April 2016 Connection


If you have trouble viewing email addresses or images, click here to view it online.


Issue No. 1904

Venice, FL

April 2016


Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: 9:30 & 11:00am; 10:00am beginning April 10

April 3, 2016: "The Tragic Gap"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. "There's heartbreak across the political spectrum," Parker Palmer says, "and not just in this country. Violence is what happens when we don't know what else to do with our suffering." Today we'll explore the tragic gap between what is and what we know could be.

April 10, 2016: "A Tree Grows in Venice"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. On this Sunday, as we return to a one-service format to celebrate Earth Day in the fresh air with all our hearts, minds, and doors open to the Spirits of the Four Directions.

April 17, 2016: "No Ones Expects A Transgender Jew"

Ryan Cragun, Associate Professor Sociology will speak. Many American adults hold prejudicial attitudes toward a variety of minorities, like atheists, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people. He will present a new way of thinking about prejudice and illustrate that American views change quite dramatically when identities of minorities become complex.

April 24, 2016: "Turning Towards Hope"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. At our congregationâ??s auction back in January, Ellen Ostroth and Bill Dowling purchased a chance to plan a worship service. This is it. For the final service of Climate Justice Month, join us on an adventure during which we celebrate the Great Turning.


Adult RE: Asta Linder House Rm. A

April 3, 2016, 09:30am: "What Archeology Reveals About Ancient Beliefs"

Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. From the Great Courses series Exploring the Roots of Religion. Lecture with discussion to follow.

April 3, 2016, 11:00am: "Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia"

Throughout the history of Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia, there has been a close relationship between the Buddhist Sangha and Buddhist political leaders. A Great Courses lecture with discussion to follow.

April 10, 2016, 09:00am: "Women in Islam"

The status of women in Islam is a hotly debated issue, both in the Muslim world and in the West. As women reclaim their rights in some areas, they receive pushback from more conservative elements, sometimes violently so. Members of the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton will share their thoughts and experiences, with a discussion period to follow.

April 10, 2016, 11:15am: "Buddhism in Tibet"

Today, the Tibetan tradition is best known in the figure of the 14th Dalai Lama, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his peaceful campaign of resistance to Chinese domination in Tibet. A Great Courses lecture with discussion to follow.

April 17, 2016, 09:00am: "Women in Islam"

A second week concerning the status of women in Islam. Members of the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton will share more thoughts and experiences, with a discussion period to follow.

April 17, 2016, 11:15am: "Buddhism in China"

By the time Buddhism entered Tibet, there had been Buddhism in China for more than 500 years. A Great Courses lecture with discussion to follow.

April 24, 2016, 09:00am: "Women in Islam"

Members of the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton will share more thoughts and experiences on the the status of women in Islam. A discussion period will follow.

April 24, 2016, 11:15am: "Buddhism in Japan"

Buddhist values in Japan had to be placed in some kind of relationship with the indigenous Japanese religious tradition that we now know as Shinto, or "the Way of the Gods." A Great Courses lecture with discussion to follow.

Special Offering

April 10, 2016: 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

Oh, Those Mysterious Ways

A few months ago, a bunch of us were trying to think of ways to respond to the so-called church on Laurel Road that displays hate speech on its sign, the latest being "Allah is Satan, Jesus is God." Should we picket the place? Write letters to the editor? Tie up their phones with complaints?

But unintended consequences being what they are, their foolishness led to a serendipitous series of events in the life of this congregation and multiple connections across cultural barriers.

Instead of marching, we began a Sunday morning series on Islam facilitated by Bonnie Norton using a Great Courses video. It was so well received that we decided to offer the same series on Tuesday evenings that we'd advertise to the general public.

Now here’s the serendipitous part: it so happened that during the third week of that class, Venice Interfaith’s Winter Series in our sanctuary included a presentation on Islam provided by folks from the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton (ISSB). In conversation with one of the presenters, I mentioned that we were teaching a class on Islam here in our church for the next few weeks. She kindly asked, "Would you like help?"

I couldn’t say “Yes!” fast enough.

For many weeks now, my new friend Amani has brought other members of ISSB to engage in dialogue with our own folks as well as many from the broader community. No question has been too shallow or too silly. We’ve learned about the Five Pillars of Islam, and the ways Muslims practice their religion in daily life. We’ve seen the connections between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that cause adherents of the three religions to be called “People of the Book.” We’ve gotten to know a few ISSB members, and Amani has been about as open as anyone could be.

Amani has driven to Venice every Tuesday evening for many weeks now, and whenever I’ve asked if we could donate something or help her with gas money, she’s said no, this is what they are called to do by their religion.

How many of us would put ourselves out like that? How many of us would spend our time and money, not to evangelize, but simply to answer questions from people who were interested in why we do the things we do?
It may be mixing metaphors a bit, but it certainly feels to me like – at least in this case - Allah works in mysterious ways.

Our sincerest gratitude to Amani, Shiraz, Nazeera, and the entire ISSB community,


p.s. Amani and friends will be facilitating 3 Adult RE classes entitled “Women in Islam” in April.

glasses-books 250x137

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

A First Message from Dave Lyon, President

LyonDaveSpring is in the Air! And with spring comes change.

First of all, for those of you who missed the Annual Meeting, the composition of the Board of Trustees has undergone major change. I have been elected to serve as President; we will miss the leadership of our past President, Joel Morrison. Linda Underwood is our new Vice President and Chair of the Coordinating Council. Donna Schafer is the new Secretary and Elaine Carlson and Richard Palmer are new trustees. Peter Hurley will continue as Treasurer and Linda Kabo was re-elected for another term.

Board meetings, which UUCOV members are welcome to attend, have been moved to the 2nd Thursday each month, 9:30am, Asta Linder House. The Coordinating Council will meet 2nd Tuesday of the month. Change is in the air!

The Board has scheduled a retreat for April 7 to establish goals for 2016-2017; we will make these known.

I am energized by our congregation. We can do anything we set out to do!

Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, or concerns with me. I want transparency and openness in all of our activities.

Congregational Life

UUCOV Is My Inspiration, Comfort and Joy.

(Kindra Muntz speaks about her decision to become a Legacy Friend) I’ve been involved since the 2nd service in 1998, when we met in the back room of the old Venice Community Center where I met John who became my Significant Other, and we helped at services, ferried UUCOVers to Cluster Meetings, and assembled the first UUCOV Bio books. We served on the Board, and he on Maintenance and I on the Membership Committee and Site Committee. Serving on the Site Committee, Viola Waters and Aleta Huston and I found the house for sale that we now call Waters Hall.

With Bruce Snyder, Gerry Jacob, and Henry Bright we held cottage meetings that inspired our 69 members to buy the property, and then, just a few months later, worked with the new Island Village Montessori School to do a property swap to own the corner property as well; we worked with City and County to finish paving Edmondson Road and our access road; Marilyn Amick and John mowed the law.

Now look at all the programs UUCOV has started and continue to expand, at the social services we provide in the community, the social activities we enjoy together. As Khleber says, UUCOV is a beacon and a refuge.

Yes, with joy I am a Legacy Friend and hope all of us will want to leave a legacy for the future, to share our joy with others and continue our living tradition for many years to come.

New Member Picnic

sunset1Sunset Picnic - April 18th SAVE THE DATE
The members of the UUCOV "Class of 2015-16" invite the congregation to a sunset picnic on April 18th, 5pm, Maxine Barritt Park, 1800 Harbor Drive South. Rides available for anyone needing a lift. Watch for details in April HAPPENINGS.

We're Taking a Trip

PatriotPlazaSarasotaPatriot's Plaza, at the Sarasota National Cemetary, was built to “honor veterans, inspire patriotism and embrace freedom”; with much commissioned artwork.We’ll be having a guided tour there, lasting 1-1½ at hours. We’ll meet Thursday April 14th at 9 am in the UUCOV parking lot. To sign up, email by April 6th.

Sign up for Spring Revolving Dinners


If you would like to participate in UUCOV Spring Revolving Dinners in May, June and July please email your name, address and phone number to Charlotte Neagle at by April 10th.

UUniques ReUUnite!

LadiesLunchOnce again, women of UUCOV will be the Ladies Who Lunch. Mark your calendars for the 2nd Sunday of each month; be at The Pavillion, 750 US-41 (just north of Bird Bay), at 11:45. Inform Pat Franks () by the Friday before that Sunday that you’ll be there.

UUCOV Theater Group 2016-17

Did you know that Venice Theater is one of the most active community theaters in the country? Did you know that 40 members/friends of UUCOV attended Venice Theater together during the 2015-2016 season? This season's offerings were a mix of music, drama, comedy, and tragedy and next season promises the same.

theaterHere is what the Theater Group will be seeing 2016-2017:
Friday, September 30: The Sunshine Boys
Friday, November 11: Billy Elliott
Friday, January 13: Sister Act
Friday, February 24: Crazy for You
Friday, April 14: Inherit the Wind

To join the group for the coming season, just purchase a ticket. The Main Stage Pass includes all 5 plays at a cost of $127.00 per ticket; The Main Stage Winter Pass includes 4 plays (November – April) for $105.00. 

Make checks payable to Venice Theater in the appropriate amount and give or mail them to Bev Morrison (4480 Via del Villetti Drive, Venice, FL 34204) no later than April 15, 2016. Questions should be addressed to Bev at  or941-497-6337.

Oh, We Wish, We Wish...

starWe know that some of you would be pleased to be wish grantors. So, keep alert to the coming “Wish List“ where committees wishing for items, services, or projects that have not been included in their budget will be making their wants known.

It’s a Mighty Fine Workshop

WorkshopGuysThey have a right to be proud. These eight members of the Facilities Committee, (l to r) Wayne Strife, Bill Dowling, Tim Saltonstall, Dave Williams, Charlie Meyers, Dick Smith, Richard Palmer, and Dave Jewett took a crowded, cluttered space, cleaned it out, and converted it into a fine wood-working facility, using Dave Williams’ gift of all his tools and machinery. Thank you, Dave! Now, we wonder, will someone offer UUCOVers a wood-working course?

New Members Welcome

murrayMark Murray
318 Rio Terra Dr., Venice

Mark Murray is Hawaiian born and Michigan raised, enjoys part time “snowbirding” status in Venice since 2002. Mark met and married Mary in 1996 while pursuing a Masters in counseling in Michigan. Mary retired as a school psychologist and works with Mark in the business (www.adrianimagecenter.com).
Mark and Mary counsel, coach and present on marriage communication skills and other life skills coaching matters. Both Mary and Mary are very involved “up north” in community service, as past presidents of the local Rotary Club, board members and campaign chairs of United Way Lenawee, and involved with Hospice of Lenawee as volunteers.

Mark is a volunteer mediator for the Southeastern Dispute Resolution Service and chairs the local Town and Gown committee for three colleges. Mark is a certifies Spiritual Director and completed an additional degree in Church Ministry at Siena Heights University (www.murrayandmurrayltd.com). Mark plays the drums in a local band and loves cooking dinner for Mary, traveling, water sports in Michigan and rides his bike when in Venice. Mark is excited to be a part of the UUUCOV community.

ParkerJudithJudith Parker
I am NEW. A new Florida resident, having recently sold my house in the North Catskills of New York. New to UU, having stumbled across it entirely by accident and new to Venice.

My working life centered around New York City where I had a varied career which included teaching at all levels, computer programming, training and marketing and finally managing the content of a large corporate website. I have a serious travel bug, enjoy kayaking, swimming, theater and ballet, and reading the New York Times.

saltonstallTim Saltonstall
Tim lives in Nokomis half the year and Colorado the other half. He has made his living working with his hands; he has built houses, furniture, and a broad range of home décor items. He has created and grown a variety of companies:Ibis Construction, Nature Turns, Mountain Woods Furniture and Coastal Images. Tim discovered Unitarian Universalism in 2008 in the belly of the recession. It was a time of need of a spiritual home and comfort. He suggests he may be one of the few who ever achieved a 100% rating as a UU on the Beliefnet.org web analysis of religious orientation, the only test he ever rated a perfect score. His interests are in politics, social justice. His heart is owned by the water, color, and the laughter of children. He writes from time to time and has been published in poetry journals and newspapers. He is married to the love of his life Candice who is a friend of UUCOV and also a member, with Tim, of the Namaqua Unitarian Congregation in Loveland, Colorado.

Lifespan Education

Message from our Director of Religious Education

WilliamsJaye150I was very happy to get feedback from a number of you that you appreciated being referred to the book I mentioned last month, ”Growing a Beloved Community: Twelve Hallmarks to a Healthy Congregation”. I particularly liked the suggestion that we gather to read and discuss this book over a period of weeks, as a part of our Adult RE program. That’s now under consideration.

Let’s continue by looking at another hallmark addressed in this book. Give Everyone a Voice - Let those four words sink in. Now say them out loud, with conviction! Powerful stuff and I doubt that any, or many, of you aren’t smiling, nodding or internally high fiving this hallmark. While this hallmark certainly relates to multiple aspects of congregational life, how does religious education support it?

Well, at UUCOV we offer varied avenues for you to seek truth, share ideas, to listen and learn and many of you tell me that your participation in (or offering of) RE programming allows you to listen and express yourself and connect with others and feel a partnership with the UUCOV congregation. Your voice gets heard.

In light of this, I ask you to consider participating in an RE program or workshop that you imagine might present ideas not compatible with yours. Let your voice be heard. I also ask those who might have an idea stirring about something they want to see offered through Adult RE or leading a presentation or course to contact me.

YRE News

BREAKING NEWS YRE now has a PreK-1 class. Please contact Jaye or Stephanie if you have an interest in helping on a Sunday. You will leave with a big smile on your face, guaranteed!!


 Committee Chair and teacher, Stephanie Zoernack, came up with a fun and clever way for our youth to work together and culminate their 4 months of studying religious traditions. Our children worked together to place key aspects (house of worship, symbol, belief in God or gods, etc.) of nine religious traditions under the appropriate heading.


An Examination of Freethought: Talks and Discussions

freethoughtFour Tuesdays, 7-9pm, in the sanctuary

April 5: Why Religion?
Barbara Walker investigates the primary impetus behind religious beliefs and explains their development. Richard Palmer surveys the background of Freethought philosophy.

April 12: Personal Journeys Toward Freethought
Henry Bright, Barbara Walker, Richard Palmer, Brad Jenkins, Laura Marcusa and Ruth Page reveal personal experiences.

April 19: From Thomas Jefferson to Robert Ingersoll: deists, transcendentalists, and atheists in American history Brad Jenkins talks of the contributions secularists have played in building American society.

April 26: Freethought and Me Rev. Khleber Van Zandt and panel.

Aging, Empowerment, and Thoughts on Death and Dying

On Tuesday, April 26, 10-11:30, come hear Dr. David B. Hough, a D.O. who specializes on internal medicine and geriatrics. He will talk about the process of aging -what's natural and what's not; attitudes; what it’s important to do as we age; and end-of-life decisions. A discussion will follow.

Spirit of Life

blue-greenchalice-smCarol and Stephanie Zoernack will lead a 9-week UUA workshop at Waters Hall on Tuesdays, 2-4pm, March 29 – May 24, in which participants will have space, time, and community to explore their Unitarian Universalist spirituality. The workshop is designed to be welcoming to Unitarian Universalists of many spiritual and theological persuasions. Reflecting, speaking, and listening are core activities in each workshop.

UUCOV and Venice Area Historical Society Present…

VAHSBeginning in May, and continuing through September, UUCOV and the Venice Area Historical Society and UUCOV) will partner to present a series of forums/book discussions focusing on the history of the American South since the Civil War. Fuller details will be in May Connection. No charge.

Tuesday, May 3, 2pm, “Reconstruction, 1863-1877” For participants who wish to prepare for the discussion: Foner, Eric. A Short History of Reconstruction, Updated Version, 2015 and/or Stampp, Kenneth. The Era of Reconstruction, 1967. For more information -

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club
The Book Groups meets in Waters Hall the second Thursday of the month, 1:30, to discuss books chosen by the group. All are welcome to attend. On April 14, "Swerve" by Stephen Greenblatt will be discussed. Sample discussion questions are available. Contact Barbara Smith  or 941-408-1729 with any questions.

BuddhaMindfulness Meditation
Guided meditation and a look at early Buddhist teachings on living a more peaceful life. Wednesdays, 6:00 - 7:30pm, led by Linda Kabo.

platoPlato's Circle
This discussion group meets the first Wednesday of the month at 1pm in Asta Linder. This month’ topic is: Rewriting the Ten Commandments? The Ten Commandments have been around for quite some time and they get a lot of play in the Judeo-Christian worldview. But are they really relevant to other worldviews and the current world?

We will examine the Ten Commandments and consider their importance for civilization. We will discuss their necessity for morality; and, perhaps, rewrite them to reflect what we believe is necessary for an ethical life. Bill Dowling will provide a brief PowerPoint overview and facilitate the discussion

socratesSocrates 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. All UUCOV members, friends, and neighbors who enjoy lively discussions are invited to participate. Socrates Cafe meets every third Wednesday of the month in Waters Hall at 1:00pm..

ThreeOClockThree O'Clock Poets
Attn: Poets. Three O'Clock Poets will meet on the third Thursday of the month in Asta Linder House at 3pm. All poets and poetry lovers are welcome.

Social Justice

Take Five

petitions1Here is a small way UUCOV members and Friends can help two important issues for the Common Good: take five petitions for each issue from the Social Justice table on the lanai and bring them back completed.

1) to restore voting rights to the almost 2,000,000 non-violent ex-felons in Florida who have fulfilled their debt to society , the largest number of disenfranchised voters of any state in the union. This is part of the mass incarceration movement to keep people from voting. See the MSNBC interview with Desmond Meade on Sunday, March 13th (youtube.) Let’s say yes to second chances. www.floridiansforafairdemocracy.com 

2) to expand options for local solar energy here in Florida. Floridians for Solar Choice has received a $5,000 grant to encourage UU and other congregations to gather petitions. Every petition turned in under their congregation’s assigned volunteer number will receive a gift of $1.00 per petition for their church. Please take five petitions, have them filled out by your friends and acquaintances, and turn them in to me on Sundays. I will mail them in each week. If each of our 220+ members turns in 5 petitions, UUCOV will receive $1,100! Checks are paid monthly. Here’s their website: http://www.flsolarchoice.org/ 

Denominational Affairs

Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (GA) June 22-26, 2016

You should consider going! What a treat it is to gather with Unitarian Universalists from across the country and participate in amazing workshops, lectures and worship. The theme for GA 2016 will be Heart Land: Where Faiths Connect. General Assembly 2016 will assemble leaders and communities of many faiths to worship together, learn from one another and create a new version of faith that no longer divides us, but connects us to an interdependent future that works for all. Go to uua.org/ga for more information.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Comments, kudos, questions, concerns, musings - all welcome. 325 word maximum. Send yours to

Publication Deadlines

Connection: Articles and announcements for the Connection are due on the 20th of each month for the next month's edition. Please email your submissions to .

UUCOV Happenings: Events submissions are due at 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.

If you do not wish to receive the Connection, please click here to unsubscribe.