Spiritual Arts Cluster Recognizes Volunteers

Volunteers Bring Music to the Children and Lead the Ushers

By Susan Curtis

Do you ever hear the music that fills the RE wing during the monthly Children’s Worship Services which bring the RE classes together? That singing and playing are thanks to the Music Leaders who share their instruments and voices to enliven the children’s services. This month Lay Minister Myrna Adams West and the Spiritual Arts Cluster are recognizing the four grownups who work with Amber Fetner and the RE folks to make sure music greets the children. Myrna and her cluster will also thank retiring Head Usher Mary Jean Hartel.

Debbie Hardegree
Debbie Hardegree

Debbie Hardegree, Paul Eskildsen, Chris Hayden and Paul Schliekelman take turns throughout the year leading singing and teaching songs for upcoming intergenerational services. The accomplished guitarists – with Paul Eskildsen sometimes also on mandolin and kazoo – get title suggestions from Amber and the RE folks, often from Come Sing a Song with Me. Among the kids’ favorites are “Come, Come, Wherever You Are,” “Open the Window, Children,” and “There’s a Little Wheel Turning in My Heart.”

Paul Eskildsen is happiest when the children sing out and smile. Debbie still remembers when a youngster recognized that she was playing a “D” chord and was quite proud to tell her that he was learning to play guitar.

Paul Eskildsen
Paul Eskildsen

In addition to Sunday worship with the children, Debbie enjoys playing for joyful and energetic Dances of Universal Peace featured in summer Peace Camps. Chris shares his time with kids during the UUFA Halloween party and December’s Nifty Gifty. Adults enjoy listening to Paul Eskildsen, Debbie and Chris playing with the Fellowship’s folk and rock bands.

Our Children’s Music leaders will be thanked during the September 13 services’ Time and Talent Moments along with Mary Jean Hartel who recently retired as Head Usher. The Spiritual Arts Cluster appreciates Mary Jean’s two years of working with volunteers to be sure that ushers are on hand during both Sunday services to welcome members and visitors to the Fellowship. Mary Jean appreciates the efforts of her predecessors, Gay Williford and Susan Gross.

The September Time and Talent Moment is being organized by Diane Bridges working with Volunteer Recognition Team members Carol-Lee Baker, Karen Cornell, Barbara Leissner, Julie Sapp, Herb West and Susan Curtis.

Chris Hayden
Chris Hayden

The Spiritual Arts Cluster which includes a broad spectrum of arts is led by the Worship Arts Committee. Its members include Aleta Turner, Rev. Alison Eskildsen, Amber Fetner, Carol-Lee Baker, Clela Reed, David Jarrett, Debbie Hardegree, Mary Jean Hartel, Herb West, Julie Sapp, Karen Solheim, Michelle Leebens-Mack, Myrna Adams West, Stu Fors, Vivian Sellers and Patty Freeman-Lynde.

Last year the Cluster formed the Sanctuary Enhancement Team (SET) to work with Alison to decorate the sanctuary, including the vestibule (just inside the stained glass doors) in keeping with either the monthly themes or the seasonal changes. This group (Clela Reed, chair; Vivian Sellers, Myrna Adams West and Carol Lee Baker) is recruiting volunteers to provide flowers in the sanctuary.

Mary Jean Hartel
Mary Jean Hartel

UUFA’s music centers around two choirs. JUUbilation Singers is the name of the group of about 20 members that sing at the 9:00 AM service. The Chalice Choir sings at the 11:00 AM service with about 30 members.  There is some cross-over between the choirs which practice together on Wednesdays and sing the same pieces, sometimes with different soloists or combinations of voices. The two choirs combine for special occasions and programs, such as Solstice, Holiday, Justice Fest, and other events.

Palms of Fire, the Fellowship’s drum circle, has a fluctuating cast of characters—between 25 and 30.  Not all are members of the Fellowship.  Not all wish to perform, but some prefer to just come on Wednesday night and drum away their cares.  All are welcome.

UUFA enjoys the music of two house bands: You Band members are Amber Fetner, Debbie Hardegree, Diana Torell, Brent Litch, Mike Merva, Chris Hayden and Karen Pinkie Bergmann.  They occasionally have guest singers/musicians, such as Lilith Kiewel and Robin Williams.  BlUUgrass Folks are Paul Eskildsen, Ted Mayer, Diana Torell, Herb West and Myrna Adams West, with occasional guests.  The two bands combine for special programs. Thanks to the UUFA volunteer sound techs, the congregation can enjoy the varied musical presentations as well the spoken word.

Myrna Adams West, Spiritual Arts Lay Minister
Myrna Adams West, Spiritual Arts Lay Minister

UUFA supports Artistic Expressions through  Writing as Spiritual Practice, led by Myrna Adams West, which offers an opportunity to explore spiritual expression in various genres and is open to anyone who wishes to attend.  The Foyer Art Gallery is facilitated by Bill and Jackie Pierson.

Fellowship members and friends participate in several Religious Affinity Groups. The Goddess Group, is open to all women of the Fellowship and community.  Men occasionally attend special programs.  Myrna Adams West is the coordinator with many of the Goddesses providing facilitation and leadership.  David Jarrett coordinates the Jewish group; Illona Stewart, the Pagan group.