Announcements (March 2015)

PORT Homeless Shelter 

UUFP will work at the PORT Homeless Shelter Friday evening, March 6, through Saturday morning, March 7. Volunteers needed for every shift. See Bobbie or Henry Sunday mornings between services to sign up.  Or you can email Bobbie at

(submitted by Bobbie Schilling)



March 1, 2015  –  Jeannine is presenting a book review on Sumerian author Enheduanna.

Regarded by literary and historical scholars as possibly the earliest known author and poet

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.

(submitted by Janet Gecowets)




Questions? Contact Rosalee Pfister at

(submitted by Bobbie Schilling)



Second Sunday Lunch
March 8th at 12:30 pm
UNO Pizzeria & Grill at Kiln Creek
5007 Victory Blvd.
Come join us for food and conversation. 
All are welcome!
Use a donation coupon and UNO’s will give UUFP 15 – 20 % of what you spend.
Donation coupons are available from Bobbie Schilling or pick one up at the
Second Sunday sign in the UUFP foyer.  If you are not able to come on March 8th,
the coupon is good all week March 8th – 15th.

Questions?  Contact Bobbie Schilling at

(submitted by Bobbie Schilling)



If you are over fifty we invite you to join us for an opportunity to become better acquainted with your peers.  We usually get together on the third Tuesday of each month at 12:30 in the church office.  Please call Esther at 369-1858 so that we can reserve a place for you at our friendly table, and know what you would like to bring to the pot-luck.

Questions? Contact Esther Sherman at


Bellydance Bargain Bazaar

Yes, it is that time of year for another bellydance-themed rummage sale!  On Saturday, March 7, 2015, Treasures in the Sand Mid-Eastern Dance Troupe will be hosting a Bellydance Bargain Bazaar and Hafla at the UUFP.  Shopping is free and open to all; please encourage your friends to come!  After those final deals have been made, we’ll have a dance show. Families are welcome.  For more info or to request vending spaces or dance slots please contact the troupe via e-mail at or find TREASURES SAND on Facebook.

Bellydance Classes

New “Skills and Drills” classes for all levels of dancers are starting in March!  These will focus on exercise through Mid-Eastern dance combinations done with an emphasis on correct posture and having fun.  Classes will run on Mondays from 5:30 – 6:15 pm, March 16 – April 27, with an optional field trip to Rosalita’s to see instructor Jeylan perform on Monday, March 30.  The cost is $45 due at the first class.  Questions or concerns may be directed to Rachel at  Ladies of all shapes, sizes, and abilities are encouraged to give it a try!


Black History Study Group  –  Facilitated by Allison Black

 The third Saturday of each month at 2 PM starting March 21 in the CAUM room.

The Black History Study Group is a monthly discussion group dedicated to examining black history (and current events involving race), which is much deeper and more complex than allowed for by the one month we usually give to black history.  This discussion group will be a venue for members of the congregation to become more informed about race, including the racist history of the United States, the history of different communities in the United States, to the roots and impact of current events.  The group will also encourage discussion of the experience and history of other minority communities in the United States.


As UU’s we can make a difference!!



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

Posted in 2015, EDITION: March 2014 | Leave a comment

A Place to Belong and Flourish

We recently heard from former UUFP member Nicole Lorsong, who was thrilled to receive a care package we recently sent to her family.  Before they moved to Oregon last November, Nicole gave the following testimonial one Sunday morning.  ACM

I’m sorry in advance if this testimonial is a bit rough, both because I’m probably going to cry through the whole thing, and because I’ve never done a testimonial like this before.  I’ve never been a member of of a place like this before.  I’ve never had a place to belong to.

Nicole LorsongI started coming to the Fellowship in the Spring of 2013, shortly after moving to Virginia, not even exactly sure what a Unitarian Universalist was.  I was in a transitional period in my life, having gone from working full-time to stay-at-home mom, living hours away from the family and friends I grew up with, and knowing I needed somewhere to find a sense of safety and belonging.  Something drew me here, and safety and belonging are exactly what I found.

When I told family back home that I’d started going to church, I got some funny looks.  I think the word “church” has a certain connotations, at least for some people, as somewhere you to go to be told what to believe, what to do, what is right and wrong.  Anyone who knows me knows I don’t take too well to being told what to do.  But that’s not what this place is about.  It’s about wondering, learning, sharing and working together.  It’s about acceptance and love.

Because of what this Fellowship is, my two children and I have grown so much in our short time as members here.  I’ve grown in confidence, in spirit, and in community.  Just over a year ago I did a short presentation for the Policy Board about Navigators, and I shook like a leaf and barely got through it.  However, they trusted me with the project, and everyone here has been so supportive, and your confidence in me has built confidence in myself.  Now here I am speaking in front of all of you for the second time this month.  Even family and friends who don’t attend the Fellowship have mentioned what a positive effect being a member here has had on me.  I’ve done things this year, outside of the Fellowship, that I’ve never done before, and I credit this place, in supporting my baby steps in courage in walking through the doors, saying, “Hey, it’s safe here.  Maybe I can try these other things, too.”

For my kids, at the last retreat Rev. Andrew asked me, “Remember when B— [that’s my six year old] would barely say anything?” and I had to reply, “Yeah, now how do we get her to be quiet?”  When we first came they clung to my legs, but now they run off to bother Joanne or some other adult.  They know that here they are safe and welcomed and loved, and it feels like a second home.

That confidence and feeling of safety and growth extends into my spiritual life, too.  I had the seeds of a spiritual life before I came to the Fellowship, but here they’ve really been safe to flourish.  I feel like, especially for people in my age group, though maybe this is true across the board, it’s tough to be one who is genuinely curious and joyful about the world and life.  There’s just so much apathy and cynicism.  But here, a piece of each sermon feels like it connects with something in me and creates a peaceful wondering; I can sing “Spirit of Life” and feel the energy in the room; my kids can talk about the magic of seeing the stars; an act of service can be an act of spirit — and I don’t have to feel shy about or alone in sharing these feelings, because I’m among open-minded and open-hearted friends, many of whom probably feel the same way.

Finally, the community here has just been amazing.  I don’t know how to begin to express my appreciation for all the welcoming, open arms, the smiling faces, the outpouring of support when it’s needed.  Most of my and my children’s best friends we met here.  It’s not just a place for Sunday morning services, but also for so much of our social life and activities.  Just yesterday B—, my nine year old, shared a birthday party here with one of his best friends from RE.

There’s a part of one of my favorite quotes, from Starhawk, which I think sums up the ways I’ve grown in community here, and the safety and belonging I’ve felt, which has bled into all other parts of my life.  It goes, “Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done.  Arms to hold us when we falter.  A circle of healing.  A circle of friends.  Someplace where we can be free.”  That’s the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula to me.  Thank you for letting me be a part of it.

Posted in Member Testimonial, Navigators | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UUFP Pipe Burst and Flood!

Brandy Bergenstock

Brandy Bergenstock

Written by Brandy Bergenstock, Buildings Committee Chair

The extreme winter weather in February has left its mark on the Fellowship. We had a pipe burst on Saturday, Feb. 21st. How it happened: UUFP President, Alan Sheeler had arrived early to heat up the building in preparation for the snow shovelers coming to make sure our walkways and parking lot were fit for visitors that Sunday. He turned the heat on around eleven and went to lunch, arriving back at the Fellowship around noon, and that’s when he saw it; in just the span of an hour, a burst pipe from behind the kitchen cabinet, to the left of the dishwasher, had filled the entire kitchen, the left side of the foyer half-way to the library, filling the left side of the Sanctuary, bleeding down to the closets, under the podium, and then curling back out of the hymnal closet.

It was another forty-five minutes until the shut-off valve was discovered and the water stopped spewing into the building. It was from this tragedy that our congregation sprang into action. Within an hour of notification on social media, our congregation had ten percent of its members show up and clean, mop, empty closets, dry vac, move furniture, bring treats, set-up fans and generally step into action supporting each other and the sanctuary building.

It’s in times of need like these that we see the full strength of our congregation’s caring nature.  Even more people called and emailed the next day to find out what they could do to help out; bringing dehumidifiers and more fans to aid in the drying process.

Thank you to these people who were able to come out and lend a hand, and Saturday and Sunday – Alan S., Arik R., Tori R. Jeannine C., Athena K., Ezra M., Dan M., Nickie, John, Rayven H., Ken Haggard, Robert D., Randy P., Lin C., Parker S., Gayle Phillips, Greg G., Janet G., Angie, Marcy S., Connie Keller, Amy H. and Rev. Andrew.  And thank you to UUFP Administrator Mary-Elizabeth Cotton who has been working behind the scenes to call the insurance company  :)


All images captured from UUFP Facebook page. (by Andrew & Brandy)

flood8 flood7 flood6 flood5 flood4 FLOOD2 FLOOD1


Posted in 2015, EDITION: March 2014 | 2 Comments

Birthdays (March 2015)

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

Flowers from Lake Burnt Mills, photographed by Dean Ceran

Flowers from Lake Burnt Mills, photographed by Dean Ceran

Alan Sheeler
Jake Strom
Ann Taylor
Susan Schneider 
Maggie Fureymoore
Adam Balsley
Andrew Millard
Tret Fure
Daniel Moore
John Toth
Parker Stokes
Jerry Dingus, Jr. 
Arthur Fynsk

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

Louise Whitfield Carnegie

Louise Whitfield Carnegie

Louise Whitfield Carnegie (March 7, 1857 – June 24, 1946) was the wife of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Daughter of New York City merchant John D. Whitfield, Louise was born in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan. On April 22, 1887 she married Carnegie at her family’s home in New York City in a private ceremony officiated by a pastor from the Church of the Divine Paternity, a Universalist church to which the Whitfields belonged.

Posted in 2015, Birthdays, EDITION: March 2014 | Leave a comment

UUA Certification (annual)

facebook pic (2)

Mary-Elizabeth, Fellowship Administrator

Submitted by Mary-Elizabeth, Fellowship Administrator

Statistically Speaking

Certification to the UUA is required on an annual basis by February 1 (this year since February 1 was a Sunday, certification was due February 2.)  … Just for fun:  Here are some designations for each of those dates that you may or may not know about.

February 1 is:

National Freedom Day

National Baked Alaska Day

And… National Serpent Day

February 2 is:

Of course National Groundhog Day

But also National Heavenly Hash Day….

And…who comes up with these, anyway??

But back to statistics:

The following was the information certified to the UUA this year.

Number of members: 154 (last year was 163)
RE Enrollment: 50
Pledging Units: 113
Pledging Income: $170,313 (last year was $159,844)
Average Weekly Attendance: 85
Total Expenditures: $192.540 (Last year was $180,326)
Fiscal Year Starts: July 1
The congregation’s mailing address was confirmed as:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula
13136 Warwick Blvd
Newport News, VA 23602
United States

The congregation’s meeting address was confirmed as:
415 Young’s Mill Lane
Newport News, VA 23602
United States

Contact information:
Telephone: (757) 369-1098
Fax: none
Web Page:

Congregation is wheelchair accessible.  Congregation provides listening assistance.

Posted in 2015 | Tagged | 1 Comment

RE NEWS by Joanne Dingus


I just read an article on how to keep our former youth connected when they head off to college or to start a new job. One of the things they recommended was to send care packages. We have been doing this for several years now. And I know for a fact that they are always appreciated. This Sunday, The Got Kids Group will be packing up goodies to send to college students and to our deployed military friends. If you would like to contribute, please bring in shippable items this Sunday.  If you know someone who would like to receive one of our care packages bring us their name and mailing address.

Holding multigenerational events is another great way to keep people of all ages connected to our Fellowship. On April 4th, the RE Committee is sponsoring a workshop day where people of all ages can learn from each other. The event will run from 10:00am-3:00pm with a potluck lunch in the middle. We will set up different stations indoors and out where people can share their hobbies and skills.

We need teachers and participants. If you have a hobby or skill that you would like to share with others, please let Joanne know. Some ideas might be knitting, crocheting, playing an instrument, changing the oil in a car. You may know a sport like soccer, volleyball, kickball, hacky-sac, jump rope). Or maybe you like arts and crafts, drawing, water color, collage, quilting, photography. Do you speak another language, have a special computer skill, or want to share your knowledge of local history? Children might show off their Lego building skills or give tips on how to win a popular video game. These would all make great workshops. People of all ages have special interests that are worth sharing.

Don’t want to teach? Quench your curious spirit! Participants should come ready to learn something new or improve on something they’ve already started to learn. There will be something for everyone.

Lunch will be served from 12:00-1:00. Please bring a dish to share that’s allergy friendly. Workshops will be held for one or two hour slots depending on the activity. There will be a sign-up sheet in the foyer.

Posted in Uncategorized

Seminarian in the City

from Student Minister, Chris Hockman

I’m happy to be back home to Virginia and the UUFP after 24 days in Chicago doing my on-site coursework at Meadville Lombard Theological School. The weather was merciful this year, with temperatures above freezing most days and almost no snow!


January Convocation at Meadville Lombard Theological School

The festivities begin with January convocation – a two-day gathering of the student body, faculty and teaching pastors (this is what Rev. Andrew is called in Meadville terminology). The theme of convocation, “Change and Resilience,” was all about the possibilities for leading Unitarian Universalism through the changes and challenges of the 21st century. A group of more than 180, we worshiped together and took in presentations from faculty and students.

My first week of classes began with New Testament and Christian Origins. In this course we learned about the many ways Christian scripture can be relevant, useful and inspiring – even to UUs! We also dove into the fascinating work that modern biblical scholars and interpreters are producing. One of the livelier moments was when we reenacted the Council of Nicea, debating which books should be included in the biblical canon. I portrayed a delegate from Lyons, who was not too fond of the Gospel of Thomas, but held Revelation in high regard. Arguing for Revelation, in all of its hellfire and brimstone glory, was an interesting experience – to say the least!

My second-week class on preaching was taught by Rev. Dr. Bill Schulz, a former UUA President and current President of the UU Service Committee. I must admit that preaching before a famous UU leader was a bit nerve-wracking, but I survived pretty well, and he was kind and supportive – yet direct. We all preached twice during the week, with the goal of showing improvement between the first sermon and the second. I was blown away by the preaching of several of my classmates, who had us all enthralled and sometimes in tears. It’s really inspiring to get a sneak-preview of some great future ministers.

Week three was UU History and Polity class, which included some great lecturers, including Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed speaking about the UU Black Empowerment Movement of the late 1960s. We also got a visit (via video recording) from Virginia’s own Rev. David Hicks MacPherson, speaking on the history of Universalism! I gave a short presentation on the history for the UUFP. My classmates were surprised to hear about an integrated congregation – in both membership and leadership – being founded in the South during the segregation era. It’s a history to be proud of.

Our class also reenacted the heresy trial of Michael Servetus, a Reformation-era questioner of the Trinity who was burned at the stake for his unorthodox interpretation of scripture. Fortunately I got to argue on the side of saving Servetus, who has been claimed as a Unitarian forefather. This proved much easier than arguing for Revelation.


First Unitarian Church of Chicago

Outside of class, one highlight was attending Sunday service at First Unitarian Church of Chicago in Hyde Park. It’s one of the few, if not the only, Unitarian-constructed cathedral. Built in the 1920s, it is a stunning sanctuary, although I imagine the heating bill is enormous!

After an incredibly busy and stimulating month, I’m really glad to be home at UUFP. Thanks for supporting me on this exciting path toward professional ministry!

Posted in Uncategorized