January 2017 Connection


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Issue No. 2001

Venice, FL

January 2017


Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: 9:30 or 11:00, Jan 1 10:00am

January 1, 2017: "Singing In the New Year"

Single service at 10:00am today. Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. What better way to begin anew than to sing some old songs and learn some new ones?

January 8, 2017: "A Personal Theory of Change"

As the complexity of modern living becomes inescapable, it's hard to know where to focus our lives. Organizations that tackle big, complicated problems develop a “theory of change” that they can prove works on a small scale. What’s the theory of change that guides your life? Rev. Brock Leach is a community minister of the UU Church of Sarasota.

January 15, 2017: "Living Our Values"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. When looking back over the history of a congregation, there are moments in time when one could say, “That’s when we really made a difference.” This week it’s clear: we are approaching one of those times.

January 22, 2017: "Equipping for the Future"

Rev. Kenn Hurto, Connie Goodbread, and Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. Some of our congregational leaders attended a Leadership Experience workshop this weekend in our sanctuary. Herewith, from the point of view of the facilitators of that workshop, a report on what we learned.

January 29, 2017: "Still Reconstructing"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. The past couple of weeks, we have been focused on the book chosen by the UUA as a Common Read this year, Rev. Dr. William Barber’s The Third Reconstruction. Perhaps it’s our attitude toward people of differing faiths that could stand some reconstructing.


Adult RE

January 1, 2017, 09:00am: NO Adult RE today

January 8, 2017, 09:30am: "Skeptics and Believers: New Atheisms"

Held in Waters Hall. With the rise of the Christian Right and militant Islam has come a corresponding and vocal rise in various kinds of atheisms, many warning us of the irrationality and violence inherent in religion. A Great Courses lecture with discussion.

January 8, 2017, 11:00am: "Science and Religion: Galileo's Trial"

Held in Waters Hall. This lecture examines the later phase of the Galileo affair, presents explanations of the events, and looks at how these events have been used, abused and re-examined to the present day. Discussion to follow.

January 15, 2017, 09:30am: "A Long Strange Trip"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. A multi-part video presentation covering two thousand years of Unitarian Universalist history. This week: In the Beginning -- The early roots of liberal religion up to the time of the Protestant Reformation. Video followed by a discussion led by Bonnie Norton.

January 15, 2017, 09:30am: "Skeptics and Believers: Religion and Rationality"

Held in Waters Hall. Explore the variety of ways in which philosophers of religion approach the often divisive relationship between religion and rationality. A Great Courses lecture with discussion.

January 15, 2017, 11:00am: "Science and Religion: God the Watchmaker"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. A Great Courses lecture and discussion. The idea of a mechanical universe functioning like a great clockwork is examined through the ideas of Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton and others.

January 22, 2017, 09:30am: A Long Strange Trip

Held in Asta Linder Room A. A multi-part video presentation covering two thousand years of Unitarian Universalist history followed by a discussion led by Bonnie Norton. This week: In the Beginning -- Significant events during the Reformation including the role of Michael Servetus and John Calvin.

January 22, 2017, 09:30am: "Skeptics and Believers: Pluralisms"

Held in Waters Hall. A Great Course lecture with discussion. Religious and Secular, Enjoy a look at how some of today's most creative religious thinkers have approached one of their discipline's most provocative questions: How do you incorporate issues like pluralism, diversity and tolerance when the religions you are studying contain claims of exclusive salvation or of being God's choice?

January 22, 2017, 11:00am: "Science and Religion: Natural Theology and Arguments from Design"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. This Great Courses lecture imagines the emergence and content of natural theology.

January 29, 2017, 09:30am: "A Long Strange Trip"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. A multi-part video presentation covering two thousand years of Unitarian Universalist history followed by a discussion led by Bonnie Norton. This week: Birth of Unitarianism -- With the Reformation came the first development of liberal religious thinking and the birth of Polish Unitarianism.

January 29, 2017, 09:30am: "Skeptics and Believers: Faith, Suspicion and Modernity"

Held in Waters Hall. A Great Course lecture with discussion. This lecture addresses the unavoidable point that the religious life does involve making claims about the nature of reality.

January 29, 2017, 11:00am: "Science and Religion: Geology, Cosmology and Biblical Chronology"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. This Great Courses lecture looks at attempts to date the Earth, the hints that it is vastly older than the Bible implies, and the responses from religious figures to this dating.

Special Offering

January 15, 2017: Center of Hope

The Center of Hope Social Service Program provides more services to the homeless, hungry and economically deprived in the Venice area than any other agency. People in need can get food, clothing, hygiene items, bus passes, emergency financial assistance for utilities and rent, help replacing lost or stolen ID, referrals for dental work, haircuts and other services, and friendly and compassionate attention. Please make checks payable to UUCOV, with Center of Hope on the memo line. Thank you for your generosity.

Minister's Corner

Minister's Corner: Ongoing Reconstruction

UnderReconstructionRev. Dr. William Barber is an imposing presence, a large man with a deep voice who walks the talk and leads by example. UUs around the world will read his book, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement. To keep up with them, we will present programming based on Rev. Barber’s book this month.

The book recounts the multi-layered story of “fusion politics” and its unlikely coalition of disparate social justice groups all working to save the soul of America. The key utensil in Barber’s toolkit is something he calls “Moral Mondays,” a nonviolent civil disobedience campaign of protests, rallies, and arrests that began in Barber’s home state of North Carolina but has been adapted in other states, including Florida.

Moral Monday groups show up at local, state, and national government offices to protest and advocate and change the minds and votes of politicians of many stripes. Those multi-faith, multi-racial gatherings have often included what previously might have been considered strange bedfellows: immigrants, union members, Appalachian workers, progressive people from many faiths or from no faith at all. Barber believes these gatherings could be a model for all of us who are committed to racial and economic justice, if only we’re willing to come together across traditional boundaries to work together for some common good.

Rev. Barber freely shares the hard-won wisdom he and his fellow travelers have amassed over the many years of the struggle, including the central importance of affording voting-rights protection to traditionally marginalized people. Barber is no pie-in-the-sky dreamer, though: he is a realist who recognizes a necessary symbiosis between realism and faith. He knows that faith - his or ours - cannot simply stand by complacently as injustice accumulates. Being grounded in a faith as well as being realistic, he says, demands that “we hold on to faith as we take care of one another along the way.”

Barber speaks forcefully and passionately about where we are, about where we’ve been, and about where we need to go together. The critique I’ve heard most frequently within UUism is that he speaks in an overtly Christian idiom, making it difficult for some UUs to stay in the conversation.

Please take the opportunity to join the conversation this month as we engage Dr. Barber’s ideas together. I hope you’ll find a way to interpret and translate his important work for yourself, for if we don’t find ways to transcend our previously-held boundaries of faith and language, these next few years are going to be very difficult indeed.

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

From the Vice President
How fortunate many of us are to have chosen Venice as our home for all or part of the year. The Chamber of Commerce has named Venice “Paradise” and, for some people, it is just that. But on December 14th many of us heard Jon Thaxton from the Gulf Coast Foundation tell us about another Venice: a Venice where over 50% of its children who attend public schools are going hungry and are eligible for free or subsidized lunches. That means 22,000 children are hungry, particularly on weekends when they are not in school. We heard that the local governments have not planned low income housing for over 20 years. We learned we have “food deserts” where communities have no access to healthy food. We heard many sobering facts about a Venice that many do not see.

The Social Justice Team invited Jon Thaxton to start a conversation with us and to spur some thinking about the needs of our community. We need to understand our neighbors who are in need in order to best plan how we may respond.

On January 9th at 2:00pm in the Sanctuary the Social Justice Team will hold an open meeting for all interested in learning more about our community and doing some brainstorming on the strengths of our congregation and how we might be best positioned to respond to our neighbors in need.

Who knows where this exploration will take us? But it will be a worthwhile journey and it is expected that we will identify some very real ways that more of us can get involved in our community. Come be a part of this brainstorming to help develop programs that reflect our congregation’s passions, skills, and interests.

We are stewards of our congregation and our community. We care and we have great capacity to help. Come learn, discuss, and share your thoughts on January 9th and help our congregation in its Social Justice planning.

Congregational Life

Wanted. . .

handsheartsNominating Committee
The Nominating Committee’s purpose is to nominate a slate of candidates at the annual meeting for open positions on the Board and for elective positions on the Nominating Committee. For 2017-2018 we need to fill one open position on the Board and two Nominating Committee positions.

This year’s committee members are Lori Baribeault, Paul Casavant, Barbara Griffin (Chair), Claire Harrison and Bill Wolfers. Anyone interested in serving on the Board or the Nominating Committee, please contact one of the current committee members by the end of January.

Personnel Committee
We have openings for three people on the Personnel Committee, which, when necessary, (for all personnel except the Minister) develops personnel policies, makes recommendations on compensation and benefits, and assists in employee evaluations. If you have interest or experience in these Human Resource activities, please contact Dave Lyon or 765-212-5588.

Hospitality for Guest Speakers
We often find great speakers who live a bit too far away to get to UUCOV on Sunday morning. It would expand our list of potential speakers if we knew of members/friends open to offering overnight hospitality. If you have questions about this or would consider hosting a speaker, please contact Lori Baribeault, , 941-539-9807.

Express Your Generosity

Fundraising treeThe UUCOV Annual Appeal for financial support will be mailed in early January. The Stewardship Committee invites you to express your generosity. Your giving commitment reflects the value you place on our UUCOV community and the work we accomplish together.

Deadline January 8th

GavelOn January 28th, UUCOV will hold its exciting, fun-filled yearly auction. Mark your calendar as you do not want to miss this splendid evening which provides an opportunity for people to connect with one another around common interests, such as joining with friends to bid on an ethnic dinner or taking a kayak trip with fellow water lovers.

And the bottom line is - - - it provides money to continue the works of our beloved community.

The deadline to donate a service or event is rapidly approaching: January 8th.. Please fill out a donation form and return to Diane DeGrasse, . If you have a question about a possible donation, contact . See you on January 28.

Why Am I a Legacy Friend?

FeatherPenUUCOV has been the focal point of my spiritual and social life since I arrived in Venice eleven years ago, and service to UUCOV and to the broader community through our Social Justice projects has also been a high priority. I know that for the exceptional opportunities UUCOV provides to enhance our lives and those in the wider community, UUCOV has to maintain a strong financial base. I saw membership in the Legacy Friends Group as ensuring we maintain excellent financial grounding, and so I joined the group in my first year as a church member.

When, 7 1/2 years ago, Richard Cannarelli, then UUCOV President, asked me to become Chair of the group, I wholeheartedly agreed. Dick May and Dale Povenmire, former LF Chairs, were excellent guides. During my term as Chair, Legacy Friends grew from 24 to 75 members!

I encourage you to become a LF member; every gift to UUCOV can be a tremendous boast to the work we do. And by leaving a Legacy gift in your will or trust, you have the pleasure of knowing you have made an ongoing connection to our congregation that will last far beyond your lifetime. It will serve to help our beloved community reach its full potential as a voice for peace, compassion, acceptance and love in the Venice area.

Now, Dr. John Spitzer, a snow-bird, choir member and Professor in the Department of Finance at the U. of Iowa takes over my position - what a step up in expertise! I am thrilled to have someone of John’s experience be the new head of Legacy Friends and am sure that under his leadership the group will become even stronger.

Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to serve UUCOV as LF chair. In future, if you are inspired to join the group, please contact John Spitzer: 319- 331-5914 or .

Excuse Our Appearance!

concreteWe are a construction site. Concrete was poured for the new lanai on December 21st. During the next two weeks there’ll be many changes, so – snowbirds - be warned! We are changing our look!

Please be patient. What is currently a mess will, in the next several weeks, look very different. The shrubs will be planted around the enlarged patio. The lanai will be painted. The acoustic panels will be installed. In fact the acoustic panels arrived two weeks early. So if you see a large crate, that is what it’s holding, and they will be installed early in January.

Soon there will be no need to stay in the overcrowded lanai. A "trial" bench has been ordered to see how it will look and if it will suit us before ordering more for each side of the new enlarged patio.

! Countdown to Sicily #8

SicilyA deadline is almost upon us! So... at 4pm, Thursday, January 12th, come to the sanctuary to view a video presentation highlighting many of the sights we will be visiting - wine and cheese provided.

A representative from Collette Travel will describe our customized 12 day tour of Sicily based in Palermo and Catania with added visits to the Tunisian City of Mazara del Vallo and the World Heritage Site, Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina, as well as the pre-trip to Tuscany and the italian Riviera.

Sign up Sundays on the lanai or email Nancy Ryder at

A Kayak Cruise

kayakA kayak trip on the Myakka is planned for January 20th, leaving from Snook Haven off River Road. Plan to arrive by 9am for a 9:30 launch. We’ll kayak for 2 hours and return to Snook Haven for lunch. Don’t forget: sun screen, insect repellent, water, hat. The trip is open to all and Snook Haven has 7 rental kayaks which cannot be reserved, but are available on a first come first serve basis, starting at 9:30am. Please email the January Trip Coordinator, Linda Underwood, if you plan to come or for questions. In case of inclement weather an email will be sent out by 8am.

Team Highlights – What is/was Going On

blue greenchalice smSocial Activities: December 25th pot luck was held after Sunday Service.

New Year’s Dance Party is scheduled for December 31st starting at 7:00pm. This is a brand new event!!! BYOB and snacks in the Sanctuary with dancing on the lanai.

Sunday Morning Experience: New microphones have been purchased so you will notice better audio on Sunday morning.

Volunteers are needed for Welcome Table, ushering, serving coffee and making Welcome Announcements. See Lori Baribeault She can get you to the place to sign up.

Notice slides on screen prior to events with information on activities that are open to all.

Fiscal Team: Legacy friends enjoyed a dinner party at Allegro Bistro in December.

All the Teams submitted budget proposals to the Finance Committee for FY 2017/18.

The Stewardship Committee initiated a trial period of using donation boxes at Sunday services instead of passing the baskets, except for the one Sunday a month when a community charity receives our donations. Planning for our annual giving campaign in underway.

Fund Raising activities – Nancy Ryder presented check from the Aegean Island trip and the 2017 trip to Sicily has been announced. Auction planning has begun and volunteers are needed (contact Joel Morrison ()

Membership Team: UUCOV has eight new enthusiastic members following the November Pathways Class. Evaluation feedback following Pathways indicated new members would be interested in a follow up get together and one is being planned.

Lifespan Learning Team: Spiritual Fellowship Committee announced Carol Wolfers is retiring after many years of dedicated service. Thank you, Carol. Wendy Voigt will replace her as co-chair with Pat Schwing.

Adult RE, working with the Caring Team, continued to hold a variety of presentations and discussion opportunities on the topic of aging and death. This has been a well-received program. This program will continue into January.

The UU Read program is focusing this year on “The Third Reconstruction” and book discussions are planned in January coordinated by Bonnie Norton.

Caring Team: This team has been working in tandem with the Adult RE Team in the presentation of the aging and death topic. The Caring Team purchased multiple copies of the books on discussion and have made them available on a circulating basis so all could participate in the reading.

Campus Team: In December, the front walkway was expanded and shrubs planted to surround the new patio. All are encouraged to utilize the patio for visiting after services to reduce noise level. The lanai is to be repainted and sound panels are to be installed to further reduce noise. Arrangements have been made with an arborist for tree trimming.

Planning is underway for possible shade to the front patio and installation of benches. Discussion begun on how to make access to the rear entrance of Asta Linder safer and more appealing.

Communication Team: Great newspaper coverage on the mats for the homeless. Communications Team made arrangements for our street signs to be repainted and refurbished; that task is completed.

Social Justice Team: The Gulf Coast Foundation presented an informative and shocking lecture on homelessness and hunger in Sarasota county. This event is the kickoff of our discussion on “Why are we here? What is our role? How can we impact our Community? On January 9th at 2pm all are invited to discuss this further.

Family promise families were with us over the Christmas holiday and will be staying two weeks; another church served as staff the first week and UUCOV will staff the second. A new wall mounted TV was purchased jointly by Adult RE and Family Promise for Asta Linder.

Administration Team: Southern District Leadership weekend will take place January 20th and 21st. All are invited to the Friday evening event. On Saturday UUCOV will be represented by three teams. Bonnie Norton is coordinating this event if you have any questions or wish to pparticipate.

As always, if you see something of interest, please know you are welcome to join any team.

Leadership Weekend

A Congregational Conversation
On January 20, a congregational conversation will be held to discuss the following topic: Why are we here for ourselves, for our congregation, and for the outside world?

Planned as part of the Leadership Weekend held on our campus, this conversation will be hosted by two denominational leaders Rev. Kenn Hurto, Executive Lead for the Southern Region of the UUA and Connie Goodbread. This is a unique opportunity for all members and friends of UUCOV to explore a very meaningful question. Come, share and consider how we will choose to engage. Watch for future announcements regarding exact time.

Leadership Program
On January 21, UUCOV will host a Leadership Workshop, from 10am-5pm, for congregational teams (Minister and two or more members) to work together, network, and learn. Participants will explore the deepest values of their individual congregations and learn how to apply those values to everything they do. They will learn about shared ministry, roles and responsibilities, faithful stewardship and leadership in times of conflict. The workshop presenters are Rev. Kenn Hurto and Connie Goodbread who will shape the workshop to the needs of the participants.

When UUCOV participants have been identified, they will determine what issues pertinent to our congregations are to be worked on. If you currently consider yourself a congregational leader, aspire to serve in a deeper role or are interested in learning more about serving within the context of a congregational setting please consider volunteering for our team. This day will be an experiential workshop and offer opportunity to network with other congregations and strengthen ties to members of your own team.

A light breakfast, lunch and childcare are provided. There are fees for this workshop and UUCOV will assume the costs. For information and/or to register, please contact Bonnie Norton 941-497-0462 or

Lifespan Education

Message from our Director of Religious Education

WilliamsJaye150Happy New Year!! It will be wonderful to see our congregants and friends who don't return until January this month. I have heard from a number of you that you really don't pay as close attention to the goings on at UUCOV while you are out of the area, and I can completely understand. With that in mind, I want to focus on some upcoming programming ideas that came out of LIfespan partnering with Caring and Remembrance in November on Aging and End of Life. Kudos to Bev Morrison and Nancy Zarowin for much time devoted in support of making this theme of programming a reality.

With five sessions devoted to Aging and End of Life in November and early December, my takeaway is that this topic is of enormous importance and concern to significant numbers of not only our congregation, but the many from the general public who attended. In one of the small breakout groups I was a part of, two participants noted that as a result of the programming they had a first conversation with their adult children about their wishes when their life nears its end. That is huge!!!!

I do know that UUs are engaged and involved in many activities so for those of you who are just arriving back, and the 100+ people who attended one or more of the programs, here is advanced notice for your 2017 calendars. On Monday, February 6th we will provide a Prepare to Care workshop from 1-3pm. A special workbook will be provided to each participant and we will walk through and work through the workbook together, as the group consensus was that was the best follow-up programming to begin with.

Stay tuned for dates of programs on Euthanasia, Tidewell Palliative, Legal/Medical aspects and the not-to-be- forgotten Death Café. We will go......... sometimes bravely, sometimes with humor, perhaps a little better educated, but all of us together on this critical aspect of life's journey.

Youth Religious Education

As a DRE in a UU congregation, I have been most grateful for the many and fine quality resources available from UUA. One gem is the Tapestry curriculum available for school age children through adults. This year we are using two curriculums for our two age groups in YRE. Each curriculum provides teachers and helpers with all they need to present a Sunday lesson. Teachers can choose what to use and what not to. For example, if a teacher is more of a story teller, she might choose to do the story. If he is more drawn to music or drama, there are options for that as well. There are always at least two art options.

Our two curriculums and a brief summary of focus are:

Grades K-2 (this year the kids named themselves The Peace Group). Love Surrounds Us-This program explores all the Principles in the context of Beloved Community of family/home, school, neighborhood.

Grades 3-5 (this year the kids named themselves The Faith Group). Sing to the Power- This program affirms our Unitarian Universalist heritage of confronting "powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love." Children experience their own power and understand how it can help them to be leaders.

Lastly, I'd like to start 2017 with a big welcome and thank you to Nancy Amorello, our newest YRE teacher. Nancy will be teaching our Peace Group (K-2) once per month.

Rabbi Caminker with ChildrenRabbi Harold Caminker shares a story with YRE during Gathering of the Children .

UU & You

a chosen faithBeginning January 24th, for six consecutive Tuesdays, 6-8pm, Rev. Khleber Van Zandt will lead an exploration of Unitarian Universalist history, attitudes, and traditions. The class will use “A Chosen Faith” by Forrest Church and John Buehrens, a book available in digital or printed format and possibly available to be borrowed from the UUCOV library. If possible, read the Forward, Preface, Intro, and Chapters 1 & 2 prior to the first class.

Sign up on the clipboard on the lanai or contact the church office to let us know you want to attend. For further information, contact the church at or Khleber Van Zandt at . Childcare provided with prior request! If you have a challenge with transportation to this program, contact Jaye Williams at .

Death, Dying and the Afterlife

DeathDyingBringing together theology, philosophy, biology, anthropology, literature, psychology, sociology, and other fields, this Great Couse offers a brilliant compendium of how human beings have struggled to come to terms with mortality.

The three programs, from 7-8:30pm in Asta, will each show 2 video presentations followed by a discussion moderated by Bev Morrison. If you have a challenge with transportation to this program, contact Jaye Williams at

January 11 Death's Place in Our Lives-How do we as human beings think about death? What place does it
occupy in our lives? Defining Death-Discover how the definition of death exists on multiple levels and discuss how each of these levels determines when a living being becomes a dead one.

January 18 Death, Illusion and Meaning-Explore how it's possible to for us to find meaning in life-even when confronted with the finality of it.
Is it Rational to Fear Death?-Reflect on philosophical arguments by the ancient Epicurious and the modern Thomas Nagel.

January 25 Understanding and Coping with Grief-An escapable part of the human condition, unpack the feelings and behaviors of the grieving process.
Death Rituals and the Corpse-This lecture probes the various ways human civilizations have "disposed" of corpses.

The “Common Read” for 2017

ThirdReconstructionEach year the Unitarian Universalist Association selects one book as a "Common Read" and encourages all congregations to develop programming and engage in conversations surrounding the chosen work. This year, the denominational read is “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear”, by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II in conjunction with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

The book recounts Rev. Barber's current day experiences to overcome racism and build the movement now called "Moral Mondays" which has been influential in many parts of the country. Particularly relevant in a period of post-election uncertainty and anxiety, he calls on all of us to build diverse coalitions that cross the boundaries of race, religion, and singular causes to work toward public policy that is morally defensible, constitutionally consistent and economically sane. Most recently he has been working to deter the movement to undermine the authority of the newly elected Democratic Governor.

The book is widely available through major book vendors in hardback, paper and e-formats. Twenty copies are in circulation among UUCOVers. Check in at the Welcome Table; when books are returned they will be available to you or you can contact Ruth Boysworth, to check if a copy is available. Please plan now to read the book and participate in these thought provoking conversations.

On January 4th, Plato’s Circle will use this book as a jumping off piece for their discussion.
On January 12th, the Book Club will consider Barber’s book.
On Jan 15 and Jan 29, Sunday sermons will address themes presented in Rev. Barber’s book.
On January 17, Bonnie Norton will lead two book discussions in the sanctuary, one at 3pm and one at 6:30pm.
On January 26 at 3pm there will be a video presentation in the sanctuary of Dr. Barber addressing the UUA General Assembly followed by a discussion led by Bonnie Norton.

The Secret Religion of the Tarot

tarotLearn why card decks contain a joker; why bridge players have to declare a trump suit; and why the medieval church bitterly condemned playing cards as "rungs of a ladder leading to hell."

Barbara G. Walker, artist of the Barbara Walker Tarot Deck and author of "The Secrets of the Tarot: Origins, History and Symbolism," (and 24 other books) will present a program on January 19 at 7:00 pm about the ancient religion embodied in the tarot cards that gypsies carried into Europe, beginning in the 9th century.

Like the Bible, cards were used for "divination" because they were originally considered "divine." Tarot symbols incorporate paganism, gnosticism, cabala, alchemy, matriarchal and nature-centered beliefs; but the 78-card tarot deck was deliberately gutted to create today's 52-card decks. Learn why this happened, and why some churches still consider cardplaying an evil pursuit.

In addition, Barbara will offer for demonstration and sale some rare and unusual decks from her personal collection for those who find them interesting. For information, contact Barbara, 941-488-1302 or . If you have a transportation challenge in attending this event, please contact Jaye Williams, .

Our Lives: A Work in Progress

StepOutBookSylvia Hancock and Mary Helen Braceland will begin a three-session workshop on January 19 (February 16 and March 16 to follow) from 1-3pm, Waters Hall. Learn to channel writing into a powerful ally for a richer, more satisfying life. Call Sylvia Hancock 941- 497-1237 if you are interested in participating.

You are encouraged to purchase and read the first five chapters of “Step Out of Your Story: Writing Exercises to Reframe and Transform Your Life” by Kim Schneiderman and complete the writing exercises before the first session. Sylvia has copies of the book for purchase.

Two Science Programs from NASA

marsRich Heuermann, a NASA Solar System Ambassador will be presenting two programs: Cosmic Connections - a story of unity and universality, this is astronomy's take on the creation story from the Big Bang beginning through the early days of the Earth – on Thursday, Feb 2 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

On Friday, Feb 3 at 7:00pm check out A Tourist's Guide to Mars - an overview of the exploration of Mars and what it's like to be there. Both programs will be held in the Sanctuary. If you have a transportation challenge in attending this event, please contact Jaye Williams, .

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club
Meetings of the 2016-2017 season will be held on the second Thursday of the month, 1:30pm. Please bring your friends. On January 12th, we address UUA’s “Common Read,” Dr. William Barber’s “Third Reconstruction - Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement”

On Thursday, January 26th, at 7pm, Daniel James Brown, author of our December choice “The Boys in the Boat” will speak at the Venice Performing Arts Center. The event is free but reservations are essential; they can be made online at http://veniceperformingartscenter.com/events-page.

February’s selection is “Thirteen Ways of Looking” by Colum McCann. March’s selection is “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead.

BuddhaMindfulness Meditation
Guided meditation and a look at early Buddhist teachings on living a more peaceful life resumes Jan 11. Meets weekly Wednesdays 6-7:30pm. 

platoPlato's Circle
Plato’s Circle will meet in Waters Hall on January 4th from 1-3 pm. The UUA Common Read, William Barber’s “The Third Reconstruction,” and Donald Trump’s unanticipated victory prompt this month’s discussion.

The reactionary wave that swept across America with the election of Trump and his message, to make America Great (white) Again, is not an anomaly in our history. It can be viewed as a familiar pattern in the long struggle for American reconstruction where every significant advance in race relations in the United States produces a negative reaction.

Plato's Circle, an open discussion group, meets 1-3pm the first Wednesday of each month, usually in Asta Linder House.

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. UUCOV’s Café meets every third Wednesday of the month in Waters Hall at 1pm.

ThreeOClockThree O'Clock Poets
Dawn Spitz meets with the Three O'clock Poets on the third Thursday of the month in Waters Hall, 3:00 – 4:30pm. All poets and poetry lovers are welcome.

ParkWellness Walking
With awareness and light exercises (breathing, posture, stretching)
Where: 1251 Pinebrook Rd. ---“ Pinebrook Preserve”
When: Every Saturday 10:30 – 12:00 Starting January 14. until end of April.
Donation: $12 monthly -- with check to UUCOV
With: Marianne Lombard, phone: 941-4855270,

Social Justice

Mats for the Homeless

plastic bagsPlease save clean, used plastic grocery bags (Public, Walmart, Target, etc.) and put them in the designated container in the corner of the lanai. We will begin collecting them on Jan 1.

From January through May, the mat-makers will meet, 10am-noon, on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays in Waters Hall. Newcomers are welcome to come learn and help. For further information contact Carol Wight () or Judy Heipel () 813-924-3387.

Family Promise

FamilyPromiseIn February 2015, UUCOV joined the Family Promise Program to help temporarily homeless families in South Sarasota County get back on their feet; this month, January 2017 we start our third year with the program, committed to hosting families in Asta Linder House 4 weeks each year. “Hosting” requires a team of volunteers, trained by the Family Promise staff, to provide food, shelter, help and hope and we’re always seeking more UUCOVers to join that team, making the task lighter for each of us. To learn more, contact Cindy O’Dell, 317-370-6705 or

Did you realize that our Asta Linder House offers a much-needed home-like atmosphere for the families in the Program? Because of this, we offered its space for the entire Christmas season to a single mother with three delightful children ages 5, 6 and 8; possibly another single mom with three young precious ones under the age of 4; and grandparents with their 3 darling girls under 13. Christmas and the week following was hosted by another church and we UUCOV will host January 1st- 8th. This year, we’ll host 5 weeks; January plus March 5th -12th; April 2nd -9th; October 15th -22nd; and December 24th-31st .

The Family Promise Steering Committee appreciates the donations of items that have been made to make each family’s stay comfortable; currently the program has ALL the supplies it needs and storage is an issue. Additionally, unwanted donations makes unnecessary work for all as we then have to get rid of it. Please call Cindy or Paul O’Dell, 317-370-6705 or if you have a donation you think we could use.

Venice, they say, is ‘Paradise’

venice signThe Chamber of Commerce showcases our golf courses, beaches and balmy weather. But does that tell the story of many who live here? What is life actually like for many who live in our town?

If you are interested in our community, come learn some startling facts about Venice. The Community Outreach Team will hold an information and brainstorming session and all are invited. Be prepared to have your eyes opened.

As we identify needs in our community and what we already do in response to them, we will explore how our congregation might be uniquely qualified to do more.
And the Community Outreach Team will plan its work for the next two years.

What: Brainstorming discussion about our town and us
When: January 9th, 2:00 - 3:30pm
Where: Sanctuary
Why: Because we are UUs and we care. -- And we put that caring into action. -- That is who we are!

Community Outreach

UUCOV offers all of our congregants the opportunity to help with the homeless and hungry in our community.

BACKPACK KIDS. This program supplies food for school children on weekends. These students qualify through the free and reduced lunch programs at their individual schools. Currently we supply backpacks to more than 480 students in 6 schools. We also financially supplement the high school food pantry. We pack at the United Church of Christ on Shamrock Blvd in Venice Gardens on alternate Wednesdays at 10am. We work with other congregations and this takes about 35 minutes.

SANDWICH PROJECT.  This project supplies 100 sandwiches, nutritional bars, applesauce and a salty snack for homeless persons in the area. We make sandwiches on the second Tuesday of each month in Gray Hall at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on the island of Venice. We meet at 8:30am. We then take our sandwiches to the Center of Hope for distribution. They distribute 25 sandwiches daily, Monday-Friday. This project takes about 40 minutes.

COMMUNITY DINNERS. There are 4 dinners offered each month at The United Church of Christ in Venice Gardens and at Grace United Methodist Church, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, and St. Mark's Episcopal Church on the island of Venice. One can visit the Interfaith Outreach, Inc. website to contact the captains for each of these dinners. We feed on average 50-60 people at each dinner.

COFFEE TALK. This volunteer opportunity takes place at the Church of The Brethren on the island of Venice. It operates from 9:30-11:45 Monday-Friday and offers the homeless a place to gather and have coffee and share concerns and help each other in a safe environment out of the elements.

COLD WEATHER SHELTER. This opportunity is an on-call service offered during the colder months from December to March. Grace United Methodist Church supplies the space and kitchen for this activity. We need volunteers to help with serving dinner and breakfast, socializing with the homeless for a few hours during the evening, and overnight supervision. This would be a last minute opportunity and we would need contact information to help with a database for notifying you.

All of the above opportunities are supported by Interfaith Outreach Inc. Steve and Phil both serve on its Operations Board. We have members from the Jewish Congregation of Venice, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, the Lift Church and Grace United Methodist Church.

Please feel free to see either Phil Veach or Steve Batchelor on Sunday after the first service or contact us at for additional information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Women’s March on Tallahassee

WomensMarchTallahasseeAs the Women’s March on Washington is happening on January 21st, people in Florida - all genders, races, ages, religions, sexual orientations – will be simultaneously marching on Tallahassee.

From 12:30-4pm, this diverse group - recognizing that vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of Florida and our country - will stand together at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, 420 South Monroe St, , in solidarity with women and families across the state for the protection of their rights, their safety, their health, and their families. Speakers at the rally will include civic leaders, advocates, and others. These marches around the country are a critical first step in creating change from the grassroots up and will send a bold message to the new administration and Congress in Washington, to Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature, and to the world – that women's rights are human rights.

Plan Ahead

Legalize DemocracyThursday, Feb. 2: 7-8:30pm
FREE public screening and discussion of the 30-minute video Legalize Democracy—explores many issues about which people are concerned.

Saturday, Feb. 4, 9:30-1:30
“Let’s Get Ready (to save our democracy)”
UUCOV’s Common Good Committee will introduce the 2016-2020 Congregational Study Action Issue (CSAI) “The Corruption of Our Democracy” to all SW Florida UU congregations. The $15 fee for the conference (open to all) includes lunch; please register online at http://www.uujusticefl.org/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=92258. Make your check out to UUCOV, with “Feb. 4 conference.” in the memo line.

Good preparation for the conference would be to read the 24-page Study Guide at https://www.uua.org/statements/current/corruption-of-our-democracy. The Guide addresses how structural racism, economic inequality, violence, and climate change can be addressed through creating a strong movement fighting for the promise of our democracy. Our Feb. 4 conference will show how the corruption of democracy affects local issues such as hunger and homelessness, and will explore ways to implement the Study Guide and involve neighborhood partners in our local communities.

Denominational Affairs

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Do you know what the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is? Look to this space next month if your answer was “no”.UUSC

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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

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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