Pride Month
Weekly E-News, June 18, 2020
Inspired by love, we transform ourselves and serve others.
Join us Online this Sunday!
P lease join us on Zoom this Sunday, June 21st at 10:30 AM. The sermon is titled  Fathers, Forgiveness, and Blessing and will be given by the Reverend Margaret L. Beard.

The Worship Service is made possible by:
Rev. Margaret L. Beard, Minister
Jenn Blosser, Director of Religious Education
Suellen Kipp, Director of Music                
Leslie Gatto, Worship Associate
Holley Rauen, Chalice Lighter & Tech Team Member
Peter Golbitz, Musician 
Lesley Peterson, President & Tech Team Member 
Mark Brandon, Tech Team Member
Walter Peterson, Tech Team Member
Krista Hopper, Tech Team Member

And You!

Please go to our website for the Zoom meeting link and the audio only link for Sunday's Service:

If you join Zoom before 10:30 AM, you will be placed in an online "Waiting Room," and will manually be added when the worship team is ready to begin the service.

If you would like to make a pledge or donation to UUCFM at any time,  you may mail a check to UUCFM, 13411 Shire Lane, Fort Myers, FL 33912 or visit our  PayPal  . Search for Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, then type in your donation and in the notes section, please add either  for UUCFM  or  Community Sharing,  or how much to split between both.
Community Sharing
Our Community Sharing partner   for the month of June   is  SalusCare. SalusCare  is the most comprehensive provider of behavioral healthcare services in Southwest Florida, incorporated in 2013 after the merger of Lee Mental Health and Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS). Today, SalusCare employs 400 professionals who provide hope and recovery to nearly 16,000 adults and children in outpatient psychiatry and therapy, residential programs, recovery residences, emergency/crisis services, detox and community-based services from multiple locations in Lee County. No one will ever be denied access to services due to an inability to pay. A sliding-fee scale is utilized for many services based on family size and income.  SalusCare  is also a proud National Health Service Corps site. s
From the Minister

Dear UUCFM Members and Friends,

By now many of you know that recently I submitted to the Board of Trustees my letter of resignation as Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers. I expect that this announcement will come as a surprise and for that I am truly sorry. As you probably remember, I offered my help during the challenging transition between the Interim Minister and the next Minister. We agreed that I would serve half-time with a focus on worship, pastoral care, supervision of staff and being available to answer questions from the board. I was very much looking forward to being back at UUCFM! Alas, I was only in the office for a few days before the Corona Virus took hold in our country, we began to shelter in place, and we closed the UUCFM buildings and grounds. We then had to learn about and implement practices for doing church virtually. None of us knew this would happen when we began our ministry together. We are in extraordinary circumstances right now and may well be for a long time. 

I am disappointed and sad that I have to write that it is not prudent for me to continue in this position. My spouse has a chronic health condition and I need to be more available for his care and support during this pandemic. His health and our family life have to be my primary focus. My ministry with UUCFM will end on June 30, 2020. I will work diligently to make this transition as smooth as possible.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve UUCFM again, albeit briefly. I really wish things were otherwise and appreciate your understanding. 

In Our Shared Ministry, 
Margaret, The Reverend Margaret L. Beard
From the President
On Monday night the Board of Trustees accepted Rev. Margaret L. Beard’s resignation as minister of UUCFM. We are saddened by this loss. As explained in her message to the congregation, this decision was due to the health needs of her husband. We certainly sympathize and understand that the well-being of a loved one must be her top priority. We wish her and her family well as she departs from her ministry with us. Her last day with us will be June 30th.
The Board further decided to remain lay led for at least the next six months. This will allow us to catch our breath once more and refocus. We are in contact with our dedicated team of Worship Associates to help us provide meaningful and engaging Sunday services. We have our talented staff who will continue to provide us with music and religious education opportunities. We have caring volunteers to assist with our congregation’s pastoral needs. We have a Transition Team that is working on identifying opportunities for sustainability. We have a strong Board of Trustees that will continue to look after the management and direction of the congregation. And of course, so importantly, we have you, the members of our congregation. Without you there would be no UUCFM. All of us, together, are vital for the very existence of our congregation.
And so we continue moving through this time of transition. But please know that we have some exciting opportunities on the horizon; more information will be forthcoming in the very near future. In the meantime, let us hold close to each other during this challenging time. Let us continue to reach out to each other, whether by phone, or email, or virtual platforms. Let us continue to support each other in our mission to love, grow, and serve. We will get through this, and even thrive – together. 
Lesley Peterson
Pachamama SWFL
Check out our latest news here:

UUCFM and All Faiths Unitarian Congregation announce a joint endeavor to learn about solutions to the climate crisis in an online course called Reversing Global Warming, An Introduction to Drawdown.

We encourage all of you to take the time during the first two weeks of June to experience this ninety minute overview of the extraordinary scientific analysis of what we can do to reverse global warming. Our two congregations will then join together in a discussion on Zoom of what solutions in SWFL inspire you: . To register for the 90 minute course, click  here.  

Join us on June 23rd at 1:00PM for the ZOOM with participants from both congregations. for participating in the Zoom by registering here on  EventBrite .  This uplifting and solution oriented conversation will be facilitated by Gary Robbins, Joan Marshall, Holley Rauen, and the Pachamama SWFL Core group. We hope many of you will join us!
Covenant of UU Pagans
You are invited to the CUUPS Summer Solstice 2020 Virtual Celebration! 

Topic: CUUPS Summer Solstice 2020 Zoom Gathering
Time: June 20, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 943 2980 0938
Password: 962291
UUCFM Classes & Groups
Caloosahatchee Mindfulness
The Caloosahatchee Mindfulness & UUCFM book study group has resumed and is meeting on Zoom every Wednesday at 10:00 AM. We are reading  The Wise Heart  by Jack Kornfield. Please join us.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 849 5260 9369
Password: My1heart
The UUCFM Book Club  
The UUCFM Book Club now meets online. Our current book is the highly recommend White Fragility by Robin Diangelo (Why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism). If you can find a hard copy, great. Amazon is sold out but they have the Kindle book. Read through chapter one. We will next meet on zoom Wednesday, June 24, at 1:00 PM. For those who will be joining us for the first time, please email Mary Studer at   and Mary will send you the link to Zoom.
Please Mark your Calendars!
Our UUCFM worship service on Sunday, June 28th will be live streamed from the UUA Virtual General Assembly. This powerful, communal worship experience will stream at 10:00 a.m. EDT and again at 10:00 a.m. PDT which would be 1:00 EDT. (More information and the link will be made available as we get closer.) Please note the change in time from our usual time of 10:30. It won’t be quite the same as being together in person but we know the power of being together virtually.

So please join us for the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship. Rev. Joan Javier-Duval is worship leader and will give the sermon. She will be joined by Rev. Mykal O’Neal Slack. The worship service will include a collection for the  Tomaquag Museum , an indigenous museum featuring an extensive collection and archive of Southern New England tribal communities. Those of us who have attended General Assembly remember great music and powerful sermons. This will be different but well worth it. 

So, stay tuned.— Margaret (the Reverend Margaret L. Beard, Minister)
Campus Sharing 101
A Transition Team Report

Why campus sharing?

Taking an objective view of where our congregation is and where we have been in the past decade would suggest that the traditional “church model” that we and our parents grew-up with is no longer viable to sustain our congregation going forward. Let’s look at some relevant financial and cultural trends.

Against an inflation rate of 14% over the past 10 years, UUCFM budgets have shrunk by 27%, being able to do less with less. Yet, our membership pledges have not been able to meet recent bare-bones budgets. Never having had the ability to establish capital reserves, our congregation began building reserves in 2016, largely due to revenues from the cell tower lease. In 2018, by selling our cell tower lease to the tower owner, we have been able to cover urgent capital improvement expenses without having to muster a capital campaign with members.

Now, over the past and current fiscal years we have deficit budgets which will virtually deplete our reserves. Our very sustainability over the next year or two is in jeopardy. Some would suggest that the answer to our financial emergency is in new members.

Over the past 10 years, UUCFM membership has been virtually flat, about 200 members. This is in defiance of several volunteer initiatives to grow our membership over that time and in contrast with a community growing at three times the national average. Taking a look at UU church membership across
the country over the past 20 years would suggest that we are not alone. Looking at UUA statistics, both the number of churches and church membership is about where it was in 1992, with a downward trend since 2009. UU churches have not been able to grow market share regardless of an expanding population.

Other religions are experiencing the same reality. In 2016, Pew Research noted that adults who claimed no religious affiliation, the “nones,” had grown to
25%, larger than any other religious denomination. Furthermore, the “nones” are on a trajectory to become an outright majority “religion.” This trend toward “churchlessness” is most pronounced in the younger generations. Where 17% of Baby Boomers claim to be unaffiliated with any religion, Younger Millennials (born 1990-1996) claim a 36% unaffiliation. Religion, “church” as we know it, is becoming less important with younger generations. Thus, growing membership, although not impossible, is likely to be a lengthy process requiring professional attention. It is not likely to be our near-term sustainability solution. So, what are our options as a congregation?

Options for Sustainability
From our Member-to-Member Listening Groups we know that keeping our present campus is of critical importance to our congregation. With this in mind, the Transition Team evaluated 11 different strategies, ranging from selling parts of our campus to trimming programs and reducing staff. When we weighed each strategy against its probability of achieving lasting sustainability impact and being aligned with who we are and our Vision, one such strategy stood-out: campus sharing.

Choosing the best campus-sharing partner is critical: a partner that is aligned with and enhances our Vision as a congregation, bolsters our image in the greater community, brings vitality and excitement to our campus, attracts diverse demographics, and brings greater engagement to our members. Having solicited over a dozen potential campus-sharing partners last fall, the Transition Team is now working with the Board of Trustees in nurturing a campus-sharing stewardship with the Gulf Coast Symphony. In next week’s E-News you’ll hear more about how we can be inspired by love of music to transform ourselves and serve others.

Transition Team
Karen J. Brown, Lane Cook, Karen Feinen, Roy Green, Walt Ittenbach, Bill Petrarca, and Patricia Vivier-Naidl
Black Lives Matter Banner
The UUCFM Board discussed placing a banner supporting Black Lives Matter above our sign on Daniels Pkwy. We would like to invite comments of any nature from the congregation before proceeding.

Please submit comments to  before June 18th for anonymous compilation and consideration by the Board. Thanks for your input on this decision!
From Our Caring Network
If you or another member of the Congregation needs some extra attention during this time, your Pastoral Care Committee is here to help as much as we can while keeping us all safe and protected.
Our Committee members include Mary Faegre, Joan Hickok, Deborah Lewis, Mary Alice Pierce, Mary Tracy-Sigman, Patricia Vivier-Naidl, Holley Rauen and Suzanne Ziemer. If any members of the Congregation are available to help during this crisis, please contact Mary Golbitz
We have been holding weekly calls as a check in at the beginning of this crisis. Since the need for these calls seems to have dwindled, we will  not  be holding these calls any longer. If you feel strongly that you would like these calls to continue please contact Mary Golbitz. Thanks to all who participated and supported one another.
There is an on-going Connection Circle on Zoom right now and another Connection Circle beginning June 4. If you would like to join in connecting with other Congregation members, please contact Leslie Gatto by phone or text at 239-850-9664 or email at  
We can connect with you individually by phone if you are feeling isolated and offer other assistance. Please contact Mary Golbitz for information or assistance at  207 479-4082 (phone or text) or Holley Rauen at  or 239 464-6556.
Condolences to the Peterson Family
Walter Peterson's father, Robert Glynn Peterson, passed peacefully on June 16th after a period of illness. He was 89 years old. The Peterson family is requesting no phone calls at this time, but would welcome cards, emails, or Facebook condolences. Please email the office for the Peterson address. Thank you.
Florida Weekly Features our Members!
Check out this article on UUCFM Members Jonathan Sauer and Julia Davis!
Social Justice
South Fort Myers Food Pantry
The Board and volunteers at the SFMFP say, "thank-you" for the food that some of you have dropped off during these very difficult weeks. Thanks to all of you that have been able to do this. For those of you who might just be getting out now that some restrictions have been lifted, please consider dropping off some food at the pantry.

The best times are 9 AM or 4PM on Monday at the pantry itself, located at 8260 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers in the back of the Cypress Lake Presbyterian Church. Any size donation will be accepted. Most needed foods are peanut butter & jelly, cereal, breakfast bars, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta and tomato sauce, protein rich soups and beans. Please, no glass containers. Any size bag, any number of items will be appreciated.

At this point, I don't think I need to give a lengthy explanation about our long connection with our pantry, but if you have questions you can email me at: .
June 19 Suzanne Ziemer
June 21 Chet Beemer
June 23 Karen Brown  
June 24 Helen Krieger
June 25 Rosalie Kuehn
June 28 Chris Rosa   
Did you know your purchases can help us?  Amazon Smile  donates to UUCFM when you do your online shopping by following this special link to Amazon: 
Want to Become a Member?
If you are interested in becoming a new member, please email
UUCFM Staff and Board of Trustees

Minister  The Reverend Margaret L. Beard
Director of Music   Suellen Kipp
Director of RE   Jenn Blosser
Office Manager  Jill Carville
Building Supervisor   Mickey Kellam
Nursery Supervisor   Liza Kellam

President  Lesley Peterson
President Elect  Lane Cook
Secretary  Ruth King Fotovat
Treasurer  Pati Maier
VP Ministerial Services  Keith Hamlin
VP Operations  Dorothy Van Howe
VP Programming  Toni Latino
Member at Large  Genelle Grant
Please send all newsletter articles by  Wednesday at noon  for publication in Thursday's newsletter. Send articles to