weaving the threads of community

wondering with AWE

  • Tonight! Apr. 27, 7 pm, Interfaith Symposium with Rev. Alison

    Join Rev. Alison Eskildsen, Imam Adel Amer, Rabbi Eric Linder, and Pastor Paul Baxley for a panel presentation about their faith traditions. “A Conversation In Abraham’s Tent” is this year’s Schwartz Symposium at Congregation Children of Israel.

    WHEN: Thu., Apr. 27, at 7 pm.

    WHERE: Congregation Children of Israel, 115 Dudley Drive, Athens, GA 30606 (near the ACC Public Library).

    The interfaith panel will share their faith traditions and engage in dialogue around what allows us to be in conversation and relationship with one another, despite our different faith traditions.

    Some questions that might be addressed include:

    –Most important text or tradition in the particularity of your tradition
    –What would you say to kids that religion is meaningless
    –What do you struggle with in your tradition
    –How does your religion cope with political discord?
    –Does religion divide us or unite us?
    –According to your religious stories/laws, how should we live our lives?
    –What role does your religion play in thinking about others’ religions?
    –How do the particularities of your tradition open you toward other traditions/other truths?

  • Note 2 from Sabbatical Road (pictures, too!), by Rev. Alison

    “Dia duit!” (or ‘God with you,’ a common Irish greeting.)

    I have just returned from nearly three weeks on pilgrimage in Ireland. I’m still adjusting to the five-hour time difference. And I’m still processing all that I experienced. Even so, I wanted to send a note and a few pictures to keep you Purple flowers grow by a stone wallup to date on my sabbatical activities. What follows are just a couple of insights. I’m sure I’ll speak about these themes and more when I return in August.

    One goal I had for taking a Celtic pilgrimage to pre-Christian and Christian holy sites and for experiencing this with a group of strangers was to strengthen my spiritual connections to the elements. By this I mean not only the Celtic connection to earth, air, fire and water elements, but to the natural elements—the weather, the land, thCeltic crosses at Clonmacnoise Monasterye people – past and present, as well as the rich Celtic culture – religious and secular. I think I accomplished this goal.

    As I hope some of these few pictures show, the contrasting colors of Ireland are beautiful.

    Their expression, ‘forty shades of green’ certainly proves true. But they also have brilliant blues, nuanced grays, gleaming yellows, and more. My visual senses were amazed on numerous occasions.

    Ireland’s sense of connection to its people Ruins of the inner sanctum of Ross Errilly Friaryand past can readily seen, too. Sometimes it was evident that the ruins dotting the landscape are taken for granted, perhaps even a nuisance. In one location, I saw a set of 4,000 year old standing stones marking an ancient burial site, yet they rested right next to a parked car in someone’s driveway. Talk about amazing! And one time when I asked for A holy well dedicated to Sourney, a female sainta ruin we were passing to be identified, the spiritual director of the pilgrimage responded, “I don’t know. It’s just another castle.” What seemed extraordinary to me had become ordinary to her—and I’m sure to other Irish who might actually prefer to have fewer ruins on their property.

    These are just a few pictures documenting my pilgrimage. More will come later.

    Be well, Rev. Alison

  • A note from Sabbatical Road, by Rev. Alison

    Greetings!

    During my first month of sabbatical I found myself needing to do four things:

    • Finishing up a few projects, like budget recommendations and staff contract renewals
    • Letting go of being involved and having an opinion on everything (!)
    • Preparing for my overseas pilgrimage to Ireland
    • Cleaning out my office (mostly)

    Although seemingly unconnected, these activities were necessary steps in my process of separating for the sabbatical. For seven years I’ve been involved on a daily basis with some aspect of the Fellowship. My involvement can’t be turned off as easily as a faucet. And I know your activity, the bubbling life of the Fellowship, can’t be stopped while I’m gone, either. Nor should it. This is one reason why sabbaticals aren’t short–it takes time for the process of letting go, the going, and then readying for the return.

    Before fully leaving (mentally, emotionally, and physically), I had to finish up a project or two. This was as much about my need to provide input to a process that would take place while I was gone, as it was about your needing that input. I needed to feel like I’d done everything I should before I could head out.

    Once these last projects were completed I then had to let go of participating on the building project and capital campaign work, as well as on hiring a Coordinator of Religious Education. I couldn’t let go of these things if I didn’t trust you to make good decisions without me. I do trust you. I trust you to make wise, responsible decisions in my absence. Like many things, saying that is easier than doing it. But I am letting go because I do trust you.

    Only after the last projects were complete and the letting go mostly accomplished, only then could I begin preparing for my big sabbatical adventure—a Celtic Spirituality pilgrimage to Ireland. I’ve been reading and reflecting in preparation for it. And I’ve been shopping for electric outlet adaptors for Ireland, raingear, and other miscellaneous stuff. Now I’m nearly ready to fly out to the Emerald Isle.

    But before that moment, I had one more task. I had to clean my home office. Tossing out old papers also helped me let go and prepare for something new to take its place. Even tackling the dust bunnies acted like a ritual cleansing, preparing me for new adventures and new sacred moments. It also lightened my spirit to have the old hoard gone.

    Tomorrow, I leave on a jet plane for a spiritual journey to a land where people connect to the elements more closely—to the rain, sun, mist, and darkness. I hope my spirit will connect more deeply as I touch ancient lands and explore its holy sites.

    As new life emerges with the coming of springtime, may you be equally blessed by all life has to offer.

    Be well, Rev. Alison Eskildsen

membership & volunteers

  • Drivers Needed on Sunday

    If you drive to UUFA on Sundays and once a month would be willing to pick up a non-driver, please let Susan Ponsoldt know. For example, we have a few people at Talmage Terrace and in that neighborhood who would love to car-pool with you. If you can swing by on your way to UUFA it will be an easy way to help someone in our community.

  • May Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Mayer

    Congratulations to Jane Mayer, our May volunteer being recognized in the Volunteer Recognition Team’s Spotlight Series.

    Former Lay Minister and Board President Jane Mayer is supporting UUFA now by serving as our sabbatical liaison during Reverend Alison’s absence. In addition, she is a member of the EOV Steering Committee as well as the Building Team, which is working directly with the architects and will be overseeing the building process.

    As President in 2015/2016 Jane took on the preparation for the expansion project and shepherded care of UUFA’s financial resources. While Lay Minister for Stewardship, she worked diligently on projects like the Fellowship’s auction and initiated the creation of the Volunteer Recognition Team.

    Thanks to Carol-Lee Baker for nominating Jane. To nominate a UUFA member or friend you feel is making a difference in the Fellowship, just follow this survey link or contact Susan Curtis to let the Volunteer Recognition Team know about your nominee.

  • Time and Talent Recognition

    Through the year our Forum Committee members – Karen Solheim, Helene Brittain, Bob Schneller, and David Jarrett – arrange twice monthly speakers to bring valuable ideas to the congregation, continuing UUFA’s long tradition of hearing outstanding speakers and asking cogent questions. On April 30 Vivian Preston Sellers, Lay Minister of the Lifespan Development Cluster, recognizes their volunteer commitment.

  • Mic Check! A/V Team Meets April 30

    The UUFA A-V Team’s next meeting will be after the 11 am service on April 30th.  The A-V Team, which operates and maintains all audio visual equipment at UUFA in support of worship services, forums, and other fellowship activities, is always looking for additional members. If you are interested join us at the meeting or contact Lee Cornell (uufa.lee@gmail.com) or sign up on the sheet on the Spiritual Arts Cluster bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall.

  • We Need Your Stuff NOW! Yard Sale is May 13

    The annual spring UUFA Yard Sale is on the calendar for Saturday, May 13 from 8am- 1pm. Come one, come all!

    But, the sale cannot happen without your gently-used, clean and ready to be re-homed items.

    We need a lot of good quality donations and many, many volunteers (since our yard sale guru, Sherri Tanner cannot do it all!)

    • to pick up donations and bring them to the UUFA storage unit in Watkinsville
    • to set up on Thursday and Friday, and Saturday morning
    • to break down Saturday afternoon

    CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER!

    and bring your stuff NOW to UUFA! To donate to this year’s sale, either

    • drop off your gently-used, clean and ready to be re-homed items at UUFA, either in the admin office or Fellowship Hall closet.

     

    • arrange for a pick-up by emailing events@uuathensga.org with your item/s size, your location and a good time for someone to come by.

    Make sure all items or bags of items are in bags marked “yard sale”!

  • Your Feedback Wanted: Program Review Survey

    The UUFA Committee on Shared Ministry serves to strengthen the quality and governance of the ministries of UUFA, including professional leadership, fellowship, spiritual arts, social justice, lifespan development, connections and stewardship. Part of the way we fulfill that mission is to systematically collect information from members and others who routinely support and engage in the activities of the UUFA.

    This year we are focusing on the ministries related to Fellowship. Please complete this brief (10 minute) survey found at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N6GC9K6 by the end of April. The findings will be summarized and presented to the full congregation at UUFA’s annual meeting in May, and detailed information will be shared with the leadership to provide an additional source of information for planning and budgeting.

    Thank you for your time. ~ Sincerely, Barbara A. Boyt Schell (bschell@brenau.edu)  Jane K. Kobres (jane.kobres@gmail.com), Co-chairs, Committee on Shared Ministry

expanding our vision

    care connections

    • Care Notes: Irene Muthe & Gini Carter
      Irene Muthe passed away at home on Friday, April 21.  Irene and her husband John were married 45 years and had been members of UUFA since 2006.  Irene had been in declining health over the last eighteen months, following a fall. Irene was born in Germany and emigrated to the U.S. in 1959.  A “Celebration of Life” Memorial Service will be held at UUFA on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.

      Gini Carter had another surgery this past week. Please keep her and her husband, John Zoranovich, in thoughts and prayers, and send notes and cards to their home. (690 Covered Bridge Road, Hoschton, GA, 30548).

    • Rev. Kelemen Due for Chemotherapy

      Rev. Levente Kelemen, minister of our partner church in Okland, Romania, is recovering nicely from his recent stomach cancer operation. He spent the past week at home in Okland, in good spirits, and strong enough to conduct last Sunday’s service! On Tuesday, April 2, Levente and his wife Eva will drive back to Hungary, where the operation was performed, for three days of chemo. His doctors delayed the treatment owing to a bacterial infection they diagnosed in the wake of the operation. We are holding him and his family close in our hearts.  — Heather Kleiner, Partner Church Committee Chair

    • Update on Gini Carter

      Please send cards and notes to concern to Gini Carter who suffered an aorta dissection around Christmas. She is still dealing with its effects, recently going into Emory Hospital on March 18th. Send cards and notes to her home address: 690 Covered Bridge Road, Hoschton, GA 30548

    • Volunteer Opportunity with the Care Team

      Looking for a way to make a contribution to the Fellowship, but don’t have a lot of time? A small group of members have been driving George Koch and Roland Bramlet from Talmadge Terrace on Sunday to attend the service for a number of years. We need a new driver to take over the first Sunday. All that is involved is swinging by Talmadge about half an hour before the 11:00 service to pick up George and Roland and then drive them back after the service is over. And who knows – you might make a new friend. Contact Susan Ponsoldt at ponsoldt@msn.com or 706-548-4821.

      Many thanks to Virginia Carver for driving Roland and George for many years!

    board notes

    • Get On Board!

      At its April 11, 2017 meeting, the UUFA Board of Trustees accomplished the following:

      Discussed:
      • our relationship with the national UU Association and updates on national and regional leadership changes;
      • building security issues; and
      • building expansion updates.

      Took the following action:
      • to present the proposed budget for discussion at the April 23 Budget Town Hall;
      • to authorize President, Lee Cornell, to finalize the Coordinator of Religious Exploration contract and offer the CRE position to the recommended candidate; and
      • to schedule a Called Board Meeting, to be held if needed after April Town Hall discussions, for May 3 at 6:00 p.m.

      Accepted the following reports and discussed when necessary:
      • Treasurer’s report.

      Set as future agenda items:
      • to review financial information and clarify staff benefits policy; and
      • to look into modifying our background-check policy to allow professionals who already have their own background credentials to use them for volunteer positions at UUFA.

      IMPORTANT DATES
      Sunday, April 23 – Budget Town Hall, 10:05-10:50 a.m., to review our budget for 2017/18
      Sunday, April 30 – EOV Town Hall, 10:05-10:50 a.m., to review facility expansion plans
      Sunday, May 21 – Annual Congregational Meeting, after our single Sunday service

      To read the adopted March 14, 2017, Board minutes, please click HERE – March 14, 2017. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees is Tuesday, May 9, 2017, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Comments are invited. You are welcome to attend this meeting, or please share any feedback you have with any Board member.

      Respectfully submitted,
      Barbara Teskey
      Secretary, UUFA Board of Trustees

    • Reflections: Transformation

      When I first joined the Board some three years ago I recall that the “hot topics” of the day were the approval the Share the Plate program to split the Sunday offering with the Cause of the Month, parking pressures and the adoption of a second service, and the expansion of the building.  At the same time the Board was considering governance topics such as the movement from a small “family” type of congregational structure to that of more “corporate” type structure with all the organizational and policy changes that entailed.  Those seemed to be fraught times with long discussions over how Share the Plate would work, whether or not we really needed a second service, and how we would ever be able to plan for a building expansion much less fund it.

      Now, three years later, those conversations seem long ago and far away.  They are almost buried in the mists of time and the sharp edges around them have worn away.  Today, the Share the Plate program helps contribute to an average of $15,000 a year given to the various causes designated by UUFA for receipt of half of our offerings each month.  It is such a success that it has been jokingly suggested that we become our own Cause. The second service has become so well established that it is now developing its own program format.  Attendance is steady with a hard core group of early risers coming each Sunday.  With the establishment of second service discussions about parking became a little less earnest. As for the building expansion, we went from a closet full of plans started, looked at, and put away to the actual hiring of an architectural firm, the presentation of real plans, and the raising of over one million dollars. Talk about a transformation.  We still continue to have conversations about our transformation from a small congregation to a mid-size congregation and what that entails, but everyone is aware that we have undergoing a sea change and that times are changing in dramatic fashion.

      As I look back on how hard some of those conversations seemed three years ago, I realize that they were only small steps to larger conversations we are engaging in now.  As we transformed our conversations have transformed as well.  We’ll soon have hard discussions about the physical transformation of our building. These discussions will focus on walls and bricks and mortar and landscaping.  As fraught as these conversations will be we will also engage in difficult discussions about, governance, ministry, justice, and our continuing mission both inside our own community and with the community at large. These conversations will seem all consuming but I am confident that looking back three years from now the sharp edges that come with them will have worn down and that our congregation will be engaged in new transformative temporal and spiritual conversations. –Rich Rayburn, UUFA Treasurer

    • Reflections: Transforming Our Community

      As we undertake to transform our UUFA home into a larger and more functional building, I have become more aware of how our members have worked to transform not just our Fellowship and our building, but also our community.  Reaching out to the people around us in an effort to support those in need and to transform, when appropriate, the systems through which those people are helped has become one of the ways in which we live up to our Seven Principals.

      Our transformative efforts are carried out through many of our committees. UUFA’s Social Action Committee supports 13 of the Athens-area charities, which are provided support thorough the Cause of the Month Share the Plate offering.  UUFA is an active participant in the ‘Standing on the Side of Love’ campaign which supports ethical, respectful treatment of all people, and voted to serve as a “Welcoming Community” for support of the LGBTQ community.  Our members also have been involved in supporting “Black Lives Matter” and in forming an Exploring Racial Justice (ERJ) Task Force.

      In their covenant, the members of UUA’s Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee, lists as foremost among their commitments to: “recognize we are each and collectively ‘works in progress,’ and that there is no one ‘right answer’.”

      We are beginning a new journey of transformation with the expansion of our facilities, and as this work progresses, we are offered the opportunity to expand our vision of who and what we are as caring, loving members of our fellowship, our community, and our world.  In the coming months, as we see our building transformed, I hope we will put our hearts and our effort into transforming our membership into an even greater resource for ourselves and the people in need around us. — Rosemary Wood, Member-at-Large

    • Next Up: Apr. 30 Town Hall! The Great Reveal of the Building Plan!

      Prior to the May 21 Congregational Meeting, there will be discussion opportunities at two Congregational Town Hall Meetings:

      This past Sunday, April 23, the Board and Finance Committee presented and discussed the budget for the next program year with members of the congregation.  For more information, contact President Lee Cornell or Treasurer Rich Rayburn.

      NEXT UP:  This Sunday, April 30 EOV Building Project Town Hall, 10:05-10:50 a.m in the Fellowship Hall.  The Great Reveal of the Building Expansion & Renovation Plan developed by the EOV Teams working with our architects.  Click here for more information. For questions or concerns, email building@uuathensga.org.

      SAVE THE DATE: May 21, 2017, Annual Congregational Meeting

      The 2017 Annual Congregational Meeting of the members of UUFA will be held on Sunday, May 21, 2017, right after our single Sunday service. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend. We will hear about programming, get the latest update on facility expansion, and vote on leaders and topics that will guide us into the coming year.

      In May, members will receive a mailing in preparation for the Congregational Meeting that will include: the May 21 agenda, proposed budget, election slate for 2017/18, and proposed wording of any special votes.

      In order to vote at the Annual Meeting, individuals must be “Active Members” of the Congregation: those who have signed the membership book, been members for at least four weeks, and have made a financial contribution of record during the previous 12 months. (See Article II, Section 2.1 of the UUFA Bylaws.) For minutes of past meetings, click here.

    denominational affairs

    • Denominational Affairs: UUA President Peter Morales Resigns

      On March 30, 2017, Rev. Morales announced his resignation.

      Please click here to read his resignation letter.

      Please click here to read the latest communication from the UUA Leadership Council.

      Please click here to read the latest on this situation from the UUA Southern Region.

      Please click here to read about the three persons appointed by the UUA Board to lead UUA until the presidential election at General Assembly.

    • Denominational Affairs: UUA to Elect New President

      At the 2017 General Assembly (June 21-25) in New Orleans, delegates will elect a new UUA President.

      Every four (or more likely, eight) years, the UUA chooses a new president.  Our immediate past president is Hispanic, our previous president was African-American, and we are about to break yet another barrier and elect a woman to the presidency at General Assembly in June because all three candidates are women.

      Go here: http://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/elections/president to read about this process and view information about these three declared female candidates.

      Go here: https://www.facebook.com/SRUUA/videos/vb.1681592872110428/1889439194659127/?type=2&theater to view the video of the candidate forum held at the Southern Regional Spring meeting April 8 in Charleston, South Carolina.

    • General Assembly Matters–Let’s go to NOLA!

      Registration for this year’s General Assembly to be held June 21-25 in New Orleans opened March 1, and rates increase on May 1!

      Want to be put your name in nomination as one the six delegates representing UUFA? 

      Click here. Go to or nominate yourself at the April 30 Town Hall Meeting.

      Want more information about the UUA General Assembly?  Watch for upcoming General Assembly information sessions at UUFA. Go to www.uua.org/ga. Delegates to General Assembly 2017 will be electing the next president of UUA. To read more, go to http://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/elections/president.

      Bus to New Orleans for GA?!

      Dear UUFA Friends:

      We have just learned that the cost to charter a bus to G.A. is MUCH LESS than previously reported.  We hope you can circulate this updated announcement out to the UUFA Family.

      Atlanta Regional UUs are planning to rent a bus from Atlanta to General Assembly in New Orleans in June. We have just learned that the cost to charter a bus to G.A. is MUCH LESS than we previously reported. The bus travel cost would be about $130 per person round-trip, which is much less than flying or driving (at 55 cents per mile). We will be finalizing and confirming our plans by March 22nd if we can get tentative commitments from at least 50 attendees to travel down together by bus. We would depart Atlanta (Northwest UUC-Sandy Springs) on Wed. June 21st at 9:30 a.m., arriving at the New Orleans Convention Center at 4:30 p.m.  We would depart New Orleans on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. after worship, arriving back at Northwest UUC at 8:30 p.m. Please emaildavid.zenner@zennergroup.com  (with “Bus to G.A.” in the subject line) promptly if you are interested in joining a busload of enthusiastic UUs, or have questions or comments.

      Dave Zenner

      NWUUC president-Elect

      Unitarian Universalist Northwest Congregation

    • Report from the Nominating Committee

      The Nominating Committee proposes the following nominees to be elected at the annual congregational meeting on May 22, 2017:

      Secretary (2-year term) – Aleta Turner
      At-Large member of the Board of Trustees (3-year term) – Barb Schell
      At-Large member of the Board of Trustees (3-year term) – VACANT
      Member of the Nominating Committee (2-year term) – Betsy Bean
      Member of the Nominating Committee (2-year term) – Helene Brittain

      If elected, those above will join the following whose service continues:

      Board of Trustees

      Linda Gilbert, President (2017-18) elected by the Board; at-large member (2015-2018)
      Rich Rayburn, Treasurer (2016-2018)
      Roger Bailey, at-large member (2015-2018)
      Liz Weaver, at-large member (2015-2018)
      Fabiana Hayden, at-large member (2016-2019)
      Rosemary Wood, at-large member (2016-2019)

      Nominating Committee

      Marco Messori (2016-2018)
      Helene Marotta (2016-2018)
      TBD (2017-2018), Board representative (appointed by the Board)

      According to the UUFA Bylaws: At least thirty-five (35) days before the annual meeting, the Nominating Committee shall post its list of nominees and publish it in the newsletter and by electronic mail. Up to twenty-one (21) days before the annual meeting, the Nominating Committee shall accept written petitions of fifteen (15) or more members to add any qualified member, designated as a nominee by petition, to the list. The Nominating Committee shall ensure that the final list of nominees, including those nominated by petition, is mailed (either traditionally or electronically) to each Voting Member of the Congregation with the notice of the annual meeting.

      If you would like to place the name of another individual in nomination for the five positions above, please submit your request in writing to Karen Solheim (justice@uuathensga.org) by May 1.

      Questions?  Contact Nominating Committee Chair Karen Solheim (justice@uuathensga.org or 706.202.7515).

      –From the Nominating Committee: Karen Solheim, Chair; Dan Everett,Helene Marotta, Marco Messori, Robin Williams

    • Apr 7-9 Southern Region Spring Gatherings

      Your Southern Region Spring Gatherings this year will be held April 7-9–programming will be primarily on Saturday, April 8–at the following locations:

      Florida – UU Fellowship of Marion County, Summerfield, FL. Learn more and register here.
      Mid-South – First UU Church of Nashville, TN. Learn more and register here:  https://goo.gl/sxHpBF
      Southeast – Unitarian Church in Charleston, SC. Learn more and register here.
      Southwest – Bay Area UU Church, Houston, TX. Learn more and register here.
      UUA Presidential Candidates:
      A feature of our Spring Gathering events this year will be a UUA presidential candidates’ forum live-streamed from Charleston to the other three Spring Gathering locationsLearn more about the candidates at their campaign websites:

    • Budget Drive & Capital Campaign Updates

      Annual Budget Drive Exceeds Goal, but unexpected budget increases arise. The drive for pledges for the 2017-2018 budget year, which begins July 1, has exceeded its original goal of $300,000 by $4,000 as of March 22.  Meanwhile, the Finance Committee is grappling with a challenging budget process because of some unforeseen increases in projected expenses, such as staff compensation and health insurance, and building utilities. Pledges from a few members who have not yet pledged would help alleviate the stress of cutting program funds to meet these critical needs. If you haven’t pledged for 2017-18 and are able, please contact Shaye in the office (706-546-7914) for the ways to pledge.

    • Ministry Council Update

      Ministry Council Update, March, 2017
      Five members of the Ministry Council met Tuesday, March 21st. Items discussed included:
      • The ERJ task force’s decision to disband;
      • The success of the EOV Capital Campaign and the Annual Budget Drive;
      • The Sanctuary Movement’s progress in Athens;
      • Calendaring priorities, and ways to improve the process;
      • Membership retention/follow up with those who leave;
      • The visit to Athens by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and our congregation’s role;
      • The progress toward hiring a Coordinator of Religious Education.
      Next month’s meeting will focus on getting a draft year-long calendar of Council events and priorities to take to the Leadership Council, which meets May 6th, and updating information on the topics discussed this month.

      –Vivian Preston Sellers, Lay Minister for Lifespan Development

    Forum

    • Forum Folks Needed

      Do you have good ideas? Do you know people?

      If so, you are invited to become a member of the 2017-18 Forum Committee to help plan, promote, and introduce next year’s Forums.

      Need more information?  See any member of the current Forum Committee:  David Jarrett, Helene Brittain, Bob Schneller, or Karen Solheim.

      Ready to join?  Contact Karen Solheim (justice@uuathensga.org or 706.202.7515).

    • Forum April 9: Dennise Grayson, attorney Elder Law / topic: The Four Important Documents

      Dennise Grayson, attorney and specialist in Elder Law, will present a forum on “The Four Important Documents: Will, powers of attorney, advance directive — why having a Will alone is not enough.”

    • Forum: April 16: Board members of the Georgia Chapter of Compassion and Choices

      Perry Mitchell and Pam Woodley are Board members of the Georgia Chapter of Compassion and Choices, the nation’s largest nonprofit that deals exclusively with advance healthcare planning and end-of-life issues. They will discuss Georgia’s advanced health document, specifying decisions such as desired medical treatment to sustain life and comfort measures to relieve pain and suffering.

    Education

    • April Family Tree: Religious Education for Children & Youth

      SPRING Schedule & Curricula

      Children’s Religious Education (RE)

      PreK~5th Grade RE classes for this age level take place during the 11am service. Children gather with their parents in the sanctuary to enjoy the first 15 minutes of worship together and then “sing out” to their religious education program from 11:15-12:15. Parents are asked to please pick up promptly at 12:15.

      There are no RE classes at 9am, though childcare is available as needed.

      Youth Group & Coming of Age (CoA)Youth in grades 6-12 meet together on and the Second Sundays from 11-12:30 pm and on Fourth Sundays from 12:30-2pm.

      Please visit these online links for schedule details:  Children’s RE Schedule    Youth/CoA Schedule

      Class Curricula
      • Chalice Children (Gr. preK-1) meets in the Forest Room for World of Wonder during second service.
      • Seekers (Gr 2-5) meets in the Ocean Room for the UUA’s Miracles online curriculum, along with Hands-On Nature, during second service.
      • Youth Group/CoA (Gr 6-12) meets in the Youth Room for the lessons from the Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations, a UU Identity program.
      • Nursery for children 3 & under Our nursery caregivers, Erin Favre & Marcus Prince are happy to care for our youngest UUs during services. Children of all ages may join them during the forum or any other UUFA activities held between services. Children through age 4 may attend the nursery during all-ages services. Hours are 8:45-12:15 when there are two services.

      April Sundays

      April 2 CWS

      Children & youth begin in the sanctuary, then dismiss to the Rainbow Room for our monthly 1st Sunday Children’s Worship Service (CWS). This Sunday, we introduce the congregational theme of Transformation, focusing on changes in nature, the Water Bearer’s Garden story, and prepping for the All-Ages Worship Service with our very own flower communion. Children’s Music Leader Paul Eskildsen will lead theme-related music.

      April 9 RE Classes 
      April 16 Classes & Easter!

      During both the 9am and 11 am service, children will gather in classrooms for natural egg dying and other Easter/Springtime activities.. Egg Hunt begins at 10:15am.

      April 23 All-Ages Worship Service 

      This month’s intergenerational worship service celebrates Earth Day, with emphasis on Norman Capek’s Flower Communion and the water that sustains all life.

      There are no religious education classes during all-ages worship services, but childcare is available as needed. Children and youth are invited to participate in Flower Communion and other elements of worship. See Upcoming Events for practice and props sessions. Please let Morgan or Liz (ejsweaver@gmail.com) know of your child’s interest.

      April 30 All-RE Service for the Earth

      During the 11am service, children and youth will dismiss from the sanctuary to one class for a service project to earth, in honor of our 7th Principle and 6th Source. Children are encouraged to wear play clothes that may get messy! 

      Children’s Charity

      Each Sunday during RE Class or the CWS, we pass an offering can to give children the opportunity to donate to our children’s charity, Food 2 Kids, which assists children who are at risk of hunger by sending them home from school with easy-to-prepare bags of food. Please encourage your children to bring their change or dollar bills for this love offering.

      Volunteer Corner
      • Children’s Religious Education Committee This team partners with the Director of Religious Education to oversee all components of the Children’s Religious Education program, including Sunday RE, All-Ages worship services, and special events. We meet on the SECOND SUNDAY, following the second service, in the Youth Room. You’re welcomed to come by any time and see what we’re up to! Next Meeting, April 9, 12:30-2pm
      • Classroom Monitors Classroom monitors are needed for each RE room to help the DRE and teachers straighten and organize materials in both the rooms and in the RE Supply closet to help keep our materials easily accessible to teachers. Occasional table wiping, window washing, and floor shampooing would be plusses! Work on your own time, or coordinate with other monitors for more fun!
      • All-Ages Worship Helpers When we invite children and youth to participate in service, it’s always great to have more hands on deck. Please let Morgan know if you’d like to assist with the March 19 Spring Equinox service or the April 23rd Earth Day service. Helpers assist with props and costume preparations, as well as “people moving”.
      • Classroom Teachers It’s already time to start thinking about next year! Please be on the lookout for volunteer sign-ups for the 2017-18 program year. We’ll start REcruiting in April, and you can be thinking ahead on how you’d like to help build beloved community through RE.

      Upcoming Events

      Sunday, April 16  Egg Hunt and Festivities During both the 9am and 11am worship services, children will dismiss from the sanctuary for egg-dying and more Easter and Spring-time fun. Please bring old silk ties to share for this project, along with your baskets for the Egg Hunt! Please gather between 10-10:15 in the grassy area of playground for Egg Hunt to begin at 10:15.

      Sunday, April 23  All-Ages Earth Day Worship Service All are welcomed and encouraged to stay in the sanctuary for this intergenerational service, led by RE and Green Sanctuary Chair, Liz Weaver. Oppojrtunities for practice and prepping materials are as follows:

      • Wednesday, April 5, 5:45-7:15, Ocean Room
      • Wednesday, March 15, 5:45-7:15, Ocean Room

      Youth Service Project  As part of their Justice unit in the Coming of Age curriculum, youth in grades 6-12 are encouraged to participate in a community service project. Upon brainstorming in March, participants have arrived at a Business Recycling Campaign. Work dates are:

      • Wednesday, April 5, 5:45-7:15
      • Sunday, April 9, 11am, during Youth Meeting
      • Friday, April 21, 6pm, Pizza Party and Grand Finish!
      • Sunday, May 21

      RE Program Year Finale

      • RE Sunday~ We’ll celebrate the year’s accomplishments in RE, honor our volunteers, and hear our Coming of Age Participants speak and graduate. A reception follows the service.
      • Coming of Age/Youth~ Closing Celebration after worship service.
    • Any Adult RE Ideas?

      Hey! Have an interest or idea for an adult Religious Exploration topic? Willing to facilitate a class this summer or fall? Please contact Vivian Preston Sellers at vpsellers@gmail.com or 770-833-6290 with your thoughts. THANKS!

    spiritual arts

    • Enter, rejoice and come in

      May’s theme is revelation.  Unitarian Universalism is a living tradition.  As Samuel Longfellow put it, “Revelation is not sealed.”  Our ideas and understandings are ever-evolving.  To experience revelation, we have to be open.

      Open your ears to the song.
      Are you open to something new?  a new experience? a new idea? a new song?The music of our congregations is evolving along with our ideas, understandings.  We need new ways to express what we feel.
      Open your heart everyone.
       
      Music can bring up strong feelings.  Sometimes that can make us feel uncomfortable.  Part of our congregational covenant is to, “encourage each other to express our authentic selves.”  If we can’t do it here, where can we?
      Don’t be afraid of some change.
       
      If we can move beyond our fear of the new and unknown, we can learn from each other by listening and trusting each other.  This can be challenging.
      Enter rejoice and come in.
      Fortunately, there are many ways we can practice this together.  Whether you try out drumming, choir, or singing meditation, sing or move freely in the pews, or come to a night of jazz, there are many safe ways to open up to something new.  Who knows what you will discover?
      Amber Fetner, Music Director
    • Did you enjoy Killick and Beto’s music in a recent service?

      Download their album the art that gives us strength to face the tyrant  at:  https://killick.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-that-gives-us-strength-to-face-the-tyrant

      100% of our proceeds from this album will go to Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition (www.athensimmigrantrights.org) to provide relief for families facing deportation and help for primary needs such as food, housing, or power bills. AIRC also conducts informational forums to promote a better understanding of the migrant community in Athens.
    • Worship in April
      2 April A Place to Bloom
      Our welcome mat as Unitarian Universalists has few limitations. We strive to be a place where people can figuratively bloom into what they desire as better for themselves. We will be discussing how we encompass transgender individuals and their families in our communal transformation and hospitality. Service is led by the Reverend Duncan Teague.
      9 April Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, A Palm Sunday lens.
      Jesus understood as ;the presence of Wisdom,” the feminine form of the Divine. In his short ministry, Jesus embodied the archetype of Sophia. He lived from and taught the Power of Love. With his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, he modeled the soft form of ;Love as Leadership. Faith in that softness means lovecanprevail, since all people want love. Service is led by visiting minister the Reverend Roy Reynolds.
      16 April Not Just a Rolling Stone
      Not Just a Rolling Stone According to the gospel story of the first Easter, Mary Magdalene found the stone rolled away and was the first to see Jesus after his resurrection. What stones must be rolled away before we see life in a different way? Service led by Myrna Adams West, Lay Minister Emerita
      23 April Earth-Water-Flower Day
      Honoring the Earth and its water in continuous movement from living to nonliving and back again reminds us to be mindful of how our actions may change the waters of earth. It is water’s movement from air to soil to roots and stems that make the flowers, the promise of a next generation. With our annual flower ceremony, everyone is invited to bring a flower to share.
      30 April Life’s Not Fair. Change is Hard: We Must Begin
      Transforming our lives and transforming our community requires more than good intentions. Converting intentions into actions requires an individual to discover a path, then find the courage to take it. Service led by member the Honorable Judge David Sweat.
    • Music Ministry: The Rhythms of Change
      Some change is fast, like new life growing before your eyes.  Some change is slow, like water forming a canyon.  Sometimes it is hard to keep up, and sometimes it is so hard to be patient.
      Music can help us reflect on the transformations in our lives and give us hope during (sometimes painful) times of change.  Tap into the power of music this month by singing out in the pews, listening to favorite (or new!) music, and trying something new:
      Amber

    Justice

    • May 4: SAC Co-Sponsoring Honoring the Ancestors Vigil and Rally

      On Thursday, May 4, 2017, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, Fred Smith, co-chair of the Athens Area Black History Committee, and various community leaders will meet 5:30 pm at the UGA Arch to honor our ancestors whose remains were discovered at UGA Baldwin Hall. Organizers encourage local citizens to join them at the Arch and to bring positive signage and vernations. After guest speakers pay their respects, facilitators and local residents will walk peacefully to Baldwin Hall– site of Athens’ oldest known slave cemetery (1810 to 1858) for a libation ceremony and vigil. The libation ceremony was chosen to be held on this date to also bring awareness to Athens jubilee which occurred May 4, 1865.

      This vigil will include an African ritual heritage, the libation ceremony.  There will be community guest speakers. The organizers’ overall goal is to honor the lives of these individuals and their contribution to the Athens we all live in today. Many community leaders believe the bodies should have been buried with their free ancestors in one of Athens’ historic African-American cemeteries, not in Oconee Hills with their slave masters and their masters’ descendants.

      The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement will stand with the Athens Area Black History Committee hosting a vigil and rally for the slaves still buried there and the slaves removed in 1938, 1943, and most recently 2016.  The Vigil and Rally will encourage respect, peace, unity, love and dialogue. Supporters and special guests include Alvin Sheats President of the local NAACP Chapter, Fred Smith co-chair of Athens Black History Bowl, Mansur Buffin UGA Student,  Linda Davis, Broderick Flannigan of Flannigan Studios and more.

      This ceremony is our community’s way of becoming a part of the act of finally putting these unfortunate souls to rest in a place without the weight of the chains of slavery on their backs.

      The UUFA Social Action Committee (SAC), part of the Justice Cluster, will be a co-sponsor of this event.

      You are invited to attend.

    • UUFA Justice Partner, Interfaith Hospitality Network Training Apr. 25
      Training for New Volunteers and a Great Refresher for long term volunteers. Bring your family as kids make great hosts along with parents. We will be serving a light dinner, courtesy of Phil Hale, of BBQ sandwiches, slaw, pickles, chips, and moon pies! So call the church office at Covenant Presbyterian – 706-548-2756  to reserve your BBQ sandwich! Tuesday, April 25th at 6:30 – 7:30 pm at Covenant Presbyterian Fellowship Hall. Questions about this training? Call Susan & Randy Parish 706-850-0835. Questions about IHNA at UUFA?  Contact Julie Sapp (jvsapp@yahoo.com).
    • Time and Talent Opportunity Apr. 20-21: What’s Cooking?

      What’s cooking?

      Hopefully you might be. 🙂 Help is needed on Thursday, April 20, at 2 p.m. to prepare the monthly meal for Our Daily Bread. Help is also needed on Friday, April 21, from 11:30 to 1 to serve the meal. Interested? Questions? Contact Karen Solheim (justice@uuathensga.org or 706.202.7515).

      Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday and a sack meal on the weekends. Annually, this program provides more than 60,000 nutritious meals with gracious hospitality to men, women, and children in need and offers a gateway to other transformational services. Partnering with more than 70 volunteer groups, Our Daily Bread in Athens has served meals seven days per week, 365 days per year since 1989.

      Our Daily Bread outreach is part of UUFA’s Justice Cluster.

    • Cause of the Month Input

      Do you have an idea of a local organization that should be one of the 2017-18 Causes of the Month?

      Do you have questions about how the Causes of the Month are elected?

      Contact SAC (Social Action Committee) chair David Jarrett (daviduufa@gmail.com or 706.338.2798) with your ideas by April 15 or with your questions any time.

    • Sanctuary Movement Potluck and Discussion May 23

      Want to learn more about how Immigration became such a contentious issue in the United States? The UUFA Sanctuary Movement Group is sponsoring a potluck supper and book discussion on Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall.

      Book for discussion is Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire by Margaret Regan. The book is available for online ordering through Avid Bookshop and Beacon Press. Contact: Julie Vesper Sapp at jvsapp@yahoo.com.

    • May 7: Social Action Committee

      You are invited to attend the next meeting of the Social Action Committee (SAC) Sunday, May 7, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the front office.

      Can’t attend?  If you would like to know what transpires in the UUFA SAC, send an email to UUFA_Social_Action_Committee-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to join the listserv. This listserv will let you know what transpires not only in the UUFA SAC but also in the local Athens area in terms of social action. Everyone is encouraged to sign up!

      For more information, contact SAC Chair David Jarrett (daviduufa@gmail.com).

    • Save the Date: May 23–Potluck and Book Discussion

      The UUFA Sanctuary Movement Team is sponsoring a potluck supper and discussion of the book Detained and Deported by Margaret Regan on Tuesday, May 23, at 6:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall.

      For more information, contact Julie Sapp (jvsapp@yahoo.com).

      The Sanctuary Movement Team is part of the UUFA Justice Cluster.

    • April 1: Fifth Annual Chess and Community Conference

    • April Cause of the Month Conversation

      Join a representative from Upper Oconee Watershed Network on Sunday, April, from 10:05-10:50 in the Fellowship Hall to learn more about the April Cause of the Month.

    • April 2: Foyer Art Exhibition Opening Reception

      The April-May ethical eating art display in the UUFA foyer features the artwork the young students of Athenian Broderick Flanigan.

      Broderick held a workshop centered around healthy eating, and the students painted a tomato (Andy Warhol-esque).  Other art from students in other workshops will be displayed.

      Please join us for an opening reception on Sunday, April 2, at 12.

      This exhibition is sponsored by UUFA FREE (Food Responsibility and Enjoyable Eating), a part of UUFA’s Justice Cluster.

    • Save the Date: April 22–Justice Partner Community Living Wage Cookout

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