September 2016 Connection


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Issue No. 1909

Venice, FL

September 2016


Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: 10:00am

September 4, 2016: "Education: Meaning, Accessibility, and Value"

Dr. Jody McBrien. Dr. McBrien, Associate Professor at USF, on "critical thinking" as the needed basis of education for responsible citizenry and for partaking in the UU faith tradition.

September 11, 2016: "A Willingness to Sacrifice"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. For our Muslim neighbors, this Monday evening begins the holiday of Eid al-Adha. This feast day recalls the story of Ibrahim’s near-sacrifice of a son. What could have been going on in Ibrahim’s mind that he’d take the sacrifice so far?

September 18, 2016: Service & Pot Luck at Maxine Barritt Pavilion

Our Annual Service and Pot Luck Brunch at Maxine Barritt Park (1800 Harbor Drive South). Service: Waves of Gratitude by Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. There’s nothing like a beautiful day at the beach to help you remember what you’re grateful for! Pot luck immediately following the service. You can sign up on the lanai and let us know what you’re bringing. Bring your own tableware (plate, napkins, fork, spoon, etc.) as well as your drink of choice – NO GLASS, PLEASE. We’ll have a limited supply of water and iced tea in case you forget yours. Let’s say goodbye to summer in our own UUCOV style!

September 25, 2016: Service

Watch our weekly Events Bulletin Happenings for guest speaker and sermon topic.


Adult RE: Asta Linder House Rm. A

September 4, 2016, 09:00am: "What To Believe in Science and Medicine"

John Halvorsen. News articles, magazines features, exposés, and summaries of research articles on many issues are published in the mass media; can you distinguish real science from ‘flimflam’? There is a difference between “report” and “research”. John will clarify that distinction and illustrate the pitfalls of not making it. He will explain the rigorous process required to have research results published in a credible peer-reviewed science journal, giving the world opportunity to critique the work and build on it in future research.

September 11, 2016, 09:00am: "What To Believe in Science and Medicine"

Pat Franks. Pat will continue the differentiation of last week’s program, focusing on health and medicine, the role of pharmaceutical companies in providing safe and efficacious drugs, and issues of costs and dangers.

September 18, 2016, 09:00am: No Program today

No program - Service at Maxine Barritt Park.

September 25, 2016, 09:00am: "Skeptics and Believers: Nietzsche and the Ascetic Ideal"

"Bad conscience" uses religion to increase feelings of guilt, ultimately culminating in Christianity and its "ascetic ideal," of which modern ideals of science and this-worldliness are but the latest stages of development. A Great Courses lecture with discussion to follow.

Special Offering

September 11, 2016: All Faiths Food Bank

Our cash offering goes to All Faiths Food Bank, which solicits, warehouses, processes and distributes food to not-for-profit agency partners offering hunger relief throughout Sarasota County. It provides community leadership and education on issues related to food, nutrition and hunger. If you write a check, please make it out to UUCOV with "All Faiths Food Bank" on the memo line. Thank you for your generosity.

Minister's Corner

On to New Adventures

glasses-booksWhile I was away for a few days during the summer, I got wind that one of our members, Suzy Smith, had packed up and left Venice. By the time I heard the news, she was already on the road heading north to be with her husband and son in Alaska.

I had known Suzy had been considering a change in scenery for a while, and I guess she made the decision, got her house sold, and headed out without many people hearing too much about it.

Then during the few days after she left, more than a dozen people responded on the congregation’s “InTouch” Facebook page, all wishing Suzy safe travels and asking her to stay in touch and to let us know how it’s going for her and her family way up there in the frozen tundra of the northland.

The numerous comments on the InTouch page were a good measure of the response to Suzy’s presence among us. “We'll miss your bright eyes. Alaska will be all the more cheerful because of you!” “We’ll miss your ready smile and tenor voice in the choir!” “On to new adventures!‬”

One note, all the way from Japan, said, “Take care, Suzy! I hope everything works out great for you!‬” It seems important that the words came from halfway around the world, and I hope it indicates to Suzy something about the way many of us in this congregation feel about her.

For myself, I will miss her enthusiasm, her sense of wonder, her willingness to share new ideas. As I remember it, the potluck dinners on pagan holidays were her idea and brought kids and families and other church members together. She worked with the kids more than once to bring us pagan-themed presentations. She was excited to kick-start a lay gathering of the local cluster of UU churches and would have gotten it going except that the people of the regional UUA explained that they were already working on it.

And more than once she made it obvious that our chancel is not as accessible as it should be to those of us who have developed mobility challenges. Suzy certainly never let her intermittent difficulties with mobility stop her from singing with the choir!

Suzy has been a real go-getter while she’s been with us. She’s had a lot of ideas, and she was hard to hold back once she set her mind to something.

More often than I like, we don’t get the chance to say goodbye to the people who move out of our lives, whether because of health issues or death or other transitions. So it’s nice to be able to say, “Suzy, we wish you all our best.‬ Be safe and keep in touch.‬”

And I hope to see the rest of you in church,


How to Contact Us

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


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

From the Vice President

LindaUnderwoodOur Social Justice Team (SJT) leads us in support of our mission of “active participation in social and community affairs”. This past year the Common Good Committee focused on petition-gathering for voting rights and solar choice and pressed our County Commissioners to launch a ballot initiative on Move to Amend; the Green Sanctuary Committee co-sponsored a symposium in conjunction with the Pachamama Alliance; and the Community Outreach Committee . The previous year the Green Sanctuary Committee took the leadership in promoting our energy self sufficiency through solar power. Our Community Outreach Committee provided leadership in Venice’s Family Promise Program.

This year we will work to make a measurable difference in our world., not just ‘nudging’ change but ‘pushing/dragging/propelling’ change. Connie Goodbread, UUA Southern Division Consultant, tells us that for congregations to succeed in transforming their community, they must do two things: 1. they identify the unique needs in their community through study of demographic data and, 2.they identify the unique strengths that their congregation can bring to this need.

Toward this end, the SJT has been in contact with our county officials and the Gulf Coast Foundation to learn the specific challenges our town is facing and they have begun to assess the unique strengths our congregation has. But this assessment and the resulting recommendations require input from more than SJT members, so the Team will be holding a focus group (or two) to which all UUCOVers will be invited to participate.

From this work, we expect the SJT to make recommendations to the congregation as to a focus for our social justice efforts. It is hoped that other individuals and teams might find ways within their purviews to support these congregation efforts.

Many of us have favorite projects which we will continue to support but this new initiative will provide a focus for our collective energy and resources; this way we can truly make a difference. And some day we may overhear someone say “Oh, you are a member of the church that ---------! It’s amazing that your church was able to make that difference!”

-- Linda Underwood

Congregational Life

Why am I a Legacy Friend?

FeatherPenLegacy Friends help secure a strong financial for UUCOV with present gifts or future bequests. Marilyn Marcus says: "I am a Legacy Friend because I love UUCOV. I have extraordinary friends here. This is a sanctuary for me. I want it to continue and grow and attract even more good people. I want to support it however I can, and so did my husband Marshall. Legacy Friends is a way to support this sacred place even after I die. The world needs this loving and wise congregation to live on and touch even more lives."


Team Highlights – What is goin’ on !!!

TeamThe following is some of the work your Teams have done in July/August–

  • Lifespan RE – YRE The initiative to support families with children returning to school was successful; our youth packed backpacks for two local schools, full of donated school supplies.

ARE in addition to Sunday programs, Lifespan is working with several Venice organizations (League of Women Voters, VICA, Tidewell, Venice Peace Project) in joint planning for our fall and winter programs.

  • Campus Team- Dave Williams has constructed two wooden hymnal racks for the sanctuary. Plan for noise abatement for the lanai is in the final stages and will be submitted next month to the board. Driveway pothole and tree root encroachment remediation was taken care of in August as well as the cleaning of the carpets in Asta Linder and Waters Hall.
  • Social Justice Team– The Family Promise Committee reports that volunteers from other churches using Asta Linder for Family Promise for the first time in July worked well. The team recommends future use of Asta Linder if need arises.

The Common Good Committee announced that the UUA crowdfunding site, Faithify, assisted UU Justice Florida exceed its funding goal of $7500 to impact vulnerable coastal communities in response to climate change. UUCOV Social Justice Committees and individual members supported this funding.

  • Caring and Remembrance Team – The Memorial Wall Advisory Committee approved the final plan and the wall construction will start mid September. Look for more information in Connection in the coming months.  The support of our members continues with rides being provided, cards sent, and supportive phone calls made.
  • Fiscal Team - The Stewardship Committee sent out in July a thank-you letter to all who returned a pledge card. The Committee has also published several articles promoting stewardship.

The Legacy Committee has drafted a “Declaration of Future Intent” for people participating in the Legacy Friends program which encourages the support of UUCOV through your lifetime financial planning.

If any of the above excites you, please join in. Room for all. Our committees are open to both members and visitors. A list of Team Leaders and their contact information is on the bulletin board on the lanai and is on our web site. Join in and be part of this energy. And if you have questions, just ask.


September Beach Bash

sunglassesMark your calendar for UUCOV’S September Beach Bash service and potluck, coming up Sunday, September 18th at Maxine Barritt Park. The service will begin at 10am and the potluck starts right afterward. You can sign up on the lanai and let us know what you’re bringing. Note there will be no service at UUCOV that day.

In the interest of environmental stewardship, please bring your own tableware (plate, napkins, fork, spoon, etc.) as well as your drink of choice – NO GLASS, PLEASE. We’ll have a limited supply of water and iced tea in case you forget yours. If you’re able, please stay for a few minutes after to help clean up.

Let’s say goodbye to summer in our own UUCOV style!


Good News! Construction Begins on our Memorial Wall

Memorial PlaquesWhat Memorial Wall you ask? The Wall that will allow all our beloved congregants to be remembered as members of our church family, if they so wish.

The long-planned construction of the Wall, to be part of the Garden of Remembrance made possible by a generous gift from Sal Salorenzo, will begin in mid-September. The Memorial Wall has been planned for several years, just awaiting funds to make it become reality. Finally enough plaques have been ordered and payment made that plans can proceed.

The Memorial Wall will be placed between the podocarpus hedge and the sidewalk behind Asta Linder House. Two 4’ by 8’ walls will be clad in granite and will hold plaques (256) with the name, date of birth, and date of death for each member.

Anyone associated with UUCOV is eligible to have a plaque on the Memorial Wall. Plaques will be placed in order of death. Couples may request that their plaques be together and that request will be honored provided the plaques are ordered in advance.

The cost of participation is $500 to cover the cost of engraving and installing the plaque, perpetual maintenance of the Garden of Remembrance and the right to inter ashes. Questions can be addressed to Bev Morrison at  or by phone 941-497-6337.


Countdown to Sicily - #12

SicilyA favorite breakfast in Sicily is grantia, coffee or fruit flavored sorbet, and a brioche. Join UUCOVers in Sicily for breakfast September 16 to 27, 2017. For trip information contact Nancy Ryder, .

Lifespan Education

Message from our Director of Religious Education

Sweaty and Yet Willing to Help

Jaye WilliamsThe Sarasota Herald Tribune ran an article last week listing the worst weather months in FL from worst to best. They actually used the catchy headline sweatiest to sweetest. After nearly 27 years in FL, I know I have my most and least favorites. It was so validating to read that my least favorite matched theirs.....September. For those of you interested in seeing the article, here is a link:

It can be challenging to get motivated during the June-October months. I headed into my first summer as UUCOV's DRE wondering not only who might step up to share their time with YRE and ARE programming, but who would dodge lightening bolts, puddles (is that what we call those lakes?), power blips and disease carrying mosquitos to take part in some pretty cool programs. It turns out we are a hardy group, those of us brave enough to spend the bulk of our summer in FL.

I apologize in advance if I have left anyone out, but I want to call out specifically those who have helped us provide a variety of great programming this summer. Wipe your sweaty brow and take a bow. Bravo!

Marianna Lombard, Charlotte Neagle, Dave Williams, Stephanie Zoernack, Barbara Smith, Marilyn Amick, Bill Wolfers, Brad Jenkins, Richard Palmer, Dale Povenmire, Karen Griffin, Carol Zoernack, Dan Hadley, Bonnie Norton, David Lackey, Mimi Welch, Dick Smith.


Youth Religious Education - Our Crafty Kids

The quality of our YRE Sunday crafting got ramped up a notch when congregants agreed to share their skill and passion with our children this summer. Dave Williams, with the assistance of Stephanie Zoernack, led the children from the design process through sanding and gluing, to create a unique woodworking project that they were able to take home.

YRE Kids Wood Projects

YRE Wood Project

Barbara Smith brought in beautiful wooden train engine cars, one for each child, to provide a blank canvas for the children to make "pop" with a variety of paints. While the artists were at work, Marilyn Amick read “I Knew You Could-A Book for All Stops in Your Life”, a fabulous spinoff of The Little Engine That Could.




Spiritual Fellowship Open Drop In

crossroadThe September drop-in Spiritual Fellowship Group will be facilitated by Leie Carmody on Thursday, September 15 from 1-3pm in Waters Hall. The topic will be Crossroads: Roads Taken and Not. Open to everyone.


theaterSee the opera movie, Il Trovatore, Sunday Sept 18th, at the Sarasota Opera House. Tickets are $20. We’ll meet (having had lunch) in UUCOV parking lot 12:15pm to carpool. Email by Sept 16th.


We’re In For A Treat!

WhereInvadeNextCome on Tuesday, September 27th, at 7pm , to see filmmaker Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next”, a 2-hour non-partisan film. It’s funny, provocative, heartening, warm, and educational. In his travels through various countries, he explores education, prison systems, health care, work and more and discovers, in part, that the rest of the world has swiped ideas that we originated. Open to the public.

Write and Share your Odyssey

Program commitment is Jan. 12 and 19, and March 2 and 9, 1 - 5 pm also Feb 2, 6:30-9pm. Sylvia Hancock and Mary Helen Braceland are the facilitators and Sylvia will host these sessions in her home. Participants will be limited to six people over 55 years. Contact Sylvia if you want to join at 360-460-8593. Snowbirds will want to bring any useful background material when they return to Florida for the winter.

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club
The UUCOV Book Club will reconvene Thursday, September 8 for afternoon tea and cookies and to discuss possible book choices and scheduling for the upcoming season. The group will meet at 1:30 PM, Waters Hall. Please contact Barbara Smith 941-408-1729 or  if you are interested in participating.

BuddhaMindfulness Meditation
Beginning Wednesday, September 7th, guided meditation and a look at early Buddhist teachings on living a more peaceful life will resume weekly Wednesdays 6-7:30pm, Waters Hall.

platoPlato's Circle
Plato's Circle, an open discussion group, meets 1-3pm the first Wednesday of each month in Asta Linder House. This month, Sept.7, John Halvorsen will lead a discussion about the issue debated 90 years ago in the famous Scopes Trial, in which evangelical traditionalist and rational secularist clashed over the Tennessee law making it illegal "to teach any theory that denies the Story of Divine Creation." The struggle was decisively won-eventually- by the secularist... or was it? The continuing appeal of anti-evolutionary thinking in America is still very much prevalent; in the last decade, questions about what, if anything, students should learn about evolution have been debated in more than half the states in our nation, and there are states in which public school teachers are mandated to include – in the science curriculum - concepts of ‘Intelligent Design’.

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

Opportunity for UUCOVers to make a difference

FaithifyLogoFaithify is a UU crowdfunding source. Its purpose is to:

“Inspire a culture of innovation that extends the reach of UU values
Lower the walls between existing congregations
Ignite ministries in new venues, formats, and communities
Bridge geographic and generational borders using 21st century technologies
Help passionate individuals invest directly in ministries that excite them
Help ministry innovators reach a passionate public”

Check out the variety of projects and amounts funded at and make a donation to one or more you believe in. UU Justice Florida just completed a successful $7,500 fundraising campaign in 45 days for the climate change adaptation project now moving to the west coast of Florida, in addition to projects already underway in Palm Beach County.
Do you have a creative project in mind that requires special funding? Consider using Faithify to apply for financial help . Faithify states: “We envision a people with renewed faith and a Unitarian Universalism that is more connected, relevant, and vibrant.”

Wow! That sounds like UUCOV!

Family Promise: Changes at UUCOV

FamilyPromiseThe Family Promise Coordinating Team is looking forward to a new season of helping homeless families with children in the Venice area. UUCOV will host families at Asta Linder House the weeks of October 9 – 16 and January 1 – 9. The families arrive before dinner each day, spend the night, and leave the next morning after breakfast. They spend their days working or looking for work and housing with help from the Family Promise staff, while their children are in school.

UUCOV’s Coordinating Team is delighted to welcome new members Cindy and Paul O’Dell, who will take Barbara Griffin’s place as Volunteer Coordinator, and Rick Williams, who will replace Mary Leone as Dinner Coordinator. Coordinators remaining on the team are Georgia Blotzer, supplies; Ruth Toms, food supplies; and Steve Barry, facilities.

Many volunteers are needed to make Family Promise work at UUCOV. Help is needed to set up the facility the Sunday families arrive, clean up the following Sunday after they leave, provide dinners during the week, and serve as hosts for dinner, overnight, and breakfast each day the families are with us.

On Sunday September 11 there will be an opportunity to learn more about the Family Promise program and to sign up to volunteer. All volunteers receive training from the Family Promise staff. Jennifer Fagenbaum, Executive Director of Family Promise of South Sarasota County, will present a training session on Wednesday, Sept 14, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., location TBA. Please contact Cindy and Paul at or 317-370-6705 to sign up for training or to volunteer.

Denominational Affairs

Common Read 2016-2017

The Unitarian Universalist Association's Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.

The 2015-2016 “Common Read” was “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. This year’s choice is Rev. Dr. William Barber’s “The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.” Each year's Common Read is chosen by a committee including both headquarters and field staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

Unitarian Universalists were electrified at General Assembly 2016 by Rev. Barber's call for building and sustaining a movement for justice for all people. The Common Read selection committee believes that this is a moment for Unitarian Universalists to answer that call. The Third Reconstruction offers helpful, practical guidance for engaging with justice movements born in response to local experiences of larger injustices. Drawing on the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, while making room for other sources of truth, the book challenges us to ground our justice work in moral dissent, even when there is no reasonable expectation of political success, and to do the hard work of coalition building in a society that is fractured and polarized.

You are invited to purchase the book or find it in a public library and begin reading. Plans for programs based on the Common Read will follow sometime in the fall.


Rev. Barber leading a “Moral Monday” protest in North Carolina

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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

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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