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   September 26, 2019    

Sunday Morning Service at 10:30am

September 29 Commitment Sunday
“Pledging Our Troth”
 Join us for Commitment Sunday, when we will celebrate our various commitments to our shared faith community, including the completion of our Stewardship Campaign. A luncheon, live music, and activities will follow. Eric Severson leading.

For upcoming Sunday Services, click here.

Fellowship Building Closure

On Friday, September 27 through Saturday, September 28, UUFoM will be hosting Our Whole Lives (OWL) Facilitator Training.  During that time, the entire building will be closed to meetings and members.  If you have any questions, please contact Wendy Altmeier.

Commitment Sunday Potluck

A luncheon will be held Sunday, September 29, in celebration of our commitment to the upcoming year.  The Engagement Team will be providing a main dish of pulled pork, while Estella Thomas will provide vegetarian stir fry.  Below are some of the items that are still available we would like to provide during our potluck.  Volunteers are also needed!

Please sign up here! 

Salads - Nut-Free Salad

Desserts - Cookies, Dairy-Free Dessert, Nut-Free Dessert

Please sign up here to volunteer!

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2020 Stewardship Campaign Update

We are making progress!  As of mid-week, 63% of our members and friends have returned pledge forms, with their combined pledges totaling $163,590. Our financial goal of $178,000 is within reach IF everyone makes a slight increase to their last year’s pledge. Please review what you gave last year, and consider upping that amount if possible. 
Remember, we need ALL members to complete and return a pledge form. Even if your circumstances don’t allow you to pledge financially for 2020, we still need to know that you want to maintain your membership. 
Thank you for your strong support and commitment to our Fellowship. This Sunday, September 29, we’ll celebrate!  Commitment Sunday’s service will be followed by the Sound Explorers in concert, a delicious lunch, and introduction to our 2020 UUFoM Board candidates.  See you there!

Unsung Hero Nominations


Books culled from the UUFoM Library are available for free will donations. They are located on a table near the events board.  Stop and Shop!

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Monica Hughes

I'm Monica Hughes, candidate for the Nominating Committee.  I've been a member of UUFoM for about five years or so.

I was born in Florida and I moved to Michigan when I was about ten. I met Scott when I was 19 and we got married when we were both 20. Two weeks after the wedding Scott had to go to Iraq with the Army. While he was there, we found out we were pregnant with our first child, William. When Scott came back from Iraq,  we became pregnant with our second child, Adrianna, and not long after we became pregnant with our third child, Rosalinn.  As of right now, I'm going back to college for a business management degree and raising our children, as well as helping lead our CUUPS group. I also love spending a lot of time outdoors enjoying nature and our gardens. 

UUFoM is important to me because of the amazing community that we have. You all have supported me, loved me, and given me a place to belong, to where I don't feel judged or feel like I have to be a certain way to belong. Also it's a place where my children can learn and grow as people.

Marsha McDonald

I'm Marsha McDonald, candidate for Board Secretary.

My husband Scott and I have been members since 1990. We have two daughters, Jessica and Alison, who grew up in the Fellowship but now attend more Christian and conventional churches. We also have five grandchildren, some of whom have visited the Fellowship a few times.

I spent most of my childhood and the early years of my marriage in Beulah and Benzonia before moving to Midland in 1984, l I was a full-time mother as much as I could be, working outside the home as a secretary, private Latin teacher, and proofreader.

The Fellowship is important to me because here I don't have to pretend to be more Christian and less politically radical than I am. Here I can find people who think that's a good thing, and people with whom I can join to work toward the world I started believing was possible 50 years ago.

Chris Nakamura

  I am Chris Nakamura and I am a candidate for the two year Member-At-Large position.  I have been attending UUFoM for about three years and have been a member for about two years. 

I am originally from Michigan.  I was born in Gross Pointe and lived in Detroit until about age 7 when my family moved to Hamburg Township, where my parents and brother still live.  I went to college at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where I studied physics and met Sarah Nuss-Warren.   I worked at General Dynamics in Ypsilanti before going to grad school at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS.  In 2007 Sarah and I got married - by far my smartest decision, and in 2012 we moved to this area when I joined the physics faculty at Saginaw Valley State University.  We live nearby on Jefferson with a wide range of plants in various states of thriving.  I have more hobbies than I really should be allowed.  I am deeply fascinated by all things art and science, but since I had to pick one, I chose physics. I enjoy it immensely, and I feel very grateful to get to do a thing I love for a living.

UUFoM is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to interact with people who are similarly interested in exploring their values and building lives that reflect those values.  I engaged with Christianity as a young child and today I find it stifling and oppressive to my spirit.  I find the faith we build together uplifting and freeing.  When times are hard, I am reminded that the world is what we make it, and I’m very happy that I’m part of the ‘we’ of UUFoM.

Beth Sperry

I’m Beth Sperry and I’ve been asked by the Nominating Committee to act as Board President-Elect for 2020.

I began coming to UUFoM almost four years ago, and joined the Fellowship in November 2017.  I was raised in Midland but was gone for forty years:  10 years in Manhattan, eight and a half years in Los Angeles and almost 22 years in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.  As a practicing Buddhist for over 30 years, UUFoM was the logical place for me to land when I returned to find a spiritual, political and social community.  The Three Jewels Sangha immediately became a home for me and over the years I’ve expanded my involvement with the Fellowship and fallen in love with the people here.  I co-facilitate the Sangha, and am on the Pastoral Care Team and the Auction Committee.  I was also blessed to be accepted into the Improv For Fun troupe and played and performed with several talented UUFoM members under the loving, zany direction of Jenn Ciolino.  

For several years after college I pursued the life of an actor, first in Manhattan and then in Los Angeles.  When I realized I wasn’t going to have an acting career, I got a job with a real estate law firm in LA.  In 1994 I moved north to Marin County and began a long career as a litigation secretary at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, one of the premier law firms in the country.  I loved my job and the brilliant people with whom I worked.  The highlight of my career at Gibson was working the case and trial that legalized same sex marriage in California.  I also studied improv and co-founded a performance troupe in Marin with several fellow students.  In October 2015 I moved back to Midland, drawn back by the pull of family and the realization that I could never afford to retire in the Bay Area.  I had to say good-bye to many beloved people and the sacred land and ocean, but I love my life now.

I accepted the invitation of the Nominating Committee even though I’m unclear why I was chosen.  I had the same confusion when I was approached about Pastoral Care, but I’ve grown into that role and now have a sense of why I fit.  I want to stretch myself and serve the Fellowship, so I decided to trust that others can see things in me that I don’t yet recognize.  I’m excited to take on a larger role as we integrate Eric into our Fellowship and move forward together with love and commitment

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Upcoming Services

October 6
“If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?”
 Join Sarah Schulz in exploration of the Fifth Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.   We will look at how this principle intersects with our daily lives and responsibilities as Unitarian Universalists, the call to serve our community and the stupid decisions we make that end up being the only antidote to despair. 

Fall Clean-Up

Fall Clean-Up for the UUFoM Building and Grounds
Saturday October 12 
Morning shift:  9:00am - 12:00pm
Afternoon shift:  1:00pm - 4:00pm 

There are  two work shifts available. You can sign up for either or both shifts. There will be a Building & Grounds Team meeting during lunch, 12:00-1:00pm. All are welcome to attend the meeting.  

What work is planned for the Fall Clean-Up?  The key work to be done involves various aspects of the grounds and making our Fellowship a better place. Depending on response, we plan to focus on the areas listed below. If no one signs up for a focus group, that job may not get done this time around. So if you want to see it done, join the fun. 

Focus work groups: 
1. The Playground and play structures. These are the areas used by children from our community. Replace the landscaping weed barriers: remove weeds, move large amounts of gravel, replace the weed barriers, then put the gravel back over the weed barrier.

In addition, our Sexton, Sandy Hay, has volunteered to improve the wooden play structures by driving in nails and screws that have become hazards. 

If this is your desired focus, sign up, bring yard and hand tools to help. 

2. The Vegetable Garden on the north side. Remove dead plants in preparation for winter. 

3. The Memorial Garden. General weeding and cleanup is needed. This is a sacred space.

4. Trash removal and picking up sticks. No special skills required, just a need for general cleanup. 

5. General trimming and weeding of the landscaped areas at the driveway, Fellowship sign and building entryway. 

6. Gutter and roof cleaning.  Remove debris from the roof of the building.  Acrophobics need not apply!

7. Finally, we would like to remove some of the Buckthorn plants that are invading our grounds. As the name implies, they are very sharp and thorny! 

Sign up for one or more of the above groups.  

Please plan to bring yard tools, personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and safety glasses.

Bring snacks, a sack lunch, water bottles and weather-appropriate clothing. The building will be open for restrooms and cold water.

Considering Membership?

Euchre/Game Night FUNdraiser


Owning Your Religious Past Workshop

We can be most fully and completely present in our religious identity when we see our path as a continuum rather than a series of unrelated episodes. Whether you are a life-long Unitarian Universalist or a relative newcomer, come explore how your experiences of any faith community, school or club from your past helped shape your spirituality. This workshop provides simple tools to help us re-examine and retrieve positive aspects of past religious connections.

This FREE workshop consists of five 90-minute sessions, offered on Thursday OR Friday evenings, led by Eric Severson and Elspeth Hetrick. The dates will be decided based on participant availability and interest. When you sign up, please indicate which day (Thursdays or Fridays or both) you would be available from among these dates: 

  • Thursdays (October 10, 17, 24, November 7 and 14 -- no meeting on Halloween) or 
  • Fridays (Oct 11, 18, 25, Nov 1 and 15 -- no meeting on November 8).

Child care will be available.  Sign up at the events bulletin board. 
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From the Director of Lifespan Religious Education

RE-Flections:  Moments & Community
Autumn is a fleeting season.  It is also a glorious season.  The hues of the trees change from a comforting peaceful green to flashes of yellow and red and orange.  In summer and winter, they may blur into green leaves and black branches.  In spring, the beauty is colorful but muted.  You cannot ignore the trees in the Autumn.  I am here!  But if you are not careful – you will miss it.  The leaves will crash to the ground, and all that will be left is dark branches of the trees against the cold sky and the memory.  So, don’t forget to look! 
You may be noticing that our children seem more present on Sundays this autumn.  They have been joining us for more parts of the service, sharing Joys and Sorrows with us as well as the usual storytime in services.  Coffee Hour will still begin while they are completing their classes, and so we will keep the doors to the Religious Education wing closed until 11:45am. (Your animated, delightful voices are hard for children to ignore without wanting to join you right away!)  When their classes end at 11:45am, they will join the rest of the congregation again. Older children will emerge on their own, and younger children with a teacher or parent. 
As they join us, our congregation’s children will be hard to miss – flashing by us, like the colorful autumn leaves dancing in the wind.  They say the most amazing things in their classes, and sometimes you will get a taste of it in the services.  They might blurt something out in the most unexpected places. Into moments we expect to be silent, a voice might exclaim or insist on being heard.  I invite you to embrace these moments and our children because they are fleeting – if we are not careful, the moment to smile instead of frown will be lost.  Too soon they will be grown, and the lessons and memories we give them – that smile or frown will be carried with them into their adult lives. 
On a practical note: if you see a child carrying a precarious plate, offer to help them by carrying their plate to a table or offering them a seat at the table.  If they are running too close to an unstable elder, provide assistance and/or offer the reminder to walk carefully.  Most children want to be helpful.  If you see a need, offer a helping hand and, of course, a smile.
Yours in Fellowship,
Heather Cleland-Host
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Children's Circles

Our Children’s Circles have been working together on a shared covenant and learning about Unitarian Universalism together.  This month they will separate into the Lower and Upper Elementary Children’s Circles.  The Lower Elementary Children’s Circle’s theme is "Valuing Each Other’s Voices." They will be learning about how to listen and understand others’ experiences, forgiveness and valuing one another.  Upper Elementary will be learning about Hinduism and getting a taste of stories from that religious tradition.
October 6           
Lower Elementary (UL303): Love for All Creatures (Love Will Guide Us) – Story: The Cat  (a story of the Hindu god Ganesh learning to be kind to all creatures). 
Upper Elementary (UL302): Introduction to Hinduism – Shiva, Parvati and the elephant god Ganesh (This story introduces some of the gods in Hinduism and provides an origin story for Ganesh).
October 13         
Lower Elementary (UL303) In Another’s Shoes (Moral Tales) – Story: The Wounded Seal (A Scottish folktale of a seal hunter who learns empathy for seals and abandons hunting them.   
Upper Elementary (UL302) The Birth of the Ganges (This story provides an origin story that touches on Hindu stories of the foundation of the world and the beginning of India’s largest river, which is sacred in Hinduism and which millions of people depend on).
October 20         
Lower Elementary
(UL303) Forgiveness (Moral Tales) – Story: Mussa and Nagib (Brazillian story set in Persia about two best friends and how they forgive each other when hurting each other and treasure the moments where they help each other).
Upper Elementary (UL302): Rama, Sita and the 10,000 Monkeys (This story tells of a prince and princess (Rama and Sita) who are exiled into the forest and assisted by the Monkey King and eventually return to their kingdom).
October 27
Multi-generational service – no class.          

Crossing Paths

Secondary Class – Grades 6 and up

Our Crossing Paths program begins with Hinduism.  Each religion will begin with an introduction to the basic principles of the religion.

Map Sundays: October 6, 13 - Continue an exploring how the religion might connect to Unitarian Universalism and how it might differ.

Tack Sundays: October 13, 20 - Conclude with a visit to or from a local community or representative of that community.

Summit Sunday: October 27 (evening) - After the visit, the participants will reflect together on what they have learned.

Lake Sunday: TBA - These lessons may fall differently depending on the timing of the visit.  Most visits will not be during the services. This month we are in conversation with the Tri-City Hindu Temple in Saginaw.  More details will be available shortly.

Volunteer Opportunities

Thank you, volunteers!  We have been signing up volunteers for teaching, assisting, and facilitating religious education classes, and we have volunteers for most of our classes until pageant rehearsals in December.  We still have a couple spots in October, and plenty of opportunities during and after the service during pageant rehearsals in December.  If you missed the sign-ups for this fall, there are still many opportunities starting again in January. 
Thank you to the following volunteers, who have made September classes happen:  Carol Cooper,  Amanda Clifton, Dave Letts and Roxanne LaForest
Please also offer thanks to our volunteers who signed up for October and November:  Amanda Clifton, Kurt Sonoras, Elspeth Hetrick, Vicki Reidleberger, Lisa Janetski, Sasha King, Jessie Parham, Monica and Scott Hughes, and Linda Bozelli.

Haunted Fellowship

On October 27, during the annual meeting, we are hoping to haunt the religious education wing with spooky ghosts and goblins!  If this is something you are interested in helping with, contact Heather Cleland-Host, Director of Lifespan Religious Education,  or a member of the Lifespan Religious Education Team.
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Welcome Team

Current Members

Chair: Catherine Young
Co-chair: Linda Rector
Members at large: Judy Donahue, Linda Bozzelli, Jean Sarantos, Michaele Malecki, Roxanne LaForest

The Welcome Team meets every quarter following Sunday service.  The purpose of the Welcome Team is to welcome visitors to services, act as hosts during their visit and provide answers to any questions they may have. The team also elicits information from visitors, offering them the opportunity to receive further communications from the Fellowship. Volunteered visitor information is recorded in a log book.

If you are interested in joining the team, please contact Catherine Young at

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Knitting (or Crocheting) the Web Covenant Group

A covenant group is made up of six to twelve people who meet together regularly over time.  You are asked to commit to at least one year.  In the group you are encouraged to share what is important to you and to build  deeper relationships with group members and the Fellowship.  Groups are open to members, friends and potential members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland.  Please see sign-ups for potential days and times. 

Knitting (or Crocheting) the Web
Knitting and crocheting are ancient crafts that encourage meditative reflection as we produce warm and caring gifts for ourselves and others.  Bring your own project or the group can provide ideas, materials and instruction, if needed, for knitters.  All knitters and crocheters are welcome.  Starting in November and facilitated by Sara Clavez.

Please click here to sign up or see the sign-up sheet under the events board.  
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L.O.V.E. Racial Justice Group

The L.O.V.E. Racial Justice Group invites those interested in discussing issues related to racial identity, race relations, and racial justice to meet with us this Sunday, September 22, from 11:45am until 2:00pm, in UL302.  Please contact Denise Reiling for further information.   We will meet on the following days: 

October 27
November 24
December 22

Just a Reminder...

We collect donations on an ongoing basis for the Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network.  Sixty-seven items were donated recently!  Place your donations in one of the bins outside the sanctuary, and we will transport them to the Food Pantry. Non-perishable foods, self-care items, paper products and cleaning supplies are accepted.  Thank you!

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This Week at the Fellowship

Fellowship Office Hours
The Fellowship Office is open Mondays through Thursday, from 9:30am until 2:30pm.  If you have any questions about upcoming events, please email the office or call 989-631-1162. 
Fri 9/27   OWL Training - Fellowship Building Closed
Sat 9/28   OWL Training - Fellowship Building Closed
Sun 9/29 10:30am Sunday Service
  11:30am Stewardship Sunday
  7:00pm AA Meeting (rental)
Wen 10/2 5:00pm Three Jewels Sangha
  7:00pm Choir Rehearsal
  8:00pm AA Meeting (rental)

Reserve a space.

Stop the Invaders!

Pests are trying to invade the Fellowship!  Please do not leave any open food packages or containers on the kitchen counters or anywhere else in the Fellowship building.  Before you leave the building, please take any trash containing food waste to the large trash bin outside the back door. 

Maintenance Requests 

Have you noticed a burned-out light bulb or something in need of repair at the Fellowship?  Please fill out a Maintenance Request form, located in the rack outside the office door, and return it to the top slot in the rack.  Our sexton, Sandy Hay, will fix the problem as soon as possible!  Please respect that Sandy does not work on Sundays.  

Pastoral Care Ministry Team 

September Contact:  Robert Malecki 989-295-8547
October Contact:  Gisela Bailey 989-708-1344

Our Pastoral Care Ministry Team is here for you.  We can provide a meal, a ride, some respite or a supportive ear and a cup of coffee.

We maintain a volunteer list where you can identify ways to help a Fellowship member in need.  Please click here to fill out the Pastoral Care Volunteer Form online

Member Directory

You can access the Member Directory on the password-protected Member section of the website.  The Member Directory contains names and contact information for all members and pledging friends.  Please notify the office if you need to change your information or you do not wish your information to appear in the online directory. 


The Weekly Candle Flame is published each Thursday.  Submission deadline is Monday for Thursday publication.  Please send submissions to Wendy Altmeier, Office Assistant, using only this address


Wi-fi password for the Fellowship is yellowdeer807.  

Fellowship Office

Fellowship Office Hours
Monday - Thursday 9:30am-2:30pm

Eric Severson
Office Hours
Tuesday - Thursday 11:00am-3:00pm
Other times by appointment.

(608) 738-2694
In case of a pastoral emergency, call anytime

Heather Cleland-Host
Director of Lifespan Religious Education

Office Hours by appointment only

Wendy Altmeier
Office Assistant

Office Hours
Monday - Thursday 9:00am-3:00pm
(989) 631-1162

Sandy Hay
(918) 698-0311
In case of building emergency, call anytime
Copyright ©2017 UUFoM, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland
6220 Jefferson Avenue
Midland, MI 48640

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Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland · 6220 Jefferson Ave · Midland, MI 48640 · USA

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