August 17, 2023

Click here to view The Happenings in full

This Sunday at VUU


"Back to School Blessings"

As the metro area sends kids back to school (some almost a month ago as schools begin year round calendars) Rev. Sarah offers blessings to all who are going to school or working in schools (and colleges/universities!) 

She’ll explore how all of us at VUU might best support our students and those who work with them–how this faith community can act as an anchor when school communities may be challenging for a variety of reasons. 

Rebecca Riggs joins Rev. Sarah as Worship Associate. Katie Seifferth, Director of Music Ministries, and Christy Vest, pianist, lead our music.


This Sunday we will not be "Zooming."  We will stream the service live on YouTube and then open the Zoom room after service for folks to connect and get your feedback.

We continue to problems with Zoom and want to see if moving to YouTube resolves these issues. We haven't decided if this is a permanent change. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Join us on YouTube 10:30 Sunday


  • 8:30a Dalai Lama and Friends
  • 10:30a Children and Youth Faith Formation


PreK - 1st graders: Rainbow Principles with Leo Lionni (includes a story and a craft) 

2nd - 5th graders: Avatar the Last Airbender, UU Values through the lens of the popular kids TV show   

6th-12th graders: 30 Days, watch and discuss the show by Morgan Spurlock (who also did the popular movie Supersize Me) 

Water fun day is coming Sunday, Sept 3. Fall classes start Sunday, Sept 10. 


8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

In person: Board Room

note new location!

Via Zoom here

To help with Sunday morning hospitality, click here.

VUU Happenings

Love is our doctrine · Service is our prayer · Justice is our calling

See Articles Below For

VUU Updates

New Participants

Joys and Concerns

Fellowship and Social Activities



Music Ministries

Children/Youth Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation

Caring Ministries

East Valley UU (EVUU) Happenings

Social and Environmental Justice

Sunday Morning Teams



UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association)

Submit to the Happenings

Partner Organizations

UU Justice Arizona

Valley Interfaith Project

Adams Elementary


Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram


Thursday, August 17

  • East VUU Coord. Mtg. 10:30a
  • Religious Exploration 12p
  • Finance Committee 5:30p
  • Spectrum Connection Circle 6p
  • Worship Assoc. Meeting 6:30p
  • Page Turners Book Club 6:30p

Friday, August 18

Saturday, August 19

  • New Participants Luncheon 11

Sunday, August 20

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Faith Formation 10:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • UUJAZ Coffee Convo 12:00p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45
  • Spotted OWL Orientation 12:45

Monday, August 21

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30
  • Facilities Committee Mtg. 6p

Tuesday, August 22

  • EVUU Women's Group 12:45p
  • Men's Group 7:00p

Wednesday, August 23

  • DnD Games 5:30p
  • CCL & EAT Meeting 6p
  • AlAnon 7:00p

Thursday, August 24

  • EVUU Gathering 5:30p
  • Board Meeting 5:30p
  • Facilities Committee 6p

Friday, August 25

  • Singles Dinner Out 6:30p

Saturday, August 26

Sunday, August 27

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Faith Formation 10:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Spotted OWL Class 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p

Click here for the most current calendar, to view locations, contact information details for above events

Save the Date: Celebration of Life for Debbie Dinyes 11/11/2023 2-4 p.m.  

Interested in helping with hospitality and refreshments? Contact Rev. Sarah

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

The VUU Staff met this week to go over the year ahead of us, planning our calendar of activities. We will also be reviewing the previous year. We’d love to hear from committees about your plans for the year so we can make sure our planning is collaborative and supportive and avoid accidental overlaps in planning. Send us an email with the dates and activities you have planned or hope to plan! Even if your plans don’t require physical space at VUU, we’d like to have a master calendar that shows us what’s happening in our community. Also, please look at the calendar and notice when other things are scheduled, and also if there are activities on the calendar that are no longer relevant.  

We had a great presentation about VIP last weekend, and our OWL class (lifespan sexuality) for 8th and 9th graders began with 17 participants! Parents (I am one of them!) are also finding time to connect and share while their kids are in the class. This next weekend we have more OWL programming beginning. As a parent and as a minister, I am grateful for the multigenerational community at VUU.

Recently I met with Trinity Donovan, CEO of AZCEND, to learn more about their work. As you may know, AZCEND runs the I-HELP affiliate work here in Chandler which provides temporary shelter for folks in need of housing. They have many other programs that address the needs of individuals and families in our community. As a result, I applied to serve on their board and was accepted. I am currently the only faith leader that will be serving on their board and I hope to bring deeper connections and partnerships to our shared work in this community. I will be attending an orientation and my first board meeting this month.  

We have important partnerships in this community that engage us in direct service, volunteering, advocacy, and organizing. Deepening my connection to these partnerships and inviting more of you into vital roles with them is one of the ways we live our values and broaden our organizational capacity. I look forward to sharing with you as I learn more about our community, our shared challenges, and the opportunities we have to learn, grow and serve together.  

Rev. Sarah

New participants


New Participant

Welcome Luncheon

Saturday, August 19 11-1


New to UU? New to VUU? Want to meet new folks at VUU? Never got around to joining and now you’re thinking about it? 

Start your path to membership! 

Join us for lunch, a short introduction to Unitarian Universalism, and a chance to ask your burning questions!

Save the date: Next class for new participants will be Sept 2 9a-1p.

VUU Updates

Introducing Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson 

Conflict Engagement and Learning Consultant for VUU

Hello, VUU! My name is Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson (or “Sam”) and I will be serving as your consultant for conflict engagement and restorative practices at VUU this year! 

I’ve been invited by your Board, Minister, and Committee on Shared Ministry, with support from your Special Funds Committee, to accompany you as we explore our personal and congregational relationships to conflict, harm, healing, and accountability. Our work will include Sunday services, a workshop, small group ministry, coaching, and direct facilitation in support of conflict transformation. The heart of our work is building the skills, practices, experiences, and relationships that allow us to do conflict differently – in ways that help us be a people who know how to “harm less, and heal more.” 

This video is an introduction to me and my work, as well as our work together. More information will come to you in September with opportunities to be engaged in this process. I look forward to our time together!

With care, Sam

BSA Youth Program and Alternatives

On Saturday, August 12, VUU hosted a Zoom meeting to discuss the proposal to form a scouting program here at VUU for elementary aged youth and their families. Rev. Sarah, Marci Beaudoin, and Mark Foote provided background on the recommendation to create a BSA unit, and discussed some other programs available. Thank you to Mary Wolf-Francis for moderating, and all who attended.

We invite everyone to listen to the meeting recording here.

The Board will take up this issue at their 8/24/2023 meeting and would like your input.  Please email the board here. Thank you to all who already took the time to provide your perspective.  

Mark Foote, VUU Board President

East Valley UU (EVUU)

Social Night

August 24 6:30p

M V Pita

1006 N Power Rd, Mesa

We have a large room, room for all!

Adult Faith Formation

Beloved Conversations: Within is back for another term of deep learning, community building, and anti-racist spiritual transformation! Our Within programs are structured into two different racially caucused courses, in recognition of the different spiritual needs and learning goals of people with different experiences of race and racism in our world: 

Gathering Our Selves I and Gathering Our Selves II are our programs designed by and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC+) and Un/Learning for Liberation is our program for white people. 

Both courses will include:

 • Six, bi-weekly, online Lessons, done at your own pace, using videos, music, and readings, accompanied by reflection prompts and suggested conversations with a Critical Friend chosen by the participants;

 • Six bi-weekly small group conversations in a Learning Pod;

 • And three larger, monthly, facilitated Meaning-Making Sessions on Zoom.

Our program runs two full terms of unique programming- Fall and Spring- so if you have already taken one term, join us again for a whole new experience of ongoing learning and deepening! Scholarships are available by emailing us at Learn more and register through August 31st at 

CPR & First Aid Certification Training

Saturday, September 9th, 9 am - 12 pm

(An afternoon session will be offered when this 1st session fills)

Valley UU Congregation

Education complex, Room 8

Training is open to adults and middle/high school youth

Fee: $25 per person  

No cost for Faith Formation teachers, nursery workers & classroom assistants. Childcare available with advance request (see form)

Click here to Register

Help Wanted

VUU Tech Booth Wants YoUU!

We are looking for individuals who can spare the time to learn and help us operate equipment for worship on Sundays. Experience is not required, but is welcome.

You will be needed at 8:30 AM on the Sunday(s) you choose to volunteer. Service runs until 11:45 AM. We may ask for your help during special events by request.

For more information and to volunteer, click here.

UUA / Denominational Affairs

Read More about the UUA and Article II Changes

UUs across the land voted in June to forward the proposed Article II changes to next year's General Assembly for a vote. The discussion continues in our congregations and hundreds of others. Views vary greatly... read and hear more about the process, the pros, and the cons.

From the Study Commission (Video)

After General Assembly ... UUism is at Risk (Video)   

Article II Study Commission Report (PDF) 

Environmental Action Team (EAT)

VUU Environmental Action Team (EAT)


Date:    Monday, August 21st

Time:   6:30pm

Place: ZOOM Link

Please join the Environmental Action Team to continue our discussion of strategy and direction as we move into a new year. As climate change continues to capture headlines all over our country, we must recognize its impact on all of us and on the most vulnerable in our community. Our goal is to respond on multiple levels through education, actions and advocacy.


We will continue planning for team actions and specifically for our planned “I Love the Earth Day” celebration October 1st. We will also hear an update from our very busy solar team regarding its progress with various inquiries for solar installation at VUU. 


We welcome the voices of all Valley UU Congregants into the discussion, so please plan to attend - we need everyone’s input to address the effects of our warming world.

For more information, please email Sandy W. or Denise M. Thank you!

VUU is celebrating Earth Day... in the Fall!

Sunday, October 1

In the sanctuary after the morning service

As we leave behind an extreme summer and move into a season of life-sustaining temperatures and regeneration, let’s celebrate what we love about the Earth.

Please participate in these events:

  • Add your unique message to the “I Love the Earth” banner.
  • Visit Environmental Action Team tables on the patio to learn about actions that can make a difference in our future.
  • Share your ideas, actions and solutions for creating a cleaner and safer environment for all.
  • Attend a talk on solar energy at 12:30pm in the sanctuary.

Finger food and drinks provided!

Your Support Helps NonProfits Save on Power

With the SRP Solar for Nonprofits™ program, just $3 a month helps cover the cost of installing solar-covered parking canopies at Valley nonprofits. These local organizations can put the money saved on energy costs back into the community.

VUU is applying to SRP for a solar grant, and we encourage everyone to share in supporting the program valley-wide. Learn more here

Fellowship and Social Activities

FUUNd Times!!!

VUU members and friends enjoyed several FUUNd and educational get-togethers over the past few weeks. Six of us attended a movie screening and discussion of George Balanchine’s ballet masterpiece Serenade at the home of Jessica Blonde, and another group spent an afternoon learning about improving family harmony through better communication with Paul & Amanda Schneider. Look at all the happy faces below!

You can still get in on a few of the upcoming FUUNd events, and/or purchase a beautiful writing journal. Check out the possibilities here.

Labor Day Weekend Camping with UUs at SAWUURA

September 2 - 4

No fee and no crowds! 

Camp has water, pit toilets, a group kitchen & ramada 

High clearance vehicle required.

Families, children, friends all welcome! 

More info and registration instructions here.

SAWUURA is a 100-acre property owned by UUs located in the Sierra Ancha mountains near Young, AZ. 

The Page Turners' Book Club

The Page Turners Book Club is open to all members, visitors, and friends of VUU who enjoy reading and discussing a variety of books. The next meeting is TONIGHT August 17 at 7:00 PM, we will meet at the home of Johnnie G in Tempe (near Baseline Rd. and the 101).  The book is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. 

For the meeting address or questions, please contact Johnnie at 480-231-8381 or email Amy M.

Volunteering and Giving

UPDATE: Affordable 55+ Housing in Chandler. The 20+ VUU Members & Friends who attended last Sunday’s forum gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to supporting VIP organizing in support of an affordable housing development in south Chandler. Other VIP member congregations in Chandler are having similar conversations.

What can YOU do now?

  • Regularly check the weekly VUU Happenings newsletter for VIP updates and calls to participate.
  • Attend the next VIP Housing Team meeting. Meet members of other congregations engaged in the effort to increase affordable housing in Maricopa County. Monday, Sept 18, 6:30 (location TBD).
  • Join VUU’s VIP Housing Team to help organize VUU’s support.
  • Commit to showing up at VIP Actions to support affordable housing.

Email Barb Quijada for more information and / or to join the team.

Immigration Action Team

Our month long "Visual Reminder" has been successful in clothing donations for asylum seeker shelters! We look forward to continued donations of summer clothing for men/women S/M and children size 4 and up.

Thank you to all our VUU members for your assistance to these shelters. We will have our table in the back of the sanctuary for two more Sundays. Come by to visit and take a peppermint candy!

Helping our Colombian immigrants 


Our Colombian friends are raising our awareness of popular Colombian foods. Have you heard of Salchipapas? It’s a popular street food that started in Peru and now has migrated to most of South America. 

We will have a sample of Salchipapas available for you to check out after services on Sunday August 20. If you like it you can place an order for next Sunday August 27 and Sunday September 3.


You can order Salchipapas with sausage, chicken or guacamole. It comes with a plate of fried maduros, sweet plantains. A donation of $20 is requested per plate.  

submitted by Beatriz Arias Cisneros

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |