Tapestry. Board of Trustees

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens Tapestry December 2016 Board of Trustees Lee Cornell [email protected] Barbara Teskey Secretary...
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Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens

Tapestry December 2016

Board of Trustees Lee Cornell [email protected]

Barbara Teskey

[email protected]

Rich Rayburn [email protected]

Roger Bailey Member-at-large

Carol-Lee Baker Member-at-Large Linda Gilbert Member-at-Large Fabiana Hayden Member-at-Large Liz Weaver Member-at-Large Rosemary Wood Member-at-Large

Lay Ministers Fun & Fellowship: Ange Kahn [email protected]

Connections: Michelle Leebens-Mack [email protected]

Sunday, Dec. 4 Holiday Benevolence Market Noon—2 pm First Presbyterian Church of Athens The Benevolence Market offers excellent holiday shopping as well as supports local efforts to make Northeast Georgia a better, more welcoming place. The Market is supported by local congregations and is an ecumenical effort. UUFA’s choir will sing again this year at 1:30 pm.

Thursday, Dec. 8 7pm, UUFA Sanctuary Rose of Athens is presenting its first Yuletide Celebration Community Showcase. This presentation will highlight participants’ favorite holiday traditions, religious stories, or family celebrations.

Saturday, Dec. 10 Nifty Gifty

9 am -12 pm, Fellowship Hall Get your jingle bells on and come on out for a day of holiday merriment! Children and adults will have the opportunity to make and wrap as many as 10 different gifts to give to loved ones with pride in a festive atmosphere. We’re expecting a visit from Santa around 11 to bring his special brand of cheer. There will be volunteer elves to help children so parents can sip cider and mingle with each other, or drop off children ages 7 and up to run errands if permission form is on file. An adult must enter the building on drop off and pick up to sign in and out. A suggested donation of $3-5 helps offset costs. Advance sign ups are recommended, as we will limit participation to 40 giftmakers. Register online HERE or as sign up sheets at UUFA. 9am12pm, Fellowship Hall

Saturday, Dec. 24 Christmas Eve

[email protected]

At 6 pm, come experience the wonder and magic of Christmas Eve with carols, readings and candle lighting.

Stewardship: Herb West

Sunday. Dec. 25 Christmas ONE SERVICE AT 11 am ONLY

Justice: Karen Solheim

[email protected]

Lifespan Development: Aleta Turner & Vivian Sellers [email protected] [email protected]

Spiritual Arts: Myrna Adams West [email protected]

Come share what winter holiday lights and candle lighting traditions mean to you. Bring a brief personal story, poem, or reading to share. Then we’ll eat! Following this service will be a potluck brunch. Please contact Carol-Lee Baker ([email protected], 706483-2314) to RSVP what food you’ll bring.

Monday, Dec. 26 & Saturday, Dec. 31 Kwanzaa Celebrations At 5:30 pm, for the second year, UUFA hosts an Athens area Kwanzaa celebration, coordinated by UUFA friends Zita Portillo ([email protected]) and Jennine Delane ([email protected]).



Sunday Worship

Theme for the month – Illumination December 4 – Letting Our Light Shine Can we take our light out from under the bushel and let it shine brighter than ever before? Service led by Rev. Alison Eskildsen December 11 – A Day of Dancing A special holiday service of medieval carols and dance led by Music Director Amber Fetner and the Chalice Choir December 18 – Finding Christmas Make new meaning out of the Christmas holiday with unique characters searching for Christmas. December 24 – Christmas Eve at 6 pm Experience the wonder and magic of Christmas Eve with carols, readings and candle lighting. December 25 – Sharing Your Light ONE SERVICE AT 11 am ONLY Come share what winter holiday lights and candle lighting traditions mean to you. Bring a brief personal story, poem, or reading to share. See Page

Religious Education

Children & Youth December 4 ~ CWS Children & youth begin in the sanctuary, then dismiss to the Rainbow Room for our monthly 1st Sunday Children’s Worship Service (CWS). This Sunday, we introduce the monthly congregational theme of  Illumination. We’ll highlight various religious holiday candle-lighting rituals and discuss ways we can shine our inner light to brighten darkness, followed by chalice-making and Kindness Container activity stations. Children's Music Leader Paul Schliekelman will lead fun holiday songs. December 11 ~ RE Classes: Chalice Children & Seekers ~ Bioluminescence: Shining lights in nature; shining our human lights Youth~ Rituals & Spiritual Practice, 11-12:30 December 18 ~ All-Ages Worship Service There are no religious education classes during. All-Ages Worship Services, but childcare is available as needed. There will be opportunities for children and youth to participate in the worship service. Please let Morgan know if your child would like a role, including leading the congregation in singing “Jingle Bells”. December 25 & January 1 ~ There are no religious education classes on these holidays, and children and youth are invited to join parents in the sanctuary for worship. One service at 11 am only on these dates.

1 for details of potluck following this service. Worship begins with everyone in the sanctuary for the first 20 minutes or so as we share a welcome, light our congregational chalice, sing a hymn, and experience a storytelling or brief conversation. Children and teachers are recessed from the sanctuary by congregational singing. Children and teachers go to their classrooms or to a special children’s worship in the Fellowship Hall. Parents are welcome to accompany their children if they wish. Remaining adults hear a sermon, special music, sing, meditate or pray, and share brief joys and sorrows within the community on most Sundays. For more on UUFA’s worship services, visit the Spiritual Arts page at www.uuathensga.org.

Forums 10:05 am Fellowship Hall December 4 Cause of the Month Conversation Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) During worship services, an offering is collected for UUFA's Social Action 'Cause of the Month'. This month the offering is shared with the UUSC. December 11 at 10 am Christmas Stories with Mary Jean Hartel Retired librarian and long-time member of UUFA, Mary Jean Hartel loves to collect Christmas stories. She’ll share one written by Katherine Paterson about an gentleman who goes out of his way to provide Christmas for two strangers in preference to spending the holidays with a hula girl in Hawaii. December 18 UFO Phenomena with Dan Wright Author Dan Wright has been investigating aerial phenomena for twenty-five years, including seven years as Deputy Director of the Mutual UFO Network, Inc. (MUFON). He has undertaken or overseen investigations of thousands of UFO cases — ordinary people suddenly confronted by extraordinary events. His novel, Winter Solstice, draws from Wright’s experiences and explores an all-toopossible future given the direction our politics, our nations, and our religions are headed. Winter Solstice was published in 2014 by My Fat Fox Ltd of London.



Spiritual Arts

Goddess Group & Writing as Spiritual Practice The Twelfth Annual Tea with the Goddess, sponsored by UUFA’s Goddess Group, is December 18. All women of the Fellowship and community are invited to join us at 2:30 pm at the home of Myrna Adams West. Reservations are required. Space is limited to 25. Holiday decorations, some of them heirlooms, will decorate the nooks and crannies of Myrna and Herb’s house. The table will be set with Myrna’s teapot collection, filled with teas of various varieties. Attendees are asked to bring a covered dish, either savory or sweet, that will complement tea. All will be served using Myrna’s lovely heirloom linens, china, silver and crystal. Participants may also bring a wrapped gift, something they have enjoyed but are ready to pass on to someone else. During the afternoon, we will each choose a gift and hear the story of the gift from its contributor. Reservations may be made by emailing, calling, or giving Myrna a note (She won’t remember if you just tell her!). For more information, talk to Myrna ([email protected]; 770/725-5397).

Writing as Spiritual Practice Writing as Spiritual Practice will meet December 4 at 9:00 am in the sofa room behind the sanctuary. To find out more about this Stepping Stone, go to http:// uuathensga.org/education/adulteducation/writing-as-spiritual-practice/, or contact Myrna Adams West, the Lay Minister for Spiritual Arts at [email protected] Below are some suggested prompts for writing on the December theme of “Illumination.” Everyone is welcome. Assignment for December 4, 2016 at 9:00 am: Choose one or more of the following or make up your own assignment: 1. Who—or what—brings illumination to your life? How? Why? When? 2. Make a list of as many illuminators of all types as you can think of. Be creative in your thinking. What, besides shedding light, do they have in common? 3. What in your life could use a little illumination? What are you afraid to look at in bright light? What about your life have you avoided bringing out into the light for a

while? 4. What are you hoping or anticipating will be illuminated in the near future? Why? Who or what do you think will do the illuminating? How? See “A Thousand Mornings” by Mary Oliver (email Myrna for a copy) for inspiration. 5. What in your life cannot bear any further illumination? Why? See Billy Collins’ poem “Four-Moon Planet” (email Myrna for a copy) for some inspiration. 6. All the great religions of the world celebrate light in this season. What is it about the darkness of winter that makes us want to celebrate the return of the light? See Meg Barnhouse’s essay, “Time for Darkness” (email Myrna for a copy). 7. What does science or religion or literature or music illuminate for you that you otherwise might miss? Explain why this is so. Be as specific as possible. 8. What can you illuminate for someone else? How? When? 9. The opening sentence of UUFA’s vision statement says that we want “to be a beacon of liberal religion and spirituality in Northeast Georgia.” What must we, as a congregation, illuminate for ourselves before we can fulfill this vision? Why? How?

Art in the Foyer The Medieval Experience: Art and Craft of the Society for Creative Anachronism - SCA Local members of the SCA display Medieval arts and crafts being made today including illustrated manuscripts, needlework and metalwork. The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre17th-century Europe. We have over 30,000 members living in 20 geographic regions called "kingdoms", covering countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which may feature tournaments, arts exhibits, classes, workshops, dancing, feasts, and more. Each kingdom has royalty who preside over royal courts at which they reward and honor members for their contributions to the group.



Music Ministry

More than a Candle "More than a candle, may we be a beacon,” a line from the new hymn penned by Myrna Adams West and Chris Hayden. It's the season of lights, of music, of gifts and celebrations with family and friends. Here are some of the many ways UUFA musicians are spreading our light this month.

vices. There will be a bake sale, following the service, to support the music program.

On Sunday, Dec. 4th, the Chalice Choir will sing for the Holiday Benevolence Market at 1:30 at First Presbyterian on Hancock Street downtown.

Thinking of starting something new? Choir and Drumming will start back up on Wednesday, Jan. 4th.

On Sunday, Dec. 11th, the Chalice Choir together with guest instrumentalists and dancers will present Lloyd Pfautsch's A Day for Dancing, a setting of Medieval carols, as part of the 9am and 11am worship ser-

On Monday, Dec. 26th, Palms of Fire will be drumming for a Kwanzaa celebration at UUFA from 59pm. All are welcome!

Do you questions or another gift to share? Contact me [email protected] Amber Fetner, Music Director

In the Spotlight Bill Pierson Each time you enter UUFA's foyer, you see the result of Bill Pierson's commitment to bringing art to members and friends. Since 2013 Bill has invited artists to show their work. He makes sure they have what they need and that their creations are hung properly. He also helps plan receptions if the artists wish and donates supplies if needed. Thanks for bringing so many artistic expressions to the Fellowship, Bill!

Stewardship Cluster Recognizes Leadership Development Team In December the Stewardship Cluster thanks the volunteers of the Leadership Development Team who coordinate study opportunities with Lifespan Faith Development of adults and help members and friends deepen their connections to each other and the congregation via the Fellowship's Stepping Stone opportunities. In addition to planning and facilitating the quarterly meetings of the UUFA Leadership Council, the team also promotes New to UUFA and the Small Group Ministry program and encourages participation in training Bill Pierson at UUFA and beyond. Through identifying, recruiting, and educating potential congregational leaders and volunteers, the Leadership Development Program complements and supports the work of the Nominating Committee. The Leadership Development Program, which originated in 2012, is guided by Lee Cornell, Vivian Sellers, Aleta Turner, Myrna Adams West, and Herb West (Chair). They will be recognized during the December 11 service. Lee, Aleta, Herb and Myrna. (Not pictured: Vivian)

Thanks to Barbara Leissner and the Volunteer Recognition Team for working with Lay Minister Herb West to arrange the Stewardship Cluster's recognition.



Committee on Shared Ministry Update Submitted by Co-chairs Barbara A. Schell & Jane Kobres The Committee on Shared Ministry (CoSM) is a group that serves to strengthen the quality and governance of the ministries of UUFA. It reports directly to the congregation and is designed to discern how well processes associated with both the professional and lay ministries are working. This information is then used to identify opportunities to support, strengthen or modify the UUFA ministries. The results of the CoSM work are routinely shared with the Minister and the Board, as well as with any specific group which is affected by the information collected. Although the CoSM collects information, organizes findings and makes recommendations, it has no responsibility for the implementation of changes. Rather, the findings are intended to be used by the relevant group or groups to guide future activities. The CoSM is responsible for determining its areas of focus each year, and as such, attends to emerging issues from Fellowship members, leaders and professional staff. This year the decision was made to divide the

Nifty Gifty Elves Needed! Elves are needed for our holiday gift-making extravaganza on December 10. We’ll need craft-helpers, gift-wrappers, set-up elves, clean-up elves, kitchen elves, and more. Look for sign up sheets around the Fellowship and online at www.uuathensga.org or contact Morgan ([email protected]),

Committee’s efforts in two ways. The first is to develop and begin to implement a plan for routinely assessing each ministry area, and to rotate which group is to be the focus for a given year. The area of ministry chosen for this year for routine assessment is Fellowship, with a particular focus on membership. The second task for COSM will be gathering reflections on the UUFA professional ministry. The committee has agreed to Rev. Alison’s suggestion that we lead the congregation through a process to examine our current experiences and needs related to professional ministry. Since she will be on sabbatical, she suggested that this would be a good time for the Fellowship to parallel her time away of reflection with some internal reflection of our own. It is our hope as a committee to be of regular service to the Fellowship to examine and enliven all our ministries in parallel with the process of Expanding our Vision which has resulted in the commitment to improve our building and grounds

Staff Holiday Gifts During the holiday season you can show your appreciation to our amazing staff who work to enrich lives by providing beautiful music, creating unique learning opportunities, juggling myriad administrative needs, caring for children, and keeping our facilities welcoming. If you are able, please express your gratitude by placing a donation in the gift-wrapped collection boxes located on a table in the Fellowship Hall or Sanctuary entryway. You may also mail your donation to UUFA, please indicate ‘Staff Holiday’ on your check or cash envelope. Contributions will be divided among nonministerial staff only.



Get on Board! At its November 8, 2016 meeting, the UUFA Board of Trustees accomplished the following. Discussed:  the October 23 fire drills and what might be improved; and  the November 6 Congregational vote to move forward with a capital campaign and goal of raising $1.3 million for facility expansion; Took the following actions:  to appoint John Olive as treasurer for the capital campaign. Accepted the following reports and discussed when necessary:


Minister’s report including community connections through the Greater Athens Interfaith Council; and  Treasurer’s report. All are welcome to the next Athens interfaith gathering on:  Sunday, November 20, 4:30 p.m., Interfaith Thanksgiving Worship Service at First Baptist Church, 355 Pulaski Street, Athens. To read the adopted October 11, 2016, Board minutes, please visit: http://uuathensga.org/uufa/uufa-boardgovernance/board-of-trustees/ The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is December 13, 2016, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Comments are invited. You are welcome to attend this meeting, or please share any feedback you have with any Board member. Respectfully submitted, Barbara Teskey


Social Action Committee Be the Change You Want to See in the World! You are invited to become a member of the UUFA Social Action Committee (SAC)! How? Attend our next meeting on December 4 immediately after the Congregational Meeting.   Want to know what transpires between SAC meetings? Join the SAC listserv at http://lists.uuathensga.org/listinfo.cgi/social_actionuuathensga.org  This listserv will let you know what transpires not only within SAC but also in the local Athens area in terms of social action.   Everyone is encouraged to sign up! CAUSE OF THE MONTH: The Cause of the Month Share the Plate for December is the UU Service Committee.  On Sunday, December 3, a representative of this organization, will speak about this cause.

able to receive your CANtributions of either nonperishable food items or monetary donations.  Tuna, saltines, pork and beans, and green peas are always needed. Not a fan of grocery store shopping but still want to CANtribute? Donate any amount of money (designated as Food Bank), and savvy SAC shoppers will convert your cash or check to cans. CAN YoUUr Birthday! How can you CAN YoUUr Birthday? Whenever you celebrate your birthday, bring enough nonperishable food items to match every year you are celebrating.  For example, turning 60? Bring 60 cans!  Turning 16? Bring 16 cans. The wicker basket as you enter the sanctuary is willing and able to receive your CANtributions whether you are celebrating your birthday or not!

CANtributions to the ATHENS AREA EMERGENCY FOOD BANK: "We're #3; we're #3? After eight months of competition among the twenty-five area faith communities CANtributing to the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank, UUFA is in THIRD place  with our total CANtributions of 1930, only 1437 items out of second place!

Not a fan of grocery shopping, buy a grocery card (See John Olive) and donate it to the Social Action Committee (SAC), and SAC's savvy shoppers will shop for you.

CAN you CANtribute at least five cans a month? The wicker basket as you enter the sanctuary is willing and

For questions about any SAC initiative, please contact chair David Jarett ([email protected], 706.338.2798).

All CANtributions will be donated to the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank.





Wondering with AWE The winter holiday season has always been one of my favorites. I fondly remember the traditions my mother repeated year after year for my sister and me, and that I continued with my own kids. Most memorable were the sugar cookies we made in holiday shapes—Santa with a sack on his back, flying reindeer, ringing bells, and decorated trees. The reindeer cookie cutter was a challenge because the dough often stuck to the tiny antler parts if you didn’t have enough flour on the cutter before pressing it into the rolled-out dough. More often than not, my reindeer looked rather deformed, but they tasted great just the same. That was if I didn’t overcook them. Those same tiny antler parts cooked faster than the rest and easily burned. It was a good lesson in paying attention. I must admit that since the November Presidential elections, I’ve been paying less attention to what’s been cooking in American politics. Withdrawing from a nasty (in my view) campaign season was an act of selfpreservation. I felt burned like those tiny antlers in my holiday cookies and I needed a time to soothe my wounds and cool off. Now, time and politics have marched on. As the calendar gets closer to the winter holidays, I find myself feeling more ready to face the world and whatever the New Year brings. I’m especially hopeful about this Fellowship and where it’s going. The Financial Feasibility Study results make me hopeful that we will actually expand our facilities – something that’s been under consideration for at least a decade. I’m hopeful too that our leadership continues to mature

UU Fellowship of Athens 780 Timothy Road, Athens, Georgia 30606 706-546-7914 — www.uuathensga.org Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm Other times by appointment. To share news, email [email protected] by noon Thursday each week. For pastoral care concerns, contact Susan Ponsoldt, CARE Program Coordinator, 706-548-4821.

and expand—and I don’t mean in girth (watch your cookie consumption!), but in growth. New volunteers regularly step forward to assume new responsibilities or participate in new activities, knowing these will nurture their spirits and create stronger connections among us. I’m also hopeful that our UU beacon will continue to grow in brilliance, attracting more people who seek what we have to offer—a loving community where you can bring your whole selves and ask your questions and seek the answers you most need to find. During December our UUFA theme is Illumination. I hope your journey through life is brightened by your participation in this community. Be sure to let your light shine this month and throughout the coming year. Blessings, Alison

To submit news items for all publications, written & online, please email

[email protected] Rev. Alison Eskildsen, Minister 706-424-9449 (c), [email protected] Rev. Dr. Don Randall, Community Minister 706-353-0709, [email protected] Amber Fetner, Music Director [email protected] Shaye Gambrell, Congregational Administrator [email protected], [email protected] Morgan Watson, R.E. Director [email protected] Crystal Wu, Pianist, [email protected]