July 2015 Connection


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Issue No. 1807

Venice, FL

July 2015


Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Service  begins at 10:00a.m. Youth Religious Education 10:00am (starts in the Sanctuary). Sunday Adult RE begins at 9:00am.

Sunday Services

July 5 2015: "Bold Loving"

Rev. Jennifer Dant. Another sermon in her continuing series on the theology of James Luther Adams and its relevance to contemporary Unitarian Universalists and our Seven Principles.

July 12 2015: "Spacious Working"

Rev. Jennifer Dant. “Spacious Working” A sermon in her continuing series on James Luther Adams’ The Five Smooth Stones of Religious Liberalism.

July 19 2015: "Radical Giving"

Rev. Jennifer Dant. “Radical Giving” of the The Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion.

July 26 2015: "Adventurous Hope"

Rev. Jennifer Dant. “Adventurous Hope” Week 5 exploring the theology of James Luther Adams and Unitarian Universalism.


Sunday Adult RE

July 5 2015: "Dead Sea Scrolls"

Each of the pre-service sessions in July will include videos of “Dead Sea Scrolls”, a Great Courses offering taught by Dr. Gary A Rendsburg of Rutgers University, followed by discussion. Exploration of the Dead Sea Scrolls, these oldest biblical texts discovered in 1947, offers an unprecedented window into ancient Jewish history, culture and religion.

July 12 2015: "Dead Sea Scrolls"

Continuing a Great Courses offering taught by Dr. Gary A Rendsburg of Rutgers University, followed by discussion.

July 19 2015: "Dead Sea Scrolls"

Continuing a Great Courses offering taught by Dr. Gary A Rendsburg of Rutgers University, followed by discussion.

July 26 2015: "Dead Sea Scrolls"

Continuing a Great Courses offering taught by Dr. Gary A Rendsburg of Rutgers University, followed by discussion.

Special Offering

July 12 2015: Children First

Children First is a private, non-profit organization that serves over 600 of Sarasota County's most vulnerable children, birth to five years of age, and their families. It is Sarasota County's exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Kindergarten readiness is the ultimate goal. If you write a check, write it to UUCOV and put "Children First" on the memo line.

Minister's Corner

Finding Commonality in an Uncommon Congregation

glasses-booksCongratulations! You did it! You won the solar power lottery of your dreams, and you did it with patience and persistence - to say nothing of the great generosity of so many environmentally-conscious members and friends. The installation of the new panels, paid for in part by a grant from the State of Florida, no less, should be completed sometime this summer and we should start cutting our energy costs on the sanctuary immediately.

It is an uncommon congregation that can get something as momentous as this accomplished in such a short period of time. If we set our minds to the right task for the right reason, there is no telling what we can do together.

Which brings me to the question of a new building.

If we decided to build the right building for the right reason, I have no doubt we’d do the right thing and get it done asap. The problem, from my point of view, is that we’re not even close to knowing why we need a building, to say nothing of what sort of building we might need, where we might put it, and what we would do with it.

In the absence of a strong sense of mission - meaning knowing who we are and what we’re about and what it is we come together to accomplish - I don't think we can make the kind of significant decisions required to gather the will and the finances to get a building project off the ground.

Please note that I am not pushing to get a particular kind of building built. Nor am I out to sabotage anyone’s most current best-loved plans. I am, though, willing to say that I think it’s time we started to get serious about discussing our mission (what we’re here for), our vision (who we think we are and who we’re called to become), and our goals (what we aspire to accomplish as a congregation over the shorter and longer term).

If we agree on goals that fit our mission and that help us toward our vision of the future, we might indeed decide that a building of some kind would be necessary. Or we might find that we’d be able to become who we’re supposed to be and to accomplish all our important goals using the campus we already inhabit. Again, there’s no telling which direction we’ll decide to go, but it seems important at this juncture in our history to engage the discussion.

I’ll be away for most of July but will spend some time studying and planning and preparing for the coming year. I envision a lively discussion over the next few months that aims to get to the bottom of who we are together and what role we’re going to take in the broader community over the upcoming few years.

See you in church,



How to Contact Us

Mailing Address: UUCOV
1971 Pinebrook Road
Venice, Fl 34292-1563

Website: www.uucov.org

Minister: Rev. Khleber Van Zandt V
Phone: 314-223-0551
Office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-1:00pm
Email or phone anytime to meet at a different time.

Office Administration: Nan Kritzler
Phone: 941-485-2105
Office hours: Monday – Friday 10:00am – Noon

Music Director: Steve Hanson
Phone: 630-346-1842

From the Board

President’s Message July 2015

JoelMorrisonAs the hot and humid summer settles in, we eagerly await the installation of the solar panels on our Sanctuary. Reverent Khleber began his leave this summer by attending the UUA General Assembly in Portland Oregon, and the Board is taking a recess from its monthly meeting in July.

At its June meeting, the Board settled on goals for fiscal 2016, one emphasis being the development of a 12 month Stewardship Program for UUCOV. On August 15, William Clontz from the Stewardship for Us Team will hold a workshop at UUCOV to prepare us for the “Next Steps” weekend planning for November. We have invited interested parties from the Naples congregation, the two congregations in Fort Myers, and the congregation in Port Charlotte to join us at the Aug. workshop.

A second goal is to develop a truly Life-Span education program for UUCOV, in which adult education receives the attention that has been missing. Reverend Khleber started this with the Sunday morning lectures on what we know about the person, Jesus, from extant writings. Charlotte Neagle arranged for evening lectures on “Your Best Brain”, begun in June and concluding July 7. On June 28, Reverend Jennifer Dant will begin a five week series of sermons on ”The Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion”.

Thirdly, the Board wants to continue effective Community Outreach for our Venice neighbors , and finally, we hope to develop a “Wish List” of items or projects, each costing under $1000,that UUCOV members and Friends can financially support on a one time basis.

The Family Promise Program in south Sarasota County is planning a summer launch of its program. A list of needed articles and additional improvements to Asta Linder has been made and if you wish to help UUCOV get ready for its first week’s involvement, please contact Barbara Griffin.

Congregational Life

Summer/Fall Revolving Meals

foodEnjoy a meal with other UUCOV members. Sign up for August to October by emailing  by July 10th.

Summer Circus Spectacular 2015

SummerCircus2015-eventAttend the circus at the Old Asolo Theatre, Wednesday July 22; meet in UUCOV parking lot at 12:30 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for children.  Email by July 5th

From the Sunday Morning Experience Team

During July, Rev. Jennifer Dant will continue her tenure with us. Here is what Jennifer says about her chosen theme, The Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion:

" James Luther Adams was a Unitarian parish minister, social activist, journal editor, distinguished scholar, translator and editor of major German theologians, prolific author, and divinity school professor for more than forty years. Adams was the most influential theologian among American Unitarian Universalists of the 20th century. One of his most enduring legacies is the Five Smooth Stones of Religious Liberalism explained in the essay "Guiding Principles for a Free Faith”

  • "Religious liberalism depends on the principle that 'revelation' is continuous."
  • "All relations between persons ought ideally to rest on mutual, free consent and not on coercion."
  • "Religious liberalism affirms the moral obligation to direct one's effort toward the establishment of a just and loving community. It is this which makes the role of the prophet central and indispensable in liberalism."
  • "... [W]e deny the immaculate conception of virtue and affirm the necessity of social incarnation."
  • "[L]iberalism holds that the resources (divine and human) that are available for the achievement of meaningful change justify an attitude of ultimate optimism."

Is Adams’ 20th century theology still relevant to 21st century Unitarian Universalism? Rev. Dant will explore what the five smooth stones say to contemporary Unitarian Universalists through a series of sermons titled: Curious Learning, Bold Loving, Spacious Working, Radical Giving and Adventurous Hope.

Please join the Sunday Morning Experience Team in warmly welcoming her to UUCOV.

Being There Even When You’re Not

logo1Missing that warm, loving sense of Sunday morning community? Wondering what important or moving message the sermon conveyed? No matter the State you’re in, you can connect with UUCOV by going to our website, uucov.org, clicking on ‘Sundays at UUCOV’, then ‘past sermons and talks’. And there you are!

Lifespan Education

Spiritual Fellowship Summer Drop In

Discussion-Group“Spiritual Fellowship Group" meetings will be held the first Thursday of the month, June - Sept, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Waters Hall.

Everybody is welcome, current SFG members and/or people interested in finding out more about these small groups that so many of us belong to. Questions? Contacts: patriciaschwing@gmail or

Chair Yoga

chair yogaMarianne Lombard, an experienced yoga teacher, has developed an exercise regimen that doesn't require being on a mat on the floor and is designed to counter your loss of flexibility and strengthen your sense of balance. She will train participants in these and other exercises, including small but important ones that can be practiced while in the dentist's waiting room or sitting in your car waiting for the drawbridge to go down.

The classes will meet June and July, both Tuesdays (3-4 PM) and Thursdays (11-12 AM) and you sign up for either or both days. There will be a fee, a contribution to UUCOV, $15 per month for one session a week; $20 per month for two.

The group will me at Asta Linder house. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. Contact Marianne at 941-485-5270 or .

Interest Group Activities

PlatoPlato's Circle
This group, an outgrowth of the popular Socrates Café , announces at each meeting ther subject to be discussed the following month. The group meets 1:00pm, the first Wednesday of each month in the Asta Linder House. July 1st's discussion will be: Character. What qualities describe character? Do we always know it when we see it? How does this term square with our UU principle of worth and dignity, and our tendencies not to judge people arbitrarily? All are welcome to join in on the discussion!

Book GroupBookClub1
The Book Groups meets the first Wednesday of the month to discuss books chosen by the group. All are welcome to attend. July's Book: "A Spool of Blue Thread" by Ann Tyler. Location : Waters Hall Contact : Barbara Smith - . August’s book is "H is for Hawk" by Helen MacDonald.

14Mindfulness Meditation
Wednesday at 6:00pm, Waters Hall. Each meeting begins with a guided meditation, followed by a short reading and discussion. The meditation and readings are guided by the teachings and practice of Early Buddhism and are beneficial to all who seek a happier, more contented life. From time to time, Bhante Saddhasara, a monk from the Mahamevnawa Monastery in Tampa, will come and give teachings.

Socrates CaféSocrates-web
All UUCOV members and friends who enjoy lively discussions are invited to participate. Socrates Cafe meets every third Wednesday of the month at 1:00pm in Waters Hall.

Social Justice

Fruit for Community Dinner

fruitwebPlease bring fruit to UUCOV on Sunday, July 12. Our congregation is responsible for supplying fruit to distribute to guests of the Interfaith Community Dinner at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on July 13. The dinner guests especially like bananas, which are easier for them to eat, although apples and oranges are popular as well. We need approximately 150 pieces of fruit to give out. Thank you for your generosity.

Solar Power

solar-panel1The Green Sanctuary Committee is pleased to announce that work has begun to secure solar energy for our electrical use in the Sanctuary; we anticipate the solar panels will be operational by the second week in July (weather permiting).

The Committee is also pleased to announce that our generous congregation has donated the total amount needed for our share of this project. We are deeply appreciative of those who contributed to the project.

The Green Sanctuary Committee is preparing our application to UUA to secure our designation as a Green Sanctuary Congregation. The successful solar power project will provide solid support of our commitment to a sustainable environment.

Family Promise Update

FamilyPromiseFamily Promise of South Sarasota County expects to start its program to help homeless families get back on their feet in late August, as soon as renovations on the new Day Center located on Shamrock Blvd. are completed. Parents who are not working will go to the Day Center during the day for training and counseling while their children are in school. The program’s new Executive Director will be on the job starting July 6. Training for church coordinators and volunteers for the first Host Church is scheduled for mid-July.

As a Host Church, UUCOV will house three or four families, no more than 14 people, overnight at Asta Linder House for a period of one week, four times a year. Our first host week will be in October at the earliest to ensure that enough volunteers have returned to help. Guests will arrive at UUCOV Sunday evening for dinner and leave the following Sunday morning before our service. Family Promise will soon issue a hosting schedule through the end of January 2016.

Our Coordinating Team is getting organized to be ready for the program at UUCOV. Team Coordinator responsibilities are as follows:

  • Volunteers: Barbara Griffin will recruit volunteers for each host week and assign them to one of three shifts, dinner, evening, or overnight. All volunteers will receive training before the host week. If you would like to help and have not already signed up, please contact Barbara at 941-497-2733,
  • Supplies: Georgia Blotzer will soon issue a list of supplies you can donate.
  • Facilities/Setup: Steve Barry is working with the UUCOV Facilities Group to ensure that Asta Linder House is ready for the families and will work with volunteers to set up the facility Sunday afternoon before guests arrive.
  • Meals: Mary Leone and Kathleen Schwartz will ensure that breakfast and bag lunch supplies are available and work with dinner providers to develop a menu for the week.

UUCOV has a wonderful opportunity to help homeless families in the Venice area through Family Promise. As a Host Church we will benefit fully as much as the families we are helping.

Denominational Affairs

At the General Assembly in Oregon

uua ga 2015 logoPrior to the opening night of GA, Kindra Muntz attended a special four workshop for the 21 networks in the national Coalition of UU State Action Networks; forums and speakers provided tips on building beloved community, fundraising, and communications. Check out bethelove.net and a new UU website cuusan.org.

Kindra says: How great it is to work with UUs from around the country! Back at the Convention Center, Alice Primack (UU Justice Florida board member from Gainesville) and I both see old friends from earlier UU congregations and events. GA is both “old home week” and a feast of new ideas. The Opening Celebration is always amazing, with the banner parade representing congregations from all over the country and the world; joyful music; and in this GA, solemn memories of the nine lives lost in Charleston, and reaffirmation that we must all help love conquer hate in this world. I hope everyone at UUCOV can experience at least one GA, and see how it might open new worlds both for you and for our congregation

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor,
It is with sadness every year that many of us seasonal residents head north and say goodbye to dear, dear friends for the summer months. And I must admit that the first couple of years I spent “up north”, I felt miles away from my congregation in Venice.

But I came to discover that in the age of iphones, texting, emails, etc. I am not far away at all. And I know many in the congregation have made that discovery. Just because we are up north we can easily listen to Khleber’s sermons on our glorious web page, we can call and email our UUCOV friends and many of us can continue our committee responsibilities. And don’t forget the UUCOV radio station! When one thinks what they do from home when in Venice, it can just as easily be done from Massachusetts or your home state.

I challenge us to think of more and more of ways to stay involved in meaningful ways during the summer no matter where we find ourselves. Summer is a great time for those paperwork projects or for planning to give us a head start on “the dreaded season”.

And now we have an additional aid in staying in touch with the new Facebook Group, “In Touch-UUCOV”, that allows us to share and ask opinions amongst ourselves.

Just because we are not in Venice doesn’t mean our stewardship toward this congregation cannot continue.

Linda Underwood
To the Editor,
In his June 14 sermon, Khleber gave us an interesting exercise in definitions for "forbidden" words like God, prayer, church, et al. Apparently we (that ever-diverse "we") accept various interpretations but generally object to traditional fundamentalist views that many churches still promulgate. For those churches, the basic Christian concept is that of a God barbaric enough to demand human sacrifice, a Father cruel enough to have his Son tortured to death as the prerequisite for universal salvation.

If displeased, this fundamentalist God imposes an eternity of torture, as hinted in our June 14 song about "Fire." The traditional hell, probably the most sadistic image ever devised, is still used to terrify children (and grownups) in many mainstream churches, even in grammar schools, as shown by the after-hours "Good News Club" that teaches kids to tell other kids "You're going to hell."

Such horrific visions don't get far in our "search for truth and meaning." It's good that we are free to criticize them, and to refrain from the abject fawnings and flatterings of traditional
prayers. It's good that we escape the fears that immobilize so many traditionalist minds. We should remember that when we speak those "forbidden" words, we need to determine just how they are being heard.

Barbara Walker

To the Editor,
I'll miss Anne Cederberg. Over the past five plus years, I've watched her grow from tentative to assured as a public speaker and I've appreciated her thoughtful presentations during 'Words for All Ages' on Sunday mornings, which she must have spent hours preparing. She has a wonderful knack for inserting a light touch when speaking of serious subjects and for responding spontaneously and appropriately to people's interjections. Her inclusion of music in many of her homilies was always welcome. She made learning enjoyable without making it superficial. Her Sunday service words really were "for all ages" and my spirit always felt nourished by them. I am thankful for what she gave me and everyone who heard her speak and sing at UUCOV on Sunday morning.

Bonnie Hurley
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Publication Deadlines

Connection: Articles and announcements for the Connection are due on the 20th of each month for the next month's edition. Please email your submissions to .

UUCOV Happenings: Events submissions are due at Wednesday Noon for inclusion in UUCOV Happenings. Please email your submissions to .

UUCOV Mission and Covenant

Our mission is to build a welcoming and diverse community which encourages growth of the human spirit, the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and active participation in social and community issues.

In a climate of joy, goodwill and trust this congregation covenants

  • to treat one another with kindness and respect,
  • to listen with openness and acceptance,
  • to support and protect the environment of which we are all a part,
  • to solve problems responsibly as we grow and change,
  • to encourage learning and nurture the growth of diverse human spirits, and
  • to dedicate time, talent and re- sources in an effort to make a difference in local and world communities.

In the spirit of our free religious heritage, we promise these to one another.


UU Principles

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

UU Sources

The Living Tradition we share draws from many sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
  • Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.


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