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Current News

On this page:

Marriage Equality
Summer Adult R.E. Program
Creating an Anti-Racism Study Group
Lunch with TED
Searchlight Goes to Year-Round Schedule
Food Bank Collections Continue Year-Round
The Sound of UU Music
Green Sanctuary Team News
Church Lawn Mowers Needed; Other Grounds Team News
Meatless Monday Potlucks
All-Church Garage Sale
DRE Position Expanded, Re-Advertised
Social Action Team Seeks Faith-to-Action Nominations
Stewardship 2015 - We Outdid Ourselves!
Garden Dreams Become Plans and Move Toward Reality
Naomi Powell Memorial Bench Donations Being Accepted


Marriage Equality

Rev. Molly circulated the following news release to local news media on Friday, June 26, immediately after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality:

Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia to Hold Marriage Equality Reception
and Minister to Offer Free Officiant Services to Same Sex Couples

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia celebrates the Supreme Court's historic ruling in favor of equal marriage for same sex couples. We believe in the worth and dignity of every person and every loving relationship. We celebrate with great joy the extension of one fundamental right to LGBTQ couples, and we commit ourselves to the continued fight for full equality under the law and non-discrimination protection for LGBTQ individuals.

To celebrate that marriage equality is now the law of the land, we will be holding a Marriage Equality Reception at our church, 2615 Shepard Blvd., at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 11 with cake, punch, and dancing. Same sex couples will be invited to cut the cake and participate in a "first dance." This event is family-friendly, free, and open to the public.

Additionally, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, will be offering her services as legal marriage officiant to same sex couples free of charge for the remainder of the summer, starting July 5 and subject to availability. She can be reached at 573-442-5764.

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Summer Adult R.E. Program

The Adult Religious Education Team has planned a summer discussion series on "The Good Life." Join us in the Centering Room from 12:15 to 2 p.m. for lunch and lively discussion of the following topics:

  • June 7: What is the good life?

  • June 21: How much is enough for the good life?

  • July 12: What's love got to do with the good life?

  • July 26: In living a good life, what do I owe others?

  • Aug. 9: How do aging and the different stages of life affect the good life?

Each session will focus on a short reading (one to five pages) for discussion. Readings will be available here before each session.

No need to register. Just come to those sessions you can or want to attend.

Childcare can be provided if requested in advance of the meetings.

Questions can be submitted by email.

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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Creating an Anti-Racism Study Group

I have heard from many of you a desire to engage with the national dialogue on race, emerging particularly after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and the protests following his death.

I share your desire. This summer, we will begin an ongoing study of race and racism in the United States and develop the tools to become anti-racist as individuals and as a community.

Meeting frequency and times will be determined by the availability of interested parties.
Contact me by email to sign up.

– Rev. Molly

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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Lunch with TED

Do you watch TED talks? Do you wish you had conversation partners to discuss the ideas these talks raise?

Join us over your lunch hour the third Thursday of each month throughout the summer to watch a TED talk together and discuss. Bring your own bag lunch.

Your suggestions of favorite TED talks are welcomed by Rev. Molly by email.

This is a drop-in offering open to all from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays, June 18, July 16 and Aug. 20.

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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Searchlight Goes to Year-Round Schedule

In the past The Searchlight has been published only from September through June.

Starting this summer, our newsletter will be published monthly year-round, including July and August.

The deadline for submitting information for the newsletter will continue to be the third Monday of each month.

For more information, contact Church Administrator Kathie Bergman at 442-5764 or by email

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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Food Bank Collections Continue Year-Round

Thanks to all who brought food for the Easter food hunt and the upstairs food barrel.

And thanks to the religious education program for organizing the hunt and to the kids and parents for bringing the food!

You provided 233 pounds that went to the Central Pantry of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

Unfortunately, hunger continues to be a major problem, so please keep feeding the food barrel during the summer!

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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The Sound of UU Music

Wow – what a great year this has been! Thanks to everyone who has sung in the UU Singers, played an instrument, been part of a small ensemble or participated in any other way.

It’s time now for summer vacation, but don’t forget that UU Singers will be starting up again in August with our traditional potluck/first rehearsal on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Potluck will start at 6 p.m., and we will start on music for the fall at 7 p.m.

Also anyone interested in being part of the Music Associates and helping to plan our music program is invited to our first meeting on Sunday, Aug. 9 at noon. Molly will be providing a light lunch. I will send out a reminder email announcement closer to the time.

And remember – if you haven’t found your “place in the choir,” August would be a great time to join us. Have a great summer.

– Desi Long, Music Director

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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Green Sanctuary Team News

Your UU Green Sanctuary Team is considering a Bio Blitz (a 24-hour event in which you try to identify as many species as you can). We may do this once a month before church for about half an hour, and the data will be kept in a database. This information will be important as we transition to native plantings. Contact Jan Weaver or Melissa Ensign-Bedford if you are interested in participating.

As the GS team continues our Mindful Journeys project, the Transportation Team reminds everyone that there is a carpool signup sheet in the greeting area. In addition, consider driving part way and completing the journey with a different form of transportation. We look to improve our 1.7 people to car ratio! The fall will bring more interest and ways to promote less car use for church activities. And we are considering a congregational survey asking people to think about how the church’s own parking spots should be allocated with regard to people with mobility issues, babies, visitors, etc.

Harvest Supper is being planned, and Chelsea Otten has agreed to chair the team. She is looking for volunteers to help decide the menu and other details. Please contact Chelsea if you want to work on this fun and rewarding event.

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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Church Lawn Mowers Needed; Other Grounds Team News

Are you looking for a way to have a meditative experience in the midst of beautiful surroundings? Well, look no further. The Grounds Team invites you to mow away your troubles as often as you would like. Mowing the UU grounds on the riding mower (located in the UU shed) takes about 2.5 hours, and hearing protection is available. Please assist if you can. Sign up here. For more information contact Ramzie Siebuhr at 314-484-1919 or by email.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, June 6, the Grounds Team will be planting natives in the front bed. Please help turn our dream of valuing the interdependent web of life into reality. The more the merrier! For more information, contact Patty Daus by email, or any of the other Grounds Team members.

Fridays at 8:30 a.m., members of the Grounds Team will continue the battle to keep the invasive honeysuckle bush from taking over our natural area behind the church. The more help the better! For more information contact Peter Holmes by email, or any of the other Grounds Team members. More information on invasive honeysuckle.

The next Grounds Team meeting will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 13. For more information, contact any Grounds Team member.

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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Meatless Monday Potlucks

Our first Meatless Monday UU Potlucks will be on June 15 and July 20 at 6 p.m. in the church Greeting Area – with potential for a continuing schedule on third Mondays.

Who? Everyone is welcome! There will not be childcare, but children are welcome to join us for the meal!

How? Bring a meatless dish to share (bring plenty), bring your recipe for the recipe exchange, and your own plates and flatware so we can minimize clean up!

This program is sponsored by the UU Green Sanctuary Team in order to promote intentional, mindful eating! Contact Kathie Bergman at 442-5764 if you have questions.

[From the June 2015 Searchlight]

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All-Church Garage Sale

Items for sale awaited buyers in the sanctuary.

Beginning Tuesday, May 19, volunteers led by Qhyrrae Michaelieu started receiving, sorting and pricing items for our annual All-Church Garage Sale, which took place from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 23.

Qhyrrae reported that sale receipts totaled $1,696.50.

Among the helpers were Kadie Elmore, Karen Dwyer, Sharon Huntze, Joe Camille, Suzanne Bowles, Maria Oropallo, Meredith Donaldson, Peter Holmes, Barbara Carter, Patty Daus, Lisa Fritsche, Anja Ashton, Janet Groat, Vic Myers, and Gena Scott.

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DRE Position Expanded, Re-Advertised

Thanks to our stellar stewardship drive, we have been able to expand our Director of Religious Education position all the way to 35 hours/week year-round, with a commensurate salary and benefits package. We are re-advertising the job with these changes, and we would love your help getting the word out!

If you know of likely candidates, please do send them to our website, where our job listing is front and center as a blue link at the top of the home page. View job listing.

DRE Search Team members are Carol Arnold, Heather Carver, Joe Collins, Adele Dorman, Kadie Elmore, Tracey Milarsky, and Dennis Murphy.

If you have questions or comments about our hiring process, please do be in touch with me at 442-5764 or by email, or contact one of our search team members.

In Faith,
Rev. Molly

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Social Action Team Seeks Faith-to-Action Nominations

Once again the UU Social Action Team is accepting Faith-to-Action Collection recipient nominations for the next church year. Next year's recipients will begin receiving collection awards in September 2015. At least 14, and possibly as many as 18, recipients will be selected for the year and will receive awards by the end of May 2016. The team is accepting nominations immediately and will begin selecting recipients after June 10, 2015. The selection process is expected to be completed in September 2015.

From now to June 10, we encourage and would like to receive recipient nominations from members and friends of the church. Nominations must be made in writing by completing a Faith-to-Action Recipient Nomination Form (WordPDF) and returning it to the church administrator or Wiley Miller, chair of the Social Action Team. It is strongly recommended that nominations be submitted electronically by email to the church administrator. A nomination form is attached to this announcement. However, if you should need additional forms, they can be obtained from the church administrator or Wiley Miller.

Nominees can be local, regional, national, or international programs, agencies, organizations or efforts that exemplify one or more Unitarian Universalist principles. Final selections will be made by the Social Action Team, and the team's decisions will be final. Nominations received after June 10, 2015, may be accepted and considered, but preference will be given to nominations received prior to June 10.

When completing the Nomination Form, please consider the Social Action Team's belief that brevity is as important as the quality and content of responses. Please respond within the space provided on the nomination form, and do not add additional paper. Typewritten and electronically submitted nominations are preferred. However, if providing typed responses is impossible, please print carefully. Near the end of the nomination form, space is provided for any brief additional comments that you believe might be helpful to the understanding and selection of your nominee. Additional comments are not required, but they will be welcomed if you think they might be of use. If you have any additional questions about completing the nomination form, please contact Wiley Miller or any other member of the team.

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Stewardship 2015 - We Outdid Ourselves!

With great joy and pride in our community, the Stewardship Team thanks everyone who pledged and helped make this year's annual stewardship campaign a truly astounding one.

At the outset, we set an ambitious goal of 100% pledging, and we received a record 164 pledges – a stunning 96% of potential pledgers. Wow! Your pledges show that our community truly understands that we are all in this together.

Here are two more amazing facts:

  • Excluding our largest pledge, the average pledge this year was $1,544, an increase of 40% over last year's average of $1,103.

  • We received pledges from a record 33 first-time pledgers.

And a final stunning fact: We not only reached, but surpassed our $260,000 dollar goal to fully fund our needs in the coming church year. Total pledges are now $287,625!

Your generosity will allow us to substantially expand our Religious Education staff position, provide adequate resources for our many wonderful ministries and programs, and make a modest start on rebuilding badly depleted reserve funds needed for unforeseen and emergency expenses.

We hoped for a good result, but with your help, together we all picked up our oars and sailed this campaign right off the map into the kind of abundance we only dreamed about.

Thanks again to everyone!

– In Spirit and Service, Steve Scott, Stewardship Team Chair

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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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Naomi Powell Memorial Bench Donations Being Accepted

We are now accepting donations for the Naomi Powell memorial bench in our Memorial Garden.

Naomi was the creator of Access Arts and a stalwart member of UUCC from its beginning. She was an artist and poet who decorated the sanctuary weekly. She lived to be of service to others.

To contribute, write a check to the church with "Powell Memorial Fund" on the memo line. Church Administrator Kathie Bergman will manage the fund.

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