February 2017 Connection - 2


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Issue No. 2002

Venice, FL

February 2017

Two important articles were omitted from the original newsletter sent last Saturday. Please see the President's Message and the Welcome New Members.

Sundays at UUCOV

Sunday Services: 9:30 and 11:00

February 5, 2017: "Just Hospitality"

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. The late Yale theologian Letty Russell’s life’s work was to overcome the oppression and exclusion of those who are “different,” which she said includes all of us in some way. She said we don’t just practice hospitality for no reason - by welcoming the stranger, we entertain angels without knowing it.

February 12, 2017: "Circles of Vulnerability”

Rev. Jennifer Dant. In today's Western culture vulnerability is often viewed as a weakness, yet when it comes to today's most pressing ethical and moral issues, vulnerability offers us a pathway towards dialogue and relationship.

February 19, 2017: “Five Wishes”

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. During Caring Month, we need to begin to face our impermanence and consider the necessity of preparing for the inevitable. Living wills and advance directives can save our families and friends undue heartache when the time comes.

February 26, 2017: “How We Care”

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt. Most days it’s probably obvious we care about each other. But what do we do to care for each other when bad things happen? or when the worst happens?


Adult RE

February 5, 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: The new Unitarian movement continues spread of the across Europe form Poland to the Netherlands and eventually to England.

February 5, 2017, 11:00am: Comparative Religion

Held in Asta Linder Room A. All 11:00 Adult RE classes in February will be Comparative Religion a video followed by a discussion moderated by Linda Kabo. We will explore topics such as: What exactly is religion? And why does one religious tradition often differ so markedly from another, even when you might not expect it to? Please check Happenings each week to discover the following Sunday’s particular topic.

February 12, 2017, 09:30am: "A Long Strange Trip"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. This session covers the first development of an American Unitarian movement, including Joseph Priestly who was a Unitarian minister as well as world famed chemist. The Pilgrims (Puritans or Congregationalists) arrive and debates ensue between the two burgeoning religions.

February 12, 2017, 11:00am: Comparative Religion

All 11:00 Adult RE classes in February will be Comparative Religion a video followed by a discussion moderated by Linda Kabo.

February 19, 2017, 09:30am: "A Long Strange Trip"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. This session follows the continuing saga of American Unitarianism up through the life and work of Theodore Parker and the formation of the first Unitarian Association.

February 19, 2017, 11:00am: Comparative Religion

All 11:00 Adult RE classes in February will be Comparative Religion a video followed by a discussion moderated by Linda Kabo.

February 26, 2017, 09:30am: "A Long Strange Trip"

Held in Asta Linder Room A. Presentation covering Unitarian Universalist history followed by a discussion. This week: Universalism in 19th century America is explored.

February 26, 2017, 11:00am: Comparative Religion

All 11:00 Adult RE classes in February will be Comparative Religion a video followed by a discussion moderated by Linda Kabo.

Special Offering

February 12, 2017: Transition Venice

This local group is part of a worldwide grassroots effort to make our community more food and energy resilient. Contributions support outreach, training, lending library, and materials to support projects, such as helping to reestablish a community garden that is open to the public. If you write a check, make it to UUCOV with "Transition Venice" in the memo line. Thank you.

Minister's Corner

For More Information...

tin can phonesIf you’re reading these words, you must be doing so in one of our congregation’s forms of communication. Don’t let me stop you - indeed, please read the whole newsletter. And then consider other ways you might find out even more.

There is so much going on around the church and only a finite number of ways of finding out about it all:

Maybe you’re reading our monthly newsletter called Connection that is jam-packed with events and classes and columns and announcements from our monthly calendar.

Perhaps you’ve seen the weekly insert in our Sunday Order of Service that we call Happenings, with reminders of weekly doings around church. And if you’re on our email list, you probably receive a weekly email blast of that same Happenings.

If you have access to a computer, our website at uucov.org contains a wealth of information including announcements and news and reminders, plus an online calendar that lets you know everything that’s happening at church for the next few weeks.

If you’re online, the congregation maintains a public Facebook page as well as a private, password-protected Facebook page called In Touch-UUCOV; if you’re a member or friend of the congregation, go to the page and click on ‘join’ and you will be added to the group.

If you attend worship on Sundays, there are - more often than not - spoken announcements at each service. If you get to worship before we start singing, there are announcements of important events rolling through on the projector screen before each church service.

Have you ever seen newspaper ads and calendars and columns in the Gondolier or Herald Tribune? I have.

And lastly, if you talk to anyone else from church, you might even hear about events by word of mouth.

Now, maybe there are modes of communication that I haven’t listed. But suffice to say, we spend a huge amount of time trying to get correct information out in a timely fashion. If you’re new among us and aren’t aware of all these ways of finding out information, I hope you’ll take advantage of the ones that appeal to you.

We all know we sometimes bypass the communication devices at hand thinking, “There’s just too much!”

But we also know that our long tradition of individual freedom paired with personal responsibility means that we need to dig deep to stay in touch. We in leadership work hard to maintain communications. But at some point we have to stop and say:

“Dear reader, the rest is up to you.”

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

President's Message

Welcome back everyone.  By now all of our seasonal members have flown south and returned to our nest. Notice Changes...??  Yes, your Campus Team led by Bill Dowling has worked hard these past weeks. We now have a large welcoming patio bordered with rocks and new plantings and a freshly painted lanai with sound absorbing material.  What a great look!  This was the Number 1 complaint we heard over the past year:  noise and crowding.  We listened and responded.  
Another major change is less obvious but just as important:  stewardship.  We are completing our annual giving campaign in which we are seeking  your generosity.  When I joined UUCOV some nine years ago, I heard many complaints that "every time I turned around they were asking for money".  We listened. The year started with a change to our social activities:  no more charges.  Free for all.  Inclusive.  More recently we have discontinued passing the collection basket...no more asking you for money.  In its place we have two donation boxes ready to accept your generous donations whenever you choose.  We hope that with less "asking for money," our members will show their generosity in support of our church in their annual giving.
Now we have another major change afoot.  Our Social Justice team led by Marty King has been researching data and needs for our community.  And, boy, have they dug deeply.  In a January 9th  meeting, 40 members gathered to brainstorm the strengths of our congregation, needs of our neighbors, and areas we are uniquely able to assist.  The four social justice committees will take the resulting information and see where we can make an impact.  Can't wait to hear the rollout.
And then came the Leadership Weekend on January 20th -22nd . How special was it to have the Rev. Kenn Hurto and Connie Goodbread from the UUA Southern Region staff spend the weekend with us!  Friday night we were challenged to think...oh my goodness, it was hard.  On Saturday representatives from Tallahassee, Gainesville, Clearwater, Sarasota and Ft. Myers congregations joined us in a workshop setting to explore our cultures, our norms, our core values, our pastoral expectations, our mission, Board of Trustee roles and responsibilities and more.  And then on Sunday Kenn, Connie, and Khleber joined forces to present a powerful sermon.

By the time this column goes to press we are expecting our memorial wall to be underway due to the ongoing perseverance of Beverly Morrison.

And we are still in January!

Congregational Life

Welcome New Members

Fifteen new UUCOV members were welcomed at our 11am. service on January 15th ..  These new 2016 members attended spring and fall Pathways classes.  They come with a wealth of life experiences and skills to be shared with our congregation.  We look forward to getting to know them better.


(Left to right - back row)  Barbara Buehring, Nancy Janssen, Richard Buehring, Catherine Hall, Catherine DiSante, and Becky Leas.  (Middle row) Ken Boysworth, Claire Gray, Mary Helen Braceland, Mike Braceland, and Ginny Chappelear.  (Front row) Pat Franks, Mary Nuebel, and Ruth Boysworth.

Open Mic and Chowdah Potluck

Open Mic ChickenCalling all singers, dancers, musicians, actors, poets, readers! UUCOV’S second annual Open Mic and Chowdah Potluck is coming!

On Sunday, February 12th, starting at 5pm in the Sanctuary, we’ll begin with dinner and signups for the entertainment to follow. So start rehearsing, and get out your favorite chowdah recipe, be it clam, corn, or wherever your imagination comes up with. We’ll also need accompaniments such as salads and desserts. You’ll find a signup sheet on the lanai on Sundays. Last year’s talent was amazing. This time it’ll be over the top!

What is General Assembly?

2017GAGeneral Assembly (GA) is the annual national gathering of UUs to conduct business, learn, sing, listen to really good speakers and be totally inspired. So, who goes? And what happens there? And what does it cost? How long does it last? What do you actually do?

These and any other questions will be answered in an informal Q & A in Water’s Hall on Saturday, February 18th, 1-2pm and Monday, February 20th, 4-5pm. So, stop by....find out more. This year’s GA will be in New Orleans, LA!! ...this GA will be not only close, but at a terrific venue.

Feedback Welcome

letters1UUCOV’s appearance is changing, as is our coffee-hour experience. Your comments and/or suggestions – 50 word limit – will be included in next month’s Connection on the Letters To The Editor page. Send them to

Why Am I a Legacy Friend?

FeatherPenBarb Smith, speaking for herself and Dick, says: The words from a new friend, "Barbara, you sound like a Unitarian” initiated a 49 year relationship with the Unitarian Universalist movement.

Dick and I maintain relationships with three UU churches, one with a 315 year old New England institutional history and Unitarian heritage; another with 1830 Universalist roots, a history of Sojourner Truth giving her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech within its walls, and an 1860’s revitalization when the Universalists built a college in that city; and, of course, UUCOV. Dick and I appreciated being able to raise our children in a strong UU religious education program where they were also active participants in youth programs.

In contemplating a move to Florida and considering the importance to us of maintaining a relationship with a UU community and its values, we surfed the internet to identify Florida locations with a UU congregation. When we moved to Venice, we prepared for a drive to Sarasota but were delighted to learn, almost concurrently, a UU congregation was being formed in Venice.

We are very proud of the development of UUCOV and the founders who provided the leadership, skills, hard work, and resources to make it possible. When I look around the congregation on Sunday mornings, I recall the specific gifts of various individuals who remain loyal congregation members. Even in its early days, UUCOV initiated a tradition of spearheading community work consistent with its mission.

It’s important to Dick and me that there is an ongoing presence in Venice of UU values and community leadership. We have designated a legacy to UUCOV.

To join Legacy Friends or to get information about planned giving, please contact John Spitzer: 319- 331-5914 or

! Countdown to Sicily #7

SicilyEat pizza, rice balls, calamari, chickpea fritters, the freshest fish and enjoy the drinks stabilmenti. Mouth watering yet? Visit Sicily with UUCOV in September 16th to 27th , 2017 for good food and fun. For trip information contact Nancy Ryder, .

Welcome to Interweave

Rainbow FlagInterweave is a UU Social Justice committee actively working to end oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Interweave is guided by UU principals. We value and affirm the lives and experiences of LGBTQ people of faith of all ages, races, ethnicities, income levels and abilities. We strive to connect and nurture all LGBTQ individuals, communities, groups and their allies.

Over the years, our chapter of Interweave at UUCOV has sponsored LGBTQ events, represented UUCOV at the Sarasota Pride Parade and Harvey Milk Day Celebration, and participated in activities sponsored by GAIN (Gulf Coast Affirming Interfaith Network). Recently we have combined forces with neighbor UU congregations to form Interweave Suncoast.

We are currently focusing on the ageing LGBTQ community and creating a questionnaire for all assisted living and retirement communities to determine their policies vis-à-vis LGBTQ individuals. Are their policies inclusive? Supportive? Of couples? Are they sensitive to needs of the ageing LGBTQ community? Do they provide employees with sensitivity training?

In future, we will offer more social activities and will interact with Interweave Suncoast and other area LGBTQ welcoming congregations. UUCOV’s Interweave welcomes new members.

About The Green Sanctuary Committee

Green EarthThe Green Sanctuary Committee began at least 10 years ago with the goal of having UUCOV become ‘certified’ as a ‘Green Sanctuary’ by the UUA.

We started to fulfil the requirements as put forth in the manual, such as getting an energy audit for the UUCOV campus, working on projects with the RE children, and some that dealt with environmental justice. We obtained a grant from Home Depot to make some improvements to Waters Hall and to add some plants for the garden. Thanks mostly to Bill Dowling and contributing members of the congregation, solar panels were installed on the sanctuary roof.

With a change in committee leadership, the committee decided to focus on educating the congregation and the community. In the past few years we have had a project every winter – usually in March or April. One year we had a series of environmental movies and another we had speakers on climate issues and what we can do as individuals and as a community. Last year we hosted the Pachamama Alliance for an all-day program.

We have talked in the past about starting a community garden. This has never gotten beyond the talking phase.
We had hoped to work with Transition Venice on their sustainable garden tour, but they are not planning to do that this year; a group in Englewood is putting one together, but it sounds like they want to keep it in Englewood.

At our next committee meeting on Monday, Feb 13th, 1pm in Waters Hall, we will map out our agenda for this year. So far our only commitment is to support the VICA program on Feb 27th. (See Lifespan Learning) and the Poster Contest.

We want to see our website more easy to access and brought up to date. Maybe we will partner with Audubon on some project. Or we could work with the Green Sanctuary group from UU Sarasota and show an environmental film later this winter. We hope to be better at spreading the word about other environmental actions and events in the larger Sarasota County area. We would like UUCOV to be a sponsor (no cost) for a solar co-op and encourage members and others in Venice to go solar.

We welcome people who want to learn, to participate, to help. If you’re interested in participating with the Green Sanctuary committee, please email Susan

This committee depends in the agenda set by current members. Our Chair, Susan Brinckerhoff, is in Venice just the four months of winter; this committee needs year round leadership so that it functions while she is in MA.

Team Highlights – What is Going on

blue greenchalice smThe following is a brief summary of the monthly team reports:

  • Sunday Morning Experience: SME is working to develop guidelines to improve the efficiency and appearance of the lanai. Anyone with ideas can email .
  • Fiscal Team: The annual giving material has been sent out to members and friends. Anyone not receiving material can contact .
    - All plans for Jan. 28th auction are finalized.
  • Membership Team: The Welcome Ceremony was held at the Jan. 15th, 11:00 am service for 17 new members from two Pathways Classes!!! A new Pathways class is scheduled for January/February.
  • Lifespan Team: As part this year’s UU Read program, focusing on “The Third Reconstruction”, Bonnie Norton scheduled many book discussions and other RE offerings.
  • Campus Team: An emergency request for funds was submitted to replace non-functioning exterior parking lighting. The Board approved the request on emergency basis due to safety concerns.
  • Social Justice: Common Good organized a stellar representation from UUCOV at the Sarasota Women’s March.
    -  On Jan. 9th , a congregation wide meeting was held and about 40 people came together to brainstorm the unique needs of our community has and the unique strengths we as a congregation have to respond to those needs.
    -  Community Outreach is working full swing with Backpack kids, mat crocheting, sandwich making, and Community dinners. Anyone interested please contact Trudy Jacoby.
  • Administration: On Jan 20th, Connie Goodbread and Kenn Hurto led a Southern District Leadership weekend for UUCOV (we had excellent representation) and many other Florida congregations. Stay tuned as we implement some of the good ideas we learned.

As always, if you see something of interest, please know you are welcome to join any team. We need your energy and interest to keep UUCOV vital and of consequence to our world and neighborhood. Both Board of Trustee minutes and Coordinating Council minutes are posted on the lanai and on our website.


Lifespan Education

Message from our Director of Religious Education (2)

Jays WilliamsDifferent and Difficult
I was going to use the word challenging instead of difficult, but for me difficult was a better fit. Last September Connie Goodbread, UUA Southern Regional Congregational Life Staff team member, wrote an article that I printed and have been carrying around in my notebook and looking at now and again. The focus was UU as a covenantal faith. Covenant is what makes us different from many other religious traditions. I have participated in enough UU groups now that I have been a part of writing the Covenant to guide the group's participants. As Connie states, "the writing is the easiest part".

The difficult comes in when Covenant is broken.

Connie states, " In order for us to come back into Covenant we must lean into one another, stay at the table, and work it out. If that cannot happen, someone is leaving." I have certainly thought at times, "well it sure would be easier or more fun or productive or successful if those "other people" wouldn't say, act, like or believe that". Our UU faith provides us at its core with a commitment to one another, even when it gets tough. We practice at our congregation level something beautiful and loving. I believe it serves us not only in our congregational life, but the wider world of which we are a part.

I think the timing of the “UU and You” and “A Long Strange Trip” classes is perfect for this moment. For those of you with a long history with UU and those that have just joined us, I encourage you to gather at one or both of these courses. Our history built this faith and coming together to share it might just provide us with essential tools to meet and take positive, loving action when things seem difficult.

Learn About Youth Religious Education

kids learning clipartPlease join the Youth Religious Education Committee and our teachers and helpers for refreshments and a fun meeting to learn about UUCOV youth religious education and what is new this year.  Thursday, Feb. 9th, 9:30-11am.  Asta Linder House  RSVP to Jaye Williams, by Feb. 6th

Mathematics and the Religious Impulse

god measuringBecause mathematics is in some ways the strangest science, the religious ideas of some prominent mathematicians are often more unusual than those of physicists and biologists. Come to Asta Linder Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 13th, 1-2:30pm, to hear Bill Wolfers’ presentation about some of the most interesting of these math people. No Algebra or Calculus needed at this presentation.

Youth Religious Education - Our Own Young Women March

PinkSmileyWhat events and opportunities lead young adult women and older women to know their opinions, rights and actions matter? I believe that one invaluable opportunity is to allow and encourage them, when young, to stand up in front of large groups and speak.

I hope you have noticed that our two oldest YRE participants, Maggie Fangboner and Kenzie Mickish have chosen to have an ongoing role reading our Call to Worship. I have seen their confidence and commitment to being a part of the Sunday morning service grow each time they step forward to speak. We are growing our girls to become the women who will speak out and make sure their voices are heard as they march toward young adulthood.

Both Maggie and Kenzie participated in the Women’s March in Sarasota on Jan 21st.

More Focus on Preparing for the Future

HandsOldYoungDuring November and December, the Caring Team and ARE offered a series of sessions focused on issues of Aging and End-of-Life. Potential topics for future sessions emerged as questions were asked. Two of these topics will be featured in February:

“Guiding a Care Giver” will be held on Feb. 6th , 1pm in the Sanctuary. Paula Falk, Director of Caregiving Services for Sarasota County, provides support services of various types at the Friendship Center in both Venice and Sarasota. She will help guide us through a booklet, “Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families.”

This session is for you if you have been wondering what you need to share with the person who will be stepping in to help you or your loved one. Since a crisis can occur at any age or in any place, there is not one person in our congregation who can afford to ignore these issues!

Physician-assisted death will be the focus of two sessions during the last week of February. On Mon., Feb. 20th, 1pm, we’ll show the video, “How to Die in Oregon”. Oregon adopted ‘Death with Dignity’ legislation in the mid-1990’s. This video shows how the law has been implemented in Oregon and touches, as well, on the adoption of similar legislation in the neighboring state of Washington.

On Friday, Feb. 24th, 1pm, we are fortunate to be hosting a presentation by Winnie Downes, who is the face of the Sarasota Chapter of Compassion and Choices. This organization is responsible for much of the volunteer work associated with physician-assisted death in states where it is permitted. Ms. Downes will be able to help us understand what is currently possible in Florida.

In March other topics will be addressed: “Trusts, Wills and Other Legal Issues” and “Questions You Should Be Asking Your Physician.” Watch for specific dates and times.

Death, Dying and the Afterlife

DeathDyingYou are invited to attend one or more of these sessions on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30pm at Asta Linder, two Great Course lectures per meeting, followed by discussion.

Feb. 2nd “American Death Rituals” and “Approaches to Dying Well”
Feb. 9th “Judaism on Death and the Afterlife” and “Death and Hope in Christianity”
Feb. 16th “Islam On Returning to God” and “Death, Rebirth and Liberation in Hinduism”
Feb. 23rd “Buddhism on Impermanence” and “Mindfulness, The Process of Dying in Tibetan Buddhism”
If you need assistance with transportation contact Jaye Williams at

U U & You!

ChosenFaithThis course continues through February on 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.

Contact the church office to let us know you want to attendor for further information at or Khleber Van Zandt at . Childcare provided with prior request. If you need assistance with transportation contact Jaye Williams - .

Two Films Not to Miss

Two important films will be screening at UUCOV. The moving film, From This Day Forward, brought to you by Interweave, and Facing The Surge from the Green Sanctuary Committee. See the Social Justice section of the newsletter for more details.

Interest Groups

BookClub1Book Club
Meetings of the Book Club will be held on the second Thursday of the month, 1:30pm, Waters Hall. The Book Club will hold its February gathering, Thursday, February 9th, 1:30pm. The book is “Thirteen Ways of Looking” by Colum McCann. The March Book Club meeting is Thursday, March 9th, the selection is “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. Refreshments are served. All are welcome. Contact Barbara Smith, 941-408-1729 or , for further information.

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 on Wednesday, February 1st from 1-3pm at Asta Linder House with a different format than usual. We will view a short (about 15 minutes), powerful Ted Talk presentation, "The Long Reach of Reason", in which psychologist Steven Pinker and philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein propose that reason is the key driver of human moral progress. Discussion will follow.

Plato's Circle, an open discussion group, meets 1-3pm the first Wednesday of each month,  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. All UUCOV members, friends, and neighbors who enjoy lively discussions are invited to participate on Feb 15. UUCOV’s Café meets every third Wednesday of the month in Waters Hall at 1:00pm.

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 until end of April.
Donation: $12 monthly -- with check to UUCOV
With: Marianne Lombard, phone: 941-4855270,

Social Justice

Facing the Surge

EarthUnderwaterVenice Interfaith Community Association (VICA) and UUCOV’s Green Sanctuary Committee invite you at 7pm on Feb. 27th to view a 20-minute film about the rising sea level and its impact on coastal living. The film will be followed by a panel of 3 who will discuss implications and responses.

From This Day Forward

This Day Forward“From This Day Forward” is the story of a love, and a family, that survived the most intimate of transformations. Filmmaker Sharon Shattuck tells how her transgender father Trisha and her straight-identified mother Marcia stayed together against all odds.

This moving documentary will be shown in the sanctuary on February 10th , 6-8pm. Light refreshments will be served and a discussion will follow the viewing of the film. If you need assistance with transportation contact Jaye Williams - .

Green, Green, Green

EcoEarth‘Sustainable’ means able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed; environmental sustainability refers to using our natural resources in a way that protects them for the future In short, sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life.

Abby Gage, member of the Green Sanctuary Committee, teaches classes in sustainability at the State College of Florida; her students are competing to win an environmental poster contest, to be decided on Earth Day in April.  Here’s your opportunity to participate, enjoy their efforts, perhaps learn a thing or two about taking care of the environment. Just go to http://gagea5.wixsite.com/sustainablescf/poster-contest-summer-class-2016, look at all of the 31 images and vote for your favorite two.

Save Our Democracy

DemocracyForSaleOn Thursday, Feb 2nd ,7-8:30pm, UUCOV’s Common Good Committee will show the 30-minute video “Legalize Democracy” which explores many issues about which people are concerned; the film will be followed by a discussion. Invite your friends and neighbors. If you need assistance with transportation contact DRE Jaye Williams.

On Saturday, Feb. 4th , 9:30-1:30am, 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.

Please invite all your neighbors and friends. We need to get ready to save our democracy!

Denominational Affairs

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee – UUSC

UUSCGoogle UUSC. The first thing you learn about The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is that it a nonsectarian human rights organization powered by grassroots collaboration, that it works in 15 countries throughout the world, anywhere rights are threatened – by natural disasters, armed conflicts, genocide, forced migration, and systematic injustice - that it works to ensure fundamental human rights.

You learn that the UUSC is a grant-making organization that goes beyond simply giving grants to promote economic and environmental justice and ensure fundamental human rights; it is powered by grassroots collaboration: it provides volunteers and trains them, it networks to create new coalitions to enhance work of partner organizations (notice that those receiving funds are ‘partners’, not ‘grantees’ ). UUSC began its illustrious work in 1939 when Rev. Waitstill and Martha Sharp took the extraordinary risk of traveling to Europe to help refugees escape Nazi persecution.

These are the goals of the UUSC:
Empower and organize workers to advocate for their rights . F
oster the creation of fair, safe work environments that are free from intimidation and harassment, and where the human rights and dignity of workers are respected
Hold corporations accountable for violations of their workers’ human rights
Advance sexual orientation and gender identity rights in Southern Africa
Decriminalize migration and safeguard the fundamental human right to seek asylum
Provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in transit and document abuses perpetrated by border enforcement authorities
Build organizational capacity of Burmese human rights activists
Ensure that natural disaster relief and reconstruction efforts are guided by the voices and needs of affected communities
Environmental Justice & Climate Action program focuses on advancing and protecting the rights of marginalized populations displaced by climate change. Our focus on this issue arises from the fact that one person per day is displaced by climate change, making it one of the most catastrophic and complex issues of our current generation. UUSC is specifically focused on assisting indigenous populations of the South Pacific and Alaska—two distinct regions of the world that are highly susceptible to rising sea levels and climate induced natural disasters, and whose adaptive capacities are limited by their geographic isolation, their reliance on coastal resources and habitats, and their development limitations.

UUSC is supported by donations, all donations are tax-deductible. Eighty-one cents of every dollar we donate goes toward UUSC’s human rights and social justice programs and those who need it most. Consider becoming a member.

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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