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.

For New(ish) Members


For ‘old-timers’ as well, the distinction between two ‘publications’:

Happenings (plural) a weekly events bulletin (emailed to all and included in the Sunday Order of Service). Put together by our office manager, Salli Clarke. Deadline for copy: 9am each Thursday.

Connection (singular) a monthly compendium of news, events, reminders, views, and more (emailed to all with hard copies also available on the lanai) Editor, Leie Carmody. Deadline for copy: Midnight the 20th each month.

Looking for a Special Person

HandsRaisedAre you familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order? Do you have experience with these rules in meetings?

Please, please contact Dave Lyon at or 765-215-4329.

Why Am I a Legacy Friend?

FeatherPenLinda Underwood writes: That is an easy question for me. I am a legacy member for the same reason that I try to participate fully in UUCOV life. Being a steward in this congregation is vital to me. I was very busy in my previous life with a consuming job and a mother who, in her final years, needed me. I was not aware of what I was missing until I came through the doors of UUCOV.

It is a conscious decision that I want this congregation that is so important in my life to be available to others. And without all our stewardship that will not happen. I gladly give my time and resources currently and I have chosen to be a legacy member to help ensure the longevity of this congregation for others and for our community.

To join Legacy Friends or to get information about planned giving, please contact John Spitzer at 319- 331-5914 or .

Update from Stewardship Committee

DonationBoxWoodThe mission which guides our committee is "To Nurture a Culture of Generosity.” Some of our recent activities include:

Annual Appeal—The Annual Appeal with the theme, "Living our Values", is in full swing and pledge cards and donations have been arriving daily. There has been a robust response from members and friends. We anticipate the Appeal coming to a close by the end of February.

Donation Box—Following several months of study, we recommended to the Trustees that the practice of passing the collection basket be temporarily ended in favor of using a donation box in the Sanctuary. Passing of the basket sends a message that we are all expected to drop something in the basket. This change is part of a larger effort to nurture a culture of generosity with a focus in the many ways that members and friends freely contribute their time, talent, and treasure to the Congregation. In March we plan to review total contributions from all sources and make a recommendation to the Trustees as to how to proceed.

We continue to promote using the internet to financially support UUCOV. Those who want to contribute financial support directly from their financial institutions or via credit card can use the new green Donate button on the UUCOV website.

For New(ish) Members

blue greenchalice smIf you’re new to UUCOV or new to UU, you might appreciate a roadmap. All this information is also available on our website, This month the focus is on the buildings on our campus and on the Coordinating Council.

Our Campus

Our campus is comprised of three buildings: the Sanctuary, Asta Linder House, and Waters Hall.

The Sanctuary is home for our Sunday morning spiritual experience and for all entertainments, parties, screenings, and for most public events. It is also available for use by other organizations, e.g. VICA (Venice Interfaith Community Association), IVMS (Island Village Montessori School) , Venice Musicale, South County Jazz Club. The choir rehearses in the Sanctuary on Thursday evenings, unless they are bumped to Waters Hall by a public event.

Waters Hall holds our library, our administrative office, Rev. Van Zandt’s office, and our recording studio. Committees hold their meetings in Waters, as well as the Board of Trustees, the Coordinating Council, Socrates Café, Mindfulness Meditation, some Fellowship groups (including the summer drop-in Fellowship groups), the Book Club, and the Three O’Clock Poets. The garden is near the Waters Hall lanai.

Asta Linder House is the focal point of our Religious Education program for the children, Sunday classes and activities. For eight weeks of the year, it is transformed into a temporary home for families being housed as part of the Family Promise program. Except when Family Promise families are in residence, Asta Linder is where Sunday morning adult Religious Education courses are conducted. Additionally, it houses our 1st-Wednesday-of-the-month Plato’s Circle discussion group, is the meeting place of a Spiritual Fellowship group, and is the ‘spillover’ destination for a group needing space when the Sanctuary and Waters Hall are occupied.

Coordinating Council

UUCOV has established committees to run our many activities, social, educational, and spiritual, and to handle our administrative and financial needs and keep the campus in good shape. The number of existing committees had grown to a point where each committee operating separately made it difficult to coordinate plans and programs and decisions. So, to improve coordination amongst the committees, they were grouped into 10 Teams, whose leaders meet monthly in a Coordinating Council under the leadership of our Board of Trustees Vice-President, currently Linda Underwood..
These Teams with the current Team Leader are : Administration (Dave Lyon), Caring and Remembering (Bev Morrison), Communications (Tom Voigt), Finance (Joel Morrison), Lifespan Education (Jaye Williams), Membership (Claire Harrison), Physical Plant (Bill Dowling), Social Activities (Eileen and Steve Leapley), Social Justice (Marty King), and Sunday Morning Experience (Lori Baribeault).

Team Leaders bring issues or concerns to the meeting which are either settled there or referred to the Board and, of course, the Team Leaders are informed of, and can discuss, how to implement Board decisions that may affect one or more committees. In this way, also, integration of program planning and financial planning are ensured. You are welcome to attend any meetings of the Coordinating Council, which are usually held 9:30am, the first Tuesday of the month.

Team Highlights – What’s Going On

The following is a brief summary of the monthly team reports:

Sunday Morning Experience: SME has designated a space for a wheelchair in our Sanctuary seating.

Fiscal Team: A very successful auction was held. The budget for next year being finalized for presentation and approval at our Annual Meeting March 25th. An open meeting for budget questions is scheduled for March 22nd at 2pm.

Membership Team: A new Pathways class was held in February with 16 new members/friends.

Lifespan Team: The monthly Aston Gardens Outreach program continued. A variety of programs continued on The Third Reconstruction, Comparative Religions, End of Life issues, etc.

Campus Team: The lanai has been repainted and the noise abatement panel installed.; plantings and mulch around the front patio are finished. A new metal bench has arrived and, if deemed acceptable, others will be purchased.

Social Events: A successful Open Mic & Chowdah night was held with wonderful food and even better talent.

Social Justice: Common Good is joining other community organizations on several legislative and policy fronts. We had representatives at the SW Cluster meeting in early February and held a screening, open to the public, of “Legalize Democracy”. A new Facebook Group, “In Touch-Common Good” has been started to help UUCOVers stay current with Common Good activities; join it.

Community Outreach is expanding UUCOV’s participation in the Family Promise program. Tim Saltonstall is UUCOV’s volunteer liaison with the Laurel Civic Association.

Interweave hosted a successful showing of the documentary “From this Day Forward” and a new logo for the joint congregation group has been adopted.

Green Sanctuary is exploring an electric charging station at UUCOV and is updating their section of the UUCOV website to keep everyone informed. GS cosponsored a film with VICA on “Facing the Surge” about sea level rising.

Administration: The Personnel committee is actively seeking candidates for the Office Administrator position. Following the Leadership Weekend in January, a Mission Task Force and a Strategic Planning Group were formed.

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. With so much happening, you are urged to join the Facebook pages to get info in the most timely way.

Denominational Affairs

There is always something happening either at the National level of the Unitarian Universalist Association or in the Southern Region of which our congregation is a member. In these times, when our values of hope, love and justice for all are sorely challenged, it is always uplifting to experience UUA gatherings and events; they are terrific opportunities to come away renewed in spirit. Two opportunities you might want to consider:

Spring Regional Event, Saturday April 4 at the Marion County Fellowship in Summerfield, FL., an all-day conference that will provide a wonderful opportunity to come together with other UUs from across Florida for learning, networking, and renewal. In addition to worship and a chance to meet others with similar interests there will be two workshops of special focus. The first is a session specifically designed for those interested in Stewardship and Generosity in our congregations. The other will be a session that builds on our legacy and considers how, as a denomination, we are called to offer an alternative in our communities. Please contact Bonnie Norton at if you are interested in attending this conference. We will arrange carpooling.

What is General Assembly?

2017GAGeneral Assembly (GA) is the annual national gathering of UUs to conduct business, learn, sing, listen to really good speakers and be totally inspired. So, who goes? And what happens there? And what does it cost? How long does it last? What do you actually do?

These and any other questions will be answered in an informal Q & A in Water’s Hall on Saturday, February 18th, 1-2pm and Monday, February 20th, 4-5pm. So, stop by....find out more. This year’s GA will be in New Orleans, LA!! ...this GA will be not only close, but at a terrific venue.

! 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

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.