Many paths. One welcoming and diverse community.

Committee News

Below lists the most recent committee news as published in the Connection. To view news by category, choose the appropriate council link to the left.  Each council page provides a description of what that council covers and lists published articles for that council.

Lifespan Education and Social Justice news is not included. For those items, go to their webpages by clicking on the menu above.

! Countdown to Sicily #7

SicilyEat pizza, rice balls, calamari, chickpea fritters, the freshest fish and enjoy the drinks stabilmenti. Mouth watering yet? Visit Sicily with UUCOV in September 16th to 27th , 2017 for good food and fun. For trip information contact Nancy Ryder, .

Welcome to Interweave

Rainbow FlagInterweave is a UU Social Justice committee actively working to end oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Interweave is guided by UU principals. We value and affirm the lives and experiences of LGBTQ people of faith of all ages, races, ethnicities, income levels and abilities. We strive to connect and nurture all LGBTQ individuals, communities, groups and their allies.

Over the years, our chapter of Interweave at UUCOV has sponsored LGBTQ events, represented UUCOV at the Sarasota Pride Parade and Harvey Milk Day Celebration, and participated in activities sponsored by GAIN (Gulf Coast Affirming Interfaith Network). Recently we have combined forces with neighbor UU congregations to form Interweave Suncoast.

We are currently focusing on the ageing LGBTQ community and creating a questionnaire for all assisted living and retirement communities to determine their policies vis-à-vis LGBTQ individuals. Are their policies inclusive? Supportive? Of couples? Are they sensitive to needs of the ageing LGBTQ community? Do they provide employees with sensitivity training?

In future, we will offer more social activities and will interact with Interweave Suncoast and other area LGBTQ welcoming congregations. UUCOV’s Interweave welcomes new members.

About The Green Sanctuary Committee

Green EarthThe Green Sanctuary Committee began at least 10 years ago with the goal of having UUCOV become ‘certified’ as a ‘Green Sanctuary’ by the UUA.

We started to fulfil the requirements as put forth in the manual, such as getting an energy audit for the UUCOV campus, working on projects with the RE children, and some that dealt with environmental justice. We obtained a grant from Home Depot to make some improvements to Waters Hall and to add some plants for the garden. Thanks mostly to Bill Dowling and contributing members of the congregation, solar panels were installed on the sanctuary roof.

With a change in committee leadership, the committee decided to focus on educating the congregation and the community. In the past few years we have had a project every winter – usually in March or April. One year we had a series of environmental movies and another we had speakers on climate issues and what we can do as individuals and as a community. Last year we hosted the Pachamama Alliance for an all-day program.

We have talked in the past about starting a community garden. This has never gotten beyond the talking phase.
We had hoped to work with Transition Venice on their sustainable garden tour, but they are not planning to do that this year; a group in Englewood is putting one together, but it sounds like they want to keep it in Englewood.

At our next committee meeting on Monday, Feb 13th, 1pm in Waters Hall, we will map out our agenda for this year. So far our only commitment is to support the VICA program on Feb 27th. (See Lifespan Learning) and the Poster Contest.

We want to see our website more easy to access and brought up to date. Maybe we will partner with Audubon on some project. Or we could work with the Green Sanctuary group from UU Sarasota and show an environmental film later this winter. We hope to be better at spreading the word about other environmental actions and events in the larger Sarasota County area. We would like UUCOV to be a sponsor (no cost) for a solar co-op and encourage members and others in Venice to go solar.

We welcome people who want to learn, to participate, to help. If you’re interested in participating with the Green Sanctuary committee, please email Susan

This committee depends in the agenda set by current members. Our Chair, Susan Brinckerhoff, is in Venice just the four months of winter; this committee needs year round leadership so that it functions while she is in MA.

Team Highlights – What is Going on

blue greenchalice smThe following is a brief summary of the monthly team reports:

  • Sunday Morning Experience: SME is working to develop guidelines to improve the efficiency and appearance of the lanai. Anyone with ideas can email .
  • Fiscal Team: The annual giving material has been sent out to members and friends. Anyone not receiving material can contact .
    - All plans for Jan. 28th auction are finalized.
  • Membership Team: The Welcome Ceremony was held at the Jan. 15th, 11:00 am service for 17 new members from two Pathways Classes!!! A new Pathways class is scheduled for January/February.
  • Lifespan Team: As part this year’s UU Read program, focusing on “The Third Reconstruction”, Bonnie Norton scheduled many book discussions and other RE offerings.
  • Campus Team: An emergency request for funds was submitted to replace non-functioning exterior parking lighting. The Board approved the request on emergency basis due to safety concerns.
  • Social Justice: Common Good organized a stellar representation from UUCOV at the Sarasota Women’s March.
    -  On Jan. 9th , a congregation wide meeting was held and about 40 people came together to brainstorm the unique needs of our community has and the unique strengths we as a congregation have to respond to those needs.
    -  Community Outreach is working full swing with Backpack kids, mat crocheting, sandwich making, and Community dinners. Anyone interested please contact Trudy Jacoby.
  • Administration: On Jan 20th, Connie Goodbread and Kenn Hurto led a Southern District Leadership weekend for UUCOV (we had excellent representation) and many other Florida congregations. Stay tuned as we implement some of the good ideas we learned.

As always, if you see something of interest, please know you are welcome to join any team. We need your energy and interest to keep UUCOV vital and of consequence to our world and neighborhood. Both Board of Trustee minutes and Coordinating Council minutes are posted on the lanai and on our website.

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee – UUSC

UUSCGoogle UUSC. The first thing you learn about The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is that it a nonsectarian human rights organization powered by grassroots collaboration, that it works in 15 countries throughout the world, anywhere rights are threatened – by natural disasters, armed conflicts, genocide, forced migration, and systematic injustice - that it works to ensure fundamental human rights.

You learn that the UUSC is a grant-making organization that goes beyond simply giving grants to promote economic and environmental justice and ensure fundamental human rights; it is powered by grassroots collaboration: it provides volunteers and trains them, it networks to create new coalitions to enhance work of partner organizations (notice that those receiving funds are ‘partners’, not ‘grantees’ ). UUSC began its illustrious work in 1939 when Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp took the extraordinary risk of traveling to Europe to help refugees escape Nazi persecution.

These are the goals of the UUSC:
Empower and organize workers to advocate for their rights . F
oster the creation of fair, safe work environments that are free from intimidation and harassment, and where the human rights and dignity of workers are respected
Hold corporations accountable for violations of their workers’ human rights
Advance sexual orientation and gender identity rights in Southern Africa
Decriminalize migration and safeguard the fundamental human right to seek asylum
Provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in transit and document abuses perpetrated by border enforcement authorities
Build organizational capacity of Burmese human rights activists
Ensure that natural disaster relief and reconstruction efforts are guided by the voices and needs of affected communities
Environmental Justice & Climate Action program focuses on advancing and protecting the rights of marginalized populations displaced by climate change. Our focus on this issue arises from the fact that one person per day is displaced by climate change, making it one of the most catastrophic and complex issues of our current generation. UUSC is specifically focused on assisting indigenous populations of the South Pacific and Alaska—two distinct regions of the world that are highly susceptible to rising sea levels and climate induced natural disasters, and whose adaptive capacities are limited by their geographic isolation, their reliance on coastal resources and habitats, and their development limitations.

UUSC is supported by donations, all donations are tax-deductible. Eighty-one cents of every dollar we donate goes toward UUSC’s human rights and social justice programs and those who need it most. Consider becoming a member.

Wanted. . .

handsheartsNominating Committee
The Nominating Committee’s purpose is to nominate a slate of candidates at the annual meeting for open positions on the Board and for elective positions on the Nominating Committee. For 2017-2018 we need to fill one open position on the Board and two Nominating Committee positions.

This year’s committee members are Lori Baribeault, Paul Casavant, Barbara Griffin (Chair), Claire Harrison and Bill Wolfers. Anyone interested in serving on the Board or the Nominating Committee, please contact one of the current committee members by the end of January.

Personnel Committee
We have openings for three people on the Personnel Committee, which, when necessary, (for all personnel except the Minister) develops personnel policies, makes recommendations on compensation and benefits, and assists in employee evaluations. If you have interest or experience in these Human Resource activities, please contact Dave Lyon or 765-212-5588.

Hospitality for Guest Speakers
We often find great speakers who live a bit too far away to get to UUCOV on Sunday morning. It would expand our list of potential speakers if we knew of members/friends open to offering overnight hospitality. If you have questions about this or would consider hosting a speaker, please contact Lori Baribeault, , 941-539-9807.

Why Am I a Legacy Friend?

FeatherPenUUCOV has been the focal point of my spiritual and social life since I arrived in Venice eleven years ago, and service to UUCOV and to the broader community through our Social Justice projects has also been a high priority. I know that for the exceptional opportunities UUCOV provides to enhance our lives and those in the wider community, UUCOV has to maintain a strong financial base. I saw membership in the Legacy Friends Group as ensuring we maintain excellent financial grounding, and so I joined the group in my first year as a church member.

When, 7 1/2 years ago, Richard Cannarelli, then UUCOV President, asked me to become Chair of the group, I wholeheartedly agreed. Dick May and Dale Povenmire, former LF Chairs, were excellent guides. During my term as Chair, Legacy Friends grew from 24 to 75 members!

I encourage you to become a LF member; every gift to UUCOV can be a tremendous boast to the work we do. And by leaving a Legacy gift in your will or trust, you have the pleasure of knowing you have made an ongoing connection to our congregation that will last far beyond your lifetime. It will serve to help our beloved community reach its full potential as a voice for peace, compassion, acceptance and love in the Venice area.

Now, Dr. John Spitzer, a snow-bird, choir member and Professor in the Department of Finance at the U. of Iowa takes over my position - what a step up in expertise! I am thrilled to have someone of John’s experience be the new head of Legacy Friends and am sure that under his leadership the group will become even stronger.

Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to serve UUCOV as LF chair. In future, if you are inspired to join the group, please contact John Spitzer: 319- 331-5914 or .

! Countdown to Sicily #8

SicilyA deadline is almost upon us! So... at 4pm, Thursday, January 12th, come to the sanctuary to view a video presentation highlighting many of the sights we will be visiting - wine and cheese provided.

A representative from Collette Travel will describe our customized 12 day tour of Sicily based in Palermo and Catania with added visits to the Tunisian City of Mazara del Vallo and the World Heritage Site, Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina, as well as the pre-trip to Tuscany and the italian Riviera.

Sign up Sundays on the lanai or email Nancy Ryder at

Team Highlights – What is/was Going On

blue greenchalice smSocial Activities: December 25th pot luck was held after Sunday Service.

New Year’s Dance Party is scheduled for December 31st starting at 7:00pm. This is a brand new event!!! BYOB and snacks in the Sanctuary with dancing on the lanai.

Sunday Morning Experience: New microphones have been purchased so you will notice better audio on Sunday morning.

Volunteers are needed for Welcome Table, ushering, serving coffee and making Welcome Announcements. See Lori Baribeault She can get you to the place to sign up.

Notice slides on screen prior to events with information on activities that are open to all.

Fiscal Team: Legacy friends enjoyed a dinner party at Allegro Bistro in December.

All the Teams submitted budget proposals to the Finance Committee for FY 2017/18.

The Stewardship Committee initiated a trial period of using donation boxes at Sunday services instead of passing the baskets, except for the one Sunday a month when a community charity receives our donations. Planning for our annual giving campaign in underway.

Fund Raising activities – Nancy Ryder presented check from the Aegean Island trip and the 2017 trip to Sicily has been announced. Auction planning has begun and volunteers are needed (contact Joel Morrison ()

Membership Team: UUCOV has eight new enthusiastic members following the November Pathways Class. Evaluation feedback following Pathways indicated new members would be interested in a follow up get together and one is being planned.

Lifespan Learning Team: Spiritual Fellowship Committee announced Carol Wolfers is retiring after many years of dedicated service. Thank you, Carol. Wendy Voigt will replace her as co-chair with Pat Schwing.

Adult RE, working with the Caring Team, continued to hold a variety of presentations and discussion opportunities on the topic of aging and death. This has been a well-received program. This program will continue into January.

The UU Read program is focusing this year on “The Third Reconstruction” and book discussions are planned in January coordinated by Bonnie Norton.

Caring Team: This team has been working in tandem with the Adult RE Team in the presentation of the aging and death topic. The Caring Team purchased multiple copies of the books on discussion and have made them available on a circulating basis so all could participate in the reading.

Campus Team: In December, the front walkway was expanded and shrubs planted to surround the new patio. All are encouraged to utilize the patio for visiting after services to reduce noise level. The lanai is to be repainted and sound panels are to be installed to further reduce noise. Arrangements have been made with an arborist for tree trimming.

Planning is underway for possible shade to the front patio and installation of benches. Discussion begun on how to make access to the rear entrance of Asta Linder safer and more appealing.

Communication Team: Great newspaper coverage on the mats for the homeless. Communications Team made arrangements for our street signs to be repainted and refurbished; that task is completed.

Social Justice Team: The Gulf Coast Foundation presented an informative and shocking lecture on homelessness and hunger in Sarasota county. This event is the kickoff of our discussion on “Why are we here? What is our role? How can we impact our Community? On January 9th at 2pm all are invited to discuss this further.

Family promise families were with us over the Christmas holiday and will be staying two weeks; another church served as staff the first week and UUCOV will staff the second. A new wall mounted TV was purchased jointly by Adult RE and Family Promise for Asta Linder.

Administration Team: Southern District Leadership weekend will take place January 20th and 21st. All are invited to the Friday evening event. On Saturday UUCOV will be represented by three teams. Bonnie Norton is coordinating this event if you have any questions or wish to pparticipate.

As always, if you see something of interest, please know you are welcome to join any team.

For Adult Eyes Only

greetingNow’s the time, folks! Ignore the good advice you heard as a child. TALK TO STRANGERS. On Sunday mornings and at any UUCOV event, – members and friends alike - do the opposite of what you were taught. TALK TO STRANGERS!

Too often, we hear, “I was a visitor one Sunday morning and while everyone was hugging and chatting around me, no one talked to me”. That is a tough thing for one to hear when we are striving so hard to be the welcoming and loving congregation that we think we are. But we are not always welcoming to everyone. So once you sit down, please, say hello to the persons sitting next to you whether you know them or not. It is everyone’s challenge/pleasure to talk to strangers at UUCOV. If you are visitor, say hello. If you are a member, tell a strangers you are glad to see them. Don’t listen to your mother – talk to strangers.

Creative Thinking Caps On!

thinking-capThe Coordinating Council is working on developing an idea for an artistic design that is specific to UUCOV. We will continue to use, as do most UU congregations, the UUA logo which is a stylized chalice. And we are hoping, in addition, to come up with an image specific to UUCOV that we can use on our GA banner - which needs updating - and, perhaps, in our sanctuary as well.

Something that depicts us or that says what we stand for or who we are. Some congregations use a design that represents a part of their grounds or building. Some use a design from their town. Some of our songs suggest art designs such as roots, trees, earth. If an image or theme occurs to you, please submit your idea to Linda Underwood this summer at . It does not have to be a finished design. Just an idea that can be worked into different forms. Thank you.