Current News

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Two-Service Schedule Begins Sept. 13
President's Perspective: UUCC Needs Your Time and Talent
Chalice Circles Registration Begins
Interior and Exterior Design
Grounds Team Highlights
Green Sanctuary Team News
UU Life Writers – Fall 2015
Meet Our New DRE – Shanon Dickerson
Garden Dreams Become Plans and Move Toward Reality

Two-Service Schedule Begins Sept. 13

Starting Sunday, Sept. 13, join us for worship at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. The two services will feature the same sermon and stories, but will have different styles.

The 9 a.m. service will be interactive, intimate and family-friendly

The chairs will be arranged in a circle to enhance the feeling of intimacy. We will share joys and sorrows in a spoken-aloud format and add other interactive elements to the service when possible.

Together we will create an expectation that movement is welcome, and a beautiful visual order of service posted on a board will help youngsters and all of us know what’s coming next.

Music will vary in style, with special performances from musical church volunteers and regular offerings from small vocal ensembles.

This will be a family-friendly service with no concurrent religious education program, but childcare will be available.

The 11 a.m. service will be inspirational, reverent and familiar

The chairs will face forward, and there will be less expectation of interaction. The children will be present for the first 15 minutes, which will include a story for all ages and a clergy-led ritual of joys and sorrows, and they will then exit to their regular religious education classes.

Music will vary in style with special performances from musical church volunteers and regular offerings from the choir.

Nursery care and our full religious education program for preschool through high school will be offered at this time.

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President's Perspective: UUCC needs your time and talent

In the Russian folktale of the Little Red Hen, the eponymous mother bird and her chicks find a piece of grain and, rather than eating it straight away, decide to plant it as seed to ultimately make wheat bread. For each step of the process – the planting, the harvesting, the baking – the hen asks her fellow farm animals for help. Each time, she is refused. Finally, when the bread is ready, she asks, "Who will help me eat the bread?" Not surprisingly, all the farm animals want to.

Like Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper, the story here takes a punitive tone – the hen refuses to share the bread, the farm animals are sorry, yada yada yada. To me, though, what happens in the story up to this point is more interesting. We see the dilemma between the value of community (the bread) and the often-invisible effort it takes to create that value (the various tasks performed by the hen and her chicks). The animals who turn the hen down might do so because they're jerks; but they also might not realize how tasty the bread will be, or how much work goes into it, or that it really wouldn't kill them to take a few minutes out of their day for great bread.

We all are part of something special here at UUCC. Our church community creates a radically welcoming space for learning, fellowship, spiritual exploration and social action for all of Central Missouri. The fact that I feel I must have left something out of that last sentence (and almost surely did) illustrates how many wonderful things happen in this community.
Each of us, I think, has to consider what we can do to help keep those wonderful things happening. Ideally, it's a mix of your time, talent and treasure. As this church year begins (our annual budget runs from July 1 to June 30), I'm asking people to consider the first two: time and talent.

We are lucky to have plenty of both in this community. To use them effectively, we need good leaders. Our church operates under a "policy governance" model, which I hope to explore in future articles. But the gist of it is that as a modern nonprofit organization, the church leadership consists of a Board of Trustees and its committees – that generally handle vision, fiduciary oversight and policies – and the ministry, led by our minister – that handles day-to-day operations of the church. Again, I probably left some things out of that last sentence, but that's the overall gist.

At this time, we have the following leadership needs:

  1. UUCC has a Nominating Committee, accountable to the Board of Trustees, in charge of nominating people for open board and committee seats. Currently, there is one opening on the Board of Trustees. The Nominating Committee itself currently has four members, and we are looking for at least one additional member, but more would be welcome. Please contact me by email if you are interested.

  2. We also have a Stewardship Team (which falls under the ministry) looking for new members. This critical team keeps our church financially healthy. Interested folks should contact Steve Scott by email.

  3. Finally, the church Audit Committee (which reports to the board) is looking for members. This committee performs audits of church finances each year. Please contact me by email if interested.

With enough of us chipping in, we'll make some great "bread" this year.

– Jeremy Milarsky, 2015-16 President

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Chalice Circles Registration Begins

Joining together for deeper connection and spiritual growth...

Are you looking for a place to build deeper connections with the congregation and with your own spiritual journey? Well... your search is over!

Our Chalice Circles meet monthly to connect and grow from further reflection on our worship themes.

Chalice Circles are formed based on availability and are led by supported facilitators trained in reflection and conversation. Chalice Circles are open to anyone age 16 or older, are made up of 7-10 individuals each, and are open to newcomers. Groups meet once a month (or more often, at the discretion of the group).

Registration began Aug. 30. For more information, visit with our Chalice Circles Team in the Greeting Area or contact the team by email.

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Interior and Exterior Design

Yes, there is a team for that, too, and we would love your input. We are a small, informal group, and we don't meet very often now because we haven't had a big project going since we did the exterior sign.

Our next project will be a new "Joys and Sorrows" table. Can we come up with something which will make this ritual of connection feel even more sacred, something that subtly complements our values and is accessible to all?

Recently we added new end tables to the greeting area when the old coffee table gave up the ghost, and not long ago we found our beautiful greeting area chairs from a used furniture dealer. We also selected and installed the tile in the family bathroom when the old flooring failed.

As the church moves to a two-service schedule, space planning issues may emerge. There are minor things we deal with, such as the need for a new bookcase for the blue hymnals. And then there is the messy bulletin board issue – we really need someone to maintain it. Any volunteers?

If you have an interest in joining this team – whether you like the design side or you like to do things like painting and setting tile – or if you have an idea or two, please contact Janet Groat by email.

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Grounds Team Highlights

The Grounds Team would like to thank everyone who has assisted in maintaining the grounds. And there is more to be done:

  • Native planting day to be held in the fall. Many hands make light work. We will keep you posted.

  • Continued removal of invasive honeysuckle from the woods – often on Fridays at 8:30 a.m.

  • Continued planning of an area behind the church in the woods to include a small and safe fire pit for meditation, etc.

  • Continued mowing of the UU grounds.

  • Removal of part of the fence to allow for ease of access to the city park next door.

  • Addition of a sign to point the way to the city park.

  • New drainage placed to protect the Memorial Gar den from rain run off.

  • Native plants placed in the front bed to honor our seventh principle.

Monthly meetings are held at church at 9 a.m. every second Saturday. For more information, contact Patty Daus by email.

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Green Sanctuary Team News

The Harvest Supper will take place on Saturday, Oct. 17. Tickets will go on sale in the church Greeting Area on Sunday, Sept. 20, both before and after worship. Please buy your tickets as early as possible so we can better estimate the quantity of food needed. Volunteer signup sheets will be at the ticket table. This is a large event that takes many hands to go smoothly. Please volunteer for activities that include setup, food preparation, entertainment, preparing appetizers, setting up wine and drinks, and clean up. We need lots of volunteers. Contact Chelsea Otten and Lisa Guillory, co-chairs. See more information on the Upcoming Events page.

Church cleaning and paper product supplies are gradually being replaced with environmentally friendly products. As conventional petroleum-based cleaning products are used up, they will be replaced with "green" products in restrooms, kitchen, etc. Contact Lisa Guillory with any questions or comments.

GST is a strong supporter of the city switching to automated trash collection. This is an important social justice issue regarding employment hazards and worker health. Please read Jan Weaver's letter in the July 17 Columbia Daily Tribune.

Vegetarian potluck for Meatless Mondays occurs on the third Monday of each month. The September potluck is scheduled at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at the church. In keeping with UUA Ethical Eating Guidelines, we'll be discussing water usage on American farmland.

The next GST meeting will be held at Lisa Guillory's house at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.

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UU Life Writers – Fall 2015

"If They Ask Me I Could Write a Book…"

Books have chapters and so do our lives. This fall the UU Life Writers is starting its 15th (yes, 15th!) year together. We have a book, too, as each year has been a chapter with themes and prompts for our writings.

This fall we will write individual books with chapters about the ages and stages in our lives.
The group is open to all comers. You do not have to be a published or accomplished writer. The fun is just in writing our stories, listening to others' stories, and enjoying writing.

We meet in the Centering Room at 10:30 a.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month. The fall dates are:

  • Sept. 19

  • Oct. 3 and 17

  • Nov. 7 and 21

  • Dec. 5 (and maybe 19)

For further information contact Fran Reynolds at 573-443-4336 or by email.

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 Meet Our New DRE – Shanon Dickerson

Shanon Dickerson

Our DRE search team is very excited to introduce to you our new hire for Director of Religious Education, Shanon Dickerson.

Shanon comes to us from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal, Ill., where she is a member. Shanon is an experienced educator with nearly a decade of experience teaching Spanish to all ages and sociology, international studies and women's studies at the college level.

In her current position, in addition to teaching, Shanon runs the international studies program and has led cultural trips abroad for students, faculty, and administration.

Our search team was particularly impressed with Shanon's combination of creativity, compassion, and administrative skills, as well as her commitment to Unitarian Universalism. We are excited about her unique collection of gifts – she has what it will take to run a growing program with vision, excellence, and care.

Shanon and her husband Tim know and love Columbia from years visiting family in the area, and they are excited to move to our town. Shanon will join us in person starting Aug. 1, but will soon be getting started with the work remotely as she and Tim prepare for their move.

I know you will join me in showing Shanon a warm UUCC welcome!

– Rev. Molly

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Garden Dreams Become Plans and Move Toward Reality

Plan for front gardens, drawn by Sue Bartelette and colored by Jeanne Murphy.

Energy and excitement have been building among the members of our UUCC Grounds Team. We've been envisioning the church grounds as an embodiment of our heartfelt valuing of the interdependent web of life.

We've been dreaming about the woods of which we are the designated stewards. We've been dreaming about the life-giving water that enters and flows across our land. We've been dreaming about the gardens in front of the building. And as we dream, we have tried to form a vision of what is truly possible.

We've had consultations with foresters, native landscapers, hydrologists, and we've gotten great tips from a professional entomologist. We've spent hours outside tending the plant life and examining the trees and topography. We've spent hours inside thinking about choices facing us concerning the needs of the congregation, the conventional methods our culture uses, and our moral stance in relation to all factors. Our brains have been swimming. But we have organized some of this complexity into a few plans.

Most recently, we've been honing in on the particulars of a plan for how we can improve our front gardens to enhance their life-giving biodiversity, and at the same time enhance their capacity to welcome and encourage the humans who come to this place. At our request, a professional native landscaper has created this plan for transformation of our front gardens. It's a solid plan, backed by knowledge and lengthy experience.

The plan features a great variety of native plants which evolved with our native insects. Milkweeds will provide nurseries where Monarch butterflies can lay eggs. Summer blooming coneflowers will provide nectar just when butterfly populations are expanding in late spring, and later they'll produce nutritious seed for wintering goldfinches. Late blooming asters will attract a lively insect party late into the fall.

The same continuous bloom that keeps the insects and birds interested all through the seasons will also be a delight to our members and visitors as the visual display changes from week to week with every bud, bloom, and fruit appearing in natures proper time. And, consideration has been given to other human needs like maintenance effort. These plants are ones that, when established, will not need us to baby them with spraying, watering, or pruning.

Additionally, their arrangement will serve to welcome us to our beloved place. For example, on the parking lot island, lower plants and additional stepping stones will naturally lead our eye toward the entrance, rather than sending up a symbolic barrier.

The members of the grounds team are really excited about this plan. And, truth is, we wish we could make our dreams come true right now! We did get a rough bid for potentially having this done professionally (anybody have $9,000 handy?) But in reality, the long process of doing this transforming work ourselves step-by-step may be the only way we will manifest our dream. The long process may also be the truest expression of our caring relationships, and of our commitment to stewardship of the interdependent web of all existance of which we are most definitely an integral part.

Knowing that so many in our congregation share a deep connection with the natural world, we want to keep you informed of our plans, and invite you to join us on this journey. I've told you about many hours that our team has devoted to this task, but for myself and I think for the others, it has been a labor of love in respectful community that we find fulfilling and pleasant.

– Carol Arnold, Grounds Team Member

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