April 2022
On My Mind
Message from Rev. Gary Kowalski, UUFD Targeted Minister
Some might call them puddles or muddy places, but my daughter calls them vernal pools. She’s the conservation officer for a small town in Massachusetts, tasked with managing wetlands and keeping them healthy. Vernal pools, as the name suggests, appear mostly in the spring with the snow melt, then dry up and disappear with the heat of summer. But they are the crucial breeding ground for toads, frogs, salamanders, fairy shrimp and other crustaceans. They are incubators.

In Colorado, forty-four percent of our streams, ponds and potholes, arroyos, pozos and cienegas, are intermittent rather than year round–more here in the Four Corners–but they too offer homes to diminutive creatures that in turn offer sustenance for waterfowl, snakes, rodents and other animals higher up the food chain, including humans. These ephemeral flows may appear in late summer with the monsoons, or at other seasons, rather in the springtime. But they are indispensable. As the Navajo say, Tó éí iiná, “water is life.” 

The life in me is also intermittent. I have long dry spells and arid stretches. Tedium rules. But I too have vernal pools, transient hours when I’m again in the flow. Vitality and joie de vivre return, at least long enough to rejuvenate and put blood into the dry bones.

Maybe it’s too much to expect to be happy all the time. Joy, like a puddle, is short-lived. But the surface of even the smallest pond can also reflect the sun, moon and stars, the whole vast blue sky.  

“Praised be You,” St. Francis wrote, “through Sister Water, which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.” Praise indeed. Whether it’s a trickle or a torrent, a dribble or a deluge, drink up with gratitude.

April Services
Services are now back in person as well as online. Please come vaccinated and fully boosted (age five and under exempt). N95 masks are required, available for free at Walgreens and the Rec Center. 
Please stay home if symptomatic. To join a Zoom worship, look for the link on the UUFD website.

April 3
Holy Fools and Crazy Wisdom
-Rev. Munro Sickafoose*
Religious and spiritual traditions around the world have long cherished holy fools, tricksters, and sacred clowns. What can we learn from them and these archetypal figures?
---Lunchtime Sharing Circle with Rev. Munro to follow worship at 12:30 pm. Bring your lunch or snack and camp chair to talk about the Ukraine conflict. No RSVP needed.

April 10
Responding to the Call
Portia Sykes, Pulpit Guest
People today, young and old, face profound challenges like climate change and inequality. Many, if not all of us, are feeling called to action, to change, to grow. Sometimes, this 'growth' stretches us into uncomfortable positions. But, what if the solutions to address our problems could be easy, fun, and effective?
---Town Hall Budget Review meeting to follow service.

April 17, Easter Sunday: Two services at 9 am and 11 am
Tuesdays with Jesus
-Rev. Gary Kowalski
When journalist Mitch Albom reconnected with his philosophy professor from Brandeis, Morrie Schwartz near the end of the old man’s life, the result was a bestseller filled with lessons on love, loss and healing: Tuesdays with Morrie. This morning Gary likens Morrie’s teachings to those of another Jewish wise guy (and the protagonist of another best selling book), Jesus of Nazareth. 
---We will take a moment this morning to honor members and friends of the congregation who have died these past two years over the course of this pandemic. Please contact the minister (revgary@durangouu.org) with the name(s) of loved ones you wish to be remembered. Gary will be speaking in person.

April 24, Earth Day
Love Your Mother
-Rev. Gary Kowalski
Rachel Carson did not live to see the first Earth Day. But her book Silent Spring, and the public battle she waged against the powerful chemical companies and agri-business interests that were poisoning the environment, marked the opening salvos of the modern battle to save the planet. Yet Carson was always more poet than provocateur, who believed that a sense of awe and wonder before Nature were even more important than good science if we were to preserve our fragile home. Gary will be zooming in with us this morning.

*Minister-In-Residence: Targeted Minister Munro Sickafoose will be in residence from Sunday April 3 through Wednesday April 6th. Email Rev Munro if you'd like to chat or go for a hike!
Message from John Redemske, UUFD Board President
Hello fellow UUFD members and friends,  

By the time you read this, we will have had our first Faith Formation “Town Hall” meeting, held on March 27. I hope that all of you either attended the meeting or read this handout.

As bad as COVID has been for adults in our congregation, it has been even more difficult for families, children and youth. The pandemic shut down opportunities for our UU children to develop relationships with each other and with the adults in our congregation. Our previously robust Faith Formation program diminished rapidly. Our congregation has lost families and youth because of it. 

During the March 27 meeting, we described the extensive Faith Formation program that was functioning in 2019. After almost two years of COVID restrictions and the turmoil associated with it, our memories of this robust Faith Formation program may have faded. This meeting was a great reminder of what we once had! The meeting was the start of us dealing with the loss of our robust Faith Formation program and determining how to re-start it. We will need to consider what kind of UU inspired leadership and level of funding will be needed. We will need to think deeply about the value of Faith Formation for our adults and especially for our children and youth. Faith Formation is one of the reasons we exist - to guide, nurture and care for our children. It is what we promise and covenant to them during their child dedication. 

I also strongly encourage the entire congregation to attend a “Town Hall” budget review multiplatform meeting after the Sunday service on April 10. We'll have a good idea of the results of the pledge campaign at this meeting, so we'll be able to think about our priorities and how to fund our activities and programs appropriately. This is an exciting time for our congregation as we emerge from the COVID pandemic. We are all in this together! Based on these “Town Hall” meetings, the Board will finalize the budget at the April 26 Board meeting. 

Progress is being made by the Transitional Minister Search Task Force on submitting our application for an Interim Minister to the UUA. We hope to start seeing potential candidates by the end of April. Please contact Tom Miller with any questions.

Pinesong retreat organizing has started! Please contact Lisa McCorry if you are interested in providing some of the many helping hands needed to make this event happen. While we've enjoyed welcoming surrounding congregations and friends to the retreat in previous years, because of the uncertainty of COVID this year, the retreat will unfortunately be limited to just members and friends of our congregation.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about Board activity, please email me or give me a call at 603-345-2244. I really want to hear from you!

With gratitude to all of my fellow UU members and friends, 
John Redemske
In-person Faith Formation and Spring Family Breakfast
A message from Leah Ongiri, family ministry coordinator
In-person Faith Formation on Sunday mornings!
  • April 3 Environmental April kick off 
  • April 10 Trash art        
  • April 17 Easter activity at both services
  • April 24 Neighborhood clean up 
All children and youth are welcome. Please register at https://durangouu.org/learning/. Contact Leah Ongiri at familyministry@durangouu.org for more information. 
Spring Family Breakfast
When: Sunday, April 3
Time: 9:00 - 9:50
Where: Patio

All families (with or without children and youth!) are welcome for fellowship and light refreshments before church. If you're interested in bringing something to share, please contact Becca Trefry at beccainco@yahoo.com or just show up!
On the lookout for trailing pledge cards!
Have you returned yours?
The annual UUFD Pledge Campaign is nearing its end. We prepared, then distributed packets, delivered the message, then accepted many of your pledge cards at Celebration Sunday on March 20. 
Now it’s time for follow-up by our ongoing campaign team members.
First and foremost, thank you to all who have carefully considered your pledge and delivered your card to us.
For those of you who have not yet returned your card, please return them as soon as possible to make our followup task easier. You have a few options:
  • Mail to 435 San Juan Drive, Durango CO 81301
  • Drop off in person: 1) In the offertory basket;  2) To the black mailbox at the base of UUFD's office stairs
  • Fill out your pledge card online using this link.
In my words on Celebration Sunday, remember, pledging is not just a stale habit from year to yeardone without thought. It’s an opportunity for all of us to recommit to each other. Again, thank you on behalf of all of us.  

Kathleen Adams   
Questions, requests, thoughts welcome at 970-676-1022 or kadams@mcw.edu
Mark your calendars now for this beloved multigenerational event.

July 8-10, 2022
Friday afternoon through Sunday worship time
Pine Song on the Pine River
Bayfield (Vallecito) CO
A weekend of fun and fellowship for the whole family!

Due to the uncertainty caused by COVID and health precautions, this year we have made the difficult decision to limit attendance to UUFD members and friends only. We look forward to welcoming back visitors from outside congregations in 2023.
Earth Day Parade will be April 23
Mark your calendar and plan to parade with UUFD
UUFD is again sponsoring community Earth Day events that will occur in Durango on April 23. The day will start with a parade to Rotary Park beginning at the train depot at 10:30 am. There, the Environmental Justice Team will join a number of other organizations who will host booths at Rotary Park highlighting this year’s theme – Climate Solutions. Join the parade with signs about your favorite climate solutions and see, learn from and support what others are doing locally and beyond to protect and sustain our world. You will also enjoy live music, kids' activities, food, electric vehicle Ride & Drive, the Southern Ute Bear Dancers, speakers and vendor booths.
Speak truth, hear love
Courageously building a healthy congregation together
Join us on Saturday, May 14 for a half day workshop to discuss themes that emerged from our Listening Circles and to adopt the Relational Covenant. We will be using tools of Nonviolent Communication to increase trust and transparency and to enhance our spiritual growth. The workshop will be from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm in the Sanctuary, and lunch will be served. Details for signing up will be in the announcements next week. 

We want to thank the more than 46 congregants who stayed after the service on Feb. 13 to participate in our final Listening Circle, as well as Shannan Beaver for monitoring the Zoom session. If folks have more thoughts and feelings they want discussed at the May 14 workshop, please put them in writing and send an email to one of the HCC members. 

The workshop will be facilitated by Sandhya Tillotson (www.sagebrush.ltd) and Rachel Turiel (www.rachelturiel.com), who are active members of the Durango community. Sandhya serves as a participatory facilitator, supporting groups in holding meaningful conversation, developing strategies and taking action on important issues. Rachel is a writer and educator whose mission is to inspire and support both personal and community growth by offering tools of collaboration, communication, and nonviolence. 

The HCC has a vacancy and invites interested members of the congregation to submit, in writing, to the Board of Trustees a letter/email that outlines their interest for participating on the HCC, their qualifications, skill set, or other experience that would enhance the work of the committee. For more information, contact Sherrod Beall (sherrodb@gmail.com).
Targeted Ministers Coordinating Task Force
You can provide feedback to any member
The Targeted Ministers Coordinating Task Force (TMCTF) meets monthly with Revs. Gary Kowalski and Munro Sickafoose to support and advise the ministers, provide a feedback channel for their work, and share their perceptions of needs to be addressed within the congregation. The task force, appointed by the Board of Trustees, is co-chaired by Sherrod Beall and Allison Andersen, and includes members Connie Jacobs, Sheryl Guy, Laurie Meininger, and Jill Bystydzienski. Members of the fellowship can contact any TMCTF member with feedback for our targeted ministers.
Gratitude overflowing!
Social Responsibility and Justice (SRJ) Special Feature
During our recent pledge campaign, you heard that in addition to treasure, time and talent, it is critically important to have a thriving community that carries out our mission to “Love courageously. Inspire spiritual growth. Work for justice.” There are many members and friends of UUFD who have been giving their time and talent to our social justice work. Because of the generous spirit of these many, we continue to be able to extend helping hands in our community. We are deeply grateful to each person who is part of making a difference, despite all challenges. We hope that everyone’s spirit is renewed and encouraged knowing that we are creating more love and more hope for others. 

We celebrate the contributions of the many individuals who are actively furthering our congregation’s mission through the work of all our UUFD teams and committees. If you are interested in learning more about our social justice priorities, ask any one of these UUFD members/friends who are recent helpers with the work of our justice teams. If by chance we missed anyone who has helped with social justice work, we ask forgiveness. While we hadn’t always thought to take notes on participants, we profoundly understand how important each person’s help is to our overall impact, and we thank you. 
Social Responsibility and Justice Coordinating Team
Bonnie Miller, Kathy Devine, Tom Miller, Marianna Fischer, Barry Devine, Robert Bridges, Richard Butler

Basic Needs Team
Days for Girls: Robbin Clark, Kathy Devine, Susan Peabody, Teresa Jordan, Marilyn Garst, Susana Jones, Micki Rhodes, Judy Duke
Manna: Marilyn Leftwich, Cathryn Bauer, John Schiffel, Terry McLaughlin, Kathy Devine, Barry Devine, Terri Reherman, Karen McManus, Jill Bystydzienski, Don Ratcliff
Durango Food Bank: Ilona Hruska, Mark Swanson, Kathy Devine, Barry Devine, Susan Koonce, Lorraine McCleary, Tom Hafnor, Jesse Wilmes, Donna Nelson, Syl Allred, Jack Eberhart, Sue Eberhart, John Schiffel, Tom McCampbell, Tim Miller, Robbin Clark, Dan Clark, Jean Olsen, Craig Olsen, John Schwob, Cathryn Bauer, Susan Peabody
Mission Support Kids: Alex Todak-Schwartz, Kathy Devine, Jill Bystydzienski, Allison Andersen, Shanan Orndorff, Karen McManus, Bonnie Miller, Teresa Jordan, Susana Jones, Judy Hook, Connie Jacobs, Julia Gillett, Liza Tregillus, Diana Speer, Sydney Andersen
Needham Elementary: Bonnie Miller, Kathy Devine, Aline Schwob, Ilona Hruska, Deven Meininger, Julie Jordan, Karen McManus, Laurie Meininger, Lisa McCorry, Liza Tregillus, Marilyn Leftwich, Marsha Porter-Norton, Robbin Clark, Shanan Orndorff, Sheryl Guy, Susan Koonce, Terry McLaughlin, Connie Jacobs, Marilyn Garst
Neighbors in Need Alliance (Purple Cliffs): Tom McCampbell, John Schwob, Marilyn Leftwich
Environmental Justice Team
Tom Miller, Mary Sison, SueB Earl, Stephen Guy, Werner Heibel, Bob Kuhnert, Robert Winslow, Elizabeth Long

Healing Racism Team
Marianna Fischer, Anna Royer, Lisa McCorry, Anna Poole, Tom Miller, Steve Foster, Jorie McCann, Emily Thompson, Terri Reherman, Sherin Clarke, Bonnie Miller, Mary Sison, Nicci Unsicker, Nancy Burpee

Immigration Team
Barry Devine, Nancy Fisher, Liza Tregillus, Allison Andersen, Anna Royer, Becky Logan, Becky Malecki, Deb Anderson, Herb Bowman, Michelle Bowman, John Schwob, Judy Duke, Kathleen Adams, Ken Carpenter, Lorraine McCleary, Marcia Hull, Mary Sison, Terry McLaughlin, Sheryl Guy, Doug Fults, Lora Fults, Sara Sautter, Bill Wallauer, John Redemske, Mike Trefy, Susana Jones, Bonnie Miller

Robert Bridges, Susan Koonce, Anna Royer, Bonnie Miller, Jim Brooke, Don Spangler, Nancy Stoffer, Cathryn Bauer

UUSC Liaison
Richard Butler
Recital Series update
Date change and performance information
The date of the next recital has been changed from April 22 to Sunday, April 24, at 7:00 p.m. The reason is that we did not want to compete for an audience with Fort Lewis College since they are having an "extravaganza" production in the concert hall on April 22 to inaugurate the merger of the music and theatre departments into the Department of Performing Arts.

The April 24 recital will feature Andreas Tischhauser, flute, and Marilyn Garst, piano, in a program of virtuoso duos by 20th-century composers: Bohuslav Martinu from Czechoslovakia, Otar Taktakishvili from Soviet Georgia, Henri Dutilleux from France and Eldin Burton from the U.S.A.

Andreas has had careers as a flutist, singer, professor and arts organizations director. He worked in the music department at Fort Lewis College from 1997 to 2007. He returned to the college in 2016 after a two-year stint with the Grammy Award winning ensemble Chanticleer. He is currently serving as the Senior Director of Development for the F.L.C. Foundation and was recently welcomed as a board member for Stillwater Music. He previously served as principal flute of the Santa Fe Symphony and Cincinnati Civic Orchestra, Executive Director for the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, professor of music at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, the New Mexico School for the Arts, and the College of Music at Florida State University. He received his education from Wichita State University, the University of Colorado--Boulder, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and Florida State University.

You may purchase admission online at durangouu.org/recital-series or at the door by cash or check. Because of continuing cases of COVID-19, vaccination is recommended and masks are optional in the Sanctuary.

Marilyn Garst, Artistic Director of the Recital Series
Contact Us

Newsletter Editor: Shanan Orndorff
Please submit items for this newsletter by the 25th of each month to shananyo@gmail.com

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
419 San Juan Drive, Durango, CO 81301
In-person services resume March 13, 2022
Find link to Zoom at www.durangouu.org

Our mission:

Love courageously.
Inspire spiritual growth.
Work for justice.

Ministry & Staff 

Rev. Gary Kowalski and
Rev. Munro Sickafoose,
Targeted Co-Ministers

Jeanne MacKenzie, Office Administrator

Joe Sykes, Tech Director

Shannon Beaver, Connections Coordinator

Tricia Bayless, Financial Clerk

Rev. Leah Ongiri,
Family Ministry Coordinator

Harrison Wendt,
Sunday Morning Learning Coordinator

Marilyn Garst, Classical Pianist &
Artistic Director for Recital Series

Lawrence Nass, Contemporary Pianist

Elizabeth Crawford, Music Coordinator/
Choir Director

José Duran, Choir Accompanist

Caesar Sanchez, Sexton
Board of Trustees

John Redemske, President

Steve Govreau, Vice President

Mark Swanson, Treasurer treasurer@durangouu.org

Carolyn Miller, Secretary

Jill Bystydzeinski and
Steve Govreau,

Rev. Gary Kowalski, ex-officio

Board meetings are held the
third or fourth Tuesday of each month
4:00 - 5:30 PM