October 2015 Connection


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Issue No. 1810

Venice, FL

October 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

October 4 2015: "Thinking in Motion"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. "Thinking that is alive," says Thomas Moore, "never stops to admire itself." We know physical exercise can help keep the body fit, but thinking helps keep the mind healthy as well.

October 11 2015: "A Vote for Crazy Horse"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. Back in olden times, Euro-Americans celebrated Columbus Day. When we realized (very recently) how much devastation our presence had caused Native Americans, some of us started calling for a generalized "Indigenous Peoples' Day." This Sunday, we'll honor one particular native, Crazy Horse.

October 18 2015: "The Biggest Question of Life"

Rev. Michael McGee.The Buddhist Lama Surya Das writes that, "The art of questioning is a wisdom practice and, perhaps, the quintessential element in all wisdom practices..." What is the biggest question of life for you? What questions have you struggled with throughout your life? In times of turmoil and grief, what do you ask of the universe? Rev. Michael McGee served as a Unitarian Universalist minister for forty years before retiring to Osprey, Florida three years ago with his wife Terry (aka Emilie Richards).

October 25 2015: "The Salvation of All Souls"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. Early worshippers celebrated Samhain and All Hallows' Eve, and our Universalist ancestors refined religious doctrines about who would be saved. We've gathered these things into a quintessential UU holiday, All Souls' Day, when it's not just the saints that go marchin' in.


Sunday Forum

October 4 2015: "Secrets of Astrology"

Barbara Walker presents some surprising information about the origins and implications of astrological symbolism, and its usage past and present.

October 11 2015: "Travel"

Marilyn and Charles Amick will present a program on travel.

October 18 2015: "Visual Arts in the Digital Age"

Artists are using new digital tools in creating and presenting some amazing visual art. Nan Kritzler will explain some concepts and explore a few new art forms.

October 25 2015: Forum

To be announced.

Special Offering

October 11 2015: "Interfaith Outreach"

Interfaith Outreach, Inc., a south Sarasota County volunteer organization, sponsors programs to help the hungry and homeless. Each week member churches host free community dinners open to all; the backpack kids program provides weekend food to school children who are on the assisted lunch program; a cold weather shelter houses homeless people on the coldest winter nights. Checks should be made out to UUCOV, with 'Interfaith Outreach' on the memo line. Thank you.

Minister's Corner

A Mission with Vision, Part Deux

glasses-books 250x137In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about ‘mission,’ which has to do with what we’re supposed to be doing together and why we exist as a congregation. If you look in our congregational directory, just below our Mission Statement, you’ll find the following “Vision Statement”:

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice is a spiritual home that provides programs, services and facilities to support and strengthen our dynamic, caring community. We value challenges that enhance our quest for meaning and purpose in life. We affirm our responsibility to:

Strengthen our UUCOV community,
Spread the message of Unitarian Universalism,
Develop greater intergenerational and cultural diversity,
Promote leadership for environmental stewardship, and
Promote a fair, just and peaceful world.

That’s quite the vision! If we could accomplish all that, we’d be in great shape and the community around us would be better off because of it. Of course, a vision statement like this one is not so much definitional as aspirational, meaning that, though we will never get to the point where we’ve completed all it says, it gives us something to strive for far out into the future.

It sure seems like we’re working toward this vision on several fronts. The new solar panels are powering the Sanctuary, the Family Promise program is gearing up to begin in October, and a new push toward a truly Lifespan RE program is on the horizon – all just in time for the seasonal return of our members from the north.

In a post on our In Touch-UUCOV Facebook page, my colleague Beth Miller, Consulting Minister at Friendship Fellowship over on the Space Coast, said, “We know a church has to grow to survive and thrive. But this is actually the side benefit of fulfilling our purpose which is to increase the love and justice in the world.”

If we do indeed live up to the vision we set for ourselves, surely we will “increase the love and justice in the world,” as Rev. Miller suggests is our purpose, and “growth” will be a side benefit of that. “Growth” is sometimes in numbers, but not always. Growth can be of the personal variety, too - either a broadening of one’s knowledge or an increase of one’s commitment to community or a deepening of one’s connection to the universe.

If we get our mission and vision right, we can’t help but grow. But a rise in attendance numbers is not the real goal; rather, it is living up to the promise of ourselves and the congregation of people we have committed ourselves to.

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 October 2015

JoelMorrisonOctober is perhaps my favorite month of the Venice year. The humidity and temperatures have started a gradual decline. My convertible can be used as a convertible without the danger of blistering sun burn, and the days and nights are of more even length and not as dark early in the evenings as those that occur after we return to Standard time.

Serious planning begins in October. The Coordinating Council Teams begin drafting their goals for the next fiscal year while continuing to try to accomplish this year’s goals. Half the fiscal year is over, and budgetary “geeks” start paying serious attention to keeping the budget in balance.

In October, we begin welcoming back our winter friends, although a few have already returned, and meet newcomers, possible future members, whose numbers have been increasing in recent years - and there is no reason to expect a decline this year. The developers have been busy all summer constructing new housing close to UUCOV as Venice grows to our north and east. The new highway to Sarasota (Pinebrook connected with Honore Ave.) will become a reality.

Our new solar system is producing electricity for the Sanctuary and our experiment with different “Sunday morning experiences” goes into its second year with dual services beginning November 8th. We will welcome our first professional Director of Religious Education, Jaye Williams. Jaye will concentrate on both Youth and Adult Education; creating plans for each.

Finally at the end of the month, we host our first Family Promise week. This experience will require a number of volunteers to be busy with preparation through most of October. The “first” always seems to be the “hardest”.

Looking forward to November, remember to hold the weekend of November 13-15 open so you can participate in our “Next Steps”. This major step in defining a year-round Stewardship Program for UUCOV will require us to revisit both our Vision and Mission Statements. Enjoy October.

Congregational Life

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Celebration

jackghostMark your calendar for Sunday, October 25th at 5 p.m.! UUCOV will celebrate Halloween and Dia de los Muertos in our own inimitable style. Do come in costume, but you’ll be welcome just as you are! If you’re wondering about what your future holds, Madame Barbara will be on hand with her tarot cards. If you’re looking for some magical fun, Madame Lori will treat you to some of her delightful tricks! Perhaps we can carve some pumpkins! It will be a memorable evening for young and “not-so-young” alike!

For dinner, we’re having a chili and cornbread cook-off. Make a favorite chili and/or cornbread recipe; you know that we’ll eat it! Yours may be the favorite!

Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Common Read”

JM new coverThe Worship Committee is pleased to announce an upcoming weekend centered on "Just Mercy", the best-selling book by Bryan Stevenson based on his work with inmates on death row and the concept of compassion in our criminal justice system. A compelling work, it has been selected as the UUA Denominational Read for this year. The weekend of January 23-24 will be the focal point of a variety of activities centered on this book.

Save the date and start reading! Buy the book or borrow it from the Public Library. Please contact if you cannot locate a copy. Watch for further details!

Are You Interested in Learning More About This Congregation?

SanctuaryPath200A Pathways to Membership series will be held Thursday, November 12th and 19th at 1:00 to 4:00 pm in Waters Hall.

If you are a visitor and would like to learn more about Unitarian Universalism and UUCOV this series is for you. This is an excellent opportunity for small group discussion. There is no obligation to join. If you are a member of the UUCOV congregation and have never gone through the Pathways Course you are also invited to register.

Registration can be done at the Welcome Table on Sundays or you can contact Linda Underwood, . If you have any questions , please contact either Linda or Pat Schwing, .

Radio News!

radio wavesRound-the-clock broadcasting of playlists composed of jazz recordings and selected UUCOV recordings has been discontinued due to minimal listener interest, minimal volunteer interest, the labor required, and the annual cost for royalties and fees. We have made recordings on our website that might fulfill a community service available to be broadcast on KDWRadio, a North Port internet/LPFM station.

The website uucovradio.org is not affected in any way; new material continues to be added.

Lifespan Education

Meet our New Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Jaye Williams

WilliamsJaye150Jaye holds an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa. She has worked in management in both the private and not for profit sectors. In the twenty six years she has resided in the Venice area she has taken lead roles in creating change locally in the areas of animal welfare, juvenile justice, inmate advocacy, women’s issues and education for at-risk youth. Jaye has extensive experience as a youth religious instructor, as well as an adult facilitator and trainer. Jaye begins at UUCOV on October 4.

Interest Groups

Bridge (social, informal) at UUCOV will begin in October. October 8th is our start date ... We will play on the 2nd Thursday of each month ( 1-4 pm).

We will be using SignUpGenius— an invitation to sign up for the each month’s bridge game will be sent out no later than the 1st of the month. New players are encouraged to call or email Marsha French (941) 480-9767/ to be put on the invitation list.

Hope to see many bridge players taking part...!

PlatoPlato's Circle
Everyone is invited to attend Plato's Circle, a discussion group meeting on the first Wednesday of every month at 1:00 PM in the Asta Linder house. The next meeting will be Wed., September 7. The topic is "What have been the major changes in American life since 1980." No special preparation is required, but a suggested reading is George Packer's The Unwinding of America, 1978-2010, which won the National Book Award. Discussion leader will be Brad Jenkins.

Book Groupbook
The selection for the October meeting of the UUCOV Book Club is "Resilience - the Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges" by Dennis CHARNEY and Steven Southwick. You are invited to our discussion on Wednesday, October 7, 1:30 PM, at Waters Hall. If you haven’t read the book, you can google Drs. Southwick and Charney to find information about their research. Or, just give some thought to your experiences with resilience or consider some books you're read that are based on the character's resilience or perhaps your own or someone close to you experiences that illustrate personal capacity of/for resilience.

Please bring your ideas for future book selections. And we may be discussing changing the meeting of our group. Be prepared to give your input. 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 Cafésocratescolor
October begins the seventh year of Socrates Cafe. The group was started using the guidelines of the American Philosophical Society, which are very simple and promote active, mostly rational (!) discussions. A different facilitator is chosen or volunteers for each month's discussion. The facilitator selects the topic and guides the discussions for the meeting. We often start with a short introduction from our resident philosopher, Bill Wolfers, about Socrates and the Socratic method of questioning.

Over the past years we have had discussions on language, environmental issues, consciousness, creation, education, euthanasia, and many others. We have some very thoughtful and expressive members and some very good listeners also. We have all learned to do a bit of both and often take home new concepts to develop further for our own enrichment.

No preparation is necessary to attend and we welcome all UUCOVers, guests, and friends. We hope new members will come -- always the third Wednesday of each month at 1:00 in Waters Hall. Socrates Cafe is year round with the assistance of our non-snowbirds.

Contact the chair, Mimi Welch, for further information. 941-918-1379 or

Social Justice

Family Promise Volunteer Training, Tuesday, October 6, 1:00 – 3:30, Sanctuary

FamilyPromiseFamily Promise Director Valerie Walton will conduct a training session for UUCOV volunteers who want to help with our first host week, October 25-31, when we will provide three to four families, a maximum of 14 adults and children, with meals and overnight lodging at Asta Linder House. Each day we will need two hosts for each shift: dinner, 5:30-7:30; evening, 7:30-9:30; overnight, 9:30-6:00 a.m.; and breakfast, 6:00-8:00 a.m.; plus volunteers to prepare dinners. All volunteers need to be trained. You may sign up for your desired shift(s) at the training. If you would like to help but cannot attend the training on October 6, please contact Barbara Griffin, , 941-497-2733.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Comments, kudos, questions, concerns, musings - all welcome. Send yours to


Copy of Letter to the UUCOV Board of Trustees and Minister

I want to thank you for the "management" of the two service issue. You know I had an opinion. And my opinion did not prevail. However, I felt that opinions were respectfully solicited, accepted, acknowledged and considered as this process unfolded. The outcome was not what I wished for but the process, I felt, was skillfully managed. If we can handle our future decisions in such a manner I have no worry as we move forward.

I especially appreciated the transparency in the final stages of Khleber's email to everyone and his response to our Facebook group “In Touch-UUCOV". It openly communicated the issue, the decision and the vision forward. I appreciate in any of these issues the involvement of the congregation, a transparent weighing of the issue and a closure. I think we haven't always done those three steps but in this case it was just handled well.

Thank you.
Linda Underwood


Dear Editor-
On Sunday, August 30, Rev. Khleber asked us what our current mission meant to us. I did not speak out during the service, because to tell you the truth I think our current mission says very little.

Where our mission fails, I feel, is a sense of responsibility and intention. Words and phrases such as “encourage” and “active participation in social and community affairs” are vague. Encouraging the growth of the human spirit and the search for truth and meaning is all well and good, but if we don’t provide the tools and guidance to do so, how do people even start? What responsibilities do we have to ourselves and one another in all this?

Encouraging the active participation in social and community affairs presents even more problems. What kind of active participation and what are social and community affairs? Are we talking the local Historical Society’s fundraiser, the next big political issue, our Congregational Thanksgiving Dinner, Family Promise, our monthly Full-Share offerings? Are we encouraging individual participation or participation as a congregation or both?

We encourage, but do we have any real expectations of anyone at all?

I know that we are more than capable of working together as a congregation to make great things happen – Giveaway Day and the installation of the solar panels are two great examples. I hope that Family Promise will be another. But the mission we have, in my point of view, does not set any expectations that we hold ourselves accountable to much of anything or anyone for that matter.

I would love to see our congregation adopt a mission that is full of intention. One that declares that we as a Beloved Community have the responsibility:

  • to ourselves and each other to explore our faith, ask questions, and grow in spirit.
  • to walk beside those who are oppressed and/or in need, sharing their burden and making sure they know they are loved, no matter who they are.
  • to work towards making Earth a healthier, safer, more loving and peaceful place for all of her inhabitants.

One that declares we do all of this with love and respect and acceptance of diverse thought and practice.

None of this is easy. All of this takes work. But our faith demands that we do more than just encourage, but instead actually do the hard work to provide a little more heaven for each of us right here on Earth. I just wish our mission reflected this.

Karen Griffin

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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