Miracles happen all the time.
We’re here, aren’t we?
~ Marilyn Nelson (Abba Jacob and Miracles)
Our Peace Pole Returns!
It came back to us in pieces, but it’s back with us just the same…accompanied by a message of remorse. This past Sunday morning before worship, our peace pole was found just outside our main side entrance – a bit worse for wear and stripped of five of its eight language plates. The same day a reporter from 9&10 News asked to interview us and take some film footage of the damaged pole. (We also received a message on the office phone over the weekend from a local man who heard about our loss and wanted to donate the money for us to purchase a new one…what kindness. He has been thanked profusely.) Well, the news report went out, echoing the message published last week in the Morning Sun (thank you, Mary “Irv” Irvine!) of how the UUFCM children had worked for two years to raise the monies to purchase the pole.
Yesterday morning the five missing language plates were returned to us…neatly wrapped in a plastic bag left on our front porch…with a note that read “I’m sorry for what I did when I was drunk.” Amidst tears of gratitude (and no small amount of awe), plans were quickly made to mend our peace pole and have it re-installed as soon as possible. Blessed are we!
Let me state it plain: sometimes I screw up, have a bad day, and fail miserably despite my best intentions. The most common nexus for my feelings (and sometime reality) of falling short in my ministerial efforts is with the communication of the weekly message – aka “the sermon;” also known to those closest to me as “the bane of her existence” as a minister. Most of us have an Achilles’ heel in our professional life, save for those annoying error-free sorts we’d rather not associate with…but unfortunately mine is considered a centerpiece requirement or focal point of ministry…and a most public one. And while my track record is improving with growth and practice, this past Sunday’s effort was sub-par and lacked the coherence I intended (I will spare you my internal dialogue at the time). I want you to know that the suffering and self-flagellation that I usually inflict on myself following each less-than-optimal effort gets shorter each time – I am becoming much more forgiving of myself and I learn much from each attempt.
I share this with you now because I wish I’d had the presence of mind and courage of heart to have shared it with you in real time on Sunday…to stop for a moment, take a breath and acknowledge the very human struggle I was experiencing; to be fully present in my vulnerability. I believe I owe you not only my leadership and skills, but also my authenticity. I missed an opportunity for real connection – and that is what I regret the most. I intend to do better.
And as my intended message on Sunday was a bit muddled – please do take a moment out of the busyness of this season and read this brief essay by Karen Hering titled “Waiting.”
With love, Dawn
Join us for our annual “Festival of Lights” multigenerational worship service; a special service packed with light, life and laughter as we share and reflect together through stories and songs of the season. Childcare will be provided, if needed. This service will be followed by our annual “Sweets & Tea” celebration in the social hall.
December 18: “Waiting, Waiting, Waiting…” Worship Leader: Norma Bailey
Saturday, December 24 at 7:00 p.m.: “Between Darkness and Light”
We will gather this night for worship by candlelight - a service for all ages woven with poetry, stories and songs of the season. Bring your friends and family for an evening filled with warmth and light. Childcare will be provided. Light refreshments to follow the service.
Saturday, December 31 at 7:00 p.m.: “The Burning Bowl – Welcoming the New Year”
The New Year is upon us again…join us for this special evening worship for our annual observance of the “burning bowl” as we reflect on our lives this past year and lean forward into tomorrow together. The service will be followed by our own New Year’s Eve celebration!
*Please note that there will be no morning worship services held on Sunday, December 25 and Sunday, January 1.
Next Welcome to UU Orientation Session – January 22, 2017
Due to the holiday crunch of events complicated by the holidays falling on Sundays this year, we will not be holding our monthly Welcome to UU orientation in December. Please mark your calendar and join us for the next session on Sunday, January 22, 2017.
This Sunday, December 11th, is our final Sunday for the shoe drive to fight the Poverty Horcrux! Please bring in new and gently used men's, women's, and children's shoes of all sizes. Some shoes will be taken to Kenya, while others will be sold to raise funds for Funds2Org, which helps people start businesses in impoverished third world countries.
This Sunday is also our Winter Multigenerational! The children will be participating in a call and response reading with the congregation. Please message me if your child was not in service this past Sunday so I can assign them some readings. If your child cannot read or would like some extra help, they are still welcome to participate! There will be adults on hand to assist. We will also be meeting 20 minutes before service starts to practice.
Holiday Sweets & Tea Celebration - This Sunday, December 11
Please sign up to bring a sweet treat (cookies, cake, bar cookies, candies, etc. to enjoy with several teas, coffee, and cocoa. Sign up sheets will be available in the social hall. The tables will be decorated with the colors of the season while we visit in our fellowship hall. The more goodies provided, the sweeter the sharing! Bring your platter to the hall before the service. If you have any questions, contact Laura McBride at 989.772.5512 or email@example.com.
Holiday Fundraiser for Leadership Training Fund – Cheese Balls!
Yes! We are raising money to send eager UUFCM members to a special UUA-sponsored leadership training program in 2017. So for gift-giving or your own holiday dining pleasure (or both!) we have delicious, hand-crafted gourmet cheese balls available for purchase over the next three Sundays. These delectable treats are priced at $8 each, or 2 for $15. For more information, contact Annette Pratt 989-400-0173.
Friend in Need
Our former RE director…and current RE volunteer teacher, Roze Bentley, has been diagnosed with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder that has her in constant pain…and her insurance offers no coverage for the treatment she needs. Roze has started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the necessary funds – she is halfway to her goal! Please chip in if you’re able.
Mindfulness in Parking Requested
Let us be mindful to leave the parking spaces directly across from our Wisconsin entrance open for our friends who have mobility issues. Thank you for your consideration.
We have adopted a family for the holidays. There is a sign-up sheet of items the family has requested, and you will be able to choose gifts you would like to donate to them. Thank you to those of you who chose a donation last Sunday! There are only a couple more gifts left on the list for someone to purchase. Gifts will be collected on Sundays before and after service, and distributed to the family on December 18th. Please call Mari Potter with questions at 989-944-4202.
The RE Team would like to invite all members, friends, and especially children to join us as we sing holidays songs at Crestwood Village Assisted Living on Lincoln Road on Sunday, December 18. We’ll meet at the UUFCM at 2:45 to carpool to the site, sing for and with the guests, and then return to the home of Sarah Jamison (2191 O’Connor Dr.) for hot chocolate and cookies. We hope you will all join us!
Sewing Circle and UUFCM Men's Group/Game Night are cancelled for December 19 and January 2. We'll start back up on January 16th!
Isabella County Restoration House (ICRH) News
The dates for our partnering with St. John's for the Restoration House are the weeks of January 2, March 5, and April 2. A sign up list for volunteers will be sent out after Thanksgiving. The shelter program has begun and we are again hosting the Welcome/Intake center. If you are interested in volunteering for the Intake Center, or for helping out with other churches, please contact Joyce Henricks (989-773-4709 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
UUFCM All-Congregation Retreat
Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 9-4 p.m.
Every year we have an all-congregational retreat in which we explore together a theme or question pertinent to all of us. This year we will meet to deepen our understanding of gender identity and learn how to better support the issues facing people who are transgender. This is a renewal and extension of our Welcoming Congregation initiative and designation that we earned in 2011. We are very fortunate to have with us Kathleen Campisano, the Faith and States Organizing Manager of the National LGBTQ Task Force, who will lead us in a number of exercises and discussions. Be sure to put this important retreat on your calendar right now so you won’t miss it. Child care will be provided; please contact Norma Bailey (989-560-3952 or email@example.com) to arrange this or with any questions you might have.
Ebenezer at Strand Theatre in Alma
Do you want to know what happened to Ebenezer after the conclusion of A Christmas Carol? Go to Alma’s Strand Theatre on December 9 or 10 at 7:30 p.m., or December 11 at 2:30 p.m. to find out. The new play by Michigan playwright Joseph Zettelmaier is set 15 years later in a London hospital. The lead is played by Mike Klahre who is one of our UU newcomers. The nurse assigned to him is Kallei Mapes-Hahn, another UU visitor. The director Craig Zeese said that the play has an important message about kindness and goodness - just what we need right now. For more information go to gratiotcountyplayers.com.
It is…a story of transformation…it is a story about the human condition,
about the possibility of miracles and about the inevitability of waiting –
waiting for what is good, for what is desired, for what is needed, for what will come.
~ Annie Foerster
In case of inclement weather, a decision to cancel the service will be made by 9 a.m. An announcement will be posted on Facebook as well as sent directly via email. Those who are not online will be phoned. If you have questions, call Laura McBride (989-772-5512). We hope we won't have to resort to this very often, but we live in Michigan after all, so we need to be prepared!
The deadline for submissions to the Order of Service Insert and the UUFCM weekly e-News is
Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UUFCM Board of Trustees for 2016-2017
President: Laura McBride (989.772.5512; email@example.com)
Past-President: Annette Pratt (989.400.0173; firstname.lastname@example.org)
President Elect: Norma Bailey (989.560.3952; email@example.com )
Treasurer: Chris Bailey (989.775.8257; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Co-Treasurer: Ricky Courlander (989.772.4457; email@example.com)
Secretary: Vicki Chessin (989.560.4614; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Trustee: Scott Daigle (989.506.5750; email@example.com)
Trustee: Janis Shinn (989.400.3724; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Trustee: Brigitte Bechtold (989.954.1123; email@example.com)