Newsletter 2020-11-20 COVID19 Friday – 41

Newsletter 2020-11-20 COVID19 Friday – 41
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     The Weekly Candle Flame    

  November 20, 2020 

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday Morning Online Service at 10:30am

November 22
"Transgender Day of Remembrance"

*Parents' note: While our Time for All Ages story will be engaging, the rest of the service will deal with subjects more suitable for teens and adults. 

We will honor the memory of transgender and nonbinary people who lost their lives to violence in the past year. Led by our minister, Rev. Eric Severson, and Jacob Guettler.


Meeting ID: 943 984 845
NEW Password: 62201162
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.  

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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NEW:  Fellowship Virtual Office Holiday Hours

The Fellowship Virtual Office will be closed Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27 in observance of Thanksgiving.  

If you wish to submit an article for the November 27 Thanksgiving issue, please email it to Wendy Altmeier by SUNDAY, November 22 at 5:00pm to have it included in the upcoming issue. 

The Fellowship Virtual Office will be closed Monday, December 21 through January 2, 2021.  There will be no newsletters sent during that time.  Please contact our minister, Rev. Eric Severson, if you have any questions during that time.  Thank you! 

NEW:  Website Team

The Fellowship Office is creating a website team to start meeting in January 2021.  We are looking for people with many different talents.  We would love people who have technical, creative, media, communications and/or any type of life experience.  We are very interested in people who have been members for a long time, newer UUs and anyone in between! Please click here if you are interested in joining the team.  

If you are not able to join the website team, we have created a form for suggestions and recommendations.  While we may not be able to implement all of them, we are grateful for all of your responses.  Please click here to offer a suggestion or recommendation! 

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Unsung Hero Announcement

Announced by Chris Nakamura

We have a tradition of honoring member’s significant contributions to the Fellowship through the Unsung Hero Award.  This award gives our Fellowship a chance to highlight member’s efforts that are sometimes less visible and rejoice in the gifts that people have shared with our community. 

These times are unprecedented.  We need remind no one that we are living through a pandemic, that the pandemic has brought with it severe economic challenges for many, and that all of this sits upon a foundation of political challenges that exceeds anything in recent history.  Locally we have also faced flooding that has affected members profoundly.  The situation has left us physically separated, emotionally stressed and hurting and needing of the love and support of this community more than ever.   

Our in-person services were suspended.  But through the power of technology and a whole lot of behind the scenes work by individuals committed to the work of our Fellowship, Sunday services have continued online, and those services are wonderful.  Our community has faced the real danger of becoming siloed, with members isolated from each other in their moments of greatest spiritual need.  But through the efforts of caring individuals who’ve made it their business to reach out to people and tend to those needs, we stay in touch - we stay connected together as a community, and that community is strong.  These are unprecedented times, which have called people to unprecedented action. 

In our society we know well the role of awards in highlighting the contribution of the individual.  That is an important role that awards play, and we appreciate that importance.  What can sometimes get lost is the important role teams play in achieving great things –in achieving what the individual often cannot accomplish alone. 

In this spirit, it is the decision of the board of directors of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland that the Unsung Hero Award for 2020 shall be shared by the members and friends who serve on the Worship and Pastoral Care Teams. 

Members of the Worship Team are: Sarah Nuss-Warren, Shana Barth, Monica Hughes, Scott Hughes, Susan Mayer, Connie Ofori-Dankwa, Amy Rogers and Melanie Willison.  Thank you all, for everything you do.  With them we recognize Wendy Altmeier for her incredible efforts with the Worship Team to bring these online services to us each week.  Wendy, thank you so much. 

Members of the Pastoral Care Team are: Gisela Bailey, Mary Johnson, Donna King, Speed Maleki, Linda Rector, Amy Rogers and Beth Sperry.  Thank you all, for everything you do.  Last and so far from least, we recognize the contributions of our minister, the Reverend Eric Severson for his work with both of these teams.  Eric, thank you so much. 

The tireless efforts of these folks have sustained us publicly as a community, and privately as individuals through these ongoing challenges.  Challenges, we will make it through and be stronger and wiser for.  They have our heartfelt gratitude for all they do in support of this community.  To celebrate those efforts we will work with buildings and grounds to determine an appropriate living tribute to be planted at our fellowship.  Also, each individual will receive a small surprise to enjoy.  Thank you again.  

Virtual Annual Meeting Highlights

Our virtual annual meeting was held on Sunday, November 8, at 12:15pm.  Shannon Sonoras, board president, opened the meeting.  Fifty-two members were checked in and a quorum (33) was met and announced by Board Secretary Marsha McDonald.  President-Elect Beth Sperry read our UUFoM Covenant.  Sara Clavez was introduced as parliamentarian.  

Rev. Eric Severson shared with us his minister report, which you can find in our 2020 Annual Report.  Next, Christina VanPoucker shared the report from the Committee on Ministry.  

Shannon Sonoras expressed thoughts from her President's Report which you can read in full in our 2020 Annual Report.  Vicki Rothhaar, treasurer, then conveyed information from her treasurer's report. Sara Clavez, stewardship chair, followed up with the good news that we are only a little more than $700 away from meeting our pledge goal.  Well done!

Shannon thanked former Buildings & Ground Chair Luis Mulford for his service and dedication to the fellowship.  Jim Falender shared a report from the Endowment Committee. 

Donna King introduced the incoming slate of officers for a vote: 
  • Sasha King - President-Elect
  • Shannon Sonoras - Secretary
  • Tim Wagner - Treasurer
  • Marsha McDonald - Member-At-Large
  • Jon VanRegenmorter - Nominating Committee
  • Doug Barth - Nominating Committee
We used the Poll feature offered by Zoom for our voting.  Voting Guidelines were explained by Office Administrator Wendy Altmeier, and a sample poll was introduced.  

51 people voted in favor of the slate of officers, with 1 opposed and 1 abstention. 

Vicki Rothhaar delivered the 2021 Proposed Budget.  The budget was unanimously approved. You can view the 2021 Budget here. 

Chris Nakamura shared this year's recipients of the Unsung Hero Award, which will be shared by members of the Worship and Pastoral Care teams.  

There were no questions or comments from the members.  The meeting was adjourned unanimously at 1:30pm.  

If you have any questions, please contact
2020 Annual Meeting


UUFoM & You

Considering Membership?
How do people of diverse beliefs become part of one congregation?  “UUFOM and You,” virtually led by Rev. Eric Severson, Linda Rector and Amy Rogers will be held via Zoom.  

UUFoM & You 2020-2021      

Led by Rev. Eric Severson, Linda Rector and Amy Rogers. If you think you have found a spiritual home at UUFoM and are considering becoming a member, we invite you to take part in our orientation, “UUFoM and You.” COVID-19 has moved these sessions online.  

The first session, "About Us", is tonight at 7:00pm on Zoom.  Please contact Rev. Eric for the link. 

Zoom Session Two: “About Us Together”
Friday, December 18 - 7:00-8:30 pm Unitarian Universalism’s “heretical” history is long, rich and complex. Join us in discussing who and what brought us to where we are today, how people of diverse beliefs thrive in a single congregation, how things work around here, and what it means to become a member.
Pre-Session Assignments: Watch Unitarian Universalist history video

Bring all the questions you have wanted to ask!

If you are interested in joining the classes, please contact Rev. Eric Severson. 
Upcoming Services
November 2020 Theme - "Healing"

November 22
"Transgender Day of Remembrance"
- *Parents' note: While our Time for All Ages story will be engaging, the rest of the service will deal with subjects more suitable for teens and adults. 

We will honor the memory of transgender and nonbinary people who lost their lives to violence in the past year. Led by our minister, Rev. Eric Severson.

November 29
“Healing Hunger and Homelessness” -
The past year has shown that anyone can experience homelessness and food insecurity. Research suggests that food and housing shortages have grown in the face of COVID-19, but many people struggled even before the pandemic. Using our intelligence and reason, how can we create a better life for ourselves and others? Scott McDonald from the LOVE Team will look into food and housing insecurity in the Tri-Cities area. Led by Fellowship member, Scott McDonald.

December 2020 Theme - "Stillness"

December  6
"Light in the Darkness"
- The last nine months have been tough; tough on us as individuals, a nation and the world. How do we find light and hope in such a time as this? Led by guest speaker, Rev. Pamela Buchholz.

Rev. Pamela Buchholz is a United Methodist minister. After serving 20 years as a lay person in children’s ministry, she went to seminary, answering a call to extend the table to those who have been excluded because of who they are or what they believe. Now retired, Pam is part of the Midland United Church of Christ faith community.

December 13
“TBA” -
Led by Three Jewels Sangha.

December 20
"A Blue Christmas" -
While there can be much joy in this season, the winter holidays aren’t always “cheery and bright,” especially with the challenges of a pandemic. This gentle service will offer a space of holding, with music, spoken word, and ritual, to provide support for all those who are unsettled or have experienced loss. Led by our minister, Rev. Eric Severson.

December 24 at 4:30pm Christmas Eve Service
"Treasuring the Radiance"
- Join us for a service of word and music celebrating the hope and promise marked by the stars and the sparks within us. Led by our minister, Rev. Eric Severson.

December 27
"Treasuring the Dark"
- Join us for a simple service honoring the quiet dark inherent in hibernation and the fallow season, offering us nurturing rest and regeneration. Led by our minister, Rev. Eric Severson.

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Sharing Tree 2020

It’s Sharing Tree time! Once again, the Fellowship will show its sharing spirit by participating in the Sharing Tree. It will just look a little different this year!

Tags are available on our website to purchase gifts for those in need. Tags will be identified by number. Claim a number (or numbers) by emailing Wendy at  Wendy will confirm by emailing back the picture of the tag and removing the tag from the website.  Print your copy of the tag or if you do not have access to a printer, let Wendy know when you email her to claim the tag and she will mail a copy of your tag. ONLY FIVE TAGS ARE LEFT.  Claim yours NOW!
All gifts should be either unwrapped or placed in a gift bag, with the gift tag taped to the outside. (all boxes must be unwrapped so they can be checked before the gift is delivered) You can return the gifts to the large bin on Maxine’s front porch, 2614 St. Mary’s Drive.

If you are unable to deliver it to Maxine, please call her at 989-492-4413, and she will arrange to pick it up. You can also deliver it to another Sharing Tree location, or directly to the Salvation Army. Please return all gifts by December 2. Thank you again for your generosity, it makes such a difference to so many people!

NEW:  Donations for Food Pantry Network

Monetary donations for the Thanksgiving Baskets may be made directly with checks payable to Midland County EFPN and mailed to: Midland County EFPN, PO Box 2521, Midland, MI 48641-2521 or online by credit card to . Please note on the check or online that you are giving on behalf of UUFoM. The Food Pantry is a non-profit 501c(3) organization with all monetary gifts being tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

There are a couple of options for making food item donations to the normal operations of the Food Pantry.

•  Drop off donations in the box outside of EFPN SAMS Pantry, 503 S Saginaw Rd (enter off Cambridge). The box is on the side of the building facing Cambridge.

• We can pick up food donations from your house. Email your pickup address and date of pick up to Vicki Reidelberger.

Thank you for helping those in need in Midland County (including Midland, Bullock Creek, North Midland County, West Midland County, Sanford, Coleman food pantry locations). 

The Fellowship LOVE Team.

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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
copyright Unitarian Universalist Association

UPDATED:  The Weekly Candle Flame Fall/Winter Editions

During the fall and winter months, the weekly Candle Flame will be circulated on Fridays.  If you wish to submit an article, please email it to Wendy Altmeier by Wednesday at 5:00pm to have it included in the upcoming issue.  

Holiday Season - The last newsletter for 2020 will be distributed on Friday, December 18.  If you wish to submit an article for the FINAL 2020 issue, please email it to Wendy Altmeier by Wednesday, December 16 at 5:00pm.  

Previous Newsletter Articles

Fellowship Building

For everyone's safety, the Fellowship Building is closed to everyone except: staff, Sunday musicians, Vicki Rothhaar, 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!

Board of Directors

Shannon Sonoras, President
Beth Sperry, President-Elect
Marsha McDonald, Secretary
Vicki Rothhaar, Treasurer
Chris Nakamura, Member-At-Large

Pastoral Care Ministry Team

November Contact
Donna King 989-488-2886
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 is currently closed due to Governor's Whitmer executive order. 

Rev. Eric Severson - Minister
(608) 738-2694
Unavailable Mondays, except in emergencies.

Heather Cleland-Host - Director of Lifespan Religious Education
Office Hours by appointment only

Wendy Altmeier - Office Assistant
(989) 631-1162

Unavailable Mondays, except in emergencies.

Sandy Hay - Sexton
(918) 698-0311
In case of building emergency, call anytime

Melanie Willison - Accompanist
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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