Newsletter 2020-08-08 COVID19 – 26S

Newsletter 2020-08-08 COVID19 – 26S
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The Weekly Candle Flame    

 August 8, 2020 


Sunday Morning Online Service at 10:30am

August 9
“Themes of Harvest”
 – For Pagans, the first harvest sabbat is on August 1st. Members of the UUFoM CUUPs group reflect on this time of year and themes of harvest. Led by UUFoM member, Christina Van Poucker.

Meeting ID: 943 984 845
Password: uufom
Dial In Phone Number:  (312) 626-6799

For upcoming Sunday Services, click here.


UUFoM YouTube Channel

Did you miss our previous services? You can see a replay (minus Joys and Sorrows) below and on our YouTube Channel. We invite you to subscribe to our channel to stay up-to-date with all videos.  

2020-08-02 - Breaking the Rules

This Week at the Fellowship
All teams and groups have decided to meet via Zoom instead of face to face during this time.  Please contact your team/group leader if you need further guidance.  If you have any questions about upcoming events, please email the office or call 989-631-1162. 

All meetings listed below are via Zoom unless noted otherwise.


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USPS Moves to Slow Mail Delivery

Our Michigan UU Social Justice Network (MUUSJN) has an important announcement:  The newly-appointed Postmaster General of the United States is making the mail move more slowly, which is a way of affecting the outcome of elections in favor of the incumbent president and his party. 

If you still intend to vote by mail for November’s general election, mail your absentee ballot very early to make sure it gets counted.
Thank you for any help you can provide with getting this message distributed.

How a Mask Works

The following information can be found on Michigan's website.



  • COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact.
  • All of us have droplets in coughs and sneezes that can carry COVID-19 to others.
  • Coughs spray droplets at least 6 feet. Sneezes travel as far as 27 feet. Droplets also may spread when we talk or raise our voice.
  • These droplets can land on your face or in your mouth, eyes and nose.
  • When you wear a mask, it keeps more of your droplets with you.
  • A mask also adds an extra layer of protection between you and other people’s droplets.
The Weekly Candle Flame Summer Editions
During the summer months, the weekly Candle Flame will be circulated on Saturdays.  The newsletter will be pared down.  If you wish to submit an article, please email it to Wendy Altmeier by Thursday at 8:00pm to have it included in the upcoming issue.  

Due to shortened summer hours and the paring down of the newsletter, we will welcome newsletter articles at the end of August for September publication.  Thank you for understanding!
Fellowship Building

For everyone's safety, the Fellowship Building is closed to everyone except: staff, Sunday musicians, Vicki Rothhhaar, and Pete Carlson.

To ensure that the most vulnerable are not put at risk, new locks were placed on the entrance door.  Sandy will communicate to those who will need a key when one will be available. Please contact Sandy Hay if you have any questions. 

Thank you!

Worship Service Volunteers

The Worship Team is looking for volunteers to help produce the service.  We need people to help fill the following roles.  If we can get 6 for each role, each person only needs to serve twice per quarter! Please contact Sarah Nuss-Warren or Wendy Altmeier if you are interested.

  • Video editor: take the recording of the service, edit, and post to YouTube.

  • Participant moderator: admit participants to worship, welcome attendees, and manage muting to avoid background noise.

  • Slides moderator: Go between slides and speakers for best visual experience.

  • Document editor: Create slides and scripts from materials provided by speaker/minister.

Office Staff Availability
Heather Cleland-Host, and Wendy Altmeier are taking self-care time on Mondays.  Other availability as listed below.

Our minister, Eric Severson will be on vacation and study leave in July and August. He will be available only for emergencies.  Here is a link to his recent column.

Wendy Altmeier, Office Administrator, is "working" Friday after 9:00pm, Saturday mornings, Sunday mornings, afternoons and late evening.  Wendy does respond to emails throughout the day and checks voicemail as they come in the office.  
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Upcoming Services
August 2020

August 9
“Themes of Harvest”
 – For Pagans, the first harvest sabbat is on August 1st. Members of the UUFoM CUUPs group reflect on this time of year and themes of harvest. Led by UUFoM member, Christina Van Poucker.

August 16
“What is Your Garden?” 
– To most people, a garden is a part of their yard or landscape that has been planted and tended.  But a garden can exist in our minds and hearts, a place where our memories and recollections of locations we have visited have made a sanctuary that connects us to Nature.  Led by UUFoM member, Mary Johnson.

August 23
“Emmaus House”
 – Donna Clarke, Executive Director of Emmaus House, talks about the ministry of the Emmaus House in Saginaw and how it helps women transition from jail, prison, or rehab back to independent living.Donna Clarke, Executive Director of Emmaus House, guest speaking.

August 30 

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Gathering in Small Groups

Hello friends,  

After months of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland’s Board of Directors recognizes members’ desire to come together face to face.

While large-group gatherings are suspended and our building remains closed through at least the end of August, we’ve heard from members and teams about transitioning their Zoom meetings to in-person meetings. 

When considering the health (physical, mental and emotional) of our community, we want to do everything possible to prevent harm. We also realize that everyone’s situation and comfort with risk is different. This complicates the answer to the question, “Should we meet in person?” 

The board continues to refer to the following sources for guidance:

  1. W.H.O. Religious Mass Gathering Decision Tree

  2. W.H.O. Advice for Faith Based Organizations

  3. Whitmer Report

  4. CDC – Community and Faith-Based Organizations 

  5. Church Mutual Webinar Notes

  6. Church Mutual Safe Return Checklist

And we’ve recently added California’s Guidance for Places of Worship as a source.

Our greatest asset is our people and everyone’s safety is paramount.

We recommend that you continue to meet via Zoom or other no-risk methods. Should your small group or team (ten or fewer) decide to meet in person, we want to offer these expectations:

  1. Communicate openly and regularly with small group members. If anyone in your group believes it is unsafe for them to take part in in-person activities, consider whether excluding them is consistent with your covenant. Respect their position and consider alternative arrangements.

  2. Remember 4 pillars for safe reentry into communal spaces:

  • Hygiene: Wash or disinfect hands before, at and after the gathering.

  • Distancing: Maintain at least six feet social distance.

  • Screening: Preferably before the meeting ask whether any member has experienced any sign of the disease—a new fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, or a runny nose.

  • Mask use: Always wear a mask -- properly covering both nose and mouth.

  1. Understand that social activities such as flood cleanup, justice rallies, and the governor's "opening" of businesses will only increase the likelihood of further spreading the virus and increasing everyone's risk.

  1. Report any confirmed cases among us to any member of our staff, pastoral care team, or board, so that we can take steps to improve the safety of our congregation.

Although you may meet outside at the Fellowship, the building is closed and there are no bathroom facilities available. If you decide to use the grounds for meeting, be sure to maintain a respectable and safe distance from other groups that may be meeting at the same time.

Meeting by Zoom will continue to be available over the summer. If your group needs access to Zoom (especially if you’d like to meet for more than 40 minutes without having to restart the meeting), please contact Wendy Altmeier.&nbs

We understand that the desire to get back to normal is huge. We’ve been living in isolation without in-person meeting for three months and it’s taking its toll. In addition, the information we’re learning about the disease is increasing all the time. One of the things we’re certain of is that COVID-19 is still threatening the safety of our community.

The Board of Directors will continue to use the above sources to guide our decisions. If there is a spike in cases and/or the government determines tighter guidelines, we will follow them. We realize we need to do a better job of communicating where we’re going and promise to offer more frequent updates. Watch the newsletter for more information.

Thank you to everyone for being part of this sacred community. Please be safe.

In service,

The Board of Directors

President: Shannon Sonoras
President Elect:  Beth Sperry
Treasurer: Vicki Rothhaar
Secretary: Marsha McDonald
Member at Large:  Chris Nakamura 
Minister: Eric Severson

Need to Connect with Someone?

HOW ARE YOU? For many of us, our daily lives have been turned upside down. We may be lonely, miss our daily routine and being with friends or family,  feel trapped inside... and have trouble not touching our faces. 

Whatever you are experiencing, it may be new feelings or bring back difficult memories from the past. Regardless, there are Pastoral Care people who would be glad to visit with you over the phone. You're welcome to call any member of the Pastoral Care Team.
Mary Johnson (989) 859-1490
Gisela Bailey (989) 708-1344
Linda Rector (989) 259-7492
Beth Sperry (415) 419-1747
Amy Rogers (989) 750-6989
Donna King (989) 488-2886
Speed Malecki (989) 835-1915
Michigan COVID-19 Latest News
Governor Whitmer's Press Conference 08-05-2020

Governor Whitmer signs executive directive recognizing and addressing racism as a public health crisis, creates the Black Leadership Advisory Council

Today Governor Whitmer took action to elevate Black voices in state government, signing Executive Order 2020-163, which creates the Black Leadership Advisory Council. The governor also signed Executive Directive 2020-9, recognizing racism as a public health crisis and taking initial steps to address it within state government.

MDHHS issues order requiring testing of agricultural and food processing employees to protect health and safety of workers, community

MDHHS Director Robert Gordon has issued an Emergency Order requiring COVID-19 testing for agricultural and food processing employees. The order makes Michigan a national leader in COVID-19 safety protections for agricultural and migrant workers, building on Executive Orders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requiring workplace safety measures in meat and poultry processing plants and safe housing for COVID positive migrant workers.

MDHHS encourages Medicaid providers to apply for federal COVID-19 relief dollars now available

MDHHS is urging Medicaid providers that are struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for federal funds intended to assist them. The deadline to apply for Provider Relief Fund dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration is Aug. 28.

President Trump grants Governor Whitmer's request to extend Michigan National Guard through December 31 to assist with COVID-19

Governor Whitmer sent a letter to President Donald Trump on July 10th requesting that the president authorize the use of Michigan National Guard forces for COVID-19 response through December 31, 2020 and President Trump granted her request. Title 32 authority, which allows Guard members to receive federal pay and benefits, was previously set to expire on August 21 due to a deadline set by the Trump Administration.

Help is Here

The Fellowship is rallying to help all our friends in need. Here are a few comprehensive lists of tools, items and services offered by various UU friends.  They will be updated as needed.  You can contact people directly, or contact the office, or the minister, or any member of Pastoral Care team for any other needs you may have.  We are here for you!

List of tools/items offered
List of services offered

What Do You Need?  What Can You Offer?

UUFoM was in the process of creating this form before COVID-19, but due to the absolute devastation of the flood that has affected many in our community, we wanted to get this out as soon as possible.  Please fill out the UUFoM Resources: Haves and Needs form.  You may fill it out more than once if your needs increase when you are able to re-assess your situation.  And you may fill it out to offer services or donations anytime.  Maybe you have something to offer and a need for yourself - include it all!  We will try to match them up all up and contact you at a later date.  Also, if you would rather donate financially, the Minister's Discretionary Fund is always available.  If you have any questions or are unable to access the form, please contact Wendy Altmeier.

UUA Book Offerings

How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi

From the National Book Award–winning author comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society. In How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. Kendi brings together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
by Robin DiAngelo

In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo explores how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively

Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color
by Andrea J. Ritchie

Invisible No More is a powerful examination of how Black women, Indigenous women, and other women of color experience racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement. Placing stories of individual women—such as Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Dajerria Becton, Monica Jones, and Mya Hal—in the broader context of the twin epidemics of police violence and mass incarceration, it documents the evolution of movements centering women's experiences of policing and demands a radical rethinking of our visions of safety—and the means we devote to achieving it.

Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism
by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin

What calls Unitarian Universalists to create multicultural, antiracist Beloved Community? What do congregations need when they embark on this journey? What common threads run through their stories? Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin—a white minister and a lay person of color—share how five diverse congregations encounter frustrations and disappointments, as well as hope and wonder, once they commit to the journey. Extensively researched, Mistakes and Miracles will guide readers to apply these stories to their own communities and develop next steps.
Resources for Racial Justice Dialogue with Children

Embrace Race - 31 Books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance

A Mighty GIrl Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls
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MidAmerica Messenger - August 2020

Click here to read the latest newsletter from the MidAmerica Region. 

August Webinars with the MidAmerica Region

The MidAmerica Region is offering free webinars via Zoom.  You may go to their website and sign up for any webinar offered.  Sometimes there is limited seating.  Most webinars are recorded and you will be able to view them on their website after they have finished.  Please check their websitefor a list of their upcoming offerings.

Here is a list of previously recorded webinars you may be interested in.  You may go to their website and click on the video to start watching.  

Board Basics 2020
Virtual Circle Process
Congregations as Employers During COVID-19
Human Resources: Hiring for Success
Pastoral Care in Times of Crisis and Challenge
Human Resources 101 Part 1
How to Host a Virtual Game Night
Digital Giving
How to Do Small Group Online Gatherings
Virtual Gatherings for Small Congregations
Working with Anxiety
Ritual of Healing and Recharging

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Our Mission

We are a multigenerational, liberal religious community in the Tri-City region. We offer a beacon to the religious seeker, supporting and nurturing the individual and collective pursuit of spiritual fulfillment.To achieve this mission, we:

  • Empower members, friends, and the surrounding community to think freely, live ethically, and grow spiritually through lifelong learning, as we explore our values, live the principles of Unitarian Universalism, and search for truth and meaning.
  • Assemble in supportive and beloved community, sharing life’s joys and sorrows, and embracing all of our wondrous diversity.
  • Gather for stimulating worship experiences and rites of passage that inspire and provide opportunities to examine, clarify, and strengthen our personal value systems.
  • Create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world through our words of influence, constructive deeds, and engaging love.

We focus on these four social issues in order to improve the community and demonstrate our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

  • Global Climate Change
  • Racial Justice
  • Homelessness
  • LGBT Rights

Board of Directors

Shannon Sonoras

Beth Sperry

Marsha McDonald

Vicki Rothhaar

Chris Nakamura

Pastoral Care Ministry Team 

August Contact:  Amy Rogers 989-750-6989
Our Pastoral Care Ministry Team is here for you.  We can provide a meal, a ride, some respite or a supportive ear and a cup of coffee.

Fellowship Staff

Fellowship Office Hours
Fellowship Office currently closed due to Governor's Whitmer executive order. 

Eric Severson

[email protected]
(608) 738-2694
On study leave through August 2020.

Heather Cleland-Host
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Office Hours by appointment only
[email protected]

Wendy Altmeier
Office Assistant

[email protected]
(989) 631-1162

Sandy Hay

[email protected]
(918) 698-0311
In case of building emergency, call anytime

Andrew Schulz
Choir Director

Melanie Willison
Copyright ©2017 UUFoM, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland
6220 Jefferson Avenue
Midland, MI 48640

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