January 2021
Dear Ones, 

I’ve offered this month’s column to our Interim Director of Faith Formation, Sara Sautter. Glad you get to see this right up top.

Love, Rev. Katie 
The Gift of Faith
Animas View Guest Columnist, Sara Sautter
What sustains you? What sustains your children? 
How do you practice and nourish this sustenance?

I think we can safely say that we will ALL be happy to see 2020 behind us. A year of isolation at best, sickness and death at its worst, this was a very, VERY tough year. 
As we greet the New Year with hope and gratitude, let’s take a moment and reflect on the things that sustained us during this difficult year. Make your list…family, friendships…What about our faith community? 

I hope you will say that your faith community was among the sustaining ingredients that got you through this year. What a gift it is to have a faith community where you are beloved, respected just as you are, your values shared and you are nourished, body and soul. 

Since January is a traditional time for resolutions, promises we make to ourselves about how we will “be” in the new year, I suggest that this year we learn from what sustained us in 2020 and resolve to share this gift with our children. 
Here is a story by The Reverend Gordon McKeeman as told in the book The Gift of Faith by Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar.

 “Our camper van is one of the less active members of the family. It does a great deal of 'they also serve who stand and wait' duty. It’s reassuring to see it there ready to burst into activity at the turn of its key. The other day, though…I took to the van and turned the key. Nothing. Not a cough. Not a tremor. Not a flickering light. Nothing. Instant diagnosis – a dead battery…Once the local AAA service had jolted the engine into action and a new battery was installed, that should have been the end of it. But, no, the minister has to use it as a parable.

“Many’s the person who leaves his or her religion sitting idly in the corner ready to respond to an emergency – a crisis, accident, or untoward happening…Comes the crisis. You leap to your religion and turn the key. Not a whimper, a cough or a shudder. Nothing. Possibly a little preventative maintenance, a little more regular activity would have kept the battery charged and ready. That’s one of the reasons that I like to (bring my children) to church every Sunday – to keep my religion’s pieces in working order. It's no accident that my mechanic says, 'Run the car once a week'; and the minister says, 'It’ll keep your religion in good shade if you worship every Sunday.'"

In January we will launch a new program by mail. The book The Gift of Faith will circulate among our families. This slim 100-page book, concentrates on raising a child of faith, in a family of faith.

In the book, the Nieuwejaar posits:

[Each time my family returned from worship, I] “returned to daily activities with a heightened sense of the richness of life. I experienced a kind of opening that stayed with me. I was more alert, attentive, and sensitive; more mindful; more 'in touch' with the natural world, my history, my body, my family; more in touch with patterns, relationships and continuities. I was more expectant, and through this expectation I encountered greater beauty and love…I became more courageous and compassionate. I think I became more faithful…more filled with faith.

“The spiritual dimension of life is available, awaiting our call, our attention, our presence. [There is a sign] outside of a Las Vegas gambling casino says, 'You must be present to win.' We must be present. We must be mindful. We must have an opening and expectancy to glimpse the spirit. We must have a language, a story, a song, an image, available to express that which we glimpse. And we must have a community to affirm and support the glimpses and experiences that will come."

This presence is the Gift of Faith. A gift that enlivens childhood and provides deep and sustaining roots for the future. A spiritual life is one of value. One of meaning making. One that enables us to weave connections to the web of a religious community, a community that can be life sustaining and life transforming.

A gift indeed.

January Services (all services held online)
To join a Zoom worship, look for the link on the UUFD website. Need help learning to use Zoom? Try this video tutorial or this FAQ.

JANUARY THEME: Imagination

January 3   
Awakening to Imagination      
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
On this day of Epiphany, what shall we leave behind in order to make 2021 a year worth our values? Have ready a small piece of paper (bathroom tissue?) to be ready to leave something behind. 

January 10  
How Can I Keep From Singing?  
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
Singing is such a vital part of our liberal religious community. Let’s create time to remind ourselves of the power of our collective voices. 

January 17  
Widening the Circle of Concern  
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
On this MLK Sunday, let us ponder the joyful change work deeply rooted in our theology. 

January 24        
A New Way            
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
Inspired by the poetic term, “remembering the future,” we usher in a new national administration. How might we have more than just “hope” for the four years ahead of us?

January 31   
Nourish: Brunch Church   
-Rev. Emily Conger, pulpit guest
Join in an opportunity to nourish bodies and spirits through food and ritual, inviting us in to deeper connection. Bring to worship a small candle, a bite of food, or your whole meal. 
Welcome 2021
Message from K Redford, UUFD Board President
The Solstice in December marked the start of winter and the beginning of days with lengthening sunlight. It is time to say goodbye to the long darkness of 2020 and welcome a brighter 2021.

The New Year is a traditional time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future -- in our personal lives and in the life of our fellowship. We will be together again on our UUFD campus! It is just not clear exactly when or how.

The pandemic has presented challenges and opportunities for change: how will we enhance our future use of technology, and what new procedures are needed within our buildings in order to safely gathering in person? Answering these questions, and many others, will continue to be a priority of the Board and several Committees. And, a balanced budget and funding sources need to be ready in time for our Annual Meeting this spring, 

In addition to all the practicalities, there are deeper goals and aspirations to consider. According to the UUA Congregational Handbook, vision, mission, and covenant statements provide resources for congregational development and health that will contribute to the growth of the congregation. Our covenant (how we are in relationship), which begins with “Love is the doctrine of this church,” is repeated every Sunday. 

A couple of years ago, the Board initiated a process to update our rather lengthy, 2006-vintage UUFD Mission Statement. The current board plans to complete this effort. Input from our current congregation will be incorporated into the definition of our Mission (who we are and why we exist) and the closely related Vision (our dream, our vow with the universe). Look for opportunities to participate in this important work coming soon!
Caring for our Durango community
Social Responsibility and Justice (SRJ) special feature
Our SRJ Coordinating Team is made up of the leaders of all our small justice teams, plus Rev. Katie, and Richard Butler, our liaison with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Team leaders are:
Basic Needs – Kathy Devine
Environmental Justice – Tom Miller
Healing Racism – Emily Thompson, Marianna Valdez
Immigration – Barry Devine
LGBTQ Justice – Bonnie Miller
At our December quarterly meeting, we discussed concerns for people in Durango who are facing significant economic challenges with reduction/loss of wages as businesses deal with the impact of the virus. Local service organizations providing help to individuals and families are seeing a dramatic increase in need for support. In our meeting, we asked ourselves what we could do with our financial and human resources to help our neighbors during this difficult time. Our consideration led to rethinking our priorities and placing our greatest focus on food insecurity and basic needs.

  1. Our first adjustment is to our regular process for Share the Plate. Three organizations which work directly to provide food to those in need will be our recipients from January through September: Durango Food Bank, Manna, and Fort Lewis College Grub Hub. Rather than give each organization three months as a designated recipient, all three will receive a portion of the Share the Plate funds every month during this period. We believe this will provide the organizations with helpful ongoing support. 
  2. We also learned that there is a need for additional volunteers to help organizations working with struggling individuals and families. On the first Tuesdays of each month, Durango Food Bank needs help to bag a shipment of commodities purchased through a collaboration of local agencies and nonprofits in La Plata County. Every Tuesday, help is needed with building food boxes and distribution of food during curbside pickup. To volunteer, or for more info, contact Ilona Hruska
  3. Neighbors In Need Alliance (NINA), St. Columba Church, and other organizations are collaborating to support the Purple Cliffs community of the unhoused. In addition to making improvements by constructing a kitchen area and warming tents, providing some critical gear like tents, tarps, sleeping bags, and clothes, NINA, St. Columba, and Vineyard Church have been providing food and water and filling multiple propane tanks for residents. There is a need for volunteers to help with propane tanks, and we are investigating how we can support the work St. Columba’s food pantry is doing. Watch for more details later or contact Tom McCampbell for more info.
  4. The SRJ Coordinating Team will be prioritizing local community needs in making donations from our social justice team budget and our Disaster Relief and Development funds. We intend to donate dollars to help fill gaps in what current service organizations are able to provide as they care for struggling individuals and families.

We know that communities across our country and around the world are dealing with these same kinds of challenges, and often even more difficult circumstances. Our resources are so small in comparison to this need. But our hope is that by focusing on one community’s needs, our Four Corners area, we are better able to make a real difference in the lives of some people. May we continue to show up for others with compassion and support.
Upcoming Adult Faith Formation
New opportunities to deepen and explore your faith
A Brief Unitarian Universalist History
January 15 at 5:00 pm

Join Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris as we look at some tellings of UU history, timelines and threads that shaped our faith. We’ll make room for questions and answers. We will meet on Zoom from 5:00-6:30. Please enroll here.

What We Choose: Ethics for Unitarian Universalists
Six weekly sessions starting on Tuesday, January 19 at 6:00 pm

Development, clarification, refinement, and expansion of our ethical thinking often occur in the midst of crisis or in response to an event or relationship that calls our world view into question. However, this program offers an intentional process of engagement with others in examining ethical concepts, dilemmas, and questions to help participants clarify and expand their ethical understanding independent of a personal crisis. Participants examine how they have arrived at ethical positions that they hold dear. They explore new perspectives, identify areas for further questions and exploration, and perhaps more fully embrace ethical positions they reach through careful discernment. This program will deepen and expand participants' knowledge and skills for a process of ethical reflection that is central to living our Unitarian Universalist faith.

Six weekly sessions start on Tuesday, January 19 at 6:00 pm on Zoom. Presented by Sara Sautter, Interim Director of Faith Formation. Please enroll here.
Here's your chance to join a virtual choir!
The Di-virtual-tones will continue singing for worship as a virtual choir for the months ahead. We resume Zoom rehearsals at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, January 13. Please join us! No experience necessary. Contact Elizabeth at [email protected] for more information.
Board Bullets
Report from Dec. 16, 2020 UUFD board meeting
Call to Order: Lit Chalice. Heard Opening Words. Read Board Covenant. Reviewed Process Observation Form. Completed Check-In Practice.

Accepted by Consent: November Board Meeting Minutes and Interim Faith Formation Director’s Report.

Minister’s Report
  • Worship Arts: James Mirabal was added to staff as Technical Director. Volunteer photographer was recruited to add to photo/video library for on-line worship services. Scheduled service acknowledgement of member John Schiffel during worship on Sunday, December 13.
  • COVID campus closure: All groups continue to met online. Staff is scheduling access for those who need to be in buildings.
  • Restricted database permissions limit staff’s ability to assist members. 
  • Email alert sent to congregation to warn of scammers/phishers. 
  • Holiday activities: Christmas Eve on-line worship at 5 pm. Luminaria Drive-By at 6pm. Gift baskets sent to all staff. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, staff will address only emergency tasks. Gratitude was expressed to the Board for the minister’s holiday gifts. 

Treasurer’s Report 
  • Highlighted most useful tab to review monthly financial reports. 
  • Operating net income is ~97% of budget due to lump pledge payments in November. 
  • Overall operating expenses are under budget. 
  • Timing of credit card statements will change.
  • Payroll Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness application is being set up. 
  • Finance Committee continues to update the Balance Sheet.

Information Technology Committee Report
  • Committee member Graham Smith was present to answer questions.
  • Software permissions for staff are a problem that needs Board attention.

Mission Statement Follow-up: Postponed until January.

Healthy Congregation Committee Follow-up
  • Vice President Terri Reherman has reached out to our congregational consultant at UUA Western Pacific Region for guidance.
  • Board-approved list of members will be asked to serve on committee.

Heard/discussed Process Observation Report

Heard Closing Words and extinguished Chalice

Next Board Meeting: Tuesday, January 19, 4:00 pm   
Members and friends are welcome to attend by clicking the Zoom link on the UUFD Church Calendar.

Next Leadership Council Meeting: Thursday, January 21, 6:00-7:30pm
All committee chairs, team leaders, and members interested in leadership are invited to attend by using the Zoom link on the UUFD Church Calendar.
-Submitted by Teresa Jordan, Secretary
Contact Us

Newsletter Editor: Shanan Orndorff
Please submit items for this newsletter by the 25th of each month to [email protected]

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
419 San Juan Drive, Durango, CO 81301
(all services online until further notice - link to Zoom at www.durangouu.org)

Our mission at UUFD is to:

Provide a home for liberal religion, spiritual exploration and personal growth.

Provide lifespan religious education that draws on multiple sources and explores religious, spiritual, intellectual and ethical questions.

Work toward a community with peace, liberty and justice for all. 

Ministry & Staff 

Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris, Minister
Tu/Wed/ Th 9-2 * [email protected]

Jeanne MacKenzie, Office Administrator
Tu/Wed/Th 9-2 * [email protected] 

Sara Sautter, Interim Director of Faith Formation

Marilyn Garst, Classical Pianist & Artistic Director for Recital Series

Lawrence Nass, Contemporary Pianist

Elizabeth Crawford, Choir Director

José Duran, Choir Accompanist

Shannon Beaver, Connections Coordinator

Tricia Bayless, Financal Clerk

Caesar Sanchez, Sexton
Board of Trustees

K Redford, President

Terri Reherman, Vice President

Rachel Lasiewicz, Treasurer [email protected]

Teresa Jordan, Secretary

John Redemske, Member-at-Large [email protected]

Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris, ex-officio

Board meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month, 4 - 6 PM (check calendar for changes).