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     The Weekly Candle Flame 

January 8, 2021 

Sunday Morning Online Service at 10:30am

January 10
"Reason, Faith, Cults, and Conspiracy Theories" The mindset that makes one susceptible to conspiracy theories and cults. Do non-rational items of faith that so many of us hold dear prime our minds to accept non-sensical ideas outside the sanctioned bounds of religion? Is the desperate search for meaning, any meaning, just the nature of our brains? Led by Rev. Eric Severson


Meeting ID: 943 984 845
NEW Password: 62201162
Dial In Phone Number:  (312) 626-6799 (*6 to mute and unmute)


UUFoM YouTube Channel

Did you miss our previous services? You can see a replay (minus Joys and Sorrows) below and on our YouTube Channel. We invite you to subscribe to our channel to stay up-to-date with all videos.  

2021-01-03 - Distancing + Zoom + Netflix = Spiritual Growth

This Week at the Fellowship

All teams and groups have decided to meet via Zoom instead of face to face during this time.  Please contact your team/group leader if you need further guidance.  If you have any questions about upcoming events, please email the office or call 989-631-1162. 

All meetings listed below are via Zoom unless noted otherwise.


Weekly Zoom Links

Sunday Virtual Service
Sundays at 10:30am
Meeting ID: 943 984 845
Passcode: 62201162
Dial In Phone Number:  (312) 626-6799


Three Jewels Sangha
Whether you have been practicing with us often, are curious about meditation or Buddhism, or find yourself in need of connection, all are welcome to join the Three Jewels Sangha weekly Wednesday meeting.  We will be gathering at our usual time, 5:00-6:30 for conversation and meditation via Zoom.  We will have some time to share how we are doing, some silent restorative meditation, and a reading from our current book.  
Wednesdays at 5:00pm
Meeting ID: 200 926 356
Password: uufom


Saturday Rehearsal
Saturdays at 10:00am

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NEW: UUFoM Fellowship Staff News

We are excited to announce Shana Barth has accepted a position as UUFoM’s Online RE Coordinator. She will be working with Rev. Eric and the RE Team in a limited online capacity to sustain virtual RE activities while we are in transition. 

Shana will also be co-moderating our UUFoM Parents Circle Facebook Group.  Please welcome Lisa Janetski, who has agreed to co-moderate the group. 

RE Zoom sessions will resume on Sunday, January, 31, at 1:00 pm after a transition period to prepare the winter sessions.  Amanda Van Regenmorter, Amanda Clifton, and Carol Cooper are continuing in their roles on the RE Team supporting our families and children!

NEW: Exploring Unitarian Universalism Virtual Workshops

January 23 will be the debut of a new virtual workshop series developed and offered by UUFoM!  This is an opportunity for new and long-time members of UUFoM to explore five different aspects of Unitarian Universalism.  

"Exploring Unitarian Universalism" is a pilot project developed by the Engagement Team.  The sessions will be limited to 10 participants and registration is required for each session.  Participants may attend any number of sessions they choose. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis.  

All sessions are 1:00-3:00pm on the dates listed below.  

Jan 23 - Workshop 1: Theology and Worship 
Feb 06 - Workshop 2: Where Do We Come From? Unitarian Universalist Roots
Feb 20 - Workshop 3: How We Grow in Faith: Philosophy of Religious Education
Mar 06 - Workshop 4: Social Justice Philosophy and Practice
Mar 20 - Workshop 5: How Are Decisions Made? Governance and Policy

To register for a workshop, please sign up here.

If your desired workshop session is full, please contact Wendy Altmeier to be placed on a wait list.  Your Zoom links will be sent once registration is completed. 

If you would like additional information on the content for the sessions, please contact any member of the Engagement Team:  Sara Clavez, Christina VanPoucker, Estella Thomas, Joanne Rummel, Amy Rogers, or Kathy Kinkema.

NEW:  RE-flection

One last RE-flection, from Heather Cleland-Host
Happy New Year! I am writing to you for the last time in regard to my role as Lifespan Director of Religious Education at the UU Fellowship of Midland, and I have to admit it is a struggle to find the right words.  On December 31, I officially stepped down as LDRE.  I will be assisting in a consulting basis over the next few weeks as the program transitions into the care of the RE Team and our Online Religious Education Coordinator, Shana Barth, but shortly, I will be leaving religious education at the Fellowship entirely in your hands.  It is hard to say good-bye, and in the middle of a pandemic, it is even more so. 

To say that I have enjoyed serving this congregation and its families is an understatement. This has been more than a position; it has been a journey of love and friendship.  I will miss working with all of you, and I am sad to go, especially now while we are apart.  I wish I could be there as you rebuild in-person programming next year, but I leave with confidence in our newly ordained minister, Rev. Eric Severson, and RE volunteers and staff.  Our DRE search team is working hard in finding a person to lead religious education programming next year, and I know you are going to do fantastically.

It is a spiritual practice within Unitarian Universalism for ministers and religious educators to take a time of absence from a congregation after leaving their service.  The reason for this practice is to allow the congregation to find its own feet apart from the leadership of that individual.  Online, this practice includes reducing “friends” lists in Facebook and other forums to exclude all congregants – not out of any question of friendship but to honor this time of separation.  You may have already noticed me withdrawing my activity. I will be attending service one last time on January 10, but after that service I will be not participating in services for a while.

This can be a difficult practice, especially in a case like mine where I have been a member of this congregation for over 20 years, and with this community my entire life.  This congregation had a similar experience when a previous choir director retired.  A year ago, when I knew I was leaving, I had intended to approach this in a similar manner to that departure, but my plan has been complicated by the pandemic.  This congregation is full of friends and family.  We have already been impacted deeply and permanently in ways that were unimaginable just a year ago.  Always there is a possibility of loss during a year of absence, but this year’s unique circumstances have required me to consider how this practice might need modification.

I will still be reducing my contacts in Facebook significantly as part of this practice, but I will be maintaining some connections so that I can support family and friends during this time.  You may encounter me in other forums that are not directly connected to the Fellowship as well.  I will not be offering input into religious education matters, however, and I will ask that if you encounter me, you do not approach me about religious education.  If there is information needed from me about religious education, this communication will be handled through the minister, RE coordinator, and/or your future DRE directly.

It has been an honor to serve you all, and I look forward to hearing news of you in the future.   

Yours in UU,

Heather Cleland-Host

Website Team

The Fellowship Office is creating a website team to start meeting in January 2021.  We are looking for people with many different talents.  We would love people who have technical, creative, media, communications and/or any type of life experience.  We are very interested in people who have been members for a long time, newer UUs and anyone in between! Please click here if you are interested in joining the team.  

If you are not able to join the website team, we have created a form for suggestions and recommendations.  While we may not be able to implement all of them, we are grateful for all of your responses.  Please click here to offer a suggestion or recommendation! 

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Upcoming Services
January 2021 Theme - "Imagination"

January 3
"Distancing + Zoom + Netflix = Spiritual Growth"
 “There’s absolutely a service in this!” That’s what Cathy and Shannon said while watching a series on Netflix. Join them as they explore a few of the concepts and questions inspired by their surprising muse. Presented by Fellowship members, Cathy French and Shannon Sonoras.

January 10
"Reason, Faith, Cults, and Conspiracy Theories" The mindset that makes one susceptible to conspiracy theories and cults. Do non-rational items of faith that so many of us hold dear prime our minds to accept non-sensical ideas outside the sanctioned bounds of religion? Is the desperate search for meaning, any meaning, just the nature of our brains? Led by Rev. Eric Severson

January 17
"Stumbling On Happiness"
We human beings are not as successful at predicting our future happiness as we might think. We'll consider how distorted perceptions and memories can lead us to inaccurate predictions and how we might find happiness better. Based on the book by Daniel Gilbert, this service will be led by our minister, Rev. Eric Severson.

January 27 
TBA - Led by Rev. Eric Severson

January 31
TBA - Led by Fellowship member, Denise Reiling.

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Our Mission

We are a multigenerational, liberal religious community in the Tri-City region. We offer a beacon to the religious seeker, supporting and nurturing the individual and collective pursuit of spiritual fulfillment.To achieve this mission, we:

  • Empower members, friends, and the surrounding community to think freely, live ethically, and grow spiritually through lifelong learning, as we explore our values, live the principles of Unitarian Universalism, and search for truth and meaning.
  • Assemble in supportive and beloved community, sharing life’s joys and sorrows, and embracing all of our wondrous diversity.
  • Gather for stimulating worship experiences and rites of passage that inspire and provide opportunities to examine, clarify, and strengthen our personal value systems.
  • Create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world through our words of influence, constructive deeds, and engaging love.

We focus on these four social issues in order to improve the community and demonstrate our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

  • Global Climate Change
  • Racial Justice
  • Homelessness
  • LGBT Rights
copyright Unitarian Universalist Association

Previous Newsletter Articles

UUFoM Board Announcement
Regarding Building Access During COVID-19

For everyone's continued safety through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors has determined that the building will remain closed and in-person activities will remain suspended through June 1, 2021 at the earliest. The Board of Directors will continue to reassess based on all available information, and continue to regularly communicate updates as conditions evolve. 

Fellowship Building

For everyone's safety, the Fellowship Building is closed to everyone except: staff, Sunday musicians, Vicki Rothhaar, and Pete Carlson.

To ensure that the most vulnerable are not put at risk, new locks were placed on the entrance door. Please contact Sandy Hay if you have any questions. 

Thank you!

Board of Directors

Beth Sperry - President
Sasha King - President-Elect
Shannon Sonoras - Secretary
Tim Wagner - Treasurer
Chris Nakamura - Member-At-Large
Marsha McDonald - Member-At-Large

Pastoral Care Ministry Team

January 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.

Fellowship Staff

Fellowship Office Hours
Fellowship Office is currently closed due to Governor's Whitmer executive order. 

Rev. Eric Severson - Minister
(608) 738-2694
Unavailable Mondays, except in emergencies.

Wendy Altmeier - Office Assistant
(989) 631-1162

Unavailable Mondays.

Shana Barth - Online RE Coordinator
(989) 631-1162

Sandy Hay - Sexton
(918) 698-0311
In case of building emergency, call anytime

Melanie Willison - Accompanist
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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