Wine & Sanctuary event on Feb. 10

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All are invited to a Wine & Sanctuary event from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 at Rock Bridge Christian Church, 301 W. Green Meadows Rd.

Join Faith Voices of Columbia, Rock Bridge Christian Church and UUCC for an evening of music, food, and good conversation while supporting our sanctuary network in Mid-Missouri.

Now more than ever, people of faith are called to partner with their immigrant friends and neighbors in their fight to be recognized as beloved members of our communities. At this event you will have the opportunity to share fellowship and fun while contributing to our Sanctuary Fund that will help sanctuary churches with the expenses of sheltering adults and family members who are undocumented.

There is no need to buy tickets in advance – just come to the event and plan to donate what you might pay for an evening out. RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends to come. Childcare will be provided – please send your childcare needs (number of children and their ages) by email.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help, please contact Rev. Dottie Mathews by email or call 920-378-4013.

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

Celebration of Green Hearts

Join UUGS for a Celebration of Green Hearts 

February 11 –  10:30 a.m. – Greeting Area

Last month the Green Sanctuary Team invited members of the congregation to adopt a “Green” New Year’s Resolution to help reduce the impacts of pollution, resource depletion, and climate change on the planet and on people. On February 11 we will celebrate making and keeping those resolutions with a brief intergenerational ceremony, and with cookies! All are welcome!

Weather-related Church Closings

The church office may close early any day that Columbia Public Schools have closed due to weather and road conditions. Always call the church if there is any question as to whether you will find staff in the offices.  Rev. Molly will send out an email if church services are cancelled on Sundays.  Cheers!

President’s Perspective – Begin by Showing Up

By Todd Iveson, 2017-18 President

As I write, Christmas and the New Year are just days away. I usually enjoy this time of year, but this year brings me special joy. In large part that is because I am so proud and thankful to be part of our congregation.

We have just completed our successful two- week run hosting the Room at the Inn. I was fortunate to spend many mornings working with many volunteers from our church and elsewhere who made this possible. Our guests were grateful to have a warm, dry place to sleep and some food to eat.

One memory of the many that will stay with me was the guest who wondered where the cross was. He may have been more confused than convinced after a conversation with another church member and me regarding our UU principles and the symbol of the chalice. Although he may have been confused, after doing this for two weeks, I know that we live our principles in many ways, and it all begins by showing up.

Many of you may not be aware of another exciting event in the life of our congregation. Sally Fritsche grew up in our church. I taught her in youth RE and was the worship associate when she gave her first sermon in our pulpit a few years back. A little more than two years ago, she was about to begin at Harvard Divinity School and asked our congregation to sponsor her, which is a necessary step in the long process to become a UU minister. The board gladly did so.

She is now about to enter her final semester, which is exciting, but she still has a long way to go. One of the requirements she needs to complete soon to proceed on her path is to undergo a career assessment. A career assessment is a comprehensive personal, emotional, and psychological evaluation to determine suitability for ministry. There is a charge for the assessment of $1,850. The UUA covers $1,000. Recently, Sally asked the board to consider subsidizing the additional $850. Fortunately, the church established a fund to honor Rev. William Haney, our minister for more than 20 years and now minister emeritus, to foster ministerial development. The board was proud to approve use of those funds to help Sally take the next step in fulfilling her call.

On a similar note, the board also approved Rev. Molly’s request to support moving forward as a teaching congregation by bringing in an intern minister. Molly has been discussing the possibility with a member of the Jefferson City UU Fellowship currently attending seminary. This requires a financial commitment from us to pay the intern a modest stipend. More importantly, it requires a commitment by Rev. Molly and the congregation to support the minister-in-formation to learn what being a minister really means. This is primarily an important teaching responsibility, although we anticipate the intern will also make a meaningful contribution to the life of the church in both practical and spiritual ways.

My prior UU church, First Unitarian in St. Louis, was a teaching congregation. I can attest that each intern who served us contributed to the richness of our church life, each in their own unique way.

Last – but definitely not least – I am happy to report that the Nominating Committee recommended and the board approved Mindy McPherson to fill the remaining months of a vacant board slot which ends at the end of this church year. She has also agreed to stand for election to a full three-year term at our next annual meeting.

As I said at the beginning, I am proud and thankful to be a part of all the ways we are working together to help heal the world in so many ways. May we be resolved in the New Year to keep showing up, and keep faith that it always matters.

Different Kind of Stewardship Campaign

Let’s Break Bread Together!

By Qhyrrae Michaelieu for the Stewardship Team

Have you been under the impression that our yearly stewardship campaign is an uncomfortable experience to be avoided at all costs? I was, until a few years ago. I thought the conversation about pledging to the church must be very awkward and only about money. But then my husband Larry told me about the conversation he had with the church member who called him to talk about stewardship. He told me how they got coffee and had a really enjoyable chat about what was meaningful to him about our church. Not awkward at all, he said, and we really connected. Hmmmmm, I thought, that actually sounds like fun!

This year, our Stewardship Team is seeking to double down on that sense of fun, meaning, and connection as our congregation considers the financial commitments we will each make to the church in the coming year. We’re organizing simple Stewardship Suppers as a chance for groups of 8-10 people to get together for dinner (or brunch!) in a fellow member’s home, to get to know each other better, enjoy each others’ company, and talk together about what the church means to us.

A steward will be present at each dinner to offer a bit of education about why we pledge and what we hope to accomplish together with this year’s campaign, but fear not! No one will be asking you to talk about your family’s financial situation or to share about how much you pledge! That information is shared only with your steward, who will pass it along to the church for record-keeping over the coming year. The idea of these meals is to enjoy each other and to remember why we give to the church… because of all the meaningful things we can accomplish together.

How will these meals work? Our team will be dividing folks into small groups and inviting them to a certain supper or brunch time sometime in the month of February. If you’re unavailable at the appointed time, they’ll find a different supper for you to attend, and if you prefer not to attend, you can RSVP “No Thanks.” We are also still looking for hosts and stewards, so if you’re interested in holding a simple meal in your home or facilitating meaningful conversation, please email Maria Oropallo.

We hope to see you soon for a fun and meaningful conversation… and a tasty bite to eat!

Stewardship Team Members are, back row from left, Ene-Kaja Chippendale, Steve Mudrick, Jan Swaney, Michela Skelton, Maria Oropallo and Dennis Murphy; and front, Qhyrrae Michaelieu.

Green Sanctuary Team News

We are kicking off 2018 with our Green Hearts program! We invite UUs of all ages to adopt a new personal environmental practice as an act of spiritual devotion to justice and love between New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

When we consume energy and materials, the burden of the waste from their use is shared by everyone. It is unjust for only a few to enjoy the benefits of a practice when all must share its burdens. By taking a step away from consumption, you are taking a step toward justice and toward love and compassion for others, both human and wild.

Check out our list of possible practices at the Green Sanctuary table, or choose your own. Drop a slip of paper with your new practice into the jar, and then join us on Sunday, Feb. 11, before the 11 a.m. service for a brief Green Hearts ceremony to share and celebrate our combined actions.

Also watch for news of our “Stream Team” activities and our bimonthly “Skills Workshops.” We will also be building our partnership with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, starting with participating in a lobby day for local control for clean water and air at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 9. For more information, email Ellen Thomas.

It will be a busy year for Green Sanctuary, as we have now submitted our application for accreditation as an official Green Sanctuary congregation! Join us in any of our activities, or our group meetings, on the second Tuesday of each month. The January meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 at the home of Ellen Thomas.