weaving the threads of community

wondering with AWE

  • 5th Note from Sabbatical Road, by Rev. Alison

    Happy Summer!

    Now that July is here my Sabbatical technically has come to an end. However, I’ll still be away from UUFA on Sunday mornings and from other routine activities during July while I plan and prepare for the upcoming program year. During this Study Leave time I’ve already scheduled a number of meetings to learn what happened during my absence and what UUFA’s needs might be going forward. Because of the wonderfully energizing Sabbatical time away I feel ready to jump back into the regular business of ministry at UUFA.

    Planning for the upcoming year was kicked off by my attendance at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) annual General Assembly (GA), this year in New Orleans. I was joined by UUFA members Karen and Lee Cornell, Karen Solheim, and Susie Weller. As you’ll hear from them during the service on July 16, this was an unusual GA. It was inwardly focused on how our association, congregations, and we as individuals perpetuate white cultural dominance and how that threatens our becoming a truly multiracial religious organization.

    During the professional Ministry Days which preceded GA I heard several ministers of color share painful experiences in Unitarian Universalist circumstances. They revealed times they had been discriminated against during ministerial training and the difficulty of leading mostly white congregations when they managed to be called to one. They identified ways well-meaning white colleagues and congregants unintentionally diminished their own non-white culture. One Latina said she felt she had to leave her body outside the door because a full-bodied religious experience was frowned upon. One African-American said he felt awkward being the only one to interact with the UU preacher by shouting out affirmations. White culture in our congregations generally discourages such non-white norms from becoming UU norms.

    It was painful for me to hear and acknowledge the truth of their stories. Those of us who identify as white, as I do, are being challenged to accept the truth of the experiences and feelings of people of color. For me to deny their truths would be my attempting to be the one in power who gets to decide what is true and what isn’t. That’s white dominance, or supremacy, at play.

    These issues were raised at GA because a recent hiring event which may have given preference to a white male over other candidates, which was then followed by the resignation of UU President Peter Morales, brought the issue forward. Decentering whiteness and the impact of white supremacy then became the focus of GA.

    As UUFA’s program year proceeds, we’ll be exploring these issues more deeply. My brief summary of the 2017 GA and the deeply spiritual work it calls us to do only scratches the surface of the self-examination required. The difficult work we began at GA will continue to be challenging. But we do this because we value racial equality and the work must begin with ourselves. I look forward to the spiritual journey we’ll take together.

    Be well, Rev. Alison

    For earlier Sabbatical Road posts follow the links below.

    http://uuathensga.org/4th-note-sabbatical-road-rev-alison/

    http://uuathensga.org/3rd-note-sabbati…-road-rev-alison/

    http://uuathensga.org/note-2-sabbatica…res-rev-alison-2/

    http://uuathensga.org/note-sabbatical-road-rev-alison/

membership & volunteers

  • August Volunteer Spotlight: Ange Kahn

    ange kahn 134A UU since 1972, Ange Kahn has been active at UUFA since 1987. In addition to her continuing commitment to the choir and social action, Ange taught a generation of kids and continues to volunteer with the Halloween Carnival, Nifty Gifty, and mentoring. In 2014 she became the Lay Minister for Fellowship where she is now the mainstay for Hospitality and oversees Membership, Pastoral Care, the Stepping Stone Support Team, and “Fun and Frolic” events. The Volunteer Recognition Team is honored to spotlight Ange and her commitment to UFFA.

  • Aug. 5 Summer-time spiffy-up!

    Summer-time Spiffy-up! Saturday, August 5th, from 830 am – 1230 pm.
    Please make time to help us clean and spiffy up the UUFA,
    getting ready our our Open House at the end of the month.
    We’ll focus on the inside spaces, staying out of the heat.
    Let’s make the building beautiful for the new year!
    Q’s? – Contact Michelle Leebens-Mack (leebensmack@gmail.com) or
    Lee Cornell (uufa.lee@gmail.com).

  • July Volunteer Spotlight: Chase White

    In just three years – since first attending in 2015 and joining in early 2016 – Chase White has become deeply involved in the life of the Fellowship. In addition to singing with the choir, providing outreach to members through singing meditation, and drumming with Palms of Fire, Chase has served as a mentor for Coming of Age youth, helped lead services as a Worship Assistant, volunteered with Our Daily Bread, and worked with the Stepping Stone Support Team. The Volunteer Recognition Team is happy to recognize Chase as our July Spotlight Volunteer!

  • Thanking Our Ushers for Their Ongoing Service

    By Julie Sapp
    It takes many volunteers to put together and run our Sunday services each week. Especially our ushers. During eight months of the year we hold 2 services each week, and we hold 1 service weekly during the summer months. That adds up to approximately 90 services per year. Three ushers are needed for each service, making a total of roughly 270 ushering slots to fill annually. That is a lot of volunteer time and commitment!

    Fortunately, this year we have had 29 members and friends accept this commitment. On July 30 Spiritual Arts Lay Minister Herb West will recognize them: Vivian Preston Sellers (who also trains the ushers and coordinates the schedule), Ruthanne Hartel, Mary Jean Hartel, Michelle Simpson, Albie Smith, Richard Gottlieb, Paula Keam, Lauren Nucci, Rebecca Vander Plaats, Leigh Harvey, Royce Knight, Larry King, Frank Boardman, Molly Williams, Kate Blane, Wilma Harrington, Clarissa Finco, Le’Ann Fleischer, Shannon Bowles, Michael Martin, Larry Petroff, Jean Bleyle, John Bleyle, Jackie Pierson, Bill Pierson, Virginia Carver, Barbara McLaughlin, Roger Bailey, and Connie Bruce.

    We can always see and appreciate when our ushers welcome us into the sanctuary, hand out the orders of service, help us find a seat when it gets crowded, and take up the offering, but their roles behind the scenes are equally important. They fold the orders of service, they make sure that there are sufficient offering envelopes in the pews and that the sanctuary is tidy before we arrive, and they help new families locate the Quiet Room, the Nursery, or the RE Table. They also tally the attendance at the services and, along with a Finance Committee member, count the offering each week. These tasks are not only helpful on the practical level, but many are quietly essential to our experience of the worship service as a whole.

    To thanks the ushers for committing time to serving this Fellowship, the Volunteer Recognition Team will present each with a small token – a beautiful card by Barbara Leissner. The message reads, “Thank you for being so welcoming!” In addition, a donation is being made in their honor to the Expanding Our Vision Capital Campaign. We truly couldn’t do what we do each week without our band of ushers.

  • 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.

expanding our vision

  • Finalizing Details of the Expansion Plan

    Last summer, with wide-ranging input from fellowship members, Houser Walker Architects developed a master plan to enhance the UUFA campus. In subsequent months a financial feasibility study assured us it was possible. During the winter, the successful capital campaign showed overwhelming support, and in May the congregation voted to proceed.

    This summer we are back to work with the architects finalizing the details to expand and renovate our facilities! Permit applications will be submitted to the Athens Clark County Planning Commission in early September. All being well, construction could begin January, 2018.

    The board approved a EOV Building Project Committee structure composed of seven subcommittees to oversee this work. The subcommittees and chairs are: Administration and Meeting spaces – Jane Mayer; Sanctuary – Herb West; Landscaping and Parking – Roger Moore; RE and Playground – Sarah Cook; Kitchen – Carol-Lee Baker; Aesthetics – Barb Schell; Naming/Recognition and treasurer – John Olive. Bob McArthur is an ex-officio board representative and Rev. Eskildsen is also an ex-officio member.

    There are still many questions to answer and decisions to make.  Exactly where will the windows go in the multi-purpose room? What should the walls of the new gathering hall look? What type furniture should we use in the expanded sanctuary? Although highly successful, the capital campaign did not raise quite enough funds to completely renovate the kitchen.  So are there functional changes that we make there without spending a lot of money? How much work will be possible in the RE wing and playground is also a question. The various subcommittee chairs will be filling out their teams and seeking input from others as we pursue answers to these questions.

    The Expanding Our Vision Project’s charge is to help UUFA fulfill its mission and vision by creating spaces for growth and for deeper connections among members, friends, and the community.   We continue to be faithful to that charge and are excited about the future!

    Iva King, EOV Project Chair

care connections

  • Ann Woodruff Memorial Set for Aug. 26

    Sadly, long-time member Ann Woodruff died on July 11. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim Woodruff. Both contributed significant leadership to the Fellowship and were heavily involved in the design and build of our current facilities–a lasting gift to UUFA and Athens.

    A memorial service to celebrate Ann’s life is planned for Saturday, August 26, 2017, at 3 pm in the afternoon. If you are interested in assisting with a reception to follow the memorial service, please let Rev. Alison Eskildsen know.

  • Volunteer Opportunity with the Care Team

    Looking for Volunteers – Do you attend the service on Sunday at the Fellowship? Do you lead a busy life, but have been looking for some way to contribute to the Fellowship that doesn’t involve regular meetings?
    Several members of our Fellowship in the Beechwood area no longer drive, but would like to attend Sunday services. They need a ride. We have some drivers, but need more. Go a little bit out of your way on Sunday and give a fellow member a lift.
    Please contact Susan Ponsoldt at ponsoldt-AT-msn.com to find out more.

board notes

    • Conversations That Matter

      Barbara A. Boyt Schell

      “Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means”
      (Author noted at the end)

      I write this column as I transition from my former role as co-chair (with able buddy Jane Kobres) of the Committee on Shared Ministry (CoSM) to that of a UUFA Board member. As a board member, I was asked to write the board column for this month. It turns out that my transition in roles coincides nicely with an area of concern that I, along with others, have begun to surface. It has to do with how open and democratic we really are. It has been my experience that many of us at UUFA take pride on our openness. We believe we are willing to consider alternative perspectives and use democratic processes to make decisions about important Fellowship issues. But are we really?

      At a recent leadership gathering I shared my concern that a recent survey of our UUFA members and friends surfaced some underlying tensions about openness in our community. More accurately, perhaps, our willingness to hear multiple sides of an issue. It is clear that we often ask for feedback. But the groups asking are often those who have already taken a stance or have a vested interest. As one person commented on a CoSM survey: “Do I have to be an advocate to be a UU?” That raises a totally different kind of question. It is unlike questions of support for stances such as Black Lives Matter or use of the term “White Supremacy” on our websites, two issues which have already raised controversy in our Fellowship.

      On a different subject, another member of the UUFA verbalized a reluctance to raise substantial concerns about whether we were financially ready to undertake a building expansion. Some found it a difficult topic to raise because the open forums were held by the group who had responsibility for the expansion. (And, note that I am on that committee, and believed we provided consistent and frequent opportunities for participation). Another divide that surfaced during that time was among those who wish to return to a single service on Sunday as opposed to the two services that some believed were a foregone conclusion.

      I raise these issues not create controversy nor to take a stand. Rather I want to hold up a thoughtful mirror. Essentially, I am asking how democratic are we? And how open are we to alternative views and voices? And how do those who are not in leadership positions or who aren’t currently engaged in significant volunteerism at UUFA gain a meaningful voice? Surface agreement is not the best sign of a healthy community. Conflict is okay. It can and should be dealt with in an open manner. But, we need to create a healthy process for engaging in that conflict.

      At this point we don’t seem to have a good process to discuss these really critical issues in our Fellowship at the grassroots level. We need safe spaces for serious discussion where all perspectives can be voiced and considered. In response to these challenges, there are a group of individuals working on a new kind of “internal forum” which we are calling “Conversations That Matter”. We are fortunate to have a wonderful internal consultant, Margaret Holt, who has deep experience serving as an impartial facilitator of difficult discussions which are designed for participants to share and hear a range of differing perspectives. John Schell has agreed to chair this effort, and current ad hoc team members include Margaret Holt, Lee Cornell, Carol-Lee Baker, Dan Everett, and Fabiana Hayden. The stated purpose that the group has adopted is:

      The purpose of Conversations that Matter is to create a safe and effective process for UUFA members to explore differing perspectives on “hot topics” within the fellowship. Although conflict is challenging for many, we believe that we can create an approach for civil discourse. Learning to do that more effectively within our group will enable skills for civil discourse in the world. The expectation is not that everyone will agree, but that each participant has a voice and is better informed about different views or possible actions and attendant consequences. We intend to work towards a grass roots vehicle where ideas come from a variety of sources.

      Plans are to have the first Conversation That Matters in October, and to focus it on what do we really mean when we say we engage in “…the use of the democratic process within our congregations…(excerpt from 5th UU Principle). Oh, and the author of the opening quote? Ronald Regan. Interesting!

    • Remarks from Incoming President Linda Gilbert

      Adapted from UUFA Congregational Meeting 5/21/17

      As I step up as President of the Board of Trustees, I am deeply cognizant that I am stepping into some big shoes. The presidents before me – Lee, Jane, and others that pre-dated my tenure on the Board of Trustees – have done amazing work. Under Jane’s tenure, we worked out the logistics for a second service, and laid the groundwork for proceeding with a building expansion. Under Lee, the building expansion became a concrete project, with a budget, a campaign, and a plan. These are major accomplishments, involving multiple people who gave of their time and talent. At all levels, the prior examples of leadership leave me in awe.

      This coming year will hopefully be another year of accomplishment, but it will also be a year of challenges. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the committees empowered by previous Boards, we are poised on the brink of major construction to change the building that houses our Fellowship. This process entails a great deal of uncertainty. We know there will be decisions to make, and disruptions to our normal routine to deal with, but the specifics are still unknown. Expanding this building, though a much-desired outcome, is a process that will be stressful at times, as any of you who have been through home remodeling are well aware.

      Construction projects carry a sense of urgency, and this one certainly requires our attention because careless decisions can waste our resources or leave us with ongoing problems. However, though urgent, this project is not the biggest challenge facing our congregation. Enlarging the building is WHAT we are doing. WHY we are doing that is a far more important consideration.

      The theme for last year was “Expanding our Vision” – not our building, but our vision, in recognition that the building is not an end in itself, but serves a larger purpose. In choosing a theme for 2017-2018, the leaders and Allison brainstormed several phrases around “Building” – “Building Our Future,” and the like – but finally chose “Love Calls Us On.” The group felt that reminding ourselves WHY we were engaged in building was vital. Perhaps not as urgent as the daily decision-making that will come out of the building project, but ultimately, more important.

      Thinking about why we’re enlarging the building takes us back to who we are, what we believe, and why we do what we do. These are difficult questions to grapple with, made more difficult by the current backdrop of national unrest, dissension in our own denomination at the highest levels, and even differences of opinion within our local congregation around what is required of us as Unitarian Universalists.

      These are big questions, that call for “Crucial Conversations.” According to the best-seller book of that title, Crucial Conversations are discussions where (1) the stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions are strong. During the coming year, we will have many opportunities for such conversations, and I hope that each of you will engage fully in that process, finding your voice and refining your own Credo, and listening to your own heart. And I hope you will listen as deeply to others, seeking “first to understand, then to be understood,” and practicing our principles in our own internal conversations. “Love Calls Us On” is a reminder not only of WHY we are expanding, but HOW we intend to engage with one another as we do so.

      The principles and covenant that we espouse are highly aspirational documents. Since we are, in the words of my yoga instructor, all “tragically human,” we will fall short of these aspirations at times. Please do your best, forgive the failings of others, and remember that as we walk through the valley of construction, Love Calls Us On.

      When I was an army brat, moving around a lot, at one point I commiserated with another child whose family had not yet found a place to live. “I’m sorry you don’t have a home.” I said. Her response was wonderful: “I have a home,” she told me “and soon we’ll have a house to put it in.” That kid knew what was important – what’s IN the building is what matters. It is my hope that we all keep that in mind as we move forward..

    • Get on Board, July 2017

      At its June 13, 2017 meeting, the UUFA Board of Trustees accomplished the following:

      Discussed:

      • expedient business practices during the building project;
      • the review and refinement of Houser Walker Architecture (HWA) contracts prior to signing;
      • debrief and recommendations from the Annual Congregational Meeting;
      • the new Board orientation meeting and discussion of strategic planning; and
      • revision to the Finance Committee recommendation on external fund management to include further review by the Investment Committee.

      Took the following action:

      • to form the Expanding Our Vision Building Project Committee (BPC);
      • to appoint Iva King as Chair of the BPC and Bob McArthur as Board representative;
      • to authorize President Lee Cornell to sign the HWA contracts;
      • to authorize Capital Campaign Treasurer John Olive to open a Capital One Spark interest-bearing account to hold capital campaign funds;
      • to appoint new members to the Committee on Shared Ministry;
      • to accept the resignation of Rich Rayburn as Treasurer and appoint Thrane Jensen to fulfill the remainder of Rich’s term;
      • to accept refinements to Appendix A definitions of “committee” and “team”;
      • to create a Bylaws Review Task Force for the next program year chaired by Lee Cornell with members, Bob McArthur, Karen Solheim, and Herb West;
      • to authorize Linda Gilbert to sign the contract for summer camp Nurse;
      • to authorize Camp Administrator hours for Kelly McConnell;
      • to approve one week of pay for July 2017 for Music Director, Amber Fetner, for the purpose of program planning; and
      • to accept Aleta Turner as a delegate representative to UUA General Assembly.

      Accepted the following reports and discussed when necessary:

      • Treasurer’s report; and
      • Leadership Council Year-at-a-Glance.

      Set as future agenda items:

      • to discuss a policy on offering leave to contract workers;
      • to select the Board Vice President;
      • to define operational procedures for teams;
      • to organize a strategic planning task force;
      • to appoint two new members to the Finance Committee;
      • to reflect on Rev. Alison’s sabbatical, the past year’s accomplishments, and vision for the coming year.

      To read the adopted May 9, 2017, Board minutes, please click HERE – May 9, 2017. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees is Tuesday, July 11, 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

    denominational affairs

    • UUA Matters: 2017-18 Common Read
      Two books have been selected for the 2017-2018 UUA Common Read. One focuses on the work of dismantling white supremacy culture within today’s Unitarian Universalism, and the other provides a vision and guidance for some of our work in the public square.

      Stay tuned for further information about UUFA will be hosting discussion groups for both these books.

       

    • UUA Matters: Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation Workshop

      Planning ahead…

      Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation Workshop with Chris Crass, will be co-hosted by MidAmerica and Southern Regions of the UUA, February 17, 2018, Louisville, KY.

      When:  9 am-5 pm
      Where: Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, Louisville, KY

      For more information on Chris Crass click here: http://www.chriscrass.org/

      Stay tuned for further information.

    • Pastoral Care Message from new UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

      Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray issued the following pastoral message for the Unitarian Universalist community:

      My Fellow Unitarian Universalists,

      I invite you to join me in continuing to hold in our hearts, in our thoughts, and in our prayers, our UUA staff colleagues, James Curran and Tim Byrne who are recovering after being attacked and robbed in New Orleans. Both are continuing to recover physically and to navigate the trauma of the event. James is back home in Boston. Tim remains hospitalized in New Orleans but is making steady progress each day. His doctors are cautiously optimistic about the prognosis for his recovery. We are profoundly grateful to the dedicated medical professionals who initially treated and continue to care for James and Tim.

      We continue to send Tim and James and their partners and loved ones our positive thoughts, care, and support in this time. As the new President of the UUA, I am doing my best to be present to these staff members and to honor the time and space they need to attend to their recovery.

      I also want to acknowledge the sorrow, fear, anger, and heartbreak of seeing a loved one, a member of our community, violently attacked. I have experienced all of these emotions in the last few days, as have so many of the UUA staff and wider UU community. Throughout the General Assembly, we reflected on the narratives and wider systems of oppression that perpetuate both systemic and personal violence. This week, those reflections became personal and proximate.

      As I have listened to Unitarian Universalists reflect on this situation, I have been moved by the connections made to Bryan Stevenson’s powerful message to us at General Assembly that “simply punishing the broken—walking away from them or hiding them from sight—only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.”  May we hold the young adults who are accused of carrying out the robbery, Rashaad Piper (20), Nicholas Polgowski (18), DeJuan Paul (18), and Joshua Simmons (18), with the universal love that we hold Tim Byrne and James Curran. This is so very important. Many voices have lifted up hope for a process of restorative justice.

      These are our Unitarian Universalist values calling us to live in the reality of the heartbreak of our world, while remembering that no one is outside the circle of love – that compassion is always our guide, and that as a religious community, we seek the well-being of all people and the dismantlement of systems of oppression that undermine our collective humanity.

      As President, I am waiting to make any official statements to New Orleans authorities in order to give our staff members time to be in the conversation. At the same time, I am encouraged by the local grassroots leadership of Unitarian Universalists in New Orleans, including the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal (CELSJR) and their partners, to help us see both the proximate and larger realities and humanity of this incident. I ask for your patience in this time, and for your faithful presence as Unitarian Universalists.

      In faith,

      Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

    • UUA Matters: UUA Southern Region Newsletter

      Click here to read the latest

      UUA Southern Region Newsletter

      (Mid-July Edition)!!!

    • UUA Matters: UUA President Selects Acting Chief Operating Officer

      The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), today announced the appointment of Carey McDonald as Acting Chief Operating Officer effective August 1. McDonald succeeds the Rev. Sarah Lammert who served as Interim Chief Operating Officer following the resignation of the Rev. Harlan Limpert in April. 

      Click here to read more.

    • Denominational Affairs: UUA Southern Region Newsletter–Early July Edition

      Click here  to read

      the latest UUA Southern Region Newsletter!

       

      Be “in the know.”

    • Denominational Affairs: Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray Elected New UUA President

      REV. SUSAN FREDERICK-GRAY
      ELECTED AS NEW UUA PRESIDENT!

      To read about the election and to view the announcement at General Assembly

      go to http://www.uuworld.org/articles/susan-frederick-gray-elected-president

    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).

    Education

    • SGM Registration Opens August 13th!

      WHAT IS SMALL GROUP MINISTRY? This program provides an opportunity to establish new and deeper relationships with one another and to find a place to enrich our spiritual and life exploration and growth. Small Group Ministry (SGM), sometimes called Covenant Groups or Chalice Circles in other UU congregations, allows people to get to know a small group of UUFA members or friends while discussing questions and issues of deep significance.

      The groups typically meet twice a month at either UUFA or in group members’ homes. SGM is intended to give participants a chance to get to know others in a manner different from the experiences of committee work, Sunday service, and other Fellowship activities. To participate, one MUST register during the times set aside for that; this year’s fall registration will occur from August 13-27. Even if you were a member of a group last year, registration for this program year is required.

      Registration will begin August 13th, after the service, both online and on paper. Paper registration forms will be available at the Stepping Stones table in the Fellowship Hall after services August 13, 20, and 27th, or from the UUFA office during the week (usually from 10-4, T-F). To register online during those weeks, go to the UUFA Website page listed below, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the words in red print “here during the enrollment period.” Registration will end at 5 PM on Sunday, August 27th, in order for groups to be formed prior to the beginning of September.

      For more information, speak with Vivian Preston Sellers or any SGM facilitator, or go to the SGM page on the UUFA website: http://uuathensga.org/education/small-group-ministries/.

    • SUMMER Schedule in Religious Education

      The congregation returns to the summer schedule on May 14, with one service at 10:30. The children and youth summer RE program begins on June 4 with one all-ages class of adventure. As with the program year, children will begin in the sanctuary and dismiss to class.

      Nursery for children

      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. Summer hours are 9:45-11:45

      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.

      MAY Sundays

      May 7 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 Revelation, focusing on children’s personal “aha moments” in RE. Children’s Music Leader Debbie Hardegree will lead theme-related music.

      May 14 RE Classes

      Closing Sunday~ Children and youth will have their last classes of the program year and will also spend some time preparing for the RE Sunday worship service.

      May 21~

      Multigenerational Worship Service

      “REvelations in Faith Development”– As we close our annual theme of “Expanding our Vision”, we’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Children and Youth Religious Education program and its place in the UUFA community. Our Coming of Age youth will present their Credo Statements, and we’ll honor RE volunteers in celebration of our year together.

      A reception will be held in the Fellowship Hall to honor RE Volunteers and Coming of Age Youth, then the Youth Group will go to Funopolis!

      May 28~

      Sailing into Summer

      This Sunday marks a transition between the program year curriculum and the summer program. We’ll play fun water games, so make sure to bring towels and wear bathing suits or clothes that can get wet. Easy slip-off water shoes are recommended, so they can be left at the door before re-entering the building. This will also be Morgan’s last Sunday with UUFA.

      Summer Camps

      There are still slots left in our supremely fun summer weeklong day camp programs! Please visit http://uuathensga.org/education/summer-camps/ for more information

      Peace Camp:

      June 26-30

      Hogwarts School at the Pyramid:

      Session 1- July 10-14

      Session 2- July 17-21

      Volunteer Corner

      UUFA’s RE program is a cooperative venture that requires many hands to create a warm and loving environment. There are jobs of all sizes, and these are just a few. Please be thinking about how you’d like to participate and…

      Sign up at the RE Welcome Table TODAY!

      Summer Teachers & Assistants

      It’s nice when we can give our regular program year teachers a break over the summer. Try a one-Sunday commitment just to see how much fun you’re missing! Most slots are to assist the CRE, however, there are a couple lead slots for her monthly Sunday off.

      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 generally meet on the second Sunday, following the second service, in the Ocean Room. You’re welcomed to come by any time and see what we’re up to!

      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 worship, it’s always great to have more hands on deck. Please let Morgan know if you’d like to assist with the the May 21 RE Sunday worship services. Helpers assist with props. costume preparations, and “people moving”.

      Classroom Teachers

      We have several spots to fill for next year! Please be on the lookout for volunteer sign-ups for the 2017-18 program year and can be thinking ahead on how you’d like to help build beloved community through RE.

    • Small Group Ministry Registration opens in August!

      WHAT IS SMALL GROUP MINISTRY? This program provides an opportunity to establish new and deeper relationships with one another and to find a place to enrich our spiritual and life exploration and growth. Small Group Ministry (SGM), sometimes called Covenant Groups or Chalice Circles in other UU congregations, allows people to get to know a small group of UUFA members or friends while discussing questions and issues of deep significance.

      The groups typically meet twice a month at either UUFA or in group members’ homes. SGM is intended to give participants a chance to get to know others in a manner different from the experiences of committee work, Sunday service, and other Fellowship activities. To participate, one MUST register during the times set aside for that; this year’s fall registration will occur from August 13-27. Even if you were a member of a group last year, registration for this program year is required.

      For more information, speak with Vivian Preston Sellers or any SGM facilitator, or go to the SGM page on the UUFA website: http://uuathensga.org/education/small-group-ministries/. More information concerning how to register will come in August.

    • Religious Exploration Offerings for Fall, 2017

      Adult Religious Exploration Offerings for Fall, 2017

      “Building the World We Dream About” —8 sessions, facilitated by Hilda Kurtz and Vivian Preston Sellers.
      This is a UUA-developed curriculum that “supports Unitarian Universalists and congregations to build the multicultural world of beloved community we dream about by cultivating participants’ knowledge, skills, and capacity to address issues related to race, ethnicity, and cultural identity.” Though developed as a curriculum tailored to the experiences of young adults, the facilitators will adapt the sessions for all age groups, incorporating information and activities from the 24-session original curriculum. The classes will begin in September, and continue through October. More information is available at http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/adults, though the format for each session will be slightly different than that online. Please let Hilda (hldkrtz@gmail.com) or Vivian (vpsellers@gmail.com) know if you are interested, or sign up on Sundays in July and August at the Stepping Stones table. The dates will be confirmed by July.
      The Historical Jesus book discussion—1st and 3rd Mondays, beginning in September, 7:00-8:30 PM; facilitated by Steven Pottier.

      Steven will base the class on the book The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed, which is available from Amazon, or from the bookstore of your choice. The class will follow the definition from Wikipedia: “The term “historical Jesus” refers to attempts to ‘reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth by critical historical methods,’ in ‘contrast to Christological definitions (‘the dogmatic Christ’) and other Christian accounts of Jesus (‘the Christ of faith’).’ It also considers the historical and cultural context in which Jesus lived.”
      Please let Steven at spottier@uga.edu, or Vivian Preston Sellers at vpsellers@gmail.com, know of your interest in the class, or sign up at the Stepping Stones table after services on Sundays in July and August.

      Governance and Ministry book discussion, facilitated by Lee Cornell and Jane Mayer; October 7th & 21st; Saturdays, 9 am – noon.
      UUFA employs a policy based governance model that empowers and enables our members and staff to do the nitty-gritty work of ministry and service. Join Lee (Past President and Lay Minister Candidate) and Jane (Lay Minister Emerita and Past President) as we explore our governance past, how we developed our current model, how congregational size impacts governance and ministry, and how the dynamic interactions of governance and ministry work together to help us realize our Mission and Vision.
      While useful for leaders, these discussions will be adapted for anyone who wants to understand the governance model currently in place at UUFA, how we came to this model, and how it will evolve as we grow our community. The group discussions will pull from materials in the book Governance and Ministry, available from the UUA bookstore (http://www.uuabookstore.org/Governance-and-Ministry-Second-Edition-P17796.aspx). A few copies will be available to borrow from the UUFA library during the class for those unable to the purchase the book.
      Contact Lee at uufa.lee@gmail.com, or Jane at jmayer1953@gmail.com , or sign up at the Stepping Stones table after services on Sundays in July and August.

      Ongoing Groups: no need to sign up!

      Political Discussion Group—ongoing, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Sundays each month; facilitated by Paul Gurian and Joey Freeman; meets in the rainbow room.
      One doesn’t really need to “sign up” for this group, which will meet 3 times each month at 12:30 to discuss the current political landscape. Paul is a former political science professor at UGA who specializes in presidential election cycles; Joey is a long-time member of the discussion group.
      Writing as Spiritual Practice—ongoing; Myrna Adams West facilitates; 1st Sundays at 9:15 am in the couch room near Rev. Alison’s office
      This group offers an opportunity to explore spiritual expression through various genres. Each Sunday the topic for the worship services will relate to that month’s theme, not as a series, but just another angle on a subject to deepen the exploration of that particular theme. The suggested prompts for Writing as Spiritual Practice assignments will follow the monthly worship themes.
      Book Group— ongoing,; 2nd Sunday each month, September through May; facilitated by Clarissa Finco; meets in the office around the conference table.
      The book group meets each month to discuss a book, fiction or non-fiction, chosen by the previous year’s group to read and discuss. Book titles will be available on the bulletin board or online.
      Goddess Group: ongoing, meets the 3rd Sunday of each month, usually from 1:30-3:30. Facilitated by Myrna Adams West.
      The Goddess Group is a circle of women who are exploring their inner goddess through appreciation and participation in the arts, everything from crafts to fine art, to gardening and nature walks, to singing and dancing and drumming, to reading and writing, to cooking and sewing. The group formed following study of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s curricula about thealogy (the study of the feminine aspect of the Divine, i.e. the Goddess), “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” and “Rise Up and Call Her Name.” Ritual, conversation, sharing, and caring are part of the group’s ongoing ministry to each other.
      Forum: ongoing; presentations occur the 2nd and 3rd Sundays each month from September to May, between the first and second services (from about 10:10 until 10:45). The forum team facilitates these presentations.
      The Forum is an adult lecture and talk-back featuring a vast array of topics. Previous Forum topics include SPLOST issues, global climate change, our UU Transylvanian Heritage, happiness, creativity, and more.

    • Meeting Ms. Kelli

      Kelli McConnell comes to UUFA as the new Coordinator of Religious Education from Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia where she was a Community Cultivation Specialist and Membership Recruitment Manager. She has worked with children across most of her life as a professional nanny, as an afterschool art teacher through the Lyndon House and as a substitute teacher at Waseca Montessori. Prior to GSHG, Kelli worked as a special events manager in Seattle, WA and as Office Manager for Thrive Integrative Medicine here in Athens.
      Kelli is a Reiki Master/Practitioner who is passionate about spiritual health and holistic wellness. She has a Reiki practice at Heart Path Studio in the Chase Street Warehouses, where she also offers intuitive career coaching.

      In addition to her professional life, Kelli loves to laugh and spend time in nature with her two dogs Kirby and Dash. You’ll often find her on a blanket in the shade studying Tarot or playing her hand drum and making up songs.
      Kelli is very excited to be welcomed into the Fellowship and is looking forward to meeting everyone. She invites you to come by and say hello!

    spiritual arts

    • Help Welcome Rev. Alison Home!

      In two weeks, August 6, we will welcome Rev. Alison home from sabbatical in a special service, followed by a reception.  You can contribute a message for a special welcome home gift.

      These messages can be about what she missed while she was gone or about how you grew/changed while she was away or what you wish you could have told her while she was incommunicado.   You can include photographs, drawings, sketches, poems, songs, lists, letters, journal entries—whatever media will convey your ideas and feelings.  Be sure to include your name(s).

      Members of the Worship Arts Committee will compile your contributions into a small journal that will be presented to Rev. Alison.  You can pick up a sheet of card stock (from a table in the vestibule) and put your message on it or send these missives to Myrna Adams West at myrnaaw@bellsouth.net or give them to Myrna, Herb West, Aleta Turner, Vivian Sellers, or Karen Solheim, or any other member of the Worship Arts Committee.  Deadline for the message to be included in the August 6 presentation is July 30, but contributions received after that date can be added to the journal later.

      Let’s celebrate Rev. Alison’s return with a keepsake that she can treasure for years to come.

    • Offsite Singing Meditation & Potluck

      Join us for a potluck and singing meditation at the home of Kathy Stege. Singing meditation is the spiritual practice of singing and silence. No musical experience required! Sept. 16, 5-7 pm

      RSVP to Amber, musicdirector@uuathensga.org

    • Sunday Morning Singing Meditation

      Come join us for the spiritual practice of intertwining silence and song. No musical experience required! Contact Amber for more information, musicdirector@uuathensga.org.

      August 6, 2017, 9:15am Rainbow Room (first room on the left when entering through classroom entrance. Across from the Ocean Room.

    • Music Ministry

      “…Roots hold me close, wings set me free..”

      Every July, I look forward to attending the UU Musicians Network National Conference. I reconnect with colleagues and friends I may only see once a year as we spend days packed with worship, workshops, and reading sessions. We all need time to reflect on the work we have done and recharge for what lies ahead. I rely on this time to get new music and lots of inspiration for the coming year. Here is some of what I’ll be experiencing:

      An eight-hour workshop on UU History, Theology, and Race with Rev. Natalie Fenimore
      Daily rehearsals and workshops with choral clinician and composer, Brian Tate
      Grassroots music ministry with artist Rev. Erik W. Martínez Resly
      Community singing with Yara Allen
      and an Interfaith Community Sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

      I will also be transitioning out of my leadership position as chair of the nominating committee. I will be meeting with new UUMN members who are looking for leadership opportunities.

      In July, Debbie Hardegree, Diana Torell, and Pinkie Bergmann will lead singing on Sunday mornings. Rosemary Woodel and Qin Ling will be our pianists while Crystal is away in Argentina. Ned and the Dirt will be our guests musicians on July 23rd-don’t miss it! I look forward to reconnecting with everyone at UUFA when our regular musical activities begin in August.

      Amber Fetner, Music Director
      musicdirector@uuathensga.org

    Justice

    • News from UUFA Justice Partner–IHNA

      Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHNA) August Trainings

      We have four new volunteer trainings scheduled for August. They will all be held at Union Christian Church, our newest host congregation located at 1130 Union Church Rd., Watkinsville. Please invite any of your new volunteers to attend one of these trainings—they are all the same material.

      • Tuesday, August 8, 9:30am
      • Sunday, August 13, 2pm
      • Tuesday, August 15, 7pm
      • Monday, August 28, 6pm

      Questions? Contact Stacy at assist.ihnathens@gmail.com

      Golf Tournament

      SAVE THE DATE–Our annual IHNA golf tournament will be Monday, October 9th at the Jennings Mill Country Club. Please see our website for more information (ihnathens.org).

      Immigration Event with John Ogden Arnold, Attorney, Immigration Services

      Event: Free Citizenship Drive with volunteer lawyers

      Who Qualifies: People who have been legal permanent residents for 5 years (or 3 years if they received their residency through their spouse) without serious criminal records

      Where: Oconee St. United Methodist Church, 595 Oconee St., Athens GA 30605.

      When: Saturday, August 5th, 10 a.m.

      How to Register: call 404.702.0271 or go to https://goo.gl/forms/YobuEDJT0tEYYwPg1

      Walk-ins are welcome.

    • UUA Matters: 2017-18 Common Read
      Two books have been selected for the 2017-2018 UUA Common Read. One focuses on the work of dismantling white supremacy culture within today’s Unitarian Universalism, and the other provides a vision and guidance for some of our work in the public square.

      Stay tuned for further information about UUFA will be hosting discussion groups for both these books.

       

    • UUA Matters: Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation Workshop

      Planning ahead…

      Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation Workshop with Chris Crass, will be co-hosted by MidAmerica and Southern Regions of the UUA, February 17, 2018, Louisville, KY.

      When:  9 am-5 pm
      Where: Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, Louisville, KY

      For more information on Chris Crass click here: http://www.chriscrass.org/

      Stay tuned for further information.

    • CANtributions

      CANtributions Is an ongoing community service at UUFA to provide non perishable food items to the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank.

      In the past couple of years, our number of CANtributions has declined. Of course, we’ve been busy! This is such an easy project for our members to participate in.

      Could you consider a CANtribution of one item a day? Or every other day? Or consider a birthday challenge (bring one item for each year you’re celebrating). Cards will be available in the sanctuary for you to make a commitment for the number you can do.

      The food bank currently has specific need for diced tomatoes, pork and beans, hamburger helper and Jiffy muffin mixes.

      Thank you,
      Social Action Committee

      For more information, contact Carol-Lee Baker carlee45@yahoo.com 706-483-2314.

    • You’re invited: September 2–UUFA Justice Retreat

    • Time and Talent Opportunity: July 20 and July 21

      What’s cooking?

      Hopefully you might be. 🙂 Help is needed on Thursday, July 20, at 3 p.m. to prepare the monthly meal for Our Daily Bread. Help is also needed on Friday, July 21, from 11:30 to 1 to serve the meal. Interested?

      Questions? Contact David Jarrett (daviduufa@gmail.com or 706.338.2798).

      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.

    • July 16: Smart Lunch Smart Kids Sandwich Making and Lunch Assembly
      YoUU are invited to be part of the Smart Lunch Smart Kid sandwich making and lunch assembling on Sunday, July 16, beginning at noon-ish in the kitchen and Fellowship Hall as we make 200 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches lunches for the Smart Lunch Smart Kid program, which provides summer lunches to students who traditionally receive free and reduced-lunches during the school year.
      Contributions needed:  
      • peanut butter
      • grape jelly
      • individually wrapped salty snacks (pretzels, trail mix, cheese crackers, peanut butter crackers, veggie chips, etc)
      • individual fruit snacks (fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit chips, apple sauce, fruit cups)
      Help needed on Monday, July 17, to deliver the lunches between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. to the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church.
      Not a fan of “cooking”?  Monetary contributions are always need.  Please put Smart Lunch Smart Kid in the check memo line.
      Please click here to RVSP for this summer SAC (Social Action Committee Project).
      Not in town on July 16? Join us for  sandwich making, lunch assembling on Sunday, July 23, beginning at noon.
    • July 23: Smart Lunch Smart Kids Sandwich Making and Lunch Assembly
       YoUU are invited to be part of the Smart Lunch Smart Kid sandwich making and lunch assembling on Sunday, July 23, beginning at noon-ish in the kitchen and Fellowship Hall as we make 200 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches lunches for the Smart Lunch Smart Kid program, which provides summer lunches to students who traditionally receive free and reduced-lunches during the school year.
      Help needed on Monday, July 24, to deliver the lunches between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. to the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church.
      Contributions needed:  
      • 188 individual fruit snacks (fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit chips, apple sauce, fruit cups)
      Not a fan of “cooking”?  Monetary contributions are always need.
      Please put Smart Lunch Smart Kid in the check memo line.
      Please click here to RVSP for this summer SAC (Social Action Committee Project).
      BIG THANKS to everyone who helped on July 16.
    • July 9: Social Action Committee

      Be the change you want to see in the world.

      You are invited to attend the next meeting of the Social Action Committee (SAC) Sunday, July 9, beginning at noon in the front office.

      Can’t attend?  If you would like to know what transpires in the UUFA SAC, join the SAC listerv here: http://lists.uuathensga.org/listinfo.cgi/social_action-uuathensga.org

      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).

    Please note: the Communications Team continues to work on the formatting of this new page; send feedback to Shaye .

    To read past Tapestries, visit http://uuathensga.org/connections/tapestry/newsletter/