April 2017 Connection


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Issue No. 2004

Venice, FL

April 2017


Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: Apr 2 - 16 9:30 and 11:00, From April 23 on, 10:00 only

April 2, 2017: "The Ashes of Truth"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. A staunch defender of biblical authority and the unity of God, our Anti-Trinitarian forebear Michael Servetus was convicted of heresy and burned at the stake by John Calvin in 1553. Even as we honor our heretical traditions, we’d do well to examine our own tendencies to reduce to ashes anything that threatens our current worldview.

April 9, 2017: "The Truth of the Matter"

Rev. Kathleen Korb. In these days of conspiracy theories and "alternative facts", and increased knowledge of how much our perceptions bias what we think or believe, how do we find the truth?

April 13, 2017: Tenbrae

Tenebrae, 7:30pm. “A Communion of Saints” Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. In this evening candlelight worship service we’ll read from the Passion narratives, recite the names of those who have died recently, and partake of Communion in our tradition: bread and wine shared in silence at a table open to all.

April 16, 2017: “Morning Glory”

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. John Shelby Spong says, “What Easter did was to open the eyes of the disciples so they could see into the heart of God.” Easter may be problematic for many of us UU’s, largely because of the improbability of physical resurrection. But perhaps it can still open a doorway and invite us into spring.

April 23, 2017: "The Holocaust is Part of Our Story"

The Reverend Margaret L. Beard, The Holocaust was a tragic event that had far reaching impact that continues in our present time. Unitarians were part of the Holocaust in some small and lasting ways. Find out how this has impacted our faith story.

April 30, 2017: “Room for Mystery”

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. Many of us fall prey to the belief that we can know all there is to know. Yes, our base of human knowledge expands each day, but it often seems the more we know, the less we understand. Instead of fearing the mystery, perhaps we can celebrate it.


Adult RE, Asta Linder House Room A

April 2, 2017, 09:30am: "Long Strange Trip: The Hundred Year Waltz "

Presentation covering Unitarian Universalist history followed by a discussion led by Bonnie Norton. This session documents the century-long courtship between Unitarianism and Universalism leading to their ultimate merger in 1961 Part 2.

April 2, 2017, 11:00am: "The Last Days of Jesus"

From the Great Course Historical Jesus. There is better documentation for Jesus' final week than for any other period of his life. He went to Jerusalem at Passover and caused a disturbance. Why? Discussion to follow. Moderator: Mary Helen Braceland.

April 9, 2017, 09:30am: “The UUA Today and Moving Forward”

As a follow-up to the “Long Strange Trip” series we bring the UUA journey forward over two sessions. Learn about our denomination as it exists today and the most pressing issues being addressed and the denomination's focus. Meet the candidates for UUA President up for election at June's General Assembly, through video presentations.Led by Bonnie Norton.

April 9, 2017, 11:00am: "The Last Hours of Jesus"

From the Great Course Historical Jesus. How precisely did Judas Iscariot betray Jesus? Jesus was, after all, not in hiding. Why did Judas betray Jesus? Discussion to follow. Moderator: Mary Helen Braceland.

April 16, 2017, 09:30am: "The UUA Today and Moving Forward"

As a follow-up to the “Long Strange Trip” series we bring the UUA journey forward over two sessions. Learn about our denomination as it exists today and the most pressing issues being addressed and the denomination's focus. Meet the candidates for UUA President up for election at June's General Assembly, through video presentations. Led by Bonnie Norton

April 16, 2017, 11:00am: "The Death and Resurrection of Jesus"

From the Great Course Historical Jesus. How good are the sources for what happened at the trial of Jesus? Despite discrepancies in their accounts of what transpired at Jesus' tomb, all of the sources agree in important ways. Discussion to follow. Moderator: Mary Helen Braceland.

April 23, 2017, 09:00am: "America-The Philosophical Experiment"

America-The Philosophical Experiment- From the Great Course Cycles of American Political Thought. Although Americans have a reputation as pragmatists, not philosophers, they've relied from the nation's inception on an ever-evolving framework of political theory grounded in liberalism. This lecture provides an overview of this tradition and establishes a context for exploring and defining American political thought.

April 30, 2017, 09:00am: "Historical Baggage"

The colonies first European settlers from Great Britain were shaped by ideas of government developed in their home country. In this lecture, we explore the centuries of British political tradition that influenced the forging of a new notion of governance.

Special Offering

April 2, 2017: Backpack Kids

Backpack Kids is a program to help feed students from families who qualify for free and reduced lunches. We pack food items twice a month at the United Church of Christ with other congregations. 100% of the cash offering will go to this program. If writing a check, make it out to UUCOV, and write 'Backpack Kids' on the memo line. Thanks in advance for your generous support with both money and time.

Minister's Corner

News Around the Office

MinisterscornerAprilIt does not come as news that Nan Kritzler has been a godsend to this congregation.

For many years, she has been the go-to person for so many things: if someone wants to know about history, “Ask Nan.” How do we get pamphlets printed? “Let’s ask Nan.” How much is left in our team’s budget line? “Nan can tell us.” How can I get my event on the church calendar? “Better call Nan. She’ll help you.”

Nan has been indispensable to the smooth functioning of the office and indeed the whole congregational operation. But that’s about to change and change seriously.

Nan is leaving.

Well, okay, not leaving altogether. But she’s changing her place on staff, leaving the Office Manager position which she has helped make central to our organization, and moving instead into a purely bookkeeping role. And this means big, big changes in the way our office functions.

As sorry as I am to announce Nan’s reduced role, I am proud to announce the hiring of Salli Clarke, not as Nan’s replacement - something that would be nigh impossible - but as our new Office Manager in a newly reorganized role.

Salli comes to us after a long career as a Visiting Nurse, a manager of visiting nurses, and an administrative assistant and office manager in for-profit and non-profit enterprises. Her education credentials include an MS in Nursing from Yale, and her church experience includes membership at the UU Fellowship of Charlotte County.

For Salli to do her new job, changes will need to take place. We’ve had several volunteers cover for Nan when she’s needed to take vacations or personal time. I hope we can continue to cover some of the functions of the office like receptionist duties with a small cadre of volunteers. If you’re looking for something interesting to do one day a week or so, please let me or Nan or Salli know.

Change can be difficult. With all the changes coming to the office, there’s no doubt some small things will fall between the cracks. And I would predict that some big things will fail as well. We’ll need to be patient with one another as we learn some new ways of doing things.

But on the other side of the changes, Nan will finally have a chance to recharge her batteries, we’ll get to know Salli a little better, and life will return to normal.

A new normal, for sure. But then I’ve always considered normal to be more or less overrated.

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: Salli Clarke
Phone: 941-485-2105
Office hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am -Noon

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

From the Board

President’s Corner

LyonDave150In my working life, I had a boss who after an extremely difficult day would say: “Are we having fun yet?”

What a season! And have we had fun??

On March 5 we had 269 attendees for Sunday services!

Was the Auction great? Have you enjoyed what you purchased? My wife and I have gone to three homes for fabulous food and loads of laughs.

Have you seen the new DONATE button on the UUCOV web site? A very easy way to pay your pledge on a monthly basis; either from your bank account or on your credit card. If you would like assistance setting up this method, seek out Dan Hadley.

How about the programs? Jaye Williams has done a fantastic job. The most frequent comment I hear is “I can’t do it all! There is just too much.”

Family Promise has been a major Social Justice effort for which many of us volunteer to help. Temporarily homeless families spend a week in Asta Linder and we supply food, host dinner, spend overnights, and prepare breakfast. Your Board of Trustees recently approved making Asta Linder available to Family Promise for up to 8 weeks each calendar year.

General Assembly is in New Orleans this year! What a great venue. We have many who plan to attend will you join them? A new President of our Unitarian Universalist Association will be elected and for the first time she will be a woman!

Have you met Salli Clarke our new Office Administrator? She is a great addition as our beloved Nan eases closer to retirement by limiting her time to keeping our financial books.

At this time of year, we say good bye to many who will be journeying north. We will miss you but just think how great this season has been! Stay healthy, keep in-touch, and we will see you soon.

Congregational Life

Important Traffic Changes

DoNotEntersignThe officials at the Montessori School next door have concerns about the safety of their children. They want us to be aware of the changes they are making in their traffic flow for the last 10 weeks of school. They are having adults who come to pick up children enter school grounds via Edmondson and exit onto Pinebrook; all of their traffic will then flow in one direction only. There will be ‘Do Not Enter’ signs on Pinebrook Rd. for this period.

They understand that we will continue to use our road in both directions, i.e. both entering from Edmondson and exiting towards Edmondson. They also understand that when school is not in session, such as on Sunday morning, we may enter from Pinebrook in spite of the ‘Do Not Enter’ signs.

Child safety is the ‘driver’ and we share that concern.

Spring Luncheon

SpringFlowersSunday, April 16 at Bird Bay Clubhouse, 606 Bird Bay Drive South. Doors open at noon; lunch served at 1pm.

We need a count of expected guests at this delicious cost-free pot roast dinner, so sign up after Sunday services (Mary Helen Braceland and Catherine Hall will be circulating with clipboards) or contact Ruth Boysworth, . Please indicate it if you require a vegetarian meal.

The menu will consist of beef pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, rolls and dessert. Water, iced tea, lemonade and coffee provided and you can BYOB. Keeping the Green Sanctuary Committee in mind, bring your own place-settings and cups (don’t worry, if you forget, we will have paper products).

In the spirit of generosity, donations are cheerfully accepted. We hope everyone from UUCOV will be there for fellowship and food!

Why Am I a Legacy Friend?

Lynn Jordan says: "The reason I joined the Legacy Friends is because I would like to see UUCOV continue after I'm gone. UUCOV has been like a second home for me. I have met the most wonderful people there, and some are close friends."

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



Blessing of New Members- March 19
(Front row - left to right) Fran McPoland, Walt Koenig, Alison Kirk, Nancy Lefebvre, Joan Carignan, Lisa Willott, and Jim Willott.
(Back row - left to right) David Ragsdale, Lisa D'Agostino, Billie Chambers, Janine Jacobs, Sylvia Hancock, and Joe Carignan. (Missing from photo: Deb Eastman)

Countdown to Sicily #5


Siracusa, Syracuse to us, had the world’s first cooking school and now has the only school of classical drama outside Athens. Come with us to the theatre and the food! Visit Sicily with UUCOV in September 16 to 27, 2017 for good food and fun. For trip information contact Nancy Ryder, .

To Be A Good Borrower, A Good Returner Be

To those of you who borrowed Rev. William Barber’s “The Third Reconstruction”, PLEASE return them to the Welcome Table any Sunday in April. Thank you!

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.

Lookin’ Back

The Coordinating Council Team Leaders came together in March to celebrate an active year together and each was invited to share the one thing they were most proud to have had their team accomplish. This is what they said –

  • Providing all social events open to all with no fees.
  • Moving the hymnals from under the chairs to the new bookcases.
  • Actualization of the Memorial Wall
  • Coordinating Council Teams working in consort with each other.
  • New patio that has made our sanctuary more welcoming and coffee hour more hospitable.
  • Exploding vitality of the Social Justice Team
  • Fiscal Team committees working together and producing
  • Campus Team fellowship
  • Expanded community involvement at our RE programs due to informative topics and expanded advertising
  • Expanded numbers involved in the Welcoming Announcement
  • Advertising emphasis changed – program focused
  • Pathways no longer emphasizing membership but rather offering information.
  • System changed to readily identify friends and supply nametags.
  • Focused, high quality Adult RE options have brought record number of new people to UUCOV.
  • The positive energy and connections of the congregation that is noted by members, friends, visitors and minister.

You will note not one “I” statement in the above. These are all team accomplishments. It truly does take a village to raise a congregation. Thank you to all of you who participated this year in making all the above possible. For those of you made Sunday coffee, weeded a garden, supported the meditation class, came to discuss at Plato or Socrates, or participated on a committee we hope you have felt some pride in a good year!

Lifespan Education

Message from our Director of Religious Education

Meet You at the Quad
WilliamsJaye150Okay, we don't have a quad on the UUCOV campus yet. It was the evening of February 2. There was a large group assembling for the showing of the film “Legalize Democracy” in the sanctuary, people were engaged with choir practice in Waters Hall, and a Pathways class was about to start in Asta Linder House. I was assigned the task of picking up a flip chart stand and pad needed for the discussion following the film. The stand was in Asta Linder House. I chose to drive over rather than stumble my way in the dark from ALH to the sanctuary with the stand.

As I pulled up close to ALH, (but not so close that I would hit someone's motorcycle) the doors to Room A were open wide welcoming the Pathways participants. Chairs were being arranged, folks were greeting one another and streaming between Room A and Room B. I pulled the stand and pad from the closet and wound my way through the crowd toward the door when I heard these words, "Wow, this place is so active it reminds me of a college campus!" I was so busy trying not to spear or hit someone with the stand I was carrying, I couldn't turn to see who said it, but those words really made an impression. It also put a big smile on my face.

Team leaders were asked recently to relay one and only one accomplishment that they were most proud of for this past fiscal year. I noted that Lifespan has been working with and being supported by a number of the other teams this year and it has been productive and fun to work together. But, I must confess that the comment about UUCOV reminding someone of a college campus personally resonated. My recollection of campus life conjures images of energy, exploration, growth, social and justice activities, laughs and great friendships. Even better; we can stay enrolled for as long as we want.

Youth Religious Education

pebblesA Connection to War Torn Syria
As was noted last month, YRE has some new volunteers. One of them is Olga Hebert. Olga recently showed our older children (The Faith Group) a YouTube video when she worked with them on a lesson titled “The Power of Reaching Out.” You can see it, too; here is a link to the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmoPKZHdVVo The video itself was a powerful lesson in taping into one's gifts to inform and educate beyond the border of one's country.
(To go to the artist's web page, https://syriancreativehavens.com/portfolio/syrian-artist-nizar-ali-badr/)

Olga went one step further and brought materials for the YRE children to experience the type of art Nizar Ali Badr creates. The photos in the collage (below) are the works created by our children.
Thank you Olga!


EvictedWhy are evictions, which used to be relatively uncommon, so much more prevalent today?

The prologue to Matthew Desmond’s “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” states: "In 2013, 1 in 8 poor renting families nationwide were unable to pay all of their rent, and a similar number thought it was likely they would be evicted soon." A reviewer, Adrian Liang, writes, "It's the rare writer that can capture a social ill, with the clear-eyed nonjudgmental tone and still allow the messiness of real people it's due."

Adult Religious Education is joining with Social Justice Team in encouraging everyone to read this highly acclaimed book. A limited number of copies of the book will be available to borrow from UUCOV after Sunday services. The Sarasota County Library system has copies of each title or you may purchase the book on your own. UUCOV is on the front lines of this issue in our community. Stay tuned for some special programs on this topic. Plan to join the book discussion on May 4. from 1:30-3:30.

We Return to One Service

DeclaraIndepBeginning April 23 at 9:00 am,  we introduce a terrific Great Course Program on the Cycles of American Political Thought. This is very highly rated course examines the often neglected philosophical underpinnings of our nation's history, exploring how this nation of "doers" has, from its birth, been deeply engaged with the most fundamental questions of political philosophy. We will explore the many ways our nation has answered the question: "What is an American?", including how the idea of "We the People" has changed and expanded far beyond the founding fathers' original conception.
Through the sessions, we'll navigate the ever-shifting political landscape and see how political trends in American history can be understood as variations on a single theme: the philosophy of liberalism.

Aging and End of Life Series – Conclusion

TidewellThe Aging and End of Life Series presents its last two programs, open to the public as usual. “All You Want to Know About Hospice“ is on Tuesday, April 18 1-2:30pm when Suzanne Barksdale, Community Relations Representative, Tidewell Hospice, will talk about hospice and answer the questions raised by our book discussions of “Being Mortal” and “The Good Death.”

LifeDeathOn April 11 at 1pm Winnie Downes from Compassion and Choices returns to lead participants in a workshop using the Good-to-Go Resource Guide, a 16-page introduction to end-of-life planning with ideas, inspiration, information and answers. Those of you who attended Winnie’s February presentation will remember her speaking about this workbook and our commitment to have her return to go over it in detail. Each participant will receive the guide. Pre-registration is required no later than April 7 to DRE Jaye Williams, 941-587-2981

UUCOV Spiritual Fellowship Group Announcement


The Spiritual Fellowship Group (SFG) Steering Committee invites UUCOV members and friends to become involved with an ongoing close-knit group of fellow congregants who are “like-minded” in many ways but who also commit to being tolerant and welcoming of alternative beliefs and philosophical positions. Members experience this give and take as invigorating and helpful as they continue to develop their ideas and beliefs concerning spirituality and a myriad of other subjects and attempt to apply these concepts to today’s world.

Spiritual Fellowship Groups led by facilitators are limited to 8-10 members who pledge confidentiality and a commitment to regular attendance at two meetings a month. There are all-women’s, all-men’s, and mixed-gender groups depending on an individual’s preference. Facilitators meet once a month with our minister for training and sharing of ideas to enhance this program. We periodically place new members in ongoing groups as openings occur, but if there are enough applicants, we will then create new groups.

Persons desiring to join a group should contact Cindy O’Dell (317-370-6705 or email: .) Folks who would like to learn more about these groups may speak with Cindy or other members of the SFG Steering Committee including: Wendy Voigt (419-636-1589; ,)Linda Van Zandt (314-277-6738; ,)or Bill Harrison (207-838-2556; .).

Not Too Late for The Long Strange Trip

Both the afternoon and evening series of "A Long Strange Trip" continue into April. This six-part series details the 2000 year history of Unitarian and Universalist thought from the beginning of the Christian era to what we know today as Unitarian-Universalism. You will see an exceptionally well-done video and participate in a discussion.

This fascinating story includes the compelling life stories of heroes such as Michael Servetus, David Ferenc and Joseph Priestly, William Ellery Channing and Hosea Ballou: it details the role of transcendentalists such as Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller in developing our commitment to a free and open search for truth and meaning. You’ll follow the evolution of both Unitarianism and Universalism in this country from bible-orientated religions to the non-creedal movement we know today, and you’ll learn of the diverse influences such as the Civil War, Suffrage and Feminism. And you’ll learn the how the two movements came together and merged in 1961, creating what we know today as the Unitarian Universalist Association.

1: Monday Afternoons
April 3 In "American Universalism", we come to America with the arrival of Unitarian thought in this country and learn about three separate movements all of which compete with the early churches established by the Pilgrims and Puritans. This session includes understanding the impact of the Transcendentalist movement through the work of Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller.

April 10 “Universalism" introduces us to Universalism from its early development in Germany to its explosion in America during the first half of the 19th century as people adopted the teachings of Hosea Ballou.

April 17 "Evolution" follows both Unitarianism and Universalism as they evolve from bible-orientated religions to our present day non-creedal movement. It Includes the effect of several diverse influences such as the Civil War, Suffrage, and Feminism.

April 24 "The Hundred Year Waltz" documents the century-long courtship between Unitarianism and Universalism leading to their ultimate merger in 1961. This video follows the resulting UUA to the present day.

2: Monday Evenings
April 3 "The Birth of Unitarianism" chronicles the spread of Servetus' message and the development of the first coherent Unitarian theology. It tracks these ideas across Europe and eventually to England where we encounter Joseph Priestly (yes, the scientist) and discover his role as a Unitarian minister.

April 10 In "American Universalism", we come to America with the arrival of Unitarian thought in this country and learn about three separate movements all of which compete with the early churches established by the Pilgrims and Puritans. This session includes understanding the impact of the Transcendentalist movement through the work of Theodore Parker and Margaret Fuller.

April 17 “Universalism" introduces us to Universalism from its early development in Germany to its explosion in America during the first half of the 19th century as people adopted the teachings of Hosea Ballou.

April 24 "Evolution" follows both Unitarianism and Universalism as they evolve from bible-orientated religions to our present day non-creedal movement. It Includes the effect of several diverse influences such as the Civil War, Suffrage and Feminism.

May 1 "The Hundred Year Waltz" documents the century-long courtship between Unitarianism and Universalism leading to their ultimate merger in 1961. This video follows the resulting UUA to the present day.

UU & You 2.0

HouseForHopeThis evening series about UU & You concludes this month with Tuesday sessions, 6-8pm, on April 4th, 11th, and 18th. In this program, you’ll deepen your understanding of Unitarian Universalism and be invited to meaningfully engage with liberal theology.

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club

The UUCOV Book Club will hold its April meeting on Thursday, the 13th at 1:30pm to discuss "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right," by Jane Mayer.

In May, we’ll talk about "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City”, by Matthew Desmond

From June-September, we will meet on second Tuesdays of the month in the Sanctuary, 2pm.for programs sponsored by the Venice Area Historical Society and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice; these programs are free and will be funded by the Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation. The programs will deal with local history and will, we hope, feature local historians. Please direct any questions to Barb Smith 941-408-1729 or

BuddhaMindfulness Meditation
Guided meditation and a look at early Buddhist teachings on living a more peaceful life. Meets weekly Wednesdays 6-7:30pm. 

platoPlato's Circle
Plato's Circle will meet on Wednesday, April 5th , from 1-3pm, at Asta Linder House.
The topic is "Change", which we’ve all been through plenty of during our lifetimes--personal, technological, and societal. But the pace of change has accelerated very sharply in recent years, and may now be exceeding our capacity to adapt in time. Thomas Friedman strongly suggests this in his latest (he says maybe his last) book, "Thank You for Being Late", which essentially is a survival guide for this new age. His solutions (more co-operation and collaboration and more interaction at the local, grass roots level) have also been espoused by more conservative writers such as Charles Murray. No advanced reading is necessary, however, for us to have a lively discussion on the topic of Change.

Socrates Cafe
Socrates Cafe are gatherings around the world where people from different backgrounds get together and exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences while embracing the central theme of Socratizing, the idea that we learn more when we question and question with others. UUCOV’s Café meets every third Wednesday of the month in Waters Hall at 1pm. All UUCOV members, friends, and neighbors who enjoy lively discussions are invited to participate on March 15.

ParkWellness Walking
The Saturday walking group, led by Marianne Lombard, has a new starting place in April. Meet her at 10:30 at Sleeping Turtle Preserve, 3464 Border Rd. Venice. We focus on awareness and light exercises (breathing, posture, stretching). Donations to UUCOV are welcome. Contact Marianne 941-485-5270, with any questions.

Social Justice

Our Spaceship Earth

EcoEarthFrom 7-8:30pm, Monday April 17, you can find out from Tim Rumage not only what you need to know about Climate Change, but what you can do to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Tim, a planetary ethicist and naturalist is the Coordinator/Developer of Environmental Studies at Ringling College of Art and Design. He is co-author, with David Houle, of the book “This Spaceship Earth”.

You’re Invited

facebookThe Common Good Committee invites all UUCOV members and friends to join our new, public Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/InTouchCommonGood/ to share thoughts about what is happening in this country and to collaborate and promote efforts for peace, social justice and protection of the earth our home.

If you have joined or would like to join the Facebook group but have questions about how to use Facebook, make or share posts, etc., you can send a message to that effect, with your phone number, to Barbara Buehring, . Please include information about the device (phone, tablet, computer) and operating system (Android, iPhone or iPad) you are using.

Important Message from Family Promise

Family PromiseBut first: Family Promise Volunteers you rock! Another successful week of hosting 2 single mothers with 3 children each, making them feel welcome in our home!

About Volunteering
A Family Promise hosting week requires about 300-500 hours of volunteer time. We generally host 2 families with 3 or 4 children, but we must be prepared for, and have hosted, 3 families with a total of 14 persons. Volunteers sleep overnight in ALH; help with breakfast; and we clean ALH each morning the families are with us.

We need a pool of 50-70 volunteers to ensure the Family Promise program functions smoothly and is sustainable for the long haul. We need to add to our present pool of volunteers. In addition to those who serve when families are being housed, we also need others with a variety of skills: handy man skills, scheduling or PR skills, liaison skills, bookkeeping or budgeting skills, and data input skills to maintain an e-mail distribution list and to track the training required of volunteers. Interested? Please contact Cindy O’Dell-317-370-6705.

And if you are asking yourself why do this? How about a hug from a child who needed some needed attention? Or being able to give a pat on the back to a mother who needs encouragement? Or the fun of a quick game of chess with rules that are wild and crazy? Or to know that you fixed the squeaking door that used to wake the families up in the middle of the night? or you were integral to coordinating the schedule that made the hosting week a success.

Every family is different, has different needs, and requires different solutions. Flexibility, patience and love are what our volunteers give these families.

A New Venture
The Steering Committee recommendation, to use ALH for an additional 4 weeks a year was endorsed by the Community Outreach Leader, Trudy Jacoby, the Social Justice Team Leader, Marty King, and by the Coordinating Council. Our Board of Trustees approved the recommendations.

The Venice United Church of Christ (VUCC) will join us as a co-hosting congregation using our Asta Linder. We will co-host for two weeks back-to-back 4 times a year. Cindy and Paul O’Dell, UUCOV’s coordinators, and Sandy McHenry, VUCC Family Promise coordinator, will be recruiting over the next several months, visiting our fellow churches and civic organizations to add 25 to 30 volunteers for a two-week summer hosting as a part of the additional 4 weeks

Steering Committee
Essential to the sustainability of our Family Program is the Steering Committee; we have a critical need to add 3 or 4 volunteers. When everyone is healthy and is in town, hosting families runs smoothly. But that never happens. We get sick and have emergencies. We had a 90+ percent turnover in the past year on the Steering Committee, which has been disruptive to the Program, and more importantly to the families.

Two Committee members ensure ALH is prepared to host the new family’s arrival: storing 40 to 50 chairs; rearranging of all the furniture; hanging 8 drapery panels to provide privacy to a family; create night stands out of plastic drawer containers; cover book cases, TV, etc. that Family Promise families are forbidden to use. And, one week later, they undo all of this for ARE and YRE’s Sunday programs. One Committee person coordinates the 7 to 10 dinner providers, ensuring that providers know of food allergies and favorite foods, and tries to ensure some variety in their meals. They also find substitutes when necessary. A third Committee member ensures staples are stocked at ALH and replenishes these items as needed. Fourth member coordinates volunteers who launder the towels, wash clothes, sheets, and mattress pads. Currently the UUCOV Family Promise coordinators recruit, schedule and coordinate the schedule for hosting the families; liaison with SSCFP; VUCC; and UUCOV’s RE; Physical Plant; Community Outreach; Social Justice: Coordinating Council and to the Board of Trustees. We are reaching out to various churches, civic organizations (whoever will listen to our story) for more volunteers and assistance to host families for an additional 4 weeks.

For Our Common Good

UUJFThree members of our Common Good Committee attended UU Justice Florida Legislative Days in Tallahassee March 20-21. See the handout we left with our legislators, and the tracker you can still use if you want to contact legislators on specific bills here: http://www.uujusticefl.org/action-network/take-action. The 2017 Florida Legislative session runs until May 5. All our voices are needed.

For all who are concerned about climate issues, please join us at the Third Assembly of the Florida Interfaith Climate Action Network, April 28 at the First United Methodist Church, 142 East Jackson Street, Orlando, FL 32801. All those interested may stay overnight at a local hotel and join the People’s Climate March in Orlando April 29. Register here: www.interfaithflorida.com. This year’s focus: Florida: Water is Our Life. If you would like to join the carpool from UUCOV, please call Kindra 941-266-8278.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Comments, kudos, questions, concerns, musings - all welcome. 325 word maximum. Send yours to or to our Connection editor, Leie Carmody at .

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 Thursday 9:00am 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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