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. Please be generous and remember our Community Sharing partner this month. Thank you!

Saludos Amigas y Amigos!

Many of you have asked about what comes in the KITs that the GRACE Project (Guatemalan Rural Adult and Children's Education) is producing here and distributing in SWFL and Guatemala.

Here's a photo of the contents; all items are washable and reusable, and all are hand made by our own UUCFM volunteers and friends, except for the underwear. The materials will last three years.

Each colorful cotton drawstring BAG (samples on the right) contains: 

1. Three (3) Fertility Bracelets (rhythm method count with beads, 85% reliable) with instructions, 
2. Two (2) shields, three-layered (cotton-PUL poly-cotton) with pockets for the pads and snaps to hold around the underwear, 
3. Six reusable (6) flannel pads, to fold into shield pockets, 
4. A sample of the PUL poly, to show how the shield protects clothing, 
5. Drawn instructions for use of menstrual pads, 6. a gallon zip bag to carry used pads, and 7. two pair of cotton underwear, Girls' size 14.

These life-changing GRACE Kits will go to 500 women in rural Guatemala this year, 2019. Last year we distributed, in workshops, 800 kits in Guatemala, Cuba, and around Southwest Florida.

Thank you to all in the UUCFM Congregation who support our labors.
Muchísimas gracias, 
Genelle G. Grant, Ed.D.
Director, GRACE Project
The Humanist Forum
The Humanist Forum meets every Sunday at 9:15 am in Hobart Hall. All are welcome to attend. The Middle East remains a region in turmoil. The US administration has aligned itself with strongmen in the region. Is there a path forward in troubled states such as Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq? We’ll discuss Middle East issues at this Sunday's Humanist Forum.
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 dre@uucfm.org.
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. 
Notice of Special Meeting
On Tuesday, January 29 at 6:30 pm, the Board of Trustees and Finance Council will meet in the Conference Room.

Meeting Objective – Plan an all church meeting to present possible solutions to UUCFM Financial situation.  Present 3-5 Strategic plans to congregation for decision to move forward.

Issue – UUCFM has not been able to sustain itself for about 20 years.  Our membership level does not support a campus of our size.  We are at an inflection point and need to make some serious decisions on our next steps.  The UUCFM Board of Trustees has a fiduciary obligation to communicate our situation to Membership and develop and lead a strategic plan for going forward
From the Minister
Many thanks to those who went to the Women’s March and the MLK March the following day!

“I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal; I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now.”  — Sojourner Truth

A hearty thanks to the board and all the members and friends who participated in the Longtable discussion this past Sunday. It reminded me of one of my most cherished aspects of our faith: to be covenantal, which means to consider putting primacy on healthy relationships balanced with personal integrity. Dogma and righteousness never create movement forward, only stagnation. The LongTable was a beginning in engaging together as a community that allowed for nuance and complexity and shifting (more both/and instead of just either/or). I heard individuals speaking from their own experience and creating a space for listening and sharing. The conversation was part of a process. I believe in the possibility of movement forward, for what are we but a Living Tradition? Revelation is not sealed and we might ever learn and humbly submit that the future is unknown. The future of the congregation is full of opportunity for reflection on deeper questions that leaders are already thinking about: how can UUCFM have the maximum impact in living its mission to Love, Grow, and Serve? Unitarian Universalism is important to Lee County. Even now the congregation is modeling movement where in our larger government I often observe intractability. So let’s keep moving together!

In love, growth, and service,
Rev. Allison Farnum, Minister 

A special note: for those who are federal workers in dire financial need due to the shutdown, the ministers discretionary fund can be a resource of support for you from this congregation. 
Religious Education News
A Reflection on Change

In Room 4, our Burn youth room, there is a large mural of a tree which looked sad to some, angry to others, and to other still, it even seemed "creepy." The tree is accompanied by a moon, a fairy, an owl, and some rather dramatic purple clouds. The general consensus from the youth was that the tree was depressing and ugly and needed to be painted over. I had heard that some folks had tried, but that CUUPS vehemently opposed painting over the image. That was the legend, anyway.

The matter came up late last year; should we or should we not paint over the "ugly" tree? I sought out Joy Purcell and asked her if she knew the story of the mural and why it needed to be saved. It was then my honor to take that story to the youth.

"This tree was painted in 1998 by Joy Purcell and the youth group at the time," I explained. "They had just learned about various Native American spiritual practices and had over-nighted at church in a teepee and wanted to bring the connection of earth from the UUCFM grounds into Room 4, which was a sacred meeting place." 

It's fair to say that the youth were as excited about this newly discovered history as I was. They still wanted to paint the wall in Room 4, but now they had a different purpose. They no longer desired to  cover up  the tree, but to embellish it. It's been decided that the Burn youth group will annually add to this mural wall, to change it and bring into the room new symbols and expression. Eventually, the tree and many other beloved images yet to appear will be painted over, as we run out of room. The mural will change, the wall will evolve, and everything that was once there will look different, but the meaning will remain. The room will continue to be a sacred meeting space and the legacy of the tree in Room 4 will remain, even when it all looks totally different. 

Jenn Blosser, Director of Religious Education
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
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  bill@petrarca.net .) 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!

JOHN SIMMONS joined us November 18, 2018. A New Yorker, he was educated in business and accounting but retired after 50 years in broadcasting, on-air and programming. Now John is sub-teaching in the Lee County Schools. He likes to play guitar, talk politics, bike and read non-fiction. He considers himself a Humanist and is looking for a belief in more to life than "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow".

JANENE LARSON, (Jeri), joined us November 18, 2018 from New York. She is a retired RN. She spent 23 years as a Supervising Nurse and now is sub-teaching in the Lee County Schools. Janene likes doing crafts, baking, reading about spirituality, and reacting to talks about politics. She was raised in a very restrictive religion and our UU approach to open-mindedness suits her ongoing quest to know more about the non-dogmatic spiritual realm.

The Membership team needs a few more Ambassador Volunteers
This past fall the Membership Team began the process of helping newcomers on the pathway to membership by assigning volunteers (we call them Ambassadors) to the newcomer once they submit a Connection Card. Six volunteers have formed our current Ambassador Corps but we need a few more. In the past 3 months we are averaging 16 newcomers/month, that’s a healthy increase over previous months. That’s the good news! To help our newcomers with the journey to membership, we need a few more Ambassadors, representing a cross-section of our membership. 
If you’re interested, please let the Membership team know by emailing  MemberServices@UUCFM.org  or just corner one of us and let us know of your interest. The time involved is not significant, no more than an hour a week.
Special Events at UUCFM
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,  jenw930@gmail.com , 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 silverfischstudios@gmail.com 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
Venetian Masquerade Ball!
Saturday, February 23rd, 5:00 pm

While the guests will be disguised, there is nothing secret about the cause.

The UUCFM annual Service Auction is an important fundraising event for the church (and always a fun party), but it is also a great way to bring people together. Do you have a special talent or skill or a unique item to donate? Ideas for services to donate: Host a brunch, dinner or dessert party; Host a ping-pong or pool tournament; Take a few people on a nature hike or bird-watching tour of a local preserve; Set up a poker run or scavenger hunt; Offer a few hours of babysitting or handyman services. Other popular items are homemade scones, pizzas or lasagna, handmade quilts and paintings and gift cards! Everyone can participate and help expand our mission to Love, Grow and Serve.

Questions about the auction? Contact Helen Dixon or Sheila Jaskie, or you can reach us at ServiceAuction@uucfm.org .
UUCFM Classes & Groups
Expanding our Small Group Ministry, Part 2
Over the past several years, the concept of a church ministry based on relationally oriented small groups has captured the imaginations of Unitarian Universalists across North America. We are more aware of the hunger, not just with Unitarian Universalists, but with people across the continent, for intimacy and spiritual growth. We live in a time when real participation and involvement in groups and civic organizations is markedly shrinking.

Unitarian Universalism has been no less affected by the changed culture. Our growth
at UUCFM and other UU churches has stagnated relative to the general population. It takes all the running we can do to stay in the same place. And, the kind of running we do, in trying to channel people onto committees to keep the church floating, too often leads to burnout and disillusion. It does not suffice to produce a new fund-raising technique or handbook on how to run a board/committee meeting when we need first to address the basic spiritual and intimacy needs of our members! Hence
the rising interest in “small group ministry” (SGM).

Small groups meet for about 2 hours, so topics need to be focused enough to allow for depth of conversation. At UUCFM we have had a rich tradition with SGMs such as our Connection Circles, our Book Club, the meditation group, and special groups around curricula such as On the Side of Love and white supremacy programs, just to mention a few.

Small groups generally fall into 4 categories, with examples in []: (1) theology directed [life lessons, hope, brokenness], (2) curriculum directed [Soul Matters, Tapestry of Faith], (3) minister-directed [book club, sermon discussions], and (4) interest directed [friendship, citizenship, families, parents of teenagers]. Although topics may vary from group to group, the fundamental meeting template and guidelines apply to all of them—building toward the SGM overarching goal of increasing member
relationships, deepening our search for meaning, and supporting members in their spiritual growth.

More on SGMs at UUCFM in next week’s Enews.
Women's Circle & Potluck
Every 4th Tuesday there will be a noon potluck in Hobart Hall. Bring a dish to share and your own beverage.

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 .
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 suzanneziemer@gmail.com 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  njletts@gmail.com  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 helen.leddy@gmail.com . 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.  https://www.amazon.com/David-Goliath-Underdogs-Misfits-Battling/dp/0316204374 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
Pachamama Alliance of SWFL - Community Day Retreat
Friday, Feb 7, 2019 10:00am- 6:00pm
Pachamama Alliance Community Building retreat with National Pachamama Alliance Community Director Jason Bayless

Contact Holley Rauen or Gary Robbins if you are interested in building a community of Game Changers in SWFL that actually get out in the community and make a difference.  

Pachamama SWFL is also delighted to bring  Citizen's Climate Lobby  to UUCFM. They meet the second Tuesday of every month in the Library (for now) 2nd Saturday each month CCL Part of the meeting are speakers and livestreams from our Washington DC Congressional partners.   Next CCL meeting 12:30 PM FEB 8
South Fort Myers Food Pantry
The support that UUCFM has shown to our pantry over the years is appreciated. Along with other coalition members, the combined effort fed 26,646 people from the South Fort Myers area in 2018. There is still a tremendous need in Southwest Florida and consequently the Harry Chapin Food Bank sometimes runs low on food. When this happens, your donations of food each Sunday become so important, even if it’s just one item. Remember “Fran’s plan, just one can”? Look around church this Sunday and just imagine the amount of food, if everyone brought just one can. Protein items are always a good choice, canned ham, chicken , tuna or hearty prepared meals or soups.  

Prefer to donate money? You can make out checks and send to the South Fort Myers Food Pantry. 8260 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, FL. 33919.  Be sure to write Food Pantry in the memo line. Looking for a satisfying volunteer experience? See Fran Rose or email  francrose@centurylink.net
Caring News
Caring Network
If you have any caring concerns, please contact our Caring Network coordinator, Neil Yesu at  dbny79@aol.com

Member Don Burget died peacefully Saturday January 19th in hospice at Shell Point. Please send your thoughts and prayers of love and kindness to Judy Burget and all those who mourn Don. A private ceremony will be held for family, honoring Don and Judy’s wishes.
Kitchen Clean Up Party
There will be a Kitchen Clean Up Party on Monday, January 28th at 9:30 am. All are invited. Any amount of time you can give is acceptable. 
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   smile.amazon.com/ch/59-1160337
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  uuchurch@uucfm.org .
Dear Congregates,
It's that time of year again when we ponder how best express our love for a wife, partner, significant other, mother or co-worker on Valentines Day. No doubt you have already given the heart shaped box of chocolates, bought a dozen roses or dined at an expensive restaurant.
This year consider something different. Imagine their surprise when four men dressed in tuxedos arrive at your home, a restaurant or office to deliver a "Singing Valentine" in 4-part harmony together with a long-stemmed red rose and a card from you. Surely it will be a gift that will not soon be forgotten. To order call 239-352-6366. The cost is only $60 or $50 if ordered before February 1st.
Yours in Harmony,
Glenn Siebert
Our Greater Community
Taxes Done for Free!
Visit UnitedWayLee.org/freetaxprep or dial 2-1-1 or 239-433-3900 to schedule an appointment.
Happy Birthday!
January 26 Emily Hutchinson
Contact Us
Board of Trustees
Matt Hoffman 239-222-4836  mwaters106@yahoo.com
President Elect
Alison Carville 239-634-0487  alisoncarville@gmail.com
Jen Smith  630-881-0000   jenw930@gmail.com             
VP Finance
VP Programming
Cathy Snow 239-896-3693 cm snow23@gmail.com
VP Ministerial Services
Lesley Peterson 239-839-4434  unicorn@cyberstreet.com
VP Operations
Mary Alice Pierce 239-267-4429  piercemaryalice@gmail.com           
Member at Large
Don Ehat 239-947-8143  don.ehat@gmail.com

Rev. Allison Farnum  239-561-2700x204   minister@uucfm.org
Director of Music   
Suellen Kipp  music@uucfm.org
Director of RE        
Jenn Blosser  239-561-2700x208   dre@uucfm.org
Office Manager       
Building Supervisor   
Nursery Supervisor