|Oracle Articles - Jul 2012|
Vol. 66, No. 7; July 2012
The mission of the First Unitarian Church of Orlando (1U) is to exemplify liberal religion in Central Florida with a commitment to lifelong spiritual growth and compassionate service to the community.
10:45 am Sundays in Our Sanctuary
Sunday, July 1 | Return from Phoenix, Rev. Kathy Schmitz
First Unitarian (1U) is part of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, typically referred to as the UUA. Last week, along with nine others from the congregation, Rev. Kathy attended the annual General Assembly (GA) of the Association, this year in Phoenix, AZ. There is always something she is inspired to bring back from this event, and this morning we will find out what it is this year.
Sunday, July 8 | Show Me Your Super Powers, Rev. Kathy Schmitz
In a Question & Answer service last fall, one of the questions was "If you could have one supernatural power, what would it be? And, how would you use it if it could be only be used once?" This morning, let's consider the powers that we do have and the ones we would use if we recognized them.
Sunday, July 15 | Begin Where You Are, Bekah Keyes, Worship Associate & Nicki Drumb, former Worship Associate
A thoughtful perspective on self-acceptance: its impact and implications.
Sunday, July 22 | Universalism, The Other U, Dave Shine, Worship Associate
We take a look at Universalism in the early 19th century and how it applies to Unitarian Universalists today.
Sunday, July 29 | Sacred Sites, Rev. Kathy Schmitz
On this summer's vacation, Rev. Kathy has the opportunity to visit some sacred sites from her bucket list. This morning is set aside for sharing insights from that experience.
Fall Worship Plans - Update
We are now on our summer schedule for Sunday mornings. During this time,
On Sept. 16, we will return to a two-service schedule.
Like last year, the single-service schedule will continue through the Water Communion on the Sunday after Labor Day, Sept. 9. The following week, Sept. 16, Children's Religious Education will start up and we will return to two services, but with a slightly altered schedule:
9:30am - 10:30am Worship Service
10:30am - 11:00am Social Time
11:00am - 12:00pm Worship Service
12:00pm - 12:30pm Social Time
Children's Religious Education (CRE) will be during one of the services. We are considering offsetting it by 15 minutes to allow children to start in the Sanctuary and then go to classes for a full hour. Childcare will be available during the other service. We are surveying parents and teachers about these options. Adult Religious Education (ARE) could be during either service. We are not yet sure how a 15-minute offset in CRE would affect ARE. We expect all of this to be worked out by early August.
This schedule shortens the day by one hour, making things easier for staff and volunteers who need to cover both. The early service isn't quite so early; the late service isn't quite so late. The 30-minute social time between services gives a little more transition time and, importantly, is a potential time for interaction between people attending different services.
Social Justice & Outreach Network Follow Up
July 29, 12:30-1:30 pm, Assembly Room
Thirty people attended our April gathering to review the year from a social justice and outreach perspective. We celebrated the activities of the year and looked ahead. We agreed to meet again in late July to share both info from General Assembly and research on possible projects for the coming year. Join us as we make plans for the year ahead-whether you bring ideas, enthusiasm, or just curiosity.
Sunday Morning Adult Education
Programs run from 9:30 to 10:30 am. All programs are drop-in friendly.
We have combined two of our Adult Education tracks for the summer. Two programs a month formerly held in the Community Room will be held In The Library on their regular weeks. (This takes lower summer attendance into account and also allows us to avoid air conditioning the south wing of the Religious Education Complex during the hottest part of the year.)
Sundays in the Library:
July 1 Long Strange Trip - Part II: A video on the "Birth of Unitarianism" in Europe.
July 8 Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life: The Tenth Step: Knowledge. Each second Sunday, we focus on one of the steps described in Karen Armstrong's book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. This program from the Community Room will be In the Library for the summer.
July 15 The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God: A film by Ken Burns on this intriguing religious movement indigenous to America.
July 22 Spiritual Literacy: We move this popular program from the Community Room to the Library for the summer. Each fourth Sunday, we show a video discussion series that uses short films to prompt discussion on a variety of topics.
July 29 General Assembly Debrief: Attendees at last month's General Assembly (GA) will share highlights of their insights and inspirations from last month's annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists.
New Website Input Sought
Plans are underway for the creation of a new website for the congregation. We know that we have within the congregation a multitude of experiences and perspectives. To try to benefit from all that wisdom, we are seeking written input so that we can easily capture the ideas put forward. Any member is invited to submit ONE page (Times New Roman 12-pt) with input. The page can contain up to THREE links. These links might be to websites you particularly like or find to be good examples, or to short articles about concepts you hope will be considered. You can submit much less than a page as well.
These limits are set because this topic can easily become overwhelming and we want each person to take responsibility for prioritizing his/her input. If you choose to submit more than one page or more than three links, you may assume that the excess will simply be ignored. Please ensure that your most important input is considered by prioritizing carefully.
On the Journey
Thoughts from the Minister
This is my last newsletter article.
More and more we are becoming aware that our newsletter, The Oracle, is not an effective way of getting news out to the congregation. It is not read by a lot of people. Because of production schedules, it is often out-of-date before it is even published. We are looking for ways to communicate more effectively.
While I expect that The Oracle will meet its end of life within the next year, we do not have a definite date yet. We want to get a new website up first. We also want to review our other communication vehicles, particularly the weekly email update (aka "the eblast"), to make sure they can pick up the slack.
We live in changing times and we are working to adapt.
For my part, my commitment is to make better use of my blog. It has suffered a bit of an identity crisis and so I have not used it as often as I could. I often wonder whether I am writing for the congregation, the wider Unitarian Universalist (UU) world, or the broader (non-UU) community. This has slowed me down. I have a couple of thoughts about addressing that and, beginning in August, am committed to writing at least one entry a week "to the congregation." This will take the place of my newsletter column. I will also continue to address sermon topics both pending and recent, as well as current events and other issues.
My blog, called "Growing in Place," can be found at growinginplace.wordpress.com. My email signature, the eblast, and the website all have links to it. In addition, you can "subscribe" to it so that you are automatically notified when it is updated. I may consider putting direct links to congregation-related posts in the eblast. If I find that the identity crisis continues, I might create a second blog so that there is one for the congregation and one for other topics. However, I'd like to keep it all together if I can.
Communication is a major goal of mine for the coming year. It is high on the list for your Board and Program Coordinating Team (PCT) as well. I expect there will be lots of opportunities for input but you don't have to wait for those. Let us know (respectfully, of course), what is working for you and what is not. Don't be shy! Assume goodwill and let us know what will best help you to connect with the information and people you need and want at 1U!
Rev. Kathy's Schedule: Please note that I will be away from the congregation from July 9 to 24 (inclusive) for vacation. During that time, please contact others who might be of assistance directly. If you are unsure whom to contact, please call the church office to be directed.
When in town, I am most often in the office during the day on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. I frequently have appointments scheduled either in the office or off-campus, so it is an excellent idea to call or email before making a special trip to see me. With advanced notice, I am happy to schedule appointments that fit your schedule, for example in the early evening.
Wednesday is my writing day; Thursday is my day off. On Thursdays, I respond only to emergencies.
The Alliance meets Tuesdays from 10:30am to 1:00pm in Gore Hall. Among the many activities, the Alliance prepares donated items for sale in the Continuing Bazaar. Below you will find other activities to enjoy. Why not join us? Bring a bag lunch; homemade iced tea is provided.
Programs for July
July 3 Alliance officers meet for their monthly board meeting. Work continues on the Continuing Bazaar. It is a rare Tuesday indeed when there are no donations to sort, price, and hang. The Alliance appreciates donations that are clean and in working order. Sorry, we cannot accept electronic equipment.
July 10 Lunch out at a variety of local restaurants, this one TBA. Before and after lunch members will work on the Bazaar. There is way too much work to let a Tuesday slide, thanks to your many donations.
July 17 250 bologna-and-cheese sandwiches for the Homeless Coalition are put together in record time! The Gore Hall kitchen is the place where the action happens. Work continues on the Bazaar too.
July 24 From time to time members share their life story with the group. This allows us to get to know each other better. Dayle Steakley shares her life story in a reprise of 10 years ago.
July 31 A five Tuesday month! Come on down for some fun and games ... and continuing work on the Continuing Bazaar! The Bazaar is a lot of work but brings in thousands of dollars each year, which is diligently used to assist local charities that meet UU principles and the Alliance focus on Women, Children, and the Homeless.
The Caring Circle contact for July is Jenny Lockington.
Get your yoga on and come be a part of a wonderful journey together as we share one breath, one body, one mind at 1U every Tuesday from 6:00 to 7:00pm in Gore Hall. This class is open to all.
The practice of yoga encompasses several elements such as breath control, strength building, stretching, and meditation. Hatha yoga, our primary focus, consists of physical postures both active and passive. Hatha in yogic texts represents the sun and moon. Thus, Hatha yoga means the practice of uniting the sun and moon.
This practice not only enhances the physical body, it invites an exploration of the unfolding and unification of mind and body. Experts and beginners alike can benefit from this practice as it really brings together the foundation of yoga. Aliments or areas of pain are addressed at the beginning of every class allowing for opportunities to focus on a particular posture that aids in the movement of healing. Yoga can be very dynamic, interactive, and personal to the student incorporating other forms upon request.
This class is led by our very own Melissa Rosario, a certified yoga teacher. Melissa trained at Guruv Yoga's 200-hour Teacher Training Program in Lake Mary, Florida, graduated in August 2011, and has been teaching ever since. She has been a devoted practitioner for about four years and shares that "yoga has completely changed my life. I look forward to sharing my practice with you."
Suggested donation: $10. No one will be turned away.
July 1st marks the beginning of a new fiscal year at 1U (7/1/2012 - 6/30/2013). If you are making a pledge payment for last fiscal year, please make a notation in the memo field of your check letting us know that. By default, all payments received on and after July 1 and after will be applied to new fiscal year pledges (unless you tell us otherwise).
Year-end pledge statements will be available in July.
Also, for those who have not yet pledged for the new fiscal year, it's not too late. Pledge cards are available in the Gore Hall foyer, the Sanctuary foyer, and in the church office.
Community Sing / Karaoke at 1U!
Come be part of a relaxed, riotously fun night of singing to recorded professional accompaniment on July 27!
When it's your turn, you pick the song and the singer(s): solo, trio, quartet, all the way up to the whole audience (including yourself or not) ... and we'll make sure you and everyone have a great musical experience. You can perform from the stage or from the floor, and you can stop and start again if you want to.
The "Community Sing & Karaoke Night" is held on the 4th Friday of each month in Gore Hall. Doors open to a "Try New Stuff" time from 7:00 to 7:30pm, so you can work on new tunes or try the karaoke experience for the first time. Experienced singers go onstage from 7:30 to 10:30pm. Suggested donation is $4, with proceeds going to the church and to building a song and equipment inventory. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available (donation suggested), or you can bring your own.
Come perform and enjoy tunes from the 20s to 2012! If you have CDs of your own, feel free to bring them. For a list of songs sorted by artist and one by song title, go to:
Come and express yourself!
UUA Trustee Tidbits
Joan Lund, July 2012
Since the monthly Trustee Tidbits must be written before leaving for General Assembly, columns about GA will be written in subsequent months. As always I will write a report for the District following GA. Hopefully you are already aware UUA President Peter Morales has written Congregations and Beyond, a document that talks about UU relevancy in the future; he believes our faith must begin to think of our UUA not just as bricks-and-mortar congregations but perhaps as a way to engage with other religiously grounded UU groups, in other words, to extend beyond congregations as we traditionally know them.
It is known that there are about 500,000 people who say they are UUs but are not members of a congregation. Our membership numbers are slowly declining, despite sincere, ambitious growth efforts. We have always addressed the problem of attracting UU membership as solvable by finding ways to get them into congregations. How can we engage with people who share our values, want to be a part of our faith, but are not willing/ready to join a congregation? These folks may include individuals in groups who were once affiliates, UU college students, and persons who find us through groups such as Standing on the Side of Love. We know we have the successful Church of the Larger Fellowship, a no-walls congregation with approximately 3,500 members. In our future, President Morales envisions a variety of other structures such as small groups that may be "identity" based.
His ideas do not mean the demise of bricks-and-mortar congregations as our base but they do mean the expanded use of social media, relevant and "alive" worship experiences accessible through the Internet, and more social justice witness activism and volunteerism opportunities. Rev. Morales is convinced our faith has great potential to involve more people and have a greater impact than we do now.
Board of Trustees
President, Michelle Bergandi
President Elect, Jean Siegfried
Secretary, Carolina Lofgren
Treasurer, John Hartgering
Rev. Kathy Schmitz
Director of Religious Education:
Director of Music:
Custodian: Victor Cruz
Editor: Amy Fairweather
Production Volunteer: Carolina Lofgren
Reporters: Church Members
News Deadline for the August Issue:
July 15, 2012, 1:00pm
First Unitarian Church of Orlando
A Unitarian Universalist Congregation
1901 E. Robinson St. Orlando, FL 32803