent paper ballot to select the recipients, but in order to make these selections, we need to know the organizations you care deeply about. What organizations are making a difference in the lives of our community? To nominate an organization, please complete a form that you can find on the Social Action table in the Gathering Space, and place it in the box there. Or, you can send an email to Alice Diebel at . It would be helpful to provide some information about the organization, or their web site address.
We recommend that the organizations have the following characteristics:  target the underserved, are non-profit, are in the greater Dayton area (with some exceptions), and have low administrative costs. Previous recipients are also eligible. Please submit nominations on or before Friday, January 6th.

The Minister's Discretionary Fund is a confidential program of giving that is managed by our minister, Rev. Greg Martin. Persons with a financial hardship can approach Rev. Greg or a Pastoral Associate to receive a small amount of emergency money. Often, the recipients are members of the congregation, and people outside the Fellowship may also receive assistance from this fund. Only Rev. Greg is aware of who receives these gifts.
For many years the fund was exclusively funded from the Christmas Eve offering. Due to greater needs among our congregants, we now collect throughout the month of December. This January, we will return to our Share the Offering program to support a non-profit organization (Diabetes Dayton).
The Minister's Discretionary Fund means a lot to many members of the congregation; please give generously if you are able. And please note:  we collect non-perishable food items for our internal food pantry throughout the year, as well!

Here come the holidays! As you plan your holiday shopping lists, don't forget about this year's Handmade Holiday event! It will take place on Saturday, December 17th, 1-4:00 PM, at the Fellowship. All are welcome to participate in making free craft projects that are perfect for gift giving!
Handmade Holiday is also a great opportunity to connect with others at the Fellowship, and even talk to some of the folks you see weekly but haven't yet met. If you've been looking for a way to support YRE outside the Sunday morning classrooms, here's your chance! What's more, this event won't work very well without a group of volunteers like YOU!
You can check out our volunteer sign-up list  H
So what exactly can you make this year? Something for everyone!
  • Fashion a trio of ornaments for those who love to deck the halls
  • Decorate a set of clothespin magnets for the organizationally-challenged in your life
  • Winterize your loved ones with an embellished set of hand sanitizer & tissues
  • Satisfy someone's sweet tooth with chocolate chip cookie mix
  • Delight the person who has everything with a hand-crafted owl sculpture
You'll also get to wrap and tag your gifts at the wrapping station. In addition to gift wrap and tags, you will find simple directions for an origami gift card holder and some easy origami gift boxes-plus a friendly helper to make sure your paper crafting turns out just right!
New this year is an opportunity for you to help cats, dogs, and other critters at local animal welfare agencies SICSA and the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. Shelter animals love to play with the simple cat and dog toys you can make with socks, empty water bottles, catnip, and jingle bells. You can also make a simple pet bed from fleece and batting to keep small animals warm & cozy. How about making a yummy treat for shelter dogs? We'll have a bunch of empty Kong dog chew toys to fill with canned pumpkin and freeze. The Kongs will then be delivered to the Humane Society-this is a great way to help their staff and volunteers save time preparing treats for the animals.*
Both shelters also have supply wish lists, so if you prefer, you can leave donations in the marked boxes in the Gathering Space. Needed items include:  wild bird food, hand soap, Dawn dish soap, kitty litter (clumping and non-clumping), copy paper, mailing labels, and paper towels. For complete lists of items, visit their websites here:

As always, Handmade Holiday is a free event with all materials and refreshments provided. Monetary donations to help offset costs for supplies are welcome. Did you know that you can donate easily with MVUUF's online giving form?  Visit  our website HERE and click the "Do it online yourself" button, then scroll to the "other fundraising" section; you'll see a box for "YRE Activities" where you can specify the amount to give.
See you on Saturday, December 17th, 
1-4:00 PM for Handmade Holiday!
*  If you would like to make a sock toy for your pet, you may; however, Kongs and fleece beds are for shelter animals ONLY. Kongs in particular are property of the Humane Society that MVUUF will borrow & refill. Thanks for understanding!

  •  That this fall, Leo and Max Santucci starred in Sinclair Community College's production of Dracula? We hear their performance was ghoulish...
  •  That Stella Combs (our Acting Director of RE) and her husband, Mike, celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss on November 24th? Congrats to Stella & Mike!
  •  That Nick & Shirley Gezinski had their own bliss to  celebrate, marking 47 years of being married on November 15th? Congrats to Nick & Shirley, too!
  •  That Cyra and Daria Crooms Cobb had a party to celebrate their 8th birthdays? Or would that be 16 years, since they're twins?
  •  That Ruth Scott's sister was recently 77 years of age...for the first time!
  •  That Laura Vondenhuevel and her husband, Rocky Harrison, are moving into their very own home later this month, in Kettering? We wish them many years of happy housekeeping!

Six members of MVUUF---Lynn Buffington, Alice Diebel, Rachel Feltner, Bob Lewis, Kathleen Pennington, and Rev. Greg Martin---participated  in the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio (UUJO) Justice Assembly on Saturday, November 12th, just four days after the Presidential election. The theme for the day was Connecting for Racial Justice:  Intersectionality and Stories of Change . What follows is a brief overview from Dan Schneider, UUJO                                                President:
UUJO is organizing, and we are more than ever committed to organizing for justice in Ohio. The UUJO Board of Directors established a few big goals for UUJO:
  •  To grow internally by increasing congregational involvement and externally by organizing locally and statewide and providing more focus on key issues of racial and economic justice
  •  To organize local congregations to identify local racial justice issues and continue to organize regional racial  justice workshops culminating in public action and advocacy.
  •  To organize regional economic justice workshops building on the success of the racial justice workshops.
The Justice Assembly welcomed guest speakers who spoke on issues of capital punishment, the racial wealth gap, the Moral Revival Movement and a progressive agenda, Showing Up for Racial Justice and ecological reparations.
We concluded with regional discussions for planning local next steps. Please contact me to get involved. MVUUF is a member of UUJO, but we need individual memberships, as well. To become a member, visit their website at
-Alice Diebel

Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (LEAD) is inviting you to attend the Preschool Promise Update Meeting, on Monday, December 12th, 6:30 PM, at College Hill Presbyterian Church, 1547 Philadelphia Drive in Dayton, 45406.
As you may remember, members of MVUUF attended LEAD's Nehemiah Assembly in April at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church, where LEAD sought the commitment from the City of Dayton and Montgomery County to secure funding for all of Montgomery County's children to attend preschool.
This gathering of the LEAD congregations is for the
purpose of getting an current update on the progress of the Preschool Promise. We are inviting members of the Montgomery County Commission, the Mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley and Dayton City Commission member Jeffrey Mims, along with Robyn Lightcap, the Executive Director of ReadySetSoar/LearntoEarn, to join us for the purpose of giving a report on the progress of Preschool Promise,      including the securing of a county-wide commitment, securing funding, and sharing the actual implementation steps that have been taken, and will be taken.
We expect to have a large turnout for this event, and hope that many members of the Fellowship will plan to attend. We will provide car pooling from the Fellowship; please sign-up in the Gathering Space, or send an email to Bob Lewis at .

Make sure to mark your calendar for Saturday evening, January 28th, 6:30-8:30 PM, for the 10th Annual Men Who Cook event, here at the Fellowship!
This fundraiser, which supports the Operating Fund, always gets rave reviews, so please consider bringing a friend along with you! As many as 30 men of the Fellowship will be preparing a smorgasbord of dinner delights: appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, breads, and desserts in splendid variety, including something for the carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free palate! Wine will be served, as well!
Sign-up sheets and tickets will be available in the coming weeks, in all of our different publications, so stay tuned. And for more information, feel free to contact Jim Poltrone, at .

This group will next meet on Tuesday, December 13th, 7:00PM in the library at the Fellowship; the book for discussion will be Year of Yes   by Shonda Rhimes. New participants are welcome! The group meets in the library at 7:00PM the second Tuesday of every month; please contact Ann Snively if you would like more information.
Upcoming titles are:
January 10th-- Escape From New York by Zadie Smith (short story)
February 14th-- Neverhome by Laird Hunt

                           ENVIRONMENTAL BOOK CLUB
This group now meets every other month, on the third Monday of that scheduled month, 7-8:30 PM, in the Founder's Room at MVUUF.
December 19th-- The Quest of the Simple Life by William J. Dawson

               DAYTIME BOOK CLUB
The next meeting for the Daytime Book Club will be our annual Holiday Gathering! It will take place on Wednesday, December 14th, beginning at 10:30 AM at the new Panera on North Main Street in Englewood, so that we can included long-time member, Jan Beers. We look forward to having a wonderful time...a ll are welcome!

Books chosen for early 2017 are:
January 18th -- The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
February 15th -- Tribe, by Sebastian Junger
March 15th -- Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Smart Choices Birthday Club will be meeting on THURSDAY, December 8th, 11:30AM, at MCL Cafeteria in Kettering. You can RSVP to Allie Petersen at .

Please join us in providing food and/or serving for our long-standing 2nd Saturday lunch ministry for women and families staying at St. Vincent's shelter. We continue with our hearty chili fall/winter menu. To sign-up to donate food and/or serve, please use the clipboard in the Gathering Space (on counter by the windows or, on Sunday   mornings, on the Social Action table) or you can text or call Lynn Buffington at 937-657-0426 , . If you would like more information on volunteering, please pick up one of the information sheets near the clipboard. Thanks to all who donated food and helped serve in November when we served a whopping 117 guests, including 74 in the family group (children with parents/guardians)! Compare that to a total of 54 in both groups in October! Thanks to your generosity, chili toppings were the only items that we ran out of. Since St. Vincent's requires servers to be 14 or older, a good way to involve your children is with preparing your food donation.
December 10th fall menu :  hearty chili, chili fixings (shredded cheese, chopped   onions, sour cream, etc.), green salad or other dish made with fresh  vegetables (salad should be dressed or with bottle of dressing), fresh fruit/fruit  salad. We already have our sign-ups for 100% orange juice and reduced fat milk! We need several donations of each item, with each donation serving 15-20. Please bring all items - heated if applicable - to 120 West Apple Street in Dayton (St. Vincent de Paul Hotel) by 10:45AM.    Serving ends about 12:45PM, with women eating at 11:00AM and families at noon. You can contact Lynn, Shirley Gezinski, or Gail Saugstad if you would like to help with the menu planning or organizing a Friday evening intergenerational cooking activity for St. Vincent's.

You may have seen the "Call To Standing Rock:  December 4th Interfaith Day of Prayer" from Rev. Karen Van Fossan, Minister, Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Bismarck, ND.  It was sent from Standing on the Side of Love via email and Facebook and includes an invitation from Chief Arvol Looking Horse. You can read the call HERE 
In addition to the invitation for UUs and other people of faith to be physically present at Standing Rock for a Day of Prayer on December 4, the call asks us to engage in prayer and solidarity in our home communities and also invites financial donations to support the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. This Sunday, December 4, we will encourage individual financial donations, by selling bagels during coffee hour after the Sunday service. Proceeds will go to the site recommended by Rev. Van Fossan. 
If you want to make additional financial donations, please click HERE
and scroll all the way down to the end to the "donate" button, or go directly HERE
This is the donation site linked to in Rev. Van Fossan's call to prayer.


Remember to place your order for Fair Trade coffee on the first Sunday of the month--this month it falls on December 4th!--in the Gathering Space after service, to be picked up on or after the third Sunday of the month--this month, December 18th. There are many varieties and bean grinds to choose from, including several that are organic!
You can also contact Lynn Buffington at (937) 657-0426 or .
You can keep up-to-date with all the happenings at MVUUF by viewing the Fellowship's calendar online, from a link to our website HERE  
The calendar is updated daily, so it's always the place to check and see what's going on!

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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, sex, sexual/affectional orientation, gender expression, or ability.


Please visit us on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. for our worship service---

we'd love to see you!