September 2015 Connection


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Issue No. 1809

Venice, FL

September 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

September 6 2015: "New Beginnings"

"Make Our Own Sunday". This popular series returns as we move into Fall, frequently an emotional new year for many of us. Please come prepared to share on the theme of "New Beginnings". Offerings can be poems, readings, music or your own thoughts but please keep them spiritual (however you define the term) and focused on the theme of "New Beginnings". We will join together following the service for "Make Our Own Sundaes" and celebrate the hot, days of September in Florida. Sugar-free and lactose-free options will be available.

September 13 2015: "The Secret Life of Bees"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. When we've been hurt or we've hurt others, we can either continue to suffer and be controlled by the past, or we can learn to forgive ourselves and those who have hurt us so we can live into a free future.

September 20 2015: Service & Pot Luck at Maxine Barritt Park

Service: "Faith in the Far Horizon" Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. Lots of us go to the beach to enjoy the sunset. What do you think is beyond the horizon that's visible to you that evening?

This week we continue our tradition of holding a Sunday service at Maxine Barritt Park (1800 Harbor Dr. S.). Many of us were originally drawn to Venice to enjoy the ocean and lovely beaches of the gulf coast. What better way to come together than experiencing one of our services in that locale combining, sun, beach, UUCOV and our wonderful community fellowship in one event! A pot-luck brunch will follow the service. Please bring a dish to share, tableware and your beverage. Plenty of help will be available to assist everyone up the hill.

September 27 2015: Service

Rev. Roger Fritts, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota will join us as he and Khleber engage in a "pulpit swap" for the day. Come hear what Roger has to share and get to know one of the other UU ministers in the area.


Sunday Adult RE

September 6 2015: Adult RE: The Dead Sea Scrolls

In the 60 years since their dramatic discovery, excavation, reassembly, and translation, the Dead Sea Scrolls have provided us with fascinating insights. Watch a Great Courses DVD lecture with discussion to follow.

September 13 2015: Adult RE: "The Syro-Phoenician Woman"

From the course, Great Figures of the New Testament, led by Amy-Jill Levine, an internationally-known Jewish scholar who teaches at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

September 20 2015: No Adult RE

No Adult Re today. Service and Pot Luck at Maxine Barritt Park, 1800 Harbor Drive South, Venice

September 27 2015: Adult RE

To be announced.

Special Offering

September 13 2015: All Faiths Food Bank

Our cash offering goes to All Faiths Food Bank, which solicits, warehouses, processes and distributes food to not-for-profit agency partners offering hunger relief throughout Sarasota County. It provides community leadership and education on issues related to food, nutrition and hunger. If you write a check, please make it out to UUCOV with "All Faiths Food Bank" on the memo line. Thank you for your generosity.

Minister's Corner

A Mission with Vision

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt

glasses-books 250x137If you’ve been to church recently, you’ve probably seen the congregation’s mission statement on the screen up front:

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

When I arrived a year or so ago, I asked various groups of church leaders what our mission was and how the programs and events we were planning were supposed to further that mission. There were enough blank-stare responses last year that I decided I’d better focus more of my own energy on mission this year.

A mission statement on paper is only that – written on paper. It may or may not reflect the actual mission of an organization as lived out in its everyday life, and so simply reading a mission statement rather than exploring the meaning of it with the people within the organization can give one a skewed or even false idea of what the place is really all about. I admit I’m new here and still trying to piece together the correlations between the written statement and the actual mission.

In my own personal mission statement, I’d want to include a focus in three directions: inward, around, and outward. By inward, I mean concentrated on growing a rich inner life within myself; by around, I mean focused on strengthening the health of my community, in this case the congregation; and by outward, I mean aimed toward increasing the justice in the larger community and the wider world.

I don't manage to keep those three directions balanced very often, but I believe I’m better off when I do.

If my inner life is lacking, I tend to get drawn off-course easily and to get sucked into a vortex of competing emotions. If I neglect my family, my friends, and the community around me, I can get self-absorbed and burned out. If I ignore the wider world around me, then I’m in danger of becoming wrapped up in my own small world and ignoring the need to use the gifts I was given to better the lives of anyone other than myself.

I believe there is transformative power in a congregation’s worship, religious education, pastoral care, and community life, both for the individuals involved and for the congregation as a whole. And yet, all those activities can become simply self-serving if we don’t find a way to enlarge our vision to include the transformation of our wider communities.

I’m looking forward to exploring our congregation’s mission and vision with you in coming weeks. I hope you’ll think more about what this congregation is about for you, about why you think it exists, and about what we’re going to do together.

See you in church,


How to Contact Us

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


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

JoelMorrisonI am pleased to tell you that at a special meeting on August 25th, the Board accepted the Personnel Committee’s recommendation for Director of Religious Education. (Late Breaking News! See Lifespan Education section for details!) UUCOV will now have a planned year-round adult education program, as well as a YRE program.

Most of the Board’s September meeting will focus on deciding when to move our Sunday schedule from one to two services. Although the initial transition to two services this past January was relatively smooth, there were the anticipated “moanings” and “groanings” about change, ranging from suggestions to eliminating a second service as never necessary at all to varied length of periods that we should run two services. I have also heard suggestions about the integration of an Adult Religious Education program with two services or even with one service, especially the potential of simultaneously conducting a Sunday Service and an Adult Religious Education Course.

This gives some idea of the complexity of the choices and the scope of the Board’s alternatives in making a decision about the scheduling of two services. I remind you also that the 1st three-years of a new settled minister's administration are a time of experimentation; we plan to try out different "Sunday Morning Experiences”, incorporating suggestions from our minister‘s experiences.

I sincerely hope we arrive at a decision for this year’s switch to two-service Sundays at the September Board meeting so our new DRE can begin planning. I urge those of you who have strong thoughts and feelings about this issue to send your input, prior to the Board’s discussion scheduled for September 8, to Rev. Khleber and to the Board members.

Congregational Life

Fall Equinox Celebration

FallLeafLet's come together to celebrate Fall Equinox (known as "Mabon" in the Wheel of Time Calendar) Saturday September 19 at 5:30pm. We'll have our first bonfire of the season. This is a potluck event. Also feel free to bring foods for roasting, like marshmallows or sausages. Musical instruments are always welcome. We will have songs & storytelling, and Suzy and the children will perform a brief play.

Some members are not comfortable driving at night, so please connect with each other and carpool so no one misses out on a chance to celebrate old traditions, and create new ones. See you there! Contact: Suzy Smyth (941)716-9002, .


jackMark your calendar: Sunday, October 25th at 5 pm, UUCOV will celebrate Halloween! It’s hoped that all will come in costume, but you’re welcome to come ‘as you are’! If you’re wondering what your future holds, Madame Barbara will be on hand with her tarot cards. If you’re looking for magical fun, Madame Lori will treat you to some of her delightful tricks! Perhaps we can carve some pumpkins! Whatever we do, it will be a memorable evening for young and “not-so-young” alike!

For dinner, we’ll have a chili and cornbread cook-off. Make your favorite recipe, bring it, and you know that we’ll eat it! Who knows? yours may be the favorite!
Start planning now your wild and crazy costume and dig out that chili recipe!

UUCOV is a twelve month congregation. Stay involved.

beltowerHere’s a reminder of the many mechanisms for seasonal members to keep current and stay involved.

Read the monthly Connection and weekly Happenings. Check out our website for up-to- date information about congregation activities, to keep track of committee meetings, and to discover what your friends on the Board are working on by reading their board minutes

Go to our official Facebook page (Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice) and our informal Facebook page just for members, In Touch-UUCOV.

When you see something that interests you, please call a team leader or committee chair to see what you might be able to do, even from afar. Currently, e.g., The Family Promise program is looking for donations; do you have some needed item to donate? Let Georgia Blotzer know.

Sunday Morning Experience

The committee is always open to new members, so if you have a particular interest in the process of building and developing a cohesive program of Sunday events please join us. We meet the second Monday of each month at noon in Waters Hall. Also, the committee is always interested in your feedback-- positive and negative-- about our services, content and in particular guest ministers and presenters. Please talk to any committee member--- Bonnie Norton, Francie Storey, Marty King, Pudy Steinbrecher or Richard Palmer. You can also email comments to .

Next Steps

calendarRESERVE the weekend of Nov 13-15, 2015 for an important all-congregation workshop. Board members will attend the Friday night session and the congregation is needed at many of the Saturday sessions. A primary focus will be on reviewing/revising both our Mission and Vision statements.

Lifespan Education

Director of Lifespan Religious Education Named

We are very happy to announce the hiring of Jaye Williams as our new Director of Lifespan Religious Education. She will begin work in early October.

Jaye holds degrees from Michigan State and the University of Iowa and has spent her career in management in both private and non-profit sectors. Her latest position has been as Program Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast; prior to that, she was Executive Director of the Lifespan Animal Rescue Coalition of Sarasota.

Jaye, a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department Volunteer of the Year, lives in Englewood. We welcome her aboard and look forward to a creative and productive time together!

The Campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment

erabuttonOn Thursday Sept 17th, USF Honors College alumna and political activist Stacy Dolan, who will speak at the USF Tampa library, about her intensive research: "Drafts, Dollars, and Democrats: Betty Castor and the League of Women Voters in Florida's campaign for the ERA".

Meet at 11 am. in UUCOV parking lot to go to Tampa for the presentation. Email Charlotte Neagle at by Sept. 11th.

Spiritual Fellowship Summer Drop In

An open Spiritual Fellowship Group meeting will be held September 3rd 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? Pat Schwing patriciaschwing@gmail or Carol Wolfers .

Interest Group Activities

platocolorPlato's Circle
This group, open to all, meets 1:00pm, the first Wednesday of each month in the Asta Linder House. The Sept. 2 meeting will be led by Bill Wolfers: We are all solicited by mail, email, telephone, etc. to give to various organizations, political, charitable, research, etc. How do we decide which are worthwhile of our support? We want to be generous but also wise as we lend our support to a sometimes confusing array of requests.

Book GroupBook Group
The Book Groups meets the first Wednesday of the month. Sept 2nd we will discuss Erik Larsen's, "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania". All are welcome to attend. Contact: Barbara Smith - .

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 from 1pm-3pm in Waters Hall.

Social Justice

Backpack Kids and The Sandwich Project

baglunch colorAttention Volunteers. Backpack Kids will begin Wednesday, September 9, 2015 and continue through May EVERY OTHER Wednesday at the United Church of Christ on Shamrock Blvd. We will pack at 10:30. This usually takes about 30 minutes. Sign up with Phil Veach or Steve Batchelor on the lanai or via email at .

The sandwich project is a success so it will be continuing. We make sandwiches in Gray Hall at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Riviera St. on the island. We meet the SECOND TUESDAY of each month at 8:30 am. This activity takes no more than an hour. Sign up on the lanai or via email with Phil Veach or Steve Batchelor at .

Family Promise Update

FamilyPromiseFamily Promise of South Sarasota County is in the process of renovating its Day Center on Shamrock Blvd in preparation for the program to begin the week of October 4. During the day the adults will be at the Day Center or at work and the children in school.

Executive Director Valerie Walton has issued a tentative schedule for the host churches provide overnight housing for up to five homeless families with children, a maximum of 14 people. UUCOV is scheduled to host families at Asta Linder House the weeks of October 25 – 31, December 20 – 26, 2015, and February 21 – 27, 2016. Our Family Promise Coordinating Team is working with YRE and the Facilities Group to get Asta Linder ready.

Asta Linder House has three rooms available for sleeping, two large enough to partition to make the five sleeping areas. The Community Outreach budget has enough funds to purchase curtain wires and black-out curtains for one of the rooms; the other may need to wait until we have another special offering. We are also hoping to upgrade one of the bathrooms with a new vanity/sink and counter top. Steve Barry is preparing estimates for these projects to submit to the Board of Trustees.

Please set aside items needed for the families’ use while at UUCOV. We’ll need bed linens, blankets, and bath linens for adults and infants; old sheets to cover YRE items; lamps, nightlights, alarm clocks, and small bedside tables for sleeping areas; an ironing board and iron; small electric appliances for the kitchen; dishes, flatware and plastic tablecloths for dining; paper goods, infant supplies, and unopened-unused toiletries. There is a complete list on the signup table on the lanai. Contact Georgia Blotzer at 941-375-8249, about donating.

We will begin scheduling volunteers for our October and December host weeks in September. If you have not already signed up to volunteer and will be available to help during those weeks, please contact Barbara Griffin, 941-497-2733, .

All your efforts for the Common Good have helped!

fairfood icon 6001All your efforts for the Common Good have helped!

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and the Alliance for Fair Food has BIG NEWS:
Ahold, one of the largest US grocers (parent company to Stop & Shop and Giant) has announced it will join the Fair Food Program!... Ahold is essentially the Publix of the Northeast... so the agreement begs the question: How much longer, Publix? To that end, if anyone has an idea for using this moment to put pressure on Publix, we’re all ears! We have an op/ed guide we’re happy to send to anyone interested in penning a piece. Elena Stein, .

A number of UUCOVers have rallied for the Immokalee Workers in front of Publix, have spoken with management, have visited Immokalee near Ft. Myers, have marched part way with the Immokalee Workers on their historic march from Immokalee to Lakeland, and cooked lunch for them en route with Pat Wellington coordinating that major effort. We hope Publix will finally join the Fair Food Program along with the growing number of other food retailers: Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Burger King, Subway, McDonalds, Walmart, Bon Appetit, The Fresh Market, Compass Group, Aramark, Sodexo, and now Ahold (parent of Stop & Shop, Giant, and the online grocer PeaPod.) Publix has been resisting all the way. All our voices and efforts for the common good can help make a difference.


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

(Comments, kudos, questions, concerns, musings) – all welcome. Send yours to .

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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