July 2016 Connection


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Issue No. 1907

Venice, FL

July 2016


Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: 10:00am

July 3, 2016: "Theological Hokey Pokey"

Katie Romano Griffin. Hokey Pokey - the application of this fun ubiquitous tune to deep theological work promises to enlighten, enliven and entertain all ages. Katie Griffin is currently the Ministerial Intern at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Charlotte County and a student at Meadville Lombard Seminary.

July 10, 2016: "Emperor of All Maladies"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. One of the scariest words one can ever hear their doctor say to them is "cancer." How did it become thus? And where are we in the fight against this awful and awesome array of diseases?

July 17, 2016: "An Unlikely Friendship: Joseph Tuckerman and Me"

Rev. Jennifer Dant. Many say most of our Unitarian and Universalist historical figures are a bunch of dead, old, white guys. What do they matter now? Rarely do we feel really connected to any of them. Find out what happens when a new minister suddenly discovers her ministry, her passion and her way of being in the world reflected from the past through the ministry and life of one of those old, dead white guys. Jennifer is our affiliated community minister and works full time as a chaplain with Tidewell Hospice.

July 24, 2016: "Sources of Hope"

Katie Romano Griffin. Hope comes naturally in good times, but what sustains you through the dark hours of life? Sources of Hope are, as poet Leisel Mueller says, "hovering in the dark corners." Together we will bring hope into the light and into our lives.

July 31, 2016: "Prayer"

Rev. Roger Grugel. Unitarian Universalists are often conflicted over the proper role of prayer in our religious communities. This service will explore role of prayer in the Liberal Church. Roger Grugel is the Associate Chaplain for Moorings Park retirement community in Naples FL.


Adult RE: Asta Linder House Rm. A

July 3, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: Theology and the Challenge of History"

Some Enlightenment thinkers had questioned whether historical events - such as miracles - could help prove religions; others had begun to study the Bible as a historical document. As historical consciousness achieved dominance in the 19th century, a new set of challenges emerged for religious thinkers. A Great Courses lecture. Discussion led by Dale Povenmire.

July 10, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: 19th Century Christian Modernists"

The challenges of Enlightenment philosophy and modern historical studies were met by a variety of 19th-century Christian modernists. These include Protestants Horace Bushnell and Albrecht Ritschl, the Anglican Oxford movement, and the Tubingen school of Catholic thought. A Great Courses lecture. Discussion led by Richard Palmer.

July 17, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: 19th Century Christian Antimodernists"

In contrast to liberals and modernists, many Catholic and Protestant thinkers viewed modernity with suspicion. Catholic antimodernists were successful in increasing papal authority and establishing Aquinas's ideas as foundational, while Protestant resistance took shape in evangelical - especially fundamentalist - ideas. A Great Courses lecture and discussion.

July 24, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: Judaism and Modernity"

Modernity was challenging Jewish thinkers just as it had their Christian contemporaries. The distinctiveness of Jewish history, including marginalization and persecution, shaped Jewish thought in different ways, as seen in the 18th-century writings of Moses Mendelssohn and the later work of Herman Cohen. A Great Courses lecture and discussion.

July 31, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: Kierkegaard's Faith"

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard attacked modern efforts to make Christianity "reasonable." Kierkegaard instead emphasized that faith is only realized in the passionate commitment of the existing, not just the thinking, person. A Great Courses lecture and discussion.

Special Offering

July 10, 2016: Children First

children firstChildren First is a private, non-profit organization that serves over 600 of Sarasota County's most vulnerable children, birth to five years of age, and their families. It is Sarasota County's exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Kindergarten readiness is the ultimate goal. If you write a check, write it to UUCOV and put "Children First" on the memo line.

Minister's Corner

Y’all Come Back Now, Y’Hear?

glasses-books 250x137Last year, one of our “beloved seasonals” (the group formerly known as “snowbirds”) stopped by on his way out of town for the season to say that he trusted we wouldn’t change anything while he was gone. I remember thinking for about half a minute or so that he might be right, that maybe we should just hunker down and stay the course for the summer and fall and wait until everybody returned from their places up north.

But now this is a different year. If anyone had said the same thing to me at the end of this past season, I would have known to shrug and say, “Well, good luck with that.”
As we approach midsummer here in Venice, there is still a lot going on, a lot of conversations happening, a lot of good ideas being floated at different levels of your congregation’s hierarchy.

For one thing, our Director of RE, Jaye Williams, has several educational opportunities on the horizon for coming months and through the rest of the next year: a multi-session Odyssey Writing Project; one Great Course on Science and Religion and another entitled “Death, Dying, and the Afterlife: Lessons from World Cultures”; and a six-session UU history dvd called “Long Strange Trip” that has gotten good reviews around the country. (I’m not saying you should wait for these – go ahead and sign up for any other classes you see on our extensive calendar.)

Speaking of educational opportunities, we’re looking at focusing our November programming on “Aging and End-of-Life” issues, and then at possibly providing programming through the month of February on “Caring for Each Other.”

Scanning other notes I’ve made, I hear that a Memorial Wall is set to be installed sometime over the next couple of months; look for more on this in upcoming newsletters. I also understand that a small group is looking at solutions to our lanai issues, possibly installing sound-absorbing clouds in the ceiling as well as opening up the front wall to a new entryway out toward the circle drive. Besides which, signage is beginning to pop up here and there that should help visitors and guests find their way around campus.

In other news, there are groups talking about deepening our stewardship efforts, about expanding our planned giving program, and about making each of our numerous social events more affordable so we can include more of our congregation in them.

There is a lot going on in many facets of congregational life. If you wanted things to stay the same while you were in the north for a few months, I’m afraid that’s not likely to happen. But if you were looking forward to returning to a vibrant and forward-looking community when you return, I hope you’ll be pleased as well as challenged to engage yourself when you get back.

See you in church,


How to Contact Us

Mailing Address: UUCOV
1971 Pinebrook Road
Venice, Fl 34292-1563

Website: www.uucov.org

Minister: Rev. Khleber Van Zandt V
Phone: 314-223-0551
Office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-1:00pm
Email or phone anytime to meet at a different time.

Office Administration: Nan Kritzler
Phone: 941-485-2105
Office hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am -Noon

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

From the Board

Vice President’s Report

UnderwoodLinda150In June, Dave Lyon wrote about our congregation’s Goals for 2016-2017. I had previously written about the ten Teams comprising all UUCOV’s committees, each of which has set its own yearly goals – which support the congregational goals. What does that mean? It means that in different, but important ways, the whole congregation is focused on common efforts.

Throughout the year, the Team Leaders will be working with the Board to refine and accomplish these goals; we want you keep you informed about this process and will find ways to include you in those efforts that capture your interest. Beginning this month, you’ll find under Congregational Life an update on what the Teams are working on.

This month, I want to highlight a big change in Social Events. Social Events is the driving force behind all our fun activities such as Thanksgiving and Spring Dinners, Open Mic, Solstice Celebrations, etc. BUT this year there will be an important big difference. In response to a congregation goal to “Assess our programs to increase focus and depth of congregation involvement”, the Social Events Team, Fiscal Team and the Board are collaborating to the end that future social events will be open to all without charge.

The Board feels that as we ask for increased stewardship from the congregation in full support of UUCOV, we should not ask for additional funds for social activities. This is not a new concept; other congregations have adopted this stance. It is our hope that we will be successful and we are going to give it a try. Thus, we ensure that our social events are open to all. Lack of funds will not keep anyone from attending any UUCOV social event.

The Social Events Team, chaired by Steve and Eileen Leapley, will be working this summer to come up with an increased social schedule and some differences from past years. You will see events for specific age and interest groups. You will see day activities and evening activities. To get involved with the Team, contact Steve () or Eileen ().

--Linda Underwood

Congregational Life

For Adult Eyes Only

greetingNow’s the time, folks! Ignore the good advice you heard as a child. TALK TO STRANGERS. On Sunday mornings and at any UUCOV event, – members and friends alike - do the opposite of what you were taught. TALK TO STRANGERS!

Too often, we hear, “I was a visitor one Sunday morning and while everyone was hugging and chatting around me, no one talked to me”. That is a tough thing for one to hear when we are striving so hard to be the welcoming and loving congregation that we think we are. But we are not always welcoming to everyone. So once you sit down, please, say hello to the persons sitting next to you whether you know them or not. It is everyone’s challenge/pleasure to talk to strangers at UUCOV. If you are visitor, say hello. If you are a member, tell a strangers you are glad to see them. Don’t listen to your mother – talk to strangers.

Why am I a Legacy friend?

blue-greenchalice-vsmEnid Hill says it this way: "I've been a UU for 35 years. This is my third congregation. UUCOV members are warm and wonderful, the family I needed in Florida. Leaving a legacy will help assure that the church can continue on."

Sunday at the Movies

MovieNightThe Sarasota Opera House is showing HD theatre and concert movies on Sunday's in July starting at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. The movies are:

July 10th - Shakespeare's The Adventures of Pericles performed by the Stratford Festival

July 17th - a 1967 film of Verdi's Requiem with Luciano Pavarotti.

Please email  by July 8th if you are interested in car pooling to either event. We will leave at noon from the UUCOV parking lot.

Summer Revolving Lunch/Dinners

foodTo join other UUCOV members for a friendly meal in August, September and October, contact  by July 22.

Save the Date

SicilyMark your August calendar for Thursday August 18th. Beginning at 4pm in the Sanctuary, the UUCOV Travel Group will meet for dinner and a presentation about UUCOV’s 2017 Trip to Sicily.

Creative Thinking Caps On!

thinking-capThe Coordinating Council is working on developing an idea for an artistic design that is specific to UUCOV. We will continue to use, as do most UU congregations, the UUA logo which is a stylized chalice. And we are hoping, in addition, to come up with an image specific to UUCOV that we can use on our GA banner - which needs updating - and, perhaps, in our sanctuary as well.

Something that depicts us or that says what we stand for or who we are. Some congregations use a design that represents a part of their grounds or building. Some use a design from their town. Some of our songs suggest art designs such as roots, trees, earth. If an image or theme occurs to you, please submit your idea to Linda Underwood this summer at . It does not have to be a finished design. Just an idea that can be worked into different forms. Thank you.


Remember that great picnic the 2016 New Members hosted for us all at Maxine Barritt Park in late April? Over 100 people joined in the festivities. But you didn’t get to see this photo of our hosts. Here they are, with a belated but big “thank you”.


Team Highlights – What is goin’ on !!!

  • Social Events is developing an expanded annual calendar with more social events for all age groups and at no charge.
  • Physical Plant (expanded with 2 of our newest members) is submitting plans for the installation of ceiling panels on the lanai to help with the noise and plans suggesting a change in our front doors that would be more welcoming
  • Welcome/Membership has just welcomed five new members to UUCOV.
  • Lifespan Religious Education and Caring Team both report their educational offerings are drawing many visitors to our campus.
  • Caring Team has picked out the granite for the Memorial Wall and installation will be started this summer.
  • Fiscal Team has met with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to discuss expanded ways to mange our endowment fund. The Stewardship Committee is busy meeting with other teams, developing a 12 month program to highlight our vibrant and active congregation and our generous members and friends who support it. They are also researching the usage of pay pal and credit cards for contributions and are discussing replacing the passing of donation baskets with voluntary donation boxes.
  • Social Justice will be exploring additional ways our members can influence our County Commissioners on several initiatives including Move to Amend.
  • Communication Team is working on developing a logo for UUCOV. Any and all ideas are welcome.

A List of Team Leaders and their contact information is on the lanai bulletin board and on our web site. Contact them with questions – or to join in and be part of this energy. Participation on committees is open to both members and visitors.

Lifespan Education

From Our Director of Religious Education: Unitarian Universalism is the Faith We Teach

WilliamsJaye150I am continuing to pass on information from Connie Goodbread's “Teaching As Relationship” Workshop held in May; Connie presented her summary of James Luther Adams' five guiding principles of Unitarian Universalism, which he called the Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion. For each principle, she offered a single meaningful word:

HOPE - Revelation is open and continuous.
LOVE - Relationships are consensual never coerced.
JUSTICE - Obligation to work toward a just and loving community.
COURAGE - Deny the immaculate conception of virtue.
JOY Resources both human and divine are available to us to help us achieve meaningful change and this is a reason for ultimate optimism.

Hope, love, justice, courage and joy. What images and feelings do these words bring up for you? I am excited to report that we are planning our Oct-May ARE programming and I think there will be plenty of opportunity to explore the Five Smooth Stones in the coming year.

Youth Religious Education

Children who participated in the YRE program this school year were recognized at the May 22nd service. Stephanie Zoernack, YRE Committee Chair and teacher, spoke eloquently to the children and congregation. Here is an excerpt of what she said:

"To have the amount of love, caring and compassion these children have, I can only imagine what kind of adults they will grow up to become. It gives me hope for the future, and I am blessed just to be a part of their learning and growth."

Each child received a flower blessing from Rev. Khleber. We congratulate and honor our children


RE youth leave the sanctuary following the flower blessing to recognize their efforts in learning and growing during this school year

YRETheater-wAs a UUCOV treat to end the year of regular YRE programming, parents, grandparents and our YRE youth enjoyed the afternoon performance of James and the Giant Peach at the Venice Theater.

Spiritual Fellowship

discussionThe next drop-In meeting will be held on Thursday, July 19, 1-3pm for those curious about the Spiritual Fellowship Group program, for those whose group is on hiatus for the summer, or those simply interested in the discussion. Nancy Ryder will lead the discussion on “Resilience”.

Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language

Discussion-GroupThe “Linguistics” Great Course continues - on Wednesdays 7-9pm, Asta Linder House Room A. The video lectures will be followed by a discussion facilitated by Charlotte Neagle.

Summer History Discussion Forum

UUCOV and the Venice Area Historical Society continue to present forums focusing on the South after the Civil War. The monthly meetings will take place at UUCOV on the first Tuesday of the month, 2 pm; Brad Jenkins, and others, will present overall material prior to discussion. Readings on each topic are suggested, but not a requirement. The books are available through the library system and from Amazon.


Tuesday, July 5, 2:00 PM, “Black Life in the South, 1900-1960”
DuBois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk, 1903.
Gaines, Ernest J. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, 1971.
Rosengarten, Theodore. All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw, 1974.
Wright, Richard. Black Boy, 1945.

Tuesday, August 2, 2:00 PM, “Miss Scarlet's South”
Edwards, Anne. The Road to Tara: The Life of Margaret Mitchell, 2014.
Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind, 1936.
Pyron, Darden. Southern Daughter: The Life of Margaret Mitchell, 1991.

Tuesday, September 6, 2:00 PM, “Dixie Becomes America or Vice-Versa”
Bartley, Numan V. The New South, 1945-80: The Story of the South's Modernization, 1995
Daniel, Pete. Standing at the Crossroads: Southern Life in the Twentieth Century, 1996.

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club
The Book Club will not meet June-September; instead, members will participate in the Historical Society’s Forums on first Tuesdays of the month (see Summer History Discussion Forum).

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. The group will not meet June, July, and August; will resume on September 7.

platoPlato's Circle
Plato’s Circle will examine several topics regarding the country’s educational system at its meeting at 1pm on Wednesday, July 6th, at Asta Linder House. Bill Wolfers will present an introduction to the topics and lead the discussions.

  • School discipline-Is expulsion and long-term suspension the best way to deal with problem students?
  • Testing-What is its proper role in evaluation of student competence and progress?
  • Post secondary education-Should it be available to everyone and at low cost to provide the knowledge and skills required in a constantly changing job market?

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
The Three O'Clock poets group will be suspended until the fall.

Social Justice

Family Promise at Asta Linder Again

We are pleased that our Asta Linder House offers such a home-like facility for Family Promise families to enjoy. It will again be the site for Family Promise the week of July 24, but for this week, staff members from the Family Promise Day Center will draw volunteers from several area churches to host the families. UUCOV’s Family Promise Coordinating Team will be on hand to offer assistance and check in every day to see that all is going well. We wish to thank the UUCOV Board, Minister, RE Director and Facilities Team for their cooperation in offering the use of Asta Linder House for the summer program. If you have had Family Promise training and would like to volunteer during the week, please contact Jennifer Fagenbaum, or 941-497-9881.

Looking ahead to fall, UUCOV will host two weeks, October 9 and January 1, and will be responsible for providing volunteers. If you are not yet on our volunteer list, please consider helping with this wonderfully successful program that helps homeless families in South Sarasota County get back on their feet. All volunteers receive training from the Family Promise staff and we will make sure there is a training session available before our October host week. For more information about volunteering for Family Promise, contact Barbara Griffin, , 941-497-2733.

Denominational Affairs

Reflections from the UUA General Assembly

uua-ga-2016 logoLast month, June 22-26, over 3,000 Unitarian Universalists participated in the yearly 5-day spiritual/intellectual/emotional extravaganza known as the General Assembly. Eight UUCOV members were there in Columbus, Ohio: Lori Baribeault, Leie Carmody, Dave Lyon, Kindra Muntz, Mark Murray, Khleber and Linda Van Zandt, and Stephanie Zoernack. Here are thoughts, reactions, learnings, experiences from two of them. Look for more next month.

Stephanie Zoernack: It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking your congregation represents all UU populations. Attending GA allows you to see what UU really looks like. There is so much more diversity than I think most people would expect. Yes, there are a lot of middle to upper age white folks, but there are also people of color, children, and even a bunch of young adults! There's diversity in gender identities, sexual orientations, and class. Every time you walk into a room you're reminded of the differences that somehow make you feel as if you are all one.

Lori Baribeault: I was fortunate enough to be a part of a large (500+ people) counter-protest . On June 23rd , the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) named the UUA General Assembly one of three targets of their special brand of hate , because of our belief in transgender rights, and was coming to Columbus to direct it at UUs. The UU Emergency Chaplaincy Team immediately went into action, first invited interested parties to come to a Peacekeepers Training. Here we were taught some of the basics, not to touch or even directly engage with them, and what the police said their plans were to keep order. Then we discussed how to keep the love in our hearts, even in the face of hate, ignorance and anger. We pledged to, together, keep love for ourselves and for the rest of the world. I then mentioned that we also have to, in whatever way is comfortable, send that love also to the WBC people because anyone who is so full of hate has to be terribly, terribly broken and deserving of our compassion and love, as our principles state.

We were also told that the Orlando UU congregation, after using angel wings to protect families during the Pulse victim funerals, were sending those same wings for our use! You can only imagine the love and energy in those beautiful wings.

On the day of the protest, June 24th, all gathered at 12:00 in the convention center, including some representatives from other denominations in the area. We were unsure exactly when and where they would be gathered, so we were going to be prepared! We sang the songs we planned on singing and continued to speak of keeping and spreading our love. We also took hands and stated, “I put my hands in yours because together we can do what I cannot do alone.” A powerful reminder of our strength in numbers.

Once the word was given, the marchers filed out the door, following the angels, singing our hearts to the world. We gathered around the 6 or 8 WBC protesters who had speakers and bullhorns and were still completely drowned out by our love. Reactions of drivers passing, even when inconvenienced by our group, were overwhelmingly supportive. The protest lasted about 30 minutes, until WBC’s cars came up and took them away. As they left, we continued the love with cries of “We love you,” as they took their signs and drove away. We showed, in body, mind and spirit, that love truly does prevail.

Did we change the world? Did we change any heart in that WBC group? I don’t have the answers for that. What I do know is that it reminded me that it is time to “put our bodies into the fight,” something I had heard at one of the workshops that was teaching about the importance of civil disobedience (which they term “moral obedience.”)

And I am ready to commit to that! Who’s with me?

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 .

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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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