Announcements (May 2014)

Goddess Circle will study the Matrikas of the Hindu Traditions

May 4, 2014
This is an open discussion circle for both men & women.
Goddesses are chosen from various world religions as a starting place for group discussion.

When: 1st Sun.of each month after the 2nd service (about noon)
Where: In the Annex Building    Why:  potluck, fellowship and fun.
Childcare can be provided with advance notification.

Please contact with any questions.


African Adventure Potluck

May 10, 2014 at 5:30pm in the Fellowship building.

All are invited! We are inviting friends from other realms of our lives – so you may meet a new person or two. In January 2014 we attempted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, saw the Mountain Gorillas and toured the Serengeti. We have pictures to prove it and would like to share a few with you.

RSVP by signing up at:

Or giving us a call or email.

Look forward to seeing you there,
Meg and Rich


UU Orientation Class

Three times a year the Membership Committee hosts a UU Orientation Class to help newcomers (and sometimes long-time friends) learn more about the UU faith in general and, more specifically, our community at UUFP.

Our final Orientation Class of the 2013-14 year will start at 9:00 am on Saturday, May 31st.

We will meet in the UUFP sanctuary beginning with a breakfast and finishing by noon.  If you or someone you know are interested in attending, please contact Bobbie Schilling, Membership Committee Chair, at ( ) or Rev. Andrew Millard.


Fifty and Better

Our monthly potluck lunch will be on May 20 at 12:30 at the church office. 

Please call Lydia Disney at 814-0621 to let her know you plan to be there.  She is filling in for Esther just this month while Esther is visiting her daughter. 


Spring Spruce-up is scheduled for Saturday May 10th!  Stay tuned for updates, details will be posted on Facebook.


 UUFP Yard Sale

Below is the online sign-up for the Yard sale happening on May 31st at the UUFP:

I love running this fundraiser and find it so much fun to talk and get to know others as we work together.  Donations will be taken from May 25th to May 30th, but the earlier the better so we can set them up and get them organized.  Our goal this year is $1000!  We can’t here without donations.

See  Brandy Bergenstock for more information, or to sign up on the paper form.


UUFP Re-building Building Day – June 14th, 9 – 2pm

We have new blinds, new spot lights- some solar! & new flooring in RE, now it’s time to turn our attention to the outside of the building! We will be replacing the rotten wood at the edges of the sliding and adding a trim to the building as a fix to the deteriorating wood we have. Since our issue is with the bottom of the boards, that’s what we’ll fix! We need people who can hammer, saw, measure, cut, & be cheerful- you don’t need to do but one of those things to be helpful!

We did not have enough people to hold the rebuild in April. Let’s hope we can gather together and get things done in JUNE!

Please add your name to the rebuilding committee on this site-

or you can add your name to the list that will be on the church bulletin board in the foyer.



Come to the Luau on June 7th from 5:00-9:00 at the Fellowship. Enjoy Hawaiian delights and wonderful entertainment by Ohana Mau Loa, a Hula and Tahitian dance company. Check them out at their website, Dress up in your favorite island wear. Tickets are available on our website, and on Sunday mornings beginning in May.


Any announcements not submitted may be added to this post at a later date and/or posted via other communication venues.  

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Religious Education for Children and Youth (May 2014)

Joanne Dingus  (Director of Religious Education)

Joanne Dingus
(Director of Religious Education)

submitted by Joanne Dingus

1.  “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” –Henry Brooks Adams
2.   “Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.” –Helen Caldicott, author and peace activist
3.  “Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience, and care.” –Horace Mann
 4.  “There’s no word in the language I revere more than ‘teacher.’ My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher, and it always has. I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming a teacher.” –Pat Conroy, Prince of Tides
5.  “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” –Mark Van Doren
6.   “The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.” –Anatole France
7.  “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” –Carl Jung
8.   “Whoever first coined the phrase ‘you’re the wind beneath my wings’ most assuredly was reflecting on the sublime influence of a very special teacher.” –Frank Trujillo
9.  “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less.” –Lee Iacocca
10.  “Be all that you can be. Find your future–as a teacher.” –Madeline Fuchs Holzer
I think you get the point! We are looking for people to help with the summer RE program and the fall through spring RE program. If you enjoy children or youth and would like to make a difference in their lives and yours, then volunteering to teach in one of our programs may be right for you.
This summer we will be offering three age group levels. Our 3-5 year olds will explore the theme, “Raiders of the Lost Arts” through picture books and crafts. Our elementary school children will follow more advanced lessons that were created by Jeannine Christensen. The middle and high school students will work from a UUA curriculum called Be the Change. This program gives Unitarian Universalist  youth a starting place for discussions about the role of race, identity and justice in living out their faith.
Information about our fall through spring courses will be available soon. If you would like to volunteer in the Children’s RE program please let me know and we can get you started creating your own quotes about teaching.
See you in the RE!
Posted in EDITION: May 2014, Youth and Young Adults | Leave a comment

Birthdays (May 2014)

Many Happy Returns to our UUFP members and friends who will be celebrating their birthdays in May!  They are:


Photographed by Andrew Millard

Roy Schilling 
Richard Hudgins 
Valerie Gecowets 
Joe Wilson 
Caroline Fureymoore 
Jerry Dingus, Sr. 
Dennis Shaw 
Dana Hamilton 
Cornell Burcher 
Bill Cotton
Janet Gecowets
Nickie Hirlinger Saylor

Brad Garbus
Gregory van der Veen
Sandra Engelhardt 
Ken Haggard 
John Bright 
Catherine van der Veen

If you have an April birthday that we’ve overlooked, please get in touch with UUFP Membership Chair Bobbie Schilling at:

Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_ca1857_retouchedRalph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1821, he took over as director of his brother’s school for girls. In 1823, he wrote the poem “Good-Bye.” In 1832, he became a Transcendentalist, leading to the later essays “Self-Reliance” and “The American Scholar.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose original profession and calling was as a Unitarian minister, left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. Emerson became one of America’s best known and best loved 19th century figures.


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Special Announcement: Annual Membership Meeting

Submitted by UUFP Office Administrator, Mary-Elizabeth

2014 Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula
Annual Membership Meeting:

MAY 18, 2014
After second service
UUFP Sanctuary
415 Young’s Mill Lane
Newport News VA 23602

Dear UUFP Members:
Working together we made the past year at the UUFP a year to remember. With Andrew continuing as our settled
minister, the new Office building in full operation, several new members and new programs, the coming year looks just as exciting.
We need your participation at the 2014 UUFP Annual Membership Meeting on May 18th to finalize our leadership and budget for this coming year.

 The agenda for this meeting is as follows:

 1. Nominations and elections
 2. Budget for the upcoming fiscal year
 3. Trustee Report

The Fellowship Annual Report will be available at the UUFP website as reports from Committees become available.
One hard copy will be produced and available in the Office.

Please plan to attend this critical meeting and use your privilege as a member to vote on important issues. See you there.

Alan Sheeler
UUFP President
by mec/FA

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Be a Part of Change You Can See!

Want to know how you can get involved in the local, healthy food movement in response to global climate change?  Want to enjoy one of our great potluck lunches?  What to learn more about the Earth’s most valuable and under-appreciated resource?  Then come to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula on Saturday, May 3rd and you can do just that!

Interfaith Power and LightBased on the Interfaith Power and Light resource, “Sow a Cool Harvest”, our Multigenerational Earth Day Project is a fun program for all ages that runs from 10am until 2pm and includes lunch and a movie!

Sow a Cool HarvestIn the morning (10am until noon), you’ll have a chance to visit various stations on a variety of topics: local plants; raised-bed gardening; composting and worm composting; beneficial insects; and more. Many thanks to Navigators USA, Chapter 58 and other dedicated volunteers for running these stations!

At noon we’ll begin our potluck lunch — please sign up here to let us know what you plan to bring — and we’ll continue learning about the wonder beneath our feet with Dirt! The Movie.

Dirt! The MovieDirt! takes a humorous and substantial look into the history and current state of the living organic matter from which we come and to which we shall return. It tells the story of Earth’s fertility — from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation, from the emerging appreciation of its beauty, power and wisdom to the mutually beneficial relationship we can have with soil.

We’ll wrap up our day (by 2pm) with a discussion of the movie and letters asking our legislators to promote sustainable farming, healthy food and good stewardship of the natural world on which we all depend.

Green SanctuaryIf you’re on Facebook, you can let us know you’re attending here and you can also contact Andrew or Joanne with questions.  Our thanks go to the UUFP’s Green Sanctuary Committee for their support of this Multigenerational Earth Day Project!

See you on May 3rd for a fun day of gardening, food and dirt!

Posted in Adult Religious Education, Announcements, Children's Religious Education, Classes, Climate Change, Navigators, Stewardship, Volunteerism, Youth and Young Adults | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alexander French: A Biography

Compiled by Steve Kadar, and edited by Alice Smith, from information provided by Al French himself.

picture courtesy of Al’s family

picture courtesy of
Al’s family

Rev. Andrew writes, “I’m told that, some years ago, Al French was once interviewed for a UUFP member biography that was to be run in The Flame.  It appears that the final version of the article may not have been published, however, and so, having remembered and celebrated Al’s life last Sunday, and with his family’s go-ahead, we’re posting it here now.”

~ ~

I was born on September 16, 1922 in a hospital on the lower east side of Manhattan.

My mother was acquainted with Margaret Sanger and was a member of her group of activists.  I sometimes speculated on the fact that the first Family Planning clinic was established in New York less than a year after I was born!

When I was about twelve, I got a job as a carpenter’s helper.  By the time I was sixteen I was taking flying lessons.  I graduated from high-school in 1941 and started the aeronautical engineering curriculum at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn that September.  I spent weekends visiting airports that I could get to by subway and bus.  Less than three months later the United States was at war…

picture courtesy of Al’s family

picture courtesy of
Al’s family

I applied for immediate induction into the Army Air Corps ground crew.  About two months later I was in the 133rd Engineer Combat Regiment in Ft. Lewis, Washington.  In Sicily I was in the weapons squad assigned to a machine gun set up for anti-aircraft fire.  What we thought was a German Dornier I recognized as a U.S. DC-3.  When I shouted “DC-3s, American planes, cease fire!” the captain told me to keep shooting or I would face courts martial charged with inciting mutiny and cowardice in the face of the enemy.  It turned out to be the “All American” division, the 82nd Airborne arriving to advance the attack.  I never received a pat on the back, an apology, or any recognition.

In 1949, I received my degree in Civil Engineering and was hired as an engineer trainee by the Bureau of Public Roads.  By the time I retired in 1980, it was the Federal Highway Administration in the Department of Transportation.  During those thirty years I had received a few awards for doing my job and contributing toward the Interstate Highway System.

I met Cynthia square dancing.  On one of our first dates I was intrigued and relieved to discover that Cynthia sometimes attended the Unitarian church where A. Powell Davies delivered his sermons.  The Washington Post often quoted Davies’ statements opposing “McCarthyism”.

picture courtesy of Al’s family

picture courtesy of
Al’s family

Cynthia and I built our first house in Fairfax County.  That was quite an engineering operation.  After retirement I researched family genealogy and the WWII records of our outfit.  I published History of the 40th Engineer Combat Regiment in WWII for the 40th Engineer National Association.  I also tried to establish a 40th Engineer website, which our son helped to get running.

~ ~

Rev. Andrew writes, “Here’s one more story that Al himself shared with me.  When Cynthia lived in Washington DC, her apartment was within walking distance of All Souls Church, Unitarian, where at the time the legendary A. Powell Davies was minister.  Cynthia would sometimes attend, and occasionally Al would go with her.  After settling in Annandale, she went to the UU Church of Arlington, later taking their children to Religious Education classes there, too.  Sometimes Al would help with events like yard sales.  After moving here to Newport News, both of them joined the Fellowship, becoming members in 2002, and so Al credits Cynthia with bringing him, at long last, to Unitarian Universalism.”

You can read Al’s obituary as published in the Daily Press here.

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Reconnecting, Remembering, Recommitting

For all that is our life! by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard

Hinei mah tov umah nayim, shevet achim gam yahad!
How rare it is, how lovely, this fellowship of those who meet together!
— Psalm 133

The house was alive with activity, from elders catching up on their news to children chasing one another through the doorways.  Those not assisting in the preparations would be shooed out of the kitchen, where the cooks were in a state of frenzy getting everything ready.  There were bowls of appetizers everywhere, to try to delay some of the impatience of hunger; olives were particularly popular.  And in what was otherwise the living room, every table and chair in the house had been gathered to make a long dining table with enough space for the whole family to sit down together.  It was Passover at my grandmother-in-law’s house in Philadelphia.

Soon after Allison and I were dating, she explained that my main introduction to her extended family would be in the Spring, at Passover.  We’d make the four hour drive, converging with others coming from New York and Massachusetts, from North Carolina and California.  There were aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents, making the trip for this annual event that had been a family tradition for generations.  It reminded me of the best of the holidays I’d enjoyed as a child, with a house full of life and love.  It even featured horseradish!

I’d first experienced a Passover seder at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, using a Unitarian Universalist version of the Haggadah, the text that is read to retell the story of the Hebrew’s liberation from Egypt.  The seder includes a communal meal, but specific foods are part of the ritual that accompanies the reading of the text, too: matzah, a cracker-like unleavened bread; hard-boiled eggs; green herbs like parsley; horseradish; and charoset, a chutney-like mixture of chopped fruits and nuts.  All of these have symbolic meanings that are drawn upon as the story is related, from the bread that the Hebrews didn’t have time to finish as they fled Egypt, to the clay they were forced in slavery to make into bricks.  Candles are lit and wine or grape juice is sipped in recognition of our blessings; songs are sung in both Hebrew and English; and children ask questions to find out the meaning of the seder.  Toward the end of the seder, the children play a game in which they try to find a hidden piece of matzah, and are then rewarded with dessert.

In an orthodox household, of course, there are many strict requirements to prepare for and observe Passover.  The house itself is to be cleaned thoroughly, which some suggest is the origin of “Spring cleaning”, and all leavened bread is to be removed.  Dietary rules go beyond the usual laws of kashrut, which is why you’ll see some products in the supermarket at this time of year specifically labeled as “kosher for Passover”.  Most non-orthodox Jewish households do not go to such lengths, but the seder is still important, not only as a chance to reconnect with loved ones, but as a way to remember an ancient story of liberation and hope and to recommit to a future of freedom, justice and peace for all.

We’ll observe Passover with a seder at the Fellowship this month.  It takes place the afternoon of Sunday, April 20th, starting at 4pm.  (We’ll begin reading the Haggadah, Oranges and Olives by UU Nancy Cronk, around five, with the meal itself about six, finishing everything by seven.)  We’ll provide the traditional Seder plate items, including matzoh, charoset and grape juice, but the meal itself is potluck, so please sign up at to let us know what you plan to bring or otherwise get in touch with me.  (We also need RSVPs to know how big a table to set for the communal meal!)  This is a family-friendly event, and everyone is welcome, so come be a part of this modern celebration of an ancient tradition!

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