Mary-Elizabeth Cotton Fellowship Administrator

Mary-Elizabeth Cotton
Fellowship Administrator

submitted by Mary-Elizabeth 

…an easy way to pay

Like any church, we need funds to support our general operations, in summer keeping the A/C on, the grass cut, etc.  In winter we need heat and year round we need water, kitchen supplies, office supplies – not to mention the minister’s salary and staff compensation  – all those things it takes to run a church.  Even so, the operational budget is stretched thin and this year items were either cut or left stagnant.  This doesn’t support the growth that the congregation yearns for.

We may feel as if we have a “new building” given how nice the inside of the Sanctuary is with renovations and a new look after the burst pipe. That’s a good feeling and everyone is enjoying the new ambience. However, there are two major concerns with the building that should be addressed as soon as possible – the need for a new roof and a new HVAC system.  The HVAC may be the original (I was told by representatives of companies from whom I requested estimates a couple years ago that they are 25-30 years old.)  The roof has leaked more than once, with “bandaid” fixes.  We do have a capital fund but it won’t stretch far enough for these needs.

Finally, we have several outreach programs we support either directly or indirectly through “Share the Basket”.  Through the leadership of our Student Minister Chris we are considering embarking on another exciting outreach program – our nearby neighbors The Boys’ & Girls’ Club.  To support these worthy causes takes our volunteer work as well as our donations of money.

Nearly all of us do our finances, banking, and bill paying online. Support of your religious home, your community, your extended family can be done easily the same way.  If you go to our web site uufp.org and click on “Members” at the top (but you don’t have to be a member), then “Pay Your Pledge” in the drop down, it will take you to a page where you can make one-time payments for pledges, for the building fund, for the groups we support, or the Endowment Fund.  You can even set up automatically recurring payments to any of these.  This saves you from remembering a check on Sunday.  You can also pay with a credit card – earning points if you have that kind of card which most are these days.

With our busy lives it is easy to forget a check on Sunday or to mail one during the week; it is easy to forget the needs of our own extended “family” – our church – as well as those of our adopted groups.  Vanco, the company that processes these online payments makes it easy to keep up with a pledge, help out with the needs of the congregation or those of our outreach programs.  Check it out and see!  “Set it and forget it” as they say, and you’ll know you’re doing your part.


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

Many parents dread that age when their child starts asking “Why?”  Not because they don’t want their child to be curious, but because whatever the answer, it usually leads to another “Why?” until the final answer, out of frustration, is something like “Because I said so!”  (The theological problem that answer represents is a topic for another time…)  Olivia hasn’t reached that phase yet, but she certainly asks plenty of other questions and I know it’s just a matter of time!

While it’s a phase that’s usually outgrown within a few years, the question still sticks with us throughout our lives.  And “why” is distinct from the other question words: “what”, “where”, “when” and “who” often have concrete answers, and in fact the rule of thumb for announcing an event is to include those answers as the most important details.  Even “how”, though more open-ended and subject to interpretation than the others, often has a direct answer.  But “why” seems to aim so much deeper, so much bigger.

We usually ask “Why?” in the wake of something going wrong, whether it’s merely unexpectedly unpleasant or an outright calamity.  Sometimes we mean “How did this happen?” but often we mean “How could this happen?” or “For what purpose did this happen?”  There’s a temptation to analyze all of the possible causes, to find out everything about what happened and who was involved, whether or not that information is actually relevant.  Given that, it also lends itself to abstraction, to consider the problem or the disaster from a distance as it if were a thought experiment rather than actually engaging with its reality.

Two weeks ago, a man killed nine people at “Mother” Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in what was both a hate crime and an act of terrorism.  Thanks to our culture’s habit of deliberating “Why?” from the safety of our sofas, though, much more air-time has been given to talking about him and his background and his motives than either honoring those he killed — the Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, the Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, the Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, the Reverend Daniel Simmons, Myra Thompson — or doing anything substantive when it comes to mental health, gun violence or racism.  (Removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol and other public property is a start.  It’s one step, and an important one given that the flag has always represented a belief in white supremacy, but there are still many more steps that we need to take.)

I’m happy to report, then, that I spent an hour earlier today on a conference call organized by Standing Up for Racial Justice (or SURJ) on the topic of “White Faith Leaders Against Black Church Burnings”.  (SURJ describes itself as “a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice.”)  There were more than four hundred people on the call, representing a variety of faiths.  (It turned out that everyone in the break-out group for Virginia was a Unitarian Universalist, but I attribute that to the power of our social media networks in getting the word out about an event that was only just planned yesterday!)  Rather than agonizing over the “why” of the spate of fires at black churches since the shooting at Mother Emanuel, we learned about the actions that are being taken by white communities of faith to stand in solidarity with AME and other black churches nationwide, the financial resources that are being offered to the churches that have been burned, the education and training that is taking place on building justice ministries, the “rapid response teams” that are forming to help white people show up in support of black communities, and the rallies that are taking place this month both in North Carolina in support of voting rights and in South Carolina in opposition to white supremacist groups.

While a certain amount of information must be gathered to make decisions about what to do, we always need to be wary of succumbing to “analysis paralysis”, where asking “Why?” becomes an end unto itself rather than ever moving onto the question “What will we do?”  Let’s ensure that every conversation we have is genuinely preparation for action, rather than simply a substitute for it.


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A Symbol For Who We Are


Submitted by Rayven Holmes

Symbols have power.  This is something we all know to be true.  No matter what it is, from symbols of love and peace to those of war and hate.  Symbols have the power to evoke reactions in each of us without using a single word.  UU’s have a symbol, the flaming chalice.  It’s supposed to be our guide in our world full of darkness it burns brightly to show us the way forward.  There are thousands of chalice designs online.  Some have even graced our website, the order of service, and special event flyers.  While those chalices are beautifully done and they do let people know we’re Unitarian Universalist, what they don’t tell is who we are.  It’s the symbol of our faith and yet UUFP doesn’t have its own unique chalice design.  We lack a symbol of our own that says to the world we are the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula and we’re here to shine our light of love and acceptance on the world.


What is a congregation without its own chalice design to do?

So, what do we do?  We create one, of course.  Through the month of July, UUFP will be hosting a logo design contest.  Who can enter?  Anyone, who feels so lead, to create a design just for UUFP.


Are you excited about the possibility of going down in UUFP history as the first person to design our logo?  Yes?  Fantastic!  While your creative juices start flowing let’s go over some basics, alright?


  1. The submission deadline is August 1st, 2015 if you are mailing your submission in, it must be postmarked August 1st.  You can:
    1. Email a JPEG or PDF of your design to: communications@uufp.org OR
    2. Mail your design to:                                                                                                           Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula                                                              ℅ Communications Committee                                                                                           13136 Warwick Blvd                                                                                                     Newport News VA 23602
  2. The design must be an original and unique chalice design.  Entries will be run through a Google Image Search to ensure they are originals.
  3. Mailed submissions must be on paper no larger than 8.5×11.
  4. If your design is chosen all rights are given to UUFP in its use and reproduction.
  5. Designs submitted by the deadline will be given to the UUFP Board for them to vote on the top three designs that best reflect UUFP.
  6. The chosen designs will then be displayed in the sanctuary for two weeks.  Allowing the congregation to vote for the design that will be turned into our logo.


It’s simple, but none of it can happen without your designs. So, go on!

Create! Inspire!

And leave your mark on the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula.


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RE NEWS by Joanne Dingus

Joanne Dingus  (Director of Religious Education)

Joanne Dingus
(Director of Religious Education)

RE News

By Joanne Dingus

I recently went to my son’s college orientation at CNU. And I noticed some things there that I think I can bring back to the children’s RE program.

First, it was very welcoming. From the second we made the turn toward the parking garage there were volunteers smiling and waving and pointing us toward and open space.

They were extremely well organized. There were tents set up alphabetically for students to sign in and drop their bags off. And vans set up to deliver their belongings to the dorm they would stay in that night.

There was a separate set of tables for parents to sign in at and they were prepared with nametags and information packets.

When we went into the auditorium for the first session, student crew leaders were holding up signs to tell students where to sit and there was an overall atmosphere of energy and enthusiasm. Presenters were filled with CNU spirit. Their excitement continued throughout the two days, even when parents were getting weary, volunteers and staff were on their game.

The sessions were consistently informative and always allowed time for questions from parents. Overall, I felt there was a strong sense of preparedness. Not just for the orientation but for all aspects of student life. They had really spent time thinking about the needs of college students and had created and put systems in place to address those needs. 

I left there feeling confident and happy that my son was about to be part of a community that would embrace him, inspire him and guide him through an incredible learning experience and into a bright and successful future.

I’ve been doing the work I do, for a long time now. And it would be pretty easy to shift into auto pilot. But I know I can and we can do better than that. Carrying the ideas from CNU’s orientation with me as I head into my sixteenth year as Director of Religious Education at the UUFP, I will strive to be more welcoming, organized, prepared, informed and enthusiastic. My hope is to help all our members and visitors feel embraced, inspired and guided through learning and life in our community at the UUFP.


See You in the RE!

Posted in 2015, EDITION: July 2015 | 1 Comment

Birthdays (July 2015)

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

Photo submitted by Andrew Millard

Photo submitted by Andrew Millard

Henry Chambers
Carey Hall
Robert Higinbotham (Marcy’s son)
Jesse Robertson
Ada Van Tine
Brittany Welch
Rich Glenn-Albiez
Mayah Moore
Aurora Hagstrom
John Templeton
Isabella Strom
Olivia Millard
Dawn Hutchinson
Sally Thomas
Gabrielle Bevins
Anna Carlson
Brad Harper
Connie Ralston
Lucy Van Tine
Leonard Schneider  

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

William Townsend PHEIFFER

William Townsend PHEIFFER

William Townsend Pheiffer (July 15, 1898 – August 16, 1986) was an American lawyer, Republican politician and diplomat. He was a Representative from New York in the 77th Congress and ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

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Announcements (July 2015)


July 5, 2015

We will be discussing:  Deities associated with Freedom and Overcoming Obstacles

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 Sunday after 2nd service (about 12:15 pm)  

Where: In the Annex Building    Why:  potluck, fellowship and fun.

Childcare can be provided with advance notification.

Please contact goddesscircle@uufp.org with any questions.

(submitted by Janet Gecowets)



July 12:  2nd Sunday Lunch
12:30 pm after 2nd service
BUFFET CITY in the Denbigh Village Shopping Center
on the corner of Warwick Blvd. & Denbigh Blvd.
Join us for food, fun, and conversation!  All are welcome!
If more than 10 people show up, we will all get a 10% discount!
We will meet in the back Banquet Room.
Brad & Chere Harper will meet you there.
Questions?  Contact Bobbie Schilling secondsundaylunch@uufp.org

(submitted by Bobbie Schilling)




Questions? Contact Esther Sherman at fiftyandbetter@uufp.org.


 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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Sunday Services (July 2015)

Services for July 2015 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula

theme: Holy Questions

Rev. Andrew Clive MillardServices include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard unless otherwise noted.

July 5th: “Who Are You?” (Jn 1:19)

Sometimes, before you can find the right answers, you need to ask the right questions.  This month’s sermons follow a series of questions addressing fundamental matters of identity, desire, kinship and purpose.  We begin by considering who we understand ourselves to be and how we figure that out.  As Judy Garland put it, “Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.”

July 12th: “What Are You Looking For?” (Jn 1:38)

Christina HockmanIt is often said that life is about the journey, not the destination.  But yet, we often find ourselves seeking the things, people and situations we believe will fulfill us, only to be disappointed.  What are the costs of our searching?  Is there another way?

Christina Hockman is the UUFP’s student minister.  She is a resident of Virginia and a member of First Unitarian in Richmond.  Currently a student at Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chris is in training to become a Unitarian Universalist minister.

July 19th: “Who Is My Neighbor?” (Lk 10:29)

Alice SmithWhen Jesus was asked this question, he responded with a story that became known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Does the parable continue to speak to us today, two thousand years later?

As a member of the Sunday Services Committee and a participant of “Sharing the Pulpit” led by Chris Hockman and Joanne Dingus, Alice Smith accepts the challenge of leading services.  She has facilitated Fellowship Circles since their beginning at the UUFP, and has served on the Membership Committee and co-taught Adult RE classes, but this is her first time to preach!

July 26th: “What Then Must We Do?” (Lk 3:10)

We conclude our sermon series for the month with the title of an 1886 work of non-fiction by Leo Tolstoy, better known as the author of War and Peace.  Addressing poverty, greed and other barriers to a healthy society, Tolstoy offers a vision of a way of life that would turn the privileged from exploitation to service.

The choice of topic for this service was won in last year’s Auction by Connie Keller.

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