Miami Valley 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

8690 Yankee St.  Dayton, OH  45458







MVUUF's Forum  October, 2016

Service Topics for October, 2016

Sanctuary . A safe and hospitable place. An act of sheltering. Extending a sense of family. Sacred and holy space. All of these are aspects of Sanctuary, which is our worship theme for the month of October.
Rev. Greg Martin starts things off on October 2nd , with a sermon called A Radical Welcome . One of the unique things about our Fellowship is its commitment to providing shelter for those who have been pushed aside or ostracized or demeaned by others, sometimes even by religious institutions, for who they are. We work to stretch boundaries, understandings, and acceptance so that all can find a home here.
Turning the Wheel of Life, Part 2 continues Rev. Greg's exploration of religious education and faith formation for today's world, on October 9th . Using the developmental psychology of Bill Plotkin, he will focus on our calling to provide a sanctuary for children, youth, and families.
Cincinnati artist and educator, Melissa Rowland, will be our guest speaker on October 16th . She is a survivor of  sexual abuse and will share her personal story along with her artwork as part of this morning's worship. She will  also facilitate a workshop following the service to help us reflect more deeply on what it means to be a "sanctuary" for those who have experienced sexual abuse or trauma in their lives. As part of our effort to be a safe congregation, we hope to gain a better sense of how congregational dynamics can be affected and how to be more supportive of all those impacted. Rev. Greg and other trained support people will be available to meet with anyone who needs to talk, as well.
Sanctuary Congregations is our focus for October 23rd . Numerous congregations around the country have stepped up in recent years to harbor and shelter undocumented families, often to keep families intact and to counteract oppressive policies aimed at immigrants. With the Presidential election just two weeks away, Rev. Greg Martin will ask us to consider ways we might need to be available depending on the outcome of the vote on November 8th and the direction of the country.  The Vision & Mission Task Force will be leading a Congregational Forum after the service this morning to present their work to the members and friends of MVUUF.
Do you wear a mask at the Fellowship? The morning of October 30th , our Worship for All Ages will help us explore some of the masks we wear (and not just for Hallowe'en). Mask making can be a powerful way to explore what is inside us that we need to let out, as well.
   A Few Words  
From Our Minister
360! Miami Valley UU Fellowship has been selected as one of five UU congregations in the country to participate in Project 360, a program to enhance congregational leadership. (See Board President, Gail Cyan's article in this edition of The Forum.) The effort is co-sponsored by the All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the leading congregations of our movement, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. A monthly webinar open to all who are part of our congregation, plus concentrated time with UUA staff, and a learning community of congregations, will all create an atmosphere of challenge and growth. Sessions will focus on mission and vision, growing membership, multicultural diversity, fundraising, pastoral care, social justice and outreach and several others over the 9 months of the program. Our congregation will set specific goals from the learning that will be supported with the input of UUA personnel. 

I and other leaders are excited about the opportunity to participate in 360. We got off to a good start in the first year of forming a partnership as minister and congregation. Now, in year two, some of the hard work begins. For a good number of years, MVUUF has felt "stuck" in several places. I see 360 as an opportunity to help us "flow", as it provides an intensity of activity, accountability in supportive community, and focusing our energies and resources where it matters most. If we engage ourselves fully, this will give us the boost we need to get over the "hump" to become the congregation we have been seeking to become. Having said that, it is a beginning. It won't do everything we need to do, but it will get us moving in the right direction with useful tools, motivation, and an expectation that we will make it.

Recently, we honored our 25+ year members one Sunday morning. These are people who had the vision to move us from the building on Far Hills Avenue in Oakwood to our present site. They are the ones along with others over the years who put effort, resources and commitment into purchasing property, designing and building a new facility, envisioning growth to become a program size congregation (200-350 in size) to better serve the people of the Miami Valley. I see this step into 360 as a way to honor their vision and leadership as we work to live into their hopes and dreams. It is an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to the journey together.
In Community,
Rev. Greg
October News

The word of the month is ENGAGEMENT! This is he time to figure out how YOU want to be a part of our future! And the first BIG date to do it is Sunday, October 9th, 2:30-6:30PM, in the Sanctuary at MVUUF. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend! There will be a potluck/discussion following the program (more details will be posted on the News email list).
As announced, Miami Valley UU Fellowship has been selected to participate in the 360 Project, an innovative new national Leadership Training program for UU churches. Our application was accepted, as one of only 5 churches in the nation. We have received very encouraging feedback that we are ripe for growth, with a new minister and our openness to  dynamic change, making us excellent candidates for this new UUA program.
You will be hearing a lot from us over the nine months as we engage with each other, reflecting on what we do best and considering ways that we can improve. We will be encouraged to try out some new ways of doing things, which can be creative and energizing, as much as they can be uncomfortable and awkward. There will be many opportunities for feedback. We want YOU to be an active participant and to figure out how you want to invest in our community.
This is a unique opportunity for us to be intentional about taking some risks and giving ourselves permission to create openings for new opportunities. Part of what will make this a successful program is creating a safe space for brainstorming new ideas and creative ways to approach old problems. We are going to leave our egos at the door and give ourselves room to understand ourselves more deeply. Everything is on the table. Bring an open mind, a loving heart, and innovative ideas! Every voice has something to offer.
Sunday, October 9th, 2:30-6:30PM! Be there or be square!
With great excitement for our future,
Gail Cyan, MVUUF Board President

Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, November 19th, as that is the date of our annual Thanksgiving  Fellowship Dinner. More details will be coming soon!

Twenty-four pregnant women who live in poverty on Dayton's west side, most of whom are black, are coming to the Baby Shower at the Wesley Community   Center on Saturday, October 15th.
They have been selected by two of the Wesley Community Center's case  managers who are helping the women get on top of lots of difficult life situations such as being unemployed, having disinterested partners (most of the women are single mothers), limited medical care, living in unstable housing situations, not having  access to healthy food (west Dayton is a nationally recognized food desert), and often lacking in affordable transportation.
The Baby Shower is just one piece of a well-conceived "raise a healthy child" program in action at the Wesley  Community Center called Baby Ready . These women can participate in a pregnant women's support group, where they both help each other and benefit from helpful parent enrichment training. The women are introduced to the staff of the Nurse Family partnership program who can bring a trained nurse into their home on a weekly basis to ensure good medical care, enhance the pregnancy, lead to a healthy birth, and continue to work with the mother, child, and the family for the next two years. In addition to case management, the Wesley Community Center has a part of its food pantry dedicated to pregnant women and their infants; it has a legal clinic that offers assistance; it helps with filing taxes; it has an after school program for the children already in school; and most importantly, it provides job training that really works.
At the baby Shower, we include a focus on the risks of infant mortality. West Dayton's black women have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation. Dayton Children's Hospital staff will teach the women about the importance of "safe sleep" for their infants and sometimes provide each of them with a portable crib. And the Nurse Family Partnership staff helps the women identify many of the major risks for infant mortality.
So, when you support the Baby Shower, whether you help to fill the baskets with infant items, or donate funds for related purchases, or donate lunch items (turkey, ham, tomatoes, lettuce), or bring in gently-used baby appliances (strollers, cribs, bassinettes, car seats, etc.), you are MAKING AN INVESTMENT. This is not charity work; it's providing constructive support for these women to move out of poverty. Our partnership with Tree of Life and St. Andrew's United Methodist Church is one of the best interfaith ways in which we can show our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in west Dayton. We welcome your support!
--Bob Lewis, West Dayton Action Group

At our General Assembly in June, many of you had the opportunity to hear the     Rev. William Barber speak of the power of "fusion politics," the concept that when our specific justice causes come together we have more power. You can see the connections among poverty, race, sexual orientation and gender in the issues that we care about:  education, environment, health, and food. Our work with LEAD on mental health touches all of these identities and issues.
The Social Action Committee invites ALL members of the congregation to join us for a brief retreat, to consider how our justice work intersects with our mission and how it might be seen as a whole. The retreat will take place at the Fellowship on Saturday, October 8th, 2:30-5:00PM . Come, celebrate, and learn.
For more information, please contact Alice Diebel at: or (937) 350-7763.

The Anti-Racism Team will present an episode of the PBS series Through the Wormhole (narrated by Morgan Freeman) for it's next First Friday Movie Night, scheduled for Friday, October 7th, 7:00PM, at the Fellowship.
The season premiere Are We All Bigots? looks at the research of Colorado psychologist Josh Correll, who studied racial bias in life-or-death decision making; NYU's Jon Freeman discusses his findings on how brains perceive a cultural stereotype of their race or gender for a split second before our consciousness takes over; Chicago researcher Peggy Mason looked at white and black rats; Harvard's Mina Cikara shows how people instantly form tribal allegiances even when they are divided randomly; and the University of Buffalo's Matthew Grizzard proposes ultra-violent video games to beat bigotry.
If you had less than one second to make a life-or-death decision to shoot a man who might be armed with a lethal weapon, science shows that Americans -- black and white -- are more likely to mistakenly shoot a black man than a white man. Why?
Are We All Bigots? explores this question and other topics mentioned above. Come join us for a fascinating hour about the science of bigotry.
Refreshments will be served during the film, and there will be a discussion following. We hope to see you all there!

The Anti-Racism Team will be hosting a movie the first Friday of the month (see the previous article). However, for the month of December, the 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 want to give you ample time to borrow it from the library, or purchase it, before the discussion!
Please mark your calendars for Friday, December 2nd, 7:00PM at the Fellowship, for the discussion of this important book. 

This fun group will next meet on Wednesday, October 26th, 10:30AM in the Founder's Room at the Fellowship, to discuss the book, Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen.
Why not plan on joining them? If you'd like more info, please contact Anwyl Scott at:

In his sermon on September 18th, Rev. Greg talked about personal invitations and bringing people into our fellowship. Well, I have the perfect, easy way for you to get started!

Our Halloween Party will be Friday, October 28th. I am challenging everyone to personally invite at least 2 guests. You can do this easily by going to the event (click  HEREand clicking on "invite friends" on the right side of the screen and share on your timeli ne (also on the right). Please do follow up with the guests you invite by phone, message or text to tell them why you think they might enjoy our community.

This is a challenge so let's encourage each other! And w e also have a sign up for helping at the event (click  HERE )!
--Lisa Marie Weiss

MVUUF is on the cusp of evolving. We are at a ripe time, with a minister who is committed to development, forward-focused leadership, and now systemic support to facilitate our maturation as a congregation into the force for good we are capable of becoming. As you may have heard, this is an exciting time for leadership and the entire congregation, as we partner with the All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK, and the UUA for congregational development through interactive seminars and live support. EVERYONE is invited to join the seminars and be part of the      movement forward.
Let us become what we are capable of...a mission focused on fellowship
transforming ourselves, our community, our world.
The Nominating Committee is tasked with providing the congregation with a slate of capable and willing candidates to serve in leadership for a designated term. Each year, every term on the board ends at the end of February, and a new one begins March 1. On that date, half of the Program Council (a two-year commitment) turns over, as well. When the term ends, a person may be asked to re-up, consider a different position, or they may take a break to allow others a turn at leadership. The Nominating Committee is currently gathering information to inform our discernment process regarding these positions that are up for renewal or replacement. Please contact one of the committee if you would like to give input, volunteer yourself for nomination for service, or have a suggestion as to whom you would believe would be able to best serve our congregation in one of the open positions.
The following roles are being considered for the 2017-2018 church year:
Board terms ending 2017 -- President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Program Council Chair, At-Large  Trustee A,           At-Large Trustee B .
On the Program Council , the following terms end in odd years (2017) -- Activities , Operations , Social Action , and Worship . Additionally, we will be seeking to fill the vacant Music Rep . position.
The Endowment Committee will have one three-year term ending this year, as well. There are also openings for the Chair of the Finance Committee , Personnel Committee , and Fundraising Committee , and two positions for the Committee on Ministry which the Board is seeking to fill by appointment; input and suggestions are very welcome. Finally, the Program Council will be appointing a member to the Nominating Committee to serve the rest of the term of Iris Mirelez who has moved away (through 02/2017) and there will be a need to appoint three new members to that body in 2017.
You may learn more about the specific roles and governance structure by talking to someone in leadership and by finding specific information - including job descriptions - in our Policy Manual; Section 7 is specific to the    Program Council (click HERE while Section 6 covers the Board (click HERE).   The MVUUF Organizational Chart of the congregation's     leadership is available HERE.
We hope you will be as engaged as you can be in this active growth, nurturing spirits, loving inclusively, and healing our world. As Luke is paraphrased, " As we give, so shall we receive ." May it be so.
MVUUF's Nominating Committee:
Genevieve Harvey, Chair
Phil Wise
Bill Dugger
Karen Evans
Ann Snively

This group will next meet on Tuesday, October 11th, 7:00PM in the library at the Fellowship; the book for discussion will be Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. 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:
November 8th --  Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
December 13th --  Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
January 10th --  Escape From New York by Zadie Smith (short story)
February 14th --  Neverhome by Laird Hunt

This group now meets every other month, on the third Monday of that scheduled month, from 7-8:30 p.m., in the Founder's Room at MVUUF.
October 17th - The More of Less:  Finding The Life You Want Under  Everything You Own
by Joshua Becker
December 19 - The Quest Of The Simple Life , by William J. Dawson

Do you enjoy seeing fresh flowers on the altar each Sunday? Have you taken any of the fresh flowers home with you from the entry way?
We need help each week to:
  • Pick up the flowers from the Kroger on East Whipp Road;
  • Bring the flowers to the Fellowship on Sunday morning;
  • Put the flowers in vases and place them on the altar and in the    entry way;
  • Clean up any mess in the entry by 12:30PM
Please sign up on the clipboard in the Gathering Space, or send an email to Iris Carter at . You can also call Iris at 937-433-9828.   Why not help us spread the joy each week!

Smart Choices Birthday Club will be meeting on Thursday, October 13th, 11:30AM, at MCL Cafeteria in Kettering. You can RSVP to Allie Petersen at .

How to get your event into the Sunday slide announcements?
Sunday slide announcements are designed to be brief reminders of upcoming events. Our Administrator, Jennie Freiberger, will design  slides based on the information she receives from the Yahoo News Groups, the Friday E-Blast, and the monthly Forum. If you want to be sure that your event will be highlighted, simply send her the pertinent information, at .
How to get information about the MVUUF library?
Adrienne Clark is the Fellowship's librarian. Feel free to contact her with questions - and to volunteer! - via email at .
When we will be updating the MVUUF website?
There is a group working on updating the design of our website. Currently, they're developing page templates and they hope to be uploading content soon. Stay's coming!
Are you wondering how to do something related to the Fellowship? Please send your questions to:
Bonnie Thompson, our Communications Rep., 
at .

As we enter this fourth month of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, it's important to mention that we still have over $13,000 that remains unpaid from the 2015-2016 fiscal year. If your pledge balance from last year is outstanding, you can get it caught up with a check (please note "15-16 pledge" in the memo) or online (by choosing "2015-2016 Operating Pledges").
And if you are unsure of the status of your pledge - last year, or currently - feel free to contact:
Brianna Kempe, MVUUF Treasurer,
at , or 513-484-4496
or Jennie Freiberger, MVUUF Administrator,
at , or 937-436-3628

Mary Coonrod recently had an accident that caused her to have a few stitches in her chin.
Carol Vincent is back at home, doing well, and very thankful for all of the meals that were brought to her.
Gary Courts will be spending the first part of October traveling in Iceland.
Gwynneth Risley passed away September 22.
Former member Pete Davis was in town last month to accept The Wesley Community Center's Top Ten Most Influential Award during their 50th Anniversary celebration.
(Pete Davis, bottom left, enjoying the evening with a few MVUUF friends)

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. This is the first month of our hearty chili fall menu. You can sign up for food donations and/or serving on the clipboard in the Gathering Space, or you can text/call Lynn Buffington at 937-657-0426, or via email at If you would like more information on volunteering, please take one of the half-sheets near the clipboard in the Gathering Space. Thanks to all who donated food and helped serve in September; we served a large group of 88 of St. Vincent's guests, including 29 children, and we were happy to be able to offer seconds on most items!
October 8th 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, 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.

Gratitude to members & friends of MVUUF who made their voices heard in opposition to the State of Ohio's request to the federal government to make harmful changes to Ohio Medicaid for adults!
On September 9th, the federal government denied Ohio's request for the Orwellian-named "Healthy Ohio" waiver which would have required monthly payments from most Ohio adults on Medicaid through a costly new bureaucracy involving a punitive debit card program. While there are many ways to think about social action, one framework  uses five approaches*, one of which is advocacy, and this was an advocacy victory in which many of us participated by submitting comments at our Social Action table or online, as part of the federally-mandated public comment    period. A few of us testified in person at public hearings, too.
The so-called "Healthy Ohio" was passed by the Ohio Assembly as part of the budget in June 2015. In order to put the changes into effect, Ohio required permission from the federal government for exceptions to standard Medicaid rules and that permission is now denied! This is a precedent-setting case because other states have been granted   permission for some similar (but less extreme) exceptions, but those permissions were given as part of negotiations to expand Medicaid to cover adults without children, an expansion made available by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ohio was the first state that had already expanded Medicaid and then asked for these types of exceptions. Most concerning of the proposed changes was a requirement to charge monthly premiums to adults on Medicaid, a very difficult and burdensome requirement for low-income people who are already often making extremely difficult choices, such as whether to buy food or shoes for their kids.
There were a total of 956 comments submitted, "overwhelmingly in opposition" to the waiver request. We can celebrate now, but must remain vigilant; the Ohio Department of Health Transformation's press release on the   waiver denial stated "In light of today's announcement, the [Kasich] Administration will restart talks with the General Assembly about other options for ensuring greater personal responsibility, including the premium program as originally proposed."
* The particular social action framework mentioned is described on pages 23-25 of the UUA's Social Justice Empowerment Handbook ; its five approaches include service, education, witness, advocacy, and community organizing.

Please join us for the 5th annual Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio (UUJO) Justice Assembly, on Saturday, November 12th, beginning with registration at 9:30AM, and a brief opening worship service at 10:00AM; the assembly will conclude at 4:00PM. We have a new location this year, the Methodist Theological School of Ohio, 3081 Delaware Pike, Delaware, OH 43015. The theme for this year will be Connecting for Racial Justice:   Intersectionality and Stories of Change. The UUJO planning team is preparing an informative, inspirational day, as the UUJO will continue working to build a state-wide moral movement to confront intersecting justice issues in    collaboration with a variety of partners.
UUJO is a state action network for Ohio's 38 UU congregations, with a mission to organize justice seekers state-wide to promote education, service and advocacy consistent with liberal religious principles and to witness with an on behalf of marginalized groups and individuals.
Since its founding in 2012, UUJO has organized annual Justice Assemblies in the state capital, held public witness events, conducted regional training workshops and served as an informative clearinghouse on eight issues:  criminal and racial justice; economic justice; environment; immigration; reproductive choice; LGBTQ issues; voting rights; and peace.
You will be able to access regular updates at the UUJO website (click HERE), including the schedule for the day, online registration, and information on registration fees, which will include lunch.

Remember to place your order for Fair Trade coffee on the first Sunday of the month--this month it falls on October 2nd!--in the Gathering Space after service, to be picked up on or after the third Sunday of the month--this month, October 16th. 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!