Marques Ruff Named Interim Music Director

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon made the following announcement on Aug. 20, 2017:

Marques Ruff

I am very pleased to introduce to you our new Interim Director of Music Ministry, Marques Jerrell Ruff, who will be working with us for this transitional year beginning Sunday, August 20,2017.

Marques comes to us fresh off of several years touring as a member of the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in music, he is excited to begin his Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Mizzou this fall!

A lover of classical, jazz, gospel and show tunes, Marques is also a writer and rather good amateur chef. When not listening to and/or creating music, he can be found enjoying nature, new restaurants, and falling down the hole that is video suggestions on YouTube.

Our search team was especially impressed by Marques’ excellence across an extremely wide variety of musical styles, and we are excited to see how he helps our congregation grow musically, as we dream together about our long-term musical hopes and goals.

In faith and song!
Rev. Molly

2017-18 officers selected

2017-18 church officers have been selected.

Todd Iveson, who previously was selected by the Board of Trustees as 2016-17 President-Elect, automatically became President on July 1 under church bylaws.

At its July 27 meeting, the board selected the following additional officers:

  • President-Elect – Barbara Rupp
  • Secretary – Sam Buffaloe
  • Treasurer – Patty Daus (she also served as 2016-17 Treasurer)


All-Church Picnic – Sept. 9

Join us at church at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, to kick off the church year with fellowship, food and fun!

Meat and veggie hamburgers and hotdogs, buns, and condiments will be provided. Bring side dishes and desserts to share. We’ll share a picnic dinner, games for kids, and more.

We’ll gather on the church grounds, or in the building in case of inclement weather. Bring your picnicking gear and utensils for your family.

President’s Perspective: Looking Ahead

By Todd Iveson, 2017-18 President

Writing this, my first newsletter article as your new President, proved harder than I expected. I couldn’t decide whether I was speaking in my capacity as President or for myself. In the end, this one was easy. Because the board as currently constituted (we have three new members) has not yet met, at least for this month I will focus on a couple of things I want to do this year.

Perhaps my highest priority is to get our facilities visioning process back on track. After an auspicious beginning in February, the congregation and the board were almost immediately swept up in the consideration of becoming a sanctuary congregation. That was an important decision that required thoughtful, deliberate, and immediate consideration. I was pleased with the courage of our congregation in deciding to offer sanctuary and with the work of the Sanctuary Task Force to make the process work.

But by the time the sanctuary decision was reached, we were heading into the end of the year rush to get everything done. The facilities visioning momentum was lost. It is important to me that we get it back. The facilities decisions we will make also require thoughtful and deliberate consideration with engagement from the entire congregation. It does not have the immediacy of the sanctuary decision, but it does require that we make steady progress to a decision point. I commit to you that I will do everything I can to ensure that it does.

The second area of focus I have for this year is to do an evaluation of our transition over the last five years or so to a policy governance model. This board is the first board that will not have any members who were involved in the good work of that transition. I think this gives us a great opportunity to look with fresh eyes at what has worked and where we might make changes to make it work better.

For those of you who may not have been as focused on this transition, policy governance, to quote our church website, “assigns a policy-making and resource-providing role to the board and designates the minister as ‘chief of staff’ – that is, supervisor of staff members and volunteers.”

I first served on the board of this church about 15 years ago, and I can say unequivocally that this is a huge improvement. Back then, we spent many hours deciding such mundane issues as whether to re-asphalt on the parking lot, the proper design of the memorial garden, and which organizations could use the church for free.

Though mundane, these are important decisions, and they are much better made by our committees, teams and staff closest to the issue. After more than 20 years in leadership positions in my day job, I have learned that an organization works best when the people closest to a need are authorized to address it. The board must clearly articulate the organizational goals to guide those decisions, provide support when it is requested, and provide sufficient oversight to ensure that guidance is consistently followed. Then get out of the way.

In closing, please know that the board is always available to listen to your praise or criticism, your plans and dreams for the church, or just to answer questions. We are the board of the congregation, and we serve all of you. Please let us know what’s on your mind.

CROP Walk Sept. 17, 2017

The 2017 CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Walk will take place at 2 p.m. Sept. 17, 2017 at Stephens Lake Park.

This annual event sponsored by Church World Service is an interfaith effort to raise funds to relieve hunger here in Columbia and mid-Missouri, across the U.S. and around the world.

Watch for the CROP Walk table in the greeting area throughout the month of August and the weeks leading up to the Walk. Email Allie Gassmann for more information.

Fourth Honduras trip a great success

Sixteen UUCC members and friends went on the fourth UUCC service trip to Honduras from June 13 to 20. We built latrines, painted the elementary school, and painted the health clinic inside and out. The gynecologist in our group offered Pap smears to the women of the area.

We strengthened the friendships we had made previously and formed new friendships. And since we stayed in a guest house with just two bathrooms and eight beds, we got to know each other really well too – and came back from the trip having strengthened our friendships between each other!

During our stay the people in the area were having a significant uptick of diarrheal diseases, underlining how important it is to have latrines to prevent spread of such diseases.

We have gotten the Pap smear lab results back by now, and it turns out almost all the women had either STDs or yeast infections. With the funds we have raised, we can make sure that these women get the treatment they need.

We convey the gratitude of the people of El Pital and surrounding areas for UUCC’s generous support!
There will be a worship service about the trip on Oct. 8. See pictures and read more about the trip.


– Allie Gassmann
Social Action Team
Honduras Project Team Chair

Green Sanctuary Team updates

In August and September, the Green Sanctuary Team will focus its energy on Mindful Place-Making. We are paying attention to the places where we live, work, and worship, so that they fulfill the needs of other living things as well as our own.

We support the efforts of the Grounds Team to incorporate more native plants in our landscape, supporting biodiversity. All UUCC members and friends are encouraged to join in the Grounds Team work days coming up this fall on Aug. 5, Sept. 16, and Oct. 21. Look for new signs celebrating our native habitat!

We hope to move ahead with our application to become a candidate for Green Sanctuary certification in August. There is a lot of work involved in this! Here is a list of the types of projects we need to do:

  • 3 Worship and Celebration Events
  • 3 Religious Education Events
  • 4 Sustainable Living Actions
  • 1 Environmental Justice Project

Stay tuned for more details about these projects in the year ahead. We welcome participation, whether on a single project or on our team.

Our next meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at the home of Ellen Thomas, 2616 Hillshire Drive.