Newsletter 2021-01-29 – 4

Newsletter 2021-01-29 – 4
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     The Weekly Candle Flame 
  January 29, 2021 

Sunday Morning Online Service at 10:30am

January 31
"Reimagining" Each of us has constructed for ourselves to believe, and for others to read, a narrative about who we are. An open book we want others to read so that they might know us, and we might know ourselves. Each of us has also constructed a narrative about “others,” and about our relationships to, and with them. What if those stories are wrong? Fellowship member Denise Reiling will speak about “redemptive narratives” verses “contamination narratives” as she encourages a new way of seeing ourselves and others.
*Note:  This service will not be recorded.


Meeting ID: 943 984 845
NEW Password: 62201162
Dial In Phone Number:  (312) 626-6799 (*6 to mute and unmute)


Virtual Religious Education

Welcome back!  January 31 at 1:00pm will be our first religious education class of the new year, Led by our online Religious Education Coordinator, Shana Barth.  We will be using the curriculum - Sitting Together - a family-centered curriculum on mindfulness, meditation, and Buddhist teachings.  

Please contact Shana to sign up your child for classes if you haven't already.  The zoom link for the virtual sessions will be sent via email to signed up families and can be found on the Parents Circle private Facebook Group.

Midland Area Interfaith Friends Meeting

Topic: Young Muslims in America!
Panel - Maham Khan, Riley Logan, Safiyyah Khan

This Sunday, 4 p.m.
Zoom link -

Find more information on their Facebook page!


NEW:  Minister's Reflections

Greetings, all!

December went by in a flash! Here we are now, at the end of January! Many things remain the same: the COVID-19 pandemic, economic struggles, climate change, and racial injustice. And yet, some things have changed: we have a new national president, which, in my opinion, is crucial to our survival, and we also have a new staff member.
I’m thrilled that Shana Barth has stepped forward to take on the role of part-time Online RE Coordinator during our search for a new director of religious education. With the departure of Heather Cleland-Host as our DRE, this reminds me to say a few words about staff members’ boundaries and responsibilities. 
“Best practice” among UU congregations is to not hire congregants as staff because it confuses people’s boundaries. (The truth is, it can be difficult to find folks willing to relocate for part-time work, so we sometimes do it anyway.) It is crucial that congregant staff members (and all congregants) be mindful that their relationship must change. 
For example, if a staff member is invited to a social event, rather than say “yes” or “no” because it’s their personal preference, they need to consider whether it’s appropriate for a staff member to do so. Might it imply favoritism toward certain congregants? Might it, in the long run, interfere with performing their professional duties? As long as members are employed, the values, mission, and vision of the congregation need to take precedence over personal relationships. In all things UUFoM, staff members first represent the organization and report to the minister as head of staff. 
I have discussed this with our staff members, and they do understand and are navigating these areas carefully. Please allow staff members time to discern what’s needed in any given circumstance. If you would like to read more about this, former UUFoM minister (now Regional Lead and Congregational Life Consultant with the MidAmerica Region) Rev. David Pyle wrote this article.
January’s worship theme has been “imagination” and February’s is “beloved community.” I look forward to exploring these themes with you.
Blessings, Rev. Eric
P.S.: Please remember, during post-worship service breakout rooms, that our covenant applies even there. Please remember to give everyone a chance to speak.


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.  Don't miss a thing.  Click and subscribe now!

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.


Weekly Zoom Links

Sunday Virtual Service
Sundays at 10:30am
Meeting ID: 943 984 845
Passcode: 62201162
Dial In Phone Number:  (312) 626-6799


Three Jewels Sangha
Whether you have been practicing with us often, are curious about meditation or Buddhism, or find yourself in need of connection, all are welcome to join the Three Jewels Sangha weekly Wednesday meeting.  We will be gathering at our usual time, 5:00-6:30 for conversation and meditation via Zoom.  We will have some time to share how we are doing, some silent restorative meditation, and a reading from our current book.  
Wednesdays at 5:00pm
Meeting ID: 200 926 356
Password: uufom


Saturday Rehearsal
Saturdays at 10:00am

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NEW:  Fellowship Links

NEW: UUA Statement of Conscience Poll

Unitarian Universalist Association | UUA.orgMembers - Please take the time to read the Draft Statement of Conscience (SOC) found in the link below and vote on whether the Draft SOC  should appear on the final agenda of the 2021 General Assembly.

In order for the proposed Statement of Conscience (SOC) on Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy to be placed on the Final Agenda at General Assembly (GA) 2021, at least twenty-five percent (25%) of all certified congregations must participate in the ballot vote. If that quota is met, delegates at GA will have an opportunity to amend the SOC, and will hear debate and choose to approve the Statement or refer it back to the Commission on Social Witness (CSW) for further study.

Vote here! 

Family members, please vote individually. Voting will close February 7.

View the complete text of the Draft SOC on Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy.

Sunday Service Feedback

Customer Feedback" photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos  | Adobe Stock
UUFoM has created a form where you can share feedback for our Sunday services. Just plug in the date of the service and fill out any/all of the four optional questions.  Note that not all feedback will necessarily receive a response.

There is also a space where you may share a service topic(s) that interests you.  We may use it in a future service.  

For ministerial or pastoral care needs, please contact our Minister or a member of the Pastoral Care team.

Religious Education Updates

Religious Education Zoom sessions, led by RE Coordinator Shana Barth, will resume this Sunday, January, 31, at 1:00 pm.  Biweekly sessions will run through May 2021.  Please email Shana if you, your children, or grandchildren would like to participate.  See all dates below.

The next RE Team Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 20, at 11:30am.  If you are interested in joining the team, please contact Shana

Upcoming Religious Education Classes - Sundays at 1:00pm
January 31
February 14
February 28
March 14
March 28
April 11
April 25
May 9
May 23

Worship Team Recruitment

The Worship Team is looking for new members!  You would attend meetings via Zoom on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 - 8:30 pm, help us plan lay-led services, and help recruit volunteers for worship roles. We are also looking for someone who might be interested in taking over as chair in 2022, and would join the team this year in preparation for a smooth transition. Email Sarah Nuss-Warren to join or get more information.

UUFoM Neighborhood Storybook Project

Please help the Engagement Team complete the UUFoM Neighborhood Storybook Project.  Packets were mailed in November 2020 asking participants to add a story or pictures to a small booklet and to then mail on to the next participant. The pandemic, national events, and the holidays have made this a very busy time, but we are hopeful the booklets will continue to move through the neighborhood groups and find their way back to us!  Thank you for your help in completing this activity!
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Exploring Unitarian Universalism Virtual Workshops

Our first workshop is Saturday, January 23.  This is an opportunity for new and long-time members of UUFoM to explore five different aspects of Unitarian Universalism.  

"Exploring Unitarian Universalism" is a pilot project developed by the Engagement Team.  The sessions will be limited to 10 participants and registration is required for each session.  Participants may attend any number of sessions they choose. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis.  

All sessions are 1:00-3:00pm on the dates listed below. 

Feb 06 Workshop 2: Where Do We Come From? Unitarian Universalist Roots (FULL)

Feb 20Workshop 3: How We Grow in Faith: Philosophy of Religious Education (Two seats remaining)

Mar 06 Workshop 4: Social Justice Philosophy and Practice (Four seats remaining)

Mar 20 Workshop 5: How Are Decisions Made? Governance and Policy  (Three seats remaining)

To register for a workshop, please sign up here.

If your desired workshop session is full, please contact Wendy Altmeier to be placed on a wait list.  Your Zoom links will be sent once registration is completed. 

If you would like additional information on the content for the sessions, please contact any member of the Engagement Team:  Sara Clavez, Christina VanPoucker, Estella Thomas, Joanne Rummel, or Kathy Kinkema.

UUA's National New Day Rising Conference

Are you ready to take a new step in changing white supremacy culture? Want to learn what your fellow congregations are working on, and how you might apply it at home?  Join a continent of UUs as we explore next steps in creating Beloved UU Communities.

On Your Own:
Watch compelling video TED-talk style testimonials from selected congregations around the continent sharing their learnings, hopes and next steps in their quest for racial equity in their congregations.

Together on February 27, 12:00pm-9:00pm

Worship ~ Workshops ~ Caucusing - With plenty of breaks

Register Here

Cost will be a sliding scale fee of your choosing: $20/30/40/50. Registration fees are on a sliding scale, based on your assessment of your ability to pay. Those who pay at the two highest levels are making a donation to help those in financial need for this event. Please remember that for a sliding scale to work, we need the same number of people with means to generously pay more to balance the needs of those who can afford less. (This is one way we try to build the Beloved Community!) If you are part of a congregational team of three or more, please pay the lowest fee.

Brought to you by the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Upcoming Services
January 2021 Theme - "Imagination"

January 31
"Reimagining" Each of us has constructed for ourselves to believe, and for others to read, a narrative about who we are. An open book we want others to read so that they might know us, and we might know ourselves. Each of us has also constructed a narrative about “others,” and about our relationships to, and with them. What if those stories are wrong? Fellowship member Denise Reiling will speak about “redemptive narratives” verses “contamination narratives” as she encourages a new way of seeing ourselves and others.

February 2021 Theme - "Beloved Community"

February 7
"Each Day's Incantation:  The Power of Poetry" Teacher and poet Dr. Ray Lacina will help us to see how the daily practice of an art form can also be a deep and satisfying spiritual practice. He will share some of his poetry, and discuss how his personal journey has shaped his poetry and how his poetry has helped him deepen the understanding of his own religion.  
Presented by guest speaker Dr. Ray Lacina. 

February 14
"We Are Community"
- We come to Unitarian Universalism by many paths. Our faith community helps us find meaning, refreshes our spirits, and encourages us to live authentically. It is held together by shared values and covenant. Let's explore what motivates us. Led by our minister, the Rev. Eric Severson.

February 21
"There's Something In Your Teeth"
- When did you last accept a difficult truth? In our efforts to bring about a beloved community, we will examine our resilience even in the face of hard or uncomfortable truths. Led by our minister, the Rev. Eric Severson.

February 28
"On Beloved Community" 
Led by our minister, the Rev. Eric Severson

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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

Previous Newsletter Articles

UUFoM Board Announcement
Regarding Building Access During COVID-19

For everyone's continued safety through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors has determined that the building will remain closed and in-person activities will remain suspended through June 1, 2021 at the earliest. The Board of Directors will continue to reassess based on all available information, and continue to regularly communicate updates as conditions evolve. 

Fellowship Building

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

Thank you!

Board of Directors

Beth Sperry - President
Sasha King - President-Elect
Shannon Sonoras - Secretary
Tim Wagner - Treasurer
Chris Nakamura - Member-At-Large
Marsha McDonald - Member-At-Large

Pastoral Care Ministry Team

January Contact: 
Gisela Bailey 989-708-1344

February 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 is currently closed due to Governor's Whitmer executive order. 

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

Wendy Altmeier - Office Assistant
(989) 631-1162

Unavailable Mondays.

Shana Barth - Online RE Coordinator
(989) 631-1162

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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