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|Thank You! Thank You!||Religious Education|
|Board Notes||Social Action||UU Activities and Announcements|
|Minister - Rev. Fred Howard|
|President's Corner - Carol Stiles|
What’s going on... August 2012
Although summer weather will be with us a while longer, school
starts this month---precollege and university ---- so vacations
for students and teachers alike are winding down.
The church will remain on its summer scheduling until
September, though the summer months have been busy with the
volunteer programming Doug Tanner has provided us.
Thanks Doug for your hard work!
Thanks to Lars Leader, Fred Howard, and Dee Tait and
others for what was a really successful Shared Sunday Service
with Serenity last month. Watch
for pictures and an article in September.
Come when you can. Part
of our community is missing when you are away!
August 5 - Doug Tanner, “The Role of Stories in Spiritual
and Myths may be as old as civilization itself or even older.
They reflect our shared experiences, dreams and struggles.
But, do they play a role in spiritual growth and if so how can they
help us learn and grow spiritually. Join us for a discussion
of the use of stories in spiritual growth and how we can use them to
build the beloved community.
August 12 – Dr. Michael Stoltzfus, “Spirituality, Health, and
will discuss some of the contemporary research that
investigates the role that diverse spiritual practices play in the
quest for healing and health. In particular, we will attend to
the unique, long-term dimensions associated with a variety of
chronic illnesses. We will address the meaning of physical,
moral, and spiritual cultivation, healing, and renewal when an
illness is persistent and cure is unlikely.
August 19 – Dr. Carol Stiles,
“Can We All Get Along?”
King uttered these words during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, which
started after a jury acquitted four white police officers, who were
on trial for the alleged – and videotaped - beating of King during
an arrest for drunk driving. Some saw his plaintive
question as a message of hope, while others ridiculed him for
various reasons. How far have we come in the 20 years
since? What drives us to take sides on one issue or
another - and not be able to see the other side? Can we ever
just get along?
Share the Plate Sunday Offering: Our contributions this month will go to
Hopes and Dreams Riding Facility, Inc., near Quitman, GA, which
offers therapeutic services for veterans and their families, through
horseback riding, camping, fishing, and other activities.
The mission statement includes “to restore peace to their
lives and heal the battle wounds that can't be seen.”
August 26 – David Rogers, “Celestial
appearing in such Hubble images as Pillars of Creation arbitrarily
depict different levels of information, such as various wavelengths
of light, differences between the velocity of matter approach or
receding from us, chemical composition, temperature, and so forth.
As a result, colorful images tell us much about the active dynamics
of the subjects we observe. This is not how the human eye sees
these light sources, yet, the resulting aesthetic qualities
overwhelm us with their unintended beauty; and, if one knows their
astronomical code, they hint at beauty we cannot see directly.
Hubble's images arise as some of the first stained glass
windows of the 21st century's scientific cathedrals; and the public
embraces them as enthusiastically as evidence of the light of Jesus
Christ and God the Great Architect as if they were supplicant
peasants entering the kaleidoscopic color space produced by Chartres
Cathedral's stained glass windows in the 12th century.
For Children: The RE program for children under 15 years of age meets at 10:45 AM concurrent with the Sunday morning service. Older young people will remain with the adult service. Two adults are needed each Sunday to help with RE. – please see Sue Bailey to be put on a rotating list to volunteer for this activity.
Our minister, Rev.
Fred Howard, takes a break during the summer months to “refuel”
for the coming year. Watch
for his regular column to return in the fall.
5:30-7:00 PM at the church
The KTD Buddhist reading and meditation group continues to meet on
Tuesday evenings at the church. Everyone interested in
Buddhist practice and meditation is welcome. The group shares
tea from 5:30-6, sits and meditates (Buddhist shamata meditation)
from 6-6:30, and discusses the reading from 6:30-7. The group
is currently reading Robert Thurman's book, “The Jewel Tree of
Tibet.” If someone is unable to sit on the floor, it is
perfectly alright to use a chair. Otherwise, people should
supply their own pillow for sitting. The group shares books
and the liturgy.
New Hope Christian Community Church- Sunday evenings:
Choir practice at 4:30 PM. Service at 6:00 PM.
Tai Chi – Monday and Thursday: (Summer Hours) 6:00-7:30 PM. Beginning
Monday, August 20: New Beginners Class 7-8
PM; Continuing Class 5:30-7 PM. Contact Dennis Bogyo or Luana Goodwin.
Meeting – 4th Tuesday each month, 7:00PM
Contact: Doug Tanner The web page for PFLAG Valdosta:
Greetings for August!
It has already been a busy summer - in June, several people
participated in helping serve a meal and distributing clothes and
food to farmworkers in conjunction with the South Georgia
Farmworkers Health Project. Thanks
to all who donated food and clothing or cash (as part of the June
Share-the-Plate) to purchase items and to those who volunteered!
UU’s have a great history of social justice and community
organizing and I look forward to our continuing efforts over the
next year. Please
suggest to me or any board member, local organizations that could
benefit from our monthly Share-the-Plate contributions, in which all
non-pledge donations are contributed to the named organization.
Our thanks go to Doug Tanner for developing a great set of
Sunday programs this summer! In
the summer, all services are guest speakers and it can be
challenging (Doug is always taking suggestions for speakers, btw).
Rev. Howard will return to his normal schedule in September.
Amy Wells is off to a great start as secretary, and we are
glad to have her on the board – thanks, Amy!
Summer is also different in that we are joined by students
from the Governor’s Honors Program held at VSU – great to have
the young people present with us in the sanctuary!
Our date for meal deliveries with the Break Bread Together program is the 2nd Monday (and 5th when there is one) of each month. If you would like to help deliver meals beginning about 11:00 AM, please contact Frank or Rosie Asbury.
Farmworkers Health Project
of our congregation helped serve food at a migrant worker camp and
also provided clothing and food items at several migrant clinics in
our area sponsored by students from Emory University Medical School.
UU members helping
serve a meal prepared by St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on June 27 at
a worker camp in southern Lowndes County.
Teagan Dunn was helpful with her knowledge of Spanish.
On the following day at another work camp, Doug Tanner
brought tables to display clothes for adults, some of which were
furnished by UU members and friends, and tables full of beautiful
clothes for children, furnished primarily by St John's Catholic
Church. Doug and Dee
Tait handed out bags for their items, when needed, and occasionally
kept an eye on children while mothers "shopped."
for Humanity 5K
Run/Walk, “Home Run” - August 4, 2012,
the VSU North Campus parking lot
(North Oak Street
County Habitat for Humanity in celebration of their 25th year
building houses, is holding its first
ever 5K Run/Walk, “Home Run”. Early
Registration is $15 a person or $48 for families (children
under 18 years); On Race Day - Everyone is $25; $10 for Ghost Registration (donation).
Contact: Megan at 229-245-1330,
ext 31 or email email@example.com
OUR MEMBERS AND FRIENDS
in your thoughts
members and friends who have recently lost close friends who are
experiencing health concerns…
Book Discussion and Potluck
Friday, August 10 -
6:30 PM - At the church
(This is a rescheduled date for the recently postponed gathering.) The
book is “The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson.
This novel takes place in North Korea, a country of hunger,
corruption, casual cruelty, where people’s lives are constantly
changing for no reason whatsoever.
What if the “life story” you are “assigned”
arbitrarily changes many times during your life? Whether
you have read the book or not, there should be an interesting
discussion, especially following Doug Tanner’s service on stories
and spiritual growth. Bring
a dish to share. Coffee
and tea will be provided. You
are welcome to bring other beverages.
We socialize over our potluck meal for the first hour and
then promptly begin our book discussion drawing to a close with the
selection of our next book by about an hour later. We have been
selecting books that deal with difference.
Contact: Betty Derrick.
Pizza and a Movie
Friday, August 17 at
6: 30 PM for pizza; movie starts at 7 PM
The movie this month
is “Hotel Rwanda.” We will meet at 6:30 and show the film at
7:00 p.m. at the church. Thank you for donating $5.00 for
pizza and drinks.
Terry George co-wrote the script for Hotel Rwanda, a 2004 American
film, based on the Rwandan Genocide arising during the 1994 civil
war fought between Hutus, the 85% majority tribe, and the 14%
minority Tutsis. The film won a number of awards including those
from the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals.
Tutu anger over Belgium’s political decision on the eve of
its departure from its former colony to hand rule to the Tutsis led
them to slaughter of almost a million Tutsis after they came to
power. Hotelier Paul
Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) manages the Belgian owned luxury Hôtel
des Mille Collines located in Kagali, Rwanda.
He establishes bonds and credibility among elite fellow Hutus
through his under the table, slick business acumen.
He is a man seemingly capable of catering against all odds to
their expensive tastes, whims, and private affairs.
Well informed about the pulse of political, business, and
social events, Paul recognizes pending catastrophe led by the
Interahamwe militia about to befall Tutsis threatens death to his
Tutsi wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo), and their children.
Although European guests and staff successfully flee violent
events engulfing the hotel, Paul and his family fail to escape as
well. After gaining
temporary safety by retreating to the hotel, Tatiana implores Paul
to extend sanctuary protecting her and their children to include
neighbors and friends. Left
to his own devices as the remaining hotel administrator, and
supported by its Belgian owners, he risks his life and his
family’s by taking responsibility for allowing Tutsi and
sympathetic Hutu guests to check in.
Word of this dangerous act begins drawing more and more
people to the emerging sanctuary, especially when UN Colonel Oliver
(Nick Nolte), (based on Roméo Dallaire) discovers to his disgust
this organization and the world will not authorize him or other UN
Peacekeepers to protect Tutsis under their direct authority.
He appeals to Paul for his assistance.
Rather than construct a panoramic portrayal of wholesale
genocide and worldwide indifference to it, George focuses on the
courage of a handful of people who take inspiration from Paul’s
example. Their altruism
and willingness to accept whatever fate befalls Paul enable him to
save 1,268 Tutsi and moderate Hutu refugees.
Contemptuously, George explains motivation for his film
arises in part from his perception:
"It's simple, ... African lives are not seen as valuable
as the lives of Europeans or Americans." (“Hotel Rwanda
Portrays Hero Who Fought Genocide.”
National Geographic. Retrieved
07.15.2012). In Paul’s
eyes, each human life is inherently valuable.
David L. Rodgers
Games Night: There will be no Games Night or Fire Pit until fall. Contact: Susan Bailey
talk kitchen and trash and volunteering!!!
First the volunteering---if you would like to know how to volunteer to
help out at the church, contact Doug Tanner and ask to receive the
e-mails requesting volunteers for Sunday morning activities like
Meet and Greet. (This
is a special list, not the general announcements list you may
already receive.) Someone will be glad to fill you in on what
your responsibility is if you volunteer.
We appreciate it when you just bring something for Meet and
Greet, but that means some Sundays we have a lot and other times
very little. It’s best
when we know who has volunteered and know that each Sunday is
When you do
volunteer to help out in the kitchen, be aware that the church tries
to be a good citizen, minimizing trash with recycling and reusing
whenever possible. In
the cabinets, we have plenty of dishes, cups, and flatware (and soon
glasses) and a dishwasher. Throwaway
paper products should be minimized and Styrofoam generally avoided.
We have recycling containers available.
Be aware that the cups and dishes immediately to the left and
right of the sink in the kitchen belong to the church.
The three shelves in one of the cabinets to the left of the
stove, which contain cups, tea, and some other items, belong
to the Taoist Tai Chi group which rents our church.
Do not use these cups as they belong to specific
individuals in that group. The coffee pot underneath that counter
also belongs to the Tai Chi folks.
Now the trash talk! The
church does not have garbage pickup.
We handle our trash and recycling by various ones of us
taking it home after the services or other events to dispose of in
our domestic garbage at home. If
you are helping in the kitchen after an event take a bag home with
Since many of you helped out with making our church sparkle
this past month, you realize that we depend on you to volunteer from
time to time to clean our church.
We do not have janitorial services at the church.
All of the cleaning is handled by volunteers, including being
sure the bathrooms are fresh and have paper and soap products each
Sunday morning and for special events.
Plan to help out from time to time.
Thanks to all who help with these mundane but important and
necessary tasks. If you
want to know more or volunteer let it be known and get you name on
the special e-mail list for volunteers.
You will get the messages and volunteer
only as you are able to do so. Thank
you to all who are already volunteering.
UU General Assembly Report
General Assembly, our
UU Association’s annual meeting of congregations from across the
U.S. and around the world, was held this year in Phoenix, Arizona.
It was a much anticipated event, not only because GA is
always educational and inspiring, but even more so because of its
designation as “Justice GA”.
Our Association had earlier considered boycotting Arizona as
a location for the Assembly, due to the recent passage in Arizona of
legislation targeting undocumented immigrants.
However, last year’s GA delegates voted to go ahead to have
GA in Phoenix, so that we could stand in solidarity with local
organizations working for improvement in the conditions of
marginalized peoples affected by the laws and attitudes prevalent in
Arizona. So, the plan
was for this GA to focus on justice issues.
As UUA President Morales put it, this was “a chance to
participate in workshops and trainings and hear speakers that help
us learn how to form these powerful partnerships wherever we are in
our congregations, in our communities, so that we Unitarian
Universalists become an even more powerful force for good in our
And it certainly turned out to be a learning experience for
me! I attended a number of training sessions on topics such as:
creating just and sustainable communities that counter oppressions;
partnering congregations and community organizations; and
storytelling, mobilization, and social media.
Both informative and engaging was a solo drama performance by
Jose Torres-Tama, who created characters based on interviews of
A community celebration with partners Friday evening in a
downtown park brought together GA attendees and participants from
local Latino justice groups for entertainment and sharing of stories
about the immigrant experience.
We heard about struggles, losses, and steps toward justice
from people in fear of family separation and barriers towards having
normal lives. On
Saturday evening, a candlelight vigil was held at Sheriff Joe
Arpaio’s Tent City Jail. More
than 2,000 GA attendees, along with local partners and members of
other faith communities sang, listened to speakers, and held up
candles and signs just outside the jail where people were crowded
together on wooden planks under tents in the heat of the desert
summer. The vigil
received local and national reporting.
As our UU Valdosta delegate, I attended UUA business meetings
during the GA. At one of
these plenary sessions, the delegates voted on the Congregation
Study/Action Issue (CSAI) for 2012-2016.
From five proposed CSAIs on the ballot, the one
overwhelmingly chosen on a second ballot was Reproductive Justice:
Expanding Our Social Justice Calling.
Our congregation will receive more information about this
CSAI in coming months.
A highlight of GA is always the Ware Lecture.
This year Maria Hinojosa, a leading national journalist, told
us about some of her interviews and reporting on the detention and
deportation of immigrants, both legal and not.
It was a sobering and revealing talk.
tent city vigil at GA
Notes from Kids’
RE – Sue Bailey
We’ve been quite
creative in RE over the last month as we keep learning together and
search for what is true and right in life (Principles 3 & 4.)
We’ve been wondering about the sun, moon, and stars, asking
questions, and learning from each other. In one recent lesson, we
shared what we know is true about the moon and also what is make
believe. Some of the things we discovered about the moon are that it
orbits the earth, it’s really big even though it looks small in
the sky, there is a lot of rock and dust on the moon, and it
doesn’t produce its own light. We also talked about the Man in the
Moon and where the idea of it being made of green cheese came from.
We all agreed that these two things are not really true about the
moon, but they are fun to wonder about, too! During other lessons,
we shared information about the sun and the stars and read several
stories. One was a Nigerian creation story called “Why the
Sun and Moon Live in the Sky.” In our most recent lesson, we all
shared what we know about the sun and made sunflowers out of coffee
filters. We compared characteristics of the sun and sunflowers and
wondered about all the possible reasons why sunflowers were given
their name. As always, we welcome visitors and helpers to Kids’
RE. If you haven’t signed the list of volunteers and would like
to, please see Sue Bailey.
Children with their sunflowers from RE in July.
Once again this year we were delighted to have Georgia Governor's
Honors Program (GHP) students visiting our Sunday services over the
past month. The students
were at VSU June 24-July 21. Thanks
goes to Lars Leader who organized the transportation again this
year. We all
enjoyed the presence of these students, who are often members of
Atlanta area UU churches, along with friends they have made at GHP..
UU Church of Valdosta Board of Directors Meeting News
that some matters appear in articles and announcements elsewhere in
this newsletter and are not repeated here.)
Highlights of board
meeting, July 5, 2012:
Amy Wells confirmed
as secretary for 2012-2013.
Share the Plate for
August will be the Hopes and Dreams Riding Facility Board seeking
suggestions for future organizations for Share the Plate.
Website update –
account established on DreamHost by Carol Stiles.
Christine Clay has copied the archives and is working on
designing the main pages. Thanks,
The full minutes are
posted on the RE wing bulletin board after approval by the board.
T. Harty – New book: Sheila
Harty, who has spoken at the church a few times has a new book out which
she describes as “a collection of all the talks I ever gave to UU
fellowships over the past 12 years!” She
calls it a “graduate seminar in Religion 101.” For more
Treasurer’s Report – Rosie Asbury
June 30, 2012
July -present (12 mos.)
the Plate(Farmworkers) 106.00
(So GA Pride)106.00
Net Receipt $
“Who gets up early to discover the
moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered,
Who comes to the spring thirsty
and sees the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his lost son
and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up
a flowing prophet? Or like Moses goes for
and finds what burns inside the sunset?
“Jesus slips into a house to escape
and opens a door to the other world.
Soloman cuts open a fish, and there’s a
Omar storms in to kill the prophet
and leaves with blessings.
Chase a deer and end up everywhere!
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one
Now there’s a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins.
Suddenly he’s wealthy.
“But don’t be satisfied with stories,
have gone with others.
your own myth, without complicated
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.
“Start walking toward Shams.
Your legs will get heavy
Then comes a moment
of feeling the wings you’ve grown,
August 5-10 Dwight
Brown Leadership Experience, (SWC-UUA), Denton TX
August 5-9 – Mountain Family Camp, The
Mountain, Highlands, NC
August 10-12 Beacon
Youth Adviser Training, Orlando-University
August 17-19-CONjoin 4 JUUSTICE Young Adult
CON, UU Congregation, Fairfax, VA
for young adults from Joseph Priestly and Southeast
September 7-9 O.W.L Facilitator Trainings (all levels), Roswell, GA
September 21 End
Of Life Care After Terri Schiavo Conference, Tampa,
UUA TRUSTEE TIDBITS
GA has been over for
a month and you have probably had ample opportunity to go on our UUA
web site to read, listen, and learn about the many events,
activities, workshops which are of interest to you. From my
perspective and those with whom I have spoken GA was a marked
success. I have written a report which will go out in the District
e-news. In our on-going work looking at the long-term future of
Unitarian Universalism, during the spring and through the summer the
UUA Board of Trustees (BOT) has been involved in various aspects of
a process called scenario planning.
The practice of scenario planning begins with the definition
of a focal issue or decision. The BOT asked the question: What
differences do we want to make in Unitarian Universalism, for whom
and at what priority by the year 2050?
The purpose of scenario planning is not to pinpoint future
events but to highlight large-scale forces that push the future in
different directions. It’s
about making these forces visible, so that if they do happen, the
planner(s) will at least recognize them. It is about helping make
better decisions today. The practice of scenario planning is not
difficult to describe but is can be difficult to do with skill and
expertise. The “issue”: The future of our UUA. The BOT has
brainstormed a long list of key factors and environmental forces
that might influence the outcome of our UUA future and determined
two trends: 1) more people becoming spiritual, not religious with
less interest in organized religion; and 2) differences in wealth,
class, and income, with an increasingly unstable economy. Each trend
is assumed to either continue, or reverse, and the four different
combinations then make up the four different assumptions of the
BOT’s self-selected four teams.
From the trends, four teams emerged: 1) As the income gap
grows and the economy becomes unstable, more people turn to
religious and church life. 2) As the income gap grows, and the
economy becomes unstable, people continue to leave organized
religion. 3) Greater income equality stabilizes the economy, with a
substantial increase in religious and church life. 4) Greater income
equality stabilizes the economy, as people continue to leave
organized religion. I am on this Team.
Each Team will meet three times by conference call prior to
September with the end goal to write a “story” identifying
trends and other issues related the assigned assumption. Youth and
Young Adults will be invited to comment on the scenario work and add
their own. After the scenarios are finalized and distributed to the
BOT in September, they will be considered as part of our ENDS review
Your Florida District Trustee realizes there may be questions
and/or confusion regarding what has been described in the column.
It’s a lot to digest. Because I may write further on this topic
and your thoughts are important, I would like to hear from you.
Thanks…and continue to enjoy our long, hot summer!
College of Social Justice Receives Major Support:
At the 2012 Justice
General Assembly, the UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ), a new
UUSC-UUA joint venture, was officially introduced to thousands of
people. Shortly thereafter, Brad and Julie Bradburd of Gwynedd, PA,
announced their gift of $1 million to UUSC in support of UUCSJ.
Their incredibly generous contribution reflects their confidence in
and enthusiasm for this new initiative that will increase the
capacity of Unitarian Universalists to catalyze justice. Visit the new UUCSJ website.
from the UU Buddhist Fellowship. The UUBF holds a
convocation every two years. These biennial convocations are
an opportunity for Buddhist-inclined UU’s to get together for
conversation and mutual inspiration. We will gather in the
greater Washington-Baltimore area, April 5-7, 2013, with our guest
teacher, Tara Brach, founder of the Insight Meditation Community of
Washington and a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation,
emotional healing and spiritual awakening. For further information:
From joy springs all creation,
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