Come Worship with us in January!
In our New Member Covenanting “5 Smooth Stones” ceremony, one of the stones new members receive is the Stone of Possibility- the reminder that we as humans and as a human group (aka UUCFM) are full of possibility. Revelation is not sealed up and finished; it is ongoing. So this month we explore what is possible, for ourselves and for our world. A Perspective of Possibility opens the mind and heart to what can be learned and where one or we are called to grow. This month you are invited to cultivate this perspective, grounded in our UU Living Tradition. ~ Rev. Allison Farnum
Community Sharing in January
The GRACE (Guatemalan Rural Adult and Childrens’ Education) Project began in 1997 and grew through collaborations between the Lee County School District’s Migrant Education Program, the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT), the Florida Migrant Interstate Program at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), and our congregation's very own member Genelle G. Grant, Ed.D is the director.

At least 10% of the Hispanic population in Lee County are in farmworker or indigenous families, and speak an indigenous language first and Spanish for their second language. Some have only attended elementary school, some do not read or write in any language, and some are undocumented immigrants. Please be generous and remember our Community Sharing partner this month. Thank you!
The Humanist Forum
The Humanist Forum meets every Sunday at 9:15 am in Hobart Hall. All are welcome to attend.
Sunday Social Hour
Sunday's Social Hour happens after the service every week. It is volunteer run- by the Women's Circle on the first Sunday, CUUPs on the second, Humanist Forum on the third, Men's Group on the fourth, and if there is a fifth Sunday, it is All Church.  Any donations of food, snacks or cash are welcome.
Youth Groups
If you have questions about our youth groups or Children's Religious Education program, please contact Jenn Blosser
BURN , our High School Youth Group meets on Sundays at noon in Room 4. All youth, ages 14-18, are welcome!
IGNITE , our junior youth group for ages 10-13, meets weekly from 12-1 pm in Room 3. (or 7) Come join us for community, conversation, and finding your call to action!
S PARK, exclusively for children ages 5-9, Spark meets weekly from 12-1pm in Room 2 to explore Unitarian Universalism and learn more about our church and each other. 
Long Table Discussion on January 20th
The Board of Trustees cordially invites everyone to attend a Congregational Long Table to discuss whole church worship on January 20th at 12:15 pm in Miller Sanctuary.

The Long Table Discussion format was developed as a forum to have difficult conversations where purposeful listening can take place and speaking space is shared. A Long Table is not the place to solve a problem, but rather a covenanted space to talk and listen.

Our Long Table will be professionally moderated by David Kelley, who specializes in organizational development, in church discussions as a moderator, specifically as they relate to conflict.

If you have a story to tell regarding UUCFM’s transition to whole church worship, please do attend!

Theresa Bahre, President-Elect and Mary Alice Pierce, VP Operations
From the Minister

Connecting in Community
A happy new year to you all in 2019. The New Year brings possibility and sometimes pressure to have everything resolved and figured out. As Unitarian Universalists, we acknowledge we are a learning community, and that this learning must be done together. And if you have come here searching for the perfect church, your quest will be a failure. If you have come looking for like-minded people, you may, at first, think you found the place. The longer you are here, the more you will learn that our noblest ideals make room for difference because love is larger than one viewpoint or opinion. So, those with open minds and hearts find ways to deepen and connect in community here, encouraged by our faith to accept that we need not think alike to love alike. 

This Sunday we explore how we can deeply connect in community, through the corporate experience of worship (and yes, let's unpack that word, please!) and through meeting in small groups called Connection Circles. You will hear from various voices (including your Reverend's) about how connecting here in community can deepen the possibility in your life for Love, Growth, and Service.

Over the weeks ahead you will also hear about our annual Service Auction. A service auction is a silent and live auction where services and goods are offered as a way to raise funds for our church. In th past we have raised upwards of $15,000 for the church. As a generous congregation, we invest around $24,000 a year in community organizations outside our church that enliven our values in Lee County through our Community Sharing program. All undesignated funds collected on a Sunday go to our Community Sharing Partner. So, it is important to think of ways that we can nurture the financial health of UUCFM by participating in and attending the annual service auction.   And,  the service auction is a way to deepen connections. The evening is always fun, of course. More importantly, the dinners, lunches, and services offered connect congregants who normally may never have had chance to meet.  

So lean in this year and deepen your connections at UUCFM!

In Possibility,
Rev. Allison

PS: I want to thank all of you for your generosity this year directed to myself and all the UUCFM Staff. Your staff holiday bonus contributions were much appreciated!
Music News
The UUCFM Choir rehearses most Wednesday nights from 6:45-8:15 pm, and on Sunday mornings from 9-10 am in the sanctuary. It's free and there are no auditions. Come join us in singing!

The UUCFM Band rehearses most Wednesday nights from 6:00-6:45 pm, and on Sunday mornings from 9-10 am in the Sanctuary. If you would like to play your instrument during a Sunday service, please email me to coordinate the details.
Come join us in making music together!

Suellen Kipp, Director of Music
Pathways to Engagement g athers this Sunday at noon in the Library. Newcomers and members are invited to join our Pathways session this Sunday at noon to 1:00 pm in the Library. Come and find out a little more about our faith community, seek answers, meet Church leaders, and get to know each other a little better. Hope to see you there. 

New Member Ceremony Planned for the 27 th
If you or a friend has been thinking about joining our faith community, you are cordially invited to join us at the Sunday Service on the 27 th . Pick-up a Membership Enrollment Kit at our “Welcome Tables” in the Narthex and Hobart Hall on Sunday, or come by the Office and grab a Kit. (Or I can email you an Enrollment Kit, .) Complete the forms in the kit and drop in the mail to us before the 27 th  or bring the completed forms with you that Sunday morning. It’s that simple! Wherever you are on your journey, we bid you Welcome!

Meet Our New Members!

KELLY ROY joined us on October 21, 2018. She lived in New York, New Jersey, Iowa, Maryland, South Carolina and the Caribbean before arriving here in 2016 to join the faculty as a Professor in Early Childhood and Special Ed at FL SW State College. Kelly's husband Bill died after 21 years of being a fellow wanderer. They lived on a goat farm in Iowa for 4 years. She appreciates the warmth, openness, and love experienced within our fellowship. Kelly is passionate about experiencing different cultures, the Buffalo Bills, and making a positive contribution to the world.

PATI MAIER joined us in March, 2018 and had been attending and singing in the choir for three years before that. She retired in 2015 from the MN Dept. of Health. Pati and her husband, John Stewart, spend summers in MN and their adult children live in Tampa and Minneapolis. Pati likes to read, bike, quilt, volunteer with the VITA program, and play with her Westie puppy, Fiona. A life-long religious liberal, she said, "It was with great rejoicing that I found UUCFM."
Special Events at UUCFM
MLK March
Every year members of UUCFM participate in the MLK March downtown. The march starts at 11am on Monday, January 21st. We are arranging rides starting at 9 am to shuttle UUCFM marchers from the Uncommon Friends statue in Centennial Park to the Dunbar Community Center. Hope to see you all there!

Be sure to wear your UUCFM green T-shirt in the MLK March!

There is still time to get your UUCFM t-shirt before the Martin Luther King March. It is always impressive to be able to identify the significant number of our members when we walk together in support of the ideals that Dr. King preached. There are a limited number left so be sure to get yours at the Social Justice/Outreach Table in Hobart Hall after church on Sunday the 13th or the 20th. The cost is $15.00.
Casino Night
UUCFM will be having a fundraising Casino Night on Saturday, January 26th from 7:00-9:30 PM in Hobart Hall. Casino night will feature Roulette, Black Jack, Poker, and a Wheel of Fortune. $25 ticket includes $3,000 in chips, and light refreshments. There will be a cash bar. Our Scout Troop is giving their time to present this night as a thank you for being with us. Last year, Paloma Siebert won over a million "dollars" as the High Stakes person. We need everyone's support to make this fun evening happen by your help in
inviting friends and neighbors.

TICKETS: Contact Jen Smith, 630-881-0000, , or look
for her after the Sunday service in Hobart Hall.
Join the Fuun Buunch Dinner Group Saturday, January 26th at 6:30 P.M. for an exotic or traditional dinner at the WORLD FAMOUS ISLAMORADA FISH COMPANY RESTAURANT in the BASS PRO SHOPS.

Please RSVP John E. Fischer, 267 992 6566 or by Tuesday, 01/23/2019. (The restaurant requires firm numbers by this date.) If you need transportation, please tell John when you RSVP.

Take Rte 75 to Exit 128, Alico Rd.

Our next FUUN BUUNCH DINNER will be at Monarco’s in the Edison Mall on
February 16th. NOTE: This is one week earlier from our customary last week to accommodate other church functions.
Service Auction Date Change
The Annual Service Auction will now be Saturday evening, February 23rd starting at 5:00 pm. Stay tuned for details!
UUCFM Classes & Groups
Expanding our Small Group Ministry
You may have heard of the UU terminology “Small Group Ministry” (SGM) and wondered what it means, and more specifically what it means to UUCFM. The Membership Team, whose mission is “to build and sustain a healthy and happy congregation,” is looking at expanding our successes to date with SGM as a
way to better achieve our mission. The goals of SGM are three-fold:

 to increase the depth of member relationships
 to deepen the search for meaning that is grounded in our varied lives and spiritual journeys (rather than creeds)
 to support members as they grow in generosity, cooperation, and sense of well-being.

This article is one of a series that will help describe SGMs and begin a constructive discussion about if/how we can expand them at UUCFM. So, let’s start by first defining SGM by describing the elements of these small groups.

 Size: 8 to 10 people plus a facilitator(s)
 Frequency of meetings: at least once a month in someone’s house or at church
 Format: combines worshipful and centering readings/rituals and personal check-ins followed by facilitated, focused discussion, and a closing reading.
 Facilitators: SGM-trained church members
 Empty chair: groups are always open to newcomers; groups split after reaching ten or so in size
 Covenants: Agreement among members on how to be with each other, a way of doing.

The Membership Team is looking for ways (1) for new and current members to connect and learn about the church (and UUism) so that they won’t get lost in our faith community, (2) to broaden and deepen the bonds that hold our congregation together, (3) to nurture and expand our leadership, (4) to provide an institutional framework and culture within which new ideas, issues, and concerns can be shared,
discussed, and acted upon before they mushroom into crises, and (5) to foster spiritual and numerical growth for the congregation.

More info on SGMs at UUCFM will be in next week’s E-News!
Women's Circle & Potluck
Starting January 22nd and continuing every 4th Tuesday, there will be a noon potluck in Hobart Hall. Bring a dish to share and your own beverage. The program for the 22nd is a vote on a nickname for us-Sisters in Spirit?, Wonder Women? (bring other suggestions), and a Guided Walk about our 13 acres. Wear closed toed shoes for the gravel and natural areas.

Feb. 26th, Noon, Program: Memories, bring a very much younger photo and we'll Guess Who!

March 26th, Noon, Program: Adventure Travel, Dorothy in Egypt, Joy in Australia....Bring your travel pics and story.

April 23rd, Noon, Program:To Be Decided

For contact information: Dorothy Van Howe, 239-560-7238,
Men's Social Group
We want you to join the  UUCFM Men's Social Group.  We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 11:45 am at the Cross Creek Country Club Clubhouse/Restaurant off Daniel's Parkway. For 2019, we are planning fun social activities as well as action sessions on what the Men's Group can do to help UUCFM. For information, contact Denis Jensen at 215-436-5748 or email Denis .
Covenant of UU Pagans
The Covenant of UU Pagans will meet on Sunday, January 13th at noon in Room 7. It is our first meeting of the year and lots of things are planned for this new year. It is our membership time, planning for Imbolc, Love portions and Laughter, and workshops with interactive hands on learning. We welcome all that wish to join in. Family with children are welcome. We would love to hear how we can best serve our larger community. May this year be from our hands working with each other for empowerment with, not over. With all Faith, love, hope and peace we hold each other, hand to heart and heart to hand.
UUCFM 15+ Meeting
The UUCFM 15+ Group is comprised of UUCFM members who have belonged to UUCFM for at least 15 years. Some churches call this type of group Church Elders -- but this group of "elders" chose to be called the 15+ Group! We will be meeting at noon in the Narthex on Sunday, January 13, 2019. If you would like to have an item put on the agenda, please contact Ellen Erickson or 239-694-6833.
Spirituality Discussion Group
The Spirituality Discussion Group meets Wednesdays at 6:45 pm in Room 2 after the Community Dinner. Our Spirituality has to do with the way one connects to ourselves,
others, nature, and the unknowns. Contact Suzanne Ziemer at with any questions.
Connection Circles
The Next Connection Circle begins January 27th! Calling all visitors and new and long-time members who want to get to know each other in a deep and meaningful way to come to the next Connection Circle! Bond with others in this facilitated group by discussing different spiritual topics as they pertain to your life. Always lively and heart-felt, participation in the Connection Circle is a great way to meet new folks and to deepen connections to those you already know. This facilitated 6-session group will meet from 12:15-1:45 pm after church in a classroom (to be determined) beginning January 27th and continue on 2/10, 2/24, 3/10, 3/24, and 4/14. Participants are expected to attend all 6 sessions. For more information and to register, please contact Nancy Letts at  or call at 401-741-2712.
Great Decisions
If you would like more information on our 2019 Great Decisions series, please email Helen Leddy at . Great Decisions meets on Thursday evenings in Hobart Hall in February and March.
Book Club
The UUCFM Book Club meets Wednesdays at 1:00 pm in the Conference Room. We started a new book the first Wednesday of January: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. All welcome to attend.
Mindfulness Meditation
Join us on Monday evenings to explore the simple and satisfying practices of mindfulness and meditation. You don’t need experience with meditation, nor do you have to be a Buddhist. Please bring intention to quiet the mind and body in a supportive group of UU members and friends with a similar intention - people who want to carry mindfulness into their daily lives. We meet Mondays from 6:30-8:00p in the Sanctuary. If you have any questions, please call or text Gary Robbins at 302-540-5899.
Rissho Kosei-kai
The Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist group meets Sundays in Room 1. All are welcome to join us. We have a new meeting time- 2:00-4:00 pm.
UUCFM Weekly Activities
Community Wednesday
Please join us for Chef Joy's Community Wednesday Dinners at 6:00 pm each Wednesday. She will be serving salad, soup and entree. The price is $5.00. The meal is vegetarian, but every other week will feature a meat item alternate.

Community Activities for January:
6:00-6:45    Band Rehearsal in Sanctuary
6:45-8:00    Choir Rehearsal in Sanctuary
6:45-8:00  Spiritual Discussion group thru May 2019 in Room 2.
Social Justice
South Fort Myers Food Pantry
The support that UUCFM has shown to our pantry over the years is greatly appreciated and along with other coalition members' support it has helped the South Fort Myers Food Pantry (FMFP) to feed 23,000 people in need during the year. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is vital to our mission, to feed the needy of South Fort Myers, at a very modest cost. They are however, making some changes at Harry Chapin.

In the past, members of our congregation have financially supported the pantry by donating directly to the pantry or by sending checks to the Harry Chapin Food Bank with the stipulation the funds were to support the SFMFP. The Food Bank would then place the funds in a "Designated Grant" account for our use to purchase food. They are eliminating these accounts. Now, any checks they receive in support of one particular pantry will be returned to the sender. Therefore, our pantry is requesting that any monetary donations be sent directly to and made out to:

   The South Fort Myers Food Pantry

If you feel strongly about your donation being only for food and not for operating expenses, write "for food only" on the memo line. The pantry relies on the support of the coalition churches for the funds and the volunteers needed. There are no paid positions and it takes hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars each month to accomplish our mission. If you have questions call Fran Rose and leave a message at 617-750-0470.
Caring News
Caring Network
If you have any caring concerns, please contact our Caring Network coordinator, Neil Yesu at
Creating A UUCFM “Nextdoor” Communications Tree
Over the past few months, the Membership Ministry Team has been experimenting with announcing church events on the private neighborhood network called We’ve had notable success with the limited test to date. There seems to be a healthy number of regular users of the website. We’d like to expand the Church’s ability to tap this media marketplace across several neighborhoods so that
we can reach more potential members and participants in our events. And here’s the best part, at no cost to the Church. only allows sign-up to a neighborhood within which you physically reside. For example, the neighborhood to which I belong is an area running west of Rt. 41 from Alico Road to roughly Estero Parkway. Any resident within that area can join that neighborhood. (They verify your address in one of several ways, such as the mailing address of the phone number you list for yourself.) In
my neighborhood, 11% of the 6000 households are members. That’s a sizeable market segment.

So, the Membership Team would like to call on anyone in the Church, who feels technically comfortable in trying this, to sign-up and let us know that you’ve signed-up. Then, when we want to announce an event, we’ll send an email to each of you and ask you to post it on your neighborhood network. Kind of like what we used to call a “telephone tree.”

To sign-up, follow the instructions at You will have to enter your email address, street address and phone number. When they verify you, they will give you a code and then call you and ask you to input the code. That’s it.

It’s a great place to get referrals for local tradespeople and professional services, as well as to buy/sell something, all of which I have tried with good outcomes. There are nearly 190,000 such neighborhoods across the country, so I think most of the security issues have been dealt with.

Please let me know if you establish an account so we can include you in our “Nextdoor communications tree.”

Bill Petrarca, Membership
Bed & Breakfast
We are preparing for another year of UUCFM’s Bed and Breakfast program. Through the generosity of host families within our congregation, we have raised $3000 to $5000 a year for the church operating budget for many years. We provide this service to UUs and/or their friends from around the country. This program cannot happen without volunteers and we need your help!

What’s needed to be a host? The host provides one bedroom and bathroom and a basic breakfast each morning of the guests’ stay. The guests are usually one or two people. The breakfast can even be a “do it yourself” if your guests are early risers or you have to go to work and they want to sleep.

Do I have to entertain the guests or take them places? You are not expected to provide entertainment, transportation or extra food. For the most part, guests are off doing their own thing most of the day and evening.

When and for how long? Guests stay from one to seven nights during the months of January through April. (Most stay only two or three nights.) guests. I usually send out an email to all potential hosts when a request is received and the hosts respond as to their availability. Even if you can only host for two nights in March, for example, that is a big help. February and March tend to be in the biggest demand.

All money received from the guests as they stay in your home goes directly to UUCFM operating funds. I haven’t even mentioned how interesting and fun this experience can be for the hosts. We have met so many great UUs through this experience! Please consider being a host. Before you say no, talk to me! Just try it once…

Mary Nies , Program Coordinator
Shop and Help UUCFM!
Did you know your purchases can make a difference? AmazonSmile donates to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers when you do your holiday shopping at
Member to Member
Do you have something to offer, trade, or sell? Are you looking for something? Free ad space here for personal items only. Will run ad for 4 weeks. Email .

*I woud like to get rid of my pool table for $100. It includes 3 Cue sticks, all balls and rack, and misc. items. Please see picture. Call Mickey 239-738-3473. Will deliver with your help.
Our Greater Community
NAMI LCH Family Connection
LCH Family Connection is a new program designed to provide peer-led education, support and system navigation guidance to families caring for a mentally ill loved one. Drawing extensively from the evidence-based curriculum of the NAMIFamily-to-Family Education Course, this new program will delve more deeply into several of the topics covered in class and allow the time and flexibility for discussion, support and sharing of coping skills and lived experiences to help and guide others. It will be held at:
Lee Memorial Hospital2776 Cleveland Avenuein Medical Room 3 Fort Myers, FL 33901
(must check in at front desk with valid ID and receive a visitors pass)
January 8 and 22, 2019 - For many families the first and often biggest challenge is simply getting your loved one to accept that they need help. We will use Class 2: The 3 Major Mental Illnesses/Critical Periods to explore strategies for getting your family member diagnosed and receiving treatment. 
February 5 and 19, 2019 - Sometimes communicating with your ill family member can be difficult and frustrating. Using shared experience and Class 8: Communication Skills Workshop as a guide, we will learn specific techniques that can help you communicate with your ill family member in a more positive, effective manner. 
March 5 and 19, 2019 - Mental illness affects the whole family and a treatment plan should involve them too. Using concepts from Chapter 6 we will explore the challenges of HIPAA and how to work WITH health care providers to ensure your family member is being properly treated and supported in their recovery. 
April 2 and 16, 2019 - Pulling from an array of information throughout the Family-to-Family manual. we will discover and discuss what you can realistically expect from your ill loved one during an episode and also during recovery. 
May 7 and 21, 2019 - Caring for an ill loved one takes a toll on individuals, families, and marriages. Including material from Class 9: Relative Groups and Self-Care we will be discussing the importance of self-care and some different ways we can care for ourselves and our healthy family members while caring for our ill loved one. 
The time is from 7-8:30 PM on the above dates. Since space is limited, call the office to register at 239-337-9024. Education of the family is often a predictor of recovery in mental illness so please try to get the word out.
Happy Birthday!
January 10  Ellen Erickson 
January 10 James Kolde
January 15 Torben Snow is 13!
January 19  Declan Ireland is 14!
January 23  Mel Cooper
January 26 Emily Hutchinson
Contact Us
Board of Trustees
Matt Hoffman 239-222-4836
President Elect
Alison Carville 239-634-0487
Jen Smith  630-881-0000             
VP Finance
VP Programming
Cathy Snow 239-896-3693 cm
VP Ministerial Services
Lesley Peterson 239-839-4434
VP Operations
Mary Alice Pierce 239-267-4429           
Member at Large
Don Ehat 239-947-8143

Rev. Allison Farnum  239-561-2700x204
Director of Music   
Suellen Kipp
Director of RE        
Jenn Blosser  239-561-2700x208
Office Manager       
Building Supervisor   
Nursery Supervisor