Call for 50 UUs to help with voter canvass Oct. 21

Our UUCC Voter Engagement Team is calling upon the congregation to participate in “UU Can!! Voter Canvassing Extravaganza” from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.

Canvassing will begin at Wilkes Boulevard Methodist Church, 702 Wilkes Blvd., and take place in Columbia’s First and Third wards. The purpose is to engage with the community concerning Proposition B (minimum wage) and Amendment 1 (“Clean Missouri”) and put our UU faith principles into action and reclaim democracy. Click the following button to sign up:

Because of the efforts of our Voter Engagement Team, which works with Missouri Faith Voices, 62 shifts on behalf of Proposition B and Amendment 1 had been completed as of Oct. 16 – 29 canvassing shifts and 33 phonebank shifts. Thirty-seven different UUCC volunteers have been involved. This turnout has meant that we’ve been able to knock on 735 doors and talk to 361 people by phone, 65%-70% of whom support our issues. With UU help, Faith Voices also registered 76 low-income voters who are often discounted. THANK YOU!

Importance of the Initiatives:

As you know, Proposition B and Amendment 1 are important initiatives – the first to help the most marginalized among us by raising the minimum wage, the second to help restore democracy in our state. If we can pass Amendment 1 in Missouri, imagine the example we set for the rest of the country. And then imagine the people’s initiatives that could be put forward if every state prevented the corporations and large donors from controlling our elections and political system!

Both of these initiatives speak directly to several of our UU principles:

  • First Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Second Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Fifth Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • Sixth Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

What’s left to be done, we can do together:

We have a huge opportunity, but it will only happen if we work hard to get out the votes. Will you please join us? We only have two more weeks to do this, and we need to make an all-out effort.

If you can spare time for just one canvass or phone bank it could make a big difference.

This Sunday, Oct. 21, from 1 to 5 p.m., we are asking UUs to come out in a big way for Proposition B and Amendment 1 by canvassing with us in two wards that typically have a low voter turnout.

From the the UU Missouri Faith Voices Voter Engagement Team (click links below to email team members for more information):

 

UUCC helps make CROPwalk 2018 a success

UUCC members and friends donated to and walked in the successful 2018 CROPwalk to raise funds for hunger relief in Columbia, the United States and the world. The Church World Service event took place at Stephens Lake Park on Sept. 23.

At last count more than $18,000 had been raised. One-fourth of the money will stay in Columbia and go to various food pantries, St. Francis House and the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Thanks to all who donated and participated!

– Allie Gassmann, Social Action Team

Among UUCC CROPwalkers were, from left, Leila, Allie and Walter
Gassmann, Peter Holmes, Sibylle Hoeschele and Wiley Miller.

Oct. 14, 2018 – Damaged by Privilege

In his sermon on Oct. 14, 2018, Jeff Ordway recalled how the privilege of being a white male, which might sound desirable, instead resulted in damage to his own soul and especially to others. The events of recent weeks, when we watched several women come forward at great personal risk to describe abusive behavior by a Supreme Court nominee only to watch as his confirmation sail through a mostly-male Senate, drive home the lasting damage done by white male privilege. Jeff’s personal journey witnessing and experiencing abuses and callous behavior among young white males demonstrates how these attitudes and behaviors are perpetuated. Trigger warning: The subjects addressed in this podcast may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Oct. 7, 2018 – Everyday Evil

Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust in the years after the Second World War, German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt said: “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” At worship on Oct. 7, 2018, Rev. Molly Hough Gordon’s sermon grappled with the small ways people of good will can participate in evil in their everyday lives and how we can work to align ourselves with good.

Sept. 30, 2018 – Peace Must Be Dared

German theologian, pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe.” On Sept. 30, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored the mingling ideas of safety and risk in these times and in our lives against the backdrop of Senate testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her unsettling experiences. After the sermon, we celebrated our long-time and well-loved Church Administrator, Kathie Bergman, upon her retirement.

Hello! – from Alexis

I’m excited to be serving as your part-time Intern Minister for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 church years as a part of my formation as a minister. I will be working with various groups and facilitating worship services every other month (or so) during my time with you.

The UUA requires ministerial interns to develop in a variety of areas, so my work with you will evolve and might not always look the same as the months progress. Thank you for the kindness many of you have already displayed in welcoming me into your community.

My social media policy is not to “friend” or follow members and friends of the congregations I serve, but I enjoy face-to-face interactions and appreciate it when people introduce themselves to me.

I welcome conversation and can be contacted via email to set up an appointment.

Start thinking about being a UU delegate

Our Denominational Affairs Team (DAT) urges church members to begin thinking about becoming a delegate to our UU regional assembly or the UUA General Assembly. We are entitled to send six delegates to:

  • The next MidAmerica Region assembly in St. Louis April 5-7, 2019.
  • The next UUA G.A. in Spokane, Wash. June 19-23, 2019.

Church members interested in being delegates should email Nominating Committee Chair Todd Iveson. The committee submits delegate nominations to the Board of Trustees, which selects delegates.

For more information or to join the DAT, email chair Steve Scott.

SAT retreat reaffirms commitment to courageous love in action

At its annual retreat on Saturday, Sept. 8, our Social Action Team reaffirmed our church’s and our team’s important role in being moral and values-based actors in our community’s and country’s social and political life, as well as in our work on behalf of our Earth. We are one of just a few faith communities that comes from a clear and progressive perspective in a state that is dominated by conservative views.

There are five important aspects of our social justice work:

  1. Direct service
  2. Fundraising (to support our work and those of partnering community organizations)
  3. Education (learning about issues, our role in them, how to effect systemic change)
  4. Advocacy and witness (e.g. through our work with Missouri Faith Voices)
  5. Community-building and deep connection (to sustain ourselves in the work, but also to create the world and kinds of relationships we want to see)

Our identified areas of focus and interest include economic justice, anti-racism, and diversity. We also hope to partner with the Green Sanctuary Team on areas of environmental justice.

To do this important work, we need as many hands on deck as we can gather. Please consider joining our team and one of our subcommittees. The SAT meets on the first Sunday of each month in the Library/Forum Room on the lower level immediately after the 11 a.m. service.

For more information, email new Social Action Team Chair Caya Tanski.

Sept. 23, 2018 – A Shelter for Every Storm

At worship on Sept. 23, 2018, our Sanctuary Team (Immigrant Ministry) explored how to create an expansive sense of what it means to offer sanctuary in these challenging times. Together, we considered how claiming our identity as a sanctuary congregation relates to creating deep connections, radical welcome and courageous love – not just for our immigrant friends and guests, but for ourselves as members of this sanctuary community. With the addition of a shower in the church, we now have made our building even more accommodating should a person or family need the shelter of our church as they pursue legal remedies to avoid deportation – the Sanctuary Team thanks everyone who helped make this possible.

Sept. 16, 2018 – Making Amends

Our Jewish neighbors, members, and friends observed the high holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Sept. 18-19, 2018. We all make mistakes. There is something reassuring about that – we have all fallen short, every one of us. Listen to the podcast of our Sept. 16, 2018 interactive worship service for all ages, in which we took the opportunity to contemplate what it means to make amends and acknowledge our failings and the importance of creating a community that continually recommits to our promises.

Board seeks committee volunteers

Our Board of Trustees is seeking volunteers to serve on the Audit Committee and the Investments and Endowment Committee.

Audit Committee: If you are looking for a way to serve the church that can be done indoors, takes about two hours a month, is needed every other month, and requires no prior experience, consider joining the Audit Committee. Members of this committee review the church’s financial records bi-monthly and conduct a more in-depth review once a year. Training will be provided. For more information, email Treasurer Patty Daus or board member Elaine Martin.

Investments and Endowment Committee: Volunteers who have experience in finance are preferred for this committee, which meets four times a year to discuss, research and make decisions on how our church can best manage its investments based on our UU principles. For more information, email Treasurer Patty Daus or committee Chair Pam Springsteel.

Sept. 9, 2018 – Sanctuary – An Altar in the World

“Loaded words” is our worship theme for the year, and September’s loaded word is “sanctuary.” Listen to our worship service on Sept. 9, 2018 when the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon, “An Altar in the World,” explored what it is to create and experience sacred space, and sanctuary, in the world and in our lives.

Suzanne Clark is next Church Administrator

Suzanne Clark

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

I am very pleased to introduce to you our next Church Administrator, Suzanne Clark.

Suzanne has recently returned to Columbia after a number of years residing near family in Rochester, NY. She spent the last 15 years working at Temple B’rith Kodesh, a Reform synagogue in Rochester, where she performed administrative duties as assistant executive director. Congregational life and the rewards of working with a community were main motivators for her in applying for the position with us. She is looking forward to meeting everyone and adjusting to a new working environment.

Suzanne will start Monday, Sept. 17, and work with retiring Administrator Kathie Bergman for the next two weeks learning the ropes. Kathie’s official retirement date is Sept. 30, although we are very grateful that she will remain available to Suzanne for a time for any questions that may come up.

Save the date for Sept. 30 after church to celebrate Kathie’s long and wonderful tenure, and get excited to welcome Suzanne warmly among us!

Chalice Circles enrollment begins

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

We warmly invite you to participate in our Chalice Circles – a form of Small Group Ministry that we practice at UUCC. Small Group Ministry is a spiritual practice that creates a sacred space where we can tell the stories of our lives, be heard, and listen deeply to the life experiences of our companions.

The intimacy of these spiritual groups enriches the participants’ lives with greater depth of meaning. This Small Group Ministry practice complements our Sunday morning worship by providing additional time for our members to engage further in the conversations that are begun from the pulpit.

Chalice Circles meet monthly for an hour and a half to two hours. The format of the meetings helps participants set aside daily distractions, reflect on their lives and beliefs, and make meaningful connections with one another. Through sharing their wisdom, members often leave each meeting with a deeper understanding of themselves and of each other. Each Chalice Circle becomes a small, personal community of listening and caring in the midst of a larger congregation.

Chalice Circles generally run from October through May. While it is nice to start in at the beginning, you may join at any time. There is no cost to join, and you do not have to be a member of the church to participate. There will be a sign-up table after church services during the month of September where members will be available to answer your questions, and assist you in signing up for the program. You can also enroll online by clicking the button below.

Please stop by the table these next few Sundays and see what Chalice Circles are all about!

Note: Previous Chalice Circle participants are asked to re-enroll this year. Every effort will be made to place previous participants in their previous circles.

Worship music plans announced

From Marques J. Ruff, Interim Director of Music:

I am excited about the return to our two services. During my first year as Interim Director of Music, I aimed for consistency between the services by having the same music presented at both. That worked well for us, but it became clear to me that the 9 a.m. service involves a certain level of intimacy, and I would like for our musical offerings during that service to be reflective of that.

With the blessing of the Rev. Molly, Arun Garg (your Staff Pianist) and I have developed a new musical program for the 9 a.m. service. We are now shifting our focus to a chamber music offering each week. We will endeavor to enhance your worship experience with music for piano trio (piano, violin, and cello), other instrumental pairings (including voice), and solo instrumentalists as well.

I am hopeful that this new musical focus for the 9 a.m. service will propel our worship experience forward and be a welcome addition to our diverse musical programming. I also welcome instrumentalists in the congregation of whom I am unaware to contact me should you have a desire to play in an upcoming service.

Sept. 2, 2018 – The Work of Love

What is the work of love? Work can be a sacred gift, a meditation, and a prayer in itself. Listen as Reverend Molly Housh Gordon considered the many ways that we serve our deepest calling in this life at our Sept. 2, 2018 worship service on Labor Day weekend.

Aug. 26, 2018 – Ingathering and Water Ceremony

Every year, at the end of the warmth of summer and the beginning of the coolness of fall, we hold an ingathering ceremony – to gather the waters from out diverse travels over the summer and gather our grounded souls as we begin a new church year. Water is in our very bodies, and is found wherever we go whether that be the far reaches of the Earth or right here at home. Listen to this ceremony held on Aug. 26, 2018.

New Voter Engagement Team seeks volunteers

The new UUCC Voter Engagement Team is one of 10 congregational groups in Columbia and Jefferson City partnering with Missouri Faith Voices in an effort to mobilize 7,500 previously disengaged voters to cast ballots for CLEAN and Raise Up MO.

The team is seeking volunteers to help in three ways:

  • Community engagement through canvassing and phone-banking
  • Contacting friends and family members to help them register and plan to vote
  • Helping all members and friends of our church to register and vote

To get involved, email one of the following team members:

Read more

Two adult R.E. classes start Sept. 11

Mark your calendars with a recurring event to join us from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday evenings starting Sept. 11 for two exciting new adult religious education classes!

During our first 10-week semester from Sept. 11 to Nov. 13, our Adult R.E. Team will offer two thought-provoking classes – “Class Consciousness in Unitarian Universalism” and “What Moves Us: UU Theology.”

Registration is not required, and you are welcome to come to some or all of the sessions. Free childcare will be provided.

We’ll kick off this exciting new program with a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11, followed by classes at 6:30.

Read more below about each of the classes:

Current Events/Social Justice Track: “Class Consciousness in Unitarian Universalism”

This curriculum invites congregation members to explore how class influences their values, coping styles, and expectations about others. A combination of self reflection, small group activities, large group discussion and videos is provided. We will review how we can make our congregation an even more welcoming place for people of all class backgrounds and prepare to take action against escalating economic inequality.

Topics include:

  • Why we avoid talking about class
  • Emotions related to class differences
  • Class indicators
  • Types of classism
  • Intersections with other “isms”
  • Meritocracy
  • UU history and contexts
  • Domains for congregational classism
  • Economic inequality – reasons for and impacts of
  • Class cultures in organizations
  • Becoming a class ally
  • Stages of classism awareness

Spirituality/UU Identity Track: “What Moves Us: UU Theology”

When we say, “That service was very moving,” or “I always love that song,” we know what moves us as Unitarian Universalists: personal experience. These comments and so many others demonstrate every week that our religious feelings and practices are changing and transforming us through direct personal experience as a major source of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Yet, we often stumble when trying to explain our Unitarian Universalist theology of personal experience to ourselves and to others.

The “What Moves Us” program peels back the doctrine-rich theological language that can prevent us from affirming our faith experiences with one another and in the wider world. Through shared direct experiences and reflection exercises, readings and lessons, and ethical deliberations, “What Moves Us” creates an adult faith journey for Unitarian Universalists who want to preach and teach what they already experience but have not been able to articulate – the spiritual power of our faith. Each session will look at the faith journey of an influential UU.

Topics include:

  • Physician George de Benneville’s experience of boundless Divine Love that pulled him from a deep despair and led him to become one of the spiritual fathers of American Universalism.
  • Puritan minister Charles Chauncy’s response to the emotionalism of the Great Awakening, which led him to affirm the place of human reason in religious renewal, inadvertently sparking a new American liberal theological tradition.
  • Universalist forebear Hosea Ballou’s shift from dejection to happiness when he read, on his own, the book banned by his Baptist preacher father because it had turned his son into an apostate – the Bible.
  • Unitarian forebear William Ellery Channing’s celebration of human nature as divine, while at the same time engaging in a struggle to gain control and mastery of his own emotions, believing such struggle to be the route to moral perfection.
  • Transcendentalist forebear Margaret Fuller’s personal discovery of an uplifting religion of the heart that turned her into a liberal religious champion for human rights for all people, everywhere.
  • Unitarian Universalist founding religious educator, theologian, and minister Sophia Lyon Fahs’ personal experience of the emotional impulses that prompt people to be religious because these feelings are part of human nature “everywhere and apparently always.”
  • Beloved 20th-century Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams’ encounter with Nazism which led to his understanding that our religious beliefs and our faith are reflected in our actions rather than in our words.
  • Renowned theologian and minister Forrest Church’s personal discovery of the liberating feelings of awe and humility that prompted him to preach, teach, and write his Universalist Theology for the Twenty-First Century.
  • Celebrated human rights activist, author, minister, and third-generation Unitarian William F. Schulz, whose own personal discovery of a steadfast “organic faith” that can teach all of us how to stay the course through anxious feelings, led him first as president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (1985-1993) and then as president of Amnesty International, USA from 1994-2006, and now as president and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, to practice his Unitarian Universalist ministry on the world stage.
  • Respected contemporary theologian, writer, and teacher Thandeka, whose discovery that personal experience is the basis of our faith commitments has led her to advocate for building networks of care and compassion in our faith communities through her “We Love Beyond Belief” program (revthandeka.org) and the spiritual practice of small group ministry.

Aug. 19, 2018 – Being UU in an Era of Blood-Sport Politics

The current era of blood-sport, winner-take-all politics marked by xenophobia and hyper-nationalism may feel new and different, but it’s actually a recurring pattern in American history. How can we as Unitarian Universalists resist these ugly phenomena while remaining true to our principles? Steve Scott leads us in this challenging topic, with a bit of humor and a reminder to adhere to our principles.

Aug. 5, 2018 podcast – General Assembly

At worship on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, our congregation heard from three of our delegates to General Assembly, the Unitarian Univeralist Association’s annual gathering. This year’s General Assembly was held in Kansas City, Mo., which allowed about two dozen of our members to join thousands of other UUs from around the country and the world for five days of learning, reflection, meditation, and the business of the association. Delegates Steve Scott, Peter Holmes and Todd Iveson shared their experiences at this exciting gathering.

Aug. 12, 2018 – Fractal Reality

At our worship service on Aug. 12, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored the concept of fractal reality. Fractal patterns move from small to large, and not entirely the other way around. The small changes we make every day, in our lives and our organization, matter. In this podcast you’ll hear Rev. Molly propose that how we do the work of change matters.

Introducing our new Intern Minister

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

Alexis
(Click to enlarge)

I am very pleased to introduce to you our new Intern Minister, Alexis, who will be working with us part-time for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 church years as a part of her formation as a Unitarian Universalist minister!

I am so excited for us to become a teaching congregation – I know that Alexis and we, the congregation, will learn so much from one another. Alexis will be here on Sunday for our Water Ceremony Ingathering to begin to meet you, and she will begin her work with us the following week. Please join me in giving her a warm UUCC welcome!

Alexis is a candidate with the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is starting her first year of part-time supervised ministry with us and her second year of seminary as a long-distance student at Phillips Theological Seminary, a progressive Disciples of Christ seminary in Tulsa, Okla. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband and their 10-year-old son.

Alexis has experience facilitating worship and small group ministry as a lay leader at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Jefferson City, speaks regularly at the Unitarian Church in Quincy, Ill., and is very grateful for the opportunity to learn from and serve this congregation.

Her introduction to Unitarian Universalism took place more than 10 years ago when she was invited to provide Religious Education for children and youth at the Quincy Unitarian Church while studying to become an English teacher. She knew she was in the right place after reading “Love is the spirit of this church….”

Alexis is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, the Unitarian Universalist Membership Association of Membership Professionals, and attended Midwest Leadership School in 2016.

See you in Church!
Rev. Molly

[Note: Alexis’ last name is not published because of a privacy concern specific to her.]

July 29, 2018 Podcast: Sanctuary

At worship on Sunday, July 29, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon reflected on the meaning of Sanctuary. A sanctuary literally means a church, yet also means a place of spiritual and even legal refuge. Rev. Molly explored how we can create a culture of compassion and expand our circle of warmth and care to those around us.

Peace Building Team update

The Peace Building Team is seeking additional team members. Anyone interested in serving on the team may contact the team’s chair, Caya Tanski-French, by phone at 573-447-2915 or 573-673-3925 or by email.

Dave Gibbons has stepped down as a member of the team because of his travel schedule and family commitments. Current members of the team are:

  • Paul Ladehoff – email
  • Anna Lingo – email
  • Caya Tanski-French, Chair – email

Archived Podcast – Youths Speak Out on Gun Violence

This podcast is an archived recording of our March 18, 2018 worship service. We have the privilege to hear our YRUU youth group share their feelings and thoughts about gun violence and the toll it has taken on their young lives.

2018 UUA General Assembly

The Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly was held this year from June 20 to 24 in Kansas City, Mo. What is GA? It’s part inspiration and spiritual sustenance. It’s an opportunity to mingle with UUs from all over the country and some other countries and engage in issues important to our UU faith. But also, it’s a time to conduct a lot of the business of the association.

This year there were 2,814 registered attendees, including 134 youth. 522 congregations from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Mexico were represented by 1,570 delegates, including 199 off-site delegates.

Our voting delegates this year were Rev. Molly, Todd Iveson, Peter Holmes, Gretchen Maune, Connie Ordway, and Steve Scott. About 15 other members of our church also attended all or part of GA, and a number of them served as volunteers performing various tasks to keep the show running, in exchange for which they received free registration for GA. For example, Maria Oropallo and Kathie Bergman staffed an information booth to answer questions from attendees, and Larry Lile assisted with the tech staff that provided audio/video services.

The business of the General Assembly takes place in General Sessions. All registered attendees are welcome at these sessions, but only voting delegates can vote.

At the business sessions there was broad consensus for aggressively challenging the criminalization of migrants, people of color, and indigenous people. Delegates overwhelmingly selected “Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy” as a multiyear Congregational Study/Action Issue.

Delegates also endorsed three Actions of Immediate Witness, which all emphasize the urgency of supporting people of color and indigenous people. The first calls for congregational action to draw attention to predatory medical fees charged to incarcerated people, who are disproportionately people of color; the UUA’s Church of the Larger Fellowship developed the resolution in partnership with its 870 incarcerated members.

A second resolution pledged solidarity with indigenous “water protectors,” who have been fighting the placement of liquid natural gas pipelines near Native American lands and who face federal charges for disrupting construction of the pipelines.

The third resolution demanded immediate action to improve U.S. treatment of asylum seekers and migrant families to keep families together. Among other demands, the resolution advocates the abolition of Immigration Customs Enforcement “and the implementation of a system that understands the causes of migration, provides a non-carceral solution while asylum seekers await a decision on their case, and has a fundamental commitment to keeping families together.”

Delegates also approved a group of bylaw changes to bring the UUA’s governing document up to date with current understandings of gender diversity. A proposal introduced last year to change Unitarian Universalism’s “Second Source” from “words and deeds of prophetic women and men” to “words and deeds of prophetic people” passed easily.

A second bylaws amendment changed all gendered pronouns in the bylaws to the gender-inclusive “they/them/their.”

A third bylaws amendment will allow religious educators who are active members of the Liberal Religious Educators Association to serve as voting delegates at future GAs.

The assembly also approved bylaws changes adding two youth trustees to the 11 at-large trustees on the UUA Board of Trustees; allowing the role of moderator at GA to be filled by more than one person; modifying the length of terms of service on committees; and simplifying the social witness resolutions process.

Join the Denominational Affairs Team

The primary responsibility of our new Denominational Affairs Team is to act as a liaison between our congregation and both the Unitarian Universalist Association and the MidAmerica Region. The team will:

  • Meet to discuss issues of denominational concern.
  • Promote education on UUA General Assembly social justice statements in collaboration with other teams.
  • Foster an understanding of and commitment to what it means to be a responsible member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Through these efforts, the Denominational Affairs Team will prepare a pool of people in our congregation to be delegates to the General Assembly and regional meetings.

For more information, contact Steve Scott at 573-442-1865 or by email.

July 22, 2018 – Our Whole Lives

At our worship service on July 22, 2018, Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and others offered a spiritual exploration of human sexuality and information about our “Our Whole Lives” (OWL) program of comprehensive sexuality education for all ages.

July 15, 2018 – Try a Little Tenderness

In her sermon “Try a Little Tenderness” on July 15, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored what it means to engage tenderness as a tactic of resistance in a time when appeals to security, strength and “other-ing” are used to oppress. She suggested how to bring softness and openness to the time at hand.

July 8, 2018 – Everything Must Change: A Woman Gets Older

On Sunday, July 8, 2018, we explored “Everything Must Change: A Woman Gets Older,” organized by Connie Ordway. What does it mean for a woman to age in this society? Connie mapped the journey for women to reclaim their status as “Wise Women” with the help of several other women.

Steps planned to reduce noise as worship begins

A note from the Worship Associates Team

Our members and friends may recall that we had a couple of “Congregational Conversations” in February and March as part of our search for a new Director of Music Ministry. The Worship Associates co-sponsored the first conversation because it specifically explored the relationship between music and the worship experience. Those conversations raised some concerns about our worship together that we want to address.

One of the things mentioned repeatedly was the level of noise in the sanctuary during the prelude. The prelude should be a time for congregants to center themselves and prepare for worship. In our congregation, it has become common for people to continue their conversations while entering the sanctuary, or after they’ve taken a seat, and sometimes even raise their voices over the music. Many found this disruptive to their own worship experience and/or disrespectful to musicians who’ve come to share their gifts of music with the congregation.

We know this isn’t intentional – we are just a gregarious lot! And, as a congregation, we have not been all that clear about what we expect at the beginning of service. The Worship Associates have now identified several steps intended to rectify this situation. We will be experimenting with these ideas over the summer to see which have the most merit, and we wanted to let you know what to expect.

First, please be aware that the prelude starts a few minutes before the scheduled service time. We will let you know that the prelude is about to begin by ringing the bell, just as we do now. There will also be an announcement from the pulpit, for those already seated. Ushers will then close all but one of the sanctuary doors. Signs on the doors will remind folks to enter quietly at that point – and also serve as a reminder for those remaining in the greeting area during the service that they should be mindful of how easily sound carries into the sanctuary.

The Worship Associates hope congregants will find that these changes help improve their worship experience. We will be revisiting what we think works (and doesn’t) at future Worship Associate meetings. We would welcome comments and suggestions as we test the process this summer. Feel free to contact us by email.

Faith-to-Action nominations requested

The UUCC Social Action Team is requesting nominations for Faith-to-Action Collection recipients for the 2018-2019 church year.  The team is accepting nominations only until Oct. 1, 2018.

Nominations can be made by completing an online form available here – or on a paper form available here or from the Church Administrator. If the paper form is used, put the completed form in the Social Action Team mailbox at the church or mail it to Social Action Team, Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd., Columbia, MO 65201.

Selection Criteria: Nominees may be local, regional, national, or international organizations, programs, or agencies that align with our church mission and vision.  Preference will be given to local or regional efforts with which the congregation has an ongoing working relationship.  For non-local efforts, preference will be given to those with an established connection to the UUA, UUSC or a regional UU ministry.

Music Director search extended

From the Music Director Search Team:

Late last spring Rev. Molly formed a search team tasked with finding a replacement for our beloved Desi Long upon her retirement. Our immediate need – music for the summer services – was fairly easily met by our “deep bench” of volunteer musicians, for whom we are ALL most grateful!

The longer-term question of how best to minister through music, to both the congregation and the larger community, was far more complex. Rev. Molly has already described much of that initial process of creating an interim period in earlier communications, so we won’t repeat them here. Suffice it to say we were most fortunate to secure Marques J. Ruff as our Interim Director of Music Ministry. It was our hope that Marques could manage the immediate tasks as well as help us articulate a clear vision for UUCC’s music program and better define the skills needed by candidates for a permanent position.

Our committee met recently to discuss what we’ve learned in this first half of the church year and to review the search timeline we’d originally established.

We have already seen a number of changes. Choir rehearsals are longer and performances more frequent. We have benefited from the addition of Arun Garg as our new professional accompanist for the choir and our services. Both the choir and the congregation have had a chance to experience a diverse musical repertoire. The feedback we hear is largely positive, but we still feel there is much more to learn about music and culture in our congregation – what we love, what is uncomfortable, what is possible, and more. We want to fully engage the congregation in this conversation so that we have a more complete understanding of what we are looking for in a permanent director.

It is the consensus of the committee that our original timeline of one program year (about nine months) did not allow sufficient time for securing and reflecting on your input. We feel it is critically important to take the time we need to listen first, then recruit, select, and hire a permanent director that is the right long-term fit for our congregation.

To that end, we must adjust our search timeline. This is also, in part, because our process is being happily interrupted by our minister’s parental leave, from the end of March to mid-June 2018.

Our revised timeline extends the search process through May of 2019. That also means lengthening the interim period, allowing Marques more time to work with the congregation and with the search committee. We are very pleased to share that Marques has agreed to extend his engagement with us through May 2019. As previously stated, the interim director is not eligible to apply for the permanent position. And we are sure that Marques will be off to impressive new adventures when his degree program ends in May of 2019.

Key points in the revised timeline appear below.

  • Winter/Spring 2018 – Congregational Conversations
  • Spring/Summer 2018 – Finalize job description
  • Early Fall 2018 – Post and Advertise Job
  • Late Fall/Early Winter 2018 – Conduct Interviews
  • By January 2019 – Make and finalize offer
  • June 1, 2019 – Permanent Director of Music Ministry begins work

We have tentatively scheduled two congregational conversations to inform our search. One will occur in February and another in March. Our topics will include your present experiences and future dreams for music at UUCC. You’ll receive more detailed information shortly!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of us.

With all our best,

Kara Braudis
Cande Iveson
Pack Matthews
Neil Minturn

Dec. 10, 2017 – The Wildness of the Season

On Dec. 10, 2017, Worship Associate Rebecca Graves explored “The Wildness of The Season.” Focusing on the northern European figure of Krampus, she examined what it means to tap into the wild within.

Dec. 3, 2017 – Show Up Anyway

On Dec. 3, 2017, we heard a story about a woman who showed up anyway. Amid the inevitable struggles of life and relationships, one of the most profound things we do in religious community is to explore how to remain faithful to one another, to our highest values, and to love. When the going gets tough, it takes spiritual maturity to stay at the table and find our way through. “If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.” Are you intrigued? Listen to Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s inspiring story about Ruth Coker Burks from Little Rock, Ark.

Your Amazon shopping can benefit UUCC

Do you do online shopping at Amazon? If so, your purchases can now benefit our church with a contribution from Amazon of 0.5% of the purchase price.

Here’s how to get started:

1. In your browser, go to https://smile.amazon.com.

2. Sign in using your normal Amazon username and password.

3. Next you will see a screen with a box on the right asking you to “Select a charity.”

4. In the bottom of that box, where it says “Or pick your own charitable organization,” type “Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia” in the box and click the “Search” button.

5. Next you will see a screen showing our church with the location listed as “Columbia MO,” and there may be other churches listed. Click the “Select” button next to our church’s name.

6. Finally, you will see another screen with a checkbox to indicate that you understand that you must always start at https://smile.amazon.com to support our church. After clicking the checkbox, you can click the “Start Shopping” button which will take you to the main Amazon screen.

A tutorial covering the above steps and including screenshots is available in a printable PDF.

In the future, always start your Amazon shopping at https://smile.amazon.com so that your purchases will benefit UUCC. You will find all the same Amazon products and prices there as regular Amazon.

Tip: If you have set up a bookmark or favorite for Amazon, be sure to change it to the new address.

Finally, don’t forget that you can also donate to UUCC when you do grocery shopping at Schnucks – read more.

Nov. 19, 2017 podcast: “Staying at the Table”

In her sermon on Nov. 19, 2017, “Staying at the Table,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon spoke of how Thanksgiving time with family is sometimes fun, sometimes hard, and always meaningful, and she explored how we can stay at the table through it all. Listen as she starts with a closer look at a hymn popular in the Civil Rights movement – “We’re Going to Sit at the Welcome Table.”

Nov. 12, 2017 podcast: “Struggling Together”

Our members Kevin EarthSoul, Connie Ordway and Melissa McConnell spoke at our “Struggling Together” worship services on Nov. 12, 2017 about how they grappled with struggles of different kinds in their lives and the meaning they found in their struggles. Listen as they tell their stories. You can also read the text of Connie Ordway’s remarks, “When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be an Old Woman” (PDF).