September 7, 2023

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This Sunday at VUU



Water Communion Ingathering

This Sunday we will celebrate an ingathering Sunday service that celebrates building and sustaining community and protecting our most precious resource–water. We need each other like our planet needs water–in fact water is one of the common elements that sustains all living things. Our ritual will feature our fountain and our shared commitments to building and sustaining community. 

Classes begin for faith formation–make sure you’ve signed your kids up! They also need to build community and learn together how to sustain our shared lives on this shared planet…with respect for each other and the wide range of ways we live on this planet as human communities, acting with justice and love. We’ll hear from those teaching our youth and we’ll also recognize new members who’ve joined since June 2023.  

Join us on YouTube 10:30 Sunday


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



Haven't registered yet this year? Use this link 


See 2023-2024 Curriculum Here


Sunday, Oct 8th: 

Hamilton Aquatic Center

3838 S Arizona Ave, Chandler.

12 pm - 5 pm closing - Come when you can!

You can bring food and drink - check out the rules

*Pool Rules*   

no flotation devices or mermaid tails/monofins allowed

6 pack sized coolers only

click on rules link (above) for more details

Fees (credit cards accepted) 

2-17 yrs  $1

Adult    $2.25

Seniors (55yrs) $1.25


8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

In person: Board Room

Via Zoom here

Help Us Plan Adult Faith Formation Opportunities!  Fill out this quick survey and let us know what you’re interested in!

Help Wanted! We need a couple of volunteers to help open the Zoom room for coffee hour on Sundays after service. A quick training will get you set up and you can help us keep folks connected when they’re attending services online. Email Rev Sarah at if you are willing to help. Until we have someone to help run the zoom room, we won’t be able to offer this opportunity to connect online.  


Please do not reply to emails purported to come from Mark Foote asking for a list of members, nor to text messages supposedly coming from Rev. Sarah that, once engaged, ask for Apple gift cards!

Several members who have responded to the scammers and received a barrage of curse words and/or threats of violence. Please just report and block the number.

Contact Todd at with questions or to verify requests for information

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

Joys and Concerns

Fellowship and Social Activities




Music Ministries

Children/Youth Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation

Caring Ministries

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


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Thursday, September 7

Friday, September 8

  • FLP Lunch Zoom 12p
  • Paz de Cristo Meal Prep 4p
  • Nefesh Soul Service 5:30p

Saturday, September 9

  • CPR/1st Aid Training 9a

Sunday, September 10

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Faith Formation 10:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Immigration Team 11:45p
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Spotted OWL class 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL class 12:45p

Monday, September 11

  • Pastoral Care Team Zoom 6:30p

Tuesday, September 12

  • Music Team Zoom 6:30p
  • Men's Group 7p

Wednesday, September 13

  • Choir Rehearsal 5:30p
  • Special Funds Meeting 6p
  • AlAnon 7:00p

Thursday, September 14

  • EastVUU Zoom 6:30

Friday, September 15

  • Nefesh Soul Service 5:30p

Saturday, September 16

Sunday, September 17

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Faith Formation 10:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • VUUJAZ Coffee Conversation -Patio 12:00p
  • 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

Liz Chain

Dalai Lama and Friends and VUU Member and cat lover, Elizabeth Chain died unexpectedly Thursday, Aug. 17. Liz's spirit is in her twin cats, who Linda and Dennis Swain graciously adopted. Liz's relatives will plan a celebration of life for her in Iowa with a gravestone next to Liz's mother and father's gravestone plot.

Cards may be sent to Crystal & Tom Hennessey, 124 E Redbud Dr, Stillwater, OK 74075 and Charity & Tom Murphy, 1365 Joliet St, El Cajon, CA 02019.

Submitted by Pat Flahart, Ahwatukee Caring Neighbors

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

Desert Notes will return next week.

Save The Date

On October 28, 2023 Valley UU will celebrate the Installation of Rev. Sarah as our Senior Settled Minister. This event will feature guest religious professionals from our region and other regions in the US and is a chance to highlight the shared ministry between us. We’ll also include representatives from important partnership and community leaders. The ceremony and reception will run from 2 p.m. to 4:30. More information to come! Want to help with hospitality? Contact Barb Q at  

VUU Updates

Calling all LGBTQ+ congregants

Adults and youth alike! We want as many of you as possible to participate in the October 15th service when we celebrate National Coming Out Day!

We are looking for speakers, ushers, those willing to give a coming out story, musicians, artists, those willing to do a reading, etc. 

Please contact Bobbi Ryals 602.486.3587 or Email her here by September 15th if you would like to participate. 

If you don't feel comfortable participating in the service, we hope to see you there so we have a strong showing from our community.

Music Ministries

The VUU Voices Choir


The VUU Voices Choir started our fall season with rehearsal on Sept. 6, and will continue each Wednesday, in the Sanctuary from 6-7:30 pm. Performances will be during Sunday Services every month. All singers aged 16 and up are invited. Childcare is provided in the Flex Room, which is located inside the Sanctuary. For more information, please contact Katie Seiferth, Director of Music Ministries

The 1-Hour Family Choir - starts Oct. 1

Have you wanted to sing in choir but mid week rehearsals don’t work for you? Join the 1-Hour Family Choir. We’ll learn an easy song or two the Sunday morning we perform. This allows for flexibility - you do not have to be committed week to week. All ages are invited, children and adults. A rehearsal and performance are held every first Sunday of the month starting in October - Oct. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3 for the fall season. Free childcare is provided in the nursery. If you would like more information, please contact Katie Seiferth.

The Chalice Ringers - Bell Choir

If you or someone you know has an interest in directing our bell choir the Chalice Ringers, please contact Katie Seiferth.

Attention mUUsicians

Announcing two dates for informal Instrumental Music Meetups on Saturdays: Sept 16 and Nov 4. Join James Osborn Popp and Rick Hinrichs in the sanctuary from 10:00 am-12 pm. Bring your ideas and instrument of choice to play hymns and other good sounds. For information call Rick or James at 480-567-2996.

Save the Dates:

Chili-okie is our annual chili cook off and karaoke event hosted by Katie and the Music Team. We will gather October 21 in the Sanctuary for a fun night of food and music. More details coming soon.

Earth Day Cabaret is our annual cabaret that highlights our talented and diverse musicians within VUU. Desserts, music, dancing and celebrating our beloved Earth will happen April 27 in the Sanctuary. More details coming soon.

Caring Neighbors

Caring Neighbors is continuing to expand the number of those we serve in our VUU community. We appreciate every Neighborhood Coordinator for all they have done and will do in the future. From coordinating short term transportation help, meal delivery, and phone calls to checking in on VUU'ers, and much more, we hope to continue to enhance our caring and support for one another. Starting September 1st, there will be some changes to the list of neighborhood leaders.

We are grateful to the following coordinators for all their dedication and support this past year. We appreciate you all: JoAnne Smith, Deidre Mears, Robin Latto, Jeanie Gaskill, Bonnie Phillips. Renee Spears, Sabena Norman, and Joanne McGrath. We look forward to announcing the full Coordinators roster for '23-'24 soon.

Caring Neighbors Co-chairs, Johnnie Clemens May and Nancy Wittenberg


Thurs, Sept 14, 6:30p

Join the EastVUU group as we hear VUU member Evan reflect on being both a UU and long-term member of 12-Step Recovery. He will share practices in self-reflection that all of us can use to enable personal growth. Join Zoom Meeting here

SAVE THE DATE for the EVUU Social Night September 28. More info to follow.

STAY UPDATED: Click here for the EastVUU Facebook group

Partners In Education

Trauma-Informed Safe Spaces

Grades 3-5

Adams Elementary School, Mesa, AZ

Ms. Rozum

Help me give my students a social emotionally focused classroom that promotes emotional health, trauma informed coping strategies, and a welcoming calming corner for them to de-escalate.

For more information and to support this worthy request, click here:

Adult Faith Formation

Spirit of Life Reading Circle

Anne Schneider, Rebecca Riggs, and Mary Rothschild are delighted to begin a new year of Spirit of Life Reading Circle on Zoom! Our first meeting will be on October 5th at 7:00 pm. We are continuing our first Thursday of the month calendar from 7:00 to 8:30 beginning this year in October.

This will be our 11th year, which hardly seems possible, but which gives use great joy. Our discussions over the years have been all over the map, but that has been a good part of the fun of them. Digging into a theological issue or question has made us more thoughtful UUs and your willingness to discuss, agree, and disagree has always been a genuine gift.

So thank you all and we hope to see you on Zoom on October 5th. We'll send out our links to read before in plenty of time, as usual.


VUUJAZ (VUU Justice Arizona). will hold our regular third Sunday “coffee conversation” after the service on the patio or in the sanctuary (if it is too hot) on Sept 17.  Grab a drink and a snack and we’ll start about 15 or 20 minutes after the service ends. This is an open agenda (we create the topics from the checkin) where everyone can share your concerns, interests, questions or just listen to everyone else! Hope to see you there.  

Special Funds Committee

Committee Update

The Special Funds Committee is accepting applications for its 2023-24 “Special Funds Small Grants Program,” that provides funds for special VUU projects. As of July 1, 2023 (the start of this new fiscal year) we had $34,566.48 available for grants (approximately 4% of the total in the Endowment Fund). Five projects totaling $30,400 have been funded to date.

The Special Funds Committee meets the 2nd Tuesday each month at 6:00 pm via Zoom. Our meetings are open and those submitting proposals are encouraged to attend. As of August 16, we still have $4,166.48 available for grants this fiscal year. All VUU members, committees, and staff are eligible to apply.

Send an email to Rick Hinrichs to get the Zoom link to our meetings.

More information about the projects funded to date and the process for submitting proposals is available here.

Thank you!

VUU Special Funds Committee:

Rick Hinrichs, Chair

Joanne McGrath, Treasurer

Anne Schneider, Secretary

Carl Anderson

Kama White

Help Wanted


The communications team has varied responsibilities, including the Happenings newsletter, social media, public relations, signage, our website, and Sunday morning announcements. We keep our VUU family and community up to date!

We're looking for a few good folks to volunteer a few hours a month to work in one or more of these areas. If you're interested, just click here and we'll contact you right away! Thank you! The Communications Team

I'd like to help!
With website updates
With Happenings, Announcements, and/or Social Media
With PR and/or signage
Environmental Action Team

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 on October 1:

  • 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 after the service in the sanctuary.

Food and drinks provided!

Food for Life and the Planet

We are re-launching Food for Life and the Planet in September with Lunch with FLP and we’d love to have you join us!

On the first Friday of every month, we will continue our journey of exploring various topics related to plant-based diets but at a new time. Our hope is that those who work will be able to take their lunch hours with us. So, bring your brown bags and let’s discuss the hot topics that affect our health and our environment. All are welcome—veteran vegans and curious carnivores!

Lunch with FLP

Date: September 8th (Not the first Friday - Labor Day got in the way.)

Time: 12 Noon

Location: Zoom Link here

Discussion Topic Video: What The Health (please watch the video prior to the meeting. Available on Netflix and other platforms.)

See you then! Denise McLeod and Linda Ruehlman

Garden Team Update

Want to try your hand at gardening without the full-on commitment? Adopt a row in our community garden! Nurture your plants, hone your skills, and be part of a growing community. Plus, the food you grow can be donated to local organizations in need. Cultivate more than just plants—cultivate community.

Interested in adopting your own row? Email Denise McLeod at and Kat Karpinen at

Fellowship and Social Activities

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 September 21 at 7:00 PM. The book is Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

Volunteering and Giving


Paz de Cristo Donation of the Month

September - Pasta Sauce

Please support our focus charity, Paz de Cristo, by bringing a donation of pasta sauce (any kind) during the month of September. Drop your donation in the designated container in the foyer of the sanctuary. Thank you for your generous support!

Paz de Cristo Meal Prep

Continuing the Tradition… Keeping the Commitment… Living our Principles

September date: 2nd Friday, September 8th, 4pm - 7pm

Location: 424 W Broadway Rd, Mesa, AZ

Click here for the sign up link Families welcome!

Please join us as we keep VUU’s 34-year tradition with Paz de Cristo on the second Friday of each month to serve the evening meal to Paz guests. Volunteers gather at the Paz kitchen/dining room to prepare then serve the evening meal. Additional tasks include cleanup of dishes, sweeping and mopping of floors. If you are joining us for the first time, don’t worry, Paz staff and experienced VUU volunteers make the work easy and the evening goes fast.

Seventeen volunteers are needed and can range in age from 12 on up. Volunteers must be able to stand and participate in all tasks during the entire evening. Have questions? Contact Joanne at 602-620-3100.

Affordable 55+ Housing in Chandler.

Join us for 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).

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

Immigration Action Team

Team Meeting

The Immigration Action Team welcomes everybody to attend their Fall in-person meeting Sunday 9/10 at 11:45 in the Sanctuary after services.

We will discuss:

-How we can be better social supports to our families

-How to finance our work

-How we can participate in their legal processes

-How we can be a better part of VUU

Help Katherin Earn Money

The last several weeks saw Katherin and family selling their homemade Salchipapas at VUU to supplement their income. In the coming weeks Katherin will be offering 10 minute foot- or back- massages (on her professional table in the flex room) for $20. She will be there from 10 AM to 10:30, and from 11:30-Noon. She is trying to earn money to pay for tuition to Esthetician School starting in December. Sign up at the service!

Border Immigration Information

From MaryJo Miller, Admin. Refugee Aid (Umbrella Supply Chain delivering to IRC and 4 Latino Church Shelters) 

"With the capacity reductions at Casa Alitas (Tucson), many more asylum seekers are being brought to the churches here in Phoenix and also the IRC Welcome Center.  The WC is receiving 150 people a day, sometimes as many as 230. Our partner host churches are often receiving just as many guests daily. Top nationalities for folks arriving in Arizona include Mexico, India, Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala. Many, many families and children are arriving."

The Refugee Aid donation bin is in the sanctuary. Needed supplies in September are: Paper towels and/or Clorox Wipes

To join the Refugee Aid monthly newsletter, email a request noting you're with VUU:

A VERY successful month-long Clothing Donation Drive!  Three Latino Asylum Seeker Shelters received Men/Women/Children summer clothing. Much of what was donated was new which is always appreciated. As each shelter receives several bus loads in a weeks' time, this donation drive is ongoing with a bin marked for Refugee Aid in the sanctuary. One of our EVUU members assisted a Latino shelter last week in processing families. They saw firsthand how quickly supplies are used up and how appreciative those receiving are to have received.

I-Help Success!


Once again, I am awed and humbled by the invaluable support that so many of our VUU families continue to provide to the VUU I-HELP program. 

Our meal of nachos with all the trimmings was very greatly appreciated by our 25 hungry guests. I am hereby passing on all of the thanks and expressions of gratitude that I frequently receive from them. Without all of the support I receive from willing I-HELP volunteers, their meals and lodging would not be possible.

A special thanks to my husband, Ron, for always being willing to be the chief I-HELP cook in the Rohlfing family. Also a big shout out to Nancy Landeryou, Pat Flahart, Sabena Norman, and Ariel Virshup for not only donating food, but their time in setting up, serving, and cleaning up after the meal. I appreciate all of you more than you will ever know. Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank Priscilla Acero and the AZCEND Community Center team who organize and transport our guests day in and day out, to many different locales. It is a Herculean task, and she manages to do it with grace and style!

Our next I-HELP meal service will be on Monday, September 25th. Stay tuned!

Submitted by Laura Rohlfing, I-Help Coordinator

News From UUJAZ

Sex Ed for Young(ish) Adults: Millennials + Gen Z

Weekly on Sundays, starting September 10th

4:00-5:30 pm, Virtually on Zoom

Join us for Sex Ed for Young(ish) Adults, where we explore relationships, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality, together with other Millennials + Gen Z.

Sign-up at

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |