Rank by Rank
Rev. Katie's Animas View

From the UUFD history document written by Frank Bowman and John Maisel,  "The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango was granted a charter by the Unitarian Universalist Association in September 1967. There were fifteen members at that time."

It was a bold move for those dozen plus three beloveds to form a Unitarian Universalist congregation in 1967. Durango then had just over 10,000 people, which was a slight decrease from ten years prior, and Unitarian Universalism was really only thought to thrive in major cities and college towns. Yet our small but dynamic college, the liberal and innovative culture, those talented and determined people, made it happen.  

Now it is September 2017, fifty years past that date, and both Frank Bowman and John Maisel have passed on, John within ten years of the fellowship's founding, and Frank, just two years ago. Now Frank's then-Episcopalian wife Mary Ruth has joined, and his son Herb and family are members too. And in the subsequent years people have come and gone, but more have stayed, because the current membership of UUFD is just shy of 150 members and still growing.

This entire month of September will be devoted to this 50th Anniversary. At the end of the month, there'll be a UUFD bus tour, where we can together visit the places where we've gathered over the years (with a festive luncheon and entertainment to follow). There will be a Friday night photo gallery reception with a timeline of our history, and we'll cap things off with a special Sunday morning worship service with our choir, The Diversitones, special guest preacher, The Rev. Stephan Papa, and cake.

We'll begin the month with a pulpit visit from Rev. Nancy Bowen. She'll remind us that the way we tell our stories can aid us in our health and spiritual growth.

Our theme to kick off the church year, and this month especially, is Rank by Rank. It reminds us to focus on ingathering, anniversary and blessing.  

Remember to bring a bit of water with you when you come on September 10 th , and we'll meld it together with all the other sources to make our own flowing river.

We'll be introducing our new Strategic Plan too, as we not only appreciate the past, enjoy the present, but plan for a robust future, our liberal religious voice relevant and needed in the 4 Corners.

I am fortunate to be able to serve you in this special, meaningful time.

Love,  Rev. Katie

September Sunday Services
Monthly theme: Rank by Rank (ingathering, anniversary, blessing) 

September 3
The Stories We Tell
-Rev. Nancy Bowen
Let's explore some of the formative stories we continue to tell ourselves and one another.  Often there are new truths to be discovered in these stories.  As seekers of truth this is an important skill for us to develop personally and in congregational life. 
September 10
Old and Lost Rivers (Water Communion)
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
There's an old story told often about the "souls" of the river that flows along this city and beyond. We'll reconstruct the story to better fit our hopeful theology of a saving faith for all. Bring with you a small amount of water to add to the community stream.
September 17
Everything Is Waiting for You
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
"Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone," advises the poet David Whyte. As we kick off the celebration of 50 years of this fellowship, what are the ways this community might sustain you? How might it sustain our fragile world?
September 24 (part of our 50th anniversary celebration weekend)
Fifty Years Hence
-Rev. Stephan Papa, with Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
Come celebrate the gift of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango! How fortunate we are that we have not only survived, but thrived. Today's special service welcomes guest preacher Stephan Papa, our choir The Diversitones, and will be co-led by our minister, Katie Kandarian-Morris. We'll reflect on the past, the inspirational progress the fellowship has made in fifty years, and look toward the future.

President's Message
Tom Miller

The front entry of my elementary school - 4 classrooms, 4 grades - was a big set of steps surrounded by large juniper bushes. That juniper smell, especially in the early days of September, still reminds me of my anticipation of the first days of school after the summer break. I would sit on the steps and wait for my friends to arrive and the doors to open. Yes, the freedom and unstructured play would have to wait for the weekends, but being in a learning environment with my friends was always exciting. I have a similar feeling this year as September approaches once again and we fully move into our church year. I look forward to a year of promise and activity in the Fellowship.

First, after a half-year discernment process and several revisions, the Board has approved our new Strategic Plan (read it here). It is an exciting, challenging and hopeful document, full of ambition for our Fellowship. I hope you take some time to review the path you have outlined in this document, since it is substantially based on the Strategic Summit more than half of you worked on in early March and even more of you added to over the course of the last couple of months. Thanks to all who worked and thought so hard about how we want to shape our future. You will note that not everything that we discussed at the Summit and in the Action Planning Groups that followed was able to be included in this plan. The Board had to consider a number of issues, including the capacity of the Fellowship to achieve the goals in the plan. Hard copies are available in Bowman Hall. You can also find it on our website.

The Board has set some key priorities that we think are achievable in the coming year and will continue to develop a general outline of those that will follow over the next 4 years. We have already appointed a Facilities Planning Task Force to look at our space needs and make recommendations and a plan for dealing with our growth. We will be shortly engaging in a process to review our Mission and to consider designing a congregational covenant. The Plan will help focus and prioritize the work of the various Committees and Teams as they get geared up for the year.  

It is important to understand that, while the new Strategic Plan shapes the next 5 years of our congregational life, it is a living document. The Board, with your input, will regularly review our progress and make any necessary adjustments to our path as we move into and through the action steps outlined in the Plan.  We want to hear your reactions to this plan and its implementation. Any Board or Staff member will be anxious to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you may have. Look for us at the Board table set up for just this purpose after the next few services.

Faith Formation News & Notes

What is a soul? And why does it matter? Perhaps one of the most widely debated concepts, the soul has a great number of definitions and yet none at all. How does one define that which may never truly be known and is it really for us to know anyway? And does the soul, if it can, care about our understanding of it? How is it that children sometimes have a way of deeply understanding issues that adults grapple with? Some of the most profound answers I've heard to theological questions such as "Is there a God," "Do you believe in God," have come from children. What do adults let get in the way? How do we distance ourselves from our inner-most truth. Where do we disconnect from the source of love and how do we reclaim it? It is in faith community that we are encouraged, called even, to be vulnerable, to connect, to let ourselves be seen, to tell our stories and to push the boundaries of comfort in an effort to deepen understanding. Through the evolution of our understanding we increase our capacity to be of service, to lean in to issues of social justice and responsibility. Through authentic connection and our willingness to show up we cultivate relationships and grow in faith personally and collectively. 
We're glad you're here. There is much to share and many ways to grow this year at UUFD. Faith Formation is using Soul Matters curricula. This offers us a wealth of resources for children's and young adult ministry, covenant groups and worship. It aligns with ongoing efforts to promote multigenerational learning in the Fellowship. 
Covenant Group (Re)Orientation  for existing, new and potential members is  Saturday, October 7 from 10-noon. Contact Lisa McCorry or email  re@durangouu.org to join a covenant group. 
Sunday, September 10 is  Water Communion. Bring a sample of water to worship from a source that is special to you for this meaningful and uniquely UU ceremony.
Sunday, September 17 is the first Sunday children will have classes in the new  Columbine House. The house next door to us on Columbine is now part of our campus. Crews are working hard to get it up to fire and safety code for assembly.  Families are invited to a simple reception in the house after coffee hour at 11:30.  
UUFD is turning 50. We're celebrating our roots the weekend of  September 22-24. Details about events can be found here.

-Lisa McCorry, Faith Formation Director

Covenant Group (Re)Orientation 
Interested in joining or re-joining a covenant group?
Wondering what a covenant group is? 
(Hint: click here.) 

Saturday, October 7 
10 am - 12 noon
for existing, new and potential members
Contact Lisa McCorry or 
email  re@durangouu.org  if you're interested. 

Thick or thin?
Social Responsibility and Justice News
"Most people are caught in the thick of doing thin things."  Jim Rohn
When I read this quote by business philosopher Jim Rohn, I immediately found myself doing a quick reflection on my own choices for using my time.  I know I feel super busy, but am I doing mostly 'thick' or 'thin' things?  It didn't take too much think time before I could comfortably answer that I believe I am giving my time to a balance of meaningful 'thick' activities and experiences.  My work with others on UUFD mission priorities has much to do with that answer.
If you think of 'thick' activities as meaning those which are worthwhile, healthy and meaningful, certainly there are many life experiences and connections included that are not necessarily church related.  Time with family and good friends.  Experiences in nature.  Reading and meditation, gardening and yoga.  Artistic endeavors, music, cooking, physical activity and others.  TV, video games, screen time, not so much...at least for me.  But that's the thing, each of us makes our own determination of what the 'thick' things are in our lives and assess how much of a priority we really give them.
If you wish to increase your engagement in 'thick' activities, think about becoming involved in our shared work toward social justice.  We have interesting and impactful work being done to meet basic needs in our community, advocate for LGBTQ individuals, heal racism, and assist with immigration concerns.  As we serve others, we nurture our own spirits while leaving a legacy of caring. Your time and talent would be welcomed and would help us sustain our energy to make a difference.  Stop by the Social Responsibility and Justice table after church on Sundays, or contact Bonnie Miller at yjmiller2@gmail.com, to find out what is happening and how you could contribute.
A closing thought from Jim Rohn:   "Days are expensive.  When you spend a day you have one less day to spend.  So make sure you spend each one wisely."
SRJ Coordinators:  Bonnie Miller, Betty Schwartz-Bozeman

Social Justice & Responsibility Teams
Is one of these right for you?

Basic Needs
Works  on issues related to food insecurity, housing and living wage
Supports our local LGBTQ community and advocates for justice on a national level

Healing Racism
Focused on recognizing racism; its influence, and opportunities for change

Works on local immigration concerns, 

Stop by the social justice table after the Sunday service, or contact Bonnie Miller at yjmiller2@gmail.com to find out more.

Harvest the Power: Leadership Training for UUFD Volunteers
Nominating & Leadership Development Committee News

The Nominating & Leadership Development Committee is hosting a leadership training series called "Harvest the Power." It hails from UUA's leadership resources, specifically designed for UUA.  This is in support of our growing group of UUFD members and leaders who may be interested in learning about how to be more effective and efficient in their volunteer roles AND to encourage those interested in taking on larger roles in the future. 

In lay service we get to practice our UU 7th Principle, the interconnected web of all existence, because no lay leader acts alone. You work for and with a group of people who have intertwining needs, hopes, fears, and expectations - all in an effort to help fulfill a common mission that binds us together. And building relationships - building the beloved community - that is what our faith is fundamentally about.   When you see service to our congregation as a spiritual practice, you become aware of countless opportunities to learn more about yourself - your strengths and challenges - and how you work with others.  (Excepted from Teresa Jordon's sermon  And Service is Our Prayer: The Spirituality of Lay Leadership on  July 2, 2017)

This is a 12 part series.  In collaboration with Board President, Tom Miller, we have selected the four most relevant workshops based on the current needs of our fellowship.  It will run on the following Mondays from 5pm to 7pm:
October 2nd:  Workshop 3: Power And Authority
October 16th:  Workshop 4: Turning Points And Moments Of Grace
October 30 th:   Workshop 8: Imagination And Creativity   
November 6 th :  Workshop 10: Understanding Systems In Your Congregation   
For more information click here .  The workshops will be facilitated by various UUFD members.  We ask that you attend as many sessions as possible and please RSVP in advance for those you plan to attend.  Light refreshments will be served.

Contact the Nominating & Leadership Committee, Susie Francis, Allison Andersen and Dennis Aronson with questions.  Please RSVP to dtaronson1@gmail.com.

Event Update

The deadline for registration for the historic bus tour of previous UUFD locations and the catered lunch following is  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8.

Please sign up on line here or on church patio after services for this FREE 50th Anniversary event on  Saturday, September 23.

Columbine House renovations complete
Sunday Faith Formation activities begin Sept 17 in newly renovated building

The renovations to Columbine House have been completed. We now have new, improved, and expanded spaces for our Faith Formation activities for both children and adults. The Faith Formation Team has begun to move in and furnish the space. We expect to start holding Sunday activities there starting September 17. Thanks to those of you who have made donations of furniture and office supplies. If you have donations you think might be helpful/useful, please contact Lisa McCorry.

We also have a work group that has recently begun to map out the renovations needed to make the upstairs of the San Juan House functional for Rev. Katie, our ministry staff, and Board of Trustees, while the Facilities Planning Task Force examines our long term facility needs. This is a welcome and very much needed improvement. Moving staff across the parking lot will provide an identifiable, integrated office facility, expanded work space for our office administrator and volunteers, Music and Choir Directors, and Director of Faith Formation. Importantly, this move will relieve the inadequate, stressful quarters they were working under in the Sanctuary and give us some breathing room to support additional growth. We hope to be able to make this move sometime in late October.

Pitch in for Columbine House 
Help get the patio fixed up!
Please join us, if you can, for a Fix-the-Columbine-House-Patio project Friday Sept. 8th and Sat. Sept 9th.

On Friday we'll pull up most of the bricks, clean & stack 'em, then repair the base layer with fresh gravel & sand.  On Saturday we'll replace the bricks and admire the finished project.

The work schedule is set for 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM each day, but volunteers are welcome to come whenever they can and stay only as long as they're still having fun. Cold drinks provided.

Bring work gloves.  Useful tools might include a pry-bar, crowbar, putty knife.

Please contact John Schiffel at js@frontier.net with any questions, and share this invitation with other members and friends who might be looking for a fun exercise opportunity.

Art Gallery Schedule

During the months of September and October the Bowman Hall Art Gallery will display our UUFD Fiftieth Anniversary Timeline.  There has been interest in having a fiber show or another friends and members group show in November and December.  All photographers, painters, and other creative souls are encouraged to participate.  Dates will be announced later.

10th Annual Real History of the Americas
Monday, Oct. 9, 10 am, at Fort Lewis College

Join Us!  UUFD's Healing Racism social justice team is supporting the  10th Annual Real History of the Americas event.  RHOA will take place on Indigenous People's DayMonday, October 9th at Fort Lewis College, beginning at  10 am.  

Wondering what it's all about?  "The  Real History of the Americas takes a positive, but different look at the history of North and South America from the viewpoints of Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Native and LGBT peoples, among others. The 2017 theme is: Honoring the Heartbeat of our Mother and will feature indigenous drumming, traditional foods, lectures, art, theater and storytelling.  The Real History of the Americas celebration seeks to increase awareness and appreciation of the cultures and histories of sometimes marginalized peoples."

Thanks and gratitude to UUFD and the August Share-the-Plate collection which we donated to RHOA.  Those funds help ensure the event will include both regional and national performers like Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter  Radmilla Cody.

What can you do?
- Mark your calendar -  Monday, October 9th
- Talk to your family and friends and plan to make a day of it
- Watch the Social Justice table after services:  pick up a flyer and buy a t-shirt
- Let me know if you'd like to volunteer on the day of the event:   annabroyer@gmail.com

See you there!
-- Anna Royer

CUUPs Corner
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans

CUUPS of the Half Moon 
September 7 at 6:30 pm in Bowman Hall
As a follow-up to our recent Drumming Lesson, (Almost) Full Moon Drumming and Dance Night. Bring a drum, rattle or similar. Contact cuupsdurango@gmail.com .
CUUPS of the Half Moon 
September 21 at 6:30 pm in Bowman Hall
Summer is waning and the Harvest Season is on us!  Come celebrate the Autumn Equinox/Mabon with CUUPs. Child care provided on request.  Contact cuupsdurango@gmail.com .

Sliabh Anam Druid Grove 
September 14 at 6:30 pm in Bowman Hall
Join our study group meeting, affiliated with CUUPs.  As an OBOD group, we continue to learn about the ancient Celtic spirituality of Druidry and how it is blossoming in the 21st Century.  Contact sliabhanam@gmail.com.

Ongoing Classes and Groups
CUUPs (Covenant of UU Pagans)
All are welcome for seasonal celebrations and to explore study topics.  Meets two Thursdays a month from 6:30-8:30 pm in Bowman Hall.  Childcare on request.  Contact:  cuupsdurango@gmail.com.

-Sam Foster
Steward of the Wood
CUUPS of the Half Moon
visit us on Facebook at CUUPS of the Half Moon

Thank you UUFD
Dear UUFD Members, Friends and Others,

I want to extend my deepest gratitude to each of you for your cards, letters, and meals you have given me during my cancer treatment.   In my deepest illness, there are several whose names I have forgotten and am still too ill to thank each of you personally.   For this reason, I wanted to send this note out to not forget anyone who has helped me.   I especially want to thank Liza and Susan of the Caring Team for their Herculean efforts to coordinate this effort to make me feel loved and cared for.   I especially wish to thank Graham and Ann Smith for their continued generosity to help me understand my cancer diagnoses and treatment options.   Finally, I wish to thank my dear friend Bonnie for taking my frantic phone calls at all hours of the day, just so that I could calm down.   

Thank you to all my dear friends, 

Julie C. Abril, PhD.

Pause for Poetry

The monthly Poetry Circle meets  Monday, September 116-8pm, in the Sanctuary (note temporary relocation); guests are invited for readings and refreshments. Selections from section 8, 'My People',  Staying Alive, Neil Astley, will be highlighted.

Why do I stop, catch my breath,
what arrests me? Why do I stay?
One perfect rose abloom in the sun.
Why does it affect me this way?
This question is worth an answer.
This time I won't walk by.
I'll pull up a chair and focus my stare
until the rose tells me the what of my why.
The sun and I join in time
watching velvet petals unfold.
I listen intently with my eye
as the story of the rose is told.
It is plainly beautiful with delicate breath.
Pleasure lured me to this spot.
But there is something deeper, more profound
causing my heart to stop.
In beauty there is perfection,
the balance, the swirl, no flaw.
Hidden in the shadows it casts on itself,
it was perfection that I saw.
That velvet petal unfolds to truth,
as if looking into the eye of God,
I see the flawless balance of creation
blooming there in the sod.
And that is what takes my breath away,
a sense of truth blooming there.
But something draws me deeper, something more
so I continue to stare.
And as surely as petals unfold in the sun,
truth unfolds in my mind,
revealing to the shine of my knowing
the gift that truth leaves behind.
From beauty to perfection to the vision of truth,
into the sworl I go,
realizing from the unfolding of these,
empowering hope will grow.
Molded by hope, faith and belief spiral inward,
encircling the center of gold.
The story made whole comforts my soul
as final petals unfold.
The finest virtue at the heart of the bloom,
emblazoned with light from above
unfolding every petal to tell
why the rose is a symbol of love.
But there flashes a final surprise,
for while hearing all I could see,
a sweetness eluded my listening eyes.
The rose was looking at me.
We reflect our stories to each other,
small difference keeps us apart.
The rose blooms with the light of the sun,
I bloom with the light in my heart.

- Sue Loweree